Cameron Davis…. what’s he up to? New interview!

For all of you Cameron Davis fans … and soon to be fans … a new interview was just conducted with the good folks over at The Gnomon Workshop, the workshop will soon be releasing Cameron’s totally kick ass DVD tutorial where he will unveil many tips tricks and things probably too insane to even discuss, but he’s going to anyway. While we await that little nugget of magic, here is that pretty neat interview, where Cameron discusses a very cool personal project and the means of sticking to your guns!  … it should help bide the time 😉



Luke Chueh Beginnings / Endings (And Other Worthless Epiphanies)

ST contributing artist Luke Chueh will be unveiling his new body of work on May 8th at Copro Gallery in Santa Monica. If you’re going to be in LA, I highly recommend you stop in and check it out!

Here is a word from the man ….

My upcoming solo exhibition of new works, Beginnings / Endings (And Other Worthless Epiphanies), begins Saturday, May 8th at Copro Gallery in Santa Monica, and runs till May 29th. The show will feature upwards to 18 paintings, and also showcases another Chueh “remix” of a popular piece of modern art. Last year, I remixed Francisco Goya’s “Saturn Devours His Son”. This year I’m paying tribute and remixing the Francis Bacon masterpiece, “Figure with Meat.”

Beginnings / Endings… features a range of work that many of my fans will be happily familiar with. The show is meant to be, as the title suggests, a stylistic bookend before Luke begins to explore and experiment with themes inspired by my love/hate relationship with “contemporary” art. For more information concerning these future projects, sign up to my mailing list.
You can join at

For more information, go to Copro Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 8th, 2010. (8pm-11pm)
We hope to see you there!

For those of you in England, I’ve contributed an original painting to the upcoming Art from the New World exhibition. Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery, in collaboration with Bristol’s City Museum & Art Gallery, are presenting a diverse range of 45 artists, spanning a spectrum that ranges from pop surreal and neo-figurative to street art in this international exhibition. Originally set for an earlier date, Iceland’s volcanic ash spew, saw to a new date for the opening reception is on Saturday, May 15th, 2010.

A limited edition, signed and numbered giclée print of the painting I contributed and will also available for sale at the Bristol’s City Museum & Art Gallery.

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS: Josh Agle (Shag), Jason Shawn Alexander, Chris Anthony, Van Arno, Gary Baseman, Ray Caesar, Colin Christian, Sas Christian, Luke Chueh, Coop, Dave Cooper, Ron English, Natalia Fabia, Korin Faught, Sarah Folkman, Melissa Forman, AJ Fosik Camille Rose Garcia, David Hochbaum,  Sylvia Ji, Eric Joyner, Dave Kinsey, Kukula, Joe Ledbetter, Henry Lewis, Lola, Travis Louie, Michael Mararian, Elizabeth McGrath, Mia, Brandi Milne, Buff Monster, Michael Page, Marion Peck, Joshua Petker, Carlos Ramos, and many more….

Anyways, that’s all for now. Take care, thanks for your support, and I hope to see you at the show!


-Luke Chueh

Neil Winn 03

Another great sketch from Neil Winn, this time around with an inspired oldie but goodie track from Faith No More, surprise!

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Adrian Dominic 02

One of the best tattooers in the world is back! Adrian Dominic shows us a quick sketch in his second installment, with music from Atoms for Peace (formerly known as Thom Yorke’s solo project)  – amazing stuff!

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Nicolas Villarreal 04

A fourth beautiful sketch installment from Nicolas Villareal!

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Shawn Barber interview Tattooed Portraits: Chronicle

Interview: Shawn Barber

As his upcoming show at NYC’s Joshua Liner gallery quickly approaches Shawn Barber recently sat down with AM for a quick discussion on the art of getting, giving and painting tattoos. Known primarily for his sittings with tattoo legends and artists, Shawn’s latest exposition, “Tattooed Portraits: Chronicle” looks to be no less than the stellar work we’ve come to expect, as evidenced by the teaser images he’s sent our way.

Full interview and show preview after the jump.

Jack London once said: “Show me a man with a tattoo and I’ll show you a man with an interesting past.” On that note, would you mind taking a minute and telling our readers a bit about yourself and your past?

Shawn Barber (SB): I’m not sure about interesting, but it’s been a long road of trying to figure out what to do with one’s life to stay sane enough to enjoy life’s experience. I’ve worked a slew of different jobs before I made any sort of living as an artist – dishwasher, heavy metal singer, cook, factory worker, machine operator, sign painter, coffee shop grunt, and book store lackey to name a few. I was born in Central New York in 1970, lived there off and on for 20 years, lived in Alaska and Southern California for a while, was a student and taught for a few years in South Florida, taught at a couple of at schools in San Francisco, quit teaching to pursue an apprenticeship and tattooing. Made a living as a commercial illustrator for 10 years, and the past few years painting as my primary time spender and financial supporter.

Since we last saw you in San Francisco, you’ve moved down south to Los Angeles, how’s that going? Have you acclimated to the weather, the culture?

SB: It’s going well. I’m finally getting somewhat acclimated to being a resident of Los Angeles. We just moved into a great apartment that is walking (or bike riding) distance to our tattoo/painting studio in West Hollywood. It’s awesome to not have to drive everywhere down here. The new studio, Memoir Tattoo, is perfect – lots of open space to breathe and work. I’ve been teaching a bit out of the space and tattooing a day or so a week, while my girlfriend, Kim Saigh, is tattooing and making art here on a daily basis. I also work two days a week in Pasadena at Incognito Tattoo. As far as Los Angeles culture, I work all of the time and have enjoyed the weather more than anything. The artist community is really spread out here and it’s just weird. Nothing like San Francisco – I miss my friends there for sure.

The mainstream acceptance and popularization of tattoo culture saw a recent spike with the commercialization of Don Ed Hardy’s work by Christian Audigier and his apparel line. What are your thoughts on this, and do you feel it’s detrimental to the lifestyle?

SB: No comment, thanks.

In an interview for the Shooting Gallery last year, you said your first tattoo was of the black costumed Spider-man from Secret Wars 2, when you were sixteen years old. I’m a comic nerd myself so I fully understand where you were coming from there, however, a lot of people who get tattoos that young can often regret them later in life. Do you ever regret that tattoo or do you have any tattoos that you do regret?

SB: I wouldn’t say that I regret it. I loved that thing for a long time- I was bummed for getting it done by someone who did not know how to draw or tattoo very well. But that’s life (and it’s in the process of being removed). There’s a saying that everyone deserves the tattoos they get and there is absolute truth in that. Tattoos are generally permanently placed on the impatient, impulsive moments of uncertainty (and everybody’s a fucking art director). I’m heavily tattooed but always interested in getting new work. I’m trying to exercise patience – but I know too many great tattooists to slow that experience down.

Do you have a favorite tattoo, one the means the most to you? What is it that makes a tattoo good?

SB: I love them all for different reasons. At the moment, Jason Kundell from Art Work Rebels in Portland is working on my ribs/torso and it’s fucking epic! Dynamic composition, powerful drawing, interesting subject matter – he is a bad ass.

As far as what makes a tattoo good – that statement could be answered in so many different ways depending on who you’re talking to. Everyone has an opinion and really believes their opinion is truth – but I don’t think it’s that cut and dry.

If your client is happy and loves that tattoo for the rest of their lives, and it makes them feel better about themselves or helps them get through tough times, you can’t knock that shit. In an ideal world, a good tattoo would be a solid drawing with consideration of the clients idea or chosen subject matter, a respect for the flesh and longevity of the tattoo’s life in the skin (especially depending on where it is on the body), a decent sense of anatomy and good flow/composition in regards to the human anatomy and it’s movement, and tried and true, the thirds method: a third skin, a third color and a third black. There’s never enough black! I’m learning and trying to listen to these words myself, believe me- the tattoo medium is difficult and peculiar.

You’ve been teaching art at various colleges and workshops since 1997. What drew you into the world of teaching, and what’s been the most interesting thing in transitioning from teaching into the world of fine art?

SB: I fell into teaching in college and loved it from day one. We are all students and must respect the fact that there is no right way and no one way to do anything and do it well. There are things that work and things that don’t, things that look good and things that don’t. And the reality is that there are so many options of creative self expression. I’m in love with drawing and painting, mostly on the traditional side and with that, there is a definitive love of craft. The business of art is ever changing and most teacher’s teaching art don’t have their hand on the pulse of the present and it’s unfortunately an important part of making a living as an artist.

After being in the academic arena for a while, you really see the business side of the institution and it is an amazing scam. For the money and debt, it is not worth it unless you are in the 8% that makes an actual living as an artist after you graduate – those are tough odds. I still teach privately and have an interest in helping people out with the craft and sharing my own experiences, but not taking advantage of their financial security.

Since 2005, you’ve been documenting and painting the portraits and tattoos of many of today’s best artists including Mike Giant, Jeremy Fish, Natalia Fabia, Sylvia Ji and Scott Campbell to name a few… who’s next on the list?

SB: I’ve painted several fine artists but my interest is going much more in the direction of focusing on contemporary tattoo history and the artists living and working today making tattoos. It’s been the natural progression of things, and now, as a tattooist, my passion lies in the life of the community. It’s a world that if you’re not in it – you don’t have a fucking clue. And you will never know. It is the most amazing artist community in the world, with it’s own sets of rules, unspoken hierarchy with a ton of respect for the past. It’s a family of transients that connect with humanity on a daily basis and are permanently tied to everyone they work on. Humbling and intimidating, tattooing is truly awesome.

Are there any artists you’d really like to paint?

SB: Outside of the tattoo community – Terry Richardson would be great subject matter to paint. Maybe someday…

Any artists you’d really like to tattoo?

SB: I have been tattooed by quite a few non tattooists, and have the first tattoos done by Michael Hussar, El Coro, Tara McPherson, Nate VanDyke, and Kevin Llewellyn.

In a studio visit by Fecal Face last year, we caught a glimpse of your extensive skull collection. It seems like it’s been a while since we’ve seen anything new added to your Doll Series. Have you put that on the back burner and are there any new series in the works?

SB: They seep out here and there. I’m actually going to take a year or two off from any solo shows to focus more on the tattoo medium and paint for the sake of painting with no deadlines. I have a ton of ideas and just want to see where they take me.

You’ve got an upcoming show at Joshua Liner next month, an extension of your Tattooed Portraits series. Your “Tattooed Portraits: Snapshots” show at the Shooting Gallery last year (covered) featured amongst it’s subjects Scott Sylvia, Margaret Cho and Jo Harrison, who can we expect to see painted at your upcoming show in NYC?

SB: Oh man, this show is the best one yet! I’m working on life size nude of the artist Thomas Woodruff inside one of his paintings; a diptych of the twin tattooists, James and Tim Kern; a couple of interior scenes and still life paintings that are the most elaborate pieces for me yet, an homage to Velaquez’ Juan de Pareja with Damon Conklin; portraits of my girlfriend, Bob Tyrrell, Michelle Myles, and Camila Rocha; a large scale painting of Marisa Kakoulas; torso studies of Turf One, Chris Garver Anna Sheffield and Bryan Bancroft; and a slew of watercolors that I’m challenging myself with.

You once posted on your blog some advice for aspiring artists: “If you step outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to acknowledge your weaknesses, are completely critical of your shortcomings, and sincerely internalize your habits (good and bad), you will be amazed by the progression waiting ahead of you.” What do you feel are your personal weaknesses, bad habits?

SB: I think that I definitely have the capacity, ability and desire to experiment more and looking forward to addressing that on a greater level these next two years. I have the weakness of agreeing to take on more than I can handle at all times and it’s taking it’s toll. I think by teaching and talking with other artists, there is always a different way to deal with something and make it work.

Any other advice you’d like to pass on? Words of wisdom?

SB: Don’t get caught up in the bullshit. Make art, be true to yourself, respect your influences and be an individual. If you’re doing it for the money or fame- get out now! No one wants you but the sheep! And they will choke on your insecurity.

Thanks Shawn and best of luck with the show.

(Courtesy of Arrested Motion)

Shawn Barber Tattooed Portraits: Chronicle @ Joshua Liner NYC April 24 – May 22

Painter, tattooist and Sketch Theatre artist Shawn Barber will be showing new paintings in his tattoo series at the Joshua Liner Gallery in Manhattan from April 24th to May 22nd.
the exhibit called Tattooed Portraits: Chronicle, is Shawn’s first solo show in NYC featuring twenty paintings and eight works on paper. Reception Saturday April 24th from 6-9pm

For more on the show and Shawn, check recent interviews in ChinaShop Mag and Arrested Motion

– L.

Vasilis Lolos 01

Comic Book artist Vasilis Lolos in his debut sketch video, we had only a few precious minutes to shoot this. Lots of fun! With music from Atoms for Peace (formerly known as Thom Yorke’s solo project) yes that’s twice in one week I’ve used them they are awesome! Read More

Molly Crabapple 03 debut, and release of her collaborative work with Neil Gaiman on a limited edition giclee print!

I just debuted a gorgeous third installment from the unstoppable force Miss Molly Crabapple! I hope you dig this video with a cool track from the new Ravonettes album….

Molly Crabapple 2010

and to sweeten the pot and make this a really great day for Molly fans, she also just released this!

Neil Gaiman Poem Print
“Last year, my favorite author, Neil Gaiman blew my mind by hiring me to illustrate one of his poems via twitter”

Now, you can buy the result, signed, via my Etsy.

A matte, archival, 10″ x 21″ limited edition art print based on Neil Gaiman’s poem “A Desert Wind.” These posters are produced by Neil Gaiman’s merchandising company, Neverwear, and come signed by me. Probably my favorite illustration ever. Designed by Nicola Black

Molly Crabapple 03

Molly Crabapple is here with a third and stunning sketch installment to wash all your tax day tears away, music from the fantastic Raveonettes!

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Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins second sketch installment!

I recently caught a rare moment with Greg “Craola” Simkins at his South Bay studio here in LA. We had a lot of fun catching up on life, art, rabbits, and how to keep your friends even after giving them a bad tattoo! Craola shouldn’t have any trouble keeping friends in any case, he is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet, and truly a rare talent. While there Craola brought to life his second sketch video installment for ST. He has also been preparing for his upcoming solo exhibit at Joshua Liner Gallery in NYC. I was privileged to see the nearly finished body of work before it is shipped off and I have to say it is stunning! His paintings are just gorgeous and everyone will be doing themselves a big favor to go see this show when it opens, such beautiful imagery.

I can tell you that this piece, which Craola created for the camera’s of Sketch Theatre will be one of 18 original drawings in the exhibit for sale. The show will open June 5th 2010 and run through July 1st. Check the gallery website here for updates.

And of course check out sketch video installment 02 here!


🙂 L.

Catching up with Lola

Juxtapoz magazine recently published a great interview with ST artist Lola in anticipation of her recent show at Corey Helford Gallery, Ipsum Factum. Which just closed this week, but not without great success!

Your new series, Ipsum Factum, seems to focus on the relationship between humans and animals. Why this focus? What has been inspiring you during this new creative process?

The animals do not represent the physical being of the creature in the pieces. Some represent strength, others sensitivity. They embody an emotion, and it’s the emotional connection I’m trying to convey. So much has inspired me during this almost year long process. It’s impossible to recount everything; however, if I had to sum it up in one word “truth”.


Where are you taking this new collection of work? How does it branch out from your last series and what do you hope viewers gain from Ipsum Factum?

It’s easily and extension of the thought behind my last body of work. The premise of the show has many many angles. It circles around truth, balance, innocence, music, food is knowledge, and a light heart has power. However, the overall feeling i want people to experience just even by gaze is that we are all unique and amazing in our own way. I like to think if we can own that, then it radiates off onto others in our lives.


You have cited music as a major influence in your work. What music do you listen to? Does it shift depending upon your mood/painting choice?

Oh, of course! This might be a long answer because I’m interested in the psychology of what music does for us in a pretty geeky way. Any artistic person is essentially creating from an emotional extension of themselves. Regardless of the content, it always comes from a feeling, which propels us to have that NEED to create.

I say this a lot, but it’s true: music is a tool. I work off an idea, and then go into a sort of subconscious state of mind. So I use music to control my behavior. In the very beginning of my process, I liked to take time off for research, and to experience and feel where I’m planning on going to go with the work. My favorite composer Philip Glass or any classical or technical scores are good for beginning work. The complex instrumental components really open the mind! It’s scientifically proven to open lazy parts of the brain. But it also opens up this emotional window that lets the heart and mind connect. And it prompts its own visual, through musical storytelling!

Since my work comes from a really fragile part of me, I love to work with anything that moves me while in my seat when I’m painting. I like to sing and free myself; it’s fantastic. This last year I’ve hovered around a few good things. I’m listening to the new Gorillaz right now this very minute, and so far it’s pretty groovin’. Today my list has included Kid Cudi, The Ting Tings, Datarock, Leonard Cohen, The Kooks, and Mos Def. I truly believe music and art are reversibly compatible; that they intertwine infinitely.


You are very poetic in your verbal descriptions of your work on your blog. In preparation for this show, you wrote: “I’m putting myself there with every stroke, holding on to the haze and making my own conclusions.” Can you elaborate on this statement? Do you feel as though you are more fully engaging with your pieces as you work on them?

Yeah, I have a hard time explaining my true thoughts through words. I’ve always written these weird quirky paragraphs, which probably stems from my life experience from always having friends who were musicians. going on mini tours and feeling so punk rock. I was even in this band once called “The George Fellows” taken from Bukowski as he circled in amongst our repertoire of books. So when I’m painting and thinking, I like to encourage my strange poetic side to emerge. Kinda weird sharing it on a blog, but it’s also very liberating to put it out there in the universe. Lyrical speech definitely compliments a painting.


Where do you see yourself moving in the nest year or so with your work? Do you see yourself trying anything new/different (eg toys, apparel, etc) in the future?

My work has followed a natural progression thus far, and I’m striving to incorporate a better sense of realism into the work. My imagination sees things one way, and it’s been a process to train my hand to carry out that vision. I see myself exploring many new opportunities in the future. For me, animation has and always will be such an inspiration and a medium I would love to be involved with.

Lola: Ispsum Factum

Corey Helford gallery

Opening March 27, 8 – 11pm

On view March 27 – April 14, 2010

Neil Winn 02

A spectacular second installment from Neil Winn, with soundtrack from Neutral Milk Hotel’s debut album, turn it up!

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Greg "Craola" Simkins 02

Caught a rare moment with Greg “Craola” Simkins recently at his studio where he brought to life his second sketch video installment! Well worth the wait! Brooklyn’s Golden Triangle accompanies with a killer track for that killer shark. Read More

Black Frog 05

I couldn’t possibly ever get tired of seeing what Black Frog comes up with next, and he couldn’t possibly run out of ideas! The wonderful Sleepytime Gorilla Museum will ease you into this fifth sketch installment.

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