Monday, August 29, 2011

New Art Show In LA During September

I'm curating this art show along with Evelin Gonzalez. The artists featured in this show are all local graffiti and street artists whom we think you should all be introduced to. Please join us for a fun night as we open the show on Sept 10th from 7Pm to 10. The opening event and the month long show will be held at Mama's Hot Tamales in Los Angeles.

Mama's Hot Tamales Cafe
2124 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Neighborhood: Westlake
(213) 487-7474

Sketch Hidden At the Alcove Cafe

At the Alcove Cafe on Hillhurst Ave. in L.A. I hid a sketch in this drawer. I think I might be hiding more artwork here in the future. Could this be a possible grassroots ATC trading spot?

The food and service is great. My advice to you if you ever go looking for this sketch is to get the buffalo chicken wrap (mine was without coleslaw). My girlfriend had the jerk chicken sandwich which was also pretty bomb.

Alcove Cafe & Bakery
1929 Hillhurst Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Neighborhood: Griffith Park/Los Feliz
(323) 644-0100

New ACEO Prints For Sale

(To purchase, click on the SHOP link at the top of this page)
In my last post I mentioned some limited ACEO prints I have for sale in my shop. I was in a rush, so I didn't have a chance to offer any details or pictures. Well, here are the details and here are the pictures!

The original Lion ACEO was auctioned off a few months ago, and proved to be one of my more popular art cards. There will only ever be 15 prints of this collectible. Each card has a smooth gloss finish, and is a thick durable card-stock. I will never use this image again in any of my future pieces or products. Once these are gone they are gone. As you can see above, each card is signed and numbered on the back. The cards will be sold in numerical order which means the first buyer gets card number 1 and so on. Order early so you can get a lower number in this limited run.

I plan on making a limited print run on other popular ACEOs of mine in the future. This should raise the values of the originals. Make sure your keeping an eye on the original ACEOs up for auction by clicking on the AUCTIONS link at the top of the page.

Thank you to all who have purchased my ACEOs in the past. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed the new editions to your collections.

-John T

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Theory Hazit and A Red Doberman

Pictured above is an ACEO I drew of Hip Hop MC Theory Hazit. "I've never heard of him," you say- well that's exactly my point in drawing him. Google this guy's name. Listen to his music; especially the track "We Are The Ones." ... You're welcome.

Since this is a preview of yet another original ACEO, you must know what time it is. Yes, I finally posted 7 new ACEOs up for auction on ebay. Click on my AUCTIONS link at the top of this site to see all of them. Among others, I have drawings of a red doberman, Billie Holiday, Budgie Birds, and even the rare abstract piece.
Remember to come back every 10 days for more original one-time art pieces up for auction. I settled into my new place so sorry for the delay this month.

Psssst Check out my SHOP link at the top of this page too. I have a limited print run for sale on my Etsy shop. There are only 15 of them. Enjoy shopping my friends.

-John T

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Budgies and African Cichlids

I've posted eight new original ACEOs (Art Cards Editions & Originals) in my "Auctions" section. Each art card starts at $2.99. Every ten days I post new original pieces up for auction in the same place. There are never any repeats on these originals, so once a card is won or unsold they are gone for good. (every once in a great while I might place an unsold piece in my shop for sale if I think people were just sleeping on it, but don't count on it) To view my current auctions you can always just click on the "Auctions" link at the top of this blog.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Graffiti 101: The History

(piece by: Revok)
I'm a big fan of origins. I like the origin stories of characters in hero comic books. I like the origins of popular samples in Hip Hop music. I definitely like the origins of art movements. Everyone knows that "early" graffiti (such as wild styles, burners, etc) was popular in the boroughs of New York City during the 1970's and 80's, but how far back does it's history go?
(piece by: Seen)
The script or "tag" form as-well as the colorful grapheme and character based form of graffiti is said to have been started by this man in Philidelphia...

Writing on walls in the 1960's may sound pretty old to your average Justin Beiber fan, but I wasn't born yesterday. I'm pretty sure it goes back much further than that. There have been more than a few art history classes that I've attended, and as far as we know, one of the first uses of art by humans was in the form of paintings on cave walls. We all know that they looked something like this...That's right, graffiti goes all the way back to the dawn of human kind. In fact, the first stencil ever used on a wall, that we know of, was an early artist blowing barks and pigments on their hand as they placed it on a wall.
Check it out, it even looks like they were throwing up a "west side."

Street artist Banksy shows us what a more modern stencil piece looks like. Note the flat black shapes that make-up the city worker buffing out the cave paintings. (to me this piece is warning the cities that if they buff out street art and graffiti, they buff out our past and our innate need to communicate on walls.)

So every other art form owes it's existence to the act of painting on walls. Some people have argued that putting paint to wall is even born within us. If that's true, then why do most people associate the term graffiti with crime?

Man's law and God's law are often very different. So deciding what is truly right or wrong while talking about "the law of the land" can be a very complex process. Personally I refrain from altering anyone's property in any way without asking them first. If a person feels that painting on someone else's wall without permission is within their moral compass I like to remind them that they also have to be willing to pay the consequences of any action they take in life. In California, "bombing" the streets can quickly get you 2 out of 3 strikes on your record which would send you on your way to receiving 25 years to life in prison. I would rather see us and the state invest in schools, libraries, and jobs so please don't feed into that crooked system.

On the flip side, I don't think it's right that large corporations can rent billboard space in our neighborhoods without our permission. Currently my neighborhood has many instances of alcohol abuse destroying our collective sense of family and self respect. The alcohol industry never asks us if they can put their ads on our walls, yet they are everywhere. I wouldn't mind these images being replaced or covered up with more positive and useful images. If a billboard selling "spirits" was ever placed outside of someone's house or near a middle school in Beverly Hills you better believe there would be a ruckus.

I'm getting off topic. Maybe I'll return to the morality of graffiti at a later date. Speaking of God, as a Christian I know that my spiritual heritage includes graffiti. Under the city of Rome early followers of Christ refered to themselves as "fishers of men" or "pisciculi" which means little fish. These students of Christ were hated by the Roman powers and often hid and met in the catacombs. Since much of their practices had to be done in secret (or get arrested and killed) they had to communicate who they were to each other. Below is an image of how they would do that through images on catacomb walls.
Creating art on walls or on the ground was a very important system for these people. They had to communicate who they were to others in the know as a means for survival. In the Biblical book of Daniel chapter 5 there is a story where God relays a message to king Belshazzar by writing on the king's wall. This is where the term "The writing on the wall" comes from.
(Belshazzar's Feast by: Rembrandt)
I could go into the Egyptian and Mayan glyphs on the walls of temples, altars, sun dials, and tombs. I could also write endlessly about fresco paintings or Japanese calligraphy, and their influence on graffiti, but that would take quite some time to get through. Generally, what I'm saying is that an art-form currently known as graffiti is as old as human history. There are deep historical reasons for a person to write or draw on a wall. I encourage all of us to not immediately link graffiti to crime. There are many forms. There are many reasons.

Please walk forward every day in a growing knowledge of the lives around you.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Blitz the Embassador

It is time to highlight one of the few- one of the last artists to understand the culture of Hip Hop. Blitz is an MC who has apparently studied the history, read the current times, and moves forward with the realization that he speaks into the future.

"... these kids that's raised on rap music are scared of their own voice that's why they're auto-tunin'" - what a true line...

Popular music, for the most part, is no longer concerned with art so much as it's concerned with business. They aren't selling us art, they're selling us a product. That's why they spend millions on marketing campaigns designed to tell us what to like. Please listen to an artist that cares about art, and the process. It's pretty bad when a person feels the need to beg us all to simply believe in something.