I'm learning instagram! Also, man tears and logging tattoos.

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This is Cody. He’s teaching me to instagram. (my name there is resonanteye)

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this isn’t political or anything, I just have a fetish for eye-water.

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simple tulip I colored in.

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just some sky.

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a gang of doglets.

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added on to an older tattoo I did years ago.

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how that tattoo looked all healed up before we added the text and sunset colors.

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an inch.

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apprentices.

I’m learning instagram! Also, man tears and logging tattoos.

10497256_10152279070637712_3793600154937322876_o

This is Cody. He’s teaching me to instagram. (my name there is resonanteye)

10440668_10152279295327712_6958900651736761659_n

this isn’t political or anything, I just have a fetish for eye-water.

10548332_10152279566617712_5763015077124912808_o

simple tulip I colored in.

10404339_10152274117152712_529879433899499100_n

just some sky.

10522473_10152274115847712_8650231444119354793_n

a gang of doglets.

10345923_10152272128827712_7173156773499527783_n

added on to an older tattoo I did years ago.

10494529_10152272128632712_7889055341943246950_n

how that tattoo looked all healed up before we added the text and sunset colors.

10334240_10152272129082712_1128309351944727929_n

an inch.

tumblr_inline_mzokt5aMYd1rtghi4

apprentices.

How you can help me. and other medical nonsense!

If you follow my site or know me personally, you know I have been through some medical hell the past ten months or so.

TMI after the break.

(more…)

why does everything have those three lines and/or dots in it?

I always use three lines/three dots on anything I do. Sometimes they’re front and center, the focal point of the art, and Sometimes they’re obscured- hidden in the backdrop or repeated in a pattern so as to be less noticeable.

I began doing this because of the greek character Ξ, Xi. There’s a few layers of meaning there, and all of them combined made me interested in the symbol/shape, and that interest led to me using it as a part of my signature for a while. After that it migrated, getting further detached from my initials, and becoming more a part of the artwork. And from there it just sort of infiltrated every piece I make.

Back in the 80s-90s I was really interested in mindhacks and psychedelics and pTv and related art and music.

I did some work with sigils. I’m not a believer, not even agnostic, but I do know that our subconscious is a strong force, and that affecting it, changing it, tinkering in there, can bring some odd results. Working with visual symbols is one of my ongoing experiments- using an eye as the main focal point in a painting that is smaller and might be stolen from a gallery (even the most abstract eye affects the behavior of the people around it- see this study for details) or using hands, in various gestures, to suggest action to the viewer.

So while I have an abiding interest in all these things I am not any kind of believer. I do entertain the idea that Jung may have had a good point about how symbols and visual cues lead us, and have an impact on our lives, so it’s always been my effort to find ways to incorporate these things, at least subtly, into my work. The three lines/dots is a personal symbol, though, which I use in my art to influence MYSELF. So in the sense of it meaning something to the viewer, maybe- it’s done intentionally as a prompt to myself while working, though.

(more…)

have a heart, NRA.

Originally published on 06/24/2012.

I don’t really think I need to re-state my position on gun control laws, since it’s obvious that I am a gun owner, and that I think owning weapon is a right, not a privilege.

However, I want to re-state them anyway.

I think everyone who has not committed a violent crime should be permitted to own whatever weapons they choose, without having to register them or alert the government. I see the need for background checks; it only takes ten minutes to run a name and see any violent convictions on someone’s record. I see no need for waiting periods, for anything else.

I am very, very lefty. I’m basically a retired anarchist; I would still love to live in a gift economy, but I do not think this can happen during my lifetime, so I’ve modified my actions based on what I think is possible to accomplish.

I believe in spending public funds on welfare, schools, higher education, and healthcare for all citizens. I believe that religion has no place in ANY publicly-funded system or in ANY politics. I think that people who want abortion to be illegal are idiots. I think that patriarchy is bad, that our culture is set up in many wrong ways. I believe in class warfare, unions as a concept, the rights of workers, and of the underclass to act out.  I dislike  the way we use our military to screw up other areas of the world, and I think our policies are a direct result of corruption and patriarchy. In other words, I’m not right-wing, I am NOT republican, and I am NOT in favor of god, the bible, and apple pie. I’m basically a commie pinko.

heart tattoo art

So- while I agree with some things the gun lobbyists stand for- such as my right, and everyone else’s right to bear arms- I can’t donate any money to them, can’t support them in any way, because when I go to an NRA site and see people rooting for assholes who would put me in prison for my reproductive choices, or touting some bullshit flag-waving nonsense about how we should bomb “camel jockeys”, or condescension to female members or participants-

Well, that just sucks, and all of that is what I am against, and passing laws to restrict what I can do with my body is just as repressive as passing laws to restrict what weapons and means of defense I can own, and you guys, THAT is some BULL SHIT.  Women want to bear arms too. As do socialists, abortion providers and people who have had abortions, pro-choice folks, people who aren’t in favor of recent wars, people who dislike racism and sexism- we carry too. So putting us down on the regular is just foolish.

Now I’ve said my piece for the day. Time for more coffee, I think. Again, I know that speaking out means some people won’t buy my art, or like me, or whatever. That’s ok. Fuck it- I’d rather just speak my mind and be broke (because people who agree with me are poor) than keep my mouth shut and pander for the sake of a few bucks.

the struggle to decide; prints or not? downloads or not?

(originally published Published on: Sep 5, 2013)

I always struggle with the question of whether to make downloads of my work available, or prints. In one way, I hate doing it, because I like the idea of something I made with my own hands going to your hands, as it is, with no other stuff there. Then I realize some things.

  • If I was a musician, I’d sell records, not just perform live.
  • I can only make so many original things, in so much time.
  • I’d like to be able to earn enough from my art to make it worth the time and energy (see footnote)
  • I have to eat.
  • Many people want to be able to enjoy my work but couldn’t afford the cost of an original.
  • I can’t manage shipping and storefronts online and promotion for all of that, and STILL HAVE TIME FOR MAKING THINGS.

I will take these point-by-point.

shirtsIf I was a musician, I’d sell records. I’d want more people to enjoy my work than I could perform for in person. I’d want people to be able to take me anywhere with them. If I was a writer, I’d print books of my work. I wouldn’t expect people to only access my work through attending readings, or by buying the hand-written manuscript. I’d want my work to be accessible, something people could enjoy.  I also would maybe still sell the manuscript, or some signed first editions…but the books would be published, out there, even on a kindle.

I have two hands. If I work the equivalent of fulltime hours, I can make maybe four things, of substandard quality, in a week. I can make maybe one or two things of good quality in a week. I can make one great thing a month. Now…how much is minimum wage? Should I set all the art aside and get a job at McDonald’s? Because if I can only sell a piece of art one time, mcdonald’s will pay better, and maybe I should set this art stuff aside permanently and get a real job…I can only make so much stuff with my own two hands. But if I sell prints and let people download the works, I can post it – set it and forget it. I can sell those while I am busy making other new things, and can continue to make money from a piece for years sometimes, long after the original is sold or destroyed.

I love making art. I spend all my time making things. I do have to eat. So therefore I have to charge money and sell my work- my choice is, work a job which takes all my time, and rarely make anything, or sell my work at a reasonable price and live off that money. I love making art. The process of actually making things, well, I will do that no matter what. I’ve had my Kafka years, working fulltime then coming home and putting in another eight hours painting. But my work wasn’t as good. And I had no time to show it to anyone. I need the time to show my work- to scan it, photograph it, share it, post it. If I don’t make any money from a piece, I’ll still MAKE the piece- but I will not spend the time posting it and discussing it and sharing it with you, or with anyone. If I was lucky enough to have inherited wealth maybe I’d have that kind of luxury, but I don’t. I wish I did, really.

EPSON MFP imageAnd yeah- YOU GUYS are broke too! I mean everyone is hurting. Being poor shouldn’t mean you can’t enjoy or own art! I want to make things accessible to everyone as much as possible. So- digital downloads. Most people have a printer- or access to a library with a printer in it- and can pay me a few dollars for a file, take it there, pay a buck or two to print it, and hang it up. Prints are next in line- the quality will be better, professional grade, the print will last longer, years even. Limited run? Why? It seems like a waste of time, of energy. I put my initials and a number on them and they’re magically worth more somehow? No. I do handpainted prints though- the next higher price things- and those are fun. I can take an hour and embellish a painting I already did- make new details on it, play around. The buyer gets something unique, like an original, and I get to play…

I spend maybe an hour or two a day online writing copy for my work, explaining it, discussing it, sharing technical stuff, writing, posting, and keeping track of what has sold. I spend another hour or so every day taking photos, scanning, fixing the damn scanner. And another hour every other day packaging stuff to mail out, trying to keep track of what goes where. I am not good at any of these things. They are REAL WORK, hard work I don’t enjoy very much. I’d rather be actually making things. So this work- I need to streamline it, make it as handsfree as possible. Selling originals is difficult. I have to post it everywhere, and hope the right person sees it, and then once it’s sold, do it again, the entire process, from documenting the work to explaining it to answering questions and pricing it and packing it and shipping it. All that work has to be done completely from scratch, every time I sell an original.

A print? I scan it, touch it up, post it, and it’s done. I can leave it there, just like that, for years. People can buy it a year later, without any additional work from me. It’s what they call a secondary income stream, and as an artist working alone I NEED that to happen as much as possible. It frees up my hands for making more better things. The digital downloads are the same- even easier, in fact. There’s no parameters to set, no material-checking, no worrying about quality control. It’s set and forget.

EPSON MFP imageSo, in order to be able to make more and better art, and in order to live, I sell originals, downloads, AND prints of most things. I charge people a tiny bit extra if they buy an original and only want me to do a limited run of prints. I charge A LOT extra if someone buys something and wants me to make no prints at all…for example, A painting I make- the original is a hundred bucks. I will probably (if it’s a good painting) make another two hundred off of prints and downloads of it over the course of a year. For me to sell ONLY THE ORIGINAL and still pay my rent, I have to charge three hundred for that original, now.

Should I do that? Sometimes I want to. Because I love the idea of something I made with my own hands, being in YOUR hands, with nothing in between us. Also because I like originals myself. But I can’t manage to, or figure out how to, promote myself well enough to always sell my originals, let alone for three times what I have them priced at now. So unless a magical fairy of promotion comes and makes me famous or rich, without charging me anything or requiring more of my time to work it…I will keep selling prints and downloads, of nearly everything I make.

I love you guys. Those of you with two bucks, and those of you with a million. You’re all people I like, and I want you all to be able to touch and enjoy my work.

Magical books and helpful ghosts.

My partner, Hawkins, likes magic. He has a vast library of books on it, and is really interested in magic. Not “wizard” magic- stage magic. Magic tricks. Cards, rabbits in hats, Penn and Teller…that stuff. You know, the Tony Wonder kinda thing.

He has this book, which he bought in the fall sometime.

an "all right" book on magic.

an “all right” book on magic.

Tonight, as we were reading before bed, he remarked that this particular book was full of very helpful notes. One that explained a trick, and another without which the trick in the book couldn’t even be done. “Whoever owned this before was awesome,” he said. I asked to see the book- every page had highlighted notes, little margin scribbles, every page. I flipped to the front to see when the book came out and saw this at the top of the page, as well as an embossed monogram “JMH”

why I'm even making a post about this.

why I’m even making a post about this.

Now, I’m curious as hell about everything. So I turned to the internet and searched.

this guy.

this guy.

“Wow, he was in the Army, and he had a lot of family. Hey he did magic as a hobby and liked books! Sounds like you!” I said. “I guess that’s why they sold the books, he died in June.”
“So his kids probably sold off his library,” Hawkins said. Then he looked thoughtful. “I wonder how many other dead people’s books I’ve got.”
I looked around at the shelves full of old, dusty books on every wall, and said “All of them.”

Things your tattoo artist doesn’t tell you. (Part Two)

hourglass and candle tattoo

hourglass and burnt candle. two things.

Part one is here.

You can only get one tattoo at a time. I can only do one tattoo at a time. I know you have ten things you want to put into a tattoo- but that’s ten tattoos. And we can only do one thing at a time. Each important concept should have its own singular tattoo.

Most of  the time, you can pick two things. One object and one word or phrase. Two objects. And a color or mood for the background. That’s the limit, pretty much, for coherent, cohesive art on the skin. How big or small the tattoo is doesn’t really matter too much, with this. Good tattoos have flow, and are good to look at. Adding too much subject matter to any one space usually ends up terrible.

You have six siblings and you want to get a tattoo that represents ALL of them. So you think of six tattoos, and then ask us to somehow make that into one tattoo.

NO.

You can only get one tattoo at a time! If you need a tattoo for each of your siblings, I am sorry but you will either need to pick one thing that represents all of them, or get six tattoos.

(more…)

ACEO and mini paintings.

I’m still not quite sure how I feel about working so small. I do like the idea of people without a lot of spare cash being able to own my art, though. So with a little nudge from some friends, I decided to paint a few.

I had done a few mini deer paintings before. I’m thinking of doing more- does anyone collect tiny art? What sizes do you like? I don’t even know how much to price things at, that are this small.

Do you paint mini-size, or ACEOs? What’s been your experience with them? I find it really hard, because for things like this I usually use a round nib on an ink-dip pen, and had to use such a tiny nib- also I am accustomed to doing BIG soft washes, so switching down to tiny-brush-size felt a bit odd too.

I suppose I will wait and see how much people want them too, before I make up my mind!

Let me know in the comments, if you have any thoughts about small media. I have a few more tiny frames for new ones.

all sweetness and light.

just another negative asshole on the internet

just another negative asshole on the internet

I was reading someone’s site earlier, an artist someone pointed me to for ‘ideas about selling more art’.  The artist makes good stuff, illustrative art made from collage, very design-y, very positive and girly. It’s good art. Their art is on all kinds of stuff.

So I started reading their posts, and reading through their archives, and looking at the stuff they’re doing. And holy hell, talk about happy positivity and sugar smiles. Not a single negative thought, or statement. Not a droplet of anger, or unhappiness. I mean this girl is sweet as pie. Her life is made of rainbows and cupcakes. She’s never posted about being poor, or being sick, or being lonely. Not once. She’s pretty, she’s only a bit younger than me, she’s always encouraging, she has not a single personality flaw. And she’s nice about it too. She has her stuff licensed for home decor things, and has other companies wholesaling it or retailing it, and sells only originals here and there if the whim comes.

Listen, you guys. I see people like this, and I start to feel so shitty on myself. Like- I watch horror movies, and I curse, and I get negative. I’m often poor and sometimes sick and always a little off-kilter. I have done things wrong in my life and will likely continue to be fucked up in new and surprising ways on a regular basis. Sometimes I get in arguments, or drunk, or say things that are crass or offensive. I’m extremely imperfect and not always a good person.

And so, if I am not sweetness and light, how the fuck can I ever succeed? Success seems to require this…this peachy keen persona, this happy-up vibe and I just cannot do it, can’t fake it. Even if I could there’s decades of evidence for all my failures and bad behaviors! I mean…I don’t even know how one lives without troubles and fuckups and bad times. I couldn’t even write this post without cursing. I don’t even know if that can be real. But apparently it is real, and there are people like that, and they make GOBS of money on their works, without even doing much actual work. 
28308_1344575736648_1298901221_30981550_4061441_nCupcakes-and-sunshine people discourage me. I don’t know what to do now. This should be an inspiring post, but the more I read there the more I realized I will NEVER have that kind of following, that kind of draw. I’ll NEVER be a nice happy positive person that nice old ladies want to chat about at some frilly gift shop, it will just NOT happen. There are no major contracts for wholesaling in my future, there will be no fluffy bunny pillows at your local department store with my name on them, you can exit through the gift shop but my work isn’t for sale there.

I can try as hard as I want, encourage others to try, but in the long run, I’m still a negative asshole, and I still get depressed, go broke, have toothaches, and offend people. I love what I do but I also love to read true crime, look at gross and gory pictures, watch shitty horror movies and make fun of stuff. Do we have to be perfect to succeed? Do we have to grovel?

This life, how do people live it?

So then I go look elsewhere for something else to read. I hit on an article talking about Van Gogh and how great it is that his work has so much recognition, how high the prices are at auction. Man, he’s dead. He died broke and miserable.  And wasn’t some of his work “cultural appropriation”? All those japanese masks and flowers… also, dude was negative, unhappy, self-destructive, and all the rest.

Since reading and thinking about art didn’t cheer me up any, I’m going to watch Body Bags- and maybe a couple other shitty horror movies- and snuggle the dog.

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