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“Retro-spection”

15 Jul

Reminisce

No matter how old you are the tendency to look back on the past will present itself.

Sometimes it’s a pleasant stroll down memory lane, triggered by the weather or a song on the radio. Sometimes it’s a traumatic experience that unearths long buried emotions attached to distant events. It’s always there though, the past that is. It’s both clearly defined hindsight and fuzzy details all wrapped into one.

As I finished this particular illustration I couldn’t help notice my own body of work. Looking back over the last 5 years worth of marks on paper my subjects are commonly existing somewhere in the distant past and the suggested future. Maybe it’s the hardest thing to do sometimes, to live in the moment. Maybe creating these images and the time spent doing so are the most pure and clear moments I can experience.

Or maybe I want to be a time traveller and I’m just waiting until that moment finally arrives, untethered by memory and retrospection.

…..but first some Les Baxter!

 

 

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Turning back to look forward..

1 Jan

Since its new year I thought it would be a great time to actually write a new post. Considering I only posted all of 15 times last year, it’s pretty much a priority. Blogging, like anything,takes a steady dedication to get good at. It’s easy to get burnt out and get off track from tackling life’s daily tasks and drama. When your juggling so many balls your bound to drop some. That made me think for a moment about motivation, and where it comes from.

I’m an artist first, regardless of what my day job tells me. I consciously decided to make the most out of my particular talents a few years back. Motivated to express myself, to have fun and reach out in some way to world. Yet that motivation is not an easily maintained resource. It does come and go, no matter how strong your grasp might seem. Especially at the end of this year I kind of felt a bit adrift creatively. Then something happended, by sheer coincidence.

I’m on the internets alot. It’s a given, and hindrance sometimes (always?). I was browsing some post on twitter about comics and I saw a link to a title I hadn’t touched on in ages…Reid Fleming, World’s Toughests Milkman. As a child of the 80s it was a tremendous time for the direct market, and I couldn’t think of a more singular reason I wanted to draw than the comics I read during that time. In fact I would ride my bike from Hampton, NH to Seabrook to get my fix from Chris’ Comics . Sometimes even in the rain. The first two comics I purchased was a collection of EC horror title and you guessed it…Reid Fleming.

Reid is the creation of Canadian Hall 0f Fame cartoonist David Boswell.  It was to me everything Marvel and DC wasn’t, which is all I had really been exposed to at that point in my life. Pretty much any title that could be found at the supermarket or convience store. This was a work of art that was both mature and irreverant, and a product of love. Much of it went over my head at that age. Even so, for a kid who loved comics and had a desire to create them it was strong catalyst. I thought hey I could do this too. It was one of those moment’s where being a fan was inpsiring.

Years later my motivation to be an artist would spike, then slowly recede to almost nothing because of all those outside distrations. It was like I forgot that moment and all the others before it. Not just a creative spark, but the kind of pure joy and interest that motivates you to do something you love. While at this point I far from those days, seeing that old familiar name made me remember about those times and the motivation I felt.

I even visited the Reid Fleming site (awesome) and was flooded with memories of inspiration. So maybe it’s small things that keep the momentum going, the random things, the things in the past. Whatever it is, motivation is out there and if you just remind yourself you were a fan once it makes it that much easier, and gratifying to be a creator.

Tools

18 Sep

By day I work in the landscape construction trade. I frequently use various hand tools that have been around in some way, shape or form for hundreds if not thousands of years. Shovels,rakes,hoes,pitchforks,trowels,grain scoops,hammers,and pruners just a name a few. While we utilize modern advances such as dump trucks, bucket loaders,tractors and excavators the final product is brought to completion by the same manner. A hands on basis. In fact there are many finite details of my work that have to be done with fingers on a hand. That human touch is inescapable.

I pretty much do all my artwork at night as the time affords it. My set of tools is just as varied although considerably more subtle. I use a mechanical pencil with 2H lead to layout and complete my underdrawings. Very light marks that don’t leave a dent in the paper. I lift the pencil lead with a kneadable eraser, and do the heavy editing with a hi-polymer white eraser. Then when it’s time to ink I use a combination of a sable brush, a #2 technical pen and a Falcon steel pen nib. Then if off to scanning and digital color. Very much like the tools I use by day, these tools I use at night share a long history with me and are like intimate friends.

The journey from an idea, to production to completion always seems to involve you and your tools, your silent unwavering partner. From your mind,to your hands to your tools. We’re always putting our touch on something, somewhere. What are your tools and what story do they share with you?

Don’t Give Up (the good fight)

30 Jul

I’m alone. Alot. Being an artist is a solitary trade, at least it is for me. I have my 3 or 4 hour window of time every night after my son goes to bed to pursue whatever project I’m currently wrapped up in. It’s just me, my bottle of ink, a piece of vellum bristol paper, some tunes and the desire to create. It’s not easy to get in the groove every day. I erase copiously. I procratinate. I waste time. I wander. I make mistakes. But one thing I don’t do is stop, and I don’t give up. You know the reason why, the magical spark that keeps the creativity flowing, the lightbulb over my head? I keep going because I don’t care.

I don’t care about how bad the piece is working out. I don’t care if people will embrace what I’m doing or accept me. I don’t care if my subject matter is a bit silly, or if I should be doing more appropriate. I don’t care if this next brushstroke will have meaning 100 years in the future. It probably won’t. If your any kind of artist and feel that crushing weight of expectation upon you just do one thing.Breathe. Then exhale if you feel inclined. Feels good right? When I create I’m breathing, I’m surviving another day. I’m living, I’m growing. With everything else around you so out of your control you can still breathe, you can still create. The rest is a crapshoot, a wonderful one at that.So every mark I make I’m taking another breath and I’m living. So just breathe, and don’t stop and you just might make it where you think you want to go. As self help guru Henry Rollins might say….DO IT!

or if your feeling nostalgic….(and miss Peter Gabriel with hair)

Great Google(y) Moogly

31 May

For a 4 year stretch up until December of 2008 I had no internet connection. Yeah, I would ramble over to the local library or use my wife’s Iphone if it was absolutely necessary. I was pretty much in the dark about all of the things that are now daily fixtures in my routine.Twitter,Netflix,YouTube, and blogging were all words that I heard mentioned in conversations.Conversations that I had nothing to add to but nodding of my head in feigned interest. I had gotten a taste of the online community through video gaming, and it was exciting but it never dawned on me the full potential of the interwebs at the time. That would change rather quickly.

After making the decision to eliminate my satellite cable and ridiculously expensive and unreliable cell phone service provider (looking at you At&t) I went for a high speed internet  package. I still had local channels on my tv but the days of the cable box were done. What I got instead was a choice. A choice to seek out the content I wanted myself, and connect myself to millions of other people who had made the same choice. Without the interwebs I would have never found the New Hampshire Media Makers Group.Even though it was just two minutes away from where I reside in Newmarket. It was by random chance I happened upon the site, but it was my own stumbling discovery.

As a direct result of the internet I have been able to meet,converse, and sometimes work with a great number of people. Many of them are practically neighbors, and some a long plane-ride away. I know the internet is just a tool, but it excites me I have the choice to actively seek out and be sought out. I’ve been one of those people in the past that always missed out on random encounters. As I sit here and type this I now know there the opportunity to chase these encounters down. In the end it’s all one click away.

Waxing Nostalgic…

1 Sep