Friday, October 28, 2011

The partial story of the mural at the Independence location of Melt Bar and Grilled

Here are some pictures from July through September of 2011 of the creation and installation of my most recent mural for Melt Bar and Grilled. This is Melt's third location, and the mural that owner Matt Fish challenged me to do was bigger than anything I'd ever concieved of doing. It's 14 feet tall and 56 feet wide with a 10 foot by 20 foot vintage WMMS billboard in the middle. Basically, 600 square feet of art. Like I said, I've never ever thought about doing something so huge. It was an insane challenge and with only 3 months to complete it, I knew I had my work cut out for me. Towards the end of the project, I felt like I was on some sort of Bataan Death March; I felt like Paul Sheldon from Misery. (although Matt Fish is much nicer than Annie Wilkes...) I was basically living at the warehouse where I was drawing, sleeping on a mat in the corner, working 24 hours and sleeping six and then working another 24 and losing my mind. My left eye started twitching uncontrollably at one point, but I kept drawing. Knee went out? Kept drawing.

When we were installing it, I had been up for 36 hours, high on polyurethane fumes and walleyed from who knows how many pots of coffee. I'll start more or less at the beginning, though, and talk about this picture:

This is the rig I constructed and screwed to the wall so I could attach six 4 foot by 8 foot panels at a time, so I could draw as much of the shit at once as I possibly could.

Here are some photos of the very beginnings:

This was the "main section". The idea was to have the usual array (and then some) of Clevelanders crawling over huge piles of old signs and ruined buildings. I did about a month of research at the photo archive at the downtown library (an amazing resource) and on the internet. I wanted the signs to be from long gone and defunct Cleveland businesses. You'll probably never know the thrill of finally finding a good picture of the Jean's Funnyhouse sign, but trust me: it's better than crack. And I've smoked some crack. Really.  I collected maybe 1,000 images, all of which I printed out for possible use.

Here's a close up of that last pic:

So, I'd "finish" the bottom row of panels, remove them, move the top one down and put a blank row on top:

How fucking fascinating is that? I mean, WOW, right?

This (above) is a picture of the top of the main section, nearly finished. Like I said, I'd never even conceived something this large, and I had to really force myself to figure out about 1,000 little things every day. It really was the hardest work I've ever done. (...And I've worked construction, I've worked picking grapes for 12 hours a day and I've done demolition to the point where I swung a sledgehammer until I couldn't lift my arms, and worst of all, I'VE WORKED IN CUSTOMER SERVICE...) I've never been more exhausted from a job, but I went to sleep every night thinking about what I was gonna do tomorrow. But who cares?

Here are some pictures from the installation:

And that's the mural on the wall.

To really Grok it, you have to go there. I'd say just go there and look at it and then eat at Melt. If you see movies at the Valley View Cinema, I'd say go an hour early and spend the deficit at Melt looking at this mural. Just say "Jake said it was OK to just come here and look." This is my greatest creation, my masterpiece and my final statement on four or five different things.

Would you like to see a picture of the whole mural up on the wall? Tough shit. Go there. No picture could do it justice. I'll leave you with this:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Interparty System flier (mid-00's)

This poor fat kid takes a lot of crap on my fliers.

Hello Cleveland III flier (2009?)

If you are not from Cleveland or have never been here, believe me when I say that the gentleman pictured on this flier really is "Mr. Cleveland". Come here for five minutes and you will see him.

Presidents of the United States of America flier (late 00's)

 This flier was returned to me crumpled and covered in some dry, crusty, brown juice. "We found it behind the Red Bull cooler," I was told. I was puzzled, but since the flier was for such a crummy band, I couldn't get that upset.

Bob Log III flier (mid-00's)

This is a pretty accurate representation of Bob Log III, if you ask me.

Asobi Seksu flier (2008?)

I really dig the "city lights from above" imagery. It's a quick and easy and effective technique done with my faithful white-out pen. This is also a pretty good example of the "random fortune cookie fortune" thing I did for a while; this fortune really seems to fit this drawing.

The Saga of the Stick Figures (all mid-to-late-00's)

I don't know what happened to his two buddies. Something bad, I'd assume. I'm also unsure of what happened after his little ocean voyage. Maybe it's time to pick this story back up.

Red Sparrows flier (mid-to-late 00's)

I did a negative photocopy of the text and pasted it on there. Sometimes I wonder how great my life would be if I owned a really nice photocopier. Sigh.

Cloud Nothings flier (2010)

Looking at this image now, I think I might have been unconciously inspired by issue number 8 of the original Swamp Thing series. Much of my work is probably unconciously inspired by something from some Swamp Thing comic.

Hot Cha Cha flier (2011)

"Come down and watch Cleveland and Detroit fight it out for last place!!!" just about sums it up.

Wet Hair flier (2010)

I guess this bird is into "ironic" clothing, but birds can't really wear shirts or pants. Hats and ties it is.

Ace and the Ragers (2010)

Does it seem like the knife is spinning? I don't know. Some stuff is hard to draw. Huh.

Cults flier (2011)

Hey! It's a Cults flier!

Tyvek flier (2011)

Hey! It's a Tyvek flier!

Pink Spiders flier (2011)

We've all been in dark places in our lives. These ducks are in a dark place, man.

Neil Hamburger fliers (2010 and 2011)

If you find a picture of Neil Hamburger that you like, use that son of a bitch until it runs dry.

Free Energy flier (2011)

I love the band Free Energy, and as with any band  that I actually really love that I do a flier for, I'm always somewhat  let down with my efforts. Free Energy really packs a lot of imagery into their lyrics and sound, and that's hard to cram onto an 8 1/2 x 11 (or 11 x 17) slice of paper. This is ok, I guess.

Pinback flier (2011)

This is a companion piece to my Parting Gifts flier. As I said about that one, I wish I could just reuse this image every time because I like it so much.

Parts and Labor (2011)

I did all the main text and then sighed. I knew that I'd be told it was illegible. I sighed again and then put that block of text at the bottom.

Founding Fathers flier (2010)

Any Founding Fathers flier that I do will usually include a missing front tooth. So, you know, look for that in the future. Now you have a hobby.

Starfucker flier (2010)

I must have been in a mood when I did this one. In the past I've been directed to stay away from "fuck" (substituting "f*ck" or some such) and naked breasts on fliers. I went off the chain with this one. I think this image is adapted from some old ad or something, I forget what though.

Misery Jackals flier (2009?)

That rooster smoking a pipe probably deserves a more fleshed out rendering. I'll put that on my to do list.

No Age flier (2010)

There was supposed to be another band in that big, blank bubble. It came down to the wire and that information wasnt available, so blank it stayed. Also, the (slightly incorrect) phone number in the top right-hand corner refers to this:

Deerhunter flier (2010)

I always feel like I'm getting away with something when I do a minimal sort of flier like this. The crushing need to fill in every single part of the flier with black ink and dense cross-hatching is hard to overcome.

Cold Cave flier (2009)

I've been tempted to actually turn this into a short comic story. There are some things that happened just before this scene  and right after it that I'm kind of curious about. Someday, maybe.

Heartless Bastards flier (2010)

One of my greatest pet peeves is to have to change a flier at the last minute after a band cancels. I forget what band Peter Wolf Crier replaced, but they are assholes. The change always looks terrible, but I refuse to blame myself. I blame flakey bands.

Horse Feathers flier (2010)

I forgot to continue this story. This scan is from a crummy photocopy becasue I sold the original and didn't make a decent copy beforehand. Also notworthy: I misspelled "intelligent" and barely fixed it. Oops.

Filmstrip flier (2010)

This is a pretty fucking dumb image that, in retrospect, I think may have come from an old Life In Hell comic. I feel like he must have drawn a dinosaur bunny at some point. I'm still not sure, I'll have to check the archives. Also, I got a lot of compliments on this one. Go figure.

the Arkhams (2010?)

I'd like for someone to please cover Gene Vincent's Be Bop A Lula with Lovecraft inspired lyrics, please.

Red Giant flier (2011)

This is sort of a companion piece to my Gypsy Hawk flier. For a while there, I was doing a lot of stuff with ruins. Not the usual post-industrial-Cleveland ruins, but ancient ruins. This also has a nice little comic book vibe, just a weird little peek at a minute or two of some strange story.

Liturgy flier (2011)

I used stick-on vinyl letters for lettering. I inked over them then peeled them off. I like the rough edges that this technique results in, plus it's a time saver (like my "artistic choice" to show the pterodactyls in silhouette!).

Strange Boys flier (2011)

This was inspired by a 1950's photograph of Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood. Plus a crumbling moon, naturally.