Now featured on TurningArt! It's a rather novel idea where subscribers can rent art prints for a monthly fee, as well as collect credit towards the purchase of both prints and original paintings. My page on their site can be found here.
...and opening the book on 2017! January 1, 2017
Last year gave me good cause to be upset now and then, but I must rise above it and *be* the positivism I've been longing to find. There's much to be thankful for, and it's best that I focus on that, rather than let past troubles consume me with cynicism, or make me, out of my own fear and distrust, close doors to would-be friendships with many worthy people.
Right before Christmas, I took someone I love to a screening of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE in Hollywood. I'd never seen the film on the big screen before -- and that, along with the companionship, made the movie resonate with me even more emotionally.
I sincerely wish you all a very joyous and happy 2017. I also wish you true, honest, and loving friends.
You don't need many...you only need true.
Closing the book on 2016... December 23, 2016
My 2016 was off to a rough and ugly start, then turned splendid, and then got Trumped at the close. I dread many things in store for 2017...but am also looking forward to many others.
After months of doing interviews for Amsel: Illustrator of the Lost Art, consuming almost every weekend from April to September, I was burned out and needed some time to shift gears. I took some classes to prepare for the film's editing and animated sequences, found (at long last) some trustworthy people to collaborate with, and coordinated the soft launch of the Indiegogo campaign (I say "soft launch" because I'm still working on a video promo, and haven't been very aggressive about getting the word out there).
I'm planning another trip back to the East coast come early March, and have a number of interviews lined up in NYC. At some point I'm hoping to cut a damn trailer; I certainly have enough footage now to warrant one.
As to my own art, in which I've been woefully inactive this year, I'm happy to announce that I'm one of the artists featured in a new book published by Posterspy and Artitude, featuring alternative movie posters. Click on the images below for the links!
I'm also happy to have been one of the four artists featured within the first employee art show at Warner Bros. Burbank. People seem to forget that, after all the digital tinkering I've done for the studio over the last eight years, I still prefer to paint with actual paint.
It was actually eight years ago this month that I interviewed for a temp position at Warner Bros. Happy to have remained a part of the company ever since. So many wonderful people and memories. It's been nerve-wracking at times...but the best jobs almost always are.
24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters, coming soon! August 4, 2016
Behold, the new trailer for 24X36: A Movie About Movie Posters -- Kevin Burke's documentary on movie poster art!
Hard to believe it was over two years ago when both David Edward Byrd and I were interviewed; we're featured in this trailer. The film will receive it’s world premiere at Fantastic Fest, which takes place at Austin, Texas’ Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar cinema from Sept. 22 to Sept. 29.
I can't wait to see it. Kevin's film, along with Erik Sharkey's DREW: THE MAN BEHIND THE POSTER, were major motivating factors in getting me off my ass to begin AMSEL: ILLUSTRATOR OF THE LOST ART, after I spent years pussy-footing around, making excuses for not doing it. I've gotten to know both Kevin and Erik, and their support and encouragement have meant a lot.
Amsel, along with the late John Alvin and Bob Peak, are mentioned; the film addresses what was the last great Golden Age of movie poster art, and the current trend of next generation artists who have taken it upon themselves to create new works when the film studios won't.
Lagging behind on updates. July 4, 2016
Happy July 4th, guys!
I've either been too busy or too lazy to post updates to this site. My Facebook page offers me a quick, impulsive forum for such posts, while this website still runs on Dreamweaver -- a rather archaic and cumbersome version at that -- and every post requires considerably more work than I have patience for. Poor me, boo hoo hoo.
Some highlights of the past few months:
Strange to think that my college class' 20th anniversary reunion happened last June. Sorry I couldn't be there. I had previously vowed to go to it, after missing the 10 year reunion due to my mom's death... This time, it was just work commitments and the hassle of cross country travel. God, how time flies -- even though I can't. For some years after college, I stubbornly held onto a few grudges against certain people. It wasn't healthy, and didn't do anything to make my life better. I'm happy to say that I now look back at my college days with great fondness, and sincerely wish everyone well.
My SUNRISE poster was featured at a recent screening of the film at Chicago's historic Music Box Theatre. A wonderful little honor!
"THE RAIDERS GUYS" Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos have been touring the country to promote their remake of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, along with the wonderful documentary RAIDERS: THE STORY OF THE GREATEST FAN FILM EVER MADE. I got to catch up with them again at a screening in L.A., and finally saw the documentary for the first time. It's now streaming and available on demand. It's an absolute must see for anyone who loves movies, and presents a surprisingly moving tale of daredevil kids who start out as fans, then face personal and professional hardships as they grow into adulthood. Like many common themes within a Spielberg film itself, these guys dealt with issues of fatherhood, big dreams, lost innocence, and emotional rediscoveries. (I also want to give a shout out to Paul Shipper's awesome poster for the documentary. It looks incredible, and is far better than my effort was for the remake's DVD cover -- though I had rather different parameters to work with.)
R.I.P.: Michael Cimino, 1939-2016 July 3, 2016
My first week in L.A., nearly 20 years ago, I went to a 70mm screening of HEAVEN'S GATE at the Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, and had a heartfelt conversation with director Michael Cimino. He wore lifts that must have been at least 3 inches (I still towered over him, even though I stand a whopping 5' 9"), and donned a pair of sunglasses that remained over his eyes even after he sat down in the darkened theater. His hair looked teased and labored over, his face gaunt.
(I feared at the time he had been ill, but would find out he had undergone a diet regimen under Woody Harrelson's guidance while filming SUNCHASER. While he still looked considerably different from the older photos I'd seen of him, it was nothing compared to his further metamorphosis, equal to Michael Jackson proportions, in the years that followed.)
Cimino was an eccentric, surely, and a megalomaniac, very likely. But some of his films have remained burned within my mind and heart. THE DEER HUNTER is a shattering emotional experience, and contains a power rare among American movies. Say what you will about HEAVEN'S GATE; admittedly, it is something of an endurance test -- overblown, overlong, awkward and overeverything -- but it is also profoundly beautiful and lovingly crafted, and I'm glad that it has undergone a new appreciation these last few years. YEAR OF THE DRAGON, too, is something of a mess at times, but holds a raw power and fierceness.
Filmmakers and artists come and go. Some have hits, some failures. Cimino had both -- but never was his output ordinary. He shall remain a giant in my eyes, matched by few. His films did more than affect me; they changed me, challenged me, and haunted me. For that, I will always be grateful. We shall not see his like again.
Laguna Beach's FETE DE LA MUSIQUE... July 3, 2016
For the past two years, I volunteered my help filming Laguna Beach's annual Fete de la Musique for the Sister Cities Association. This year, after my friend Rich (who previously spearheaded the video coverage) moved onto greener pastures with the Salt Lake Tribune, I was hired to take over covering the event. It's a lot of fun, and it was nice to return to the beach after being away for so long.
REVAMPED ART GALLERY PAGE! May 29, 2016
I've finally decided to give my old art gallery page a proper facelift with a brand new design -- be sure to change your bookmarks to go HERE. This is where you can find information on my creative work without having to tolerate all those other posts about my political beliefs. Or pet cats.
This revamp is still in progress, so a few pages have yet to be updated.
On San Diego Comic-Con 2016... May 29, 2016
While I don't plan to have my own artwork featured in the Artists' Alley this year (I don't think I have enough new stuff to warrant it), I *DO* plan to be in San Diego during the convention, so that I may interview visiting artists / Richard Amsel admirers for the documentary. Anyone interested in participating in the film should email me.
I've always enjoyed going to SDCC, and last year I managed to turn a small profit by selling some prints. But I'd like to have a few more illustrations under my belt before I do it again, and the past few months have been just too time consuming.
10 years gone. May 21, 2016
So...today marks the 10th anniversary of my mother's death. In many ways, it feels like yesterday. And yet forever.
Some good things have happened in the years since: a solid foundation of trustworthy friends, a new home, new loves, a young niece and nephew, and a creative film project that is now underway.
And, of course, there's been bad: I've been crippled by writer's block, don't paint or draw nearly as much as I used to, some dreams of youth have died or faded, while toxic personalities have come and gone. Health issues. Lost friends. And some family relationships are now broken; what I once considered "family" now seems distant, if not irreparably lost.
Most of all, I just miss my mother -- her friendship, her voice, and the unspoken, calming knowledge of her presence in my life.
If she were here now, no doubt she'd be thrilled with her grandchildren...while furious with the actions of others, who I shall not name. (No need.)
I wonder about the type of person I *would* have been, had she remained in my life another ten years. I guess I should just be thankful for the 32 years we had together.
After nearly twenty years of living and working creatively in California, I've decided to change careers and embark on a new path: resurrecting my family's once proud whiskey label, which previously met an untimely end during the suffocating rise of Prohibition.
This 184 proof whiskey, with natural cinnamon flavors, is distilled for the most discerning & disgruntled curmudgeon.
Like its namesake, McDANIEL WHISKEY blends flavors from Scotland and Ireland, though the exact history remains a contentious matter among certain willful family members. It has been proven to possess certain medicinal properties, is ideal for family use, and has a curious effect on forging friendships*.
*It can also destroy them.
Disclaimer: Not recommended for nervous persons, individuals of a distemperate demeanor, women with child, responsible clergy, or those of a cruel disposition.
Those interested in taking pre-orders, please contact me. A full project proposal may be found here. Other images cvan be found on my newly added Titles & Graphic Design page.
The post where Adam, like, you know, follows up on misc. nerdy wannabe stuff... March 20, 2016
To follow up on my post from January 3rd, I now have a shared page on Shutterfly where you can buy copies of my art book.
There are two versions: a 12x12" hardcover and a 10x10" softcover. I know the prices are steep, but they reflect only the manufacturing cost for print on demand. I make no profits or residuals from any sales, as it's designed only for showcasing my artwork for those who want a keepsake. On the plus side, Shutterfly often has discount promos for their subscribers.
I also have a new page at TEEPUBLIC.com, where select artwork is available at pretty competitive prices.
I forgot to mention that to coincide with my interview in INDYMAG's newly released issue #9, profiling my "wannabe" artwork and obsessive Indiana Jones fandom/nerdom, I'll be giving away a free print of my Indiana Jones artwork. You can get the digital edition of the issue here, or buy a print edition.
Indymag and ImagineFX magazines. March 15, 2016
I'm happy to be featured in INDYMAG's newly released issue #9, profiling my "wannabe" artwork and obsessive Indiana Jones fandom/nerdom. You can get the digital edition here, or buy a print edition.
Special thanks to Junior Jones and the entire Indymag crew for all their support and enthusiasm!
I use the term "wannabe" regarding my art, with both a sense of humor and humility. Earlier this year I had to deal with a little bit of drama involving a rather toxic personality, who ended up hurling more insults and threats at me than a psychotic schoolyard bully. Suffice to say it's good for me to keep things in perspective (and in check) with a little self-effacing humor; what one person considers an insult, I'll take as a compliment. The outpouring of support I've received from my friends, associates, artists, and co-workers over this situation has meant the world to me. It's helped me to move on, to move forward...and most importantly, to try to forgive. Karma has already done its part; I need not stress over it anymore.
I also use "wannabe" because, when compared to *REAL* artists, that's essentially what I am -- and I don't feel slighted in the least bit. Such artists are profiled in the March issue of ImagineFX Magazine, which dedicated its cover story to Classic Fantasy Film Art, celebrating what was the last great era of illustrated movie posters.
Richard Amsel was among the illustrators profiled. I had a nice exchange with writer Garrick Webster about the late artist's work, though it resulted in only a few small snippets within the article itself.
At last it is happening -- www.richardamselmovie.com launched! January 17, 2016
The documentary Amsel: Illustrator of the Lost Art presents the first in-depth profile of legendary illustrator Richard Amsel (1947-1985), detailing the artist’s remarkable body of work while chronicling anenigmatic life marked with personal heartbreak, celebrity friendships, creative genius, and a tragic end at the age of thirty-seven from AIDS.
Amsel remains a titanic figure within the realm of entertainment art, with work ranging from celebrated movie posters (Raiders of the Lost Ark), to iconic album and concert posters (including famous portraits of Bette Midler and Barbra Streisand), to magazine covers. Yet while the artist’s work garnered considerable popularity, little has ever been revealed about the man himself.
This is not just a documentary about a movie poster artist. It is a human story of an artistic savant who achieved his first extraordinary success at the age of 21. It is a time capsule of New York’s gay culture in the seventies...and the onslaught of AIDS in the eighties. It is a reconstruction of a fractured life told through friends, celebrities, and colleagues, as well as a re-appreciation of an artist’s work.
I've been doing a number of interviews over the past few months, but there's plenty of road ahead. Nevertheless, I wanted to get the documentary's website off the ground early, as filming it will no doubt be a complex journey, with twists and turns in directions I can't yet imagine.
More importantly, I felt it necessary to reach out to the public, as, in the months ahead, I hope to connect with those who either knew Richard Amsel, or whose lives were touched by the man or his work in some way. There will also be a crowdfunding campaign in 2016, which is still in the planning stages.
The teaser poster, presented here, features a modified photo of Richard Amsel by the late photographer Kenn Duncan. Special thanks to the permissions office at The New York Public Library for allowing me to use Duncan's photo for this early internet campaign.
My first art book! January 3, 2016
I never really thought I'd have enough presentable artwork to warrant it, but what the heck -- it's a new year, and time to forge ahead.
I just finished the layout of my first "coffee table" art book, and am awaiting the hardcover proof from the printers in a week or two. It's admittedly short (merely 24 pages), but I'm excited by the way it looks so far.
I've done this mainly as a compact way to present my art portfolio to potential clients, but if the hardcover proof QC turns out OK, I'll be publishing a more affordable print on demand softcover version, for anyone who's interested. More info to come.
A number of people have asked me about copies of the book, now available on Shutterfly. The $37.95 price I know is a bit steep, I know, but it reflects only the manufacturing cost for print on demand. I make no profits or residuals from any sales, as it's designed only for showcasing my artwork for those who want a keepsake. On the plus side, Shutterfly often has discount promos for their subscribers.
Happy new year! Time to be Daring! January 2, 2016
There are so many things going on right now that it's hard for me to process them all. I'm feeling the post-holiday blues, while trying to force myself to have a positive outlook on the new year.
I'll be writing more on the late Ken Robinson soon. I've recently talked to his husband and cousin, and they plan on having a small getogether in L.A. around the end of the month. Ken and I had talked about my visiting him in his new home in Sacremento this Spring. Alas, that is not to be.
In the days between Christmas and New Year's, I had some time off, and wrapped up two creative projects. The first was this illustration of DRAGON'S LAIR, inspired by the current Indegogo campaign by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, to develop a short animated film pitch for a feature film adaptation of the classic cartoon videogame. (Dirk's pose here relied on a patchwork of different source elements from the DRAGON'S LAIR comic book, drawn by Fabio Laguna. It's only fitting that I give credit where credit is due.)
The artwork was painted in gouache on paper, but I opted to use my fancy new Cintiq to color it, and add the fire. I'm slowly trying to get into the modern age of digital "painting," but I'm pretty stubborn. However, the money I spent on the Cintiq is proving to be a wise investment.
Not that I was ever any good at playing the damn game. I must have spent serious moula as a kid at the arcades. A recent visit to L.A.'s 82 only proved that my skills faired no better as an adult.
The second creative project I'll be announcing tomorrow!
If you're wondering where some of my previous news entries have gone, they've been archived by year -- and you can find the link to each of them at the very bottom of this page. I have a lot of new stuff going on, and have to make room. :)
original writing, illustration, and artwork featured within this website (unless otherwise noted) copyright
(c) 2015 Adam D. McDaniel, and can not be used without written permission.