Friday, December 31, 2021

52 Fridays - Number 53 Bonus Week - What's Next...


The "52 Fridays" project was actually a "53 Fridays" project all along. That is quite fitting as 2021 proved to not follow any of my assumptions from even that basic one to where the world would be with COVID-19 (Like many people, I thought it would mostly be a non-problem by this point...) Heading into 2022 I have decided the best policy is to have no assumptions or expectations for the year and just take each day as it comes. Better to remain flexible and patient; adjust as necessary. 

This week's image is another I found on "fernandin_jones" most excellent Instaspam feed. No information there, but likely Africa. As always I will update this post with background information when it becomes available. It is always important to connect the cultures and give proper credit whenever possible. This is my interpretation of someone else's work.

The dark, deep shadows pulled me, but also the sweet smile and kind eyes, which I rendered a bit sadder looking then the original. Putting on a brave face reflects how I feel going into 2022. Keep that grin on, but it's difficult to hide the emotion in my eyes. 

It's been a good run making these fifty-three drawings. I have an idea for presenting them and may put them together as a show. Find a place to exhibit them IRL (In Real Life). Doing these drawings every week has reconnected me with the practice of making art. Now, I am feeling a bit off if I don't sit down at least once week and do some scribbling. I will continue doing some kind of creative work every week, but haven't decided what form that will take.

On this last day of 2021, I am grateful for my health, for the love in my life and the friends I have to share the journey. 

Wishing all of us have a peaceful 2022 filled with good times with friends and a few adventures too!

Never Give Up!


Friday, December 24, 2021

52 Fridays - Moon Amigo


Here it is drawing number fifty-two in the "52 Fridays" drawing project! But I am not finished as I didn't realize until a few days ago that 2021 actually has fifty-three Fridays, so there will be a bonus drawing I'll post on New Year'a Eve. This has been a good project to motivate and focus my creative energies, so I will continue it into 2022, but it will take a slightly different form. What that will be exactly I haven't determined yet, so stay tuned. 

This "Moon Amigo" as I am calling him, was found in the wonderful collection of "koufengallerie" on Insta-scam . There was no description in the post, but a query yielded just the word "Gello", which my research has not produced any useful information yet.

The craters are what grabbed my attention. Like many people, my teenage years were dominated by pimples, zits, greasy skin and all the abuse that came with that. I was obsessed with remedies that would clear my skin up. Not only was it embarrassing, but it physically hurt. I'm glad those days are long gone. This fellow looks more at peace with his bumpy skin, like some ancient moon god wearing those scars as testament to hard earned wisdom. I also like the rings through the nose, though I could have done a better job of rendering those as they had subtle reflections that are lost, so I may go back in with a white marker and touch it up, or just live with it as a lesson learned.

He also reminded me of the hockey mask wearing serial killer Jason Voorhees of the "Friday the 13th" movie series. But I think this guy would just hang around humming handing out candy and not be creatively killing post-coital teenagers.

Happy Friday and Happy Christmas!


Friday, December 17, 2021

52 Fridays - Songye, If I Had a Hammer


"And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know My name is the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon thee.” - Jules "Pulp Fiction"

Are you feeling it? Because that's what I'm picking up off this Songye nail fetish figure from the Congo area of Africa. Each of those nails likely represents a curse put on someone by an enemy or it could be against this specific figure or they could represent all the people this person killed, anyway you look at it, this figure is one bad pile of Ju-Ju. 

I collected this image from "fernandin_jones" great feed on Insta-spam. No information about it other than it's a "Songye" figure and it is for sale. 

The strange, large head with nails sticking out of it and the expression on the face is what compelled me to draw this piece. I also like the fragmented body (a reoccurring motif in my drawings) and the overall shape. This also inspires an alien or demon character design that I will tinker with. Would make for a cool stop-motion creature...

Happy Friday and Happy Christmas!


Friday, December 10, 2021

52 Fridays - Igala Nobel (with a little help from my little friend)


I had a little help with this week's drawing, more like supervision, from our cat Nūna. She was purring the entire time, so maybe she liked what I was doing, or maybe she was an artist in a former life, either way it was lovely to have her company.

It's week fifty, so this is the fiftieth drawing of this project, just two more to go... I won't celebrate just yet.

This Nobel looking figure comes from the Igala people of the Nigeria area of Africa. It was posted on "InstaSPAM" (I'm calling it that because lately every third posting is an ad, sponsored or suggested. It's really annoying) by "" which is my first time referencing something from their feed. Good looking collection, I'm sure I'll pull from there again sometime.

The big mohawk/head plate shape was the first thing that attracted me, than the open, yelling (screaming?) mouth, overall textures and strong shadows. He was fun to draw.


Friday, December 03, 2021

52 Fridays - Patchwork Tin Man


Have you ever felt like you were ripped up and reassembled? That's what I thought when I saw this strange figure fabricated from pieces of tin (or is it bronze, brass?) Chunks of life tied together in a patchwork that make a world-weary soul. I can relate.

I know nothing about this piece unfortunately, other than it is likely from Africa. I found it on the Instagram account of "fernandin_jones" . Update! Fernando Pujol provided information about the piece. It's an"old reliquary Kota from Gabon".

On first look, the shape caught my attention, then the expression, the eyes and mouth (great lips always get me) and the droopy horns that just lay down along the oval dome head. Once more I worked tiny, this piece is only nine centimeters high, same pens as last week (Sakura Pigma Micron 005 and Mitsubishi Uni Pin Fine Line 0.3) and added him to the same page of last week's drawing. The style is inspired by R. Crumb with some Frank Miller thrown in. I will drawing this one again sometime using a ballpoint pen that allows for more subtle shading and textures. 

It is a snowy day here in Riga, Latvia. It's been snowing nearly everyday for the last week and stayed cold enough that the snow hasn't melted, just piling up. Good day to hunker down and make drawings.

Happy Friday,


Friday, November 26, 2021

52 Fridays - BEARDROBEER


Happy "Black" Friday, although I don't do the big Christmas shopping thing anymore, especially on this day, so maybe I should say, "Anti-Black Friday". 

This week's drawing is a BEARDROBEER Gere African Mask from Liberia I found on an IG feed called "afrikaria". According to the description, the BEARDROBEER is some kind of crazy wild boar that has inspired ritual masks across a wide group of tribes in Western Africa. To my eye, he looks like one of the funkier and cool Muppets that likely sat in with Dr. Teeth's rock band. I gave the ballpoint ink pen a rest this week and used this lovely Sakura Pigma (Pig - get it!) Micron 005 pen that lays down a really nice line. I don't normally fetishize my creation tools, but I'm hooked on this pen and need to try some other sizes. This is a small, nearly tiny drawing, the pen is there is reference, no I'm not trying to sell anything here. I was inspired by the amazing work of R. Crumb and Moebius as I worked on the drawing. They both are masters of fine line work and getting the most out of every mark. Maybe if I keep practicing and live to 152, I might be as good as they are one day...


Friday, November 19, 2021

52 Fridays - A Fragment from a Sacred Post...


Is this a fragment of a sacred post? Too early to judge. Greetings from Riga, Latvia. I am settling into this new life, feeling a bit fragmented myself from the jet lag and soft culture shock. I could do with a bit of defragmenting. 

This drawing was done on a layover in JFK airport on the flight over. It is a "FRAGMENT OF A SACRED POST", Gupna village, Owaraha island, Solomon island, Melanesia that I found on the IG account "tribal_art_society". I'm always drawn to fragments of sculpture or carvings and I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's the asymmetrical form or the opportunity to fill the space in, who knows. This one also pulled me in with the one good eye and large nose ring and small, pouty mouth. 

So was this a sacred post? Only time will tell...


Saturday, November 13, 2021

52 Fridays - The Kiss Goodbye, the Kiss Hello...


This week's drawing was a quick one as it's been a busy time. I am traveling to Latvia to be with my girlfriend Ieva. I moved out of my apartment in Richmond, Virginia this week, put a few things in storage and gave away the rest. RVA has been a good home for me this last two years and I will miss, my friends, hiking along the James River and the people and culture here, so the kiss goodbye. On the other end of this journey is Riga, Latvia, also a city defined by a river, the mighty Daugava, also a capital city with good people and culture, so a warm kiss hello. 

This mask comes from the Luba people of the Zaire River Basin, who are known for their Striated face masks. I found it on the Instagram feed of "beauty_and_the_belief", whom I have pulled from before. Does that look like a kiss to you? It did for me.

See you next week from Riga!


Friday, November 05, 2021

52 Fridays - Dark Mask


UPDATE- This a "Pende Mask" from the Congo region of Africa. Thanks to "gaetan_antic" from Instagram for the added information.

I know nothing about the origin of this mask other then it is from Africa. Unfortunately, "gaetan_antic" on IG didn't provide any background info, but I have a query into them, so will update this if they provide some details. It's important to credit the artist always. 

Halloween is done, so I'll return to tribal masks for the last seven drawings of the year. I choose this one because I like the shape of the eyes and mouth. There's also some interesting textures and reflections that are interesting. When I started the drawing, I was a bit timid and everything quickly became muddy, but then I stepped into the dark areas and pushed the contrast and it came alive. I find that if I get too precious with whatever art I am making, it has no life, but if I am willing to take a risk, even risk destroying the piece by going deeper into the dark areas, the unknown, then it lives. The lesson, let go of the illusion of control and just let the unknown flow.

Happy Friday!


Friday, October 29, 2021

52 Fridays - The Devil You Know


Happy Halloween! For this week's drawing, I pulled from the archive this demonic selfie from a Halloween some twenty years ago, so this is also a self-portrait. My passion for art and sculpture was born from a love of monster movies. I grew up dreaming that I'd be the next Rick Baker or Ray Harryhausen or Dick Smith, so I learned to draw and sculpt and do make-up. I'll always be a "monster kid".

The Devil You Know... and what devils are loose in the land? It seems like these days, all the demons are running wild. Good opportunity to push back with some love and light and maybe a little of your own dark power.

Wishing you some scary good fun this weekend!


Yes, I am wearing Chewbacca slippers

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!


Saturday, October 16, 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!


Saturday, October 02, 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,