Saturday, April 4, 2009

April 2009 - Interview with Robert Connett

BB ~ We will start with the usual: where were you born, where did you grow up and where in the world are you slappin' paint today?

RS ~ I was born and grew up in San Francisco, Calif. I'm of the forth generation living in the city starting from 1890. I Lived and worked in SF until 1998, then moved to Los Angeles where I live and work today.

BB ~ Your paintings posted on Flickr often include well-written even lengthy (by today's standards) back story. Does it bother you that 95% of the comments are "cool" and "great job" after you have given such a deep nugget of narrative for the piece?

RS ~ Not at all. I'm very glad that people take the time to make any sort of comment. It's nice to get the occasional "in depth" comment, but I understand that if people didn't have strong feelings, no matter what they say, they would not have bothered to write anything at all.

BB ~ Nightmare visions abound in your body of work. Night Trawler alone could cause a person to more horror than the average slasher flick. Is it your aim to inspire fear or more a cathartic release for your tortured soul?

RS ~ It's a little surprising to hear that people think my work is full of "Nightmare Visions". I don't see it that way. However, I suppose it's true. My wife tells me that I live in a vacuum, my own world. She tells me that I do not realize what effect my images have on others. The evidence bares her out. I do not deliberate intend to inspire fear. Absolutely not.

My art has always been an expression for what I feel, a catharsis. I was trained at an early age to draw as an outlet for emotions that were manifesting destructively. When I was 6 years old I saw my first Psychologist. I had violence problems as a child. I was sent to psychologists and eventually to psychiatrists. I was under psychiatric treatment for many years. I saw the same shrink from age 12 until I was 18. Then I began again with him, seeing him on and off until my late thirties, when (to my great dismay) he retired. The point is, I was shown how to express pent up rage via a ball-point pen and paper. This grew into my current relationship with art. Everything I do in art is an expression of how I feel, self-allegorical. If my images are "nightmare visions" it is because I am living in what I perceive to be a nightmare. I am flushing out my demons. I do not wish to create fear. I want people to find my work interesting and even compelling. If my work makes a statement beyond me, about our society or the human condition, it is because I am a person of this world, and my experiences are part of the human condition.

BB ~ In paintings such as Microbia III, Crustaceapods you render these amazing undersea creatures. Are these things straight out of your head or do you study nature books for reference?

RS ~ Both. I am fascinated by tiny life forms. I have this idea that the universe is not only the stars and galaxies we see in the sky, but also existing within the materials that makes us. Every atom that we are made of contains an infinitely tiny universes, and in tern, there are universes even more infinitesimal contained within the material that comprises them. This largeness and smallness goes on infinitely. We are also part of some other gigantic universe that we have not discovered. Several of my paintings are based upon imaginary life forms found in different levels of this hierarchical infinity.

I am also mesmerized by medical illustrations, especially antique. I am awed by the drawings of Ernst Haeckel (ref: I love old marine biological drawings. There are many old illustrations from oceanology and marine science expeditions from the 17th to the 19th century. I locate these on the internet using a google image search. The articulate renderings of minuscule creatures inspire me tremendously.

I sometimes base my creatures upon these illustrations, and in a few cases, (very few) I have actually taken them verbatim from the illustration. Most of the life forms in my series of "microbia" are simply creations from my imagination. When I'm not busy placating my devils, I'm enjoying myself creating theoretical life forms. It depends upon my mood. Some of my work is dedicated strictly to whimsy, like the paintings you refer to, (Red Microbia, Blue Microbia and Crustaceapods: ), while others are concerned with the need to get rid of pent up emotions. My latest painting, "The Bone-Yard walk" ( is a perfect example of the latter. I've been wanting very much to create new paintings such as the C-Pods and Microbia's. However, I've been so fucking depressed that all I can come up with is paintings like the "Bone-Yard Walk".

BB ~ In Faces in a Mirror you really succeed in combining the serious weight of late Medieval painting with the cartoon fun of Mad Magazine. This is exactly the sort of thing that needs to be on the cover of Art Forum or on the wall at the Whitney Biennial. Do you think you can carve a niche in the hallowed stone of art history?

RS ~ Well, thank you for your gracious good words!

The painting you refer to is again an example of my cathartic art. It's 'me' looking in 'my' mirror and seeing a fucking freak were once there was a young and handsome lad.

As to the question of my art having an impact beyond my own time, possibly. Obviously I have garnered enough attention for you to take an interest in my work. That's a good start! For now I am much more interested in being able to free myself to think and paint.

I admit there is something inside me that wants my work to outlive me. What artist does not wish this? I don't have kids, so my art is like my children. Instinct to create progeny tugs at my heart strings just like anybody else.

The biggest reason that I want popularity for my art is because I need to make money. How's that for crass? That is a curse. I must sell every painting and drawing I do in order to keep going. I currently live painting to painting.

What I really want is to dig as deep within myself as I can when I make art. I want to make art that will force people to use their minds. I want to make art that is compelling. Because I need money I am tempted to compromise. That's an inner war I wage. My art does not loan itself to compromise. Nor is it considered commercial for the most part.

I would love to believe that my art will live on and have influence on new minds and new artists and the world in general. I think about it, and I dream about it. I would be a happy man to think that I have added something of substance to our world.

Then again, why concern myself with posterity when the human race is doomed? There's not much of a future for us. No one wants to see it, but the piper is coming for his payment. The abuse of our planet and its resources is about to reach a critical climax. Overpopulation and the unstoppable effects of global warming (a result of overpopulation) is going to change the world in ways unprecedented. Perhaps we shall perish altogether.

I believe that we are at the mercy of an unavoidable catastrophe that is much, much closer than any of us wants to admit. We did this. I'm as guilty as anyone. I'm like one of those subsistence farmers in the Brazilian Rain forest who must burn down a few acres of jungle so that his family might live another season. The farmer can't think about the generations to come when he sees his children starving, and by feeding them, he dooms their children. For more of my thoughts about the current state of our world check out my words at this link:

BB ~ In your back story on Little Bang Theory you describe your small, but intense self-created universe with great detail. You sound a lot like my favorite writer, Charles Bukowski, when you describe the world as populated by politicians, gangsters, psychopaths, crooks, cops, idiots, drunks, misfits, yuppies, beggars and thieves. Despite this cynical even nihilistic view your work is bright and teeming with life. Is it this contradiction that fuels your vision?

RS ~ My visions are fueled not only by a need to expel my demons and explore my imagination, but also by a need to be more than a parasite in my own estimation. It's not enough that I live and breath, eat and sleep. Any insect can do these things. For many years lived for the sake of being alive.

At age 27, I came to a a turning point in my life. At the time I was working as an insurance broker in San Francisco. It's was a typical 9 to 5, go to work, come home, watch TV, go to bed, get up, go to work, get drunk on the weekend, non-life style. I became obsessed with self-examination and in my own estimation, I came up sorely lacking. I was not making art at the time.

When I was 27, I had money. I drove a jaguar. I was a yuppie. It also became unavoidably clear to me that my life was a sham. Meaningless and superficial. I had a sort of "breakdown" or "panic attack". I thought I was chocking to death. I was driven to the ER by my neighbor. When I came home and rested, I realized I must take a new direction. That was the day I began to draw again. I had stopped making art at around age 20. I began again, and never stopped. For the next 20 years it was a hobby that kept me sane. (and I also began seeing my old shrink again)

I am indeed "fueled by contradictions". What is not a contradiction? In what situation of life can we not find contradiction if we look? For instance, it is a contradiction to care about a world that I believe is about to die by its own hand. The only thing I've ever done in my life that's worth a damn is my artwork. It is contradictory to think that this is any more important than anything else, when you look at it closely, and yet … I do.

Imagination is the most important thing that I possess. Imagination is what created civilization. There, you see? There is another contradiction. I feel deeply that the only justification for my existence is a tool which helped bring us to our own destruction. (ha!) Of course I say that cynically because I think our creativity could also be our only way to survive.

Life is a mystery because nothing makes sense. The more I know, the more I know I do not know. If you take science to an absolute we are nothing more than walking talking heads fueled by chemical reactions predetermined by magnetic fields, actions and reactions. We think we have free thought and the power to decide who we are and what we do, but actually we do not. Every thought we have is an involuntary response to natural stimulations. We are automatons at the mercy of our own chemical slushy. There is no God, there is no spirit, no soul. It is all impossible. Yet, do we believe anyway. I believe.

BB ~ You skirt this issue often in your do you see life after death?

RS ~ I did not realize that I was skirting the issue of life after death, but I suppose you are correct again. My first memory of this issue occurred when I was a small boy, maybe 5 or 6, my father caught my grandmother trying to teach me about Jesus. She was devout Catholic. He roared at her to leave the room as this "religious talk" was not permitted in our house, and she knew that. My dad took me on his knee and explained his version of the truth to me. He clicked the TV on, and said, "Son, this is now alive, like you and me, understand?" Next he turned it off and said, "now it is off and this is what it's like to be dead. You are simply 'no more'." On and off, he turned it ON and OFF. "This is life, "ON", and this is death, "OFF". "Click, click, click, click." That was the extent of my at home religious training. And perhaps my first lesson about metaphor. I understand him now. It's difficult not to believe in his non-faith. My mother is the same. She scoffs at life after death. She just turned 85. I asked her about it on here birthday. No way, when you die, the TV is "OFF".

Being a curious child, I would sneak into the Catholic church on the corner of our street. I was brought up in an Irish Catholic neighborhood where everyone had the name "BRIAN","PATRICK" or "COLEEN". At Saint Brendan's church I was told a very different story about God and Jesus and death. I was taught by the parochial school kids that there was a place called HELL, and I was absolutely going to see it some day! I had not been baptized, and so I WAS going to HELL. I became fascinated with all the heaven and hell stuff, especially the HELLFIRE suffering and torture part. This is when much of my fighting started, and the subsequent referrals to counselors and psychologists, which let to my first acts of art.

So, fast forward to now. My personal feelings are this; I have prayed to "GOD" for decades, and still do. I feel I have a special and very personal relationship with GOD. However, I also know that it is impossible that a GOD exists. Yet another contradiction. I also think these things in equal measure; We may have a soul that lives beyond this life, perhaps it is eternal. We may all be part of one cycle of living souls. Or perhaps a sort of co-mingling existence, and we are all one, truly connected. Or, we may be GOD ourselves, and must live every life that ever has, or ever will be lived on this planet, and every other planet in every solar system and every galaxy throughout the cosmos, in this dimension, and all others, infinitely large and infinitely small, until we finally reach the end of time, at which time we find some ultimate something which we are WAY too feeble minded to grasp at this stage. OR, we might be destined to reach immortality through technology as in the ideas of Raymond Kurzweil in his theories of artificial intelligence, transhumanism and futurism. We may be destined to evolve into cyborgs, and then truly "Spiritual Machines" ( ref: see "THE AGE OF SPIRITUAL MACHINES: and " ) OR, we may be nothing but accidents who cease to exist like the TV does when you shut it "OFF". I feel and believe all these things. Contradictions abound in this area.

BB ~ You lost your first body of work to a studio fire back in 1995. Now you suggest getting everything you paint sold and out into the world. (I think a lot about this, ever since I read about Norman Rockwell's studio burning down in 1943.) Do you ever trade your stuff or give it to people who really dig it but can't afford it?

RS ~ I didn't know that happened to Norman Rockwell too! Damn!

Yes, I have given away prints and originals and I have traded work for other artists work, and other things. However, I'm not in a financial position at the moment to trade originals, (of course, it depends upon what is offered) I can afford to give prints when people convince me that they really want them and can't afford to buy them. I'm always honored by that, and I'm glad to give to people who can not afford my work.Aside form my art being a vehicle for placating my demons, and exploring my imagination, my next most important task is to disseminate it. I want my art to be seen, and thought of.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Halloween in March! You bet but it’s even better than that...if you grew up on Famous Monsters (the movies and the magazine) get ready for frightening thrill ride down nightmare lane! Seriously talented both with the paint brush and with the mighty mouse, Jim McDermott has created a super-fueled creep show of classic grace Turn off the lights, burn a candle or two and feast your peepers on this haunting portfolio of macabre mastery...
INTERVIEW by Richard Mullins
Let's start with the usual;-when and where were you born and where is your studio located these days?
I've gone from Massachusetts to the West Coast to Texas and back to the East Coast, where now work through the night in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, watching the shape-shifting monsters on my computer screen. Then I drive off into the night and watch the dawn at oceanside with a newspaper and a cup of Starbucks.
Give us some insight into your working method. Are your painti
ngs (recent ones you posted on Flickr) digital from scratch or do you start with a pencil drawing?
I've tried both. Recently, I turned off the computer and have been
going back to legit pen-and-ink drawings.
It seems you have a deep connection to Hollywood films of the
1930sand 40s. I see you painting with Frankenstein Meets the
Wolf Man(1943) playing in the background. What is it about that
time periodthat inspires such artistic devotion?
Also Lon Chaney from the 1920s silent era. From 1920 to 1950, these
are haunting images that I often see in dreams and sometimes flash on
when I see coyotes and bats from my window.
Besides painting you have also inked traditional comic books. Tel
l us about थे Pumkinhead Comic you worked on for Dark Horse.
These were done in conjunction with the comic book artist Shawn McManus. I also collaborated with him on a story for HEAVY METAL. Take a look at his website:
Your excellent portrait of Marilyn Manson is a vision of a more current monster (not that suburban moms still fear his lame Alice Cooper-based performance art)-what about him made you want to render his mug?
Manson is a Universal horror in the flesh!
You illustrated some video game magazine covers at one time. Did you play the game to get inspired to create the illustration? What are some of your favorite video games?
Those Tron light cycles were the coolest!
Your love for Famous Monsters of yesteryear is clear, how do you think today's creeps stack up in comparison to the classics? I'm talking about Jason, Freddie, Predator etc...
If Basil Gogos paints them, I could get real interested:
Any new projects in the works your fans will want to know about?
Keep watching the skies! And my blog:

Friday, February 27, 2009


Politics ain’t really our bag here at BBG, but we couldn’t resist the biting, in-your-face, ink-stained barbs of Atlanta-based caricature-capture master, Aaron McKinney. Drawing may be the most basic form of art but in these works ‘basic’ is the last word you will think of...hard hitting, beautifully detailed, darkly humorous...sounds closer to the bone...a feast for the peepers....ENJOY!
INTERVIEWED by Richard Mullins
There is a lot of political content in your work.– from local to international. Are these narratives determined by the publications you work for or more your ideas?
I've always had very strong political opinions. It stems from my childhood as an oil brat, my father worked for Halliburton and I spent my youth in oil rich areas of the world. I was able to witness firsthand how American politics was being played out in places like Egypt and Indonesia. My portfolio from the very start reflected this, and the political jobs started rolling in. Most of them are their ideas, but I usually twist them a bit to reflect my opinions.
It says in your bio you moved to Georgia to focus solely on your art.
What other pursuit divided your time in the Peach State?
We moved to Atlanta about three years ago and shortly thereafter my son Jude was born. My wife and I have had our hands full with him the
past two years. We like to visit the mountains, but the people outside of Atlanta itself get a little scary. That's probably why Deliverance was filmed here, we are actually thinking of moving to Seattle or Portland to try something new.
My guess is your medium is pencil, ink and a digital mix? It's really hard to tell now days but with the speed of computer finishing it seems just about everyone (illustrators for sure) are using some form of this approach.
Pretty much everything I do is an ink, watercolor and acrylic combination of some sort. Most everything is hand done, so what you see is how the original l
ooks. I try not to use computers unless the piece absolutely calls for it. Not because I don't appreciate them, I have mad respect for some of the work coming out with the use of computers. It's just I like having something to hold in my hand after a hard day's work, it fills some kind of primitive void in my life.
Your portrait of Joss Stone (right) is pretty amazing. The ink brush technique you have perfected serves you very well. This one has a really solidly modeled face. Do you get a lot of requests for portraits? It seems to be an obvious strength of your vision.
Thanks! I do get a few requests for portraits. They are not my favorite thing to do. The challenge with portraits is that they tend to be boring. That is where techniques like the ink wash background can make them a bit more interesting visually than just a straight up photo-real face.
In your online biography you are described as having a funny, childlike quality to your work. I can see humor but a very adult and often mean-spirited flavor which is what always seems to happen with political art. Is satire a major key in your work?
I spent the first seven years of my life in England and I think that had a definite lasting effect on my personality. The kids there are pretty damn mean, it's a British thing. I do enjoy satire, it can be a powerful tool when you are trying to expose faults or sway opinions. With my personal work I still use it but it's not as literal
as with my illustrations.
"Miss America" (right) is a sick and disturbing image but it seems to be personal (not commissioned work.) What it is the story here?
It was a personal piece I did a while back. I was trying to represent the all-knowing all powerful nation we presume to be with the grotesque woman/tank figure. The poor little chicken represents third world nations.
Here at Blah Blah Gallery we most often try to avoid heavy political content or really any art that tends to divide peoples of the earth. Since this (a well-defined political point of view) is so central to your work do you ever worry potential fans of your art may be turned off by the strong views it often portrays?
Some of my biggest influences such as Sue Coe, Ralph Steadman, and Ben Shahn all have very well defined political points of view. With influences like that it was probably inevitable that I was going to be somewhat political with my work. There are always going to be people that dislike your work. I don't worry about offending too much. A lot of what I do is a form of personal therapy, when I get something on paper that has been eating away at me it's therapeutic. I'm basically saying this is how I see it and hopefully it will resonate with
certain like-minded people.
"Hitchhiking" stands out for its use of a sort of seductive woman. The face in the mirror is hilarious. What was the article you were illustrating here; because it could be really sinister.
That piece was for Canoe and Kayak magazine, I do a monthly column for them called ask Eddy. It's where people write in and ask some pretty crazy canoe
or kayak related questions. That particular question was what to do if youhead too far downstream from your pick up point. They kind of let me dowhat I want so I went with the girlfriend hitchhiking while the husband hides behind a rock. The guy in the truck was one of those scary backwoods people I was talking about earlier.
An art book of your stuff would be great. (I would buy it for sure) Any future plans for your work we should know about?
I would love to do an art book. I don't have anything in the works right now but definitely in the near future! I'll keep you posted. -END

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We start the New Year off with a cool, clean breeze...please enjoy the beautifully modeled, sweetly handled surfaces in the art of Jonathan Edelhuber. Even if your bag is not animals, rainbows and flowers (with the heads of historical leaders popping up from time to time) it may be after you see this amazing set of pictures.

INTERVIEW by Richard Mullins
Unable to find much biography on you I have to ask the stan
dard stuff such as; where and when were you born, where did you grow up and who are your most important influences as artist?
I was born in Arkansas, 1984. I grew up in a small town there c
alled Searcy. I would say some of my most important influences would be people like Robert Rauschenberg, Willem de Kooning, Frida Kahlo, Henry Darger and a ton of others. There are really too many to name, but those are a few. I'm also really into Neo Rauch's work. He's amazing.
In your already significant body of work you employ relatively few themes. These subjects include: birds, insects, plant forms, historical portraits and rainbows. I detect a an interest in ecology and history as a point of investigation in your work. Am I on the right track and if so how does it all add up?
You're right on! I love that stuff. As a child I would go to flea marketswith my friend and his dad and buy old furniture and things and refinish them This piqued my interest of pretty much anything old....books, c
oins, portraits...It was all so interesting to me. I bring a lot of this stuff into my work. I paint them how I want to see them. When I look at an old book or a crackly old piece of furniture, it gives me a feeling that's hard to describe. I try to show a glimpse of that feeling through my work.
You model very well and often use monochrome red for the central figure. Other than yellow I can't think of a more challenging hue for this. Any significance to red or is it just the crayon that stands out in the box for you?
People usually ask about the red first. While it holds some personal significance to me, I do find it just an enjoyable color to work with. I guess explaining my reasons behind the red color is a little difficult so...I just like red. :)
About how many hours do you think it takes you to paint a typical piece. I'm looking at ..."what came of the two" (detail below) and the attention to detail is amazing. You must maintain super patience and concentration skills.

It's really hard to say. I usually begin with a few layers of gesso and after that dries I work on the backgrounds. I'll usually do this in a night. I would say t
he rest depends on how intricate the piece is. "what came of the two" probably took me 3 nights at a few hours a night to finish (give or take a few). It's an 8x10 inch piece so you can kind of judge other pieces from that. I'm finding that I really enjoy working on the tiny details...It's not so much super patience and concentration, but more of an obsession with the enjoyment of it.
You live and work in Nashville but you seem to exhibit often in L.A. Are you able to get out to the coast see your shows?
I've done several shows out there, but have only been able to make it out there once. It was such an awesome experience! The West Coa
st is a different and amazing place...very much its own.
Along the same lines of folks seeing your work, how does posting on Flickr
affect how you see your work? I've been at this since the early 90s so I really like not having to work in a vacuum because as soon as you finish and post a piece a huge number of people can see it instantly.
I love Flickr. It's so good to be able to finish a piece like you said and just stick it up for all to see. Having feedback is great as well and I think it pushes artists to be better at what they're doing. I also love looking around at all the other art on there. There are sooo many extremely talented artists and having a tool like Flickr makes it incredibly easy to view other artist's work who might be living on the complete opposite side of the world. We're living in an amazing time!
I came across photos of a solo show you did on some cat's blog. How did the crowd react to the small size of the paintings in such a large space?
That show seemed to go very well. Having such a large space with such small paintings forced people to come in close with each piece. I think this made it more intimate to the viewer.
Any future series or plans you want to reveal?
I don't have any shows planned at the moment. I'm really just wanting to paint for myself and push my work without the pressure of having to do a show. As for any series coming up...keep checking Flickr!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

We round this old year out with some fresh, new, bits from an underground comic and animation artist you may already know; J.R. Williams. From the paper pages of WEIRDO to the digital pages of Flickr J.R. has done his share of swell artwork. We caught up with the artist and threw a few questions his way. Enjoy.

INTERVIEW by Richard Mullins
You work out of Portland, Oregon. I have heard the young music scene is smokin' in the is the art scene up there?
There are more people doing creative work here than the local economy can support! Not so very long ago the Portland art scene revolved primarily around the more established downtown galleries. As the city has continued to grow, gallery spaces and even entirely new "art districts" have begun popping up all over the place. In addition to painters, Portland is also home to people who are doing a wide variety of visually creative work: filmmakers, animators, cartoonists, comic book artists, photographers, sculptors, and so on. Small press and self-publishing are very active here. Living in such a creative environment can be quite inspiring.
Your career seems to really take off in the mid-80s. What was the first big gig you got to do?
Getting into Robert Crumb's WEIRDO magazine in the mid-'80s is what I consider to be my first "big break." I sent a submission to Crumb, who had been editing the early issues...he forwarded my work to Peter Bagge, who was about to take over as editor. Pete accepted my submission, and even invited me to stay with him and his wife in the Seattle area while I looked for work, which I eventually did. WEIRDO was probably one of the most widely circulated anthologies of alternative/underground comics being published at the time, and attracted a fantastic roster of contributors--both seasoned underground artists and relatively new up-and-comers. It was a terrifically fertile period in
the development of the omics medium, so it was naturally very exciting to suddenly find myself, essentially, in the middle of so much activity and innovation. Nearly every day Pete would go down to his p.o. box and return with something amazing or wildly amusing. I think I contributed to WEIRDO 3 or 4 times. After that, I seldom found myself sending out "cold" submissions. Editors and publishers started requesting work from me, so it wasn't difficult to stay busy.
1960s animation and graphics seem to be giving you major fuel for your work these days. What makes that time special for you?
I was born in the late '50s, so the 1960s were my childhood years. Many of us never seem to lose the enthusiasm we felt for certain aspects of the culture in which we grew up. A big part of that, I think, is because our emotions are so much more intense when we're young, and things we're exposed to during those years can make such powerful and lasting impressions. Anyway, the above is certainly true for me--imagery originating from that period of my life can evoke a lot of different emotions and associations, some long forgotten. If I can communicate a bit of that sort of intensity to others through my work, then maybe I'm doing my job as a visual artist.
Like myself (and most other artists over 30 years old) you had an art career before the internet and neat-o sites like Flickr. How has sharing your artwork on Flickr changed how you see your own work?
I can't say for certain that Flickr has changed the way I view my o
wn work.
But I do see some correlation between publishing in a printed medium and
posting work online for public view. It's always satisfying to finish a new piece of work...but after working in comics for a number of years, I developed the feeling that something wasn't completely "finished" until it was printed and in circulation. The same tendency applies to posting new work's not done until it's "live" and out where people can see and respond to it. I've attempted to run my Flickr page like a blog or online journal, making regular entries, even daily updates whenever it's possible. Of course, this kind of commitment is a strong motivato
r to produce new work regularly. Sites like Flickr provide the opportunity to respond directly and immediately to posted imagery, and it's very gratifying to know that people are interested enough in my work to comment on it! I could go on and on about the ways in which the current technology benefits those of us working in creative areas...but to be brief, I'd just say that I'm in basic agreement with Terence McKenna, who saw the internet as a potential "cultural accelerator." The ability to share ideas and information--whether visual, verbal, or audible--has become faster, more direct, and more efficient.
Robert WIlliams and his Juxtapoz Magazine (along with the rise of the internet and local art scenes) brought the Low Brow vision into the mainstream. As an artist working in this vein has this spotlight helped you get your work in shows, magazines etc...?
It's perhaps a bit too soon to say...I've been working in an intentionally "lowbrow" vein only since about April of this year (2008). Prior to that I'd been doing work that was much more abstract. My recent work definitely seems to generate more immediate response. It's no great surprise to discover that people tend to respond most enthusiastically to "appropriated" imagery that's already more or less familiar to them. We don't have the same sorts of standing associations with intentionally abstract imagery, which can seem obscure or puzzling. Just the same, I'll probably continue working in both veins. Although I haven't been too active in comics for the last several years, I did do a two-page piece for an anthology of abstract comics to be published by Fantagraphics in 2009. In some ways I think the boundaries between "lowbrow" and "highbrow" ar
t are becoming less and less defined. I see elements of my more "legitimate" creative tendencies creeping into my "pop" work, and vice versa.
Besides the more typical cartoon stuff you also paint near abstraction works such "Towers." These are a cool departure. What informs this direction?
I was a Fine Arts major in college, and am still very interested in modern/contemporary art. I've developed a curiosity about primitive art, especially native American petroglyphs and rock paintings, and "folk arts" of the Huichols and Oaxacans of Mexico. I like Art Brut and so-called "naive" art. On one han
d, I've always had an attraction to the kind of clearly outlined, strong graphic approach that's become so commonly associated with the comics form. On the other, I'm fascinated by the textures and random elements present in much modern painting (and in the natural world). I'm conscious of trying to merge both of these approaches in my work, in some way or another.
Who are some of the artists you have worked with over the years that really impressed you?
As you probably know, the work of an independent visual artist is typically a lonely business. Most of my work is done in solitude. I did do some collaborative work back in my comics days, mostly illustrating stories written by other authors. I've also worked in TV animation for a number of years...I'm a former animator/designer/storyboard artist for (primarily) Will Vinton Studios (Claymation™), and continue to do occasional jobs in the animation industry. Working with the many, various, remarkably talented individuals present in the business of dimensional animation has been one of the most formative and satisfying experiences of my creative life. Puppet animation is tremendously complex. So many different types of skills are involved: sculpting, woodworking, metalworking, camera operations, the innumerable nuances of "performance" that bring an illusion of life to inanimate's an intensely collaborative medium, and to be accepted as a contributing member of such a creative community by one's peers is extremely gratifying. I feel that I've learned a great deal from others throughout this aspect of my career, but I couldn't even begin to name them all...–END

Monday, November 3, 2008

Modern Monster 2008 - the Book

It's here! Blah Blah Gallery's Modern Monster 2008 art catalog. More than 40 pages of full color artwork by over 20 super-powered paint slingers from around the globe. This is a group exhibition featuring works by, Mike Bell, Gregg Griffin, Jason Limon, Jasun "Bat Daddy" Huerta and many more. Curated by Richard Mullins. Hit the link below to order now.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Modern Monster 2008 @ Blah Blah Gallery

A massive heap of eye grabbin' artwork ranging from the monstrous to the sublime... Over 35 works from 20 global artists.....HIT IT at the one and only...Blah Blah Gallery
Modern Monster
- a Group Exhibition
@ Blah Blah Gallery
Artists Shown
Federico Arevalo
Sean Barton
Mike Bell
Jon Binford
Cikita Z
Steven D. Craig
Cristóbal Ladrón de Guevara
Mike Egan
Jamie Fales
Gregg Griffin
Gregory Hergert
Jasun "Bat Daddy" Huerta
Jason Kauzlarich
Jason Limón
Dave MacDowell
Tommaso Meli
Mike Monk
Richard Mullins
Tobiah P. Mundt
Renato de Almeida Fernandes Ribeiro
Milan Rubio
Jaime Sanabria " Plukart " Galvis