Thursday, June 7, 2012

I think I was swallowed by a whale but now have passed all mixed up with a hockey metaphor

Hello to the 8 people that actually read this! I have missed you!
Ok, that's a bit of a lie. I have just felt incredibly guilty about not having checked in here in a while and I wanted to make you feel better.
So, in my last real post I mentioned that I was trying to furiously paint for a show and we were remodeling quite a bit of the house. The show went well. All of the pieces came together better than I expected and they looked great in the window. Big thanks to the folks at University Art for their love and support.
As for the remodel, it's still kind of plugging along. We have a few odds and ends to wrap up. Window sills to paint, a couple pieces of tile to lay and a bit of faux finishing to tidy up then it's on to yard work and some major curb appeal improvements!
There were a handful of conventions thrown in the first part of the year as well. Miami, Minnesota, Virginia then down to L.A. for Wondercon then back up the opposite direction to Eugene. The conventions were great. Here is a brief run down on some cool things that happened.
Miami, met some cool new folks, tattooed late almost every night, drove all of alligator alley, got coffee and wet toes at the gulf coast, did a guest spot at Eternal Ink....then....
Minnesota, met more cool people and tattooed most of them, ate great food (panakuken), walked on water.
Virginia, stayed at a haunted hotel, went to the Great Dismal Swamp (which was great but not so dismal) met cool people and got to see old friends, had a birthday, bought ham and other pork related products.
L.A. saw a lot of weird people in costumes, met some cool people, met William Stout who was an inspiration growing up, had dinner with Bill from Hyaena and got to spend the weekend with Nic.
Eugene, Oregon, Tattooed Jocelyn's hand for 4.5 hours, won best of day on Friday, got locked out of the hotel Saturday and had to stay at a creepy place for the night, met cool people, got asked to maybe do an award for Eugene next year.
It's nice how compact I can make the craziness of those several months seem. Now for some current stuff.
It's like the second period of a hockey game. You come out strong and try to set the tone of the game in the first period. You score a goal or two then go back to the locker room to rally and celebrate. You get on the ice for the second period and something happens...maybe the other team scores, a fight breaks out, the ref makes a bad call who knows. All you know is the momentum of the game has changed and you just aren't sure how or where it's going to lead you...
As some of you know I was and had been planning on closing down Side Show and going to work for a friend who was trying to open a shop. I wanted the freedom of just being an artist, to travel, to take days off, to have my life back. So, I started dreaming of setting up an art space. Renting a warehouse to paint in and build some frames. Somewhere I could go and make a good old fashioned mess! And you know, store all of the leftover furniture bits from the shop and such.
Then it changed...friend started having some trouble finding a location for the new shop, our families started to get involved...
The next thing I knew, we were buying a building to move the shop to. I found myself in meetings with the Small Business association, loan officers and banks. Driving every square inch of Sacramento and calling people trying to get viewings of properties. Life went on hold. Work went on hold. Painting went on hold.
Then we found it. A great spot...and we made it happen. We got keys last Friday.
It's almost time to head back into the locker room and get ready for the 3rd period. Just a little longer to push though the second and end it with the momentum on our side. But honestly folks, I think we are going to win this one.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

This years convention and travel schedule.

I have had quite a few people ask if I am going to be in this city or that. As much as I would love to go everywhere and tattoo everyone I can not. So after much careful consideration here is the slim downed list of shows that I will be doing in 2012.

Miami TattooLaPalooza, January 6th-8th
Guest spot at Eternal Ink in Davie FL right after. January 11th and 12th
Minneapolis, January 13th-15th
Hampton Roads/Norfolk Virginia, March 2nd-4th
Eugene Oregon Ink, April 27th-29th
Seattle this show usually happens the 2nd weekend of August

Shows that I am inquiring about attending
Park City/Layton Utah, August 3rd-5th
London England Tattoo Jam, October
Guest spot at Loose Screw Tattoo in Richmond VA dates pending

Most of you will notice that this is dramatically less than I did last year and far more West Coast oriented. Due to my moms health issues and some major changes in my life this up coming summer I have made the hard but wise decision to stay a bit closer to home.
If you are interested in getting work done at any of these conventions just hop over to the submissions page on the website and send me a message. Please understand it takes me a while to respond to these emails. In most cases I don't even begin to book a convention until about a month out. It's just far easier for me to keep track of everyone that way.
Hope to see some of you on my adventures!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

To Burbank and Back (a 36 hour tour)

Here's a quick selection of pictures from the Hyaena Gallery's opening this weekend.  Cy, Jocelyn and I hopped in the car for a quick Cannonball run to Burbank, picked up Nic Caesar on the way and had a blast in the process.
The much coveted "bulldog skull" sketch from the vending machine
Clint Carney in his pursuit for the "bulldog skull" in the Hyaena Vending Machine

My piece, "The Dreaming Jars"

Inside Hyaena

That just about sums it up!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Putting my art together while simultaneously tearing my house apart.

Yes, I did have to start out my blog by having to google the spelling of a word in the title but come on, how many of you can spell simultaneously on half a cup of coffee? Instant coffee even.
To start with my mom is finally out of the hospital. She was released last Friday. A week before they expected. She hates hospitals so she was very motivated to be out of there. She is at home and doing well.
The only rough bit we had to contend with was a death in the family and the funeral. The services were nice (as nice as a funeral can be) It was good to see family members that I haven't seen in forever. There was a lot of "Remember me? I knew you when you were 2?" ummm no frankly I don't remember where I put my work keys yesterday so what makes you think I remember who the heck you are? That of course came out sounding more like "No, I am sorry" It was kind of like in badly dubbed foreign films where the actors move their lips for 5 minutes and the only word that pops up in the translation is "Hi"
Some cool stuff (slightly stressful) has been going on with art and art related things. I have several projects in the works and some exciting stuff that might happen waiting in the wings.
Right now the big looming project is trying to get the paintings done for the windows of University Art in January. Dave and I have been trying to coordinate this for a few years and I finally committed to a specific date. So now instead of having to do paintings that are 18x24 or smaller I am doing 24x36 and bigger. I was a bit freaked out about where I was going to store these guys and just how I was going to get them sold until I talked with the awesome Bill Shafer at Hyaena Gallery in Burbank. He has agreed to represent my art work and keep a catalog of what I have available on hand for anyone who is looking for something larger that he usually deals with.
I addition to all of the big guys that I am in the middle of I will be participating in a group show down at Hyaena. The show is titled "Noir" and will be a gran collection of some really dark art. Bill challenged us to dig deep into the depths of our psyche and pull out some crazy stuff. I know I did so I am eager to see what everyone else has done.
Now, those things that I mentioned were in the of them is definitely a go. I just have to get my drawings together and wait for it to be officially launched. The second (super,really rads so awesome that I don't want to make eye contact with it lest it vanish) item is still in the planning stages. And as soon as that gets a little more real/confirmed I will let you all know about it.
Now on to my house....ugh.
The remodel is just now beginning and none to soon. The washer has been limping along and the dryer finally refused to go any further. The oven that heats to what ever temperature it feels like and the dishwasher  doesn't fit in the counters because some owner somewhere down the line didn't set the kitchen cabinets to the right depth, Well, all of that will be a thing of the past by Christmas with any luck. Oh, and that pink bathtub that someone thought was a great idea, that's going too.
So if you don't see me out and about in the next couple of months remember, it's not that I don't love you. It's just that I am buried under a stack of paintings or I have been crushed to death by an avalanche of kitchen cabinets. It could go either way.

For those that may be interested in checking out some great dark art that will challenge you in many ways or if you are interested in getting you hands on one of my originals, here is the link to Hyaena.

If you are interested in a dusty pink bathtub from the 1950's (a great collectors item I am sure) just hit me up!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The pictures I promised from the Portland convention that I forgot to attach to the original post.

 The booth at the convention and me tattooing... (this is my tattoo face)

 Some cool street art out in front of Voodoo Doughnuts. Home of the original bacon maple bar.

 Cy and Jocelyn's first serious convention training session. Notice the serious look on Jocelyn's face as she considers just how hard it is that she gets paid to travel, eat, drink and talk art all day.

 I went to Portland and all I did was put a bird on it.

The front and back section of the bat tatttoo.

A cool beetle both in progress and finished

Places of note in Portland:
Hubers Cafe
Powell's Books
Voodoo Doughnut
The Farm Cafe (get the cheese ball)
For good hipster watching    and the attached

I posted before Jocelyn, Fuck hospitals, tattoo artists are people too and a quick recap of the Portland Expo. Not necessarily in that order.

First of all I would like to welcome and introduce the newest member of the Vermin family Jocelyn McGregor. We brought Jocelyn aboard to give me a hand with a bunch of the little things that I seem to let slip through the cracks (then bitch about later when they are not done) Things like calling with appointment reminders, schedule juggling, making/framing/shipping prints and carting my stuff in and out of conventions and photographing stuff.
Also one thing that I have asked Jocelyn to do is give me a bit of a hand with this blogging thing. As my official photographer Jocelyn will be documenting my many adventures across country tattooing and painting. So I asked her to join in every now and then to share some of the pics (only the ones that make me look good) and give her side of the story. Just in case I need a witness or alibi. You know how it is :)
Her first trip with us was to the Portland tattoo expo. It's by far one of the slowest conventions that we do but, it is a great place to work on people that I have met in Seattle but do not have the time to tattoo. So, it definitely worked as a good convention to train her at and kind of show her the ropes. I will be sure to post a picture or 2 of Cy training her on how we roll.
I did some super fun pieces at the convention. For the most part it was all photo realistic animals. Three types of bats, a Beetle and an Otter. I managed to keep busy the entire show. Which is a good thing for the girls since I tend to get crabby when I just sit around at these things. That and I was directly across the aisle from one of the few people I absolutely hate in this industry. It made me feel better to be busy when he wasn't. And it did push me to really bring my "A" game. I felt it was a better option than having his presence shake my confidence and have a negative impact on what I was doing.
We spent the day before the convention at Powell's Books and at a variety of food trucks. I would like to give a big thanks to the woman who made for me one of the best BBQ pulled pork sandwiches I have ever eaten. Also a big props to the bartenders at Hubers Cafe. The Spanish coffees were strong, hot and set on fire for our entertainment. And a warm wish to our cab driver (because after purchasing huge bags of books and drinking Spanish coffees we were in no shape/mood to walk back to the hotel) thanks for putting a bird on it for us.
And now finally for the "deep" part of the blog. You can stop reading here if you want. I won't hold it against you. That being said I do have some rather intense stuff to write about...
Some of you may know that my mother has been in and out of the hospital for the past 5 years. She has battled cancer twice and is currently undergoing intensive back surgery because an infection (carried in through one of the ports they put in for the chemo) lodged in her spine and ate away at the vertebrae basically destroying them. On Monday as we were driving like mad to get home she completed the first part of the process. They cut her open from the side, cracked/moved a rib out of there way, moved everything from the inside out and cleaned her spine and set a piece of bone to begin the grafting process. Our huge worry through out was that when the went in they would find cancer. Which would pretty much have been a death sentence. We were immensely relieved when the diagnosis came back all clear. So over the next few days she gets to hang out in the hospital and recover her strength so that they can proceed to part 2.
For part 2 they will go in through the back and fuse and place a rod in her spine. This should repair the damage and give her a better shot at being able to get on the road to recovery/a more pain free life. With any luck this operation will happen at the beginning of next week.
Things have been pretty stressful around here lately. As you can imagine. I have been doing my best to keep my head in the game. This is one of the rare occasions that I enjoy working so much. It keeps me from having to think and focus on the worry. It's a good distraction.
This brings me to my final bit for this blog. Tattoo artists are people too.
As good as my life seems on the surface (traveling all over, eating a ton of yummy food and doing cool projects with friends) often times there is quite a bit of "real world" stuff going on that you just don't see. I get sick, my family gets sick, I have family drama, friends pass away, I work long hours, I own and run a business. Most of those cool projects I do I have to turn around in a weeks time. Not easy when I get called in to work to cover for people or have to go over to my mom's to help out.(Don't stop calling me for those by the way) All that travel, well for the two weeks prior every spare moment is spent in preparation for it and working longer hours at the shop so that I can afford to go out of town.
I do the best I can returning phone calls, showing up to work on time and mentally ready. But unfortunately I am only human. Sometimes I have to call in sick or not fill cancellations to take care of shop and family issues. Sometimes I an exhausted from staying up late to complete a project. Sometimes I am a bit crabby. I do my best.
Remember, everyone you encounter has a life outside of your interaction and you never know what's happening in it.