Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

I was reading through twitter posts today as I am prone to do, and a friend had stated that posting after today is sort of a blank bullet of a blog post if you want anyone to read.  It's funny.  I've been blogging for six years and never really thought about how to get better readership, when people might read, and who this could be for other than me.  Perhaps now is the time to start thinking about such things.

I'm posting today to inform folks that I am creating a small series of drawings for The Studio in Laconia, NH.  The drawings will be 4 X 6 inches, bagged and matted.  Sounds like a delectable treat, no.  To be had for a slick forty bucks.  Here are a couple of the images that I intend to use.

 I decided to keep this series fairly old school.  I miss drawing the birds quite a bit and I thought that it would be a nice break from the graduate school academic work.  That said, I had some fairly concrete ideas in mind when I began drawing these anyway. 

 I am also putting together two proposals this weekend.  One is for a residency in the south of France and another for the Speakeasy Dining food truck project which my old chef and I have been working on.  I cannot wait to be driving a Good Humor truck.

 This project is going to be dope.  
Well that about does it for my Memorial Day weekend post.  Enjoy it.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pushing Paint - Push it Real Good

Today a friend of mine asked me how I go about blogging, whether it is on a schedule, my frequency and goals.  I didn't have a very clear answer to any of it.  I've always kind of done this thing at night, when I am through with my work day.  When I am excited about work I blog; I want to share, see what people think, open up the gates that create the boundary between someone completely engaged in a project and the outside world.  Learn.

When I got home from hanging out with my friend, I had dinner, cleaned up and started working on an illustration project that I had worked on all day.  It is a pretty good project.  For all intents and purposes I really like it.  I have been given pretty well free reign and that is amazing, but I got tired after dinner.  I managed to finish one sketch and during the middle of Billy Bragg and Wilco determined to take a nap.  It was a far longer nap than usual.  Usually I manage about a half hour.  This was more like an hour and a half.  When I woke up I felt very groggy and sick of illustration.  I putzed through one more page for this book and started to think about how it was too early to go to bed.  I picked up the commission that I had been working on and looked at it and thought, "I'll push a little paint until I can't do this anymore."

Four hours later I looked at the clock, realizing that I needed to start getting ready for bed.  I used up the rest of the paint on my palette on a scrap of wood in studio, looked at the painting I had been working on, and realized everything that I've been missing the entire time I was in graduate school, what the answer to Pilar's question was, and what I need to do to keep myself motivated.

When I started blogging in 2006, I was so excited about my work that I would get home late at night and my girlfriend at the time would be asleep already.  I would want to share my piece.  I was so excited that I couldn't think about sleeping yet.  I still felt jazzed about the painting.  Tonight I have that, and on a night that I thought I had no energy.  That's the answer though.  I started blogging at the end of nights that I had put my all into a painting.  The adrenaline always needs a moment to calm down, and writing a couple paragraphs helps me process what I did and settle a little into the relaxation that is my house, or in my present circumstances, my bedroom.

Here is what I was working on tonight.  I am so pleased with it.

It's a lot of old school, but I think there is a bit of the last two years in there too.  I can't quite explain it.  I was thinking about different things while working this out.  I was pondering what it meant to others.  I don't really know the answers to anything, but I'm thinking about it.  I think that that influences what it looks like anyway.  I'm excited.  I need to get to sleep.  Thank you for reading.


Monday, May 21, 2012

I Reside Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key

Today was really a pretty great day.  The weather was beautiful.  I got ice cream with one of my best friends and sushi with another.  I also got a lot of work done.  I cannot share everything that I am working on at this time, as some of the work is specific to my client, and the contract will not allow for it.  That aside, I still got quite a bit done on the project.  You'll just have to trust me on that one.

That wasn't the only thing that I worked on though.  I also worked quite a bit on the commissioned diptych today and in my final throes of effort managed to pull a piece together for a little show that I am doing with a friend from undergrad in July.  Wow.  One piece done over a month in advance.  Life is good.

Check out the commission.

I cannot keep the colors this graphic, as the work that was commissioned fit a bit more to a neutral blue color scheme, but I thought that I would work some colors by scumbling in this piece.  It should help me to maintain a bit more push and pull than some of my older neutrally schemed work.  Either way, I absolutely love where this piece is headed thus far.

Here is the totem that I put together in the last couple hours.

My friend and I have decided to do some work focusing on different religious beliefs and contemporary imagery.  I am tackling a series of totem poles.  They follow an autobiographical order in attempt to abide by the same rules as totem poles in Native cultures.

Hope you dig the stuff peeps.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Re-Organizing & Working Hard

I am now a professional artist.  Admittedly, I took myself seriously long before I ever made that statement, but currently I am making the money that live off from via art.  Crazy.  I never really thought this day would come, but it is here and I am excited, and eager to keep up the good luck.

This week I rearranged my studio.  Not too much has really changed from graduate school to post graduation and so I sensed that I needed to make a symbolic change.  The studio was hurting from neglect and disarray and to top it all off, I hadn't even finished unpacking from 2 years ago when I originally moved in.  Now the space is looking more open, more utilitarian, and like an actual studio.  I even have room for a cozy studio chair, so if you see one out there, please keep me in mind.

 Check out all of those sketch books.  I have over 40 of them.  Some of the stuff is killer.  Some of the stuff is just plain awful, but I can tell how I was feeling in a heartbeat.  I can also tell you where I was when I drew certain things, what the situation was that a girl let me draw her, or what painting that sketch led to, even if the book is 10 years old.  I guess I've been pretty focused on art for a little bit here.  The next go around it is all macrame.

I also managed to put together the logo for Speakeasy Dining, which is a collaboration that I am working up with my former employer and fine supporter of the arts, Chef Beers.  Yes that is his name, and yes he is the life of the party.  Check it out.

The idea is focused around a food truck that features seven course meals, catered to a towns' food and economic history.  We plan on taking a Good Humor style truck on tour throughout New England.  The first stop in Laconia, NH.  It'll be awesome, so be sure to come and grab some incredible grub when you see ads for Speakeasy Dining in your town.

Think that's all for right now, but there is more stuff to come in the next couple days. 
Until we meet again...


Monday, May 14, 2012

I Have an MFA in Studio Arts

There are about a million different things to update folks with.  My MFA defense went swimmingly.  I am now Michael W. Lewis, Jr, MFA.  Awesome.  I am more than a little bit excited.  I have also lined up a couple commissions.  I am working up some old cloud constructor pieces for a friend from an old job.  I am putting together a t-shirt design for Bard Coffee, still working on monthly posters for the TNT, and producing 2 coloring books and a dozen characters for Eco Kids branding.

A lot is going on.  Keeping track of everything is difficult, but awesome.  I am ready for this.  At the end of the summer I even get to work on a mural for the Downstreet Arts Commission in North Adams, MA.  So in essence, there are a million things going on.  I am still busy.  I don't think I'm going to worry about quitting with this art practice like they kept saying to me when I was still in school, which I'm not anymore as of saturday.

So here's my Congrats series.  More images to follow.  I think we'll get back to normal and be a little less sporadic up here.  Word.

Tell the people that you love that they are awesome.  They deserve it and you will feel better too.  Really.  I mean it.  Tell them.  The world needs as much love as it can get.  It is the only way that we can ever get past all of the antagonistic garbage that creates wars and racism and the like.

I love you.