Saturday, August 7, 2010

MR. POTTER'S OLD ART PART 1 "THE 90S"

Ever since I can remember I've been constantly drawing. When I was little I spend quite a bit of time drawing in my room and my parents had set me up a little art desk where I would sit and teach myself to draw by copying pictures out of books. I would load up my wagon with drawings and walk door to door selling them to my neighbors. In school and church I was always drawing my own comic books sometimes along with friends or just by myself. Once I realized I was really good at it I never quit. By the time I was in elementary school I was always asked to draw whatever the school needed and was forever branded the art guy.

It didn't occur to me to start saving any of my artwork besides some of the old comics I drew until I was in High School. Anything I have saved now from before 1991-1992 was saved by a relative or neighbor. I really wish I would have saved at least some of the stuff but it's all been lost to me.

I figured it might be fun to post a bunch of my old art which is kind of embarrassing but I started digging it out and realized it really shows how I've advanced over the years and it ended up being really fun seeing all the old stuff I forgot. There sure is a lot. I scanned hundreds of them which took a bit of time.

I selected a bunch to share here on my blog. I figured I'd just start from 1993 when I was 16 and just starting High School.

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I had a phase where I drew a lot of demented animals and creatures and colored them with colored pencils.

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I had a comic book that me and my best friend drew called "The Boozo Show" about an alcoholic clown and his criminal friends who took over a circus and tortured children. It was a spoof of the Bozo Show with a whole bunch of inappropriate characters. Some of them based on Bozo's gang and just random weird people I knew. I distributed these comic books around the school for years and ended up getting in trouble quite a few times. I still have binders full of these issues. Maybe if I get real brave I'll post some at a later time.

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Here's a picture I drew of one of my old friends pumping gas into my first car:

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My dad had a computer when dial-up internet was just becoming popular and I used the drawing program to do my first computer drawings:

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Here's a Christmas drawing I sent to my relatives in 1993:

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I had a real fascination with putting subliminal messages into drawings I did for the school paper and art class during this time. I hid my wife's initials (girlfriend at the time) in my published cartoons also. Often times the school would catch these and either cut them out or reject them altogether before they would get printed. I always got a huge kick out of it when they slipped through.

Here's the front/back yearbook cover submission that the school never used for that reason. I ended up getting the cover for the 1995 yearbook and inside illustrations the next year and slipped some treats in on my next attempt. I'll have to share those sometime too.

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The school threw away the only copy of the colored version.

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Towards the end of my Junior year I got interested in using soft pastel and raided the high school's supply closet for pastel sets and paper.

In 1995 I went crazy with the soft (chalk) and oil pastels. That's also the time where I started getting obsessed with the use of shitty old paper and would climb up to the top shelf of the supply closet and dig way in the back to find the most weathered and faded piles of old colored paper to drew on.

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I did a lot of these oil pastel drawings for illustrations to a detective story I was working on in writing class:

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I was really all over the place with different styles and mediums and I remember my art teachers were trying to persuade me to hone my specific style. I thought that was a pretty ridiculous thing to ask as they had us students working back to back with painting, sculpture, metal-work, etc.
I started attending an after-school art program on Wednesday nights called "open-art" and just doing my own thing. Besides years later in college, this was the first time I had unlimited access to art supplies I'd never used before. Outside of school I was winning all the first place awards in every art show in town.

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After I graduated in 1995 I was not interested in college whatsoever. I was singing in local bands, working, and spending time with my friends and girlfriend. Everyone was always pushing me to "do something" with my art. I was drawing all the time still messing around with different mediums and styles and doing odd art jobs for people. I guess at this point I felt pretty comfortable monkeying around with all kinds of styles.

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I had my son Jack in 1997 and had moved out of my apartment with roommates and into a house with my girlfriend. Anytime I got an opportunity to do an art job for money I jumped on it and way back then I always remember feeling that it was just a matter of time before I would be able to turn my art "hobby" into a successful career. Of course that isn't always how it works out and I was working as assistant manager at a pizza restaurant in the mall. I got married in 1998 at the age of 19 and was just doing my thing to support my wife and son, always working on my art and wondering if I could make money at it.

I was going through a lot of magazines at that time just drawing celebrities or other people in different styles.

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I remember doing a bunch of 1 minute speed drawing heads with markers

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Here's some more drawings I did in 1998

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This one was done with little dots (pointillism)

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A spaceship cover I did for a sci-fi novel

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I was working really hard at trying to come up with a comic or children's book that I would feel confident enough to try and publish. I always ended up scrapping the idea when I got overwhelmed or discouraged.

I had this idea about children watching cereal box characters battle in a big bowl when all their cereal go mixed together:

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I also wrote up a story involving my son Jack who fell asleep and floated across an ocean on a bed to a kiddie dreamland with candy and weird creatures.

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There was another story I was working on where a boy tries to smash his sister's crayons and he leaves a bunch in a hot car to melt. The broken/melted crayons come back for revenge while he sleeps and draw all over his room and belongings.

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At one time I was working on an obscene version of Sesame Street called "Sexame Street" with characters named Fuckitupicus, Queermit the Fag, Oscar the Cootch, etc. then I ran across a guy that was already doing a perverted version of it. Beat me to the punch. Plus, I figured if it ever went anywhere I'd have no hope in the future ever doing anything intended for children.

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I did quite a few comics that year and took a bunch to a comic book publisher. They didn't seem very interested. Here's some of that stuff. I also redrew some Boozo the Clown stuff and another comic based on my younger brother John and a monkey doll that he said talked to him as a kid.

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I started 1999 off feeling like I had a good amount of decent artwork under my belt. I had gotten a portfolio of stuff together and was doing some small local art shows. I had a neat invention for a kids craft I wanted to patent and I was full of constant ideas. Around July of 1999 I started getting headaches that grew progressively worse rather quickly. I was taking larger and larger amounts of Excedrin Migraine and Aleve until it wasn't doing anything to stop the pain. I began hearing strange voices and having hallucinations. Eventually it got so bad that I was seeing double and had to work and drive with one eye closed just to see. I went to the eye doctor and they said the problem was behind my eyes which scared me a bit. The pain got to a point where I wasn't able to draw let alone function. One day at the pizza place I worked at I was opening up the restaurant and I collapsed in the back room. My parents drove me to the hospital and after an M.R.I. and a Catscan I found out I had a brain tumor. I needed emergency surgery to relieve pressure on my brain or I was going to die.
There is a large part of my artwork where I lost control of my hands and had to learn how to grip and control a pencil/pen again due to peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage in hands and feet) due to the chemotherapy and radiation treatments I had from August 1999 to early 2000. I think it's important for me to share that artwork as a separate post altogether. I'm going to end this post for tonight with the last four drawings I found from 1999 before I got sick. That will make an even 100. Hope you enjoyed them.

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1 comment:

renwad said...

Hey it's Ren. I check your blog about every other day even before you started posting it on FB. I'm not sure if that weirds you out or not. Regardless, I knew of your battle with cancer but I didn't know about your battle with cancer. As someone who admires you and respects you, I thank you for sharing your story and your artwork. I wish you well Steve. I still keep all of the little figurines you gave me(in the cigar box you gave me because I no longer have room to display them). I recently acquired a Strawberry Shortcake sewing machine and a He-Man cake pan. If you ever come up to Cedar Rapids there is a store called the Cellar Door that you would love.