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Airships and Tentacles – my new 140-Page Art Book

Over the past months I have been tapping away at keys, collecting scans of artworks old and new and even a lot of forgotten works, in order to make a very intensive book of my works to date.

At first, it was only going to be the Airships and Tentacles series, but I began to use “lost” artworks for section endings, and decided I should include old paintings from before the series, as well as all of those pieces I have worked on during the series as album covers, book covers, commissions, illustrations, or things I did during the series just to clear my head and work on something different. It even includes a few samplings from my-yet-to-be-published literary works, and some pieces I’ve done relating to the works of others (Voltaire, Clive Barker, Dexter Palmer, Bethalynne Bajema, and others), and collections of doodles and sketches to decorate text pages (such as the Table of Contents, Words from the Artist and other sections)

The book has a cover specially designed by Bethalynne Bajema from my existing artwork, and I *love* what she did with it. Click the image or link below to view as a PDF online, or right click (recommended) to download and view in 2-page side by side book format.

This book is available NOW as a preorder, shipping August 5th. Click here to buy.

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Evolution

In the, wow, nearly 20 years of this site, 10 years at this domain, a lot has changed, and will continue to change.

I’ve been in the middle of another major site overhaul for starters, so you might see some things shift here or there even as you browse.

The store will continue to work as usual, and will continue to carry many, many art prints, art originals, and other things – but I am working hard to get the gallery filled with the 100-some images I have available, in order to make it much easier to see what types and sizes of prints are available for each artwork all in one place… because I realize it can be rather overwhelming to sift through 400 items and feel you are miking the best choice.

I’ve removed eyesores like the facebook feed and the twitter feed, because they took up a lot of space – and it was silly to have them, since you are already here, and most posts over there are about things that are available here.

I’ve also removed them because, well, I am going to use them both a lot less often. Twitter really just seems like a lot of people talking into the wind to imaginary friends, Tumblr and Pinterest seem to be the sport of sharing as many images as possible as quickly as possible, Livejournal is filled with Russian spambots where people once were, and Facebook, since they started promoted posts – well, for 800-some people I see a little “10 people saw this post” at the bottom “insights”, and it all seems pretty pointless.

… as does the internet in general, if all it is to be is a billion people slaving away at sharing things quickly, forgetting moments later for the next sharable thing… not visiting sites, or reading articles, just “liking” them and sharing.

… it isn’t exciting anymore; It isn’t even pleasurable or relaxing anymore – just mind-numbing addictive boredom and a day filled with forgettable moments… click – share – click – share – comment – click – share…

Though I spent a lot of time building up readership on facebook – as have many others with their pages: the best solution seems to be if everyone were to go and start that again elsewhere. I’ll only be there, in the sense that my posts from here will feed into my “fan page”… at least until they make that a paid service too.

On the up-side, this has forced me to get back to what I shouldn’t have stopped doing: updating right here – like I did years ago, finding a few things that well-worth blogging about and putting some effort into sharing as articles and reviews worth typing about, rather than all sorts of things “sort-of ” worth sharing at the click of a button.

I don’t have a mailing list in place yet, one of a hundred things on the slate for these next few days… but if you have a decent browser – there is an rss button at the top.

Please check back often; Aside from posting new artworks and books and such things here, and special offers, I plan to return to posting about music, the art of others, event reviews, and whatever else fits well in this space.

If you came here looking for special offers, well, there are many new prints being added in the process of building the gallery, and many products being marked down until the end of December.

If you would like to see those specials, you can now find many of the newest deals through the gallery.

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Exhibitions

These are just a handful of upcoming and past appearances.

I do have many more appearances in mind this coming year, to be announced – and my mind is so fuzzy on the older ones, so I’ll add them as they come to me.

I’ll also update a lot of this with proper links gradually over the coming weeks.

Current/Upcoming:

“The Low Life” at Ice Cream Gallery and Toys in Grand Rapids, MI. Ongoing.

Steampunk Symposium at the Crowne Plaza Cincinnati North in Cincinnati, OH. April 26th through 28th, 2013.

Past Appearances:

Urban Lights Holiday Market at Ice Cream Gallery and Toys in Grand Rapids, MI. December 8th 2012 from 12PM to 9PM.

2012 World Steam Expo in Dearborne MI (Vending)

2012 Steampunk Symposium in Cincinnati, Ohio (Guest, Exhibitor, Vendor, and Panelist)

“Steampunk Soiree” at the Revolving Museum in Lowell, MA Feb 7th through March 3rd 2012

Mobilus in Mobili at Wooster Social Club in Soho NY (Exhibitor : filming of steampunk NY Ink Episode)

Artprize 2011 – (Guest and Exhibitor) at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids MI.

Maker Faire 2011 Detroit (Guest and Exhibitor)

2011 World Steam Expo (Guest, Exhibitor, Panelist)

Steampunk Form and Function at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham, MA (Exhibitor)

Artprize 2010 (Exhibitor)

Lift Off! at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra CA, January 9, 2010 – February 1, 2010 (Exhibitor)

Horrorfind Weekend 2006 (Exhibitor)

Pittsburgh Comicon 2006 (Vendor/Artist)

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The Hanging Gardens

This is one of my three final commissions for this year, meaning I have two more to go before this series is done and I can finally start lay-out for the “Airships and Tentacles” book.

These have been rather slow-coming – I’ve been chomping off bits of my work list, and well, between home repair, prepping for coming conventions, keeping food on the table (web/programming work), shipping, and *still* catching up on kickstarter stuff… it all feels like ‘nibbling’, though I haven’t slowed down or stopped in nearly a year.

Anyway, I painted this one at 18×12 inches on Oak panel… you can see a few details below, but certainly not all of them. As per usual… tiny, tiny brush strokes and figures about the size of a grain of rice…

I have it imaged at 600DPI, to ensure that these details show as well as the original in printed form, and those prints are now available HERE.

There are only 10 available, they are printed on canvas at the exact same size as the original painting. As an early buyer incentive, the first two to sell are available for only $190; They’ll go back up after those two have sold.

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Blue Things

Yeah, I know, people have gotten pretty used to me making with the fantastical steampunk stuff – but there are a lot of times when the things in my head aren’t exactly in the genres I’m known for, often times these things aren’t exactly things people would want hanging on their walls, or even like.

That, is perfectly okay.

I took a 6-month break from showing anything new here – not that I stopped creating, but I was building big things, painting big murals upon them, working large scale in everything from the art itself to the undertaking as a whole… I managed 7 new paintings – each 3 foot by 7 foot, and can’t show them right now as I have no budget for imaging them.

I’d like to say I am working on something even bigger than that, but I am working smaller for a bit – less over the top, less fantastical, less with the huge.

… Some of this, is because the project, and all that time, really tapped me out emotionally, physically, and otherwise – I may have shot my life completely down the tube, I don’t know – I’ve lost my faith in humanity save for a small handful of people I met and worked with during the process, and have lost all hold on any illusion that there is any hope for a real arts scene or art happenings in the town I am currently living in and my thoughts in general on art as a living: expletive filled and feeling rather final.

Until I find a job, hopefully something good and hands-on, blood and sweat and not having to deal with people variety… landscaping, construction, etc…

I guess I still have to do whatever I can do, manage whatever I can manage, every day, regardless – so I do what I can do, which is painting, on what I have available to paint on.

I’m finding bits of board and unused canvas around the house big enough to do paintings on, and painting away for no one and no reason in particular.

I think some might call this “freedom”.

If you liked the sorts of things I spent the last few years painting – well, there were ways to express that – Just downloading images, wasn’t it.

But, for those who missed all the oddness and ugliness… well, it seems that I am back in that regard, and will paint new things, whenever I feel like it, whenever I have stuff to paint on.

I’m not done being an artist – I was born that way, I’ll die that way – I am just feeling rather done with *this*.

I am going to go back to breaking my back for a living, because I’d enjoy that a lot more than watching the internet for a non-living. I am going to wrap all my works up as I make them, store them up, list a few here now and then, and show them if and when a chance to show them someplace good comes up.

Anyway…

My latest two pieces are painted on 8×10 inch scraps of birch. They are filled with tiny details. They are the product of free-painting, with no particular image, story, or anything in mind short of the current element leading into the next and tying in with the previous. I suppose this is leading a lot more toward the style of my older, more surreal works, and I am exploring that for a while… contemplating how I will break that formula on the next, reflecting on missed chances in the previous…. building toward something, though I have no idea what, nor do I care.

I’d say more, but I still feel that people who like to talk a lot about their work, should be spending that time working.

Good night.

Same Deep Water as You
Same Deep Water as You
Deeper
Deeper
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The End of the Series

Think of a visual representation of a statements or concept, as a series or a single image.

Consider a style or media that would be striking, and imagine it taken to a level beyond your ability.

Research said media if it is new, and think on the concept or image for a while – but not so long that something new takes its place – because the longer this thought process, the more ambitious it should become.

Once the thought of even trying begins to fill you with an equal level of dread and excitement, begin.. even if it is after your bed time.

Don’t stop until it is looking as good you had hoped, because this is the *true* starting point. Now work to take it even further, as far as the piece demands, beyond whatever level of ability you  thought you were limited by.

Walk away regularly with the image in your head, process it, think of the parts you like, the things you don’t, and things you would like to add.

Remove and go over anything you have doubts about without mercy.

Add in only what won’t crowd the piece

When you reach the point where any change will only make it “different”, but not “better”, you are done.

“Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things by breakfast”, is a good phrase to remember.

Most *Everyone* draws at some point in their life. Those who are intrigued by failure, inspired by the seemingly impossible, continue beyond the point of jagged teeth and crayoned stick fingers.

An artist should never seek to do what they already know they *can* do – and perhaps such is the evil in commissions, which are most often specified according to past works, and limited by scope. Not that all commissions are bad – an artist must accept only those that allow the artist a fair share of creative freedom, as well as room, opportunity, or even obligation to try something new.

An artist who finds himself or herself with extra money, tends to spend it exploring a new mode of art, a new mode of printing, or trying to break into some bigger and more time-involved media or project. It isn’t that we are without wisdom, we know what is wise, and choose to ignore it out of a strong and passionate love for art. Buy canvas, sell paintings, buy scanner, sell reproductions, buy printer, sell giclees, buy lithography press, sell lithographs, buy bigger canvas and better paints, sell paintings, fret over a choice between crowns or a big chunk of marble, sell sculpture, buy clove oil … some ramen noodles …and a better chisel.

When I first started the “Airships and Tentacles” series, in wow… 2006… I don’t even think that “Air Kraken” was a word yet, though I could very well be wrong. I can’t remember specifically, but given Final Fantasy’s tendency to make *some* version of every base creature for each and every environment, it would be insane if they never had some sort of airborne cephalopod in all those years.

Yes, It is foolish of anyone to believe they invented anything… logs and stones rolled down hills long before the wheel, and there is sure to be a comic book from the 60s or illustration from the 1800s with flying cephalopods *somewhere* – and a hundred movies and books in-between. I am only saying I hadn’t yet seen them in paintings, especially luminist and/or American arts-movement-styled paintings, and I thought it would be fun to add hints of in the first painting – and loved that touch enough to continue it through the series.

The Rescue -Steampunk Airship painting featuring Abney Park's HMS Ophelia

My airships, started with a commission for Robert of Abney Park, based on the existing designs by Eliza Gauger, which may or may not have been based somewhat on an equal interest in things such as Final Fantasy. The fun of imagination, came more in execution and styling, and moreso in the landscapes themselves. Over time, as the result of much research on bag sizes, gas content, altitude, temperature, etc… balloon sizes grew, ship sizes and engines shrank – I also started to lean more towards the stylings of DaVinci for wings and other parts – and mixed a bit of the aesthetic stylings from my favorites like Derek Riggs, Michael Whelan, Brom, Bethalynne Bajema, Gustave Dore, Pieter Breughel (E&Y), Zdzislaw Beksinski, and others wherever characters, creatures, scenery, or technology allowed.

Anyway, I wanted to do a series of what is essentially landscape art, explored by this fascinating mode of travel – as a means of adding a human element for the viewer to view through, without focusing on figures so much as to make it “character art”.

I sought to combine Lovecraftian elements and mythos with Vernian machines and aptly romanticized visions of exploration; in this, I also wanted to hide every bit of my usual dark and spooky art in such a way that it goes mostly to completely unnoticed.

The latter is most likely why this series was the first series I ever did that people *both* liked, *and* would hang on their walls (Criteria: Does not scare children, much; Does not creep in-laws and future in-laws out; Does not give the potential future girlfriend reason for pause; Does not get a cubicle-dweller fired).

Shadow, Mist and Stone: The last of the series
Shadow, Mist and Stone: The last of the series (crop)
Shadow, Mist and Stone: The last of the series
Shadow, Mist and Stone: crop 2
Shadow, Mist and Stone: full view
Shadow, Mist and Stone: full view. This, the last of these images is finally available as a giclee on fine art paper, a giclee on canvas, and a metallic print at our Etsy store: http://ettadiem.etsy.com

I *thought* I was going to explore this into many, many other types of media – and planned to have a sculpture in wood and a sculpture in metal in the series of nothing else. But, I’ve done more paintings in this series than I intended to, and many, many engravings. The very last painting ships out tomorrow… technically that is not true, because there will be *some* of that in the Infernal device – but I am counting that as my sculpture piece to complete the series.

I’ve got one hell of a collection together in this – plenty enough for the book I committed myself to making works for. I’ll be releasing it in a time when dirigibles and flying Cephalopods have over these years become an odd sort of ‘norm’ (a subcultural standard that to most, comes out of *nowhere* for no apparent reason). The journey has been in interesting one, and I feel that alone merits the book’s release if nothing else… pending until all this Infernal Device stuff is under control.

Thank you everyone who supported the making of this series by buying prints, sharing links and such – and of course thank you  everyone who continues to do so.

I really have no idea what I am going to do from here, because I have *many* ideas and will have to choose one, or combine a few – but whatever I am thinking, I am sure going to look forward to it the moment I allow myself to look forward to other things.

Right now I am looking forward to getting the first build of the Infernal Device done, and looking to make it better than anything I could ever possibly do.

In celebration of the closing of the series (okay… I really need money to get my butt to Maker Faire Detroit), I am making large giclees of the very first image from this series available online. They are 30 inches by 24 (printed area is slightly less), and they are printed on fine art rag paper. I will also sign and date these. These are not limited editions – the reason is that the metallics and canvas prints I sold as limited editions, must always remain more special than any version I put out afterward. These are prints I make available in small quantities at conventions, with no set number to be made – but they beautiful, high quality, and they are the biggest prints of this  image you can get without buying one of the 4 remaining giclees on canvas.

If you would like one, these few prints are available HERE – and are only $100 until they  are gone.