On Friday I received a Facebook message from professional wrestler The Almighty Sheik informing me that he was a fan of my illustration of Billy Corgan and wished to speak with me concerning a project involving the one and only Billy Corgan. The project was a concert poster design / illustration for Billy Corgan’s upcoming solo acoustic concert at Ravinia. If you don’t already know, The Smashing Pumpkins is my favorite band. I listen to the Smashing Pumpkins every day. I’m also a HUGE fan of ZWAN and Billy Corgan’s solo album “The Future Embrace.” Working on an “OFFICIAL” poster illustration for a Billy Corgan concert is on the very top of my bucket list. The Almighty Sheik informed me that another artist was also in the running and that Billy would decide the victor. The poster needed to have an early 70’s singer songwriter vibe and appeal to an older crowd. More Neil Young / Bob Dylan rather than the angst and melancholy of 1995 Billy. I explored the darkest corners of Google in search for the perfect reference photos of Billy. During my search I noticed that Billy loves to wear scarfs and I thought it might be a fun visual element to play with. I also wanted to draw a happier more lighthearted portrait of Billy. I started working on the portrait Monday evening when I finished my shift at the 9 to 5. (or in my case the 10-7). Fueled by large quantities of black coffee and hundreds of Smashing Pumpkins songs I frantically worked until 5am. The poster illustration was 95% finished. By then I was delusional from sleep deprivation and caffeine overload, my drawing hand was killing me and my vision was getting blurry. I just didn’t have enough juice to conquer that last 5%. I need to catch some Z’s to regain some much needed illustration mojo. After a couple hours of sleep I had enough juice to cross the finish line. I was happy with the end result. I could have easily spent another 20 hours nit picking this and that but at some point you just have to stop and call it “finished.” 

Unfortunately, my poster illustration was not selected to be the official poster. I was disappointed but not defeated. It was a moment of validation. Receiving that message from The Almighty Sheik was a sign that I’m heading in the right direction. I have a little more confidence that my artistic choices are leading me down the right path. I’m not completely lost in the wilderness. I ALMOST designed an OFFICIAL poster for Billy Corgan. I can’t complain.

Here is my poster illustration with and without text.

Billy-Corgan-No-Type Billy-Corgan-Poster
Click HERE to see the official poster design for Billy Corgan’s Ravinia concert.

 

On Final Friday, October 31st I will be joining Charles Baughman, Brad Ruder, John Pirtle, Ian Walker Stewart, Sarah Stewart, Chris Frank, Marc Bosworth, Lee Shiney, Kevin Wildt, Hanna Scott and Lauren Fitzgerald for an epic art exhibition at Diver Studio ( 424 S. Commerce. Wichita, KS 67202). The exhibition still needs a proper title. An epic exhibition needs an epic title. I’ve been writing down every random phrase and sentence fragment that pops into my head in the hopes that my brain would regurgitate the perfect combination of words to form the perfect title.

Here is the second list of possible show titles for the show.

The first list is posted HERE.

titles2

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I will have one unfinished painting titled “Double Rainbow” featured in the “UNFINISHE .” exhibit at The Labor Party (216 N. Mosley St, Wichita, Kansas 67202) on FINAL FRIDAY, July 25th, 6:30pm – 9:30pm.

“UNFINISHE .” is an exhibition of incomplete work that examines why, sometimes, things just don’t get done.

The exhibit features incomplete works by B.B. Blank, Ian Blume, Jillian Vanessa Blume, Seth Blume, Brent Duncan, Marc Durfee, Conan Fugit, Alisha Gridley, Christopher Gulick, Hallie Linnebur, Isabel Lopez, Skyler Lovelace, Jaki McElroy, Phillip “Hamdog” Nellis, Jessica Papaioannou, Dustin Parker, John Pirtle, Randy Regier, Lee Shiney, Allison Sutton, Alex Twitchel, and Wendy Valladars.

Double-RainbowARTIST STATEMENT

In 2009 I had a solo exhibition at Watermark Books & Cafe called “The Beautiful Confusion,” which was a collection of nonobjective abstract paintings. The work was heavily influenced by artists like Richard Diebenkorn and Robert Rauschenberg. The paintings were constructed using found materials such as maps, comic books, stencils, decorative papers, cross word puzzles, pages from old books, record sleeves, paint swatch samples, blueprints and acrylic paint. Creating nonobjective abstract paintings was a radical departure from my previous work. In my mind becoming a nonobjective abstract artist was equivalent to someone like Lucian Freud abruptly abandoning his figurative work to create paintings like Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park series. In my mind becoming an abstract painter was a radical and rebellious act. I was burning down the house I built. I was trying to distance myself from my old work. I was trying to reinvent myself. I was trying to give my creativity a blood transfusion.

I never drew sketches. I never predetermined the final outcome. I just picked up my paint brush and jumped into the fire. My goal was to become completely lost in the creative process. To discover happy accidents. To become a creature of instinct. To create from the gut. I cut and pasted paper. I splattered paint. I scrapped and peeled paper. I added and subtracted. I created and destroyed. Until the painting was finished. But when is a painting finished? The final destination was always unknown. There was never a logical conclusion. When you paint a portrait there is a logical conclusion but an abstract painting has no logical conclusion. I learned to trust my gut. I learned to wait for that “special feeling” that told me “This is finished.”

My contribution to the “Unfinishe .” exhibition is a painting called “Double Rainbow” which is an unfinished B-side from the “The Beautiful Confusion” series. “Double Rainbow” is one of those paintings that never reached a satisfying conclusion. Something “wasn’t working” but I could never identify the problem or find a solution that felt satisfying. The left side of the painting never worked but I wasn’t sure what it needed. Paint splatters? Geometric shapes? More cut paper? More color? More lines? Painting is similar to cooking. Sometimes you need to add more salt or more garlic. Sometimes the soup tastes strange and you don’t know how to fix it. Should I add more carrots? more onions? more pepper? Or should I just order pizza instead?

I’m not sure why I never finished “Double Rainbow.” It is one of those paintings that keeps resurfacing and I think “I should finally finish this fucking painting” but I’m still uncertain about how to go about “finishing” it. Maybe “Double Rainbow” will always haunt me and I will continue to revisit the painting over and over again and ponder the possibilities.

Maybe it is already “finished” and I’m not ready to accept it.

Speaking of Manga Studio 5…

The insanely talented illustrator Ray Frenden has created an amazing set of brushes for Manga Studio 5. The set has 75 brushes divided into three categories (inkers, painters and pencils). The brushes are amazing and they only cost $6.99. It is the best $6.99 you will ever spend.

Buy the brushes now at
http://frenden.myshopify.com/products/manga-studio-5-pencilling-inking-painting-brushes

Buy Manga Studio 5 at
http://manga.smithmicro.com/buy.html?gclid=CNmO8drx374CFcxZ7Aod6g0Adg
manga

I’m 98% certain that this portrait of Thom Yorke is finished. The illustration was created using a combination of Manga Studio 5 (inks) and Adobe Photoshop CC (colors). This is also the FIRST illustration I have EVER created using Manga Studio 5. Sadly, it is also the ONLY illustration I’ve done using Manga Studio 5. I’ve been distracted with other creative projects and I haven’t had time to experiment much with Manga Studio 5. However, I can now say with 100% certainty that Manga Studio 5 will be my primary drawing tool and Adobe Photoshop CC will be my primary tool for coloring / painting the illustrations. I just need to spend some quality time with my new best friend Manga Studio 5 and a little less time with Mr. Deadlines.

THOM YORKEThom Yorke WIP

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