Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Two Exhibits and The Annual Halloween Waxing Poetic

Hope you're all well and as excited as I am to see short shorts and muscle shirts shelved for the season. I've got a lot to show this time, so pour a few fingers of something I wish I could afford and smoke em' if you got em.
If you've ever poured over the volumes of nonsense on this blog, you've probably noticed a higher concentration of work, and work I don't hate around Autumn. This year is par for the course. A few months back Mike Bukowski, Lovecraftian bestiary compiler and all-star illustrator, asked if I'd do a split show with Trevor Henderson, Canadian horror illustrator supremo, revolving around Halloween. I've always loved Mike's work, and even before my inclusion in Trevor's Lovecraft Art Zine Puffed Shoggoths, I had purchased some of his work as a Christmas present, so I had to say yes. Every year for quite a while now I've either curated a Halloween show, participated in one, or both, and this time it's been nice to just be able to kick back and create. I always wanted to do a Halloween solo show, but to produce the amount of work, and quality I'd want, I'd have to take off work and personal relationships for a few years; this arrangement is the perfect medium.
Each year for the holiday I take a concept off a dusty shelf and try to make the once piece I'll undoubtedly be happy with that year. They all hover around the nostalgic, and this years' came with a pre-established title; "At Least Let the Kids Have This". Below is the first concept sketch I did.   

From there I hashed out a composition sitting at a Waffle House in Cape May. I wanted something a little more personal for people to take away from this show than giclee prints, so I decided on a two-color screenprint, poster format. Below is the thumbnail and full-size sketch.

This one was a joy to ink, and I got to revisit characters from last years 'Better Shared With Friends' (which will also be in, and available at this upcoming show). I took most of my reference from an out-of-print Halloween photo book that has a great collection of plastic masks, which were coincidentally produced not far from here in Collegeville. Below is the color mock-up, but depending on the printing, it'll most certainly look a wee bit different. I haven't costed out the prints yet, but they'll be affordable, and extremely limited.

I've got a few other new pieces for this show, and of course, some old personal favorites. It's going to be an honor to be in this show, and it opens Friday the 13th of September, so coming won't drag you away from the fields or slaughter.

But wait! There's more! The Art Dept., a new gallery in Fishtown, asked Phantom Hand to curate a Literary themed show. The group is always looking for new walls to debase and new audiences to corrupt, so we jumped at the idea. The space is smaller, so expect a killer, more focused collection of work.
I wasn't sure what direction to head with this show. Open-ended themes always kill me so I pursued two ideas with different approaches. The first, which is the one I'm proud of, was homage to Edward Gorey, and his story 'The Object Lesson'. I was wary to carry this piece to finish for two reasons; 1) I'm a pretty big naysayer of 'fan-art', so I had to approach this one cautiously. Gorey is a big influence of mine, and I wanted that to be at the fore-front, but it had remain my work. I've seen way too many people fall flat on their faces and end up framing visual-masturbation, an exercise in another artist's hand. 2) For a second I feared people thinking less of the piece for choosing something illustrated, but then I remembered, I don't really fucking care what the viewer thinks. I'm happy with how it turned out. It was a solid week of inking, and the piece mirrored various things happening in my life the entire time I was working on it, so it's all the more near and dear to me.

The second approach; get shit-hammered at Atlantis; the Lost Bar with two illustrators I have the utmost respect for, and attempt likenesses of authors, judging my success by how quickly people on Instagram guess who it is. Below are the poorly photographed stink-fruits of my Kenzinger soaked labor.

Lined paper, drunk, in a dimly lit bar, with google images on an Iphone for reference; conditions couldn't have been worse. I decided to scan Poe and Dickens for prints. Considering the aforementioned, they don't look too bad.

So not this weekend but the next, come check out the newest addition to the 'changing every day' Frankford-corridor, and Phantom Hand's last scheduled exhibition for the season.

More soon folks, I promise.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wherever you may roam...

Hey folks,
Hope you're all well. I've got some big things coming up and as long as I don't shit the bed, I'll be posting some cool work on here in the coming months. In August, Phantom Hand has Leaving opening at Jinxed, followed by a literary show at The Art Dept. in Fishtown the first week of September. Later in the month, I'm doing a split solo show with Canadian madman Trevor Henderson at Grindcore House revolving around Halloween. About fucking time, right? Below is some brainstorming for that show.

Due in October, a page for a Little Nemo / Winsor McCay tribute book being put out by Locust Moon comics. The list of celebrity contributing artists is insane and if I can pull off a page of sequential format, something I've struggled with for a while, I'll be in print with big-wigs like Paul Pope and Bill Sienkiewicz. Check out the press-release HERE.

And in November I might be showing at Atlantis. I'll have more to show next time... promise...

Friday, May 31, 2013

Pure Black gets BLACKER!

Hey folks,
Hope you're all enduring the heat better than I am. Starting to enjoy getting back into posting on here regularly, even with my muse adventuring somewhere in the darker parts of the Orient. Some new work to put under your nose and some news items worth flipping our your calender for, be it google or analog.

Above is my first full illustration inking only with my newly acquired Pentel Pocket Brush. The inks and colors were given the same treatment as the piece I posted here last. Still on the fence about the Pentel and the digital texture, but I'm gonna let this be the summer of experimentation so fuck it.The imagery is an amalgamation of my love for Edward Gorey, the urge to do a children's book, and having the chance to watch greats like Tom Leonard, Bob Byrd, and Roger Roth work. If I ever spend an extended amount of time in the hospital I'm gonna devote my time to scratching this off my bucket-list, so look out Babar and Curious George... I'm coming for your throats and fancy head-ware.

More random doodles using the Pentel and a Rebecca Moss crowquill loaded with Noodlers' not fucking waterproof Habanero ink. Top left was a doodle in a good groove but I got cocky and jumped the shark. Not going to explain that one so don't ask. The Halloween images we tiny square studies. Think I might try doing some print/design/paper-goods for the joint Halloween show I'm doing with madman-Canadian Trevor Henderson at Grindcore House this fall. Bottom right is more angry ink.

Coming this June is the Phantom Hand exhibition Small Talk at Jinxed and if those words don't get you all hot and bothered something is wrong with your southern parts. The artist list includes some Phantom mainstays like my art-crush Edward Kelley (did the art above, James Heimer did the design) and some members who haven't participated since we had our gallery on South, as well as some new talent from around the city, and a few imported from out West. Not to toot my own horn, but the concept for this show is pretty badass:
"This June, Phantom Hand appeals to the voyeurs and people-watchers. Small Talk is an exploration of the awkward, forced, occasionally drunk, seemingly meaningless and yet necessary interactions we have with strangers every day. Participating artists will be asked to go out into the world - whatever bars, coffee shops, buses or dark alleys they may haunt - and sketch from life, maybe even eavesdrop and jot down snippets of conversation to be used in making of their final piece of artwork. Artists will be supplied with identical Field Notes brand memo-books to work in, and a page of this preliminary work will hang with each finished piece of art, both unifying the show and giving a rawer glimpse of the artists’ studies."
So I've got a few weeks to hammer out a few studies, do some eavesdropping, and get the final art done. I'm gonna be mad at myself (more than usual) if I don't make the most of this concept.

Last but certainly not least, David Rankin still has work up at Jinxed, and will until Small Talk. I highly recommend... no, I insist, go see these paintings before they get bought up, like the one I had intended to purchase. Got your plates by the way... I'm coming for my goddamn painting buddy. Get up on these things real close and soak in the bizarre texture, scratches, and gloss layers. The guys methods are enigmatic.  

More soon folks. And it's gonna be real messy. I promise.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Ho friends,

Weird huh? two blog posts this close together... I'll keep it brief; this is a personal piece, I'm not going to explain it, but if you've been following me on instagram (@sam_heimer), you got to see the process photos for this. I'm always looking for a new way to approach color, and this time it's pulled from a 1917 book cover illustrated by Bon.

The followup piece will be titled found and will be pretty much identical, with the addition of rowboats containing Julie, Manny, Allie, Ryan, Marrion, Monster, Jon, Jenny, Jeffro, Rog, and the counter girl at Federal Donuts.

More soon folks. Safe Harbor.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fading to Black and White

Corpse in Barbed-wire -Flanders

Hope you're all well. Things on my end have been odder than usual, but I've got bits and pieces to show for it, and I think in the long run, living out of the trunk of my car is going to make for some grungy-ass art in the next month or two.
The above is an Otto Dix etching from his book Der Kreig that's been sitting in the back of my head since I stumbled across it. While kicking around ideas for Phantom Hand's Last Meal exhibition I remembered bits and pieces from a documentary I watched on Chef Boyardee. Yeah, you heard that right. If you're unfamiliar with my source material, I highly recommend pouring over Dix's work. While the Boyardee story is interesting, I don't suggest going out for a can of beef-a-roni and walking down memory lane because you'll probably shit your pants mid stroll.

I really enjoyed brainstorming for this show, and really wish I had a few more weeks to work on it. Below was my first idea. I wanted something rough and grungy and yet loving from a distance. I showed this to a few dozen friends and asked "what current event is this?" Nobody guessed it. All I had to say was 'Bath Salts' and they got it immediately. If you didn't follow the story as avidly as I did, the only drug they found in his system was marijuana.

The opening went pretty well. A bad-ass member of the armed services who's been following Phantom Hand since the South Street location bought a fist-full of work from the show and coincidentally was in Baghdad with a dear friend of mine. The wall was solid and as usual, Phantom mainstays like Ed Kelley and Rob Leef stole the show.

I never got around to posting the rest of the work from The Dead Cats of Civilization so here's a double-dose of work for the Phantom. The following was the first piece I started for the show, working in a way I'm not accustomed to. It's a re-visioning of a past-master, but fuck if I can find the painting I was looking at. I was going to juxtapose a GPS screen over the map, but thought it'd just ruin the image. Think I might finish up a few parts and slap it on a greeting card with the words 'anywhere with you' on the interior. How's that for sugar-coated.

The pieces I ended up hanging revolved around my mortal enemy; religion. I didn't get to do the epic screen-print I wanted to from the start so this is what I ended up with. No Kings, No Gods, Only Man.

This past Saturday before making my way to Jinxed I stopped in UArts for an Artist Trading Cards session with the immensely talented Patch, Lomax and a bunch of high-school art students. Below is pretty much all I managed to crank out but it was a blast. UArts hasn't changed much; there's still a large, fucking awful painting hanging outside the library.

Lately I've managed to get back to one of my favorite past-times, the ol' drink and draw, with some of my favorite artists. If you run afoul me in a South Philly taproom, words aren't necessary, just pull up a chair, order a beer, and get doodling. It'll get intimate real fast. I promise.

In other news, the Lovecraft art-zine I'm in, Puffed Shoggoths, curated by the madman Trevor Henderson, reached and surpassed it's goal on Kickstarter, so it's going to print! Phantom Hand has two killer shows slated for June, I might have two split solo shows in the works, planning some big things for Halloween, and my latest mailer has been mailed bit by bit to craft-beer companies and I haven't heard shit.

Come find me in the bars of Philadelphia. Let's draw. You're buying.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Ghoul Goes West


Hope you've been well. First and foremost; sorry for the extended radio silence. A lot has happened since I last posted on here. I moved back to Philadelphia, we got Phantom Hand up and running again with residence at Jinxed and our first exhibition in less than a month from now, sent out a mailer, and have enough upcoming art-shows to keep me busy for a long while.

The following are details of doodles and inked pages that I'm still classifying as brain-storming for the aforementioned first Phantom Hand show back in action, The Dead Cats of Civilization.

I don't want to talk about this too much because I'm still not sure what I'm gonna end up taking to finish and putting up on the wall. I've been working on maps, religion, and the post office. Regardless of  what I end up squeezing out, this is going to be a tremendous show containing 35 of my favorite Philadelphia artists.

 Following this exhibition is Last Meal, with Group Therapy and others close on it's heels (and Halloween on the horizon!). Between that and hopefully some illustration work stemming from the mailer, this blog should be hot with activity going forward.

"I've done enough for it to give me the indisputable right to lay it, 
if I choose, for an everlasting rest in the dust-bin of progress, 
amongst all the sweepings and, figuratively speaking, 
all the dead cats of civilization."
                                                             -Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Phantom Hand presents an exhibition of the antiquated and obsolete. This collection will pay tribute to occupations, tools and practices now relegated to the 'dust-bin of progress'.
PHANTOM HAND presents  

The Dead Cats of Civilization at Jinxed
Opening Reception Saturday, March 16th 6:00PM-10:00PM
1050 N Hancock Street, Philadelphia
The Piazza at Schmitds