A MONSTER TASK

Design, This is Interesting

 As an artist who works as a graphic designer, painter, prop maker, comedy writer, performer, caricaturist and cartoonist, I sometimes get requests to create artworks that are a little more out of the ordinary. I recently delivered on a commission for a full size furry orange puppet to be given as a gift.

 
The puppet was created with glasses, pigtails and overalls which were all direct references to the wardrobe of the person for which this puppet was created. The orange fur was a creative liberty.

I spent a lot of time watching videos of bearded puppet makers giving tutorials on how to create a proper functioning puppet. Turns out it’s a really elaborate process which saw some trial and error before I got the happy looking monster you see here.

nHjXU0

PsIC5C

j53XGc

It was was an excellent artistic task for me riddled with “ah ha” moments as she slowly came together and was given personality and life. It’s now an odd new skill I possess and it was a really rewarding artwork to create. I am however finding orange fur all over the studio and on my coats and scarfs.

 

PRO-fessional PRO-crastination

This is Interesting
I'd better watch this to make sure it all goes smoothly

I’d better watch this to make sure it all goes smoothly

The fluffy lint, pencil sharpenings and scraps of Fruit Tingle wrappers that had lived happily in the bottom of my satchel bag were violently evicted from their home this morning as I, owner of the bag, decided that their time was up. Sitting on the floor of my studio with my bag turned inside out, vacuuming dry the corners of the bags innards, I realised that this might in fact be procrastination.

The Websters Dictionary defines procrastination as: “The grime inside Edmund’s dishwasher vanishing while the background art on four pressing illustrations are phototoshop layers all labeled as ‘backdoodle1′”.

I now have a few long term projects underway that I am very terrified excited about. You may want to hear about those but I’ll keep them secret and list just a small number of activities I have thought to be more pressing in my history of needing to get shit done:

  • Clean. Every. Skirting board.
  • Clean every architrave (they are skirting boards that go around doors).
  • Gently wash the plastic Astroboy that stands next to the wifi router.
  • Dust the wifi router.
  • Reorganise the DVD shelf autobiographicaly (you know, like in High Fidelity).
  • Hey, I have High Fidelity… Watch high fidelity with special features.
  • Re-fold ALL my clothes.
  • Write a rap about how hard I study with lots of double entendre (Record. Listen. Cry. Never perform).
  • Learn how to juggle eggs.
  • Clean egg from carpet.
  • Learn how to juggle tennis balls.
  • Wash all my clothes (including the ones I was wearing), walk to outdoor laundry carrying washing basket while loosely wearing a towel – get surprised by the landlord and 2 Sydney Water representatives checking the water meter in your backyard.
  • Make complete diorama of the living room (done in collaboration with playwright Jess Bellamy who may have also been procrastinating)
  • Write a blog about procrastination.

Look, it’s hard to jump straight into a creative job. You need to get into the ‘zone’ or the ‘open mode’ as John Cleese puts it… 

Let me explain a little. By the “closed mode” I mean the mode that we are in most of the time when {we are} at work.
We have inside us a feeling that there’s lots to be done and we have to get on with it if we’re going to get through it all.
It’s an active (probably slightly anxious) mode, although the anxiety can be exciting and pleasurable.
It’s a mode which we’re probably a little impatient, if only with ourselves.
It has a little tension in it, not much humor.
It’s a mode in which we’re very purposeful, and it’s a mode in which we can get very stressed and even a bit manic, but not creative.
By contrast, the open mode, is relaxed… expansive… less purposeful mode… in which we’re probably more contemplative, more inclined to humor (which always accompanies a wider perspective) and, consequently, more playful.
It’s a mood in which curiosity for its own sake can operate because we’re not under pressure to get a specific thing done quickly. We can play, and that is what allows our natural creativity to surface.


The thing that surprises me every time is that the minute I actually start working on a project, when the pencil hits the paper, it all usually flows quite easily. I just need to get past the stigma. I am in the ‘closed mode’ while  the cleaning and organising and diorama making is going on, which is all quite purposeful… but I think anxiety can be the key. After sitting at my desk feverishly cleaning my keyboard the anxiety hits, all this time I could have been doing work and it might be that guilt that gives you the edge to achieve something creative. I remind myself that this fear can be a useful tool and not something to run from as I keep a quote from T. S. Eliot above my desk “Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity.”

DEM BONES, DEM BONES.

This is Interesting

The Italians do lots of things well; coffee, fine leather-goods, underground crypts decorated exclusively with human bones.

A few years ago on my first trip to Rome I was introduced to memento mori in a pretty extreme way. I visited The Capuchin Crypt  decorated with over 300 deconstructed Capuchin skeletons stacked upon each other.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I also encountered artistic antiquity and saw the motifs of skulls in still life, particularly in depictions of St Jerome who is depicted holding a skull.

st-jerome

Ah, Saint Jerome, always with a skull on his desk and three week old Chinese food in his fridge. His apartment looks like my old university house that I moved in to and never paid rent for.

Memento Mori is Latin for “remember (that you have) to die” and is a reminder of your own mortality and not to dwell on “things” because the “things” in heaven are way sweeter than the ones on earth bro, and you can keep those for, like, ever… So long as you go to heaven that is. So if you obtained your memento mori by ripping it from your friend’s living face as a nice desk paperweight you aren’t going to heaven… you’re probably going to that other place. NOT HELL, THE OTHER PLACE… you know the pit of despair, full of desperate people showing their worst sides… The domino’s pizza complaint line.

Speaking of people showing their worst sides, I just returned from a trip to Vegas. While I was there I went to the Bodies exhibit where unique preservation techniques have preserved actual humans that have been separated into all the different bodily systems. It brought me back to the bone crypt in Rome and reminded me of my own mortality and that I still wanted a memento mori of my own in my studio – much like Saint Jerome. Well they had some in the gift shop. Not real ones but medical grade replicas used for educational purposes. I brought it home and it now sits by my computer to remind me of my mortality and to remind me that skulls look super cool.

Her name is Dana

Her name is Dana

What I am now interested in is what customs thought when they saw the X-ray of my luggage and saw what would have looked like a human head in there and went right along and let me back into the country.

?

Desk

Design, Painting, This is Interesting

In the past year I have moved to more towards digital design and further away from painting for no other reason than more design opportunities presenting themselves and the more I designed bits and bobs on my computer the more work cropped up. In doing so my studio has also changed to accommodate more for sketching and designing. This is what it looks like today:

my new desk

… and this is what it looked like 1 year ago:

Image

Image

The workspace of a creative person evolves to serve three purposes: to be a functional workspace, to spark inspiration and to be a comfortable space to work (however not comfortable in the same way a living room is comfortable – these two spaces need to be separated somehow).

It’s great to have everything you need at your fingertips without it crowding your desk/studio. An amazing example of this is Casey Neistat’s studio:

I’m not so keen on the gun and weaponry which are “Kinda funny” to use in case the “pizza guy gets belligerent… you have it at the ready”. How much/often are you pissing off pizza guys Casey!?

I found this video through a blog post by artist Suffoca, who also has recently posted a few nice shots of his studio.

If you really enjoy looking at peoples studios from the safety of your own home check out Desk  which also comes as an app and makes for good viewing on the iPad.

Image

For Being a Knife Guy

This is Interesting

photo(32)

I came home form my holiday away to find this package waiting for me. As I raised over $1000 for Movember I received this delightful certificate and very handy pocket knife that comes with a comb and scissors in case I need to do any beard maintenance on the go. You too could become a Platinum Member of Movember if you join me in the good fight this November and help Sydney look like the 1970s again.

The month is Mover

Painting, This is Interesting

The month of Movember is over.

That’s it for my upper lip. My mo has to go. It’s the end of the line for this hairy line. The eyebrows of the mouth have to head South. The stash has to dash. There’s mo more Movember so mo mo Movember mo.

It’s been a long hairy month to which I have dedicated my time painting mustache artworks. Here is a quick look at how successful this was…

MOVEMBER COLLECTION SOLD

Through selling paintings alone I have raised $1, 200 but all up I raised $1, 655 and I think if you raise this much money for Movember you also never get testicular cancer and never get depressed. It’s True! I just spent two hours watching Requiem For A Dream while slamming my gonads in a microwave door.

The ‘For The Love Of Mo’ web series I took part in has also come to an end and in a suprise twist I overtake the other two Movember bro’s in the last minute when I almost triple my fundraising in one mad dash for December 1st.

Thank you for your donations: Charissa, Jude, Sarah, Miles, Dom, Skye, Laura, Ange, Fuzzy, Colin, Kelly, Milly, Jess, Jacqui, Master Quinn, Vaughanie, Pat, Eddie, Louis, Hamo and especially Sam

A huge thank you to Tim and Kim for putting together the For The Love of Mo web series. You guys made my Movember something special.

A BIG thank you to my girlfiend for supporting me through the first week of mustache cultivation where I looked like I could steal pringles from a 7-11 at any moment.

It’s also my Birthday today and my 50th blog post so howaboutthat!

Mo and Tell

Painting, This is Interesting

Movember is almost over. These days it’s starting to look more like I have a mustache and less like I was really thirsty and drank Ovaltine like it was going out of fashion. I have such a real mustache I could pass as one of the music students at high school who could get away with a wispy mustache because they were fragile and cool and somehow untouchable by the year-master who would bust anyone else for growing the most pathetic sprouts of a beard that made us feel so much like Indiana Jones on expedition and less like the greasy sack of bones frying burgers at a cafe for fourteen dollars an hour.

The picture above is of all the paintings I’ve made for Movember. All artworks sold, 50% of the sale is a donation to Movember. If you want to buy one contact me. Otherwise you can make a straight donation at my Movember page.

I’ve enjoyed this month very much and have great respect for Tim Anastasi and Kim Low for putting together a very slick web series that I was lucky to be a part of. You can watch the full series here.

EPISODE 1

EPISODE 2

EPISODE 3

EPISODE 4

EPISODE 5

Mo – oh! We’re Half Way There. Mo – Oh! Growin’ Facial Hair.

Painting, This is Interesting

 

Man! I love Bon Jovi!

This week in my pursuit to convert facial hair into charity donations I completed a commission of pianist Keith Jarrett with a piano key mustache, (it was tough making this look like a mustache and not a mouth full of thin terrifying teeth) as well as the commission I produced yet another superhero mustache. This week the hairy hero is Bananaman showing off his very appropriate mustache. Bananaman and all other superhero mustache artworks featured on the blog cost only $100 with half the money going to Movember.

I’m also taking part is a weekly web series on Movember. See episode 3 here.

You may have noticed that I am trailing those other guys pretty bad. If you want to support the underdog and also support the fight against testicular cancer and male depression you can donate here
Or you can also buy one of the movember paintings featured in the past 3 blogs (50% of painting sale goes to Movember.)

With Great Power Comes Great Mustache

Painting, This is Interesting

So how does superman shave? No man-made razor would cut through his mighty five o-clock shadow. Does he invite Wolverine and his claws over to shave his kryptonian face for work and his kryptonian other bits for other stuff? The day in the life of a superhero during Movember must be tough stuff particularly when your freaky powers give you freaky facial hair. The following paintings are for sale this month with half the sale being donated to Movember. There are more paintings in the works but here is what we have so far. Batman and Aquaman have already been sold so get in quick.

They are all 30cm x 38cm and are painted with watercolour and ink on card.

They are $100 each. Contact me here if you would like to buy one.

I do commissions as well so why not buy some art for Christmas? But be sure to get in before the end on the month.

Or if you just want to donate to Movember you can do that here.

Also please enjoy episode two of a four part doco I’m in this Movember. THIS IS A BUSY MONTH FOR ME!

Be a Superhero this Movember.

Painting, This is Interesting

I’m one week in to this Movember thing and I have been combining my craft with the thing growing on my face. After I finished decoupage-ing my goiter I started painting a new series of mustaches. The paintings featured below are done with watercolour and ink. They are all for sale for Movember with half the money going to fight men’s depression and support mental illness. These are the first three of this series and there are more to come including The Flash and Spiderman. I started draw Wolverine with the aim to make his mustache out of claws and he just looked like a cat with wiskers… The fluffy tail and ball of wool may have also added to the problem. I’ve also been taking part in a weekly Movember documentary which now features a muppet I used in my Sydney Fringe show. Here is a behind the scenes look.

You can view the video at the end of this post or here.

These new works featured below cost $100 each and are 30cm x 38cm.

If you would like to purchase one please contact me here.

If you would like to just give me a movember donation do so here.

 

 

If you would like to donate more and would like to buy a bigger artwork check out my last blog post for more mustache paintings. My favorite painting is also up for grabs and that can be viewed here.