Thursday, June 30, 2005

Archived Art - circa 1989 - Ebony Pencil Portraits


While doing a little clean-up in my basement and garage I ran across a few of my older illustration portfolios. Granted I shouldn't be keeping my art in the basement or garage because my pieces are starting to wrinkle and show some discoloration. Anyway, as I was going through my portfolios, some dating back to high scool and early college, I decided I should probably archive the pieces before their condition worsens. Where better to archive that art than here.

The images shown above were done around 1989 and proved to be a real turning point in my art. Up until this point my art was never really bold in terms of shadows and highlights.

I remember I drove to Grand Rapids, for no particular reason, and wound up walking around some mall. (Which was very abnormal for me to do). During my walk I stumbled upon an artist doing really detailed pencil portraits. What struck me about her work was how bold they were. So I asked what sort of pencils and techniques she was using. She informed me using Ebony pencils and smudge sticks really work well for achieving nice tonal ranges.

So the first chance I got I bought a bunch of Ebony pencils, locked myself in my room and didn't come out until I figured out how to make my portraits look somewhat like hers. I remember it didn't take long to figure out. Then all I drew for the next few months were portraits.

Here it is 16 years later and I'm thinking to to myself, the portraits are pretty good except, why were all my eyes uneven? And why didn't I spend more time on hair details?

In any event, I still love the feeling of sitting in front of a blank piece of paper with a really sharp Ebony pencil.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Garfield and Me?


Here's a little something I found recently. This caricature of me, done in 1985, was actually done by the guy who draws the Garfield comic strips. No, not Jim Davis, but Mike Fentz. (From what I gather Jim Davis does the stories and his hired hand of many decades does the illustrations).

What was kind of cool was, I recently saw a special on Animal Planet about ficticious animals and Garfield was profiled. During the special Mike Fentz had numerous sound bites explaining how Garfield has artistically evolved over the years. I'd never met Mike Fentz, so I had no idea what he looked like until that show. (Reason being, the caricature was a gift from a family friend who was close friends with Mike).

I have to admit absolutely HATING this caricature when I got it. I was 14 years old and very self concious. That caricature couldn't have been a worse gift to get at that age. (Truthfully, I don't think I'd even like to get one done of me now). That being said, the caricature has actually grown on me. I like that it was done in 1985 when garfield's popularity was pretty high. Plus it was done by Mike Fentz who's definitely part of Garfield's lenghty history.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Ceramic Tree Faces


I think this concept is so cool. Ceramic face pieces that you hang on your trees.

I found this set at our local Meijer's garden center in their clearance area for $8.00. The manufacturer seems to have 2 designs to choose from. Personally I think they could look a little better. But this, in my opinion, was the better looking set of the two.

I'm glad I got the pieces for $8.00 but, at the same time I was a little bummed. The fact that they were on clearance may mean they weren't selling well. Too bad, the concept was (is) great.

***I've been meaning to reposition the face because the day I put it up I was being mercilessly attacked by mosquitoes. As a result I had to pound the nails, hang the pieces and run.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Wish I'd Thought of It

Recently I stumbled upon the works of Photographer Terry Allen by way of a fellow artist's blog. (Thanks Andy!) Although I can't find much info on Terry Allen his work is pretty easy to describe. Take old books, cut out and fold various illustrations from the cover, then photograph them in unique ways. Brilliant!

After seeing some of his pieces I decided to try some of my own. Here's the result of one. Granted my photography skills aren't on par with his but, it was a lot of fun to try.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Video Blog - Car Ferry (MI to WI)

I haven't posted a video blog in awhile. So here are some clips taken during a late night crossing from Ludington, MI to Manitowac, WI. The crossing takes around 3.5 hours. The 3.5 hours is just long enough between "this is fun" and "this is getting boring."

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Window "Signs"


Another odd photo taken while riding my bike around "the village".

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Last Words

Last Absurd Purchase

I saw this in a magazine and liked the concept of "Last Words." I used this "last words" concept on an interview subject for a documentary I shot. It really helped to get the subject to loosen up and it also brought up some interesting talking points. I thought I'd try it on myself. Here goes:

Last Road Trip - Williamsport, PA (as big as that city is it hasn’t a single movie theater. Lame)
Last Bad Advice - Try melting the acidophilus
Last Movie I Saw in a Theater - Star Wars III (liked it)
Last TV Show Watched - Crossroads (featuring Ronnie Milsap and Los Lonely Boys). I'm not into country music so I'm not sure how or why I wound up watching the entire show.
Last TV Show I Enjoyed Watching - American Chopper (NAPA Bike episode #2) I can’t get enough of that show. Great chopper designs, quirky family members. I've probably seen every episode at least 3 times. (I'm not embarassed to admit it either. I'd love to shoot/edit an ongoing documentary (reality show) like that).
Last Book I Tried to Read - Pure Drivel by Steve Martin (the comedian)
Last Absurd Purchase - A full set of 31 Star Wars III toys from Burger King. My coworkers and I converged on our local Burger King and got the goods for 99 cents each. Now I don’t know what to do with them. (The Selling price on ebay is currently hovering around $90. My coworker just sold his extra sets for around that much). For now I think they'll grace my armoir until I have guests. Then they'll be quickly hidden. (I'm not one to let my "nerd flag" fly too high).
Last Thing I Left Home Without - My still camera. Every time I do I miss at least one photo opportunity.
Last Take Out Meal - Jaspare’s 9” Pepperoni Pizza. (I literally ate one of those a day, five days a week for nearly 8 months back in 1995/96).
Last Celebration - Mother’s Day (Always a good day to celebrate)
Last Item Loaned Out and Haven’t Gotten Back - Ogilvy on Advertising Book
Last New Words Added to Vocabulary - Chillax (to chill & relax), Snirt (snow mixed with dirt)
Last New Word of a Foreign Language Learned - Boo Fah Dah (meaning “under-developed “ in Chinese)
Last T-Shirt Acquired - black short sleeve Orange County Chopper shirt. I never wear it because I look like a poser. I think I need some tattoos before I can wear it in public.
Last Package Received - Galeria Acrylic Paints from Jerry’s Artorama. (love the squeeze bottle)
Last Web Site Visited - Getting info on the SBC Yahoo ($14.95/month DSL Special)
Last Injury - sprained back muscle
Last Run In with the Law - Talked with a cop about the meth lab problems in the area while our cars were being repaired at the mechanic’s shop.
Last Place I’d Want to Live - Coober Pedy in Australia. A mining community where the inhabitants live underground.
Last Physical Fight - 4th grade. I got beat up in the morning by a kid, ironically named Buddy. I then beat him up in the afternoon. We got along fine thereafter.
Last Magazine Read - Transworld Skateboarding Magazine. Although I’m not immersed in that culture anymore the magazine still has cool photos and great ad layouts.
Last Thing I Broke - The garden hose
Last Thing I Fixed - The garden hose (bought a new one)
Last Thing That Made Me Laugh - My mom’s admission she can’t stand to be in a room when the Little Giant Ladder TV commercial is on.
Last Thing That Made Me Go Huh? See answer above. My Mom admits to not knowing why that commercial bothers her. It is strange because she isn’t prone to stupid phobias like I am.
Last Thought - I remember in my high school yearbook that a large majority of my peers wrote "Sam, don't ever change." That makes me think what would happen if I didn’t change anything about me since 1989? I’d still have a mullet, drive an ‘81 Chevette with a luggage rack, listen to cassette tapes and work at the grocery store. I'm thinking my peers were a little short sighted.

River Read & Guerilla Art Project Updates

Here are some more book placements for the River Reading Experiment. We'll see if these have the same success as the first batch.(For more information on my River Reading Experiment read the 5/24/05 and 6/1/05 posts).

For those interested in the progress of the Guerilla Art project (posted 5/31/05) aboslutely nothing has happened yet. That's not to say people didn't find the art. They did. I just haven't received any feedback.

I noticed a curious thing when I placed art around my village of Vicksburg. I placed art in very obvious and high traffic places and they hung there for nearly a week. This surprised me. I thought for sure the art would be scooped up immediately. I'm wondering if maybe the people of Vicksburg were too respectfull to take them. Maybe I'd have better results in a high crime area. Probably wouldn't want to post the email responses though.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Cornstock 2005 - Highlights


All went well with the first annual Cornstock Music & Arts Festival. Lots of people (the photos are misleading), fair amount of artists, decent food, good music. All in all a success.

Personal highlights:
The banners and t-shirt design I created were printed really well.

The dog with a mowhawk (shown above) - I didn't realize it but the dog with the mowhawk was for sale. He sold very quickly because I went back to get a better photo and he was gone.

The Chainsaw Carver - I saw people buying a decent amount of his work. The photo above depicts the artisan sculpting some sort of wizard character. I shot some video footage that I may post at a later date.

Overall it was a mellow affair. Good excuse to be outside.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Fingers Painting


This is another 30"x40" acrylic painting on canvas. It was inspired by a friend of mine who paints really "trippy" eyes on hands using oil paints. Hopefully, I'll take some photos of his paintings the next time I see him then post them here.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Hoop Dreams


As mentioned in earlier posts I've got this thing about photographing telephone poles. What I failed to mention is I also have a thing for shooting basketball hoops.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Recent Painting - Full Eyes

This is a recent 30"x40" acrylic painting on canvas.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Music Baton

Awhile ago I was passed the music baton. This basically entails posting one’s music preferences and other miscellaneous information. In addition to the requirements I added a few categories of my own. Here Goes:

Total volume of music files on my Ipod:
2.64GB -1.5 days of listening time - 511 songs
* I chose early on to put only the songs I really like on my Ipod. There’s plenty of songs in my music collection I have no desire to hear again. So why bother storing them.

Last CD Bought:
Sade (can’t remember the title) it was a two disc set (music CD and live performance DVD) - It Stunk.

Song Playing Right Now:
Brian McKnight - “6-8-12”

Last 8 Randomly Played Ipod Songs:
1) Aimee Mann - Take it Back
2) Cat Stevens - Here Comes My Baby
3) James Taylor - Another Day
4) Marvin Gaye - Inner City Blues
5) Snow Patrol - Chocolate
6) Simply Red - Sunrise
7) Five for Fighting - Love Song
8) Innocence Mission - Lakes of Canada

Five songs that make think introspectively:
1) Michael Buble - Home
2) Bruce Springsteen - The River
3) ‘til Tuesday - Coming Up Close
4) Tracy Chapman - Fast Car
5) James Taylor - Pretty much any song (Fire and Rain being the most obvious)

Songs that I don‘t seem to tire of hearing:
1) Marvin Gaye - Pretty much any song
2) Stevie Wonder - Higher Ground
3) Alicia Keyes - You Don’t Know My Name
4) David Gray - Babylon
5) Alison Krauss - It wouldn’t have made any difference anyway
6) Sting - Fragile
7) Sundays - Wild Horses

Songs that I Appreciate for their Subtle Humor:
1) Elwood - Sunrise (Gordon Lightfoot’s song)
2) Eiffel 65 - Blue (Da Ba Dee)
3) White Stripes - Hardest Button to Button
4) Southern Culture on the Skids - Camel Walk (ok this one is not so subtle)

Admittedly, music isn’t a big part of my life so you won’t find any hidden gems in my song lists. Most of the songs listed are easily accessible by the masses that corporate music companies cater to. My movie lists would express my individuality much better.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Oh My Glands!!!!!


Believe it or not this photo was taken outside a beauty salon.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Cornstock 2005 - 2'x4' Banner Design


Here's an intermediate design for a 2'x4' Cornstock Banner. The final colors will be deeper and richer... nothing like the "circus colors" depicted.

For those interested in attending the first annual Cornstock Music & Arts Festival the date of the event is June 18th (Saturday) from noon to 9:00pm. Numerous bands will be performing. Music styles will range from folk, bluegrass to rock and rockabilly. It's going to be held at Scotts Mill Park (not far from Kalamazoo and Portage). For more information Robert, the event promoter may be reached at 269-760-5376 (daytime) or 269-626-8081 (evenings)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Charcoal with Your Waffles?


You know how sometimes you wake up especially groggy in the morning? Mentally you're still somewhere between reality and frolicking with unicorns and rainbows. For me that usually means my mental cognition involves shape recognition. On this particular morning that meant grab round waffles, place in square toaster, then place waffles on circular plate. Circle + square + circle = breakfast.

After placing round waffles on round plate things got complicated real quick. Still operating under shape recognition. I reached for the closest object resembling a maple syrup container. (Unfortunately, earlier on, I placed the syrup too close to the dish washing liquid). At that point my color cognitive recognition hadn't kicked in. That left me reaching for the dish washing liquid, which apparantly on a subconcious level looks more like a syrup container than a syrup container. Fortunately, before smothering my waffles in dish washing liquid, my smell recognition kicked in, alerting me to the fact maple syrup doesn't have a lemon scent.

Had I eaten the lemon scented waffles and gone to the ER to have my stomach pumped I can only hope my cognitive recognition would decipher charcoal from bite-size donuts.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Children's Taxidermy?

While biking around "the village" I rode by this house offering children's taxidermy. There's lots of schools in the village of Vicksburg so business must be good.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

HEALTH NUTritionist - A Fridge to Far


(This is a continuation of a post from 5/17/05 and 6/6/05)
To recap quickly: A coworker who fancies himself a "HEALTH NUTritionist" but, feeds only on donuts and ice cream will quickly condemn anyone for taking a bite out of a McDonald's hamburger has thrown down a challenge. This challenge was directed at me by way of a photo taken of him eating a big bowl of ice cream while viewing my initial blog about him. (He was eating the ice cream at 8:30 in the freakin' morning)

Since the "war" is on I countered his recent offense with one of my own. I told him I didn't believe he had healthy (normal) food in his fridge. He insisted he did. I stuck to "my guns" and said prove it. He said I was calling him a liar. I said prove it by taking my camera with him when he went home for lunch and photograph the contents of his fridge. He obliged.

I believe the photos speak for themselves. There's nothing healthy in his fridge. There's no normal, nutritious food in there. He has a shelf dedicated to probiotis (no idea what those are... they look like pill bottles to me), Noni Juice (polynesian pine tree syrup), Aloe Vera Gel (that he drinks), cranberry juice and a freezer full of Snap Peas (what the...???)

In my opinion, the photos speak for themselves. He has nothing nutritious (normal) in his fridge. He, on the other hand, says the photos prove he DOES have nutritious food in his fridge (specifically the cranberry juce).

All I see in his fridge are a slew of stomach coating lubricants that allow donuts and ice cream to sit is his gut without ever being touched by his hydrochloric acids. That explains why the sugar never affects him. Those donuts and ice cream never have a chance to chemically break down and disperse themselves within his body.

As for the Snap Peas, those must act as tiny bearings helping roll the food out his colon while keeping the food elevated from ever coming in contact with his gastric acids.

Monday, June 06, 2005

HEALTH NUTritionist - Strikes Back


(This is a continuation of a post from 5/17/05). To recap quickly: A coworker who fancies himself a "HEALTH NUTritionist" but, feeds only on donuts and ice cream will quickly condemn anyone for taking a bite out of a McDonald's hamburger has just thrown down a challenge.

Notice from these photos my coworker is eating a large bowl of ice cream while reading my 5/17 post about his eating habits. I must say this act of aggression won't stand. The war is on. Stay Tuned tomorrow because I have a need to drop some "bombs."

*** Please note he's eating that bowl of ice cream at 8:20 in the morning. Some breakfast?****

Friday, June 03, 2005

Bear Foot Character Plush Toy


Quite awhile back I created this flavor logo. Apparantly the character was so well received that plush toys were created. I don't think it turned out too bad. I liked how the padded feet look.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Amish Bass Boats


Avid fisherman have told me for years that at certain boat launches you can see Amish buggies towing $30,000 bass boats. I've been wanting to photograph that sight for years. Low and behold, on this day I almost got my wish. Unfortunately the only boats I saw being towed by buggies were the kind you'd expect the "plain people" to be towing. Plain ones. No matter, judging from the amount of buggies at this boat launch it's only a matter of time before I "bag" the big one.

Ironically, while taking photos of the buggies and boat trailers a fisherman stopped me to ask if I'd seen anything like that before. He went on to validate the sightings of Amish-owned expensive fishing boats and how hilarious it is to see them.

(You can't see it from the photos but all the horses were tied up in the woods).

*** I'm fully aware the Amish don't like their photos taken. That just adds to the excitement of the chase. ***

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

River Reading Experiment - First Contact!


It's official the River Reading Experiment is a success! (For more information on my River Reading Experiment read my 5/24/05 post). I just received the first of hopefully many more emails from individuals who've found the books and are passing them on. Here's an excerpt from the email I received.

"My cousins and I found 3 of you're books on the inlet river to portage lake. We found , "The Photo Drama of Creation", "Kept for the Master", and 'Shepherd of the Hills". We found them on May 29, my birthday! We should of been at church. Well any way, we took one of your books home to Munster Indiana to put under a bridge. We live about an hour southeast of chicago. My other cousins are from AnnHarbor Michigan, my grandparents have a cottage on portage lake.We started there and went all the way to kimble lake. We put one of your books way up the river.I'm really sorry but we didn't have a camera take a picture of where we found them.We didn't read the whole book but we did read a few pages of them, there old. My mom and aunt thought that this was absolutly the coolest idea ever.We do ,too. We hope your projectes well.
The Inlet Troops."

Special thanks to The Inlet Troops.