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Monthly Archives: December 2013

For the past 16 days, I’ve been stuck in creative purgatory trying to find the motivation to start working on a new series of illustrations. I’ve been lazy and unproductive and uninspired. I’m burnt out. I just want to eat burritos and watch 80’s cartoons.

I’ve been obsessed with the idea of writing and illustrating a comic strip / comic book called PIZZA LOVES TACO about a slice of pizza and a taco that have a very dysfunctional but loving relationship. PIZZA LOVES TACO is one of those projects that is always haunting my mind and nagging me for attention. I thought drawing some character designs for PIZZA LOVES TACO might be the perfect medicine for my creative atrophy.

I want the characters to be both creepy and endearing. I also want the illustration style to stay consistent with my other illustration work. I want the drawings to look like I drew them. I’m not interested in drawing like Gary Baseman, Craig McCracken or John Kricfalusi. I’m still trying to figure out how to draw these characters in my own style or a slightly cartoony version of my style.

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I recently had the honor of illustrating and designing the album artwork for the Spirit of the Stairs new album Tronan Vs The Spidernauts.

I have been a huge fan of Spirit of the Stairs since the first time I watched them perform at the Shamrock Lounge with Solagget back in 2003.

When I heard that the band was in the studio recording a new album I contacted Torin Andersen and begged him to let me design the album cover.

I quickly learned that the album would be a 4 song concept album called Tronan Vs The Spidernauts and that the Spaghetti Party (Ian and Seth Bloom) were already working on an epic long form music video. It was quickly decided that the album artwork would feature characters from the music video such as Tronan, Bro2-D2 and The Spidernauts.

I wanted the illustrations to have a retro Flash Gordon vibe and my illustration style was heavily influenced by Jack Kirby illustrations and vintage science fiction book covers and comic books. I wanted the colors to be really bright and vibrant like the album artwork for The Flaming Lips’ album Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. I think the end result looks like my illustration style with a “retro comic book” filter applied to it. I am super happy with the end product.

For more info about Spirit of the Stairs visit www.spiritofthestairs.com or www.facebook.com/spiritofthestairs.

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While I was binge watching Fringe I became obsessed with the idea of parallel universes and I thought it would be interesting to create a series of paintings that would explore the idea of parallel universes.

The parallel universe exhibit would feature artwork created by myself and 5 alternate reality versions of myself. The alternate versions of Dustin Parker would all have really bizarre backstories and very different approaches to creating artwork. For example, the Dustin Parker from universe 2 lives on an Earth that has been conquered and enslaved by aliens and he paints renaissance style portraits of alien royalty. Dustin Parker from universe 3 creates macaroni portraits of cats. Dustin Parker from universe 4 had his consciousness transferred into a robot and paints cubist still lives. Dustin Parker from universe 5 paints Thomas Kinkade style landscapes and had extensive plastic surgery to look more like George Clooney. You get the idea.

I had a bunch of really ridiculous scenarios floating in my head. I wanted to paint a huge portrait of each alternate Dustin Parker and I wanted the paintings to have a strong narrative element. I wanted to write poems or short stories for each alternate Dustin Parker that would explain their origins and motivations. I wanted the backstories to be extremely detailed. They would have a favorite food and a favorite movie. I would have all of these random facts about them and they would be displayed somehow.

However, I started to think “this is really fucking pretentious and narcissistic and I doubt people want to see this.” So I decided to go in a completely different direction and that lead me to THE MASK BECOMES THE FACE. The parallel universe concept was really about escaping or avoiding who I am both as an artist and as a human being. THE MASK BECOMES THE FACE was my attempt to focus on what defines me as an artist and to embrace my own style or aesthetic.

In retrospect, maybe the concept would be stronger if the subject was a famous artist like Andy Warhol or Pablo Picasso and then you can have some fun rewriting history and exploring all of these crazy what if? scenarios such as “What if Andy Warhol continued to use comic books as source material for his paintings.” or “What if Warhol collaborated with Keith Haring instead of Jean-Michel Basquiat.” Those would be fun ideas to explore and fun paintings to paint. Those are things that could have easily happened. Then the show isn’t this strange form of masturbation and it becomes an exploration of art history and pop culture.

I like to imagine there is a parallel universe where this show happened.

For the moment I don’t want to be Andy Warhol or Universe 7 Dustin Parker or a Basquiat Robot from Dimension Z. I just want to master being Dustin Parker.

The painting featured on THE MASK BECOMES THE FACE poster is not featured in the exhibition because the painting doesn’t exist. The painting is actually a computer generated illustration that I created specifically for the poster. I designed the poster before I started production on the paintings and the poster illustration was intended to act as a blueprint to establish the mood and overall aesthetic of the paintings. I took the same approach when I created the posters for the SECRET IDENTITY exhibition at Tangent Lab.

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I want to thank everyone who attended the opening reception for The Mask Becomes The Face exhibit at Watermark Books & Cafe. I really appreciate your friendship and support. I also want to thank Watermark Books & Cafe for being an awesome bookstore and giving crazy artists like myself a venue to publicly display their insanity. I also want to thank Beth Golay for hanging the exhibit at 6am while I lumbered around like a sleep deprived zombie. Beth is awesome.

The Mask Becomes The Face will be on view at Watermark Books & Cafe until December 24th.

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