Beyond the Five Known Senses

First of all, here's something from last year that just came my way! It's the Pangolin (what in the world is a pangolin? find out!) painting I did for the "Inside Out" show I had last March. I actually didn't get a chance to scan or photograph this before the show but luckily it went to one of my best friends, Jeff ,who sent me this photograph this week. It's nice the see the weirdo again. A cool thing about this painting is that it has tons of iridescent detail work that pretty much...no one will see except for maybe Jeff.

I figured that since I have a little downtime I'd talk about supplies for a second, in case anyone is actually curious haha. All of my paintings are done on bristol vellum almost always exclusively with brushes. Since I work so small I basically stick to very small detail brushes though I do have a few (still small) moderate sized ones. After much searching the best and tiniest seem to be these:
Loew-Cornell 18/0 Round and Spotter. The short squat handles offer a really good grip and the points are suprisingly versatile.
so teeny tiny!

At this point I primarily use three kinds of ink. The first two I appreciate mainly for their vivid and concentrated color:
They're both very watery and fluid but the color is so concentrated that it isn't much of an issue. The fluidity makes it really easy to get a nice continuous line. The Liquitex has a very slight gloss to it which irritates me because I like for everything to be totally matte, but the colors are really good and can be great for mixing with thicker paint. The absolute most essential and recommended ink/paint I use though is this:
I first bought a jar of black Pelikan Plaka in college, mistaking it for a basic ink. It's actually a highly opaque casein emulsion paint, which dries perfectly matte. I can say with some certainty that their black is the BLACKEST BLACK I've ever found, and has none of the iridescent qualities of other black inks. While the black and often the white are pretty easy to find in most art supply stores in the U.S. , I've only ever found a full selection of the colors at one place. In addition to all these I have no qualms with using any kind of water-based paint, from cheap acrylics or gouache, to craft store 35 cent paints, to flourescent and glow in the dark tshirt paints. I also occasionally use these koh-i-noor watercolors for backgrounds:
Annnnnyway, if you survived all that shop talk, I also wanted to mention the H.P. Podcraft H.P. Lovecraft literary podcast that Mike and I have been listening to. I highly recommend it! They love Lovecraft but have no problem poking fun at him and critiquing his work and offer a lot of interesting context and background for his stories and ideas. Haha of course it doesn't hurt that they also reference Suicidal Tendencies and Futurama. ALSO, I just listened to their podcast about The Chronicles of Dr. Herbert West (featuring Stuart Gordon as guest commentator) and was startled when they made the same connection I did in my post about the Women record cover , between the experiments with transplanted dog heads and Herbert West. Excellent! I just wish there was one of these for Robert E. Howards work.

Just slugging along doing work for my show! At some point I need to write up a little bio for here, and one for a hang tag for the shirt I did for my friend Carol's store. I don't know how to talk about myself in the third person without wanting to vomit though.

Oh and hey, if you live in philly, check out the Exhumed Films Ozploitation double feature this friday. Road Games and Patrick!


The Spirit of Evil

Completed my second piece for the show. I know I said I wasn't going to post EVERYTHING but it's hard sometimes, especially since I'm trying to keep this blog active. Anyway, as I said before this is based on the short story Viy by Nikolai Gogol. Here's a little synopsis of the particular part that inspired this, just because it's so cool:

"On the first night, when the Cossacks take her body to a ruined church, he is somewhat frightened but calms himself when he lights more candles in the church to eliminate most of the darkness, other than that above him. As he begins to say prayers, he imagines to himself that the corpse is getting up, but it never does. Suddenly, however, he looks up and finds that the witch is sitting up in her coffin. She begins to walk around, reaching out for someone, and starts to approach to Khoma, but he draws a circle of protection around himself that she cannot cross. She gnashes her teeth at him as he begins to exorcise her, and then she goes into her coffin and flies about the church in it, trying to frighten him out of the circle. Dawn arrives, and he has survived the first night.

The next night similar events occur, but more horrible than before, and the witch calls upon unseen, winged demons and monsters to fly about outside the church. When the Cossacks find the philosopher in the morning, he is near death, pale and leaning against a wall. He tries to escape the next day but is captured and brought back to finish.

On the third night the witch’s corpse is even more terrifying and she calls the demons and monsters around her to bring Viy into the church, who can see everything. Khoma realizes that he cannot look at the creature when they draw his long eyelids up from the floor so he can see, but he does anyway and sees a horrible, iron face staring at him. Viy points in his direction and the monsters leap upon him. Khoma is dead from horror. However, they miss the first crowing of the rooster and are unable to escape the church when day begins."

Basically a priest is asked to sit a vigil with a dead witch for three nights and each night she terrorizes him. The characteristics of Viy himself are actually based on Russian beliefs surrounding St. John Cassian who was depicted with eyebrows down to his knees which he lifted once a year (on his feast day) to cast an evil eye on the whole world. I really like the way Christianity was sort of folded into traditional folk beliefs in Russia (though I would naturally prefer it if Christianity was never imposed at all!) with a lot of borrowing and integration and a complete disinterest in abandoning superstition and supernatural beliefs. Really neat. Here are two close ups:
I will say that composing in an inverted cross shape is incredibly stupid and challenging. I have another one planned that should work really well but I don't know if I'll be able to get through all eight.

In other news please check out this interview Denis did with Melissa Farley who is one of the most talented photographers I know!


Draw Not Your Bow Till Your Arrow is Fixed

I do all my spray painting in our basement, which is also a screenprinting studio, with no concern for the state of the floors (rented property, total scum landlord). My roomate took this picture of the aftermath of the gold painted crosses i made for my upcoming show and it delights me.
The "2010" below is from a sign I made for the fake photobooth at my friends' new years party.

Right now I'm working on a second cross with an illustration from Viy, a short story by Nikolai Gogol, which was also made into a seriously incredible movie. It was the first soviet era horror movie produced in Russia and slipped under the radar because of the traditional folk tale elements it contained.

Totally insane technicolor, witches, demons, flying coffins... I love it. There's actually a remake in the works that looks really good!