Monday, December 26, 2005

Archived Art - circa 1995 - GMC Vehicles


As part of my on-going effort to archive all my previous illustrations I stumbled upon this one. It was illustrated in pen &ink using the stipple (tiny dot technique).

GMC wasn't a client. Rather I illustrated the vehicles to show prospective ad agencies my rendering style.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Character Logos - Mad Man Billet

Here a couple character logo variations for a motocross bike part. Fun project since I havn't drawn flaming skulls since high school.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Black & White Photography


Black and white photography from this summer.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Distorted Features

Just breaking in a new sketchbook...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Grand Hotel Illustration

Detailed close-up

Here's a vector illustration of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. It was created for a web site. Placing the windows and pillars took forever to get "just right". Creating the angular shadows was a lot of fun to do because it gave the illustration some depth.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Archived Art - crica 2001 Factory Rat 71

This is a logo I did for my cousin back in 2001. At the time he used factory rat 71 as the prefix to his email address.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Flash Game Background Screen


Here's a background screen for a potential Flash game. It's a different illustration style than I'm accustomed to. I think it turned out pretty decent.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Avant Garde Clown Troupe


A couple years ago I went to the River Fest in Mendon, MI. They had canoe races, games, concession stands and this excellent Avant Garde clown troupe. I asked one of them to make me a balloon animal... instead he crafted me a balloon noose. Funny clown.

Friday, December 09, 2005

My Painting Area


This is a photo of my painting studio. I slop a lot of paint so I had to cover the walls with some plastic.

On the easel is a completed abstract cardboard painting before I placed it in a public place for someone to find.

Ironically there's a canvas behind the easel where I clean my brushes. There are days when that canvas looks better than anything I've actually painted.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Video Blog - Car Burning

These are a few quick clips I shot of a firefighting training session.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Unfinished Art - Youths

Here's some more unfinished illustrations. I believe these are about 3 years old. I thought I'd post them here since I'll probably never revisit them.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Unfinished Biker Art

I have more than a few illustrations waiting to be completed. This one is probably 4 years old. Someday I may revisit it....

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Video Blog - Ft. Custer Mountain Biking

Here's a portion of a video segment I shot/edited depicting Ft. Custer's (Battle Creek, MI) mountain bike course. We transported 60-70lbs of video equipment up and down bike trails using one of those child bike trailers. The bike trailer barely fit the majority of Ft. Custer's trails.

(I believe this was shot during the Spring of 2003.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Rejected Cow Character Illustration


It often happens when you give the client design variations from which to choose, they typically choose the worst one of the bunch. No clue why that is. As a result I frequently post my rejects because I like them better than what the client actually chose.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Archived Concept Art - circa 1997 Baby Products

Here's some archived concept art from 1997. These baby related food illustrations were created for focus group testing. Unfortunately all I have are copies of color copies so the image quality looks terrible.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Geocaching Find #2


Here it is, geocache find number 2! Found this one less than two miles from my house. Considerably different than my first find. This tackle box was well hidden and filled with a lot of stuff. I estimate at least 30 people signed the log book and exchanged stuff. (I should mention, you can take stuff from the cache as long as you leave something in return.) Pretty cool. I'm looking forward to placing some caches of my own with some of my art... should be fun.

Obviously this photo was taken just before the snow fell.

Friday, November 25, 2005


Originally this was a WET FLOOR sign I saw at my local bank. I noticed the icon seemed a little too celebratory... definitely a candidate for some Photoshop action.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Video Blog - Fairground

Here's an experimental video segment I created using Final Cut Pro's compositing features as well as Apple's Soundtrack (for the music portion). I shot the base video footage at the St. Joseph county fair. It was a fun experiment.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Request to place some public art


An individual visiting from Minnesota requested I hide some art in Vicksburg, MI for her to find this weekend. I gave her a couple clues as to where I put it. (If she sees this she'll definitely know where it's located).

Monday, November 21, 2005

Geocaching Possibilities??


Last week I was listening to a "This Week in Tech" podcast when the host interviewed an indivdual involved in something called geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing). Geocaching involves people hiding containers of various sizes in public places. The contents of the containers vary by the individual. Most often they include a log book (for finders to sign and date) and trinkets of little value (super balls, key chains etc.) When an individual hides their container (cache) they mark the location with their GPS (Global Positioning System) unit. Then they go home and log onto and enter their GPS coordinates. The coordinates are then made public online. From there anyone with a GPS receiver and a sense of adventure can set about to find the cache(s).

Intrigued by the concept and podcast interview I went to and entered my zip code (49097) to see if there were any caches nearby. Keep in mind, I'm thinking this is some small scale hobby and the chance of Vicskburg having any caches nearby would be slim to none. Was I wrong! There's caches all over the place! At that moment I realized I had to get a GPS unit and see what this hobby (or sport to some) was all about. If it was as interesting as it seemed, the potential to combine my public art projects and GPS coordinates opens up some interesting possibilities.

Even though I was still struggling to learn the ins and outs of my GPS unit I managed to find a (nano) cache with minimal difficulty (less than 2 miles from my house). The container was found on a bike trail, hanging from an old power pole. Inside the container was a log book (which I signed and dated). Kinda cool for a first find. What was even better was, the bike trail I was on had at least 4 more caches to be found. I'll be posting photos as I find those.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Unfinished Art - Urban Youths

At one point I thought about revamping my portfoilo to include youth oriented illustrations. Here's some partially finished illustrations. But this is probably as far as I'm going to take them.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Video Blog - Grackle Migration

This probably isn't the best use of a videoblog to show wide shots of birds (tiny pixels) flying around. I thought I'd try it anyway.

I shot these clips from my kayak in the fall of 2003 on the Portage River in Vicksburg, MI. That evening there were numerous batches of hundreds upon hundreds of grackles all flying in strange formations. It was a unique experience.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

IVP Logo


Of all the logos I've created over the years this is probably my absolute favorite. It was created for a buddy of mine. He owns IVP (Independent Video Productions). The combinations of I - V - P to create a camera operator just couldn't be more perfect. Unfortunately it got rejected. My buddy wanted to go with an elegant look for his logo and not so much of an icon... it makes sense because he shoots a lot of weddings...

However I think it's too good to waste. Somehow I'm going to end up using this for something...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Learning Spanish?

Recently, at work, some of us have taken varied levels of interest in learning Spanish. Most of us have had at minimum one year of Spanish in high school. That limited knowledge has proven to be dangerous. Case in point, according to some instructors a good way to learn Spanish is to buy a book you're familiar with and try reading it. With each repeated reading certain elements should start to click. Well my boss bought a Spanish picture Bible. We're all familiar with Bible stories so that seemed like a good idea. The pictures would surely help too. Well, when I cracked open the book, the very first chapter I turned to was (in my limited Spanish) entitled "Investing in Diarhea"... I didn't remember that being in the Bible. I immediately looked at the pictures and those didn't help either. Pictured was a man standing in his underwear handing over his pants to some guy. I assume he's the man's broker. Even more confusing was the picture of a baby wrapped in toilet paper.... I don't know what the story is about but what I do know is, I can't hardly wait to learn Spanish to find out.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Rejected Big Foot Logo

Here's a logo I created a number of years ago. It was rejected by the client but, I always liked it.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Video Blog - Leaf Migration

It's been a little windy lately.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Archived Art - circa 1994 Musicians


Here's some "ancient" art from my illustration archives. I haven't worked in this pen & ink cross hatching style for years.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Flavor Logos On Pint Cartons

Here are some flavor logos I've created. It's always a nice surprise to stumble upon something I created somewhere unexpected. I believe I found these pints being sold at an out-of-the-way convenience store in Richland, MI.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Carpet Man

Ugly carpet made stylish with tape.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

SUMP - Public Art Project Wrap Up

Looks like SUMP made the Commercial Express (Vicksburg’s local paper) over the weekend. The writer did a wonderful job explaining this public art project in her article. Since more people will be exposed to SUMP (due to the article) I thought I should provide a synopsis of how SUMP all came together. (Sometimes blog entries can be tricky to navigate making it difficult to get the full picture).

This was the original plan for the VOTE SUMP Public Art Project. Create a fictitious character to run for a fictitious public office in the Village of Vicksburg. His name was to be SUMP and he was going to be running for the position of Vicksburg Sewage Commissioner. He would then be promoted just like a real candidate. That meant promoting him with yard signs, flyers, posters, a web site (complete with a SUMP game) and two very large cardboard cut-outs.

Had things gone as planned, on Monday morning, October 17, visitors and residents of Vicksburg would have been greeted by two, large cardboard SUMPs (each one was going to be attached to the “Welcome to Vicksburg” signs on the way into town). So as people drove by trying to figure out what they just saw, they’d then encounter numerous VOTE SUMP yard signs stuck around town. In addition, many Vicksburg businesses and factories would begin finding small hand bills taped to their windows and doors. It was the goal of these little hand bills and yard signs to drive people to the website where people in the community could read more about the SUMP public art project and hopefully place their vote for SUMP online.

Originally the project was going to be promoted for a week. That meant each night I would be placing different SUMP campaign items (posters and handbills) around town (for people to find in the morning). In this way, I’d hoped by weeks end to have saturated the main areas of Vicksburg and created some buzz in the process.

Well things didn’t work out quite the way I’d planned. The evening of SUMP’s big roll-out the project came to a screeching halt. Since I like to place my art anonymously and without permission there’s an inherent risk my projects can go down in flames quickly. Normally I try to be subtle placing my art around town. So as not to draw a lot of attention. Since this project was definitely meant to be seen. It was seen rather quickly by the police officer on duty…. (Through most of the evening my buddy, “Kelp Mango” and I stayed one step ahead of the law). But, as “Kelp Mango” and I were getting ready to place our last hand bills around Main Street the officer noticed us. I immediately greeted him and explained to him the entire public art project. Emphasizing that VOTE SUMP was for the enjoyment of Vicksburg residents and was family friendly. I also told him this was my way of giving back to my community that I love. And finally I mentioned residents, students and business owners have been responding favorably to my public art I leave around town. That didn’t fly. He pointed to the trunk of the cruiser showing me he had cut down the two large SUMPs "Kelp Mango" and I attached to the welcome signs earlier. Even more, he told me he had removed the 11 cardboard paintings I’d placed on benches around town a week prior. I was also told my art was considered to be litter and possibly graffiti. (Personally I think SUMP is more closely related to Litter than graffiti). Well that's the risk I run by not having permission. I was then told to remove everything I’d already placed around town and that I could pick up SUMP at the police station in the morning. As he drove away we could see SUMP’s legs hanging out the back of the police cruiser. (Be sure to check out the 10/20/05 blog entry entitled "SUMP Goes to Jail" for photos and video clips)

So first thing in the morning I bailed SUMP out of “jail”.

Over the next couple days I did what I could to try and get the project back on track. That meant contacting the right individuals (So much for my anonymity). I explained my goals for this and future Vicksburg public art projects. All that went pretty well. Of course “Vicksburg” can’t endorse any of my public art projects. That may seem negative but, it’s actually makes a lot of sense.

However, for quite awhile I didn’t know if it was going to be possible to promote SUMP in Vicksburg at all. I didn’t want to see the SUMP project end on that note. So I decided it’d be fun to take SUMP on the campaign trail. Unfortunately that required I remove all references to Vicksburg on the yard signs, hand bills and even the website. After a considerable amount of reworking the campaign items I loaded up SUMP and we hit the road. SUMP campaigned actively in Leonidas, Scotts, Colon (for the obvious reason), Mendon and Schoolcraft. At about the same time, my buddy, “Kelp Mango” placed yard signs throughout Kalamazoo and Portage. So if you happen to see rows of candidates yard signs, look closely because VOTE SUMP may be there too.

A few days after taking SUMP on the campaign trail I did what was required, of me, to promote SUMP in Vicksburg (finally). There were definitely restrictions that didn’t allow for a high visibility campaign. So the grand roll-out I’d envisioned wasn’t going to happen. Instead the campaign was fairly subtle. You really had to be paying attention to your surroundings to notice it. The most significant restriction I encountered was not being able to place the two large SUMP cut-outs anywhere highly visible. As a result I wound up attaching one to a flag pole in my yard. Not the best spot but it was fairly visible. So that worked… for awhile.

Here’s where the story gets really interesting.

SUMP had been attached to my flag pole for about 3 days without incident. Then on the fourth day he was gone!!!! There was nothing left but the plastic ties that held him in place. But, I didn’t find out he was missing until I got to work and checked my email. In my email was a strange message stating “we have something (or someone) who belongs to you…. If you want him back you‘ll have to follow our instructions”…. I immediately called home and asked if SUMP was still attached. HE WASN’T! SUMP had been kidnapped. I honestly thought that was great! He’d already been to jail and this certainly added another fun dramatic twist to the whole project. So as the day wore on I finally received new email instructions from the kidnappers. They told me SUMP was being treated well and that it was up to me to get ten additional people to comment on the “SUMP Goes to Jail” 10/20/05 blog entry. I got busy emailing friends and family telling them of the new kidnapping development and that I needed them to comment on that specific date. It took awhile but, I got the 10 people required.

A day or so later the kidnappers, seeing that I met their requirement, sent me a photo of SUMP wrapped in chains and blindfolded. Sad but funny. They also provided their list of new demands. (I’m paraphrasing their demands) These demands required I stand in front of the Vicksburg Fire Department handing out “FREE SUMP” items during trick or treating (it was Halloween). They said at some point I’d be approached by “The Unknown Comic”. I was to give him a “FREE SUMP” flyer and he’d give me something in return. I thought it would be SUMP.

I immediately emailed them saying I wasn’t going to do anything that public since the nature of my work is supposed to be anonymous. I told them I’d meet them, instead, at Sunset Lake Park at a predetermined time of my choosing. They agreed. I arrived a short time before the meeting time in order to set-up a hidden camera. They arrived in their vehicle. The “Unknown Comic” got out and handed me an envelope with a hand written note inside. You can view the video clip on the “Kidnappers - First Contact” 10/31/05 entry. He quickly returned to the vehicle and it drove off as I was left reading the note. The note included more instructions for the following day. SUMP wasn’t coming home that night.

So the next day I got to work and there’s an email waiting (from the kidnappers) depicting bruised and bloody SUMP photos. The photos were sad but funny. In the email they explained how they got in over their heads and that SUMP was just too much for them to handle. They also mentioned they dropped him off at a local business because they wanted nothing to do with him anymore. In one of the photos SUMP was depicted leaning against a business sign. That sign read Diversified Technologies. I wasn’t immediately familiar with the name so I looked them up. They happened to be on one of the main streets running through Vicksburg. I immediately left work and headed over there. Actually, before I left work I grabbed (or rather printed out) a few band-aids and a head bandage.

Sure enough when I arrived at Diversified Technologies there was SUMP leaning against their sign. He was definitely looking a bit ragged. The folks inside didn't seem to know how he got there or why. They actually didn't notice SUMP until I pointed him out. Fortunately for me they were somewhat familiar with the VOTE SUMP project. (They saw a window flyer in town and visited the site). So, I didn't have to explain much (other than the kidnapping). They were actually amused (and of course puzzled) that they were chosen as a dumping ground for SUMP. They were going to do some asking around to see if one of the owner's kid's friends had something to do with the kidnapping.

Well I told them I was going to tend to SUMP's wounds, get a few photos, then take him home. They said fine. However, while I was putting the Band-Aids on SUMP, some of the employees gathered to see what was going on. So I thought it might be fun to ask if I could get a picture of them with SUMP. So the friendly folks at Diversified Technologies (all of them), without hesitation, agreed to pose for a photo with the newly bandaged SUMP. They even offered to let SUMP stay attached to the sign in order to let the community know he's fine.

I thought that was an excellent way to bring closure to the kidnapping and VOTE SUMP Public Art Project as a whole.

Hopefully this synopsis will help you navigate through the October and November blog entries. There are plenty of photos and video clips documenting the project's ups and downs.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


The election results are in! Sure there were some voter irregularities but nothing to suggest there'd be a runoff between SUMP and the Outhouse Lobby Group. SUMP WINS IN A LANDSLIDE!!!

Be sure to check out the little update to the VOTE SUMP web site


Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Election day is finally here! SUMP is just as bubbly as he was before the kidnapping. Afterall, when you live in a sewer it can be a little confusing to determine when you're having a REALLY bad day. (Tazers and chains? or rats and sewage? Which would be worse?)

SUMP is still hanging out with the nice people at Diversified Technologies. He'll be there a little while longer today. So if you're in the neighborhood be sure to drive by, honk or wave to show your support.

Be sure to vote here if you haven't already done so. If all goes well results of the election will be posted by tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

SUMP Still Standing!

Shortly after I got those horrible photos of a bloodied and bruised SUMP I left work to retrieve him! Actually, before I left work I grabbed (or rather printed out)a few band-aids and a head bandage.

The kidnapper's photos depicted a Diversified Technologies sign. I wasn't immediately familiar with the name. So I had to look them up. They were located on one of the main streets in Vicksburg. I found the building quickly enough. Hard to miss since bloodied SUMP was next to their sign.

The folks inside didn't seem to know how he got there or why. They actually didn't notice SUMP until I pointed him out. Fortunately for me they were somewhat familiar with the VOTE SUMP project. (They saw a window flyer in town and visited the site). So, I didn't have to explain much (other than the kidnapping). They were actually amused (and of course puzzled) that they were chosen as a dumping ground for SUMP. They were going to do some asking around to see if one of the owner's kid's friends had something to do with the kidnapping.

Well I told them I was going to tend to SUMP's wounds, get a few photos, then take him home. They said fine. However, while I was putting the Band-Aids on SUMP, some of the employees gathered to see what was going on. So I thought it might be fun to ask if I could get a picture of them with SUMP. So the friendly folks at Diversified Technologies (all of them), without hesitation, agreed to pose for a photo with the newly bandaged SUMP. They even offered to let SUMP stay attached to the sign in order to let the community know he's fine.

I thought that was an excellent way to bring closure to the kidnapping. So thank you Diversified Technologies!

SUMP with band-aids and head bandage
The friendly folks at Diversified Technology
Greg Connors, President of Diversified Technologies high-fiving SUMP