Giant Robot Post-It Show 14

Giant Robot Gallery in Los Angeles has an annual group show where hundreds of artists are invited to submit small, 3x3” works on Post-It notes. The pieces can be bought for $25. It can be a fun way to score original art from your favorite artists and illustrators or discover new stuff. After the initial week or two, the unsold work goes online. Here are some of the pieces I sent in for this year:

Here is the art I picked up last year:

 My first GR issue! >sigh<

My first GR issue! >sigh<

You may remember Giant Robot as a magazine in the 1990’s-2000’s. When I was a young Mid-Atlantic Gen-Xer, discovering anime through fan-subtitled VHS tapes, Giant Robot was essential. The magazine was all about West Coast, Asian-American and Asian pop culture. I devoured every issue. I wouldn’t say I was obsessed… but I was buying pirated Faye Wong CD’s when I visited Toronto, listening to Cibo Matto*, and giddily awaiting the Disney release of the new Miyazaki movie, Princess Mononoke. The editor then, Eric Nakamura, created the Giant Robot brand and runs the current gallery in Los Angeles. The gallery continues to promote Asian-American artists and West Coast pop and street art. Everyone should follow.


*Cibo Matto’s 1996 video, ”Sugar Water”, was directed by uber 1990’s music video director, Michel Gondry. The video is pretty great. Prior to ”Sugar Water”, he made the Bjork videos, ”Human Behavior” and ”Army of Me”. After, he made Daft Punk’s ”Around the World” and Kylie Minogue’s ”Come into My World”.
”Army of Me” and Minogue’s ”Can’t Get You Out of My Head” are two of the greatest music videos ever made.

Oil Paint Maze

So all my morning painting, ink detail drawing, IG following, and frame building has brought me to this. My first oil painting maze.. I am kind of super excited, because it is freaking awesome. That said, it is 10,000 miles from where I want to be.

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Frames

I made frames to hold my oil study panels. They turned out pretty great.

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Frames are pine edge molding, mitered and glued. Glued cloth strips for additional strength. Black acid free matte board sets the painting back from the frame. Glazing points used to hold work in frame. Framed primed and painted with several coats of semi-gloss black acrylic.

Morning Painting

I’m trying to paint every morning.   

All the paintings are oil studies and started around 6am. The scene is facing west toward the Whitestone Bridge and Manhattan. I adjust the horizon depending if I want to paint the foreground water, which is especially challenging. The short term goal is teaching discipline, and, in a couple of months, have enough to fill a really big wall. Long term, I want a better grasp of the medium so I can dump 50 hours on a painting (a maze?) and not be overly disappointed!

The panels are gessoed hardboard, 8”x12”

All these and more are now for sale in my shop!

Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens

In April, I visited the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach, Florida. Winding paths through palm gardens and monumental sculptures- it’s perfect. I took many pictures... Norton’s towering Gate sculptures loom out of the foliage or are revealed around bends of the path.

This summer I made a maze based on the gardens. Here is a detail.

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You can see the full puzzle on my Twitter!

Collaboration Part 1

I find making circular mazes a challenge. I have  designed a few flat circular puzzles and then redrawn them as steps and buildings, but the results are unsatisfactory. The final work feels heavy and burdensome. They are overly complicated. So when I discovered Henry Cheung’s Instagram feed @henryscheung I was inspired! He photographs the circle mazes he has elegantly doodled in coffee shops adjacent to lattes on warm surfaces of wood, tile, or stone.

After liking a bunch of his photos, Henry and I chatted about mazes. He was cool with me trying to convert one of his puzzles into my style! I printed out a few and got to sketching. The first one was a little lumpy. For my second attempt, I laid down some guidelines to keep the isometric under control. This was better.

 The guidelines help me translate Henry’s lovey shapes better. I loathe rules, but some structure in the beginning can really help. You can see me marking off parts of the original as I go. &nbsp;

The guidelines help me translate Henry’s lovey shapes better. I loathe rules, but some structure in the beginning can really help. You can see me marking off parts of the original as I go.  

 I’m happy with the puzzle, but I’d like more detail. My original is only a few inches wide, so the stairs are especially gnarly. Upscale the old-timey way!

I’m happy with the puzzle, but I’d like more detail. My original is only a few inches wide, so the stairs are especially gnarly. Upscale the old-timey way!

I drew my version too small. I wanted more detail, so I scaled it up to ink onto larger watercolor paper. I will eventually paint it, but for now I’m happy with the digital coloring. This way I can play with color choices before laying down the real thing!

 Collaboration between me and Henry Cheung. The foundation is totally his puzzle. See if you can match how his fits!&nbsp;

Collaboration between me and Henry Cheung. The foundation is totally his puzzle. See if you can match how his fits! 

The final result is great. Collaborations are awesome! Follow @henryscheung on Instagram, your feed will be more beautiful.

Visit My Instagram

Want something new almost every day? Follow my Instagram! It’s much less formal than this blog. Sometimes I post mazes, but often I post other projects I’m working on. Here are my last three posts: 

 I made this especially for IG, you can tell because it is exactly 2:1, taking advantage of the panoramic feature. It’s simple but fun. The statues are based on IG NYC folks I follow.  

I made this especially for IG, you can tell because it is exactly 2:1, taking advantage of the panoramic feature. It’s simple but fun. The statues are based on IG NYC folks I follow.  

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Ballpoint practice with White House chief of staff John Kelly. I’m not a fan, just think he has an interesting face.  He reminds me of the cop played by Richard Burgi in the Firefly episode “The Message”. 

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Also getting into relief print. I was totally into woodblock as a younger man and have been carving again. You can see that my skills are a bit rusty, but my work translates well. Follow my progress on Instagram! 

Postcards

Last year I printed promotional postcards to share at signings and with bookstores and contacts. I used the online company, Next Day Flyers. One of the folks at the company liked the cards so much, they wanted to do an interview about the book, my work, and why I chose Next Day Flyers! Check it out —>

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Next Day Flyers did a great job. I had not had anything printed for a while and settled on them based on rating and price.  Since I had plenty of time, turn-around was not an issue. It was important that the card felt like a traditional postcard to be saved and not like a throwaway advertisement. I did a little research on card weights, sizes, and finishes and found just what I needed in their inventory. I designed my cards in Photoshop and uploaded my art into their template. The template is straight-forward with layers, guidelines and font choices. The cards arrived on schedule.

  I’m glad I did my research and the final product turned out perfect!

Oh, if you want a postcard, just send me an email. Be sure to let me know if you want it with a message or pristine in an envelope. 

Ballpoint Practice

Here’s a little maze I did in ballpoint pen. Unusually, I didn’t lay it out first, just started in the uppper left and worked across the page. Real iRobot plotter style.  

 The squiggles at the top are cleaning my pen. I still get globbies though. I’m not sure how the pros avoid it.  

The squiggles at the top are cleaning my pen. I still get globbies though. I’m not sure how the pros avoid it.  

I’ve been playing around with ballpoint for a few weeks now, practicing patience and control. I’ve posted a some on my Instagram, but most I will hide until I get better. I have a ways to go!  There are several artists I follow who do ballpoint work, like Nicolas Sanchez and Guno Park

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This Brutal Maze

It's been a while since I've posted a maze. Here I'm playing with Brutalist Architecture- which has been quite the internet trend for a bit now. I am happy with how the maze turned out. It is simple, a little tricky, and has very clear paths.  

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If you want more cool buildings every day, follow @BrutalHouse on Twitter!

UPDATE: This is now available as an art print on my Society6 shop
UPDATE: Also as a shirt or other apparel in my Threadless shop!

Watercolor and Ink

Still playing with ink and watercolor.

I'm really into the artists Cinta Vidal and Sadi Tekin right now. Vidal paints beautiful multi-perspective buildings and interiors. Like my cube mazes, but intimate and fully realistic. Tekin is a very clever illustrator with great line work and often gentle colors.

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So here, the maze is simple, but I wanted the paths to be on every visible side with the steps connecting them (Vidal). I also tried to use the least amount of pigment to emphasize the lines and space. (Tekin)

I quickly added the labels digitally for posting with one of my favorite photo apps, Halftone.

Non-Digital

Opening the ink and paint for the metrocard project has made me excited to continue the non-digital stuff for a bit. Before trying to paint an entire piece, I made some tiny watercolor studies. These are a little shaky, as I'm still adjusting to the different pen widths. Also, watercolor is WAY out of my comfort zone.

It is very fun though!

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