Friday, February 11, 2022

Holo Man

Greetings and welcome to another Friday art post. This week is an India ink painting/drawing done with black and white ink applied with brush and pen, a technique I haven't done in a long time. I really love the subtle shades of grey this method allows. It's easy for me to fall into layering washes and diving into the intense blacks, then coming back with the heavy white ink (more like paint) to pick out details. I chose this mask specifically to play with this process.

This is a helmet mask made by the Holo tribe from Angola that I found on the Instagram account racine_premiere. Read more about the Holo people on this African Art website. 

The white areas around the eyes and mouth were the first element that attracted my eye and compelled me to draw this. The sharp teeth and shape of the mouth, which I detailed with a very fine-tipped pen, was another feature I admired. Finally, the crown with cross-hatched strong X's along the top was another detail that was a pleasure to draw.

And what art or creative action did you take this week? 


Friday, February 04, 2022

Keep a Diamond in Your Mind


From the Tom Waits' song "Get Behind the Mule".

Never let the weeds get higher
Than the garden
Always keep a sapphire in your mind
Always keep a diamond in your mind

These are days that make me think of this song, because this song is a reminder that very often it is hard work to live a life. For some people they never get a break and never know comfort or love or security. These last couple of years it feels like we are all sliding in that direction, being pulled into the virus horror show and seas are rising and the wind is picking up. Or maybe it's just how I'm feeling because I finally caught COVID-19. I was fully vaccinated and boosted, but even so a breakthrough can and does happen, especially if you take your mask off in a bar and talk to many (6-8) maskless strangers over the course of a night. There was one tiny voice of warning providing a commentary track throughout the night, "This is not a good idea. You really need to put a mask on. You do know the pandemic is still raging?", etc., but it didn't matter. I'm as weary as most everyone else is of this new, shitty COVID-19 lifestyle and just decided to take one night off from thinking about it and that's how I got it. It has been an inconvenience, but only because I was vaccinated and boosted, otherwise I'd likely be in a hospital right now with a tube down my throat or worse. 

So here's my first, and hopefully last, COVID-19 drawing, actually done will the virus was in my system. It's an Ibibio Mask on found on "feereafricanart" once more on Instagram (I need to find some new sources as I hate to fuel Zuckerberg's fortune) I choose this mask because I love the top-heavy shape and Frankenstein-like head bolts. Also the overall look of the face, the wide, full lips and arched, dark eye sockets. It's maybe not my best drawing, but it made me happy to make it while I tend to my runny nose. 

"Keep a Diamond in Your Mind". What do you think that means? For me it means you focus on the positive, on that hard, brilliant piece of you that understands no matter how dark the world gets, you still have something to give. Something I have to give is my art. I make it for myself, but share it because I hope someone else will enjoy it, maybe be inspired to learn more about African Art or find a few minutes to cultivate their own creative life as others have inspired me to do. As I feel my body fighting back against the virus, it also makes me realize that I need to do more, make more art, focus on my creative life, finish the many half-completed projects because time is running out. 

What will you do with the time you have left?


Friday, January 28, 2022

My Life as a Village Person on The Walking Dead: World Beyond

Happy Friday! This week's creativity post is about my time on the set of The Walking Dead: World Beyond season two as an extra playing one of the "Village People" in The Perimeter. I worked on and off from February through the beginning of June of 2021, getting about a week's worth of production days and lots of COVID-19 testing appointments, as the production had a rigorist safety protocols to protect the cast and crew, which gave me peace of mind. 

Nicolas Cantu (Elton) reflecting as Herbie and I take a walk...
copyright AMC Productions

I've done a bit of acting in the past, once as an extra on "The Box" (2009) and a couple of independent features, "Cold Readings" (2004) and the lead role as Happy Walter, in "Happy Walter" (2007). I've had one acting class some years ago and really enjoyed it, so have decided look for new opportunities to act. Now being an extra is barely acting as we are literally considered to be "background", moving props filling in space to make things look more natural, but even so, this show was different as they reused many of us to provide some background continuity. I found the gig through Kendall Cooper Casting after some friends saw a local TV news report that they were casting for WDWB, so I submitted my info and was surprised to hear back the same day with an offer to be a "back-up extra", which consisted of getting tested and being ready for production on short notice. After a short time, I was upgraded to an extra and started getting set calls. Anyone who has done this kind of work knows that it's not as glamorous as most people think as there is a lot of waiting around for shots to be lit and rehearsed and often only a few of us would get used in the shot while the others stayed in the holding area. There were a couple of newbie extras who were bored and complained and never came back, I guess it wasn't their cup of tea. For the rest of us, it was wonderful just being on set and getting to learn about production. There were some small moments to interact with the principal actors and found them all to be respectful and encouraging of us background folks. I'm particularly pleased that I'm in a shot with Nicolas Cantu as he and I had a small chat early on in the testing line and after that whenever we crossed paths,  he always gave me a friendly greeting. Another good memory was standing around a campfire at two in the morning trying to keep warm in the sub-freezing February night chatting with Nico Tortorella. One production day begin with Jelani Alladin high-fiving all the background actors and sharing his positive, pumped-up energy. And the last one I'll share was Pollyanna McIntosh greeting us with, "Good morning hard-working background actors!". All kind and generous gestures that were not necessary, but were noticed and made those long production days better. 

In the end, the best takeaway from this experience was meeting and getting to work with so many cool, creative and interesting people, some of whom have become friends. Great to work with Herbie, T.K., Rob, Josh (The Super-PA's), Bernard, Simmie, Barefoot Joe, Catlin, David, Ahmad, Andrew, Patrick, Diana, Rayleen, Brian, and I know I'm forgetting some folks, so all the other extras and crew too!

Here's a short clip of my big moment from episode three! 
(note - short clip, no audio - copyright AMC Productions)

Friday, January 21, 2022

Wé Mask, Me Mask

Happy Friday! A little video experiment this week. There is a popular theory that all art is self-portraiture, which was going through my mind when I finished this week's drawing. Upon comparing my interpretation of this "Wé Mask" from the Côte d’Ivoire region of Africa, I noticed that I had drawn the face longer, stretching the original's roundness into a more naturally proportioned human face. When I looked more closely, I saw my own face. It's my subconscious lurking there under the skin ready to dance!

I found this fierce and beautiful mask on the Instagram feed of "amyasnaegele" and would encourage you to click through the link to read the detailed background information that Amyas Naegele has provided.

I really love the red around the eyes and will draw this mask again, next time larger and in color.

Where I live now, it's cold and there's snow and it is grey, but the days are slowly getting longer. It feels good to drop into art, make marks, play with the images in a video. 

What are you making these days?

Here are the still images...


Friday, January 14, 2022

Tiny Tofu Shop in Old Tokyo


Scattered throughout Tokyo's maze of backstreets are thousands of tiny buildings and I love them all. Weird street food places, cozy pocket bars that seat six or less, shops, offices and homes, many of these shoebox domains fill the space between two huge skyscrapers or run in rows down forgotten alleys. It's easy to imagine what life might be in there. I fantiszie about owning one of these little anonymous bunkers, my own safe house where I could holed up when these got too strange. Of course the irony is if I had one now, I'd not be allowed to visit it due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions.

I've hunted down and photographed more than a few, but this week's drawing is from one Insta-spam from an account called "masktnak".  This is a tofu shop in Old Tokyo. I wonder about who owns it and how long they have been there making tofu and what will happen to the shop after they die. 

Ballpoint pen was my medium of choice once again and I used it in a causal, relaxed style that I'm mostly pleased with. I'd like to try a different kind of pen, maybe draw it more cleanly and larger on another kind of paper. For now, this small drawing of a tiny tofu somewhere in Old Tokyo feels good for me.

How are your creative projects going so far for 2022?


Friday, January 07, 2022

2022 - Let the Games Begin...

Happy 2022! I hope your New Year Eve's activities were fun and satisfying. I had such high hopes for 2021 as many people did, only to see those hopes crushed pretty quickly by the horrific and disgusting events in the US capital on January 6th and then the Delta and Omicron variants keeping the COVID-19 party going, not to mention the extreme weather events and WW III threats. Bah. I haven't read or heard one optimistic outlook for 2022. It seems everyone is holding their breath and keeping their heads down. But you don't come here for my lame world-weary commentary, no I'm guessing you want to see some art. 

Before I talk about this week's offering, let's set the ground rules for this year's Friday postings. I've decided to open it up to any kind of creative expression; drawing, sculpture, photography, short film, animation; whatever I am playing with at the moment. 

This week's post is a doodle I made of the Mohawk Man figure I posted December 10, 2021. Often after I make a drawing, that image stays in my mind for some time, cached in my short-term creative RAM. I find it to be a fun exercise to draw from memory and see how I unintentionally change the image. This version made me think of the main character from Napoleon Dynamite. 

What creative plans do you have for this year? I would love to see what you are working on, so post a link in the comments section.

Don't let the bastards get you down,