Posts Tagged ‘art’

Nocturnal Admissions: Kindling at the Ready

September 27, 2013


I have had a rather strange week. Strange only in contrast to the week prior, full of professional oddity and the type of strange that has somehow become my norm.

This was an inadvertent, self-imposed variation of a semi-solitary confinement of sorts. I didn’t try to cut myself off from the outside world, save for brief moments of self-supposed wit and charm via the social satellites of love…

I just did.

I’ve mentioned in recent posts that, save for poems and short chapters, I have been a bit at a loss for words.

It’s not that they aren’t there; there are simply far too many. Far too many unfinished chapters and half-started explorations stemming from a mind that moves faster than the hand, whether by ink or keyboard.

I am, by trade and reputation, an emotional, passionate man. I am learning from experience that I am best admired from afar, lest you see the unavoidable truths of the temperament found within me; found within a complex man in search of simple things.

I am, by trade and reputation, a tornado.

But this week, without planning such, my emotion has been vacant, my passion focused and quiet. There have been brief moments of contentment, longing, angst and melancholy, but they only creep out like a soft light emanating from underneath a bedroom door.

Without trying, I’ve spent the week in a cosmic ambivalence, by and large, shrugging the universe off in trade of simple images that say more than my words ever could.

More than they ever should.

Loud images, in a quiet place, my mind focused on nothing but.


It is an artist’s burden to feel so damned much all the time. It allows us to display these emotions, explain them, or at least show the world they exist, so they can feel them too.

Or perhaps, know they aren’t alone.

Without, of course, the privileges and benefits of slowly going crazy as a result.


Emotional ambiguity. To exist in this state for too long is a tragedy for any man or woman. But for me, right now, it’s kind of necessary. Even were it not, I am here nonetheless.

I’ve thought too hard. Longed too hard. Spoke too hard. Loved too hard. Lost too hard.

Sometimes I drink too hard, and perhaps I simply live too hard.

It can make a man tired.


Sometimes, when I feel everything, I need a little time to feel nothing.


It’s a farce. Deep down, I know better.

Hard as I may try, to stop feeling altogether would be to stop living.

And regardless of how one lives, for this brief moment in time, we are alive.

Perhaps this emotional dissidence is merely a temporary calm before a rather large storm.

The biggest blazes all start with a spark, and I am but kindling at the ready.


Tangle of Lights: When Words Fail…Art pt. 2

September 26, 2013


Far too often, my work has ideas of its own; no matter how well I plan out a project or try to envision it as a finished piece, even before I begin, I know it will go where it must.

Me? I merely go with it.

It’s like steering a runaway horse that you know won’t stop until it wants to.

You hold on tight, and hope to god you don’t get lost.

It’s a very stark contrast to my creative process for advertising. That is a system all its own, with calculations in both strategy and risks. It has a budget, and far more accountability on a fairly immediate level.

But deadlines are for the mad.

This most recent one has taken me into a dead forest full of petrified skulls hiding in the mud, if you look close enough.
Sometimes I vomit my emotions publicly through words, through music and performance.

Other times, I merely exorcise or, more to wit, recognize my demons.
I’ve reached the stopping point for piece number two in my series, it’s ready to be ignored for a spell, so I can return to it with a little separation.

So it’s on to the next process, the next piece of the series, and in the most obvious of clichés, the next piece of the puzzle.


I haven’t any idea just how far deep this rabbit hole goes.


I’m okay with such things.

Hell, I jump in head first, regardless of how I might land.


Tangle of Lights: When Words Fail…Art

September 24, 2013


I don’t always get to pick what I work on. Sometimes, I merely must.

Sometimes, I want more than anything to do just one thing.

But I do something else—entirely.

It’s not a misdirected obsession, merely an opportunity to follow my inner muse wherever it may lead.

Sure, today I wanted to work on an essay about the importance of writing by hand. The scientific background attached to a higher plain of thought resulting from a journal.

I’ve been researching it for months.

But my words are hard to come by these days, save for the occasional misread poem or random short chapter.

I wouldn’t call it writer’s block, so much as a motivational lull.

Words are so much easier to misread than art.

Art is open.

It was meant to be misunderstood, made personal in message, kept individual by the souls that witness it.

When words fail, the simplest truth is found in a more direct emotional response.

I started a new piece tonight, a new process to fall into and be swept away by. The second in a series focused on the roots of human emotion.

More specifically, mine own.

This has been the primary subject of my therapy recently, both in a licensed professional’s office, and in my own head and heart as I create songs, words and art.

But words have failed me as of late.

I am fortunate to have so many outlets—so many options to express myself.

Through eloquence, through a messy rage, through melancholy, I can look deeply into my own dark soul and search.

My mind is mine. My mind is mined.

My mind is always on public display, to help avoid confusion of character.

Why look to the words of others, when it’s already there, waiting for you to see?

So until I find the words, the process continues, as do I.

theroot2(click it to see it much larger)

But this is merely the beginning.


Tangle of Lights: the Process, Part 2

September 20, 2013


The process. There’s a process for nearly everything in life. From grieving to growing, everything is some sort of process.

But the process of creating, this is different.

For me, it’s deliberate. Like a long, slow fuck.

This is nowhere near completion, I like taking my time, devoted to every inch of the canvas. We’re about 50 hours into this one, now…


I’m not one to finish too prematurely.


Tangle of Christmas Lights: The Process…

September 18, 2013



The process.


I love it.


It is, in essence the art, more so than the final product.


The process is what gives the masses their pretty picture; their art.


The process is what I treasure most as an artist.


The fear of finishing, not because it isn’t done…


Because I’m not.




I’ve been working on a piece for a good 20-30 hours now…starting with individual pieces that will ultimately barely be noticed, if at all, save for the moments when a drug-addled college kid stumbles across my work and stares too hard…which is just hard enough for why I did it in the first place.


It has to start somewhere…



and from there it went. I continued adding things, moments, faces, torments, stress, baggage of sorts…Symbols of a man’s mind when he can’t find the silence.



(click the image to see a larger variation)

Where it goes from here, I do not know just yet. The process is far from over.

Just wait and see…

Lost Art.

August 25, 2013



I admit, I wasn’t thinking things through. I wasn’t thinking ahead. And I didn’t learn my lesson after the first or second time.


I have now.


I made the mistake of using the women I loved as the subjects of my art. Art made beautiful by the work, by the models, by the intimacy of the moment in which it was created.


Art that will never see the light of day.


Work made obscure when things went awry.


Art that will adorn no wall out of respect for those that do not respect me.


Is this a tragedy?


For me, it is.


Because regardless of the subject, regardless of history, this is my work. My attempt to create something stirring, something beautiful—something true.


I can do nothing but accept this. Appreciate the process. And learn from it.


And create new work for the world to see.



Tangle of Lights: A different angle

June 27, 2013



You know what they say, measure twice, cut once.


They also say, if at first you don’t succeed, take a step back, have a drink and smoke, and try another approach.


Okay, maybe I say that.


I’ve been working on a new direction with my art as of late, utilizing angles, lenticular illusions and physical depth mixed with the root idea of tilt-shift perspective.


Once upon a time, before I was a Mad Man, before I sang for beautiful women to shimmy about to—before I even learned the fine art and skill sets of the service industry, I was an art student. Painting, drawing, and mixed media…this was before Adobe Photoshop even existed; before there was digital photography, before the Internet. When being an artist was a very different craft.


At least for me.


This was back when we, the paint splattered fine art majors, turned our noses up at commercial art students, those future sellouts forced to hand draw their fonts with gray markers and display them next to our paintings of nude models.


Ah youth. If I knew then where I’d be now.


Back then, mine was a reckless form born of undeserved indignation to a world I hadn’t even begun to understand. I rarely entered into anything with a plan. I didn’t even start with a sketch or idea more often than not. I would simply start, and get lost in the marks, the brush strokes, the scratches and smudges. The digressions and mini-evolutions as my inspiration raced against my frantic output.


I’m proud of that work. But it’s not how I work.


Not anymore.


Maybe it’s my age; maybe it’s a constant strife for more efficient use of my time, given how little I have these days. Perhaps it’s as simple and obvious as my daily bread bleeding over into my personal work. I spend my working hours building creative strategies. I plan, and think about what might work, and what will probably fail. I have learned the value of versions and drafts, tests and mock-ups.


Another fine cliche: you’ve gotta break some eggs to make an omelet.


Not every idea works the first go round. Or the second or third sometimes. Each misstep and failure teaches me something to apply to the next variation.


So I take a step back. Then a step forward. Then back again, then forward…Then I’m doing the hokey pokey.


I have been working with lenticular illusion, and the varied approaches to this strange optical illusion. In tangent, I’ve also been working on physical depth. This is something that has piqued my interest for quite some time now, though I’ve yet to find the application that works for me and my vision and underlying statement.


I’ve never really applied science to my art before. I’ve never done anything but close my eyes, take a deep breath and dive in. But I’ve always loved the process as much as the final product, if not more. Now the process is deeper, and more developed. More thoughtful.


Last night I built a mock-up of a lenticular based on open space and proper angles to view, with three physical levels of the scene to create a surreal perspective.


I almost got it right. Almost.


The front view looks fine, with some mild tweaking.


One angle worked great.




The other one…not so much. I need to reverse the order of the images on the other side of the lenticular blind.


And this is why I mock things up first.


So it’s time to do the hokey-pokey and turn myself around and then try, try again.

Tangle of Lights: Perspective.

April 9, 2013



I’ve been thinking about it a lot, but not in the capacity gained through time and space—more a literal approach to the exploration.

This isn’t a dear diary, self-help post, after all.

This is art, dammit.

The idea of perspective has interested me for a fairly long while.

It’s been a consideration in both my visual art and my novel, Fondly.


I originally began writing Fondly in third-person, with a non-linear timeline. It became hard to follow and even more difficult to write.

It became hard to believe in.

So, after a lot of consideration I went back through what I had written, kept the timeline but switched to a first-person narrative. This is all fine and good, and the voice works well, even in a jumbled time frame.

Now I sit at another crossroads, as I consider the notion of putting both narratives in, but all from one singular voice. This is a design to better push the slow mental breaks within the main character, and I think it could create a very interesting way to tell a story.

My concern is the readability of it. The flow.

Though framed as small vignettes that elude to other periods of time and the propulsion of a plot, I don’t want to lose the reader by switching too much.


If I do it correctly, there are a lot of ways I could take this style of narrative to push the story arc, and add to the symbolism and complexity underneath.


I’m also working on a fairly large-scale piece for an upcoming gallery show at the end of the summer. I don’t usually  have enough time to put a decent amount of thought into submitted work, or to actually work on it. There are enough deadlines in my life, both at work and at play.


This time, I have time.

I have time to really think deeply about what I want to say, and just as important in the visual arts, how I want to say it.

Writing is an entirely different kind of execution with far more immediate results.

Think it.

Write it down.

Rinse and repeat.

It’s not quite the same thought process, or energy extolled as creating something visual.

Honestly, I love them both, and perhaps it’s the variety in my process that keeps me spinning in so many different directions most of the time.


I digress.


This time around, I actually have time to think about the piece. Really think about it, from multiple directions.

Tonight, I’ve been working on the approach and execution, not the imagery itself.

I had a thought. Okay, it’s more a stolen idea.


I stole it from myself, so I can sleep at night…or at least stay up with a clear conscience.

A few years back, or maybe just one, it’s hard to keep track, I conceived a campaign direction for a re-brand for a client that was having some mild identity issues.

Most people hadn’t heard of them, and those that had, hated them.

Once we convinced the client to make some large adjustments to some underlying problems, it was our challenge to get people to give them another try.

Of the ideas, I was most excited by one of mine called “Shift Your Perspective.”

It was designed to utilize a variety of media executions, all revolving around a “different perspective” illustrated through various optical illusions, negative space, building installments, anamorphous perspective and many, many other executions. I was inspired by all the great street art, which I often think is more appealing than just about any billboard I’ve ever seen…

This would not only help reinforce a change in the client and the consumer’s current opinion but would be an engaging, impactful approach, grabbing the consumer’s attention, forcing them to pause and spend more time with every billboard, print ad, television commercial, guerilla/environmental installation, etc.

If you can’t change someone’s mind, shift their perspective and let them change it on their own.

This could have been the type of campaign that would have made me known throughout my industry, if executed correctly, or…you know, if executed at all.

I spent a lot of time researching some interesting eye-benders and how they worked, and feared I would never get to use all this new information.

We presented a variety of directions. They went with the safe option. They always do. All of them. The client literally told me it was too intelligent of an approach for their demographic. I tried to explain that I was trying to get them a better demographic.


Short story long, I’m taking one of the outdoor print executions and using it for good, rather than the cruel mistress that is the fickle client.

I know what I want the basic idea of the image to be, and a fair idea of how to create it. The message is there and it’s just ambiguous enough to make you draw your own conclusions. I even have the general idea of how it should work, in theory.


It’s the construction and ultimate final execution that must be figured out first.

Now I must rely on science or something.

My plan is to create a large-scale lenticular, to hopefully tell a full story, but only once you’ve seen it from both angles.

So I made a miniature mock-up. I’ve been known to do that from time to time.

I didn’t spend a lot of time on the images themselves, I just threw something together through the miracle of selfies and photoshop for example’s sake.

I started with two images.


Then I cut them up and rearranged them.


After that, I printed it out and corrugated it.

Here’s a shaky, lo-fi example of my shaky, lo-fi mock-up…just imagine this being about 5-10 feet wide or so…for starters.

The real question is, where can I push it from here?


In both cases, I’m utilizing the literal idea of perspective to push the more metaphysical meaning of the word out to the viewing audience, but without screaming it at the top of my lungs. Nobody wants to be told what to do.


If they’re not careful, they just might accidentally get a fresh perspective from my work.


Tangle of Lights: The thinnest fat man you know.

March 5, 2013

You would think that for as thin as I spread myself, I’d weigh a lot less. But then, I suppose if your plate is always full…

I wear a lot of hats—literally and figuratively.

We’re one week out from a very ambitious Beggar’s Carnivale, with lots to still learn, tighten, tweak and lock down. Rehearsals every night. There’s barely enough time to come home, grab a bite, kiss my woman and scritch the pups before heading back out until late into the evening.

I still need to work on T-Shirt designs, graphics for the performers, and memorization of a half dozen songs.

And then, of course, there’s my day job; my career. A world I’m equally passionate about. And in my waking hours as a Mad Man, I’m responsible for concepting four campaigns for three clients, all due at the same time, all important for the livelihood of the company and the people who work with me.

And these are concepts I’m really excited about. Concepts that could give me the chance to create something truly touching—beautiful.

And of course, there’s Fondly, a book I’ve been putting a lot more time into.

All of these things are important to me. Important for me. I would not trade any of it, there’s nothing I could cut out without feeling as if I lost an important part of myself.

With so much on my mind, such a long to-do list, sleep is rather elusive. So I sit up and think. Plan. Work.

and sometimes, I’m so overwhelmed with things I have to do, I simply create something mindless because the process grounds me. Lately I’ve been doing pop-culture movie graphics…for no real reason other than the process.





I haven’t had any true bolts of inspiration for original pieces since Naughti Gras.

I work in the persuasion business.

I work in the persuasion business.

Well then, you’d better have one hell of a presentation.

Well then, you’d better have one hell of a presentation.

It’s my job to know what you want, even before you do.

It’s my job to know what you want, even before you do.

And what do I want?

And what do I want?

Whatever I tell you.

Whatever I tell you.

I have some ideas for some new pieces, but I’m not ready to produce them quite yet. I need more time than I have right now. I need to clear my plate off a bit before I can heap more on…so…Time to dig in.

Tangle of Lights: On your mark, get set…

April 16, 2012

I can’t sit mentally still. I have far too many lights blinking on and off, all the time. So this weekend I found myself designing new sets for the Beggar’s Carnivale. Our talent, our production value, the symmetry of the shows…They have all moved to a new level, and our set needs to follow suit.

The idea: Rotating panels that provide multiple scenes within a small plot of stage. Something that folds flat for easy transportation, something that sets up quickly, and is robust and movable. Something that cane be developed as new acts and transitions enter the fray.

Step one: Concept

The first phase is always born from the pages of the moleskine, it’s a simple way to get the basic idea in front of me, so I can figure out the specifics.


After that, I needed to make a miniature mock-up, to see if it would actually work, and if so, how. I imagine three sets of triangular panels, images on both sides, providing as many as 18 distinct backgrounds. When turned flat, it provides a straight backdrop.



When rotated slightly, it should provide a linticular effect, giving perspective and additional wings on the stage for performers to utilize for blocking.


Rotate them more, you get another scene.


Rotate again…


And you get a third scene.


Each panel will be built with hinges that allow the panels to be folded in reverse, for three additional scenes.

So far, it’s just an idea, a concept, a kernel. Stay tuned.

Tangle of Lights: Notes from the Moleskine

April 11, 2012

I always have a Moleskine on me. Always. Every song lyric, every sketch for a piece, every set design, poem, random thought, checklist, shopping list and client note goes in there.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about perspective and depth for some pieces I’m developing. I’m not exactly sure where it’s taking me, but we’re going somewhere. I’m not sure if this will ultimately flatten out into a 2D print, or if it’s destined for something deeper and more involved. You’ve got to love the process.

Here’s a small mock-up I did in my Mole over the weekend, a simple exploration of a bigger idea. I usually work best if I sketch something out first. My idea of sketch is a very loose interpretation of the notion.




Show and/or Tell

June 30, 2010

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any works in progress…

I figured now is as good a time as any to catch you up on what I’ve been doing…poster-wise.