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A Bad Day & Dessert Foods

Published April 5, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

I’ve had a really rotten day. I took my dog Grendel to the vet for what I thought would just be a routine checkup and shots update and found out that he’s not only got a nasty ear infection, but also a fractured molar. In the corrupt world of animal vet care that translates to a little over $1,4000 and countless future hours of pain and suffering for all. I would know, because about six months after we adopted our three legged dog back in 2012 and acquired our very first credit card debt as newlyweds by moving into our first rental home, we discovered that Grendel had an infected canine tooth that had been cracked up the back (possibly from the same accident that had taken his leg) and had to shell out a similarly obscene amount of money that we didn’t have and of course lots of pain and suffering…so let’s just say that I know this story pretty well by now. But you know, that’s ok, it’s not like my husband and I were already scraping together every last penny to buy our first house this year as we struggle to get our careers out of the corporate retail gutter and onto the right track at last. Oh wait!

But enough of my problems. Here’s some more anthropomorphic dessert foods that I made for work. Maybe they will cheer you up if your day was as rotten as mine. I also got to work on my book this week for a few seconds, but I will share more of that once I get those illustrations scanned.

Let’s review. The Macarons:

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Comedy and Tragedy Popsicles:

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Mochi Dudes, based off of the food mascots on the package:

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Sublime Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich; just the line work:

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Ice Cream Cookie Monster with color:

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Work in progress group photo:

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Joe-Joe’s Toucan, eating a Joe-Joe’s Cookies n’ Cream Ice Cream cone…which is probably not too safe for toucan consumption:

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Lemon Meringue Roger Klotz Pie, Chocolate Ganache Cake, and Baby Mini Pie Medley family; just the line work:

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Second verse same as the first, only now in color:

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Erupting Chocolate Lava Cake:

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Another group photo:

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A final group photo of them all on the front of the freezer case, joining some of the previous characters and lettering that was on there before:

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And that is it for the anthropomorphic dessert foods. Sorry that this just of a rehash from my Instagram and Facebook posts. Since today kinda sucked, I figured that this would still be better than nothing.

 

 

 

 

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The End

Published March 29, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

EDIT: Ahhh! I totally forgot to include the picture I took of that double page illustration I was working on in my last post after I colored it! Here it is:

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I know it’s just an oddly cropped photo and I have gotten a real scan of this since, but I’m only going to post the oddly cropped one for now to leave the rest of it a secret. Ok, back to your regularly scheduled post below!

Over the end of the past week and weekend I got a few new little things started and one big thing finished. Due to the usual bummer time constraints of last week I didn’t really get any of the projects I was working at Trader Joe’s finished, but I got at least one of them off to a good start. I’m working on a few large drawings of anthropomorphic dessert foods to (believe it or not) replace some of the older large drawings of anthropomorphic dessert foods that are on the side of the freezer case. The old desserts were drawn by another artist before me and a lot of them are of seasonal or discontinued products, so I’m just supposed to just freshen it up a bit with some new illustrations. On Friday I started on some macarons.

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I loved using that muted pastel color palette. When I ever get back to illustrating my very first children’s book story about Pinky Dandy I definitely want to use colors like that for the book.

Speaking of my children’s book work, on Saturday night I went to Comix Thing with Martyn and some friends who were sharing his table at the event. He sold a lot of buttons, and I walked around for a while and was inspired by the variety of printed indie comics, books, and zines at all the tables, as well as some other artwork and merchandise that people were selling. It made me look forward to the day when I can sell my own finished books at an event like that. I also sketched a little while we were there.

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It’s meant to be my same character, Krampus Kringle, as an adult. For some reason he kind of reminds me of Nicholas Cage in that drawing. Here’s the sketch I did later of my other character, Kris Kringle, all grown up. This one is more self-explanatory.

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The reason I decided to figure out what they would both look like older is because on the last page of my children’s book, the page that will say THE END, there is going to be a final illustration of them many years later working as partners. The drawing is based on this relatively well-known image from an antique postcard of St. Nicholas and Krampus.

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I had seen so many Krampus postcards before I ever saw that one in particular. I even own a book that’s a collection of Victorian Krampus artwork. It was that very image, however, that first got me to wondering why in the world those two dudes would be such good friends. Usually friends share a lot of common interests, unless of course their friendship goes way, way back…to their early childhood even. I’ve even seen a couple of vintage postcards where Krampus is riding a motorcycle and Santa is in his sidecar! So basically in seeing them so happy and oddly well-acquainted with each other, I came to the conclusion that they just had to be siblings…and that is pretty much exactly how I first came up with the idea for my story.

Here is my version of the postcard:

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Martyn said that older Krampus looks like Morrissey, which I guess I can see…it’s the silver streaks in the hair. I drew this on red paper with the same black flair felt tip pens and colored pencils (black, white, metallic gold, and a little bit of peach/skin tone.) It looked to me as if that’s probably how the original postcard was drawn. It was really hard to see it while I was drawing under the desk lamp because the pencil, especially the gold, is super reflective. I’m just glad that it scanned ok.

I’m going to hand letter THE END in that same German storybook style calligraphy that’s on the original postcard. Now I’ve just got to do illustrations for the book covers, the title page, and the dedication page!

 

 

My Three Jobs

Published March 23, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

So I was just going to do another illustration in progress post when I realized that I also have a few cool work in progress photos from my other two jobs. The week before last was the release of the March Fearless Flyer at Trader Joe’s. I usually have very little emotional attachment for the artwork I create at T.J.’s because it’s often so strictly regulated, overdone, and such a long shot from any of the subjects that I would willingly choose to illustrate. Also, due to the frequent impossible time restraints I sometimes either have to crank out something of substandard quality that I would never bother to post here or anywhere else, cut out lots of artwork and original ideas entirely, or just finish the Flyer artwork a week after the Flyer has already landed. This past week was the latter but at least it afforded me enough extra time to actually make some things that I could be proud of.

March is the Spring Flyer so I wanted to make some kind of visual reference to blooming flowers. St. Patrick’s Day and Easter are both this month so I also wanted to sneak in some clover and pastel, Spring-y colors. The boss wanted us to include this Victorian clip art dude from the front page of the Flyer.

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I don’t know why he is a goose-stepping scuba diver with riding pants or what that has to do with springtime…maybe a reference to a certain song from The Producers? Whatever this dude’s problem is, I did my very best to incorporate him into the seasonal theme on the template I made for all of the Flyer shelf signs.

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I redrew him in that same black and white woodcut style and colored in the rest of the template in an attempt to create that whole colorizing effect they used in Wizard of Oz and Pleasantville…like he’s bringing back color and life to the landscape with his scuba diving riding wizard staff. For some reason, something about this seems very post-apocalyptic to me.

Later I also designed a big sign of the same weird dude to hang in the entrance of the store. Here’s my thumbnail sketch:

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Here’s what the final sign ended up looking like. You probably can’t tell from the photo but the guy is somewhat 3-D and pops out from the background.

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Then, as if I hadn’t drawn that stupid guy enough, I also made a chalkboard sign for the entrance of the store. This time I only drew his helmet to mix it up a bit and suggest that maybe he eventually perished in said post-apocalyptic world and was returned to nature.

March to Value Chalkboard

Today I was working on a thumbnail sketch for my next big sign project. It was requested that I just make a giant garlic clove to point to the often overlooked crushed garlic in the frozen section. This will be interesting. So far I’ve drawn a Victorian garlic clove hot air balloon since this company really loves its nonsensical Victorian clip art. I might even donate one of the plastic garlic cloves that I have at home in my craft supplies to use as part of the anchor. Yes, I do have a bag full of plastic garlic cloves at home. You really can find anything at SCRAP PDX.

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After my last shift of the week at Trader Joe’s on Friday I went over to the Vine Gogh painting studio in Sellwood so that Paul could teach me the painting I would be teaching on Sunday. In case you didn’t realize, my second job is teaching part-time as an art instructor.

A little backstory: After six years of working five days/forty hours a week at Trader Joe’s while I struggled to complete my own artwork and serious portfolio stuff on the side, I had a major mental and psychical burnout. I came to the realization that I no longer saw T.J.’s as my desired long-term career, but as just a job to pay the bills and keep me afloat as I work hard on becoming who I actually wanted to be when I grow up. To this day I am still struggling to work all of that out, but my decision to cut back at T.J.’s from five days a week to four days a week at the end of last year has so far proven to be one of the best that I have ever made. At first I was terrified of the pay cut and of the possibility of losing our health insurance, so I made sure that I still worked the minimum 30 hours required to qualify for insurance each week and I found a second job to use as my financial safety net. I had never really thought of teaching art before I started teaching at Vine Gogh–but as it turns out, not only am I really good at it, but I also really love doing it. It’s a pretty fulfilling feeling when someone over the age of 60 tells you that they have never painted before in their entire life and that you have just taught them something that they wish they had known all along…and given them enough confidence in themselves to finally give it a try. After my class on Sunday a woman slipped me an extra twenty buck tip and personally thanked me for being such a big help. I’m pretty sure that I have never gotten that kind of appreciation at my day job before!

I teach these painting classes at art studios in Sellwood and in Tigard. Each class is only about three hours long, so whenever I teach on the weekend I usually still have the rest of that day to work on my own artwork. Both studios have a bar, so people will attend the classes as a social outing, order drinks, and then create a painting as I break it down for them step by step, Bob Ross style. Right now they’re building a second studio right next door to the one in Tigard called Vincent’s Loft. It’s going to have turn of the century, steampunk kinda decor and offer classes other than the usual acrylic paintings on canvas. We’ve been throwing around ideas of me teaching illustration classes, cartooning and caricature, other mediums like watercolor, colored pencil, and pen and ink, and even polymer clay sculpture. I can’t wait to see how it’s all going to turn out…it’s just really nice to have something to look forward to again!

The work in progress pictures I have from the painting classes actually aren’t of me or my painting. I just took these photos of Paul in action when he was teaching me one of his own paintings on a small canvas so that I could teach it on Sunday. I guess you could say that they’re more like my notes than anything, but it’s cool to see how he busted this quickie version of it out in like ten minutes.

This is the painting that he was teaching me, Mountain Lake:

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Here’s him working in the same sequence that I later used to teach this painting.

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Note: This is the point where, when I was teaching this painting, everyone took a drink break and let the background dry.

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Additional Note: That highlight on the mountains is a total Bob Ross palette knife technique that we modified for an acrylic paint brush. This is probably the most Bob Ross painting I’ve taught so far.

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Happy trees.

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That’s it! Seriously, this whole thing only took him about ten minutes. It took me just under three hours to teach it (on bigger canvases than this, though.)

So Vine Gogh has been a very good thing for me so far. Although a second job generally means more work, I feel that it has actually allowed me more time to work on my third, last, and most important “job” that I have–making my children’s book. I really have been treating this more like a job than ever lately because that is what I want this to eventually become. I no longer want to be stuck in this place where I have to rely on doing something that I find boring for the majority of my time in order to make a living, and as a result am forced to treat my own artwork and true passions as just a cute hobby whenever I can get to them. I’ve devoted most of my life up to this point to becoming a serious working artist with my art as my main profession, so I’m still just doing whatever I can to shift things around until I can finally feel like I have achieved that goal. It’s been a very interesting ride so far.

Here’s some few work in progress photos from my latest pages.

The pencil drawing. This photo is cropped oddly but you can see about where the center fold of the book would be (it’s going to be a double page spread.)

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Inked over the pencil:

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Pencil lines erased:

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I hope to either finish the coloring on this tonight or come really dang close to it. I will then have pages 30-31 out of 32 completed! After that I will only have the cover, title page, and dedication page art left to go (and formatting all the text…but at least I will have some help with that part!) Yup. Takin’ names.

 

 

Final Illustration Scan and a Whole Lotta Meat

Published February 13, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

Here’s an end-of -the-week, beginning-of-the-weekend post to show you what I’ve been up to. First up is that final illustration from my last post, only a much nicer scan instead of that cruddy phone photo I posted.

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I’ve even done another spot illustration since this to go beneath it on the same page…but I purposefully cropped it out to keep it a surprise (no spoilers!)

Also, I don’t usually like to post a lot of my Trader Joe’s artwork unless it’s something that I particularly like…however,  I did do a series of steak and red meat “portraits” over the past couple of days that I think turned out rather well. As has become the unfortunate standard, I wasn’t given nearly enough time to complete this enormous project that was to become a permanent fixture for the meat section. This project that was originally due “whenever” was suddenly bumped up to a Valentine’s Day due date–which was in a mere couple of days–making it yet another sign emergency to tackle while I was also scheduled on a register for three hours each day. I don’t even want to say any more about how I feel about it because that would be unprofessional, and I’m sure it’s plenty obvious enough as it is. ANYWAY despite the extreme rush job of the whole thing, which ended up being less that two seven and a half hour shifts, I still think I did a pretty good job. Here’s the group photo of the first round of steaks: Flat Iron Steak, Fillet Mignon, Top Sirloin, New York Strip, and Ribeye; all paint marker on foam core and larger than life-sized.

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Five out of six of them were painted in one shift and I saved the beef brisket and the next five for the second day. Here it is with the brisket finished:

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Close up of the Brisket:

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Close up of the Flat Iron Steak:

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Close up of the Filet Mignon:

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Close up of the Top Sirloin:

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Close up of the New York Strip:

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Close up of my favorite steak of all and also the most fun to draw, the Ribeye:

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Here’s the group shot of the rest of that second round of meat that I made yesterday; Tri Tip Roast, Steak Tips, Pot Roast, and Flank Steak:

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Even after I volunteered to stay forty minutes late to work on this, I still wasn’t given enough time to finish the very last illustration, Stew Meat. I was kinda sad about that but as usual, nobody cared. Luckily another artist I work with finished it for me and it ended up looking really good.

Close up of the Tri Tip Roast:

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Close up of the Steak Tips (fajita steak!)

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Close up of the Pot Roast (the hardest one to do in so little time.)

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Close up of the Flank Steak:

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That’s all I got. Oh, and everyone happened to find the state of my desktop right now to be quite amusing and disturbing.

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I’ll be an awful and lazy person and quote my own Facebook post on the subject…

Some points worth noting:

1. My choice of background image on my desktop right now and pretty much always is Rick Baker’s masterpiece from An American Werewolf in London.

2. My desktop is full of stock photos of children comforting each other because I needed some reference images for a particular pose in the book that I’m illustrating.

3. My desktop is also full of images of steak and slabs of red meat from the Valentine’s meat display project that I was just working on at Trader Joe’s. Also a few pictures of people wearing creepy paper masks and a file entitled “Brown Granny Boots” for some shoes I was going to list on eBay.

See, so it’s not what it looks like…but I think if Little Red Riding Hood stole my laptop right now, she would probably give it back.

 

 

 

 

Just Some Odd and Inspiring Weekend Happenings

Published February 3, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

For this post I am trying something new. I decided to just write about some of the odd happenings that I experienced over the past weekend so you can get a little glimpse into my world and the sort of things that can inspire me and influence my thought process. I had a very busy and chaotic week followed by a really nice and productive weekend. Well, I suppose that Friday night was still pretty stressful and didn’t go so well. First I worked the early shift at Trader Joe’s, but had to stay late in one last attempt to finish a big foam core mobile for the February/Valentine’s Fearless Flyer, something that I had been trying to do all week long but was never granted any decent measure of uninterrupted time in which to do so. It was suggested to me to just keep with the Victorian clip art that is always present in the Flyer, so I made a smug Victorian couple eating Trader Joe’s Sriracha potato chips while sitting on a lecherous crescent moon. For some reason aristocrats with stuck-up, punchable faces are among my most favorite subjects to draw. I based my design off of this Victorian era Valentine card:

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Although I definitely do get tired of the same standard Victorian public domain art that I am so used to working with now, I still love Victorian Valentine’s cards (as well as the odd postcard art from other holidays) because they always somehow manage to keep an element of the surreal and unexpected. A lot of them are really quite trippy if you look through them in an image search, lots of defying gravity, a weird sense of scale and proportion, a lot of anthropomorphic animals, objects, and I guess in this case celestial bodies. I think there must have been good money in the postcard business once upon a time, because it seems like the artists were always trying to outdo one another. Here’s my attempt at either referencing or outdoing the original…and sorry for the lower quality Instagram photo:

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I don’t know if you can even tell from that photo, but my Victorian woman even has potato chip crumbs mingling with the rose petals and a grease stain on her lap. The part that I still could not get 100% finished even after staying half an hour late was the little extra dangle heart hanging from the man’s foot that says, “T.J.’s Fearless Flyer is here!” The first heart I had made was such a rush job that the letters were not quite up to my quality standards and the paint couldn’t even dry in time, getting all smudged and ruined. I was so frustrated that I had to just throw it away and just make a new one after I returned from my weekend, but sometimes that’s just how it goes.

After finishing my work at Trader Joe’s I had to battle the second bout of rush hour traffic in order to get to the Vine Gogh Sellwood studio and teach an evening class, pretty much having to go straight there without any break or a bite to eat since breakfast. Although it was a painting that I was familiar with, it was a full house and the noisiest class that I have ever taught. The Sellwood studio is very small and the little stage where the painting instructor stands with their easel is just a few steps away from the rest of the class. Still, with my mic turned up as loud as it could reasonably go and me shouting until my voice started to get hoarse, I could barely get a word in over one particularly raucous group of people that made it nearly impossible for the other half of the room to follow along with what I was saying. Due to the painting itself, the nature of the crowd that I taught that night, and the amount of accidental spills, dirty brushes, dirty palettes, and dirty dishes, the bartender and I both ended up having to stay very late.

Normally I wouldn’t have minded whatsoever, but I knew that because of all of this I was also going to be running extremely late for a Bowie tribute dance party that I had been looking forward to all month at The Lovecraft Bar. Lovecraft is a great venue in general, and this particular event was a costume party with a suspiciously high number of positive RSVP’s on the Facebook page. I had been really worried about getting there on time in case they had to the limit admission later. I was going as Marc Bolan and Martyn would be dressed as David Bowie’s Halloween Jack persona, which added one more later of complication to the matter. The costumes I had already made in the past were just fine, it’s just the finding the time to get dressed up that is often the most difficult part. Luckily I had anticipated this and even planned everything out to work with with my tight schedule–Martyn was already dressed and ready to go by the time my class was over, and I was already wearing most of my Marc Bolan costume all day and just needed to quickly throw on my corkscrew hair, top hat, and some extra glitter before we set off. We still got there a little over an hour after the show had started, waited in a long line outside in the wet cold, and then finally had the doors closed right in our faces upon the discovery that the party had just been shut down by the fire marshall for exceeding capacity. Let me remind you that this was after I worked for over twelve hours that day and had still not had anything to eat since breakfast. I guess it was just one of those days. Here’s my favorite picture of us from the night, taken before we got there obviously:

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After the big disappointment we ended up roaming down to a little dive bar down the block called My Father’s Place to join up with the rest of the miffed but beautifully outfitted Bowie fans. At least the place had two of our favorite meals on the menu–Eggs Benedict and Liver and Onions, with Espresso Stout and Gin & Tonic to drink…and man, did we ever need it at that point. Also The Thin White Duke was there too, which I thought was pretty cool. He even admitted to hijacking the jukebox so that it would only play Bowie songs for the next several hours…what a guy!

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Thankfully Saturday was a much better day. Martyn and I went with our friend Chelsea to an art show opening at a gallery in North Portland called Disjecta. Chelsea knew some people involved in the show and had heard that there would be some Norwegian troll costumes involved. I have a thing for Nordic trolls (like, actually) and had been wanting to see some more art shows around town, so I happily obliged. It turned out to be both an amazing and inspiring experience. Here’s some info about it I got from Travel Portland’s website:

” A Mortal Song is an exhibition with performance elements by Norwegian artist Tori Wrånes and Portland-based artist Caley Feeney. Both artists use intimate symbol systems and idiosyncratic languages to traverse contemporary landscapes. Weaving together influence from pop-culture, special effects, dreams, noise, and the subconscious. A Mortal Song will include installation, large sculpture, works on paper, and sound to create an imagined world that collapses in and out of our own.

Part of the Season 5 Curator-in-Residence program, Sound is Matter. ”

It’s difficult for me to really describe all of the layers of what I saw. There were some strange and intriguing splatter relief paintings on the walls–weird clashing colors and textures on plain whitewashed wooden panels. There were latex and multimedia sculptures of fragmented body parts like partial faces, bodyless clothing hanging from the ceiling, and a colorful cast hands all in a big pile. There was a very haunting musical performance with simple melody that you couldn’t get out of your head, performed by a vocalist, a keyboardist, one electrical guitarist, and a guy clicking drumsticks together. Then there was the best part of all, that made all of the previous works kind of come together and make a lot more sense–the big performance/installation art piece. The place was completely packed by the way, with the audience all crammed into the space and kneeling next to each other on the floor. The whole room got silent and a fog machine filled the air with a thick swirling white mist. A booming audio track of a pulsating, foghorn type sound played through the surround speakers as the performers slowly entered the room. When I mean slowly…I mean completely in slow motion, and mostly hidden in the fog. All dressed in long white fur costumes, you could see a mess of twisting limbs that rolled along the floor perfectly slowly and in synch with the movement of the fog. At first it was impossible to even tell how many performers there were, because they were all moving on top of one another as if they were one being. One by one five performers emerged in their strange yet beautiful troll costumes, with makeup prosthetics on their faces, hands, and feet that probably explained all of the colorful latex fragments used in the other art pieces from before. One which I could only presume to be Mama Troll made music with a long wind instrument and her voice, which was somehow very communicative even though I don’t think she ever spoke any in any particular language. Some of the trolls had little glowing blue lights hidden in their fur, and two of them had long swinging white braids with weighted humming noisemakers at the end which would buzz and sing as they helicoptered them through the air. Like I said, I can’t really describe any of this without sounding really dumb. Let’s just say that I highly recommend seeing it if you ever get the chance! An image from Disjecta’s Twitter page:

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I think the only downside to the show was that there was a socially awkward dude with a man-bun roaming around the gallery afterwards, bothering women by taking their hands in his and claiming that he could read their dragon energy or whatever kind of lame New Agey excuse he was using to extract unsolicited female contact. He wasn’t with the show; he was just that one of those in every crowd type guy. We promptly left after that anyway, got half a dozen donuts from Heavenly Donuts, and ended up staying at Sandy Hut for the rest of the night because Martyn had a D.J. gig. I think I had some really weird dreams that night.

The last thing that happened over the weekend that was both inspiring and a little painful was Martyn and I went back to Oddball on Sunday to get a couple more tattoos from Sarah Crosley. He got his pinball machine Elvira, I got my five little plastic piggies, and we both got our matching Blackstar. It’s kind of a long story actually, so I’m going to just be lazy and paste this all from my Instagram. If you’ve read it already, good on you, because I am done writing new any content for the night!

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When I was a kid my Dad used to do a lot of traveling. He was gone a lot and I didn’t always know where he was, but whenever he did come back home he would bring me and my siblings little trinket souvenirs from his travels. One time he gave me five tiny plastic pigs in a ziplock bag that came from a magic shop in Chinatown. When I asked him what they were for, he just sort of shrugged and said, “I dunno, I just thought you would like them.” Many years later, when my Dad was sick in the hospital for what would be the very last time, I decided to start carrying the little bag of five pigs in my wallet so it would be with me at all times, and that’s where it has remained ever since. My Dad was the fifth person in my family and it has now been five years since he passed away, giving the little piggies even more significance in a way. They were also the inspiration for one of my latest tattoos, which I will reveal next.

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Five little piggies. Thanks @sarahcrosley!

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I like how three of the five piggies are dancing around the black flame #witchbitch skull candle. Now I have a wolf, a wishbone, some pigs, a spider with something spelled out in its web and a chicken foot…my right arm is like some weird cross between Charlotte’s Web and The Brother’s Grimm.

While @powerpoppins and I were at @oddballtattooery, we also both got matching#blackstar tattoos. I was already preoccupied with the five year anniversary of losing my Dad to a terminal cancer when we also lost David Bowie to the same thing. I had actually just gotten home from making my tattoo appointment for the five piggies for my Dad when I heard the sad news. I don’t really even need to tell you how much that guy meant to us, because it’s the same with so many other people all over the world. I will however share with you the lyrics to the Elvis song that the final album Blackstar made reference to when it was released on David Bowie and Elvis Presley’s shared birthday, because they helped determine the placement of the tattoo and I happen to think that they are beautiful:

“Every man has a black star
A black star over his shoulder
And when a man sees his black star
He knows his time, his time has come

Black star don’t shine on me, black star
Black star keep behind me, black star
There’s a lot of livin’ I gotta do
Give me time to make a few dreams come true, black star.”

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From Sarah Crosley’s Instagram:

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Oh yeah, and Martyn’s other tattoo…he got the design from a cartoon we saw on the Elvira Pinball table!

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