Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Essex Studios Open house Oct. 2 & 3, 2015

The Essex Studios will be having an Open House this weekend Oct. 2 & 3, 2015 from 6-9
2511 Essex Place Cincinnati, OH 45206
David Hartz will be showing and selling a lot of his artworks from over the years. His studio is on the second floor - room 268

Monday, September 28, 2015

STUDIO SPACE: Dawna Boehmer

Location: Hamilton, Ohio

How did you get your start as a professional artist?
I started out by displaying my figure paintings at art shows....mostly ones held outdoors. I would do a show and then wait and wait and wait for someone to call with a portrait commission. After doing Summerfair I thought it would be fun to have something to actually sell in my booth. So I got my start as an illustrator with one good idea. I had noticed that anything Cincinnati related seemed to sell really well – that's how I came up with the idea of doing The ABC's of Cincinnati.

I kept the idea to myself and played around with it in my head for a year before I dared to start putting ideas down on paper and tell my husband about it. At the time I didn't know anything about how to paint whimsically, how to Photoshop or how to package or sell prints. It took me two months to work out the ABC's, take reference photos, and do the painting. Rather reluctantly my husband agreed that I could spend the money to have 2000 posters printed. Years later he told me that secretly he thought I might be able to sell 50 of them!

Two weeks after having the posters printed I found out that the Cincinnati Bengals had trademarked Who Dey....which I had used for the letter 'W.” Somehow I screwed up the courage to contact their legal department. They said that I could sell the 2000 posters if I made a small donation to the Marvin Lewis fund.....and they sent me a bill for $1000 (some “small donation.”) My business was almost sunk before it even got started.

Not really knowing how to sell the poster, I dropped one off at the Enquirer's art department along with the story about trademark infringement. Unbeknownst to me it was featured on the front page of the arts section. The phone started ringing at 7am on a Monday morning and by the end of the week I had sold $7000 worth of posters. At the time I wasn't even set up to take credit cards. With that money I purchased a 24” wide Canon printer, formed an LLC, and started printing giclee's of my artwork.

Tough Lessons I have learned:
1) Silly rabbit – you aren't going to sell $7000 worth of posters every week....and sometimes not even every year.
2) Not every good idea is a  good idea in another city. The ABC's of Cincinnati and Richmond, Virginia sell well....but Columbus, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. - not so much......and I've lost money at every out-of-town show I've done.
3) It's very easy to become a hermit when your studio is in your home.
4) I suck at marketing.

Describe your work:
People tell me that my paintings are very colorful and that they make them happy. Somehow my sense of humor always comes critic called me a sarcastic Norman Rockwell. I like to tell stories using oil paint....and I can't paint small. 36X48” is my preferred canvas size.

Tell us about your workspace:
We moved into a 4-bedroom house and at least 1/2 of it is used for my business. The dining room became my office, one bedroom holds my paintings while another is the printing room. The basement holds my painting studio, 6x4 foot drawing board with enlarger, shelving to hold prints and an area for packaging. The indoor and outdoor booths are stored in the basement and garage.

What are your favorite materials digital and traditional?
I prefer to paint in oils on canvas; Archival oils by Chroma usually dry overnight.  I use Photoshop to work on composition and to do color corrections before printing. Notice the standing palette that I built and how I extended the easel to hold a large mahl stick. I seldom use brushes larger than a size 10, so I need to hold my hand very steady to paint in all the detail. 

What’s your typical workday/work session like?
I don't have any work hours set in stone and I'm not a morning person. I usually spend the mornings in my pj's.'s working on ideas, then I paint from about 12-7, and do computer work and research later. On the weekends I do about 10 art shows a year. For me art is 24/7 and there is practically no separation between my personal and business lives.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated as you work?
I've always felt that I was a lousy employee....I'm really only happy and productive when I'm working on my own ideas. My problem isn't motivation, but more direction. I tend to want to try everything. That's why I can weave, sew, dye, quilt, shibori, bead, make jewelry, design clothing and do woodworking. I also have an experimental airplane that we're building in the garage. Obviously I like to work with my hands.

What is your dream job?
All my life I've wanted to sell something that I produced. I started making things and selling them in grade always embarrassed my parents because they didn't want the neighbors to think that we were poor. You couldn't pay me enough to take a job where I had to wear old clothes and spend all day in a basement painting.....and yet that's what I do. Seeing my ideas take form on the canvas is my dream job....or maybe making costumes for a Star Wars film.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
For some reason I'm uncomfortable sketching...but  I can paint. I keep tons of reference photos in files and on the computer. I tear photos out of magazines to use as ideas for poses and clothing. If someone has an interesting look I'll stop them on the street and ask if we can do a photo me, I've met some real characters that way. One of these days I'll get my face slapped for staring at someone too long.

Who are your artistic influences?
Well, obviously Norman Rockwell as well as William Bouguereau. Present day painters....Terry Strickland, Echo Chernik, Kelly Vivanco – there are just too many to name.  

What was the best advice you got in your career so far?
The best advise I've gotten...and one that I constantly have to keep to paint what you love. Sometimes I get trapped in that paint what will sell mode.....and I'm never happy when I do that. And somehow my paintings are never quite as good when I do that.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Moonbeam City Premiere

Local animator Allison Craig is on the team from Titmouse that animated the new series on Comedy Central called Moonbeam City. It features the voices of Rob Lowe, Elizabeth Banks and Will Forte.

Check it out! See a full episode here:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Gallery Opening: The-Show-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named at Pop Revolution

No Death Eaters Here...

I love that the new show I am having with Anthony “Tank” Mansfield and Jaimie Filer at Pop Revolution Gallery is called The-Show-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named.

Opening reception: Thursday September 17, 2015 from 5-9 pm @ the MASON location. 

24th S Second Street in Mason.

Parking is behind the gallery off of Mason-Montgomery.

Show runs from Sept 17th - Oct 10th

Murder of Crows

Bellatrix Lestrange


Monday, September 14, 2015

Kevin Necessary on WVXU's Cincinnati Edition Thursday

Kevin Necessary is doing his first live radio interview this Thursday afternoon (17th) on 91.7 WVXU's Cincinnati Edition at around 1:30. He will be talking about my editorial cartoons for and the legacy of editorial cartoons in Cincinnati.

Ask questions here: or on twitter.

UPDATE: Here is a link to stream the interview:

STUDIO SPACE: David Michael Beck

David Michael Beck’s illustration career has spanned four decades and has crossed multiple genres, from landscape painting to editorial illustration to comic books. His incredible work ethic has allowed him to continually produce a high-volume body of work. He also teaches as an adjunct professor at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio/ White Oak

On the Drawing Table: landscapes, contemporary narrative, comic work 
Coming out soon: same as above

How did you get your start as a professional artist?
I graduated from the Chicago Academy of Fine Art in 1973.  I had attended two previous schools, Wright State University, and The American Academy of Art. I began working in a suburb of Chicago in an in-house art department for a company that marketed dinnerware and other household items to national grocery chains as sales incentives. Example: buy $50 worth of groceries and receive one full dinnerware setting.  I illustrated a large body of black & white drawings in several techniques and mediums that were used in full page newspaper ads.  After a year or so, I took a position as a staff illustrator in one of the large art and design studios in downtown Chicago.  I worked on projects for ad agencies, design firms, publishers, and various corporate clientele. Over the course of my first 10 years as a professional I worked in several art studios and corporate in-house art departments working with an array of materials and techniques. During that time I attempted to go freelance twice and failed.  The third time was the charm, and I have been a freelance artist ever since.

Describe your work.
My work has developed in several areas of market covering editorial, advertising, institutional, publishing, and entertainment. My portfolio ranges from animated cartoon styles, to stylized realism, and contemporary regional landscapes.  I have developed a large body of genre work spanning sci-fi, fantasy, adventure, horror, and comics.

Tell about your workspace.
It’s messy. I turned the top floor of our house into my studio. My studio is in an upstairs converted master bedroom.  The room has wooden floors for easy clean up of spills, two work stations … one for drawing, the other for table top illustrating and painting.  It has two windows with knock out pull down shades, and wide black blinds to completely darken the room for overhead projections of sketch work, photos, etc. There is an easel, large flat files and book shelves loaded with books, statues, figurines, music equipment, props, cameras/ tripod, and artwork.  Everything is neat, clean and in it’s place.  I freaking hate clutter!  I have things arranged so that no time is wasted searching for something I need to work with.  I am extremely organized, anal, and efficient to a fault.

What are your favorite materials digital and traditional?
I work with an array of traditional materials and tools. Pencils, brushes, I often make my own tools using organic materials such as pine needles wrapped and wound  to make a crude brush, twigs, etc, ink, acrylics, watercolor, oils, charcoal, oil pastels, air brush, crow quills and steel brush, sponges, and an electric eraser (with hard and soft eraser tips), rigged with a nylon grinding disc used to create interesting effects on pencil and charcoal work.  My working surfaces include, illustration board, canvas, paper, linen, and wood panel.  

What’s your typical workday/work session like?
I work most all of seven days a week.  My days are 8-12 hours long.  Some even longer if need be.  My day  starts 15-20 minutes after getting out of bed either side of 5:00AM with a cup of coffee.  The work day ends around the same time in the afternoon.  

What do you do to keep yourself motivated as you work?
I never ever lack in motivation, or inspiration, nor do I get tired.  I have several projects going on in the studio at the same time.  All of them are in various stages of my working process.  I work on one project for a while then move over to another.  I get a lot of work done in this manner.  I am very self disciplined in work ethic and time management.  I treat everything in my life as a priority.  By the way … I  do make time to enjoy family and friends and some recreation.  In the past year and into this one I teach at the Art Academy of Cincinnati in an adjunct position two days a week.  I teach a materials & techniques class, and I co-teach with one of the deans an illustration class based on special topics and projects with advanced students.

What is your dream job?
I don’t suppose I have a dream job per se.  I am doing the work I enjoy now after 45 years of hard endeavor. In my early years I produced a lot of work solely for the money, and to solidify my free lance status.  Now I enjoy working on a gallery oil painting, then switch over to a comic cover, then perhaps on to a series of black & white interior drawings, then on to a contemporary narrative piece and so on.  I would get very bored working on the same type or work every day.  I have a lot of art interests in me that shouts to get out.

 Do you keep a sketchbook?
I have several sketchbooks that I work on from time to time.  They consist mostly of refined preliminary concept drawings,…some just for fun, while others are the emphasis for finished work.  I rarely loose sketch and doodle in the books.  Most all of my loose thumbnail sketching done in brainstorming sessions ends up in sketch files stored in portfolio envelopes.

 What do you listen to while you work?
Often I work in silence, especially if I’m conceiving ideas and brainstorming.  All prep work for finished I work is in a silent environment.  When the tunes are on, I listen to a range of music including jazz, smooth jazz, blues, rock, country, bluegrass, and classical.  I usually select music based on the type of work I’m doing at that time.  For instance, if I’m painting a landscape, classical music is almost always in the air.  At the end of the work day there’s  usually a “one man party” going on in the room.  I crank up the volume, grab a couple beers or wine and hang for a while getting set up for the next day’s toil. 

 What are you reading/listening to on Audible?
I read in bed before nodding off for the night.  Mostly I study the artwork and lives of other artists, past and present.  I take in a magazine article or so on various topics, or perhaps read a comic.  And yes!, age 64, I still love a good comic book.  I go through a comic twice.  Once  to read the storyline, the second to study the artwork.  

Who are your artistic influences?
My artistic influences are many and varied.  Here’s some examples.  For landscape work, , Maxfield Parrish,  Ansel Adams, Clark Hulings, Clyde Aspevig, Peter Fiore,  Ruisdael, Jan Vermeer, the Hudson River artists.  For illustration:, Norman Rockwell, Bernie Fuchs, Mark English, Robert McGinnis, Tom Lovell, Sebastian Krueger, and the “Ashcan” artists.  For comics, sci-fi, & fantasy:  Donato Giancola, Michael  Whelan, Frank Frazetta, Neal Adams, Mark Schultz, Al Williamson.  These just came to mind, but there are a ton of artists I admire and have studied extensively both past and present.

What do you do that is not art related that inspires you? I love being outdoors.  Because of the great amount of time spent working in the studio, I relish getting outside.  It doesn’t matter the weather, temperature, or season.  Dressed accordingly,  I can stay out all day long hiking, fishing, cooking and partying with a friend around a fire, hanging pool side with an appropriate adult beverage, having dinner on the back deck with my beautiful wife Kitty, or whatever.

What was the best advice you got in your career so far?
I have learned much from my parents and friends who have instilled in me a sense of purpose. High work and professional ethics, commitment, loyalty, love and devotion, consideration and respect for myself and others, giving instead of taking, and a never give up, never give in attitude to life in general.

What is your favorite color?
I have no favorite color.  I love them all.  

How can we get best follow your art online/on social media?
Visit my websites, or check me out on Facebook

Don't forget to check out David's Books By the Banks poster being unveiled Tuesday at Joseph Beth!
Details here: