This image was the cover for the upcoming September/October issue of Gatehouse Gazette, an excellent dieselpunk, pulp, horror, sci fi, steampunk mag if you aren’t already reading it. It was originally done for the magazine in pen and ink, as per their black and white specifications, but I decided to complete the piece with color after the publication date.
This is the finished result… very vintage pulp in its look and feel.
What I was going for was a very retro sort of Neon Genesis Evangelion sort of concept…of course what it translated to, especially with the 1940’s technology looks very “War of the Worlds”, both of which made it an enjoyable and fun piece to do.
A month back, I did a cover image for the Gatehouse Gazette, my second cover for them. The Gatehouse Gazette being a black and white publication, with a standard of using line-art for the covers, I decided to do the piece in pen and ink.
Though not exactly an expressive and creative masterpiece by any stretch, the piece made me happy looking at it, as it reminded me very much of the sorts of things I used to draw at my desk behind a makeshift wall crafted of several propped up books and a huge overfilled backpack. It also threw me back to the days of hoarding strange fiction pulp comic books, cyberpunk or dungeons and dragons manuals, and sci fi books – which I collected primarily for the artwork and imaginative worlds within.
I tend not to see works which simply look ‘neat’ or communicate a scene as art, more I see them as concept art or illustration, as such is typically the purpose of these works. No underlying meaning, no personal expression, no sociopolitical undercurrents or overtones, no mysteries contained within… just a scene from a story, a character or item from a book.
In this, as much as I looked at my line art piece, and desired to see it at its very-most complete, I thought it would be best to push on to other actual artworks – but this what rather hard to do, as the piece was continually, incessantly calling to me – so, in order to remove this distraction, I took to it with several tubes of acrylics and have been working at it a little each night.
I can’t say how oddly happy this makes me, as I work on it, and as I look at it at the end of the night – running my fingers over its surface as I know I shouldn’t – fascinated by the results because in all my time looking for that perfect surface for me – I never really gave bristol or illustration board a serious try, especially when it comes to paints. I like to at least have the illusion that my work will last forever and am forever trying to find more time tested and durable media to work on, to print on or to paint in. Though bristol has a high archival rating, I always think of all the things that could possibly happen to a piece over a few hundred years – and shudder to think of it.
The trade-off however – very nice. No tens of layers of gesso and sanding. No fighting/working with the grain of the wood or the texture of the canvas – a nice smooth surface which is easy to draw on before painting, and handles the paint rather nicely once a base coat has been applied.
It may not be an historic or ground-breaking work of art in the art world – it is however ground-breaking in mine. Not only have I found a new surface to love, but I have reminded myself once more that all art is self portraiture – as even though not intended, it unavoidably communicates the loves, interests, desires, fears, fancies, and soul of the maker… in this case maybe only my love for strange pulp fiction horror/sci fi, or perhaps a little more. I may never know, but I certainly won’t know until it is finished.
Well, enough of my musing… I now return you to your regular programming.
Cover art for Gatehouse Gazette 10, my second cover for the popular Dieselpunk magazine.
Issue 10 will be released less than a day from the time of this posting, and can be found at ottens.co.uk.
(click the above image to view in larger sizes on Flickr)
I put it up for sale on Etsy, but I’ll likely pull it down if it doesn’t sell in the next day or so and paint it up with some acrylics for an upcoming show. If you would like to buy this piece, or would like to see what Bethalynne Bajema and I have for sale there, please go to Ettadiem.Etsy.com
I reached the point where I *wanted* to add “just a little bit more”, but typically, as one learns over thousands of years of banishment to Earth, this is the point where one more brush stroke equals “overworked”. I waited about fifteen minutes just staring at the thing, and was happy with my decision.
Taking photos of paintings in artificial light don’t tend to yield the most spectacular results – there is a slight color shift seen from one edge to another (especially visible on the full shot). I’ll be getting it professionally scanned while I am away, proofing it when I return on the 29th, and since my printers are local – I’ll be able to start shipping these around January 11th.
They are however available now, in large limied edition metallics, limited edition giclees on canvas, and medium-sized open edition metallics (18×12 inches).
A bit about the painting:
I wanted the sphynx to be foreboding forgotten monolith, but I also wanted it to look “alive”, so I decided to put the tentacles emanating from the portal in the sphynx, putting the one winding around the back in the position a cat’s tail would be in were it thinkiing about ‘pouncing’.
In the shadows of this painting, are a night sky – something to dress up the dark spots, and to fulfill the need I had to make a starry sky out of my cloudy lightning-filled sky.
These weird shell things- I wanted rocks, but did not want them to be boring old rocks, I also wanted the desert to look almost as if it were a dried out ocean… so these fossil-like shell-like patterns in the stone served to fill these needs.
The lightning field – The way I wanted everything to be lit, required that lighting was coming in varying levels from many angles. I also love lightning. The floaty cages are a throwback to back when I did purely surreal artwork… and I thought they would add a nice ‘living’ touch to the landscape without ruining my desolate scene with actual plants.
Lanterns everywhere – this one in the netting and reflecting off the portal window. A view of the coal bin, lightning field, floating cages, and propellers as well.
Oh… the nautilus. The nautilus-like submarine from “the Rescue”, now beached in the middle of the desert. Why??? … umm… Don’t tell me how to run my painting! It was a whim!
Gondola – and lots of netting. More fishnet than a goth club on a Summer night. It serves well as extra cargo space. Ladders and doors for a sense of scale.
The whole painting. Please forgive the obvious color shift from right to left, it is the result of uneven lighting on the painting when I took the shot.
It was brought to my attention yesterday that there were a number of prints which were not available in the current incarnation of my site – the result of starting anew on the store I suppose.
Looking through the collection, and cross-comparing, I’ve found at least 40 available prints of at least 15 artworks which never made it back to this site when the rebuild was done.
I’ve added a few tonight, and may add a few more soon. Mostly these are my darker works from over previous years.
I’d also like to start moving ahead and making screen printings of a lot of my engraved images, though I am not quite sure if I am going to make special screen prints for wall hanging, t-shirts, or other items in this course – I believe I will be leaning more towards the t-shirts, bandanas and patches – as I’ve already giclees of most of the engravings.
There will also be some books returning. I am remixing my comic book, starting from the ground up in a lot of places, deleting scenes, adding new ones – and leaning more towards the serious and slightly comedic intended work – less towards the wacky shock humor bit it had become. I’ll have related merch for that when done, but if anyone is interested in any of the remaining comics (there were only 100 of which printed), well just go ahead and contact me for those.
My children’s book, 2 years in the not-making, is next on the slate – I do however have two painting commissions to finish (one of which a book cover for a fave author), and some book illustration (interior work) to do for another author friend of mine.
Anyway – I see a lot of great things coming for this site, and will have a lot of news to give in the coming year. I have a good feeling I will find more time to get more of these projects off my plate come January – but for now – watch for the release of two new paintings (and giclees from them) sometime between December 25th and January 10th.
On Saturday November 28th of 2009, Spend more than $100 My Store, and receive an original 8.5 x 11 inch drawing, drawn on 400-lb 4-ply archival bristol board in pencil.*
1) The theme and style of the image will be chosen by the artist according to your purchase, and made to mesh well with your purchased items. For example: A purchase of a giclee of “The Rescue” might yield a drawing of an airship, while purchase of a couple of “Conception” prints might produce a drawing of mechanical insects.
2) The artist reserves the right to end this promotion should an unforeseen high amount of interest be expressed in the form of purchases (but will still make good on all sketches owed up to the point of cancellation).
3) Drawings will be shipped with their corresponding purchases, and as a result there may be a delay of up to one week on shipping (but only if there are a lot of drawings to be made as a result of this promotion).
4) Offer Ends at 11:59:59 PM Saturday November 28th, 2009, Pacific Standard time.
I’m getting closer to being done with this series, and finished with the book… well, the art book anyway.
The shirts and bandanas will likely be available months before the book – They will be decorated by the cover image, but not the cover text, and are pretty amazing. I’ll be screen printing all of these on my own this time around – hopefully that will make them extra special, at least to to some people.
I was going to wrap the book up with some pencil and pen and ink work, some watercolors and gouache, but I’ve received a book cover commission from an artist I could not stand to have turned down, and that author wanted something similar to what I’ve been doing. I’ve also been asked to do some similar-themed interior illustrations for another author as well. So, this book will be delayed by a hair, but will also be several pages thicker when released.
Anyway, this post has knocked down the post for the November Sale, so I am just going to remind you here that through November 1st through November 31st of every year, my prices are their very, very lowest (because I don’t want to be buried in shipments the week before the Gift-Giving Season). You might want to take a look around my store (if not the entire store, look at the November Sale Section).
Here are some items which are coming soon, though maybe not in time for Christmas. The shirt is now available – though the tonal striped tees I wanted originally are no longer being made by the manufacturer… bummer:
I haven’t been updating much, you may have noticed – Web and print ad work for clients, as well as the last of the commissioned paintings have kept me busy.
The painting I am working on is a large one; and since I work in the same amount of detail whether working small or large, it is still going to be a while before I get that one finished.
Most of my client work is for a studio that works with Disney, hosting art events for Disney artists, and selling special edition Disney merchandise; I have a large portfolio of fliers, print ads, and web work relating to these things – and perhaps this is beginning to sink a bit into what I do in my free time – as I just had to do my own version of the Cheshire Cat to round out this last series of engravings (below top).
This recent series began with my needing to get the cover art for the Halloween issue of Gatehouse Gazette (below bottom), and since I buy these things in threes, and cannot resist a fresh plate to engrave on, I ended up using more time that I had scrawling out designs in tiny detail – and I’ll tell ya – my hands and eyes are hating me for it right now.
Well, at least I managed another black and white for my “Airships and Tentacles” series – a series I realized this week I have yet to get around to posting an actual premise for. Innsmouth Free Press will be getting that info first, as I have an upcoming interview with them, and they asked the question.
Speaking of interviews, if you have the time, take a look at my recent one with Dark Roasted Blend (which was also picked up by IO9)
Also, I am pleased to announce, that my painting “Sabicu” will be the cover image for the upcoming installment of the amazing fantasy magazine: Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
Anyway… the art… below… BTW metallic prints and giclees of these are available in the Store
Attack from Planet Moon (yes, it is a silly title for a silly picture)
I Have Special Plans for this World (Cover for Gatehouse Gazette October)
Death and Resurrection: One of many amazing clockwork pieces by Thomas Kuntz to be featured in the Archive.
Thomas Kuntz, a professional artist for over 20 years, began as a sculptor of Commercial Toys, but later gained notoriety circa ’89-98 as a pioneer in the making of model kits based on old silent films like Nosferatu, The Man Who Laughs, Vampira, and others.
After a period of time Kuntz found that merely sculpting his dark creations was not nearly enough for him, and that he wanted to give life to his creations through mechanical, perhaps supernatural means… This change in method resulted in some of the darkest and most interesting automations known to man, and not nearly as many fatalities and disappearances as may be rumored…