Hippie Chic at Boston's MFA

Both when I lived in New York and now starting my fifth year in Boston I am fortunate enough, somewhat by accident, to live near museums. And some pretty good ones. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts or the 'MFA' as it is locally called, is an impressive museum. When I moved here they just started expanding the footprint to add more galleries to show more art. The construction has been done for a few years and the exhibitions have not disappointed.

This is a panorama of one of the new areas at the MFA which contains a restaurant, a Chihuly 'column' which was commissioned by the museum when they had an exhibition of his work here a few years ago and down the stairs to the left or the right is the major special exhibit gallery. I had some lunch here in the cafe area and my main purpose here was to see the Hippie Chic exhibit in another part of the museum. I wanted a quiet day walking around a museum looking at art and thinking. I need that sometimes.

I am not a fashionista but I really enjoy fashion. I was probably more into it when I was in my 20's and being a bit more experimental. I wore weird things every now and again and accessorized with various colored hair. Over time, I just paired down my closet to your basic 'New York' black and blue fashions. Jeans and t-shirts and the like. Being an illustrator and living in the studio more and more over the years, fashion didn't really remain a necessity. I think I am trying to change it now.

This show peaked my interest because I've always loved the 60's era and loved the clothing from the 60's and into the 70's. In the 20th century, it was probably one of the most boldest time for fashion - and initially created by kids - the alterna-counter-culture of the time, it was really experimental. I think that's what I love about it most of all. Unfortunately, much of the fashion in the show is a reaction by high-end fashion designers to what was going on.

The bright colors and patterns I saw reminded me where some of my influences came from with my own art. While I love dark and black - the other side of my brain loves color and different combinations of odd colors. This show certainly fed my head with loads of ideas and thoughts not only about color but fashion and how much I saw the 60's in todays fashions. Patterns, boot cut pants, knee high boots, hair styles - I wonder if people realized that this era is still very much prominent in today's street fashion. At least that's what I see. I've actually noticed that the 80's ideals in fashion are starting to come back more and more. That scares me. ;o)

While the fashion here is a high-end version of what was actually being worn, it still inspired me on many levels with my artwork and other personal projects I work on. The largest inspiring moment for me with this show is the fearlessness to create. This is really some odd clothing. Fun. Expressive. Unapologetic.

Wouldn't we all like to be fearless in our work, whatever it is we do? Our fears hold us back from creating the work we want to - and need to. The fear is simply an insecurity in what others may think about what you end up doing. I say, wear that funky dress or jacket - makes those funky marks and allow the accidents and experiments to flow and expect failure but also expect something new to emerge. I found if I keep this attitude while working, the results are satisfying.

The exhibition is a smallish show and there could be so much more added to the show - but as it is, it's a wonderful peek into what fashion used to be but can certainly be inspiring for the now. And there is a great soundtrack in the gallery while you are there!

Hippie Chic at the MFA.

Lecture at WCSU

I will be giving a lecture to the Masters Program at Western Connecticut State University September 26th. I look forward to meeting and working with all the wonderful artists there for the day!

Creative Quarterly No. 31 + 32

I am honored to have been included in the newest issue(s) of Creative Quarterly. Two works I did for Irene Gallo at Tor.com and a series I did for the United States Air Force were printed.

 

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.