Sketches from ContraryCon

On Friday I attended the ContraryCon at ISL. My goal was to take sketch notes, though most wound up being heavier on the sketch part. A few of my favorites below: 

  Crowd scene. I did many of these. 

Crowd scene. I did many of these. 

  Good advice from Matt Chase. 

Good advice from Matt Chase. 

  Yet another crowd scene. 

Yet another crowd scene. 

  Eileen Tjan of Other Studio. 

Eileen Tjan of Other Studio. 

  Completely out-of-context quote from the House Industries presentation, which was one of my favorites of the day. 

Completely out-of-context quote from the House Industries presentation, which was one of my favorites of the day. 

  Also from the House Industries slideshow. This was their book for Agent Provocateur. 

Also from the House Industries slideshow. This was their book for Agent Provocateur. 

  Victoria Taylor, of WeWork. 

Victoria Taylor, of WeWork. 

Hey look, another crowd scene! 

  Erica Lee Schlaikjer & faces that I turned into a word bubble, for some reason. 

Erica Lee Schlaikjer & faces that I turned into a word bubble, for some reason. 

  I thought this design talk from Nour Tabet made a lot of very good points. 

I thought this design talk from Nour Tabet made a lot of very good points. 

Slow Pens vs. Fast Pens

Another side effect of attending SAW was that I began to use a nib pen again, a practice I'd gotten out of the habit of. Below are a few nib pen warm-up doodles:  

The advantage of a nib pen is that it slows you down, which makes it ideal for Contemplative Doodling, as I like to call it. (Actually, I just made that up, but it seems to fit.) As you can see, they're a combination of stream-of-conscious imagery and me talking to myself:

I've also been drawing more on the train, in an attempt to make the best of the recent spurt of Metro delays. My sketchbook work is done with a portable brush pen, which is a good safeguard against getting bogged down in too many details: 

Sad commuters. 

  Poor, poor commuters. 

Poor, poor commuters. 

Some recent nonsense

I mentally file all of my artwork into two crudely-labeled piles: the Kind That Makes Sense, and the Kind That Does Not Make Sense. Generally speaking, the Kind That Does Not Make Sense is more fun, though it often arrives by accident when I'm aiming for the making-sense-type of art. Here are a few recent examples.

Below, I was trying to draw what I can only describe as a “pile of crap” for another cartoon (long story), and this is what wound up happening. 

Below is a drawing I started at a restaurant a few months back. I was doodling the guy at the table across from me, and it all snowballed from there:  

  Oh, brunch! 

Oh, brunch! 

Here is me having fun with heads in profile, and a new slant-angled Micron pen:  

It took me awhile to realize that there's a sweet spot with weirdness in art: too strange, and it becomes off-putting, and too normal and well, what's the point? You have to be unusual, but still give the viewer something to cling onto.  Being weird can also be used to disguise a lack of ideas, or talent (see how many artist statements abandon explanations in the first place, and just spout gibberish as a means of distractions). 

Cars, sort of

I've never liked drawing cars. But in the interest of artistic personal growth (or something less lame sounding?) I decided to force myself to draw the cars I saw while looking out the window, on a recent bus journey to New York:

You can also see the headrest of the bus seat if you look closely. 

Fear series

  Some notes. 

Some notes. 

Below are few drawings that debuted at a Halloween show at Hole in the Sky last month. In the spirit of the holiday they were all based on the idea of fear (though considering the default expression of anyone I draw always seems to be ‘‘concerned and anxious,” this wasn't much of a stretch): 

Belated Bentzen Ball Wrap Up

Earlier this month I had a gig as a featured artist for Moleskin at the BYT Bentzen Ball, a yearly comedy festival in DC. This involved being backstage drawing the comics, which was just as fun and terrifying as it sounds.

Below is a slideshow of some of my drawings from the event, plus a few of my favorite photos by Nicholas Karlin

 Pictured with my favorite sketch of Morgan Murphy. Photo by  Nicholas Karlin . 

Pictured with my favorite sketch of Morgan Murphy. Photo by Nicholas Karlin

 Me and Ben Kronberg, while social media-ing. 

Me and Ben Kronberg, while social media-ing. 

 Morgan Murphy, me and my sketch of Ben. 

Morgan Murphy, me and my sketch of Ben. 

 Taking a shot of Jamison with Stephanie Allynne and Bill Burr. 

Taking a shot of Jamison with Stephanie Allynne and Bill Burr. 

Exhibition at Wild Hand Workspace this June

This June I will be exhibiting at Wild Hand Workspace, a gallery/workshop in the Monroe Street Market in Brookland just bursting with charm. I'll be displaying original work, comics, and some print goodies for sale. 

Wild Hand Workspace - Dana Jeri Maier


Wild Hand Workspace presents a solo show by Dana Jeri Maier.

Hours 
6-9PM on Thursday, June 18th
11AM - 2PM on Saturday June 20th, Sunday, June 21st & Saturday June 27th

Opening reception

6-9PM on Thursday, June 18th

Place
Wild Hand Studio 8 
Monroe Street Market
716 Monroe St NE 20017

Cartoon in progress

A new cartoon I've been working on: 

IWillNeverBe-FinalWeb.jpg

Here's how it started in my sketchbook:

And on the right is a super-embarrassing first attempt that I am still on the fence about sharing in the first place.  

Will I draw this again to get it perfect? Maybe. Will I keep going on this one and overwork it within an inch of its life? Also a possibility! 

Drawings for Sale

   This  can be yours. 

This can be yours. 

If you are like me, the onslaught of ‘BUY THIS! SHOP NOW! SPEND MONEY!” emails you receive this year make you want to throw out half the things in your closet and never buy another sweater or garlic press again. But if you are also like me, you have lots of unsold art in your studio that could use a good home, frankly. In short, I’m not sure how to play this one. 

Anyhow, I have a handful of drawings left over from You Can’t Put Art on a Pedestal. You can see the remaining ones here, and buy them for $55 a piece.  

 

 

You Can't Put Art on a Pedestal

My new show, "You Can't Put Art on a Pedestal" is now open at  at the DC Arts Center Nano Gallery, in Adams Morgan. It contains fifty-seven 4x4'' goauche-and-ink drawings, all thematically-related the experience of museum-going, which may sound familiar for those of you keeping track. There is an opening party Friday, July 11 from 7-9 PM that I hope you can attend. In the meantime, some gratuitous preview shots below:

 You Can't Put Art on a Pedestal - Installation

You Can't Put Art on a Pedestal - Installation

 You Can't Put Art on a Pedestal - Installation

You Can't Put Art on a Pedestal - Installation

Some praise for the Handbook

A friend of mine who read a late draft of The Unsuccessful Artist's Handbook had this to say about it:

Also first off, it just bowls me over with its honesty. It hits me in the heart. I don't know how you feel it, or what your awareness is, or whether it costs you or comes naturally. I'm really envious. I am not, in life or art, forthcoming or straightforward or candid. Not because I don't want to be those things, but -- but this isn't about me [he said, dodging further reflection and revelation]. There's a quality to the honesty that hits me in the heart, that I'm envious of, that I think we're all a bit thirsty for.

 

Again, you can buy a copy here. Makes a great Hannukah gift! Or not.

When in doubt, draw a fish wearing a scarf - Dana Jeri Maier
When in doubt, draw a fish wearing a scarf - Dana Jeri Maier

In other news—well, there isn't much at the moment, except that my new coaster business cards came in [see right], and I am fairly pleased with them. Also, I have been having fun with my Studio page, which contains semi-regularly documentation of my studio. (I'm a shameless snoop when it comes to other artists' studios, so I figured it would be kind to return the favor.)

October update

I am almost disproportionately pleased to announce that I have updated the Drawings, Studio and Projects pages on my website, with (mostly) brand-new work and built using the uber-sexy Foundation framework. Incidentally, I am still looking for tech nerds to talk about Foundation-related matters with, so if anyone is reading this and would like to compare notes, please feel free to drop me a line. Announcement number two is a bit on the late side, but I have some drawings on display at the Fridge with Crowns, a chess-themed show currated by Zoma Wallace and hosted by Words, Beats Life. The line-up of artists is superb and it's up through October 27, so please check it out if you find yourself in Eastern Market anytime soon.

Installation in progress

Here are a few work-in-progress shots of If We Could All Agree Not to Care, We Wouldn't Have to Do This, which opens on Friday at the Flashpoint Gallery:Front Wall - If We Could All Agree Not to Care, We Wouldn't Have to Do This If We Could All Agree Not to Care, We Wouldn't Have to Do This Overall, the installation has been incredibly pleasant. Applying huge swaths of black ink onto a white wall feels rich and satisfying. While I work I listen to the new Robert Galbraith J.K. Rowling crime novel, and The Love Affairs of Nathanial P., both of which are excellent. There is a Shake Shack down the street and art supply stores in easy biking distance. The hours fly by.

I've also printed promotional coasters for the show, which you may see in local bars: Promotional Coasters - If We Could All Agree Not to Care We Wouldn't Have to Do This

Anyhow, show details again below, and also on the event page. I will be downright thrilled if you can make it.

Dana Jeri Maier: If We Could All Agree Not to Care, We Wouldn’t Have to Do This Opening Reception: Friday, August 9, 6-8pm Exhibition Dates: August 9 – September 14, 2013 Flashpoint Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12-6pm or by appointment

The Art of the Wedding

As it turns out, 2013 is The Year that All of My Friends Are Getting Married, which is happening pretty much on schedule. And one unexpected perk is that I've been finding myself contributing art to their nuptials in various ways. The map of DC I drew in April will be used for an invitation (minus the sea monsters), and in January, I was commissioned to draw an engagement-themed piece that was used as part of a marriage proposal. Most recently I created a Ketubah for my friends Agnes and Max. It's my first Ketubah, and hopefully not my last—I had a lot of fun with this one: Ketubah by Dana Jeri Maier