I recently helped my friend John Michael design a logo for his amazing production company, The Tattooed Potato. Normally when I draw for someone else the results tend to be embarrassing (this wound up prematurely killing my illustration career) but JM had a knack for tricking me into creating something he could use. Here is the final version:
Here are few rough sketches and ideas that did not make the cut:
On the left is a raw sketch for a new interactive map I made based on New York City, its home now on my projects page). I had the idea of creating a map in this vein for awhile -- the original title was much less SFW -- and cranked it out on an unusually productive Sunday afternoon. To be fair, I left out a lot of the admittedly good stuff about New York in order to keep the integrity of the thesis, including my cousin Laura's amazing studio in Williamsburg, the view from the top of the Museum of Art and Design, and the unfortunately-named Burp Castle which is a bar where the bartender shushes you if you talk too loudly, which I so wish bartenders everywhere would do. But overall, I think it's safe to say that the city hasn't quite embraced me with open arms. (On a side note, I am pleased that the two projects whose ideas I blatantly swiped both resulted in pleasant receptions from their original creators.) I'm working on a similar map of DC now, but am finding that writing up the little blurbs is far more difficult. If you hate a city, it's easy to find you have lots of things to say. If you like a place -- or at least don't find it maddeningly cruel on a daily basis -- it's too easy for all of your comments to sound gushy and dull. But stay tuned.
I have a soft spot for Valentine's Day, which always seemed like a holiday that should be a cheerful celebration of the drugstore brand of love ("LUV"), expressed solely by heart-shaped candy and cute teddy bears stitched with bad puns. (The fact that the holiday somehow morphed into something weighty enough to inspire 'anti-Valentine's Day' parties just makes me sad. For a day, let's ignore betrayal and heartbreak and all of the other complications love usually entails, shall we? Let's all just give each other Reeses's Peanut Butter Cups in the shape of a heart and call it day.) So, even though a part of me thinks that if your Valentine's Day gifts are NOT purchased at a CVS, you have probably tried too hard, I'm making my own style of Valentine's Day cards. Also, because my printer just broke, they are each now Limited Edition by default. I'll be selling them at The Fridge (and giving them to friends with candy scotch-taped to the envelopes, natch) but if you're reading this and would like one, send me a message and I may have a comp or two.
1. I finished a mini comic, The Bachelor Cat, which you can purchase on my shop for $4. All actual Cat Bachelors--they know who they are--can have one for free. Sorry, ladies. 2. I am going to be participating in a group show at Delicious Spectacle in Columbia Heights called One of Five, which opens this Friday. My work will be on display with the lovely and talented Project Dispatch artists.
4. If you are voyeuristic and/or curious about my work environment, I created a Studio Viewer, where you can see my studio, annotated. It's Beta now (read: still thinking of ways to make it better) and I'm thinking of expanding this project, so drop me a line if you'd have suggestions or want in.
Last week I discovered that I was awarded an Artist Fellowship Grant from DCAH, which (now semi-ironically) I will be using to produce a book of drawings and writing titled, "The Unsuccessful Artists' Handbook." This is partially inspired by the ceaseless supply of horrible instruction guides regarding how to be an artist, which I always pick up hopefully and then put down again in disgust--mostly with myself, for continuing to fall for it--when I see they all say the exact same thing. Please note that this will not be an actual handbook. But for that, consider yourselves lucky.
Next on the pipeline is a show at the College Park Aviation Museum, which opens November 9. Even if you can't make it to the opening, I'd highly recommend checking out the museum at some point if you're in the DC area. It's a quirky little museum with beautiful lighting and all sorts of fascinating flying relics.
Today I was wheatpasting on the white 14th street strip walkway when a man got out of his car, said hello, and asked me what I was doing. "Wheatpasting," I told him.
"Why?" he asked.
It's a perfectly fair question, just not an enjoyable one to answer; similar to when someone points to a section of one of my drawings and asks, "what's that?" I can't begrudge the curiosity, even if the answer is long and requires me to explain how I draw in the first place. Unfortunately, there's no good reason to be wheatpasting, other than, I felt like it, or more specifically, I had created a drawing that seemed particularly wheatpaste appropriate and there was no reason not to do it. I didn't have a call to action, or a band I was trying to promote; it was pure art for art's sake, if you're the sort of person who classifies wheatpasting as art.
So I told him that I liked the idea of taking a single drawing and seeing it in various contexts, and that the section of the wall I'd been pasting was one that was probably was overlooked and I wanted to activate the space, and I had an image on hand that seemed to fit the area well, and that technique-wise, yeah it was better to be pasting in the morning when fewer people are around but of course it's hard to get up that early. He was friendly, but didn't seem completely satisfied—as though there had to be some other motive I wasn't revealing. But I guess that's the risk with asking why, as anyone whose interacted with a toddler knows. Eventually, you hit the end of the line, sometimes sooner rather than later.
Anyway, more details for the curious: the piece above was inspired by a quote I saw in the London Times Style magazine about various coffee drinkers (not a Dana original, sadly, though I wish it was). The drawing is composed of the sketch on the right, and you can see it around 14th street before the next torrential rain fall or someone else decides to cover it up.
Been a good weekend, artistically speaking. I finally got around to setting up a new drafting table (thanks, Yeon-Woo!), and snagged a spot in Blended at the last minute, courtesy of screen-printer extraordinare Anthony Dihle. This is a group show by Albus Cavus, organized by AIGA and looks very promising so far.
Monday was day one at the space, a soon-to-be-demolished warehouse across from the 9:30 Club. I attacked the concrete as best I could with brushes, until breaking down and asking to borrow a can of 181's spray paint, who working on a neighboring wall. It was my first time using spray paint so I spent a very sweaty-but-not-altogether-unpleasant day learning how to vary the weight of a line, and that I shouldn't cut corners on a respirator.
Also a few shots of my Inarticulate Series in progress, which as you may have guessed, I'm still trying to properly explain. Title subject to change, depending on how I figure that part out. All are 18x24'':
I documented the play-by-play on my tumblr account, but here's my new piece at the Flashpoint Gallery titled, "Inscrutable Comic." There's an opening reception that coincides with Calder Brannock's Adventure Residency Program Headquarters, but it'll be up for a indefinitely, so do check it out if you're in town! Official information from the Flashpoint below:
Join us for the opening reception of Calder Brannock's "Adventure Residency Program Headquarters" Friday, March 23, 6-8pm.
Flashpoint Gallery will play home base for artist Calder Brannock’s "Adventure Residency Program Headquarters." The project builds upon Brannock’s earlier project, Camper Contemporary, a mobile art gallery fashioned from a vintage camper. Brannock will expand upon Camper Contemporary’s Adventure projects, organizing artists and audience members to take trips to produce artworks based on shared experiences. Visitors will be encouraged to borrow objects from the gallery in order to create self-guided personal adventures.
Calder Brannock: Adventure Residency Program Headquarters March 23 - April 27, 2012 Opening Reception: March 23, 6-8pm
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 12-6pm or by appointment
Dana Maier, "Inscrutable Comic" Plus, be sure to check out Flashpoint alum Dana Maier's "Inscrutable Comic," a new wall drawing in our back hallway.
Awhile ago I decided that I needed a mini portfolio of sorts. Something that the viewer could hold in their hands, emphasizing the intimacy of my small drawings and containing information about my work that didn't sound like text I'd been forced to write for a grant application. So I’ve created 8x5 inch folios that have prints and various statements about my art, completely
ripping off drawing inspiration from Edward Gorey's Twelve Terrors of Christmas and my own scrawled 'artist statements on a coaster' I'd created last year.
This project, which I thought I’d complete in a weekend, took lots and lots of drafts, statements I abandoned for sounding too whiney or defensive, and two trips to the Paper Source, which is one of those Ikea-esque establishments that you look forward to visiting, but prompt you go just a little insane upon stepping inside. But I'm happy to report that I am now on the homestretch, and pleased with the results.
I’m also working on these two pieces side by side, (one is 3 feet by 4 feet, the other 16x20 inches) which I like, though like much of my work, both are stuck in an infinite loop. They are the sort of drawings that will never, ever feel done, I can tell; the kind that make me feel grateful for deadlines when the work is forced to come to some sort of conclusion. For now though, I'm enjoying the ride:
Cory Oberndorfer asked me to participate on his delicious Donut a Day site, so do check out my contribution. He claims that he was inspired by my Flashpoint show (aw!) but I am more impressed by his ability to update a blog every damn day, which I actually think is much taller order than drawing 50 bazillion coasters. Well, we all have our mountains to climb. And since I haven't posted in awhile, I'm adding a few images of my recent work, including a piece I drew for the We Are Monsters show at Pleasant Plains, and a new sticker edition, and something that I started as a study for a larger work that’s my drawing equivalent of a summer fling (that is, I’ve been having fun with it, but am not sure where it’s going). And I finally updated the drawing section here too, which has been long overdue.
This weekend, while the city was buzzing with World Cup fever and Gay Pride, I was installing the second-largest piece of art I've ever created* at the Convention Center. A few snapshots below--higher-quality pictures coming soon.
*The largest piece of art was created in grad school in 2005, and involved a projector and a motion detector. In case you were curious.
My new obsession: little paper accordion books you can purchase for $4 at the Paper Source. Naturally, the more I think that I should really start working big and colorful, the more I find myself creating art that's small and monochromatic--and these 3.5'' guys take it to an extreme. Wonder if Edward Gorey ever had artistic dilemmas in this vein.
I found this postcard (pictured) in a drawer over the weekend, when I was cleaning my room. I'd purchased it in Prague five years ago (since postcards were about the only souvenirs I could afford at the time). Great find! I'm happy to report I've been working on a new drawing stealing the imagery inspired by its imagery. I also spent about half an hour flipping through the book below, which contains various examples of illustrators' sketchbooks, and their accompanying thoughts on why they like to use them (answer--all of the normal reasons). I normally enjoy both sketchbooks and illustrators, but this time...I don't know, just wasn't feeling it. Maybe the poor little volume seemed like it was trying too hard: