Shiny Diamonds, Like The Eyes Of A Cat

I finally finished something! I feel like this was a little more drawn out than it needed to be, probably because of an irregular work schedule (at my day job). Anyway, my friend Hannah, who is probably the most tireless advocate for animal rights (among other things) that I know, works at Carolina Tiger Rescue and is organizing an art show to benefit the organization. What they do is awesome. Their mission statement:


Carolina Tiger Rescue is working toward the day when:

  • wildcats are not owned by individuals as pets
  • wildcats are not used for entertainment purposes
  • no trade exists for wildcats or their parts
  • all wildcats prosper in sustainable, native habitats


To achieve our mission, Carolina Tiger Rescue:

  • rescues wildcats
  • provides lifelong sanctuary for wildcats
  • educates the public about the plight of wildcats in captivity and in the wild
  • conducts non-invasive research to further understand and aid wildcats
  • advocates for action to maintain wildcats in sustainable native habitats, or when that is not a viable option, for the respectful, humane treatment of them in captivity.
How can you not get behind that? Why not make a donation? I set out to make a new painting themed to the event (though it wasn't a requirement) and made this:
I read a little blurb about tigers regarded as part of the Chthonic world because of their ability to see in the dark (in some related reading I saw some of the same associations made with bats and the night because of their night vision) so I decided to do a painting about that. The underworld for the Greeks and Romans was associated with wealth since below the ground is where both mineral wealth was mined and natural wealth (crops!) sprang from. So chthonic deities were associated with wealth and bounty not just death (though the underworld was full of spooky shades). Dis Pater was an early Roman god whose name translated to "wealthy father".
(the one on the right looks like the Crimson Ghost!)
Anywayyyyyyy this was really fun and somewhat challenging to paint especially since it's fairly small and I wanted to tiger to have a lot of hair detailI also realized it's pretty hard to paint crystals without them turning into an accidental Lisa Frank color explosion, but I think I managed to reign it in.

On a slightly related note, I love when I suddenly find out that there's a term for something I think is interesting. I stumbled across this the other night in a wikihole:
"Interpretatio graeca is a Latin term for the common tendency of ancient Greek writers to equate foreign divinities to members of their own pantheon. Herodotus, for example, refers to the ancient Egyptian gods Amon, Osiris and Ptah as "Zeus", "Dionysus" and "Hephaestus" , respectively."

There is also "Interpretatio Romana" which refers to the Romans doing the same thing. Neat!

Tomorrow I'll be printing the insert posters for that Des Ark record, so maybe I'll have some photo updates soon.


In What Distant Deeps Or Skies

Started work on a new painting this week. Just got to the inking stage last night but here are the pencils. I'm pretty pleased with how this is coming out but I maaaaaay have made a lot of work for myself because the background is almost as involved as the foreground and will probably take a long time to finish.

Also in the planning stages of a big group show to benefit Bat Conservation International. I've never organized a show before but I'm pretty excited about it. It's a cause I care about a lot and we've been able to ask a lot of artists whose work I love and the response has been really positive so I'm anticipating some really great pieces. There will doubtless be more updates in the coming months (the show isn't until April).

Side note; I was talking to a woman at The Autumn Spell opening who when I told her that I painted my work asked incredulously "with paint?" and then said she assumed I meant it was digitally "painted". I've seen a lot of artists who work digitally refer to pieces as "paintings" presumably because they're using Illustrator or Photoshop brushes and it irks me for some reason. My thought is if you didn't use actual paint to make it, if you haven't ruined all of your pants and t-shirts and shoes and if you don't somehow have paint in your hair and under your nails, if you've never held an actual brush you're not making a painting. Call it a digital painting if you must.

Final note; Buy Some Damn Art is featuring original paintings by my buddy Alan right now and you should buy some of his damn art.


Señora De Las Sombras

So I finally finished the Narcocorrido poster on almost two weeks ago and I've just been too lazy to finish this blog entry for some reason. Might have been a little Halloween distracted as well...
The painting is pretty large so I didn't get a chance to scan it and all I have for now are these kind of crappy photos. At least you can make out the design though:
Yeah...not a good photo. Anyway, Ryan Prows who is the director of this short film, contacted me months and months ago about doing this poster and after a lot of back and forth we got a good solid idea about what the poster should include. Here's a synopsis of the film from Ryan's site:

The narcocorrido, a drug ballad in the Mexican folk-music tradition, mythicizes seedy border tales of the modern west: drug lords, human trafficking, arrests, betrayals, shootouts and murder. Naija Dillion is a Yuma county Sheriff’s deputy, an outsider and minority in her own community. Gravely ill, and disillusioned in the wake of the new Arizona racial profiling law, Naija robs a drug cartel shipment of contraband in a last-ditch scramble for personal survival.
With blood and fire loosed in the territory, Naija finds herself caught up in a narcocorrido made real. Can she recognize her shared desperation with the traffickers, men with families in danger if they don’t succeed in their delivery? Or will she suppress her humanity to achieve her own wellbeing?

Ryan wanted to integrate some Santa Muerte imagery since the cult is popular in the world of drug trafficking (though it's not at all exclusive to that and is very popular). It's an interesting intersection of what some believe to be pre christian death cult ideas and Catholic Saint worship. I like how it's a cult born from a need, where people on the margins of society saw something lacking in Catholicism and created a figure that served their spiritual needs. The Catholic church in Mexico does not acknowledge the saint or the practice and considers it a form of "devil-worship" but that doesn't have any affect on the popularity of the cult and many people consider themselves devout Catholics but still worship Santa Muerte along with the other saints.
The painting is based off of the statues of the figures which are usually dressed in satin and lace dresses and decorated with beads and jewelry and little figures on the necklace are milagros. I thought the saint and milagro imagery were appropriate for a film with two characters whose lives are desperate and in need of intervention.

This project presented me with a real challenge since Ryan really wanted the two main characters to be on the poster. It's been years since I did any real portrait work and when I did it was always in much more forgiving mediums like oil paints and charcoals. Oddly I hated the drawing of Naija but thought it came out better when painted and had the opposite experience with the portrait of the male character, Hector, that I thought looked much better in the drawing stage:
It doesn't help that both actors look attractive and happy in all their publicity photos but totally hard in the movie, so I didn't have a lot of reference to work with. I would say I did a serviceable job and that the style they're done in fits pretty well with the hand painted style of the rest.

I don't know, there's a lot of symbolism here and I'm feeling more than a little lazy about spelling it all out so hopefully it comes through and the poster works!

Halloween was good but I've been sick so I laid low on the actual day and like last year carved a few samhnag (three turnips and two acorn squash), drank hot cider in my cold backyard and watched them glow for a while.
I also whipped together a pretty good Psychomania costume for a couple parties:
There was a Halloween opening for the Autumn Spell show I'm in and there will be another this Friday for First Friday. Check it out!!