mixed media muerte

photo by Captain Smashy, 2009.

Professionally speaking, I entered the world of the arts at a fairly young age. Most of my peers were older and well-established in their careers when I came swaggering into the room. Like the creative equivalent of a young alpha male, I made quite a nuisance of myself. I spent a lot of my time growling, biting throats and metaphorically peeing in corners to mark my territory.

Amazingly, I was not killed for this behavior. This proves without question that the law of the jungle is vastly different than the law of the gallery. Had I tried this sort of punk hubris in the wilds of Africa, wiser lions would likely not have heralded my misguided rebellion as innovative thinking.

At best, the pause in devouring me might have lasted long enough to allow them to reflect on the tender, juicy quality of fresh meat.

Despite the widely held belief that throwing me to the lions was in fact the correct call, I maintain that the mistake of allowing me to reach maturity has had some merit. Adulthood eventually forced me to relinquish some of the frivolity, egomania and beard-overstylings of my misspent youth.

With these formidable handicaps no longer holding me back, I was in a position to actually listen to some of those wise old lions around me. Not surprisingly, I found most of them to be "jungle survivors" as well. Just like me, they learned the secret to not ending up tomorrow's lion droppings. They let go of the fallacy of being a rock star and learned to play well, to admittedly varying degrees, with others.

Of course, in my case, I have an additional handicap. My hardened cynicism prevents me from taking more than a few meager sips from the kool-aid pitcher of community. Without a gun to my head and vocal coach at my side, odds are against me wearing the t-shirt, attending the meeting or singing Kumbaya. I side more with Henley than Cicero. Holding hands feels great, but I'm the captain of this here dinghy and I don't feel the need to have a focus group about where and how I choose to sail my soul.*

*Which sounds all sorts of wonderful and different-drum lofty, but not playing nice with the committee just gets you labeled a prima donna more often than not.

Despite my ongoing battle to avoid assimilation, I have managed to shed my loner status enough to enjoy the benefits of collaboration. While trendy buzzwords like "synergy" still make me twitch, even working with a patron on a commissioned piece will produce ideas which are bigger and better than anything I could have dreamt up on my own. Add the skills and passions of other artisans to the mix, and the possibilities are endless...provided all parties have taken the "lion's lessons" to heart.

At the Bath House's upcoming Dia de los Muertos art exhibition, I'll have the opportunity to share the fruits of a recent artistic collaboration. Photographer David Perkins, carpenter Michael Scogin and I all brought our skills together to create Le Petit Mort, a mixed media sculpture installation which will be on display in the main gallery.

Hopefully the lions will like it.

23rd Annual Dia de los Muertos Exhibition
10/17/2009 - 11/14/2009
Bath House Cultural Center

The Bath House Cultural Center presents the 23rd annual Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) art exhibition.

This exhibition includes 46 local, regional, national and international artists working in a variety of styles to celebrate, explore and honor people, things, and ideas that have passed on.

Opening reception with the artists: Sunday, October 18, 2009 from 5 to 7 p.m. Free and open to the public.


Charlotte Chambliss, Vanessa Ocampo, Chandra T. Armstead, Mary J. Baker, Dan Richard Barber, Betty Bucher, Billy Bucher, Judy Buckner, Kristine Byars, Paul Carranza, Jim Clement, Chris Cole, Angi Cure, Kathleen Donovan, Dan Dudley, Lori Dudley, Jacque Forsher, Miranda DaVolt, Frances Dezzany, Patricia Dillingham, Rosalinda Gómez, Franziska Gonzalez, Bryan Gooding, Sylvia Houghland, Alex Hulsey, Cindy Kelley, Ellie Ivanova, Sandra Lethem Yeo, Victoria Lewelling, Linda López, Darrell Madis, Antoaneta Melnikova-Hillman, Barbara Norris, Cap Pannell, Erin Nicole Parisi, Marilyn Parrish, David Perkins, Robert W. Ritchey, Brenda Robson, Meagan Robson, Kate Schatz, Michael Scogin, Russ Sharek, Terry K. Smith, Arthur Stephens, Christina L. Walker, Patricia Wass, and Kathy Windrow. Enrique Fernández Cervantes and Jose Vargas curated this exhibition.

Day of the Dead:

During the traditional Day of the Dead holiday (Nov 1 and 2), people assemble elaborate altars in their homes to commemorate those who have died, filled with objects that provided pleasure to the departed person. Because of this warm social environment, the colorful setting, and the abundance of food, drink and good company, this holiday commemorating the dead has pleasant rather than scary or sad overtones. Although this tradition has its origins in Mexico, people of many cultures, races and backgrounds embrace the celebration. Life and death are universal concepts that everyone can explore.

Bath House Cultural Center


A few people have correctly guessed that the skull image is a sneak peek of Le Petit Mort.
A full image gallery of will be posted after the exhibition's opening reception.


As promised, photographer David Perkins ran by the Bath House Cultural center and snagged some photos of our collaborative art installation, le petit mort.

The exhibition runs unti November 14th. It's a really amazing show, so if you have a chance pop by and see it for yourself.


image copyright: David Perkins, 2009


image copyright: David Perkins, 2009


image copyright: David Perkins, 2009


image copyright: David Perkins, 2009


image copyright: David Perkins, 2009


image copyright: David Perkins, 2009


image copyright: David Perkins, 2009


image copyright: David Perkins, 2009


category: events
11 / 11 / 2009


grab your goggles and head southside

Arts Goggle 2009

After I unapologetically "stole" one of Riki Johnson's ideas and used it in one of my own illustrations, she has decided to exact her "revenge" by inviting me to take part in an upcoming ArtLoveMagic event which she is co-producing.

For reasons I cannot fathom, she has convinced me to create digital illustrations live on a projector in the middle of an ongoing gallery exhibition.

If I manage not to completely embarass myself, it should be a heck of a lot of fun. I've never done anything like this before, so I'm as curious as anyone to see what sort of things come out of the experience.

Moreover, if you're interested in learning a little more about all that weird free software stuff I keep going on about, it's an opportunity to see it in action.

Fort Worth, TX - (October 3, 2009)

Dallas art collective ArtLoveMagic will partner with Arts Fifth Avenue to present Arts Goggle from 3:00-10:30 pm at Arts Fifth Avenue located at 1628 5th Avenue, Fort Worth, TX 76104.

Arts Fifth Avenue kicks off the event with a free gallery exhibit preview from 3:00-6:00 pm, followed by ArtLoveMagic's live entertainment beginning at 7:00 pm.

Admission for this show is $10.00 at the door, or $5.00 with a student ID. $5.00 presale tickets are available now at www.artlovemagic.com.

The Arts Goggle event accompanies a gallery exhibit which runs from September 27 - October 3 at Arts Fifth Avenue.

ArtLoveMagic's Press Release

Arts Goggle

Arts Fifth Avenue
1628 5th Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76104

3PM-6PM Gallery Exhibition, Free Admission
7PM-10PM Live Entertainment, presale tickets now available


category: events
09 / 21 / 2009


more mad science

After a bit of mad science in the name of science fiction, I was eager to tackle another challenge using some of this new rapid prototyping technology. As luck would have it, my buddy Kevin stepped up to the plate with an idea too insane to ignore.

He's referred to the process of creating these extremely complex cuff links in his blog as "Bling Impossible", and after the three long months it took to create the little buggers I'm certain it's an accurate title.

In any event, the somewhat less interestingly named cage cufflinks are now in my portfolio.


category: website
06 / 09 / 2009


slam evidence

I love it when total strangers not only take photos of you at an event, but are kind enough to email them over cropped, cleaned up and with full permission to post and share.

Our hosts, the fashion industry gallery.

There are no ninja hiding behind this wall.

The now famous back of my head.

My expansive hand gestures almost killed a woman during this event.

They like it! They really like it!

This is as close as I get to a facial expression after a month without sleep.


Thanks again to Adam and Brittany, you're both awesome.


category: events
06 / 09 / 2009


slammed into being

There is nothing quite like a deadline to light a fire under your derrière.

While I had been quietly exploring digital illustration for years, nothing was demanding any sort of result. That freedom definitely gave me an opportunity to play and learn, but I think it kept me from officially "completing" the process and releasing new art into the world.

Perhaps I was just protecting my ego from yet another slam.

Ironically, it was a "slam" that ultimately resolved the matter. Specifically, I was invited to participate in the D Art Slam, but under the proviso that I only exhibit my 2D work. So, in a little under a month of sleepless nights, I upgraded my "artistic resume" from jeweler who dabbles to multimedia artist.

Have a look at the results while I recover from the culture shock.

The new digital illustration portfolio.


category: website
06 / 06 / 2009


mocking picasso

"Computers are useless. They can only give you answers."

Pablo Picasso

Now normally I am not one to argue with one of the most recognized names in modern art history. Truth be told, old Pab' and I see eye to eye on lots of things. I like his goal of maintaining a childhood sense of wonder. I think his views on inspiration and truth are spot on...and we share a love of wine and beautiful women that borders the obsessive.

That said, I think his take on technology was crap.

Picasso was, to be completely fair, dead before the beginning of the information age. I was born during the dawn of the digital era, and before I reached adulthood computers had become a ubiquitous part of my existence.

Where he saw a clunky calculation engine, I was raised to view these magical machines as virtual workbenches on which to pound my ideas into being. Perhaps it is my background as a metalsmith that informed that mental image, but I quickly learned that this was another set of tools with which I could create.

And so, like any child, I did.

For the last five years, I've been quietly putting time and energy into exploring technology as an artistic medium in its own right.

Prior to this new focus, computers were relegated to being little more than another design tool in my existing jewelry making arsenal. While using the "magic pen" to improve my existing work has been a wonderful advantage, it does very little to support my disagreement with the aforementioned dead Spaniard.

In order to prove my theory that technology was emerging as a new form of creative expression, I was going to have to take a risk. I had to get outside my comfort zones and create something that wasn't automatically validated by being inextricably linked to my nearly twenty years experience as a sculptor.

And so, like any fool trying to prove a point, I did.

Flashing forward to about a month ago, I was having a conversation with an artist friend of mine. She encouraged me to submit a few of these new experiments to a brand new emerging artists' exhibition, hosted by a fairly prestigious gallery here in Dallas.

We both came to conclusion that in order to get the output of the "magic pen" validated on its own artistic merits, I needed to get the work to some place where it could seen by people with the capacity to acknowledge it.

And so, with a little help from Lady Luck, I did.

Not long ago, I was formally invited to participate in F.I.G. gallery's emerging artist event, the D Art Slam. The life-alteringly awesome news is that I will not be presenting my work as a jeweler. After five years of preparation, I'm proud to announce I'll be showing my first collection of digital illustrations.

Which should, once and for all, prove that Picasso had no idea what he was talking about.


category: studio
05 / 18 / 2009


d art slam

D Art Slam

D Art Slam at f.i.g.

May 29-31, 2009
Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

My new collection of digital illustrations will be debuted during the event, alongside the work of 150 emerging local artists.

For ticket information, please visit www.d-artslam.com


category: events
05 / 18 / 2009


the spring-time mart chock full of art

2009 Spring Art Mart

Come get a bit of wonderful art for yourself and your friends at the Bath House's Spring Art Mart. Paintings, sculpture, photography, pottery, ceramics, jewelry, soap, prints, cards, and other unique creations will be featured along with food, wonderful music, a silent auction and much more.

The Art Mart benefits the Bath House Cultural Center's year-round visual and performing arts programs - so it's a purchase that we all benefit from!

The Bath House Cultural Center

It's no secret that I love this event. I always have, and I always will. No question.

That said, the fact that these oh-so wonderful people have decided to feature my work prominently on their marketing materials in no way sullies the veracity and depth of my affection.

Nope, not one bit. No bias at'all. ;-)

2009 Spring Art Mart

Friday, April 24th, 7-9 PM (Preview Reception)
Saturday, April 25th, 12-7 PM
Sunday, April 26th, 11 AM - 6 PM

Bath House Cultural Center
521 E. Lawther Drive
Dallas, TX 75218


The folks over at the Bath House Cultural Center have released a link to this electronic postcard.


category: events
04 / 14 / 2009


post fort worth post

And now, a few completely out-of-context words to the wonderful folks in Fort Worth:

"I have now had three meals with your wife in the last decade."

"I formally apologize for accusing you of lying. She is not in fact inflatable."

"Smashy made my tummy hurt, then left me with pimps, ho's and Matt."

"Keep an eye on your mailbox."

"'La pistola in la boca,' does not mean what you think it means."

"Next time bring ninjas. Lots and lots of ninjas."

"Don't despair, Rufio Q is almost as cool a name as Jack Nine."

"It's official. Purple sticky rice is om-frickin'-nomular."

"Swapping metalsmithing tips was slightly more fun than watching you dance."

"It turns out 'easy listening music' is neither."

"A cracker is never a suitable substitute for a lasagna."


category: playing
03 / 25 / 2009


hello fort worth

I admit it, the primary reason* that I agreed to participate in this event is completely selfish. It provides me an excuse to spend time with my friends from the far-flung end of the Metroplex.

*Primary personal reason, actually. It is by default secondary to the professional concerns. Those being, of course, my well-established need to feed my ego and a devout adherence to the tenets of capitalism.

I've had people willing to make the long trek over to Dallas to visit me for years, so I figured I was long overdue to return the favor.


Fort Worth Art Afaire

A small art faire intended to allow you time to meet the artists and talk about their creations.

Watch a live demonstration with Randy Brodnax, master potter, as he tells his stories and makes his pottery. Randy is sure to entertain you and your family.

Art Afaire is located on the corner of Cantey and Rogers Avenue in the University Christian Church.

Fort Worth Art Afaire

Fort Worth Art Afaire, March 19-21

Thursday "Preview Night", 5-8 pm
Friday, 1-8 pm
Saturday, 1-6 pm

University Christian Church
2720 S University Dr
Fort Worth, TX 76109


category: events
03 / 15 / 2009


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