Thursday, October 27, 2011

"YAT" Yard Art in New Orleans FRINGE Festival

This was one of my favorite things I've done all year. It started from a small drawing in my Moleskine.

For years immediately following college, I worked in several different positions for a medical relief organization called Carelift International. I started as a warehouse worker, then transferred to the Development Department where I assisted in fundraising and also acted as a one-man art department (handling all photo, website, and graphic design work). After I started teaching at North Catholic, I went back to the warehouse part-time when the teaching day was done. Carelift is gone now, but that job was an amazing learning experience. I got to travel to Ukraine (more about that trip HERE), and I met some awesome people from all over who gave me a whole new outlook on the world. One of these people was Damon Rosenzweig.

Damon was in Ukraine with me, a great dude. He'd done work with other medical relief organizations prior to Carelift. He's from New Orleans, one of my favorite places in the whole wide world. I visited New Orleans a few years back and really love that city, almost as much as I love Philly. I recently looked Damon up, wondering what he's up to these days. Turns out he's back home working with the New Orleans FRINGE Festival doing all kinds of great stuff. We have a similar festival here in Philly, also called the FRINGE. After an e-mail or two, Damon asked if I'd be part of the festival's "YAT Yard Art Tour," an exhibition of outdoor art all over the city. I was psyched. I recently finished and got approval for the 3' x 5' design (shown above) that will be printed on a vinyl banner and hung outside in New Orleans for the FRINGE. I sent the file to the printer today. Damon said he really liked the design, so I'm happy.

I started with a brush & ink drawing, then had to scan and change the line work to vector, given the size of the final printed banner. All of the color was done digitally. I just wanted to capture something lighthearted and laid back that celebrates the yards of the city and sends my love to New Orleans. I put a bunch of Pops, Kermit Ruffins, Professor Longhair, Meters, Clarence Frogman Henry, and Preservation Hall Jazz Band on my Ipod, had a few beers, and went town sketching a dragon at the BBQ (I am a BBQ maniac myself). Given that dragons are fire-breathing, we can assume this is a charcoal BBQ, even though we can't see the grill. No propane in my yard.

Here is a link to the Google Maps of YAT 1. When I get the photos on the banner being hung and my work being put on the Google tour map, I will post some updates.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Autumn Leaves" - music for drawing

Been in an Autumn mood today. One great thing about living on the east coast is the changing of seasons. It's good to move forward and have reminders all around you that things are changing. Autumn is also a good time for looking back over the year.

Even though the lyrics of Autumn Leaves make it a sad song, I really like it. I have a bunch of different versions of it and like them all equally. I listen to this tune a lot while drawing this time of year.

This one by Mickey Baker is kind of upbeat and surfy. Still has a sound that's holding onto Summer:

This one by Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt is also very upbeat. Gene Ammons' playing reminds me a great deal of my old friend, Nate Wiley. Nate often spoke of Gene Ammons as being a great "melody man" and a profound influence:

And this one is very sad, but also sweet. It's on Duke Ellington's "Indigos" album. You can CLICK HERE to get the track. I inherited this on vinyl from my Grandpop, but the vinyl has a shorter version. It only has Ozzie Bailey singing in English. The CD I have has him singing in English and French. But in my opinion, the thing that makes this cut so sweet is Ray Nance's violin solo:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pitbull Hoverboards Shirt on Teefury - Oct. 12, 2011 - Now You've Got Power!

On October 12, 2011, I will have another shirt up on Teefury’s “one day only” sale. For this go round, I designed a “Pitbull Hoverboards” T-shirt. This design references the movie “Back to the Future II”. In the future, the only hoverboards that ride over water are the ones with “power”. Griff Tannen has a Pitbull Hoverboard, complete with little jet engines to keep him propelled as he chases Marty McFly over a pond and through the streets of Hill Valley in the year 2015. It’s 2011 now, so it looks like we’ll actually have our own hoverboards in just four short years. I can’t wait. The cost of parking in Center City Philadelphia is killing me.

The design is a pretty simple concept - a nasty pitbull riding a Pitbull hoverboard. I used a Back to the Future style font for the text. You can view a larger image of the shirt on Teefury’s website by CLICKING HERE on Wednesday, October 12.

Fishtown Drawing from 2007

Rummaging through my files on the computer, I came across this image. Back when I used to bartend at Moe's Tavern on Wednesday nights, I would sometimes raffle off original drawings. My buddy Mike McCafferty won this one. It's just a noodly line Fishtown-themed drawing.I have fun drawing these organic types of buildings.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Deadly Crocaroo and other things...

I did this drawing while teaching at the University of the Arts’ Saturday Arts Lab last week. I teach cartooning and comics creation to 7th and 8th graders. The class is always awesome. Any kid that is signing up for a 6th day of school is generally well-behaved and hungry to learn. These kids work really hard, and I am often amazed by the amount of talent and growth I see each semester. Plus I have two really great assistant teachers this go-round. I always get good ones. These courses always remind me why I love to teach art. I wish I had time to invest in more programs like this.

This particular drawing is my rendering of a “Crocaroo”. He’s part Crocodile, part kangaroo if you haven’t figured that out. If this animal existed in the real world, humanity would be in trouble. The title of the project is called “The Zoo of Your Imagination”. I swiped it from the book, Drawing: For the Artistically Undiscovered” by John Cassidy and Quentin Blake. The book is an amazing activity book that really encourages artists of all ages to exercise their imagination, which is the one muscle you really need to be a good cartoonist. I have a bunch of wildlife kingdom photo cards from my childhood. So if a student is having trouble creating a brand new animal, they can take pieces of all different animals and combine them. One of my students this week said he had this project in a different class, but another teacher called it “Composite Animals”.

Speaking of that Blake book, my friend and Meathaus brother Chris McD has recently released an activity book that is also an amazing catalyst for the imagination. It’s “Sasquatch’s Big Hairy Drawing Book”. It’s quirky and fun and amazing. McD is an awesome cartoonist with clients under his belt like Adult Swim, Yo Gabba Gabba, Ralph Bakshi, and Spumco (Ren & Stimpy) just to name a few. If you’d like to learn more about his book, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

“For All My Friends” Star Wars-inspired Shirt up on TeeFury – Oct. 3rd – One Day Only

I did this drawing as a piece of fan art initially. You can read about the how and why by CLICKING HERE. After the Harry Potter/Dr. Who-inspired shirt I had on, I decided to try this out as a shirt design as well. I did some research. There are a lot of Cantina shirts available online, but they were more logo/sign ideas. Although it’s not the most original concept, I hope my drawing style puts enough of an individual spin to give it my voice. Aside from making this shirt just a parody of the Star Wars bar scene, I also wanted to goof on other bar-centric entertainment. So I decided to make a “Cheers” type logo. I also titled the shirt after a famous line of dialogue from Charles Bukowski’s “Barfly” script (another piece of hard-drinkin’ fun).

If you like, CLICK HERE to go to Teefury’s website. The shirt will be up for that marathon-type of sale for $10 from midnight to midnight only on October 3rd. Then it’s as gone as the shot of Jameson’s I had with my breakfast.