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Archive for the ‘art’ Category

A few weeks back I attended the Culture Club and The B-52s concert over at Forest Hills stadium. It wasn’t my first seeing both of these acts live. It was more that both groups were such a part of my early teen years, and that it was right in my own backyard in Queens, NY.

When I was about 11 or 12, I brought the first B-52s album. I was the first kid on the block to have that record, and most likely the only one. It was early ’80’s in lower working class Queens. I was considered the school weirdo. Having this album only solidified my case. Not that I really cared.

When my friend used to come over, I introduced her to Rock Lobster. I made her wear old wigs dug out from my mother’s closet, which my mom wasn’t too happy about. I wasn’t happy because the wigs weren’t styled like in beehive hairdos. In my bedroom we pretended to be Kate and Cindy, wearing mom’s old forgotten wigs. We danced to most of the songs on side one, because vinyl still ruled in those days. That album cover is still pretty iconic to me.

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Eventually I grew out of The B-52s. By the time “Love Shack” hit the charts, I was more into Post Punk, Goth, Industrial and anything non mainstream.

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Concert attendee at the Culture Club/B-52s show at Forest Hills stadium. Sat. July 28th, 2018. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Fast forward to July 2019 in Forest Hills stadium. (Wasn’t the band’s first time. The B-52s played Forest Hills stadium back in 1983. Most of the crowd was dancing to such classics like ’52 Girls’, ‘Planet Claire’, and what surprised me was ‘Mesopotamia.’ Of course they played ‘Love Shack’ and ‘Roam.’ You can see their set list here.

Thus leads to the first of the two latest sketches of the week. Decided to throw in two instead of one, due to last week’s absence.

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Psycho Bunny’s friends as The B-52s. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. Aug. 2018.

After The B-52s came Culture Club. I’ve mentioned dressing like the two women from The B-52s. However, it was the arrival of Boy George that took it from the bedroom to public display. I began to copy the Boy’s look. While going to class, I wore the hat, the baggy clothes, etc. Even had his dance moves down. Once again, I was the first kid on the block to embrace Boy George and crew. Also one of the very few. Boy George wasn’t very popular in the junior high I attended. In fact, that’s when I experienced homophobia.

Dressing like Boy George gave people the impression that they could insult me. Everyday I heard nasty remarks from other schoolmates such as “You know he’s gay, right?” “Why do you like him? He’s a man dressed like a woman!” “Boy George is a fag!” “Fag lover!!!” “You look like a freak!” “Hahahaha….” It was usually followed by “Why don’t you be normal, and listen to Michael Jackson like the rest of us?” Which led to my distaste of anything remotely related to Michael Jackson. To this day, if I hear just a few notes from a Jackson song, it makes me nauseous. I just equate Michael Jackson to general hypocrisy. Jackson is dead, and I still can’t stand the guy. It’s not his fault. It was my junior high classmates. The association. His music and image still reminds me of everything fake in today’s pop culture.

Because of all this rude behavior, it influenced me to look beyond my immediate Queens surroundings. I applied for those magnet high schools just to get away from all those rotten close minded classmates. Eventually I got accepted into the High School of Art and Design. Thanks to Art & Design, it lead me straight into a path of downtown Manhattan subculture, discovering Greenwich Village, stumbling upon small import record shops, cool clothing stores, and of course, Punk and Goth. Thus my high school years fared a helluva lot better than junior high.

I’ll never forget when word came out that I was not heading towards that local war zone, Byrant High School. Some guy quipped “oh, so you’re not going to the same high school as everyone else? What’s the matter? You’re too good for us now?”

Uh actually, when I think about it…yeah.

Not going to Byrant was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. From what I heard years later, my suspicions were all confirmed. Thanks, but no thanks. This should explain my misanthropy.

‘ “Why does everybody gets so excited when we go back into the past? It just amazes me. It’s just metaphorical.” ‘ – Boy George during the Culture Club concert at Forest Hills stadium, New York. Saturday July 28th, 2018. 

But high school is high school, and life is a lot more than that. It’s still nice to reflect, take in some nostalgia, acknowledge your influences. To be ruled by the past though, is a prison you don’t want to be trapped in. Boy George definitely didn’t want to relive his past. In fact, most of the songs on the Culture Club set list was more like a rock and soul revue than Culture Club’s greatest hits. The opening song was a cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” Fret not, they still did some of their greatest hits.

‘ “We’re a living, breathing soap opera. The amount of collective drama on this stage would kill a beginner.” ‘ Boy George during the Culture Club set at Forest Hills Stadium, Saturday July 28th, 2018. 

I appreciated that Culture Club didn’t want to rest of their retro laurels. Boy George himself waxed philosophically that night on the Forest Hills stage. He came across as intelligent and witty. There were times you sensed that he’s acknowledged lessons learned from his past experiences. This was evident with their recent single “Let Somebody Love You.” You never would’ve guessed he assaulted a male escort back in 2009. Then there was the time when he rebuked my friend’s request for an autograph that was meant to be for his mother. His mother was in her final stages of MS.

 Oh that Boy George. He’s such a Gemini.

Despite his shitty transgressions, I will always be thankful for his influence upon my life. It was a positive influence. His public image taught me that it was okay to think outside the box, to be yourself. If it wasn’t for him, Siouxsie Sioux, Joan Jett, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, and David Bowie, my outlook might’ve been very different. Probably a lot more bleak.

While I did accomplish a lot, I’m still residing in Queens. For now anyway. As someone who once wanted to ‘escape’ Queens, it’s now become the complete opposite. No thanks to the overall gentrification of NYC. I’ve learned to appreciate all the different cultures within my borough. Manhattan just isn’t the same anymore. Let’s not even talk about what happened with Brooklyn. The Bronx and Staten Island is too far away from everything. So Queens is where I stay. For now.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you. Here’s part two of the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week. Psycho Bunny as classic Boy George.

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Psycho Bunny as Boy George from Culture Club. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. August 2018.

The very next day after the B52s and Culture Club gig, I went to see Slayer over at Jones Beach, Long Island, NY. Talk about one extreme to the other. That will be discussed in next week’s blog post.

…and now. Memorize these social media links:

Facebook: pages for Psycho Bunny and for Michele Witchipoo – WitchesBrewPress.

 Twitter: One account for me, and one for Psycho Bunny.

Tumblr: World Ov Witchipoo

Instagram: there’s WitchipooArt.

Get yourself some cool stuff on RedBubble, featuring my designs. There’s dresses, tee shirts, notebooks, etc. The notebooks, and the Quentin Crisp tees seems to be one of the best selling items. Just in time for Pride.

One of my hobbies is documenting what goes riding the NYC subway lines: Wildlife On The MTA. Cause if you can’t laugh, you’ll cry. MTA passengers know what I’m talking about. Even better: My WildlifeOnTheMTA Instagram is active once again.

Come back next week for a new Psycho Bunny sketch. Remember to bring in good karma.

 

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August 8th, 2018 was International Cat Day. Of course, every cat lover knows that everyday is really cat day. Thanks to the internet, Saturdays have been re-dubbed at ‘Caturday‘, and rightly so. What better way to spend the weekends with your feline wonder.

Lately I’ve been into the Victorian era. Love the clothes from that time period. The aesthetics were amazing. Keep in mind, the Victorian era itself wasn’t all that great. It was an extremely repressive time in history. Among other things. There was some insubordination. When I went to see the Stanley Kubrick photography exhibit at the Museum of The City of New York last Sunday, next door was Rebel Women.

Back to Caturday. I did this quick sketch of my own two cats as Victorian ladies.

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Victorian Caturday sketch by Michele Witchipoo. August 2018. 

Enjoy your Caturday.

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Really didn’t do another David Bowie blog post. Thought that was done once I visited the Bowie exhibit over at the Brooklyn Museum. Unfortunately, everything has been really busy lately. Once I had some free time, the first three days was spent sleeping in and whatnot. Now that I’m back blog posting, there’s art to upload, concerts to semi-review, etc. It’s Friday as of this post. So it doesn’t make sense to finally post a new Psycho Bunny sketch of the week. Those entries are usually online from Monday to Wednesday, most likely Monday. So let’s go back a few months to when the Brooklyn Museum and Spotify had a massive clever promotion at the Broadway-Lafayette subway station. In addition you could score your own limited edition Bowie Metrocards. Currently I have the complete set in my possession.

It also gave me a chance to take some selfies with my freshly dyed hair, thanks to Second Star salon. Usually I do my own hair, but hey. My friend has some serious skills.

Basically the entire subway station at Broadway-Lafayette/Bleecker Street was covered with Bowie. Hopped on the 6 train. Upon arrival, there it was.

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Here’s some more photos of the Bowie-fied station. Slightly reminded me of Christiane F, when she used to hang around Zoo station in Berlin. All was needed was Warszawa playing in the background. Only it’s gentrified NYC 2018 with no junkies in sight.

It was time to collect those Bowie subway Metrocards. People were lining up at the token booth. How it went was, most of the cards was in the self-service machines. However, to avoid wasting your money with random cards, you could also buy the card you needed at the booth. Luckily the machine gave me one of each, and only needed to buy one card from the token booth to complete my set.

As I was getting most of the Bowie cards from the self service machines, a tourist was looking over my shoulder, watching what Bowie cards I was receiving. Then some Japanese film crew came over, interviewing me about my purchases. They filmed me getting one of the final cards. That same Japanese crew then interviewed some man who told them he couldn’t be bothered doing the physical random purchase; so he already brought a complete set from eBay for $200. Must be nice to have money to burn. When the tourist wanted to do a Metrocard trade, that was my cue to take a break. Too many people were hovering over those Metrocard dispensers. Even though for the most part, it was peaceful.

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The display inside the subway station was still nothing compared to the actual exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.

A few days later, I just happened to find a book in the street. It was a Bowie biography. Barely read, near the stairs of some apartment building. Right in my own Queens neighborhood. That was some synchronicity.

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That should cap off the Bowie posts for now. Next week I’ll return with some brand new Psycho Bunny sketches of the week.

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Earlier last month (July 2018), I had the pleasure of doing a commission from a lovely lady I had met at Second Star salon, which my friend owns. Two weeks later she contacted me, requesting a commission for her birthday. In her request, she wanted something slightly retro with a rock n’ roll edge, cakes and bees. The bunny, would be the ‘Honey Bunny.’

Including the bees and honeycombs was especially important. That’s because she has her own honey making business called Well-Beeing Concepts.

Below is the black and white pen version, before the color.

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“Honey Bunny” birthday commission, July 2018. Art by Michele Witchipoo. Black & white, pen before the coloring. 

Here’s a scan of the same commission, this time done in glitter watercolor. Although the glitter part of the paint doesn’t really come through in the scan, in person you can see the shimmer.

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“Honey Bunny” A birthday commission done in July 2018. Art by Michele Witchipoo. The scan fails to pick up on the shimmer of the glitter watercolors, but still an awesome piece. Pen, ink, glitter watercolor. 

Really pleased about the way this commission came out. Stay tuned folks. I’m going to be posting another commission soon, which will be done in a darker style. Of course, if you want your own commission, email me: Witchipoo@witchesbrewpress.net.

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Since I haven’t gotten around to the latest Psycho Bunny sketch of the week, instead let’s have a retrospective. Here’s all the past issues of Psycho Bunny, from issue one to the last release in 2011.

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This was the debut issue, released in 2004. My drawing and humor have improved ten fold since this first came out. Regardless, people had more or less a positive response. It sold out at Jim Hanley’s Universe (when it was located near Herald Square), and Forbidden Planet during 2004 and 2005. MySpace was popular during this time, so thanks to self online promotion, I managed to sell copies online. Unfortunately the printing place lost the files, so I’m unable to print anymore of issue one. Just as well. If you have issue one, hold on to it.

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Issue two was released in 2005, making it’s debut when I had a table at Big Apple Comic Con. The cover was influenced as I was walking through Queensboro Plaza on the way to my job. Literally saw a drunken man slouched on the sidewalk after pissing in his pants. The kitty street walker was added in for maximum effect. She was affectionately known as “Crack Kitty.” Charles Bukowski would’ve been proud.

In between issue two and three, I self-published two mini-issues. Both made their debut at MoCCA Art Fest 2006 and 2007.

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Spring 2008 saw the release of Psycho Bunny issue three, the double issue. Like the previous releases, this one also made it’s debut at MoCCA Art Fest 2008. The year 2008 was also when I became a NYC resident once again. Thankfully.

In 2010, I had a table in Artist Alley at New York Comic Con, otherwise known as NYCC.

The years 2009 through 2012 were very busy. One reason was a decision to go back to college. In addition I was doing the art for a web comic titled Shitty Mickey, which was published on The Brooklyn Rail website. Along the way there was a short Psycho Bunny story published in the comic book anthology IF-X #8. The April Fool’s edition was published in 2012 by Hamtramck Idea Men.

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After having some illustrations published along with various exhibits, it was time for another Psycho Bunny issue. The last one was released in 2011, debuting at MoCCA 2011. This one is still available for purchase. You can always order your copy online if I don’t have a table at a local comic convention.

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My table at MoCCA Art Fest 2011.

Next post I’ll get back on track, moving forward. Stay tuned for a new Psycho Bunny sketch of the week.

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The title pretty much says it all. Last week was very busy. This past weekend, although good, was especially busy. Barely enough time for sleep! This morning I just finished doing a brief talk at my former school. Second time they’ve asked me to speak.

So stayed tuned. The weekly sketch will resume sometime this week. In the meantime, here’s a previously posted sketch.

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Psycho Bunny at his usual place: at the liquor store. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress.

My two art assistants will make sure everything’s back on track next week:

 

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Starting from June 1st to August 31st, Sketch Lottery is having a free-for-all. Basically for summer 2018, draw any of the past Sketch Lottery subjects. Which meant I finally had a chance to sketch Alf.

Alf had this thing where he ate cats. So it’s only fitting that Alf met his match with Grumpy Cat.

 I met Grumpy Cat once. During the summer of 2014. A Barnes and Noble book signing, located in the Union Square area of downtown Manhattan, NYC. Tartar Sauce (Grumpy Cat’s real name) was asleep. Tartar Sauce’s human liked my shirt. Here’s a photo of me when I was platinum blond. Before I went with my signature blue hair.

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Posting with Tartar Sauce, better known as Grumpy Cat. June 3rd, 2014, Barnes and Noble book signing/meet and greet. Union Square (Manhattan) location.

Anyway, back to the sketch. Originally I was going to ink the piece, but liked how the pencil work was coming along. So I kept it just the way it was. Really like this one a lot. Besides. Grumpy Cat is sort of like my spirit animal.

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Alf meet Grumpy Cat. As seen on Sketch Lottery. Pencil art by Michele Witchipoo, July 2018.

You can see my sketch, along with other sketches on Sketch Lottery.

 

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