Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Of Monsters and Me (The "Will I Make a Good Dad?" Version)

It was a very tumultuous weekend.  My bowling night became a night that I jumped in a car and rode two hours north to Belfast to make a family emergency room visit.  I had to take yesterday morning off from my cooking job.  I have been away from studio for two days.  It is good to be sitting in here again.  I have so much to do, but organizing my thoughts becomes increasingly difficult the more time that I spend out of the studio, and so I am sitting here acclimating myself to my surroundings again.  I've got to get this place cleaner.  My wife has been slowly moving the rest of her stuff in, which is great, but it does mean boxes all over the place in studio.  This is not always the most conducive situation to getting work done. 

But now, here I am, sitting in studio.  This is great.  The sun is shining and the temperature is a little crisp.  Today I have to put together an illustration for a Bard t-shirt and two designs for buttons that I will be packaging with my friend Aaron over at Monkey Chow for Treat-Yo-Self in Boston on Halloween.  I also need to get the back cover of this album put together a bit more.

I think that the two button designs are going to sport my new monster creatures.  I call them new.  They are the first thing that I was drawing out of art school back in 2003, but they have taken on slightly different forms and seem to be better characters than they used to be.  Perhaps they just are starting to look a bit more like me.  I am starting to think of the idea of being Dad to someone.  It is bringing out this very soft and hesitant side in me.  I always loved my father.  He is a great man, but I wonder about how I was raised a little.  In the eighties the honor your mother and father routine was supported by the threat of an angry father still.  "You'll have to talk to dad when he gets home" kind of statements were still the norm.  Part of me sees no issue with this.  I stand here and say, "Well I turned out okay.  I'm fine," and maybe I am, but I am very sensitive.  I take things out on my characters in my art.  I construct characters to feel and say the things that I want to say.  I am very hesitant.  My wife seems to like me the way I am.  I am grateful for that, but I know that it is a difficult way to be at times and I wish more for my children.  I'm trying to work a bit of the monster out again as a result.  I can't work too much of it out though.  The monster is still very much part of me.

 I've even been doing a few at work.  Every time that I have to put something in the oven over night, I leave a character for my co-workers to find.  Like so many restaurant jobs there are plenty of artists and musicians who work with me that seem to appreciate the drawings.

 The creatures all remain more cute than scary.  I am not sure why if I am trying to work "monster" out of me I would try to work the cuter aspects of "monster" out of me, but it seems appropriate somewhere back in that section of my head that makes decisions in my art without me really be aware of what they are.

The originals of all of these little monsters are available through the Mighty Lark Etsy shop.  Should you be interested pop on over and check them out.  I can also do one pretty quickly on commission too.
The Orange Room is the cover art that I have put together for The Woulds, a local Portland band.  The project has dragged on longer than it should, partially because of me and partially because of the client, but at the end of the day, when I went to Syracuse University for Illustration all I wanted to do was make album covers and do illustrations in Spin and Rolling Stone.  One more life goal complete.

There's more stuff.  I'm settling in again.  I should be back soon.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Longest of Breaks

It would seem that the blog has fallen by the wayside for a bit.  One would expect some major news out of me for the amount of time that I have taken off from keeping people informed about my work.  Something big must have happened.  Something monumental, or was I just being lazy.  I can proudly say that that was not it.  On the 26th of August, I married a beautiful woman and that may be better for my soul than any piece of artwork has ever been.  It has been a tumultuous couple months and my work ethic has been tested to the extremes, but I have started to finally become ensconced in my projects once again, but this time with the added element of being very pleased with life.  It is remarkable how much brighter your pieces can be when you are pleased with life.  Here is my new mailbox identification.  Welcome Courtney to the Lewis Acrylics family!

However, I digress in telling you probably far too much about my social life and far too little about my most recent art endeavors.  A couple Saturdays ago I participated in Picnic, an artist run craft fair held in Lincoln Park in downtown, Portland, Me every summer.  I created a number of new works for the fair, including the library card pieces that I shared previously and a new round of totem poles which I have not posted as of yet.  Here are a few of the new totems. 

I was not as worried about these totems telling a story as I was with the totems that I did last summer.  As a result I was able to to work a little more closely with the shapes and movement of the characters.  All in all I was very pleased with the outcome.  I think that I will do a number more of these as I am finding more and more scrap wood around the studio.

I have also been getting closer to completion of another large scale commission.  The wall that I am to fill in this fellow's condominium is 10' by 8'.  That is quite a project.  I have been resorting to the Assemblage Theory type of construction for this piece, which has allowed me to re-purpose and re-work some pre-existing pieces while also creating entirely new parts to fit the theme and feel of the work.  Here is an image of a bunch of the elements laid out as they were in my studio today.

I hope to be able to get a bunch done on this piece tomorrow.  Actually I have the day off and my wife has to work a double, so I am hoping that I will be able to finish it in its entirety by tomorrow evening.  I will in the meantime attempt to keep you up to date with the piece's progress as I work.