Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Twisted," for Creative Tuesdays, with a bit of Occupy/Octopi/Chalktopi thrown in-- Several topics that get twisted in many ways

So, I've finished my "Creative Tuesdays" post early!  Posting now before I get held up with anything else.

The piece below I begun for an art show that thus far has been indefinitely postponed, but I'm glad I was finally motivated to finish it, all the same.  I'm quite interested to see what everyone else will come up with for the "Twisted" theme :-D  As Mister Toast said, you could go anywhere from dark and macabre  to doughnuts with this one.  Perhaps someone will combine those two?  In any case!  

My piece is called "A Peaceful Chalk-topi."  On a literal level, I felt that the main cephalopod character has extraordinarily limber limbs.  Lucky for him, he can move his eight legs in almost any direction he desires, and thus, he has the ability to keep himself fairly "twisted" at all times, as he is doing below.

Apart from the Octopus and his legs, there are other reasons I am submitting this piece for the theme of "Twisted."  Topical reasons, which are a bit quieter now, but were much more spoken of this past summer.  I'll write those below the link to Creative Tuesdays-- I'm forewarning everyone it's a bit of a read, and touches upon a lot of different things.  So, no worries if it is too much!  I definitely understand wanting to focus on images rather than words.

And for anyone who wants to submit to this theme of "Twisted" for Creative Tuesdays, your submission is due on March twelfth, and the link you can use to submit is below:

Okay.  Now, onto the longer portion of the blog.  You've been forewarned, and may escape now if you need!  :-p

In Downtown Los Angeles, there's an Arts District that has openings across the district once a month, the second Thursday of the month.  Some months back, things got pretty crazy on art-walk night.  Actually, I happened to be passing through Downtown to catch the bus home, and inadvertently walked through the area which ultimately became a riot.  

 I don't want to go on about it, past explaining the story/how I think this relates to the overall theme of "twisted," because the entire Occupy conversation is one that polarizes people (and I prefer not to have fighting or unhappiness on Facebook, my blog, and so on; thank God this Interwebz stuff wasn't around when I was a teen and tween and I myself had no filter; but onward). 

Suffice it to say-- communication became rather "twisted" that night, which lead to the perfect storm of events.  People who were pro-Occupy were silently drawing pictures, and writing messages, on the sidewalk.  Riot police were sent over to watch what they were doing.  It became tense, and very uncomfortable-- I actually walked through at this point, but was rushing for my bus when I saw a large number of policemen in riot gear.  At the time, I had no idea what was happening, but knew if I stopped to watch there was a good chance I wouldn't make my bus.  And potentially worse.

News outlets covered it better than I can, but from what I read/what I heard from people who were actually there-- apparently drawing on the sidewalk was then said not to be legal, despite the fact that people had done so before at the art-walks, and no law enforcement/others had complained when it was not drawings or words of an Occupy message.  Hence the policemen/uncomfortable tension between them and the artists doing a silent "chalk-upy."  

However, despite some people thinking it was the artists/police who initially got into it, it seems that a third party-- some people who came to art walk mostly to drink/party/enjoy the good time (regardless of being patrons of the arts or not) were already pretty drunk by that point.  And, they then started fights with the law enforcement.  Chaos broke out between everybody, and anyone needing to pass through Downtown/get into their apartment there couldn't because it was a full scale riot, and artists who were exhibiting/vending that night did not have the best results, given all the craziness.

While I know many people have a problem with the Occupy movement, I think there is a lot of communication about it that gets "twisted."  I think the heart of the movement, with people who are being reasonable and want change-- a return to small business, and accountability for unfair corruption of big businesses, at the expense of most people-- is noble.  I support that.  I think that art and protests are ways that people in America have been able to express themselves forever, and that shouldn't change.  Unfortunately, I think that there are probably corruptions that many people are not privy to (which is "twisted," in many ways), which makes positive change more challenging. I also think communication gets extraordinarily "twisted," especially with people being so passionate about the many things going on in the world, and with people having opposing viewpoints.  

But one thing that I do not think should get distorted or "twisted," is something like an art-walk-- yes, some of it is to let loose and party, but for people who work as gallerists/illustrators/artists/something creative, those openings and afternoon through night long events are more than that.  It's the way many people make their livelihoods, and it's also many people's lifebloods and passions.  So, in the spirit of not losing sight of that, I think that Occupiers and Non-Occupiers should come together, enjoy the evening of creativity, and leave their differences at the door.  At least to the point where physical altercations/chaos/tear-gas doesn't have to be involved.   

The piece I did, obviously by now I suppose, was originally for a show whose theme was on "Octopi L.A."  The pun on Occupy/Octopi has been made frequently, and after the events of this past summer that I described above, a friend of mine who is a curator wanted to put a show together.  It's on indefinite hold, as I said-- but I knew when I made something for it, that I wanted it to focus on camaraderie, peace, and friendship.  So, the little girl is helping her protester Octopus friend-- and a bus with some more cephalopods are driving by; perhaps going all the way from DTLA to El Monte.  It's up to interpretation, but-- overall, I hope the point that comes across is peace, support, and love, and the right to state what you feel if you do not think something is fair.

Art-walk has been peaceful since, which is great.  Definitely hoping it stays that way.  I support peaceful art-making and gallery-going.  In any case, many thanks to those who made it this far in a very long blog, and thank you for reading my thoughts on friendly, peaceful, chalk-artist cephalopods.  Hopefully, these musings on the theme of "Twisted" were entertaining to you, and please come back for Mister Toast's weekly Creative Tuesdays challenges!

Here's the link to his blog overall:

Thanks for reading, and hope everyone has a great night.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

"Silhouettes," for Sunday Postcard Art

Hello, everyone!

I discovered this blog through Linda Dots and Doodles, who is a regular contributor to "Creative Tuesdays" over at

Her work is always wonderfully designed (great characters) and very colorful, and I was very taken with her flapper kitty!  Which was how I discovered the Sunday Postcard Art site:

In any case, from what I can tell and read, the only strict requirement to participate is that your card measure four by six inches.  So, I am submitting a piece to your challenge. I hope that is okay, and hello to everyone at Sunday Postcard Art!  *Sends a friendly virtual wave*  If I need to do any editing, please let me know.  I posted after this was finished, technically not on Sunday, so, oopsie.  If it's too late, I will post then next time.

The above is a four by six postcard I made digitally from a comic story I did for an anthology.  The postcard I made digitally; the original piece was done with ink and marker, with some lettering being by hand and some lettering being digital.

Silhouettes appear off and on throughout the story, sort of in a foreshadowing way and to set the downbeat tone of what happens in the climax.  It was a lot of fun to work with silhouettes, because while they can be romantic, they can also be foreboding.  I aimed for both, with the many times they came about in the original.  When I found Sunday Postcard Art, I was especially intrigued by this theme in particular.  Silhouettes are in some ways simple, but very iconic and perfect for story communication-- if a character is clearly able to be made out in silhouette form, that can sometimes be even more powerful than a drawing where every single feature is shown.

In any case, I look forward to reading everyone's work on Sunday Postcard Art!  And I hope my popping into this challenge via hearsay is okay.

To end this, I'll include some links.

First, I'll link to Sunday Postcard Art, for anyone else interested!

Some time ago, I wrote a longer blog entry for an Inspiration Avenue challenge that shows the actual page I made the above postcard from, and that can be found here:

And I actually just taught a lesson on the importance of silhouettes to some cartooning students I instruct at an afterschool program!  Below is the link to their lesson recap, as well as work samples:

Thanks much for reading, and good wishes for the week ahead to everyone!

Friday, February 22, 2013

"Whisper" for Illustration Friday

Valentine's Day has come and gone, but here is a romantic card I made for the occasion and had for sale at the Anaheim A.C.E. (Art Crawl Experience!), which is a quarterly art event down in the O.C.  More info at the end of this blog entry.

As far as I.F. goes, the scene shown is a romantic and playful "whisper," from a girl telling her guy a secret.  The throes of puppy love.  Or is it "beary" young love, given the teddies?

I love teddy bears and puppies, so I can't decide which to choose.  So.  I'll just hope these two characters are having a "beary" "doggone" fun time.

Okay, that was too much :-p  But here are some links:

To see other Valentine's Day, and/or Romantic Cards at my site, please go to:

To submit to the "Whisper" topic of "Illustration Friday" this week, please go to:

And for anyone in the O.C. area, check out the A.C.E.!  It's a fun event I'd recommend as both a craft vendor and an attendee.

And, for anyone curious to see peeks of the event, below are some photos taken by a very talented photographer named Maurice Turner.
That's all for now, and hope everyone is having a good evening!  For anyone who enjoys being sketchy (in the drawing manner of the term), hoping that you are getting lots done in the spirit of #FridayNightArtDorks.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Creative Tuesdays and "Voyage"

So, here's the C.T. post for "Voyage," for the newest blog challenge!

I usually am almost a hundred percent non-digital, with the scope of my photo-editing capabilities being very basic sizing, coloring, and contrast-ing things, but for this piece I payed around with a few different effects on top of the hand-drawn part, and settled on this one for the eerie nighttime/potentially lightning-y and bad-weather feel to it.

These girls are on a "voyage," with their trusty kitties.  One who wants to feel the breeze of the ocean way up high, and the other who is content to nestle against her human.  Their trusty Duck-Boat watches their shenanigans, but transports them across the waves nonetheless.  No matter what kind of weather or how late at night, Duck-Boat dutifully does his job.

So, if you too want to go on the "Voyage" of delving into the Mister Toast challenges (which I promise are fun!), make sure you board the ship by February Twenty-Sixth!

The submission section for "Voyage" is here:

Thanks for reading, and safe travels, everyone.

Friday, February 15, 2013

"Wool" For Illustration Friday (As well as talk of Flyers and L.A.'s Dum Dum Zine!)

A proper blog recap with words and images?  Say it isn't so!  Well, it's Friday Friday (remember that 2011 tune?), and up early, I am trying to start the day off productively and right.  So, here's an I.F. post with some musings.

For this theme of "wool," I'm submitting an ink drawing of a punk and a scholar.  Who is who?  Well, each character is a bit of Column A and a bit of Column B.  And the "wool" comes into play with the punk/scholar on the left, who is wearing a tweed wool coat.  (To be fair, the White Rabbit's coat seems wool most of the time, but here he's wearing leather-- along with other punky changes to his attire).

I made this image for a flyer contest sposored by a very cool publication, entitled Dum Dum Zine!  They are an alt-lit magazine online, in print, and sometimes even in audio.  Below is the image of my entire flyer.

Below is a link to Dum Dum Zine's site, showcasing my flyer, as well as two other awesome flyers.  The point of each of them was to advertise the Dum Dum Zine Issue 3 Release party-- where the issue theme was Punks and Scholars-- and I think between fancy well dressed kitties, punk-girl (Alice) and the White Rabbit, and the epic illustration of girls having the dialogue, ""You don't give a Rhodes scholar a lobotomy!," everyone had a fun interpretation of the theme.

And while we are on links, here is the link to Illustration Friday if you want to submit between today and next week for the theme of "wool!"

Now back to Dum Dum!

I had the pleasure of meeting the publishers at the L.A. Art Book Fair, where I picked up their inaugural zine about cities.  I enjoyed all of the pieces, but particularly enjoyed two: first, the story by Liska Jacobs titled, "A Conversation Between a Man and a Woman at Peet's Coffee and Tea."  

It's a conversation I believe I have heard before-- in fact, I know I've been in that same situation (people-watching, and observing a very uncomfortable dynamic between a couple), and Dum Dum Zine's author Jacobs captures this perfectly:

"Who are these people?
Am I one of them?
The sun is warm on my shoulders; my iced tea is cold... He looks like a predator. He looks like every father who leaves a wife and gets a tan. He has a sharpish look to him, ratty. I don’t like it.
I want to tell him to run, too. She doesn’t know any better. She’s afraid to be alone. She tricks him even now... shakes her head, creases her brow, pretends to have unassailable morals."

Read Liska's entire piece here:
 I also really enjoyed writer and publisher Taleen Kalenderian's piece, "How To Leave Cities."  Having lived on either side of this nation, as well as briefly overseas for college, I know all too well the lure of wanting to escape to and from places, and how there is no miracle fix for everything.  As Taleen well puts it, on how to leave a city:
"First things first, be: (a) homesick,
(b) dissatisfied,
(c) desperate,
(d) unemployed,
(e) all of the above.

Decide, whether or not this is actually true, that your set of friends, family, peers, and opportunities in a shin new city will fix this ugly assortment of problems/state of being/identity crisis."
 Read the rest of Taleen's piece here-- it's beautiful, and I personally related to it-- I think anyone who's ever moved, near or far, will as well.

Two weekends ago was the LABF, where I met the Dum Dum peeps.  This past weekend on Saturday was Long Beach's BULLDOG BEAUTY PARADE (Caps all mine; I am insane for wrinkled furry friends) in the morning, and then the Anaheim Art Crawl Experience (ACE) in the eve.  It was lots of fun-- so many great things happening in February!  This weekend I'm excited for the L.A. Zine Fest.  
So, to show my appreciation and gratitude for all these artsy and indie-publishing-y things... as well as my love of BULLDOG BEAUTY... and, to return to the original I.F. theme of wool-- I close this entry with a photo of myself (clad in a wool sweater), hugging a friend I made last Saturday at the parade named Bubba.

On that note, signing off, and hope everyone has a creative and productive day today, as well as weekend upcoming!  Thanks for reading.

P.S.  For no good reason at all this is on both Blogspot and Tumblr, so here is a link to that in case anyone prefers T to B:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pin-Up Progress Post

More on what was posted for the last I.F. entry-- colors and designs (and so many curves) being added as we speak...