dwella vs. Ella 2

Back in July, my nine-year-old friend Ella and I had a gallery show at hot*pop here in Milwaukee. It was the sequel to our first show four years ago— dwella vs. Ella: A Pretty Good Art Show. Naturally, we titled it dwella vs. Ella 2: A Pretty Good Sequel To A Pretty Good Art Show. We are nothing if not wordsmiths.

The premise for this one was to take the first 25 days of July 2012, and do one drawing each day about that day. We’d then hang our drawings side by side to see how similar our lives are. What did I learn? That Ella lives a far more interesting life than I do.

You can see all 50 drawings in a Facebook album I’ve posted here.


11/13/2012 at 1:11 pm Leave a comment


Last Saturday was Made In Milwaukee’s “Creatures & Creators” event at Turner Hall. Since I fall under both categories, it was inevitable that I’d be asked to paint live art there. I was up in the balcony with the rest of the artists. I was the only one, however, who painted rappers.

Because you’re dying to know my process, know that I took 12 small canvas boards, painted them orange first, then added a different white blob shape on each one. I then did my best to turn each blob into a rapper that seemed to fit it perfectly. No sketching. No pre-drawing. Just straight paint to canvas.

(SOLD) Run DMC were the first two I painted. They’re also the only two I technically painted as monsters and rappers, because I apparently love complicating the process for myself. I abandoned this idea immediately after these two were finished.

(SOLD) Turning this shape into Big Boss Rick Ross was an absolute no-brainer.

Lil’ Wayne, a lil’ chubbier than real-life.

Humpty. Naturally.

(SOLD) Biz Markie, pre-Yo Gabba Gabba.

(SOLD) Public Enemy

(SOLD) A kinda’ blurry pic of the not-blurry-in-real-life Biggie painting.

Snoop Lion, back when he was just a plain ol’ Dogg.

(SOLD) NCIS: Los Angeles‘ very own L.L. Cool J

Somehow, I managed to NOT take a photo of the Slick Rick one I painted. Which is a shame, because I was pretty happy with how that one turned out. I’d take a pic now, but it went home that night with a very excited buyer. (As did most of these.) Big thanks to everyone who adopted these tiny MC paintings. Big thanks to everyone who stood around and tried to guess the rapper as I was painting them. One of the most fun live art gigs I’ve done in a minute!

10/30/2012 at 10:16 am Leave a comment

The Birth of a Free Library

Back in July, I received a blank Little Free Library to paint. What the hell’s a Little Free Library? This is. (Here’s another article, too.) I think I was approached by my pals at MARN to take a crack at customizing one, but it seems more likely that I bothered them until they gave me one. I mean, I love books. I also love libraries. And if there’s no chance of me painting a giant library anytime soon, I’ll settle for one that’s much, much smaller.

When it showed up to the workshop, it looked like this:

So I did the only reasonable thing I could think of— paint it orange:

Anyone who’s seen me do live art in the last three years can pretty much guess step #2: paint the non-orange parts the other standard dwellephant color— cream. (Not to be confused with this kind of cream.):

Just like a giant library, every Little Free Library has a roof. Which I also promptly painted orange:

To misquote Mick Jagger, “I see a white door / and I want to paint it orange:”

As someone who’s spent his entire life committed to drawing faces on things that don’t have faces, this should come as a surprise to absolutely no one:

The top of the roof:

That inside shelf showed up more red than orange. We nipped that problem in the bud:

Another complete surprise to absolutely no one— I drew arms all over the body of this thing:

More arms on the back:

Rear view, assembled:

3/4 view. And yes, Tyra, he’s smiling with his eyes:

Other 3/4 view. Eventually, a door will be attached to the front. It’ll have a 1.5″ frame, and a large plexi-glass window, so you can see all the great books inside:

And like every responsible artist, I signed it. But on the inside:

I’ll let all of you know when my Little Free Library is installed, and where. The fine folks installing it are also going to send me a photo or two of it in all it’s completed, planted glory.

Hope you come across it some day. Hope you find some other Little Free Libraries in your neighborhood, too.

10/25/2012 at 10:50 am 2 comments

2012 Milwaukee Film Festival Poster

From July 1 until October 19, I spent my days (and some nights) working for the Milwaukee Film as Marketing Coordinator for the 2012 Milwaukee Film Festival. I was mostly there to use my brain and words, coming up with film category names, and writing things like press releases, blog posts, the weekly (and daily) newsletters, and a fair amount of the non-film description copy in the official festival program guide. And during the festival itself, I was responsible for most of what you saw posted on Milwaukee Film’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Before my gig ended, Blyth (incredible boss, filmmaker, Director of Marketing) handed me one of the gigantic posters from the festival (designed by Cathy B. of Loneshoe Graphics) and asked me to draw all over it. The photos below are the end result.

10/23/2012 at 10:55 am 4 comments


Found this yesterday, while looking through old work.
It was one of the versions of this quote that wasn’t used for a Stacy Adams Spring campaign.

07/30/2012 at 12:43 pm Leave a comment


Drum roll! It’s my two paintings from Friday’s Bay View Gallery Night show at Club Garibaldi. Both are still available, if you feel like giving ’em a good home.

Big thanks as always to the Made In Milwaukee folks for putting on great events like this for almost a decade now, and for letting me be a part of all of ’em. Equal thanks to D’Amato, MC Oneself, The Rusty Ps, Sat Nite Duets, and Fatty Acids for giving me great music to paint to. There’s another one happening in September. Consider that your advanced notice!

16″ x 24″ • acrylic on plywood

16″ x 20″ • acrylic on canvas

06/04/2012 at 12:30 pm 1 comment


A few weeks ago, I talked about being approached to use a piece of mine for a tribute card, to be handed out at a funeral. (And how being asked such a thing is simultaneously flattering and humbling.) I posted the piece here, but finally received the actual printed cards in the mail. If the printer is reading this, they turned out great:

For the sake of the card, i had to remove the text from the illustration, and lay it out on the back. No big deal. It looks much nicer this way:

Truth be told, this wasn’t the first time I’d been asked to contribute to the memorial card of someone near and dear to someone else. An incredible woman named Jane, who I befriended a few years ago, asked me to create one for her, too. Her mom had recently passed away, and she wanted something special to pass out at the service. The final piece wound up being a laminated bookmark. On the front, a field of lilies (her favorite flower):

On the back, an old Scottish saying:

It translates to, “Long may your chimney smoke.” Man, do I love that!

05/21/2012 at 2:11 pm 1 comment

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