Been promising to post the commissions I’ve been doing lately. Here’s one of them. My friend Ariella requested artwork which had Ike Eisenhower kicking Trump’s ass.
Ariella Kadosh is also an artist herself. Originally from Brooklyn, she’s a history buff. Ike Eisenhower was chosen for a few reasons. She is quoted as saying: “I’m an ex Republican. I’m not sure how to put how I feel in words, so I commissioned Michele to draw it for me.”
The ironic thing is, if Ike Eisenhower was president today, he would’ve been considered a moderate Democrat. Quite possibly he might be the last great Republican president. Years before the GOP turned into a hot ultra conservative mess.
As a rule I don’t like to discuss politics too much. Particularly on a blog where I’m trying to promote my art. Politics never unite people. Instead it’s just like organized religion. Built to divide, conquer and control. No matter what one believes in or says. However. Occasionally there’s exceptions to the rule. This being one of them. After the past week of the Kavanaugh hearings, we might need some comic relief.
Below is the final result. Done with pen, ink, watercolor and a bit of glitter/shimmer watercolor. You just can’t see the shimmer in the scan. The illustration was purposely made to be in a gaudy, cartoon-y style. Check out Trump’s mouth. Got the idea from another fellow artist on Instagram.
Anyway, it’s late. Time for bed. Stay tuned for more commission postings.
Got free concert tickets yet again. The headlining band was an act who called themselves The National. Not usually my thing. However, this weekend I needed music that was more low-key and mellow. So it worked out.
After checking out a tiny bit of Bushwick Open Studios 2018, I headed out to Forest Hills Stadium once again. It would be the venue’s last concert until next year. Now I had tickets for both Saturday and Sunday nights. Sunday sounded better only because Cat Powers was on the lineup.
In 2018, Forest Hills Stadium has become my favorite venue. There’s many reasons. It’s close to where I reside, the bathrooms are clean, the food is decent, lots of open space so it never gets too crowded, there’s history attached to this place, and the commute is easy.
There’s only one thing to complain about. It’s the beer prices. This year they were really steep. Okay, so you expect to pay more for alcohol at a concert or sporting event. I get it. But $14 for Red Stripe lager? Bwahahaha! The cheapest beer brand there was Heineken. Ain’t no way in hell I’m paying ten bucks for that crap. Especially as a beer snob. Ordering any of the IPAs really hurt your wallet. One of my favorites, and also a local brewery gem known as Finback was on their menu. In the beginning of the season, when I saw Robert Plant live, Finback cost you $15. Then when I went back to see Culture Club and The B-52s, they spiked the price up to $17. Apparently they had a change of heart and reduced the price by a dollar. For CAKE Finback was $16. It’s enough to make someone sober. In the meantime I consoled myself with some grapefruit flavored IPA. Yes, I paid $12 for that bullshit. Knowing they were going to charge my card, I wrote “RIP OFF” in big words on the cashier tablet instead of my real name. What do you know – they charged me anyway. Just like I figured. Next time do yourself a favor and go straight to the Finback brewery itself.
Beer prices at Forest Hills Stadium, Sept. 30th 2018.
I paid $12 for this bullshit.
Someone’s already passed out.
Then there was the crowd itself. Usually the Forest Hills Stadium audience is a mixture of different concert goers. For The National, the audience all looked like gentrifiers who would price me out of my own neighborhood. To be fair though, the two concerts, Saturday and Sunday, were pretty decent. It was a tiny bit of escapism needed at that moment. Oh, and I photobombed some other concert attendees.
Already mentioned Cat Powers. Was also impressed by Future Islands. Best part about both nights of The National was their stage backdrop and lighting. Missed most of the bands on Saturday, but caught the entire lineup on Sunday. I’ll go back listening to the harder music later in the week.
Anyway, here’s the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week, which has nothing to do with the concerts I just described.
The first time I heard about the film Liquid Sky, it was through the American television show Siskel and Ebert. If you don’t know, Siskel and Ebert were two film critics who reviewed movies. Originally titled Sneak Previews, it was broadcast on PBS stations until it switched to commercial syndication, and the title change. Siskel and Ebert created a new genre of television through their discussions and occasional polite arguments. It’s no big deal now, thanks to podcasts, blogs, social media, etc. It’s the internet, after all. A place where everyone and their mothers has an opinion about everything.
Anyway, back in the early ’80s, when everyone was watching The A-Team, I was more interested in watching Sneak Previews. Sneak Previews helped introduce me to art house, cult, and foreign films. So one day they reviewed this little ditty titled Liquid Sky. A few years later after entering high school, I saw the movie on VHS. Within the group of misfit friends I hung out with, Liquid Sky became our coming of age film.
When a local video store decided to go out of business during the early ’90s, it was celluloid paydirt for me. Every week I would go in, purchasing cult classics such as Andy Warhol’s Bad, Eraserhead, and yes, Liquid Sky. In fact, there was one time during my brief “Rave” phase. My parents weren’t home. After one of those Rave parties, a few of us, still tripping on some psychedelic, went back to my place to watch Liquid Sky.
In recent years, Liquid Sky has been making the promotional rounds again. Every time Liquid Sky had a theatrical showing, I had schedule conflicts. A few months ago, I opened an email saying Liquid Sky was going to have a screening right in Queens, New York. I thought to myself “Hey – that’s where I live!” Within the email it mentioned a showing at a public library in the Jamaica, Queens area. Huh. That was slightly off putting. Didn’t think the Jamaica area wasn’t the best place to show Liquid Sky. Still, I went with it.
Arriving late to the showing, my instincts were right. Most of the audience were broke locals who were happy to see a free movie. Unfortunately, the film’s plot of aliens feeding off sexual orgasms from downtown New Wave junkie club goers went right over their heads. There was a few others, similar to me. Fans of Liquid Sky who had seen the film numerous times, who decided to commute to the screening. We were either in the same age bracket or older. A group of us started reminiscing about how the East Village and Williamsburg used to be before all the super hyper-gentrification. Who would’ve thought we would’ve been so nostalgic for all those dive places years later.
During the screening, the film kept on freezing. On top of that, the film they showed was fricken’ edited! C’mon now. While this was going on, some audience members started heckling. For a brief moment I felt as if I was transported to a Times Square movie theater before the Giuliani clean up. Stranger still, there was a part of me that had missed public heckling. Like the time I saw Judge Dredd in 1995 in some East Village movie theater. Judge Dredd was so bad, the entire audience started loudly mocking the film. I digress.
After the screening, the film’s star, actress and writer Anne Carlisle along with director Slava Tsukerman showed up to do Q&A. They graciously answered questions from the audience. Even when some burn-out kept on rambling. As much as I tried to retain my cool, I eventually geeked out. After all, this was a film that was a part of my formative years. It was through the Q&A that the audience learned what had become of Paula E. Sheppard. Better known as the brutal lesbian drug dealer Adrian in Liquid Sky. Sheppard dropped out of acting soon after Liquid Sky was completed. She’s now a yoga teacher on the west coast, wanting nothing to do with the film.
Another local, an older sweet woman made the observation that the characters in Liquid Sky weren’t exactly “nice” people. That comment took me back slightly. She was right though. Many people in the underground subcultures weren’t exactly “nice.” Yet I grew up within some of those counter-cultures. Sort of made me reflect.
I’m also reminded of a time back in high school. My friend was struggling with her sexuality. She eventually came out as a lesbian. Last time I spoke to her, she volunteered describing herself as pansexual. She had really identified with the film during her teen years. So Liquid Sky also reminds me of when someone is first exploring gender, androgyny and sexuality. Particularly when Anne Carlisle plays both male and female characters. Even if her portrayal of a guy comes across like an early ’80s version of David Bowie.
Liquid Sky has plenty of illicit drug references as well. During the Q&A, both Carlisle and Tsukerman reminded the audience that Liquid Sky was originally slang for heroin. Here’s a bit of a spoiler, so if you’ve never seen the film, you might want to skip this part. The premises of the film is based on aliens who come down to earth. The aliens feed off endorphins given off the brain during sexual climax. Once a human reaches orgasm, the aliens attack. The only sign of their attack is a crystal bolt left in the victim’s head. Margaret, the bisexual promiscuous cocaine addict realizes that she can kill people by having sex with other people. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, a German scientist attempts to track down these aliens. While the German scientist tries to track down Margaret, Margaret uses sex as a way to seek revenge upon others, such as her rapist. Why Margaret has survived is because Margaret never reaches orgasm. The film ends with the scientist being killed, and Margaret doing heroin so she can go up with the aliens. Heroin has similar endorphins as a sexual orgasm.
Both Carlisle and Tsukerman dropped hints that they’re attempting to create a sequel to Liquid Sky. Liquid Sky just had a blu-ray release. So if you’ve never seen the film, you can purchase a copy here.
Capping off this blog post is a sketch I did loosely based on Liquid Sky. When the aliens come take Margaret from the roof top. While doing some online research, I discovered that Anne Carlisle also practiced psychotherapy in Miami during the 2007, thanks to her IMDb bio. Given that she co-wrote the Liquid Sky screenplay, this doesn’t surprise me.
Completed the sketch the other day. Influenced by Japanese mythology, demons, and horror manga art. Never really got into manga, horror being the only except. Sketched this the other day after looking at panels done by Junji Ito.
Last week was Ganesh Chaturthi. For those who don’t know about Ganesha, he’s one of the most important gods in the Hindu pantheon. In order to work with the other deities, one must go through Ganesh first. He’s the remover of obstacles, patron of arts and sciences, and the deva of intellect and wisdom.* The main day for Ganesh Chaturthi this year was September 13th. In 2019, the holiday will fall on September 2nd.
Back in 2002, I had a job in some quasi ‘New Age’ store. It sold tarot cards, incense, bland Flax brand clothing, spiritual/esoteric/occult books, jewelry, statues and other curios from around the world. The store was located on East 6th street, in NYC’s East Village area. Sixth street was a row of inexpensive, brightly lit Indian restaurants, so this shop stood out. It did sell Ganesha related merchandise. As usual I sketched on the job when I was supposed to be doing something else. That was around the time I did my first Ganesha sketch, completed in colored pencil. Both the store and the original sketch are long gone. The shop went out of business in 2003, six months after I quit the job. Despite the joy of never having to deal with that ugly Flax clothing ever again, there’s still fond memories of the place. My former manager was a practicing Hindu; his main deity was Kali. He encouraged me to find my own path, interests, etc., but was also very down to earth. In fact, when it came to the general population, he was just as cynical as me. Retail does eventually bring out misanthropic tendencies. That guy was one of the best supervisors I ever had.
Although my former manager was kind enough to share some of his wisdom, I didn’t come back to Ganesh until years later. It was the advice of a current friend that turned my interest back to the elephant god.
It was time for a new Ganesh illustration anyway. This one was completed within the past 72 hours. It was done in pen, ink and glitter watercolor. I’ve been working a lot with glitter watercolor lately. Even if the shimmer doesn’t come out too good in the scans. In person the result is lovely. The glitter watercolors I use has a good balance, so it doesn’t look tacky. Thinking about turning this piece into either prints, greeting cards or both.
Working on the next issue of Psycho Bunny as of this post. Hopefully it’ll be released sometime in late October.
If you always wanted to send hate mail, now is the time to do it! Looking for letters to be published in Psycho Bunny 3.5. Since the very first issue, it’s been a tradition to have a ‘hate mail’ column on the last page. Just don’t send any directly at me, okay?
Send all ‘hate mail’ to: Ihatepsychobunny@witchesbrewpress.net.
2018 has become a Led Zeppelin themed year. A few months ago I saw Robert Plant perform at Forest Hills Stadium. Since then I’ve been on a Led Zeppelin kick. Even if I still skip ‘Stairway To Heaven’ when using Spotify. House of Deveraux blended the art of strip tease dancing to songs like Kashmir effortlessly. All the burlesque performers did their own take of each Led Zep tune to a packed audience. Here’s a review of the show on Brooklyn Vegan.
Which leads to the weekly Psycho Bunny sketch of the week for Sept. 19th, 2018.
By now I would’ve had the latest Psycho Bunny sketch of the week posted. The artwork has been completed. Just haven’t had time to scan it. It’ll be on this blog very soon.
In the meantime, here’s a recent commission I did a few weeks ago. It was the second time working for this awesome client. The style was a change of pace in regards to my usual style. It’s a local rapper from Queens. As requested, I’m not telling who. (Was given permission to post the art) I was going through his Instagram account, but when I watched his promo videos from his YouTube channel, that’s when everything flowed.
Here’s the inked version before color:
Here’s the colored version.
The mediums used was pencil, pen, ink, watercolor and glitter watercolor. Again, the scan doesn’t really show the shimmer from the glitter watercolor very well. It looks better in person. The person who commission this was very happy with the final results.
I’m still taking commissions, so if you’re interested, discuss rates, etc., send me an email: Witchipoo@witchesbrewpress.net. Serious inquires only.
Last month we went to check out the Stanley Kubrick photography exhibit over at the Museum of The City of New York. Stanley Kubrick has always been one of my favorite film directors. Back in high school, I made it a mission to check out every film Kubrick directed. This was way before the days of Netflix. If it wasn’t available on VHS, then I would hit up all the revival movie theaters. You millennials have it so easy nowadays!
Luckily films are now more easily obtainable. If it can’t be found on Blu Ray, DVD or through a streaming service, there always places in NYC. For example, Videology Bar and Cinema over in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Anyway, I sought out most of Kubrick’s films. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Lolita, the prophetic Dr. Strangelove, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and of course, A Clockwork Orange. Even sat through that yawn fest Barry Lyndon. Although I never managed to catch the earlier films like The Killing or Paths of Glory. Did watch Eyes Wide Shut much later on – despite my disdain for Tom Cruise.
Before Kubrick became an influential film director, he got his start as a photographer for Look Magazine. At the exhibit, open until Oct. 28th, 2018, you can see the gritty yet candid detail that would later show up in Kubrick’s films. Kubrick was just 17 years old when he sold his first photo to Look back in 1945. These photos also show how NYC was from 1946 to 1951.
New York City wasn’t just Kubrick’s subject. At the exhibit, a Kubrick photograph of a tattooed and pierced carny was not accepted by the editors of Look. Apparently the photo was thought as ‘too extreme.’ It was decades before the ‘Modern Primitive‘ movement, which led to the current acceptance of body modification.
The photo below particularly stood out. It’s of professional boxer Rocky Graziano. Graziano was trying to repair his reputation when Look did a feature on him. Boxing later helped Kubrick make the transition from photography to filmmaking.
After walking through the Kubrick exhibit we checked out the rest of the museum. Right next to the Kubrick showing was the last day of Rebel Women, which inspired this sketch done back in August.
At the other end of the floor was a retrospective of the feminist era. It showed the beginning of the women’s rights movement, ending with one of Hilary Clinton’s infamous pantsuits.
Which leads to the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week. This sketch isn’t just a sketch. This weeks shows the cover of the latest Psycho Bunny issue. If all goes well, hopefully Psycho Bunny issue 3.5 will be released at the end of October.
This may or may not be the final version of the cover. It really depends on finding the original typeface of the lettering used for the A Clockwork Orange film poster. For now you have an ideal about what the front cover looks like. Other details forthcoming. If the latest issue is completed in time, it’ll mostly likely debut at Incredicon, taking place in Upstate NY, Oct. 28th. Incredicon is a very small con, but it’s been a while since I’ve tabled at a comic book convention.
My life has been busy as of life. You however, still have time to check out these social media links: