Urban Groove

So I’m finally trying to get my website together. Here I was, typing my bio to post on my future website. As I was listing stuff I’ve done, I remembered contributing artwork for a UK club fanzine. My long time friend Jason used to publish a little ditty titled ‘Urban Groove.’ After his last trip to the US, Jason decided to put together his own ‘zine. The zine’s content focused on what he loved the most, which at the time was raves, music and clubbing. Jason asked me for some artwork, and at the time I thought nothing of it. This was way before I had decided to use a ‘pen name.’ Ironically, it was my friends Jason and Bejay who had always encouraged me to do something with my cartooning, artwork, and whatnot. I still consider those two, along with a few others to still count as my friends. Everyone else I knew back then…they’re long, long gone.

Jason’s skills as a professional printer back in Newport, Wales, proved to be in his favor as he was putting together issues of Urban Groove. Here’s the cover of one of his Urban Groove issues, dating to Winter 1998-1999:

UK based “Urban Groove” fanzine, winter 1998 – 1999. Published by Jason Mee. Some of my early artwork was used for this issue.

The photo of the skyline you see on the cover is when me and Jason went to visit the U.N. He used the NYC background as part of the fanzine cover design.

Another page from this issue. My artwork hadn’t fully developed yet, but the core was there.

Page from the UK fanzine “Urban Groove” dated winter 1998 – 1999. Published by Jason Mee. Angel cartoon drawn by Michele Witchipoo, dated 1997. That drawing was later used for some handmade Christmas/holiday cards, given to my friends around that time.

Here’s the centerfold of the ‘zine, with my drawing placed in the middle of the layout:

Centerfold layout from the UK fanzine “Urban Groove.” Published by Jason Mee during the late 1990s. Drawing by Michele Witchipoo, dated either 1997 or 1998.

I hadn’t looked through issues of “Urban Groove” in years. To my dismay, I had totally forgotten a photo Jason had published of me. This was back when I was thinner, and much cuter. Still surprised that this snapshot was used. This was back when I was a redhead. I’m the shorter one, on the left.

Advertisement in the back of the UK fanzine, “Urban Groove” for subscriptions. Photo taken in 1996 or 1997. Urban Groove was published by Jason Mee during the late 1990s.

I don’t think I would ever pose for a photo such as this today. Maybe as a joke. Similar to when I took part in a zombie beauty pageant back in December 2011. I knew I had no chance in winning, but did it more for the laughs. Being obnoxious, I suppose. But to pose for something like this? Not likely.Then again, the person in the photograph is nothing like the person I’ve become nowadays. After all, people do change.

Urban Groove stopped publication a long time ago. Jason moved on, and now finds work as a photographer. He mostly photographs sexy pin-ups.

Thus so ends another short trip down memory lane.


A Night Of Art Takes Times Square Part Two

After re-reading yesterday’s blog, (https://witchesbrewpress.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/a-night-of-art-takes-times-square/) I wondered if I had come across too cynical about everything. I probably did.

Just opened my email. Received one from the Artists Wanted company. Found out through their email that the Art Takes Times Square event which happened this past Monday was covered on NY1, ABC news and New York Times. Check out the link: http://www.see.me/june18th/

My illustration on a 9 x 12 digital billboard in the middle of Times Square. Art Takes Times Square event, Monday June 18th, 2012. Illustration and photo by Michele Witchipoo.

So perhaps I should do another blog entry, posting the rest of the photos from the night of June 18th, 2012. I had taken these pics with my cellphone. Unfortunately, my cell frizzled out on me yesterday afternoon. Which meant I couldn’t upload any more pics from that night.

Without further ado, here’s more photos from the Art Takes Times Square event, Monday June 18th, 2012.

The crowd gathers to check out art from the Art Takes Times Square event. Monday June 18th, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.
Right in the middle of the world famous Times Square of NYC. Art Takes Times Square event, June 18th, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo
Marching band. Art Takes Times Square event. Monday June 18th, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.
Art Takes Times Square. Monday June 18th, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.
The after party. Art Takes Times Square, Monday June 18th, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.
Some things never fade. Art Takes Times Square after party. June 18th, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.
Party person. Art Takes Times Square after party. June 18th, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.
DJ. Art Takes Times Square after party. June 18th, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.
People love open bar. Art Takes Times Square after party. June 18th, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.
Dancer. Art Takes Times Square after party. June 18th, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.
Even the devil needs to cool off. Art Takes Times Square after party. June 18th, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.
People get under something. Art Takes Times Square after party. June 18th, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.
Just right when my artwork pops up on the screen again during the party, this guy gets into my shot. Rude. Monday June 18th, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Here is the original illustration I had submitted to the Art Takes Times Square contest, below. Done with pen and ink, completed December 2010.

Untitled Jan. 2011 by Michele Witchipoo.



A Night Of Art Takes Times Square

Monday night was the “Art Takes Times Square” event. I had almost forgotten about it. Originally I wasn’t planning on attending, but then I figured, why not. It was only a short subway ride to Times Square. Figured I would snap a few pics and head back home.

It wasn’t hard to find the crowd. My rough guess about the crowd itself, it mostly consisted of artists who had participated in the contest. Then again, it’s not often that your artwork gets displayed on a 9×12 digital billboard in the middle of Times Square. Even if it was only for a minute. Still, it was joyous, as a marching band played during the festivities.

Mini marching band during the Art Takes Times Square event, Monday June 18th, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo

I made it to 42nd just in time to catch my image broadcast on the screen, maybe around 10pm-ish.

My illustration on a 9 x 12 digital billboard in the middle of Times Square. Art Takes Times Square event, Monday June 18th, 2012. The illustration was originally created and finished December 2010. Illustration and photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Then there was the after party. Okay, I was curious. Since I was one of the many artists who had their work shown, again I figured, why not.

Usually I don’t go to mainstream clubs or parties. I don’t even hang out that much anymore, to be honest. Back when I was into being social, my choice would usually be places found on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Either dive bars or small underground clubs playing more ‘Alternative’ music like post-Punk, Goth, retro 80’s New Wave, Industrial, etc. Sometimes Metal or basic Rock n’ Roll. Occasionally I would go to drag queen parties, which would sometimes be mixed with the whole downtown ‘Alternative’ scene, or fetish events. Back in the ’90s, I went to some Raves and Rave-type clubs, but again, it was part of the whole ‘Alternative’ culture. This was back during the ’90s and early 2000s’. But as for more ‘mainstream’ clubbing, I rarely did such thing.

I got to see what I was missing at the Art Takes Times Square after party. Which wasn’t much. Don’t get me wrong, I had a good time, but it felt a cross between Studio 54 and Zoolander. Well, Maybe the Tunnel mixed with Zoolander. Certainly reminded me of an early Love and Rockets comic, particularly a few panels in a Palomar story (if you don’t know what I’m talking about with the Love and Rockets comics, don’t worry.) Either way, take your pick. My favorite part was that some of the party people dressed up in costumes. It’s an aspect of clubbing that I miss very much, sort of like the old ‘Club Kid’ scene. Then again, it’s probably not fair to continue comparing today’s parties with the club events from my youth. It’s a different time after all.

Open bar at the Art Takes Times Square after party. Monday night, June 18th, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo

You could tell that at this after party, there were people who had never been to a NYC nightclub before, and it showed. So it felt like a high school dance, only with an open bar. At least there was good wine being served. The DJ sporting fashionable bunny ears played a variety of musical genres, mostly tried and true classics. Hip-Hop, 80s Pop, Current top-40, Michael Jackson, AC/DC and Nirvana. You know, typical stuff you play for a catered wedding party. Actually, now when I think of it, it did feel like a catered wedding event, only minus the food. After a while, my cynicism dropped down a bit. Observing the other guests, you could easily tell who wanted to be creative with their outfits, which I appreciated, and who just wanted to strut like a peacock on the dance floor, striving for attention. About 90% of the crowd was truly enjoying themselves with this outdoor party. It was a perfect night for dancing too, as the mid-June weather was just right.

The angel and the devil meet. The devil says “is it hot in here, or is it me?” In which the angel replies, “is it a sin to wear glittery Speedos?” Monday night, Art Takes Times Square after party. June 18th, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

As I’m pretty much free-writing this blog entry, I realize just how cynical I have become. Wow. It is due to age? Well, I’m not that old. Not yet anyway. At the same time, I thought about something I haven’t even recalled in aeons. Like when I went to Danceteria for the first time. I was maybe 15 or 16, and had no business being there. Thanks to my caked-on Siouxsie Sioux wanna-be makeup, I made it past security who assumed I was older than I actually was and never even asked for my ID.  I wasn’t a regular Danceteria patron, but I was friends with another under-aged classmate, who went every weekend. It was this same classmate who took me to my first club that had an ‘Alternative’ scene. Once I stepped inside the building, I explored the many floors Danceteria had to offer. It wasn’t long before I got swept up in the whole underground environment. I loved every minute of it.

I even snagged one of my first ever boyfriends inside that club. It was after a Public Image Limited show at the Beacon theater. Some people wanted to head down to Danceteria afterwards to chill out, and I followed. As I sat in the club’s video lounge, some skinny dude with a small mohawk sat next to me. He inquired if “I had ever gone out with a punk rocker before?” And of course, he wasn’t of legal age either.

My days at Danceteria lasted as long as that one week high school boyfriend. Danceteria shuttered its doors, and then the Jennifer Levin case happened. Afterwards, the NYC clubs cracked down, asking to see your ID.

Back to the present and my current jaded self. Isn’t lovely to be an adult? I speak with jest, but in all, the party wasn’t bad. Seriously, I’m not a hater as I’m making myself out to be. After all, clubbing is a bit like going to church every Sunday. Nightlife survives not only on music, dancing, and fashion – people need to connect with one another. Deep down inside, very few people desire to be alone.

Being my usual cynical self at the Art Takes Times Square after party. Monday June 18th, 2012.
What am I doing here? Art Takes Times Square after party. Monday June 18th, 2012.

The after party was showing the same images that was just displayed in Times Square hours earlier. Alright, I thought to myself, and so I patiently waited to snap another photo. By the time my art and name rolled around, open bar had ended, the crowd dwindled, and a few peeps here and there started getting douche-y. My illustration pops up. Just as I snapped the pic, some big-headed jerk gets in my shot. Then I heard the first few notes of The Cure’s “Boys Don’t Cry” – a band that I am now permanently sick of since 1990 – and I was out of there.

As soon as I went past the ropes, the bouncers politely bid me farewell. Which was actually nice for a change; ’cause I do have to say, the security was surprisingly mellow. I bumped into a friend, who had just come out from work. We chatted for a bit inside another bar, which played the same Rhianna song I’d only heard earlier at the after party. Times have certainly changed, but it’s not every day you get to see your art displayed in Times Square. So yeah, that was the nicest part of them all.

Update: Art Takes Times Square

My art will be shown in the Artist Wanted event, Art Takes Times Square. Just got an email saying, ‘Your work is estimated to be displayed on a 9 x 12 ft digital screen located on Broadway and 43rd Street between 9:45pm – 10:15pm.

It’ll be interesting to see how my illustration(s) will look on a Times Square billboard. My guess is probably one will be shown out of those I posted during the contest.

I joined the contest rather late. Posted a blog about the contest last month: https://witchesbrewpress.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/art-takes-times-square-so-vote-for-me-5/

For those who can’t be there, it’ll be broadcast live via world wide web: http://www.see.me/june18th/

Regardless, it’s exciting to see my work on a billboard, displayed in a city that I grew up and still reside in.

Stages of Freya

Just wanted to show everyone the three initial stages of the most recent illustration I had worked on.

Stage One: Pencil.

Stage One: Pencil. Michele Witchipoo, June 2012.

Stage Two: Pen

Stage Two: Pen. Michele Witchipoo, June 2012.

Stage Three: Color.

Freya. Norse goddess. Artwork by Michele Witchipoo created June 2012. Ink, pen and digital color.

Freya, June 2012

Back in 2007, I did a portrait of Freya, Norse goddess for my self-published third issue of Babalon Babes. Whether or not I ever print another Babalon Babes issue remains to be seen. Regardless, I decided to do an update on Freya. Why? Why not?

I briefly studied Norse neo-paganism maybe eight years ago. Has it been that long?

Back to this illustration. It’s been a while since I added detail in my artwork. It’s something I prefer to do actually. People have advised me not to worry about details too much. Yet it’s the details that grab my attention, as with I assume is the case with other people. The devil is, after all, in the details.

Freya. Norse goddess. Artwork by Michele Witchipoo created June 2012. Ink, pen and digital color.


Wham Glam Thank You Ma’am

To be Glam. Last night I came across some photos on the internet. Soon afterwards I did this pencil sketch.

Back in the mid to late ’80s, the whole ’80’s ‘Hair Metal’ scene was huge. Bands like Poison, Motley Crue and such ruled. They were the fantasies of American teenage rebellion. Although I was never into the whole ’80s hair metal thing. In fact, I hated it. I preferred the ’80s Goth subculture, which I suppose would be considered ‘old school’ among today’s gloomy youngsters.

In the 1980’s, Goth subculture wasn’t as mainstream as it is today. To get a better idea of that era, nothing captures the underground Goth following like the NYC magazine Propaganda. I remember Propaganda not so much for the reviews, but for the conceptualized photography.

Now what ’80s Goth and Glam did have in common was androgyny. Personally to me, the classic Glam Rock wasn’t really the ’80s L.A. glam rock era, but more like from the 1970’s. Early Bowie when he was Ziggy Stardust, T-Rex, The Sweet, etc. I still love Sweet. In fact, their album ‘Desolation Boulevard’ is still one of my all time favorites.

Although hair glam metal was never my thing, there were a few exceptions. Take Hanoi Rocks for instance. I remember meeting Hanoi member Mike Monroe in NYC back when I was a teenager. He was a pure rock star through and through. Even in broad daylight, he would walk down St. Mark’s street in full glam gear. It wasn’t uncommon to see him somewhere in the Greenwich Village area. Last time I saw him, it might’ve been during 1986 or ’87. He was in some deli on Broadway, near NYU. (FYI, when I met Mike Monroe, he was a nice guy.)

Today I’m not so hateful towards hair metal. Now bands like Motley Crue is sort of like nostalgia to me. Although I still much prefer the ’70’s glam stuff. Does it really matter anyway? ‘Cause you realize that everything intertwines and connects anyway. It’s just depends on personal opinions and tastes.

Having said all of that, I still prefer Sweet over Cinderella.

Glam guitarist, pencil sketch by Michele Witchipoo. Created June 2012.

Chocolate Memorabilia.

Continuing where I left off with the last post. Also brought during my trip to Austria was these mini milk chocolate bars. I really brought them for the nostalgic novelty.

Austrian milk chocolate candy, complete with old fashioned graphics and retro artwork.
Austrian milk chocolate candy with retro wrapping.

In my last post “Rock Me Amadeus” I showed these two photos. Thought I would show up close pics of the wrappings.

Up close of the Austrian mini milk chocolate bars.

Thanks to my In-Design professor, she taught me to pay more attention to graphic details. Actually I’ve always did, but in recent years I was trying to get away from anything mass consumption. She did point out how important it was to keep up with current magazines, design, and she does have a point. So I began to stick my head out of the self-imposed rabbit hole a little more often.

I’m a sucker of yesteryear images. Which is why I brought the chocolates posted above. As they say, ‘as above, so below’ and hence below is another close-up inspection.

Up-close scan of Heidel milk chocolate with retro design. Brought in Austria.

My personal favorite here is the puss in boots illustration.These are from the Heidel brand. Brought from a touristy confection store in the New Town of Salzburg. Heidel has a variety of designs.

Confiserie Heidel Schokoladen Mini Euro.

Similar to chocolates with US dollars images on the wrapper found in the American souvenir shops, there were mini bars displaying the Euro currency design. I didn’t purchase this item.

Since a Billa supermarket was close to where I was staying, I also brought Haribo gummy bears with the German packaging. Besides the German language, there’s a difference with where the gummies are being manufactured. If I can recall, in Austria Haribo bears are made in Germany, while in the US, the bears are made in Turkey. Not too sure on this, but since I threw out the wrapper, I’ll have to go by memory.

Anyway, a little bit of edible memorabilia here.

Oh yeah, now that I’ve finally blogged about Heidel candies, they can now be taken out of the fridge to be eaten. Yum.