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Buttoneyes Birthday

> Buy prints here <

This piece, was inspired hugely by news of the upcoming Cabal Cut release of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed and news of a possible anniversary book; It was further inspired by Bethalynne Bajema’s profound love for all of Clive Barker’s works.

The painting was originally to be a part of “Featured Creatures”, a movie monsters art show at the Ice Cream Gallery, but at 24×36 inches, in acrylic, and with little time to work on it – I knew I could not give this piece the love and attention I wanted to, and ended up submitting a smaller and more free-formed painting of Henrietta from “Evil Dead”.

Over the past months, this is mostly what I have been working on when I sit down to paint, and I have very much been looking forward to finally being able to show it…

Anyway: you can tell I am excited that the movie is coming up on its 25th birthday, and the 25th birthday of the book is upon us now – as well as announcements from Clive Barker and others about this release being a real thing, to add to all of the excitement of last year’s announcement about a possible made for cable Nightbreed Series.

Anyway.. here are some closeup images of the piece:

> Buy prints here <

> Buy prints here <

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Seven

A new engraving, 5×7 inches, with the usual really, really tiny details.

Seven cubes, seven limbs, seven chains between the cubes, seven chains on her neck…

I suppose it would be good for a children’s book on numbers, but I’ll probably end up using it with the other tarot inspired engravings one of these days for something more card-y.

The original is available here, as is the limited edition of 20 giclee

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The Black Ibis Tarot

The Moon

Bethalynne Bajema, my fiancee, co-conspirator, and occasional collaborator is working on her third eerie and beautiful neo-victorian Tarot deck “The Black Ibis” – and taking a different approach at her deck from the previous two in that she would like to have the deck published in one big run.

Being artists, and in this day and age where discretionary spending is at an all time low, being able to offer great things at low prices is essential.

Though the Sepia deck is very popular, with inquiries made every day about purchase, we are running that deck in very small runs (as our budget dictates), and for that reason have a higher asking price of $70 per deck. We would prefer to be offering them at $30, even less – because we’d like to have our art in the homes of everyone who likes what we are doing.

We would like to get this beautiful deck into the hands of *many* more fans and enthusiasts, make it more widely available, and maybe even go so far as to get bar codes and all that stuff that would allow for distribution… which requires a lot of printing setup fees and bulk ordering, the sort that is always way beyond our means.

Toward this end, she has set up a kickstarter fund. We need to raise $2,000 in printing and material expenses, and every dollar counts. She has set up many rewards for donations $5 and up, but what would be really amazing would be to receive a $1 donation from you, the reader.

People tend to feel that little amounts do not matter, that such gestures are unappreciated – but if even half of my 2,000 daily visitors pledged one single dollar, you and other contributors would have made a mark (and a damned good one) on art history by allowing an incredible artist to achieve her dream of bringing this project to life.

I know you’re probably thinking:

2000 other people? Well, that should all be taken care of then.

No… because most every one of them is thinking that exact same thing. Seriously. We get a *lot* of visitors and readers, we get a lot of email, we get a lot of people viewing images and galleries, we a lot of people downloading wallpapers, we get a number of comments, we get a handful of re-blogs (some of which even credit or link to us), we get a couple of twitter shares, we might even get a sale or two on a *really* good day… and that is generally the point where the world feels artists are well-rewarded for their work.

Here is a little-known secret: *You* are every bit as important in the art world as *any* artist. I’ve seen great and talented artists give up their dreams for a day job; I’ve seen *terrible* artists rise to the top. And if you are even a fraction as disappointed as I am in this, then you must know that artists live or die on support – not from hoity-toity self-appointed aficionados – or outlandishly rich philanthropists: but by real people, spreading links, making tiny donations, buying a print or two here or there… being involved, rather than being a bystander. You personally shape the future history.

If you would like to help out, be a part of the arts and of art history: be a part of this project, not an observer. Whether through sharing the link, or through donating $1 (seriously just $1 is AWESOME), *you* can make this happen (because all those other people are not even half as incredible). The link for her kickstarter fund is here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1835434564/the-black-ibis-project

Thank you,

Myke Amend

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Steampulp Baba Yaga

“The Magic Hut”

I’ve been dying to do a Baba-Yaga themed piece for some time now. I could probably do ten more and still not cover all of her faces or personalities.

This one I took a heavy-mechanical and clunky tentacle whipping approach – with the hut trampling trees and tearing the earth and road below on its rampage into a sleepy town

20 limited edition giclee prints are available Here

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New Additions

The Destination 1111 show gave me the opportunity to show a number of works that I hadn’t previously been able to show at any official showing or convention.

Speaking of which, I now have several current and ongoing art displays running, which I recommend if you are in the Massachusetts, Northern California, or Illinois area; They are at: Gallery Nucleus (Alhambra California), The Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation (Waltham, Massachusetts), and Gallery Provocateur (Chicago Illinois *beginning October 30th*).

Some of the works I showed at Destination 1111 dated back as far as ten years ago, one or two have been available here as prints for a while, but there were a handful of them which I had never been able to offer here, and was unsure whether to offer here. Not that life for me has ever been all that easy, but several of these pieces were from an exceptionally rough time, which made me hesitant to show them … But, given their reception at the 1111 show, and because they were widely requested, I finally decided to have them imaged.

This week, Jim Gebben, an extraordinary photographer from Grand Rapids, who I met during our Artprize run, spent some time taking some fantastic high res photos of my non-imaged works – so, I am not only finally able to offer prints of these, but finally able to offer some more originals as well.

Here are some of the new offerings:

Arclight 24x24 Oil on Panel
Arclight 24x24 Oil on Panel

Arclight: Available as:

Original 24×24 painting (framed 32 inches by 32 inches)
Giclee on Canvas (limited edition of 20)
Giclee on Fine Art Rag (limited edition of 20)
12×12 Metallic print (open edition)

The Day You Died 16x20 acrylic on canvas
The Day You Died 16x20 acrylic on canvas

The Day You Died: Available as:

Original 16×20 painting (unframed, with option for framing)
Giclee on Canvas (limited edition of 10)
Giclee on Fine Art Rag (limited edition of 20)
11×14 inch Metallic print (open edition)

Drill Baby Drill 24x36 Acrylic on Canvas
Drill Baby Drill 24x36 Acrylic on Canvas

Drill baby Drill: Available as:

Original 24×36 painting (unframed, with option for framing)
Giclee on Canvas (limited edition of 20)
Giclee on Fine Art Rag (limited edition of 20)
12×18 inch Metallic print (open edition)

The Wait - 24x36 Acrylic on canvas
The Wait - 24x36 Acrylic on canvas

The Wait: Available as:

Original 24×36 painting (unframed, with option for framing)
Giclee on Canvas (limited edition of 20)
Giclee on Fine Art Rag (limited edition of 20)
12×18 inch Metallic print (open edition)

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Big Framing Adventure

When it comes to the expense of framing, shipping, the gallery’s percentage cut, the risk of needing to have things shipped back afterward, and all those instances where art gets stolen or damaged somewhere along the way, galleries close unannounced, or maybe never even existed – well, gallery showings are the sort of anxiety that I often find myself trying to avoid. For this reason I tend to prefer conventions if possible, or shows that are actually within driving distance.

And in those instances, I still often find myself in this sort of panicked state over things: Logistics, packing, unpacking, hanging, being around people all come in to play – but the highest anxiety of all, tends to come with framing.

Since I make most of my sales online, and since frames add significantly to the online selling price, and to the shipping cost – I tend to send my large originals unframed, unless otherwise requested – which means that I never bother framing them at all – until that rare chance to show someplace worthwhile and drivable presents itself… as things with galleries go, which often starts with a “showtime is two weeks from now and we need these in a few days”.

Being an artist, I never have money laying around to frame one piece, let alone three or five. If I ever find myself with a handful of bills to call my own, the money typically goes toward re-stocking on shipping tubes, getting a new run of merch made, having a run of prints printed, buying new canvas, new paints, something entirely new to try my hand at, or bigger and better versions of things I have, for making a bigger and better piece I’ve dreamed of being able to make.

If you are an artist who has ever needed something custom-framed for a coming show, and find that the framing stores have closed – or just cannot afford to have frames done at a gallery, or even craft store – a table saw (or a hand saw and a miter box) are often a god-send.

I typically make some pretty nice frames – though not as wonderfully ornate as those made from the sort of moulding that one can only get through a framing store, they are made from real wood – most often some really good real wood, and are incredibly durable and made to last. They also have a bit of hand-made charm to them, and often are a bit of artwork in their own.

Sometimes I add polymer clay, brass fittings, brass chains and ornaments, decorative tacks, wood appliques, or designs I have cut with a scroll saw; Sometimes I accent them through pyrography, or intricate carved details – they sky is pretty much the limit when making one’s own frames…

Well, the sky, time, and money…

This is one of those instances where money and time factored in more than most. This frame was not made from the chunk of fire maple I am saving for something, or the strip of cherry I am saving for something else – it was made from used pine, which came from supports for a stage set – though I almost used an antique door or two to have harder wood in this mix without using my reserved pieces.

Step 0: (Materials and Preparation):

Materials: Wood, wood glue

Tools: Saw, miter box (can be made with wood and saw), table saw (optional), clamps or straps or a bit of ingenuity to hold pieces tight until the glue dries, sand paper.

Recommended: Something to make the wood something more than just flat and boxy – such as a router, Wood burner, rotary tool, scroll saw, bits to decorate the frames with such as brass cabinet knobs, bits of chain.. the sky is the limit. Really, it depends on how intricate and perfect you want them – you can make them anything from folksy and bare, to contemporary and smooth/plain, to fine works of wood-crafting, to works of art in their own.

Preparation: I cut the pine pieces long-way with the table saw to make sure I had enough pieces, and that they were equally broad and equally thick. For the main part of the frame, I made two pieces that were 8 feet long, 3 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. From a 2×4 stud, I also made 2 pieces that were 8 feet long, 1 inch wide, and half an inch thick. You can skip that step if you can get to a hardware store and buy wood in this size – I recommend a few strips of select pine (heartwood pine) – It acts like hardwood, feels like hardwood, even *counts* as a hardwood to some – and is only about $3 a strip at Home Depot – buy 2 1x2s, 1x3s, or 1x4s, and one 1×1 – and you won’t need to do any length-wise cutting. If you do not have a table saw, a handsaw and a miter box will do. If you do not have a miter box – make one (3 pieces of wood, plus wood glue (or nails) and something the measure a 45 degree angle with). A good string wood glue in necessary. Ratcheting straps (tow straps) or corner clamps, or maybe even bar clamps if they are big enough for what you are working on – will save you a lot of frustration. Without pressure, the wood glue will take forever to dry, and your bonds will not be as strong or as clean. Paint, or wood stain, will probably also come in handy.

_Preview_.JPEG First step was to make a basic frame with an inside dimensions of 49×30 and outside dimension of 55 x 36. This construct is just flat wood and 45 degree angles – nothing fancy – all done with a table saw and an angle jig.
Frame in the worksA good amount of wood glue on the edges and some corner clamps made a boxy “finished” frame. Clamp tight, and let the glue dry at least 15 minutes. The tighter you clamp it, the better the glue will penetrate, the thinner it will fan out, and the faster it will dry.

Then I made another such piece one out of thinner wood strips (which I cut off a bigger piece with the table saw), this one with 1/4 of an inch less for the inner diameter.

When the pieces for this “smaller” frame were done, I rounded their edges on the routing table, and then glued them together on the main frame – creating a lip big enough to hold in the painting but still covering as little of its edges as possible. (You can see what it looks like attached to the frame in the above image, and you can see a cross-section of the routed pieces in the image below)

_Preview_.JPEG_Preview_.JPEG

Frame in the worksA wider view of the frame with the second “frame” glued to its top.
Gessoed FrameI added some wood appliques (available at Home Depot, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby) to dress up the corners some; I then took to covering the thing in a thin layer of gesso so the paint holds on better. Typically my finishing would mean I would stain, wipe, stain, wipe, stain, wipe, smooth, varnish, smooth, varnish, smooth, varnish… but such is a three day process (if I don’t miss a beat). I needed to get this frame done by morning- so…
_Preview_.JPEGI added a metallic finish to it (silver spraypaint), then soaked it in watered-down black acrylic, then wiped up the black save for the crevices, then brushed over it in black, and wiped the black away from the part that borders the painting. It looks like it is hewn out of decades-neglected silver or maybe pewter.

If I could go back and do it again (which I may someday down the line) I’d faux finish it a deep red oak. I thought about doing this – but I’d like to see if I can get two hours rest in before we have to leave.

FinishedThis painting is just popped into the back. I typically cover the back with some really heavy craft paper – but I don’t have nearly enough on hand for that. The hanging wire is fastened into the painting itself on this piece, the the frame is more of a decorative surround, not a means to hang by. I may however move the hanging wire to the frame, just to be ‘normal’.

Below are some pics from another frame in progress. I routed both edges on one side (the inside edge), and rounded just one on the outside edge. The painting (a thin painting on hardboard) will rest within the router-made recess made in the inside edge). The outer edge has only one flat side so the assembled frame will sit flush against the wall.

I will probably stain and varnish this one – and will probably simulate the look of an age-old frame with multiple layers of stain, and leaving bits of extra stain in the crevices with each step.

_Preview_.JPEG_Preview_.JPEG_Preview_.JPEGStained

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Sorry Charlie

One of several possible layouts or poses for his sculpture
Sorry Charlie - fine art sculture by Myke Amend

He came to the surface world, wondering where all the food had gone, but there were no fish to be found on land.

There was however an abundance of two legged meat-things… they tasted somewhat like seals; Perhaps even enough to save his kindred, and maybe enough to last till next season.

All he knew, was that he had to return to tell the others, but maybe after just one more meal or two…

All pieces were sculpted, hand-painted, silver-leafed (cans of tuna), and hand-varnished by Myke Amend and come as a set. The wood barrels and scrapbooking paper aren’t included, but could be if you really want them.

Sorry Charlie - fine art sculture by Myke Amend
One of several layouts fo rthis sculpture

One of several possible layouts or poses for his sculpture; I envisioned it with Charlie on top of the crate looking up pitifully, with a few old cans of tuna laying about the scene (as above), but I really have a hard time choosing just one. There are more images, including closeups on the Etsy Page at ettadiem.etsy.com.

The set includes Charlie the sea monster, 3 tuna cans, “wooden” (polymer clay) crate, and crate lid:

“Charlie” is about 3.5 x 2 x 2 inches. His eyes are made out of brass, and all scales, shading, and countershading are hand-painted on.

The Polymer Clay crate is roughly 4.5 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches.

Tuna cans are tiny… really tiny.

This is a fine art sculpture, and is *not* a toy. It is *not* intended or recommended for anyone under the age of 18.

I put a lot more work into this than I expected to. My first thought was to make something quick I could sell for $40 or so, but then I decided to use brass for eyes, then to hand-brush and shade scales onto him, then to make the crate out of clay instead of weed, then silver leafing the tuna cans for a more realistic look… I’d sell it for $300 for all the work that went into it, and its uniqueness (only one of its kind), but right now it is up for $145 on Etsy.

We are putting a lot of time and resources into our Artprize bid… a $5,000 estimated expense, between 5 people who can barely scrape together a handful of change (i.e. artists, post-July,2008). So, if you want to make good of our situation, this sculpture is available online until we have the fundraiser/teaser for the event – in which case it will be on sale there.

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Red Hand Assemblage

Red Hand Assemblage Showing Hand
Red Hand Assemblage

This artwork is three in one.

The box/dual frame: I labored hard for over a week on the box, which is a very sturdy hand-built, hand-stained, hand-varnished, hand-waxed chunk of quality hardwood (heartwood select pine base and birch sides). It not only serves as a box (if you would want to use it as such a thing), but as a self-contained double frame which requires no wall hanging. It is perfect for a coffee table, end table, mantle, dining table or most any flat surface you would like to display it on… and it is so sturdy in construction that you won’t be freaking out if people get near it.

Red Hand Assemblage Showing Both
Red Hand Assemblage Showing Both

The box has two decorative hinges with a decorative patina on the spine edge if it; The latching mechanism is self-made from another smaller version of these hinges, combined with three solid brass model cannons from a model ship. The latch holds the piece securely shut, but opens easily when you want it to with a slight squeeze of the box and an easy flip of the thumb.

Latching Mechanism detail
Latching Mechanism detail

I spent hours and hours and hours buffing and buffing this piece. You may not see the glossiness of it in the picture, but it is pretty shiny.

Open Assemblage Box Frame closed
Red hand Assemblage Box Frame closed (standing, latch side)
Red Hand Assemblage Open
Red Hand Assemblage Open, spider side showing
Open Assemblage Box Frame closed
Red Hand Assemblage Box Frame closed

Sometimes antiquing involves making something look beaten and ratty, sometimes it is a matter of making something look like something of quality kept new by an archivist or generations of enthusiastic caretakers – quality and new as the day it was made. For this particular look, I went with making it look like somewhat well-maintained antique… something once very expensive, polished periodically by its owners – well protected, but also well-used.

This sort of antiquing makes it much more involved than the other two. When I do this sort of antiquing on fresh and new untreated wood, making it look fashionably old is essentially a process of finishing and refinishing it to duplicate what time would do: Creating many stages of maintenance and multiple areas of color to create the look of something old… dark areas near crevices and hard to reach spaces, lighter areas where regular wear might occur.

Open Assemblage Box Frame on its side
Open Assemblage Box Frame on its side

The Art: To make these illustrations mesh well with the box, I made them in this dark-carnival, old Victorian occult ephemera style, with a lot of metaphysical flavor and a touch of campy horror propmaking. It not only made them work well with the box I envisioned, but made them fun for me and strikingly bold… a primitive and stark contrast to my normal reserved and detailed works and my muted color palettes.

Red Right Hand detail
Red Right Hand

Painting One: “Red Right Hand” this is one of two pieces done for a collaborative collection of China MiĆ©ville inspired illustrations and artworks, an effort assembled and coordinated by John Straun of SuperPunch. The Handlingers are mind-controlling creatures which look much like a human hand with a snake’s body. I decided on red for my colors because I wanted the hand to be red, and I might it a right hand just so I could name the piece “Red Right Hand”, because I am a huge Nick Cave fan.

Limited Edition Giclees (limited edition of 20) are available in my store

Red Right Hand detail
Red Right Hand detail
Weaving Spiders Come Not Here
Weaving Spiders Come Not Here

Painting Two: “Weaving Spiders Come Not Here”: I often name images for all of the phrases that swim around in my head. I don’t know what it is about soliloquy, sayings, proverbs, historical quotes and other such things that causes them to remain so well-embedded. I start working on a piece, and once he concept is in place, I immediately think of some string of words that fits, though usually a twist thereof. Rarely does the phrase inspire the piece, but the piece typically inspires the title, and the title sometimes shapes the work… this title coming from Shakespeare, or the once-curious reliefs seen outside of Bohemian Clubs. “The Weaver” is a large sentient spider with hands on its forelimbs (I also put them on its Pedipalps), with a love for scissors. The Spider with scissors brought this phrase to mind, so rather than repeating the more circular designs from the previous painting, I made them weave like webs, being cut by the spider.

Limited Edition Giclees (limited edition of 20) are available in my store

Weaving Spiders Come Not Here detail
Weaving Spiders Come Not Here detail
Open View
Open View

SuperPunch: Superpunch.blogspot.com
China Meiville: Rejectamentalist Manifesto

All three works – the dual frame box assemblage, and the two paintings, are available as one piece in the originals section of my store.

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20 Free IPhone (or other smart phone) desktop wallpapers

I sat up tonight making this first wave of free skins for the iphone.. why? I don’t know… I don’t even have one. They do however seem to be popular, and hopefully even people without that specific phone can use these.

These images are free to use for your own personal non-commercial use on your own phone.

There is no rule that says you specifically *have* to use them on an iphone though, if you are able to use them for any other cell phone or smart phone, please feel free. You also have my permission to change them to bitmap, gif, png, or whatever format your phone takes.

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The Sweet Smell of Recovery

I am back online. I’ve finished fixing the images in the store, and got a lot of the more recent blog enties (though I still have ten years more worth to go).

The timing for the server going down couldn’t have been worse – as during those 4 days, I not only got featured by Internet Jesus, Warren Ellis, but I finally got one of the Daily Deviation thingers on Deviant Art – sending anyone who searched for me by name or tried clicking my homepage link to a dead page.

… I hate to even think of the dead page casualty count there… 1200 faves on that image in one day, says that number would be approximately …”a lot”.

Today, Browsing Warren Ellis’ blog, I found my good friend, Eric Adams: Moon Zombies
and also my fiancee Bethalynne Bajema: Cthulhu Maestro. It seems like the internet gods are smiling upon our little cluster of artists this week.

In other news, I’ve added three new artworks to my stock – prints of two new engravings (here and here) and prints of one new painting (here). I’ve also made a single page about prints, print quality, and print types (here). The new painting, as all my paintings from this series, was sold before the last brush stroke was done – if you are interested in either of the two engravings they are currently listed on Etsy (here).

Pollen
Pollen - a weird art engraving not necessarily from my Airships and Tentacles series
See Monkeys
See Monkeys - a weird art semi-steampunk engraving of ocean depths, man-made contraptions, and ancient beings.
Red Queen - A fast and rough spatter painting in acrylic on birch panel
Red Queen - A fast and rough spatter painting in acrylic on birch panel