06 October 2011

I've made great progress in the vegetable realm. I have 4 out of the 6 vegetables fully painted at the Lodge. Oh, hey! Did you want to see some photos of them?! Rad. Here they are. 

The plan is to create a key, once all the veggies have been painted, listing which type each vegetable is. Normally, I wouldn't have thought to do this, but the specific name of each one is pretty awesome.

a. sugar beet
b. savory cabbage
c. half dwarf celery
d. trebons onions

I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out. This style of painting is really testing my patience, a test that is long past due. I'm always really excited to start a new one, but the repetition becomes incredibly tedious and daunting on such a large scale. BUT I finished each one before I started a new one (with the exception of the sugar beet, which was started by my friend, Jon, while I finished the cabbage). This is a large feat for me, so I consider it a grand victory.

Another thing I've been working on, about which I also previously posted, is the album cover for my friend Scot's band, State Song. We had a slightly drunken conversation at a bar once about using unusual textures and mediums and then photographing them at a high resolution. When he asked me to do the cover, I immediately knew I wanted to utilize this concept. So here it is. Mind you, this is an iPhone photo and is nowhere near the quality of the final version.

My now documented challenge: Do not use cerulean blue in the next 5 new projects I start. (Disclaimer; I already have things in the works that I can't change.)
Ok, last photo! My previously mentioned friend, Jon, and I have been talking about non-objective abstract art. I realized I've never ever created (outside of finger painting as a small child) a piece in that style. Again, an iPhone photo. But here it is.

I know it would make more sense to post one thing at a time more often, but that's not really how I roll. Hope you are enjoying your fall!

20 September 2011

'tis the season.

I've been extremely busy lately. Mostly making as many things as possible and enjoying this beautiful season with good friends. A slightly overcast fall tends to jumpstart my brain and spirit. There are also a lot of fantastic opportunities coming at me from all directions. It's pretty wonderful. One thing I've been working on is a mural for my friends' catering company, Please. Their kitchen is in an old Free Mason lodge owned by my friend, Scott Beseler (who just so happens to be a fabulous photographer), so we conspired to adorn its walls with vegetables. I got a few books of botanical drawings and used some incredibly detailed drawings as my guide. This is the result!

I get to start actually drawing on the walls today! There is something so cathartic and rebellious about drawing and painting on walls. I wouldn't mind being a full-time professional muralist. I should probably get over my ladder anxiety then, huh?

30 August 2011

so so long.

I do apologize to my 3 readers. I've been out of my routine lately. Not for any particular reason, just feeling out of whack. But I'm getting acupuncture today! I'm hoping it will balance everything out. Fingers crossed.

Don't worry, my dears! I haven't been unproductive! At the beginning of the month, I drove up to Chicago for a couple days to hang my stuff in Atomix Cafe, a bustling coffee shop in Wicker Park. My friend, Melissa Fisher, was kind enough to take some photos for me.

30 June 2011

infuze yourself...

A few small updates:

First, I'll be putting some of my work (including Earth Paisleys) up in a coffee shop in Chicago for the month of August. The wall is pretty giant, so I've got some work to produce in the mean time. I'll just be happy to get my stuff out there and off my walls.

Another is that I've been working on an album cover for my friend Scot's band, State Song. Here is a little preview of the drawing.

Lastly, I've been working on a (previously mentioned) cocktail for work called The Impressionist. Now, before you get all, "Wow, that sounds super pretentious", I want you to just take a look at it.

If that doesn't look like a damn Monet painting, I don't know what does. Also, a little pretension never killed anyone.

22 June 2011

Quick update...

So just a quick update from my ever-waxing-and-waning creative mind. I've started my day (night?) job, which is why I haven't been around much. After being unemployed for FIVE MONTHS it was a very welcome change. I've never (since high school) been out of work for that long. Of course, I won't pretend it wasn't a choice. I left Chicago and I decided not to work at that other restaurant here in Cincinnati, so I brought it upon myself. But manalive was I bored after awhile. Once I finished the paisleys, I was itching for another project. I managed to do a few things here and there, but it just wasn't the same.

Anyway, I'm tending bar at a fantastic restaurant in Cincinnati's historical Over-The-Rhine neighborhood. I've worked in this 'hood several times before, but it has gone through such a beautiful transformation over the last 4 or 5 years. I'm in awe. We make craft cocktails from homemade ingredients, so I'm getting to flex my creative muscles with a little mixology. Tonight, I'm adding a plum, hibiscus, and chamomile infused gin cocktail, garnished with borage flowers, to the menu.

Before I leave you to print out the cocktail menus, I'll leave you with a drawing I did about a month ago.  Done on 18" x 24" paper. Pencil, then Microns.

14 May 2011

completion is a double-edged sword.

Well, it's done! I finished outlining the branches in 1 hour, as opposed to the near 12 hours it took to do the feathers. Oy! I've worn all my pens down to the nubs, even smashing one down completely in a fit of rage. Surprisingly, though, that was one of the only frustrations I faced with this piece. I must say, I'm still on the lookout for the perfect ultra fine point pigment ink pen to use for outlining on paint. Any suggestions are welcome. Well, without further ado, here it is.

Earth Paisleys; birch, latex interior flat paint, acrylic paint, and pigment ink; 2011.

4'3" x 4'3"

11 May 2011


I'm having a hard time finishing this piece. This should come as no surprise to me, as I rarely finish anything, hence my delay in making a real career out of all this.

This time, though, it's an emotional attachment. I've never made a project this involved before. I'm having a hard time preparing myself for the detachment that's to come. I've invested countless hours and painstaking detail into this painting. And now, when it's done, I've got to invest my time and focus into getting rid of it. Doesn't that seem counter-intuitive? I've got to convince people, in an objective way, to spend their hard earned money on this magnanimous effort. I have to put a price to this priceless thing. How do I do that? How the fuck am I supposed to do this for a living? Crap.

09 May 2011

musical footpaths...

At the beginning of each summer, I'm subconsciously urged to limit the music I listen to two decades. I'll give you a hint: I wasn't alive during either of them. I think this stems from my youth. When school was out, I would have as much time as I wanted to tear through my dad's CD collection (which, much to my dismay, replaced his vast vinyl collection as soon as CD's were reported to be a lasting format). Before my discovery of new pop music (Janet, Paula, Mariah and the like), all I knew about were these albums of yesteryear. I listened to the White Album and Sgt. Peppers over and over again. I really had a thing for Genesis. My friends and I made up dances to Beach Boys classics, like Barbara Ann and Help Me Rhonda. On my own, I listened to songs like Sloop John B, which made me feel uneasy, but in a really great way. Like I didn't like the way the grandson felt, but on some level I understood it and it spoke to me. This is how my musical self-discovery went. I'd skip over songs that weren't obvious to listen to the ones that were. Eventually, I stopped skipping. I confronted the songs inspired by heartbreak, ennui, and evil. While my babysitters were supervising my little sister's coloring outside the lines, I was learning to listen outside the lines. I'd listen to a random song from a random album and never be able to find it again. My dad had hundreds of CD's. This was my first understanding of "needle in a haystack". Years later, I'd recognize melodies and harmonies that resided deep in my memory, associating itself with another song with which I was familiar. This is how I rediscovered bands in my late teens and early twenties. Groups like The Sonics, The Move, The Zombies, and T Rex.  My musical education has been very organic. I don't try too hard to discover new music. I feel like my life will lead me to artists I'm supposed to discover (and re-discover) when I'm ready to really love and get them.

So now it's May. Windows and doors are being left open for longer periods of time. I'm back at home, where nostalgia completely overwhelms me on a daily basis, with loads of time to explore my musical past. I feel myself gravitating towards the sounds and voices that have nestled themselves deep within my psyche's soil. Like fossils waiting to be discovered and connect the dots. Due to the fact that almost every single person I know is involved in some musical project or another, I tend to ease back into the present as the summer wanes on. But for now, I will revel in my musical archaeological dig and let my psyche make the playlists.

01 May 2011

Blogging is not Facebooking.

I'm just now realizing I've been posting my progress photos to Facebook and not this here endeavor of creative expression.

leaves: check.

flowers: check.

space: check.

clouds: check.
Today, I'll be finishing waves, grass, and branches. Then comes the tricky one: Feathers. There is so much fine detail with that one. I'm a little nervous to screw it up. Which is why I've left it to last. I'm anticipating a bit of frustration. I also ordered new pens from Blick since I've used up most of the ink from my existing collection and I want the lines to be clean and fresh.

I'm a little conflicted on how to finish the piece. My original plan was to coat the entire thing in a polyurethane varnish. Perhaps a light mist. But part of me likes the unfinished quality the wood has, so I may just coat the painted portions. What do you think?

On top of almost finishing this exhausting project, I've started a raw food cleanse. It's gotten a little bit easier, but in order to avoid toxins, I haven't been taking allergy medicine, which is taking its toll. But I've rekindled my love for salads, so I think this quest is going to help me eat healthier in general, not relying so much on meats and dairy. I have to say though, I am craving a turkey club with french fries and a cup of coffee like nobody's business.

18 April 2011

the last 4 days have been spent cutting, gluing, staining, arranging, and painting the first step of my earth paisleys piece.

I ordered a few pens and markers based on some friends' recommendations. So I'm waiting on those to get started on the next step. I also have to head to Home Depot and get a few paint colors mixed. I decided to use interior house paint since wood tends to be so porous and I wanted a consistent opacity and saturation through the entire piece.

I also thought I'd give you guys a peak at why I'm so obsessed with murals AND Alice. Here is a mural my mom started on our kitchen wall at least ten years ago. She also drew the artwork for my Alice tattoo sleeve, which is in progress.

14 April 2011

i've been productive, despite the lack of blogging...

i finished another point-inspired painting. i'm pretty excited about it, though i'm not sure how many people will really be into it due to the obscurity of its origin. a friend pointed out that it reminds him of an anatomical heart a little bit. i love how a lack of context can completely change the meaning.

the next project i'm working on is called 'earth paisleys'. i have a couple executions planned for it. the first is to paint/draw the paisleys onto 16 square wooden panels, arranged like so:

with each paisley placed randomly, overlapping onto two or three (maybe even four) panels. the finished piece will be about 4'3" by 4'3". i think i'll also screen print some 2- or 3-layer prints of each paisley in its original size, 11"x14". without further ado, these are the paisleys:








today, i was able to get out of the house and get a real cup of coffee at the coffee emporium in over-the-rhine. my friend matt stopped by to hang out while he did his taxes and i worked on blackening 'space paisley'. my allergies are brutal this time of year, especially in the 'burbs with all the trees and grass and our pets running around. so being in the concrete jungle helped to subdue them just a bit. tomorrow, the restaurant where i have been inevitably employed is having a "family meal" for its staff to preview the menu. training is next week and the soft openings are the week after that. i'll be grateful to be on my feet, earning money again. not sure if i'll ever be able to be a full time artist, unless its in a shared studio. i like people way too much. my horoscope has been screaming for me to interact more. unfortunately, the lack of car means facebook has been my primary outlet lately.

ok, off to ink in the eternal nothingness of 'space'!

23 March 2011

new painting.

In the ten or so days since I last posted, I've painted two incredible paintings. I know it's bad form to compliment your own work like that, but it's just been so long since I painted that I can't believe how easy it was to pick back up.

One was a commission from my cousin's college roommate, June. Via Facebook, she found my website and saw the painting of the faucet from The Point I did for my parents. She wrote to me, asking if I'd do another, as she'd grown up watching the movie as well and recognized the illustration immediately. The colors matched her walls perfectly (buttercream and mint), so I didn't stray far from the original version. Though I did clean up the lines a bit, using a more rounded outline than the almost scratchy style I used before. I also decided to use a dark gray instead of black. I felt like it was a more subtle contrast against the pastel colors. Anyway, I won't post photos yet, as she hasn't seen it. I shipped it out yesterday and it is expected to arrive tomorrow. I can't wait for her to see it!

The idea for the second painting came to me in my dreary just-woke-up state of mind. I stumbled out of bed, walked down to the kitchen, and opened the cabinet to grab a coffee mug. I'm completely superficial in that I pick the mug that looks the best to me in that moment. Sometimes I want a tall tumbler, to keep my drink warm for awhile. And sometimes I want a big round mug that I have to hold with both hands. This painting is a representation of my coffee-related decision making process. This also signifies the end of cold days, since I will now be drinking my homemade iced coffee out of tall glasses instead of ceramic mugs. A little springtime iced coffee tip: I mostly use milk (soy or almond if I have it) in my coffee, but if you just add a TINY bit of creamer and some agave nectar to it (no ice!) and shake it up really well, you'll have a delicious frothy drink that tastes less healthy than it is.

Here are photos of the first 2 phases:

Oh, and I made an awesome linoleum stamp of my logo to sign the backs of my larger paintings:

Yesterday, I had my first day of training at a new job. It was also the last. I was apprehensive of working there to begin with, as it seemed a little...cold. After working at such an amazing restaurant with such creative people, I wanted an environment where my individuality would be celebrated, not controlled. I was told (in a very Office Space-esque manner) by 4 different managers that I was wearing black jeans instead of dark blue jeans and my shoes (my black Toms) had to be non-slip industry shoes with black socks. Okay, eff that. I've been able to wear basically whatever I want to every job I've had (sometimes adding a company t-shirt over top) in the past 7 years. I'm not about to start being a drone now. No way, jose. I wrote them a polite email (after trying to call the manager this morning) telling them it just wasn't going to work out. I came home and finished a painting.

What a happy ending, right?

11 March 2011

insomnia's a bitch...

Last night, my brain was totally wired. Unfortunately, it was wired in such a way that I couldn't bring myself to do anything productive, so I gave my lil' MacBook Pro a makeover. After scouring the depths of the internet for wooden icons, I finally took a Tylenol PM at 2:30 in the morning and conked out.

I read about the Stickies calendar on a blog somewhere (can't remember for the life of me) and it made so much sense. Just have your Stickies open at login and your to-do list will be staring you in the face. Also, it's way easier to change and add things this way. Love it.

09 March 2011

New print!

Just a quick update to post about a new print I designed. Sigh. Now all I need to do is actually commit them to fabric.

Click to view larger image.

08 March 2011

2 completed prints.

Well, I finished the raindrop pattern from Monday night. Making repeating patterns is kind of a mindfreak sometimes. It involves intense concentration. Luckily, I don't have to worry about constraining to a mill's measurements like I had to when designing during my internship at Brentano. Designing for printmaking (screen or otherwise) lets you be a lot more free-form in the way the repeats connect.

This morning, I woke up and almost immediately got to work on this one:

I'm torn on whether or not to really follow through with this one. And if I do, it might just be for personal use only. The drawings are taken (loosely traced with the size and proportions slightly distorted) from my favorite movie, The Point. After doing some research, I actually found the email address of the guy who directed, produced and animated the movie, Fred Wolf. So if I really wanted to, I could try and get permission to sell the print. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get there. Anyway, these buildings can be seen at the 2:23 mark in this video:

06 March 2011

a little of this and that.

Here is a fabric print I just kind of jammed out tonight. I had a vision last year of painting something like this on the wall of my spare room (studio), except the colored drops would be made of corkboard. But because my job was so time-consuming, it stayed a spare room and eventually became my sister's bedroom when she moved in. Instead, I made that vision into a fabric print that will hopefully come to fruition a lot more quickly than the original plan.

I'm thinking the repeat would only be horizontal. For those of you who aren't textile nerds, that means it would be a pretty large scale print that only repeats along the length of the fabric, not the width.

I've also got some ideas in the works that were inspired, yet again, by some of the illustrations in The Point (which I mentioned in this entry).

Today I attended the baby shower of one of my oldest friends (about whom I still give a shit). Jasmine is someone who knows things about me most people would blush at the thought of. She is now working on her second baby, so I decided to paint a little something that would remind her and her husband of both their munchkins. Penny is their almost-three-year-old, who has the cutest voice and weirdest sense of humor. Oh, and the prettiest eyelashes I've ever seen. That would be her in the yellow. Their soon-to-join-us son is the tiny green one. If they decide to have more, I'll just have to add more canvases.

Tomorrow, I have two job interviews downtown and then I'm going to the Contemporary Arts Center to see the Keith Haring exhibit, courtesy of my friend, Matt Joy, and his +1 membership.When I was 13, I went to a month-long summer camp in North Carolina. When I came back, my mom had painted larger-than-life sized Keith Haring figures (like the ones in the picture) on my bedroom wall.
They must have been more than 6 feet tall and danced all around my room. One was doing a cartwheel next to my window and one was doing a somersault over my dresser. It was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. He's been my favorite pop artist for decades. I get a flutter in my heart every time I see one of his original murals in NYC. So excited to see this show.

Oh, and before I go, I have to show you this amazing video. This guy, Holton Rower, builds small towers out of wooden boxes and pours varying colors of paint in the center of the top box. This creates the most incredible patterns you've ever seen. It's just paint and gravity. So incredible.

Tall Painting from Dave Kaufman on Vimeo.

01 March 2011

moving s-u-c-k-s.

I've left Chicago. And it only took 2 months to discern what I had to keep and what I had to begrudgingly throw away, pack up the result of said discernment, say goodbye to everyone in Chicago, sell off my furniture, clean my apartment, and bring it all down 3 flights of stairs.
I understand that 2 months might seem like a long time. But in the 67 days I've been unemployed, a lot of things needed to happen before I could leave.

1. Christmas happened. Presents had to be made and a trip to Florida was taken.

2. January happened. Despite not going out on New Year's Eve, January was a month of drinking. It was fun. I blacked out. I made bad decisions. I made some really rad new friends and got to enjoy Chicago likes nobody's business after not having much of a social life for a year. Then I ran out of money.

3. Sinking in had to happen. After having made these grand decisions to leave Lula, move back to Lebanon, OH for an undetermined amount of time, and head westward, I almost forgot that now I had to make a fuckton of little decisions. Do I really need all this fabric? Will this adorable bright orange retro lamp serve a purpose in the next year? Why do I need to keep my Yiddish magnetic poetry? Does Mod Podge go in the box with all of my paints or in the general craft container? Yeah, these all seem really ridiculous, but when you are faced with a giant mountain of these decisions, it seems impossible to deal with. So I spent the first week of February freaking the fuck out. Then I called my mommy. Then I freaked out some more. Then I packed up all my shit.

4. Coming home for a week and a half happened. Such a good thing. I built a website. From a blank page, up. And I painted a picture. I finished updating my ever-looming, post-Lula resume. I designed a business card. I had to GET EXCITED about having the time and resources to REALLY start over. And I did. So excited.

5. This weekend happened all over the fucking place. Oh, this weekend. My parents are amazing. I love them. They are cool and smart and funny and endlessly generous. But when my family gets together, especially in a stressful situation (like moving all of mine and my sister's belongings down three flights of stairs for two days), we all revert back to the dynamic we had in the tumultuous years of mine and Katie's adolescence. There's screaming. There's yelling. There's crying. There's daddy issues. There's sibling rivalry. There's all kinds of bullshit that is just so not the thing to deal with on moving day. But we did it. Barely, but we did. And I love my parents more than ever.

6. The ride home SO HAPPENED. My dad drove the cargo van home this afternoon. Mom and I finished everything up and headed east on 90/94 at 11pm. It slammed down rain the entire time. 27 miles north of Indianapolis, we decided to pull over for a bit and see if it chilled out a little bit. Oh quite the fucking contrary. We sat in the parking lot of a Flying J trucker plaza in LEBANON, INDIANA for 2 and a half hours. Why? Because an entire storm system of tornadoes was hovering over the lower half of Indiana all night. THAT'S WHY. This is my life. And these are the things that happen to me. And one day (tomorrow), I will laugh about it in this totally objective, anecdotal way, but right now, I'm just reveling in the "Fuck my life" of it all. LEBANON, INDIANA. I really want to make sure the irony of that location is not lost on you people. According to Google Maps, that Flying J Travel Plaza (complete with a "Family Style Restaurant", 3 Slurpee machines, and trucker showers) in Lebanon, Indiana is the EXACT halfway point between Chicago, IL and my parents' house in Lebanon, Ohio. This is just all too symmetric and annoyingly karmic for my taste.

So this is just the song. Because the last 2 months of my life read like an indie coming-of-age movie, fraught with internal and external conflict, family drama, physical and financial strain, revelations, and road trips.
Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace I'm going through


22 February 2011

Well, I'm in Ohio. I've been here for less than a week, and it's already been a pretty big six days.

First off, my frequent (and usually only) commenter and friend, Annie, ratted me out to ohdeedoh.com last week. Ohdeedoh is a the parent/kid oriented division of Apartment Therapy. As I am not a parent, I was unaware that such a site existed. But I've been a longtime fan of Apartment Therapy, so the complement is accepted with open arms. Anyway, they made a totally flattering post about my recently defunct mural. So awesome. Thanks, Annie!

In addition to all that, I've spent the last 4 days toiling away on my MacBook Pro, working on a portfolio site. After lots and lots of tweaking, it's finally done (well, enough to release to the public, anyway). Take a look!

14 February 2011

heartbreak in the form of semi-gloss ultra pure white interior.

This is the greatest thing I have created in years. The last time I remember being truly happy was working on this mural. It was a warm spring day. The windows and back door were wide open. I was drinking a bottle of sparkling rose wine I had been given from a wine rep at work. I had a pack of Camel Lights, and my friends, the Buffalo Killers, were playing on my computer. My clothes were covered in paint and I was on Cloud 9.

The designs were taken from this amazing book I got at the Chicago Public Library that inspired me more than most things have. I've always been really into Pennsylvania Dutch art, ever since my family stayed in a cabin in Lancaster, PA when I was a kid. I also loved how much these designs reminded me of my favorite textiles by Marimekko, like this one, Bottna:

Anyhow, today, I'm painting over this mural. I keep stopping to stare at it, as though my heart is breaking. I can't wait until I own my own walls to paint my heart onto.