Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wild At Heart

From May 26th through June 9th, 2012, I was invited by Thinkspace Gallery to contribute a piece to their "Wild At Heart" exhibition. A benefit show for Born Free USA.
From The Press Release: Thinkspace is proud to present “Wild at Heart: Keep Wildlife in the Wild,” an exhibition to raise awareness about the precarious predicament of wild creatures around the world, and to benefit efforts to protect them in their natural habitat. Featuring a stellar cast of more than 100 artists from all corners of the art world, this exhibition brings together some of the most profound and innovative voices making art today. In recognition of the imperiled state of much of the world’s wildlife, each artist will apply their own unique perspective to our relationship with the fascinating creatures with whom we share our planet. 
As the natural world becomes increasingly impacted by shifting climate, human greed and diminishing resources, protecting those creatures that still roam free becomes ever more vital to the soul of humanity. For even if we could continue to exist without wildlife, the spirit-crushing sadness that our species would take upon itself would surely rob all joy from life. Those majestic, miraculous, elemental beings which we admire from afar are at the root of who we are as people — from the woodland protagonists of our childhood storybooks, to the metaphors we use to describe ourselves as adults, to the animal spirits that visit us in our dreams. As we take steps to protect them from those who would rob them of their freedom, we also improve our own species’ chances to persist far into the future, both by preserving the natural world we all share, and by cherishing the sacred genesis of our imagination and symbology. 
In appreciation of the magnificent creatures with whom we share the planet, Thinkspace will donate 20% of the sale price of each piece of art to Born Free USA and the Animal Protection Institute, which operate jointly as a non-profit organization that advocates worldwide for the ethical treatment and protection of wild animals, and also maintains a large sanctuary for rescued primates. To honor the animals closest to our hearts, the gallery will be accepting donations of old blankets to donate to area shelters so dogs don’t have to sleep on cold hard concrete, as well as other used and new pet supplies. The opening will feature the release of a gorgeous limited edition screenprinted poster especially created for the exhibition by the incomparable Aaron Horkey. We hope you will join us on May 26th to celebrate and defend the wild things that fill our lives with wonder and mystery.

Smokey(The Bear)
Acrylic and Ink on Paper
10" x 8"

My contribution, "Smokey (The Bear)", attempts to address several of the issue behind the show. First the painting features a polar bear, a mammal whose territory has been severely affected by global warming. The bear is smoking a cigarette, which illustrates in its own twisted way animal endangerment, crossing a human lifestyle with an wild animal. Finally, the title "Smokey (The Bear)" is a reference to Smokey The Bear, the original mascot for the the United States Forest Service.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Swab Barcelona

May 26th through May 29th, 2012 Shea Ziegler invited me to contribute a couple paintings to the Swab Art Fair in Barcelona. Being that the show was in spain, I was inspired to create a couple paintings with a bull/minotaur styled character.

Acrylic + Ink
10" x 8"

El Toro
Acrylic + Ink
14" x 11"

"El Toro" or "The Bull" is inspired by my impression and understanding of bullfighting. The painting features six banderillas stuck in the bull's back & shoulders, and a matador's sword in it's heart (as is customary in a bullfight). Bullfighting is heated subject, with animal rights activists taking a stand against the sport. Personally, I don't have an opinion for or against it, probably cause I've never witnessed one, but I find the idea visual compelling, and worthy of exploration as a painting.

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Little Pony Project 2012

For the past couple months, I've been working on customizing an 18" My Little Pony for the My Little Pony Project 2012, curated by Sweet Streets and hosted by Toy Art Gallery. Here's the press release for the show:
May 5th, 2012 marked the launch of the MY LITTLE PONY Project 2012 art exhibition, curated by Sweet Streets and hosted by Toy Art Gallery. Twenty-five notable artists have created their own one-of-a-kind painted MY LITTLE PONY 18-inch vinyl figures. The customized ponies will be available for sale during the run of the exhibition, ending May 26, 2012. Ten percent of the sales from the MY LITTLE PONY one-of-a-kind ponies will be donated to Give Kids The World.
MY LITTLE PONY Project 2012 features ponies by: 6%DOKIDOKI, 64 Colors, Ana Bagayan, Angry Woebots, Blamo (Mikie Graham), Blythe (Junie Moon), Chikuwaemil, COPE2, DABS & MYLA, Eimi, HIME+YOU, Indie, Jillian Kate, J*RYU, Julie West, Kano, Kukula, Lisa Alisa, Luke Chueh, Madoka Kinoshita, Martin Hsu, Mark Mothersbaugh, Miso, Miss Kika, Onch Movement, Perez Hilton, Shojono Tomo, Sket One, Spank!, TOUMA, and more.
Safety Word: Pony
Mixed Media

When developing my design for the pony, I started by considering what it means to be a horse/pony, and one of the visual attributes that come with being a "beast of burden" is its brand. Horses/ponies were branded so their owners could easily identify them as being theirs. This branding is actually a key element of the My Little Pony design in the form of each characters "Cutie Mark". When thinking deeper about the act of branding, my mind drifted toward BDSM (bondage discipline sadomasochism) since branding and piercing are regularly associated with the lifestyle. I ultimately felt that paring this children's toy with an extreme adult lifestyle would make for a compelling design, so I ran with it.
For the brand, I researched branding iron designs and came up with a logo that incorporates the "M", the "L", and the "P" from My Little Pony. Branding Iron designs are very simple and complicated designs can easily get lost or distort when the scar heals. For the branding scar, I built up "scar tissue" on the pony right hip with epoxy clay (Magic Sculpt). 
Another key component to the My Little Pony is its accessories. The original toys usually came with brushes for their hair. For my design I choose to fabricate bunch of BDSM accessories.
I started by commissioning a seamstress at The Fabric Shop  to have the "gimp mask", corset, and hair tie created. For the branding iron, I had my "MLP" design laser cut from plastic. I also sculpted the cone shaped tip of the hot poker. I rounded out the accessories with bullwhip which I also had to customize so it would compliment the size of the pony. 
Finally I wanted to thank Jef Logan for coming up with the ponies name: "Safety Word: Pony"

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Avengers Assembled

To commemorate the release of the first Marvel's Avengers movie, I was invited by Gallery 1988 to create a piece inspired by the comic book heroes. The movie features Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye, Hulk, Iron Man, Nick Fury, and Thor
Acrylic and Ink on Paper
9" x 12"

For this painting, I simply assembled the trademark elements of each character. Black Widow's wristbands and pistols, Captain America's Shield, Hawkeye's bow & arrows, Hulk's green body, Iron Man's helmet and energy source, Nick Fury's eye patch, and Thor's hammer.
When discussing this painting, I jokingly say 'The act of assembling all these pieces into one character illustrates the idea of "teamwork" as seven characters become one "Avenger" :-P.' 
Upon further reflection, I hate to say it, but I actually agree with this assessment, despite how goofy it sounds.