A digital sketchbook


Who Loves the Arsenal?


More fun with lettering and footy crests. Here is the entire first team player roster for Arsenal Football Club, shaped into their iconic badge.  Part of the pen and ink drawings done during Ink'tober.  Done with FW inks, a pro quill or dip pen and brushes.

New Chalk Art at Zaytoon Grill



New pastel art for the sidewalk sign at Zaytoon Grill at 1618 Central Ave in St Pete, FL. Finally autumn weather has been kind enough to arrive in sunny Florida, a welcome relief.  Everyone have a safe and enjoyable Halloween out there. And no, you're never too old for this holiday.

Happy Ink'tober



Woefully behind on the thirty-one drawings of Ink'tober challenge. But the idea of doing team icons made up of only player rosters for the Tampa Bay Lightning art contest spurred on the idea of doing soccer crests in the same style. Enjoy this lettering piece done with FW inks, a double image of the AFC Bournemouth club badge comprised of the entire player roster.  The club nicknamed the "Cherries" are in their second season in the English Premier League. They call Vitality Stadium home, one of the smallest stadiums in the league and the club is managed by Eddie Howe, the top division's youngest head coach.


Kerouac Night, New T-Shirt Design Contest



The bi-annual Kerouac Night was a smashing success at the Flamingo Sports Bar this past Saturday. The poets and live bands brought their fiery passion to the fore upon a small front porch stage.  Enjoyed meeting new faces and seeing some regulars at the event planned around the anniversaries of the famous beat poet, Jack Kerouac's birth and death. Someone usually brings a cake and the mood is celebratory and never somber. It's quite the scene if you've never been, come and check out the next event in March. Or just stop on by the Flamingo Bar to shoot pool, have a drink, or check out my mural in the parking lot. There is an interactive game to play with that mural, find the initials buried sneakily into the background.

The Friend's of the Jack Kerouac House Charity have been gathering money for years and negotiating with members of the Kerouac estate to purchase and preserve the local St. Petersburg, FL house Jack lived in, which has stood practically untouched like a time capsule since his death in 1969.  T-shirt sales are a big part of how this 501C-3 charity collects donations. 

I will be hosting a design contest for fresh ideas on the traditional Kerouac shirt. The famous "mad ones" excerpt from the novel "On The Road"  remains on the back. The front of the shirt is open for a redesign contest: two color design in Black and White, without the portrait of Kerouac, something that evokes his spirit, journey or unique style. Calling all artists to submit work either in person or via email ( james@artbyjamese.com ) deadline is December 1st 2017. File types excepted are .png, .jpeg, .pdf, .psd and vector files. Dimensions 8.5 by 11 inches.  Top three finalists will receive a prize for their efforts and compensation for the winning design, subject to final approval by the FOJKH Charity board.  The new shirts should be available for purchase at the bar by the holidays.

Please help to spread the word about this shirt design contest to any artist you know of, both near and far.  Jack Kerouac is a part of the often untold history of St. Pete, events like this one, run by a grassroots charity help to breathe new life into understanding the roles artist played in shaping the tradition of expression in this city.  By looking backward we can appreciate the past more and illuminate what the future holds for the next generation of artists, writers and "mad ones."



SHINE Mural Festival 2017



Much anticipated return of a local mural festival happens this weekend.  Biking around in the mornings has to be one of my favorite parts of the day.  I was able to take some pictures of the first artist at work in the streets, bumping her music, sharing the groove on 17th Street S.  Of course being able to see the eventual, final product, a powerful finished image, one of twenty or more being done in less than two weeks is just amazing. An experience that just witnessing moves me like the energy of a live concert. Feeling blessed, and looking for positives and inspiration in a week of bad news headlines.  So the timing of the SHINE festival, moved back from the September dates of last year, couldn't come at a better time for me personally.

Hopefully the announcement that SHINE will also be doing smaller paint projects on electrical boxes around downtown during and after the festival is intriguing. Where do artists apply to get in on the action?  It would be fun to share in the joy of local artists getting a chance to paint their style onto a smaller canvas and beautify the city with art.  Having seen the results in Decatur, GA of how gorgeous and thought-provoking art is when it covers everyday objects, trashcans, crosswalks, electrical boxes, even MARTA overpasses.  Public art helps us connect with our surroundings and community, something we could all use more of.

Find more at their official IG and Twitter account @SHINEonstpete




New Menu Item at Zaytoon



New lettering project with pastel chalks for Zaytoon today. Biked around and checked out the beginning of a mural for the SHINE Art Festival which kicks off this weekend.  More on that in another post. A new item graces the menu at 1618 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg FL at Zaytoon Grill.  Shaksuka is a breakfast/lunch dish severed with poached eggs, garlic, onions, tomatoes and green peppers.

Always a joy doing lettering outside for the sidewalk sign on the 1600 block of Central Ave. Breathing in the scene, passersby, occasionally dodging rain and moving indoors.  Nu-pastel brand chalks, pastel pencils and a ruler used in this piece.  If you know someone who needs hand-done lettering for their menu boards, signage or beer list please email james@artbyjamese.com as I am open to commissions.

Rowdies Fan Art Unvieled



Unveiled last night at the Tampa Bay Rowdies, local professional USL soccer team, a large banner was unfurled before kickoff in tribute to the team and its ownership.  Even though this is not my art and I had nothing to do with its creation, ultimately found this to be inspirational and a symbol of the continued emergence of soccer culture in the United States. 

The painting itself was produced by a local fan group, but the quality of design and the fan's positive reception of this unique banner is usually reserved for larger overseas clubs with a hundred plus years of history and support. Overall design and font are similar to a video game cover for Grand Theft Auto, with its own twist, soccer style, unique characters, and Rowdies color scheme.

Pardon my progress on the lack of posting in September as Hurricane Irma interrupted life. I evacuated the Tampa Bay area. Forever grateful for the little things as the localized damage could have been much worse considering others areas of Florida were harder hit, blessings are being counted.  Thoughts and prayers with those in Texas and Puerto Rico still recovering. 

TB Lightning Art Contest



Hand-painted, custom-lettering piece for an art contest hosted by our local NHL team the Tampa Bay Lightning.  This was a hockey inspired project wherein a rewatching of the Mighty Ducks occurred. It was fun shape to play with and a bit tedious to work on those tiniest of letters.

Every single player on the team's roster for the 2017-18 season has been incorporated into text. The letters blend at a distance to form the club's iconic lighting bolt logo.  Done with FW inks and watercolor pencils.

Manchester Tribute



Nothing will truly be a fitting tribute to the lives lost during the cowardly terrorist attack at a concert in Manchester, England this past May.  The idea of going to an event like that an not coming home, disturbed me greatly as have many other incidents of terror attacks or the rise of violent, radical groups both here in the United States and abroad.  The nightmarish scenes of torch-bearing racists and vehicular homicide of a peaceful protester in Charlottesville, VA last weekend has also shaken me to the core.

Art is often the best therapy for me in tough times and in good health.  Taking part in the creative process is a fitting outlet for pent up energy or emotion and allows me to de-stress, almost like mediation. This ink and watercolor piece was done to honor the victims and how both halves of Manchester, often rivals in sport, came together in such time of adversity.  Symbolized by the blue of Manchester City FC, the music note, heartbeat of the world, and brush all within elements of the Manchester United Red Devils' crest.

"We should be careful of each other. We should be kind, while there is still time." -taken from Phillip Larkin's poem, The Mower.


Tribute To Rayzilla



The paragraphs below are from an an entry of mine to the SHINE Mural Festival. The last few months have been crazy, I personally have suffered a loss and grieved the passing of my grandmother. In turn so has the local community that knew RayZilla and his musical influence on the hearts of so many.

Ray "Ray-zilla" Villadonga sadly passed away June 10th and it would be fitting to piece together a painting that honors the music history of St. Pete and Ray was certainly a larger than life figure.  One of my favorite things to do is draw local bands at various venues around town. One night I saw the musician in his element, had the pleasure of showing a sketch I'd done to Ray and really enjoyed the reaction. The warmth of artists supporting one another's craft shone through, he was such a positive, radiator of energy, a storyteller and bear-huggable guy.

Binge Music is on 1st Ave North, the wall faces the flow of traffic, gets plenty of sunlight, and would be great large canvas to pay tribute to musicians of the past than grew up, lived in, or had influence in the St. Pete music scene or community.

A Godzilla theme would be fitting, but the project doesn't need to focus solely on Ray-zilla's passing but the beauty of the music scene here as a whole. To make people proud of the past, grateful for the present, happy to keep on barefoot dancing and twisting the night away.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Cheers."

-James

artbyjamese.com

P.S.  A few weeks after creating and saving this post, the actor who played Godzilla, Haruo Nakajima, passed away. Although the image above is a work in progress for new clients Cali Tacos To Go. They have a Godzilla burrito on the menu, so upon hearing of Mr. Nakajima's passing I pushed for this idea.  Not exactly a literal tribute to Ray Villadonga, but I sure am listening to his albums while painting.

Voting Open for Superheroes on Parade



Earlier in the year I had the honor of being chosen for a local project called Super Heroes on Parade, done through the charity Southeastern Guide Dogs.  This project is a collaboration between artists and sponsors to paint, draw, sculpt or otherwise customize a massive doggie-hero statue. All the artists receive the same statue, cast molded by Scott Moore of Port Charlotte, FL but are paired with different sponsors who have "naming" rights and ideas of their own to incorporate.

My sponsors were Fidelity Investment Services and they got to name the sculpture "Roosevelt" in reference to their headquarters location. It was fun meeting FIS employees and creating sketches for all the ideas in our brainstorm meeting. Concepts ranging from Cyborg Military Dog to corporate, disguised, Wonder Woman in a pant suit. Having 30 days to work from green light, to concepts and then a finished product in order to meet the deadline of March 8th was a challenge. The paint process took two weeks and was done with Golden brand acrylic paints, sealed with Krylon UV resistant top coat.

The painting features a wrap around seascape of local landmarks that embody the scope of FIS' employee base and charity outreach. Icons of the bay area like the Skyway Bridge morphs into the skyline of St Pete, complete with waterside parks, Dali museum, Al Lang Field, and the historic Vinoy hotel. The patriotic colors are a tribute to our veterans including a USA striped cape, pedestal base and a custom pressed dog tag necklace with Roosevelt's name, rank and the date of the unveiling.

Please get your votes in helping Roosevelt break into the Top Ten while also supporting a worthy cause with those donations. Check out the Southeastern Guide Dog website for more about the work they do saving lives with real working dogs. "People's Choice Voting" will continue online until September 29th.  Three "Top Dogs" from each area of Sarasota, St. Pete and Tampa will be chosen at a ceremony on October 7th.


Lettering for California Tacos To Go



A colorful project at a local So-Cal, Mexican food restaurant 1003 4th Street N. Saint Petersburg, Florida. More advertising of their weekly specials to come, so watch this space for more fun with typography. And tacos who doesn't love tacos? Lets us take a moment and rejoice in all things spicy and flavorful, also wrapped in tortillas, thanks and praises to the g-ds of queso dip. Cheers.

AARP Trolley Art Contest



Here is my entry to a design contest I found out about in the call to artist section of the St Pete Arts Alliance website. Playing on their themes of bettering your community and redefining what it means to age and what role the elders can play in society.




My inspiration came from riding a trolly around San Francisco holding onto the outside rail and seeing the city in a different way.  I wanted to mix that with a local feel for the lifestyle of St Petersburg residents. Dali shares a trolly with Jack Keroauc, a mom and son back from a Ray's baseball game, the old man saves the day catching the boys hat as it's blown away, paddle boarding, artists and commuters alike.


Custom Type in a Journal




An fans of Edgar Allen Poe out there? A fun typography project of doing some hand lettering on a  journal. This was for a client who came up with an excellent gift idea of making a Moleskin brand lined journal truly unique.

I wanted to have symbols of an older time period without being too creepy and Poe-esque. The pressed wax seal, candle holder, old English styled lettering, tiny staring eyes were all enjoyable details to draw. 

More Custom Lettering

 

Recently I have been working on a few smaller projects which will be shared now.  Working on the smaller stuff thats mainly lettering is a lot of fun for me. There was a surprise party for a co-woker who lives on a boat so I played around with the nautical theme. Happy Friday and Enjoy the lettering.






Birthday Cards



More Greeting cards for your viewing pleasure. Done with water color pencil and FW Inks.





Brother John



A portrait of Brother John, picture was taken in 2004. In honor of his spirit and enduring wisdom I became working on this during a recent trip to Negril back in April.

Get Well Cards



Custom hand made lettering for a get well card. Used FW inks and Pelican Watercolor cakes.

A Little Mural in Negril


It happened. I have left a part of myself in Jamaica, after four visits since 2001, this experience was different than pervious trips; unique. A recurring theme for the journey became one we heard locals often saying, "Thanks and Praises."


The concept for this mural came to me during the drive through St. Ann's Parish, it is playful but serious in its message of Respect and One Love or One Heart. I found this to be a recurring theme that we all need more love, unity and respect for one another. Timeframe was very narrow from layout to finish in 4.5 hours. I am forever grateful to Chris for being so hospitable, for having met him, to break bread, to share in story and song. 



This project was a labor of love that hopefully spreads more joy, respect, provokes thought, and causes smiles as people drive, moped, walk or zoom on by.  The mural is in Negril, Westmoreland, Jamaica. Directly next to the West End Road, in between the hotels of Samsara and Xtabi. Just ask for the owner, Chris aka "Flava King" to tell you the rest of the story.

Pay it forward.

Watercolor Landscapes

Here are two watercolor paintings done with Escoda brushes, Pelican cakes and Watercolor pencils. The first picture is from the shared outdoor kitchen at an Airbnb property in Jamaica. Amazing meals,  wisdom, stories and jam sessions exchanged around this hearth.


This next piece is from a vista at Xtabi Grill, an amazing hotel/bar to hang out, snorkel, catch up on the free wifi or eat some tasty food.  Super helpful staff I would highly recommend this place to any traveling in the area of Negril, Westmoreland. 


Crystal clear waters and some the best sunsets in the world viewed from the above deck, seawall stairs or one of several private caves the choice is yours. Getting back in touch with nature like this really helped to fuel the pencil on paper and to lift the mood within. Enjoy your next sunrise or sunset. Be inspired.

Have an IRIE Weekend



Back from a recent trip to Negril, on the west coast of Jamaica. Unforgettable journey that was inspirational for the body, mind, spirit and the sketchbook. Deep gratitude to Chris who was so helpful when I was painting a mural on his restaurant, located right on the West End Road.

Full details on the mural will be in a separate post. Here are some of the watercolors that were started during the trip and have been works in progress since arriving home. More sketches and paintings to follow.



Respect and One Love.


Treasure Island Sign Contest



The following is an entry into the beach access sign contest out on Treasure Island. The project specs were no computer graphics, hand-made art of any medium, entries on 8.5 x 11 inch paper, and a deadline of March 31st. Had some fun with pen, FW inks and watercolor.

Have a Happy Fools Day and Month of April.

SEGD Detail



Hope all is well and everyone has a safe but fun St Patrick's Day. This picture showcases some of the detail on my painted statue for SEGD, Roosevelt's right side. 

The cast-molding has an awesome textured surface that created the illusion of fur. However it made keeping straight lines difficult. This project was a labor of love.

Roosevelt Unveiled


The opening happened last night for this year's Super Heroes on Parade project through the charity Southeastern Guide Dogs. The art event took place at the Sundial in downtown Saint Petersburg. Together with my sponsors at FIS we unveiled their dog statue, one of seven on the night. Thanks to Frances and the folks running the event who couldn't have been any more welcoming and helpful.  There was a good sized crowd enjoying the evening's speakers, artwork and gorgeous weather.

Sponsors FIS got to name the sculpture "Roosevelt" in reference to their headquarters location. The paint process took two weeks and was done with Golden brand acrylic paints, sealed with Krylon UV resistant top coat.

The painting features a wrap around seascape of local landmarks with the Skyway bridge morphing into the skyline of St Pete, complete with the surreal Dali museum and expansive Vinoy hotel. The patriotic colors are a tribute to veterans including a USA striped cape, base and a custom pressed dog tag necklace.


SE Guidedogs Super Heroes on Parade



Exciting news to share as I have been busy working on a new project, Super Heroes on Parade, with the charity Southeastern Guide Dogs.  This project is a collaboration between artists to paint, draw, sculpt or otherwise customize a massive doggie-hero statue. All the artists receive the same statue, cast molded by Scott Moore of Port Charlotte, FL but are paired with different sponsors who have "naming" rights and ideas of their own to incorporate.

To be selected for this contest is a great honor and it is all happening from a reply with work samples to a call to artists featured in the St. Pete Arts Alliance newsletter. So never be afraid to put yourself out there or send that email folks. 

My sponsor pairing was with FIS a local software and financial services company that does work with clients across the globe. Just as impressive to me as the scope of their business, was the charity outreach that FIS participates in both across the world and throughout the Tampa Bay Area. It has been fun and challenging to brainstorm and work with a group's batch of raw ideas to eventually a finished design, a statue that best embodies and pays tribute to what the company's core values are all about. Above is a color sample done with watercolors, the statue itself will be painted with acrylics and sealed with a high quality, UV resistant, clear-coat.

The unveiling for the first ten sculptures of this year's showing, of which I have been selected for, will take place on March 8th at the Sundial. Documentation of the painting process is being done with time-lapse video but I will wait to post those until after the unveiling.

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to all. Here is another hand-lettered greeting card this time on a non textured surface. Colored pencil and black ballpoint pen, Zebra 0.75mm line width.

Greeting Cards



My first cousin Emily just gave birth to a son, Brody. So like any faithful soccer fan stoke artist in the family. I had to whip up a hand lettered card for the occasion. And try to be the first to wrap the baby in some variety of soccer apparel. Office Depot has many of options for printing greeting cards at home, one of the Avery brand's textured, matte white cards is being used here. Made with colored pencils and blue ballpoint pen by Zebra .75 mm.

I would like to do more art on greeting cards they are relatively quick and simple to make. Unique cards are in demand in spite of the digital alternative I think these types of analog gifts still resonate with the recipient. 

Falafel Philly




Fresh Valentines Day themed chalk art for Zaytoon Grill, featuring a new sandwich item on the menu.  Do you like cheesesteaks but don't eat meat? Try out some variety with the falafel philly. Four pieces of falafel topped with grilled onions, peppers, roasted garlic and two slices of American cheese made to order on a sandwich roll. 

Happy Black History Month



Happy Black History month out there. Above is a sketch of JerryX a local musician who played at Kerouac night. I find many similarities with art and music on a variety of levels. And would not have been able to make most of the art in my life without the help and energy from listening to music. We wouldn't have the majority of our modern music today if not for the influence of black musicians on creating instruments and new genres, new ways of thinking about and structuring music.

Growing up in such an international city as Atlanta, gave me a much appreciated insight into diversity, southern history and race relations. The public schools I went to took not just the month of February to celebrate historical moments minted by minorities. This helped open my mind to the importance of figures from politicians like Shirley Chisholm to sports figures like Leroy Satchel Paige, to musicians such as Art Blakey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Robert Johnson the father of Delta Blues. The Jazz Renaissance movement caught my interest in how many artists and musicians collaborated, lived together or who's work was clearly influenced by the works of peers, swept up in the societal whirlwinds of cultural change. 

We were lucky enough to see, on a high school field-trip, many of the massive masterworks by Romare Beardan in various mediums. The scale of his hand crafted collages, mashups of southern life, in the computer age would be impressive but collage work of that size and intricacy in the 1930s is astounding. The portal these images provided into the life and strife around Beardan, his imagination, the time period and the importance of expression through music or other means clearly made a lasting impression on me. Even the drawing class we did that day. I made a mistake and asked the local instructor for an eraser and he kindly pointed out to me....its funny I recall his face, clothes, grey hair at the temples but not his name. He pointed out to me, that art pencils have no erasers for a reason and that there are no mistakes, work with it, he encouraged. 

Support Live Music



Support your local musicians and live music y'all, it is better than plastic. Here is a fun figure drawing from the Ka'tiki Bar on TI. Of the jamming musicians that make up Dennis Wallace and the Free-For-Allus. You can also see Dennis play bluegrass with his other band, The Confused Boys, on Sundays at the same location. I have drawn ol' skinny Dennis many times with this sketch being the best one, because for some reason his likeness is a hard one to capture. Charlie Morris also played guest guitar on two songs that night.


Pet Portrait for Studio Physique



Do you love your pet like family? Then consider commissioning a pet portrait, which can make great gifts for others or treat yourself. This is a scaled down version of the 11 by 13 inch original made with pencils, acrylic paint, watercolor cakes, FW inks and watercolor pencils on Arches Paper.  Enjoyed getting back to making animal art with a fun project where I got to meet the owners of this local business and their beloved dog/mascot Ace. 

The original art has been purchased and the image will be used for a small sized, 5 by 5 inch sticker, on the bumper of an epic '59 Caddy, company car at Chris Field's gym, Studio Physique. Located at 3100 22nd Avenue North in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Updates to follow on this one when the sticker is applied. 

Zaytoon's Lentil Soup, Custom Pastel Art



Believe it or not, it does get cold in Florida. Especially when you add in the wind.  Right now Zaytoon Grill is putting out one of their seasonal offerings that will warm your bones, an orange Lentil Soup.  The soup is so good it inspired a new batch of lettering for their sidewalk sign. Chalk art done with nu-pastels, pastel pencils and love. 

Panorama of Morrow Bay



If the sketchbook could talk it would say, "Greetings from Morrow Bay, California." As promised here are sketches from a recent trip up the Pacific Coastal Highway.  This drawing is of a panoramic view from Los Osos Valley looking towards Morrow Bay. The large outcrop in the middle of the bay there is Morrow Rock, actually a volcanic vent plug which formed thousands of years ago.

Once blasted and mined, the site is now serves a totally different purpose. As protected park land, a popular surf spot, and as educational resource to learning about the many species of wildlife living in or migrating through the area. Imagine you are looking left to right across the bay and valley to get the most out of these two connected landscapes.


Swimming in the waters were otter twice as big as their east-coast, river-dwelling, cousins.  And sharing in the same space or hunting ground were the ever curious seals, popping up like wet dogs with massive whiskers. I had never seen many of the creatures spotted during this trip in the wild before. Many birds, the most rare being the elusive peregrine falcon, nest among the sci-fi-looking rocks and peaks of beautiful Morrow Rock; which appears to change colors during different times of day.

If you're ever in and around the Santa Barbara area and fancy a road trip.  Then check out the village of Morrow Bay which is only an hour and a half drive north, bring some binoculars or a good telephoto lens. If you time the seasons right and feel adventurous you can even kayak out to watch migrating whales.

Happy New Year



Hopefully all of you out there have had a good Holiday season and best wishes from me for a Happy, Healthy New Year in 2017. Music is in the air. 

A pencil sketch of a local bluegrass band, The Florida Mountain Boys playing in an outdoor courtyard setting at the Ale and Witch Pub a few months back.

More drawings and posts to come in the coming months including some from recent travels to California. Peace and Love.