Monday, October 6, 2014

Baby Elvis

Carved on Sunday morning, Sept 5th from a small piece of maple. My son and I were raising dust working on our projects in the driveway. We've found that Dremel products can't handle the amount of stress we put on our tools. We broke two (update: THREE) Flexible Shaft extensions in the last three weeks. The steel that Dremel uses for their drive shaft can't handle the torque. They twist apart after a few hours of use. Time to save our pennies for a Foredom carving station. My son is working in Basswood, and I'm working in Figured Maple.

Baby Elvis is going to be Automata Number 2. I want to get his jaw shaped and moving before investing time in carving the body and making the gears function for strumming the guitar and singing.

DAY 2 - New guitar, body and arms...

It should be a fun project.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Catrina in the Altar

I've been on a carving kick for the upcoming "Day of the Dead" Workshop I'm giving on the 13th of September. I wanted to have something new and awesome for the lecture - Spur on creative juices in the crowd. I hope it does the trick. Here's the progress so far.

NOTE: The Tall Catrina is too big for placement within the mouth of the Skull Altar, so she's been sold to a friend in Brooklyn. Little Sister has had her tenon cut, and has been fitted into the Altar piece. I'll post more pics as I progress.

Skull Altar Carving Skull Altar Carving Catrina Carving Catrina Carving Catrina Carving Catrina Carving Catrina Carving Skull Altar Skull Altar

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Diary Entry - January 1, 1922

Lydia Mull's diary entry from January 1, 1922

1922. January 1, Sunday

Last night Em, Marta and I saw the new year “in” at the Clinton Hill Baptist Church. Saw the Illustrious “auditor” – oh no! I mean ACCOUNTANT. He looked at me, I looked at him and all we said was---)(we didn’t greet each other at all). I had been skating with Marta, and I was some tired, so I didn’t enjoy the meeting as much as usual, and then, I’ve been growing “badder” or worse and worse as the days went by that I didn’t have a testimony to give wholeheartedly, that is. I did want to testify, but somehow the power of the Holy Spirit was lacking.

I didn’t go to Sunday School nor Church.

-- Diary Entry of (Tante) Lydia Mull

My cousin Sarah is kind enough to lend me Tante Lydia's 1922 Diary. This January 1st entry is the only one that is typed, so I will have to decipher the rest as I go. It's written in light pencil in a loopy cursive script that has me baffled in some passages... I have to learn to talk like a proper spinster.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Meth Mouth - A Slight Return

Zdepski's Illustration, Meth Mouth, 2014

You may have seen her at your local Walmart, or street corner. Meth Mouth has made a resurgence. I was approached by a doctor in France to include this image in an upcoming booklet for "Dental Health and Addictions" for high school age students in the city of Nancy.

I'm very proud to have it included, since it is one of the few positive things to come out of my experience with addicted friends. One friend was gunned down in a North Philadelphia heroin deal. Another lost her beautiful New Jersey home, storybook-marriage and sanity to Oxycontin. I hope my illustration will scare the crap out of some young kid thinking of dropping a pill on a weekend dare.

The good doctor saw this original sketch from 2008, but I've cleaned it up for its 2014 publication.

Addiction is a vampire with rotten teeth.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

He Needs Help, not Art School

zdepski's high school drawing of an imp and mushroom

I was rummaging through my flat file a few weeks ago and found some of my pencil drawings from my high school years. I was reading a lot of Tolkien, listening to Frank Zappa and looking at Stoner Comics like "ZAP!" and "The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers". My work was rough... but I loved detail. I would spend hours in my room drawing - It was one place I could go to forget about the uncontrollable aspects of my life. My family was very church oriented, and the majority of social activities my family participated in had to do with their faith... Fat Freddy's Cat wasn't on my parent's bookshelf.

My pencil put it right.

zdepski's high school drawing of a creepy puppet

One day in the late 1970s or early 80s, my parents invited to dinner Dr. W. Karl Steele and his wife from Wheaton College (bio link mid-way down this webpage), a church "chalk artist".

But Paul, you ask... What is a Chalk Artist?

A Chalk Artist is a traveling preacher that puts on a Gospel presentation at the front of the hosting church's sanctuary, talking and drawing to illustrate their message.

From a website on the subject, eternityarts.com: "The chalk artist draws a picture to bring a truth to life. People will often watch a chalk drawing and hear a presentation of the Gospel that they might not have otherwise heard. Drawing breaks down barriers of language, culture, and religion. It enables the message to be communicated and remembered. These are objective that every speaker wants in a presentation."

zdepski's high school drawing of a ship

"While chalk talks may have been performed before the twentieth century, they were not the type characterized by a full drawings done before an audience. The following people are pioneers in chalk artistry. They were led to perform public chalk talks for the purpose of giving a message. Early chalk art was done without black light. Florescent chalk was first used. followed by black-light chalk, which was invented by Dr. Karl Steele.

zdepski's high school drawing of a trippy dragon

So... back to our story...

After dinner, they all sat in the living room, when my dad told the chalk artist that I was an aspiring artist. My father insisted that I get my portfolio to show Dr. and Mrs. Steele.

"Dr. Steele went to school with Walt Disney! He'd like to see what you do."

"ummmm.... I really don't have anything to show them...", I said.

A cold glare fixed on me from my father...

"Go get some of your drawings." Dad ordered.

zdepski's high school drawing of an talking bottle of booze

My brother James remembers it this way:

"I remember Dad insisting you get your portfolio and you being very reluctant to get it...you knew what the reaction would be I'm sure... I think I saw the blood drain from his (Dr. Steele) pasty face like mercury and a sudden drop in temperature...... long uncomfortable silence!!!

He was expecting chalk or pastels on felt with the crosses high on Calvary! Instead he got "Nazareth - Hair of the Dog" album cover. Correct region of the world by name only.

Very funny thinking back on it now. They were still gasping for breath on the way out the front door. Dad embarrassed... be careful what you ask for! But that's all you had to show at the time. I laughed out loud as I typed this."

I, however remember him taking my father to the side out of ear-shot and telling him that I needed "help", not art school. My work was disturbing and twisted. From viewing my drawings, he didn't think I was "all there".

zdepski's high school drawing of a warrior with severed head

In the autumn of 1981, I went into the Philadelphia College of Art to study illustration. I was exposed to a world of art that was much more disturbing than anything I was able to cook up in my little mind; Matthias Grünewald, Hieronymus Bosch, George Grosz, Otto Dix.

After 35 years as an artist and illustrator, I believe the critique of my work reflected more upon Dr. Steele's inability to bend from what his beliefs were, more than my work being strange. I was drawing what was in my mind, which was better OUT than IN, as a wise man once said. I was working through issues on paper, not by destroying property or harming others. I'm thankful I was surround by other weird kids in college. I didn't feel as much of a outsider, but very much normal. We were all "getting it out on paper".

That crit has stuck, though... I really must have shook him to his holy-roller foundation.

zdepski's high school drawing of a crab

All of the above drawings were done between 1978 and 1980.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Chesnut's Revenge

zdepski's illustration spread sketch of the Chestnut's revenge

"The Chestnut's Revenge" - two page spread from my story 'tornado joe'

I still haven't pitched this, but it's a story dealing with a crazy and evil old man that makes some pigs do his dirty work... nuff said. I can't give it all away.

Pencil Drawing with Digital Textures, Shading and Highlights done in Adobe Photoshop.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Greenman - Chainsaw Carving

Zdepski's carving of a Greenman among English Ivy - Poplar GREENMAN Among the IVY - 12x9 inches - Poplar with Acrylic Patina Zdepski's carving of a Greenman before and after carving - Poplar GREENMAN - Before and After - Rough carving with a Stihl Chainsaw with a Dime Tip Carving Blade. Zdepski's carving of a Greenman 2 three quarter view carving - Poplar GREENMAN 2 - Sideview Zdepski's carving of a Greenman 2 front view carving - Poplar GREENMAN 2 Three Quarter view