Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Forty Eighths Art Party @ Workshop!

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Tonight's the night, folks! If you're coming to San Francisco be sure to wear some hot duds and head on over to Workshop (McAlister & Baker) at 8:00pm tonight for The Forty Eighth's Art Party!

I'll be releasing my book, For Anyone Who Ever Had A Heart...

Matt St. John will be showing his paintings and prints, chockful of color and whimsy.

Jacob Feldman will be displaying his psychedelic illustrations and his hilarious, high concept poop joke comic strip, "Funny Shit".

Robbie Kayson will be heading up the crayon table, leading a series of drunken drawing games.

There will be food, booze, dancing, and a raffle! Head on over and check it out!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thursday Thunderbird Jam: For Anyone Who Ever Had A Heart... (The Soundtrack)

For Anyone Who Ever Had A Heart... from cwellslovell on 8tracks.




It's been a little while since the last installment of Thunderbird Radio but today I have something special y'all. A lot of books don't have soundtracks. Mine does. The music in this collection is inextricably linked to my experience of writing this book. Some directly inspired specific pieces while others provided me with the crucial moral support needed during those long, late nights hunched over my keyboard, fussing over a sentence.

So here goes, grab your headphones or jack up the volume. Let's take a trip together through these twenty tracks...

1) The Velvet Underground - Sweet Jane
2) Pearl Jam - In My Tree
3) Nirvana - Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam
4) Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - The Wild One, Forever
5) Harry Nilsson - Mother Nature's Son
6) Alex Chilton - Hey! Little Child
7) Bob Dylan - Dark Eyes
8) The Band - Ophelia
9) Spencer Wyatt Big Band - Stranger On The Shore
10) The Replacements - Treatment Bound
11) Jackson Browne - The Pretender
12) The White Stripes - Sister, Do You Know My Name?
13) Joanna Newsom - Good Intentions Paving Company
14) Richie Valens - Sleepwalk
15) Brad Mehldau - When It Rains
16) Janis Joplin - Me & Bobby McGee
17) Etta James - Trust In Me
18) Carl Perkins - Blue Suede Shoes
19) Nick Drake - Horn
20) Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Walls (Circus)

For Anyone Who Ever Had A Heart...

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For Anyone Who Ever Had A Heart... is the literary debut of Cory W. Lovell. Published by Star Chamber Press, this collection of poetry, prose, and Polaroid photography is a deeply personal work four years in the making. Made up of snapshots, yarns, and one-liners, this book is part pop-fiction, part confessional, and part dreamscape.

For Anyone Who Ever Had A Heart... is available now at the following online retailers.

Amazon.com

Createspace.com


For Anyone Who Ever Had A Heart... will be available in select cities beginning Friday, February 17th.

Saratoga Springs, NY

Lyrical Ballad 7 Phila St (518) 584-8779


Chicago, IL

Kitchen Sink 1107 W Berwyn Ave (773) 944-0592

San Francisco, CA

The Booksmith 1644 Haight Street (415) 863-8688
Green Apple 506 Clement Street (415) 387-2272
Needles & Pens 3253 16th Street (415) 255-1534


If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, please join us on Friday, February 17th at 8:00pm at Workshop SF to celebrate the release of the book as well as enjoy illustrations and paintings by fellow Sunset District artists, Matt St. John and Jacob Feldman.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Friday Film Pick: This Is NOT America – David Kleijwegt (2000)




In February of 2000, a young band from Kentucky toured Holland and it was filmed for Dutch Music Television. That band was My Morning Jacket and the film was David Klejegt's This Is NOT America. With the exception of the 2006 concert film Okonokos, it is the only film produced on the band and to this day the only film including interviews with its founding members. While the lineup of the band has been completely overhauled (only bassist, Two-Tone Tommy, and singer-songwriter, Jim James, remain) the film has only increased in relevance and beauty over the past 12 years.

In early 2000, My Morning Jacket had only released one album and had only performed live on perhaps two dozen occasions. For a band now known for its epic stage show and a string of off beat, genre bending recordings it is hard to imagine how different their lives were back in that snowy millennial winter. While their first record, The Tennessee Fire, had begun to be circulated in the American south, it was in the Netherlands that the band really broke. There never seems to be any real rhyme or reason for crossover appeal of American rock artists abroad. Why Idaho bard Josh Ritter is worshipped in Ireland yet remains obscure to mainstream audiences here in the States, will never be understood by me. In any event, in order for My Morning Jacket to reach their most fervent fan base, they had to fly halfway across the world to Holland.

The film has a beautiful look to it. The heavy use of atmospheric b-roll (foggy Euro highways, sleepy looking neighborhoods, cobblestone clad Dutch sidewalks) to underpin the band's commentary creates an immediate atmosphere of calm and receptiveness. You're just as happy to listen to Jim James talk about his favorite breakfast bagel as explain the timelessness of The Rolling Stones, because it looks great either way. Also Kleijwegt chose not to use complete performances, sometimes entering into a song halfway through a raucous guitar jam. This blend of quiet, pensive moments and distorted barroom bravado establishes a pace that makes the most of its relatively modest 40 minute running time.

The film also takes special care to give each member of the band their own defining moment. Drummer, J. Glenn, reveals details of his family's modest tobacco farming roots as he sanitizes his latest tattoo in a hotel bathroom. While the infamously silent Tommy Blankenship maintains his quiet cool throughout the film, he and guitarist Johnny Quaid act almost as comic relief, fooling about in the background of most shots. It's obvious that at this point in the band's dynamic, they provided a much needed pressure valve for these wayward Kentucky boys so far from their home. Of course it is the baby-faced frontman, Jim James, who steals the show.

James, more so than most songwriters of our generation (with the exception of maybe Win Butler and Regine Chassagne), has had an aura of magical divination thrust upon him. As if his songwriting and vocal talents were cosmically bestowed, as opposed to a result of relentless hard work. While it's obviously not true, the myth of this ghostly voiced young man was already being encouraged here. In a kaleidoscopic, slow motion sequence, James explains his lyrical inspiration by recounting a rather disturbing and psychedelic dream; “The worst dream I ever had I was on a playground and I was running up a slideboard with a fork in my hand. At the top of the slideboard was this poodle barking and I took the fork and stuck it in its eyeball.” This terrifying narration fades into a haunting rendition of “I Think I'm Going To Hell” with James standing alone in front of futurist Dutch columns lit with red and orange and yellow. It's an incredible and simple visual that was no doubt unplanned, as are most of life's most transcendent moments.

It is in this respect that This Is NOT America remains such a vital and enduring portrait,above all else it is candid and spontaneous. It is a snapshot of a band so early in their career that they have no expectations for it. With no map to guide them in this foreign territory, they allow themselves to be themselves with no hint of pretense. My Morning Jacket would never be this particular band again. They'd become something else, something more ambiguous, away from the public eye.




Monday, February 6, 2012

Deer Tick: To The City Of Sin! (2008)

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In autumn of 2007 I was given a copy of “War Elephant”, the debut record of Providence, Rhode Island rockers Deer Tick. Once I popped it into the player I couldn’t take it out. I spun that disc non-stop across America, driving from Saratoga Springs, NY to San Francisco, CA with its melodies guiding me through. It spoke to me as a refreshingly traditional collection of music, a product of the 21st century, for sure, but very much rooted in the country, blues, and grunge of decades past. I e-mailed the lead singer and songwriter of the band, John McCauley, and thanked him for the quality music. He was kind and gracious and that was that. But I just couldn’t get the damn songs out of my head and one morning I woke up with visions of a film in my mind. I was humming their track “Little White Lies” and imagining following them over rolling hills and through dingy, dark bars. I knew these visions wouldn’t go away until I asked John McCauley if he wouldn’t mind me touring around with them for a few months. They wouldn’t stop until I made myself a movie. Nine months and $3,500 later....I did just that.

Deer Tick: To The City of Sin! was my first film. It was my thesis project for a bachelors in Cinema Studies and Film Production and also the greatest adventure I had ever been on up to that point. I look back on the whole process, four years later, and realize that I was pretty much the luckiest S.O.B. in the world. All the pieces fell into place. I got all my equipment for free, I was able to get the time off from school and book crew members in various locations to help, I had my partner/co-producer/girlfriend (independent film crews wear many hats) on the road with me and I was following one of America's fastest rising and most bad-ass rock'n'roll bands! It was an indescribably magical time in my life and hopefully the film captures some of that.

My executive producers, Mary Arbuckle and Allan Nichols, went above and beyond their roles. They spent hours with me talking about every facet of the production and I will never have such amazing mentors again. The film was tremendously well-received in it's initial release. It's premier was attended by Rhode Island's own Bobby Farrely, writer and director of There's Something About Mary, who went on to use Deer Tick as a substantial contributor to the Hall Pass soundtrack. The film was an official selection in the Green Mountain, Lake Placid, and Vermont International Film Festivals. At VIFF, I was awarded the James Goldstone Emerging Filmmaker Award for my directorial debut. It was a pretty wild ride.

Deer Tick has since gone on to release another three critically acclaimed albums and tour extensively all over the world. They have gone through some personnel changes and relocated their home base but this is where they came from, my film shows the beginning of their journey. No one else will ever get to capture them at the point at which I did and thats pretty special to me. Now I can share it with you. For anyone who is already a fan of Deer Tick, you're in for a real treat. You'll get to be on the road, in the motels and greenrooms, and most importantly On Stage with them for about an hour and ten minutes. Anyone who hasn't yet heard their music... oh man. I'm even more excited for you because you're about to become a fan.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thursday Thunderbird Jam: Neil Diamond - Hell Yeah (2005)



A wise man once said, "There are two kinds of people in this world, those that love Neil Diamond and those that do not."

Anyone who knows me also knows that I fall unabashedly into the first of those categories. The Diamond isn't a joke, he ain't a novelty act, he's the real deal. It's the world around Mr. Diamond that has changed, not him or his abilities.

Look no further for proof than this past year... Neil was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame (AGAINST the wishes of the rather fickle and short sighted nominating committee) by an overwhelming write in campaign from his steadfast fan base. His acceptance speech went a little something like this... "I know some of you don't want me here, but I don't give a shit."

That night he was inducted alongside Alice Cooper and Tom Waits, just another bad ass songwriter.

Not 6 months later he was a Kennedy Center Honoree, with Raphael Saddiq, Lionel Richie, and Smokey Robinson paying tribute to his one of a kind songwriting. He sat between Yo Yo Ma and Michelle Obama, just another national treasure.

Despite all this, when I tell my friends how die hard a fan I am of this amazing artist they inevitably scoff. They only seem to remember his somewhat out of place appearance in The Last Waltz or Will Ferrell's classic Storytellers skit on SNL (which I admit is one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen). But today's Thunderbird Jam should change all that.

In 2005, after about three years of trying, legendary producer Rick Rubin convinced Neil Diamond to make a new record of exclusively original songs. He asked him to harken back to his Tin Pan Alley days, writing simple and lighthearted pop songs that showcased his wit and guitar stylings.

The result was 12 Songs, arguably his greatest record since 1969's Touching Me Touching You. 12 Songs had playful melodic love songs like "We" and "Delirious Love" but also included one of Diamonds most profound and career defining statements entitled, "Hell Yeah".

Sometimes a songwriter will draft his own sort of epitaph. They are somber and sober, but also uplifting and definitive. Sinatra had "My Way". Dylan has "Not Dark Yet". "Hell Yeah" is Diamonds.

So if they ask you when I'm gone
Was it everything he wanted?
When he had to travel on
Did he know he'd be missed?
You can tell them this Hell yeah he did!


Neil sings this song with a simultaneous sense of accomplishment and modesty. An aging poet comfortable in his skin and confident in his art, in spite of the fact that most people consider him a punchline.

Its a truly touching song and on the inevitable day that Mr. Diamond leaves this Earth, I'll be blasting it up to the heavens. Hell yeah, Neil. Hell yeah!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ten Years Gone... Saratoga class of 2002 artists on a decade of following their passions.

A few weeks back my inbox was inundated with a slew of emails regarding the impending ten year reunion for the Saratoga Springs Senior High School Class of 2002. I immediately got chest pains, strained breathing, and couldn't stop looking at the streaks of gray hair that had formed on both sides of my ever-aging head. Needless to say, this event had snuck up on me. After the initial shock wore off I began to think about the past ten years and what they had meant to me, the personal struggles I had endured and the artistic growth that was born out of it. I wondered about my peers and what their lives must have been like over the past decade. Specifically, those of us that had gone to college for and/or worked in the arts. Those of us that had chosen (against endless warnings by teachers, guidance counselors, and parents) to pursue writing, painting, illustrating, acting, photography, and music. Those of us that had followed our faith and passions and ran face first into a perfect storm of economic, societal, and technological changes in all of our respective industries.

What was their journey like? Had they felt appropriately prepared by our high school experience for the challenges they currently faced? How had their artistic style progressed since our modest beginnings as Saratoga Blue Streaks? I didn't want to wait until this reunion to find out so I just started asking. Here are some of their stories.


Sean Lyman Frasier

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At Saratoga I was titillated by the immediate response of shaking heads. It was a desperate "look at me" strategy that matched my insane T-Boz haircut and made it completely obvious that I didn't trust my talent to make an impression. Now my art has grown from the desire to shock or puzzle to something actually resembling a personal style that I'm proud of, a style that somehow smashes understated drama, wry humor, Southern Gothic, and realistic horror together and precariously toys with tone.

In high school I remember the total support of the faculty to find my own voice and have fun exploring each medium. There were many teachers who gave me that freedom but the two that impacted me most were Mr. Eric Hotaling and Ms. Rabine. Mr. Hotaling was the sort of 'Cool Hand Luke' of art teachers and allowed open dialogue with each student. When he lead a class it was by example, not because of some obvious hierarchy. It surprised me in no way when I first saw a photo of him on Facebook riding a horse with some gorgeous sun-baked landscape behind him.

Ms. Rabine really pushed me past my comfort zone and was one of the first educators to persuade me to work on my public reading skills. I always thought of writing as a solitary art and I suppose for rare talents it can be. But sharing work and exciting people about it is just as important as the work itself when you start looking at the business side of things. I've never been great at being my own hype man but I've significantly improved from my days of inaudible mumbling and Ms. Rabine's encouragement was a huge part of that.

The school as a whole just offered a variety of courses that allowed me to explore the full spectrum of artistic expression. They were all important in shaping my attitude towards art, and for better or worse, how playful I could be with each medium. Now, whether I deserved to or not, I enjoyed massive amounts of praise from the faculty and my peers alike. Then I moved to the big city and the realities of post-grad anonymity forced me to face the facts: There is no shortage of talented people and nothing would come easily.

I turned my attention back to screenwriting full-time and switched to working nights, from 10pm to 8 in the morning, because it offered the chance to write while earning a steady paycheck. Two years later, I still live like a vampire and sleep during the day (which should surprise nobody who remembers me at Saratoga with fake fangs and Gothic make-up) but the sacrifice has definitely been worth it, as one of the scripts I wrote during those overnight shifts was a semi-finalist for the Nicholl Fellowship. It directly inspired over 40 agencies and production companies to request my script. Now I can say "my agent is reading my latest script," which makes me sound like a total scumbag, but kind of awesome too.

Right now I'm working on a few screenplays, including my first venture into the intimidating and terrifying realm of family entertainment. But each year I try to do something I've never tried before, whether it's writing a feature-length script in 30 days or writing a screenplay with no deaths in it. Nobody else is giving me guidelines, so I like to restrict myself sometimes and see what comes out of it.

Since graduating from Saratoga High, I've averaged a feature screenplay a year, published a few chapbooks of poetry, creeped people out at readings across New York City, and finally felt I paid my dues long enough to refer to myself as a writer. That last detail is my largest accomplishment. I really just want to share stories with people on a screen, the scale doesn't matter to me. If I can't live off it I will still do it, because that's how I'm wired, and that's what makes me happy at the end of the day.

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/slfrasier

Elizabeth Callen

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My music has become a lot more focused in 10 years time. It's all I think about. My style started out a bit folky, but I've become much more Alt Rock/Pop. I have been writing catchier hooks with each album and play more electric and lead guitar. I listen to so much music - on the radio or at venues in NYC. Many of my friends are people I've met through the musical community.

I formed my main group, The Callen Sisters, in 2006 in NYC right after graduating college. I was finally fulfilling my lifelong dream of playing music and living in the city. We were signed to a major label imprint but the deal fell through after a year. My failures threatened my confidence as an artist. After my record deal fell through I spent a long time reflecting on my music and the industry. What happened then was I started taking more risks. I had failed once and it was liberating. I grew musically because It made me try new things with the style of music I was writing. Now we are back in the studio writing for our third record!

I just joined a second band this summer. It's an all-female rock band called Porsche. We are being managed by a former member of Alicia Key's management team. I found this last gig on Craigslist of all places. You never know what you're going to find on that site! I also got a gig managing the NYC-based jazz band the Jordan Young Group. Wearing the new hat of "music manager" has been a lot of fun. My successes have validated my choice to pursue music. They have made me want to continue down this path and continue to create and have also shown me I didn't need to make a "sensible" choice back in high school.

Mr. Jacobsen and Mr. Beaubriand, gave me a solid musical background. Learning to read music and play in an ensemble was invaluable. The music theory classes offered at our school were great, too. Mr. Vredenberg was an amazing teacher. I passed out of two years of college music theory because I learned so much in his class. I also remember playing at Caffe Lena in high school. That opened so many doors to me. Performing with friends also helped me gain confidence - namely my sister, Jessie O'Brien and Justin Joyner.

In ten years time I would love to say that making songs is my only source of income!

http://www.thecallensisters.com/
http://www.facebook.com/thecallensisters



Justin Joyner

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I like to call myself an entertainer. In the entertainment business, the paramount goal is to please the audience. I'd say that over these 10 years, I've learned by doing, and also by watching other bands in the business. There is no "how-to book" in such a field, so one must be passionate about it in order to succeed. Through the years, I've developed my own style which is unique to the entertainment business in this area.

I am in GRAVITY a four-piece club/event/wedding entertainment band. This band started in late 2005, formed with drummer Will Railton, who also went to Saratoga High. Song selection and presentation of the band is most important, we play no original music...original music does not have much of a place in the business we're in. My art is taking a song you hear on the radio, putting our own twist on it, figuring out how to arrange it for a four-piece and presenting it in such a way that pleases the crowd and gets them singing and dancing. In that way, it becomes original. Trust me, it's much easier said than done!

In the early years of the band, successes and failures were more polarizing. Failures would really dig into me, and successes would make me the happiest person in the world. These successes and failures still happen, but I'm much better at handling them in the sense that I'm able to put them in perspective and to see the "big picture”.

I do not strive to become a "famous celebrity rock star". I guess I once did. But my passion is now in this "vendor of music" business, and having bigger success in a limited geographic radius. I want to build an entertainment company which offers several bands and DJs, in an effort to become a one-stop-shop for entertainment for clubs, events, and weddings.

The more time goes on and the older I get, the more appreciative I am to have been a student at Saratoga. It hasn't hit me until recently how there really were some talented people that I was surrounded by, and these people impacted me in ways that were not apparent at the time. I also believe that many of the teachers at Saratoga were some of the best we could have had. It's interesting because if I were asked this question 10 years ago, I wouldn't have thought this way necessarily.

www.GravityNY.com
www.justinjoyner.com
www.theplaydoughs.com


Jacob Feldman

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The style of the material I’m producing now was all but non-existent ten years ago. In fact, it only really existed in the margins (and maybe more than margins) of my high school and college notebooks. Everything that I’m doing now has its origins in the doodles I would produce during class. My stylistic evolution continued in Grad school, where I further cultivated my doodlish nature. During this time I increased the intentionality behind what I was producing, moving from the pages of my school notebooks to independent creative efforts where I would sit down and just draw. Now, I do more “sitting down and drawing” than doodling, so whatever the future evolution of my art may be, the current one seems to have completed a full stage.

Currently I’m gathering work for my first public art exhibition – an art party myself and some friends are in at a gallery in San Francisco. I’ve only been seriously illustrating for about two years now, so the prospect of presenting my work and asking people to pay for it is terrifying, but damn exciting too.

For me, the work I’ve been doing is about creative expression for the sake of creative expression. So, with this art party I’m shifting from untethered creativity to trying to create a product of a certain sort – still though, I’m making a concerted effort to keep in mind that people don’t want to buy a product; if they’re going to buy it, it’s because it’s satisfying art.

The time I spent in the Saratoga High School Art Department was influential. When I draw, I work to include well executed elements of line, color, shape, contrast etc. into what I produce to help ensure a strong piece. The art department acted as the bedrock on which my future artistic ventures were built; independent, but integral.

I try to never attach the concept of “failure” to my art – it’s never a failure. It may (and invariably does) have shortcomings, but it’s not a failure because, as I said before, I revere creative expression for the sake of creative expression. By sticking to this creative philosophy, so long as I have created anything, I haven’t failed. That aside, the shortcomings of my art have given me a great outlet for further cultivating myself as a human. Every time I succeed or “fail” at an artistic endeavor it gives me more clay with which to sculpt my humanity.

As long as I’m still creatively expressing myself, I don’t care what happens in the future.



Annarosa Mudd

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For the first half of the past ten years I was training in acting at The Stella Adler Studio through NYU. It was the best possible program for me. I did an intensive theatre arts program in Bangkok, Thailand and a film acting workshop with casting director, Deborah Aquila, in Los Angeles. All of these experiences richly enhanced my imagination and my life, and therefore my work. Once I was out of school, I struggled with supporting myself in New York City and trying to maintain my artistic pursuits. It took a few years to even get myself to an audition.

I'd characterize my failures as the times that I was too scared or felt incapacitated to do or make anything. For whatever reason I couldn't just get out of the damn house and get myself seen and heard. Then of course, one or two auditions that were just horrifying, but that's usual actor stuff. The successes I've experienced have mostly been due to simply making a decision to do something and actually doing it.

There's also just that magical state of grace that I think every artist knows when they see it, but it's difficult to grasp and even more difficult to explain. My favorite term for it is 'the subtle knife' (and, yes, that is a book by Philip Pullman). Anyway, it's being centered and really listening to yourself, trusting your talent and your instincts and then just getting really brave. That's where success lives I think.

I finally auditioned for The Michael Chekhov Theatre Company and was accepted. It was a really neat little community and I met some pretty incredible people. I finally got to do Shakespeare, appearing in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Love's Labour's Lost and playing my favorite character of all time, Beatrice, in Much Ado About Nothing. Soon after this I signed with Cinematic Management, and went out for some much higher profile auditions. I was still feeling a bit limited and stuck in New York though. California was the answer. Ever since I got here I've felt a huge wave of freedom to just make whatever I want.

I'm working on raising money for a feature film that I wrote with a friend who also went to Saratoga High. I'm going to be starring in the film as well. It came about when I moved to the Bay Area and my friend expressed that he was interested in getting a female voice attached to the script. I really loved the story and the characters and the overall tone of the film and was excited to be a part of it.

Saratoga was such a special place to grow up in. Being there had everything to do with my training as a ballet dancer. I even got to perform with the New York City Ballet when I was 10. Intense dance training all through high school was extremely developmental for me as an artist. I still see things as a dancer I think, and that will always influence me first. I've heard of film directors who are also choreographers and that totally makes sense to me- it's very similar work.

Then there was the Spa Little Theater. I did a program with Michelle Yergin which totally solidified my desire to be an actor. I got lucky senior year of high school when the first New Visions Theatre Arts program was made available. I auditioned for that, got in, learned how to audition for college, got in to NYU early...and well the rest is history.

For being a tiny little place in upstate New York, Saratoga had a wealth of things to see and be inspired by. Right now I'm developing a screenplay based on a ballet piece I saw at SPAC, that I went back to see night after night. I feel very fortunate to have grown up in a place like that.

In ten years, I can see having some sort of production company with my friends. We'll make rad movies and find brilliant artists to work with. I'll be acting and probably producing. And if I'm not dancing, then I'll be in trouble.


Clifford Washington

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Right now I am freelance designing in NYC and working on an art exhibit at Spring St. Gallery in Saratoga coming in late February. I'm always looking for new work in graphic design or illustration. Whether its book illustration, editorial illustration, web design, logo design, or advertising design.

Saratoga High was my introduction to formal drawing, painting, and graphic design training. Teachers like Mr. Hotaling and Mr. Fantuzzi really helped refine my abilities before I went to college. Also unlike a lot of inner city schools in NYC, we were fortune enough to have access to Apple computers, which were instrumental in my development as a graphic designer. Over the years my art has definitely progressed from the Drawing and Painting and Senior Seminar classes in High School to where I am now. From a shear technical side my ability to accurately draw and paint objects or people or animals has grown a lot. But also my knowledge of the elements and principles of design.

My paintings are how I express myself to the world, whether it be about music, sci-fi /fantasy or socio-political themes. I am just at the point now of developing a style, because for a while, even in college, I was bouncing around a lot of different styles. I felt like I didn't want to be held back by adhering to a specific one, but I found it only confused people to not have a theme or particular direction for my work.

The success of my art has built my confidence in my abilities, and the messages/ themes that I try to get across in my paintings. My failures have taught me that its not weakness to seek help if I'm not sure how to proceed in my career. My failures have also changed my work ethic. I work 10 times harder now then I did in high school or college, because to go where I want to go in my career, my focus has to be laser-like.

10 years from now I'd like to be one of premiere Illustrators in America, and hopefully have my own creative studio handling design, branding, and animation.

http://www.facebook.com/KnoCliff
http://www.etsy.com/people/KnoCliff