Sunday, July 17, 2011

New Print, "Crippling Faith #4" Palm Springs Pop-Up!!!

If you're in Palm Springs this weekend you may want to drop in on THIS party at Ace Hotel. Among a super-rad lineup of printmakers and artist I'll be opening a little pop-up shop on Saturday night (10pm). This new print will be available. You have to pay to get into the party, but I've discounted the price enough that the party is really free! See how that works? The party will be amazing, for sure. Paper Magazine called It's A School Night "America's Best Party". They know what's up.

“Crippling Faith #4”
3-Color Serigraph on Heavy Acid Free Paper
Paper Size: 18” x 16”
Signed & Numbered Edition of 55
Retail: $100 (Available online next week)
(Sat & Sun Only) Special Event Price: $80

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Vapor" Interview

I came across this interview I did with Jamie O'Shea back in 2006 for his SUPERTOUCH blog. Really brings me back. That was a dark time.


This new body of work is quite a stylistic departure for you both in terms of composition & palette. What's behind the shift? Is this a conscious & premeditated direction or a natural evolution? What motivated you to move away from the flatness & decorative elements of your previous work?

It’s a natural evolution, but there is also a lot of thought behind it. When I find myself getting used to a way of working or using images over & over out of habit I know that it’s time to change it up. I’ve done it quite a few times before, but it seems like this shift is quite a bit more dramatic.

How has working in this more loose & painterly style affected your approach to executing the work? Do you find that your working methods and thought process is different when working in this style?

Yeah, very different. The main issue is editing. I have always had a tendency to fill up every space. It’s like a mental block that I have. I know there’s a medical term for that. Not sure what it is... Something like OCD. Anyway, I had to keep looking at these paintings to figure out if I wanted to put more in because the painting needed it or if I was just habitually filling in empty space. There’s a piece in the show called “Code” that is about the way that I see things. I have a lot of trouble with reading & generally paying attention. I think that I fill spaces like that when I stop thinking about the painting & just let myself go.


The obvious theme in this body of work is the darkness of both the palette and the imagery. Is this series a personal statement of some inner darkness or does it address some greater concept outside your personal experience?

There’s obviously a lot of heavy emotion going on in this work. I’ve always had dark themes in my work, but I really wanted to explore that part of it. I was a little shocked, frankly, when I did the first few of these paintings. They just didn’t seem to fit with the rest of my work. The bottom line for me was that they felt like more accurate portrayals of those feelings so, ultimately I gave into it & just painted.

I’ve always found that if I put a lot of myself into my work it’s much more satisfying & it actually makes for better work in general. Part of the emotion in this show is about my personal life & part of it is about the state of things in the world today. The last show that I did, “American Cyclops” was about American history & how the original intent behind the formation of America was corrupted over time. I tried to look at that in a personal light & see how my own intentions get corrupted. There’s a quote in one of the paintings, “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”. That is from a proposed version of the great seal that was put forward by Benjamin Franklin & John Adams. It seemed extremely relevant, given the state of America, today. It also made sense on a personal level. For me it is about re-thinking your beliefs & killing off the bullshit. This new show is all about that bullshit that invades your mind & makes you crazy.


This series is very cohesive in its imagery. Is there any particular narrative flow through the show? Communication seems to be a central theme with the "ticker tape" elements seemingly representing dialogue of some sort. What does the series title "Vapor" signify?

I don’t know if there is a narrative, necessarily. The ideas are very abstract. When I first started sketching out ideas for this show there was an obvious narrative. It felt like it was too limiting, though. I didn’t want to end up illustrating my feelings too clearly. I think that would have distracted me from the more complex aspects of those feelings.

Yeah, the ticker-tape is all about communication. It’s about how impossible it is to really express yourself completely. You either find yourself spewing ideas in an attempt to explain things (“Liar”) or you hold back some element of the story because you don’t know how to say it or maybe you don’t even know it’s there (“Cut”). In “Wrong”, it is more about unspoken persistent thoughts. The feeling that something is wrong is one that I’ve carried with me my whole life. I’ve always felt like there was something wrong with me, but also that there is something wrong with the world & everyone in it. I think that feeling is pretty universal.


The title is purposefully vague. I wanted to give myself a lot of room to interpret the ideas that I was having. Vapor is abstract & volatile, like relationships, feelings... Life itself. I thought a lot about death & loss & how impossibly difficult it is to get a grasp on my own thoughts. “Scatterbrain” is all about that. I also made a point of keeping the titles to a single word. That’s part of the editing that I tried to do in every part of the show.

Some new "characters" seem to have emerged in these paintings. Can you elaborate on the imagery in the paintings "Liar", "Passing", & "Tyrant"?

“Liar” has a character called “Relphe” in it that I have used before. He’s a darker, more sinister version of the “Helper” character.


The big dragon in “Passing” is just a reworking of the “Dragamel” character that has been popping up in my work for that last few years. I like to keep the characters that I use flexible & ambiguous. That way I can just paint & not try to remember how many horns he has or where his teeth go. He’s like a wart-hog sometimes & more like a traditional Chinese dragon at other times.


“Tyrant” is totally new to me. I see him as totally pure evil. There’s really no personality there at all. There’s usually some sort of balance in my characters, but not here. The quote behind him is the same one that I used in “American Cyclops”.


This new show debuts in Berlin at the Pictoplasma conference. Is this work indicative of what's to come in your future solo shows, particularly the upcoming solo show at Billy Shire Fine Arts?

I feel like there is a lot to explore in this new direction, so I think I’ll keep pushing it forward. I am really interested in pushing the intensity further, so I’d say look for even more drama in the next show. The main goal for that show will be to explore my own fear of these feelings really taking over & controlling me. I want to make the audience understand that fear as much as possible. There’s only so much of that that I can do with paintings hanging on a wall, so I’m going to have to take it quite a bit further. You should probably bring earplugs.

The LA art scene seems to be digging itself deeper into a hole of repetitive, derivative cartoon imagery, feeding off toy culture and art school illustration styles in particular. What's your opinion of the West Coast pop art scene and where would you like to see happen to it?

I think there are a lot of amazing artists out here that come from a production background. I came from animation & my work looked like it & still does to some extent. My goal is to break away from the mental state that I learned to be in when I was in that industry. There was so much concentration on illustrating a point & then there was the need to adhere to technical specifications, plus I had to listen to other people’s opinions. It’s tough to make work that is truly innovative when you are thinking about all of that stuff. I think the best fine artists are the ones that don’t think about any of it & just do what they want to do.

I’d love to see artists break out of their own limitations & do things that don’t make sense. I see a lot of work that looks like a pitch to a toy company or a character model for a cartoon. I can relate to thinking like that. I do it all the time. It’s fun, but I think it’s ultimately limiting.

The real breakthrough, for me, is for media to adjust in order to accommodate the requirements of the artist, rather than the artist adjusting their work so it can be used in the current formats that are available. That’s when truly original ideas happen.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mr Porter

The kind folks at Mr Porter did a little interview and took some pics for their "I ART LA" portfolio.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sharing Needles

I'm digging through my vinyl and picking some gems for this gig on Monday. Good Times!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nice Review of my Standard Vitrine Installation

Virtual Visual Museum astutely commented on my installation in the "box" at the Standard Hotel in Hollywood. Nice pictures, too!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Super-Giant "Helper" on American Idol.

My old pal JJ Abrams was on American Idol the other night and look what's in the background! A big red Cyclops and a few other odds and ends. Nice!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tiger Painting

I tweeted a snapshot of this a few weeks ago. Here's the finished painting. 4' x 4', Cel-Vinyl on Wooden Panel. Title is "Gomorrah".

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Canvas Magazine Article

The new Canvas Mag from Mexico has my mug on the cover and an interview inside. You can check it out HERE, but if you don't speak Spanish, here it is in English.

Before you focused your life in artwork and animation what was in your mind for living… What were you looking for and how imagine this future in that past…

I was in a lot of bands. I owned a record store. I took ski racing pretty seriously. I went to a private ski racing academy in Lake Tahoe for my last two years in high school. Art was always in the back of my mind, though. It’s what I really wanted to do.

Could you explain why you choose drawing in your life and not other activity?

Drawing is pure and direct. It’s where I can most freely express myself. I love being a fine artist because I get to make what I want to make. Very rarely does anyone give me any kind of direction. I’ll discuss things with galleries and I love their input, but they never try to tell me what to do.

How was your childhood?

It was pretty good. My parents loved camping and traveling, so I spent a lot of time in the woods with my two brothers. I was the middle child. I don’t know exactly how that effected me… I was the “emotional” one who got terrible grades and drew all the time.

Were you a skateboarder?

Yeah, my dad was an designer and made us a half-pipe. We were never very good, but we had a great time. I got back into skating in my mid-twenties when I was doing art for skateboard companies. I was way better then. I was always scared of getting hurt when I was a kid. I guess I grew out of that.

How did you start working in skateboarding industry and which companies did you work for?

I was friends with Tom Knox and he asked me to design a deck for him. That was for Santa Cruz. I met Richard Metiver and started doing freelance for People, Union, Earth… All of his lines. I did a bunch of stuff for Gonz’s 60/40 & Kools lines.

How you reached John Kricfalusi to work with him and how you began working on “Ren & Stimpy” cartoon?

I actually never worked on Ren & Stimpy. I met John when he was working on it and I tried out, but I was not good enough. He gave me some pointers and sent me away. I came back a few years later and he hired me to work on the Bjork video that he made. I worked on a few commercials and a tiny bit on the Yogi Bear cartoons.

Tell me what you learned there and why Kricfalusi was like a mentor for you…

He has a million theories about drawing and painting. He would throw them at you constantly. They were really helpful, but he was pretty brutal in the way he delivered them. He’d say “You can’t put texture on top of texture. It looks like crap! Look at that (pointing at my painting). It’s a mess!” I still think about those things when I paint. He’s in the back of my mind yelling at me. Then he would shower you with praise every once in a while. It was totally manic. He made everyone crazy. I love/hate that guy.

What is the difference between thinking in drawings and thinking in art pieces?

I try to ignore my thoughts when I’m drawing. I like conceptual work, but it’s hard to draw and conceptualize at the same time. Some of my work is pure picture making and some of it is very much about an idea or theory. It’s all in-between, actually. I like to switch things up a lot, working on high-concept pieces one day and pretty pictures the next. It keeps me balanced. It probably confuses people and alienates others, but I can’t help it.

You have some iconic characters like Helper, could you tell the story behind its creation and what represents in your life?

Helper started as a simple drawing. For years I didn’t really feel like he had any meaning. When I started to study American History I began to think of him as a symbol of corruption. He’s like the eye on top of the pyramid. I see that eye as a man-made god that some people use to justify horrible behavior. They idea that God approves of whatever America does is really sick and corrupt. I often include the words “Anniut Coeptis” with the image of Helper. It’s taken from the seal that is on the dollar bill. It basically translates to “God approves of our actions”. On a personal level, it makes me think about what I use to justify my actions. It makes me question my motivations. At my worst I am Helper. He’s what man becomes when he believes he knows the will of God.

And what about Alphabeasts toy?

I had an idea about the heirarchy of archetypal symbols. Meaning that there are certain images that we relate to more than others. The chalace, for example… It’s a cup, right? It’s repeated over and over in spiritual imagery to represent all kinds of things; femininity, wealth, faith, etc. I don’t know exactly what it means because it’s meaning is abstract. I created Calli and later realized that he is the chalace. Helper is clearly a phallus. Ghonner is a sort of keyhole shape. That symbol is often used to represent the afterlife or the transition to another world. I apply the name “Alphabeast” when I feel like there is something about the caracter that is partially symbolic. I picture them competing for their place in the heirarchy. Who is the true “Alpha-Beast”?

How began your fascination for vinyl toys and art toys?

I always loved toys when I was a kid. I played with Legos constantly. I loved games and puzzles. When I got older I used toys as visual inspiration. Mostly Japanese kaiju figures. I wanted to make toys because I was inspired by them. When I got the opportunity I jumped at it.

How many vinyl toys do you have in your collection?

I don’t even know, because lots of them are in boxes, these days. Maybe 800? Too many, for sure.

With the passage of time your work has changed, nowadays we can appreciate another kind of techniques of painting that belongs to the classic paintings or formal art paintings in your works…

I can’t help changing. Sometimes I think it would be better if I could stick to one way of working so that I could establish myself more as a brand. I see other people doing that and I’m a bit envious. I could never do it, though. My work is very personal to me. I use it to learn about myself and to grow and change who I am. It makes me a better, more well rounded person. It’s a path to happiness. That’s why it has to change. I change things about myself all the time. I learn things. I get rid of outmoded ways of thinking, etc.

In the same way your work is evolving with another kind of message, more serious maybe…

Yeah. It goes back and forth. It reflects what’s going on in my life. A few years ago I want through a bunch of huge changes in my life. It was heartbreaking and brutally sad. My art was dismally intense at that time, but it was appropriate. Recently, things are much brighter and happy. There’s still intensity and some darkness, but it feels balanced.

Then tell me, what about Operating System show in Paris, i imagine that event changed the way that you came doing expositions in the past.

That show was really the result of all the work I did for The Artist In You. All of the time that I spent trying to figure out what I want from my work and how to make it speak for me... I wanted to make a show that had a clear concept. That spoke the language of conceptual art, but that also spoke in the language of decorative art. I called the sculptures "systems" because they represent the infrastructure of art... Everything but the art itself; galleries, critics, collectors, shipping companies, etc. I wade them out of materials that galleries are made of; Plywood, MDF, screws, nails, white paint. I also used dark grey felt as part of the packaging. That was meant to remind people of Beuys' felt sculptures. I wanted to make sure that people understood that they were looking at intellectual content. The paintings were perched on top of the sculptures, so they were a system for displaying the art, but they were also shipping containers. Each of the systems breaks down into the shipping crate at the bottom with the painting inside. It's really a simple metaphor. The question that I wanted people to ask is, "Does that sculpture need to be there?" or maybe "Does that sculpture make this piece better or is it just a distraction?". Most people asked me, "Aren't you worried that the sculptures will distract people from the paintings?". To me that was perfect. The show did exactly what I wanted it to do. In fact, it worked on lots of levels. The gallery had a hard time selling the show because people kept asking if they could have the paintings without the sculptures. The gallerist had to talk the buyers into seeing the validity of the sculptures. How ironic is that!? Ultimately, it was the worst selling show I've ever done. It opened the weekend after all those banks started failing, so that was bad. Then, to top it off, the gallery refused to ship the unsold pieces back to me. When they finally sent them, they got held up by the Icelandic Volcano. Now, I guess they are lost in some warehouse! I'm still waiting and It's been two years since the show opened! I could see this all as a huge disaster but, as a metaphor, it's a huge success.

Have you been in México before this show?

I went to Tijuana in my twenties, but I knew that was not really giving me a good taste of Mexico. Later on I went to Encanada with some friends. That was beautiful. I went diving in Cozumel a few years ago and loved it. This is my first time in Mexico City, though. I’m really excited!

What do you know about México, and what would you like to do…

I’ve been very inspired by Mexican art for years. I love the modernists and abstract expressionists, but I also love the Mayans. Their dragons and demons are spectacular.

I have some friends in LA that are from Mexico. They are always telling me about different places. So many things that I have to see!

How is a day in your life? Since you wake up and until sleep…

I wake up around 8 and get my daughter ready for school. After I drop her off I check emails, eat breakfast hang out with my girlfriend and run errands. In the afternoon I pick my kid up, take her to tae kwon do or ballet. We go home and eat dinner, watch a little TV. When she goes to sleep I paint or draw or design stuff. I stay up until 2-3am, usually. When my daughter is at her mom’s house we get to be a little more adventurous. We go out with friends, smoke some weed, Drink really good beer, etc. I DJ at a few clubs in LA once in a while. Lots of traveling… that’s when we really let loose.

I imagine your daughter Tigerlily is 8 years old. Does she still draw as her father does?

Even more! She draws all the time. I can’t believe how good she is. It’s shocking.

You have worked on friendly creatures or little monsters most of the time. But tell me what is your biggest fear in real life?

I’m afraid of mental illness. I think everyone is at least a little crazy. I think one of the main goals of my life is to make myself more sane all the time. The problem is that sometimes what appears to be crazy is the most sane and vice-versa.

After the show in México, what will you plan to work on?

I want to finish my Jackson 500 project. I’ve been working on 500 paintings that are the size of a business card. I’ve got less than 100 to go! It’s been almost 7 years since I started.

Next projects?

I’m looking for some really fun design projects. I did a website for an agency in Norway recently. Just the visual part, but it was fun. They let me run wild with it. I’d love to get some opportunities to design public art. Big sculptures, etc. There are lots of possible projects in the works but nothing I can talk about. Sorry!

- - - - Additional, post-trip questions - - - -

And after your trip for Mexico city, what could you express about mexican aesthetic, I mean, in your perception how could you describe the city in that way.

I've got lots of images in my head from the trip. The Anthropology Museum was just a flood of inspiration. The pyramids, the crafts, the public sculpture... More than anything I see an unstoppable desire to create art that has gone on for centuries. I've never been in a place where there was so much art being made on so many levels and with every imaginable material!

Were you find something that inspired you to create/integrate/improve something in your work?

I really connected with the masks that I saw everywhere. The faces and creatures on everything. The insane colors... I'll be back.

Best mexican dish?

Flautas con pastor at El Rey. My mouth waters when I think about it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Made In Japan (Benefit Concert) Poster

Here's a poster I did for ATP's upcoming Japan benefit show. Go if you can. Get the poster. Donate, whatever. I wish I could be there. I flew out of Tokyo about 20 hours before the quake hit. I feel so lucky to have missed it. It's just so overwhelming to see those images. I still can't wait to go back.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

ICON Print

Here's a super limited print (ed of 20) that I did for the ICON Conference a few months ago. There were a few left and they just went up for sale HERE. The original painting is at Grass Hut Gallery in Portland if you want to get all fancy.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mastodon Hoodie

Here's a design I did for my old pals, Mastodon. It's available now at their shows and through their online shop HERE. If you haven't seen them live, GO!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Custom Bike for charity auction

I was asked by Martha Otero to customize a bicycle for Art Of Elysium's "Pieces Of Heaven" auction. The event is Wed, Feb 23rd, but it sounds pretty ritzy and tough to get into (Scarlet Johansson is hosting), but you can see all the work and bid online HERE. There's some pretty nice work up there. Christie's is in charge of the auction, so you know it's going to be top-notch. Linus provided one of their awesome bikes for me to paint on. Wish I could keep it!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Studio Sale

Every once in a while I make a few paintings available through I just got a few pieces back from a gallery in Paris that will be up for sale later this week. If you're interested, get on this mailing list. They'll send out a link in a few days. Enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Twin Peaks Show

I was honored to be invited to contribute a piece to this show. The fact that David Lynch himself is involved won me over. I can't wait to see his work. I've been a fan forever. The day that I saw the actor that played Bob looking at axes in a hardware store is one of my all-time favorite memories. When they chose my painting for the postcard I got goosebumps. The opening should be really fun and strange. I hope to see you all there!

In The Trees: TWIN PEAKS 20th Anniversary Art Exhibition

OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, February 12, 2011

TIME: 8:00PM to 11:00PM

ON VIEW: Sunday, February 13, 2011

Exhibition is open to the public

PLACE: Clifton’s Brookdale
648 South Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90014

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Article in Hi Fructose

Thanks to the nice people at Hi Fructose for the 12-page article in their latest issue. Mat Gleason of Coagula Journal wrote a really great piece. Thanks to him as well. Plus, it's got AJ Fosik on the cover. Go get it.

Tim Biskup Loves DJing |

Tim Biskup Loves DJing |

Here's an interview about deejaying. Good times.