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.