Thursday, March 19, 2015

Juniata Valley Art Residency

Since quitting the day job in 2011, I made the decision to try to teach in various formats. I've wanted to instruct and share my experiences and knowledge since graduating college, but from the perspective of someone who's working in the field and has experienced successes. I really don't think I could teach at the public school level - that kind of job requires a different heart, angle, and discipline than I can put forward. The bureaucracy and paperwork just seem to go against the grain of my personality and desires. My girlfriend is a middle school art teacher, former part-time high school teacher. Hearing her stories, I respect the work she puts in to be a positive influence to kids every day, but really sets in stone my goal to AVOID that kind of work myself.

But I know I can offer a positive impact to kids in spurts - just like a typical Gemini gifted with A.D.D. could- so I started working as a substitute teacher occasionally at my old high school, and in late 2012 began doing art residencies with the Perry County Council Of The Arts. In this atmosphere I get to teach from experience, which I feel is just as effective as teaching through curriculum, provided of course you can express well through your respective path. I take a lot of heart in providing 'Ah-ha' moments to students while creating fun projects with them that they, their parents, teachers, and administration can be proud of.

I plan to post some of my other residencies that I've completed eventually, all of which have been based on comics or mural- making. I figure I'll start off with my current one. 

I was invited back to Juniata Valley High School to work with the art teacher and create another mural. The first one was well received by everyone. I thought the residency was a success over all, but I was looking forward to taking my mural design abilities up a notch. The first murals I designed for the schools shared a theme of the history of the region, something that requires a bit of digging for a rural area like Alexandria, PA, and the design concept was a collage of images over two frames of reference. The two murals were placed in the entrance to the gym on the walls, and would be visible to parents, students, coaches, etc, who'd visit Juniata Valley. The murals I'm working on now are being placed on a wall in a lonely corridor between the cafeteria and auditorium that doesn't seem to get a lot of traffic every day. This means the murals' audience are not visitors primarily but the school population - students, teachers, etc.having given a 15 day residency with 3 of Mrs. Rahoi's art classes, many of whom I had the pleasure of working with last year, I met with Mrs. Rahoi and Amy, Perry County Council Of The Arts' residency coordinator, over the general course outline, along with a core group of students for a brainstorming a session. From there I went on to produce four murals whose general theme revolved around the versatility of stage performance. Below are sketches of three of the designs, (I. Surveys deleted the other design)...


... And below are the final designs...


Stay tuned for residency progress posts!


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Mural for Olivia's House

Once more, an attempt to start posting more consistently...!

The past few weeks I spent designing and working on a mural for the new Olivia's House center in Hanover, PA.

Olivia's House is a children's grief/ loss organization that helps kids going through some pretty serious stuff. They first set up shop in York, PA, about 20 minutes east of me, and grew enough to be able to start another center, this time 15 minutes west of me. Good people doing good things, so I was pretty excited to do my first mural with them.

I was informed about this gig through another member of The Hanover Area Arts Guild, a local art community which I'm also a member of. The executive director of Olivia's House felt that my art would work well in the elementary-age kids' room, where they wanted a 'safari' theme. I love wildlife, so I was totally cool being give that project.

Style- As I don't yet have a specific style for my painting work, I hit the metaphorical books to get some inspiration for my style and technique. I decided to keep it simple but creative- incorporate line-work and abstract flat color shapes together for something fun, energetic, but also attainable as a project due in two weeks (first mural ever, remember?)

Assistance- Knowing that I could use some help to make sure this was finished on time safely, I asked members of The Black Rose Rollers roller derby league of Hanover to assist with the painting, and they were more than willing to help out.  Their assistance eased the pressure I had on myself to get the painting done by the opening day, as my room was the first one to open. My girlfriend, a high school drawing teacher, also helped out- that never hurts :)

A thank you also to the Hanover Giant grocery store on Eisenhower Drive for donating containers for paint.

Below are some progress pics.

For more information about Olivia's House, visit
Find out more about Hanover Area Arts Guild:
More information about The Black Rose Rollers, visit
Giant Food Stores:

Friday, March 2, 2012

Roller Derby Season Schedule Poster

Some roller derby leagues are beginning to go the route of one season schedule over individual bout posters. Choice City Rebels from Fort Collins, CO, contacted and asked me to create their season schedule for the 2012 season.

I've been creating posters that would be easy enough to go to screen print format if a league or band wanted to make a little extra $$ selling screen prints. I might change that down the road, but so far it's fun coming up with fun imagery with a consciously limited palette.

Also, I totally understand the convenience of working with only one poster for an entire season, but at the same time, it's great fun to see a league's whole season of bout posters. A lot of great art to be made in that area... least by me :)


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Saloon Shelf

 This was done for a client, but the client opted not to use it. Unfortunate? sure, but hey, i get to show you, and 'twas a fun project to work on. I both love and loathe the research part of starting a project, but loathe only because I tend to spend a good deal of time making sure I get enough reference to be overly satisfied of my own knowledge. The client wanted a shelf image that had a rustic/ country deco feel, something that would go well with other old, antique- style deco designs, so I made sure to keep some of it fairly loose, such as the textures and color modeling..   

1. Lé Thumbails

2. Basic Silhouette/ Background Color

3. Blocking in the shelves
3. OK, you see what I'm doing here, right? No need for a caption.
4. ... but, there I go again, adding useless text.
5. Colors.
6. Ooo, Shiiiny!
7. (cough!) Dust.

8. Shadows and Highlights
9. Touch-ups/ Minor Details.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Roller Derby Bout Poster

Got to create the bout poster for Black Rose Rollers' first home bout. Wanted to do something bold and simple to easily get the message across to the conservative-leaning town of Hanover, PA. Future bout posters will def be with more elaborate artistic snobbery. I write that word with loving affection.

5 colors to make transfer to screen an eventual, easy process.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cover Illustration for Weird Episodes From The Zero Hour

I had the privilege to work with Jason Butkowski and Anthony Schiavino for their pulp inspired anthology series, Episodes From The Zero Hour! They asked me to illustrate the cover of the next volume in the series, this one appropriately appended with "Weird..." into the title. 

This volume collects original stories of the strange, odd, creepy sort, and having gotten the chance to read most of the tales, I'm excited to own this in its final format. They're totally entertaining, and the best thing about pulp stories is their exploitation of the imagination.

Regarding the illustration, this one was a great challenge. Having only done one other pulp-inspired illustration, (Mike Oliveri's Winter Kill, available ON AMAZON), I wanted my second piece relating to the genre to be both just as good as my first, if not better, as well as in this anthology. The cover illustration for the first book, (available here), was done VERY NICELY by the mucho talented Douglas Klauba (, and he set a high bar for my reach.

Below are screenshots of my progress for the piece:

I started off with freedom. Nearly complete freedom. Anything that'd I'd like to do, so long as it had a 'weird' theme to it. After going through quite a few ideas unsuccessfully, I decided to delve a little deeper into the anthology for inspiration and further integration.

More than half of the stories featured unique eras or the traveling between such, so I chose that route for my concept. Since this is to be WEIRD, I figured I could get away with letting my tendency in life of being odd in my storytelling (or vague) to be a strength here.

I decided upon a thumbnail that included a typical pulp hero with a treasure/ item in one hand and standard sci-fi laser gun thing in the other, exotic lady princess from another time, and a neanderthal, all three escaping on the open seas from Vikings. A little weird.

My loose grayscale concept that I fleshed out after numerous thumbnails...

 After the grayscale sketch, i took to photoshop to play with some colors, and decided upon this scheme...

Felt too monotonous, and my clouds weren't popping like I hoped they might, so I done did this...

Mmmm. The Viking ship was fun...

...And the final designed layout for the cover...

 Overall, I'm pleased with it, will add it to the portfolio, and I'm psyched to help promote this piece. Jay and Anthony are great folks with good ideas, and have the experience to get it done right.

Stay tuned to Jay and Anthony's Episodes! site for more information on the upcoming release, including where you can purchase, and in what formats!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011