Posts Tagged ‘Art’

Head Explodey

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009


One of Kate Beaton’s beautiful SPX banners. Check her out!


Oh MAN. Have you seen the list of exhibitors coming up this weekend at SPX? Hot diggity-dang. There’s some good stuff in there. I’m sure I’ll be discovering some New Favorites in this list and in person. It’s going to be so super rad.

As far as meeting artists, I am particularly excited about Scott C and John Allison. I am hoping I will be able to say something intelligible to them, but if last year is any indication of meeting specific people, I will probably: vibrate nervously in a corner until I make up my mind to greet them, cautiously circle their table for ten minutes… then make my move, at which time they will already be deep in conversation with someone incredibly interesting, on their way to the potty, or (in at least one previously documented case) hung over and missing.

As far as the whole thing goes, I’m also hoping for an education. Josh and I are possibly planning to get part of a table at SPX in 2010, so I want to see what all is there and how people handle their stuff. I also anticipate having business cards, but due to my flailing excuse for socializing, I anticipate bringing most of them home. Because that’s how I roll: secretly.

Regardless, it’s going to be a Class A Roadtrip. I am not only traveling with a couple friends that I never seem to hang out with as much as I want, but we are also staying with more friends that recently moved to Baltimore. After the craziness that is the G20 here in Pittsburgh passes, you can be sure I’ll be ready to decompress away from the city.

There will be comics and there will be friends. There will be an adorable dog and there will be wine. And if my math’s right, there will be copious amounts of fun.


Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Well, I guess it’s not much of a secret now, is it?


I was thrilled when Woy asked me if I’d be interested in doing PittGirl’s, er Jane Pitt’s, er Ginny’s new banner, even though I was oblivious at first and thought our meeting was about something totally different. (Woy, you ninja, you.)

I was totally bummed when the Burghblog was nixed many months ago. I had happily granted PittGirl her anonymity and was disappointed when that was threatened. Yes, of course there were delightful whispered conversations on who she might be, but I never really wanted to know… that is, I didn’t want to know if it was in any way going to jeopardize her offline life.

But she’s taken the revealing plunge herself, and I hope she is welcomed with open arms. We need her in Pittsburgh. I might not agree with her all the time, but I can almost always appreciate what she’s saying. We are a city that routinely takes itself either way too seriously or not nearly seriously enough. I find her writing to be a wonderfully snarky middleground.

Also, that is one good looking web site, dontchya think?

Welcome back, Ginny (and nice to meet you!)

Me and Andy Warhol

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

vader-warhol.jpgThe Andy Warhol Museum is the largest, single-artist museum in the world. The first time I visited I was 20 years old, attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and I hated the museum — I mean hated it. My degree was in graphic design and here was this shrine to a jerk that repainted some other person’s soup can and got fame and recognition for something he didn’t even make up? I was furious.

It took me eight years and a really smokin’ awesome exhibit to get me back in that building; when I did go back, I was pleasantly surprised.

One hundred Darth Vader masks, customized by an international array of illustrators and toy makers? Um, YES PLEASE. Where do I pay?

Oh, yum. There were helmets that simply served as wicked canvases for acrylic, marker, collage and airbrushing. Others had additions like golden deer antlers, enough bling to make P Diddy proud, and a towering headpiece of artificial fruit. Still more had been modified in varying degrees — one was covered with felt, the top removed to reveal a pink plush brain (I wanted so badly to poke it!); one was turned into a gas mask; there was a giant beetle-like horn on one and a very spiky Statue of Liberty. They were original and fun.

Fine pictures of many of them can be found here.

The other seven floors…
Okay, here’s the thing: I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it, but I respected it. Sort of. A little.

Andy Warhol recorded everything that happened around him, in all it’s superficial, underground, sometimes-honest glory. As far as artwork goes, I liked his illustration far better than his famous screen prints. The silver balloon room was neat, his urine oxidation exhibit (heart-felt eye roll here) was closed, and a room of giant skull paintings with a little emaciated man — playing with his dong, of course playing with his dong — was actually pretty cool.

The thing I really enjoyed, however, was the extent of his Time Capsules. He saved everything. He apparently kept a box by his desk that he filled with day-to-day items until it was full, at which time he’d close it up, label it and stick with the others. When he died in 1987, there were 612 completed Time Capsules, and now the museum is slowly, carefully opening each one and cataloging the contents. There’s church programs, pictures, correspondence, gifts, etc. I’d be interested in that sort of glimpse for anyone, but considering he was so flamboyant and out there, it makes it all the more interesting.

I left feeling wholly delighted by the Vaders. And what about Warhol’s work? I felt somewhat enlightened, certainly stimulated by images beyond of my normal limits of enjoyment, but admittedly… kind of like I’d been had.

…which was totally worth $7.50.

Art Wanted!

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Looking for a reason to do some art? Have art laying around that you would like to show and/or sell? You should check out:


The art community went crazy last January when the gallery literally opened it’s doors to ALL artists who wanted to show ONE piece of THEIR own work. The line was out to the street. The gallery was filled completely from top to bottom and side to side with all mediums of artistic expression. And we vowed to do it again. So right after all the holiday hubub, we invite YOU to Zombo Gallery on Thursday, January the 8th from 5pm-7:30pm to bring YOUR PRICED AND LABELED ART to us. We will register it and hang it and have it ready to sell for the opening reception on Friday, Jan 9th from 6pm-11pm. The Gallery only takes a 20% commission on sales and is providing liquid refreshments for the evening. Artists can bring a snack or two. Don’t be shy, we need as much art as we can get! Closing reception and art pickup on Jan 30th at 6pm-11pm.

Josh participated in Zombo’s Ukelele Show in December, and Nathan Mazur’s Wee Beasties show was last spring. It looks like we’ll be back at it this weekend. Show up Thursday with a labelled and priced piece of work, and Zombo will fill the place top to bottom. Josh and I are both going to participate, and I really can’t wait to see the place all decked out with so much goodness.

Zombo’s is located at 4900 Hatfield St., Pittsburgh and awesome. Be there!

SPX 2008

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

I headed to Bethesda, MD last weekend to check out this year’s Small Press Expo (SPX). It was my first one, but it’s been around since 1997. The obvious focus of the show was comics and graphic novels (and that blurry lineĀ  line between the difference of the two being a subject of debate), but there were also illustrators, inkers, writers, publishers, etc there as well.

I attended three panels. One on comic criticism, which I’ll spare you my opinion on (I left halfway through). The second was on publishing comics for YA and children. While my manuscripts are prose, as opposed to graphic, the panel was nonetheless interesting and full of a valuable insight. The third was on Herge, a popular French comic artist that did a lot of work in the years surrounding WWII. It was during this third session that I discovered I am not sophisticated. Seriously, there is only so much you can say about how he pioneered the line.

There was contraband Diet Pepsi/Rum at the afterparty Saturday Night ($6 beer?!, you’re out of your mind!), a bodacious breakfast at Silver Diner, and a general good time with some friends I don’t see nearly enough.

The atmosphere of SPX was, for the most part, open and accepting, and there was a wide range of work in show — which is comforting to those of us aspiring to do anything in the art/story vein. There are rumors that Joe and Josh might get a table next year (and that there will be beards), in which case I would totally love to commandeer some real estate on that half table. Of course, that means I’ll have to execute the sketches I’ve got hidden in my sketchbook…

What the experience did, first and foremost, was spark the creative engine and get those gears turning. We bought tons of good stuff, which I’m sure I’ll review here once I’ve been able to devour it all. All and all - it was a wonderful way to spend the weekend.

Tastey Walls

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Design Sponge is one of my favorite blogs. They post several times a day, and somehow encompass so many of my interests: art, furniture, design, color… YUM.


They recently posted a short piece on one Ami Suma, a fashion editor doing some fantastic murals in New York. I’ve seen children’s murals before, but nothing like this. They are amazing. I love how she has uses the window and door frames, and wraps the artwork around the corners and onto the ceiling. The designs and colors really make the room a little child’s imaginative wonderland and playful sanctuary.


If I never had to work again, THIS is what I would want to do with my time. Adorable gum-drop murals for little kids. Yes, please.

I’ve been playing with the idea of doing a mural in my studio when I redo it. The only thing I did when we moved in was to remove the nautical wallpaper trim. Suma has converted that desire into a desperate burning need.

Check out the rest of her gallery out here.

Speaking of Illustration - Jacob Thomas

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators is presenting four lectures this year called “Speaking of Illustration” to showcase nationally and internationally recognized illustrators. The first was on Saturday night and featured Jacob Thomas, an Art Institute of Pittsburgh alumnus living in New York as a professional freelancer.


He grew up in a small town, joined the Coast Guard for a while, went to art school and then (successfully!) made The Move to New York city where he spends his days making a living doing illustrations. He’s relatively young — as in, freshly into his thirties — and he has done so much in his years since leaving the Art Institute. His clients have included The New Yorker, Bath and Body Works, AIG, Forbes Magazine, Esquire, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Wall Street Journal, Vibe Magazine, ESPN Magazine… and more. His work has been recognized by NY Society of Illustrators, CA Illustration Annual #46 Cover, CA Fresh Section, American Illustration, HOW International Design Annual, Print’s Regional Design Annual, and Semi-Permanent.

So yeah, he’s got it — how do the kids say it? — going on.


It’s one thing to read about people that succeed in their fields; it’s another thing entirely to hear them speak about it in person… with a slideshow, no less. Thomas was casual, funny and came across as very approachable. His style is fun and fresh, with strong inking and vivid colors that smack you in the face (in a good way). There’s also a surprising amount of motion to each piece, which I find fascinating, and a yummy gritty quality that makes them more real.


As robust as his career has been so far, he was clear at the end of the presentation that his journey has taken a lot of hard work. He showed an abbreviated version of his process, a painstaking combination of hand drawn artwork and computer work. Plus, in the wake of many rejections over the years, he’s just kept trying which should be a lesson to everybody. I certainly saved it somewhere in my brain, and plan to pull it out when I get my next 20 rejection letters. In fact, I wrote “TENACITY” on a piece of 17×11 paper and hung it in my studio when I got home.


And, seriously: I thought I was goal-oriented, but this guy puts me to shame. He is a To-Do-List Master. Coast Guard in Hawaii? Check. Art school? Check. Professional New York Illustrator? Chickity-Check.

I originally moved to Pittsburgh to attend the Art Institute in the hopes of becoming an illustrator. Between you and me, I only took Graphic Design because it had two Illustration electives. Not one of the smartest decisions to base my education on, but thank goodness it all worked out. I found my illustration class to be lacking, although not because of the teacher: my brain just wasn’t ready for it yet. Around the same time, I broke out of my blood-feud with computers and fell in love with design. Six years later, I find myself full circle, designing for a living and doing illustrations on the side.

Sooo… semi-professional Pittsburgh illustrator? Check-ish. I’ll take it.

This was a great event. PSI plans to do three more of these, and I hope I’ll be able to make them all. It was insightful, interesting and the inspirational jolt I’ve been looking for since finishing my novel. It got me excited to create again. And I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more of Thomas’s work.

*All of the images in this post are Thomas’s. I don’t know the legality of posting them here, but I’m happy to remove if I’m contacted to do so.

Halloween Party/Gallery

Monday, November 5th, 2007

I think we can chalk Saturday’s show up as a success. I saw a lot of familiar faces and met some new ones… My bee costume was fun, even if I didn’t get to use all the pieces I wanted to and my wings gave me a horizontal dimension that I’m not accustomed to: I kept hitting people with them. Working the door ended up being nice, too, because I got to see all as they filtered in and the hallway serves as an almost safe haven for people that want to talk while the bands are playing.

My “rotting zombie” pumpkin won a prize in the pumpkin gallery (the “zombie” part being intentional, at least - yum!) and I sold two of my four pieces of artwork. I did the three of them specifically for the show:

The digital color is unfortunately over-simplified and flat. I had intended on shading them, but (of course) ran out of time. Regardless, they were fun to do and I intend on watercoloring the originals eventually since I put them on fancy paper. The cowboy is my personal favorite.

I took Friday off of my real job to spend the day writing. I’ve stored up some vacation days, and need to use them before the end of the year… not to mention I’d like to take advantage of the productive energy created by NaNoWriMo!