srijeda, 3. listopada 2012.

Theo Ellsworth - Understanding Monster

Najdraži konvulzivno-"bajkoviti" stripaš, Theo Ellsworth, ima novu knjigu - Understanding Monster
Barokno-astečki svjetovi ispunjeni čudovištima i dubinsko-psihološkim preobrazbama i potragama. Dirljivo, duhovito, psihodelično, pametno. Where the Wild Things Are za odrasle. Stvarnost strpljivo čeka da se njezini stanovnici "nađu" (nema žurbe, čudovišta ima u izobilju).

O njegovoj knjizi Capacity čitajte ovdje.

Go, Go, Go, Go, Go: Theo Ellsworth's The Understanding Monster

Misery makes you to embrace clichés -- one day at a time, dance like no one's watching, et cetera -- but those clichés turn sour as they fail you. Time is the only thing that'll help? Then why are clocks ticking and suns setting and seasons changing with an almost sarcastic speed and everything feels worse and worse?
So you try burying yourself in fiction. You go to the movies, but something's wrong with the screen. It's either too small, like it's buried in the seatback of a budget airline, or it's enormous and incomprehensible. Like Philip Marlowe says in Chandler's The Long Goodbye: "It meant nothing. I hardly saw what went on. It was just noise and big faces." Reading's no better. Every book could be under a pane of filthy inch-thick glass. Is this really what used to thrill you? Move you?
A few of months of depression had chipped away at the thing inside me that let me project into fiction. I mostly settled on using the TV for the anesthetic glow of old cartoons and sitcoms. When I opened Theo Ellsworth's The Understanding Monster, though, without even noticing, I reached for the remote control. I sat in silence and read it cover to cover. The Understanding Monster absorbs attention like a black hole absorbs light.
It begins with a strange figure (a mummy? a spaceman?) projecting three images (a mouse? a bed? a monster?) and these words: "There you are! Time-lapse evolving into a living physical body has caused you to go into sudden manifestation shock. It's vital that you keep your limbs in motion. I'm going to be setting a negative-time clock inside of your new brain. When the clock strikes zero, you will turn a very important corner."
Got it? Technically, the narrator -- a multi-dimensional robot who exists only in the story's margins -- is talking to a mouse named Izadore. Ellsworth collapses Izadore and the reader so successfully that all the instructions could be coming directly out of the page. It makes it feel like a children's book; the incredibly dense artwork makes you feel like a child as you read it. There's almost no flat color to let your eyes settle. You're left trying to make sense of the intricate biology of the book's toys and monsters, or the trail left by a buzzing fly that creates a maze, or the tails of word balloons that twist and wind around their surroundings. There are Time Crystals. Micro-Seeing-Eye-Orbs. Gel-Mold Apparitions. It's overwhelming.
I was reminded of Brecht Evens's beautiful Night Animals, released last year. It consists of two stories, each its own take on a Where the Wild Things Are-like flight from the everyday to a fantasy kingdom. In the first, a man dons a rabbit suit, climbs through a toilet, and follows glowing arrows through sewers and oceans and forests to find his reward. In the second, a girl's embarrassed, as she gets her period in gym class. She runs home only to be met by a horned creature in high heels that carries her to a blood-red place where she is stripped naked and painted in glorious celebration.
But in Night Animals's most complex landscapes, where every inch is packed with monsters, you're still never lost. Your eye moves through them as if floating down a river. Ellsworth's worlds are much more difficult to navigate. It's a bad dream that poor Izadore is trying to escape. It doesn't help that ghosts live in the walls, whispering things like "You have a trained group of specialists working against you" and "All of your friends are actually me in disguise."
Some comic art is intentionally assaultive, rubbing the reader's face in nightmare imagery with the glee of a high school bully. That's not the case here. In an interview with Zack Smith, Ellsworth said that drawing The Understanding Monster "actually felt a little scary at points, like it was completely out of my grasp." (He adds: "It turns out that embarking on a quest to gain complete access to one's own subconscious is not to be done lightly.") He's lost in here, too. Author, reader, and mouse: we're all in this together.
(Also, the dreamlike worlds of Night Animals are places traveled to; reality waits for its inhabitants to return, even if they refuse to do so. The realities of The Understanding Monster unfold in layers, but I'm not sure any is more or less real than another. As Izadore's told, "You really are a house. You're in a room inside yourself." Where's home, anyway? What's home?)
You could read The Understanding Monster in random order for its art alone. Despite all of its eddies and whorls and tangents, however, it's genuinely propulsive right from the "reverse countdown" of its opening chapter. It's a race against time to put together Izadore's spiritual components. The inertia of doubt and fear wants to keep everything standing still, but motion, any motion, is the only way out. "I know the urge to stop is overwhelming, Izadore," says the robot, "but you're not going to stop. Go. Go. Go. Go. Go." It's vital that you keep your limbs in motion.
The last few months killed whatever lingering ideas I had about critical objectivity. I probably experienced some great art that left me stone cold. And maybe this book wouldn't have hit me so hard if I didn't need to be reminded to keep turning the pages. Ignore the ghosts. Accept outside help. Put yourself together again.
The best part is that there's more of The Understanding Monster to come. Sometimes the most comforting words are just "to be continued." - Martyn Pedler

Ellsworthov blog (izbor):

Zack Smith at Newsarama just interviewed me about my new book. It's the most I've talked about it so far. You can read it if you want. I also just got an advance copy in the mail from Secret Acres. It feels quite surreal and exciting to have it exist in physical reality for real.

The Understanding Monster, Book One

Here it is. I'm finally ready to show you the cover (and a detail from the  back cover) of The Understanding Monster, Book One. I'm going to write more about the book soon, but  for now I'll just say that it's the biggest leap into my subconscious that I've made with my art so far. I have no idea what people will think of it, but creating this book was a startling and rewarding process. It's a hand colored, oversized, hardcover book. This first installment is one piece of a bigger puzzle that I'm building. I can't wait to find a studio space so I can get back to work on book two. The next scene I want to draw has been haunting me.

collaborative comic with Craig Thompson

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I've been meaning to show you this comic for awhile now. Right before I moved from Portland to Missoula I got together with my good friend, Craig Thompson and drew this collaborative comic. It was a fun time! For a number of years, Craig generously shared his home studio with me while he was working on Habibi and I was working on Capacity and Sleeper Car. I would walk to his house once a week or so and work at his extra drawing table. It was truly inspiring to watch him tackle such an epic and complex project and talk with him about comics and the world a large. While working on this collaborative comic, I got to have a sneak peek at the top secret all ages book he's been working on. I wish I could tell you about it. It's going to be awesome!

collaborative drawings with Alex Chiu

Every time I get to hang out with Alex Chiu, we try to do two collaborative drawings that we work on simultaneously, passing the drawings back and fourth until they're both done. We've done six so far. Someday, when we have enough drawings, we'll put out a zine! It's fun to have a long term project that's all about hanging out with a specific friend.

The whole show is now up online at the Giant Robot art shop. A nice number of them sold opening night but some of my personal favorites are still available. It's the biggest show I've ever done and it's only up until August 15th!

 I'm sitting in the Missoula airport waiting for my flight to LA with a suitcase full of art. It's probably the mellowest airport I've ever been in. I figured since I had a moment I'd let slip a few more pieces that will be hanging on the walls of Giant Robot in a couple of nights.

 After a whirlwind adventure packing up everything I own and moving with my family to Montana , I got to have a little down time to finish up a few final pieces for my solo show that's coming up this Saturday at Giant Robot. I'm flying down to LA tomorrow to hang the show. It's my biggest show yet. Nearly 70 pieces! I'll be in LA just long enough to enjoy the opening party, then it's back to Montana to house hunt.

Small Press Expo

photos of importance

To me, these are some of the most beautiful photos ever taken. They haunt me and make me want to create my own costumes inspired by them.

Caravan skateboards

I did two designs for Caravan Skateboards awhile back and they've finally come out!

Coming up!

sneak peek at my upcoming show at Giant Robot

 Portrait of Special Agent Rogbert.
 Natural House Formation
 Ghost Seer
 Turtle Base
 Personal Treasure Spirit
Leaf Dog Rider

back in stock!

I've got some final copies of Sleeper Car up for sale in my Etsy Shop. It's been sold out for awhile now, but Secret Acres was able to send me copies from a hidden stash of them that they recently unpacked.

The Sudden Amplification of Certain Senses

I have a solo show at the Giant Robot Gallery in Los Angeles opening on July 28th! More about this soon!

Some people I know

These are a few little panels from The Understanding Monster Book One. It looks like it's finally off to the printers now! If all goes well, it will be out in time to be released at the Small Press Expo (SPX) in late September!

Game Over show at Giant Robot

 I did a small woodcut character for the Video Game themed art show that's opening in a couple of days at Giant Robot. Obtaining extra lives by ramming floating crystals with your head is an important concept to me, so it felt good to create a visual rendering.

Nether-Moon Dub EP-from Space Cadets

I got this in the mail from England a little while ago. It's a lot of fun getting to design all these covers and then have the actual physical objects show up at my door. The music is great too.Perfect sounds to have in the room while drawing. The next ones are going to be in full color.

The Understanding Monster Book One

 As of last night, I'm completely done with all of the art for book one! Pictured above is the first page of Book Two, which I kept propped up on my drawing table, standing guard as I worked to complete the first one. The title page and the entire contents of Book One is stacked below. I ended up overnighting all the originals to Secret Acres, which was pretty scary after all that work, but they reached New York safely and now I feel much more confident that it will look nice in print. It's all fully hand colored and the originals are much larger than I've ever worked. Drawing larger than I'm comfortable with really helped me explode my sense of what the comics page can be.
This book launches my attempt at creating a long form comics narrative, but right now I'm just focusing on the first four books. For awhile I was working on them all at once until I finally figured out how it could be divided up just right. It was pretty chaotic for awhile, so it feels extra satisfying to finally have something readable. More soon!

More inspiration

These are a few more images from the inspirational slide show that plays when my laptop goes into screensaver mode. A huge majority of the images are ancient, tribal, and ceremonial, though there's also plenty of work from cartoonists I love, as well as photographs of outer space and caves. These images, to me, are so full of a mystery, intensity, and vitality that's missing from most modern art I see. Looking at these pictures makes me excited and inspired on so many levels. Embodying creatures from the subconscious and organizing thoughts into word-symbols and story-drawings is what I want my daily work to be. Art connects the imagination to reality through the intensive act of doing. I wish I could know exactly how these artists thought and felt about the world as they created these works.

collaborative doodling

I kind of fell off the map with posting for awhile, so I thought I'd jump back into this little room I keep in Internet-World by showing you this drawing I made with Joe Lambert and Sean Christensen while hanging out at the Secret Acres table at Stumptown last month. Sean's already my favorite dude to collaborate with and it was an extra treat to get to draw with Joe during his first ever visit to the West Coast.
Stumptown Comics Festival this weekend!

I'll be at the Stumptown Comics Fest all weekend helping run the Secret Acres table along with Joe Lambert and Sean Christensen. We'll have all kinds of great publications to check out and we'll be ready to converse with friends and strangers alike on a wide range of topics. Come on out and keep us company.

In other news, I'm painfully close to finishing The Understanding Monster, Book One! Really, I should be staying home all weekend to work on it. It feels pretty crazy finally be so close to delivering the pages to Secret Acres.

Grid Lords begins!

There's a new, monthly comics reading called Grid Lords at the Waypost in Portland Oregon. This first one is to kick off the Stumptown Comics Fest happening this weekend. I'll be reading some new work along with Jesse Moynihan, Malachi Ward, Maria Sputnik, and August Lipp.

Time Travel Postcard

I designed a postcard for 826 LA, a non-profit writing and tutoring center. Every city that has an 826 has a different themed gift shop in front. The Los Angeles one is Time travel themed. You can get my postcard and help support an incredibly awesome place here


I've been collecting pictures that I love into a slide show that plays on my computer when it goes into screen saver mode. It's nice to be able to look up from my drawing table and see images that keep me charged. It's made my computer become less of a stressful object and more of an inspiration machine. Collecting these images has made me realize just how floored I am by native ceremonial costumes from all over the world.
The Asaro River People, New Guinea.
Koskimo Dancer, North West Coast of America.
The Bapende People, Zaire

Griffin: Owl Ninja

Owl hat, hand made by Allie Tiedeman.

The Ghost Show

I have one piece in the Ghost Show that's opening at Pony Club Gallery in Portland, Oregon.
I brought my unfinished piece for the Ghost Show with me to my class at ArtFest. I discovered that a lot of students don't like having to introduce themselves at the beginning of class, but it helps me feel like I can put a name to their face, so I decided to pass my unfinished ghost around the class and have the students introduce themselves to my art instead. The fact that every one of my students has held this ghost and introduced themselves to it feels like an important part of the piece now.
I brought it home and colored it just in time to give it to the curator, Jennifer Parks, to hang in the show. It's the ghost of an Ancient Multi-Dimensional Earth Native, just in case you couldn't tell.

Imaginary School

I was really excited about how my workshop at ArtFest went this year. I had a room full of amazing students and they were a pleasure to spend the day with. In my Imaginary School, we covered such topics as Mind Technology powered Disbelief Suspension Suits, hand drawn Multi-Dimensional Doorways, and cut and paste as teleportation. They all did so well! A lot of people asked if I would be teaching this class again. I'd like to. Teesha and Tracy Moore are the ones who first encouraged me to teach and I took up the challenge as a way to get more involved in the amazing world they created with ArtFest. I haven't taught anywhere else. Now that ArtFest is ending, I'm not sure where I'd teach. They created the perfect environment and made me feel like I could put myself out there in that kind of way. I think it'd be fun to teach at their studio in Seattle, The ArtFest Annex sometime down the road. Getting to see my students drawings take shape and getting to know them all a little over the course of the workshop was truly thrilling. I wish I could've gotten better photos of everyone's projects. Here's a couple of the clearer photos I took at the closing gallery event:

Front and inside of Sylvan Bourgette's piece from my class.

Front and inside of Stephanie Arildson's piece from my class.

Off to ArtFest

The whole family is hitting the road tomorrow. We're heading to the final ArtFest up in Port Townsend, Washington. I'm teaching one all day workshop and setting up a table of my work at the vender's night. Then I'll get to spend the rest of the weekend exploring the hills and beaches, giving Griffin piggy back rides, and hanging out with everyone. There's so many people I can't wait to see up there. Teesha and Tracy Moore know how to put on amazing events, and their attitude and views on creativity are the most refreshing around. I'm sad that it'll be the final ArtFest, but I'm excited to see what they're going to do next. They're always up to something. The picture above has to do with the class I'm teaching, and it also has everything to do with my book. I'll write more about that sometime.

Sparkplug Forever!

Sparkplug Books is doing a fundraiser over at to help them publish their next three books: I highly recommend going to the site and checking out the excellent short video they made about Dylan Williams and his vision for Sparkplug. Dylan died last September of Leukemia and his wife and friends are hoping to publish the three books that he was working on releasing as well as hopefully continuing on to publish more books in the future. Sparkplug is a publisher that's really important to me. It's done a lot to redefine what comics can be, and helped give voice to unique and unusual artists. Dylan's absence has left a huge hole in the world of art comics, but I love the idea that Sparkplug could keep publishing new books for years to come.

Reading for Sparkplug

I'm going to be reading from one of my comics at the Waypost tonight at 3120 N. Williams in Portland, Oregon as part of a fundraiser event for Sparkplug Comics, to help them to continue publishing awesome comics after the passing of our good friend and Sparkplug founder, Dylan Williams. They're raising money to print the next few books that Dylan had already planned to put out, and they're all books I've been excited about ever since Dylan first told me he wanted to publish them. Sean Christensen, Julia Gfrorer, and Aron Nels Steinke are also reading. All of them are great cartoonists and I'm looking forwards to seeing what they're going to read tonight. The event goes from 7-10pm.

facing facebook with my face

My Wife finally convinced me to get a facebook account. The above werewolf child combed his hair to celebrate. Do you want to "like" me?

giant comics and secret books

doorstep arrivals

It's been feeling like progress is slow on all the projects I've been juggling, so it's nice to suddenly get a bunch of things in the mail to remind me that I've actually been up to a lot. I just recieved the awesome publication that went with the group show I was in at 12Mail Gallery in Paris, France and it includes a big fold-out print of oe of my pieces from the show.

I also just got a nice stack of Space Cadets stickers in the mail. I'm planning on including them with orders from my Etsy shop until they're gone.
The newest release from Space Cadets just arrived as well. ASC TMA-1!

I captured a well dressed bat spirit just long enough to take this picture before he escaped.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I've been on a drawing spree for Space Cadets lately. This is the next release for Oak I just finished. It was fun drawing an escape artist in space. I was especially in the mood to draw this one because I've been reading an early seventies Jack Kirby comic called Mister Miracle, about a costumed escape artist from another world and his midget assistant. Amazing stuff. Also, I've decided that I really love drawing asteroids.

ASC, Nether, Space Cadets!

Rowdy Monster for sale

I've had a number of original woodcut pieces sitting around in my tiny work space for awhile now and I've been having trouble finding time to put them up on my Etsy shop. I just finally put up the first of them though, and I'm going to try to keep adding more over the next week or so. I also have several new prints in the works, so things should be getting extra awesome over at the shop soon: Now, back to my drawing table...

3 portraits in Paris

I did 3 pieces for a show that opens February 3rd at the 12 Mail gallery in Paris, France. The show is called "Visages". As the title suggests, it's an entire show of faces. There's going to be a printed catalogue of the show, so hopefully I'll be able to get my hands on one. I'm excited to be in this show along side a number of cartoonists I admire including Philippe Dupuy, Charles Burns, Blutch, and Sammy Harkham.

More drawings before bed

Mostly drawn while very sleepy and in semi-darkness. Not even a month in, doing a drawing before bed every night has already proven to be valuable to me. It's been making me feel more aware of my own forwards movement through time. It wraps up my day and gets me excited for the next one. They don't feel like my best drawings or anything. The paper's kind of thin and there's lots of bleed through from the previous days. I kind of like that though.

a drawing before bed every night for a year

My sister (code name: Weirdling) gave me a "one sketch a day" journal for Christmas and I decided to take up the challenge and draw in it every night before bed. I've never really put dates on my work or kept a steady journal, so I think it'll be valuable to have this linear record of a year's worth drawings. Here's what's happened so far, between Christmas and New Years. It's fun having two days to a page because I get to merge the drawing with the one I made the night before. I'll keep posting my progress throughout the year, and when I'm done, if it seems worthwhile, I might print up a little book...

Art on the Moon

I did a piece for a moon themed group show that opens January 7th at the Observatory on 543 Union Street, Brooklyn, New York.

Here's the woodcut I made for it titled, "A giant space man has landed on the moon, but why?!" It's the first wood piece where I actually cut negative space inside of it. I'd like to play around with that more soon.

woodcuts and glittery stars

Left: the first "Timrick" woodcut I ever made. I sold it at the Festival of the last minute, then realised that I never actually got a clear photo of it. I was nearly finished with it when I spilled ink all over one of the hands, so I blackened the hands and feet as a way to fix it. I ended up really liking the effect and it's something I don't think I would've ever tried otherwise. It's good to roll with the punches.

Right: The only woodcut I've kept for myself so far. I made it right before Griffin was born and looking at it reminds me of the whole inner-process I had leading up to becoming a dad. I sit with Griffin propped up on my lap like that all the time now, and I've seen him make that same expression on his face.

Welcome to the World, Griffin!

Our Son, Griffin has arrived and Heather and I are so Happy! He was born on 11/20/2011 at 9:49 pm and was 22 inches tall at birth (so many palindromes!). Being a Dad has inspired and changed me in so many ways already and he's only 10 days old. Helping catch someone as they enter the world and watching them take their first breath was a truly intense experience, and Heather was so awe inspiring and strong. I feel really lucky to have such an incredible family.

One of my new favorite things to do is to fly Griffin around the house like a spaceship and show him the different things on the walls around our house. I think he already has a thing for sea monsters.

Christmas Cards!!

I've got some of my Christmas cards up for sale over at my Etsy Shop! . I make a new one every year for my mom to send out to friends and relatives, so I thought it would be fun to reprint the last four just in case you want to send them to your friends and family too! Yes!!

Secret Space Navigatior and baby Timrick

Space Cadets! Don't Panic!

I just got the Oak, Otaku album in the mail. It's the second cover I've done for the London Based record label, Space Cadets, and I'm just about to start working on the third. It's fun getting to be the house artist for such an exciting label. There's going to be stickers soon too!
Doing art for Space Cadets led to an interview with the awesome UK Magazine, Don't Panic. You can read it if you want:

New life

Thank you to everyone who came out to the art opening last night. It definitely made me nostalgic to be showing work at Pony Club again. It's good to see the gallery being run by such a great group of artists. The fact that my son is going to be born any time now made it feel like an especially monumental occasion. The waiting is getting suspenseful. Our friend Aimee Swallow made a belly cast of Heather and we hung it in the window of the gallery. Aimee painted the outside and it looks amazing. I'll post a picture as soon as I can get a good photo, but until then, this is the inside, negative space that I painted myself.

The show will be up all month if anyone wants to see it. above is the Understanding Monster Mask I made.

This one is a parallel reality shock absorption mask. The idea is that if you witness a parallel reality, putting on this mask will help your brain cope with the shock, so you can enjoy yourself instead of freaking out. It's good to be prepared.
I'll post the rest of the art soon, including the large scale drawing I finished for it. Good times!

today at the drawing table

two collaborative drawings with Alex Chiu!

Nursery Rhyme Comics

I did a two page adaptation of "As I was Going to St. Ives" for a collection of nursery rhyme comics edited by Chris Duffy and published by First Second. It's going to be in stores October 11th. The book turned out great! 50 cartoonist, 50 nursery rhymes. It's nice to have work in the same book as so many artists I'm excited about.

Habibi Art Show

My friend, Craig Thompson just released his huge, amazing graphic novel, Habibi, that he's been working on for the last 6 years. He's doing a signing at Floating World Comics at 400 NW Couch st. on the evening of Thursday the 6th. There will also be an art show of different cartoonists who have made work inspired by the book. I just finished my piece the other day.

It's going to be an excellent night for seeing art. My friend Alex Chiu has a solo show that same night at Grass Hut Gallery, which shares space with Floating world.

Yoyo art show!

There is a yoyo art show at SoHiTek gallery on NW 6th between Flanders and Everett. 30 or so artists made art on handmade yoyos made by TMBR Toys. I was excited that I got to do one. The show is on the evening of Thursday the 6th.

cosmonaut longboard

I did a drawing of a Cosmonaut for the new line of boards from DB longboards!

Space Cadets

I've been doing album art for the new London based record label, Space Cadets. Their first record just came out and the second one is on the way, both by the awesome electronic musician, Oak. Space sounds and cosmic patterns. I need to get a record player! Their website isn't done yet, but there should be a lot to see soon:

birthday art and insane gifts!

For my friend, Sean Christensen's birthday, I decided to make him the most "Sean" inspired picture possible. Anyone who knows him understands the resulting picture. I want to do more art directly inspired by friends like this.
This is one of my very favorite art pieces by Sean. It was in his most recent show, and I found myself obsessively thinking about it after I saw it for the first time. Every time I'd see Sean afterwards, I'd end up mentioning the piece at least once or twice. I guess I mentioned it one too many times, because he ended up giving it to me! It now lives in my house where I look at it all the time. I don't even know how to respond when someone gives me something so amazing. The collection I have of art made by friends is one of my most valued possessions. I'll have to post more of the pieces in my collection sometime down the road.

invisible doors

I want to thank everyone who commented on my post about Dylan, and everyone who talked to me in person about it. It helped me to know that the photo I took of him was able to reach so many people who cared about him. Dylan's funeral was a day of raw emotion. It's hard to believe it was already a week ago. I felt like a lightning rod as I stood there listening to everyone speaking from the heart and from the gut about the friend we all held in such regard. I was unable to speak out loud myself; I felt mute and paralysed, but as we were all gathered around Dylan, I felt as if something profound and difficult was being achieved by each of us, standing together as a group. I've been carrying that feeling with me ever since, and even though I find myself unable to even articulate what that feeling is, I've been doing my best to use it as fuel for my work. The best way to honor someone who loved and valued art is to try open those elusive, invisible doors even wider, and follow my own weird calling as completely as possible. This is the photo I took at the Chapel of the Chimes right before Dylan asked me to take the photo of him I shared in my last post. I referred to it as an "unidentifiable animal" but now I see that it's obviously a feline hippo. I'm not much of a photographer. I'm always snapping photos, then never doing anything with them, but I had to search back and find this one, since it suddenly felt like an important monster to me.
A couple of days after Dylan's passing, I got together with a few of my favorite artist friends: Sean Christensen, Amy Kuttab, Daria Tessler, and Jeniffer Parks; all of whom have been encouraged and inspired by Dylan is some way or another. We decided to collaborate on a large drawing to give to his wife, Emily.
I've never collaborated quite like this before; five hands simultaneously working on the same piece. It seems like the result would have been chaos, but the image somehow achieved a strange kind of harmony. It's pretty amazing to have so many friends who draw. It's always been such a private act for me. It's funny to think back on how uncomfortable I used to get when anyone wanted to see my drawings.
Spending time with these other artists has taught me a lot about the relationship between individuals and their work. Each of these artists has such a distinct world that they build. Talking to them, and watching them work, I can really see that the art they make is a living, changing thing that is with them wherever they go, and it is a relationship that is completely unique to them.This is the closest I've ever felt to being part of an actual art movement. I don't know what I would even define it as, but I appreciate having people around me who are constantly working to reach new hidden layers, and unlock some new thing they've been feeling.

This is what I was working on when the news reached me of Dylan's passing. It's not done yet, but this piece will always feel connected to him now. It's part of an exploration of the idea of parallel realities, which I'll write more about when the piece is done. The first piece in the series was the one from two posts ago, titled "Outside Inside" which was in a show that just happened to be curated by Emily.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Getting by as an artist has been becoming increasingly tricky. Today I have to give my month notice on my studio space, because I just can't afford it right now. At least I got a taste of how nice it can be to have a space to work and think. Riding my bike to my studio and getting to close the door and submerse myself in my work has been a true pleasure. It's interesting working with the ever present pressure to have art amount to income. The personal nature of the process usually takes me a long ways off from the world of marketing and selling. I feel like I've been working an imaginary job and I'm constantly having to prove that it somehow has relevance in reality in order to keep afloat. I've learned a lot doing this, but I've never felt like I quite have the head for it. Lately, when I'm lost in my work, I've been getting this charged feeling, like I'm reaching new ground and I just want to keep going. For the last 5 years I've been making as much art as possible and getting by. My new book keeps inching closer to completion and working on it is truly a thrill. I'm going to make this last month at my studio count. That being said, I'm going to ride my bike there right now and get to work! Thanks for all the kind support and encouragement from everyone who reads this blog and checks out my work!

things happening in the studio

A thorn bush spirit has appeared on the wall.

A tiny flying machine is plucked from the air
A friend from an alternate dimension stops by to check in on my progress.

celebration attire

Since yesterday was Father's day, it feels especially significant timing to announce that I'm going to be one later this year! Today also happens to be my own Birthday. Lots to celebrate!

invisible friends made visible.

There's more guardian monsters and imaginary portraits available over at my Etsy Shop: and more to come!

currently in the same room as me

Spook Train
From the Future
Secret Space Navigator

something from the wall of my studio

A secret data collection and transmission dispatch mission took place on a remote beach not long ago. That is all I am at liberty to say.

Portland Saturday Market

I'm going to be setting up shop at the Portland Saturday Market (this weekend if all goes well) for the first time in a year and a half. It'll be good to be back, and it will hopefully help fund the completion of my book! Above is the new sign I've been working on. When I was at the market before, I went by Capacity Studios, now it's Thought Cloud Factory. The Market is in and around the Waterfront park, downtown Portland by the Burnside bridge, all weekend.

This is one of the new woodcut characters that I'll hopefully have finished in time!

Turning the Corner

This has been a preview of The Understanding Monster, book one; Available someday from certain locations.

Thought Cloud Factory News

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