Thursday, December 23, 2010

Where have all the illustrators gone?

 Yesterday I dragged a friend along for some Christmas shopping and we wandered into the Children's book section of Barnes and Nobles. And amid all the fancy schmancy illustration with their photoshopped elephants and christmas robots was Madeline. Though I can't remember my mom actually reading it to me, I know that I often read it on my own, or probably more accurately looked at the pictures while naively wishing I were also an orphan :) 

There was something captivating about the orphanage depicted in this simple children's story, and it was definitely to the illustrator's credit. It's just seems so effortlessly beautiful. This is someone who is clearly skilled, its obvious in every picture, sometimes in the allignment of the orphan's beds, or the movement of one of the characters tilted forward in a suggested paniced run. How do you draw panic in less than five lines?!? Or, and here I wish I had a picture to show you guys, but in one image the skyline of buildings is only an outline that tapers off into nothing. My breath literally caught when I saw those buildings disapear. They are just perfect I want to cry!  

And it's easy to say that the past was awsome and now nobody can do anything right when it comes to art, but damn, these illustrations with their gimpy little trees and tilted parisien land marks have something nobody has deemed important enough to teach but would outshine a million James Jeans.

Yeah, I said it. Now put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Head map (1)

"The Birds!"

Bird Dramas 

          Initially meant to be a series of politically oriented illustrations of women and birds. I've been trying to learn how to use acrylics (so frustrating!) and am slowly getting the hang of it. But its so different and I think it effected how I create images. After I was done with the above I was like "Whoa, who made that? I didn't make that!" Even though it still has my signiature corner fetish composition going on and hooded figures it just felt so...stable? It looks so dense and heavy. Like a chunk of cement. 

homecoming (acrylic)

          Which means I made the next bird image in total retaliation haha. Where in the first one I was somber and closed in, here it became suddenly windy and moving fanciful even. I decided to follow the graphic pattern motif that tentatively started in the first, the only stylistic quality that links the two. This time though it was almost too airy and the colors too bright! This illustration reminds me of some of the old sketchers shoe ads from the 90s :)

Help Yourself (Acrylic, India Ink, watercolor, Photoshop)

          Should I talk about the messages behind them? I used to write such full blown explanations and now, the more time I spend with an image the more it opens up until all I see is open roads ahead when it comes to what they could "mean". Well though they've morphed during the process and have severed ties completely with each other for the sake of mastering a medium the thumbnail sketches depicted sort of a trifecta of woman at home during war. Since they would have all been swarthed in flowing burqua like clothing people could have read it as a commentary on whats been happening in the middle east, but really they could have been any woman. 

          Interestingly when I look back I had no interest in depicting the woman warrior. In the scribbles there are only girls being left behind to put back together whats left of civilized society and to watch the fires from afar. They're quiet and reflecting inward on their priveleged safety. Thats what the last image was supposed to be, the one watching from a distance, grateful but ashamed at the same time. Basically carrying on the proud tradition of romanticizing tragedy for the sake of entertainment hehe Maybe I'll go there in the future. 

But until then, two final papers having to be written in less than 48 hours! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Facade of the Chicago Stock Exchange: The Key to Designer Heaven

Exerpts from a final paper for an Art History class. Most of the descriptions were left out to spare you readers as well as a whole section of badly argued connections to Islamic artwork. Critique wise I agreed that I talk too much but don't say enough and need to learn to weave in more factual information. Either way I thought sharing my lyrical ridiculousness would be kind of fun ;) But also, pretty pictures! 

          Of all the artifacts that the Seattle Art Museum has acquired over the years, none are quite as interesting or underexposed as SAM's Louis Sullivan's 1893 Chicago Stock Exchange Elevator Facade. It went on display in the American Art gallery March 31, 2010 after it was purchased from Sotheby's auction in 2008 from an undisclosed seller for an undisclosed price[1]. It resembles a prop taken straight out of the 1982 science fiction film noir, Blade Runner, in that it holds the same elements of ancient design glazed with modernity . Such a film reference might not crop up in everyone's first impression of Sullivan's design but that sense of mixing of past and future grandeur surely comes to attention. The elements incorporated seem both familiar and alien, archaic yet modern and it's mystery deepens when made known that the artifact was in fact rescued from the rubble of the original Chicago Stock Exchange demolished in 1972 as part of Chicago's Urban renewal project. The facade then becomes the coded message outlining Sullivan's own methodologies and obsessions with design as something higher than just art calling for an absent Rosetta stone. Definitively defining the inner workings of an artist's mind and intention at the moment of creation is of course impossible, but through tracing certain impressions and imagery that appear in the elevator facade a hypothesis of motivation can be developed. From what is presented to the viewer, the numerous allusions made to the divine point to the Chicago Stock Exchange acting as a threshold to modern spirituality that emphasized society's reverence for the accumulation of abstract wealth, a wealth that allowed Sullivan to indulge in his personal glorification of high design.

      When the overall layout of the Sullivan's Elevator covering is taken into account a tentative connection is made with another historically well known entrance design. The facade designed for the Chicago Stock Exchange is completely symmetrical and as stated before sectioned off into rectangular quadrants that frame specifically designed images without allowing cross contaminate from one section to another to occur. This high level of boxy structuring and grandeur, as well as the shared bronze-gold coloring alludes to a connection between the elevator facade and The Gates of Paradise designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti . As a student of architecture and art at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts,  it is more than likely that Sullivan encountered Ghiberti's work, especially his infamous gates that are the cornerstone of any European art history curriculum. The Gates of Paradise show ten scenes from the Old Testament and also uses intimidation factors (size, gold wealth, dramatized scenes of Godly acts) in bringing church goers into the mindset of worship when entering the Florence Baptistery. The similar amount of detail, scale of design and use of encapsulating gridded formatting bring about similar feelings of "smallness" in the viewer. Something able to effect even those uninterested in the religious connotations that Sullivan created by unabashedly tying his facade to the religious teachings of the past. In doing so he creates an identical feeling of entering someplace holy through gates that no doubt intend to simulate the indoctrinated image of the "holy gates" otherwise known as the illustrious gates of heaven.

         Take Sullivan's obsession with the circle in these works, a shape we often take for granted because it is so integral to human imagery. "Visual Entropy", or the point of "maximal symmetry, visual and constructional simplicity" has been an obsession for artists, scientists and philosophers for centuries. The Platonian, aka perfect, circle is as un- attainable as God or a let's say, a reliable economy. It's use in the facade points to the designers awareness, if only subconsciously, that the circle is the truest image of the divine and that it will continue to be read as a legitimate part of design for eons to come without the help of recognizable biblical or religious Imagery. It will never grow outdated, unlike the time-specific relief illustrations of The Gates of Paradise, which show telltale signs of their time period. Sullivan's use of the circle as motif render his design as timeless and ideologically transcending of what he saw as the restrictions of modern architecture. In this decision Sullivan finds his own description of the higher power independent of modern material culture and past theological organization that relies on the discovery of timeless imagery at the root of human artistic pursuits.

        In 1896 Sullivan said that "The artistic challenge of the tall office building is to proclaim from its dizzy height, the peaceful evangel of sentiments of beauty, the cult of higher life". Donald Hoffmann responded by asking what the "virtue of a building [is that's] trying to pretend it's something it is not?" Sullivan's gate acts as a threshold for the divide between the mundane unobserving world and the heavenly revelry in technology and human romanticism that the elevator embodies at this time as a new innovation saved only for the powerful wealthy. This divide is contrary to the famous quote "form ever follows function" that Sullivan is so iconically connected with (stated on the Seattle Art Museum description plaque) because instead of building to fulfill a practical requirement he's woven in a very un practical spiritual message that the majority of those viewing and using his design would be uninterested in comprehending. Not only would people be unwilling to decode his elevator but to do so would be to pull away from their worship of money and go back to means of revelry characteristic of an obsolete system of quiet contemplative building patronage. They see the money the building houses, not what the architecture's ornamentation is directly attempting to teach them.

         The facade, echoing The Gates of Paradise is what bars people and allows people to enter a place of either damnation or salvation. Damnation being the world of the commoners stuck in the everyday struggle against the mass of bodies, and salvation the upward mobility of those who can become part of the exclusive club of the educated , privy to secrets and admiration by those further down. This rift can also be characterized as "the artistically enlightened vs. the economically savvy", a struggle Sullivan himself experienced in completely relying on his partner Dankmar Adler to secure such large scale design projects and funding.
        Either way, the doorway itself holds hope for salvation of the perfect world and perfect circle. The facade represents a fork in the road between those acutely aware of the polar hemispheres of knowledge and those unaware and fortunately un-pestered by the realization that everyone is striving for a non-existent utopia, be it a godly, financial one or even a purely visual one. Sullivan exploits this by weaving that hope of someday reaching perfection or "designer's heaven" into the stoic facade through a language that the stock brokers and money managers will unknowingly misunderstand, thus protecting his personal expression of faith. That faith being in the simple beauty of an object and the natural principles it relies on. The faith that there is something truly eternal hidden in the human existence driven by consumption and constant cross exploitation.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Workin Workin Workin

Here's a shot of my workspace and a painting thats been in the works for awhile. For the past few months I've been haunted by this icelandic boy (not actually haunted, but pursued by the idea of) and finally a few weeks ago decided he deserved a proper canvas. Again am reverting back to the frontal facing figure but at this point am convinced it's just one of those ingrained personal archetypes that should be developed. Don't worry, that's not all I'm going to be painting, but am no longer going to apologize for this repetition in my work. The small painting has really electrified me to start working larger and be uncarring of the fact that they arn't as seamless and perfect as the current trendy illustrations (which ironically I look up to haha).
On a funner note I have SO MUCH STUFF I want to make and show you guys. Theres an interview I have to write up with a local artist I interviewed, some self loathing autobiographical comics, musical obsessions, offensive character designs, MOAR SMUT etc. If only I had the time and not so many labor intensive finals coming up!
So am really enjoying getting your feedback to the blog questions so today I want to know, in one sentence, what you're currently obsessed with. Personally, I'm bonkers about peppermint flavored things and learning about the female migrant population in China.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Times are A' Changing

Bits from my sketchbook. Leonard Foujita and his dog.

I've been a little negligent and really should try harder to work and practice this way (sketchbook), away from larger pressure laden projects. But I really dislike sketching people out in the real world. They notice, and then they posture themselves and suddenly my hands don't work properly and I hurry and do an awful job and my back hurts, and my fingers get cold. Something about being in the public sphere as an artist feels very unsafe. Have been thinking of just taking a camera around at all times to steal moments quickly without anyone noticing and then reopening them at home for me to spend time with.

I've noticed though that there's a lot of negative feelings toward artists working primarily from photography or memory. It's probably just a matter of pride and identity, like a woman refusing to take drugs to dim the sharp pangs of childbirth. Obsession with being as strong as previous generations I guess.

So Question to you guys out there: What are your opinions/ thoughts on the growing relationship between photography and traditional art techniques such as painting, printmaking and mixed media?

Also, as you may have noticed the blog is no longer named Tragically Unpopular but instead Not Quite Science. This may change back, but somehow the old title seemed too pessimistic and self deprecating. Maybe a change of title will help cultivate my ego ;)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Gross Ink (warning: Not Work Safe?)

Just some random ink drawings done while watching televison.

Friday, November 12, 2010

And then there was one

Materials: Graphite, Gouache, watercolor, photoshop, collage

Finally, something I'm truthfully proud to show you guys! This piece was my first attempt to reconcile my love of drawing and my lack of skill in real life medium. I have a lot of prejudice against computer art (giant art snob actually), and yet I keep being drawn back to it. Thus it's been decided that I should shrug my shoulders and give in to the fact that I'm a participant of a specific time in history and that it should be embraced.

This doesn't mean that I'm giving up on traditional art work, just that I should view digital methods as more than just a shameful crutch. In this image for example I started with a graphite drawing, keeping most of it simple except for the bird which I wanted to completely render so I could try out a different version of layering where I can concentrate on value and then introduce color ontop of it, a basic oil painting technique that I have yet to learn. For a moment it seemed I had ruined everything by haphazardly applying pigment but then found that sometimes in breaking down a mistake you find something new hidden underneath. Once a wall was hit, the image was scanned in and slowly refined in photoshop. Mostly playing with the color levels and contrast to bring out texture.

It's by no means perfect, but so much was learned in the process that it feels like a success.

(p.s Don't want to go too much into the concept, but the Santa Muerte has been on my mind a lot lately.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It's true

"It's shamefully romantic to think we exist to see what is unconciously created."

Now Now

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cold Blush

Initially meant to be part of the Fashion theme but then it evolved into something different that caters to my obsession of staring women, red cheeked faces and now depictions of women in communist china? No headshots for awhile PROMISE.

The figure was supposed to be sort of model-esque and default elegant but once I started searching for reference I stumbled upon a thread discussing how some Chinese women were having their faces surgically altered to narrow them so that they more closely resembled women from another region... which happens to be the original facial features I wanted to depict...

Unfortunately I can't find the original thread for the life of me. Anyway, it made me sad that the particular woman featured was so pretty before and now nobody will ever see that face ever again. So I used the woman's before face as the model. I wonder how she would feel that she had taken such drastic measures and a complete stranger like me had no interest in her new more "beautiful" face? Tricky Tricky. After reading her story it felt dirty to go with the original plan as if it somehow would be used to make more women feel bad about their faces!

This all really isn't meant to be linked with the illustration at all, it's just fun to share part of the journey.

Question for the day: Do you think artists have a social responsibility when creating?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cris Brodahl at the Seattle Art Museum

Today I want to steer your attention to a very talented artist named Cris Brodahl hailing from Belgium, she was just brought to my attention this thursday. Unfortunately her internet presence is very small (not even a website!) so I was unable to locate any of her pieces from the show I saw but these will have to do.

Her first ever US Solo show, Relievo, is being presented at the Seattle Art Museum. Though I often do try to mainly look at the art and not the explanations, one particular sentance sticks in my head. It states that Cris Brodahl has been "quietly" painting for years. The emphasis is on "quietly". Suturing herself within her studio, where only one lone painting hangs, she's been dedicating her life to her images, not the outside world's expectations. This artistic monastary not only blocks out the world but her previous works as well. This purity rings when you see her works. They are clean, calculated and uncomfortably full of madness.

Brodahl pays her respects to classical art by taking her scalpel to it, cutting photos of women apart, cutting them open until their insides in the form of amorphous flowers and knots of finely woven hair tumble out to lay forgotten at your feet.

One could go on about her exquisite painting skills. Though her larger scale figure paintings/ sculptures seemed to be lacking depth, her portraitures of the picture mutants that seemed to be encased in a filmy mask of rock are so full of her obsession for detail, and are so heart wrenching that they make up for their larger counterparts.

Another point that should be noted is though she has been keeping out anything that could sully her work Brodahl is keenly aware of the current art climate. I say this because part of the gallery showcased a series of porcelain sculptures of diaphonous women being lost in a mass of cartilage and bone. This theme carries over to the paintings/ reliefs on an adjacent wall. Upon closer inspection the bony parts of the paintings and the the entirety of sculpture seemed to have been crafted by possibly machine? It was too perfectly cut to be anything hand-made. This use of computers is very ingenious and speaks to the constant pulling sensation in her pieces. Beauty vs. gruesome, artificial vs. traditional.

How convenient these new tools are, but are we selling a little of our souls in the aquisition of these new tools that promise leisure and reproducability? It speaks to something that the current generation is collectively experiencing, especially in the realm of visual culture. What we are seeing is a clash of moving forward and retaining the past, the fear and knowledge that no matter what is done all will not be saved. I was just talking to a friend about this but what we are seeing is an acceleration of technology that is erasing everything from books, movies, cartoons, painting, craftmanship, the real human vs. the idealized version of an avatar or carefully calculated internet persona. The loss of the initial seed is what is feared. I apologize for the sudden downward spiral of this last paragraph but it does illustrate the panic of the handful of people seeing the world move on without them.

Last Observation: What is up with current female artists and the hair obsession? I've done it, classmates have done it, Cris Brodahl is HELLA doin it. Why is hair so important to us? Feel free to comment!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ohh yeeaahh

Alright, now it's time to get back to work! But first I'd like to say Hello to the couple of new folks who have started following the blog :) I know it's no chore to push the follow button but I really appreciate your cyber-support and am going to work extra hard not to dissapoint. So Welcome!
And here are the rest of the no pressure comics as promised.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


The plan was that since I was taking no studio classes this semester, I would use my fridays off to work on personal projects. Yeaaah, all I ended up doing was drawing some more No Pressure comics and watching True Blood lol. So expect some more of these whiny morsels of goodness and hopefully soon more interesting projects will arise.

Let the schooling begin.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

We're not sure what kind of love this is.

Originally this piece was meant to be part of a series at least three pieces long about dominance, both sexual and social. After sketching out the images that were to follow I realized they were just cute pornagraphy haha which of course I really like but didn't fit in with this first image which loosely dealt with obediance and waiting. Maybe later I'll post some more naughty bits since as seedlings they looked pretty compellingly dirty and exploitative.

Special thanks to Morgan Conley, who last time we hung out showed me how to make it so you can color BEHIND your inked work. Have been asking around for literally ages on how to do this but nobody was ever able to give a straight answer! Was so excited, because it's really very important to be able to preserve the original drawing in all it's texture and minute mistakes and not just throw it all away in exchange for a clean yet fingerprintless line art thats only meant to hold robotically filled color.

Also, another friend Andrew Werner, reminded me that one of the perks of digital art work is how easily textures and colors can be spliced in. Collage used to seem very dishonest to me and I was closed to it's possibilities because egotistically I wanted to be able to take credit for every single aspect of what I created. As my computer slowly becomes a holding bank for stolen images it has become undeniable how important of a relationship my generation has with photography and video. That even if I wasn't directly using imagery in my pictures I was just as much of an image burgler as anyone else.

Quick fact: the background is blown up pixelated parts of colors found in photographs of the red light district in Amsterdam.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Was planning on painting... but didn't you get the memo?! painting is obsolete.

So I'm moving to the South Pole.

Friday, September 17, 2010

woman white

A Soft Spot for...

guess who?

shamble heads

These women, they're kind of like weathervanes. Originally they were supposed to be really graphic and sterile so the computer seemed like the obvious choice but the process wasn't that fun. Also I was unsure of where the image was going as a whole. Here is also a watercolor version that became a little bit more stormy.

Ribbon around a bomb.

Hello everyone, as you can see I couldn't stay away. I JUST REALLY LIKE BLOGGING YOU GUYS! Plus I really like making pictures so there you go, crisis averted. And do you know what got me so quickly out of my slump? A movie about Frida Kahlo... Whaaa??

It's true, modern Hollywood has created something kind of great. The Format of the film is narrative and then a tie in to one of Frida's paintings. She really was something else and quite inspiring really. The impression that the director of the film gave was that Instead of defining herself by her artwork Frida merely lived her life and then painted as a way to sort of funnel and describe the numerous wordless pains and joys that would spring up. She was quietly brilliant. A first look at her paintings suggest an obsession with the self that borderlines on the narcissistic. A closer look at the circumstances of her paintings suggest a different interpretation.

Frida worked I daresay mostly from her bed? Earlier in her life, before art had taken precidence, she was caught in a harrowing car accident where along with having almost all her bones broken, a pipe traveled through her right side and exited OUT OF HER UTERUS. Throughout Frida's life she would go through multiple surgeries and suffer from chronic pain that would pull her focus from the outside back to her own broken sorry excuse for a body. As an artist honesty seems to be the best policy, and what is more honest then unashamedly saying "All I think about is how my nerves are screaming and how my heart is hearting, All I think about is me!". Because really we all love thinking about ourselves. Frida is just able to paint the nasty bits that we can relate to and make them beautiful. Gaahhh so good!

Blah Blah Blah so much ranting! The point is I look up to Frida, and it was really inspiring to hear about this person who was so uncompromising when it came to her art and life. The End. Now look at this Bangin picture they took of her for Vogue! So fashionable!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


How did I get in this rut? When did I get so lazy? Is it laziness or just plain disinterest? Whats the point of exploring personal issues when nothing ever seems to change or get solved? Why draw? Am I just a frankenstein composite of a bunch of better and more interesting people? Does leaving SVA take away my merit as an artist? AM I AN ARTIST AT ALL? Is it giving up if I just want to go to school and learn about China for awhile?
Time for a sabbatical. The Blog and I have to air out.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Boobies got folds yo.

The other day I was watching that documentary/ film about the four different babies growing up around the world, appropriately titled Babies. One of the kids was from the Himba tribe in Namibia where the women coat their bodies and hair in a red clay that not only tints them a beautiful earthy crimson but also protects them from the sun that constantly beats down on them. They're jewlery is also very practical, particularly their tall metal anklets that protect their shins from poisonous snake bites! Plus the baby boys have these adorable little braided mohawks. Overall visually the tribe is visually fascinating and has earned a steady stream of tourists that borderline fetishize the proud women who walk around bare-chested regardless of age or body type.

And who can bloody blame them! I wish I could walk around shirtless, or at least wear sheer clothing. In New York it was actually legal, but how could one even fathom it when just wearing a skirt garners so much innapropriate male attention? How much healthier would the world be if women were allowed to bare it all without the fear of a sharp pinch or even sharper yelps? Though giant breast implants are now on the outs trend wise (hurrah!), what a breast actually looks like seems to still be a mystery to most. Since women arn't encouraged to be shown the breasts and bodies of others (because of society's rampant fear of homosexuality or honest sexuality of any kind) everyone just walks around thinking they're hella freaky and constantly apologizing, when really they're totally fine. Better than fine, BANGIN'!

At some point western (primarily American) culture decided that it was unnatural and unnatractive to be human... aaaannnddd to be alive.

It's wrong. They're wrong. The end.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Nervous Greetings

Ok, so grey tones and simplicity are a good thing heh.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Thought that I'd just spend the day making a bunch of silly no pressure mini-comics. Here's the first two. I by no means consider myself a comic artist because I completely disregard any common sense that would normally be applied to a decent comic lol. Which, you guys, is really fun! And a pretty good excercise in just spewing ideas when you think the well is totally dry.
Goodbye good drawing and hello plotless self indulgence!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lots of Lions

Thought I'd try out my *cough* parent's *cough* new scanner on a little water color warm up I did awhile back thats just been tacked up above my desk for personal pleasure. Currently I've been finding prisms, diamond shapes and partially transparent substances really visually interesting, sort of to the point where its become like an obsession. Anything that allows for the warping of light really. Fleating apparations. If it had to be explained a prime example would be that burst of untouchable color out of the corner of your eye that blips quietly out of existence when you turn your head. Or when you see the tips of your own eyelashes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

(The) Last Summer

1) Deadbeat Summer- Neon Indian
2) Instrumental- Doug Martsch
3) He Took Her to a Movie- Ladytron
4) The Moon Asked the Crown- CocoRosie
5) Summerboy- Lady Gaga
6) Heart of Glass- Blondie
7) Snowfall- George Shearing
8) Giddy Giddy Carousel- Death in June
9) Bastards of Young- The Replacements
10) Scream Walk- Street Chant
11) Teenage Dirtbag- Wheatus
12) b- iamamiwhoami
13) Ceremony- New Order
14) Crazy on You- Heart
15) Just Like Heaven- The Cure
16) Invisible Shadow- Hollow Jan
17) Sweet and Tender Hooligan- Death Cab for Cutie
18) Fluorescent Adolescent (Cover)- Kate Nash
19) Lovers Carvings- Bibio
20) In Louisville at 7- Max Richter
21) I Summon You- Spoon


1) My Love- Sia
2) Playground Love (Vibraphone Version)- Air
3) Quantock (Hand Cranked)- Bibio
4) Sea of Love- Cat Power
5) Lemonade- CocoRosie
6) Opus 23- Dustin O'Halloran
7) Protect Life- Eric Serra
8) Heavy in Your Arms- Florenence + The Machine
9) Hide and Seek- Imogen heap
10) When We Fall- Grouper
11) Great Fairy Fountain- Ocarina of Time
12) Tonight- Lykke Li
13) Anyone Else But You- Michael Cera And Ellen Page
14) Birdland- Patti Smith
15) Spanish Armada- Ratatat
16) Love is Good- The Shivers