Star Wars Tribute show

On May 4th Gallery Nucleus opened a Star Wars tribute show titled "May the Fourth be with you".  The above image is the piece I generated for the show.  To this day I still get excited when I am watching Empire Strikes Back and the At-At walkers are just about to show up.  I always thought it would be fun to be the one who first saw them coming over the horizon.  Fun but scary.  I also like the idea that Darth Vader is always watching especially when he is attacking.  All that combined is what I used to create this image titled "Imperial Storm"  The show runs through May 26th if you have time I would recommend checking it out. http://www.gallerynucleus.com/gallery/exhibitions/current There is some amazing artwork for this show.  My piece was created using my usual materials of mixed papers and glue.


"It's the Shiz Nick!" Classic Nickelodeon tribute show

Next Friday April 19th the "I am 8-Bit" gallery in Los Angeles will debut it's newest gallery show "It's the Shiz Nick!". This is a tribute show celebrating the classic Nickelodeon shows and characters that had an impact on us. The link to the show is below. There are a ton of great artists and artwork created for this show. If you are in the area and can swing by I highly recommend it. My piece is inspired by "Spongebob Squarepants" This show immediately got my attention from the very first season. It was the first cartoon in many years that reminded of the cartoons I watched on Saturday mornings growing up. Not so much in look or design but more in the flavor and feeling you get from watching it. Great characters, silly physical humor and memorable moments. The concept for my piece started from watching a documentary on giant squids. I love the idea of these large creatures living under the sea and thought it would be funny if one of them was Squidward.



Beatles tribute show

Here is my visual tribute to the Beatles. Gallery Nucleus is hosting a tribute show on July 7th to the fab four. Thankfully they asked me to participate as I have always been a big fan of the Beatles entire library of songs and movies. My favorite thing about the Beatles music is the images and worlds they create through their writing. When I started thinking about what I would do, the first song that kept coming back to me was "Octupus's Garden" Not necessarily their most important song but one that just really stuck with me, so I decided to illustrate what I see when I listen to that song. It was a lot of fun to both create this image and get reacquainted with the Beatles music all over again. Here's to singing and dancing under the sea in an octupus's garden in the shade.


Recently I had the opportunity to spend a week on a house on the Mendocino coast. The house sat all alone on a bluff and overlooked the pacific ocean and the coastline. It was absolutely amazing. Preparing for this trip I packed up a traveling case with paper in a variety of colors that I thought would apply to this region. I wanted to take the approach of a plain air painter but execute the image with paper alone. The main challenge for this approach is making sure you have the right colors of paper to capture what you are looking at. Thankfully I had everything I needed to tackle the view from the porch. I created this piece in one 2-3 hour sitting with a glue stick, some white glue, an exacto knife, some scissors, and paper. It was an interesting challenge. I quite enjoyed it and would like to try more of these in the near future. This piece was 11" X 15".



The Sketchtravel is a unique international charity art project. This red sketchbook was passed from one artist's hand to another like an Olympic torch in an artistic relay through 12 countries over 4 and half years. The culmination was a one time auction for this one of a kind book which happened on October 17 of this year. The money raised from this unique project will be supporting Room to Read's South East Asia programs: The charity collaborates with local communities and governments to establish libraries, encourage development of local language, culturally-relevant children's books, and foster literacy in other ways.

This is one of those once in a lifetime that projects that come into your life. I am still in awe of the amazing array of talent and creativity that fills this book from cover to cover. So many of my favorite artists are included in this project as well as new favorites that I discovered because of this book.

When the red sketchbook was hand delivered to me by the amazing Dice Tsutsumi it was about half full. Even at this stage you could see the power and magnitude of this book. I spent three days just looking at each piece wondering what I could possibly create that will honor this project in an adequate way. I finally had to put the book away so I could clear my head of all the intimidation and overwhelming sense of responsibility. Eventually after a week or so I stopped over thinking it and just decided to express my experience of creating for this book and include myself into it. I loved the running theme of the red sketchbook in the pieces and wanted to include that in mine as well. The next step was to make it and so I started cutting and pasting until I had something that I was feeling good about.

Looking at the completed book now it is even more amazing and powerful then I could have ever imagined. Big thanks to Dice Tsutsumi and Gerald Guerlais for having the creativity and determination to see a project of this magnitude from beginning to end. Not only did it raise a lot of money to help build libraries and schools but it has produced a book that will inspire and excite people for many years to come. Thank you for inviting me to be a part of The Sketchtravel. I am eternally grateful to you.

Below is a very condensed and simplified version of my process for this illustration.

This is how I began this illustration. I am so inspired by shapes and color and love to build the foundations for my pieces with purely abstract compositions.

Once I began to lay in the foundation for the entire spread I starting building up the image of myself holding scissors and the red sketchbook. I knew I wanted this to be the pop-up but before I solved the engineering I needed to figure out the details and shapes of the character.

After the base layer I start layering varieties of papers to slowly start finding the images I want to reveal. This is where I can push and pull the values and colors until I capture the mood and feeling I am trying to achieve as well as allow the visuals and information to reveal itself. This is my favorite stage because it is controlled but also allows for some fun discoveries and surprises.

Once I got both the pop-up and basic spread beginning to feel good, I starting working on them simultaneously so I could integrate the colors and shapes together.

Then after a few days of noodling and playing with paper it all comes together and becomes the vision you had in your head when you started. They don't always work out just right but in this case I was fortunate enough to capture the image in my head through this illustration.

If you are interested in owning a copy of this book you can find both a basic and deluxe version on Amazon France. There is talk of potentially getting a domestic publisher to pick it up but I am not sure anything is confirmed yet.



This Thursday there will be an art auction to benefit CAAF. Mattel has been doing amazing work for many years raising money for this important cause. This year Mattel invited creative artists and designers within Mattel, Disney, Pixar and other toy and entertainment companies to come together to create and donate art to raise funds for children affected by AIDS. The theme of the show is “Inspired by Kids”! I chose to create a piece that represented my memory of discovering fireflies in the field across the street from our house in Montgomery, Alabama when I was in the third grade. It was absolutely amazing that there were bugs that could light themselves up like a flashlight. We would go over to the field at night and catch the fireflies in a jar just briefly so we could marvel at one of natures most amazing creatures. Once we took a quick second to ooh and ahh over them we released back out into the scattering of flickering lights across the sky. It was one of my favorite childhood memories and one that I enjoyed recreating for this piece. This piece was created with a variety of papers and glue.

Below is the information on the show. The Opening reception will feature a live auction for a select group of art. You can also find out more information by going to www.caaf.org

Opening reception: December 1, 2011. WORLD AIDS DAY (by invite only)
ARTISTS’ Reception: December 2, 2011
Open to the public: following the artists’ reception on December 2 through Sunday,
December 4, 2011

Here is the address for the gallery show. If you are in the area this coming weekend you should stop by and take a look at all the amazing artwork.
R*W Creative Group/1118 Abbot Kinney Blvd/ Venice, CA 90291



"Day of the Dead" or "Día de los Muertos" is the Mexican holiday where family and friends gather together to remember those loved ones whom they have lost and to celebrate their lives. It takes place on November 1st and 2nd. We mostly know of this holiday from all of the brightly decorated sugar skulls and other folk art images of skeletons dancing and playing music.

This is my contribution to an upcoming "Day of the Dead" show in Michigan. I chose to take the Mariachi band as my subject matter and intertwine the color and design elements from both the Day of the Dead celebration along with other Mexican art and design elements.

This piece was created using a variety of papers as well as cardboard. There is actually a lot of white on white details that get lost in the photograph but something that I thought would add a nice texture and feel to the bones.



This Saturday at Gallery Nucleus there will be a show celebrating the release of a new book on the "It's a Small World" illustrated by Joey Chou. The book is absolutely beautiful and to celebrate it Gallery Nucleus has put together a show of "Small World" themed art. I was asked to contribute and was extremely excited about the prospects of creating a piece around this theme. The ride itself is one of my favorite rides at Disneyland and I always leave the ride inspired by the shapes and colors. I decided to work around the theme of San Francisco and the Bay Area. I wanted to grab some moments that you may not normally associate with Small World but that to me encompass the daily routines that we all go through regardless of who we are, what we look like, or where we are from. We all need to commute, we can all enjoy a baseball game, and we can all enjoy a glass of wine. These are slightly older themes but ones that I thought would be fun to include into this piece. The Bay Area is filled with millions of wonderful and beautiful things so I just focused on the ones that popped into my head first. The piece is made from a mixed selection of papers. It is roughly 23" X 30".



"Super I am Bit" is coming soon and I just finished my contribution to the show. I chose Centipede as my theme and really dove into the idea that as you shoot the centipede he becomes a mushroom and thus becomes part of his environment. I wanted to have him come in and out as he winds his way through the mushroom forest. The plus 4 in the title comes from the highest level of hallucination that you can achieve when using mushrooms. Here is the definition.

plus four (+4)
A very rare experience. Total loss of visual connection with reality. The senses cease to function in the normal way. Total loss of self. Merging with space, other objects, or the universe. The loss of reality becomes so severe that it defies explanation. Pure white light. Difficult to put into words.

The idea of merging with space made a lot of sense with my piece and the definition combined with the mushrooms all throughout the game, it seemed like a perfect match.

The actual date for the show has not been made official but if sounds like it will be a great show.



Here are some images of my contribution to the Mary Blair show from the second city of Sapporo at Sapporo Modern Museum of Art. The show will continue touring Japan until 2013. Along with the large collection of Mary Blair artwork and photos there are some other amazing tribute pieces done by Ralph Eggleston, Ricky Nierva, Dice Tsutsumi, Lorelay Bove, Lou Romano, Soosa Kim and a few others. If you are in Japan in the next two years make sure and check it out.



Recently I was asked to contribute a piece of art to accompany a large Mary Blair Centennial show that will traveling around Japan over the next two years. It will be included in a section showcasing contemporary artists who have been inspired by her in their artistic journey. Who hasn't been inspired by the wonderful and brilliant designs of Mary Blair. She is absolutely amazing and has created a body of work that rivals any great artist or designer throughout history.

When thinking about what kind of image I would create for this project I kept going back to the mural and Small World designs that Mary created. All the different approaches to shape, pattern, and design inspire me every time I look at them. Using that period of work as the backdrop, I decided to create an image of the Seattle Skyline. I wanted the piece to be recognizable as something I created but with a clear nod to Mary Blair and the playful way she used shapes and pattern. The dimensions of this piece are 12"X36".

It was an absolute honor to be asked to contribute to such an amazing show. I can't wait to see all of Mary's work together in one place along with all the amazing tribute pieces created especially for this show by artists from all over the world. If you are going to be traveling to Japan in the next few years I suggest tracking down the location of this show and checking it out.



Here is my contribution to the Art Blocks for Ghana. The theme was home so I created a piece that captures my memories of the Puget Sound up in the Pacific Northwest where I grew up. All the greens and blues that play off of each other throughout the landscape are absolutely beautiful. I also love the ferries that carry people back and forth across the Sound. I can't wait to see the entire Art Blocks for Ghana show. The quality of work that has been contributed to this show is amazing.



I recently had the privilege of participating in an art swap with the amazing Tia Kratter. If you are not familiar with her work then you should pick up some of the "art of" books from past Pixar films. She is one of the superstar colorists and painters at Pixar and has done some beautiful work for such films as "A Bugs Life", "Monsters Inc." and "Cars", just to name a few. My favorite work of hers is from "A Bugs Life" All the rich color, design and lighting studies she did for the film are absolutely amazing. Check them out. You won't be disappointed.

She and I decided to do an art swap after a recent art auction held at Pixar. It was such an amazing show and all the work was so good that the prices kept climbing higher and higher. This was a good thing as it helped the auction reach it's goal and then some. In the process of viewing the work we decided it would be a fun project to each create a piece of art for each other working from the same theme. The them we chose was "Through the Tunnel". This is because we both live on the other side of the Caldecott tunnel. The imagery and landscape is quite beautiful and offers a nice change of scenery from Emeryville each night on the way home, and on the way in each day. In some cases the temperature can change 20 degrees. It is quite amazing.

The image I created was from my memory of what it feels like when I just exit the tunnel onto the eastern side and the sun is hitting the hills just pass the tunnel. The play of light and dark along with the traffic is something I really enjoy. It was a lot of fun to create this piece and even more fun when I received the amazing painting Tia created for me. Truly one of the highlights of our house. I highly recommend art swaps. When done right it should bring the best out of you and in return you will get the best of someone else. What better way to stay inspired and driven to continue to grow as an artist.

This piece was created entirely out of various papers and cardboard.



One of my favorite people at Pixar left for a better opportunity. Although it sucks to see people leave that you enjoy working with, it is always exciting to see people walk through doors that present greater opportunities in their life. Aidan will surely be missed but her future is so bright that our little misfit department just couldn't hold her back any longer.

This piece was created for her to take with her when she left. The turtles from Nemo are some of her favorites so I wanted to create a happy, cheerful piece that would make her smile every time she looked at it. This piece was a lot of fun.



This is a collage I completed a few months back to help raise money for a fellow artist at Pixar who is battling cancer. It was an amazing event filled with spectacular artwork from all corners of the Pixar company. It was an honor to be a part of such a great cause.

This piece is based on my memories of my daily commute. I drive back and forth everyday on the west 24 freeway. What I love about this drive is how the freeway and cars cut right through some beautiful classic bay area hills. There are all sorts of shapes and colors playing off of each other and I just wanted to capture them in my own way. The materials I used were, a variety of papers, cardboard, paper towels, napkins, and tissue paper.



Well I have ignored my blog long enough. Here is the self portrait image based of the sketches that were on my blog. I have not finished it but I was happy with the shapes and colors. I should have it finished in another 9 months.



These are some rough ideas for a self portrait I am working on. It is part of an assignment that I created for a high school art student that Jeff Harter is working with. I figured I would execute the same assignment that I gave her. It is a self portrait created using Collage as the medium. The working space is 12X18. I haven't decided which direction I am going to go with so if you have any opinions on the sketches fire away.



Here are a few more sketches from my many travels.



When I entered kindergarten the kids took an assessment test to better understand where each child was in their development process. One of the items was to draw a picture. I drew a man in a plaid vest. This caught the teachers attention and she spoke with my parents and explained to them that I had a strong visual awareness . I guess you could say this is when "creativity" took a hold of my life. Unfortunately the teacher kept all the tests so all I have to go by is my mothers description of what the drawing looked like. She remembers it very vividly which is nice. A few months ago Disney Consumer Products held a creative camp. Yeah, I still don't know what that means either. There was a pre-assignment to generate a piece of art that demonstrates the moment when creativity chose you or you chose creativity. At first this seemed like a ridiculous assignment that must have been drawn up by some non-creative. Turns out that non-creative who drew up this idea was none other then John T. Quinn. I guess that "T" in his name makes him sound important or something. After telling John what a dumb idea this was he informed that he came up with it. It is all good though because John worships me and could never have a bad thought about me ever. :) Once I pulled my foot out of my mouth and promised John I would put forth my best effort, I decided to take my moment in kindergarten and make a story out of it. Nothing too complicated just a simple story about the man and the people, places, and animals around him. Oh yeah, they are all plaid. I included the cover, the plaid dog and two spreads from the book.



Here are a few more sketches from my many stops in airports and on the Bart. I have been switching back and forth between brush pens and Crayola crayons. It keeps it interesting and forces me to make different choices. Enjoy.



My good friend Ernesto Nemesio inspired me to create a self portrait after seeing his own self portrait. I didn't have any preconceived idea other than to just start building an image up with shapes and color and hopefully at some point it would start to resemble me. No drawings or sketches. Just purely reacting to my natural instincts. I started with torn cardboard glued to a 16X20 masonite board. After that I started layering a variety of colored papers and tissue paper. It was a blast. So much so that I am working on a new one as we speak. I encourage everyone to create their own self portrait. It is a very liberating and self reflective process.



I came across this piece I created a few years back to accompany a show of art and design from Pixar Studios that was being displayed at the Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. The two companies have a very close bond and this piece was created to thank them for their dedication to Pixar and animation. If you ever have a chance to visit Tokyo I highly recommend visiting the Studio Ghibli Museum. There you can see the evolution of Totoro, Nausicaa, Porco Rosso, and so on. The museum is truly magical and houses one of the most amazing zoetropes you have ever seen.



Dig Dug is one of my all time favorite games and I jumped at the opportunity to put my spin on this classic game for the upcoming "I am 8-bit" show. Growing up my family did lots of road trips and whenever possible we would stay at a Holidome. This was a Holiday Inn with an indoor pool, miniature golf course, and arcade. Sometimes they were bigger and more extravagant and sometimes they were very simple. Either way they almost always had a Mrs. Pac-Man and Dig Dug. My dad and I would spend hours on the Mrs. Pac-Man machine and I would then jump on the Dig Dug machine and drop a few dollars. I am by no means "King of Kong" good at any of these games because I also had an interest in fresh air and girls. Last year I was lucky enough to find a perfect condition full standing Arcade version of Dig Dug for $300 at our local Thrift store. SCORE!!! Ever since Silver Spoons I have always wanted arcade games in my house along with a train and duck phone. So far I only have one arcade game. My next mission is to add Mrs. Pac-Man and Galaga to my collection. Then the search for the duck phone begins.

The look of Dig Dug was a perfect fit for collage. Layers of pixilated earth! I used dirt, paint, tissue paper, cardboard, sand, rootbeer cases, coffee cozies, colored scrap book paper, and a lot of glue on top of canvas to create the final look of these pieces. The horizontal canvases are 12X40", and the vertical pieces are 20X24". Long live Dig Dug!!!



Well, after a lot of pressure I have finally decided to add some sketches to my blog. Up until the last year I never sketched on a consistent basis. Now that I do I wonder why it took me so long to start. Most of these are either meetings or airport sketches. This is because that is where I spend the majority of my life. I will try to post a few samples from my sketchbooks every so often.