Published PortraitsMay 29, 2013

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I am wrapping up two portrait illustrations for the September 2013 issue of Men’s Health magazine. Drawings for the July/August 2013 issue were delivered last month. This has been a great ongoing gig – making small black and white water-soluble crayon drawings for the magazine’s regular columns about food, health and fitness. Art director Tom O’Quinn calls me the ‘Go To Guy’ for these types of portraits. I like that.

This inspired me to do a blog post of selected published work, primarily portraits, with some full figures included as well.

(Detailed views appear below pieces of the smaller published work.)

 

Men’s Health June 2013 issue: Two small illustrations. The original size of the drawings is 18” square.

 

 

(The first two portraits below were published in the May 2013 issue.)

 

 

Men’s Health October 2012 issue: The article was about clothing, but the cool thing about the job was that they asked for the faces to be those of Cary Grant and Montgomery Clift. These drawings were made with water-soluble colored pencils on watercolor paper.

 


Men’s Health April 2012 issue: This was my first assignment for the magazine.

 


I was commissioned to illustrate and design three posters for Stanford University, in 2007, 2004 and 2002. They were produced for film festivals organized by Jim Reichert of the Department of Asian Languages. Because of these posters I fell in love with the films of Yasujiro Ozu and worked extensively with his film still imagery in my personal drawings. The images on the top and bottom posters are gouache paintings and the poster in the middle uses pencil drawings.

 

 

 

 

One of the books in my Blurb.com bookstore is called ‘Little Green Men’, comprised of small green screen-printed portraits of various men. I made a promotional postcard from this series and sent it out in search of Illustration jobs. Karen Steichen, the art director at Seattle Weekly, hired me to use this same style for a cover story on the Green River Killer. The illustration is an acrylic painting on illustration board.

 


FLAUNT magazine commissioned screen printed illustrations for their monthly horoscope for issues in 1999, 2000 and 2001. I was thrilled to include the faces of people close to me as source material for the prints, including images of friends and even my parents (Leo and Libra.). In 2001, they created a fold-out calendar featuring all of my horoscope prints from 2000.

 


One of my first jobs for FLAUNT: Portraits of designers. Screen prints on paper.

 

 

Fast Company October 2000 issue: Illustration of George Bush and Al Gore during the 2000 presidential campaign. Screen print on paper.

 


Urban Outfitters’ Slant newspaper Fall 1996: This oversized issue was about cities; I was asked to represent San Francisco. I made this screen print portrait of my good friend and San Francisco Trannyshack Superstar, Darlin’.

 


Interview magazine December 1995: This remains one of the pieces I am most proud of. I had been printing vinyl stickers and putting them up around San Francisco. My friend Nicole Burik at the advertising agency Foote, Cone & Belding showed some of these stickers to Tom Bonauro and Ken Woodard, who were working on a Levi’s 501 campaign. They hired me to make several original screen prints, one of which they selected for magazine ads and billboards for the nation-wide campaign. A feather in my cap!

 

 

 

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019 – 025April 19, 2013

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019 Erica, 020 Elisa, 021 Aaron, 022 Justin, 023 Darin, 024 Karis, 025 Mary

5 color reduction screen prints on paper

6″ diameter

2013

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015 – 018April 8, 2013

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015 Michael, 016 Joshua, 017 Vinsantos, 018 Steven

5 color reduction screen prints on paper

6″ diameter

2013

 

 

 

 

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PresenceMarch 30, 2013

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I have begun a new series of portraits – five color reduction screen prints on paper. This ongoing series is called “Presence”. These images were not commissioned. They serve as a personal record of people who have had some kind of significance in my life. They include loved ones, friends and acquaintances. There is also a self-portrait.

I have been taking photographs of people for years with the intention of making paintings or drawings. It is now time to begin turning these photos into portraits. There are rare occasions where I use source photos taken by others out of necessity. I have been working extensively with reduction screen prints – mostly creating ten color landscape prints. This new series is a dovetailing of my black and white portrait drawings with the reduction printing process. I also like to give a print to the person in the image (which was harder to do with the large portrait drawings). “Presents” – haha..

The resulting portraits are kind of like small paintings on paper. In this case, the painting occurs on the silkscreen itself as the direct stencil is painted in by hand for each color in the print. The reduction process, because it permanently alters the single screen used, does not allow for future print runs. These editions run just under twenty pieces.

The faces are at once stylized and realistic. The challenge of building an image of a face with hard-edged shapes is maintaining a distance from both cartoon and caricature. These portraits become an impression of a person – like a memory of someone. And as a documentary-style record, their function is not to flatter, but to exist like a mugshot, (but without the criminal aspect).

Inspiration comes from other art and artists. Recently, while exploring images online, I came across Robert Mappelthorpe’s 1986 photograph of Andy Warhol. It is a black and white portrait within a circle. I know I first saw this image a long time ago, but it was not a conscious decision on my part to mimic this format within this series. Of course, this is nothing new. Circular portraits have existed for centuries and portrait miniatures – both circles and ovals – have been around since the mid 1400’s.

Other contemporary portraits I admire come from: Chuck Close, Alex Katz, Alice Neel, Shepard Fairey, and even Tom of Finland. Artists closer to home include: Karen Schmidt (and the ‘Send Me Your Head’ series), Adam Ansell, Jason Mecier and Timothy Cummings. And going way back, the Fayum (mummy) portraits from antiquity, which I find remarkably beautiful.

I like the idea of viewing someone through a portal or window. I think this, in combination with the gray palette, emphasizes distances or even an idea of memorializing. I am now more than ever aware of the rapid passing of time and this new portrait practice is becoming a way of recording people while I can. Some of the subjects in this series are no longer with us, but by including them in this group I feel like I can hold them close again.

Below are the first four images of the series, begun in February 2013. I consider them preparatory studies. The men depicted are Christoph, Nikos, Ron and Matt.

Thank you for looking.

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