Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thesis Panels

Mid July is right around the corner, and with it comes the completion of my thesis project, followed by graduation. Completion of the thesis project requires that we submit at least six finished pieces of art accompanied by a written piece. I have come close to completing 5 large acrylic panels and 20 small 5x5 inch panels to make up for the sixth. Some of them were included in my blog post mini thesis paintings. 
Included in this post is 4 of the 5 large panels . All of which need a bit more work especially the one with the monkeys, as this is the most current piece and has a lot more that needs to be done to it. The color in the images I am showing here are not very true to the actual piece of art and I hope to include some better quality images of the finished pieces soon. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Random sketches

                                                              Siem Reap Concept Sketch
Monkey Sketch
Pulp Thumbnails

Cambodian Couple

While waiting for some gesso to dry I figured I would post a few of my recent random sketches.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bkk thesis painting

Bkk street vendor 

Bangkok, also known as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or "the city of angels" is Thailands largest urban area and primary city. Bangkok was founded by King Rama 1 , in 1782 and was originally a small trading post nestled along side the Chao Phraya  River. Over the course of the last 200 or so years Bangkok has grown to become political, social, and economic , center for not only Thailand but for Indochina and South East Asia. Due to Krung Theps influence in art, polotics, fashion, education, entertainment, and business Bangkok has transformed into a metropolitan melting pot of global status and proportions. 

Bangkok's population  is comprised of a mixture of people from around the world , and it is said that estimated population reaches close to 15 million while only 8,160,522, are actually registered residents(July 2007). With influences from around the world Bangkok in current times has become a rather interesting place , offering a unique mixture of the cultures of the world all intermingled with the Thai tradition. 

In my thesis project I am looking to explore the differences in the world , how different cultures influence one another in both positive and negative ways, and what the collision of the old world and the new world has brought upon us. I love how in places such as South East Asia there are old temples and ruins nestled within the big city. You may see an old temple growing right out of the side of a new sky scraper, or an old style bicycle taxi along side of that of a brand new sports car. In a place like Bangkok it is common to see someone wearing traditional clothing along side of that of someone wearing a modern suit or outfit. A great example of all of this would be to compare shopping experiences in this city, in the same day you could buy something at an ancient floating market, or at a super sized  space aged shopping mall like the MBK. 

  It has all become rather fascinating to me that in places like Bangkok some people continue to hold on to the ways of old while others have gone on at warp speed assimilating with the most modern technology, fashions,fads, and ideas. The ways in which old world traditions have become swallowed up by new world developments has largely become a theme in my work. 

Tuk Tuk Ride
Acrylic on panel

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Awesome Quotes

Pictured below are some of the faces of,  and the works of , some truly remarkable people. 

Frank Zappa
Grant Wood, American Gothic
Jack Unruh
Lou Brooks
Courtney Granner
Chester Gould
Milton Glaser
Craig Frazier
Peter Deseve

 I wanted to share a few great quotes from a few great people that I have picked up along the way. I hope they are as accurate as possible...

"Find the things in your life and in your art that you are passionate about and try to make an existence for yourself with them ! " - Jack Unruh 

"When digging for gold use a pan, not a tweezer, include everything and edit the material ! "- Courtney Granner -  on how to go about concepting and thumb nailing when designing an illustration.

" I usually start with a repulsive Character and then go from there !" Chester Gould- creator of Dick Tracy

" As illustrators we should not feel as if we must show the world as it is, instead we should show our own ideas, don't be afraid ! " - Lou Brooks

" Art is making something out of nothing and selling it!" -Frank Zappa

" All good ideas came to me while I was milking a cow" - Grant Wood

" Designers that can draw have a tremendous advantage over designers that cannot !" Milton Glaser

" Be relevant in order to have application of your work, popularize your own relevance ! " Craig Frazier

" Usually my best ideas come to me when I am not looking for them!" -Peter De Seve

Friday, May 15, 2009


Angkor Design
Graphite and digital

Below are a few photos I shot while in Cambodia

Bayon Temple, Detail

Temple in the Jungle

Cambodian Child

Cambodia is a country with a rich history and culture. Human settlements in Cambodia date back as far as the reach of memory, record , or tradition. The traces of the first organized civilizations date back to third millennium B.C  to a time when a Neolithic culture had already begun to create a  considerable amount of lithic productions, pottery and bronze ware. 

Over time these early craftsman built some of the most impressive Temples in the world, that have been come to be known by many as Angkor Wat(Although  Angkor Wat is only the name of a single temple within many).

Cambodian culture has been faced with many challenges in the ancient world and certainly in the modern world of today. Because Cambodia was rich with resources it was a region of desire and fell under attacks by the Siamese. In 1594 the Siamese Army sacked Angkor an event that many feel later lead to the colonization of Cambodia by the French in 1863. Overtime Cambodia went on to gain its Independence. In the mid 1950's the monarch Prince Sihanouk ,prided himself that Cambodia remained neutral no longer under the rule of the French. 

This time was short lived as Cambodia was later dragged into the Vietnam War in the 1960's.  President Nixon's sloppy bombing campaign along the border of North Vietnam and Cambodia  forced the communists further into Cambodia. The communists that stabilized deep within Cambodia lead to the formation of the Khmer Rouge, a guerrilla group that was able to take over the country. While the Khmer Rouge occupied Cambodia they tried to create what they called a new Cambodia, a Communist Utopia. Creating their twisted vision of a Communist Utopia involved stealing children from their homes, depriving them of education and contact with their families. There was a declaration that the ancient history of this wonderful country was now dead, to be forgotten. Without mercy they ripped people from their homes, stole their possessions , and killed anyone that fought back. Killing became wide spread ,the educated were killed, the elderly were killed, and monks were killed . Taking someones life was as easy as scratching an itch for that of the Khmer Rouge. These ruthless barbarians are responsible for the widespread Cambodian Genocide in which  resulted in over 1.7 million deaths(the movie Killing Fields is based upon this).

Luckily Vietnamese forces in 1979 ousted the Khmer Rouge, but not soon enough. The Khmer Rouge did not value the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, in fact they viewed their victory over the country to be of greater importance. They destroyed many of the early Cambodian religious icons,  removed stones from the temples to build prisons, eating halls, and stoves. They destroyed libraries, and schools, which resulted in a loss of over 80 percent of written works in the original Khmer language.  The list goes on and on about how much of a beautiful culture was lost and destroyed by the Khmer Rouges occupation of Cambodia.

Since these difficult times there has been a lot of effort in order to reconstruct the temples and Cambodia as a whole. Although Cambodia has been slow to recover from the genocide, which wiped out a generation of leaders, intellectuals and teachers.

Recently I traveled to visit Cambodia and the temples of Angkor Wat, and my final thesis painting is a response to that Journey. There are a lot of feelings and ideas whirling in my mind and my heart about this amazing place and I hope that I am able to convey some of that in the piece. For now I am showing the color comp for the painting which was done in adobe photoshop.
The finished painting will be another 24x48 inch acrylic on masonite panel.

Cambodia , Color Comp, Adobe Photoshop

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Norton B. Nice

As it seems the children's book market is a rather tough industry to break into. At the moment it seems like large publishing houses are reluctant to take on new talent. The smaller ones are faced with numerous complications just trying to keep their doors open  during the worlds current volatile economic  climate.  So where does someone get a start, is it best to find an agent? Is it best to continue to send you project around in hopes of it being place with someone? At the moment I am pretty unsure.

Recently I had a contract with Red Cygnet Press for a 32 page children's book titled Norotn B. Nice. Pouring countless hours of work into the project I was able to complete the project on time within my deadline. Unfortunately  after 18 months of the work sitting on Red Cygnets desk the book never went to press. I didn't find this out until I called the company to find out what was up as it had been quite a while since I had heard anything from them. To my dismay the owner of the company told me that due to tough economical times the book would be placed on indefinite hold and that if I wanted he would give me the option to place it elsewhere.

After putting so much into this book I felt like I certainly could not just let it go to waste. I didn't want to send it to any other publishers, or agents, as I feel they are as fickle as the weather during the spring in New England.  So in the end I decided to go ahead and self publish the book.  I used and the overall experience of dealing with them was not so bad. The print quality is decent and the prices are really fair.
The book is titled Norton B. Nice and is a story about a bully who learns an important lesson about how to be nice.
If you are interested in a copy you can find them on my web site store at ,
or at my storefront:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mini thesis paintings

 The main body of my thesis project consists of 5, 24x48 acrylic panels that are impressions of the various people, places, and things I have encountered during my travels. In addition to the large paintings , the project will also include a series of 20 to 25  , small 5x5 inch , acrylic panels. Many of the small panels are based directly upon drawings from sketchbooks that I kept while I  was traveling. I also use these smaller paintings as a form of relaxation or as a break from the larger panels. When I reach a crisis point on one of the larger panels or need a break from it, I move on to work on some of the smaller ones . This gives me a nice feeling of freedom for some reason , I guess its because for some reason the smaller paintings feel like less of a commitment.  During my recent solo show at the Day One Skate Shop ,I actually received more compliments on the smaller pieces than the large ones. It seems, like people are really drawn to them and forced to get up close to them because of their smaller scale. Below are just a few of the mini paintings I have been working on, the rest are hanging at the Day One Skate Shop and  I have not had a chance to scan them yet.

Bangkok Tuk Tuk Driver
acrylic on panel
5x5 inches
French Cyclist
acrylic on panel
  5x7 inches
Hassip the Boat Driver
Acrylic  on panel
5x5 inches
Hassip takes flight
acrylic on panel
5x5 inches
Hassip attempts to land
acrylic on panel
5x5 inches

Friday, May 8, 2009

New York City Painting


A while back I posted some information about my illustration process, the blog post was titled NYC composition. I figured I should write a follow up to that post and show the finished piece of art.
The finished piece is 24x48 inches , acrylic on masonite, and is now the main image on the home page of my web site,

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Day at the Eisenstats

Recently while in California our MFA group  was lucky enough to have the opportunity of spending the day with one of our wonderful instructors Alice "Bunny" Carter and her mother Jane Eisenstat.  Bunny Carter is an amazing instructor, illustrator, and author , her recent publications include :

The Art of National Geographic: One Hundred Years of Illustration, (National Geographic, 1999), The Red Rose Girls: An Uncommon Story of Art and Love, (Abrams, 2000 and 2002), The Essential Thomas Eakins, (Abrams, 2001), and Cecilia Beaux: A Modern Painter in The Gilded Age, (Rizzoli, 2005) .

  Alice "Bunny" Carter grew up in an environment comprised of illustration, both her mother Jane and her father Ben were working illustrators heavily involved in the field. Their lovely home in San Jose where we visited and Alice Carter grew up is full of  illustration , flat file upon flat file, wall to wall, the collection is amazing. The Eisenstat's collection includes the work of numerous prolific illustrators as well as some others that I had never heard of but wished I had . Below are just a few of the many pieces of illustration that make up the staggering Eisenstat collection. I have labeled them to the best of my knowledge , and a few remain unknown to me. I am as sure as the sun will come up in the morning  that Jane Eisenstat would know exactly who the artist is and any other information one would need to know about the artist. Jane is a wonderful woman and possesses an endless amount of knowledge and insight to the world of illustration. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity of meeting such a genuine gem of a person.
Special thanks to Eisenstats for  sharing their collection with us.

                                      Illustrators Chuck Primo ,Greg Newbold, 
                               Chad Grohman ,David Brinley, and Dianne Samet
                                look over the shoulder of Jane Eisenstat as she 
                                shares an enlightening bit of information about a
                                                         piece of illustration.

                                                                        Walt Stan
Rockwell Kent
Rockwell Kent
Rockwell Kent
Lawson Wood
J.T Benda??
John R. Neill
Wizard of Oz artist
Henry Pitz
Al Hirschfeld
Henry Pitz
Dean Cornwell
A.B Frost

Sunday, May 3, 2009


In my opinion CT. has some of the best bouldering , but unfortunately the worst access in New England. The valleys , and hills of CT. are cluttered with rock of many different types which makes the climbing very diverse and interesting.  Recently our biggest area Bradley Mtn. has become very skecthy in terms of access. In order to keep the traffic down at Bradley  we have been venturing out and  visiting some of the more obscure areas in the state. This video was filmed and edited by Phillip Schaal .

N.W. Day from Phillip Schaal on Vimeo.

Day One Skate Shop follow up

This past friday May 1st I had my first solo show at the Day One Skate Shop and ArtSpace in Bridgeport , The show went really well, there was a great turnout, and I made a few really good contacts as well. 
The shop  owner Jeff Walsh is a great guy, super supportive of local artists and the local Skate scene. If you are ever in need of anything Skate Board related I would certainly consider checking out his shop.