Studies for paintings: art archive

two sketched portraitsHere are some sketchbook studies from some years ago. Two of these (above right and farther below) turned into oil paintings (working in thin glazes) on wood panels, frames painted to match.

oil painting of an angel

two portrait studies
These two are clearly showing the influence of one Egon Shiele.

In the case of the studies (second set in particular), I believe the finished pieces lost something in the translations; the faces are more expressive in the studies, the light and shadows more dramatic and compelling.

oil painting portrait


Ink works: art archive

ink illustration of three friendsApologies! This was meant to post yesterday— the danger of three day weekends; one forgets what day it is.

Anyway, I love this drawing! It’s an illustration that I did (in ink) as a full page for a magazine layout project back in the day. It’s my friends Kelley, Thomas, and Sean (but they were in the cafeteria at Pratt, not a cafe).

Continue reading

Early grotesques: art archive

two sketchbook drawingsA number of years ago I published a limited edition of a book of drawings entitled A Collection of Surmised Grotesques. It was a project that grew out of my sketchbook drawings; some were loosely based on observations, though many were invented out of whole cloth. Each page featured an individual, and a line or two about personality, or something he or she was thinking.

The two pages above, from a very old sketchbook, reminded me of those. Also, it’s something I’ve been contemplating revisiting, as it’s awfully fun.

Pages from Surmised Grotesques
Pages from Surmised Grotesques
Pages from Surmised Grotesques
Pages from Surmised Grotesques

Colors on whimsy: art archive

drawing of a chair
Some scans from an old sketchbook— whimsy with art markers.
whimsical banner
(Always with the forks)
drawing of a harlequin patterned tableThis one is a drawing of a table i inherited from my grandparents’ house. I stripped the top surfaces and painted a black and white harlequin pattern which nicely offset the brown veneer and brass-tipped legs. I had to leave it behind when I moved back to NYC in 1998, and my brother took it on. See photographic evidence below.
photo of a harlequin patterned table
The stereopticon (and lots of 3D images for it) was also from my grandparents.

Continue reading

Notes from the archives

While upstate over the holiday, I did some excavating and archiving of old art* and other things when I could find time. Often late at night, when the house was quiet.  The first night followed time spent watching old super 8 home movies from childhood. A natural progression, and something I’d planned to do this trip.

Time travel.

When I was in college my friends and I didn’t have our own phones, so we’d put sheets of paper on our doors for people to leave notes on. Inevitably some of them became elaborate volleys back-and-forth; sometimes we made random shit just for fun, or to say Hi to stick on each other’s doors.
notes left on my doors in collegeWe also wrote letters through the mail during summers apart because: 1. The cost of  “long distance” calls added up quickly, 2. We were all about visuals (what would delight and impress?),  and 3. The letters were things made just for you, delivered right to your mailbox.colorful envelopesOne thing that physical (analog) v. digital (instant) media has thrown into relief: When you know the recipient will not get your letter for days, and it’s already been days or more since they wrote you, you think about what will still be relevant by the time they read it. This tends to eliminate a majority of small talk.

What I mean is you tend to write about what’s important.

Continue reading

New year

The image above is an odd little thing I wrote when I was 23; I was photographing sketchbooks and other do-dads while I was at the Farm.
There will be more to come, art archive series.
.  .  .

It’s sunny today, a nice gift.
At midnight a new year begins,
everything cyclical.


Cartography of the subconscious

When I woke I discovered my heart cast shadows longer than dreams in places where we moved as children, cured of fear, and never looked back.

Sometimes when I wake I write down my dreams, or the bits I can remember. If I wake with the territory intact, I map it. The drawings are invariably simple, as the tools of consciousness are ill-suited to convey that kind of shifting complexity*, but it’s fun.

I found some bits of writing from several years ago; notes for a project I never quite started:

The terrain of the interior is known only in the abstract. The places there are monumental and organic– even cities seem not altogether manmade.

I’ve never seen boundaries, or approached an edge of it. Unlike a world in the round, the interior has a precipice beyond which lies a void. Or it may be a sphere, inversed— the center of which now lies at the edges of everywhere, for the laws of physics apply only as far as they are known and believed true.

dream map

The map is drawn as each footfall hits the ground; comes into existence ceaselessly. It’s fluid. Stars by which to navigate wink into existence with every step— constellations formed against losing one’s way in the darkness (but are soon forgotten).

The interior is never in focus all at once. Places obscured for a time will likely be redrawn, subtly or altogether, by the next time (or if) they come back into view.

dream blueprint

  • Edited to add: This is absolutely untrue; it’s what all of art is for, ultimately, but when time is of the essence, it can be true. Depends on one’s mindset, and one’s intention in the moment. These things percolate and eventually can at least come close to expressing the under-explored territories; that’s the goal, difficult as it can be.