Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Beer Posters

Here are a couple posters I created from some of my beer packaging. You can view the original packaging for Drop Kick Ale here and Leapin' Leprechaun here. Both these posters are 18"x24" in size. Copywriter: Garrett Street.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Blacktop Creative Christmas Card

Below is this year's Blacktop Creative Christmas card. I have always been greatly inspired by the cartoon drawing styles from the late 1950's and early 1960's. I love the limited color palettes, black line, and use of negative space.This is my homage to those who came before,
including a hand-lettered sentiment. Copywriter: Garrett Street



Pilate's Cross Book Cover

I recently had the opportunity to create a book cover design/illustration for my friend and author J. Alexander Greenwood. His new novel, "Pilate's Cross" is available for purchase at Smashwords Publishing. Visit the author's website for more information and to read an excerpt of the novel.

I really enjoyed working on this project. I was able to explore my love of illustrating type and it's relation to negative space. The title is knocked out of the silhouette of the man's profile, forming a "maze". This signifies the characters "internal search" along with the "external search" for answers in regard to the murder mystery. There is a small graphic figure of a man entering the maze. The black and white relates to the winter setting for the story.

Pilate's Cross

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Once upon a midnight dreary..."

It's October and I am getting in the Halloween mood. I came across this Edgar Allan Poe illustration of mine from a while back. Seems like an appropriate time of year to share it.

The piece was created with pencil and watercolor.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Personal Work: What the Gardener Saw

It's hard, but I find a little time to create some art for myself. I have been working on a series of paintings and sculptures for some time. I am keeping a Facebook page and a blog chronicling the process while developing an official website. Below is a "quick look" at some of the paintings.

What the Gardener Saw is a series of paintings and sculptures inspired by the Mandrake family tree. Each piece has a botanical theme referring to the Victorian-era means of communication called "The Language of Flowers". Various flowers and floral arrangements were used to send coded messages, allowing individuals to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken. The names of each person reflects this practice as well. There is an interwoven storyline connecting each character in the series, with an underlying tone of dark humor.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ceramic Stoneware "Moby Dick" Table-Top Fountain

Sometimes I like to sculpt, too.
This is a table top fountain I made a few years ago. The water shoots out of the blow hole and lands in the little boat on his tail, running down into the basin. Hand-built ceramic stoneware.

Close-up of the great white whale.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Morning Doodles 2

Monday morning doodle from last week.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Remembering Gale Bennett (1939-2008)

GALE BENNETT (1939-2008) was Founder and Director of ArtStudy Giverny in Giverny, France, a school for artists and photographers celebrating its 14th anniversary in 2009. A native of SW Florida, Bennett studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. The works of this internationally-known artist can be found in collections throughout the US, as well as in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Australia. Gale Bennett said that Nature in all forms provided his primary inspiration. His modern eclectic painting style included references to Abstract Expressionism, Impressionism, Cubism, and even Renaissance art. In 2008 Bennett was honored with the “Lifetime Achievement” award given annually by the “Angels of the Arts”. Until his death in 2008, the artist and his wife, Cello, divided their time between Giverny, France and Southwest Florida.
The above bio is from Gale's website. To view his work click here.
I met Gale in Giverny in September of 2003. This was a very eventful year for me. My wife Alexandra and I were just married, and I had just started a new job with Blacktop Creative. Alexandra arranged for us to spend a week in Giverny while on our honeymoon in France. If this place sounds familiar, it is because it is the location of Claude Monet's famous gardens, home and final resting place... which just touches on this amazing village. I'll save the art history lesson for another time.
I only spent a week working with Gale, but learned a lifetime of information. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't use what Gale taught me that week in 2003. From composition to color, I haven't looked at painting and design the same since. I use it in my commerical as well as my personal work.
I only recently learned of his passing last year. My wife and I were greatly saddened by the news. We had corresponded with his wife Cello on and off since 2003, but as often happens, we lost touch.I just wanted to say thank you Gale. That time in France rejuvinated, inspired and instructed me to keep doing what I love, and I will always be grateful.
Gale Bennett
 Gale instructing me
 Painting on location
A painting I did in Paris the following week of the trip
Pears painted after returning home, remembering Gale's instructions

Monday, September 7, 2009

Gillis T-Shirt Designs

T-shirt designs for Gillis Home for Children and Families. Front and back designs, including mock-ups, showing how the art would look on the shirts. These were created in Illustrator with a custom drawn font. The character developed is a simple "circle" that can be put in different cenarios. In this case, an astronaut and a superhero. The goal was to establish a simple style to convey inspirational messages. Get more info about Gillis here.


Westlake Ace Hardware Convention Invite

Invitation created for Westlake Ace Hardware

Saturday, August 22, 2009

You Can't Win 'Em All

It is always exciting to create work for a new client. Do your research, develop your idea, execute, and present it. Then... the client doesn't choose your design. This doesn't always mean they don't like it, just that they may want to go in another direction. It is all part of the cycle of design. You win some, you lose some. Below are a few pieces that fell into this category.
American Royal Poster Illustration/Design
 Three design/illustrations for a proposed beer label

Monday Morning Doodles

Monday mornings here at Blacktop bring staff meetings, status sheets are passed out, and we go over week's work. This is the moment I begin to doodle. Since I was a child I have drawn on anything that was put in front of me. To some, it may look like I am not paying attention, but ironically this is the way I process information. It has become a great way for me to prepare myself for the week ahead. Below are a few of my "Monday Morning Doodles" from the past few years.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sketch to Finish: Illustrated Poster Design

This week's post continues my exploration of integrating hand-lettering with my illustration. Along with the poster I've posted my original sketch so you can see how the illustration evolved into the final piece. The need for a quick turn around kept me from painting this in a conventional manner, so it was created using Illustrator and Photoshop, based on the original sketch. I still wanted it to have an "organic" feel, so I created a custom brush in Photoshop and "painted" with it to make the piece feel a little less computer generated.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Editorial Illustration

At one point in my career, I illustrated regularly for few alternative news weeklies around the country. A typical job went something like this: The call would come in the morning with an emailed copy of the story. I would send a rough sketch in the afternoon, and if I was lucky, the finish would be due by the next morning. All this made possible by the wonderful world of email. Fast turn arounds and short deadlines urged me to create a style that allowed me to work fast while still creating compelling work. Below are a few pieces.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Westlake Ace Hardware Poster

Westlake Ace Hardware Poster

Silk-screened poster for Westlake Ace Hardware. I was influenced by the Soviet propaganda posters of the past. The theme of the poster conveyed a message of how to reduce shrinkage in the store.I used a claw-hammer to visually represent the "fight" against shrinkage, along with a red and black color scheme. The claw-hammer is a play off of the Soviet hammer and cycle.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

O'Malley's 1842 Irish Pub Posters

Both these posters were created for O'Malley's 1842 Irish Pub and The Weston Brewing Company, in Weston Missouri. I hand-cut linoleum blocks for an old world feel. Anytime I get the opportunity to go "old school".

Weston Brewing Company
Logo with portraits of owners Corey & Mike

This little piece is used on the bottom of some of the beer packaging.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

La Bella Vita Espresso Label

La Bella Vita Espresso
Label Concept

The Beautiful Life. This was a concept for an espresso coffee label. While not selected, I still enjoyed illustrating and designing it. I continued my exploration into designing and hand-lettered type.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

MySpace Secret Show Posters

Bennie K

Silk-screen poster created for MySpace Secret Shows Japan, promoting the artists Bennie K, an urban female duo that consists of rapper Cico and vocalist Yuki, who both love American hip-hop music. View an archive of the show here.

Paul Wall
Houston, Texas

Silk-screen poster created for MySpace Secret Shows for the American rapper Paul Wall. View an archive of the show here.

Shadows Fall
Springfield, MA

Silk-screen poster created for MySpace Secret Shows featuring Shadows Fall. Shadows Fall is an American heavy metal band from Springfield, Massachusetts, formed in 1995. They are one of the few bands who take their lyrical influence from Buddhism. View an archive of the show here.

Primal Scream
London, England

Silk-screen poster created for MySpace Secret Shows UK, promoting the band Primal Scream. Primal Scream are a Scottish alternative rock group formed in 1982 in Glasgow by Bobby Gillespie and Jim Beattie. View an archive of the show here.

KC Rep Poster: Around The World In 80 Days

Around The World In 80 Days Poster

Poster created to promote the Kansas City Repertory Theatre's production of Around the World in 80Days. Get show info here. This poster illustrates the various stages of the journey that Fogg and his companions encountered during their adventure, all within the gentleman's top hat.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rhythm & Ribs 18th & Vine Jazz Festival

2009 Rhythm & Ribs Promo Poster
(Event postponed until 2010)

2009 Rhythm & Ribs Promo Poster Concept


2008 Rhythm & Ribs Promo Poster


2007 Rhythm & Ribs Promo Poster


2006 Rhythm & Ribs Commemorative Poster

HOW International Design Awards 2007: Outstanding in Poster Category. The poster is 24"x24" two color screen print. Limited edition, signed and numbered. It is made up of small drawings, photos and words representing the event– all coming together to form the face of a vocalist.

2006 Rhythm & Ribs Promo Poster


2005 Rhythm & Ribs Promo Poster