Monday, January 31, 2011

Last Chance, Never Too Late

That's it, I have to apologize for not getting this up here until today, but TODAY, MONDAY, JANUARY 31st, 2011 is the LAST DAY you can get the Hungry Hungarian Melt at Melt bar & grilled. Here's the lowdown:

Tender and Flavorful Pulled Roasted Chicken
Huge Homemade Dumplings
Creamy Paprikash Sauce
Provolone Cheese

This month I went with a sequential narrative based diptych, where we see the before and after of our hero, Mr. Polar Bear shoveling and then warming himself by the fire with a tasty hot bowl of Chicken Paprikash. It's a slight extension of the idea of the Mighty Macaroni Melt posters from December. In that one, the dippy was also sequential but in an action-based immediate way. Both were really fun to draw. I liked doing the contrasting inside/outside shots and schemes. I like depicting a scene that is probably pretty typical to a Clevelander winter experience; the drill of clearing a driveway (which in and of itself can bring a sense of accomplishment) and the eventual reward of finally getting inside and sitting down in the warmth.

Even though today is the last day you can get yourself a Hungry Hungarian, really nice prints of both of these posters, plus the original drawings of both, including the drawing of the sandwich, and the text, and some roughs, with an explanation that maybe goes deeper than I have here, are all hanging at Heights Arts as part of A Few Hundred Posters By John G and Jake Kelly, which will be up through the end of February. In addition to these, both of my Melt Soul Vegetarian posters, plus about 30 other posters, including a bunch more that have originals, roughs, and explanatory accompaniment, AND about 30 of Jake Kelly's originals (some of which have the explanations with them), AND a giant monolithic installation piece in the center of the gallery completely covered with both of our work from floor to ceiling. It's quite an art exhibit. I'm planning on being at the gallery for open hours on Saturdays through out the month.

I think what a strive for in a lot of these pieces, is the details. It's the details that are compelling and sell the ideas. The cat watching the food (maybe hoping for some renegade paprikash to try and make a breaak for it that she can get her fangs into?), the boots by the fire, the pink slippers, the shovel from the west side poster with the snow still melting. Jake Kelly tried to nail me on the fact that the house depicted in the west side poster couldn't be the Polar Bear's house because the chimney is in the dead center of the house from the exterior but it's only along one wall on the interior. I had to explain to him that the Bear's house has more than just that room, and that there's a hall beyond that fireplace, a bedroom, a kitchenette, but what we're seeing is the den. Mr. Kelly remains skeptical.

I totally forgot to post this forever ago, I think this was for Scene Magazine's Best Of 2010 issue last year. This ad is based on the cover Primus' record Sailing The Seas of Cheese.

I took a lot of liberties with it, which was a total blast to draw. I loved getting to play around with the weird longer format.

Earlier in the month M*A*S*H was the Late Shift film at the Capitol Theatre. So the 4077 Hawkeye Korean BBQ Melt was the tie-in sandwich. I missed out on both, just from being super busy, but I heard very good things about the sandwich. I thought thiswas originally going to be a poultry sandwich, hawk-meat or something, so I drew the OG MASH poster of the lady's legs with the peace sign hand with the helmet on the finger tip, but drumsticks instead of the legs... but it ended up being beef. So I went with an homage to this DVD cover art or whatever this is:

Lastly, I drew this elephant for January's desert cards that are on the tables at Melt. We've been doing these for a while now, and I really like the absolute freedom of them. I like them because they just are what they are. I wonder if people steal these off the tables?

I still have a mountain of work to do... at the moment I think I've slept maybe like, 4 hours of the last ...72 ...96? So after this I'm going to take a nap before getting back up to my elbows in work. I have a piece for a group show in LA, a fistful of posters, a weird apparel design gig, a pretty prominent illustration gig, and a physically huge collaboration with Jake Kelly to get done. And a couple comics things. Also, not to let the cat outta the bag too early, but a second record cover for a monumental Cleveland band. I have a ton of art, and maybe a story of two, to post up in the next few days, so stay tuned!

If you're waiting to hear back from me about something, or waiting on prints, I'd like to publicly apologize and promise that I'll be getting to everything this week! I truly am sorry I've let a few things slide, but Hang Tough like New Kids... I gotcha back.

EDIT: I'll add links to this one later.

Cleveland Panel Grid

Nine Letters to a name. Nine chances by design: three beginnings, three middles, three ends. It's the prefect foundation, the perfect building blocks to tell a story. To say something. To get it right. For math and magic.

It's time for proto-logo works. Still in progress. As you read this, chances are I'm somewhere making something new, looking at nines. Nine rows and nine columns. The letters are built. An 81 part grid.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Been super busy working really hard over here in The Volcano. Things are kind of outta control. I've got a bunch of things on deck to post, business junk, new jams, and older jams that never made it up. For now here's this...

Cleveland's All Dinosaurs are putting out a record and playing a show to release it. Friends Trigger Effect, Hot Cha Cha and The Strutting Cocks will get ridic at The Beachland Tavern. You should go, buy the record, and you will have fun.

Out of curiosity, I just looked at the wikipedia entry for Dinosaurs, check this shit out:

The term "dinosaur" was coined in 1842 by the English paleontologist Richard Owen, and derives from Greek δεινός (deinos) "terrible, powerful, wondrous" + σαῦρος (sauros) "lizard".

Terrible, Powerful, and Wondrous... Lizard! What I like about that is how "Terrible" and "Wondrous" aren't mutually exclusive.

In informal speech, the word "dinosaur" is used to describe things that are impractically large, slow-moving, obsolete, or bound for extinction, reflecting the outdated view that dinosaurs were maladapted monsters of the ancient world.

Maladapted Monsters of The Ancient World! I dunno about you, but I don't think that view is outdated at all. I also like the part about things being bound for extinction. Pretty much everything falls into that category on some level.

Way back when, in July of 2009, I drew the poster for their first show. Then they put in an influential appearance on the old Gauntlet of Truth Jam. They were part of a triumvirate of bands that were a part of something I'm pretty proud of. Something New we had never tried before that turns out worked really well. Because we killed it. They were a part of the dark half of duality. Which is necessary, which is where we live. All Dinosaurs helped The Beachland celebrate Christmas that year. The Cleveland Bachelor and I helped promote it. They were here for friends, Trigger Effect on their birthdays last summer.

They played this insanely awesome show with Valient Thorr last fall. Alright, Let me tell you about Valient Thorr. This was easily one of the most fun shows I went to last year. All Dinosaurs opened it up and they completely rocked it. They sounded great and played hard but were having an absolute blast the entire time. I didn't get to all the shows I just listed above. Those links are just to posters I drew (this being their EIGHTH poster I've done with their name on it, in the hundreds of posters and fliers I've done- very few bands can claim that many). I did see them play at the Happy Dog on Sept. 12th, in 2009. I was paying attention that night, it was a pretty early show in their lifespan. They were good, but they were new. This time, a few scant days more than one year later, after they'd played probably close to, if not more than, a hundred shows in between, they were already seasoned veterans. They still burned with a youthful excited danger that takes itself very seriously. They still shot from their hip with mad confidence, and made a point to knock around a few heads, including mine. But they were obviously having a lot of fun, and it made them that much better than being just great, talented musicians that write good rock songs (which, clearly, they've nailed). Both Bo Bowersmith and Dave Gibian play guitar and sing and are tangibly serious about it. You can tell that they love what they're doing, that they work really hard. Drummer, Joe Willis, is an awesome percussionist, even if he loves Death Cab For Cutie (huge fan, really(?)). Their bassist, Gheramy Demery, is the goofballingest goofball to ever goofball a show, but that fact balances the band in an very evident way, which I think is one of the integral components that makes All Dinosaurs a great band to see.

After they played, there were two bands that were pretty standard fare, took themselves very seriously, and after half a song each- bored me to death.

Then Valient Thorr came on stage and turned the place into an ape-shit bonkers carnival of positive energy exploding out all over the place, complete with motivational hyperbole, masterful riffage and rhythms fueled by child-like exuberance, and I swear- a really weird moment where the entire audience(!) was sitting on the floor doing some crazy row-boat dance move initiated by the shirtless, sweaty, singer known as Valient Himself. I'm pretty sure his name is actually Herbie, but... either way, that dude totally ruled. He said some of the funniest and nicest shit between songs I think I've ever heard a dude say into a microphone. He was the physical embodiment of "having fucking fun" the entire time. It was a blast and I'm stoked I got to be there for it. At one point he said something about how they've been doing this a long time, how their beards are a little bit longer, about how they're all a little bit older, but that "you can't just Rip Van Winkle it, Man! You gotta get out there and do that shit!!" It kind of came out of the blue and caught be by surprise.

Actually, this kinda blew my mind. He was right. You can't just Rip Van Winkle it, Man! We've all just got this weird short moment, this stretch of time to do something with ourselves. You can take it seriously, and be focused, and bust your ass (it would be foolish not to). However, it's equally as important to not forget to make it fun, and have a good time. While you're killin' it, maybe crack a smile, say "hi" to your parents on stage, dance like a dummy, and laugh it off when you make a mistake. Then try it again. Do good things well, and honor them by enjoying it. You have to, because in the end... and maybe in the distant future we'll be considered maladapted monstres of the ancient world, but in the end... in here and now, we're all just bound for extinction. We are All Dinosaurs.

This is the original line art. Here, I was going to try and write something about how some dinosaurs grew feathers and evolved into birds, tie that to how some Native Americans tribes used eagle feathers in their headdresses to symbolize acts of bravery and honor. I drew this with a brush and ink, and used micron pens for details and splattered ink all over it with a toothbrush.

Then I took that toothbrush and splattered another sheet of 8.5" x 11" paper and when I scanned it, I set it to double the dpi and cut the sheet in half, layering them over the art, setting them to different reds. Works every time.

I laid this out in photoshop, it took me forever, then I pinted it out, and redrew it using micron pens making it look hand-drawn and making the letters of the band names all fucked up like that. It's fun but tedious and time consuming. It's worth it though.

Here's a close up of the lettering, I like to break up the letters. Originally, I think I was going for a crusted type look, like I was trying to replicate what text that had gotten worn and damaged over time would look like, or degenerated in a copying process, but after I had done this a buttload of times, I think I now just want to make the lettering look wicked and but cleanly crusty.

One last thing:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Love Stinks, An Anti-Valentine's Day Show

Much like the posters for A Holiday Art Massacre, and MAYhem, this is for another awesome Staci McNasty/Dave Lowlife/Heather Young joint. There's even more artists and information that have been added since I was given the list for the poster, so please go check the facebook event page for the full list: HERE.

It started really rough, as you can see, with an original plan to include some word balloons with Skullface saying: "AAAGH! Again?". I opted out of that, just to simplify the piece. I guess I wanted to leave the story open ended, open to interpretation. I liked the word balloon though, just felt it was a better piece with it left out and open to interpretation.

So it's Skullface, pierced by an arrow, fired by who I'm going to claim is Voluptas, Cupid and Psyche's daughter. Why not? I've always really liked Jacques Louis David's Cupid and Psyche painting that's hanging in the Cleveland Museum of Art, but I think maybe Cupid is a little overexposed for St. Valentine's Day representations. I also knew I wanted to include the roses with the thorns. I used Skullface maybe because I miss the character a little. Maybe he needs a little love.

My contribution to hang in the show will be this original art and an edition of inexpensive archival 11" x 17" digital prints of the color version. The prints will only be $24 and the framed OG will only be $144.

If you are not going to the show, or don't live in Cleveland, and would like a print, I'd be more than happy to ship them! Below I've added a handy paypal button for your convenience, which I've added a $4 shipping charge which I'm pretty sure will cover the cost of the flat mailer and postage. If you would like me to ship international, no problem, just shoot me an email and we'll work it out!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Thank You, Cleveland.

SO, as previously mentioned, way back in the dark ages of ye olde December of 2010 AD, Jake Kelly and I have two split shows up in Cleveland Heights right now, and through to the end of February. Ten Imaginary Movies at the B-Side Liquor Lounge, and A Few Hundred Posters by John G and Jake Kelly at Heights Arts.

Here are some photos from the opening reception of A Few Hundred Posters, graciously snapped by the keen camera of Leia Von Hohenfeld.


In the center of the gallery is an installation piece papered with literally hundreds of posters and fliers. A mishmash of both mine and Jake's work all tacked and stapled up in an bonkers interactive exhibit.


Along one wall, I've got a chronology of select prints of posters hanging, including this diptych.


Along another wall Jake has a selection of a selection of 30 or so of his amazing originals.


Jake and I, schmoozing! On Tuesday we had a great time kicking off our promotional blitz on WCPN's Around Noon, talking with Dee Perry about the two shows. Then we were interviewed by Astound Comic's Scott Rudge for Comics Are GO! podcast, which can also be found on iTunes. Monday we'll be taping another interview with Dee Perry for Ideastream's Applause. There was also a nice write up in Cleveland's Scene Magazine about the two shows.


And ...Stew Cats.

For any further information about A Few Hundred Posters, check out, I think Jake and I be there next Saturday for open hours if you would like to come check out the show, meet us, and talk about posters or movies or whatever.

Saturday, January 01, 2011


It's easy to forget who's there, paying attention. Watching you make moves in silence and hindsight. It's easy to get lost in the day to day action of doing what you do. Big Picture paradigm only matters way up above the details. On the roof of the maze of hustle. You forget, but someone sees all, and knows.

This is the twenty ten Santa Claus for The Boss. It was a good Christmas for the old man. I think it might possibly have been a good year for him. A few scary days aside. Still, scary days don't end the world. They remind us of that forgotten big picture.