April 27, 2012

Full steam ahead

Comic Expo bound

Yesterday turned out to be "one of those days". In order to get my business cards which were held hostage in Vancouver I had to pay an additional $30, and hopefully I'll get the call soon that they have arrived. NOPE - BAd news, they forgot to pack my finished cards into the shipment and now I'll have no crds to hand out at the event :=( While dong my running around  I saw the flash of a photo ticket, adding insult to injury. Today I awoke from a dream where I removed a plastic layer over my entire teeth, I think the anxiety has passed.   No matter, the show must go on.

It is pouring rain and I have to load up my truck and set up my booth. I am going to hit a place where I can make many copies of my presentation notes. I need about 50 of each, they said 60 but I think I'm a bit more realistic in being conservative on attendance numbers.  It should be a good week-end though if this wet weather keeps up, people will want to spend their time indoors, and hopefully at the comic expo.

I have a bunch of stuff to put on my table, I hope I can fit it. Wish me luck!


Come by and say hello my booth is F04 in ARTIST ALLEY at Calgary's Comic Expo April 27-29) under the name Artistavision Inc.

I will be giving two free panel presentations at this years event::

History of Animation Quickdraw Brian Batista
Room: Palomino C
SATURDAY Time: 4:00 - 5:00

When did animation start? How was it done throughout the ages? What exactly is animation? Brian Batista from the Calgary Quickdraw Society is here to answer all these questions and more.


Challenges in Independant Art Forms Brian Batista
Room: Palomino C
SUNDAY Time: 12:00 - 1:00

Traditional artist Brian Batista will delve into the challenges artists face in getting their work seen and sold. If you are a painter or an illustrator, a professional or just starting out, Brian will give you ideas on what it takes to transition to that "next step". 

April 26, 2012

The Final Countdown

As we quickly approach the opening of this year's Calgary Comic expo, tension begins to run high.

Mostly my stress comes from not knowing and time quickly ticking away. I'm kind of new to doing this sort of thing. I have run booths for other organizations in the past and had my booth for my Rooibos tea company for two summers. This is the second time I've operated a booth as myself, an artist. Once was at Market Collective. I just hope I don't suck!

At this event, I have a booth (F04) in Artist Alley to man for the three days plus set up and tear down. I am also giving two panel talks. With these talks I not only have powerpoint presentations to put together but also notes for every participant who attends. I need to have them done and printed tonight so I can make 60 copies of each on Friday before the expo begins. I am hoping to staple them together with my new business cards attached. I am waiting on a call to pick up my new business cards, fingers crossed. I was expecting to have them today, I hope they get them done in time or I'm S.O.L.
  I have to pick up exhibition passes, get set up, confirm a volunteer for my booth while I give talks, do I have to pay for a parking pass too all week-end?! I have to gather some random elements for my booth like safety pins and butterfly clips to hang some stuff like prints and signage. I will be offering some space on my table to friends. I will have the last 30 copies of Mr. Reaper Really Bad Morning with all the extras for only $10 each, there will be Versus handbills on the table to give away and Frosst Books business cards. I paid for the booth but am not really pushing sales, so its best that I get the most out of it! I will have my prints available at their regular price however I am not counting on earth shattering sales since it is a comic and not an art event. I'm going to have one copy of my book for people to peruse. What I really hope is to have an original painting or two at the table but that may not be logistically possible.
Trailer for Mr. Reapers Really Bad Morning.
For me, its going to be a great week-end to show up, get my name out there, talk to people, be in the excitement of the expo, meet other like minded individuals, vendors etc. Make a few sales. At least my expectations are not too high, I wont be disappointed since I will easily attain my objectives. I really hope I can drive some traffic to my site, get more followers on this blog and more likes on my FB artist page.

Stay tooned!

April 19, 2012

If at first you don't succeed....

Scrape it off and start over

I contacted the designer to meet to get some feedback on my work. After seeing the two days of work, the designer requested some changes. First a thinner white line inside the width of the lettering rather than outside. That way the spacing between each will be more prominent and the black will be slightly thinner.  This is going to make it look even better.  I grabbed a thinner liner brush and a scraper at the art supply store and booked a full day to continue working on this project.
It is good being open to changing the initial work to make it better. I want this stuff to look rad! More importantly I want the designer, the concord group and the National to be happy with what I do for them. I wouldn't say I'm a perfectionist, I'm the kind of guy who is willing to scrape off two days of work and prep to make it better and give the client what they want! Since the glass isn't entirely smooth it was difficult removing the paint.  It took me an hour to scrape over 10 hours of painted lettering. Which proves how well this stuff is going to last!
At first I thought I had placed the lettering too high. The second change designer requested is to move each sign to be moved higher up.  I'm glad I was only half way thru the process and my projected hours. That's the thing about not having test swatches or somebody sign off or see the work before you begin. I had no direction on placement or how to handle the signage.  Cost me two days of work, but I agree it is going to look much better with this feedback. Its a good lesson in working commercially.
Tools of the trade.
A paint scraper, a brass scrubber, some steel wool, windex and some paper towels.
Notice the beautiful floor tiles.
The order in which I painted the lettering changed to what I originally planned. First the white outline, so that they look good from both directions. Then I filled them in with the black. I am excited at how good the new signs are looking =;)
Here you can see the effect from the reverse side, from inside the washroom, while exiting.
Change number three, no stars on the doors. Based on how things turned out, we decided to remove the signage on the lower part of the door and instead paint the white and black classic lettering in the window.  It will definitely create a more cohesive look. It is a little sad to sand off all that gold.
I had to paint the lettering in reverse, standing on a chair. The reverse side of the glass is smoother, can't paint very well on the deeply stippled side. I'm really happy with how it is coming along.

The next step is to repaint a second layer of black, then reline it with a thin white. The reason I am doing this additional work is that I want to ensure the lettering is opaque. I have a really bright work light to shine on the reverse side when doing this. I may also rework some of the letters once I can see them with a fresh eye.

April 17, 2012

National Signs

a process of a dying art form.

I was asked to hand paint signage for a new venue called the NATIONAL.  It is another development by the Concord group (which I am working on animation for another space of theirs: Clive Burger) National is a really beautiful space. It is designed with a roaring 20's - dirty thirties classic appeal. The woods are deep and glossy, white hexagon tiles are balanced with glossy black sideboards. There are 75 brass beer taps and the feel that there might be a good horse race, so check the newspaper.

My task is to paint the signage on the glass doors for the various rooms: "Ladies, Gentlemen, Private, Washroom and National". The reason I am excited is that I am given the opportunity to venture into the world of a dying art from yester-year.  I went out and picked up supplies. The paint I'll be using is called "one shot", and it is great to work with. It is an enamel that is deep and glossy, rich and powerful. It is also dangerously toxic.

It took me some time and quite a bit of research to put together my quote and get up the nerve to round up all the tools and means to pull this off. I got the Gotham font type they wanted with the -50 tracking and printed them out at a size relative to the windows that would look best.  My plan was to place the printed stencils on the window backs, tape them up then proceed with the lettering on the smoother side of the window. First the black bulk of the letter, then I had to wait until it was completely dry before I can outline in lettering white with a liner brush. I was hoping to have some time to make some swatch varieties for the designer before beginning, but she said go ahead with the job since we have just over a week to get it done.
The windows are from an old historical building (the grain exchange) and needed to be scraped and cleaned properly before I started working. Mostly my time over the two full days of work was prepping the space ad getting ready to apply the one shot. There is  definite learning curve. The one thing that is good is my ability and confidence in painting a straight line.......after all its called "one shot"- You can't keep pulling the line, you have one chance to get it right. It took a few goes to get my wits and my wrists working for me.  Some of the windows aren't smooth which makes it more difficult, but hey, I like a challenge!  I tried to paint on the bubbly or stippled side but you just can't get straight lines. I also learned that the tape across the top and bottom bleeds the paint so its good for lining up the text elements but it doesn't properly mask it out.
They wanted their name on the front door panels in gold upon entry and their star logo on the window. I hand cut a stencil from the illustrator file their designer provided me so I could apply a spray gold to ensure their logo was accurate since I heard the owner was a real stickler for that type of brand identity perfection. The paint on the doors already seemed to be chipping. I was concerned about working on this surface but I went ahead anyway. The starts would have to be painted on the back, the smooth side. I didn't go ahead with them because I was unsure of the placement.
It took a long time to get it placed right, and masked to protect from overspray. Hand painted signage is one thing, masking is another beast all together.  I ended up not liking how it turned out, more so where it is placed. i much preferred the look of the painted windows. Though I did a lot of work here, I want the work to be regarded as perfect, I will be pitching the designer the idea to sand off this signage and to go with the white and black lettering on the window instead. I feel it will look much better on a front entrance door, a little more subtle but much more stylish!
As I stood there, within inches of the work, being that close I noticed every slight imperfection in my work, it was really hard to let go of the fact that hand painted signage would never look perfect. I worried that I wasn't able to produce professional quality work, especially when you compare it to how mechanically perfect computer design and printing on vinyl can be. It made me insecure to think that this wouldn't stand up tot eh professionalism this space deserved. It is the style of the era they are going for. I contacted the designer to meet since I was at the point where I was willing to scrape all my work off before I move on and to get the okay to move forward.  My main goal is to make sure they are satisfied with my work whether or not I lose time and money on this project, I want to continue to get more professional as more connections in the commercial sector.

As well as get better in handling the materials = all pro!

April 14, 2012

"Change is Constant" review by Dunia Ilic

- This review posted here courtesy of the author, Dunia Ilic.
At first glance, I was struck by Brian Batista’s “Change is Constant” cool, quiet strength and masculinity. It is a striking oil and acrylic painting, depicting a mythical image of Makara-snail at the bottom of the ocean. The piece itself meticulously detailed with each individual hair and each individual drip of water revealed with care. Contrasting the measured and detailed brush strokes, paint is also freely splattered and let to drip from the top of the painting. Inspired by the Tibetan thangkas (scroll paintings); the painting is purposely two-dimensional, almost completely lacking shadows. Each object is outlined, giving it a youthful, cartoon-like feel. Artist’s modern, young and innovative style is contrasted by the primeval subject matter, drawing on the ancient Tibetan and Vedic mythology.
Looking at the painting, I had an intense feeling of abandon. Painted in beautiful hues of blue, the painting made me feel as if I were at the bottom of the ocean, facing the Makara-snail. The snail has an ominous look, sharp bird-like claws and long beard, giving him the look of an ancient wise-man. Oblivious to the waves engulfing him, I imagined the snail slowly moving across the ocean bed, performing rituals and magic like an old shaman. Perhaps it’s his ancient features that give him the look of wisdom, the thick magnificent mane, or the strange body reminiscent of a dinosaur. The snail has an omniscient glare, as if questioning the viewer if they also knew that “Change is Constant”. Makara-snail fearlessly glides on top of the waves; he has no control over the forces of nature, and accepts change and fluidity as the only constant in life. Devoid of any possessions, carrying his shell wherever he goes, the snail has a stoic and composed aura of a monk.
I wonder if the snail is a metaphor for humankind in general, and if his voyage through the ocean represents our own struggles through life. His acceptance of the fluidity of the world around him contrasts our zeal (and ultimate inability) to change the nature’s ancient laws of life and death. If Makara-snail was indeed a metaphor for humankind, it represents a new, more deserving human race, living in a world without greed, self-indulgence and anger.

Works Cited
Batista, Brian. Change is Constant. 2011. Oil and Acrylic on Canvas. Skew Gallery, Calgary. Personal photograph by the artist. Re-printed with permission. JPEG file.

April 11, 2012

When it rains it pours, or when the going gets tough, the tough get going

The future is now!

In my life things seem to culminate at one moment, a focusing of intention and energy into a clearly recognizable moment. Now this can be good or bad, or maybe it just is. Leading up to yesterday I began to have a looming feeling and then like a sudden storm it all came together.

Shit certainly hit the fan. I've been locked away hard at work animating some stuff for the soon to be open Clive Burger. Here is a tiny teaser I whipped up.
At any rate, I've been wondering about a bunch of stuff and this whole story centres around taking a leap and spending over $6,000 in one day.

I had a few things piling up:

1) I had to write a cheque for 2 grand and mail off my Systema camp registration.
2) ....but first I had to buy the flight to Toronto so I knew what days I'd be and where to be picked up for the camp. Check.
An example of one of the many things I'll experience at the camp

3) I signed up for a 2 week traditional painting portraits from photos in oils, I had to do registration and cut another cheque for over a grand. Here's the website link.

-Comic expo is coming I'm giving 2 powerpoint presentations and running a booth plus I have a few exciting jobs quickly approaching, I still need a computer, so I figures I'd already spent 3 grand, whats 3 more? ! (sarcastic tone)
4) I ordered my new Mac laptop, with nominal education discount for working at ACAD.
So where is all this money coming from?
5) Do taxes, there has got to be close to two grand coming back there.  Man, it sucked, but then it felt so good just to have done my taxes, now I dot have to worry about that for another year. In hindsight, it wasn't so bad at all.
6) Had contracts and a meeting for two upcoming classes this summer at ACAD to handle. Check.
7) Then bunch of other stuff from invoices and quotes to continuing to work on other stuff.

I'll stop there for now, but as soon as this stuff that I had put off, started coming together a flood of other stuff started to fall into place.....And that my friends is where the lesson is!

"Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today"
- this old saying rings true.

Then I found out that my sublet agreement at the studio has been renewed at the same rate, that looming fear suddenly dropped away as I breathed a sigh of relief, my art temple can still thrive =;)

And there you have it, once the ball got rolling it really picked up speed, today I'm tackling more with the new momentum JUST DOing IT has brought me.

So, my advice is just do it!

Onward & Upward!

April 6, 2012

Pegs law!

Stage 2

I blocked in the letters with fluorescent pink marking spray.  Last night after teaching my evening animation class at Quickdraw Animation Society I put in 2 hrs at the studio working on the 7 new pieces. I quickly sketched out some character form in charcoal. I took a white and allowed it to mix in with some of the charcoals to block in the background.


The cartoony characters are initially built on the sprayed capital first letter. It is interesting how the L for lust can be transformed to an erect penis. The "S" is a lazy slumped looking snaky sloth shape. A for Avarice, has the arms crossed pulling in toward himself much like a greedy person holding their wealth close to their hearts. "W"wrath is like angry arms in the air. You get the idea.
Here is the collection laid on my studio floor side by side. I gave them all a coat of fixative before leaving to ensure the charcoal doesn't spread too much in the upcoming sages of development.

I would like to get them matching frames when I display them together. Hopefully I can find an adequate venue or place to show them together.  Maybe I'll follow in Lisa Brawn's footsteps and try a store.

April 4, 2012

Black is Black

+ Some rainbow
Winter is coming........I got into the studio and sanded a bunch of canvases that had been eagerly awaiting my return.  The canvas that I previously refinished seems good enough to work on for the Versus show now. It needed another coat of gesso and I decided to try something fun and go with thick tar like black as the base coat.
This Gesso by golden is thick and sticky like tar. The canvas was sanded smooth with 220 grit, yet it was still troublesome to apply. I used a spritzer to help move the gesso along making it much easier to work with.
Working on this canvas with a partner will prove to be an interesting challenge.Afterward, I decided to lay out my 18" X 24" canvases intended for a series of loose portraits of the 7 deadly sins. In my research I found out about a mnemonic device to remember the 7 deadly sins: PEG'S LAW.
I used bright marking paint to denote which canvas will be for which sin. I am also giving myself the challenge of working in character with one of the 7 colours of the rainbow, 7 sins + 7 colours (ROYGBIV). Ranked in the order of severity: Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Sloth, Lust, Avarice (Greed) and Wrath.