Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Parallel Universe Called "Surrealism"

The work of contemporary surrealist painters like Christian Rex van Minnen, Martin Wittfooth, and Nick Baxter continues to widen the scope of what is perceivable to the common viewer, while all the while fascinating the eye of the most scrutinous. This new age of surrealism is none to be taken lightly, especially in a time when more artwork is born of a digital nature and our minds aren't easily tricked into thinking something is aesthetically pleasing or in the case of CGI, real at all.
It has always been tough for me to classify my work into a category. Sometimes horror with a taste of surrealism, and sometimes the complete opposite; either way, extremely satisfied with not having a niche.
These other artists that I mentioned before have carved their own personal niche as well, and extremely successfully. Their niche, should it be a place, would have platinum bike racks and a giant @!*&ing gold plaque on it that says "take this diamond encrusted elevator to my top floor studio, bitches." You might think I am exaggerating , but I assure you these new surrealist painters are top notch and will shape the future of art in our generation.
I hope that I never lose touch with traditional art as I make my way into the digital world. It would be like selling my soul to that pc guy in those awful commercials...picture it in your head, so shameful.
I obviously use a lot of colored pencil, though it is not the best medium for trying to convey more surreal ideas, but I enjoy working with it and that's all there is to it.
I started this piece below while hanging out with Nick B. and I didn't really know where it was going to go. I had my photo references, but didn't have a vision until shortly after he asked me "well, what else are you going to do with it?." Sometimes your creativity just needs a little push, and sure enough, my brain started swirling.
Fascinated with bioluminescence, decay, and the power and will of life, I came up with this concept. Stay tuned to my blog to see me venture back into the land of oil painting...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Drawing Kat Von D in Wonderland

As I'm walking out the door I check my e-mail to find that I will be filmed for a tv show that day, drawing on camera, no pressure. Oh and I will be drawing with a famous painter....and Ill be drawing Kat Von D, yes THE Kat Von D, lady tattoo artist extraordinaire. Her strength has always been admirable and many of the hardships she's endured have reminded me of my journey. I could probably write a book about my youth and my pilgrimage for success and happiness someday, but for now I just draw to appease my peace of mind.

I was given the wonderful opportunity of attending a workshop at Kat's Wonderland Gallery taught by the very talented painter, Kevin Llewellyn, a master of old world technique harmonized with tragic surrealism. Kat posed on the infamous lacquer black throne with her adorable sphynx cat, Piaf, for about three hours while I worked on one of my first official portraits. Yeah yeah so what I have done plenty of figure drawing, but I have never spent three hours on a bust focusing on likeness and every little fluctuation in curve. You would like your subject to be recognizable, especially one who has their face on the cover of magazines regularly; This ain't no Bono cake from Yes Man, ya know?
A few hours into the drawing session Kevin came over for a quick critique, instructing me not to take certain shadows too literally to soften the face, and focus on skeletal structure pertaining to the planes of the skull. His suggestions simplified my process, allowing my brain imaginary airbrush tools that made my drawing turn out much smoother.

As I've mentioned before when you are drawing, especially with figure models, you zone out to where there is no longer a human at all, but a subject made of lines and gradients, a form that you must grow to understand before it speaks to you on paper. As an artist you have a special gift: You can not only appreciate someone for their beauty, but for their flaws and choose to accentuate those beautiful details that normal people may not see at all.

I was interviewed on camera for the next season of LA Ink on TLC, make sure to tune in when the new season starts to catch coverage of the drawing workshop and possibly see me stutter and not make any sense  at all.

You like that? Who needs Photoshop when you have MS Paint! I'm so pro.

Okay folks, below is my finished product from the workshop. My portrait of the artist, Kat Von D. 5/1/11 ...