Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday Craftiness: Penelope Penguin

I made this little penguin stuffed animal for my niece Kayla for Christmas and I thought I would share it. The whole thing took about 6 hours from designing her, to making the pattern, to the finished penguin and was completely hand-sewn. As a side note, Kayla was very happy with her present.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hellboy 15th Anniversary Group Show

Last Friday, Dec. 4th, I had the pleasure of showing in the Autumn Society's Hellboy group show. It was a fun night and I would like to thank everyone for their hard work in organizing the show. I decided to make my own rendition of Hellboy's gilled side-kick Abe Sapian. The piece is titled "Two Lost Souls Swimming in a Fishbowl". I liked the basic design of the character and I enjoy his quirks, Abe's love of classical music for one. Along with the finished illustration, I've included some work in progress shots and detail shots.

-Poster by Peter Wonsowski & Justin Grey

-Basic sketch and color study. I couldn't find the right object to make the phonograph have that nice arcing fluted shape. This is the down-side to working with found object elements, you have to find the parts of things to use them. As I was working in time constraints, I had to settle for a smaller cone shape. The composition has also changed somewhat from the sketch to the finish.

-On the right of this photo is a kind of "visual shopping list" comprised of collected reference and I also attached a couple of swatches of fabric that I knew I was going to use to make the main figure, Abe Sapian.

-This is a detail of the phonograph in the shot. I wanted to include it because it is out of focus in the finished illustration and I like the way it turned-out. It's constructed from a ring box, armature wire, K&S aluminum pipe, the top of a cone incense burner, a washer and a couple of nails.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Internet Marketing, The Sh**head Edition

Why is it that companies/independent entrepreneurs can only muster forum posts and blog comments that if not blatantly spam, smell like and look like it?  Like when someone posts a reply to your blog, but it actually has absolutely nothing to do with the original post.  Here's a tip, a hint of sincerity goes a long way, and if you actually had anything truly insightful to say, people would back-track to your blog or business venture.
I love seeing the posts on Linked in and the like where the discussion topic is "Hire me....blah, blah".  Here is a two part question:  what part of that actually constitutes a discussion and second, why should they hire you?  Apparently you have nothing to contribute to the group you belong to, what does that say about your abilities to contribute to that prospective employer that your poorly marketing to/spamming?
There is no formula to making it in business and especially not in this creative field, but I can note one truism, the people who have made it worked hard and have done so sincerely.  Bobby Chiu of Imaginism Studios, pioneer of the global phenomenon of subway sketching, has said, "...the best things have come from the things that I wanted to do, not for the money, but just because I wanted to do them."  For my own piece, I'd say that just doing quality work and getting it out to your market are the key ingredients to success.  A little networking never hurt, but all the same, if you cannot generate any interest in your work after taking care of the producing and marketing aspect, you may have to answer some hard, honest questions to yourself.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Stonehenge Was Nearly Trampled by a Dwarf!!

  I'm currently in an online group show dedicated to Spinal Tap, entitled "Smell the Glove", hosted by Phone Booth Gallery.  I love the "Stonehenge was nearly trampled by a dwarf!" line, it never fails to make me laugh, and did a piece inspired by it.  I decided to make the dwarf's costume a hybrid of a druid and jestor's clothing. 

Monday, July 6, 2009

Art Might Just Be in the Blood

A friend recently gave me a trove of digital reference materials, among them were a bunch of painters that I've never heard of. One folder was entitled "Emile Friant", that's funny because my last name is "Friant". So, I open a self-portrait image by this artist, and what do you know, he looks a lot like my family! Wow, I didn't think anyone did anything particularly note-worthy, with the exception of my WWII veteran grandfather, Leon and my biochemist uncle Steve. Below, is Emile, under Emile are my eldest brother and middle brother, Dave and Jeremy and on the left is myself, Ryan Friant...as of yet, I don't have the completely awful hair-line, but some things are inevitable.
Above are a few of Emile's paintings, he was a strong realist painter, though I may be somewhat partial on the matter! His images show a great use of color, composition and drama.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Artists BEWARE of The Orphan Works bill!!!

     I've been clogging-up the discussions boards of various LinkedIn groups with talk of the Orphan Works bill or more affectionatelyHR 5889, the 2008 remix.  What is the Orphan Works bill you ask?  The Orphan Works bill is without question the single most detrimental piece of legislation to independent artists the world has EVER seen and this isn't even a thorough list of the reasons why it is so dangerous.  If you would like to follow this bill more closely, please visit ipaorphanworks.blogspot.com, there's a convenient form letter to your district representative opposing this bill.
     I was first made aware of this bill my junior year of college when 30+ year veteran of the illustration field, Brad Holland came to speak at the University of Arts back in 2005.  The Orphan Works bill purposes that to have full protection/ownership of a work under the guidelines of this bill, it will be mandatory for artists to have all works copyrighted or they could be deemed "orphaned".  After the prospective client performs a "diligent search" and cannot find the copyright holder of the image (it's pretty easy to separate image and source code, huh?), the distraught client can then use the image however they intend, but if the copyright holder is found, restitution must be made to the author of the work/copyright holder and litigation ensues.  Hold on, how many times have you gone into a shoe store, put on the shoes, left the store wearing the shoes and if the shoe store happens to notice that you left without paying for the shoes, you'll just settle-up later?  Yeah, reverse engineering commerce doesn't make much sense to me either.  And for lack of any negotiation or contract, who sets the amount of restitution?  Is it at fair market value?  What if the usage has already broken your code of ethics?  Let's say your image is used in a cigarette ad and you oppose the idea of promoting smoking; no amount of restitution would soothe the damage done to your morals. Orphaned works may then be copyrighted by a third party (oh, say, like a Getty Images) and they would own the rights to distribute the images.  The bill goes on to say that it's hard for prospective clients to acquire the services of artists since not all artists works are signed... since we artists are oh so elusive.  I should point-out that there's an entire industry of professionals whose livelihood is based on connecting creative professions and those that want to retain their services, so this argument is in fact bullshit.
    The bill had it's infancy around 2002 and is still presently up for discussion.  Huh, that's seven years a bill has been up for consideration... if entire industries have been opposed to it, why is it even still up for discussion?  Enter the lobbyists:  what do Getty Images, Corbis and Google all have in common?  They would all really benefit from the loopholes that you could fly a jumbo jet through that this legislation creates.  As an interesting side note, if you Google "orphan works", after all the anti- pages, you'll notice that a lot of domain names have already been purchased with the intention to distribute, for a fee, our poor orphaned works.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Secret Modeling Career

So I guess it was last summer that I modeled for friend and tremendously talented illustrator Jonathan Barkat.  Our friend Kevon, who is also an illustrator,  came to man the lighting while Jon shot and helped lug the metric ton of gear, most of which was there "just in case".  We drove down to Cape May, NJ at 4am and it was a beautiful drive, we reminisced as we took in the solitude that only that hour of the morning could give.  We arrived a little too early, the sky was too dark, Jon wanted the sky to function like a giant softbox while being able to control the direction of the light with his studio lights.  Before too long I changed in to a wet suit and put on regular clothes over the wet suit; man, I'll tell you, wearing that thing was a work-out!  It gets water-logged and you get sand in places sand isn't meant to go.  To get the right kind of shots, I had to walk into the waves (should I mention I'm not the strongest swimmer?) and at one point Jon puts on wading pants and comes out and shoots from in the water.  I think we were all holding our breath as the waves at various times, got pretty close to Jon's camera.  Here are the results of that day:  shot one, shot two, shot three *all images are copyright of Jonathan Barkat

Friday, April 24, 2009

The "Join the Revolution, Nuclear Disarmament Art Exhibit"

    I created this image for the BANG-USA [Ban All Nukes Generation, the youth outreach branch of the Project for Nuclear Awareness] disarmament show.  I was thinking along the lines of ticking time bomb and trying to capture this sudden realization as this guy is reading about nuclear weapons in the paper.  A great many honors came out of this exhibit:  I received an honorable mention from the jury, was chosen for the audience choice award and P.N.A. purchased my framed print to gift to Seymour Hersh!  In addition to that, I was invited to a dinner with P.N.A.'s trustees to hear Mr. Hersh speak very candidly about the situation in the Middle East.  It was very scary when you couple the instability of many middle and far east countries with the destructive force that a nuclear weapon could bring about.  No matter what political party you are or faith, nuclear weapons are a bad idea- they are the end of everything everywhere.  If you support a Pro Life point of view, a Green movement outlook, an animal lover, if you are a parent or grandparent, you are betraying your beliefs by doing nothing. 

I uploaded some of the other works in the show to my Flickr- I promise that artist credits and proper titles are coming soon!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Drowning in the Media Ocean

In the last few weeks I've been re-designing my website, working on the look of this blog that you're reading, creating an artist page for both facebook and myspace, a twitter account and thinking about doing a linked-in page!  You would be amazed at how much time passes while doing these things, it's like taking on a part-time job- especially since I'm not the most tech. savvy person.  I know it's all going to be worth it in the end though, just venting.  At least I'm going to have a night out, first to see Sita Sings the Blues and then on to Pedro's B-Day party, which I'm sure is going to get out of hand!