Alice Cooper Band | Acrylic & oil on wood with tooled metal
...or the longest post in Drawger history.
The last month has been a whirlwind of activity--one that's been filled with art, music and fun. At the top of the list was the completion of a project I've been working on for a while, the 26th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies, for which I was commissioned to create the official portraits. There were eight inductees this year: the Alice Cooper Band, Tom Waits, Dr John, Darlene Love, Neil Diamond, Leon Russell, Art Rupe of Specialty Records fame, and Jac Holzman, the founder of Elektra/Nonesuch Records. It was a dream job for a guy like me, and the best part was attending the formal ceremony/dinner/concert at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC on March 14th.
We got to meet Alice, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, Neil Smith, and of course the python, as well as Dr John, Darlene Love and a host of others, including Rob Zombie, who did the introduction for the Alice Cooper Band. The room was filled with legends: Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Judy Collins, John Mayer, Neil Young, Bob Geldof, Paul Shafer, Bette Midler, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and of course Jann Wenner, who was the host for the evening. We finished the evening at a private party downstairs where we also got to meet Jac Holzman, a legend in the business who signed the Doors, Iggy and the Stooges, and Queen, to name just a few. We rolled in to our hotel room around 4am, glowing from a great night.
Top to bottom, left to right: Dr John; Neil Diamond; Darlene Love; Leon Russel; Art Rupe; Jac Holzman
Top to bottom, left to right: Alice's python; Alice and the band; Me & Dr John; Janice and Paul Shafer;Tom Waits performing; Elton John and Leon Russell
We returned home to Austin just in time for the kickoff of South by Southwest's (SXSW) Music Festival, one of the biggest music industry events in the world, and one that just happens to go on in our backyard. Over 2000 bands from all over the world converge on downtown Austin for 4 days of nonstop music on practically every corner. In fact, Jack White set up on the street outside Frank's Hot Dogs for an impromptu performance:
The Strokes also played a free show on Auditorium Shores, just across the river, and literally steps away from our house we caught the Meat Puppets at the Waterloo Records stage, tearing through an amazing version of "Lake of Fire":
For a few days, the city becomes a giant festival, with interactive, film, and music freaks mingling and partying together--sort of a Mardi Gras meets Burning Man meets the TED Conference, with beer & BBQ thrown in the mix.
And this year we were able to catch Drawger's own Josh Carpenter (Zimm's computer wiz & man behind the curtain) who was here playing with Floating Action. We put the band up for a night at our place and caught their showcase on Friday night. They were off early the next morning for the next destination on their tour, but we got a little bit of hang-out time while they were here and it was great to see them play again.
Floating Action: Seth Kauffman, Josh Carpenter, Brian Landrum, and Mark Capon
Now I'm back in the studio, easing into the quiet, solitary life of an illustrator again. It's been a entertaining month, but I'm ready for my regular routine. Big thanks to Tim & Elizabeth O'Brien for the hospitality while we were in the city, and to Chris & Heidi for treating us like royalty at the Summit.
The final art, and the initial sketch (done in pencil, ink, watercolor and gouache)
A few years back, the great Tim O'Brien won the Hamilton King Award--considered the industry's most prestigious, and one that honors both an individual piece and a life's work. He wrote eloquently about the surprise he felt in having his name announced at the Editorial & Book opening--the first time the Society of Illustrators had made that announcement at the exhibit (in the past, it was always announced at the President's Dinner in June). It was fun to read his thoughts on how he approaches expectations in his career, preparing himself for disappointment so that happy surprises remain just that: Happy. Those thoughts rang true to me when I read them, as I tend to do the same in my own life. "It'll never happen, so just keep pushing forward." I must have some Irish in me.
I hadn't planned on making this year's Editorial & Book opening myself, as I was honored to receive a medal this year in the Uncommissioned category and as a result used up my allotted NYC travel budget in January. We're also in the midst of having some minor construction done in the room above my studio, so I felt like I needed to stick close to home and keep an eye on things. In fact, I was painting with the headphones on to drown out the noise of hammers last week when Anelle Miller and Kate Feirtag at the Society of Illustrators called, but they left a message. In character, I assumed my work for the Editorial Show hadn't arrived or was damaged by shippers in transit, so I quickly gave them a ring. When I got them on the phone, they gave me the surprise of a career: I'd been awarded the 2011 Hamilton King Award. It was a call I never thought I'd receive, but one I couldn't be prouder to have gotten.
My introduction to illustration was indirect: I'd gotten a BA in Art History and a BFA in Printmaking, with no really clear idea of how any of this might translate into a life of drawing and painting--I just followed my heart (and my nose). Like most students, I experimented with everything, and illustration was just one of the many ways I considered moving forward in my artistic life. It was in that crucial period that I discovered the Society of Illustrators Annual books, the oldest and most acclaimed of the annual competitions and one that was filled with a range of work that gave me a clearer picture of what illustration was and could be. What all that work had in common was its commitment to excellence. It was a revelation to me, because it showed me that illustration wasn't some ephemeral artform, but something that demanded my craft, my intellect, my passion, and my voice. The SI Annual raised the bar for what a career as an illustrator might offer, and what I'd need to bring to it.
So receiving the news last week about this award was at once a proud and a humbling moment. The selection is made by former recipients of the Hamilton King, and that list of names is a Who's Who of artists I've been in awe of since I first opened the pages of the Annual. That they'd consider adding my name to that list is truly the highest honor I can imagine, and celebrating it with friends and colleagues seemed like the only fitting way to receive it. I hopped on a plane Thursday and flew up for the ceremonies Friday. I'm still floating on air.
The piece that received this award, "Himmelblick", was one of two in the Uncommissioned category, and the one for which I also received this year's Gold Medal. I did the initial sketches for "Himmelblick" on a train trip to Paris this summer, and snapped a photo of it in progress on the shaky table in front of me (with beer in bkg for inspiration).
I also have three pieces in the Editorial & Book show which I've posted below. Many thanks to all the art directors and clients who've commissioned me to work on projects for them this year, and to the jurors who saw fit to include these in this year's exhibits.
Blind Wille Johnson | AD: TJ Tucker | Texas Monthly
Selena | AD: TJ Tucker | Texas Monthly
Nashville Chrome | AD: Patrick Barry | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
"Himmelblick" | Acrylic & oil on wood panel | 10" x 10"
Artists, writers, philopsophers, and average Joes have always pondered what lies beyond this life: Heaven? Hell? Nothing? It's a question as old as mankind. So when Monte Beauchamp of BLAB! invited me to be a part of an exhibit he was curating in Los Angeles on the theme "The Afterlife", I was immediately intrigued. The piece above was my contribution to this exhibit of self-generated works at Copro Gallery in Los Angeles.
This Friday night, January 7th, at 6pm, the Society of Illustrators will open the first of it's three-part Annual Exhibition "Illustrators 53", featuring Sequential & Uncommissioned work. I'm honored to have two pieces in this part of the exhibit, including the one above--and I'm doubly honored to be receiving a Gold Medal for it.
"Flight" | Acrylic & oil on watercolor paper mounted on board | 24" x 24"
The second piece was created for "Earth: Fragile Planet", a curated exhibit that ran earlier this year at the SI gallery in NY. I'm proud to have it back there, and look forward to the opening on Friday. Hope to see you there!
Friday, January 7th, 2011
Refreshments 6:00pm Awards Presentation 7:00pm | Cash bar open until midnight
128 East 63rd Street (between Park & Lexington Avenues)
New York, NY 10065
Exhibition January 5 - January 22 | Tues 10 - 8, Wed - Fri 10 - 5, Sat 12 - 4 | 212.838.2560
The opening reception will be held on Friday, June 4, 2010 at 6:00 pm. Refreshments will be served, and a cash bar will be open until midnight. Suggested donation: $10.00. More details on the show are below:
EARTH: Fragile Planet is a nine week exhibit showcasing 120 of the world’s most accomplished illustrators, giving them a forum to set forth their personal views about the state of the world and the environment. Divided into five categories: earth, energy, air, water, and wildlife, the exhibit consists of multi-media works including original art in both traditional and digital medium, video, 3D, and comics. The exhibit is curated by Greg Manchess and Jack Unruh with assistance from Tara Jacoby and Kate Feirtag.
The Society has reached out to Global Water Challenge, a coalition of 24 leading organizations in the water and sanitation sector committed to achieving its collective vision of universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation. An online donation site has been created for the public to make donations and 100% of proceeds raised will go to GWC and their projects.
Society of Illustrators | 128 E. 63rd St. | New York | NY | 10065 | 212.838.2560
Once again, my contribution to the Haiti benefit show "100 Heads for Haiti" that Dave Plunkert at SPUR Design has organized to benefit Doctors Without Borders GOAL: $10,000
Original Art and a Group Poster print will be sold at the gallery, pieces will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. The remaining pieces & posters that do not sell at the gallery event will be available for purchase online for one month after the opening. Original Art: $100 (plus tax) Two piece maximum per customer. Group Poster: $50 (plus tax)
Participating Artists Include:
Ronald J. Cala
Chris Silas Neal
Well-Match Lovers | 14" x 28" | Acrylic & oil on wood panel
BLAB! A Retrospective opens tonight at the Society of Illustrators. I created this piece, titled "Well-Matched Lovers", a few years back for Monte, and it will be part of the exhibition. Wish I could be there for the opening! BLAB! A Retrospective opens at 6pm Friday, March 26th at the Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators in NYC,128 East 63rd Street, New York City
"Bergotte" | Acrylic & oil on paper | 11.5" x 19.5"
I'll be showing work at Blank Space Gallery in NYC as part of a 3 person show Fall, In Love, with artists Tanya Bell and Linda Lee Nicholas. The opening reception is Thursday, November 19th, 6-8pm, but the work will be up starting this Thursday, the 12th, and will run through December 5th.
BLANK SPACE Gallery | 511 West 25th Street Suite 204 | New York, NY 10001 | 212.924.2025
Also, I have 10 new drawings in the group show Secret Drawing Society, at the Croft Gallery here in Texas, November 3-28th. Old friends and outlaw artists the Amazing Hancock Brothers curated the show, and have work in as well. Check 'em out.
"Pale Horse", 28" x 14", Acrylic & oil on wood panel
If you're in LA this weekend, make it out for this show on Saturday—should be amazing! THE 5th ANNUAL BLAB! SHOW
August 8th - 29th, 2009
OPENING RECEPTION: August 8th, 8:00-11:30 pm
Copro Gallery and Monte Beauchamp proudly present "THE BLAB! SHOW," the fifth Group Art Exhibition featuring original paintings and illustrations from the forthcoming issue of BLAB! magazine - Monte Beauchamp's periodic anthology of sequential and comic art, illustration, painting, and printmaking.
Artists include: JOE SORREN, ALEX GROSS, MARK RYDEN, SHAG, JEFF SOTO, RYAN HESHKA, FEMKE HEIMSTRA, GARY BASEMAN, GEORGANNE DEEN, KRIS KUKSI, GARY TAXALI, ANDY KEHOE, TRAVIS LAMPE, JEAN-PIERRE ROY, SPAIN, XNO, JOHN POUND, FRED STONEHOUSE, MARC BURCKHARDT, DAVIS SANDLIN, KATHLEEN LOLLY, ANDREW BRANDOU, CALEF BROWN, SOFIA ARNOLD, MARK TODD. DHOLBACHIE-YOKO, KEVIN SCALZO, LARRY DAY, MARK GARRO, MICHAEL NOLAND, ANDREA DEZSO AND TERESA JAMES.
COPRO GALLERY (at Bergamot Station)
2525 Michigan Ave #T5, Santa Monica, CA 90404
p 310-829-2156 | email@example.com www.copronason.com
I'll be showing some new paintings at the Silas Marder Gallery in Bridgehampton, NY as part of BIG SHOW 4.The opening reception is Saturday May 30th, 4-8pm, so if you're in the area, I hope you'll take a look.
A few months back, Tony Larsen at Euro RSCG contacted me to work with him on a project that involved subject matter I couldn't pass up: hot sauce and devils. Frank's Hot Sauce is spicy stuff, and Tony wanted to convey the heat of the product in a visual straight out of hell. Since Bosch was unavailable, I stepped in to fill the bill.
The piece is one of a number of images that were accepted into this year's SI Advertising & institutional Exhibit, which I'll be traveling up to NY for this Friday, so I hope to see many of you there. Below are several other works that were accepted into various categories of the annual as well. And in case you've forgotten the details:
The Society of Illustrators 51st Annual Advertising & Institutional Show
Refreshments 6:00PM / Awards Presentation 7:00PM / Cash bar open until midnight, Friday, March 6th
128 EAST 63RD STREET, NEW YORK CITY
Tickets $30 MEMBERS $35 NON-MEMBERS
KEVIN@societyilustrators.org or call 212 838 2560
MARCH 4th through MARCH 28th
Serbin Communications | Spur Design :Putting Your Best Face Forward, (gold medal)
Von Dutch 1 portrait for Murphy Design
Von Dutch 2 portrait for Murphy Design
Babe Ruth, for Major League Baseball | All-Star program
"American Thoroughbred", Acrylic & oil on wood panel
Never was there a more appropriately timed show.
On Thursday, October 2, from 6-8pm there will be an opening at the Art Students League of New York for the exhibit "Art From Anxious Times". While the works in the show draw on a variety of subjects, their common ground is the unsettled world we live in. Artists in the show are:
Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery
The Art Students league of New York
215 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
Last night—and well into this morning— the 79th All Star game was played at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. If it seemed like they didn't want to wrap it up, you could understand: This was the last All Star game to be held in the fabled House That Ruth Built, as it'll be replaced by the time the 2009 season opens. With it goes a cathedral of baseball, and 85 years of American history.
I didn't get to the game—it would have been a tough commute from Austin—but I was honored to play a small part in the experience the folks who did make it there had: the portrait of Babe Ruth above was commissioned by Major League Baseball for last night's All Star game program. I have to admit I was both honored and a bit intimidated by the task, given the special place both the Babe and Yankee Stadium hold in the hearts of fans.
Here are three new paintings I have in " Big Show 3" at Silas Marder gallery in Bridegehampton, NY May 17-June 22. All three are small (8" x 10" on wood panel) in keeping with the format of this annual show. There'll be 50 different artists exhibiting, each with three panels, and the opening will be 5-8pm Saturday, May 17th. If you're in the area, come take a look.
I did this one a few years back for TJ at Texas Monthly, and it remains one of my favorites
Down here we have a slogan: "Keep Austin Weird." Nothing and no one embodies that spirit of off-kilter mellowness more than our own Willie Nelson, who turns 75 today. Tonight, KGSR FM is broadcasting a birthday celebration for Willie that includes Patty Griffin, Bob Schneider and Alejandro Escovedo, so tune in, light up, and wish Willie many weird birthdays to come.
Here's the beautiful cover of this month's Texas Monthly, shot by Platon and designed by the great TJ Tucker. Hats off to them both, and to editor Evan Smith for allowing a cover this nice to go out into the world without the clutter of type.
Just finished this piece for Art Basel Miami, which I'm participating in as part of the KNOW Art Books Exhibition. If you happen to be there December 6-9, then drop in and see the work. There'll be pieces there by Jordin Isip, P-Jay Fidler, Kathie Olivas, Chris Pyle, Jeff Soto, Mark Todd & Esther Watson, Joel Nakamura and many others. The place to be is:
Claremont Hotel No. 215 1700 Collins Avenue (17th St) Miami Beach : FL December 6 – 9 : 2007 10 am - 8 pm
On Friday, December 7th, the Society of Illustrators will have an opening reception for "Phil Hays: Artist & Mentor", with an outstanding collection of work that spans the career of this phenomenal artist and teacher, whose work influenced a generation of illustrators. I can't say enough good things about Phil—he was a genuinely gifted teacher, one who found the light in his students and fostered the best in all of them. He was a personal mentor in my career whom I owe a great artistic debt to, and I know there's an army of fellow artists who feel the same. If you're in the NY area, don't miss this show, running through the 29th of December.
A number of people contributed pieces to this show, but the bulk of the collection comes from Jon Conrad and Alex Gross, both illustrators themselves, and former students of Phil. In his later years as chairman of Illustration at Art Center, Phil became the Greta Garbo of illustration, turning down projects from the top clients and publications in order to focus his energies on teaching. Consequently, many of his works are being seen for the first time in decades. It promises to be an outstanding exhibition.
Friday, December 7th, 6-9pm Society of Illustrators 128 E. 63rd Street (btw. Lexington & Park)
Bette Midler and Eric Clapton portraits for Rolling Stone
Dual portraits of Muddy Waters for the Grammy winning "I'm Ready" (1978)
I've been working on a number new paintings for a show that opens this week at Silas Marder Gallery in Bridgehampton, NY (Saturday, November 24th, to be exact). The space itself is beautiful, and I'll have some wonderful company: Camille Rose Garcia, Sandy Litchfield, Tomory Dodge, Diane Giardi, and Mark Romanek, who directed Johnny Cash's famous "Hurt" video, and now has a new feature film coming out. Should be a great show! Here are the details:
Opening Reception Saturday, November 24th, 5-9pm Silas Marder Gallery / 120 Snake Hollow Road / Bridgehampton, NY
As Joseph Fiedler mentioned the other day, if you're in LA on Saturday, November 17th (7:30 opening), check out the GREEN Show at the Robert Berman Gallery, curated by Mr. Mark Murphy. Over 40 artists, myself included, created work for the show, and it will be up until December 22nd. For more details on the exhibition, check out www.robertbermangallery.com or www.murphydesign.com There'll be live music by SSI and the Modlins and many artists to meet:
Jason D Aquino + Jordan Awan + Andrew Brandou + Cathie Bleck+ Marc Burckhardt + William Buzzell + Luke Chueh : David Chung + Amy Crehore +Kevin Christy + Sas Christianson + John Copeland + Bob Dob + andrew foster+ Douglas Fraser + P-Jay Fidler + Joseph Daniel Fiedler + AJ Fosik + Robert Hardgrove + Jody Hewgill + Michael Hussar + Tim Hussey + Jordin Isip + Rich Jacobs + Pamela Jaeger + james jean + David Choong Lee + Anthony Lister + Jen Lobo + Mars-1 + Chris Mostyn + Mark Murphy + Scott Musgrove + Joel Nakamura : Christian Northeast + Martha Rich and Esther Pearl Watson Collaboration + Kathie Olivas + Nathan Ota + Brandt Peters + Jermaine Rogers + Kim Scott + Keith Shore + Jeff Soto + Damon Soule + Matt Stallings + Gary Taxali + Amanda Wachab + Justin Wood
Robert Berman Gallery Bergamot Station Arts Center 2525 Michigan Avenue / C2 / Santa Monica / CA / 90404
Here's my devil portrait for the BLABSHOW, opening tomorrow night at Copro-Nason Gallery. Monte Beauchamp, artist and BLAB! publisher extraordinaire, will also be rolling out the latest issue of BLAB! and debuting the release of his new book DEVILISH GREETINGS: Vintage Devil Postcards. There'll be a second gallery full of those vintage cards. Both shows continue until September 29.
THE BLABSHOW & DEVILISH GREETINGS Saturday, September 8, 8:00-11:30 pm Copro-Nason Gallery 2525 Michigan Ave T5 Santa Monica, CA 310.829.2156
Under the leadership of artistic director Molly Smith, Arena has commissioned some of the most award-winning work of the last decade. Staff art directors Maggie Boland and Ann Marie Czaban, along with Scott Mires and the folks at Mires+Ball design in San Diego, continue to commission great work, and are currently adding to the roster with Sterling Hundley and Raul Colon. In addition to mainstage shows, Arena commissions original work to promote some of its special events, including two Wine Auctions, the downstairs new play reading series, and the annual Arena Stage Benefit.
May 19th through June 17th, I'll be exhibiting these new paintings at Silas Marder Gallery in Bridgehampton, New York, as part "The Big Show", which brings together 50 artists from around the world working in a variety of media. There'll be an opening on Saturday, May 19th, from 4-8pm, so if you happen to be in the area, drop in.
Last weekend, I was one of the workshop leaders at Design Ranch, the AIGA event held out in the beautiful Hill Country of Texas, along with designer/artist Stefan G. Bucher, design shop Decoder Ring, Fossil Watch guru Tim Hale, designer Michael Osborne, designer and teacher Petrula Vrontikis, photographer Dan Winters, and the amazing team at Yee-Haw Industries. Around 150 designers from all over the country (and Mexico!) came out for some hands on experience and fun, and the weather couldn't have been better. My workshop paired folks off for portraiture, with a demo on acrylics and some tips for getting a great painting in under two hours. Most had done little or no painting before, but we provided Bloody Marys for inspiration, and the results were outstanding. In the evenings, the bands came in and there was much rejoicing! Snapshots below:
The workshop in action
The great accommodations at Camp Waldamar
Jane, Michael, Marc E. and Murbena
Stefan and Petrula catch the band
Fred Cisneros and Joel Nakamura swing the girls around on the dance floor
It's all work during the day, but at night things get fun!
Thomas Carnegie gets in the Ranch spirit (photo: Papa Carnegie)
"The stars at night, are big and bright, Deep in the (he)art of Texas."
Monday and Tuesday were busy days here in Austin, with the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts ceremonies taking place. I was asked to create the art for this year's event, which was used on everything from posters and three-dimensional installations to tickets and gift bags. I attended most of the events over the last two days, and had a blast!
Grabbing my moment with Mr. Cronkite and Mr. Coleman
This year's honorees included Walter Cronkite, jazz legend Ornette Coleman, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, sculptor Jesus Moroles, and screenwriter Bill Wittliff. After a gala dinner at the historic Driskill Hotel around the corner, we were led by the dancing, drumming performance group Urban 15 over to the awards ceremony itself, held at the Paramount Theater, one Austin's oldest and most beautiful venues and a great architectural jewel of the city.
Presenters for this year's awards included CBS anchor Bob Schieffer, Tommy Lee Jones and piano great Van Cliburn, and bands Del Castillo, the Quebe Sisters(pronounced Kway-bee - check them out , they're amazing!), and Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel fame kept folks entertained with toe-tapping Texas tunes. The night was capped off with champagne and dessert (and lots of dancing) back at the Driskill Hotel.
Some of the goodies
In addition to all this fun, we were invited to a few other special pre-event events, which included a luncheon at the Governor's Mansion, as well as a VIP 'Legislative" reception at the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum, which put me and my "plus one" guest, Steve Brodner (down for a Texas Monthly assignment) in close quarters with virtually every power broker and politico in the state. An eye opener for Steve, who has some stories of his own to tell from his visit to our fair city. And now, back to my quiet life again......
Party in the streets with Urban 15, in front of the Paramount and down from the Capitol
Inside the Paramount
Del Castillo, and the Quebe Sisters (these girls are terrific!)
For those of you who can't make it to the SI Advertising & Institutional opening in New York City on Friday, March 30th, but might find yourselves in the Fayetteville, Arkansas area instead........I'll be speaking to the Northwest Arkansas Art Directors Club, 7:30 pm at the Dickson St. Theatre. Slow down, now - there are limited tickets available, so line up neatly and be patient, please. Posters will be available for signing.
From April 19th through the 22nd, Austin's own AIGA chapter will hold its semi-almost-annual event in the heart of the beautiful Texas Hill Country, at Waldemar Guest Ranch, along the Guadalupe River. It's become the preferred getaway and tubing mecca for designers and artists across the country, and having been a few times myself, I can personally attest to the fun: its one of the best times you'll ever have while actually learning something. It's got hands-on, back to basics workshops - no computers, no lectures - interspersed with BBQ, swimming, canoeing, and a cool beverage or two, not to mention the dancing and entertainment from some of the best bands in Austin. Did I mention there are art director's everywhere? I'll be doing a workshop there, as well as these fine folks:
Decoder Ring | Austin | Designers (www.thedecoderring.com) Michael Osborne | San Francisco | Designer (www.mobsf.com) Tim Hale | Dallas | Designer (www.fossil.com) Stefan Bucher | Los Angeles | Illustrator (www.344design.com) Petrula Vrontikus | Los Angeles | Designer (www.35k.com) Dan Winters | Los Angeles | Photographer (www.danwintersphoto.com) Yee Haw! | Knoxville | Designers (www.yehawindustries.com)
As if all that wasn't enough, it's in the mid 70s today, with a blue sky and flowers blooming everywhere. Mid April is even prettier.......
Waldemar GuestRanch, where it all happens. 693 acres so beautiful you'll want to take up ranching.
I just got a copy of John Cuneo's new book of dirty drawings, nEuROTIC, (even came in a brown paper bag), and I highly recommend it. Designed by the great Robert Festino, it's one you need on the (top) shelf of your bookcase. In addition to be being completely depraved and a work of genius, I understand all proceeds are applied directly to John's psychiatrist bills.
To get your own, click on the Amazon.com link here.
Done for Rolling Stone's Immortal issue, just a few months after his passing
Today marks what would have been the 75th birthday of one of American music's greatest talents, Johnny Cash. I thought this would be an appropriate time to post a few of my Cash-related images and share the best story I'll ever have to tell about how art can take you through doors.
Back in early 2003 I got a call from Dualtone records to do June Carter Cash's upcoming album, "Wildwood Flower", but before the project got past the scheduling stage, June passed away, following heart surgery. I'd already received a copy of the recordings, and was blown away by how moving these songs were: mostly Carter family classics, they were done with Johnny and her daughter-in-law Laura Cash, as well as a host of other family & friends, and most of the songs were recorded in the living room of her ancestral home in Virginia. Unlike anything I heard before, this was an album about love, family and the awareness of its inevitable end. I'd lost my own mother not long before, and this music spoke to me.
The Wildwood cover
After a few weeks, the project restarted, and working with their son, John Carter Cash (who produced the album), I created the cover art. Not long after, I got a call from John Carter asking if I might be willing to come to Hendersonville, Tennessee, and paint another portrait of June in the home of Johnny Cash himself; apparently, my portrait of June on Wildwood was his all time favorite, and he wanted a version for himself. As soon as I could pick my jaw up off the floor, I said of course. So in early August, 2003, I spent 3 days there working on the piece in his lakeside home - the one you see in the movie - while he came and went. At the end of my stay, they invited me across the road and over a hill to the Cash Cabin Studio, literally a tiny cabin in the woods, where I sat in while Johnny, Marty Stuart, John Carter and a few others recorded some songs (including Sheryl Crow's "Redemption Day"). He even did a a cappella version of Jack of Diamonds. Just over a month later, I got the news he too had passed away.
I've had the honor of doing alot of music-related work, and along the way gotten to meet some amazing folks through the serendipity that it sometimes brings, but I doubt I'll ever have an experience that measures up to meeting the great Johnny Cash. People like him come along once a generation, if that, and on a day like today, I'm thankful for that remarkable experience.
I just received my copy of the Society of Illustrators 48th Annual, and it's a beauty. With a cover by Jeff Decoster (who's profiled in CA this month as well), a design by Erin Mayes, and the best chair's statement I've ever seen (Tim Bower, drawing his thoughts on illustration and awards), it's more than worth a look. You can get one of your own through SI, Amazon, and probably even your local bookstore.
Oh, and did I mention the chair's portrait is by a guy named Tim O'Brian, or O'Brien....something like that.
For the last month I've been working night and day on paintings for a show that opens Saturday at Mendenhall Sobieski Gallery in Pasadena, CA, and runs through October 24th. If any of you happen to be in the area for the opening on Saturday, October 7th, 7-9pm, I'd love to see you there. The details are: