Monday, February 16, 2015

Day 3 of the FB 3/5 - Part 2 Early Gallery Work - oil on panel In my early 20's, with certain work, I could only access a level of feeling by working from life and so photography wasn't an option for me. Our modest bedroom was so small that our bed literally took up the entire room. I sat outside the room every morning and painted for 6-8 hours several days in succession. It may look peaceful but any pose takes on a form of torture after a while. Still, this gentle hearted, generous girl persisted, meditating on the pain in her commitment to love she had for our relationship and the artistic bond we shared at that time. As my paintbrush slowly crawled across the surface, I sought to reconcile the limit of my skills and the experience I wanted portray. More than once, I wanted to quit; I was not up to the task. At times, I painted through tears of frustration. If she had given even the slightest opening, I might have let it go... but she didn't. To maintain the integrity of my connection while painting the bedding, that too had to be done from life. To do this, I made a plaster cast of her body and we slept on the wooden floor for a couple of weeks. I might also add that it was winter, and a cold wooden floor is no pleasure but we did it. This painting marks one of the many adventures but also the seeds of thought that would inform to what I do now…



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Friday, February 13, 2015

Day 3 of the 3/5 - Part 1 In my early twenties at the same time I was illustrating I was also doing a fair amount of working from life. This painting is from a show I had at the CFM Gallery in NY. I lived with my artist girlfriend and together we worked in a small apartment in Rahway NY (not too far from a prison). These were modest days to be sure but filled with young love, hope for the future and a desire to do the best work we were capable of at the time. In the apartment underneath us lived a family of 8 people in the same amount of space we were occupying above. Without going into too much detail, I will simply say that it was tight for us. As is the case in situations of this nature we became friendly with everyone. Coupled with the conversations I was having with my instructor and friend, Max Ginsberg (a social realist of the most pronounced degree) and the experiences we were having, it was inevitable that I would want to make a painting that allowed me to visually mediate and process that time in life. Shown here was a part of our kitchen. The whole painting was done from life, which was very important to me at the time. Every morning when the light was strong enough, I would move the stove out of the way and squeeze into position for 8-10 hours of painting. Then we'd go to the gym, have dinner and work on our illustrations at night. I absolutely loved every minute of it. The painting is titled "Young Mother". Apart from being a faithful representation of every detail in our modest, modern kitchen, the drawings on the fridge were done by one of the children living underneath us. It tells the heart breaking true story of a little girl who simultaneously dreams of being a princess and living the happily ever after, while dealing with the reality of guns, drugs and the extreme violence she has already experienced. There is more to the painting, regarding the mother and the modern experience but I'll leave off for now.



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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Day 2 of FB 3/5 Once I had the model I could add even more detail to the final painting and again, engaging in levels of detail that would never reproduce.



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Day 2 of FB 3/5 Spaceships - I have to cheat a little by posting one more. Truthfully, I could post more but I'll restrain myself. Part of the fun was in designing and building the models that I would later use as spaceships.



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Day 2 of FB 3/5 In some ways this painting is the precursor to the work I do now. Shown here are special effects, connection to nature and feminine beauty which are elements I still enjoy exploring.



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Day 2 of FB 3/5 Creature Detail Another part of the fun was including levels of detail that would would never reproduce on a book jacket.



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Day 2 of FB 3/5 Creatures



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Day 2 of the 3/5 I've always loved sci-fi fantasy movies and comics and early in my career I focused primarily on illustrating book covers for the subjects that initially inspired me to be an artist. One of the great things about doing these paintings was that I often put friends and family into my illustrations. A fun note about this painting is that Yuri Bartoli, Jacques Br├ędy, Lori, the young Dave Palumbo, my dad Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Liana (twice), Max Ginsberg, and I all posed. Always trying to improve on the last painting and following carefully the advice of Marvin Mattelson, I referenced out as much as I could. In this case, designing, sculpting and sewing all parts of the costume I couldn't purchase, finally assembling everything together at the photo shoot.



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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Another painting from my student days at SVA. Most of these paintings never got finished, mostly because my pace was s.l.o.w. and the point was improving the initial start. As I got better, I increasingly took on more of a challenge. The level of detail in Jeff's tattoos was something I seriously wanted to engage but we ran out of time and we wouldn't even consider the evil camera:)



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Day one of the 3/5. An early painting from my student days at SVA.



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For the FB 3/5 Thanks to my friends and my father for the nominations. I figured I'd start pretty close to the beginning by showing some work from my student days, that I've never posted. As a student at SVA many of us would come in early, stay late into the evening and get together on Sundays to paint from life as much as we could. The fire of inspiration and the value of working from life was set for us by Steve Assael, Max Ginsburg and Greeny. For me, those early formative days are filled with a reverence that is difficult to express. The many paintings I have like these from this time period remind me strongly of the hours and hours we all spent together diligently working to improve our skills. They fill me with a sense of gratitude for the camaraderie, direction and opportunity. Sometimes the model wouldn't show and one of the students would pose. Pictured here is my friend Yuka.



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