Friday, October 22, 2021

52 Fridays - The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari


This week's Halloween edition of the 52 Fridays drawing project is from the 1920 German Expressionist masterpiece "The Cabinet of Caligari". This wide-eyed zombie slave was the face that launched a thousand Goth garage bands. I'm thinking particularly of Peter Murphy and the British band Bauhaus. German Expressionism has certainly influenced my art, because it, like primitive art, touches on darkness and raw primordial power. My drawing emphasizes the eyes and feels more fearful than the source image. He looks more like a child. I used half an ink pen trying to get those deep blacks, which ironically enough, are shiny and always reflect light, so it's difficult to get a good photo of it. I'd like to try this one again using pencil or maybe even paint it.

Have a scary weekend!


Friday, October 15, 2021

52 Fridays - Invasion of the Saucer-Men


Happy Friday! This week's drawing is from the 1957 sci-fi/horror classic "Invasion of the Saucer-Men" and features the archetypical alien 1950s alien design of a little "green" (it's a b&w movie, so we'll just have to take the character's word for it) man with a massive, exposed brain and big bug-eyes to match. These particular creatures also have eyeballs on their hands and needles that come out of their fingertips that inject alcohol! I rewatched it other night, the full movie is easy to find online, and really enjoyed this campy tale of teenagers fighting against the threat from outer space.

I'm not thrilled with my drawing, was in a bit of a hurry this week. The rightsize eye is just wrong and I could have taken more care with the detail, but it still gets the flavor of that creepy visitor.

Happy Halloween!


Friday, October 08, 2021

52 Fridays - I Was A Teenage Frankenstein


Happy Horror Friday! Here's my second Halloween-themed drawing for October, this one from that 1957 B-movie classic, well maybe it's not quite a "classic", but a damn memorable title and creature, "I Was A Teenage Frankenstein"! I have never seen this movie, but have always loved the crazy creature design ever since I first saw it in the pages of "Famous Monsters of Filmland" magazine all those years ago. Growing up as a geeky, outsider kid with really bad acne, I related to monsters, felt like this guy some bad days in junior high. (sidebar - sometimes when I'm a bit down I remind myself, "At least I'm not in Junior High School anymore!" and that always lifts my spirits!) Besides the extreme, twisted damage to his face, I also like his crazy, shock hairdo. 

Stay weird!


Friday, October 01, 2021

52 Fridays - IT! Terror From Beyond Space


Happy Friday! First day of October, which means the kick-off for the Halloween season. I grew up in the 70s and 80s (actually, I haven't really grown up fully, still working on it) happily neck deep in a classic era of horror and sci-fi movies, so Halloween is a special time of the year for me. With that in mind, I will be drawing from those old, beautiful creature features for my drawing references this month. First up is the lovable, pig-like lizard alien from the 1958 pulpy standard, "IT! The Terror From Beyond Space". This man-in-a-suit-on-a-rampage potboiler was one of the acknowledged inspirations for the first "Alien" (1979 - Ridley Scott).   There's something dark and primal in this rough, low budget rubber monster that connects my brain to the tribal mask art that I normally draw from and also gave me a flavor of a Francis Bacon painting. That connective thread between so-called "high-art" and "low-art" is tight and I get a similar experience from both, but then isn't all art but a mirror? You can't help but to filter what you experience through yourself. Besides, it's just fun to draw monsters.

Happy Halloween!


Friday, September 24, 2021

52 Fridays - A Gentle Soul


How often in your life to you encounter a gentle soul? When you have, were you able to slow down and appreciate them, make some space for them in your life? It can be difficult to do in this squeaky wheel world where the din of outrage gets a bit higher everyday. I've been fortunate to have more than few gentle souls cross my path, even was married to one once, and they are a rare and beautiful resource that we need to nurture. 

This week's drawing is of a figure, probably African, though there was no reference info on the Instagram posting (johngrahmatribalart) that looks to be a gentle soul. I chose it for that reason and also because of the lovely, long neck, interesting diamond-shaped head and serene expression. This is week thirty-nine of the drawing project, just thirteen more drawings to go!

What has been your favorite so far?

Have a good week.


Friday, September 17, 2021

52 Fridays - in Heaven, Everything is Fine


Greeting from Dublin, Ireland! It’s a rainy Friday here, perfect atmosphere for listening to some Mose Allison and doing a drawing. “In heaven, everything is fine.” My favorite quote from David Lynch’s first feature film, ”EraserHead”, and what I thought of when I saw this Bangwa figurine from Cameron found the IG feed of “lesboisnoirs” . A broken figure, hands nervously clutched together, feet shuffling out a slow, small dance and high, thin voice singing a weird song. Heaven has been on my mind and heart this week as I carried loved one’s ashes to scatter in the West of this green island. At times I wondered if the chaos of the world would block my way, but I have prevailed and now everything is fine. 

Whatever stands in your way, don’t let it stop you. Keep your feet moving and sing your song. You will get there…

See you next week,


Friday, September 10, 2021

52 Fridays- The Song of the Songye

Happy Friday! This week’s drawing is from the Songye people if Africa. I drew from an image I found on the Instagram account of evansafricanart.

Have a good week!


Friday, September 03, 2021

52 Fridays - You Had Me at Bobo


How can anyone resist Bobo? Maybe a creepy clown named Bobo, but otherwise, Bobo just sounds like fun. If I ever ran for President (I never will, overqualified), I would change my name to Bobo and surely would win. This week's drawing subject is a Bobo statue (Calao) Mali I discovered through the Instagram account of Artwork Baillod, a private Swiss collection of African Art. You can visit their website here. This figure made me think of Tim Burton's work, particularly "Beetlejuice" and the always reliably zany cartoonist Lynda Barry. He looks like a proud Bobo, with that grin and groovy hat. It was a lot of fun to draw him. If you are feeling stressed, drop what you are doing and draw a Bobo!

I've noticed that there have been more visitors to my blog in the last month or so, and I appreciate everyone taking a break from the million other eyeball options and resting here for a moment. Your eyeballs are welcome!

Have a good week!


Friday, August 27, 2021

52 Fridays - Happier Vibes


Somehow we have made it to another Friday as this year of our (your? their?) Lord 2021 grinds on... I hope everything in your corner of the universe is going well. If so, then count your blessings. I try to do that everyday.

This week's drawing is a Dan Mask by the sculptor "Zon" from the Ivory Coast and Liberia region of west Africa. Once more, I returned to the fertile Instagram feed of "feereafricanart" So many wonderful examples of African art there. As always, if you enjoy this image, please take a moment to read about the history and origin of the Dan people so you can fully appreciate it. I love tribal art from all around the world, but African tribal art has a particular power and influence in my creative life. 

So, "happier vibes"? How so? After feeling the DOOM of life in 2021 closing in on me this last month, I am lighter today. Reminded myself that in my three feet of space, all is content and well. That all my hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing doesn't help or change anything. Better to keep a clear head, affect positive change where and when I can and let go of the rest. My interpretation of this mask shows that, as my version is narrower and has a gentler, less scary expression than the original. I like the original, and will draw it again sometime staying closer to the wider head, more intense eyes and larger lips, but I also like what I have done here. You got to love your imperfections. 

No change in materials, still using the same cheap, black Bic ballpoint pen in the same Muji notebook. Hope to have it filled by year's end.

Stay safe, be kind to everyone you meet and make something this week!


Friday, August 20, 2021

52 Fridays - Another Frankenstein


Week 34 of the 52 Fridays drawing project and this week's subject is a "Ekoi Widekum headcrest" from the North-West region of Cameroon in Africa. Another image I harvested from Instagram ( I really need to break free from Zuckerberg's web) on "ph.ilippe1003" account . This is a headcrest, so not actually a mask. I choose it because I like the elongated shape, moody shadows and that it reminded me of some weird Frankenstein's monster variant with the electrodes running down the sides of it's head. Drawn with a cheap Bic ballpoint pen on regular paper, nothing fancy. I like to work with everyday materials and not fetishize my tools and work materials too much as it can be a distraction. I also like the quality of line that ballpoint pens produce. 

How was your creative week? 

Thanks for stopping by, see you next week.


Friday, August 13, 2021

52 Fridays - Demons Loose in the Land


I'm so fuckin' tired of the virus, but the virus ain't tired of us yet, so here we are heading into fall with parts of the USA in total COVID free fall, hospitals getting overwhelmed by proudly unvaccinated morons who don't believe in science until they fall deathly ill, then they'll take all the science they can handle if it'll save their dumb ass.  I was actually hopefully for a few weeks in June that things were finally heading in a better direction, but now... Demons running loose in the lands. I won't unwind the whole DOOM spiral here as I'm trying to stay in the light, even shine some light. I'm trying real hard Ringo, but most days lately, it is not easy. 

Drawing and making something certainly helps blow those black clouds out. This week's drawing is another from the never ending stream of eye candy on Instagram and the account of "contemporarycongoleseart" . Here's a demonic looking "Tabwa" mask from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Tabwa people are known for their fine carvings both masks and figurines, but much of their culture remains a mystery. was this demon mask used to protect the village or ritually reenact past terrors that the village survived? 

See you next week,


Friday, August 06, 2021

52 Fridays - Red Frankenstein


Yes, I know that Frankenstein is the mad doctor's name and not the monster's, but "Red Frankenstein's Monster" just doesn't have the same ring to it. This drawing was inspired by an image of a "Grebo/Kru" mask I found on the Instagram account of "feereafricanart", a place that I have drawn from before. The Grebo people are from the Ivory Coast region of Africa and produced some amazingly weird and fantastic masks and other artworks. I know I'll be drawing from them again.

My version is very different from the original. There is some anxiety in mine that must be the result of reading the news first thing in the morning. I also leaned into the Frankenstein feeling and looking again, there's also a bit of Hellboy in there too. It was good to break out the color again and play with layering and throwing in some complementary highlights to sharpen the contrast and create some tension. 

Friend good, fire bad.


Friday, July 30, 2021

52 Fridays - Self-Portrait From the Future


I want more beans! Or at least I think I will eleven years from now. Why "more beans", probably because that's all there will be available to eat, cans of beans and SPAM, but I've sworn off SPAM, so bring on the beans! I guess it's optimistic to think that I'll be alive eleven years from now, but lately, like the last five years or so, I've been feeling the opposite. I don't think the "world will end",  just that it's going to get more chaotic and less pleasant for human life. But what do I know? I'll check in again in eleven years and we will all see what is indeed up.

Zahdah and see you next week!


Friday, July 23, 2021

52 Fridays - I Stick My Tongue Out At You

You know who you are, and I stick my tongue out at you. All the selfish, willfully ignorant humans out there that are making things so unpleasant for the rest of us. I tell you, I will not allow you to steal my smile, nor harsh my mellow.

Onward - This week's image is a "Yombe Ntadi Bakongo" sculpture from the Democratic Republic of Congo that I found on the Instagram account "contemporarycongoleseart". The original looks simple, but the more I look at it, the more I see. I'm feeling more confident to interpret more loosely; get up and do my thang. This is week thirty of this drawing project, twenty-two to go, though I don't think I'll stop after this year is up. This project is succeeding to help me re-engage my creative life on a more regular basis. I don't know why I resist doing something that I enjoy so much and is big part of my essential nature. There's always that little shitty voice that tries to talk me out of exercising or eating healthy or trying something new, taking a positive risk. Laziness is fear and fear is the mind killer, so I will resist it. I stick my tongue out at that fear. And you, what or whom do you stick your tongue out at?
See you next week,


Friday, July 16, 2021

52 Fridays - The Center Isn't Holding Like it Used Too

This week I tweeted, "Looking through the news most days I feel like I am living in a prequel to Cormac McCarthy’s #TheRoad". If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, it's a tale of a father and son trying to survive and also keep their humanity in the face of an all too realistic dystopian near future of extreme weather and marauding bands of cannibals. I read the book once and saw the movie once and that was enough to haunt me. I don't think we are heading to the "end of the world", that would be too easy. No, I think we are moving into a new challenging era of chaos caused by climate change, the pandemic and hyper-tribalism that will just make life less pleasant than it's been in the Western world in the last century or so. Of course for most people in the "undeveloped world", it's more of the same. Life is never easy, so if they get flooded or there is a drought, those people pick-up their few belongs and move somewhere more friendly. In the west, we continue to build on the coasts, binge-watch streaming video in our air-conditioned McMansions and order shit we don't need from Amazon. Nothing hurts and the good times will never end. William Gibson the science fiction author once said, "The future will not be evenly distributed." I think the same thing can be said for this creeping dystopian environment we are living in. Parts of the world are burning and other areas are literally drowning. Some countries have more vaccine than they can ever use and the virus numbers are dropping quickly, while other regions haven't vaccinated anyone and the virus is running unchecked and unmeasured and the variants have fertile ground to mutate and get weirder and stronger. 

So what does all this DOOM TALK have to do with this week's drawings? I'm glad you asked. I drew the same face three times this week and realized that it feels like a scream. My scream. This is my version of Munch's "Scream". It's all I can manage in the face of such existential dread. It's the face I make while, "...listening to the terror through the wall." (Ginsberg) I hope it is not my death mask. Mixed in with this darkness is some light, some hope of reset and finding a new way to live. That a new society will carry on, despite the difficulties, but it will be a bumpy ride.

This is a "Keaka Head" created by the Ejagham People from Cameroon region of Africa.  I found this on "feereafricanart" an Instagram feed I have pulled from before. I was immediately hypnotized by the eyes and teeth. Also made me think of Jack Kirby, the legendary comic book artist's work. I did three versions to explore that face. Two drawn with a cheap-ass ballpoint pen, directly referencing the photo and one from memory with a marker type pen and intentionally trying to channel Kirby's style (and falling short).

Which one do you like?

Do you feel the DOOM as intensely as I do or do you think I am being melodramatic?

See you next week...


Friday, July 09, 2021

52 Fridays - Yakuba Zakpie

“Yakuba Zakpie” sounds like the name of the coolest preacher in West Africa or something you might say to someone to acknowledge a small injustice in the world, like a nicer way of saying “shit happens”. This super cool mask comes from the Cote D’Ivorie region of West Africa and is a Dan Yakuba Zakpie Mask I found on the Instagram feed of “passionate_or_obessessed”. I like it because it reminded me of Grace Jones. I really like the asymmetrical form created by the necklace (?) ball things. 

See you next week,


Friday, July 02, 2021

52 Fridays - Wide-Eyed

 This week’s drawing is a “Dan Mask” from the Gio subgroup of far- eastern Liberia that I found on the Instagram feed “evansafricanart”. I choose it because it has a haunted quality. There’s a wide-eyed wondering of, what the hell comes next in this crazy world. What a time to be alive.

Stay safe out there!