Friday, February 26, 2010

Something Like An Obamenon


Here's a poster commissioned by none other than Cleveland Bachelor Dr. Justin Vaughn. I've drawn President Obama a couple of times now, and I think this is at the least the most accurate I've been able to get. He's kind of a hard nut to crack, our Prez.

Because this isn't for a rock show, or DIY type event, I knew I wanted to keep it somewhat more straight forward and cleaner looking, design-wise. I still wanted it to be pretty raw though. So, I sort of knew my approach from the start. Keeping the suit black, creating an almost silhouette against the gritty background, made for a perfect platform to place that block of text at the bottom. In the past I've also drawn The President in a light blue ...almost leisure suit. I definitely didn't want to do that.

Again, elements of grittyness, I drew this flag with a broken old crusty brush, just splattering the ink and making a mess. I drew the stars separately.

I did look at some photo reference of the White House, and Chicago for this, but that all went out the window in the inking stage.

I'm not sure this even needs an explanation. So instead I'll write about how today I spilled a cup of coffee inside my bag, and onto the leg underneath it. As soon as I noticed, I thought to myself "I wonder how hot that is". Turns out, not very hot. So now I smell like old coffee and I'm staying tired. What a day.

I think I like how this piece turned out. It was a nice break from some of the other things I've been working on lately. Bigger projects, long term things. Things that require grim visions and heavy lifting. Hard decisions. Making moves.


This is the 304th post on ninepanelgrid. Challa on The Tower. Rider in The Boat.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

MELT: East Side Invasion!


It's true, I've been behind enemy lines, to the corner of Cedar and S. Taylor in Cleveland Heights. I've braved the elements and traveled to the Eastern Front. I've been down secret pathways, into what will no doubt be the most incredible place to cram your face with delicious cheese covered food in this or any other city. It's huge, and beautiful, and very much the logical, next level, extension of what Melt has been doing so well in Lakewood for the past three years. I'm really excited about this spring. The invasion is on.

This is the first of a bunch of posters that I've started to draw much bigger than I usually work. I mostly work on 9 x 12 sheets of Bristol board, and occasionally on 11 x 14s, but I watched Andy MacDonald drawing Terminator pages on some 11 x 17s while he was in town for Genghis Con back in November, and it looked goddamn luxurious. So I grabbed some 14 x 17 boards to give it a whirl. Worst case scenario, I could cut them down. However, it ended up being the best case scenario, and I now love drawing bigger. It's kind of a bitch to scan the work, but that can easily be worked around. Having the room to go in and get grittier with details, and draw with more full arm movements IS goddamn luxurious. I've got some 18 x 24 boards too, so... yeah. Going bigger. Who knew?

I looked at a whole lot of U.S. World War Two propaganda posters for this one. That stuff is pretty full blown ridiculous, but at the same time has this really strong sense of urgency, or... I don't know, a subtle desperate need to do something. Graphically, they're both primitive, and at the same time on this weird edge of overt psychologically manipulative design. Figuring this piece out was a lot of fun. I toyed with a couple other ideas, like switching the planes out with flying grilled cheese sandwiches, but it seemed better to be straight forward about it.

So these posters, as well as being the standard 11 x 17s, were also printed at 24" x 36", and these enormous 48" x 72", which are hanging in the windows of the restaurant while they're working on it. That's right, four FEET by six FEET. Posters.

If you're interested in getting a print, the 24" x 36" are on a heavy glossy indoor vinyl, and 30 bones. Feel free to email me for any further info:

The other posters hanging in the windows over there, is a redesign of the Classic Melt logo, with some standard promo rhetoric.

With this one, I knew I wanted to simplify it beyond simple. But not so simple as to make it look like it's been phoned in. My objective with the splatter and those tones was to kind of suggest maybe a tall gold beer, but also the notion of ...melted cheese. I think. Either way, my favorite line is "Wonderful Sunday Brunch". Brunch is wonderful, but I haven't been to Melt's brunch in forever. I've been going to the Beachland pretty much every Sunday morning for the past two months. Such a great way to start a Sunday. Get filled up, pound some fancy juice drinks, maybe get hyped on coffee- then head downtown to The Monastery to start grinding.

Speaking of, I've been really busy. I'll be posting some more stuff, probably later today. Definitely tomorrow, so stay tuned. Subscribe or Follow. Comment if you will. Get at me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


The manic and awesome Gunslingers, from France, are coming back to Cleveland, this time playing at Now That's Class. I caught Giunslingers last year at The Beachland Tavern and they were incredible. If you're a fan of rock and roll music, you owe it to yourself to grip No More Invention. They have a new record, Manifesto Zero, which I haven't heard yet, but sounds like it's even better. Terminal Lovers are playing with them again, but now they have an awesome new LP, As Eyes Burn Clean. Also, Puffy Areolas and Mako Sica from Chicago. Should be an goddamn great show.

This isn't the first time I've used the classic "blaxploitation movie poster" design idea, but this may be the best one I've done. I'm really into that shark/bottle idea. I've been using more nautical themes lately, more than in the past. I wonder what that means?

Anyway, I've been drawing hard. Much more to post, very soon. I think I might just stop sleeping all together. Really, what's the point?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Iguana Love

When I was just a pup, one sunny afternoon I was walking down Warren Road in Lakewood just north of the corner at Detroit Avenue. In my peripheral, I noticed something move on the side of the building I was inches away from. By the time I had the chance to turn my head and look, this green blur of quickness dove right off the wall and scurried across the sidewalk in front of me.

It was a lizard! An iguana! Loose in the suburban businesscape! I immediately knew I had to catch it, to get it the hell away from the busy intersection. This little green lunatic then ran right into Warren, I chased him back up onto the sidewalk, then up to Detroit where he hung a sharp right. I pursued like a maniac, but tiny lizard legs move fast- and I was just an awkward clumsy hooligan. I finally flanked him into the doorway to the now departed Lakewood seafood staple, Barnacle Bill's. He tried to climb the glass door, but there found himself trapped. In my hand, pressed to my chest, he freaked out for only a couple seconds before fright turned him to stoic stone up against me. I had some lunch crowd person call the APL in Barnacle Bill's, then waited.

The Wrangler showed up a half hour later with a giant claw looking grabber thing, probably expecting to find a dragon-esque villain he would have to corral into good behavior. By now the iguana was cool as a cucumber, both our heart rates slowed to about a quarter of what they had been for the escape attempt and capture. He was just a little skinny reptile, maybe two feet long, tail included. Where he came from, we will never know. Not a single owner of a lost iguana came to claim him at the APL. After a couple of the longest weeks of my young life, I took him home and named him Iggy (I know, weaksauce, but cut me some slack, I was like, 12). Man, I loved that iguana. I though about him as I drew this poster.

Record Store Day, is April 17th in year 2010. To celebrate, Permanent Records in Brooklyn is having Mystery of Two in as their house band for the day. If you're curious as to what Mystery of Two sounds like, this week is the last week of Free Download Month at Exit Stencil Records' website. You can grip mp3s of all their records. I highly recommend those Roué jams.

EDIT: Speaking of Dragons, I've been really into the group Lucky Dragons lately. Here's their myspace page, but also this webiste, and then this place to buy awesome. I'd love to get them to play in Cleveland sometime.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The New Boss of The Melt Family

The people have spoken, and The Godfather special will be added to the Melt menu in March. To celebrate, Melt and The Capitol Theater are showing a special screening of The Godfather on March 3rd at 7:30pm. According to the Melt newsletter, there will be a few Melt goodies given away at the screening, as well as everyone in attendance getting a special gift from Melt. I recently watched The Godfather again and I must say, what a great great film. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to see it on the big screen. Also, I'm really looking forward to eating that sandwich!

Drawing this poster felt suspiciously familiar, and I didn't know why... until I remembered my little dude Lucky Sunshine:

This was completely unintentional, but I feel pretty good about the coincidence.

Speaking of Melt, here's something incredible that I wanted to share. I know a lot of people outside of Cleveland check in here. This video from the Food Network's Diners, Drive In's & Dives February 8th episode shows a glimpse of what you're missing.

Congrats to Matt Fish, Melt, and especially the Tokyo Tuna which will most assuredly see a big bump in sales after this episode!

ALSO: TODAY, February 12th, is the LAST DAY I'm offering this Clevelyn Prevails print, please consider ordering, all sales will go to benefit the families displaced by the W. 83rd St. house explosion on January 25th.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Soaked and Frozen

It's been brutal out there in the world lately. Winter Demons among us, committing mad harsh and unforgiving trickery. I've spent more time soaked and frozen in the past few weeks than I care to even remember. Holding fast, under seven layers, the trenches feel like home again.

March 4th, Now That's Class: Mean Mother, Lost Coves, Little Sister, and The Great Flood!

Andy MacDonald requested more Lavamen, and I had no idea what he was talking about. Turns out he was misremembering this weird Mongol/Viking Scarface piece as a Lavaman. So, here we are with a legit Lavaman, Soldier of Doomsounds up from The Underworld.

If you missed it, the Clevelyn Prevails benefit print is still available for order for tonight and tomorrow. Thanks to everybody who has ordered one so far!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Heligoats @ Front Room

At the collision of helicopters and goats... live The Heligoats from Bellingham, Washington. They're playing a show on February 26th at Front Room Gallery, with Leia Alligator (of Picklefight, Afternoon Naps, and The Volta Sound) and Rolling Acres (a solo project of Keith from Trouble Books).

I'm actually really happy with how the text came out on this one. It's such a weird scrolling ropey look. I think I'm going to try and push that look to a bonkers extreme the next chance I get. I have a lot on deck right now too, so it shouldn't be long before I get that chance.

For those who have never been to Front Room Gallery, it's pretty easy to find. It's on East 36th Street, just North of Superior. It's in Tyler Village, in the big building on the east side of E. 36th, the 42 building. There's some big windows with the words FRONT ROOM on them- it'll be lit up (That's actually The Monastery, inside those windows). Feel free to "b" your own "b", as well as a five dollar donation.

Here's what it looks like from the street:

View Larger Map

Here's a map I drew in 3 minutes:

ALSO: I have a print available for order, Clevelyn Prevails. It's a benefit for the families that have been displaced by the W.83rd Street house that exploded on January 25th. Please feel free to spread the word, the offer ends on Friday!

UPDATE: There's a facebook event for this show, HERE... with more info on Rolling Acres: Rolling Acres is actually Keith and Mike (Trouble Books from Akron) performing a synth set that is "in the style of the Blade Runner soundtrack".

Monday, February 08, 2010

A Bachelor in Cleveland 4: Beard & Fred's Excellent Adventure

Another month, another Cleveland Bachelor Show of The Month at The Beachland, this time with So Cow from Ireland, Shiny Penny, and Modern Electric!

It was a lot of fun to riff on this shot of Justin and legendary Cleveland staple, Fred Gunn:

I definitely feel like I wasn't as able to capture Fred's look as well as I wish I had, but... there's always next month!

EDIT: I forgot to mention the appearance of Chicken & Waffles! I don't know if there's any good place that would serve a comparable vegetarian Chicken & Waffles, but I did get the veg version of the Big Sandwich in Little China last night and was amazed at how much I liked it. I didn't really know how I would feel about it, but damn... that's a great sandwich.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Clevelyn Prevails

I know everybody's got the bleeding heart for Haiti right now. It's a horrific what's been happening there. I have nothing but the deepest sympathy for the insurmountable amount of strife and hardships that the people of Haiti are facing. If you haven't seen it yet, you owe it to yourself and the sake of humanity to look at Keith Marlowe's photography for LIFE Magazine. It's staggering.

Focusing slightly closer to home for my Heart's Blood, I'm offering a limited print for sale to benefit the Clevelanders displaced by that explosion on West 83rd Street last Monday (Jan 25, 2010). Turns out that house was possibly blown up by one of the neighbors, but knowing that doesn't really solve the problem that now there's a bunch of families that lost their homes.

18 x 24, signed and numbered limited edition $20

This art print will be available for pre-order only, from February 4th to February 12th, 2010. Feel free to use the paypal button at the bottom of this page. If you don't want to use paypal, please feel free to email me to arrange the order.

Clevelanders, I will arrange a way to drop off the print to you personally, or you can stop by The Monastery downtown and pick it up. If you're not in Cleveland, I will pay shipping costs within the U.S.

I'm going to limit the edition to only as many prints as are ordered. So if 6 people order this, you will get 1 of 6. If 85 people order this, you will get 1 of 85. If enough people order it, I'll get them screen printed. If it's few enough that I can handle it, I'll print them myself.

Here's some further info that The DSCDO sent out last week:

Neighborhood Response to Support Victims of West 83rd St. Explosion
January 26, 2010

Ward 15 Councilman Matt Zone, the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization (DSCDO), and many concerned residents and organizations are working together to assist families affected by the explosion that occurred on West 83rd St.   The most urgent need is for housing for six families displaced by the explosion.  All of the families have been offered emergency housing provided by the City of Cleveland at the Cudell Recreation Center.  Councilman Zone and the DSCDO are assisting the families in locating permanent housing. 
Families needing assistance include:   8 adults, which include 3 senior citizens; and 4 girls ages 7, 9, 9, and 11.
Financial contributions can be made as well as donation of furniture, household furnishing, clothing, or other needed supplies.  A fundraising benefit to affect displace families is being planned.  For more information:
Ward 15 Councilman Matt Zone at (216) 939-1717
Or Jeff Ramsey, executive director, Detroit Shoreway, at (216) 961-4242
Financial Contributions to assist displace families:
1.  Make check payable to: 
Detroit Shoreway (with memo noting “W. 83rd St. Explosion Relief Fund”)
2.  Contributions can be made by:
·       deposit at any Chase Bank in N.E. Ohio,
·       or by mail to:
Attn:  West 83rd St. Explosion Relief Fund
Detroit Shoreway
6516 Detroit Ave., Suite 1 
Cleveland, OH  44102 
To donate furniture, household furnishings, clothing, or other needed supplies, contact:
Detroit Shoreway at (216) 961-4242 ext. 223
Fundraising benefit:  is being planned to assist displaced families.  To volunteer or to purchase tickets, please call the Detroit Shoreway office at (216) 961-4242.
Quote for Councilman Matt Zone “during the midst of such a tragedy, it is wonderful to see the community rally to help families in need”…..”working with community partners like Detroit Shoreway CDC and the city of Cleveland’s Department of Aging finding suitable housing is of the highest priority” said Councilman Zone.

That benefit mentioned is a Spaghetti Dinner at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church (6928 Detroit) this Sunday, February 7th from 1 t o 3pm. There's a pdf flier, here.

Yeah, buy this print and help some fellow Clevelanders:

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Big Sandwich in Little China!

Hey Peoples, another month, another ridiculous sandwich at Melt:


Our take on sweet & sour chicken... on a sandwich!!
Crispy Asian Breaded Chicken or Veggie Chicken
Stir Fried Peppers, Onions & Carrots
Flavorful Steamed Jasmine Rice
Egg Shen's Magic Potion Sweet & Sour Sauce
Pepper-Jack Burton Cheese
Lo Pan's Chinese Hot Mustard Dip

Eat this madness and then go see "Big Trouble in Little China" (!!!!) on Saturday, February 20th @ Midnight at The Capital Theatre (1390 West 65th Street). Melt is sponsoring the movie by offering 2 drawings at the showing for a $20 gift card. There will also be a special gift for everyone in attendance from Melt Bar and Grilled.

I actually re-watched this movie before drawing this poster. I hadn't seen it in years, and I gotta say... it holds up surprisingly well. I had totally forgotten about some of the more ridiculous aspects like the monsters and the magic. I will say though, I'm really glad I wasn't an adult in the 80's.

When this gig came across my table, I was really stoked. I loved Big Trouble as a kid and I used to really love the poster. I gotta admit, redrawing this was actually something that kind of really bothered me. The original artist, Drew Struzan, is a phenomenal painter and trying to recreate something he made over twenty years ago pushed me into a place I was pretty uncomfortable in. So weird. On the one hand I felt like a hack for copying something so iconic. On the other hand it was actually pretty difficult to do. There's so much going on and so many subtleties happening in the colors. Translating it into a black and white line art piece, then coloring it and fitting in the text and the sandwich was such a challenge.

I actually had to shoot a picture of my own hand holding a sandwich to get a good reference to replace that huge gun. This is actually the Hungry Hungarian in my hand. I gripped it as take-out specifically to take this picture. Then I ate it.

More posts soon, including another couple Melt posters! The limited signed and numbered print of this one is now available in the Melt Shop on their website!