UTL vs Local Entities

I have been creating some shirt images for local groups and events through West Side Design in the city of Tuolumne. Here are are some designs/illustrations that will be walking around in the coming months:

{for Golden State Cellular}
{lumberjack character from previous artist}

Artist Survey #15: Danae Wilson

I met Danae on my second day at CSU Long Beach. We lived in the same dorm building and along with her roommate Christina and my neighbor Mike became good friends. She has a talent to control whatever medium she works with incredible ease. At least it looks that way to me…I can’t paint fer crap!

{Oil on Canvas}

{Oil on Canvas}

{Screen Print}

{Oil on Canvas}

Name: Danae Wilson

Location: Long Beach, CA

Medium(s): Drawing and Painting- Charcoal and Oil on Canvas mostly but I do pattern making and screen-printing, as well as ceramics and metal work.

What do you consider yourself (artist/designer/other)? I am an artist, but I play around with interior and graphic design.

Where can we see your work (place/publications/url)? My flickr but it needs to be updated there’s not much there.

When did you start gaining interest in artistic forms of expression? I started drawing when I was 2. My dad was a Pastor of a church and my mom worked so I stayed with him during the days. I would sit on the floor drawing and painting for hours. I was five when I told my mom I would try and think of something I wanted to paint before I went to bed so that I could dream about and have more to paint about.

Who/What inspired your interest? I used to take lessons as a child and I would go to The San Diego Museum of Art. My favorite painting as a child was Jaques-Louis David’s Death of Marat. I also loved the impressionists and the idea that I could invent anything I wanted on paper. My other inspiration was Harold and the Purple Crayon, I loved that he invented a world around him using only his purple crayon and some imagination.

What is your day job? I am a Photo Retoucher. I use Photoshop to enhance wall portraits (removing blemishes, wrinkles, extra pounds, and unwanted people in backgrounds).

Why do you create? I create because I have to. I don’t create enough though and this plagues me.

Is there any recurring theme in your work? The idea of dystopia comes up a lot in my work, which I think stems from coming to Los Angeles and my feelings of disenchantment and disgust, mixed with wonder. I also focus on personal themes, roles of women, and often my work is inspired by classic literature. I am also a Comparative World Literature minor.

What do you want from your work? I want my work to inspire and receive respect from those who I admire and respect within my art community, but I also want my work to stay universal and retain the ability to communicate to those who are not part of the “art world” and have no training in art history and the art canon.

What do you want viewers to take from your work? I like people to be able to project their own feelings and emotions onto my work. When I create something that is open ended enough that someone else can come and put his or her own interpretation into the piece, then I’m happy.

How often do you work on personal projects? Pretty often. My figurative works are what I consider my “personal projects,” although I have been showing them at school lately so they are less personal.

How often do you work on commissions or commercial work? I do paintings for charities although I never show this work to anyone else because of how commercial and even kitschy the works can be.

Does your art support you financially? No. However I do find photo retouching to be a distant cousin of painting and its close enough since it pays the bills.

Do you feel preoccupied with your art, do you think about it often during the day and night and do you anticipate your next session? Yes. I think of all sorts of projects and paintings that never come into existence because of factors like time, money, and freedom to explore without feeling like the work is “unworthy.” I need to let go of those restrictions though.

What do you do in your spare time besides your art? I go camping, I love nature, I love being away from the city. I ride my bike on the beach a lot. These things make me so happy. When I can, I travel. I push myself to grow whenever I can and I pursue things that make me uncomfortable. I never want to be at rest.

Which musicians are you currently interested in? Bon Iver, Fatboy Slim, Sigur Ros, and always Classic Rock

Are there any events you are looking forward to attending? COACHELLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How long do you generally take on a piece? A week. I have NO patience. I’m a “one-shot” painter and I don’t usually go back to old pieces.

Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of your art? Over and Over. Artists can only date very patient and understanding people who see that art is a necessity and who want to promote your growth rather than monopolize your time.  I could have done anything coming out of High School, but I chose the art path and I know that I will probably never see a ladder that I can climb or any obvious ways to advance myself. Artists have to be as creative with their career and employment as they are with their art.

Do you work on multiple projects at once? Yes. I work on abstracted apocalyptic landscapes, as well as large-scale figurative drawings.

Do you have trouble parting with your finished work? I never part with my work, at least not anything I really cared for. I know it will be hard when I do but so far I have hoarded most of my work or given it to my mother and father.

Calligraphic Scrolls

Sorry I haven’t been posting much lately I have been slacking. Here are some cool scrolls I found in a clip art book. It goes to show that the artists of olde were well versed. Not only could these chaps write beautifully, but they could illustrate inventively.




Type Insripation

Typography is my favorite design element. Here are two great examples of how people used to push the boundaries of typography centuries ago. They were meticulously rendered by hand, most likely by natural light with hand made drafting utensils. And you thought learning the new Adobe Suite was difficult…



Stay tuned for my new hand rendered type piece.

Artist Survey #11: Rick Reese

Rick was my intro to illustration professor back at Long Beach State. I always looked forward to his class because he is a real down-to-earth guy and would often bring in his current projects to show us his creative process (usually because he was behind schedule I’m sure). I enjoy drawing a great deal, but am no illustrator, Rick made sure to let me know that! Rick taught me to really push to exaggerate my images to get the emotional impact that I often came short on. His work, whether commercial or otherwise is always fun to look at. He layers images and text allowing viewers to always find something new to examine while they should be doing something more important.

(The Escapist)


(Study for a Boy)


(The 6-3)


(Study for Mother)

Name: Rick Reese

Location: Orange County

Medium(s): All of them

What do you consider yourself (artist/designer/other)? They are all the same to me.

Where can we see your work (place/publications/url)? Various galleries, some magazines, around, rickreeseart.com

When did you start gaining interest in artistic forms of expression? I can’t remember, I think I might be a cliché and say from birth.

Who/What inspired your interest? Skateboard graphics from the 80’s, comic books and cartoons. I still look at them even though my interests have changed a lot.

Where do you first remember being exposed to art? Comic book store. Great place to get introduced to imagery and text working together. I loved comic books, not the lame super hero crap but the alternative funnies like Yummy Fur.

What is your day job? I’m an artist and a teacher. If you keep your “day job” you may not ever get around to supporting yourself with your art.

Why do you create? To fulfill some unexplainable urge to communicate my experience to others. Maybe I need validation I don’t know but I think it’s a common human need.

Is there any recurring theme in your work? At this point most of my new work is loosely dealing with memory and family.

What do you want from your work? I want it to make me rethink what I expected and amaze me that I made it.

What do you want viewers to take from your work? There is no one thing. Different people will take different things obviously. I really don’t care what they take as long as they are engaged by it in some way that is meaningful to them. If they have no reaction to a piece I feel like it’s a failure in some way.

How often do you work on personal projects? All the time. All your work should be personal or you’re wasting your time (in my humble opinion).

How often do you work on commissions or commercial work? Not so often anymore, but I used to all the time when I was younger and worked for other people and other companies doing mostly “commercial” work, whatever that means. I may return to it someday soon, I’ve been feeling the itch.

Does your art support you financially? Yes, but I teach too and that’s been helpful because I have a wife and 2.5 kids to feed. Selling work in galleries is not always something you can count on…its like freelancing used to feel to me, inconsistent but kind of fun.

Do you feel preoccupied with your art, do you think about it often during the day and night and do you anticipate your next session? I think about it all day and lose sleep over it at night, I’m obsessed by it and I can’t wait to work on a piece once its underway. I hope most artists feel that way or they aren’t in the right field in my opinion. If you aren’t that interested there are many easier ways to make a living.

What do you do in your spare time besides your art? Read, surf, hang around with my family.

Which musicians are you currently interested in? Bad Brains, The Misfits. I can’t stop listening to this music. Its had me since I was a kid.

Are there any events you are looking forward to attending? My daughter’s parent teacher meeting on Wednesday, should be a real scorcher.

How long do you generally take on a piece? Its all over the place. Weeks, a month sometimes just a few days on a small piece if its coming easy. Paintings evolve at their own pace it seems, some fast, others slow.

Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of your art? I married a graphic designer so she understands art and has been supportive and really a huge blessing. I quit a 9-5 corporate art department job to teach and pursue painting. So maybe I lost that job but I never felt like it belonged to me. I’m not good at that kind of thing. The consistent day in and day out monotony (as it seemed to me) was really hard. To me it was worth the loss of consistent income to regain my sense of who I was as an artist. Again that’s probably cliché but its the truth.

Do you work on multiple projects at once? Yes I usually will have a painting or two going on while I am working on a print or a drawing or collage. Who knows I may go back to taking illustration or client based work, I really like it, I just have shifted attention to teaching and painting.

Do you have trouble parting with your finished work? Not usually but sometimes. You get used to it and really if I don’t part with it I can’t make the next piece, I wouldn’t have a place to put them all. I will say that I still prefer to give art away rather than sell it. Not because of some belief in the “purity” of non-commercial art or any of that art school bull, but because there seems to be more value placed on the object by the person who receives than by the person who buys it. At least that’s how I feel. That and the fact that most young people, who tend to enjoy my work, can’t afford it so if I can give it away I will on occasion, to friends, people that really appreciate it, etc. Not to you though Zac, I don’t like you.

Peep this shit:

An interview with Reese about his work being featured in the Billabong’s Design for Humanity.

Artistic touch
Artistic touch

Fear Change‽

This is an illustration I created for the TUO*COU apparel line last year. I decided to drop the line after the first shirt and never did anything with it. Like Fight Progress, Fear Change is a satirical motto I feel reflects the ethos of the majority of Tuolumnites. I did the outlines in pen and used Photoshop to color and texture it.


What Would Paris Do?

This is just a taste of the type of art that will be featured in next week’s Artist Survey with Paris Raupach. I loved this piece so much that I had to have it framed in a befitting manner. I think that Corey at Studio West hit the nail on the head when fixed it up for me. What do you think?



I illustrated the central image for this a couple years back after reading a bumper sticker that queried the same. At the time I was researching traditional tattoos for a friend and the imagery emerged from there. I thought it was hilarious and unfortunately timeless. I just colored and affected it to make the piece a little bit snappier for you all.




With it being National Election Day I feel that it is appropriate to bring the Mojib Revolution to your attention. Mojib Revolution is a guerrilla propaganda campaign started in the seedy underbelly of Long Beach by Team Euclid. They kidnapped me a couple years back and forced me at spork point to illustrate a portrait of their leader. I also did a follow-up piece.


Here are their words:

It’s coming, it’s coming, it’s coming… The revolution will come, just you wait. And when it does all those capitalist pigdogs who subjugate the masses with their materialism and false idols will feel the brunt of all that is Mojib.

Look for the signs of a Mojib Patriot in a dark alley near you.


Join the Revolution?