Thursday, July 28, 2011

Parliament of Owls. Vote for your favorite!

I've been drawing an owl a day for a little over a week. I've been using different styles; sometimes they are realistic, sometimes they are goofy. The realistic ones are my favorites. I'm now posting them as I draw them each day on my Tumblr.

Vote for your favorite! Is there any kind of owl you'd like to see?












Songbird - Fleetwood Mac

And Your Bird Can Sing - The Beatles

One Last "Whoo-hoo!" For The Pullman - Sufjan Stevens

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Font Salad.

Yesterday I attended an illustration event called Drink & Draw Chicago. I drew this font salad, full of lettuce letters (and colored the background afterwards).


Vega-Tables - Brian Wilson

Tables & Chairs - Andrew Bird

Friday, July 22, 2011

Videos and Effects - Jacob Kassnoff.

My brother Jacob has been recording and creating numerous videos lately. He's been sharing them on his YouTube channel, and has been building props and working with a lot effects in his vlogs, and making music videos. Here are my favorites.

Song (video also by him):

Sleep - The Dandy Warhols

Monday, July 18, 2011

Duct Tape Instruments

I'm listing several of my duct tape instruments on Etsy. I made them for photography projects back in college, and had a lot of fun constructing them. The entire series can be found here.


A Quick One While He's Away - The Who (Cello, Cello, Cello, Cello)

Little Brown Jug - Glenn Miller Orchestra

Rhapsody in Blue - George Gershwin

Sandy Skoglund.

            Sandy Skoglund is a photographer famous for her elaborate photographs and attention to color. Arguably, her most memorable piece might be “Radioactive Cats,” which features a couple clad in gray, sitting in a gray room, decorated with gray furniture. The room would appear to be a very dull interior, if not overrun with dozens of lime green cats. There are cats on the table, the refrigerator, the radiator, and the floor. The couple does not react to the cats, quite unbelievable for their numbers and alien color.
“Radioactive Cats.”
            Ms. Skoglund has used this eye-catching technique to both humorous and commentative effect. She usually sculpts these repetitive, yet often distinct creatures, and places them in interactive situations with humans. She created “Revenge of the Goldfish,” where goldfish swim in a family’s room that has suddenly taken on the dual role of a human dwelling and an aquarium. She uses visual puns, such as in “Walking on Eggshells.”
“Revenge of the Goldfish.”
She has created several socio-political commentaries. “The Cold War,” depicts a cowering man and “yellow,” ceramic dog in a yellow room, cornered by legions of ruby-red militia and missiles. With “Hangers,” she raises the issue of abortion by placing coat hangers, rubber gloves, and children’s toys in the same room.
I enjoy Sandy Skoglund’s work. I like the idea of playing with color to emphasize an object or situation. I think she has a lot of stick-to-itiveness to be crafting these photos using the same visual format since she began in the 1970s, yet refreshing the images and subject matter every time. I like that fact that she creates these repetitive animals, and works with a very obsessive process. Even the most chaotic-looking photos have a set semblance of order.
I think Sandy Skoglund’s work has influenced me considerably. I like constructing colorful objects, and using color and color theory to my advantage. A lot can be said with monochromatic or dichromatic color schemes. Obsessive patterns and arrangements lend a detailed polish to scenic images. It is also refreshing to create fantastical photographs that would not be seen in day-to-day life. Photography can be realistic and documentary, but it is also exciting to use the camera as a canvas, to draw or paint ideas (without drawing or painting in the traditional sense of the media). She inspired a series of musical instrument photographs I made, with the musicians playing instruments the same color as their clothes and the rooms they were in.
"Laws of Interior Design."
In Ms. Skoglund’s “True Fiction Two” series, she explores different people’s interactions with cars, using a slightly wider color palette and a more realistic setting, yet still retaining her audiences “Can this actually exist?” belief. I would like to explore this mix of reality and created scenery in my work. Her pieces are like sculptures, but rather than present them as documented performance art, she presents them as still photographs. It seems very theatrical to me, like Atget. I like bold colors, patterns, and scenic details; so naturally, I am drawn to her images. However, I wish she had more images of her process. Each photo seems painstaking to produce, but it would be interesting to also see how she created these scenes. I like the final product, but since it takes that much orchestration, I would like to see the rehearsals and the behind the scenes moments, too.


Brush, Brush, Brush - of Montreal (YouTube)
Wildcat - Ratatat
Fisher of Man - M. Ward

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Work On My Portfolio Site!

I've updated my portfolio site with some new work that I've made since moving to Chicago. There are recent drawings, a lamp, and new photographs of concerts and the city's architecture. I have added several panoramas that I'm really excited about. This city's got a great skyline! Check it out at


Chicago - Rachel Ries

Friday, July 8, 2011

"It's Enough to Make You Go Crazy!"

Over the past year and a half, I've had so much fun playing music on CHIRP Radio. One of my favorite parts about DJ-ing is creating playlists based on themes and playing requests. Here's my Madness show, broadcast on 6-23-11. 

Brain Coral. ( EL Wire and Fabric, 2008).

11:57AM [REQUEST] Syd Barrett Dark Globe from The Madcap Laughs (Capitol)
11:53AM Ryley Walker The Dome of Many-Colored Glass from The Evidence of Things Unseen (Plustapes)
11:49AM Dan Mei & Marc Johnce My Life On The Crazy Train Sucks (So What?) (Kelly Clarkson vs. Ozzy Osbourne vs. Pink vs. Daft Punk) from Best of Bootie 2009 (Unknown)
11:44AM [REQUEST] The Flaming Lips Brain Damage from The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side Of The Moon (Warner Bros.)
11:40AM Helado Negro Globitos from Canta Lechuza (Asthmatic Kitty)
11:35AM [REQUEST] Blondie The Tide is High from Autoamerican (Chrysalis)
11:33AM [REQUEST] Kid Cudi Trapped in My Mind from Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager (Dream On/GOOD Music/Universal Motown)
11:27AM Guster Center Of Attention from Lost & Gone Forever (Reprise/Wea)
11:24AM Cults You Know What I Mean from Cults (Columbia)
11:19AM Handsome Boy Modeling School The World's Gone Mad (feat Del The Funky Homosapien, Barrington Levy and Alex Kapranos) from White People (Elektra)
11:14AM [REQUEST] Bruce Lash Psycho Killer from Prozak for Lovers II (Bruce Lash)
11:12AM Devo Mind Games from Something For Everybody (Warner Bros.)
11:07AM F***ed Up Turn the Season from David Comes to Life (Matador)
11:05AM [REQUEST] The Ramones I Wanna Be Sedated from Road to Ruin (Sire)
10:59AM Death Cab for Cutie You are a Tourist from Codes and Keys (Atlantic)
10:56AM Rick Rizzo and Tara Key Insanity Stomp from Double Star (Thrill Jockey)
10:52AM Bon Iver Calgary from Bon Iver (Jagjaguwar)
10:46AM Battles Ice Cream (featuring Matias Aguayo) from Gloss Drop (Warp)
10:43AM Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse Insane Lullaby from Dark Night Of The Soul (EMI)
10:41AM The Beach Boys I Just Wasn't Made For These Times from Pet Sounds (Capitol)
10:36AM Brett Dennen Feat. Femi Kuti Make You Crazy from Hope For The Hopeless (Dualtone)
10:31AM [REQUEST] Against Me! How Low? from Searching for a Former Clarity (Fat Wreck Chords)
10:27AM Canasta Slow Down Chicago from We Were Set Up (Broken Middle C)
10:22AM Mates Of State Like U Crazy from Bring It Back (Barsuk)
10:18AM Givers Ceiling of Plankton from In Light (Glassnote)
10:16AM [REQUEST] Ryan Adams Nervous Breakdown from Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three(Sanctuary)
10:14AM Seapony Always from Go With Me (Hardly Art)
10:11AM Man Man I'd Rather Go Blind from I'd Rather Go Blind (Single) (Unknown)
10:07AM [REQUEST] Lindsey Buckingham Go Insane from Go Insane (Reprise/Warner)
10:02AM The Rolling Stones 19th Nervous Breakdown from 19th Nervous Breakdown (Single) (Decca)
10:00AM Hypnotic Brass Ensemble Touch the Sky from Bulletproof Brass (ChoiceCuts)
9:57AM Booker T. Jones Crazy from The Road from Memphis (ANTI-)
9:53AM Smoking Popes Freakin Out from This is Only a Test (Asian Man)
9:48AM [REQUEST] The Avett Brothers Paranoia in B-flat Major from Emotionalism (Ramseur)
9:44AM [REQUEST] Suicidal Tendencies Institutionalized from Suicidal Tendencies (Frontier)
9:40AM Janelle Monae Tightrope (feat. Big Boi) from The ArchAndroid (Bad Boy)
9:36AM [REQUEST] The Magnetic Fields You Must Be Out Of Your Mind from Realism (Nonesuch)
9:32AM Sondre Lerche Living Dangerously from Sondre Lerche (Mona)
9:27AM Weezer Undone - The Sweater Song from Weezer (Blue Album) (Geffen)
9:22AM Sukhwinder Singh, Nisha, Vishal-Shekhar, Caralisa & Marianne Dard-e-disco from Om Shanti Om (T-Series)
9:18AM Wanda Jackson Nervous Breakdown from The Party Ain't Over (Nonesuch)
9:16AM [REQUEST] Madness Madness (Is All In The Mind) from The Rise and Fall (Stiff)
9:11AM Vetiver Can't You Tell from The Errant Charm (Sub Pop)
9:06AM [REQUEST] Bright Eyes At The Bottom Of Everything from I'm Wide Awake It's Morning (Saddle Creek)
9:03AM [REQUEST] The Missing Links You're Driving Me Insane from Driving You Insane (Half A Cow Aus/Zoom)
8:59AM Pixies Where Is My Mind from Surfer Rosa (4AD)
8:54AM The Avalanches Frontier Psychiatrist from Since I Left You (Modular)

Watercolor Pencils.

I bought a new set of watercolor pencils & a watercolor sketchpad this week. You can use them in a number of ways. Drawing with the pencils as you normally would, dipping the pencil in water, washing over the paper before drawing, or washing and blending with a brush after drawing. I've discovered the last way is the easiest to work with. Here are a couple sketches (by request).

Squid Eating an Apple.

Elephants & Acacia Trees.


Cue The Elephants - Bishop Allen

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July from Morris Baxter!


Star Spangled Banner - Jake Shimabukuro

July, July! - The Decemberists

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fabric Color Chart.

 I have a lot of fabric pieces, and decided to organize them into a handy color chart. It's sew exciting.

One of my favorite patterns.

Bonus Box of Thread. It's like a Pantone Chart!

You're So Square (Baby, I Don't Care) - Buddy Holly

Squareneck - Thao & Mirah