Fuzzy Skeletonians and the circle of life


     Beware mortals!  What you see is the beginning of the first real 3-D Fuzzy Skeletonian to enter our plane of existence!  The scale I’m working on right now is more the bite-your-toes-off-and-laugh-while-you’re-screaming size of Fuzzy Skeletonian but I hope to bring these guys to full rip-your-arm-off-and-beat-you-with-a-bloody-stump scale in the future but that may be a while coming simply due to cost of materials.

     What I’m envisioning at present are highly detailed Fuzzy Skeletonian figurines fit for collecting.  Working in 3-D is also going to allow me to literally start building my Fuzzy Skeletonian Army!  World domination is only a matter of time now, bitches!!

     I must say, it feels good to be working with clay again.  Never thought I’d see the day.  Until I started messing around with this stuff I’d almost forgotten the ceramics classes I took in college.  I guess my dream of being a ceramic sculptor never really died, it just laid dormant for a while.  After all these years the sneaky little bastard gave me quite the pleasant surprise!  Fuckin’ life.  It has a way of circling around and giving you back what you thought you’d lost.

soulless technique and blame


     Here’s some crap from early college.  Mainly concentrating on technique more than content, although it seems I was partial to black lines on white paper form an early age.  I remember being very proud of this at the time.  I even made a couple more versions with different colors and textures and matted them all nicely on some black card stock with the careful use of spray adhesive.  My narcissistic young self admired these works and thought them fit for framing at the time.

     But now…  Now, I kinda hate them.  I look at the above image and what I see is all the excitement and raw content of the Sharpie craze and nose bleed trapped inside a kind of soulless technique.  I know I was young and still learning but I can’t help but hate this.  I fucking hate it.  Those straight lines and unimaginative use of still life objects.  Sure the contour lines on the leaves are nicely done but there’s absolutely no self-discovery going on here at all.  Funny…  this isn’t the first time I’ve been way too hard on myself for crimes committed in college.  I know now that I needed help and encouragement at the time but I still have trouble fighting the impulse to blame myself.

logo man and the pain of college

     Recently got the courage up to go through the two old beat up portfolios of crap I saved from college.  Mostly messy charcoal drawings and the like.  No two ways about it, college was messy.  Amidst the flimsy, torn charcoal drawings I came across this little bit of brush work from one of my classes.  We were working with an India ink wash or some shit an this was one of my little doodles.  If you don’t know already “Vincent Stemkin” is my pseudonym and what you see above are my real initials.  Dang, just look at that shit.  So young and positive and fullo ambition.  Egotistical dreams of greatness…

     Man, this is difficult.  I’ll stop here and let my ambitious little logo sit and gel, hopefully finding a place for itself in the latest chapter of my artistic life.

looooving me is easy ’cause I’m beautiful!


     This is the only honest to goodness, actually attempting a photographic likeness, self-portrait I have ever done.  This was completed when I was 19 years old.  Early college, when I was all ambitious, arrogant and very serious about myself.  At the time I was all like, “I’m gonna draw myself using two mirrors, man!  That way what I draw will be an actual likeness of myself and not just a mirror image!”  And so I did.  I used two mirrors, concentrated very hard, narcissistically paid special attention to my eyes and pursed lips and, in the end, screwed the whole thing up by making the distance from the tip of my nose to my chin noticeably shorter than it actually is.  Eh, whatcha gonna do.  I was young, dumb and fulla cum.  The odds of me not screwing this up were pretty slim to begin with.

     Have a good new year.  I plan to get drunk and burn shit.

teen scream


     Here’s a moldy-oldy for all ya’lls.  This is the oldest drawing that I still have lying around.  It’s been creased, torn and abused by time.  It expresses my teenage angst very well and I drew this when I was 17 years old.

     That was 23 fucking years ago.  My wife and I started having the hot, naked, sexors 21 years ago and if fate had taken a different turn we could have a child right now who’d be just about ready to graduate college.  And then we’d have to kill them.  Considering how college turned out less than successful for us without kids, it would have been an even bigger quagmire of despair, failure and disappointment if we had been raising a child.

     Anyway, that’s enough about that.  Thanks for your time, folks.  I appreciate it.

ghoulie ghouls, 1 of 3


     I sat myself down in front of my ghoulie ghoul Halloween decorations and cranked out some drawings over this past weekend.  I’m flyin’ by the seat of my pants this October but, dammit, I’m gonna contribute to the festivities as best I can!

     I have to say I’m excited and pleased with the drawings I completed.  This one in particular gives me the total deja vu for some reason.  I think it’s the fuzzy eyebrows and frowny eye sockets.  It’s almost like I’ve drawn something very similar to it before.  I’ll have to leaf through my sketchbooks when I get around to it.  Man, these felt good.  It was almost like I was back in a college drawing class putting forth a sincere effort and trying to improve myself.  Good stuff, man.

bamboo engineers have a tough job


     Another assignment from early college.  This was when I was still living with my mom and she was renting this awesome studio-type apartment above a drugstore.  The subject matter here was one of those cheaply made, bamboo-wicker-type chairs that were all the rage in the late 80’s, early 90’s.  These chairs were designed to hold the weight of a normal adult or two calmly relaxing young adults (for example, me and my future wife).  Of course, the two young adults in question can remain calm and relaxed in a chair this size for only so long before they become active, horny young adults.  The physical stresses that two people in such a state produce are far greater than the maximum rated capacity for a chair of this type.  This was the first of at least two chairs my mother had to purchase when I explained to her they accidentally broke when I happened to sit down in them too hard, clumsy me.

muppet eyeball head


     Here’s my latest watercolor creation.  Yes, it’s watercolor paint.  Yes, I know I tried to make it look like a Sharpie marker.  I wimped out a little but I got some good practice in.  It takes a lot of care to get the kind of lines you want with a wet brush.  I remember back in college, when I had dreams of being this great ceramic artist/sculptor, I used to think that 2D compositions were for posers.  I had particular disdain for painters but now, every time I pick up a brush, my respect for them grows and grows.  Not only respect but an increased understanding of what makes painting so alluring.

     This is truly a wonderful and complex medium to work with, as such, it’s a little intimidating which is why I limited myself to only black and to a very familiar subject matter and style for this composition.  I do like the new level of fuzzy effects I was able to create with a brush.  In contrast to the coarser hairs I produce with a marker, a brush goes beyond fuzzy in the realm of full-on furry.  Like muppet levels of furry.  I mean just look at this guy, he’s almost lovable with his wispy eyelashes and tufts of fur! (The original looks better, as I had unusual amounts of difficultly with the scanning process this time around.)

     Well, I’ll stop jabbering now.  Thanks for joining me in my painting experiment.

melancholy monk


       I guess most any artist can claim to have wrestled with depression in their life.  It would be a little naive to think I’m somehow unique for having had the experience.  I guess what I’m driving at is that depression has always been a point of interest for me.  I can remember having feelings of frustration, futility and anger as early as grade school when I would fly into angry crying fits when my mother discovered I had once again not done my homework.  Sheets and sheets of repetitive arithmetic homework assignments.  Concepts I had mastered in the classroom and didn’t need to practice at home.  It drove me crazy.

     From that beginning I was well on my way to having a lifelong dance with depression.  I was eventually tested it was determined I was “gifted”, whatever that means.  Gifted students are supposed to be frustrated with the standard curriculum and all they supposedly need is something more to challenge them and make them feel satisfied with their education and not bored out of their minds.  I didn’t want more, I wanted less.  More specifically, I wanted to be left alone, left to my own devices.  Later, this feeling became so strong I took a whole year off from high school, barely showing up half the time.  In the end, it took me five full years to graduate (and just barely) with the aid of an extra correspondence course to complete the required amount of course credits.

     The only reason I even attempted college was due to my interest in being an artist and the temporary optimism I had gained from pulling myself together enough to graduate high school.  I lasted about two semesters before my old habits started to kick in.  I quickly tired of doing assignments where I had to draw this or sculpt that.  I was learning techniques but my heart wasn’t in it.  I did have some sincere enthusiasm for the ceramics classes I took but the professor I kind of connected with soon retired.  The other professor was much more interested in his own career and didn’t give a damn about you unless you kissed his ass or were popular enough to be in his little clique of friends at the local coffee shop.  All in all, a very discouraging experience for a young man who desperately needed encouragement.

     Nowadays, the depression has simply become a part of me.  There was a time when I thought I was fighting it but now I simply keep company with it.  I use it as a shield against the unforgiving reality we all share.  Some say that I might be mentally ill and should seek help but I personally think that anger and depression are appropriate responses to a corrupt and uncompassionate society.

sans whiskers


     A quick cat sketch from my 20’s.  I just realized I didn’t even bother with whiskers.  I think this was an assignment for Drawing I or some shit from college.  Not much sincere content here, just trying to impress the teacher.  I did draw all this from memory though, no actual cat was involved (I guess the absence of whiskers was a giveaway).  Back when my youthful optimism was driving me to work on my technique, use different hardnesses of pencils and draw cutesy, positive images.  Bleah.

tribal mask


     Here’s some pencil work from when I was about 31 from the looks of the date.  The main thing I remember about this was that I drew it to see if I still “had it” so to speak.  I hadn’t drawn anything for a long time prior to this.  Failing at a BFA in college can do that to you.  My technique is a little soft in this composition.  I’m right-handed and you can see the whole damn image leaning to the right.  Pretty amateur stuff.  As far as the content goes, I do see remnants of my college experience in there;  the African tribal mask thing, Picasso-esque nose and mouth…

     (I’m listening to the Blade Runner soundtrack while I’m typing this.  Good gravy did Vangelis have a supreme gift for creating atmosphere!  It’s like all of the world is this dark, pathetic, ugly place full of disappointment and soul-crushing ennui yet it’s so comfortable and strangely, overwhelmingly beautiful.)

     Getting back to the subject at hand, I think this did sort of mark a new beginning of sorts for me artistically.  In the years after this I found myself drawing more, buying sketchbooks, experimenting with black ink and black markers and even starting to scan and digitally fiddle with some of my drawings.  A modest rebirth, no doubt, but a personally significant one I think.