We, The Bones That Are Here, Await Yours

I got back from Portugal over a week ago. It was ten days of looking and walking and looking and walking. I paid for the trip with most of the money I made from art this year, and saw tons of things that will probably make their way back into art I do this year, making the whole endeavor somewhat self sustaining. It was hard to pick pictures to post here because we took HUNDREDS but here are some of my favorites.

One of my favorite things we did was a little day trip to Sintra from Lisbon. It's only a couple dollars on a train and the town has castles and huge gardens and public parks. We saw the Castle of the Moors ruins there and Pena Palace:
The best part of the day in Sintra was Quinta da Regaleira a huge house with expansive gardens built by an opera set designer, full of hidden alchemical symbols and experiences.

There are pitch black grottoes and catacombs underground the whole garden which you can wander through to come out of various wells with long twisted stairs leading up to the light:
We wandered around here for hours and it was great. The house itself is even aligned according to alchemical and astrological principles.

Portugal also has a lot of ossuaries. A LOT. We saw 5 but there are many more.

The first picture is of the Capela dos Ossos in Evora, probably the biggest one we saw, with painted ceilings covered in symbols and two mummies mysteriously hanging on a wall. The second is in Faro and was eerily situated mere feet from a daycare center where children screamed and ran around the completely silent outdoor chapel. Some are indoors, in churches or crypts and some are little outdoor chapels in tiny rural villages we had to hike several miles to.
In each of them we were alone or virtually alone and in one we actually found a skull cap just laying on the ground. While I'm talking about ossuaries I should mention this excellent book I got for Mike that contains pictures, information and insight into the culture of ossuaries:
There was also a lot of impressive religious art. I'm always really torn by my admiration for this stuff since it's funded by and an outward sign of the immense wealth of the Catholic church. It was made in a time when the most ambitious art was made for religious purposes so it's some of the most over the top, gilded, time consuming, intricate and monumental stuff you'll see in Europe and I can't help but be drawn to it. Also it's incredibly creepy.
From the Templar knight monastery in Tomar where made a bunch of stupid Tombs of the Blind Dead jokes to each other while we ran around unattended.
Stained glass in a church in....Evora? Maybe Lisbon.
Witchy window in the Acobaca Monastery.
We also saw tons of reliquaries but were denied access to the insanely creepy reliquary alters at São Roque because they were practicing for some sort of Christmas event but I managed to get a picture from pretty far away:
Who is creepier than Catholics? No one! Not even me.

I also spent a lot of time creeping around the cemetery in Evora. There were a lot of really interesting monuments with symbols I hadn't seen before in the US and a lot of family tombs with glass doors so you could see several generations of coffins.
Finally, I saw what is now the probably the oldest man made thing I've ever seen (older than newgrange), the Neolithic standing stone grouping of the Almendres Cromlech:
The best guess is that this functioned as a huge community solar calender with the sun rising over the center stone at the equinox. It's situated in the middle of a cork orchard and we got to see it on a misty atmospheric morning. There's also a huge dolmen not far away in a pretty tragic state of disrepair which was still fun to see. The cap stone had been BLOWN OFF WITH DYNAMITE during the excavation so you could actually stand above and look directly in.

I don't have pictures from it but we also caught an exhibition called Aljube a Voz das Vitimas: The Voice of the Victims. Staged at Lisbon's old jail the exhibition was about victims of Salazar's military dictatorship under the New State and the role of the PVDE (later the PIDE) in the surveillance, torture, imprisonment and murder of Portuguese activists and citizens. They did a great job of highlighting both the victims and their experiences and consistently naming and displaying photographs of the perpetrators to make a public record of who was responsible. They also list companies who collaborated with the secret police and spied on and reported their employees and unsurprisingly there were several american car manufacturers on the list. Anyway, really good exhibit we basically stumbled across.

I haven't been super productive this month because of the trip and the holidays but I have a few things to post around the new year hopefully if I'm not too lazy.


Domingos Zine

Posting from a hostel in Portugal since I forgot to post this before I left. I sent something along to Sundays zine and just got a couple copies in the mail (wet, envelope torn open, thanks USPS). I didn't have time to make something new and figured my goofy old S.T. fan art (with some details changed and touched up) was fitting for a skate/art zine. I sort of wish I had time to make something a little more intense because I'm nestled in among some really cool artists here.

Best of all the whole back side is this beautiful painting by Tamara:

I just have to say this is a really good idea for a zine! Newsprint is cheap and easy, it folds down so no assembly. Free art! If you're trying to find a copy I'm pretty sure you need to be in NY in a coffee or skate shop, but those are all really great places to be anyway so get on it. It should also be available to look at online.

Like I mentioned, I´m in Portugal. It´s great. Two days in and I´ve already seen so many castles and mummies and Roman relics and a church destroyed by an earthquake (the best kind). I´m pretty sick but I´m uh...walking it off. Next few days- more castles, ossuaries, standing stones and Roman ruins.

The computer here has the spell check set to Portuguese and I´m a pretty uselss speller without it so I´ll shut up before I type anything really stupid.


Standing On The Frozen Floor

Mike Brennan and I printed the pre-order insert posters for the Des Ark record and everything went so smoothly thanks to the folks at Reclaim who burned perfect screens for us. We only had a few hours in the space after work so having the screens burned ahead of time meant we could just get right to work printing.
We also printed the limited glow in the dark ones (top). They're black and teal glow ink on tan paper (with a couple on the orange and blue as well). Glow in the dark is a gimmick I never grow tired of, and we included the skull in the glowing screen so with the lights out you get a floating skull and the smoke. It was really fun working on a project with another person since pretty much all the art I do is so solitary, and I haven't printed in a long time so that was fun (even though my back is killing me now).

I also saw the printed lp covers for the first time and they came out great.
I was worried that the smoke effect wouldn't work, but it came out exactly the way I wanted it to. When you tilt the record into the light it becomes more or less visible and opaque which is neat.
It was great being included in this whole process because sometimes you hand artwork off to someone and it comes back to you printed terribly, with weird colors, or disrespectfully cropped and chopped up but we all had input into the final presentation of this which is great. I redid the smoke lettering when I found out this would be the cover and we laid it out to be wider and stretch across the fold.

I also popped that tiger painting in a frame last night.
The funny thing is that this used to be a bright red frame with an astonishingly well matted picture of Santa in it. It's come a long way since I bought it for a couple bucks at a flea market. I also wanted to grab a photo of the back of it since pretty much no one except people who own paintings I've done get to see those:
Totally unnecessary but I like the backs to look fancy.

I might be a little slow posting for the rest of the year because I'll be out of the country for a week but I'll probably have some sketches and my end of the year mix soon!