A digital sketchbook

Ode to Scratchbread

 Ode to the heavenly creations of this Brooklyn based bakery.

First up an artisan Parmesan bread, Sunday brunch was fried chicken biscuit with potatoes, and a macro of the thickest best bacon ever; game-of-thrones style.

Check out the story of Scratchbread.com  

Other than the hand-letter chalkboard menus next to the take-away window there is no advertising so imagine this mural concept adorning a previously blank wall.

NY Photo's; Tri-Lox Studio in Brooklyn

Just got back from a NY visit and the inspiration is flowing.   Brooklyn was home for five days residing with one of my best friends, Justin Grubbs, who is an NYU grad that has been trying to get me up north for about six years.  More images to come from the sketchbook.  We ate our way through NY and stayed away from the chaos of Manhattan other than the MoMa pilgrimage.  Scratchbread bakery was a local fixture of our take-away meals, a clearly popular grassroots staple of many diets, your Sunday brunch with a magical twist;scratchbread.com

The special exhibit was a De Kooning retrospective, but the best part of the museum trip was seeing paintings in the flesh that I had to study from slides in school.  Especially Umberto Boccioni's futurist paintings and sculpture which really can only be appreciated in person.

Another grassroots tour involved a friend's industrial design studio, Tri-lox.com which focuses on reclaimed materials and handcrafted objects.  The variety of projects, concept sketches, and cured wood was brilliant, check out their work it's a must see.  Thanks to J-Stone, Tim, Bender and Ellis for that shop tour!
Plans are already being drafted for a return trip to NY during this summers 48 Hour Film Project.
Cheers, and Happy Holidays!

SkaterAid 2011

This years event was brilliant thanks to all supporters of the arts who helped SkaterAid collect a record amount of donations.  For full history on the grassroots background of SkaterAid check Skateraid.net
East Decatur Station are amazing hosts for all the stellar decks below. Some footage of the free-skate competition hosted by Stratosphere to come linked on Youtube.

Cornucopia Triptych

After about four months of slaving in my parents' porch, converting to the canvas that I borrowed from James, and having to stare at the same piece for what seemed like an eternity, it is finally finished. This is the twelve foot painting that ends the series of the enchanted forest inhabited by the beautiful fairies.
This was pretty much an attempt to wrap up several ideas from my sketchbook by incorporating as many of them as I could into a single project. These energy orbs come directly from the life-streams of the fallen warriors, gods, and sorcerers that made a cosmic u-turn and ended up in the forest. Their inevitable inability to resist the fairies' seduction causes them to fall into a deep sleep, during which their energy is stripped from them and given to the forest to keep it growing and lush. The organ dwellers (one-eyed parasitic frog-looking creatures) are a nuisance to the fairies. They feed on the limited supply of floating energy orbs that nurture the forest.
Cornucopia has transformed visually over time. The organic forms are a bit more aquatic and otherworldly-looking.
The only thing I wasn't able to include was the giant double-tailed striped wolf. It is the appointed guardian of Cornucopia -- the forest's most noble and badass being. It has lived for hundreds of years, yet it is still in rare form. Its gender is unknown and it cannot mate because it is the only one of its kind. When it dies, so will the possibility of there being a successor. The wolf keeps vigil with glowing eyes and an uncompromising gaze that could intimidate even the most vicious of beasts. Perhaps, one day, I'll use the wolf in another piece.
And that concludes the "Cornucopia" series.

Alexi Torres - Eye Opener

After two months of cancelled First Thursday Art Walk events at the Tula Gallery, I popped in to make my rounds through the studios. After the crowd died down, I headed back to Alexi Torres's studio. I've known Alexi since I first started hanging out, painting, and learning everything I wasn't taught in school in Barry Sons's studio (which used to be right down the hall).
Alexi Torres is an artist that I have tremendous respect for... a 'no nonsense' artist whose dedication to the form is exemplified in his work... mastery that cannot be explained with words. Although his work is on a level that I could only wish to achieve someday, we share some of the same views on art: his belief in focusing on details, practicing, practicing, practicing, until you've broken your own boundaries, never cutting corners, and concentrating all attention on perfecting a single brilliant piece opposed to cranking out a bunch of mediocre ones -- a result of the art schools he attended as a boy growing up in Cuba.
The stories he tells me are ones that he's two modest to preach about in front of possible clients and rich fancy-wine drinkin' pricks in a setting as corny as a Buckhead art opening. These stories are told after hours in the back of his gallery with maybe one or two studio lights on. It's better coming from him, with the tipsy Cuban accent, which is why I'm writing it, and not youtube-video blogging it. As a young boy growing up dirt poor with barely enough clothes to wear, a mother deceased by the age of nine, and a father; a farmer who could only provide corn to eat from his crops everyday -- Alexi found that art was the way out. While the rest of us bitch and complain with our post-art school bullshit attitudes about how the world will never give young artists a chance, Alexi ignored the 'starving artist' curse and believed that "the sun rises for everyone the same way." If one man could become a masterful and successful artist, why couldn't he? But success was not around right around the corner. It took more dedication than any of us young guys could imagine... more effort than any of us have ever dreamed of putting forth... I used to believe that I put in plenty of hours until he told me about his hours spent painting until 4:00am as a child, yes, a child. It made me feel as though all the work I had put in as an artist since the day I could pick up a crayon in my tiny hand was nothing. The permanent dark bags under his eyes are a testament to his passion and nonstop effort. Sometimes I think he sold his soul to the devil for the talent... no... superpower he possesses.
A lot of times you walk into a gallery and see artists who practically vomit on a canvas and preach themselves up as though they are gods. Alexi Torres is not one of these clowns. Art chose him. Not the other way around.
I must emphasize his humble attitude though. He would never talk himself up the way I have in this blog. One might say it's humility or admiration. When he saw the Salvador Dali exhibit at the High Museum and looked up at the thirty foot painting, he said sarcastically that he wanted to kill himself because he was looking at Dali's work the same way I look at Alexi's. It makes you feel like garbage. Even someone as experienced and talented as Torres can be left wanting to achieve more -- to transcend what was thought to be unsurpassable.
There's no real ending or punchline to this post. I just wanted to give a full-scale report on the evening in the studio of a living legend. It just opened my eyes even more than they already were. In order to become what I want to become, there's only one way to do it. And it doesn't involve cutting corners, bullshitting, and wasting my spare time on anything other than what I was put here to do. Become a slave to art and respect the goddamn form.
I'm done.

Skater-Aid 2011

Here are two process images from the skate-deck that was submitted today for the local cancer benifit next month.  Big changes this year, one of which is that an online auction will take place for a month before the event Sunday September 25th when bidding will continue, for more info check skater-aid.net

This year's project differs from last year in scale, color-scheme, theme and format.  Luckily some of my skater buddies unearthed used decks to donate after I griped a lot about having to buy a new board for last years event. Entitled 'Missing Piece' this landscape format is influenced by mural work, an ode to Alvarez, full of fun in contrast to the darker current events piece from last year, 'Broken Levee Hermit', on the plight of sister cities Port du Prince and New Orleans.

Missing piece is a reference to one of my favorite children's books, not because the board is broken. In that story a circle(with a missing piece) wanders the world unhappy, trying and failing to find the right match that fills its void properly and of course eventually finds its missing piece, living happily ever after.

Frog vs Robot, the fate of the world hangs in the balance, a dream upon waking or a vision of the future; you're free to guess.  From an elaborate thumbnail for mural ideas this piece grew and changed living in a fluid state before submitting to the substrate.  Materials; primed board, on the grip-tape side, watercolors and FW inks, which can be tricky not all colors mix well between mediums.  FW inks are great for highlights especially the pearlecent inks, used in the frog eyes and bolts of energy.  Played with cubism and symbolism to up the comparison of a futuristic take on the chaos of 'Guernica.' Notice the alight, yet unplugged light-bulb presiding like an eye over the battle below.

The blue robot has a void in its torso-section and is trying to unlock this replacement bionic heart which is defended by a massive, energy-wielding frog.  I hope to see the world mended in my lifetime but if climate change continues unabated all amphibians like frogs will become extinct due to the quality of their environments, land, air and water.  If one has a pot of water at boil a frog will jump out went placed in, but if the frog is placed in a pot of water gradually warmed to a boil it will stay put and die.  Humanity could suffer the safe fate from its chosen path of inaction. So in the future frogs wont be there to help us, maybe they'll exisit like Norway's doomsday seed-bank, buried deep into the side of a mountain complex for posterity.

Is this social commentary on the apathy liquid love and technopoly have created by blackening our hearts towards loving all aspects cold and in-human like convenience and efficiency?  An interconnected globe is a digital illusion, one severed with a simple power outage or complex solar flare.  Humanity can build machines for a better tomorrow but treating the dynamic human spirit like a technical manual devalues our organic nature by substituting emotion, intuition and imagination for the cold rational of data; such is the era on the instant.  Each of us has a void that all of modernity can't fill, this heart-ache is that of your soul repressed to a state of reaction and not creation.  The danger is that we rewire our perspective which feeds your perception and warps the brain's ability to create as opposed to react effecting all facets of life such as morality, education, relationships and opinion making. Our human experience cannot be quantified by experts who preside over polls it must be lived without restraint so that the inner sanctuary of Self sings through the worst maelstrom of adversity, powered onward by the fury of passion not aided by the ballast-stones of materialism.

How far have we evolved with old world habits and new world toys?


I figured since I have produced several pieces based on recurring dreams that I have, perhaps it's time to start logging these ideas somewhere where it's easy to keep track of them (like the blog). Is it depressing that my favorite moments are the ones when I'm asleep?

A massive bomb was discovered to be in route rushing toward the earth... said to hit somewhere in or around a town that seemed much like Odessa (in my mind), and wipe out all of existence as we know it ...a weapon so massive, that it could not be stopped, penetrated or even put a dent in by even the most advance weaponry created by man. An 'Explosions in the Sky' lyric comes to mind, spoken in a calm, collected voice of an old man... "This great evil... Where's it come from? How'd it steal into the world? Who's doing this...?" Soon... oblivion will rape the planet and destroy what took millions of years in the making to become. As the saying goes, "It's easier to destroy than to create."
The townspeople accept their fate. They uphold what little spirit they have left and celebrate their last moments at a high school homecoming game. Every resident of Odessa gathers at the field, nearly blinded by the stadium lights... watching the boys play their last game on earth. There is no animosity between opposing players... only love and admiration... as they realized it should have always been. The roaring and cheering of the crowd is loud like a storm. For the first time in history, everyone was holding hands... laughing together... crying together... cheering together... embracing one another... and it took a bomb... the inevitable 'end of the world' to force this on us. How ironic.
The boys pray a short prayer at every huddle before and after every play as the cheerleaders watch and cry from the sidelines. Beside the field, confetti paper falls from the floats and covers the asphalt. The ladies and gentleman of the homecoming court look like kings and queens dressed in black. They await halftime so they can grace the field with their presence. The guys all have their pickup trucks parked halfway up the sidelines, but who cares enough to scold them at this point? Standing in their trunks, the girls all look pretty, dressed in buttoned plaid shirts, rolled up and tied at the bottom to show their belly buttons, with faded, torn jean skirts and ribbons in their hair... as all small town girls would dress.
It takes one little girl in the stands, holding her teddy bear, to look up first... And then one after the other... every face looks toward the starlit sky at the blinking red light headed toward the earth. It's the bomb. No one screams... There is only the sound of gasps. Everyone joins hands. Their faces do not turn away from the sky. In moments... everything will be dust.
As the faces focus on the object, a young man walks toward one of the trucks parked halfway up the sidelines with one of the girls in sight... the one with the red plaid shirt and her hair up in locks with ribbons, sitting on the foldout flap of the trunk. He pulls her hand from her and kisses the back of it as if to say, "I've had a crush on you all year, and I haven't had the courage to come up to you until now... until this..." Only these words are not actually spoken. Yet they are understood. Given the circumstances, she does not treat his actions with hostility. He walks onto the field. Looks back at her. She looks at him. The bomb gets closer. The only two people making eye contact at this point... until... he crouches slightly. The ground beneath him starts to rumble... and then he shoots up into the sky faster than the blink of an eye. Only a trail of dust rings is left from the souls of his shoes. The gasps from the stands become even louder? How did he do that? Is he headed toward the bomb?!
Up high in the atmosphere, the young man can see it clearly now... the clouds are separated by the massive steel object with the pulsating red light that is plummeting toward the earth. It's bigger than anyone could have ever imagined. And he's flying directly in its path. He knows he can stop it, but there's just one catch... A millisecond before he hits the object, he closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, but he's not afraid...
The crowd watches as a flash of light spreads in the distant sky. No one knows whether to celebrate or to cry. So the silence remains... as it rains small bits and pieces of metal. The girl in the back of the truck presses the hand he kissed tightly toward her chest. She keeps her tears to herself, but realizes that she's fallen for someone who's long gone.
That was the last anyone ever saw of the young man.

This is very rough of course, but it's based off of a dream. So there's not much I can do about that... Sorry. It's almost like a stream of consciousness piece that needs to be cleaned up so that it's more coherent and sensible. But I feel like it's something that I would like to storyboard for practice, because I think it's too much to capture in anything other than a sequential format.
Got some work in tonight. I was working on getting rid of the massive smears on the triptych that happened as I was loading the wet canvases into my car (not advised for future reference)... completely my fault. But I was able to make something very noticeable disappear completely. I'm not quite sure if those are skills I've learned working with oils, or from doing so much color matching in art restoration at work. Anyways... I was thinking about taking a photo of the work in progress, but I realized I don't have my own camera. Perhaps a pretty decent digital camera is something worth investing in. It's time to start saving money so I can take care of that... as well as the drawing table I've needed for years... and the easel that's long overdue. I won't be able to recover from the lower back pains and the buckling knees and ankles from painting on the ground after my twenties. If only money did grow off of trees. Hey, at least I'm not using an old Nike shoebox as a tackle box anymore. I have Barry Sons to thank for that. I wanted to end the night with a movie, but the Playstation wouldn't play my brand new copy of "Law Abiding Citizen." I thought there was something wrong with my blu-ray disc, so I decided to pop in my brand new copy of "Iron Man." Same thing. Playstation is complete garbage and I no longer endorse Sony's products. This rant has gone on for far enough... Photos coming soon.

Mural Musing

In terms of style, is this similarity to graffiti bad for a mural project?  Picture this on the back of a gas station, better than gang signs and vomit tags right?

Mike Sketch entry on 5/14

Mike sketched these in my notebook and now the scanner helps me brings these to life, feedback welcome.  This last character is from Mike's most recent series, a type of residual self-image.  Digital color-correction watercolor wash meshed in PS.

Sketch Commentary

Enough ranting op ed from me, enjoy this sketch on the internet.

Bike To Work Week

In honor of bike to work week, disgusting gas prices and the supposed rapture on Saturday at 6pm the blog posting continues.  Mike is officially moving out, while working on a new triptych and putting the finishing touches on his comic work in a joint publication.  Life is crazy for me as the job hunting this month has heated up is the quest for work in my field.  Finally had my first serious interview since leaving school at an inspirational downtown architect firm, following up on that opportunity.  Several submissions and resume drafts later I have sifted through the folk/outsider art only galleries and found an alternative in the form of co-op galleries.  Homegrown, for example, shows only local artists who pay rates related to their space whilst also working hours at the shop off Church St in Decatur.

Ironic that our summer season and countdowns are seemingly synonymous, last year was the Gulf Oil disaster, a spill so large it's mystery facts and environmental effects have still yet to be quantified.  This summer's count down is the NFL lockout, or duration of the Arab spring; demonstrations, protests and upheaval across the Middle East depending on what floats your boat or bursts your fantasy bubble.  Evangelists claim that the world ends this Saturday night at 6pm so live it up.  Sadly disaster porn has a greater hold on our society than I realized as many spammed commentary of the disasters in Japan without a shred of empathy for fellow humanity.

Looking forward to this summer after City of Decatur contacted me about painting a mural to help with the anti-graffiti and mural painting movements, more posts to come after returning from dog-sitting up in Athens, Ga especially the recent sketches Mike and I have set aside for the scanner.  Cheers, digital community enjoy your love, art and football


Expanded from a post-apocalyptic dream where a unique climber survives in secret possession of the world's last compass.

2011 Fuurther

We are taking 2011 forward as intrepid travelers on the sketchbook realms of dream, digital and physical.
Check out the free illustrator community Littlechimpsociety.com  join up for the inspirational newsletters and behold!

Another universe of art to explore would be at hireanillustrator.com where I have just set up a portfolio.

I will be posting a sketch that has expanded from a dream next, until then check out this sample of sequential goodness to come from Mike Lancette, his character design with my inking and watercolor.

Skater-Aid in Review

Skater-aid, September 26th 2010
A huge success for local Decatur, GA based art auction Skater-aid bringing in a record amount of submitted artwork on skate-decks and total donations collected. The story of how the Skater-aid event evolved first as a tribute to Ian Wochatz, who died from brain cancer at age 15, is unique and this cancer-benefit has become an annual celebration of life, skateboarding, community and expression.

A mobile skate-park is set-up for the day, several local bands play while the silent auction goes on into the evening and closes one section at a time to encourage bidding. Over 80 pieces of art, including my Broken Levee Hermit, where auctioned off at an event which started small in 2006 and has grown into a true grass-roots celebration of art, youth and skateboarding. Check out the website on my links page and please get involved, you're only fifteen once, right!

Enjoy these samples from various local artists.

Early character designs for the lead terrorist's loyal henchmen... Just goofing around pretty much.

Mmm... Misa Campo...

This is officially the last drawing I did for the year of 2010. I decided to wake up and do a little portrait exercise in my sketchbook, just to stay loose. It's been a while... definitely rusty. Doesn't quite match Misa Campo's face, but the drawing still suggests a hottie.


Here's a design I did with traditional inks and photoshop color for a character who will star in a graphic novel that I will produce sometime in the distant future (if the fates see fit).