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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Found Sketches

Rummaging through some of my older sketchbooks, I came across a few sketches I had been happy with, and forgot about. It's rare that I find time to sit down with a live model and actually accomplish some figure drawings, so I don't often have the option to post any. So, upon rediscovering these, I decided to post them. ... and, well, here they are.

FREAK SHOW Concept Rendering

Youngblood Theatre Company's Fall production of Carson Kreitzer's FREAK SHOW ran for it's final weekend ending on the 20th. The show had a pretty good turn out, and received several good reviews. It's great to know that everyone's hard work and enthusiasm was well received.

Maybe later I'll upload some photos of the set, but for now, I thought I'd share my original concept rendering. Those who saw the show would see that there were some changes made on the actual set, but overall, this is a good example of what the set looked like.

Next up on the Youngblood Theatre Company agenda is a remount of Adam Rapp's RED LIGHT WINTER in January, so definitely keep an eye out for that.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Turning Blue

I've started a handful of small paintings creating figures with only blue and ivory paint. And, of course, working in gold leaf stripes and different types of lace (for this painting, thin and hot pink..). This is by far the most stripped down I've allowed a painting to be in a long time. Probably because I feel this painting was an experiment as well as a beginning. A beginning to a much needed body of personal work. I'm not quite sure what to make of it yet. All I know right now, is that it feels good to be involved in personal work again. I intend to make the most out of whatever free time I have.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


This Friday (the 29th), Youngblood Theatre Company is opening their production of Carson Kreitzer's FREAK SHOW. Definitely check it out. I spent a great deal of time in the Lincoln Warehouse in Milwaukee, constructing and painting this set. This time around, set construction has been more of a solo project, but I had some help painting from cast member April Paul, and some construction assistance from a couple members of Pink Banana Theatre Co. I'm always appreciative of the help.

Aside from relearning the basics of a sewing machine, this set involves a lot of faux wood grain, and dying large amounts of fabic in my friend's bathtub.

There is a great cast, and a strong group of Designers for lighting, costume and sound.

The picture above is the promotional image i created for the play. This might be my favorite promotional image that I've done for Youngblood so far.

For more information on the show check out the Youngblood website:


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Vienna Square

Back in February, SkyGarden had a project that required making surfboards. (For details on that, you can go back into my blog archives and look for the entry "Surfboards," posted on March 18th). The surf boards were half of a project, the other half being a mural. Both of which I installed this week in a brand new retirement community in Winter Haven, Florida. The community/facility is called Vienna Square. The building's interior is set up to feel like a resort, with mock store fronts, fun custom signage, and bright colors.

I started my drive to Florida last thursday night, stopping in Richmond, KY and Jacksonville, FL (and a few rest stops) along the way. I got to my hotel on Sunday night, settled in and looked over plans and sketches. First thing on Monday I installed the surf boards and from then until today I have been painting. Here are pictures of the mural and the surf boards in place.

It was a good week of painting, but I start my 20-some hour drive back tomorrow, so that I can get to the sacrament paintings that are waiting to be installed in a church in Edgar, WI.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

P.B. ONE ACTS: Title Painting

Pink Banana Theatre Company is currently showing a collection of One Acts. The theme is "Sex, Drugs and the American Way". I was asked to help design and paint the set. When I find more time, I will post details about the design collaboration and detail painting I did for the set. For now I thought I would post the "title" painting I created for the top of the set.

Discussion on the desired theme and feel for the show, led me to suggest a large painting for the top of the set. I wanted to create a fun painting supporting the theme, with reference to a 40's style pin-up girl positioned on a giant pink banana (.. pink banana theatre co.). 8ft x 3ft, this was only a two day painting, and made for theatre. So for my usual figure painting, it's a bit rough, but it turned out really nice for the stage.

I've recently been in the habit of posting "in progress" photos, so I thought I would keep with that for this painting.

I started out by roughly blocking out the composition of the painting with red paint. There's usually no reason for what color I block out a painting with. I used red this time because it was the color I had the most of. I used acrylic paint so I wouldn't get held up waiting for other types of paints to dry.
I have inks sitting out in this picture, but I really only used ink for areas I wanted black.

This was definitely a first time painting half this imagery. I think that might be part of why I had fun with it.

Like I said, when I find time, I will post the rest of the set. I don't know when that will be. Hopefully soon.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


A new restaurant in Milwaukee opened recently. VIA DOWNER was created by the owners of Transfer, a great Milwaukee pizzeria, in the Walker's Point area. VIA DOWNER has an open yet cozy atmosphere, and good food.
And of course, the reason I am talking about this restaurant, is not only because of how great it is, not only because you just might get a Younblood Theatre Company Co-founder as your server, but because you can find paintings and collages of mine hanging on the walls. A few older paintings, some of my Stripes Series paintings, and a new large mixed media painting made specifically for the restaurant.
Also, mixed in with my work, the restaurant is displaying some paintings from my former studio mate, Nicholas Buchel. His work is a brightly colored mix of abstract and realistic imagery. Some of it contains elements of collage. Even though his work has fun elements to it, his work is very specific and well thought out. They are definitely paintings worth exploring.

So, if you get a chance, check out VIA DOWNER.

I'll end this post with a link to an article on the restaurant by Ann Christenson for Milwaukee Magazine.



So, now that the play has come to an end (a few weeks ago) and I have finished a few other projects, I can sit down for a little while and share some images of the Spirits To Enforce set.

Rather than just showing the finished product, I thought I'd post some "in progress" images as well.

YoungBlood Theatre Company chose the location for the play because of the size and feel the room had. It was long and cramped, good for creating an interior of a submarine. That being said, not a lot was changed to the shape of the room, and the build didn't require any ridiculous planning.

Josh and Adam, assisted with set construction, just as they did in Youngblood's Production of Red Light Winter. Here they are assembling the 24ft table. If you look behind them, you can see the only modification I made to the space. I brought the two sections of wall closer. I didn't like those sections of the wall being so deep.

These next two pictures are of the completed set. All the characters props are there. I finished painting everything, and even though the stage lights aren't on, Jason Fassl had placed all the lights and everything was ready to go. There are a fair amount of pipes installed into the set, but you can't see the majority of them in these pictures. Most are placed at the submarine's control console, that isn't in any of the pictures I've posted. If you saw the play, you know what I'm talking about.

My goal was to touch on comic book imagery, but to hold on to realism to keep the overall set, low key (not distracting). The actors, set, and audience are so close to each other, I wanted the three to visually mesh and transition well. I got some good feedback on it, so hopefully that means I did my job right.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Last night was Youngblood Theatre Company’s opening night for SPIRITS TO ENFORCE. A play written by Mickle Maher. In a nutshell, the play is about 12 superheroes in their secret submarine, telemarketing to raise funds for their production of THE TEMPEST. Clever and layered writing, and a strong, amazing cast, not only led to a great opening night, but it also made for a great environment during the creation of this production.

Creating the Fathom Town Enforcers’ (the team of superheroes) secret submarine was my job for this production. Designing a set that appropriately fit an enormously long table for 12 actors. The bizarre found space is located at the Miller and Campbell Costume shop in south Milwaukee. My good friend Josh (technical director of Pink Banana Theatre Co.), and his brother helped me construct the set. Well, I guess you could say, I helped them construct my set. I completely take over when the painting begins. It has made for a good partnership. Josh also was of great help with constructing my set for Youngblood’s last production of Red Light Winter, by Adam Rapp. As well as the set I designed a while back for Pink Banana’s production of SOMEONE WHO’LL WATCH OVER ME, by Frank McGuinness.

This set for SPIRITS TO ENFORCE is different than most, in the way that there really isn’t much for blocking, and there’s no actual scene change.. So it was more about designing a stationary space that functions visually with the play.. SOOO… for this play, that basically means it has to be fun. So I looked for relevant imagery in comic books, and made small hints and comparable elements from THE TEMPEST.

If you haven’t seen the show, you definitely should. It’s very different and a lot of fun. And hopefully you’ll enjoy the submarine interior I have created.

The image towards the top of this post is the promotional image I created for the show. I, at one point, had an interest it graphic novel artwork, so it was fun to play around with that sort of imagery.

check out the show:


Russ Bickerstaff review:


Friday, March 19, 2010

Red Light Winter

Directed by Benjamin James Wilson, Red Light Winter by Adam Rapp, was the opening play for Youngblood Theatre Company's current season. The play was really well casted, and opened strong on the 21st of January at Alchemist Theatre in Milwaukee, WI.

The set I designed for this play was so far the most complicated set i designed. The first act being in a cheap hotel in Amsterdam, and act two taking place in a cheap apartment in New York, the change of location during intermission needed to be quick but definite. The play was very prop heavy, so the less you had to do to change the space itself, the better. I designed the set so that it was only a matter of moving two hinged walls. It was a tricky idea, but with Fjosh Redbeard, Technical Director of Pink Banana Theatre Company, helping with the construction, we were able to pull it together.

This is the promotional image I made for the show. I feel like I've seen this image just about everywhere by now...internet, tv, etc... Its okay though. I was happy with it when I made it, and it was fun to make.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Alright, so when I say that SkyGarden "focus's on, but is in no way limited to, Painting..," this project is a good example. Hired by an interior design firm, my job was to make 4 surfboards. A strange but intriguing project for a Midwesterner.

This was a new challenge for me. But it was a great experience, and I learned a lot about materials I don't usually get to use. These surfboards are made for the purpose of being mounted on walls outside of a gift shop/mock surf shop, in a building located not too far outside of Orlando, FL. Though they wont actually be used for the purpose of surfing, I still made them as though they were- using the same materials, and executing the same processes.

The designs on the boards were created to work with the colors and patterns used in the wallpapers and upholstery chosen by the interior designers. I also referred to the abstract elements of nature... the the shape and movement relationships with in landscapes...

I will try to get some good pictures of them in the future when they are installed, along with the mural I will be painting next to the boards. The mural will keep to the same theme.

Tomas and the Library Lady

Tomas and the Library Lady (by: Jose Cruz Gonzalez. based on the book by Pat Mora), this season's addition to First Stage Children's Theater's Multi-Cultural Assembly Tour, ended just the other week.
Tomas and the Library Lady, is a story about a migrant boy who travels from Texas to Iowa with his family. Tomas has nightmares about his school teacher and his struggle with English. Upon moving to Iowa, he makes friends with a librarian who teaches him english and how to read, as well as stand up for himself. Its a fun story, and children really enjoyed it.

This was my first time working with First Stage Children's Theater, and my first time designing the set to a traveling show. It presented a lot of new challenges, but it had exciting end results. I also met a lot of great people.
A lot of my projects tend to usually contain more mature/serious content, so this was a chance to play around with my not-so-obvious interest in children's book illustrations. It also allowed me to step out of my usual mindset.
Tomas and the Library Lady was a play originally designed for the use of projectors as a way to change scenes and bring in extra characters. The Director of First Stage wanted to avoid having to deal with technology and the never-failing troubles technology causes while on the road. So we created two set pieces that started as book shelves and had panels that moved and opened up to reveal different places and characters, not only making travel and clean up easier, but it cut out all the technology other than sound recordings. It was convienent enough for the actors, and the children reacted to the moving panels really well.
For the design/imagery, I decided to play on the idea and visual characteristics of Mexican folk art. It was culturally fitting, and keeps a nice story book feel.
The actors did an amazing job, and director was great to work with. I am glad they asked me to be a part of it.

SkyGarden LLC


As of Late 2009, I officially have my own company: SkyGarden LLC. A company that focus's on, but is in no way limited to, Painting and Design. It is, and will continue to be, a lot of work. But this is something that I've really wanted. It's something I have the drive for. And I intend to really make the most of it. Painting and creating is what I love, and it's what I am best at. I can only hope that everyone supports SkyGarden and allows me to show them what I am capable of.

As this blog continues, I will update information on projects and events with SkyGarden, as well as continue to update information on personal artwork and theatre projects.


Running from July 24th to August 2nd 2009, God Bridge (written by long-time friend, Benjamin James Wilson), was the last of three plays from Youngblood Theatre Company's first season. Ben asked me to create the set for God Bridge, so I did. It was a strong play, with an amazing, devoted group of actors and a good tech crew. and because of that it was not only a great play, but it made the creation of this set very enjoyable for myself.

Along with the next-to-nonexistant budget, this set had its share of design challenges. the venue for God Bridge was a room within the UWM Kenilworth building. Being that, I wasnt allowed to alter or screw into any of the walls or the floor. So, it made for an interesting game of weight balancing and supporting pieces of the set with other pieces. That got to be a challenge because a lot of action happened on that set - fight sequences, jumping around, leaning on walls. I needed to depend on the set pieces to not slide around or wobble. It's concerning when your pretend concrete walls are wobbling around...
I had two other people helping me with the construction and priming of the set, and then I like to keep the painting and detail work to myself... which is usually how it works either way. Mostly because I prefer to work through the night, while everyone else is sleeping.
This play was/is a big deal to me for many reasons, so I don't mind that this entry is REALLY late, I just wanted to make sure it was posted at some point.