Tuesday, February 28, 2012

10 Jobs I would rather have than a fine artist

Kate and I always hear from people how they would do anything to be the kind of artists that Kate and I are, though I never understood why. There are so many other more interesting and useful jobs on the market. To make these people feel a bit better, here is a list of 10 jobs that I would rather have than being a fine artist.

1. Vampire Hunter (like Blade but without the lame tribal tattoos)

2. Cage Fighter (no lie, I always wanted to be a professional Mixed Martial Artist, but that thing called my physique always kept me back)

3. Cult Leader (everyone would worship me and white robes are really comfortable)

4. Time Traveler (though I don't know how you would receive an income from this....unless you were a "Timecop" like Van Damme)

5. Judge on a reality show (because eliminating people in front of an entire nation is awesome)

6. An X-Men (and one with awesome powers, not crappy ones like Toad's. I always wanted Kate to have Mystiques powers, but what if she got mad at me and turned into Charles Bronson when we were kissing. I don't think I could handle that scenario.)

7. Bikini inspector (like that needs an explanation)

8. Running Back for the Steelers (because 100,000 people never simultaneously cheer on an artist)

9. A Jedi (because I would use the mind control trick to get free food and choke the people in line that spend forever deciding what pizza toppings they want)

10. Corrupt warden at a futuristic prison (don't ask me to explain this one)

Monday, February 27, 2012

More Real than Real

My old lady is scheduled to appear overseas at Peter Walker Fine Art Gallery's exhibit "More Real than Real" in Australia; a show curated by Jim Thalassoudis. Any more real and it would be back to abstract, bam. It is nice to see the trend of realism spreading throughout the world. My Australian friend James has even told me that their leader, Lord Humongous, ruler of the wastelands, has striven to bring together realist artists from around the world who may not have had an opportunity to show together otherwise. This will definitely be an exhibit to not simply "walk away" from.

I was scheduled to exhibit here as well, but my piece was damaged before I could ship it. Other exhibiting artists are below. (list cut and pasted from Underpaintings because I am too lazy to re-type it and Matt Innis is a real writer)

TRAVIS MICHAEL BAILEY from Union, Missouri
MARINA DIEUL from Montreal, Quebec
JEFF GOLA from Moorestown, New Jersey
JASON JOHN from Jacksonville, Florida
TARA JUNEAU from Victoria, British Columbia
JONATHAN KOCH from USA
LACEY LEWIS from Kansas City, Missouri
STEPHEN MAGSIG from Detroit, Michigan
BRIAN MARTIN from Providence, Rhode Island
JENNIFER NEHRBASS from Albuquerque, New Mexico
GRAYDON PARRISH from Austin, Texas
LEE PRICE from Beacon, New York
CINDY PROCIOUS from Chattanooga, Tennessee
JONATHAN QUEEN from Cincinnati, Ohio
PIERRE RABY from Montreal, Quebec
KATHERINE STONE from Victoria, Canada
JOSHUA SUDA from Nanticoke, Pennsylvania
SADIE JERNIGAN VALERI from San Francisco, California



Thursday, February 16, 2012

Choosing the right gallery for you

I get a lot of emails from emerging artists asking for advice about approaching galleries. I thought I would put together a list of things to look for in a gallery; things I have had to learn the hard way. I will say that I have considered myself a professional artist for only about 2 years, so take anything and everything I say with a grain of salt. In fact, don't bother reading this article.

1) The gallery shows other artists whom you respect.

You should see what sort of other inventory the gallery carries and if it is done by other artists whom you respect and admire. (When I approached S.R. Brennen galleries, it was because both Adrian Gottlieb and Michael Klein exhibited there.) It is also a really good idea to talk to other artists who show at the gallery as well to see what their experiences have been in terms of sales and payments.

2) The typical commission rate should be around 50% of the retail cost; any gallery that asks you pay them to be included in the gallery is a not a gallery that I would recommend.

3) Location, location, location.

A gallery does not have to be close to where you live, though it can be helpful. I live in Canada but sell everything in the States. It is good to research which areas are solid art markets, ex. Santa Fe, Palm Desert, Scottdale, etc. No matter how good a gallery may seem, if it's in a place like downtown Detroit, you may want to avoid it.

4) Make sure that art sales are the gallery's only source income. You may want to avoid any galleries with frame shops, crafts, all you can eat buffets, etc., as selling fine art may not be their primary focus.

5) Have work available before approaching a gallery.

That being said, it is a myth that you need an entire portfolio built up to give a gallery. You should have around 10-12 images of works of consistent quality you have done, but very few galleries want to commit to a dozen pieces all at once, nor should you want to commit all your eggs to one basket either. 3-4 is typically plenty. Having a website is the best way to showcase your work......or having the most manly blog in the world.

6) Artists are always getting approached by galleries. Choose carefully.

The better you get, the more people want a slice of the pie. Don't get overly excited and settle for the first one that comes along, like Kate did with me. You should have a strong and friendly relationship with your gallery. The gallery isn't doing you a favor by accepting you, they are going into business with you. Talking to Maggie and Carlen from "M Gallery" where I show feels like I am talking to my relatives.

7) If you are going to a gallery in person, wear a monocle and top hat to look sophisticated. I also fake a British accent to sound more intelligent. If that doesn't work, you can simply cold call a gallery to get a better feel for them and see what the application process is.

I am sure there are points I have missed or exceptions to the rules, so feel free to comment (or praise me).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Men Painting Manly things : Women's Edition

I still haven't seen enough of a change since my last posting so once again I have to confront the pressing concern of the lack of manliness in contemporary art. In this particular installment, I will be addressing the depiction of women in paintings. I know a lot of people think women always have to look feminine, but as far as my ignorance is concerned, "feminine" is still a kind of metal on the periodic table. I was doing a lot of research recently on Wikipedia and stumbled upon some amazing statistics. Did you know that woman can do more than lie around naked in bed all day wearing sheer negligee and fawn over themselves in a mirror? I found out that woman can actually become doctors, soldiers, lawyers, vikings, and even astronauts. Shocking, I know. This post looks at women doing (wo)manly things in painting.


I will use the scale above to rate the following works out of 10. Just so you can get an idea of how the scale works, let's use Bouguereau's paintings as the gauge for wussy and Charles Bronson as the gauge for manliness. Something like beef jerky would be somewhere around a 7 and scrap-booking would be around a 2.


Harold Piffard's "Joan of Arc" proves to us some woman can fight by doing more than just pulling hair and scratching. Try gouging out eyes with thumbs and disemboweling with a halberd. According to Spike's "Deadliest Warrior", Joan of Arc would have even been able to defeat the Duke of Normandy on a one on one battle, and as we all know, Spike is never wrong. Rating 10


If Ilya Repin's Tsarevna Sophia Alexeevna walked into a Bouguereau painting, she would kick the crap out of some prissy peasant, steal her giant ceramic jug, fill it with whiskey, chug it, then smash it on a rock. She has the best "piss me off and I'll break you" expression I have ever seen. Visible outside of the window, the viewer can she has had her opposition hung to death. They probably recommended she wear a sheer outfit. Rating 10


Ok, I know what you are all saying, "but Dave, she is half-naked, weren't you just complaining about that, wah?" Wrong. Woman are allowed to be depicted half-naked in paintings as long as their back looks like a bag of potatoes, and she is in a fight to the death with a demon. Enough said. Leave it up to Frank Frazetta to save art again. Rating 10

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Let's toss the old pigskin around

This is the post that will lose us our vegan and vegetarian readership.  Part of learning to tattoo is actually doing it, and we have to resort to tried and trusted methods: we are going to be practicing on pig skin, as it is the closest thing to human skin.


When we were offered some pig skin by a guy-who-knows-a-guy, we were kind of expecting cute little pink squares of ham-scented skin.  Instead, we were given a garbage bag full of a crumpled, deflated pig, from snout to tail.  But we're not looking a gift pig-sack in the mouth.  We're very grateful to have it, because after doing some research, I found out that it is in fact very difficult to obtain human skin.  And Dave's terrible at the tuck.
We set to work carving up sheets and stacking them in the freezer.  Dave is already planning to tattoo the map to dry land from Waterworld, and I am going to do the scalp treasure map from Cutthroat Island.  After mastering maps we'll branch out into other more marketable genres.
Here is the finished product ready to be frozen.  Don't mind the lotion, I forgot to put it away in the basket.
 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Iron Maiden

In between treks to the Circle K to get Mountain Dew for our sensei and wiping the sweat off his brow as he completes his latest human skin masterpiece, Dave and I have a lot of time on our hands to work on our own artwork.  I've just started a portrait of Joshua's wife, Nichole.  She's kind of like a walking portfolio of some of his best work.


The awesome thing about white chalk and charcoal on grey paper is that A) everything goes so much faster so you have time to do other more important things like check your facebook news feed, B) it forces you to simplify your half-tones, and C) as an added bonus it turns everyone into the Tin Man.


I managed to finish this drawing today after scarfing down a trusty bacon doughnut to jettison me over the finish line.  Here's a close up.


For the people who read this blog to glean strategies to apply to their own work ("They're doing what?"), here is an in-progress shot of the face after the features were placed in with vine charcoal and before I committed to them with General's pencil charcoal.  Vine charcoal is a great way to ensure that you can completely erase your erroneous tracks and pretend to be a virtuoso by presenting a very fresh and clean looking finished drawing.