Society of NYC + Society of Los Angeles Annual Awards

The Universe! for Nautilus

The Universe! for Nautilus

Over the last month, I've gotten two notifications from the Society of Illustrators (New York) and the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles that I a total of seven pieces in these annuals including that I will be receiving a Bronze Medal from the Society of Los Angeles for this piece below.

It's an honor to have work selected for these shows. 

The Judge for The Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles - Bronze Medal

The Judge for The Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles - Bronze Medal

Virtual Reality - Portrait of Gwen Jorgenson

Virtual Reality - Portrait of Gwen Jorgenson

Portrait of Jan Hus for Liberty Magazine

Portrait of Jan Hus for Liberty Magazine

Opiates for Benefits Pro Magazine

Opiates for Benefits Pro Magazine

The Day I Tried To Live for the Society of Illustrators

The Day I Tried To Live for the Society of Illustrators

Sterilization - Personal Piece

Sterilization - Personal Piece

Wall Street Journal

This is a piece for the Wall Street Journal and art directed by Orlie Kraus. 

In pursuing my goals to continue to bring in more of my sketchbook work back into my art, I pushed for a more abstract solution to the problem.

The story is about the issues surrounding using sleeping pills for people who have insomnia and other sleep related issues. It goes into addiction and also the negative side effects of taking those pills.

I wanted to convey that feeling when someone who is sleep deprived. Confused. Staring blankly. The 'wall of sleep deprivation' becoming larger than him. 

Go to the story here.

Palette used when working on this piece.

Palette used when working on this piece.

Visiting the Maine College of Art

I visited the Maine College of Art not to do a lecture this time, but I was invited to review the illustration program. It is a small but incredibly vibrant school. The students are quite dedicated and I loved seeing their work and the program.

Once in a blue moon, I am invited to review an illustration program. It's a lot more busy work and not as satisfying because I don't get to spend as much time with students as I would if I was doing my usual guest speaking thing.

Still, being an educator, it is always interesting to meet other faculty and dig into programs to see what makes them tick and how they operate. Of course, the discussions usually go to curriculum and how to educate to make the best illustrators possible.

I was there for two days and unfortunately, I can't go into detail but it was a wonderful time. The students I did meet and had lunch with were incredibly kind and self-aware. The teachers are also very dedicated at this school. The facilities throughout the school are pretty amazing. If I had no life and unlimited funds, I'd cycle through all the programs just to use the equipment they have.

If you have a family up in Maine, I wouldn't pass up taking a look at the facilities if someone is thinking about attending a small art school in a very small town. For me, it would be too small but for someone used to living in very rural areas, this might be perfect.

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I stayed an extra evening to visit the Portland Museum of Art and see the Matisse exhibition. I took a few photos but you can visit the website and see more of the Matisse work available there.

The ease of expression that comes from Matisse's work is amazing and effortless.

A nice surprise while I was there was a show dedicated to whale art called Of Whales in Paint that seem to have a hub with Rockwell Kent. There were quite a few Kent's on exhibit. I stole this photo without being caught because photos aren't allowed in the exhibition. It's rare to see original Rockwell Kent's out in the world so I was delighted. The sharpness, clarity and weight of the pieces are brilliant. More so in real life.

If you ever are thinking about Maine, this was a good time to go. There weren't very many tourists around and the city is manageable.

NPR

This is a piece was created for NPR and art directed by Meredith Rizzo.

The story is about whether or not parents should have their DNA tested to see if the combination of their genes could lead to medical issues for their child.

It's an interesting concept but thinking about it for a while, somewhat scary to me. What does a person do with this sort of knowledge? How does a parent treat a child knowing that in 20 years, they may have a heart condition? There are many moral and human questions that get opened up. What could be the next step? Altering your genes to create better children?

Here's a link to the story.

Dim Stars: Fire | Helikon Gallery, CO

Dim Stars: From The Core (Fire) | 15" x 15.5" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: From The Core (Fire) | 15" x 15.5" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Opening November 3rd at the Helikon Gallery in Denver Colorado is the Muses of Mount Helikon IV group show! My series, Dim Stars: Fire will be exhibited in its entirety at the show.

I actually started these drawings about 2 years ago. The original versions were just the characters doing what they're doing on a blank field. I finished those versions a long while ago and they sat in the flat file for at least a year before I thought about them again.

I took them out and realized I could convey so much more about the world they live in and the stories I want to tell. In between client work, I spent a good part of 2016 drawing in the environments.

I don't normally do rendered graphite like this but I have been finding myself incorporating some sort of visible pencil work it into my client work. I thought I would go full-on with these pieces which was incredibly therapeutic and fun. Doing these pieces reminded me of Elementary and Junior High school where I tested myself on how well I could render.

Sometimes, all you need is a pencil and a piece of paper.

As I continue to develop the Dim Stars projects, you can visit the dedicated website dimstars.com and subscribe for new information as it becomes available. The site is a work in progress as well as how I am going to further develop the process. If you subscribe, you'll get a free limited edition sticker pack sent to anywhere in the world!

Dim Stars: Defense (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Defense (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Escape (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Escape (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Solemn (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Solemn (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Joy (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Joy (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Basking (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Basking (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Sly (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Sly (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Drawn To The Music - Society of Illustrators, NY

The Day I Tried To Live | 17" x 11" | Mixed Media

The Day I Tried To Live | 17" x 11" | Mixed Media

I created this painting for a special exhibit at the Society of Illustrators called Drawn To The Music. The exhibit is about artists interpretations of their favorite songs.

Exhibit: October 25 - December 23, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, November 4th, 2016

The song I chose to paint is The Day I Tried To Live by Soundgarden. It is likely one of my favorite songs of all time but found it difficult to create art for. I probably could have done 10 different versions of this painting yet it just wouldn't seem right.

This painting comes at a good time because I took August off from taking on client work. I needed some time to work on personal projects and other creative things I've been mucking about with. While I've been off, I've been thinking about my work lately and I've noticed that I have been losing the looseness in the work that I had so much fun with. I think that is due to the more perfectionist part of my personality. Over-rendering, over-painting...it seems to be killing an energy in my work that I used to have.

I think this piece turned out to be a good balance between the two - the loose and the graphic and tight.

Gwen Jorgensen and VR

A few weeks ago, I periodically watched the Olympics. It's interesting to watch people physically push themselves to such limits. They dedicate their lives to a few moments on a track or an action just to get it perfect that one time that counts.

I decided to watch the Women's Triathlon. A friend of mine did an Iron Man which is similar but more excruciating it seems, so I was interested in checking out an Olympic version. 

The swim and the bike races moved along with bits of competitiveness here and there. It seemed everyone was pacing themselves. I did learn a lot from the commentators about the various racers, in particular, Gwen Jorgensen. Gwen had lost the Triathlon during the last Olympics because of a flat tire but she also psyched herself out which made the rest of the race for her a shit-show.

For 2016, she trained for the biking portion using VR of the route which helped her focus her energy and mind more on the race. That is what inspired this painting.

Gwen ended up winning the Triathlon by a large margin and was the first American woman to win it in an Olympics. You can search around the internets for more information.

Luerzer's Archive: 200 Best Illustrators

In the latest Luerzer's Archive 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide 16/17, I have a couple of spreads of work completed for Tor Books/Tor.com, Liberty Magazine, the Vancouver Opera and a personal piece. Many more pieces were selected but weren't included due to space issues.

I'm very happy because the judges selected some of my favorite work of the last couple of years for inclusion.