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It was a magnificent day two years ago when I noticed Amanda Louise Spayd eating candy and drawing a small doodle on some scrap paper at Dragon Con. To everyone’s amazement, she exclaimed she hadn’t done this in a long time. Luckily, I had my dusty sketchbook handy and promptly asked for a sketch myself, and what appeared was simply breathtaking.

For Migration coming up March 1, at Stranger Factory, Amanda is officially exhibiting her drawings for the first time! She plans on working her prolific pencils, brushes, and fingers like a mad woman, surely resulting in a profusion of sketches, paintings, and mixed media pieces. Like her plush critters, her 2D work also incorporates lovely found objects and antique findings, and the transition in style between her drawings and 3D is seamless.

Be ready for derpy faces, obsessively detailed eyes, and critters so full of life they are ready to jump off the page. We’re glad to see Amanda dusting off her old tools to give us some 2D work!

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Click MORE for more of Amanda’s work

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Miami Beach will be flooded with some of the art world’s best as Art Basel gears up for its 11th year in Florida. Our own Travis Louie will be exhibiting a small collection of new paintings as part of Aqua – a contemporary art fair focused on supporting young dealers and galleries with strong emerging and early-to-mid career artists. It’s unconfirmed whether Travis will be attending, but he will be represented by William Baczek Fine Arts. Look for their setup in the Aqua Hotel!

Aqua Art opens Dec. 6 and runs through Dec. 9. For more info on the event, hop over to the Art Basel and Aqua Art websites.

Travis Louie’s utterly awesome Spirits exhibition opened this past weekend at Stranger Factory and hidden among the paintings and drawings was his Ecto Stan bust, a surprise, 20-piece edition from Travis and Circus Posterus. Standing 7 inches tall and retailing for $250 per, the hand painted resin busts are a brand new platform from CP and it’ll be really exciting to see what they have planned for these, given this strong debut. We’ve had a taster of what can be done with giant Elizabeth and Skelve busts, so there’s no doubt that these smaller platforms should yield all kinds of toytastic magic — editioned and custom pieces alike!

Spirits is on display until Sept. 3 at the Factory and the exhibition is also live right here. For those hankering for more 3D goodness, be sure to check out Travis’ exclusive Uncle Six Eyes, and his Ghostly Stan Skelve, as well!

 

 

 

For Le Carnaval des Spectres, Amanda Louise Spayd will have an assortment of her signature dumpy dudes, likely of various sizes, shapes and smiles. She’s kept mum over progress pics so far, but recently dropped these two hypnotic little faces. Totally digging the soul-sucking eyes.

One of the perks of Mandi recently acquiring an iPhone is that she’s on Instagram (@amandalouisespayd). Instagram means delicious, visual stimuli: we get a daily dose of Mandi’s discerning, rustic-antiquey-freaky taste, and also further insight into her artistic process, which we rarely, if ever, see. Look, Ma! It’s Easy-Bake!

The below image has got to be one of my favourite progress pics from her. And not because it reminds me of cut Pillsbury cookies from the tube, but I had no idea that this is how it all starts. They’re so … flat! Ya learn something new every day.

More eye candy to come!

Le Carnaval des Spectres opens Sept. 13 through Oct. 20th at Artoyz Shop + Galerie in Paris, France.

And the instagram teasers continue with two killer snaps from Brandt Peters and Kathie Olivas for Paris’ Le Carnaval des Spectres. First up: a herd of Phantom Zombambies! You all probably remember these debuting at Monsters & Misfits II as a series of three berry-rific customs. Well now the Zombs return in all their guts and g(l)ory as an edition. The first batch will drop at Le Carnaval, followed by the usual forum blitz and so on.

And check these out! The wall-mounted Skelve mask has seriously leveled up with the addition of niblet teeth, long noses, evil grins, etc. Some even have filled in eyes — take a look at the one in the second row, far right. It looks like metal pieces are embedded in the sockets with epoxy resin. Freaking crazy! … More to come from everyone soon!

Le Carnaval des Spectres is a Circus Posterus group exhibition featuring new works from Brandt Peters, Kathie Olivas, Travis Louie, Chris Ryniak, Amanda Louise Spayd and Teodoru Badiu.  The event kicks off Sept. 13th at Artoyz Shop + Galerie in Paris, France.

 

Aside from the 20 or so paintings that will grace the walls of New York’s AFA Gallery, Kathie also plans to have a parade of mischievous and enchanting little ladies hanging about the floor, as well.

Giant encrusted Elizabeth heads, custom Lizzies, and a brand new edition (below) will make an appearance at the show, among many other friends. October can’t come fast enough.

On Instagram? Follow @circusposterus for the latest reveals and progress pics … we’re just getting started!

I’d be willing to bet that most of you know Dennis Larkins’ work and don’t even know it. Despite his expansive, 40-year-plus art career as a 3D painter and being one of the major players in LA’s Lowbrow movement in the ’80s and ’90s, Larkins is probably best known for his rock art, having created some of the Grateful Dead’s most famous gig posters for their now legendary stints at the Warfield in San Fran and NYC’s Radio City Music Hall in October 1980.

Like many artists, Larkins was well accustomed to having parallel careers, working as a scenic artist, set designer and rock n’ roll art director, while still actively pursuing his own artistic exploits. In the late ’80s, he went from Dead artist to Disney Imagineer, designing exhibits and attractions for Disneyland and Disney World.

But then there was the other side of Larkins’ work: the sci-fi nerdery, the dark humor, the sculpted dimensional relief … this is where it gets particularly interesting, at least from a designer toy standpoint.

Let me put it this way: the whole premise behind the toy movement was to redefine the canvas; to take characters from a 2 dimensional world and reimagine them in 3D. To make them tangible, ‘real’, and in a form that is more interactive for the collector. Well, Larkins had a similar idea about 30 years prior, but did it without abandoning the canvas. Instead, he started building upon it. Using foam, rubber and various plastics, Larkins pioneered a whole new chapter of conceptual realism. By applying a combination of low- and high-relief sculpture right onto the canvas, he’s able to create the illusion of an entire scene popping out at us. Some paintings have many layers, some only a few, but even his ‘deepest’, most complex pieces never exceed five inches. This was entirely new to the art scene in the 70s and transformed the canvas’ expressivity.

I recently caught up with Larkins to discuss his work, his plans with Stranger Factory and his move back to Santa Fe, NM, from LA after a 20 year absence.

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Travis Louie has always been a dreamer. Through the tiny, hyper-realistic drawings and notes in his journals, he’s painted a world inhabited by human oddities, mythical beings and otherworldly characters, all rooted in Victorian and Edwardian times and set to the tune of film noir and German expressionist cinematography.

And next month, they’re headed to Albuquerque.

Opening August 3rd is Spirits, a collection of new two- and three-dimensional works inspired by early American Spiritualism. But Travis Louie style. So expect the haunting apparitions, suited skeletons and stylish Cyclops.

An opening reception will be held at Stranger Factory from 6pm to 9pm Friday. Travis will be there! Join us as we delve into the realm of the supernatural and indulge in our curiosity of the dead…

** A rendering workshop will also be held in conjunction with the event; details to come!

Travis Louie was born in Queens, NY, about a mile from the site of the 1964 World’s Fair. His early childhood was spent drawing and watching “Atomic Age” sci-fi and horror movies. His paintings spawn from tiny drawings and notes in his journals, where he’s created his own imaginary world rooted in Victorian and Edwardian times and influenced by Film Noir and German Expressionist cinematography. A world inhabited by human oddities, mythical beings, and otherworldly characters, Travis’ subjects appear to have had their formal portraits taken to mark their existence and place in society.

The underlining thread that connects all these characters is the unusual circumstances that shape who they were and how they lived. Some of their origins are a complete mystery while others leave subtle cues: a man is cursed by a goat; a strange, furry being is discovered sleeping in a hedge; an engine driver can’t stop vibrating in his sleep, and so forth. Using inventive techniques of painting with acrylic washes and simple textures on smooth boards, Travis creates portraits from an alternate universe that seemingly may or may not have existed.