Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Zines & Things

I have been wanting to make zines forever, and thanks to my friend Pilar I can.  Late last week I posted the first issue of the Pig N Pancake.  Yesterday I finished up the second issue, which is double the fun and double the adorable.  The first zine wasn't quite as cohesive as the second one turned out.  I am quite pleased with the way the zines are coming out.

Soon I will be sending out 10 copies of issue 1 and 2 to Drift Station Gallery in Lincoln, NE.  Great stuff.  That will be the 11th state that I've shown in.  I am very excited for that as well.  Oddly, I feel like these zines are closer to the integrity that I wish to transcend as an artist than most of my 3 dimensional and illustration work.

Be looking for more soon.

 This is true of all of you.  Thanks for being so cool and reading on a regular basis.  Meanwhile the next image is certainly true of me on a personal level all of the time. 

I posted a couple of these to my Etsy page.  I'm not charging very much.  It'll run you 2 bucks for a zine and postage, basically just enough to cover my cost.  I'd really like as many people as possible to get this stuff as it is really like having a real piece of me.

Hope you folks are all doing well.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Pig N Pancake Zine

My friend Pilar came over to my house this morning to shoot photographs in my studio.  Little did I know that she was going to end up showing me how to do a type of zine that I had never bothered to learn before.  I was stoked, and thought, "I've been wanting to do this forever, I'm going to make one today."  So I did.

I'm really stoked to bring you the first issue of the Pig N Pancake, which is taken from a restaurant in Astoria, OR.  I had saved my coaster from my coffee when I went to breakfast after dropping off artwork for one of my shows at Lunar Boy.  Awesome place, cooler logo!

Check out the zine:

I made 50 copies, so if you'd like one, email your address my way and I'll get one out to you!  Send your requests to mike @ lewisacrylics dot com.  I hope you all have had a great January.  Pretty soon and it will be February, which means my favorite holiday.  No, not Valentines day, Groundhog Day.  I think I'm going to do something special for our favorite varmint from Punxatawney this year, so be on the look out.  Til then.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Occupy the Woods

I'm seeing blocks in my sleep.  Even after a little break outside last week, I am still going a bit stir crazy, but that said I am remaining fairly well focused.  I am working my way step by step through this thesis project.  I think even my last year's adviser would be pleased with the progress that I have made thus far.  I realize now how little work I was willing to do for him.  No wonder we didn't get along absolutely swimmingly.

Last week my friend Ed called me and invited me for a snow shoe trip.  Looking outside today, it seems crazy that that was a possibility as it has been 50 degrees the past two days and we are missing all of the snow that we got over the weekend.  However, last week there was just enough snow to go snow shoe in so I worked up quick Occupy the Woods sign and grabbed a trusty squirrel companion to head to the woods.

I love working outside with my artwork.  The work is almost never left where I plant it, because my father the forest ranger had the take in take out policy pretty much drilled into my head by the time I was 4.  That said, even if these artworks only exist as photographs and stories, I still enjoy them a great bit.  Notice too, my friend Ed doing his best Jaque Cousteau.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have been slowly putting together this thesis.  So slowly, but I am starting to see it materialize already.  But then when you are spending 10 hour plus workdays in studio, one would hope that you would see some results.  I am not down on it though.  I still really like the project and it seems to be gaining some more interest as I move from sketches to physical work.

Here is the status of the blocks thus far.  They're getting there.  I only need about 20 times that and then I will be golden.  Can do, can do.  More photos of this beast will be coming up soon.  I have pieces of the project all over the studio. 

On another note entirely, I received a photo from a friend of mine today.  She has the badger that I carved in her garden and it would appear that New Jersey has actually maintained its snow cover better than Maine.

That's it for tonight.  I have to get some reading done, and I need to figure out what on earth I am doing with this paper.  It is interesting, but not palatable yet.  I'll post things soon.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Drama & Valentines

I didn't have a very good weekend.  I was taking some personal things way too seriously and then something that actually was serious came falling down like a bomb.  It was not particularly fun, but then a good portion of life doesn't fall in the fun category.  I am dealing, as is the case with so many other people with far more complicated or dire circumstances that they must deal with.

I did, however, take a few moments to feel angsty and sorry for myself.  I'm over it now, but I thought that the drawings were actually quite fun, so I've decided to share those.

That's about enough of the melancholy, self absorbed stuff, though.  I decided a couple of days ago that I really wanted to do a series of Valentines.  The idea behind these is to not only create some work that will be good to use as a Valentine for your sweetheart, but also to charge the same for an original piece of artwork as you would typically pay for a Hallmark or American Greetings card.


 Each of these small pieces is 5 dollars.  Let me know if there is something in particular that you would like for your significant other.  I've had local commissions of a bowling themed piece and of a Metal themed piece. 

Hope you dig this stuff.  I'm pretty stoked with it.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cheap But Handmade Valentines

This is the first year in a while that I do not actually have to worry about purchasing anything for Valentines day.  Usually by about now I am already making my order for roses by now, just so that I don't have to worry about it when it gets near time.  As I said though, I don't have to worry about it this year.  It feels weird though.  I had to spread some love.  So here is what I came up with.  I am making small 4 by 6 inch pieces with archival clear plastic envelopes.  The front is adorned with a Valentine related image and the back is formatted with the Valentine to and from and a small drawing and signature in the corner to mark the piece as authentic.  Here is where the giving part comes though.  I am charging regular card price, five dollars, for each of these. 

This is a little cheaper than I usually charge for a 4 by 6 drawing, but I thought I would give to you instead of to a significant other this year.  Check them out and see what you think!

 I'm not putting these on Etsy or anything.  It's not that I don't like Etsy, but I'm doing this for people that have been customers in the past, people that follow the blog, and friends on Facebook.  I appreciate that you people pay attention to what I do.  It makes a big difference to be making something for other people verses just sitting in an empty room trying to make things to amuse myself.  So thank you.  Drop me an email or a comment if you would like a valentine, and if you would like something in particular in the way of subject matter, I am totally into that too.  Just let me know.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Busy like Gangbusters

That's right.  I'm cranking it out like Elliott Ness here in Portland town.  Last night was so good.  That doesn't sound dirty at all, but if you've been following the blog for the past days you know what I mean.  I've been listening to a steady diet of nineties alternative, drawing, painting, sawing, assembling and pacing.  Everything seems to be coming together.  The small bits are making sense with the bigger bits and everything seems to have its spot.  I'm a painter again, not just a draftsman, which is great.

After posting the initial sketch of the thesis project, I immediately started shaping panels to fit the design and then painted said panels.  I rarely measure, so this process is a little more intuitive than you might anticipate.  I like every aspect of the piece to be like creating a painting, not like constructing something from directions.  If I wanted to construct something from directions, I would purchase a paint by numbers kit.

Here's the beginning.  End to be shared in 3 and a half months.

 P.S.  I am tired.  I look surly, and I would like to leave my house because I am feeling antsy.  I promised myself that I would try to stay here though, just to get myself into the habit.  It's going to be a lot of work this semester, so I might as well get focused now, rather than waiting 12 days until the semester begins.  Above all else, I have Douglas Adams ringing in my ears, "Don't panic".


A Love Letter to Washington

Today I have spent the majority of the day piecing together a sketch for my thesis show based on the sketches that I started late last night.  When I started thinking about my thesis exhibition I really wanted to play up the idea of the machine and the mechanical aspect to making interchangeable parts, but then I went to Seattle again.  I can't get Seattle out of me.  It makes me feel something that I can't quite put my finger on.  It is not a feeling of home, but more this feeling that that is where I grew up.  It is as if you spend your first 20 some years under your parents' wing and then you are left to your own means.  Wherever you do that, I think, becomes a special place in your heart.  Seattle isn't the greatest place on earth, of this I am sure, but it holds for me, my youth, and my hopes for a better tomorrow.

With this in mind, and realizing that although I love analytical processes injected in emotional artwork, I want to keep my final piece more emotional.  I am an emotional dude.  I was told this last week that I think about my love life like a woman.  I don't even know what that means, but it went hand in hand with a comment about me being emotional and moody.  I decided to make a love letter to the place that I have the fondest memories of, Washington.

Here is the sketch.

Don't let the sketch fool you.  This piece is a huge undertaking.  The speakers are actual speakers, not a painted representation and each one of those little blocks will be a little block.  I might even use more blocks when I am not feeling lazy and drawing all of them.  I haven't figured out yet if there will be robots at the wall underneath this structure but I think that there will, and possibly a record player playing PNW music.  I attach everything that I remember to the music I was listening to at the time, as you have probably guessed from my blog titles. 

I hope you dig the sketch.  If you are near Portland, ME, I hope you come to see the final in May, and I hope that there is a place that deep down inside you know you love so much that it can bring tears to your eyes just thinking and dreaming about it.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's 2 AM & I'm Listening to the Pumpkins

This past week I took a little trip to Seattle in order to re-fuel myself.  I missed my friends.  I missed Elliott Bay and I missed the Olympics.  I wanted rain in January.  I wanted forty degrees.  Seattle always makes me feel like an artist.  I don't understand the town one bit.  Perhaps it is the street art, though really I think there is probably better street art found in NYC, or maybe it is the people but I can find anti-social people just about anywhere.  What is it?  I don't know, but I'm ready for some things now.

I spent the trip filling out another set of drawings in my sketchbook for Transient.  I have almost all of that work scanned in.  Now it is just a matter of choosing what format I want to put that work into.  I am not sure what would do it the most justice or if that really even matters.  Maybe I just need to get it out there and what will be will be.

After getting back, I've been immensely tired.  I didn't catch my creative stride until I bought a pound of coffee today at about six.  I made coffee.  I felt better.  I worked for eight hours, even if it is not an acceptable shift by factory hours.

I have been struggling with the idea for my thesis project.  I thought that it might be heading into that area of too formal for me to enjoy.  While on break tonight I started flipping through Jeff Soto's Potato Stamp Dreams and realized that I was avoiding painting still.  Everything has been a drawing, which is awesome.  That allows me to finish more work in a program focused around finishing a lot of work, but I want to paint too.  I love paint.  I love brushes.

That is where I am at now.  I worked for the next four hours making sketches.  They are quite elaborate, a combination of both the original thesis idea and my favorite two pieces from my first year in the MFA program.  Best of all, I think that perhaps this kind of work could get me a show in all of the galleries that I though would never touch me with a ten foot pole.  That would be cool.

Here is a teaser.  I'm tired and didn't have the energy to scan in all of the sketches.  Tomorrow.  Tomorrow there will be time.  It will be awesome.  I hope it is awesome for you too.  I know it will be awesome for you too.

I'll explain all of this in further depth tomorrow.  Until then, get some sleep.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Updates from the road

Here are a couple more of the pieces that I put together for friends in Seattle.  I'm very pleased to be in the town and dropping these off.  I am even more pleased to be sitting outside of Victrola coffee blogging it up in the sunshine.  So this is the rainy city, huh?  Just like I remembered it.  Mercurial.

I've also while on this trip been putting together a series of drawings that will be compiled in a second edition of Transient.  The first is in the works early next week and I think the second will probably be done by about mid February.  I am trying to be chill about these goals this year.  Last year I felt like I didn't finish anything and was super down on myself, then looked at what I had done and realized that that opinion was completely ridiculous.

Anyway, here are the new pieces.

This will probably be it for the trip to Seattle for right now.  The rest of my days seem to be filling up quickly, but that is A.O.K. with me.  Have a good one.  Keep on loving 2012.  As Steve McQueen says of the man falling from the ten story building in The Magnificent Seven, every floor down he said "So far so good".  If all that Mayan nonsense proves to be true, lets go out with a "So far so good".


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Listening to Pulley, Cooking for Colleagues, Visiting My Peeps

Tomorrow night I am leaving for Seattle for four days.  I cannot express how much I love that town, but really a love letter to the town is a love letter to the people IN the town.  In preparation, today I put together some pieces for my friends in Seattle who I didn't get work out in time for Christmas.  I'm stoked to show up with a stack of art for people.  I miss them so much.

Which leads me to a conversation that I overheard earlier tonight...

I cooked dinner for a group of my fellow MFA students tonight and the topic of who we create art for and what the purpose of creating that art came up, as it always does in these types of settings.  One of my friends was pushing the point that artwork should be in a Utopic setting created by an artist trying to work out the answer to a problem or the means of understanding something, but not to make something that is considered cool or beautiful.  Perhaps there is some truth in this, but I think that the greatest challenge of an artist is to make something that people do find cool.  Perhaps this is a useless goal, but the feeling that I get when I see a person "get" something and think it is cool or actually burst out into laughter, I feel certain that this idea that the artist is meant to be in solitary creating work simply to satisfy his or her own needs is complete crap.

I love the people I've met.  Admittedly I make artwork for myself, but in the end I want it to be COOL so that those people will enjoy it, because then we can share.  We can share in the creative act.  We can create the story together.  We can be a community.  I can love them for them and for their ideas and they can love me for me and my ideas.

I'm done ranting, but I'd be interested to hear what other people have to say about this.  Perhaps I am harping on something that isn't even really that apparent.  Here's a couple of the pieces that I worked up for my peeps in Seattle today.

Cool or no?  I'll let you decide, but I didn't make them because I thought they were pointless.
Have a good one.  Hope the New Year is treating you well thus far.


More Limited Run Zine Action

I am so pleased that I was able to be involved with my friend Sam Mercer's first poetry feature.  Sam is very creative young poet who creates individual experiences at his poetry readings by asking the audience for a key term or phrase and then creating a unique freestyle poem.  As he was creating his merchandise for his feature it seemed fitting that all of his work was hand written and varied slightly from book to book.

I was glad to offer my services in both illustrating the covers and binding the books.  They are available by donation from Sam or myself, though if many more sell, you may have to wait for the next run.  Keep up.

 This was a very fun little project to work on and it made me realize exactly how easy it is to make a zine.  I always over-complicate the matter by trying to make something too produced.  Expect some more limited run zines from me this year.  I like the idea of making books that are not all the same but are all titled the same.  I also think that I will be making some more standard zines.

Hope you like them.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Impromptu Awesomeness

Today I was sitting at the coffee shop and my buddy Sam looks at me and says "I am the feature poet at Mama's Crowbar tonight, I have to go home and make merch".  My immediate response was to ask him if he needed some cover art for his hand written small run zines.

I put together five covers.  Here is the first.  I will share the rest later as I am running off to see Sam's feature.