hand-painting prints


Sometimes I feel like just making prints of a painting isn’t enough.

I feel like- man when I buy stuff, I buy prints because I like the artist but can’t afford a bigger piece- but I always feel like it’s not as good as an original. So I end up kind of going halfway sometimes, and painting over a print of my own work.

I’ll do the painting first.

I did this in watercolor and colored pencil on plain tinted paper,then painted over the prints with blood and white highlights.

If you plan to try this, make sure your original art has decent contrast and a solid area or three where detail or added color would add, rather than detract, from it.

further instructions after the break:

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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.

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skulls, bones, dead things, and where they come from.

Originally published on 11/16/2013

raccoon skull mount taxidermyI want to talk a little bit about my materials. Mainly because I read a lot of forums and craft and art blogs, and tend to see the same comments over and over about artists that work with taxidermy or animal remains.

Nature isn’t cruel or kind; it’s just hungry. 

I get a lot of questions about various things I use- mostly about bones and skulls, but a lot of people have asked about other things too- plants, rocks. Usually people are just being dense- “did you kill all those raccoons?” or “who do you have buried in the crawlspace?” or, even better, “ewwww it’s dead!” A lot of people saying this also eat fast food, buy meat at the grocery store, and let their cats roam outdoors…

I work humanely- in a sense. I don’t kill anything to make my art but yes, they are real bones and skulls. I get them from a lot of different sources. Most of the game animal bones and skulls I get from hunters- I have friends who hunt for food, and who will give me remains to work with. Most of the deer, elk, and turkey skulls and bones I use come from these sources. I also get bones from family farms- chicken, pig, and goose or turkey bones, even a few ostrich and cow remains. Most of these animals are also killed for food.

I don’t use anything from factory farms, just farms where the animals are treated well. I know this is enough to upset some people but since I also eat meat I don’t feel bad about it- I WOULD feel awful using factory-farmed items. However if I came across some, or had a source, I might use them; that piece would probably be pretty damned dark though. I tend to work with the feelings the animal’s remains give me, to make a piece that expresses the creature’s life.

I know a lot of artists who work with animal remains are a bit more humorous than I am, or more light-hearted about it in general. I do see the remains as a medium but at the same time I don’t feel good making jokes at the animal’s expense. Very rarely I get a skull or part which is light, and happy- I will sometimes make a brighter piece with those. Usually though animals live difficult lives, and their bones speak to me about this, so I don’t work very light very often.

I get questioned partly I think because of artists that do slaughter animals in the context of their work. While I don’t do this, I don’t find these artists offensive at all, it’s just not my own way of working. I don’t think it’s horrible. I have hunted for food myself, and been present for slaughtering at farms. Again- I don’t think it’s awful if you eat at KFC, either. I just personally don’t.

Some of my pieces come from road strikes. I have been working steadily on a series of photographs and an extended essay about roadside nature and roadkill, about human safety and how highways affect the animals that live near them. As a consequence of this work I have come across a LOT of roadside remains. I did get a license to collect roadkill in several states (not all states need one, but some do) and have spent a great deal of time working with these remains. A lot of these wild animals are obvious survivors of repeated injuries (fractures and old healed injuries in their skeletons attest to this) and the way they interact with the road fascinates me.

skunk skullNo, I have not used anything I myself ran over.

Most of my feathers come from friend’s farms. Almost all of my plant matter comes from my own place- I live on the edge of the Siuslaw, and not only the yard/forest of my house but the clearcuts nearby furnish most of my lichens, moss, and wood. I do a lot of beach collecting too. I live in Oregon, and it is legal to collect many things here, since all beaches are public. I do refrain from collecting in park areas, since those are restricted. I also don’t collect or mess with the remains of pinnipeds, or vertebrate fossils- just invertebrate fossils, collected in nonrestricted areas.

I have a few skulls and things which I have purchased. A few mink, fox, and beaver skulls which I am certain are fur trade castoffs- these items have a very dark feeling to them, and so the pieces built with them reflect that. I also have used vervet monkey skulls- the importation of these was a pain in the neck, and they are killed as a nuisance animal- so they too have a very dark feeling. Like I said, the horrors of life, death, the hard times most animals go through, are the reason my work is not light-hearted and silly. I don’t use anything illegal, and I avoid using items which may violate CITES or the MBA. (More information on the legality of animal remains is available here, if you are interested.)

I don’t work much with animals that are domestic pets, but I occasionally get some materials this way. Usually these are used for commissions for the previous owner. Some of these are more light and happy. I’ve worked with a very battered stray-dog skull, just making that piece was very upsetting. It wasn’t a joke to me.

zpg, anti-breeding artI’ve worked with human bones too. This is where people tend to be most alarmed- although in reality it is easier to buy human bone than many animals! I get most of my human bone specimens from places which sell vintage anatomical displays, or from places such as necromance (among others) which sell oddities. Yes, these bones are legal. No, I didn’t kill anyone to get them. And YES, they are expensive for a reason. Again- most of these works are dark. I don’t get silly feelings from death.

I’ve sold work and done commissions for vegans- for people who are animal and conservation activists. My work is intended to speak about the way people are oblivious to the natural world. Nature is full of drama, death, struggle, and strangeness. I try to use the materials I have to portray that. Reminders of mortality are not for everyone. Horrific art is not for everyone. There are people who cannot sit through a horror movie and people who cannot listen to a description of how their hamburger was made. My work is not for these people, really- although knowing that my work may have given them pause or made them think about these things, about the darker side of life, is kind of the point.

Originally Published on: Apr 19, 2012

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.

Full set of flash for sale, spruce up yo shop!

Ten sheets, archival pigment prints on smooth acid-free 90lb paper. $150 includes shipping worldwide. Prints are standard 11×14″size horizontal.

I have three sets left, get em while they’re hot!

buy now

 

 

More new prints and shirts up!

It’s been a while since I posted up new things, so here they are, some shirts and some are prints.
I’ll be adding more next week I think.

Ninjas and editors all up in my monsters!

smallbansheeI have chosen to go with http://www.printninja.com/, both because of their excellent and helpful customer service, and also because of the quality of the samples they sent me. I colored all over that shit, even used watercolor- and the paper can take it! it may buckle if you soak a large area, but it’ll soak it up, and hold up to water media, marker, and pencil as well as crayon. So you guys can color however the hell you like!

I’m rolling along with finishing the inking of the artwork, should have more pictures for you guys on friday I think- and the text is all but finished now. I’ll be sending that to my favorite editor, http://modifiededitingservices.com/ – she’s a gigantic horror fan, mostly of Poe and the older guys- so she will know how to keep the creep, but toss the dross.

The printer has been paid- and I have enough left for all the shipping to the backers. I feel that I am ahead so far, financially. I had one of the larger backers cancel payment due to an emergency of their own, so I came out short of my goal even though the total went well above it. I’m hoping to have enough left after shipping, to pay for promotion as well- but we’ll see how it goes.

You can pre-order here, to get this super-dope first edition. There will only be one run in this quality, and I am ordering a short print run of it, so if you want the nice version you should probably get one before they run out. People who backed my kickstarter will get some additional awesomeness (signed and doodled-in books, extra prints) but ordering via paypal just gets you the book, plain and simple.

serial killer portraits, originals.

Here we go, the full list (so far) of originals and prints for all my serial killer portraits. Click the image to see it bigger- and here’s a link to prints of these, Please go buy one there, as I am no longer producing handmade prints of this series. For originals, which I do have available, please email me. 

I started working on these because I have an inordinate fondness for true crime books, movies. Because I love gory things, horrorful stuff, and always find it fascinating that some people behave this way. (here’s an interview crimelibrary did with me, which explains a bit further.)

I also remember what Richard Chase said- that he didn’t choose his victims, he just tried doors until he found one open- because if it was locked he wasn’t welcome there. I think that sums up a lot of the phenomenon. Serial killers, sociopaths, they exploit our human weaknesses, and yet they don’t see others as human. It’s very interesting to me, the way watching predators on nature shows is interesting to me.

The first set of these I did are cannibal killers- the second set, which I am still working on (and which starts with Gacy, Martha Wise, and Albert Fish) are parental figures who were also serial killers. That set will be pretty big, as a lot of serial killers were parents, and upstanding citizens by their neighbors and friends. I plan to work with images of necrophiles after that, such as Gein, Bundy. That set should actually include Kemper, but I liked his story so much I worked on him already. Click through to see the rest of the collection so far! (more…)

portfolio page built.

PRETTY, HUH?

PRETTY, HUH?

purely for organizational and submission purposes, an actual portfolio site.

http://anjimarth.com/

Still need to add a bio and an artist’s statement; that will have to happen tonight when I finish up this drawing.

I’ve been collecting photos of clients wearing/enjoying my work lately- there should be a big post up of all those pictures soon!

New rose tattoo and spinster shirts!

sppI have been ill, so I haven’t been the usual powerhouse of prolificity (is that a word?). Instead, I have been nursing my belly, and resting. I had a good solstice and as I write this, tomorrow is xmas eve.

The days before solstice I finished up a commission (which I’ll be posting soon) of a magpie with some roses, which was incredibly fun. I did it for a friend of mine, a supporter. She’s rad. I also did some sketches of seasonal hare paintings, which will be my main project in early January. And the rest of the time? When I felt well enough, I got caught up with making shirt designs.

A few people have asked me, so I thought I’d make sure you knew, you can order these in any size, any color- a few are even in kid’s sizes too. Just look to the right on the listing page, and use the little chart and dropdown to choose. Under each image there, you can see options like kid’s sizes, hoodies, or shirt style as well.

Here are the shirts I’ve been working on from my own art…

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