Thursday, August 28, 2008

Soul Behemoth: Lovin' me some Isaac Hayes

Hey, kiddies. I wanted to share "Soul Behemoth" with you. It's a colllage/painting that I created, recently, on a subwoofer that I found on the curb awhile back. It's an homage to the late Isaac Hayes. I, like a good number of my friends, definitely felt the loss of Hayes and his amazing talent when he passed away. But it really sunk in, for me, during the following week. I found myself listening to his albums all throughout the day. I would hum them in the shower, or sing a few phrases as a corny come-on to my Special Ladyfriend. I just couldn't get that soulful sound out of my head. So I expelled the energy of that mega-appreciation, tempered with sorrow, by creating "Soul Behemoth."

This is currently on display in "2D/3D: A Customs Show" hanging at Fabric8 and Neon Monster in San Francisco. For more info, dig the text below.

-Bunker, out like two tough guuuuuuys!

@ Fabric8 - 3318 22nd St (near Valencia) in The Mission
and @ Neon Monster - 901 Castro St (at 22nd) in The Castro
San Francisco, CA
Works hanging from August 16th through September
For more info:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bastards of the Universe!

"Wondertwin Powers, ACTIVATE! Form of: Pumpkin Cutter & Hiredmeat!!"

So the week of that group show, "Bastards of the Universe," has come and gone. The reception was a pretty incredible gathering of hobo-hipsters. But molester-mustaches and obnoxious plastic sunglasses be damned, it was an awesome time. The wine flowed, along with the melted cheese poured over about 500 lbs of nacho chips. Oh, and there was even some sweet artwork on the walls, too!

"Free wine brings out the freaks!"

Some of you may remember me having my sights set on getting something like 6 new paintings done in about 3 days, for the show. I must admit, I overestimated myself on that one. But hell... can't blame a brother for aiming high. I actually did work on 6 pieces simultaneously and, as the hanging date got closer, I edited down based on how far along each piece was. In the end, was only able to get one new piece done. I showed it, along with 5 pieces from previous exhibits. Luckily, I'm presenting work in 4 gallery shows in September. So I'll have use for the half-done newbies, and then some. Never a dull moment in this wily world of art!

The one that got done was "Banzai, G.I., YOU DIE!" It's a big ol' collage and paint piece where I pit G.I. Joe against their late 90's counterparts, Pokemon! It's a total mashup, with elements from an old Joe comic that I had, plus combat photography from battles on both the Eastern and Western fronts of World War 2. And then I painted on the massive Pikachus storming over the hill -- decked-out in Japanese, "Rising Sun" bandanas, shooting lighting from their cutely-furrowed brows. Funny, working on this and the other pieces me a little excited for toys, again. Call me a dork, but I gave the
action figure party that's happening on my computer desk a bit more attention, last week.

Ahem... anyway, dig on these details of "Banzai...":

Some of the other work:

Big-bad Brent McHugh came through with his delicately painted, haunting bird characters as some of Marvel's more badass villains and heroes -- Dr. Doom, The Punisher, Mr. Sinister, and Iron Man. He also did the interesting Batman and Robin portraits up above.

Then there's the art of Super Ugly. This is his "hard on intergalactic terrorism" series, "JLUgly."

And I can't forget my boy, Richard Jule of Pumpkin Cutter Industries. He's the one who organized us all and curated the show. His pieces were painted on wood, and sealed in a super-slick layer of resin. Between the shiny coating and the bright colors, Rich really got across the plastic, cartoony feel that I remember everything around me having, as a child growing up in the 80's.

Many thanks to Rich, Brent, Matt Richie, SuperUgly, DIA, and all the other amazing artists who came together to rock this group romp. Muchas gracias to the people at Shoe Biz for being such fine art enthusiasts. And big hugs and kisses to the kids who came out to show support, friends and strangers alike. Hope you enjoyed the wine.

-Bunker, out.

ps-- "Bastards of the Universe: A Pop Culture Mess" will be on display from now, into September. You can stop by Shoe Biz during store hours, to check it out. For more info, go to:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"Bastards of the Universe" Sketches!

Things are movin' and shakin' in The Bunker, this week! We've been priming canvases and gathering collage materials, all in preparation for "Bastards of the Universe: A Pop Culture Mess," which opens in San Francisco this Thursday. Below are the earliest stages of a few pieces I'll be contributing to the show -- thumbnail sketches!

First up is a piece called "Trickle-Down-Megatronomics." Combining one of my childhood loves (The Transformers) with one of the many troubled policies of the 80's (Reaganomics), I'm creating a thematic mash-up that hopefully digs deeper than the usual, "Gawsh, the 80's were so rad" nostalgia. I'll be collaging in a portrait of Ronald Reagan for Megatron's face. And this Megatron-Reagan will be stomping thru a ruined American ghetto, as he marches forward with a plan that is ultimately failing the poor and downtrodden. The failure is illustrated in the impoverished, 40oz bottle-wielding Autobot about to be crushed under Megatron-Reagan's big boot.

Next is the less severe, "Prince Adam's 'Thriller'." This piece will show He-Man's alter-ego, Prince Adam, as he lounges Michael Jackson-style, in a white suit and billowy black shirt. He'll even be chilling with a cuddly, green and yellow, tiger cub version of Cringer (aka Battlecat). It's totally Thriller, for the Eternian set!

"Spock As A Lover" is just that -- Starfleet's numero uno straight-man has to loosen up sometime! In this painting, I'll feature Captain Spock as a Hindu god, complete with multiple arms and a powerful lust for... well, LUST. I'm especially excited for the background, which will feature collaged images of Indian artwork. You ever see how sexual some of that old Asiatic art is? It's pretty cool, when you consider how much of the European art from that same Period in time was on a very chaste, Christian slant.

Lastly, here's my sketch for "Et Tu, Vader?" It's my play on the death of Julius Caesar. In the broader scheme of things, this piece is part of a series I've got planned, depicting our world as being run by cartoon villains. The Galactic Empire from Star Wars represents the old Roman Empire... that nearly perfect conquering force that's inspired so many wannabes in our own time. I thought a fun moment to illustrate from that "Galactic-Roman" history would be the murder of its father (Caesar) by his friend and chief enforcer (Vader). Thus, "Et Tu, Vader?".

And that's it for today's update. Look for more "Bastards of the Universe" updates tomorrow!

-Bunker, out!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


No need fo' a bunch o' jibba-jabber! Dig these random sketches I dug up, you jive sucka!

-Bunker Baracus

Donkey Kong and Link!

Goodness gracious! Dig on my other two paintings for the "I AM 8-BIT" group exhibit, now showing in Hollywood. Of course, I had to do a piece of Link. And there's that tower of barrel-throwing power, Donkey Kong.

The Link piece ("Legend") was really fun to knock out. I love drawing the old Nintendo characters the way they were on the actual game screen -- short and boxy as can be. So here's my stout little Link, running from dungeon to dungeon, building up his hearts, so he can shoot his sword of power! You might not see it at first glance (especially on a computer screen), but this piece is rich in collage. Link's belt is made of lightly painted paper tape. In a more obvious show of texture, his scarf is done in glued-down newspaper. I barely painted that part, as I was aiming to give this entire series a roughshod look. For instance, for the bricks above and below our heroic elf, I glued down some thick, corrugated cardboard. Then, while it was half-dry, I tore of the top layer of board, leaving behind an extra-tattered rectangle. That helped me get a nice, rugged brick texture. Ruff!

In general, the painting on "Legend" was thin. It was more about adding tone to textures, than thick, layered painting for me. The most painting, I suppose, happenend in Link's face. But even that was done very quickly, in a pseudo-Les Fauves (The Wild Beasts) painting style. I blocked in bold strokes of color, really trying to nail a tone right away, and move on to the next one.

I'm especially happy with the feel of the character in this one. While I worked on it, I was thinking, "What would Link really look like." I realize how silly that sounds, but look -- the dude's running around in dungeons, fighting monsters and looking for his kidnapped girlfriend. He's gonna be tired, sorta beat up, and probably a little scared. So I gave Link a forlorn look in his eye. His clothes are soiled. He's got cuts and scratches on his face and arms. But he's still fighting on, because Princess Zelda isn't gonna save herself.

Then there's the uber-classic arcade villain, Donkey Kong, in the piece I titled "Kong." The collage usage is a lot more obvious here than in "Legend," though it still has its subtle parts. His furry, brown body is made up of torn pages from a phone book, with a thin glazing of acrylic applied over top. Then I used paper tape to add some graphic collaged shapes to Mr. Kong's hands, foot, and face. In the vein of visual brevity, I didn't fuss too much with the background. It's just a simple orange, with some raw painted blue barrels and ladders. My main focus was getting across the idea of this gritty, rampaging gorilla.

Oh, but one thing I did give special attention to was DK's yellow belly. I drew out the shape for his furry fronts-patch on a sheet of lined, loose-leaf notebook paper. Then, using an Exacto blade, I cut it out, like a ninja. After gluing the belly onto Kong's body, I gave it its pale, yellow-pink tone by simply applying a few glazes of acrylic, from thin to thick. If you look closely, you can make out a few details of the note page -- pink and blue ruling lines, a frayed edge where it was torn out... hell, his left nipple is a binder hole!

So that's the gist of that. I'm pay-pay-PAINTING this week, getting ready for "Bastards of the Universe: A Pop Culture Mess." It's a group show opening in San Francisco this Thursday. Keep an eye out for more updates on that. It's gonna be an awesome, hectic time.

"I wish I knew how to quit you...."
-Bunker, over and out.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Obey Wario... DESTROY Mario!

Aww, I'm kidding. Who could destroy this lovable scamp? And how the hell would you do it, when he's tossin' a fireball up your Koopa-Troopin' ass!? Bitch.

The painting above is one in a series of three that I just finished for "I AM 8-BIT," a group exhibition opening in Los Angeles, this Thursday. I call it "Super," the perfect word for describing the pasta-slurping, turtle-stomping hero of the NES standard. The other two paintings are one of Link, titled "Legend," and another of Donkey Kong simply named "Kong."

I know I've been one negligent mofo on the blog, the past two weeks. But I took plenty of process photos while working on the entire "8-BIT" series. They all need to be resized and tweaked in Photoshop (ugh), but I should be posting that stuff on here soon. Especially since I'm excited to share the finished pieces with ya'll. In the meantime, you can feast your eyes on Mario's flaming skills, and my pinup for "Pigeons From Hell" --

"Pigeons From Hell" is a freaky horror comic out on Darkhorse, illustrated by badass artist Nathan Fox. Dude is a madman at the desk. Check his site out: it's unreal. Mr. Fox was kind enough to invite me to do a pinup for the trade paperback of the book. I wanted to do something that really portrayed the frightening theme of the story, with strong design that didn't just read as a guest-artist splash page. The final product is actually the result of about a 50/50 split of real-world drawing and computer-Tron-world layering. It made the process very fun and, surprisingly, very spontaneous, even up to the final, finishing touches.

Anyway, mas pronto.
-Bunker, out

Friday, August 1, 2008

Attack of the Double Dutch Live Art!

So... Monday afternoon, I returned home from San Diego Comic-Con. Simply put, I was whooped... beat, slain, plain tuckered-out... however you wanna put it, I wasn't exactly operating at 100%. But fatigue be damned, I had a live art date and I meant to keep it!

It was another Tuesday night jammie with my boy Joey Gross (ArtNowSF) and the gang at Double Dutch. Philly Ocean and Jeremiah were on the ones-and-twos. The crowd was hyped up and the spot was packed. I tell ya... never underestimate a birthday girl and her friends' enthusiasm for booze on a weeknight.

Also, a surprising number of black kids showed up. This might not seem like something worth pointing out to folks not living in San Francisco. But this town has become notorious for the "African American Flight" that's going on. As a black man, I was extra-happy to see some brown-skinned kids out in force, dancing, drinking, and having a gay ol' time, while I painted my digits off. Speaking of the painting, I suppose I should get into that...

I started out with a 20 x 24" canvas, toned in reds and blues. In the pic above, you can barely make out my rough drawing for the "Walking God" I planned on painting that night.

The next step was adding texture. Now, I'd never done this at a live art gig, but Joey sparked the idea in my head. I use collage in most of my studio paintings. Why not do it during live art, eh? So, armed with paintbrush and matte medium, I glued down torn up pages from a phone book, giving the god's body some visual and tactile texture.

Once I laid in all the "phone book areas," I started building up the more prominent parts of the mechanical lord with brown paper tape. This stuff is GREAT for collages... you can rip it, cut it, roll it, and even smoke it (though I really don't recommend smoking glue products)! Plus, to apply it, all you have to do is get it wet and stick it down. Easy peezy!

Textures applied, I was ready to start painting. From the start, I'd imagined this scene of a blueish giant, romping through a city with an alien-green sky. So those were the base tones I started to lay down.

Here you can see a detail shot of those colors, as well as a better look at the mondo-textures I'd applied. Thickfreakness!

I'd also added the paper tape at the bottom, to give my cityscape some rigid, rectangular collage elements. You can see how I began drawing the buildings in with pale blue paint.

At this point, the cityscape has been drawn in, along with the early linework for the Iron God. Oh, and I'd also emblazoned the side of his head with my lucky number, 13. I had also really tackled the sky/background. I've always been a fan of the Impressionists. So here I mimicked their strong, expressive brush strokes and bold use of color to illustrate my sky. Here and there, I blended strokes using wide and narrow paint rollers.

Continuing with the bold colors and whacky brushwork, I dove in with both fists, applying colored lines and spatters in an effort to really make this baby glow.

The shot above is "Walking God" with some serious black and white linework. I'd dulled down the blaring white of the "13," pumped up the cityscape, and given the robot some steam oozing from his exhaust pipes. By this step, I was all but done with the piece. And not a moment too soon... the bar was about to close!

Of course, there's no satisfying an artist. Especially when it comes to their own work. The winner of the raffle drawing for the piece had left before Double Dutch closed. So I was able to take it home and give it a little extra TLC.

So The Fat Lady sang, and "Walking God" was done! Thanks to everyone who helped organize that evening of creative debauchery. Special thanks to Carissa for taking care of the raffle action. And endless gratitude to the friends and strangers who came out to show mad love.

It's going to be a quiet weekend on the blog... I'm going to a wedding, later today. And I'll be away on a woodsy excursion Saturday and Sunday. But when I return, I'll be preparing my overdue Comic-Con post. I'm also working on some new projects... an installation pitch for D-Structure (a nearby clothing store/art gallery), a Super Mario - Zelda - Donkey Kong series for "I AM 8-BIT" in Los Angeles, pieces for a joint exhibit at Fabric8 and Neon Monster in San Francisco... geez, the list goes on.

What I'm saying is, I'll have lots to share with you guys, next week and beyond. Whew!

For now, much respect and well wishes from ye ol' Bunker.

-Supreme Hiredmeat Commander, out!