Monday, September 28, 2009

Working Progress

I just felt like posting something. Busy day today. Deadline heavy, and I almost blew it. Maybe I did, I don't know yet. Busy day tomorrow, and probably the next. Probably every day after that. Until I get stuck in a tree of my own.

This is from a work in progress. I rarely ever paint. When I do, I rarely ever put it out there because when I paint it's usually for something special that isn't public. It's personal. I like it though. Painting.

It's quiet in The Cave right now. Los Dos Gatitos are sleeping. The machines are all at rest. My bones are tired.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thank You

I drew the art for this shirt for the one and only Uno Lady. They're not listed on her myspace page yet, but they're $8 and worth every penny. If you send her a note she'll probably hook it up. She had them available at her tape release show, so she'll probably also be selling them at any of her upcoming performances.

Here's what she gave me as a reference to draw from. She wanted herself in a Godzilla suit, her dog Flip Mo Pi in a tiny airplane with a banner behind it saying "Thank You". I will cherish this post-it masterpiece for as long as I live. I'm not kidding.

Here's the pencils. This was the second take. The first was almost the same, but rougher and without the city. The city's even crooked in this one, which makes things weird. I didn't sweat it. I knew I could fix it when it came time to throw down for the final. Sometimes, that's how things work.

I liked this project a lot. I had a good time with it. I went with a particularly cartoony take, and with good results. Cartoons are fun. I intentionally left out the gritty ink splatter that has now become what I'd imagine is an identifier of my work. A signature, some might say. I knew this was being screen printed and I wasn't sure if that kind of detail would make it onto the shirts. When I sent this to Uno Lady, she wrote back "Hey, where's my John G gritty ink splatter?"

I took to it, and made it happen. I think it came out awesome. There's more Godzilla type giant monster offerings to come in the very near future. Giant Monsters are part of the zeitgeist, right now.

Speaking on scree printing... in case you're reading this on Friday, September 25th 2009, and not on some distant date in the future , Died Young Stayed Pretty is showing at the Cinematheque tonight and tomorrow night, and Eileen Yaghoobian will be here to talk and answer questions after the film. I made a poster for it, you can see here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I feel like I haven't posted anything in a year. I've got a bunch of irons in multiple fires, so there is much posting to come very soon. However, I felt the need to get this up just as an interim piece. Don't want anyone forgetting I exist. I also happen to like this jam, so I'm going to write some stuff about it that may or may not benefit anybody to read.

The idea with this piece, this commission, is that it's not totally a landscape of the setting of the stellar HBO show Deadwood, as much as it's a landscape of "Deadwoodesque" characteristics. That was the instructions I got, and how I chose to proceed. I re-watched some choice episodes of the show, then got down to grinding. I had done all the heavy lifting, but had to ink with the client present. I thought that would be pretty bad, not having the art done in time, but she actually liked it a lot. I think. Got that impression. Getting to see the brush strokes and ink splatter techniques that she's paying for. So, that's now an option for any commission. If you want to WATCH me draw, I will do so for anyone.

The rough sketch, a second attempt, the first being below. I was pretty thrilled with how this came out, even with wonky perspectives and loose overall architecture. They never really show any long shots of the camp on Deadwood, so it's mostly just guess work as to what buildings are where or what they even look like further than their doors and façades. I've always got that disclaimer: it's NOT Deadwood but Deadwoodesque.

This one, an early attempt at riffage, was kind of a failure with no heart in it. Too close for comfort, and maybe it could have been something with just a little elbow grease or deepening the depths. I don't know, and it's too late to care. So, here's that. You can always get at me for whatever illustration needs by emailing jgritty at gmail dot com.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Temporal Passport

You built something awesome. It's so awesome, it's a total monument to innovation and imagination... ambition, determination, your grit, your gusto. You built this thing with your mind and your two hands. You fueled it, primed it, hit the ignition. IT WORKS. It started, and now it's totally and completely OUT OF CONTROL. What have you done? You built something awesome. Own it.

Here's some links to these bands, for your listening/viewing pleasure: Japandroids, The Coathangers, MEGACHURCH, Church of The Snake

I think one of the major travesties of my reality is that no matter how buckwild bonkers I get, no matter how far out there I push myself beyond my own limitations, no matter what levels of insanity and thuggishness I ascend to... I will never be able to draw half as both dynamic and subtle (at the same time) as ERIC CANETE does, seamlessly so. I thought a lot about that while devising this piece. A dude with a jet pack? My perspective is weak sauce compared to that man's.

Friday, September 11, 2009


This is some seriously nerdy nerd shit right here, but yesterday I gripped issue #3 of BPRD 1947, written by my old pal Josh Dysart, with art by two of my favorites Fabio Moon and Gabriel Bá. After reading it I got to the letters page and started reading this one letter, which then mentioned my local comics retailer (where I had just gotten the comic), ASTOUND! in Westlake, and then realized... holy shit, I WROTE THAT. That's my letter!

I generally take one of my flyers and write a little note on it and mail it in, usually after every issue of any Hellboy comic. Sometimes I skip a month or two. I don't think I've sent one in a while though. The Hellboy series are the only comics I buy month to month. One of the reasons is that they're always so good I can't wait to get them. Another reason is they come out frequently enough that it's a steady stream of quality comics between the various creative teams. Right now there are three series happening: Post WWII Vampire Weirdness Banger BPRD 1947, the latest chapter in the comics epic of the now Hellboy: The Wild Hunt, and Victorian mystery horrorfest Witchfinder: In The Service of Angels. Man, I love comics.

I'm going to go write Hellmail a note.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This One Crosses Over Whole

Mystery of Two, Filmstrip, and All Dinosaurs are playing a show at The Happy Dog and they've asked me to be involved in some capacity, dealing art and zines. I've got the opportunity to possibly go on tour in a week with Cave Bear so I'm going to use this as a trial run of setting up and holding down my merch table. If I have any kinks to iron out, now's the time before I'm out there in distant landscapes, fighting for my life. The other way in which I am involved is that I'm making a limit print of the image from this poster available exclusive to this show. So if you come and donate to get in, you can get a print for free.

Speaking of fighting for my life, let me tell you a little bit about this piece. I have a pretty close friend that recently lost a loved one, a Grandfather. I have no license to write about it, but know that I could feel how hard it's been. It wasn't sudden, this passing took a while. However, he was an old man. An old man that had lived a long, full life.

I've got my own long familiar history with death. My Father's Father died over a long period of not taking care of himself when I was just a pup. I was there and saw this happen. This was not a good death. It was the beginning, and since then I've lost great friends and seen epic stories end way before they should. I've been in the room when the time was called. I, myself, have been to the shores of the river so many times. I'm not saying that for dramatic effect, it's just the way it is. In 30 years I've lived harsh enough to come close to dying a multitude of times. I'm not done here yet, so I haven't crossed over, but I've been there.

Which brings me to the point. This piece isn't for the dead. This piece is for you, the living. The people on this side of the river who need to understand that crossing over isn't the end. Leaving this world for the next is another journey to take. That when you've spent your time here as well as you can, you cross over whole. I'm not a religious guy, if I believe in anything it's ancient and forgotten. My magic, as strong as I thought it was, has been failing me, and others, left and right lately. I still feel like I've grown to understand parts of the universe, and maybe this is one of those parts.

One of the fundamental truths I definitely understand is that everything is fragile and temporary. That the world, as absolutely majestic and heart-pounding-ly spectacular as it is, is a very very dangerous place. No one is ever promised that they'll get to follow through and finish what they started. We're all on borrowed time. I've know this since I was 16, when I shattered my spine. I don't take things for granted anymore. I try not to let things slip through my fingers. Sometimes, it can not be helped. My response has been to brace up, and develop a keener awareness and stronger grip. Try harder. Be better.

I've been Time Traveling a lot lately. Spending time in possible futures. It's been hard to come back to the present. There's bad futures and worse futures and really really amazing futures filled of epic awesomeness. It's not entirely up to me which future will manifest. I'm now here in the present, though.

For my part I'm going to try as hard as I can, with what possibly little time and weak magic as I've got, to steer everything towards the amazing, towards the epic. That way, even if I fail, when I eventually do finally cross over... I'll cross over whole.

Fifteen Bullet Holes

Liturgy from New York. Cave Bear from Clevelnd. Dagmar from where Dagmars come from.

So maybe you're a revolutionary. You're strapped with your bandolier, you've got ammunition. You've taken fifteen shots and that was that. You fell, you lost, your body gave up even though you didn't. You decayed and your flesh left you. But, you've got one gold tooth. Maybe that's all it takes to hang on and hold fast. The struggle continues.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Three Thirds

It's Melanie from Music Saves' 33rd birthday! For the final Alley Cat Friday of 2009 (Tom and Leia of Afternoon Naps), the store is having a party to celebrate. I heard that Melanie loves the number 3 and is really pumped on turning 33. In this poster there are 33 donuts (including the giant one she's sitting in), 33 records (though so are hidden by the text), and 33 bottles of beer (also, some hiding). There are 333 sprinkles on that giant donut. I wish they had 2 more cats at Music Saves.

At any rate, between this and the Uno Lady jam, it's funny that I've drawn two posters for awesome ladies, and actually drawing them (not them as robots or animals). Both posters involve their favorite foods, and both posters involve pets.

Here's the rough. There's a distinct lack of beer bottles, which... I decided there needed to be 3 sets of 33 after I already drew this. Other than that, I highly doubt there are 333 sprinkles on the giant rough donut.

One Lady

The beautiful and talented Uno Lady is having a tape release party on her birthday! It also happens to be the release party for the Freedom/Deathers split 12" record! Thumbs Up! is also playing. Of course it's at Now That's Class.

The tape is called "I Really Like Genetics But I'd Rather Have a Good Time", and it's awesome, You can order it on the Uno lady Myspace Page. Grip it while it's hot.

Christa (Uno Lady), for Halloween a couple years ago, dressed up as a Pizza Cop, using both a police uniform/fake mustache, and a pizza costume. I thought this was pretty hysterical and hilarious. I've always thought Christa was one of the funniest people, and that Halloween pretty much cemented that opinion in place forever.

Christa also has a dog named Flip. He's pretty famous:

I feel like I've seen Uno Lady play a lot, and every time is as special as the last. It's really lovely and soft and dreamlike and haunting and epic all at the same time. I get a very deeply cosmic feel from it, like being bled into the universe. It's almost 100% A'Capella, using loops and prerecorded tracks, which is deceptively super simple, and in reality probably pretty complex. If done wrong, her approach could be pretty hard to take. She's very masterful at it. Then the content is pretty straight forward and usually fun. She sings about stuff like Walking Dogs and Orange Floats(?), and there's almost a childlike wide-eyed-ness about it. It's very very wonderful thing.

Here's a little peek at the line art:

I'm really really happy about how the space jam worked out. I feel like it's just this big mess of ink and white out and fingerprints that ended up looking like planets and stars. I like it:

Go to the show, buy the tape and Freedom/Deathers split record, and have fun! Wish Christa a Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Soul Vegetarian

This month's Special at Melt Bar & Grilled is the Soul Vegetarian!


Fried Green Tomatoes

Vegetarian Collard Greens

Jalapeño Cornbread

Spicy Black Eyed Pea Purée

Pepper-Jack Cheese

It is time to let your soul glow!!

I was shooting for an "end of summer" vibe with this one, like, the last chance to have a picnic with that special someone. I like keeping things different, and even though I've used a similar idea and color scheme, I think it's been a rare occurrence that I've done anything that could be taken as "romantic". I'm not fundamentally opposed to romance, just... it rarely comes up... y'know, in my poster work. My story in Shiner #2, "Date With a Zinedealer", was a romance story. Maybe I'll post that here soon?

This is a great sandwich. That Jalapeño Corn Bread... man, so good.