Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Illustration Month, Year 2.

January is approaching quickly, which means it's almost time for Illustration Month. Here's the basic idea: Pick a story & draw scenes from it, in a month. I've been really enjoying reading travel novels and anthologies lately, so I'm going to draw scenes from Jules Verne's Around the World In 80 Days. What book (or story) would YOU pick?

Illustration Month's now on Twitter & Facebook. Check it out.


Come Fly With Me - Frank Sinatra

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things...

I wrote a collection of my favorite songs from this year over on CHIRP Radio's Blog. You can listen to the station here. And hopefully soon on the airwaves, thanks to the Local Community Radio Act. CHIRP has been a big part of my Chicago experience so far, with DJing, concerts, and in-depth music discussions. Thanks to them for introducing me to many awesome songs and artists, and having a stellar radio broadcast!

I am listening to LCD Soundsystem in this photo.

The CHIRP Record Fair, 2009. Photo by Sarah Gonzalez.


We Used to Wait - The Arcade Fire (at thewildernessdowntown)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cookies in Everyone's Favorite Shapes

My Mom sent me a New York cookie cutter (via annclark) for my birthday, and Grandma B gave me sprinkles, so I decided to make cookies with Sarah's & my favorite states & animals. I made cookie cutters of Oregon, a koala, and an owl.

Oregon & New York.

A koala & a snowy owl.

And they all turned out deliciously. (With a loose representation of the Finger Lakes.)

Songs & Videos (YouTube):

Spoonful Of Sugar - of Montreal

Sweet Thing - Diana Ross & The Supremes

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays From the Christmakkahdon!

Because the best way to wish everyone a happy holiday season is with dinosaurs. Yeah Christmakkah!


Rock of Ages - Ben Kweller (HypeMachine)

Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town - Bruce Springsteen

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hello Etsy, It's Been a While

I've begun using Etsy again. I set up a shop last year, but didn't quite understand how it worked. Now, after seeing some of the best at the Renegade Craft Fair & the worst on Regretsy, I've decided to try it out with a little more of my work. It's a lovely way for artists to connect with each other and sell in a worldwide marketplace. People can even request custom items. This time I've added a lot of my senior work to my shop, It'll Glow On You.

A bioluminescent menagerie in my old studio space with works in progress. (The basket starfish would later become orange.)


Carnival of the Animals: The Aquarium - Camille Saint-Saëns

Friday, December 10, 2010

They Draw & Cook... Matzo Ball Soup

One of my drawings was featured on the blog They Draw & Cook. They are doing a showcase of holiday recipes throughout December, and even though it's a Passover food, Matzo Ball Soup is a perfect winter dish. Here's my drawing (Click the image to make it larger): 

Here's one of the original sketches.


I highly recommend the soup!

A Song: 

A Million Matzoh Balls - Dean Friedman (Artist's Website)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Rabbi, Is There a Blessing for a Sewing Machine?"

"There is a blessing for everything." - Fiddler on the Roof.

I recently bought a new sewing machine, and it is absolutely wonderful. It does 80 different stitches and comes with 8 presser feet. It's like upgrading from a basic drawing pixel software to Adobe's CS5. So far, I've only used one foot, but already can get an amazing range of stitches.

Test Pattern:

So to christen the new sewing machine, Sarah requested a Chanukah/Hanukkah decoration.

Check out the stitching around the star. Autostitch #09!

Needless to say, it'll keep me in stitches for quite a while. And I'll leave you with this:

Song & a Video:

Chanukkah Under the Stars - Fountains of Wayne (iLike)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Olafur Eliasson's Daylight Map

Recently I've been perusing a copy of The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography, which is a wonderful anthology that covers an endless variety of mediums and subjects. From purely visual aesthetics to historically and politically charged imagery, these maps use everything, including computer parts, souvenir t-shirts, fur, paint, glass, file cabinets, and even steamrollers.

One of my favorites (for obvious reasons), is Olafur Eliasson's "Daylight Map," 2005.

It's a map of the different time zones of the world, and during the daylight hours in each time zone, those particular pieces of neon on the map are lit. Kinetic light sculptures are fantastic!

Songs (YouTube): 

Maps - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Map of the World - Monsters of Folk

Monday, October 25, 2010

Art Depth - Open Figure Drawing

Open drawing studios are always exciting. Last week I went to an open figure drawing event called Art Depth. It was nice, albeit being late on a weeknight. There were four models who would hold nursery rhyme-themed poses for at minimum 15 minutes. I enjoyed the dynamic of a whole room sketching the same models from all different angles, as I have not drawn like that since school. There was also an option to shoot photos with the models if you did not wanth to sketch.
The nursery rhymes.

Here are my sketches, slightly NSFW (figure drawing). The first three are 15-minute sketches, & the last one is a 20-minute drawing.


Yeah, But I Can Rhyme Though - Homeboy Sandman (YouTube)

Peter's Painful Puns - Wait Wait Don't Tell Me (NPR)

Friday, October 22, 2010


Photo from the Big Picture.
There's been a lot of news about JR lately, the artist who is famous for posting enormous portraits on the favelas in Rio de Janiero. The New York Times reports that he is the recipient of the TED award, which helps fund global community-improving projects.

His music video work was also featured in the Wooster Collective.

Find more information on Artsy's JR page!

Here is an essay I wrote when I found out about his work, in 2008:

The photographer JR creates stunning portraits. JR has posted his images not in galleries, but directly in the public’s view in the favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. By choosing to put the portraits up on buildings in some of the poorest neighborhoods, he displays the faces of the women in their hometowns. This project is meant to focus on their strength. It is called “Women are Heroes.”

This project is a continuation of the Frenchman’s photographic explorations of other weathered towns around the world, specifically, in Africa. JR has taken portraits in Kenya, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Sudan. He plans on continuing photographing women around the globe, heading back to Africa and also to Asia. He has been taking pictures of women whose families have been attacked, beaten, and killed by police and soldiers.

In an interview, he recalls how the women look dead and defeated, but come to life when they are asked to pose for his camera. Despite the gravity of his subjects’ lives and situations, his portraits are often not serious-faced, with the women giving outright silly expressions to the camera. It is interesting that throughout these women’s tribulations, they still oblige JR’s requests for bemused faces.

I like this project. I think its enlightening for JR to share these pictures around the globe. He has even put up enormous-scale prints on buildings in Europe, and perhaps he’ll display them in the US, where people here can see them and try to find out more about them. The initial impact of seeing these giant black and white eyes peering out from homes, not from windows, but from the actual favela homes people live in, is pretty dramatic. Hearing about the experiences from some of these women provides much more explanation than any artist statement could depict (
interviews here). His website shows not only the photographs, but the crowds of people observing his work everywhere he installs. Perhaps with his portraits, he can bring notice of the plights of these women to the tourists who come to Rio de Janeiro.

Upon seeing large outdoor images without words, I want to hear an explanation of what is going on. I think his project is more accessible (in more languages) without text. Text conjures the notion of advertisement, and in a fast-paced, touristy city, the meaning might be lost or merely glossed over in a rush.

I think it is gutsy for JR to introduce himself to these women and ask them to often share their most painful memories, and alternately, to give him whimsical faces to place on the side of a large building (or several) in their towns.

It makes me wonder what artwork he produces in his French hometown. Does he place the same pictures on buildings, bridges, and cars there, too? How did he first find out about the plights of these women? Does he keep in contact with the women he photographed?

I’m glad his artwork is aiming towards social reform, raising awareness within these women’s own communities and hopefully grabbing the attention of the world. 

And indeed it has.

Songs (YouTube):

Camera Talk - Local Natives

Photograph - Ringo Starr

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Every fall, as the leaves change colors, my favorite way to gear up for Halloween involves carving pumpkins. What better place to find them than in Pumpkinville? Western New York's most orange-tastic attraction.

 Pumpkin flavored, naturally.

Cider Press. 

30 years ago.

Songs (YouTube):

The Great Pumpkin Waltz - Vince Guaraldi

1979 - Smashing Pumpkins

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Getting a Bit Graphic...

With graphic novels, that is!

Recently, my friend Tony Breed, who writes a wonderful webcomic called Finn & Charlie are Hitched, was on a hunt for the best books in the graphic novel genre. Here's my personal Top 3.

Maus by Art Spiegelman. Mr. Spiegelman interviews his father about his experience during the Holocaust. It's written in two volumes, A Survivor's Tale, & My Father Bleeds History.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Also written in two volumes, The Story of a Childhood, & The Story of a Return, it's Ms. Satrapi's memoir of life in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. It has since been made into a film.

Local by Brian Wood & Ryan Kelly. Local looks into the life of Megan McKeenan, who migrates  across North America, stopping for a year in twelve different cities. She even stops in Wicker Park, Chicago. What's an added bonus, the detail is uncanny, & the scenery is recognizable from city-to-city.

The Flat Iron, in Wicker Park, Chicago.

Songs (on YouTube):

New Yorker Cartoon - Jenny & Johnny

You Could Write A Book - Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin

A Different City - Modest Mouse

Sunday, September 19, 2010

All Things Go, All Things Go.

A Playlist for Chicago: My Top 10.

Taste of Chicago.

The Bean. (Cloud Gate.)

Willis Tower.

In the Loop.

Seurat at the Art Institute.

Chicago - Sufjan Stevens

Lake Michigan - Rogue Wave

Twist & Shout - The Beatles (From Ferris Bueller)

The Giant of Illinois - Andrew Bird

Slow Down Chicago - Canasta (Thank you to the fine folks of CHIRP Radio for introducing me to this.)

Chicago - Lucy Wainwright Roche

Chicago Falcon - Budos Band

Chicago - Frank Sinatra

We Both Reached for the Gun - Chicago (The Musical)

Whole Lotta Losin' - Monsters of Folk

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I Know New York, I Need New York, I Know I Need Unique New York

A Playlist for New York State: My Top 10.

Lake Ontario, Webster Park Pier.

Lake Ontario, Bay Bridge.

Southern Tier Expressway.

Southern Tier Expressway.

Ellis Island.

Song For Myla Goldberg - The Decemberists

New York, New York - Frank Sinatra

New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down - LCD Soundsystem
Bonus Mashup Video! (via Pitchfork)

Empire State of Mind - Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys

Lost In New York - Emma Tricca (last.fm)

The Only Living Boy In New York - Simon & Garfunkel

The Oldest Established (Permanent Floating Crap Game In New York) - Guys & Dolls

New York, New York - On The Town (YouTube)

New York, New York - Ryan Adams

New York State Of Mind - Billy Joel