I smell evening campfires, a crisp bite in the air, and orange "pumpkin spice" juice being dumped into coffees all over the city. Which means Summer hiatus is over and its back to the Sewing Table for me.
My Etsy shop is back open and there's some fun new treats in there! I'll also be ading all new critters over the next few weeks, so cehck back for some one-of-a-kind monsters.
(And, probably, all those Amigurumi I've been teasing about for the last year. They're all getting their faces finished and photographed soon!)
We're barely feeling it in Chicago - in fact we're still in coats and sweaters some days. But still - today the sun was out and people took to the patios and lake, and it's been a good day.
I'm fresh back from a short vacation up to the northern woods of Wisconsin. Walleye were caught (and eaten), Old Fashioned's were sipped (whiskey-sour-fruit), and I got through a few more chapters of the book I'm reading (The Bar Book, by Morganthaler).
And after a short week back at the day-job, the ol' brain is feeling a little clearer and it's back to art work for me.
While I'm working on the next few drawings and things, I've added some of my more recent work to my 2D shop.
You can check 'em out along with some other goodies here:
Here's a quick smash-through of what I've been up to the last couple months...
In March me and some of the ON!D crew participated in a live-painting event at the glamorous SOHO House Chicago
It was super fancy.
With super-fancy cocktails.
It was an eight-hour event, which I think is the longest 'drink&draw' live-painting thing I've ever done. Definitely a great way to spend a weekend!
A couple days before that I was also live-painting, but in a slightly lower-brow setting at the Green Eye. I was a panelist at Atomic Sketch - something I've always wanted to do! And I shared the table with my friend Shayne, and a bunch of other rad artists.
Even sold a thing or too - enough to cover the cost of beer anyway.
Speaking of Drinking & Drawing
Somewhere in there, Max and I were passed the management duties for the Chicago Chapter of the Drink & Draw Social Club - so that's been fun. We're doing monthly events at venues small and large, for the rest of the year. Max drew this thing here for an event we did at Geek Bar, teaming up with the Chicago MST3K Group during their screening of "Werewolf". Good times.
And then we went on a (very) quick vacation to the beach (it snowed)
And then we ran to Kalamazoo to see
Neutral Milk Hotel
Which was an unbelievably wonderful experience.
The day after that concert we came tearing back to Chicago, because we were both panelists on
"Beer & Comics"
This C2E2 panel was actually a live recording of the "Strange Brews" Podcast, where we shared the mic with reps from Revolution Brewery, Arcade Brewery, and 3Floyds Brewery.
We explained the value of a good Drink & Draw and what Draw Until You Puke is all about, and drank a bit of Revolution's new "Fist City" beer.
And - handed out these bitchin' zines that I made.
These "Beer & Comic" zines feature local Chicago Drink&Draw-ers that we've met in the last few months.
Shortly after all that, we tabled at Chicago Zine Fest!
Where we sold a whole bunch of our dumb stuff.
So much cutting and stapling.
I made a new sketchbook zine for the event, called Mustache Bug. It pulls together some of my favorite sketches since I moved to the city.
Everyone was pretty upset about the cover image, which you can understand if you're from Chicago.
Another fun Chicago activity - entering the Arcade Brewery "Public Brew" contest.
I did one of these last Winter, where I tried my hand at digital art. For this round I decided to go more hands-on and did the whole thing in watercolor.
While I didn't make the cut, I'm happy to have a design that I really like and feel is pretty solid. It's a tough and fast competition!
Getting a new piece ready for a group show, opening in July. Giant soft-sculpture commission about half-way complete. Online shop update coming as soon as I can finish off some of the little bitey jerks lingering on my sewing table.
And every day working in this big crazy building.
And every day looking for what's next, in the beat-up pages of my sketchbook.
I'll have some links soon to where you can get copies of these Zines and things!
In the meantime, if you're interested you can take a peek at my Patreon page, where I have all sorts of fun ways to bring home some of this fun stuff.
This mischievous serpent was created for a new exhibition, opening April 11 at Distinction Gallery:
The Nightmare in Wonderland Project
This show collects work from artists all across the globe, to celebrate the work of Tim Burton.
When creating a piece for a Tim Burton tribute show the initial burst of inspiration is almost overwhelming. In order to start working, I focused on a simple flow:
Surprise - Delight - Temptation - Horror
Tim Burtons' ability to charm in one breath and terrify in the next is one of the aspects I find most appealing in his films. While I was sketching out my initial ideas for this piece, I was inspired the most by Burton's 1982 film Hansel and Gretel.
Burton's Hansel and Gretel is a true nightmare - disturbing and yet completely engaging. Burton's formula for terror is drawn out through this familiar tale: a dreamlike surprise, which delights us and draws us in. Temptation follows, and we're lost in exploring something new, sweet, sticky… And then we're caught. And then the horror really begins.
Detail: heavy hand-beading glistens under the serpent's coils.
He seems to be oozing something saccharine, perhaps to lure you in closer… a little closer...
12" x 6" x 5"
Wool and wire, with beading details
Back is finished with cotton fabric and embroidered signature.
Exhibiting Artists include: Andy Kehoe, Ania Tomicka, Atsuko Goto, Bill Carman, Calvin Ma, Clementine De Chabaneix, Domenico Scalisi, Dorote Zaukaite, Dan May, Elisa Anfuso, Heather Nevay, Ixie Darkonn, Jon Jaylo, Julie Filipenko, Kukula, Lana Crooks, Leila Ataya, Leslie Ditto, Lola Gil, Mark Elliott, Mark Kostabi, Matt Dangler, Melissa Sue, Naoto Hattori, Natalie Shau, Paul Barnes, Ray Caesar, Roby Dwi, Antono Ross Jaylo, Scott Radke, Susanne Apgar, Tasha Zimich (artist and project assistant), Victor Castillo, Yoko d’Holbachie and more!
And Here you can watch the video created for the event
"A Nightmare is a misunderstood dream we may not share, out of fear of ruining it. This project pays tribute to the creative process of bringing beauty out from our nightmares. The artists in this project have paid a silent tribute to one of the greatest directors of our time, who has embodied and embraced the beauty of the nightmare on screen. Their work speaks of this visionary artist secretly, just as nightmares are spoken of silently in wonder and awe.” -Ixie Darkonn
This new succulent beastie is having an adventure in Seattle!
I'm thrilled to have this piece on display alongside the work of so may other talented female artists, at Ghost Gallery this month.
"BELL JAR features 24 local & national artists working with the ever-iconic cloche vessel. Mixed media work will be encapsulated in these seemingly fragile yet protective environments, portraying varying levels of sentimentality, experimentation and personal narratives. Viewers will be able to interpret for themselves the meaning of these miniature worlds, organic forms, conceptual objects and occasionally suffocating compositions, presented by a diverse group of women from across the country."
Hand-sewn soft sculpture, wool & wire inside glass bell jar
Last week, amid all the usual chaos, I finished my oil study of Natanya.
This is the painting I started last month, at the 3-day burlesque modeling session at Stvdio480.
Overall I'm happy with how it turned out. There's some things I'd do differently, and there's some things I know I need to focus more on as I get back to life drawing
(hands, for instance. ugh.)
Because it was a study, and really supposed to be completed at the studio, I left a few things unfinished and instead focused the final painting on demonstrating the lessons I picked up from the experience.
And then I framed her up and took her over to the Fulton Street Collective space, where she's hanging now as part of the current exhibit:
~a celebration of Chicago's burlesque performers & models~
The show runs through March 12
Day Three (last day in the studio with model)
Making time this year to do these oil paintings has really been fantastic.