Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sorry about the lack of new posts....

The last month and a half has been has been very busy for me. Everything from Halloween preparation, school work, artwork, the hurricane...I haven't really thought too much about posting anything new. That's not to say there hasn't been anything to post, just the opposite. I've posted a few more buttons online to sell via Ebay and Etsy. I've also made a lot of progress with my ceramic work. That being said, I wanted to tell everyone that I'm going to have probably two big posts regarding my ceramic work in December after the semester ends. There will be a lot of pictures to post and a lot to explain, which is why it'll most likely consist of two posts. I may post something before that, I don't know. We'll see.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Artwork For Sale!

Jon-Erich's Halloween Button Set (kids set)

Jon-Erich's Halloween Set (adult set)

This is currently what I'm selling. These two sets are on sale on Ebay and Etsy for $4.00 plus shipping. I hope to start selling these on other places like Ebid as well. For this year at least, this is the only group of buttons I plan to sell as a set. For those of you who are lucky enough to see me in person, I can sell these directly to you so you can avoid paying for shipping. Hopefully over the next few days and weeks, I'm going to post these and other buttons that'll be sold as individual pieces for only $1.00 plus shipping. That being said, buying these particular buttons in a set will save you a little bit of money as opposed to buying each one individually. I also have some ceramic work that I made a while back that I plan to sell soon as well, hopefully within the next month. 

This is an exciting time for me because I've been making these buttons for a while now, and have had some success selling them at shows and through other means, but this is the first time they're available online. To be honest, I don't expect to sell much of anything right away. I'm hoping that at some point in the near future, when I'm able to have more art shows, I can sell my stuff there and then hopefully those same buyers will buy more online, which in turn hopefully attracts others who may not have an opportunity to see one of my shows. 

Everything here was done with a DIY attitude. I made the artwork, photographed the artwork, saved money by working at my horrible job which allowed my to buy the button machine, and made the button templates myself. A lot of hard work went into making these and for me, it's not just about the money. I believe in what I'm making. When I made these, my first thought was to make a product that I would want to buy. So, if I didn't believe in what I was making, I wouldn't sell it. 

Anyway, for those who are interested, my Ebay name is Jon-Erich-1985 and here's the link to my Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Jonerich.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Summer 2012 Progress Report #3: FINAL REPORT

I know it's technically not "summertime" anymore, but these pictures are from the summer. I'll be honest, the one project other than my digital photos that I've been working on over the summer hasn't made much progress within the last month, which is why the pictures aren't dated beyond August 19th. I hope to find time during the semester to work on this project some more. For those of you who didn't read the first progress report over the summer, go back and read that in order to get a better understanding of what I'm doing.

I'm also posting the latest progress I've made on my photos. Since the last blog entry, I finished one and I'll do a special post about that at a later date. The others are close to being finished, but they aren't because of other distractions (the school semester just started recently after all). You'll notice that some of the photos from last time aren't here. That's because I did a process of elimination and picked what I felt were the best pictures.

7/2/12: I finished the chicken wire work.

7/11/12: The one side was covered by this date. Eventually, 4ply bristol board will cover both sides.

8/19/12: I don't want to cover the rest of this with canvas until I get the bristol board glued down first. Even though the canvas on the inner part will be covered, I gesso it to add stability.
9/5/12: Like the other photos I've been working on, this also has high contrast and low saturation. So far, the color filter this is using is crimson, or something close to it.

9/5/12: This is quickly becoming one of my favorite photos. I had made it black and white before, but decided against it. The saturation in this picture is extremely low, but with high contracts, a red color filer and was darkened with hard light.
9/5/12: I used similar techniques in this photo that used in the other ones I described. I'm using an orange color filter.  One thing I love about this photo is how the sun is shining bright, yet I edited it in a way that gives off dramatic shadows on the other side. I think having both dramatic lighting and shading in an outdoors setting gives this photo a very surreal feeling. 
So, that's what I have so far. This is the last of the summer reports. Looking back on everything, I can honestly say that what I've done so far ranges from okay to pretty good, but the fact remains that I didn't do enough. I won't go into great detail as of why. Some of it is was my fault while some of it is not. Still, despite not going to school during the summer, the summer somehow ends up distracting me from my work (a lot of times, in negative ways), and I can actually get done more work during a school semester, even if I'm taking a class that has nothing to do with what I'm working on. This is how it's always been though. Anyway, now Autumn is approaching, my favorite time of the year and perhaps this will be the time to get more work done.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Summer 2012 Progress Report #2

Last week, I was working on some digital photographs I took throughout the month. Aside from work on my mixed media projects and my buttons, this has been, this is what I've been up to lately. What I have here are seven images that are still being worked on. I already know that I'm not going to keep all of the, although I definitely want to keep some of them. These were all edited in Photoshop and while a few of the images emphasize on different color tones, one thing they all have in common is that the contrast is extremely high while the saturation is very low. One image is black and white, but that might change. None of them have names yet, just numbers. I hope to have some of these finished soon.

My next progress report will either be about the finished pictures or an update of the project I was focusing on when I made my first progress report.

Photo #1: This one as of right now emphasizes on brown and orange color tones.

Photo #2: This one emphasizes on blues and greens.

Photo #3: This one emphasizes on blues and other darker colors.

Photo #4: This one emphasizes on red.

Photo #5: Although this is black and white, it's using a  red color filter.

Photo #6: This one emphasizes on orange tones.

Photo #7: This one focuses on red.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sorry about the lack of entries....

The last entry I had before this one was on June 18th. I meant to do a followup to the last entry I made a while back, but unfortunately due to certain unforeseen circumstances (some of it is my fault), I haven't done too much in the last month and a half, at least not enough to make a new entry about. I hope to have something new to post by next week if not earlier.

That doesn't mean nothing has been going on though. I worked on a  lot of button designs over the last month. Some of them are my own while some of them were done for Christine. I haven't gotten pictures of those yet because the place where I take all my pictures is off limits until next month. So I hope to take care of that then.

In other news, I've been taking pictures again. I have to use my digital camera since I don't have access to a dark room right now and probably won't for quite some time. I have gotten around to looking at all of them or editing them. Some of them might become something, while they may result in nothing. Hopefully, we'll see something regarding that by next week as well.

That's all I have to say for right now. New blog entries should be up by next week and hopefully some new stuff can be done by next month!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer Progress Report #1

Throughout the summer, I'm going to be posting progress reports with pictures that show what I've been doing and then at the end of the summer as the busy season begins and I get less time to work, I'll assess the work I've done. Out of the six art projects that I've chosen to work on over the summer, only one project has been making any real progress so far. It's even got a theme, but I'm not ready to share that yet. This post will focus on just that one project and hopefully, I'll talk about the other ones more in the future.

This project currently has the working title P-13. Originally, the project was conceived from two other unrealized concepts that I made into one project. That happened in 2010 and then remained untouched for the next two years. The way I build my mixed media pieces have changed over the years, so what you're about to see are really what I consider outdated methods and it's something I'd like to talk more about in the future.

May 4, 2010: The earliest photo of P13. The pieces of bristolboard from other projects were placed on two canvases that I put together. The chicken wire makes up the early 3-D work while the foamboard helps manipulate the shape of the project. Trust me, the way I do this now compared to when this photo was taken is so much simpler.
July 17, 2010: After the 3-D work has done, I placed pieces of canvas over the framework using hot glue. I then gessoed it thinking that all that would be left would be the artwork and other 3-D design work. It wouldn't turn out that way though. The process of using squared canvas pieces and doing gesso work afterwards is one thing that hasn't changed much over the years.

June 3, 2012: After almost 2 years, I decided what I finally wanted to do with this and it unfortunately required a major change in direction. I wanted the inside to be a bit more simple (it's for the theme I don't want to reveal yet) and so I used 1/2" foamboard to build up the insides.

June 7, 2012: Building up the insides was one thing. Because I raised the inside area, I had to raise the outside area as well. On some parts, hot glue is used to make everything stick while on other parts, I used rubber cement.

July 11, 2012: This right here should give you a clue about how my methods have changed over time. 
So that's what I have so far. I hope to show everyone even more pictures soon.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Next Few Days.....

I know I've been falling behind on some of the stuff I'm supposed to be posting. It's mostly my fault too. I'm STILL working on my post for my art piece She Wants Blood. It's taking a long time because I'm not always motivated to work on it and because of the way I want to present everything, it's become difficult to decide how I want to finish it. Hopefully, I'll have that done soon enough. So anyway, I mentioned not too long ago that there are six new projects that I'm working on. So far, only one of those projects has been making any real progress. I do have pictures, but not as many as I want. I hope to have my next update with pictures before Tuesday. If I don't, then we won't be seeing anything on here (related to the current projects) until the early hours of Saturday since I just found out recently that I'm going to be dog-sitting from Tuesday night until Friday.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Upcoming Projects

For those of you who don't know, most of the non-ceramic work and non-photography work that I have done over the last few years were not started from scratch. When I work on a project, I never have the entire project planned out. Instead, I'll start with one or a few concepts and let the process evolve until I eventually have a complete project. However, more often than not, my projects will come to a point where I either grow dissatisfied with the work I had done, or the general concept, but I don't throw my work away. I instead put the artwork away until a time comes when I come up with new ideas. Also, I find it appalling to throw our something I spent so much time and money on.

My recent project that I completed back in April, She Wants Blood is a perfect example of my process and yes, I'm still working on the She Wants Blood blog entry. This also brings me to talk about my work for this summer. In the back of my basement, I have a pile of unfinished artwork, all of which are numbered and have pages in my sketchbook reserved for writing and drawing ideas for these projects. For this summer, I have chosen six of these projects and hope to have them somewhat completed by the fall and perhaps, I'll have a few of them completed by the end of the year. Five of them have actual themes that I'm working with so far where as the sixth one I chose has many ideas going for it but nothing concrete.

I hope to provide everyone with as many updates and pictures as possible in the near future. I'm hoping to have something new in a week or so. Also, I want to have an entire blog entry at some point in the future dedicated to explaining my process for creating my art projects. I know I kind of did that here, but I also know there are many people who aren't familiar with my work who are probably a little confused by what I've been saying and creating a post with more detail and pictures would help explain my process better.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Upcoming Entries

Starting hopefully by tomorrow night if not the night after, I hope to add some new entries that are about specific art projects that I have completed. The first one I'm going to do is about my latest completed piece She Wants Blood. What I plan to do is make entries about the process of how I made these projects and use the blog entry as a link for other places like Deviant Art so when people look at a picture of my one place, they can about it here and the advantage of that is this allows me to post multiple photos meaning that I can visually show everyone how I make my projects and that way I hope everyone can gain a better understanding about how I do as opposed to reading nothing but text. So that's all I wanted to say tonight. Hopefully, I have the motivation to make multiple posts within the next week, but we'll see.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sweet Darkness

I've been neglecting this blog lately, but that's because I've been very busy over the last few weeks. But now I'm ready to start blogging again and I have a lot to report. Just over a week ago on April 30th, Christine and I had the opening reception for our show Sweet Darkness. This show took four months to conceive and towards the end, tensions were rising to get everything done on time and on occasions, both of us would end up getting very tired and pissed off at times. It was all worth it though. I think the show was successful and it got a lot of positive responses.

Like I said, the idea for Sweet Darkness came about late last year. At Harford Community College, we have an art gallery in the art building that is run by the Student Art Gallery Association (or SAGA as we like to be called) and I currently serve as the organization's president. I have also had shows there in the past. Christine was interested in having a show but felt she wasn't ready to have her own solo show yet, so she asked me to join her. I agreed to do so and from the beginning, it was apparent that since our art was very different, that would serve as the overall theme of the show.

Octo Bath: An example of the type of artwork Christine is known for.
She Wants Blood: An example of the type of artwork I'm known for.
As anyone could see, Christine's artwork is cute and adorable whereas my artwork is more dark and serious. In order to help the artwork fit together, we decided to do a collaborative piece.That collaborative piece would become Dark Lily. During Dark Lily's development, Christine had another idea for a piece that would be shaped like a heart. This would become Love You To Death. 

Dark Lily: I did the frame work while Christine painted the Lily.

Love You To Death to the left of Dark Lily. Again, I did the frame work while Christine painted the hand holding the heart and the roses.
Personally, I loved working on these collaborative projects because it allowed me to start something from scratch for the first time in a long time (most of my artwork is made from combining unfinished projects that have been building up over the years), which helped me refine my techniques. It also allowed Christine to have a feel for working on one of my mixed media pieces. She personally got to see the ins and outs of what it was like to construct on of these pieces and I received a lot of hugs from her as a result. Also, since we started on Love You To Death after we started on Dark Lily, I was able to drastically improve my techniques between the two projects.

After we had gotten the show date set up, we were sitting around one day and we were thinking of names for the show. It was very early when we came up with the name. If I recall correctly, I don't think Dark Lily was very far along in it's development and the concept of Love You To Death didn't even exist yet. She wanted a name right away since she wanted to make a Facebook event in plenty of time to promote the show. Sweet Darkness was one of those names that she came up with early on and we both quickly agreed on it. Ironically enough, as quickly as we thought of the name and as quickly as the Facebook event was made, the flyers weren't made and finalized until less than two weeks before the start of the show (that was my fault). The three flyers I would make were entirely my idea, with Christine's approval of course. I wanted to further cement the concept of the show into the minds of everyone who would see the flyer, so I came up with the idea of having a dark background with a beautiful picture of our hands joining together. I wore one of my more noticeable wristbands in order to help bring out the idea that two different artists were coming together for a single event. The font that was used is called Chaos Times, a font that would also be used for the name listing and number labels for our show. The SAGA logo was inserted in the bottom corner since I almost always include it in my flyers. I thought of the basic concept for the flyer in no time. The placement and the size of the font took me hours to arrange.

Flyer #1

Flyer #2
Flyer #3
Personally, I feel they are the best flyers I have ever made for any event. The only consequence is that not everyone got the idea and thought Christine was my girlfriend. I wasn't disappointed though. I could understand why people got that idea. Ironically, it was also not the first time people had mistaken Christine for my girlfriend.

We installed most of the show the day before the reception. Love You to Death wasn't ready yet and neither were the number labels. The lighting would also be readjusted the next day. When installing the show, there was a lot of improvisation. Christine was good at that. She had more artwork with her than I did and we had to eliminate some of the artwork from the show. Since the gallery was small, we had to find creative ways to put up some of the artwork. Christine was also nice enough to include curtains that helped block out unnecessary sunlight. In the end, everything was finished on the day of the opening reception roughly 30 minutes before the start of the reception. I never plan things that way when I have shows, but it always turns out that way. 

The front of the gallery where most of the artwork is located
From left to right are our collaborative pieces Love You To Death and Dark Lily. Then on the far right, we have my newest piece She Wants Blood.

Christine's beautiful photographs got a lot of positive responses.

All the black and white pictures are mine. the colored pictures and course the Octopuses belong to Christine.

An example where  Christine and I had to improvise. Originally, we weren't going to use this window area for anything other than keeping it blocked out by the curtain.

Christine's book of beautiful photographs

Christine & myself. I think we put together a good show. I think there are many others who would have a much harder time working together. Despite the differences with our art, we found quite easy to work with one another.
Overall, it was a very good night and I think everyone had a wonderful time. The last few days of getting everything ready was quite stressful, but it was all worth it. As I said before, I had no intentions of doing another show yet and that being said, I'd like to thank Christine for asking me to work with her. I'd also like to thank everyone who came to the reception and everyone who supported the show in some way or another. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Connection: Childhood and Adulthood

Even though my portfolio only dates back to 2003, I've been creating art since I was a kid. Even for kids drawings, I spent a lot of time on them, wanting to make them beautiful. I even remember drawing my own superheroes, coloring them, cutting them out, and then detailing the backs of the paper. I'm not sure why I did this, but I do recall playing with these paper figures as if they were action figures. I also loved coloring books. The coloring books I remember owning were Ninja Turtles, Batman, X-Men, a Fantastic 4/Incredible Hulk combo book, Power Rangers, and even Jurassic Park. I used to spend many hours in a single day coloring just a few pictures at a time. I felt I had to choose the right colors, stay in the lines, and I even developed a technique where I would press down hard with the crayon and then scratch away the excess crayon wax with my fingernail. This would leave a nice soft looking picture where all the white was filled in and it looked like the crayon blended with the paper very naturally. I sometimes would go as far as adding my own details in the picture. I think next to video games, my coloring books and personal art projects were my greatest childhood passions.

When I decided that I would pursue a career as an artist after I got out of high school, I don't really recall thinking about what I did throughout my childhood, even as my art progressed over the years. I'm thinking about it now and the funny thing is even though my art has evolved over the years and I've developed certain techniques of my own since 2003, the passion I have towards the work and some of the techniques themselves mirrors exactly what I was doing 20 years ago. I think back to the action figures I drew and then cut out as a kid and then I think about what I started doing with my projects in 2005, when I starting cutting my drawings into random shapes.
Untitled 4-2005. I started cutting my drawings into different shapes.
I also think about cutting out the action figures and adding detail to the back of the paper and then I think about my more recent obsession of finishing the back of my artwork even though no one will see it. With my recent work, I started doing that in 2010 and I'm still doing it to this day, the most recent example being the collaborative piece Dark Lily that I worked on and completed recently with my friend Christine.
Dark Lily, a collaborative piece I worked on with my friend Christine. The front had a lot of work done to it, but......... 

so did the back.
Then there's my obsession with coloring beautiful pictures in my coloring books. In later years, that attitude would come back when would often go back and do charcoal work over and over again until I felt it was right, or I would paint over something until I felt it was right. I also sometimes stare just inches away at my drawings and paintings. I even go as far as blending and smudging paint with my own fingers just like I used to used my fingernail to scratch away excess crayon wax from a picture. 

Like I said, I never recalled thinking back to my childhood, but the similarities are there, even if the circumstances of how I developed these techniques are not. I think what is similar are two things. First, I always had an obsession to do things differently than others. Throughout my life I always felt like I was somehow different from most people and that led me to do things that would help forge an identity of my own. So I do believe there is a connection between feeling different and thinking differently. Second, as both a child and an adult, I always had a passion towards doing anything creative. That passion would drive to do things that a lot of other people would see as unnecessary or simply not worth it. 

Originally, I was going to to blog about something entirely different, but these connections I'm making are just mind boggling and I find it amazing that so much of your childhood stays with you as an adult, even if you don't think about it. As for me and what I'm doing now, I still feel like I'm different than most people; not better, just different. I still feel like I think differently than others and I believe that my art, no matter how good or bad it may get in the future will reflect that.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Santa Lilio Sangre: Ayami Kojima Art Works

Today, after arriving home from doing work at the college, I was surprised to find that a book I had ordered arrived at my house much sooner than I expected it to. I ordered it late last week and it had to ship over here from Japan. I figured I'd have to wait at least another week or so, but I didn't and that's great. As the title of this entry suggests, the book I ordered was Santa Lilio Sangre: Ayami Kojima Art Works.
Ayami Kojima's Santa Lilio Sangre. Released only in Japan in 2010.
Before I continue, I should provide you with some information about Ayami Kojima and this book. Ayami Kojima is a Japanese artist who is mostly known for her artwork in video games, particularly the Castlevania series, although she has done a lot of work outside of video games. The first game she had done artwork for was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which was released in 1997. This game was unusual for two reasons. First, it was a 2D side-scrolling game at a time when 3D games were becoming the big thing and second, the artwork was done by hand at a time when more computer made artwork was appearing on game cases. Her artwork was also unique for video games since she uses a variety of acrylic mediums in her work as well as metallic paints, and even ink. It looks more like something that would be seen at a museum rather than on the cover of a video game box.

European box art of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
The book featuring her artwork, Santa Lilio Sangre was released in Japan in 2010. Up to this point, it has only seen a Japanese release. It's a well made, well design coffee table book that features a lot of her Castlevania artwork (although not all of it) and a lot of her other work as well. I guess there isn't too much more I can say about it, so these images that I pulled from the internet can speak for themselves, although I can assure you that they do not do the artwork justice by any means.

Now some of you may ask what any of this has to do with me. After all, in my first entry, I did mention that my blog would be about me and my artwork. The truth is, this has everything to do with me because had it not been for Ayami Kojima and her artwork, my artwork may not be where it is today. A few years ago, I had decided to make the slow transition to mixed media and I was on the search for various new mediums that would be good for creating more three dimensional work and that would be good for enhancing drawings and paintings. Although, I knew about Ayami Kojima and her work already, I had not paid too much attention to how she created her work until I was on the search for new mediums. I looked her up online and found out everything she used. My intention was not to make work that looked like hers. Instead, I wanted to see what I could do with molding paste, metallic paints, and polymer gloss. My experiment led to my 2009 piece the Eternal Midnight Sonata. In 2010, my pieces Sparky, Mourning After Dawn, and Memento-Mori would follow this same influence.

The Eternal Midnight Sonata. Completed in 2009.
Sparky. Completed in 2010.
Mourning After Dawn. Completed in 2010.
Memento-Mori. Completed in 2010.
However, not only did Ayami Kojima's work greatly influence the current direction of my art, but perhaps my own future. For years, as I had been progressing as an artist, I had been trying to figure out where it will all lead to, what I would be doing for the rest of my life. Despite going to college, I had always wanted to work independently, to run my own business. I eventually came to the conclusion that creating and publishing my own books is something I would like to do. Although I had made this decision long before Santa Lilio Sangre was released, seeing this book has made me more determined to go in that direction. These kinds of books are so beautiful and so well crafted. In the age of e-books and other forms of digitized reading, books like this make books as a physical medium precious, just like they were centuries ago when owning books was considered a luxury. I would love to make comic books, graphic novels, and coffee table books, and to do so with the same care and love that I had given to my artwork over the years. For those of you who like my artwork, don't worry about me abandoning the kind of work I've been doing for almost 10 years now. I believe that kind of artwork will lead to all sorts of innovations and will be the backbone of everything else I do. The buttons I started making in 2010 (which I hope to discuss later) are proof of that. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

My Introduction

If you're reading this, then chances are you already know me and at least have an idea of what I do and what I'm all about. That being said, this is more like an introduction to the type of blog that I'm doing since most readers (for the time being) already know me. This is an art blog titled "Inside Jon-Erich's Head". My intent with this blog is to give readers insight on my art projects, events that I participate in, as well my progression as an artist. As some of you may know, I used to do this very same thing on Myspace a few years ago, but I stopped when I felt Myspace was becoming irrelevant. However, since I feel that recording my progression as an artist is important, I want to continue where I left off a few years ago.

Some of you may wonder why I'm choosing to do an art blog as opposed to a blog about a variety of subjects such as current issues, politics, my current job, or other aspects of my life outside of art. The answer is simple. Even though my opinions on various subjects may be unique because they're my opinions, everyone else already has blogs like that. By creating an art blog, I'm creating something that has a unique insight on my artwork and because it's about me and my art, it's something original. Besides, my status updates on Facebook will provide everything else this blog does not provide.

To be honest, I meant to start writing a month ago, but I didn't for a variety of reasons I don't care to discuss at this time. While many of you missed out on anything I had to report for March other than status updates and messages on Facebook, there will be a lot to talk about in April. This month, I plan to have one new project finished as well as two collaborative projects that I'm working on with my friend Christine. I will also be having an art show at the end of the month with Christine. So there will be plenty to talk about in the coming days and weeks. Until then, feel free to comment on this introduction post, or ask me anything you may have on your mind.