Computer art is interesting. I usually don't like it due to how slick everything can get. In a way that is probably what people are reacting to when they say they don't like it. It usually lacks appropriate texture. It's tricky because you can't use a technique just to use it. An artist needs to recognize when it's the right time to push it or reel it in.
I'm using the computer to work out the colors, but if I was to do computer art as a final I would try to find what techniques the computer tools are stronger for. It's a different medium that mimics traditional medium as a starting point. It allows people who haven't developed traditional drawing and painting techniques to put out something in their head in an efficient manner. I think a lot of accomplished artists with traditional techniques resent people who have figured out how to get the computer to do what they want because it seems like a "cheat".
In a lot of cases it is do to it's inherent ability to look like polished art in half to a tenth of the time of traditional (physical) art takes. There are people who try and take that medium past merely copying what traditional art and those are the true pioneers pushing boundaries. I like seeing something pushed farther.
My approach to using the computer is as a sketch. I learn a little more each time I do these and maybe in the future I'll begin to push the computer techniques. But for now...
I did comics once upon a time. I was a penciller for DC Vertigo. "Animal Man" was my title with a few guest pages in "Doom Patrol". At Marvel I was an inker and finisher for Marvel Comics Presents, Dr. Strange, Savage Sword of Conan, and other pin-ups here and there. I didn't grow up with that goal in mind, but being in New York City, this is what I had the opportunity to do so I did. I learned so much! I worked with many different artists. Some good and some bad but I think I came across some new knowledge from all.
Since then I have become friends with even more comic book artists who inspire me. Of course my good friend Steve Ellis, and Dean Haspiel, and Gregory Benton.
They do more personal comic book work that doesn't always deal with a fight scene. Their themes are more adult oriented and they and the slew of others I don't have the time to write down and link to inspire my desire to tell some stories.
This is my character "Klunk". He's loosely based on me. Very loosely. Because you are here looking at this and because I have a keyboard connected to my computer in front of me I will share his story with you... or at least an explanation of the character. Klunk appears to wear a gas mask. It is a metaphorical device I use so the reader is able to get past what he looks like and go immediately to what he "feels" like. The viewer never sees Klunk's face. This is my personal challenge. How do I get across the full range of emotions and expressions a faced character can do? I like the idea that although the viewer can't see his whole face but a character in the strip might say something like Klunk you have a piece of tentacle stuck between your teeth" implying that they can see his whole face.
So here is a Klunk story he is barely in. And you can interpret it in several ways, which I like.
Reworking a composition I don't like in gouache but I'm using Oxgall medium this time. I never tried it before even though I've known of it for years. It seems pretty cool. A subtle difference from just using water but it is definitely different!
I posted this on my Instagram (deadredfred) a few days ago. These fairies are definitely in an ambiguous area for me. I think of "fantasy art" as illustration. The gallery work to me is clearly art made for a gallery although on an abstract level it could be used as a companion to peak interest for a story or book cover etc. Like most gallery art could. Illustrations are clearly for articles. They might use elements written about to construct an image that might represent the ideas conveyed or pull a small part out to make the viewer interested to find out what the artist saw that would make them create that.
These fairy paintings are in the middle of this for me. I'm not creating them for a story but they are a known sort of creature that comes from fantasy art associated with witches, and dragons, and talking bugs, etc. They have this history, like baggage that you have to bring along or at least address. The gallery world doesn't seem to value this very much.
I'm very happy for the new-ish art scene that still doesn't seem to have an agreed upon name. Juxtapose, Pop Surrealism, Outsider Art, Lowbrow... I think it was germinating in the mid 90's. I wish I had been paying attention to it sooner! My first Lowbrow show I was in was around '05. I had a good painting that won "Best of Show" but I really didn't have a plan. My images were hit or miss.
This brings me to these fairy paintings. This is my launchpad for the next exploration.
Definitely letting my current study of James Jean art creep in. I guess I began looking at his work more closely because I was already noticing similar elements between my work and his and several other people. These paintings are pretty small and also for sale for any people interested in transitional paintings.
This one isn't finished yet.
Just a couple of stuffs. Here is my Ran Xerox and a bit of what I said on my commercial art site.
"This is a sci-fi illustration. The bg is totally up to me. I wanted enough information in it to put the figures in context. I was riffing off of one of my favorite artists I looked at in Heavy Metal mag. in the 80's, Tanino Liberatore. He always drew/painted Ran Xerox. Being the early 80's and I lived in a small town with not much art scene, let alone European comics scene, no one had any idea who he was or what else he had done. Then I saw a Frank Zappa album in a record store, "The Man From Utopia". Even in my early high school naivete in art I recognized his style. I didn't know much about Frank Zappa but I purchased the record immediately just for the art. I ended up getting several more Zappa albums over the years, but "Man From Utopia" was my first and probably my favorite. Especially since it was weird enough to aggravate my parents!"
I mean REALLY? Every post has to have a title? I would title it "Post entry no. whatever, but I'm sure if I began numbering them I'd screw up somewhere along the line and there would eventually be 8 number tens.
Busy summer spot of late. Went to my high school reunion back in PA. Nice to see that all us fucked up kids we all were in high school managed to grow up and be fucked up adults. Kidding. I realized I have never matured. Everyone had kids and was concerned with all the things in the world out there that might corrupt their kids as they go out in the world. I have no kids. Having kids is like the longest set up to some crazy game you never realized you were in. Create this little person . Grow them and try to instill some knowledge to prepare them for a world where you won't be to protect them. Then, shoot them out there after 18 to 22 years of prep! See what happens. I've played a few really long Monopoly games but they've never gone more than a few hours.
I had a great time making friends with people I should have known a long time ago but just had to wait until now. Some I remembered a bit but most I hadn't thought about since I got my diploma.
Anyway, here's some stuff I've been doing...
I share a studio with the famous, Molly Crabapple. She had these nice inks (Ecoline) laying around so I snagged a bottle of the blue and tried it out. I was working in my Canson sketch pad so the paper wasn't the thickest. It held up well enough with the pen nib I was using. I also splashed a little watercolor graphite "Art Graf" over the Dr Martin matte ink I like to use. I touched it up a little with white gouache. Holbein gouache, since I seem to be name dropping so much in this post. Sheesh!
Opening at MF Gallery
213 Bond St.
JUNE 15, 6-10pm
Please look over the Prints page and get them all.
Have a good Easter/Passover or month.
Now is a good time to commission a portrait or purchase some physical art for the winter!
If you'd like to commission me for a painting... Portraits with my surreal aesthetic only. The face you have and my paint brushes! Estimated turnaround 3 months. Shorter will cost more. Contact me now.
Last Rites Gallery 325 W. 38th Street, between 8th & 9th Ave, NYC: (212) 529.0666
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