“Hercules and Iolaus” 16×40, oil on canvas. My latest painting and a concept I’ve been wanting to create for over a year. Huge thanks to my wonderful and patient friends, Howard Butch McCoy and David Evans for helping me realize this!
My titan series is a throwback to oil paintings depicting Greek myths with idealized bodies. I wanted to create paintings showing my vision of the ideal male form and used my friends and acquaintances from the bear community as models. In addition I designed a couple minimalist line art tattoos to help illustrate the story of each titan, who they are and what they represent.
I started this year like every year, promising myself to create more art. I wanted to at least doodle in a sketch book for 20 minutes a day. But like most of those promises I broke them within a month. My issue, as always, was lack of inspiration. I get hung up in head games of what’s been done or “is it art?” or “is this me?”
One day in February, I went into my studio closet and saw the plastic 2-headed dragon my mom packed away in a couple of my things from her house. Holding it, I remembered all the fun I had playing with my plastic dinosaurs and dragons. Cheaply made toys that barely held any anatomical resemblance to the prehistoric animals they represent. I think that is what was so endearing about them today. They were produced in the late 70’s–early 80’s with no thought given as to whether dinosaurs held their tails for balance, or that maybe tyrannosaurus rex didn’t have stegosaurus plates on its back. Or any thought to the possibility thunder lizards might have feathers. In that instant I had to paint my 2-headed dragon.
Though, I couldn’t just paint it outright. Still-life is fine, but not much excitement for me, personally. While studying it, it came to me to paint this dragon but show it bisected with one half exposed as though it was robotic. Growing up in the 80’s, not only did I have an affinity for dinosaurs/dragons but also giant robots. Transformers, Tranzor Z, and Voltron being some of my favorite. If I asked my 7 year old self what subject I should be painting 30 years from now, he’d certainly say: “Half dinosaur half robots” in a matter of fact tone.
So here is the latest series of paintings I’m working on called “Made in Hong.” These first 6 paintings are the product of the last 6 months. With some of the free time I’ve found on Sundays and some weekday evenings, I’ve been able to complete 1 painting per month on average. The last 2 have been closer to 2 weeks, as I’ve been getting into my stride. I’m working in graphite (Blackwing pencils) and watercolor (Holbein). All paintings are on 12 x 16 Arches hot pressed watercolor paper. I’ve already started on my 7th painting and have a lot more planned for the future.
No deadlines, no agenda, no outsider vision, and no money on the line. Right now it just feels great to create for myself.