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.
Today, I sent off three giclees to Gallery Nucleus for the “Lift Off!” art show, adding subtle miniature new artworks within each piece including (but not limited to) added airships, additional polar bears, bottles of rum, additional cephalopods, brightened constellations and other details in order to make each giclee its own unique piece of art.
For these I not only hand-stretched and varnished each one, but I have-made the supporting wood frames with a lot of extra care. I took some photos as I went, though admittedly it is hard to take photos of oneself working without use of a tripod, timer, and a lot of shots. Anyway, I got enough good shots to put together the tutorial this site has been needing for stretching and mounting canvas prints (Shipping giclees unstretched is a greener, less expensive solution – and stretching is not all that hard or expensive to do).
Oh… the show details…
January 9th (opening reception) thru January 30th
210 EAST MAIN ST
Just a few projects I am picking away at. If you want some step by step images on these, you can go to my flickr account (flickr.com/mykeamend)
1) Book with embedded faux bone seal/cameo. Materials: Brass, wood, polymer clay. I want to fill this with writings and drawings on skin, to give it a really eerie, creepy, “kids would be up all night for weeks if they ever entered the room they weren’t supposed to” feel. Human skin is out of the question, legalities and all – vellum will have to do, but such is out of my price range for the moment. I guess this will have to wait to be filled up.
2) Box with embedded faux bone seal/cameo. Materials: Brass, wood, polymer clay. To be filled with pulp metaphysical accouterments. This will hopefully be a very high end cabinet of curiousities piece or set of movie props when done.
3) Spring-shocked Goggles. Materials: Brass. Leather padding and straps to be added. Lenses to be added if/when I ever get myself to the optometrist.