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New Additions

The Destination 1111 show gave me the opportunity to show a number of works that I hadn’t previously been able to show at any official showing or convention.

Speaking of which, I now have several current and ongoing art displays running, which I recommend if you are in the Massachusetts, Northern California, or Illinois area; They are at: Gallery Nucleus (Alhambra California), The Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation (Waltham, Massachusetts), and Gallery Provocateur (Chicago Illinois *beginning October 30th*).

Some of the works I showed at Destination 1111 dated back as far as ten years ago, one or two have been available here as prints for a while, but there were a handful of them which I had never been able to offer here, and was unsure whether to offer here. Not that life for me has ever been all that easy, but several of these pieces were from an exceptionally rough time, which made me hesitant to show them … But, given their reception at the 1111 show, and because they were widely requested, I finally decided to have them imaged.

This week, Jim Gebben, an extraordinary photographer from Grand Rapids, who I met during our Artprize run, spent some time taking some fantastic high res photos of my non-imaged works – so, I am not only finally able to offer prints of these, but finally able to offer some more originals as well.

Here are some of the new offerings:

Arclight 24x24 Oil on Panel
Arclight 24x24 Oil on Panel

Arclight: Available as:

Original 24×24 painting (framed 32 inches by 32 inches)
Giclee on Canvas (limited edition of 20)
Giclee on Fine Art Rag (limited edition of 20)
12×12 Metallic print (open edition)

The Day You Died 16x20 acrylic on canvas
The Day You Died 16x20 acrylic on canvas

The Day You Died: Available as:

Original 16×20 painting (unframed, with option for framing)
Giclee on Canvas (limited edition of 10)
Giclee on Fine Art Rag (limited edition of 20)
11×14 inch Metallic print (open edition)

Drill Baby Drill 24x36 Acrylic on Canvas
Drill Baby Drill 24x36 Acrylic on Canvas

Drill baby Drill: Available as:

Original 24×36 painting (unframed, with option for framing)
Giclee on Canvas (limited edition of 20)
Giclee on Fine Art Rag (limited edition of 20)
12×18 inch Metallic print (open edition)

The Wait - 24x36 Acrylic on canvas
The Wait - 24x36 Acrylic on canvas

The Wait: Available as:

Original 24×36 painting (unframed, with option for framing)
Giclee on Canvas (limited edition of 20)
Giclee on Fine Art Rag (limited edition of 20)
12×18 inch Metallic print (open edition)

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Colour from Space

Dead Sea Painting by Myke Amend
Dead Sea Painting by Myke Amend

An experiment in color, recently completed as a commission for Mike Skoog, wherein he asked if I could do something small enough for his music room, and more colorful than my standard muted palettes.

I went the more impressionistic route with this one, and instead of starting with the colors as I wanted them, I started with the nearest primary colors in their place, and worked downward in saturation and sideways in hue, until I reached this point.

Details are painted so incredibly thin, that I practically painted them with the very corner of a single hair, dropping molecules of paint in a line for stitches and ropes and other details. In this, I am reminded that working smaller is actually harder, not easier, because I still feel compelled to add my standard amount of detail…but in a smaller space (which means eye-strain and neck cramps in spades, and a more time-consuming work).

All the same, sometimes I like working small just for the opportunity to test my patience and practice my hand.

That was the second to last of all the commissions that remained on my plate before Artprize… one more to go, then I am my own man until I sell another…

Signed and dated giclees of this are available for only $25 here for a limited time, or $30 through Etsy

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Big Framing Adventure

When it comes to the expense of framing, shipping, the gallery’s percentage cut, the risk of needing to have things shipped back afterward, and all those instances where art gets stolen or damaged somewhere along the way, galleries close unannounced, or maybe never even existed – well, gallery showings are the sort of anxiety that I often find myself trying to avoid. For this reason I tend to prefer conventions if possible, or shows that are actually within driving distance.

And in those instances, I still often find myself in this sort of panicked state over things: Logistics, packing, unpacking, hanging, being around people all come in to play – but the highest anxiety of all, tends to come with framing.

Since I make most of my sales online, and since frames add significantly to the online selling price, and to the shipping cost – I tend to send my large originals unframed, unless otherwise requested – which means that I never bother framing them at all – until that rare chance to show someplace worthwhile and drivable presents itself… as things with galleries go, which often starts with a “showtime is two weeks from now and we need these in a few days”.

Being an artist, I never have money laying around to frame one piece, let alone three or five. If I ever find myself with a handful of bills to call my own, the money typically goes toward re-stocking on shipping tubes, getting a new run of merch made, having a run of prints printed, buying new canvas, new paints, something entirely new to try my hand at, or bigger and better versions of things I have, for making a bigger and better piece I’ve dreamed of being able to make.

If you are an artist who has ever needed something custom-framed for a coming show, and find that the framing stores have closed – or just cannot afford to have frames done at a gallery, or even craft store – a table saw (or a hand saw and a miter box) are often a god-send.

I typically make some pretty nice frames – though not as wonderfully ornate as those made from the sort of moulding that one can only get through a framing store, they are made from real wood – most often some really good real wood, and are incredibly durable and made to last. They also have a bit of hand-made charm to them, and often are a bit of artwork in their own.

Sometimes I add polymer clay, brass fittings, brass chains and ornaments, decorative tacks, wood appliques, or designs I have cut with a scroll saw; Sometimes I accent them through pyrography, or intricate carved details – they sky is pretty much the limit when making one’s own frames…

Well, the sky, time, and money…

This is one of those instances where money and time factored in more than most. This frame was not made from the chunk of fire maple I am saving for something, or the strip of cherry I am saving for something else – it was made from used pine, which came from supports for a stage set – though I almost used an antique door or two to have harder wood in this mix without using my reserved pieces.

Step 0: (Materials and Preparation):

Materials: Wood, wood glue

Tools: Saw, miter box (can be made with wood and saw), table saw (optional), clamps or straps or a bit of ingenuity to hold pieces tight until the glue dries, sand paper.

Recommended: Something to make the wood something more than just flat and boxy – such as a router, Wood burner, rotary tool, scroll saw, bits to decorate the frames with such as brass cabinet knobs, bits of chain.. the sky is the limit. Really, it depends on how intricate and perfect you want them – you can make them anything from folksy and bare, to contemporary and smooth/plain, to fine works of wood-crafting, to works of art in their own.

Preparation: I cut the pine pieces long-way with the table saw to make sure I had enough pieces, and that they were equally broad and equally thick. For the main part of the frame, I made two pieces that were 8 feet long, 3 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. From a 2×4 stud, I also made 2 pieces that were 8 feet long, 1 inch wide, and half an inch thick. You can skip that step if you can get to a hardware store and buy wood in this size – I recommend a few strips of select pine (heartwood pine) – It acts like hardwood, feels like hardwood, even *counts* as a hardwood to some – and is only about $3 a strip at Home Depot – buy 2 1x2s, 1x3s, or 1x4s, and one 1×1 – and you won’t need to do any length-wise cutting. If you do not have a table saw, a handsaw and a miter box will do. If you do not have a miter box – make one (3 pieces of wood, plus wood glue (or nails) and something the measure a 45 degree angle with). A good string wood glue in necessary. Ratcheting straps (tow straps) or corner clamps, or maybe even bar clamps if they are big enough for what you are working on – will save you a lot of frustration. Without pressure, the wood glue will take forever to dry, and your bonds will not be as strong or as clean. Paint, or wood stain, will probably also come in handy.

_Preview_.JPEG First step was to make a basic frame with an inside dimensions of 49×30 and outside dimension of 55 x 36. This construct is just flat wood and 45 degree angles – nothing fancy – all done with a table saw and an angle jig.
Frame in the worksA good amount of wood glue on the edges and some corner clamps made a boxy “finished” frame. Clamp tight, and let the glue dry at least 15 minutes. The tighter you clamp it, the better the glue will penetrate, the thinner it will fan out, and the faster it will dry.

Then I made another such piece one out of thinner wood strips (which I cut off a bigger piece with the table saw), this one with 1/4 of an inch less for the inner diameter.

When the pieces for this “smaller” frame were done, I rounded their edges on the routing table, and then glued them together on the main frame – creating a lip big enough to hold in the painting but still covering as little of its edges as possible. (You can see what it looks like attached to the frame in the above image, and you can see a cross-section of the routed pieces in the image below)


Frame in the worksA wider view of the frame with the second “frame” glued to its top.
Gessoed FrameI added some wood appliques (available at Home Depot, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby) to dress up the corners some; I then took to covering the thing in a thin layer of gesso so the paint holds on better. Typically my finishing would mean I would stain, wipe, stain, wipe, stain, wipe, smooth, varnish, smooth, varnish, smooth, varnish… but such is a three day process (if I don’t miss a beat). I needed to get this frame done by morning- so…
_Preview_.JPEGI added a metallic finish to it (silver spraypaint), then soaked it in watered-down black acrylic, then wiped up the black save for the crevices, then brushed over it in black, and wiped the black away from the part that borders the painting. It looks like it is hewn out of decades-neglected silver or maybe pewter.

If I could go back and do it again (which I may someday down the line) I’d faux finish it a deep red oak. I thought about doing this – but I’d like to see if I can get two hours rest in before we have to leave.

FinishedThis painting is just popped into the back. I typically cover the back with some really heavy craft paper – but I don’t have nearly enough on hand for that. The hanging wire is fastened into the painting itself on this piece, the the frame is more of a decorative surround, not a means to hang by. I may however move the hanging wire to the frame, just to be ‘normal’.

Below are some pics from another frame in progress. I routed both edges on one side (the inside edge), and rounded just one on the outside edge. The painting (a thin painting on hardboard) will rest within the router-made recess made in the inside edge). The outer edge has only one flat side so the assembled frame will sit flush against the wall.

I will probably stain and varnish this one – and will probably simulate the look of an age-old frame with multiple layers of stain, and leaving bits of extra stain in the crevices with each step.


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CirqueACirca Cotton Tee

Our beautiful shirts from Extreme Screen Printing have arrived. They are printed in 2 colors on an all-cotton heavyweight desert sand colored t-shirt – with art by Bethalynne Bajema, an incredible logo design by Ted Jauw, layout/pre-press by Myke Amend, modeled for by Cassie Truskowski, and loved by everyone who sees them.

Buy yours here:

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Indonesian Rijstaafel (Feast!)

Our last gathering (an artist’s and performers fundraiser for CirqueACirca & The 121st Retronauticon) was a great time for all, and we are doing it again. Come out and meet the crew, have some amazing curry and a spot of tea (vegetarian options available), and meet and mix with many other artists and arts supporters. Details below:

1537 Fulton St. E. Grand Rapids – Saturday, September 11th, 2010 – 7PM to 11PM

*Indonesian RijsTaffel (Rice Table)
*Meet the Crewe (Strong & Able)
*Post Fashion Night Out! (Stytche And Bytche!)
*See the Model (Hear our Pitch)
*Steampunk Chocolate Fountain (you’ll never leave)
*Get a “Love” Tattoo (Roll up you sleeve)
*Join the Circus (Sign the list)
*Buy the T-Shirt (Don’t be missed…)

See the Event Page at
(R.S.V.P. if you can, but you don’t have to)

12 noon (early-comers) – Make a SteamPunk Dress at our Stytche & Bytche
6pm – Volunteer meeting and sign up
7pm – Rijstaffel feast

$5 suggested donation (don’t let that stop you from coming though – )

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The Art of Cirque A Circa

Cirque A Circa (A Circus Out of Time) is coming up fast, and with it our 121st Annual RetroNauticon – which is much like a convention, but without registration fees and admission fees.

In a work of art nearly the size of two football fields, we will have many performers throughout the ArtPrize competition. Performers include airial, fire-spinning, fire-eating, and other sideshow performances by Cassie Truskowski, Author Bethany Grenier, Local Artist Ted Jauw, and many others – as well as fashion shows, and of course music: Such as acts by Zoe Boekbinder of Vermillion Lies, and also by The Gypsy Nomads – a great band last seen (by us) at the World Steam Expo.

You may, or may not be able to make it – but this promotional art featuring the Art of Bethalynne Bajema, and Ted Jauw’s Cirque A Circa logo and the Love ambigram is well worth-grabbing while it is still available. Not only do you have the chance to snag some wonderful and rare art for a low price, but you get to take a part of this event by supporting the artists behind it… thereby supporting the event (not having to find and earn money to eat on allows us more time to put towards this monumental effort).

Special Prints for Cirque A Circa by Bethalynne Bajema
Special Prints for Cirque A Circa by Bethalynne Bajema

Not only is Bethalynne offering these limited edition images for a very low price on the CirqueACirca page (direct link to the shop), but she has a beautiful limited edition (limited to only 21 prints) 8×10 metallic from this series available on her site, here ($2o):

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Join the Circus

Some of you may already be aware of this, but this year I am participating in Grand Rapids’ Artprize competition along with Bethalynne Bajema, Ted Jauw, Kate Jauw, Bethany Greenier, John Hyatt, and Cassie Truskowski, with our combined work CirqueACirca.

We are putting together a work of art nearly the size of two football fields (a very ambitious project for a couple of artists with less than two nickles to rub together). This work will be a huge undertaking to say the least, and will include circus and sideshow performance art, among many many other things.

We hope that it will become a gathering point for steampunks and other like-minded individuals during the competition, in a joint effort with the SteamPig display and several other steampunk exhibits through the vast art competition (over 200,000 visitors last year). Our space will have a lot of room to rest your feet and hang out, and costumed up visitors add the the feel of the piece.

We hope that you will help out by being there September 25th (the main gathering date), or any date between September 22nd through October 10th.

If you would like to more actively participate and help out, there are *MANY* ways to do so – from helping us starving artists to starve a bit less, to easing the strain of gathering materials for this huge project (we hope to use as much recycled material as possible), to lending a physical hand on the build, or just getting the word out for us (because every person you know may know someone interested, or the people they know might know someone interested).

Please link to us in your blogs, facebook accounts, myspace, twitter, or otherwise… because popular makes popular these days, and the more people our message reaches, the greater we can make this event.

Cirque A Circa Poster by Bethalynne BajemaArtists: Those of you with a creative touch to help with painting and set up. It could be anything from plain flat painting to helping with the mural.

Roustabouts: Help during the event. Answer visitors questions, help with merchants/artists needs, etc.

Carnies: Merchants who share our vibe and intent may rent tents to sell wares.

Players: We need people to dress up in a steampunk or circus fashion and just walk around while adding to the vibe!

Buskers: Do you have a fun talent to share? Juggler, stilt-walker, etc.? We have a place for you in Buskers Alley.

Oddities: Do you have a very unusual art to share? We have a place for you to create and show off your talent.

Stowaways: The price for your passage is to help keep our ship clean! We will need people to keep an eye out for loose ties or malfunctions, pick up trash, make sure signage is still in place, etc.

Acts: Looking for acts willing to work with us to develop great shows and have an opportunity to show off your stuff.

And the rest: Did we fail to mention something? Let us know! There is a place for you in our circus!

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Sorry Charlie

One of several possible layouts or poses for his sculpture
Sorry Charlie - fine art sculture by Myke Amend

He came to the surface world, wondering where all the food had gone, but there were no fish to be found on land.

There was however an abundance of two legged meat-things… they tasted somewhat like seals; Perhaps even enough to save his kindred, and maybe enough to last till next season.

All he knew, was that he had to return to tell the others, but maybe after just one more meal or two…

All pieces were sculpted, hand-painted, silver-leafed (cans of tuna), and hand-varnished by Myke Amend and come as a set. The wood barrels and scrapbooking paper aren’t included, but could be if you really want them.

Sorry Charlie - fine art sculture by Myke Amend
One of several layouts fo rthis sculpture

One of several possible layouts or poses for his sculpture; I envisioned it with Charlie on top of the crate looking up pitifully, with a few old cans of tuna laying about the scene (as above), but I really have a hard time choosing just one. There are more images, including closeups on the Etsy Page at

The set includes Charlie the sea monster, 3 tuna cans, “wooden” (polymer clay) crate, and crate lid:

“Charlie” is about 3.5 x 2 x 2 inches. His eyes are made out of brass, and all scales, shading, and countershading are hand-painted on.

The Polymer Clay crate is roughly 4.5 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches.

Tuna cans are tiny… really tiny.

This is a fine art sculpture, and is *not* a toy. It is *not* intended or recommended for anyone under the age of 18.

I put a lot more work into this than I expected to. My first thought was to make something quick I could sell for $40 or so, but then I decided to use brass for eyes, then to hand-brush and shade scales onto him, then to make the crate out of clay instead of weed, then silver leafing the tuna cans for a more realistic look… I’d sell it for $300 for all the work that went into it, and its uniqueness (only one of its kind), but right now it is up for $145 on Etsy.

We are putting a lot of time and resources into our Artprize bid… a $5,000 estimated expense, between 5 people who can barely scrape together a handful of change (i.e. artists, post-July,2008). So, if you want to make good of our situation, this sculpture is available online until we have the fundraiser/teaser for the event – in which case it will be on sale there.

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Undeath from Above

Undeath fromabove detail 1
Undeath from Above detail 1
Undeath fromabove detail 2
Undeath from Above detail 2
Undeath from Above
Undeath from Above

The original was drawn in pen and ink on 11×14 inch Bristol Board, I did the coloring with my 4-year old Adesso drawing tablet so as to preserve the pen and ink original.

The Black and White version is the Cover for Gatehouse Gazette #14, my third cover for them.

I am making only 20 of these full-sized giclees. Total size with 1? border is about 13×16 inches. They are printed on cotton-weave fine art rag paper in archival pigment inks for the sort of superior clarity and color quality expected from a giclee print.

The giclees are available at a reduced price of $55, HERE

8×10 inch metallic prints are also available, and also at a reduced price ($15), HERE.

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Art! Troglodites Hate It, but You’ll Love It!

Does your summer shelter need windows to elsewhere, but without that annoying heat caused by sunlight? Tired of the warmth radiated by television, computers, and other electronic devices? Would you like the have images to liven up your place, without the annoyance of sound, and without the pesky associated energy costs of batteries and outlets?

You should try “Art”!

Art is 100% energy efficient, requires no outlets, and will continue to work day or night, even during power outages and Zombie Apocalypse (natural light source required for optimal enjoyment). Unlike money, which depends on a reliable system of government, art can be traded for gold, tools, women, men, chickens, or circus bears in post-apocalyptic settings, save for those dominated by troglodites and C.H.U.D.s, and it even serves as highly-prized contraband in every dystopian oligarchal collectivist society.

Concerned about your safety? Well, with the wonder of art, most any dangerous beast or precarious situation can be safely contained within a handy frame (not included)!!! Art has, in many tests, been proven to contain everything from ravenous krakens to the Civil War; Even ancient gods have a significant amount of difficulty escaping the confines of a well-crafted image: Play your records backwards day or night next to art, and if your soul is devoured, or sanity eaten, refunds will be the last of your concerns, guaranteed!

Need a friend? You can talk to art. Art will never interrupt or recommend you get professional help. Art will never, ever eat the snacks that were obviously yours because you wrote your name all over it in red marker; Art will never go to a party without you and then say it was studying all night.

Need a better view? Dread the expense of moving? Is it illegal in your area to asplode that ugly neighboring house or apartment building? Replace that ugly view with an always-pleasant view of another world, no more wondering “What are they doing over there?”; With art you can overwrite their existence safely, and without the fuss of jail time or mental wards. You can even place Art in areas without windows for an easy-to-install added viewing space(“easy-to-install” requires some working understanding of hammer physics and wall technology)!!!

But wait! Art is now available with your choice of discounts!! Read below !!!

Both discounts are valid at and are simple to claim (just key in the coupon codes below at checkout).

1) Free Shipping (USA on all standard items. Basically, $5 off – since my flat rate, site-wide price for shipping in the US is $5. For original artworks and overseas shipping, this coupon simply takes $5 off of shipping.

Just enter “freeship” (without the quotation marks) at checkout.

2) 10% off. Yep, 10% off your entire order, including original artworks and other one of a kind items. The 10% off even applies to already sale-priced items.

Just enter “10p” (without the quotation marks) at checkout.

Offers are valid now, through whenever, which will likely be a week from now… though you should jump on it now so you don’t forget later, miss out on this incredible deal, and spend eternity in regret as a whino or one of those people who scream threatening words at trash bins. Websites are standing by.