Sunday, October 02, 2011

GROSS ANATOMY (part 14)

Welcome back to Gross Anatomy, psilvercybin surfers! Lately I've been doing lots of nostalgic rambling on the blog but today we unveil a new illustration I did recently for a local Portland band who asked nicely at precisely the right moment. Eternal Tapestry is a spacey jam band comprised of a bunch of music nerds who drink coffee in my neighborhood. They have a meandering krautrock sound not entirely unlike the more organic moments of Neu! and Can with a righteous dose of Hawkwind slipped on the tongue for good measure. It was refreshing to collaborate with a band that smiles often and doesn't pretend they're soldiers in an imaginary war (although they do fancy themselves "vandals of the void"). Absolutely no bullet belt pretense with these unassuming gentlemen. They've been noodling away in blissful obscurity for about six years and finally decided to take their improvisational magic carpet on the road to Europa. The tour kicks off this week with a string of dates on the east coast before they head overseas. Here's the shirt I drew to commemorate the occasion...

Brainstorm: As usual I started scribbling aimlessly until I landed on a sort of abracadabra formation of letters that seemed appropriate. I tried a few variations and when I showed my kids they immediately said, "A lotta' apes try?" Doh! They're grounded again.

Thanks to my kids' keen observation about the unfortunate accidental word formations in the earlier draft, I reworked things and flipped the pyramid for a design that would flow well with the proportions of a human body. Note to artists: drawing at its best is a solitary endeavor but it's sometimes a good idea to float your concepts past neutral eyes to get critical feedback that often strengthens your design. Especially the neutral eyes of cruel teenagers that don't mind ripping your ass apart.

Next, I took a bunch of hard drugs and went on a vision quest in the desert for 14 days. Just kidding. Instead, I penciled this sketch to make sure the symmetry and dimensions were approximately pleasing to the eye before hitting it with ink. I say "approximately" because I obviously never use rulers, Photoshop or even graph paper in the execution stage so almost everything I draw is slightly crooked, off-center and mathematically impossible. Get over it.

Here's a raw scan of the final inked art. The typography is based on the beautiful work of Rick Griffin, pioneer of the American rock poster and one of my heroes of post World War II art. I used a Micron .05 and black Sharpie to keep it clean and scanned it into Photoshop to adjust the contrast a bit before sending it along to the printer who worked his own special magic with silver metallic ink...

Most artists probably get scantily clad ladies to model their merchandise. I got this guy. Jed Bindeman is a drummer, prism light traveler and generally nice dude. It's psychedelic pizza time!

Here's a nice close up of the finished shirt. Definitely not as cool as the 5,000 people occupying Wall Street this week but it turned out pretty sweet and, as my daughter was pleased to announce, "Finally, you did a shirt I can wear to school!" Everyone's happy. If you happen to live across the pond near merry ol' Birmingham you can judge these galactic derelicts for yourself at the Supersonic Festival where they'll be performing along with Secret Chiefs 3, Scorn, Zombi, Turbonegro and Electric Wizard!

Until next time...
ride the silver machine and keep feeling mean!

2 comments:

Ryan S. said...

Shirt looks great. Damn SC3, Scorn and Zombi? What a line up! Break out the pot brownies.

Limpey said...

Thanks for showing us your process from sketch book to shirt --- I always like seeing that stuff. And screw the rulers because you obviously don't need 'em.