Monday, February 28, 2011
Hello everybody! This year I attended Conooga for the first time. A 3 day event in Chattanooga, TN, Conooga is a young convention that prides itself on its party battles and friendly atmosphere.
My overall take on Conooga is very positive. It had a wide open space, very friendly and accommodating staff, and a decent attempt at programming. Being a a young show, they didn't really have any heavy hitter stars there, but that isn't really a draw for me as much as an indicator of a show's reputation/success. I thought it was a very pleasant and casual show.
Very open atmosphere in a nice venue.
Friendly and helpful staff.
Great reputation for such a young show. This just means upward growth and improvements all around.
I was allowed to runa very interesting panel on the art of retrofuturism.
Very open to new guests and contributions.
Good traffic flow with a diversity of tastes.
The majority of the attendees were young anime cosplay kids. Not there to spend money or do anything but be looked at.
It is still a young show and will take a few more years to be a serious draw.
No real guests or programming...yet.
A fun show that is worth heading out to. My space was comped this year and that goes a long way in showing me their commitment to a diversity of contributors. For the majority of youth, there were still a solid number of art enthusiasts and gaming fans. Would I go back? Absolutely. There are few shows I can vote so confidently on, and I am pleased to give this one a thumbs up. If you have a weekend to kill and promote your work while making a few shekels, put Conooga on the books.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Hey guys! I will be tossing up my review of Conooga in the next few days. In the meantime, here is a progress shot of God as the Architect. I don't know if I will have it done for this weekend's art show, but I will have it done soon. Just keeping you guys posted!
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Few things are finer than blasting some metal on a beautiful day and working on a new painting. This WIP is entitled" God as the Architect" and is inspired by William Blake's classic concept. It is 24x26 on Gallery Canvas and should be done in time for "The Hang Up" art show in Nashville on the 26th. I don't normally like to post WIPs of Illustrations, but with my personal work, I would like to have a journal for myself and you guys of how my mind unfolds.
Anyhoo, back to work. Hopefully it is as beautiful where you are as it is in Nashville today!
Friday, February 11, 2011
Howdy doody folks! So here are the new pieces I was talking about. Confrontation, the Stone Golem piece, is my first illustration for the World of Uteria role-playing system. Final Dawn, the one with the dragons, was inspired by Mondrian and WWII Bombers. I am pretty pleased with both of these. But if you would like to know more....
Final Dawn is all shapes. I had the concept nailed early on pursued it with dogged force. This was actually my first real illustration since my Divorce began nearly 6 months ago and I felt stuck in adolescence again. Relearning last year's lessons and developing a new approach was a drain. I forced myself to work on it in public at Chattacon and it was there that I really started digging in. Spending 2 days in front of fans and casual viewers really made me hone in on my anatomy and stick to some decisions I was waffling on. The piece has its faults for sure, but really represents a breakthrough for me on composition fundamentals and how I need to view my work. My next pieces will have a more fully rendered final concept and a diverse array of environmental elements. Still not bad for my 3rd Dragon Painting.
Confrontation was born out of commission and commiseration and evolved in the exact opposite manner. Working on art night with fellow artists Adam Baker (thinkbaker.com) and Michael Bielaczzyc (michaelbielaczyc.com) I was losing my mind with the composition. I knew where I wanted the hero, but the Golem was tearing me up. My thumbs and final comps just weren't translating. Adam finally called me out and made me toss some paint on the canvas. I picked up a big brush and just dropped in the shape of the figure I wanted. And it worked. Bastard. I loved working on this once I started and absolutely love working big for %75 of the process and then picking up the little guns to knock it out. The painting remains more fresh and lively than a lot of other illos I've done and is one I look forward to hanging in my home till it sells.
So what to take from these pieces I completed over the past 18 days. Among the myriad of lessons I learned while doing them, I think commitment is the one that seems the most poignant. Whether I commit to a tightly rendered drawing for a work with several elements, or commit to big brush strokes while painting an elemental, commit to your work. And this isn't just limited to my painting. I have never really balked at commitment, but of late, I have felt lost at times and just seemed to be taking things as they come. A useful mechanism, but not one with longevity. I have learned that I am an "all in" person. Paintings, sports, relationships; it is all the same to me. Maybe you guys are different, but I find a sublime contentment when I relinquish control of myself and give over to what I am involved in. Being in the moment you are in is one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences we can have. You can't lose yourself in the moment, but you can take ownership of it and give it everything you have.
Anyways, I hope you enjoy these pieces and will come see them unveiled at Conooga next weekend in Chattanooga. See you soon!
ps: head over to grantcooley.com if you haven't already. It's starting to take real shape!
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Well maybe not almost, but we take our baby steps every day.
So I just finished watching the film Almost Famous for the first time. My damn fine friend Michael Bielaczyc has been taking me on a visual exposition of his muses, motivations and artistic rations. I loved the film. I am sure there are any manner of ways to pick it apart, but watching it I found myself in so many of the characters at so many points. I am left feeling some profound feelings and thinking some profound thoughts; much like a ponderous Wild Thing but I'll leave the teeth gnashing and eye rolling to you.
Since I have a mic and you don't, I am going to talk about me and what I do.
I am a monument to folly. I am a storm-blasted limestone pinnacle that is shaved into the most peculiar fashion. I am a sum of my faults and a testament to weakness. I am a terrestrial furnace housing a blazing inferno. The artwork I create now will be the crayon cast-offs I abandon for the historians. Not because I want to be famous or I crave the affirmation. I will make brilliant and beautiful things because I dream them and they demand to be made. Do any of you know what I am saying? Honk your horn if you do. Do you ever burn with an unrequited passion for nothing more noble than to capture a ray of light in blues and reds? As a newborn painter I look around me with untrained hands and newly unshuttered eyes.
With all of the pitfalls that have accompanied my existence lately I have dimmed the lantern of my soul and plodded along a shrouded path. I feel like I have lost myself on a rocky beach and it is all I can do to hold onto my girls and my footing; like hiking in the woods and never looking up for fear of stumbling on the exposed roots. I have justified my melancholic flare-ups with morose acceptance and mutually assured promises with myself for the future. It is my need to protect and provide happiness for my children that has lent my tired body purpose and vigor.
Perhaps I will settle back down with the weight of the humdrum. But for this moment, I feel alive and tinged with electricity. I want to reach out that spark and power one of you devices out there; to awaken your Quantum Inertia engines and get you spinning.
Life is an absolutely unmerciful and pitiless bitch if you let her be. So don't. Let that hate and bitterness go and embrace the life you have ahead of you. Forget Valentine's Day; embrace the ones you love today! Take hold of the people and things dear to you and own that moment NOW. Listen to an amazing album and remember the first time you experienced it; the wonder that each note or lyric held. Reread a passage that made you cry or memorize each stroke in your favorite painting.
I recently realized how much I still carry everyone I have ever loved with me. The betrayals and disappointments all fade with time, but I still carry the promises I've made, verbal and emotional, with me to this day. It is these delicately corded knots in my weave that lend my spirit depth and breadth.
Find YOUR entrance to the sublime and draw on it like a kerosene lamp. Burn yourself up late into the night with your Muse and refill at the well often. Don't be a slave to yourself or to others.
You cannot be anything more than you are at this very moment. If you can't find resolution with this fact, then MAKE THE NEXT MOMENT BETTER.
We are all beautiful and wondrous little shits that can be more than we are today; and that is the joy of living.