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Pete Seeger’s Banjo

Pete Seeger's Banjo

Download Free Print: Pete Seeger’s Banjo

Pete Seeger will always remain one of my personal heroes. It’s not his political activism that necessarily draws me to him, but rather how much he valued the things in life that really matter; how he truly believed you can change the world by getting people to sing together. I admire his commitment to working people and human rights, but it is his 70-year marriage that places him above others who I respect, into a special group of those I aspire to be.

Every time I hear him speak he manages to say something so wise it moves me instantly and stays with me permanently.

I once heard him say the happiest people he’s met are those who are hurting in some way.

At the time I was hurting pretty bad, and it was incredibly moving to hear someone else who understood how on earth I could be so completely happy.

Forgiving Artists

Forgive Artists

New illustration for an article on what level we can or should forgive artists known to have taken advantage of young girls.

I have been totally excited at the prospective release of J.D. Salinger’s unpublished works, but then I learned of his relationship with 14-year-old Jean Miller.

What should our position as fellow artists be toward those among us who are guilty of violent, exploitative, oppressive behavior toward teens? Should we boycott Roman Polanski? What if all the accusations against Woody Allen are true?

Or must we find a way to separate the man from the art? To appreciate and enjoy a film without regard to the character of its creator?

New Painting: The Conversion of St. Eustace

St. Eustace artwork painting of St. Eustace

You might recognize the stag with a cross in his antlers from the Jägermeister logo. What you may not know is that the mark is a reference to St. Hubertus. This 7th century bishop has become a patron saint, but his story is intertwined with another earlier mythological church figure that I find even more interesting—Saint Eustace

The Legend of Saint Eustace

According to the legend, a lascivious 2nd century Roman general named Placidus was deep in the forest hunting when he saw a vision of Christ in a stag’s antlers. He immediately converted to Christianity, was baptized along with his whole family, and changed his name to Eustace.

After enduring a lifetime of trial, including temporarily losing his wife to a pirate captain and his boys to wolves and lions, the family miraculously persevered through it all to finally be reunited. Their joy was short-lived, however, when they were burned to death by the emperor for refusing to offer a pagan sacrifice.

St. Eustace and the Church

For hundreds of years before being dismissed by the Catholic church as fantasy, Saint Eustace was the patron saint of hunters, hence his and Hubertus’s veneration by Jägermeister—a digestif brewed from a variety of forest roots and  herbs.

About the Piece

For whatever reason, I’ve connected with this guy Eustace. Real or not, I can identify with his suffering and his connection to the forest, and I’ve spent the past few years trying to imagine how to portray his story. I finally lucked out with this concept assembled from a bunch of scrap lumber – collected from the junk pile behind Odom’s, off the side of the road at Apple Fence Co. in Grawn, random lumber yards and from my own backyard.

I’m dedicating this piece to all my friends out there in the woods trying to find food for their families. Shoot straight & safe, fellows!

Check out detail images of this piece and others from the show in my Fine Art Portfolio 

Weidmannsheil

The Jagermeister label also features the first verse from a fanastic german poem by Oskar von Riesenthal called Weidmannsheil. I love it so much I tried to incorporate it into the painting, but almost ruined the whole thing in the process:

Weidmannsheil

This is the hunter’s honor:
That he protects and cherishes the animals,
That he hunts as he should:
That he honors the Creator in the creation.

Hate reigns over the war bullet,
But love for the animals aims the rifle.
When you eat every day consider if your animals are starving,
That your animals don’t starve.

Guard it before man and animal,
Shorten his mortal fear,
Be tough outside, and lenient inside,
Then your honor may shine.


Thanks to graphic designer Karl Noelle for help with the translation

Illustration Psychoanalysis, Please

Insane illustration

I was talking with my illustration agent the other day and she asked what I thought was a really weird question. Her client apparently was curious to know if I were capable of illustrating more than one character in a scene. She asked if I had some other work that maybe she hadn’t seen yet.

I was a little flabbergasted by the question… of COURSE I can! What do you mean?

So I took a look back at the past 3 years of illustrating and was pretty disturbed by what I discovered.

Essentially every single illustration I’ve done featuring a “person” (human or otherwise) is only a single character in the scene. Observe:

Read more

Old & New: Miracles

Old & New Project is an ongoing collaborative biblical art collection that I started with Jim LePage. This week I put together this little animated trailer for the new round of designs launching this Monday, September 24th!

The theme for the round is (obviously) Miracles, and the roster of contributing artists consists of some of our favorite graphic artists & illustrators. One of the coolest aspects of the project is that contributors come from across the faith spectrum—from evangelical to atheist.

Check out the 24 pieces from the first round and follow along on Facebook or Twitter so you won’t miss any of the new stories!