May 30, 2008
I've recently completed the a new poster for Arena Stage's production of Sweet Bird of Youth by Tennessee Williams. The story is about time, and it's affect on the three main characters. Chance Wayne, a handsome young man that has left his hometown behind in hopes of becoming a star. Princess Kosmonopolis, a famous actress fleeing from her recent Hollywood debut, and Heavenly Finley, Chance Wayne's first true love, who was left with a sexually transmitted disease from one of Chance's many indiscretions in his attempt to climb to the top.
Cathleen Tefft was the art director on the piece. After quite a few sketches, I settled on the idea of pairing Princess's Hollywood glamour photo next to her rapidly aging hands. Think "The Portrait of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde. I kept thinking of these frail, ancient hands, their texture, and their failing attempt to hold on to and prop up this idealized beauty.
May 29, 2008
May 28, 2008
My wife and I have returned from my workshop at Dawson College in Montreal, Canada. My good friend and talented illustrator, John Singer facilitated the visit. The workshop lasted three days, and I was treated much better than I deserved. I gave a formal lecture on Monday, a painting demonstration on Tuesday, and a business/portfolio presentation on Wednesday. I was sure to bring a number of original paintings. The school was fantastic, and the students were exceptionally gracious. Thanks again to John, Louise, Don, Jenn, and everyone else responsible for giving me this opportunity. I also got to catch up with long lost friend, and fellow Illustration Academy alumni James Bentley while I was there. John Singer is also an Academy alumn.
I will be heading down to Sarasota, Florida next week for my next tour at the Illustration Academy. I'm thrilled to be apart of such an amazing group. This year should be bigger and better than ever. I hope I see a number of familiar faces there, as well.
New work for Virginia Living Magazine
New work for Rolling Stone. I was commissioned to complete eight illustrations for their 100 Greatest Guitarists Issue. The art director Steve Charny has been amazing to work with. I completed portraits of Kirk Hammett (Metallica), BB King, John Mayer, Santana, Omar Rodríguez-López (Mars Volta), Jimmy Page, Buddy Guy, and Van Halen. What an amazing project! I had a little less than a month from start to finish. The issue should be on the news stand now.
Art on a Grand Scale artist Hermann Mejia finished a new painting titled "Madera." He shared a few photographs with us which document the process of the piece as it came together. You can see more of Hermann's incredible work, which ranges from MAD Magazine illustrations to abstract painting to sculpture, on his website, www.hermannmejia.com.
May 27, 2008
May 22, 2008
Last weekend Richard, my fiance Rick, and I, spent Saturday evening celebrating the wedding of friend and Art on a Grand Scale muralist Vicki Khuzami's wedding.
It was the most inventive wedding I have ever been to and I will not soon forget it! From the guests dressed all in white (in contrast with the lipstick red dress of the bride), to the gorgeous procession of children in kimonos carrying Japanese-style paper butterflies and dragons through fog-machine smoke, it was an experience worthy of such a free-spirited woman and talented artist. Did I mention there was a smoking volcano cake? And that it was chocolate, strawberry, AND red velvet?? And that Elvis was there?!?
Cheers to both Vicki and Adi, you've both hit the jackpot, and we all wish you endless happiness in your life together.
Check out our photostream for a few pictures of the event.
May 21, 2008
This video clip is part of a series taken during a presentation given by Richard Solomon and Gregory Manchess to the illustration students of Rhode Island School of Design. In this clip Gregory talks about the importance of creating a portfolio that shows a range of subject matter while maintaining an illustrator's signature style.
May 19, 2008
May 14, 2008
May 12, 2008
His pieces appear in front of you like incarnations of ancient animal spirits, resurrected via modern image making. Their animal eyes follow you through the room, and a few of them you'd love to adopt for your own. All have been channeled by the eyes and hands of one artist, the one and only, Marshall Arisman.
It was my pleasure to have met Marshall Arisman through his involvement with Art on a Grand Scale. Friday evening Richard and I dropped by an open studio hosted by the artist, where a number of his recent pieces were on display and for sale.
Of particular interest to this fan were the Sacred Monkey sculptures (left), each face a personality out of time, although every large painting and drawing was an intriguing experience of its own. The scope of pieces such as "Rainbow Runners" (top left), a piece made of four large sheets of handmade paper, made me feel like a minor fleck in the continuum, similar I'm sure to how I would feel if I ever had the opportunity to see the ancient cave paintings they remind me of.
At one time, pre-crane, we had a large Marshall Arisman piece hanging in our office. It's subject was a figure, solid and earthly, but deified with wings and a holy glow about it. We had hopes that something that so resembled a phoenix would survive the crash and find a home in our new office, but we were not so lucky, and unfortunately that irreplaceable piece was destroyed.
Walking through his studio, I considered what a true testament it was to Arisman's vision that every piece he's created is just as unique and irreplaceable.
May 9, 2008
May 6, 2008
Art on a Grand Scale artist and former Solomon group illustrator Stephen Johnson was selected as the keynote speaker for a conference on children's literature at Kansas State University. The conference was held in conjunction with the Beach Museum of Art's exhibition Alphabet Soup: Work by Stephen Johnson, Jim Munce and Tony Fitzpatrick, through Aug. 2008. Johnson is the featured artist in this group show, exhibiting 15 original works which dominate the space. The exhibited works are selections from the project A Is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet, in which Johnson painstakingly conceptualized, executed, and photographed a series of installations to be finally collected in a picture book for children.
Philip Nel, associate professor of English at KSU states "Johnson's 'Abstract Alphabet' is part children's book and part lesson in 20th century artistic movements. Cubism is here, but the work also explores the influence of dada and its children: surrealism, pop art, conceptual art, abstract expressionism and color field painting. The result is a provocative meditation on art and language."
Johnson was also the featured artist for the Museum's annual Friend of the Museum
evening on April 25th, where they selected his original painting Letter P
from the picture book Alphabet City to purchase for their permanent collection.
Johnson says "Needless to say, this has been a wonderful venue for me. The
curators, the Director and Staff, all are top-notch and a pleasure to work with.
It is a wonderful museum set directly in the heartland."
May 5, 2008
May 2, 2008
After the sweet lecture from Liz Lomax, myself and the rest of the Solomon staff met up with artists Gregory Manchess and Stephen Johnson at a nearby eatery called Circus. We discussed how terrifying clowns were over some wine at the bar. Mid-conversation we realized the restaurant was adorned with several dozen farmed paintings of clowns. The night was suddenly a tad more terrifying. Luckily, Stephen Johnson educated us on some current fine art trends, including "self-lubricating frames" developed by Matthew Barney. The concept of self-lubrication brightened everyone's spirits (even under the sinister glare of eleventy clowns).
While waiting for a table, I noticed several middle aged ladies looking at me and gesturing. Ok, pointing. Ok, they were what is more commonly known as cougars. Being the gentleman I am, I attempted to completely ignore them and continue our very adult discussion on the topic of self-lubrication. Before I knew it, one of these cougars was at my side.
C: Hi, here is an orange, compliments of my friend at the end of the bar. (points)
...Somewhere on the Upper East Side, it's en vogue to send citrus to people at a bar. You know, because a drink is so old hat. Feeling on the spot, I carved a smiley face into the orange, placed it on a wine glass, pointed it at the ladies and continued my conversation.
We sat down and were joined by Irene Gallo of Tor Books. We had a great conversation about sci-fi art, her blog, and new talent. This particular night she was telling us about a very talented young artist, Wesley Allsbrook (beautiful work, Wesley!). We also passed around a prepress copy of Stephen's new book, A Is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet, guaranteed to be a prize to every over-achieving second-grader. I'm certain several other very important industry issues were discussed intelligently. However, I was introduced to a delicious beverage called a caipirinha that obscured the latter part of the night. Somewhere in there we signed a lease (yes, at midnight in a restaurant) for our new office on 32nd and Madison Ave.
Great seeing you, Stephen.
May 1, 2008
Last night Richard and the staff headed over to the Society of Illustrators for our "Evening with Liz Lomax." After an introduction by Dennis Dittrich, Liz spoke about her beginnings as a child artist, building well-appointed homes for her dolls and for her local caterpillars, and her early inspiration, which included the British series The Amazing Adventures of Morph by Aardman Animations (of Wallace and Gromit fame).
Also, I don't know if Liz is Ronco's new spokesperson, but she did go on to endorse the set it and forget it rotisserie oven for use as a sculpey cooker. C'mon, it would be a serious improvement...
She also showed us slides of herself with Roger Daltrey and Ringo Starr, both of whom own original pieces of hers.
When she's not busy hugging millionaire rock stars, Liz is in her studio working... constantly. She sculpts, builds environments, photographs, and digitally enhances her pieces under sometimes impossible deadlines. The woman clearly loves her work.
She's also found herself a niche business creating mini couples for wedding cakes, adding "cake toppers... they are stressful."
Here's a pic of Liz with her father, Stan Lomax, who was up from the Carolinas for the talk. This guy teaches corporate ethics to college students. How great is that?
If you'd like to see the talk online, the Society of Illustrators will be posting it in its entirety on their website.