Saturday, January 26, 2008


"Dig Deep, My Son"


JAMES - still catching up...these are some of the posters i worked on before and after the new year. first, up top, are two posters i was asked to do by a non-profit group called Conscious Alliance: Art That Feeds - i strongly encourage you to click their link and check out what they're doing. they're a very small group of incredibly selfless people, who spend 300 days of the year on the road feeding people, and organizing events and concerts to raise money for food and support for the hungry and needy. all the profits from the posters they sell at the shows goes straight to the people they're helping - thus Art That Feeds. and besides they're super great people to work with - it was a pleasure, and i'll be doing more for them in the future (thanks Neal!).

anyway, the first poster is for an electronica/jam band (Zilla) who uses a hammered dulcimer prominently in their music, and a group of DJ's (Glitch Mob) from whom i got the impression had roots in Japan. so i decided to explore some Japanese art, and do something of it in my style. lots of interesting research, and reference (especially from my dear Zeshin) - after sketching a few pages, i wanted to combine two ideas, so i did another of my double-layer paintings (like "Listen, Sweetie"). pure fun - tho i must say ALOT of work. the details in the lettering took forever. but it was worth it i think. and it's hard to see, but the character in the background is a DJ, wearing headphones and holding a record. it's watercolor, acrylic, ink and pencil on 11x17 bristol.

originally i was only supposed to do one poster, but then they split the shows up and asked for another. i spent so much time on the other, this one allowed me to explore a more minimalistic style, one that i don't usually do for posters. but i wanted it to be really effective rather than a cop out. this group, E.O.T.O, is an electronica duo with members from the other two bands. i haven't done a robot poster in a couple of years, so this was a good excuse, and then cap it off with some street writing, which i've been diggin' on lately in my never ending search for text styles. and so, "Kooka-Botz" was born (thanks to Henry's mom Robin for the expression!). this one is mostly marker, with some white and black ink, and red acrylic on grey Rives BFK, 11x17.

prints of both these posters will be for sale on my site in the next couple of days.

"Hanging On A String Girl"

while i was in miami right after new years (the next post will be about that trip), i got a call about doing a poster for another show at the Orange Peel. i had recently seen a pose in a magazine that inspired me, and i did some quick sketching on a hotel note pad (too bad i threw it out) to adjust the pose and work it into a concept of a beautiful puppet woman coming to life. that was fun, cuz when i got home, everything was already mapped out in my head, so all i needed to do was draw it.

also, while in miami, we saw an exhibit at the Bass Museum about the development of Miami in the 50's, 60's and so on - there were alot of original architectural sketches and models, and some of the sketches were done on vellum (the translucent kind), and they looked so beautiful. it made the lines softer, and since it was usually mounted ontop of an opaque piece of paper, there was subtle shadow and depth. so right away i knew i wanted the next poster to be on vellum. so you see in the photo, i drew it out on a regular sheet of bristol, and then instead of lightbox-ing it onto another sheet of bristol, i could easily transfer it to the vellum in natural light. and the surface of it is sooo smoothe and soft, the brush flowed beautifully. tho, i did use marker for the string lines, and i realized that the marker didn't quite dry so much, and i had to be careful not to smudge (there's a little smudge by my signature). but when i scanned it, it did exactly what i wanted - the lines looked super soft, with almost a blurred shadow around them. i think it worked perfectly with the subject matter, making the pretty girl even more lifelike by making her skin look soft and almost in motion. i bought lots of vellum, so i'll add this to my choices of medium. this one is straight-up ink and marker on 11x17 tracing vellum. i was at the show last nite, and it was a blast (thanks Jeff!)

lastly (for now) i recieved an email from the Orange Peel about doing a poster for Henry Rollins. i mean, Henry Fucking Rollins - so much of my musical taste has been influence by this man and the things he's been involved in. my Black Flag records, and my books by and about Henry and crucial parts of my collection and fuel a very healthy fascination with the music i love from the early-mid 80's. of course, Blag Flag is no more, and i'm not even sure if the Rollins Band is still techincally together, but Henry's been touring for the past years doing spoken word shows, and he's at it again. this particular show is titled "Provoked: An Evening of Quintessentially American Editorializing and Storytelling."

no time to waste, i need to step up and impress one of my heroes. i offered two sketches - the first was a play on the comedy/tragedy masks (since Henry's shows combine both), but including some obviously abrasive imagery to attract attention, as well as what would have been a bleeding American flag in the background (it's hard to show in a quick sketch, but i explained it to them). the second was inspired by a sketch i did in one of my personal notebooks, and i adjusted it to fit this project. it's mostly an excercise in composition and using easily recognizable icons to "provoke" or grab attention. i left the top wide open to add to the weight of the 'smash' and the black shards on the bottom left corner complete the movement of your eye, giving the ultimate impact. they chose that one, and i'm glad cuz i think it's way stronger.
"Laying The Hammer Down"

in general, it looks like an easy poster to do, considering some of the extreme detail in previous posters, but this was no joke. it took THREE tries to get it right. no kidding. by the third time i was able to loosen up enough, and make it look less forced. there was a bit of photoshop color adjusting, especially to get the green just the way i wanted, and to also exploit all the brush strokes in the whole thing.

this one is watercolor, acrylic, marker and ink on 11.75x15.5 bristol. the final poster is 18x24, but i'd rather not draw that big - it takes longer (and there was a tight deadline) and it's a bitch to scan so big). i sent these out to a printer in Nashville, and i just got them yesterday. i signed and numbered them (it's a series of 95, no reprints) and they'll be for sale on my site starting February 23. i brought some to the club to hang up and promote and they look fantastic - and most importantly everyone is psyched (thanks Liz!).


thomas pitilli said...

Wow, nice post, these are really cool. That Rollins poster is sick! Yeah,they definitely picked the stronger sketch out of the two. I wasn't really sure what to expect 'cause you didn't really talk about it that much, real nice. I had seen the others up on yr site and I have to say my favorite out of all of them is "Kooka-Botz". It's very different and very graphic. The Zilla one reminds me of the Spirit comic intros in every issue. Oh, and I have to try that whole drawing on vellum technique.

james flames said...

those are some great compliments - especially the "spirit" reference. i would've never thought of that, but i guess you're right (by the way, Darwyn Cooke has been doing the most amazing job of continuing that tradition in the new Spirit series).

i'm glad you like the KookaBotz - it felt like something that came out of me unconsciously, and it's a real happy-fun kind of poster. but of all the recent work i've shown to poeple, it gets the least attention or reaction, so it's nice to see you dig where i'm coming from.

i'll be sending you one of the rollins posters. and by the way, haven't you already done drawing on vellum? i could swear you said those silkscreen drawing you did directly on the vellum. or maybe i'm confusing something else.

thomas pitilli said...

Your right, I have. Whooops. Those were done with a paint marker and were drawn kind of crudely though, I liked the affect I got, but I guess what I meant to say was I would like to try it using brush , and a bit more detailed.

Edowyn Vazkez said...

Tom told me about these the other night. Really cool.