Dave Klemencic

Art. Music. Words.

New designs, artwork and more on the way!

Get ready, Richmond!  We’ve got jams, jives, jukes and jokes in store!  Lots of new features, improvements to the site and new artwork is in the press and ready to roll out to the site!

Stay tuned!

Posted 3 years, 10 months ago at 12:57 am.

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Max and Robie- Debut of comic strip in Robious Corridor Magazine

We’re very excited about the publication of the first “Max and Robie” comic strip in the Dec/Jan issue of Robious Corridor Magazine.

The magazine was distributed regionally throughout the southside of Richmond, Midlothian and surrounding areas.  Check out the strip below!

Posted 5 years, 12 months ago at 3:31 am.

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Air Circus to play the National supporting Indecision!

The Air Circus is winding up for our biggest show yet! We’ll be performing in support of Charlottesville-based jamband greats Indecision on Thursday, December 22.

Don’t miss a chance to see the boys on the big stage! We’ve been hard at work hammering out the set and have a lot of new music in store.

You can check out the Facebook event for all the details.

Tickets are available through the band members or the venue’s website.

Posted 5 years, 12 months ago at 4:33 pm.

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Upcoming art show at The Camel in Richmond, VA

I’m thrilled to announce an upcoming showing of my paintings, drawings and prints at The Camel in Richmond, VA.  The opening reception is Wednesday, December 7 from 8-10pm and it will be followed directly by a free concert featuring J3 Project, the Air Circus and Phil Dice.  Don’t miss it!

If you’re here for the first time, feel free to check out the artwork in the various galleries, some links to our performances under the music tab, and upcoming art and music events on the calendar. Thanks for visiting!

Posted 6 years, 1 month ago at 8:19 am.

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Artist of the Week: George Pratt

George Pratt is an American artist, writer, illustrator, film-maker, teach and musician, born in Texas in 1960.   I had the pleasure of studying under him at VCU in 2003 and 2004, and his attitude, approach and vision for his art has informed a great deal of my own opinion about painting, teaching and what it means to be an artist.

With a background in illustration, painting and comics, George’s work bridges the gap between high art and the graphic novel and comics world.  He studied at Pratt Institute (no relation) beginning in 1980, and later taught there, as well as Savannah College of Art and Design, VCU, the Joe Kubert School, the Illustration Academy and Ringling College of Art and Design, where he continues to teach currently.

His first graphic novel, Enemy Ace: War Idyll was met with great critical and commercial success.  Released in 1990, the story brings a 1960’s DC Comics character into a modern day setting, with the Ace as an aging warrior, bed-ridden and helping a Vietnam vet cope with his own experiences.  The book is composed primarily of gouache paintings, spontaneous and flowing but with an incredible attention to detail and historical accuracy, and a clear effort to draw upon the universal experience of soldiers at war.

George has also undertaken several other ambitious projects in the comics field, including such books as Batman: Harvest Breed, the Wolverine: Netsuke miniseries, many cover illustrations for Detective Comics and Legends of the Dark Knight, and a great number of other works for private commissions, advertisements and more.

As a filmmaker and writer, George traveled to the deep south to research and produce the documentary “See You in Hell, Blind Boy” about the great tradition of Blues music, working with Steve Budlong and James McGillion to produce that film.  A book by the same title is in the works.

George’s work has been nominated for numerous Eisner Awards, including the Eisner Award for Best Painter/Multimedia Artist, which he won for the Wolverine: Netsuke series, and the France Info Award for Best Foreign Graphic Novel.  His work has been displayed in galleries and museums across the world, as well as many private collections.

Perhaps of greatest significance to me personally is George’s incredible approach to teaching.  As his work has taken many forms, he draws upon many areas of knowledge, both historical and pertaining specifically to the arts to provide a context for his students and a framework upon which to build their own work.  His instruction relies heavily on hands-on demonstrations, slideshows and lectures in which he’s not afraid to pass around books, printouts and documents and speak candidly about his own influences and experiences.  This approach provided me with a fresh change of pace at a time when I was struggling through my own university studies, and helped me gain a new outlook on my work.  He preached a can-do attitude, following ones own gut interests and pushing hard work and discipline over a flighty conceptual approach that I had found all too common in school at the time.

One demonstration in particular stands out to me, which George dubbed the “Barron Storey Technique”.  Storrey, a great illustrator and teacher in his own right, was known for a mashing-together of media and techniques that created a new amalgam of illustrative styles informed by African and tribal art, traditional painting and literature.

The technique went something like this: (if you care to try it yourself, do be sure to take the necessary precautions for ventilation, material safety and not destroying your apartment or living space)

Starting with a single sheet of paper and some sort of source material such as a sharp-contrast photograph, hone out a quick sketch with a pen, dip brush, charcoal and/or pencils.

Once you’ve got a good working ground, you can affix the media to the paper with Crystal Clear or a similar gloss enamel spray.

Let the material dry, (a hair-dryer can speed along the process, but again, this stuff is kinda dangerous so be careful about huffing too much) and coat the dryed surface with acrylic matte medium.

Once coated, layers of transparent inks and watercolor (Dr. Martins yellows and browns are particularly useful and moody) can be applied in washes to harmonize the colors and add a depth and tone that would normally be washed away without the intermediary layers of coating.

Additional hand-working can be then applied with acrylic paint or goauche, which will pull up some of the watercolor/ink to further harmonize and deepen the piece.

From there, you can spray on additional coats of enamel spray and paint on more matte medium to reopen the piece.  After you’re content that you’ve sufficiently beaten your piece into submission, a top gloss coat can seal it up for good.

I’ll attempt to walk through the technique and document it myself, as this is probably a bit more clear in my head than the explanation here would imply.

All said and done, I’m very appreciative for the time I studied under George, and would recommend anyone with an interest in comics, painting, illustration or teaching take some time to dig up his work, read the graphic novels and share with your friends.

Further reading and images:

http://www.georgepratt.com/

http://www.allenspiegelfinearts.com/pratt.html

Posted 6 years, 5 months ago at 9:52 pm.

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Artist of the Week: Kerr Eby

Kerr Eby was a Canadian-American artist and illustrator, known primarily for his charcoal drawings and lithographs depicting soldiers at war.  Born in Japan in 1890 to missionary parents, Eby served in the first World War  and covered the second as an artist-correspondent.  He generated many sketches on-site and from memory during World War I that were later refined and worked into lithographs and finished pieces.  These were collected and published in the book WAR, which can still be found today online and in libraries. (the VCU library has a copy)  These pieces are haunting not for their graphic content, but for the mood and atmosphere they evoke.


The image above, from Eby’s WWI work (and published in WAR) depicts a cloud that was said to follow the retreating column of soldiers for days.

Eby served in an ambulance crew and later as a camofleur, creating art independently.  He returned from the war deeply affected by the experience, and it became the primary subject of of his work for the rest of his life.

As World War II broke out, Eby attempted to re-enlist in the service, but was denied because of his age.  He began working as an artist-correspondent under Bell Laboratories, and traveled to the Pacific with the US Marines.  Eby landed in the amphibious assaults at Tarawa and Guadalcanal, and from there created some of his most powerful and stirring works.

While on Bougainville, Eby contracted a tropical disease from which he passed in 1946.

Much of his work can be readily found on the internet, and many of his best pieces such as “Ghost Trail”, seen above, were circulated in a collection of combat artists’ work sponsored by the US Army last year.

His drawing style is quite realistic, while still having a fluid, sketchy and organic quality.  It is clear in many of the pieces that great care has been taken to accurately depicting the men and materiel, and Eby doesn’t shy away from the gritty surroundings through which he passed. The later works seem to become ever more personal, with shocking close depictions of wounded and dead soldiers in the surf, those around them struggling to carry on.

Eby has long been a great influence on my work, for the sobering attitude he has taken towards war and his attempt to convey the seriousness of the subject.  The work seems to encourage thoughtfulness and reverence towards the high cost these men had paid, and an awareness that war is a terrible thing, not merely an exciting adventure.  While I have little in my own life to compare directly to as far as experience, I feel a profound respect for both the subject of war, the many servicemen who have given themselves to a greater cause, and Eby himself for creating and sharing his work with the world.

The tradition of modern combat artists is a long and storied one, from Winslow Homer’s works during the Civil War to the many active servicemen today that continue to translate their experiences into visual artworks.  This sort of work can be traced back to the very beginnings or art, and there remains a great respect for those who risk their lives to document the horrors of war.

Sources and links for more info about Kerr Eby:

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-C-Tarawa/index.html

http://www.history.navy.mil/ac/artist/e/eby/eby1.htm

Posted 6 years, 5 months ago at 10:31 pm.

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