Friday, April 22, 2011

Fuck You Up With Some Truth

The Fucking Cops are putting out an awesome 12" EP/CD Fuck You Up With Some Truth, and having an awesome release show for it at Now That's Class. Local heroes All Dinosaurs are also playing, with Filmstrip kicking off a month long tour of the Este de los Estados Unidos. Seriously, if you live in Florida- Go see Filmstrip, tell them John G sent ya. Also, Field Trip is playing and I know absolutely nothing about them.

Dudes, Big Purple Records has really gone above and beyond for this release. I loved The Fucking Cops last record, You Have The Right To Shut The Fuck Up. So I was pretty stoked to be a part of it when they asked me to contribute art to this one. With both the record and CD you get a magazine sized booklet where all the lyrics pages are laid out by different artists. I worked with their guitarist/singer Jon Rybicki to make some songs, Gloria and Gloria Part II, into a series of comic pages that go along with the narrative of the songs.

Listen to Gloria via this handy Bandcamp thing-a-majigg:

Jon specifically wanted a film noir approach to it all, and being a pretty deep noir appreciator, I was happy to get gritty with it. They have this whole concept in mind for a much longer story, but as they compose each song, they're really just revealing one act at a time. It's serialized crime drama by way of pop-punk pulp bangers. Here's the first two pages, I'll post the second story after the record's out:

The other artists involved are Jason Lubrano, Lauren Measure, Shannon Sullivan, my homie Asbestos Breath, and more. I actually saw the books being printed while I was at the print shop for other reasons, and it looks really really awesome. That, coupled with how great this band sounds, makes this one of the more exciting things to be coming out of Cleveland in 2011. I can't wait for this show, and this record.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Magenta Vapor Stew

There's this Doom/Sludge band from Providence, Rhode Island, The Body. Going full on pink/magenta vapor stew might run counter to the typical Doom/Sludge packaging for the metal-head masses, but I guess I feel like there's room for it in the Doom/Sludge dynamic. Why the hell not?

Self Destruct Button needs no explanation from the likes of me, but if you haven't seen them, now's your chance!

Griefhound, I've never even heard of. Looks like members of Snuff Film.

I had a vision of drawing a telephone pole with transformers on it, cables and wires leading off panel into the future and past, but I didn't really have a good reason to draw it until Paul at Now That's Class shot me this poster gig. I had just looped out on these sick post-apocalyptic action figure/models by this gnarly Korean (I think) dude named BHead.

I gave it a once over with the colors, spent some time trying to keep it simple, which was actually a huge challenge. I can't believe how hard it is to keep things simplified. I tried maybe four different gradient and brushy approaches to the sky, but it always looked too busy, or clashed with the pole itself.

I drew the text and made a splatter field to scan and use as texture on the poster, this was on a sheet of 11" x 17" copy paper that I just tore apart. I don't think I spent a whole hell of a lot of time on this.

As you can see, I added the texture and left it actually super subtle this time. I already knew how shitty it looked for there to be too much else going on with this piece, but I did want to add a little something to make it slightly less straight forward and as much of a snoozefest. Here's the final, with text, again.

This poster, along with two other posters and ten pages from a comic I made, will be hanging in an art show, Illustrious, that opens tonight, Friday the 22nd of April, at Wall Eye Gallery. I posted about it: HERE. Wall Eye is at 5304 Detroit, kind of over by the Happy Dog, where there will also be some kind of benefit show that The Pleasure Leftists is playing.


Stormbringer Pages 1 - 10

An excerpt from a comic book about a Solomon, the Heavy for a small time criminal, as he does his job and ruminates over his environment, his youth, and a critical moment that changed things, as he feels another such moment eminent. Stormbringer is a chapter in the Clevelyn series of stories, originally presented in Shiner Comics anthologies volumes 1 and 2, and the supplemental zine, Heart's Blood.

These pages will be hanging at Wall Eye Gallery in the show, Illustrious, (I posted about it HERE) from April 22nd to 29th, 2011. There will also be a mini-comic print version of this piece available, which I will also make available in the Shiner Comics store when I get them in hand.

I am still slowly working on this story, but unfortunately, it is kind of on the back burner. The entire thing is almost 40 pages, so I think I could definitely finish it before Genghis Con at The Beachland, on November 26th this year.

Illustrious Opening at Wall Eye

Tomorrow, Friday, April 22nd, at Wall Eye Gallery (located at 5304 Detroit Ave), the opening for Illustrious, an art exhibit dedicated to Illustration, is happening in full effect. The list of contributors is pretty awesome, and though I haven't seen the show yet, I'm assured it's incredible.

There's a facebook event for it, HERE. There's a video on Cool Cleveland, HERE.

For my contribution to this group show, I'll have two different things hanging. One is the original art or the first ten pages of this comic I've got on the back burner called Stormbringer, which I will posted about separately HERE. Please do check out those pages.

The second is a series of three recent posters for upcoming events; a niche genre rock show at an west-side punk bar, a higher profile punk showcase (part of a four day long music festival) at a larger venue in Austin, Texas, and a fund raising/awareness building night for a regional non-profit at an east-side ballroom, presented side by side with the original line art, and a smattering of the process materials (sketches, lettering, ink splatter used for texture). Here are the posters. Again, like Stormbringer, I'll post about these sparately:

I posted about this one, here: Magenta Vapor Stew:

In addition to this show, there's also a great show, Justin Durand's Strawberries, opening at Proximity, over on E. 40th and Payne. I wish I could go to both, but I think I'll be at Wall Eye pretty much all night. There's the facebook event page for that: HERE.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Queen Mother and Sweet Moses

Just a short post right quick to give a heads up for this Saturday's Midnight screening of Sci-Fi seminal ALIENS at The Capitol Theatre, and the cross-promo sandwich over at Melt bar & grilled, The Queen Mother Aliens Melt! It's Calamari dusted with cornbread and brown rice flour then fried to a golden brown, Roasted Spicy Poblano Pepper Jam, Roasted Garlic Lemon Aioli, Garlic Herb Cream Cheese.

ALIENS was the movie that taught me how to swear. Sometimes I feel kinda like a lazy bum with the ninepanelgrid blog. I should be up on here way way more often posting art and the what's what. Trying to stay on top of it lately, but find myself too focused on doing the art in the first place. One of my homies in the game that I got mad respect for, Dave Crosland, AKA: King Gum, has been on the warpath his an almost daily blog called Alphabet Attack, and CLEARLY he was as influenced as I was by ALIENS, Check this piece: Heroic Hicks!

I'm going to take this last moment to HIGHLY RECOMMEND, while you're down in the neighborhood, after you've grilled down on dinner at Melt, hotfoot your way over to Sweet Moses up on Detroit between W. 67th and W. 69th Streets. It's an old school soda fountain and ice cream shop. They make all their ice cream and it's all freaking amazing. I've been there twice and both times had a blast and ate some incredible treats.

First time my girl and I went, for the soft opening, I had a root beer float (pictured above). This past Saturday night we went and shared a couple sundaes. One was The Shoreway, coffee ice cream with hot fudge, toffee chunks, and almonds. The other was a scoop of Banana Foster ice cream with peanut butter and marshmallow sauces, and Spanish peanuts. I wish we had taken some pics of that but we housed them so fast it was an impossible. The taste of the ice cream itself is really strong and distinct. It's delicious, and balances really well with the richness of the sauces.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Best Of Party Art

This is a supplemental piece I did for Scene's Best Of party. This goes with the initial ad for the issue, and the actual art for the issue. What I knew was that there would be Burlesque Girls and Fire Dancers, that they wanted it to be set at night, and that it should match the Best Of material I had already done and been working on. Other than that I was told to go crazy.

I think I like the black and white version better, but I did color this piece very quickly. I probably should have spent some more time on the colors, colors are tricky, but ...them's the breaks. I like that I had the opportunity to use the Roxy Burlesque, which is kind of cool. Recently, William Rupnik Gallery had some of their awesome old posters available. I didn't make it to the party. I wanted to, but there was just too much else happening. I bet it was pretty insane.

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Future is Now

I posted this ad I did, HERE, almost a month ago, promoting Scene Magazine's Best Of Cleveland 2011 issue, and it's finally here, out there in the world, right now.

Here's the cover art without any text on it, I think I'll pull back the curtain a little bit on this particular piece and reveal some of the process. This is easily the most visible, and honestly, I spent a lot of time on it. Not that I didn't spend a lot of time on the other pieces, but this is the cover and needed to be the most Next Level of all the Next Level jams and moves being made on this project. Also, this particular piece goes back the farthest.

Basically, the production manager at Scene emailed me and asked what I would do with Best Of Cleveland 2011 The Future Is Now and asked for a quote. I've done the Best Of issue before, back in 2008. That seems like a really long time ago, now. So I knew what goes into doing all the art for an issue like that, and how good it could be. I pulled myself up to my drafting table and roughed out a couple quick ideas, then threw some color on them in photoshop. I think about the future a lot, in general, but also in the context of Cleveland. Sometimes I think this is it, that we are, in deed, living in the future. And we ARE. Temporally speaking, we are always living in the future of the past, right now in the present. But when you think about the anticipation of building up to something, when you have a moment of clarity in your mind's eye, and that moment hasn't happened yet- it's real in the future. Not yet.

Well, Cleveland, this is what you've been building up towards, here's your moment of clarity. No longer trapped in the yet to be. It's happening, whether you're ready for it or not, welcome to the future. I chose two options, because the perspective can go either way. You can either look up at it, from the ground level, watching the spiraling towers reach for the heavens, or look down on it- from the god's eye view. The advantage of the god's point of view would have been to be able to see in actuality where the new projects like the Medical Mart and the downtown casinos are going to be. It would have made the cover a lot more green, which is definitely a direction I think this city is going to go. I've used this perspective before, and I've used it since I did this. However, I'm glad the ground level perspective was the one that got the nod, because I liked it a lot more and I think it was what was needed to make this crazy idea, this sci-fi look at a familiar place, a place the people I'm trying to reach call home, as approachable, relatable, and visceral as possible.

On a snowy, crummy day, I rolled down to Scene HQ and met with the team. I think they may have been scared of me a little. I mean, I put on a shirt with buttons and everything, but I'm bearded and kinda wild and live in a Volcano. Everyone was really excited and positive though.

SO- after getting approval for the project and the cover, I did this more comprehensive, yet ...still actually really rough drawing for this piece. At this point, I also started on the other interstitial art for the five sections: Arts & Entertainment, Food & Drink, Shops & Wares, Sports & Recreation, and People & Places. I knew I wanted to vary the perspective and keep the theme of overgrown vegetation mingling with technology and hype the interaction of people and environment. It's something I did on this triptych for Waterloo last year around this time, HERE. I wrote about it then.

Here's the brush and ink line art. It was a matter of spending the time with it. I took it upon myself to dig deep for this one. This image, completely fantastical, needed to be rooted in a place that I knew well enough to represent as if it were real. I love Cleveland, and downtown, and even though it's supremely frustrating to park down in Tower City, I like it. I like that the parking lot, and garage, tucked under the buildings and everything feels like it's ancient ruins. But that's not what this piece is about, this is about what it could be if there were no parking garage and the entire city grew out of a place that was vibrant and bustling. This drawing is on a 14" x 17" sheet of Bristol Board, and I used a Winsor & Newton Cotman 222 series #2 brush and Speedball Super Black India Ink, then went in with a .01 Micron pen and did the details, then splattered a little bit of ink with a tooth brush on it. I'm not sure how long it took total, but it was a long time.

Okay, so that process, I repeated more or less for each section, here they are:

PEOPLE & PLACES: This is an approximation of what's been going on down on East 4th street, only ...not really. I've actually only been down there once during the day, and had lunch on the patio of The Greenhouse. Back in the day East 4th used to have a lot of wig shops on it. Seriously. I liked to think of it as the "wig district". At any rate, I snuck in the logo for Blackbird Baking Company, even though they aren't anywhere near E. 4th, nor mentioned in this section. But that bakery is, by far, one of the best places in Cleveland, and run by some of the best people (Full disclosure: my ladybird works there).

FOOD & DRINK: From memory, I only really looked at a photo reference after having laid out the drawing, I tried to capture one of my favorite places in Cleveland, Le Petit Triangle Café over on Fulton just off of Bridge. There's something specific about that patio, and it's really a great restaurant.

SHOPS & WARES: This is clearly My Mind's Eye, over in Lakewood. I'm pretty glad I was able to get Charles in the mix, but in the printed magazine he's covered by text. Which, also in this image is the Megachurch record and a fake record by a fake band I like to call The Francis Scott Keys, also Goat Cheese, Keelhaul, Beckett, Dominic, and Zip.

SPORTS & RECREATION: There's a Skate Park actually planned for the Flats, right by the rowing association's secret hide-out, but that's not what's the most important part of this piece. The central figure is a dude I knew by seeing him around a lot, almost every day for a long time. He was integral to the best bar in America, Now That's Class, and he worked at Gypsy Bean which I frequent ...frequently, but he was also a huge part of the skateboarding community, though which I am pretty unfamiliar with, as a former BMX Rider I have a lot of respect for. I can't say I was friends with Jerry Malafa, but a lot of my close friends had really deep love for him. I feel like doing this, the art for this issue of Scene, was an opportunity to shed some light on the Cleveland that I live in, the Cleveland that I experience. The Cleveland that maybe isn't as in touch with the Tribe or Browns when you mention the words "Sports" and "Recreation", but has a pretty keen awareness of the importance of the other parts of the city that make it what it really is. A place where you can live and give, and love what you love without apologies. You can work hard and play hard and grow into it and be as much a part of Cleveland as you want, then be remembered fondly by all the people you came across and whose lives you touched. This was my opportunity to pay my respect to a true Clevelander, that even though I didn't know maybe as well as I should have, I'm positive was exemplary of all of those things.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT: I spent a year working in a studio space in the strange and wonderfully weird buildings now known as Tyler Village. They knocked down these warehouse/garage buildings to make room for parking. I once saw This Moment in Black History play a show in one of those warehouse/garages and it was awesome. I also saw a show at MOCA, where they projected video onto a screen behind the band performing and that was awesome. Those two experiences informed this piece more than anything else. I think it's a good thing that there are places that can facilitate the next level of creative interaction. That's something that maybe gets overlooked here, or wrapped up in politics and money, or almost gets co-opted by nefarious interests. I think every neighborhood in Cleveland is trying to attract "the arts", though I'm not certain I understand what that's supposed to mean other than it sounds better than saying you're trying to attract "industry". All I know is that somewhere there's an empty factory, or a vacant warehouse, and someone's got the keys, and someone gave the night watchman a pizza and a six pack, and someone's going to draw a poster that tells all the people that know enough to look at such things to go to that warehouse and bring their friends, and someone's going to plug in an amplifier and maybe project someone drawing live on the giant screen hanging behind the band. And it's going to be awesome.

I've been typing for way too long. If you're interested, I'll probably be posting a bunch more art and stuff soon, so stay tuned, and feel free to comment or give me a shout.

Alright, Cleveland. Welcome to the Future.

None More Corny, The 2011 Version

April brings the return of The extremely popular Corny Beast to Melt bar & grilled. People love this sandwich! Here's what Melt has to say about it:
Our wicked version of the almighty corn dog! An ultra jumbo all beef dog char-grilled and stuffed into the sandwich with double american cheese. Slathered with our special cornbread batter the deep fried to a rich golden brown. Served with chipotle ketchup for dipping.

I really wanted to go with dog based imagery, but also knew that today, April 1st was the Home Opener for the Cleveland Indians. So I wanted to somehow incorporate that. The Corny Beast happens to be my longtime homie, and fellow Melt connoisseur, Fred Gunn's favorite Melt Sandwich. Also, his dog Lennon is a killer (as you can see). You may remember Fred from the old So Cow poster I did for Cleveland Bachelor. With this side of the diptych, I used an old photo of the ancient Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

For the opposite side of the dippy, I went with my friend, and Friends of The Cleveland Kennel Generalissimo, Becca Becca Becca and her dog Peanut, The Nut. You may remember Peanut from the Smooches and Pooches poster I did last Valentine's Day. I used google street view to grab a reference for Progressive Field, and got to drawing.

The Desserts are staying the same, so you have another 30 days to get yourself a Thin Mint Bread Pudding!

I'll be putting the original drawing for this Dessert Card up in the Shiner Comics Store soon, but it's $26 (shipping included) if you're interested. The Octopus is still available!

I have another thing to post about today, I did all the art for this week's Scene Magazine Best Of issue (on stands now) and a couple other things on the horizon. It's been a busy year up in The Volcano!