Happy B-day, DK


So, this is a special birthday themed post since the last thing I finished was this birthday card for my buddy Derek. He turns 40 today and there was a big party for him saturday where he was given pretty much the most exciting present I've ever seen, a sword made by the BARON, paid for using contributions from all of his friends and family. The thing is beautiful and was a surprisingly huge (chest high on derek who is 6 ft something or other) two handed ordeal. It has "No Gods No Masters" engraved in the blade and the Amebix face thingy set in a metal coin in the base of the hilt. Presented with much pomp and circumstance and then carelessly waved and passed around in a crowded low ceiling-ed room full of dogs and babies.

My friend (and his wife) Kristi who put the party together wanted a birthday card that mentioned "40" and featured a sword and (surprisingly hahah) couldn't find something like that so she asked me to make one. My mind went from "sword" to heraldry so I made a little crest themed painting for a jumbo sized card:
The wolf heads were particularly fun to paint:

The sword in the painting is based on the actual sword (but proportionately much smaller). I unnecessarily did a lot of reading on heraldry while working on this and the practice of "blazoning" which is just a formal protocol for describing all the visual elements in a crest. Pretty neat.

My roomate Alexis who is THE sickest cook and baker I know and I teamed up to make Derek a cake as well. I actually really like decorating cakes for friend's birthdays but can't be bothered when it comes to the actual baking part (which is probably why the battle axe cake I made for Mike last summer looked like "an iced fart"), so Alexis and I make a great team (she pretty much knows everything about this stuff!). We decided on a Discharge themed cake, and made all these little spikes out of fondant then painted them with silver dusting powder mixed with vodka to make an edible paint. I also cut the lettering out of rolled fondant. It was a vegan almond and vanilla double layer cake with raspberry between the layers. It ended up being one of three awesome cakes Derek got haha.
It's been pretty great lately having time to work on art projects for friends instead of working on a show. Right now I'm working on designing another shirt for my friend Carol's store but it probably wont be finished until I get back from my trip to Ireland and England (leaving this thursday!).

I probably wont be posting again until I get back so I'll leave you with this:


The Horrid Shapes Behind All Outward Veils That Cloak The Universe

So I finished that poster last night and made a couple of color mock ups.

I'm not the best at picking colors and might have done this a little hastily but the idea was for my friend to use a slightly transparent lighter color ink for the smoke layer when printing to attempt to replicate the smoke effect I like to do in paintings. I think it looks a lot better and more legible (also way creepier) on grey paper with bright colored smoke:

All in all I think the drawing came out well and the printing should work fairly well. This is for the upcoming Des Ark LP recorded live at WXDU on my friend Mike Brennan's label Paramnesia Records. Like all the good things it is a true labor of love and mostly exists to release projects he's excited about for his friends. Mike is an awesome dude dedicated to building community and has done a billion favors for me (if it weren't for him I would pretty much never have a functioning computer which is important these days) so it's cool to be able to do something for him. The poster will be an bonus insert for preordered copies of the record so if you like Des Ark and want a poster get on it!

It's also worth noting that I have done two other skull faced owl drawings, one about 4 years ago and one about 2 years ago, both of which came out so so and as a result I never used any of them in shows or to make prints, but I really like this drawing. A lot of birds have that strange ocular bone that looks like a pair of goggles in the skull which can make drawing the skulls in just black and white and the eye set in it come out sort of weird and confusing.
Anyway, this was fun to do, especially all the detail in the feathers. Finishing up a few projects before I leave for my trip next week!


Along The Draughty Corridors For Miles And Miles She Goes

So this week I finished that suprise piece I can't post for a little while still and got started on the final drawing for the print I sketched out last week. Decided on a horizontal orientation so I could have the owl's wings out.
There are a lot of things I'm still working out, like whether the smoke will be solid or translucent, and what kind of color to use. My friend's one request was that it not be too hard for him to register, and I'm still working out the kinks in making separations and easily screen printed designs for other people. I've gotten so used to using every color at my disposal it's also really hard for me to think of a limited color design (in this case paper, linework, smoke color). This will just be linework so once I get to the inking stage it should be relaxing and simple, which I'm looking forward to. The pencil drawing for black and white stuff is always way more involved than the drawings for full color things which are more like blank coloring book pages.

I think he needs more mushrooms too. The symbolism here is pretty obvious so I wont bore anyone but I've been trying to integrate regeneration and decay into pieces here and there and maybe someday I'll do a whole painting about it. It seemed appropriate when my friend requested another one of the skull faced animals for this poster.

Also check out all of these amazing mushrooms which I read about both while reading up about bioluminescence (for another project I should start soon!) and looking for mushroom pictures to reference for this drawing. I've actually spotted a few things on that site, like this stinkhorn (seriously) but would really love to see some of these biolumenscent mushrooms:
In other (appropriately skull faced animal) news I experimented with embedding something in resin for the first time this weekend and it came out really well. I have a growing collection of dessicated dead mice sent to me by my aunt (she calls them "pompeii mice") and dead bats and stuff from the warehouse where my partner works. I really have no idea what to do with them and this weekend I was given a small bottle of resin and tried it out. Here's the mouse before:
and here he is in the resin:

My favorite part which I was most concerned with preserving was the way its spine and skull are exposed and lead into whats left of the body cavity. This was actually a little tricky because when I got to the second embedding layer of resin I had to pour it into the mouse's body to keep it from floating. I got some air bubbles and he sank into the first layer of resin because it wasn't solid enough when i put him in but it mostly came out ok. I think he looks like a little pushead drawing (minus the bandages). Anyway, resin! It's pretty cool.

Also worth noting I'm going to Ireland and England this month using the money I made from that last show. So far I've been able to turn the profit from all three of my shows into a trip, which is really ideal. I've been to Ireland before but never to England, and we're doing some last minute planning so if there's anything you recommend let me know! I like neolithic stone sites, castles, skeletons and reliquaries, beautiful natural spots and grim historical stuff. I also poked around the Website for the Tate and discovered that they have a lot of stuff I'd really like to see in real life which is really exciting. I'm especially excited about these two:
William Blake-The Night of Enitharmon's Joy (formerly called `Hecate')
John William Waterhouse- The Magic Circle