Tim OBrien
December 2009
I was asked to participate in an exhibition at CoproGallery titled "Saturnalia"
From their website:
"CoproGallery presents "Saturnalia", group art exhibition and CoproGallery Holiday Party. Saturnalia was the Roman mid-winter festival introduced around 217 BCE , Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17, popularity grew it to week-long extravaganza where drinking and debauchery started on the shortest day and continued through the longest night. The customary greeting for the occasion is a "Io, Saturnalia!" (pronounced "yo") The festival harks back to the Golden Age of Man when Saturn ruled and all men were equal, there was no work, and everyone enjoyed peace and happiness."

When thinking of an idea I kept coming back to an image I had in my sketchbook that eventually did make it into a cover a few years back (without a reversed helmet), a strong side view of a soldier.
I liked the look of it and when I began thinking of the Roman soldier as a vehicle for an illustration, it just sort of worked.
The image I did of a reversed Roman soldier helmet evolved when I thought of the Saturnalia  practice of the temporary reversal of roles where masters served meals to their slaves and were allowed to have a few days of leisure.  The reversal concept was what I worked with.  

Bergamot Station Arts Complex 
2525 Michigan Ave , Unit T5, Santa Monica , CA 90404
Saturnalia - Holiday group art exhibition
Dates:   Exhibits runs – December 12 – January 9, 2010
Opening Reception: December 12, 8:00 – 11:30 p.m.
Everything was good about my sketch except the tilt of the head. Too close to the weapon.
It's fun to make decisions that don't have to be approved by anyone other than me. I see how this gallery world can be fun.
I was the model for the body with a little artistic license to buff up a bit.
If you can, stop by and buy my painting.  If you're from out of town, call and buy it.  Makes a lovely stocking stuffer!
Ask for the "Tim O'Brien" painting.  : )


Bergamot Station Arts Complex
2525 Michigan Ave , Unit T5, Santa Monica , CA 90404
Ph: 310/829-2156
The art in the frame. It's "Wall Ready"
Lennon ~ Dec 8, 1980
Music reaches the memory in a powerful way for me. When I was about 14 or 15 I was forging ahead in my life, starting to mature and figure out who I was. The loss of my father at 9 was not hurting me anymore and with that, the memories of him faded. It's a survival tool to forget and the mind packs things away so we can move about the world without tripping on the clutter. At 15 I was lifting weights, hitting my speedbag, riding my 10 speed around, and thinking about girls. Not much else got into my head. One afternoon I was hanging out with my friend lifting weights in his basement when he put on a scratchy Beatles album (for those under 30, 'Album' refers to LP records; the large circular discs the size of a dinner plate that you put on a record player). All the songs were familiar but it was 'Because' that resonated. I remember how my day was stalled in thought. My father played Abbey Road and perhaps that was the last time I remember him playing music. Dad flooded back into focus; his beard, his voice even the feeling of hanging on him in a swimming pool. The sound of Abbey Road still gives me a deep sadness. In college as I began to sit at an easel for long periods of time, music was my airplane and allowed me to travel to new places or old ones. John Lennon was the most honest and thoughtful artist I listened to and for me, in that time, I found each new Lennon album for the first time. Music is great like that as it waits for you to discover it and experience it like it's 1963, 1971 or 1980. 

My son Cassius has taken to the Beatles due to RockBand.  He loves George.

Lennon would be proud as he hoped we would think for ourselves.

Bill O'Brien, 1973
Sometimes the phone rings and it's a pitch for a job that sounds both complicated, unknown and a challenge.  Erin Mayes was the reason I took the assignment.  She was quick and funny on the phone and made this story about a stagnant housing market and how to revive it seem full of possibilities.
As soon as I hung up the phone I stared working on ideas.  
Drawing creates ideas.  I try to tell my students this all the time.  Sitting thinking of concepts works, but do sketch while you think helps you see shapes and what those shapes might become or evolve into.

I thought that the dormer might be a great infographic. An upward pointing arrow.
This is a sketch that was intended for the cover in my mind.
I think this one missed the point but I liked it.

This one looks less like a lift off and more like a meth lab in the basement blowing up.
The sketch below was done as a 10 minute demo.

Erin chose the lift off.
I always send color sketches as my sketches.  They just indicate to the client what I' thinking and when I go to finish there are few surprises.  
At Pratt I did a demonstration of how to take a rough sketch and make a color sketch so I really figured out what I was going to do. 

I love the power of light.  In order to do it convincingly you need real darkness.  Thankfully I was allowed to have that in this piece.
It was a fun assignment that sounded like trouble when pitched.  Those are often he best.
All that white noise below the house was put on with a tiny brush in the drawing stage in white gouache.

Recent Articles

Stuff I Do (76)

Sketchbooks (0)

Sketch/In Progress/Finish (0)
My Links