Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Of tattoos, Solar Brothers, French graffiti and more

In the last two weeks, there has been quite a bit of interesting news. First, and most excitingly, Daryl L. L. Houston, the man behind the Infinite Zombies blog among other things, has gone and gotten an amazing Moby-Dick-inspired tattoo based on my own art, the illustration for the Fin-Back Whale from page 131 in the “Cetology” chapter. This is a first for me, and it is an incredible honor. Skin lasts a lifetime, and knowing that someone thinks highly enough of my own art to permanently ink it on their own body is really just an amazing feeling. Daryl was kind enough to send along a photo of the work shortly after completion, and here it is…

As always, with any tattoo, modifications and simplifications need to made to adapt the work for the medium of skin and flesh. My original illustration was quite large and densely detailed and those details are just impossible to transfer to skin without muddying the image. My wife has quite a few tattoos and we’ve had an opportunity to talk at length with several very talented tattoo artists. I think the modifications made to the image for Daryl’s tattoo actually look exceptionally good, and overall I think the tattoo is just incredible. I’m a bit envious, and even more humbled and honored that Daryl chose my art to live with for the rest of his life. That really means a lot. Even my wife doesn’t have any tattoos that I designed, and she’s got quite a few tattoos! When this project is finally complete, I plan on getting a large tattoo of my own to commemorate this journey. I’m not sure yet exactly what I will get but it will involve a whale and a harpooneer, although probably not Ahab. I’m not sure if I want to be marked by that madman for the rest of my days. I’ve got a long way yet to go anyway, so for now, I’m content to simply gaze at Daryl’s wonderful piece and think again about how cool it is that my art was turned into a tattoo.

Next, Kevin Bramer, who I know as Whitey, of the comic and zine store and review site Optical Sloth has written a wonderfully favorable review of my most recent art zine “The Solar Brothers, Volume II” (hand spraypainted covers, sewn Japanese stab binding, xeroxed internal pages) and you can see the review here. I finished this zine in April of this year so I would have it to sell at Columbus, Ohio’s S.P.A.C.E. (Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo) and it was received rather favorably. Unfortunately I am all sold out of this and every other zine and comic I’ve ever made, so they are no longer available. Still, Whitey’s review shows the cover and has some nice details, so check it out. Also, there may yet be some very intriguing developments involving these Solar Brother illustrations and the work of an immensely talented poet I know, but more work needs to be done.

Lizzyg of France, the woman behind the always intriguing blog voicenovoice, posted about a rather astounding bit of graffiti she recently came across in this blog entry. She wrote that the graffiti reminded her of me and this project, and after looking at the photos she posted I can see all sorts of almost eery thematic similarities. There are squid, octopi, whale like shapes, huge looming faces, and all sorts of other strange images that look in many ways like they could have been illustrations for Moby-Dick. It is well worth checking out.

I've finally gotten around to updating My Art For Sale page and there is a small handful of newish stuff - two Solar Brothers and a few other things. It's strange but other than these Moby-Dick illustrations and two or three older pieces that my wife really wanted to keep, all of my original art has been sold, traded, or given to friends. Really, the vast majority was given to friends or sold really really cheaply to friends, but it's still a bit strange to me that these pieces are physically gone from my life forever. I guess that's necessary though, and it keeps me focused on making new work which is essential.

Last, I have a new post up (from Monday) at the Infinite Zombies blog which you can read here. This one examines the three mates – Starbuck, Stubb and Flask – and how I conceptualized them. I’ll have a few more posts up over there this week, and then sadly (for me) the blog will be turning to other works of literature.


  1. dear matt - as i come to my blogpage and thus in contact with yours, i am way touched and honored to appear in your comments. i feel like i'm getting to be part of the (ever expending) family around your project

    i'm pleased you liked the graffiti - i thought you would, part are indeed uncannily akin to your stuff/themes, etc.
    i am touched also that you enjoy my blog and are passing it on here...

    also, some day might tell you a story about whale tatoo and more (by the way that tatoo is just awesome!)
    oh and i would love to accquire some of your art. the B/W i saw for sale doesn't do it for me - but zine or whatever, i'll go for when available.
    forward on!
    may i say "fondly"?

  2. An awesome post! Thanks for sharing the news and the links. I'll be busy for a while now... :-)

  3. Lizzyg, I have a good memory and am very familiar with those who visit and comment often. It is especially good to hear from you since I know my art is traveling all the way across the ocean and into countries and places I have never travelled to.

    I will be looking forward very much to your tattoo tale. Skin art is a subject that fascinates me deeply, and this project seems to be fuelling that interest more than I would have guessed.

    I think you will definitely have an opportunity to acquire some of my art some day. I have plans for what I want to do when I finish this illustration project, so this is certainly not the last of the drawings and paintings I have to make. I will keep you and everyone posted as to how things are developing. But first, 268 more pages remain.

  4. Thank you Buck, it really seems that as this project rolls along more and more happens around it. For months, it was just illustration after illustration, but things seemed to have snowballed in a very pleasant way. The next 8 to 9 months should be interesting indeed.


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