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Blue Things

Yeah, I know, people have gotten pretty used to me making with the fantastical steampunk stuff – but there are a lot of times when the things in my head aren’t exactly in the genres I’m known for, often times these things aren’t exactly things people would want hanging on their walls, or even like.

That, is perfectly okay.

I took a 6-month break from showing anything new here – not that I stopped creating, but I was building big things, painting big murals upon them, working large scale in everything from the art itself to the undertaking as a whole… I managed 7 new paintings – each 3 foot by 7 foot, and can’t show them right now as I have no budget for imaging them.

I’d like to say I am working on something even bigger than that, but I am working smaller for a bit – less over the top, less fantastical, less with the huge.

… Some of this, is because the project, and all that time, really tapped me out emotionally, physically, and otherwise – I may have shot my life completely down the tube, I don’t know – I’ve lost my faith in humanity save for a small handful of people I met and worked with during the process, and have lost all hold on any illusion that there is any hope for a real arts scene or art happenings in the town I am currently living in and my thoughts in general on art as a living: expletive filled and feeling rather final.

Until I find a job, hopefully something good and hands-on, blood and sweat and not having to deal with people variety… landscaping, construction, etc…

I guess I still have to do whatever I can do, manage whatever I can manage, every day, regardless – so I do what I can do, which is painting, on what I have available to paint on.

I’m finding bits of board and unused canvas around the house big enough to do paintings on, and painting away for no one and no reason in particular.

I think some might call this “freedom”.

If you liked the sorts of things I spent the last few years painting – well, there were ways to express that – Just downloading images, wasn’t it.

But, for those who missed all the oddness and ugliness… well, it seems that I am back in that regard, and will paint new things, whenever I feel like it, whenever I have stuff to paint on.

I’m not done being an artist – I was born that way, I’ll die that way – I am just feeling rather done with *this*.

I am going to go back to breaking my back for a living, because I’d enjoy that a lot more than watching the internet for a non-living. I am going to wrap all my works up as I make them, store them up, list a few here now and then, and show them if and when a chance to show them someplace good comes up.

Anyway…

My latest two pieces are painted on 8×10 inch scraps of birch. They are filled with tiny details. They are the product of free-painting, with no particular image, story, or anything in mind short of the current element leading into the next and tying in with the previous. I suppose this is leading a lot more toward the style of my older, more surreal works, and I am exploring that for a while… contemplating how I will break that formula on the next, reflecting on missed chances in the previous…. building toward something, though I have no idea what, nor do I care.

I’d say more, but I still feel that people who like to talk a lot about their work, should be spending that time working.

Good night.

Same Deep Water as You
Same Deep Water as You
Deeper
Deeper
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Cooties and a story by G.D. Falksen!

Well, it looks like I am devoting myself this year to finally finishing up my children’s book – but for now, I am working really hard at making our kickstarter successful.

We are beyond dedicated to making this happen… so much so that I stayed up all day and night putting this special drawing together (image below), which will be available in printable PDF format exclusively to everyone who donates $1 or more though our Kickstarter.

A $2 purchase of a good piece of fine art paper from your local craft store, plus this download, and you’ll have this silly piece of my steampunk storybook for your wall… $3 total investment, and no shipping.

We’ve also received an unpublished text by G.D. Falksen to add to our kickstarter offers: An Original Never-before Published Exclusive Short Story by award winning author G.D Falksen; You get a hard copy of the short story in a binder, decorated with exclusive print by Myke Amend (an illustration of the story within) – each illustrated cover HAND EMBELLISHED, numbered, and signed… making for a *very unique* work of literature and art combined.

Other offers include everything from exclusive prints from me, the Airships and Tentacles Coloring Book, the Airships and Tentacles Scrapbooking kit, Original Paintings, and other incredible offers as *much* less than regular price…

We’ve had some good fortune this week, blogged by Warren Ellis, tweeted by Neil Gaiman and Kyle Cassidy, you may have seen us mentioned by Vernian Process, Abney Park, Nancy Overbury, and other greats… who we will be sure to mention more in depth when we compile our big list of People Last Against the Wall…

Please help us to keep this momentum going. 7 days remain, and we are nearly 30% there. Your donation of $1, retweeting, reblogging, or otherwise spreading the word of this project can put us over that hill.

Cooties - Available only through our kickstarter
Cooties - Available only through our kickstarter (click to enlarge)
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Hello!

I am talking to you… through the internet!

I forgot to mention the rewards such as limited etchings on brass, paintings, and the like – but, if you’d like to know more, we’ve got a writeup about the project here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/infernaldevice/the-infernal-device-an-enormous-mechanical-and-pai

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My first Video ever: It’s terrible! You’re welcome!

Because we needed video up for The Infernal Device‘s kickstarter page, and didn’t have one, I decided to do a workshop video to talk about progress on the model. Problem being that I did not have any camera person to move the camera to key points like… I don’t know… my head, the model, the table of gears.

Still, I am proud of it – if not simply because I managed to not wear a helmet with blue spandex, nor am I waving a frisbee about.

If you would like to know just what the hell I am going on about in this video, you can see images of the parts we’ll be using, the part of the model already built, progress pics of building this drum, pictures of us and our works, and actual things about the Device and why we’re building it, details about our ArtPrize bid, all at InfernalDevice.net.

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Approved!

Our Kickstarter was approved and launched yesterday, and you can find it here: Our KickStarter Page

If you aren’t familiar with Kickstarter, it is a perfect addition to our community project feel, in that it allows fellow art lovers to become a part of our project, while receiving rewards for their participation.

Gifts offered for donations starting as low as $1 begin at our sincere thanks, and go as high as being painted into the artwork itself – with many, many levels in between at $5, $10, etc…

If you do not have a dollar to pitch in at the moment, we completely understand, and would appreciate your help in simply forwarding on the link to others. All those little donations matter greatly, especially when friends and friends of friends are chipping in.

On a sidenote: If you would like to hep out in other ways, from donating junk from your garage, to being there for the hands-on work such as the build, we’d love to hear from you. You can reach us through our contact form, linked at the top of this page.

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Work with me here

I am seeking two people who live in Grand Rapids, or are willing to travel to Grand Rapids for the Artprize competition/event.

Most importantly, those people would be able to be here during Artprize, Late September through early October, or at least be able to transport their part of the project before the event begins. Preferably, they would live in the region and be able to work on the project right here – that work period being from May through September.

This would be a collaborative project, with winnings split evenly between collaborators, should we win. Expenses would be covered by whatever sponsors we can find, and I’ll be seeking space to work in, in addition to the perfect venue for our work – hopefully one that will yield the most visitors.

The types of artists/artisans I need are as follows:

A plumber, or preferably someone who has experience and tools to weld brass, and feels they can do so imaginatively. Bonus points if you have some experience with functional structure and moving parts.

An Architectural design/engineering student (or preferably certified structural engineer), because venues and insurers are very happy when there is paperwork ensuring them our work won’t fall down and go “Boom! Squish! Aaaagh!”

Someone who works with electronics and electrical might also be nice to have, as we probably won’t be able to use coal power our device.

A co-painter might also be desired… preferably one who works in the pop-surrealism vein and does not mind putting down paint with other people’s paint.

Someone who works in alternative energy would be a plus. Electrical is the fall-back, but I would *like* to see this thing powered by green or alternative energy sources – anything from solar power, to sterling engines, to just a bio-diesel powered generator… or otherwise.

Persons experienced in grant writing and/or press releases. I’d be happy to count you as a collaborator as well – as long as you are willing to pitch in on driving, organizing, and/or some physical work in the process.

Of course the fewer people we have, the bigger the share, so people skilled in multiple areas outline above would be preferable – but I feel our team should not be so slim that it presents difficulty. That perfect balance is what I am looking for.

Creative Freedom:

I’ll put in ideas, thoughts, and designs where/if *wanted*, but want you to have as much creative freedom as you desire. I want this to be a collaborative project, not an artist as an overseer project. You can put in equal input on what I am bringing to the table, wood working, painting, promotional ability, web site skills, programming skills, graphic design skills, and a broad knowledge of most everything practical, to make a huge and impressive piece that is *ours* collectively and equally.

What is to gain?

Aside from participating in the nations largest open-entry art competition, which spans an entire downtown area:

$250,000 is the first prize,  $10,000 is the second prize, $50,000 is the third, and fourth through tenth prize are $7,000.

I am confident that if we do not win, we should be able to find a home for the finished work pretty easily, because we are that awesome. Interested parties can contact me through my contact form (hit the little envelope on the pipe at the top of the page).

Sponsors needed:

Right now, I would love to hear from suppliers of fabric and canvas, art paper, lumber, brass tubing/piping/hardware, tool companies, transportation/logistics companies, hobby shops (gears, cogs, shafts, servos), salvage yards (much of the same), art supply companies (paint, gesso, acrylic medium, pencils, markers, brushes, etc..), and anyone who has a hangar, industrial space, or large garage for us to build in.

Progress to date:

I’ve already grabbed a domain and hosting for the project, in trying to be more pro-active than last year. I will be using my “spare* time to build the site for this project over the next month or so. Details will be on that will be posted here once the site is up. Everything from there will be rather “hush hush” and done via groups, phone, email, or in-person, aside from press releases, until the ArtPrize bidding process begins.

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Indonesian Rijstaafel (Feast!)

Our last gathering (an artist’s and performers fundraiser for CirqueACirca & The 121st Retronauticon) was a great time for all, and we are doing it again. Come out and meet the crew, have some amazing curry and a spot of tea (vegetarian options available), and meet and mix with many other artists and arts supporters. Details below:

1537 Fulton St. E. Grand Rapids – Saturday, September 11th, 2010 – 7PM to 11PM

*Indonesian RijsTaffel (Rice Table)
*Meet the Crewe (Strong & Able)
*Post Fashion Night Out! (Stytche And Bytche!)
*See the Model (Hear our Pitch)
*Steampunk Chocolate Fountain (you’ll never leave)
*Get a “Love” Tattoo (Roll up you sleeve)
*Join the Circus (Sign the list)
*Buy the T-Shirt (Don’t be missed…)

See the Event Page at
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=152122114811763
(R.S.V.P. if you can, but you don’t have to)

12 noon (early-comers) – Make a SteamPunk Dress at our Stytche & Bytche
6pm – Volunteer meeting and sign up
7pm – Rijstaffel feast

$5 suggested donation (don’t let that stop you from coming though – )

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The Art of Cirque A Circa

Cirque A Circa (A Circus Out of Time) is coming up fast, and with it our 121st Annual RetroNauticon – which is much like a convention, but without registration fees and admission fees.

In a work of art nearly the size of two football fields, we will have many performers throughout the ArtPrize competition. Performers include airial, fire-spinning, fire-eating, and other sideshow performances by Cassie Truskowski, Author Bethany Grenier, Local Artist Ted Jauw, and many others – as well as fashion shows, and of course music: Such as acts by Zoe Boekbinder of Vermillion Lies, and also by The Gypsy Nomads – a great band last seen (by us) at the World Steam Expo.

You may, or may not be able to make it – but this promotional art featuring the Art of Bethalynne Bajema, and Ted Jauw’s Cirque A Circa logo and the Love ambigram is well worth-grabbing while it is still available. Not only do you have the chance to snag some wonderful and rare art for a low price, but you get to take a part of this event by supporting the artists behind it… thereby supporting the event (not having to find and earn money to eat on allows us more time to put towards this monumental effort).

Special Prints for Cirque A Circa by Bethalynne Bajema
Special Prints for Cirque A Circa by Bethalynne Bajema

Not only is Bethalynne offering these limited edition images for a very low price on the CirqueACirca page (direct link to the shop), but she has a beautiful limited edition (limited to only 21 prints) 8×10 metallic from this series available on her site, here ($2o): http://bethalynnebajema.com/scriptorium/?page_id=42&category=9

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Join the Circus

Some of you may already be aware of this, but this year I am participating in Grand Rapids’ Artprize competition along with Bethalynne Bajema, Ted Jauw, Kate Jauw, Bethany Greenier, John Hyatt, and Cassie Truskowski, with our combined work CirqueACirca.

We are putting together a work of art nearly the size of two football fields (a very ambitious project for a couple of artists with less than two nickles to rub together). This work will be a huge undertaking to say the least, and will include circus and sideshow performance art, among many many other things.

We hope that it will become a gathering point for steampunks and other like-minded individuals during the competition, in a joint effort with the SteamPig display and several other steampunk exhibits through the vast art competition (over 200,000 visitors last year). Our space will have a lot of room to rest your feet and hang out, and costumed up visitors add the the feel of the piece.

We hope that you will help out by being there September 25th (the main gathering date), or any date between September 22nd through October 10th.

If you would like to more actively participate and help out, there are *MANY* ways to do so – from helping us starving artists to starve a bit less, to easing the strain of gathering materials for this huge project (we hope to use as much recycled material as possible), to lending a physical hand on the build, or just getting the word out for us (because every person you know may know someone interested, or the people they know might know someone interested).

Please link to us in your blogs, facebook accounts, myspace, twitter, or otherwise… because popular makes popular these days, and the more people our message reaches, the greater we can make this event.

Cirque A Circa Poster by Bethalynne BajemaArtists: Those of you with a creative touch to help with painting and set up. It could be anything from plain flat painting to helping with the mural.

Roustabouts: Help during the event. Answer visitors questions, help with merchants/artists needs, etc.

Carnies: Merchants who share our vibe and intent may rent tents to sell wares.

Players: We need people to dress up in a steampunk or circus fashion and just walk around while adding to the vibe!

Buskers: Do you have a fun talent to share? Juggler, stilt-walker, etc.? We have a place for you in Buskers Alley.

Oddities: Do you have a very unusual art to share? We have a place for you to create and show off your talent.

Stowaways: The price for your passage is to help keep our ship clean! We will need people to keep an eye out for loose ties or malfunctions, pick up trash, make sure signage is still in place, etc.

Acts: Looking for acts willing to work with us to develop great shows and have an opportunity to show off your stuff.

And the rest: Did we fail to mention something? Let us know! There is a place for you in our circus!

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Steamcon and Vampire Ball Aftermath, plus: Sorry if I gave you the Plague

Cold… very cold. I’m probably burning up though. A bit dizzy, very hungry… no food in the house really, and it’s too late for delivery. We have two cats, a bag of rice, and I am sure I can find something resembling soy sauce if I look hard enough. I am however trying not to use up my options.

I’ve read up on this H1N1 thing: Next stage: My head pops off and sprouts tentacles, and then we all have to deal with Kurt Russel until the end of the thing. In Grand Rapids… lots of shelter. I need only kick a Yeti out of his ice cave.

Right now I must go outside and start yanking distributor wires, as per the President’s mandate on flu, second after “going back to school”…

… or so the dancing ad ladies on myspace tell me.

Steamcon, as I hear, went incredibly well. I am reading rave reviews about the event, and was informed by the promoter that we sold most of the prints we had sent there. A serious thank you to all you people who made purchases there, and another to the promoters and everyone who helped, from organizers to patrons – you are all incredible.

What?? Why wasn’t I there? Where was I?

Well, aside from having the flu very bad, which isn’t an excuse because that happened afterward – but something you should consider when you think about rattling my cage…. aside from having the flu… Well, even with month’s of notice, there was no way Beth and I could scrape together what was needed for flights to Seattle and hotel stays and shipping our things to Steamcon. We are artists – and as a result, our budget, after saving up – was more or less the “We have $20 for gas and $40 for tickets (if we don’t worry about next week) WEEEE! Let’s go” variety…. which was perfect, considering there was just that sort of event in just driving range, on just that night… with Voltaire, Bella Morte, Versailles, and Hellblinki Sextet (for these great acts links below)

… If it makes you feel any better… I got the flu.

[BONUS! – some pictures, pre flu]
Vampire_ball001
I am not this short, nor is Steven (of Ego Likeness) this tall (though he is tall) I am sitting
on the floor, unaware that Beth has been waiting minutes for me to notice the camera.
At the Table, moments before, Donna (Ego Likeness) had mentioned really liking our interview
in Weird Tales Magazine. I was surprised – actually, I had given up on seeing that
interview see print – forgot to ask when it was being published. I suppose they interview
well in advance, or have to push things back and forward as editors and magazines do.
Maybe they had to edit all the crazy out of mine. Anyway, it was a very nice surprise, and
having such news given to you by a favorite musician…  who just happens to have
copies of the mag… even better.
Vampire_ball002
Opening Band: Versailles. I liked them, will have to give them a closer look.
Vampire_ball002
Donna Lynch. Looks so much better in person, yet I have many more bad photos on my flickr
account.  I am not good at show photos with a point and shoot, not at all.
Vampire_ball002
Hellblinki Sextet with Voltaire. Not the same as the Skeletal Orchestra, I’d imagine,
but not better, definitely not worse – just a different sort of awesome.
Vampire_ball002
Voltaire‘s eyes started to glow, and then snack foods appeared on all the tables.
This may not be what he was trying to do… and perhaps I should be glad for this.
Vampire_ball002
Valerie from Hellblinki Sextet posing for Bethalynne. Aside from the band putting
on a fantastic show, they were all pretty damned amazing people in addition to their music-ness.

More bad photos at flickr.com/photos/mykeamend