Alexander McQueen

In the last year, it has been far and few in between that I've been able to do a personal project. To a certain extent, I feel lucky I can say that because of so much commissioned work but creatively, its been a downer.

My dreams are bigger than I have time for sometimes. I was planning on doing a few portraits of fashion designers. I actually said something like '10'. I got one done. I might continue the series but at the very least, feel pretty good doing this one.

I wanted to do this series for a number of reasons one being, portraits. Portraits are not something I am entirely comfortable doing and its a rare moment that I get assigned to do them. I'd like to get more of that work and challenge myself. I also have a growing interest in fashion and Alexander McQueen is a standout. I am not a 'fashion buff' but I was floored when I saw the exhibition at The Met. I saw the show three times.

I am slowly beginning to appreciate it and occasionally I get decked out even if to just go out to dinner. At heart, I am a t-shirt and jeans person. I've always been but trying to change that a bit.

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I've found that I've gotten into a habit of going back to some old tricks when I do jobs and it's gotten somewhat boring. I wanted to play with composition and juxtaposition of elements in this piece. I used some new media here also - the entire background is gold leaf. I've discovered gold leaf is not incredibly easy to paint on or work with. Photographing this painting was also a chore. Scanning this sort of thing is impossible and lighting the painting to not have glares or hot spots is an art in and of itself.

I thought the gold leaf would be a nice touch with McQueen, as well as the skull. One of my memories of The Met exhibit was his use of gold and silver...really, metal and his choices of color seemed to surround these warmer tones.

There was many hills to climb to get the piece done but I am very happy with the final. I am back onto other projects for now but I still keeping the portraits in the back of my mind.

I also took a photo with the glare completely covering the piece. This itself was actually kind of difficult. This is a GIF I quickly made to show the difference if there was an all-over glare. You can really see the gold leaf in a 'silvery way' but it totally drops out the rest of the piece.

Zombies! for Tor Books/Tor.com

Irene called me to do this job back in February and its finally being released.

It was a tough one - I was surprised that Irene read a story about zombies and thought 'Yeah - I'll use Scott.' I took it on and was sort of wishy-washy about the idea for a long time. The story is about a disease spreading turning people into zombies but it is all written as if you're reading Gmail thread and Facebook entries. The story is pretty amusing and it took me out of my comfort zone a bit - which creatively, at the time, I desperately needed.

I eventually had this vision in my head about a dark figure or face that seemed to be pushed back into shadow - I was worried because I thought it may be too simplistic but the image never left my head.

I wanted to recreate an image similar to when I was young just as I was going to sleep in bed in my dark room and I start freaking myself out seeing figures and shapes within the blackness. Is it a figure? Is it my imagination? I guess the typical 'monster in the closet' sort of thing. Only I wanted one piece that stood out which was the teeth. In the story, you become a zombie by being bit by another zombie.

Irene immediately went for the head-shot image because it reminded her of a profile picture. Originally, I was envisioning a gray background but as soon as I thought I 'finished' it, I saw it wouldn't work. Since there was a psuedo-Facebook thread to the story, a rich blue would not only be appropriate, but helped the piece immensely.

In the end, my fears about this piece were unfounded - it turns out its one of my favorite paintings this year and probably the most creepiest I've ever done. Thanks Irene!

Sierra Club Magazine

This double page spread was created for art director Tracy Cox at Sierra Magazine. Not too much concept needed here but more of a feeling. It's a pretty heavy story but I stil enjoyed creating this piece for it.

Below is the image in context.

Limited Edition Print Pre-Order - Combustion

Now available for PRE-ORDER, this very limited edition print called Combustion! This edition will be limited to only 45 prints and with the pre-order, you get a special gift and free shipping. Visit the shop for more information.

This award winning piece was originally created for a story written by Erin Hoffman for her story "At the Foot of the Lighthouse (Todai Moto Kurashi)" published by Tor.com.

This image size is 11" x 13.75" printed on 13" x 19", 192 g/m archival enhanced matte paper. Each print is carefully inspected then signed and numbered. The print will also come with a Certificate of Authenticity which will document each print and will also be signed.

Please visit the shop to purchase this very limited print right now!

Dead Snake Handlers - and Sex

Out of the entire story, there was this one scene in the book where the main character was having a sort of 'wet dream' about a mysterious snake handler that was helping her out on her property while she is working on her house. A mysterious man; snakes; sex - you can do the math on this one. I decided to go for it with my sketches and Irene went with it. A few of them might have been a bit overt but sometimes, you have to take a chance and see what sticks.

This piece is a little tighter than I normally go. Lately, I've been in the mood to render and my vision for the piece required it. I've been combining a bit of rendering and graphic-ness to my work lately. I am not sure if I'll continue doing it as I am starting to feel a bit restless and want to be more expressive as I normally am. Still, I really love this piece and very happy it came out the way it did.

Thank you Irene at Tor! It was a fun job and got to watch quite a few reruns of Columbo while making all those scales.

Here are the sketches I sent in to Irene and below are some process shots during the course of the painting. I did have a false start there early on when I put a black texture down all over the piece. I couldn't see the transfer anymore. With some other paintings, its not so bad but since this painting was so involved I had to rethink how I needed to do the piece.

I ended up re-prepping the board and starting from scratch. It was no biggie - I thought I was going to save time, instead I spent more time. Such is life.

You can see the colors I chose to be in the piece and the final sketch I used to do the painting. With the way I work, the art directors rarely see that final sketch. I usually get approval on the rough sketches you see above and tighten it up for me. Because my work has a tedency to be random when I am making a piece, I don't like to show sketches that are too tight because I may change bits here and there. Actually, those are some of the most detailed sketches I've sent in a while. If it's a significant alteration for some reason, I'll talk to the art director but it is incredibly rare that it happens.

Toronto Blue Jays Care Foundation

I was invited by Dave Murray, illustrator and owner of the Garrison Creek Bat Company to create a custom bat for an upcoming celebrity charity event for the Toronto Blue Jays. Each bat is custom made being turned on a 50 year old Rockwell lathe before being hand finished.

The auction happens at "The Curve Ball", which is the charity gala happening May 13th on the Rogers Centre field. It's a huge event with tickets running at $600.00 a piece with many of the baseball players themselves attending the event. Unfortunately, I have prior commitments and canot be there in May but I am trying to set something up for July for a visit - check out a game and hang with my iller friends up in the north.

The charity is the Jays Care Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the Toronto Blue Jays. From their website:"Since 1992, Jays Care Foundation has created opportunities for children and youth in need by providing access to programs that promote regular physical activity, encourage the pursuit of higher education and impart fundamental life skills. The Foundation has made possible the building of dedicated, accessible, safe youth spaces for recreational programming, inspiring engagement through the sport of baseball. As the charitable arm of Canada's only Major League Baseball team, Jays Care is making a Major League effort to invest in Canadian children and communities from coast to coast."

There are 15 artists who created bats and I hope they all sell at the auction to help raise money for this amazing foundation.

My bat is called ‘Propulsion’ – named for that power one wants when they are up for bat - also connected to the concept of the foundation; having the power and help to succeed and thrive. As a teacher and long time advocate for student scholarships, I think programs and foundations such as this are immensly important to the future of so many young kids and I am honored to be part of this.

Thank you Dave for the invitation and a special thanks to Kristina for being a sport and modeling for me.

Below are some process photos: