Wednesday, December 31, 2014

INVISIBLE CITIES: Leonia

The 40th of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities and my fourteenth overall, Leonia. You can see the entire series of illustrations so far, which includes work from my collaborators Leighton Connor and Joe Kuth, at our tumblr Seeing Calvino.

"Nobody wonders where, each day, they carry their load of refuse. Outside the city, surely; but each year the city expands, and the street cleaners have to fall farther back. The bulk of the outflow increases and the piles rise higher, become stratified, extend over a wider perimeter. Besides, the more Leonia’s talent for making new materials excels, the more the rubbish improves in quality, resists time, the elements, fermentations, combustions. A fortress of indestructible leftovers surrounds Leonia, dominating it on every side, like a chain of mountains."

10 inches by 8 inches
acrylic paint and ink on watercolor paper
December 29, 2014


Monday, December 15, 2014

INVISIBLE CITIES: Clarice

(I have been so extraordinarily busy that forgot to post this here, even though it was posted on our Seeing Calvino tumblr almost a week ago. Apologies.)

The 37th of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities and my thirteenth overall, Clarice. You can see the entire series of 37 illustrations so far, which includes work from fellow artists Leighton Connor and Joe Kuth, at our group art tumblr Seeing Calvino which is updated every Wednesday.

"And yet, almost nothing was lost of Clarice’s former splendor; it was all there, merely arranged in a different order, no less appropriate to the inhabitants’ needs than it had been before."

10 inches by 8 inches
ink and marker on watercolor paper
December 9, 2014


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

INVISIBLE CITIES: Adelma

The 34th of Calvino's Invisible Cities and my twelfth overall, Adelma, the city of the dead. You can see the entire series of 34 cities so far, which includes work from my peers Leighton Connor and Joe Kuth, at our tumblr Seeing Calvino, which is updated every Wednesday.

"I thought: 'If Adelma is a city I am seeing in a dream, where you encounter only the dead, the dream frightens me. If Adelma is a real city, inhabited by living people, I need only continue looking at them and the resemblances will dissolve, alien faces appear, bearing anguish. In either case, it is best for me not to insist on staring at them.'"

10 inches by 8 inches
acrylic paint, charcoal and ink on watercolor paper
November 18, 2014


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

INVISIBLE CITIES: Esmeralda

The 31st of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities and my eleventh overall, Esmeralda, the city of many ways. You can see the entire series so far, which includes work from my friends Joe Kuth and Leighton Connor, at our Seeing Calvino tumblr which is updated every Wednesday.

"In Esmeralda, city of water, a network of canals and a network of streets span and intersect each other. To go from one place to another you have always the choice between land and boat: and since the shortest distance between two points in Esmeralda is not a straight line but a zigzag that ramifies in tortuous optional routes, the ways that open to each passerby are never two, but many, and they increase further for those who alternate a stretch by boat with one on dry land."

10 inches by 8 inches
acrylic paint and ink on watercolor paper
October 21, 2014


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

INVISIBLE CITIES: Baucis

The 28th of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities and my tenth overall, Baucis, the city in the clouds. You can see the entire series so far, which includes work from my fine friends Leighton Connor and Joe Kuth, at our Seeing Calvino tumblr which is updated every Wednesday.

"After a seven days’ march through woodland, the traveler directed toward Baucis cannot see the city and yet he has arrived. The slender stilts that rise from the ground at a great distance from one another and are lost above the clouds support the city. You climb them with ladders. On the ground the inhabitants rarely show themselves: having already everything they need up there, they prefer not to come down. Nothing of the city touches the earth except those long flamingo legs on which it rests and, when the days are sunny, a pierced, angular shadow that falls on the foliage."

10 inches by 8 inches
acrylic paint and ink on watercolor paper
October 7, 2014


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

INVISIBLE CITIES: Aglaura

The 25th of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities and my ninth overall, the colorless city Aglaura. You can see the entire series so far, along with work by my fellow artists Joe Kuth and Leighton Connor, at our group art tumblr Seeing Calvino which is updated every Wednesday with new art.

"So if I wished to describe Aglaura to you, sticking to what I personally saw and experienced, I should have to tell you that it is a colorless city, without character, planted there at random. But this would not be true, either: at certain hours, in certain places along the street, you see opening before you the hint of something unmistakable, rare, perhaps magnificent; you would like to say what it is, but everything previously said of Aglaura imprisons your words and obliges you to repeat rather than say."

10 inches by 8 inches
acrylic paint and ink on watercolor paper
September 16, 2014


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

INVISIBLE CITIES: Sophronia

The 22nd of Calvino's Invisible Cities and my eighth illustration for the project, the dual city known as Sophronia. You can see the entire series so far, along with amazing work from my fellow travelers Leighton Connor and Joe Kuth, at our group art tumblr Seeing Calvino, which is updated every Wednesday with new art.

"The city of Sophronia is made up of two half-cities. In one there is the great roller coaster with its steep humps, the carousel with its chain spokes, the Ferris wheel of spinning cages, the death-ride with crouching motorcyclists, the big top with the clump of trapezes hanging in the middle. The other half-city is of stone and marble and cement, with the bank, the factories, the palaces, the slaughterhouse, the school, and all the rest. One of the half-cities is permanent, the other is temporary, and when the period of its sojourn is over, they uproot it, dismantle it, and take it off, transplanting it to the vacant lots of another half city."

10 inches by 8 inches
ink on watercolor paper
August 27, 2014


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

INVISIBLE CITIES: Chloe

The nineteenth of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities and my seventh illustration for the project, the city named Chloe. This was by far the most difficult piece to complete so far, but I am pleased with the final image. You can see the entire series so far, which includes works from my fellow travelers Leighton Connor and Joe Kuth, at our shared tumblr Seeing Calvino which is updated every Wednesday with a new City.

"A voluptuous vibration constantly stirs Chloe, the most chaste of cities. If men and women began to live their ephemeral dreams, every phantom would become a person with whom to begin a story of pursuits, pretenses, misunderstandings, clashes, oppressions, and the carousel of fantasies would stop."

10 inches by 8 inches
ink on watercolor paper
August 5, 2014


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

INVISIBLE CITIES: Zoe

The thirteenth of Calvino's 55 Invisible Cities and my fifth illustration for the project, Zoe. You can see the entire series so far, which includes work from my partners in the project Joe Kuth and Leighton Connor at our tumblr Seeing Calvino, updated every Wednesday.

"In every point of this city you can, in turn, sleep, make tools, cook, accumulate gold, disrobe, reign, sell, question oracles. Any one of its pyramid roofs could cover the leprosarium or the odalisques' baths. The traveler roams all around and has nothing but doubts: he is unable to distinguish the features of the city, the features he keeps distinct in his mind also mingle."

10 inches by 8 inches
ink on watercolor paper
June 22, 2014


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Monday, June 16, 2014

Saturday, June 14, 2014

THE PEQUOD: Queequeg

10 inches by 8 inches
acrylic paint, ink and marker on watercolor paper
May 31, 2014


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

INVISIBLE CITIES: Isaura

The tenth of Calvino's 55 Invisible Cities and my fourth illustration for the project, Isaura. You can see the entire series so far, which includes work from my partners in this project Joe Kuth and Leighton Connor at our tumblr Seeing Calvino.

"Isaura, city of the thousand wells, is said to rise over a deep, subterranean lake. On all sides, wherever the inhabitants dig long vertical holes in the ground, they succeed in drawing up water, as far as the city extends, and no farther. Its green border repeats the dark outline of the buried lake; an invisible landscape conditions the visible one; everything that moves in the sunlight is driven by the lapping wave enclosed beneath the rock’s calcareous sky."

10 inches by 8 inches
ink on watercolor paper
June 3, 2014


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

INVISIBLE CITIES: Zora

The seventh of Calvino's 55 Invisible Cities and my third illustration for the project, Zora. You can see the entire series so far, which includes work from my partners in this project Joe Kuth and Leighton Connor at our tumblr Seeing Calvino.

"Beyond six rivers and three mountain ranges rises Zora, a city that no one, having seen it, can forget. But not because, like other memorable cities, it leaves an unusual image in your recollections. Zora has the quality of remaining in your memory point by point, in its succession of streets, of houses along the streets, and of doors and windows in the houses, though nothing in them possesses a special beauty or rarity. Zora’s secret lies in the way your gaze runs over patterns following one another as in a musical score where not a note can be altered or displaced."

10 by 8 inches
acrylic paint and ink on watercolor paper
May 13, 2014



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

INVISIBLE CITIES: Zaira

The fourth of Calvino's 55 Invisible Cities, and my second contribution to the project is Zaira, pictured below. You can see the work of Joe Kuth and Leighton Connor, the other two artists working on this project, at our tumblr Seeing Calvino.

The challenge with drawing Zaira was to find a way to visually show the relationship of architecture to events that take place in, on and around that architecture over time in a manner which is both complex and recognizable. I struggled with this one, but I am quite pleased with the result.

Title: Zaira

10 inches by 8 inches
ink on watercolor paper
April 20, 2014




Wednesday, April 2, 2014

INVISIBLE CITIES: Diomira

The third collaborative project I am happy to announce is a series of illustrations depicting each of the cities from Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities. I am undertaking this endeavor in partnership with two good friends who are also artists, Leighton Connor and Joe Kuth. These will exist on a tumblr named Seeing Calvino, since we hope to continue to explore his writing in future projetcs.

The way this works is that each week, on Wednesday, one of us will post our illustration of one of the cities. We are moving through the book sequentially, from beginning to end, as one might undertake a journey. For now, we have established the rotation of me first, followed by Joe, followed by Leighton, and back to me to repeat the order again. It is a daunting and exciting project because there is so much latitude in Calvino's pieces, and so many ways to stumble. I feel like I'm getting a good handle on it, and I am excited to see what Joe and Leighton do as well.

I will be cross-posting my own illustrations on my blog and tumblr as well as the Seeing Calvino tumblr, but you will have to visit Seeing Calvino to see the work of Joe and Leighton. Here is my first piece, and the first of the Invisible Cities. This one time, I am reproducing the entirety of what Calvino wrote about Diomira, to provide some context.

"Leaving there and proceeding for three days toward the east, you reach Diomira, a city with sixty silver domes, bronze statues of all the gods, streets paved with lead, a crystal theater, a golden cock that crows each morning on a tower. All these beauties will already be familiar to the visitor, who has seen them also in other cities. But the special quality of this city for the man who arrives there on a September evening, when the days are growing shorter and the multicolored lamps are lighted all at once at the doors of the food stalls and from a terrace a woman's voice cries ooh!, is that he feels envy toward those who now believe they have once before lived an evening identical to this and who think they were happy, that time."

Title: Diomira

10 inches by 8 inches
ink on watercolor paper
March 31, 2014




Monday, March 31, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A word on the Bestiary

When I posted the first image in the series of drawings titled A Bestiary, I wrote "This is for a secret new project that may or may not come to fruition and may or may not be published. That is really all I can share now." Well now I can go into that a bit more.

I've had the opportunity to create illustrations for the work of writer Robert Kloss three times so far. First I did the cover and three interior illustrations for his novel The Alligators of Abraham, which you can see here. Second, I revisited The Alligators of Abraham for a series of five illustrations re-mixing that project for promotional use on a web site. You can see those pieces here. Finally, I was invited to create a series of illustrations for the book The Desert Places, which Robert co-wrote with Amber Sparks. Each of those experiences was intense, terrifying, invigorating and harrowing. However, for each of those projects, I was invited aboard after the writing was complete. That was an interesting way to work, and in some ways my process mirrored that of my explorations of Melville and Conrad, but I had been growing more and more curious about what might result from a true collaboration. This Bestiary is the start of that, and I am grateful to Robert for suggesting this and being so willing to work in such a way with me.

The way it works is this. Each week I draw a monstrous creature. I am responsible for creating it and naming it which, as you know, is essential. I send the image to Robert and he crafts a piece of writing based on or responding to or exploring or elaborating the beast I've brought to life in the art. We have no idea what the final shape of this project will be, how many beasts it will contain, whether it will be published, or how long this will continue. But so far the collaboration has gone very well and we both look forward to the changes and permutations it will bring. We intend at least one pass through the alphabet, for a total of 26 beasts, but we may attempt more. Also, once some of the written pieces are where Robert wants them to be, we will start sharing a few of those as well. I have seen the first one, which Robert wrote for the Armabrach, and I was shocked. It was utterly unexpected, nothing at all like I imagined, and so much the better because of that. Robert's writing constantly astounds me and I am absolutely thrilled to be working with him on this.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Monday, March 3, 2014

A BESTIARY: Armabrach

This is for a secret new project that may or may not come to fruition and may or may not be published. That is really all I can share now.

Title: ARMABRACH

14 inches by 11 inches
ink on watercolor paper
March 3, 2014