Art Appreciation

Wylie Beckert is another young artist whose wonderful work mixes darkness, whimsy, and emphasis on characters and storytelling.

Unlike most of the people whose work you’ll see me share, Wylie and I have something in common – we are self-taught.

She’s spent these last months working on a set of playing cards (and an Art Book) called Wicked Kingdom: http://www.wickedkingdomdeck.com/

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2016: Art Year in Review

Before we get too deeply into the new year and new projects (Month of Love is already on the horizon with Theater Poster season right on its heels), here is a brief summary of some of my work from 2016 (not including numerous logos and too many still unreleased pieces).

Another year of great theater, and with ‘Hamilton”s star still ascendant, I was especially excited by ‘1776’ and ‘Rock the Presidents’.

lakewood2016-2017nwct2016-2017I got to work with two of my favorite authors this year: Kate Ristau and Elliott Kay. Each has a couple series, and the design is always as much of a challenge as the illustration.

book-coversNaturally, Venetia inspired a variety of art:

bunnyadventuremonthoflove2pandafinalThe marvelous ‘Steven Universe’ was an occasion to gather some dear friends to model for this portrait of the Crystal Gems. Pearl and Amethyst were closely modeled on Claire and Marysia. Finding a model for Garnet proved difficult, so Venetia kindly stepped in. Reference is a funny business.

crystalgemsAnother year, another 1-hour live painting competition – this time against mighty practitioners William Stout and Heather Hudson. I added proper type later in Photoshop.

cosmicromance1I created art for the conventions at which I was lucky enough to be Guest of Honor. It was especially fun to put the sail I designed for my cousin Cathy’s sailboat into the Convolution cover:

moonmousexyz7csphinxminion2The 2016 Holiday card (based on the astonishing ancient Mayan bas relief we saw in Mexico City):

xmas2016Here’s something you don’t see every day. A full painting of Cardinal Richelieu taken from a typophotogravure by the great Maurice Leloir. It was meant for the front of Lawrence Ellsworth’s firth-ever English Translation of Alexandre Dumas’ ‘The Red Sphinx’, but ended up on the back.

the-red-sphinxAuthors Ann and Andres Aguirre were splendid hosts on our sojourn to Mexico, and it seemed only mete to send them an original piece as part of our thanks. :)

peacockposterfinalThe Month of Fear was a highlight this year (as it is every year. My but I love the challenge!). This time the week’s prompts were (by row):
Wicked, Metamorphosis, and Doors.
Secrets and Darkness.

I’m now working on the lighter side of these ideas for Month of Love.

month-of-fear2016It was my great pleasure to work with Mamma Coal on the cover and design of her new record – an answer to Willie Nelson’s classic ‘Red Headed Stranger’.

mammacoal8RIP Leonard Cohen. While some might think this take (by way of the Austin Lounge Lizards classic “Leonard Cohen’s Day Job”) is disrespectful, I like to think it would have made him smile.

leonardcohen1Sultan, Washington boasts the neatest bookstore. It is still in the rebuilding stages, but heavens! What a beauty. Clearly the highlight of the region.

kts-finalAnother year, another delightful Ambercon, and another installment of Murray Campobianco’s sublime Face of Death game meant another day of drawing from its events. This time: the Bad Guys.

b6 amber2016mThe lovely Accalia was visiting from Winnipeg (for the yearly Rachel Brice Bellydancing Intensive. We’ll miss her this year), and posed for Allatu, a little-known Mesopotamian goddess of the underworld. And the always-fine Todd Lockwood gave me a few excellent critiques and suggestions at the end. How lucky to be doing this work with such fine friends to lend their expertise!

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Current Work

The end of 2016 marked the appearance of several new Small Gods including the three delicious Queens, Tim Curry, Barbara Shelley and Freddie Mercury.

First up – the Mayfair Music Hall is proud to present Mister Tim Curry!

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I am so lucky to have so many experts to turn to!
When I wanted a proper Queen of Hammer Horror Films, I turned to author and critic Kim Newman (If you haven’t read his work, I recommend the amazing ‘Anno Dracula’ and ‘Life’s Lottery’ for starters). He suggested Hazel Court or Barbara Shelley. But his description of the latter tipped the crown to her: “Shelley in ‘Dracula Queen of Darkness’ gets to be vampire victim, vampire predator and screeching impaled vampire in succession.”

Here’s to Barbara Shelley:

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And here, without further ado is the third Queen whose designation should speak for itself. Possibly in a remarkable vibrato. Long live the Queen!

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Art Appreciation

I met Zelda Devon in San Diego at the San Diego Comic Con when I remarked on the (truly remarkable) tentacle stippled subtly on her shoulder.

She looked askance as she was wearing long sleeves at the time. Of course, I’d seen her bare-armed earlier, but I admit I enjoyed a moment of seeming clairvoyance.

Back then, she lived and worked with her partner in NYC, often for ad agencies and always working to better her craft.

Since then, she’s relocated to LA. where her focus is the Entertainment business.

After all, there’s no biz like show biz!

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