Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Year in review for 2014


Hey there sports fans Al here with the latest from the BBVA:

Well it comes time again in the year to take a look at what has happened this year and how it will effect the next as we close in on the next year. I have been looking hard and long on what need to be done for moving forward but lets take a look back at the calendar for the high points.

The year of 2014 started off with the end of the BIG 400 show coming to an end as a hold over for the next year and what could be looked upon as a spring board for other artistic endeavors well I was in for a surprise when I went into the show to pick up what was left for me. 6 outta 10 pieces sold and now looking back the pieces I submitted I think I know why. It just wasn't my strongest work. In fact some of the pieces were just down right bad. I was just looking to get done and fulfill my obligation to crank out 10 pieces no matter if they were good or not. But some of the pieces surprised me but not so much.

But looking at what was left I think I know how better to approach my audience with new work.

The next item on the list was Had I bitten off more than I could chew? The production of the 5”x7” s had been a stable for me as a vendor but these little pieces weren't letting me really expand to showing off new and bigger original pieces of work. I think this is why when I have a shared a table with my buddies I am not getting the kudos from people I think I should. Thats not saying I don't want to hang out with my buds but financially we all had to bite the the proverbial bullet just to be seen. The other is not based upon ego either. Selling the work constantly proves that to me. Case in point was the Cyrpticon show of 2014 being stuck behind the human wall of shame.

EVENT SHOWS: CRYPTICON 2014, ROSE CITY 2014
I won't go into deal here on this but refer you to this link for the Crypticon 
and as to Rose City a whole different kind of vibe and crowd. The Right Side of the Force to the Dark Side of the Force. Look here for the positive moments.
.

THE ONE MAN SHOWS:
This is a major HIGH POINT for the kid! I love doing these shows because the work gets the chance to really shine on like it needs to. The first was THE HOP THUR THE HEART show at N.W.I.P.A. February 15th just a couple days after Valentine's Day. Such a fun show lots of people and dark stout beer for Opposite Day. Two pieces sold during the shows run and I knew one of them was gonna be good “Down with the Weirdness”. I had finally gotten the genuine response to work from a complete stranger like I had always wanted to hear. And the fact that it was going back east to Brooklyn New York at a brewery was even better than I had hoped.
It was sign off I was looking for because I had been debating about whether or not to keep working on the comics full time or switch gears to something else that I know makes me money.

SCRATCH AND BURN show at SeeSee's Motor Coffee was another one man event that was fun and a much different kind of feel. Only sold a few prints this show but had great new pieces to show case and I did. Summer was a hard sell though. But I would totally do it again.

GROUP SHOWS:

88 STRONG show was another group show but instead of doing the scratchboard work I have become known for I painted. Admittedly not the best work I have done but better than I have done in years past. Only one of 8 sold but still fun to work on.

ICON show. Now this was a fun one because I took a fictional character that has always had a influence on me and really turn out a wonderful single piece of work Captain James T. Kirk! Loved working on this one and it was hard to do but it still rocked!

AND COURSE THE BIG 500!


New tech was brought in to help with larger pieces and was realized that it was not as helpful as I would have liked or hoped. HOWEVER there was a lot of new product that was made and brought out this year like the Gentle Giant T-shirts, the prints and postcards. As bad as Crypticon was I did sell a little a bit of everything there at this show and that was cool.

COMMISSIONS:
Not so many this year as there has been in the past but N.W.I.P.A. Always seems to have something for me coming up so well see what is next.

AND PROBABLY THE BIGGEST THING TO TAKE PLACE the WEBSITE!

So what did I learn about this year?

Website is always nice to have.
Always have business cards on you.
Bigger is better.
Always have something that can be sold in any price range. Plan in advance, and when things go woefully wrong make sure somebody hears about it!

 

So now the kid needs to get ready for next year. Till then.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

BIG 500 this weekend and other stuff

HEY THERE SPORTS FANS, AL HERE WITH THE LATEST:

THE BIG 500 is almost here and all ten pieces are completed and turned in on time for the show.  I am very proud of the work this round and hope that all the pieces find a home. But never fear collectors of scritchy scratch art there are high end prints available for you for the low price of about 20 bucks.
BUT SHOULD YOU FEEL THE NEED there will be original art up at the show.  Now this year unlike years past when I have had to rush downtown PDX right after work with a shit ton of other artwork with to drag around. Not this time.
So think of this as a art investment as well as supporting the local economy.Here is a link for a video about the show this next weekend here.  The BIG 500.

NOW TRUE I haven't posted a lot of blogs recently But this is not to say that I have been lazy by any means. If anything that I have been more busy than anything else. I have been running into an issue if cranking out amounts of artwork for Corpse Cop and on top of that of structuring New stories for Richard Parker
and a book ties in with the images and post cards done in scratchboard.
On top of that is finishing Corpse Cop Inhuman Torch
 Today in the mail I received a package from printninja.com to see if they could come up with a reasonable printing deal for me for both the comics and other. 
And with the on set of identity theft independent printing has been on hold till the IRS deals me a bone with a new SS card.
The biggest issue with all these items that have been worked on is raw cash.  It has always been an issue for me that the production had been hobbled by just money not the lack of creativity.

This is where the real world (fuck it!) and the imaginary world's of the freakin' Vega Universe  collide! So I'm looking at restructuring my living situation to reflect the every changing events of my personal life.  Scraping by when I was single and in my early 30's but now I have to think of other ways of generating revenue to support the art beast!

Wish me luck 'casue a lot of this stuff will come back with a Vengence weapon!(visually of course).
I apologize for the lack of cohesiveness in this blog but the kid has a had a lot on his mind these last couple of months. Stick with me, It will get better.

Etsy and Storenvy have been growing pretty good but it is still pushing the envelope to make sakes and this has been a slow season for commissions and the like.

And of course I still have my comics that I have worked on.  

Oh well.
  In my opinion it is a strong story visually compared to "Arctic Wolf" story line. We'll will see how things evolve as time goes on.  I would personally love to see Corpse Cop do a few more stories before I'm done with him but we'll see how that goes down.

Anyway the kid's outta here for a short time.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

THE BIG TOP (and other stuff)



HEY THERE SPORTS FANS, Al HERE WITH THE LATEST:


So what's new with the box (Visual Arts)?
That's a good question since I haven't been posting as regularly as I would like to because there's been a lot of things that have been taking place both in my personal life and professional life.
Since I have shifted to doing commissions and secular individual pieces of art  for group and solo shows, the question that might be asked "what's next?"

Easy answer, self promotion.

And that is not a shameless thing either mind you.

So that means here in the 21 Century that you got to use the technology and tools set before you and swallow YOUR fear of putting work out there and put your foot down and make the statement that best reflects you. In my case it's selling the work everywhere I can.
Taking a page (nearly literally) out of Adam Watson's play book for selling his comics (www.darkslinger.com) I have been adapting what he does and with the insistence of my beautiful girlfriend Beth (also a great artist in her own right at www.urbanretrospectives.com), to get the work out there because at least it's out there for people to see.
SO in that regard I have three on line store fronts show casing and selling the work. It takes a lot of time out of the day to interlink these sites. Of course this kind of work does take away from the actual creation of new and interesting work but it a balancing act always has been always will be.
So check out these three sites for art prints and gilcees.
And of course I still have my comics that I have worked on.  At comixpress and
Indyplanet.
As of this writing I have found that comixpress is a thing of the past!  The Citadel - the very first comic I every printed up is no longer around.  Who knew?  I sure the hell didn't. But that's okay, older work always gets overlooked. You will find that Black Box will also have a imprint from Dan Barton and his BIG ASS SWORD comic.  Dan and I had been working on Pandora's Garage 1 through 5 for a few years and he he has focused on working his comics while I have began working and focusing on the prints and secular pieces. He had asked me if I would have any problem with this? No I said because it doesn't directly effect the work I'm doing currently.


ON THAT NOTE OF CHANGE,  NEW THINGS- THE BIG 500!
As with the last couple years past I have been part of this cool group show I have tried to put in 10 New pieces every year. Now have I sold every single one of them, no, but that's the goal.
 But the work I put in last year I wasn't really putting forth my best effort for the work. I just tried to put in 10 pieces.
I know that there are times when you are under a deadline and you have to crank crap just to meet it.
Well what I came away from that show "Well what did you learn about rushing stuff?"
You can't fool the Observer.  If you are not into your work people will see it.  The opposite is also true. "Down with the Weirdness" was like that and that one sold!
You can take a look at these few BIG shows and see the difference in the art as it progressed over the years.


Now true sometimes there is the unexplainable of why a piece of art connects with a customer and  that you can't fathom why even though you still know it's a good piece.

Alchemy is the only thing I can think of that explains this.

Anyway, I have been working my ass off to make these new pieces the best images possible. I think that this effort shows a real confidence and mastery of the medium of scratchboard. Check it out some of these images and you'll see what I am talking about. Pretty cool I think.

AL'S SOAP BOX:
So how do you sell work and not sell your soul for the fast buck?
The answer (in my opinion) is you can't .
I know a lot of my friends who will not agree with me on this but I bet there isn't a moment when you collect money on a piece of work that you think to yourself “Dude,that was such a good piece of work and ya sold it like a baby on the black market! What the fuck is wrong with you?!”
There will always be a bit of your integrity that gets lost in the process. It feels to me like that when I am selling a new piece of work especially like the commission work that I finished on for N.W.I.P.A. It is one of the hardest things to come to grips with. I think that a lot of really good people just never want to throw themselves into that arena. And I get it, I really, really do. It's not fun looking outside of your comfort zone and sipping on a flavorful latte at a local coffee shop and working on a great illustration and realize that when you look up that's your work on a poster of something that been up for over a month! 
There is a difference in the way I am producing these works however and it goes to a conversation that I had with another artist at the bar as I was picking up a special batch of beer that was being released by Firestone Brewing.
I had asked simply if he had sold anymore images or paintings in his time since he had a show just before mine when it up earlier this year at N.W.I.P.A. here in Portland.
He had said no because that wasn't what he was at for selling work for. And then he went on further to say (to paraphrase) that he has been in that arena before hiking up his metaphorical jean skirt down on the street to just to make a buck.
But now he was just doing his paintings for himself.
And I understood where he was coming from on that. I had said that I had been switching gears from doing my illustrative comic work to doing the secular pieces in both group and solo shows around PDX. He had said that he wasn't actively looking for places to show case his work even though he could do it. But he did add that he could see how I could branch the gap by doing the illustation commission work and still manage to turn out good work for solo shows.
He complemented me on my work (which was cool to hear from another artist). He was being sincere in his response to me and had no other vested interest in what I was doing. There wasn't a sense of someone blowing smoke up my ass.
So again, there is a balancing act going on here and I will do my best not to fall off that trapeze as it get hosted higher and higher as time goes on under the Big Top!

And that is about it for the kid here but onto the physical artwork to complete for the BIG 500.
ALSO please check out the website

Monday, October 20, 2014

GUESS WHAT, SIZE DOES MATTER

HEY THERE SPORTS FANS, AL HERE WITH THE LATEST:

Funny as that may sound for some nothing is more true or accurate than that when it comes to producing original artwork. 
How did I come to this grand realization? 
Over that last few months as I have been going over and talking about making postcards and prints for sale on Etsy and Big Cartel.  I started cranking out a bunch of 5"x7" scratchboards like I always had in the past thinking that no problem man.  I'll crank these little bastard out fast and I'll be rolling in it!
Well as it turns out I was rolling in it - a lot of scratching poo! 

In the comparison "Graveyard" I noticed something that really bothered me-  where was the detail that makes my scratchboard rock?

 Nowhere.


This is a problem for me as a part of what makes my scratchboard illustration stand out from other scratchboard illustrators is the variations in tone (grays) AND the sharp details for a price.  The 5"x7" weren't allowing me to do that.  And the amount of time being placed highly detailed 5"x7" just isn't worth it these days. At least not to me these days.
So in observation before final product goes out Make the Original BIGGER!
For me this means 9"x12" scratchboards from pretty here on out.

Keep your fingers crossed for new stuff out on Etsy and Big Cartel.

DREAMS OF ELYSIUM NEWS:



Still moving forward pretty good with all the stuff that has been going on.
But building a masterpiece takes time.  And story moves finally from the drawing plans and marker comps of action of fighting beasts on the beach to a softer more "romantic" scene.  Of course this the love scene I need to place in the book to show the ever growing affection and passion between characters.   Not an easy task but it will get done And I am sure someone will have an issue with it because it will depict nudity and sex.  That's part of the game plan anyway.


THE OTHER BOOK(s)
 that are needing to be made are Corpse Cop. "Inhuman Torch" is still needing to be edited.  Though the artwork is completed it is taking the time to get around to work on it. Life as I have said before has a way of throwing curve balls that you would never have seen coming.

GALLERY SHOWS:

Of course there are shows coming up and this is no different. I have one gallery show for the BIG 500. Again this is a show that I have been part of for the last four/ five years. I has been pretty cool being part of this show as it has given me the chance to really learn to value the work and price it though I believe that I think now by being part of the show I am de-vauling the work a little bit but public has never been quick to embrace what the artist wants to sell work for.
But on the other hand I have been asked back subsequently every year to participate in the shows and have always really been up to the task to show what I can do this time around.


Again 10 pieces will be entered this year and they will all be pretty cool when I am done BUT with on exception I hope to make prints of these images and postcards as well.
At least that's the idea I am thinking.



COMMISSIONS:

Now one major commission is done for NWIPA for their Halloween Tap Takeover by Evil Twin Brewery.
This is a big baby too.  2'x3'.  I love it!  I don't think any of my artwork is close to being this size.
 Another is in the wings for a 5”x7” of Spider-man for a Christmas Present. As I have said already I am trying to get away from working on these small pieces and work on larger -like the Richard Parker pieces @ a 9”x12” size. We will see how that works out.


Well I got to get back to it. I've been busy for the last several Sundays but work has been and is being produced at a high rate.





ODDITIES:
Not at the moment- unless I look in a mirror.

LAST MINUTE THING:
I had received an email from the Crypticon Show people now after several months actually letting the dust and distaste evopreate from my mouth actually doing the right thing by offering a table free of charge for next years show.
  To me this is a great chance to make it a better show than this last year and potentially kick total ass on sales with a huge amount of new product.  Things are working out now.  We (meaning my table bud George Leon of Custom Comics Shop) will have a table #27.
Check out the floor layout.



OTHER NOTE WORTHY THINGS :
If your wanting to look at some of the older blog for Black Box Comix you can check them out here. Black Box Comix Blog.




There is also Twitter https://twitter.com/blackbox13 to follow and Tumbler The Other Scratchpad
blackbox13.tumblr.com/   as well 
Or if you're interested in purchasing something that catches your eye  check out here on the Big Cartel web site.  Big Cartel.
And of course is always the backlog of comics here at Indyplanet.
And last but not least is checking out the website for other artwork that isn't featured here on the blog @ www.blackboxvisualarts.com

And the kid is out of here!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

ROSE CITY 3 THE AFTERMATH


HEY THERE SPORTS FANS, AL HERE WITH THE LATEST:
Well the Show has come and gone and now it's time to take a look at what I learned from the experience and what could be done to make it better.
BUT FIRSTLY I WOULD LIKE to thank my friend Jason Z. Pott of NEƶ Trash Comix for having me table with him and allowing me to show and sell some my work there. No conflicts and always great banter and humor and laughter.
Thanks again dude, you rock.
NOW ON TO THE SHOW
PROS
In all the show was and seemed bigger to me in its scale and scope. But the cool part was it didn't seemed cramped to me.  Even with the large groups of cos players walking around and many photo ops there never seemed to be an issue with the flow of traffic cursing and perusing the table for that golden nugget of something cool.
The air conditioning.  Now this may seem like a no brained but times past the heating/cooling has been up and down at the Convention Center but no so this time.  Of course it was kinda funny to watch some of the cos players sweating in their costumes saying "Man, its hot in here. I wish they would turn on the air conditioning."
Maybe if you weren't walking around all day in a 40 pound costume of latex rubber and fake fur you might find it comfortable.
THE PA System was in great working order and not over the top like some other events I've been to. The announcements were clear and concise. Which was needed for a big event like this.
The guests were great.  And by that I mean that comic book guests.  I got to meet some of the guys who worked Sabertooth Swordsman. Very cool bunch. 
The CONS
Y'know there's really nothing I can say bad about this show like I have in the past.  No drama, no hassle, no problem.
Sales were not the greatest this year but that is okay but then I didn't have a table for myself either so it it's still a win win situation for me.

FURTHER ADVENTURES Along with the Dreams of Elysium.

It has been a while since I have busted out the black sketchbook to work on any of the pages. But it felt right to do so yesterday and after a small conversation with my friend Jason when we talking about Corpse Cop he said something that stuck with me about the work I had done on the scratchboard 16 page story. To paraphrase he said that I had sweated over that book and should get everything out of it that I put into it.
And following my passion and the aforementioned scratchboard I want to get this book done and had started thinking about how to render the broken/fragility of dealing with something that is outside of your control. In that regard I think about my dealing with the Clackamas Town center Shooting being there witnessing the mass fear that overtook so many people and having to make tough choices.
It might be time to exercise some of those personal feelings about that.



All NEW SHOW ADDENDUMS
As I had already said I was going to go to a friends art show I have to forgo doing a show with my friends this Thursday. Oh well I can do it again down the road.  October.  It's season of change.  And this month is no different.
  I this case I have been tasked to create a new image ever day for the next month and post it. To me that sounded way to easy but how could I not take it?
  SO here is the first one and a second should be on it's way.
COMMISSION WORK:
Not much has been mentioned about this other than a few people who have inquired about the possibility of work - no money has changed hands. "Money talks, Bullshit walks." is that old attage though crass as it is it is also true.  I know a lot of other artist who have been in the business don't work on speculation.  There's no money (seriously) in it.  Anybody who tells you that has swamp land to sell to you in Arizona.
Now I am getting closer to finishing the piece for NWIPA for the Halloween Poster design and I touched base with my friend Aron former front man of the Fallmen. It was some issues dealing with the choices of names for his new music project but he assured me that he wants me involved with the project. No worries on my end.

But now everything is on for cranking out work so this blog has to come to an end this evening – for now.

ODDITIES:
Not at the moment- unless I look in a mirror.


More of this info can be found at  and at Ratchet Raven Productions.

OTHER NOTE WORTHY THINGS :
If your wanting to look at some of the older blog for Black Box Comix you can check them out here. Black Box Comix Blog.
There is also Twitter https://twitter.com/blackbox13 to follow and Tumbler The Other Scratchpad
blackbox13.tumblr.com/   as well 
Or if you're interested in purchasing something that catches your eye  check out here on the Big Cartel web site.  Big Cartel.
ETSY IS SET UP NOW!  Though there may be a small shop there prints are available there. At https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackBoxShopBox
YAY team!
And of course is always the backlog of comics here at Indyplanet.
And the kid is out of here!

Friday, September 19, 2014

ART COMES DOWN AND ART GOES UP.

Hey there sports fans Al here with the latest:



Well The "SCRATCH AND BURN" art show comes down this week and I'll be picking up whats left of the artwork.  From what I can tell there are a lot of original pieces still up with no sale tag on them but that's okay because what I have heard recently through the grapevine is that some of the prints have sold!
That's great news for me as this months focus begin towards group show "ICON" and the 3rd Rose City Comic Book Show.

Now with the ICON Art show only a few weeks away as well as the the idea of art and the postcard comes together. Nothing else quiet like it. I feel that I have more or less stumbled into a small arena where a small image can be big.
What I mean by that is that a small image can have a big impact on a person. When I look at the new images that are coming out from this group of pictures I am sure that there is something there that is worth watching let along pay for.
I am currently onto the second card image currently and hope to have it done fairly soon. The card set I would like to have done before Halloween roles around but I know that my work can sometimes be tedious and a trial for moi.
Always plan for more. You can never tell whats gonna move and sell.


And that's why I am working on POSTCARDS right now.
 I had been wanting to work on a Richard Parker show for a while since "Deep Sea Calamari" was bought and traded like a stock on the NY Stoke Exchange back for the O.M.S. back in October of last year.  But the idea of working on a Old School Deep Sea Diver kinda got me and then I started to really work around the idea of this guy and then I got a name from a movie that I liked and everything began to really take place.
I never expected to see Richard Parker really take off as a series of work but what do I know, I'm just the artist.
And of course I thought that I could have a show based around this icon figure but a friend of mine this evening suggested that I get a hold of a few maritime places along the coast.
 Man, I had never even thought about that before but what a great idea regardless.

NOW comes the push for commissions and cards.  Halloween is coming fast and I have a number of images that I have to have ready for the BIG 500 art show coming up later this year.

ON TOP OF THAT... BEFORE YOU KNOW IT-
ROSE CITY COMIC SHOW takes place this next weekend.  I am hoping that I might be able to turn a little of coin to alleviate some of issues. At least that is my hope.
If anything I'll take a break from the regular grind of selling art materials and sell artwork in it's place.
,


FURTHER ADVENTURES WITH RICHARD PARKER....
Truth be told I'm having a wonderful time working on these images for post cards and prints.  And if anything else I'll have artwork ready to show for next year's NWIPA art show in September. Plus the original poster design that I am making them for this Halloween Tap Take Over from Evil Twin Brewing.
It should be a fun show.
All NEW SHOW ADDENDUMS
As the month of SEPTEMBER beings it's march to the end my co workers hit upon the idea of a Last Thursday Art Vending show in North East Alberta on the 25th. To me this would be another way of getting my work out to the public And into that area of town. Since I already have postcards and prints done I might as well take advantage of the show and the work.
COMMISSION WORK:
Not much has been mentioned about this other than a few people who have inquired about the possibility of work - no money has changed hands. "Money talks, Bullshit walks." is that old adage though crass as it is it is also true.  I know a lot of other artist who have been in the business don't work on speculation.  There's no money (seriously) in it.  Anybody who tells you that has swamp land to sell to you in Arizona.
BUT the fine people of NWIPA have asked me again to make another poster design for them for Halloween. Now really I jumped at the chance to do this because I LOVE HALLOWEEN.
Personally I think that it should be a recognized holiday like any other but I know that is not being realistic as much as I would jump for joy.  On top of that, Dan had asked me to incorporate a little H.P. Lovecraft into the work.  For that was awesome since I have been reading up on that author recently. Fun and creepy stuff.  Now I know there is so many people that are attracted to the work like King, Wrightson and Mingola. 
And with the high praises of the work at the bar of NWIPA saying that work that I have been doing reminds him, Matt, of Wrightson I am blessed.
If you are not knowing who Bernie Wrightson is then please do yourself a favor and look at his artwork here .  I can say that I have  met the man a few times in my life and he is one nicest and genuine illustrative master I have ever met - with the exception of Micheal W. Kaluta.  Here is an example of his fine work and here for his website.

I can only hope that one day (hopefully soon that I could gain the recognition that these two artists have.  I think that I am getting there.

LAST MONSTER ON EARTH!
Now it has been a while since any of my comic book work has been mentioned or anything else for that matter so I thought that I should add a few images that this character is still going strong - though I am currently thinking about how to bring him into the comic Universe that I have created.  
The easiest way I can do that is using Corrax the Seeker (NEWER VERSION) and launch a new WEIRD ATOMIC TALES book including those characters.  Here is some of the images that I have been working on.
,

 Comics are never far from my mind so I try to keep myself busy by envisioning a new work.  Corpse Cop again is another example of a book and character that I would love to see out there.  Rose City was supposed to the unveiling of two Corpse Cop books but life got in the way of that but they are still out there.
 
ODDITIES:
Not at the moment- unless I look in a mirror.

More of this info can be found at  www.thevelvetcoffin.co.

OTHER NOTE WORTHY THINGS :
If your wanting to look at some of the older blog for Black Box Comix you can check them out here. Black Box Comix Blog.




There is also Twitter https://twitter.com/blackbox13 to follow and Tumbler The Other Scratchpad
blackbox13.tumblr.com/   as well 
Or if you're interested in purchasing something that catches your eye  check out here on the Big Cartel web site.  Big Cartel.
And of course is always the backlog of comics here at Indyplanet.
And the kid is out of here!