Frenzied Silence Artistry

James Alexander Graham: Not An Ugly Bastard.

The Twilight Sad played two gigs in Portland yesterday, and I had the pleasure of chatting with the guys for a bit after each. I had drawn a portrait of James, and gave it to him after the first show, a small acoustic session at a local record shop. James is absolutely gracious and kind. And contrary to what he said, he is definitely NOT “an ugly bastard”.

James Alexander Graham | The Twilight Sad frontman, drawn from a still of their Paisley Abbey performance. Finished 01 November 2014. I had the pleasure of giving this drawing to James at their in-store acoustic performance the day after I finished the work.

Posted 03 Nov 2014. Tagged
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Hindrance

This is a personal whinge.

Most of you, by now, know that I occasionally do artwork. And most of you know that I have many health problems. These two things do not fit together. I am having another bad day. So I am going to write about it, because letting the shit pile up is not a healthy thing.

My portraits, if you have seen them, rely heavily on precise light values and shading. Because of this, I need to be able to see very well, and I need a lot of light on my work surface. A very difficult situation when I deal with chronic headaches and random vision problems, which may or may not be connected to my Lupus. I sit down with some hope, and within a short amount of time I can no longer find the intricacies of a picture because my eyes are full of flash-spots and after-images.

I have been to doctors, of course I have. I’ve endured 50 minutes of MRI scanning, I’ve been examined by a neurologist and an ophthalmologist. There’s nothing wrong, I’m just “prone to headaches” and I still have 20/20 vision but I’m extremely light-sensitive and my eyes get tired unusually fast. Suck it up and bear it.

Well I don’t WANT to suck it up and bear it. I’m trying to do something I love here. Other people like to see what I do. I’ve just recently realised the self-confidence in my portrait work to draw other people and then show those people my work, and I’ve been very fortunate to get more love from those people over that work than I could have imagined. It’s a respect thing, and is becoming moreso since I’m having such a difficult time making it work now. And these people I’ve drawn have no idea. It’s my way of showing them how much their being on this Earth, and doing the things that they do, has influenced and brightened my life. And as I get older and better at drawing – my body tells me NO, fuck off, you can’t do this thing that you’ve finally embraced.

Just a little bit frustrating. I’m trying to finish a tiny portrait right now, as a gift for another musician… and it’s making me sad.

In fact, reading this post on my own website, which I designed, is now hurting my eyes, and when I looked away after reading the draft, I can see white lines over everything I look at, from the text on my screen burning into my retinas. See how fun this can be for trying to shape a person’s cheekbone in a portrait!

Posted 24 Oct 2014. Tagged
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Dragon

My latest portrait: JP Reid (The Dragon), musician, songwriter, and one of the sweetest people on the planet. You may know him from his collaborations with Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro. Please listen to his bands: Sucioperro and Medals. <3

Graphite on 11×14” Bristol board (drawing is approx. 6.5×11”). ~46 hours.
Finished 17 July 2014.

[click image for full size]

Posted 17 Jul 2014. Tagged
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Blessed.

I have had the wonderful privilege of making miniature guitars for two of my favourite musicians, Mike Vennart [Oceansize, British Theatre, Biffy Clyro] and JP Reid [Sucioperro, Medals, Marmaduke Duke].

Mike’s “old piece of shit” Stratocaster:

JP’s three main guitars:

Love.

Posted 29 Jun 2014. Tagged
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SiLhouette

Yes, I’ve been planning that pun for a while. :P

Simon Neil in silhouette, drawn from a screenshot I took of iTunes Festival 2012.
Prismacolor pencils on black paper.
About 12 hours total, finished 28 March 2014.

Simon Neil

Posted 28 Mar 2014. Tagged
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Biffy Fucking Clyro.

So, I’ve been waiting to post these portraits until I had a chance to show the band – and show them I have. The boys have taken the original drawings home with them. I still have no words for how their hugs and smiles and comments have made me feel. <3

Biffy Clyro portraits
At the Doug Fir, Portland Oregon, 10 February 2014.

The portraits (click for larger version):

Simon Neil Simon Neil

James Johnston James Johnston

Ben Johnston Ben Johnston

Those boys, and their tour manager and their crew are so wonderful, sweet, and full of hugs. :D

—edited to add:
My beautiful photographer friend Hillary has put up some of her gorgeous photos from Seattle and Portland on her blog: Hillary Joy Photography :D

Posted 12 Feb 2014. Tagged
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Fuzz

This is by far the silliest guitar I have yet miniaturized. It was a Christmas gift for my mother.
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top’s fuzzy Explorer. I had such fun making it :D

This is ornament size, about 4 inches long.

Posted 08 Jan 2014. Tagged
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