Tag: Artist Alley Studio

Andalusian Dancer In Cave Café At Sacro Monte" By: The GYPSY

Anatomy Of A Painting “Andalusian Dancer In Cave Café At Sacro Monte”

Acrylic On 16″ x 20 ” Gallery Stretched Canvas.

This painting was my last of 2021 and my first of 2022 having started it on 12/22/2021 and finished it the afternoon of 01/01/2022.
The photo that this painting is based on comes from the National Geographic book “Gypsies Of The World”. This picture has always held a fascination for me. My family migrated from Sacro Monte, which is near Granada, Spain, to Enigen, Germany in 1543 to escape the Spanish Inquisition. My family consists of Artisans, Craftsmen, Healers, etc. and were prime targets.
Romani businesses and skills are passed from one generation to the next. I cannot help, when I look at the photo of the dancer in the café, but think that perhaps my ancestors visited the café and enjoyed a nights entertainment much as the people are doing that I have depicted in my painting.
I have taken liberties with the photograph and have added my own take on the people within the café. I have also included, in the photos on the wall, members of my family as well as the family crest. Most notable is a picture of Berta Hummel also known as Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel. She is a distant cousin of mine and the Artist who inspired the Hummel Figurines.
There are many surprises and a multitude of stories within this painting. I hope you enjoy them all.

-The GYPSY-
“Art must evoke an emotion in order to be art. If it only creates indifference then it is not art, it is garbage!”

End Of The Green: College Of Crows - Oil Painting By The GYPSY

The Artist Life: Topeka Spring Eve

Daffodils and Peonies lift up their scent from the garden below

Through the window their fragrance drifts poignant and ever slow

The sun settles towards the west drawing with it the last light

Shadows creep across the floor chasing the day from our sight

 

Soft breeze rustles the blinds, music swaying the slats and cord

Wood grain trails from wall to wall changing with each board

Mindless chatter touches the dusty air around the empty time

Coffee, tea and laughter fight on the screens electric vertical line

 

Images fade to a small gray dot as the oak box is shut off

Cracking, popping its protest as I exit the door of the loft

New leaves wave as I pass under their light green ceiling

Young grass dances upon the walkway blind and unfeeling

 

Houses of white, gray board and brick fade behind a tree

Structures of granite, marble, and stone loom ahead of me

Car radio blares out Broadway, a street in a city far away

As I step upon broad Kansas a street in this city today

 

Light glows green, mocking the color of Topeka’s Capitol dome

Autos suddenly stop their engines belching protest as I roam

Lines in a sidewalk try to jump forth and break my mom’s back

I dodge and weave counting steps so I may avoid each evil crack

 

Old people stare at women where men browse and children play

Searching for the news, fiction or just a thing too important to say

The smell of tomes, newsprint, candles, candy, ink old and stale

Fills the fluorescent glow of the interior where the world is for sale

 

Casper, Superman, Batman and Wendy reach to me from the rack

Richie Rich, Mighty Mouse, Flash and Spooky beg me from the stack

I flip the pages as the four colors explode into tempting allure

Nightmare, Green Lantern, Black Hawk, or Dot I’m just not sure

 

My choices are made held secure and close to my heart within one arm

The rest returned to their slant seat awaiting for the next soul to charm

Silvery coin to clerk, butterscotch stick in mouth I leave with my treasure

Turning towards home I direct my step anticipating hours of pleasure

 

The red and white machine looms ahead wherein the green bottle lies

Dime in the slot, Twist of the handle to hear the slide and out it flies

Cap popped off as the fizz escapes and tiny bubbles fill the dusky sky

Icy cold the syrupy liquid sharp and sweet burns the throat till I cry

 

In one hand the bottle kept intact for the two pennies it has earned

In the other hand the magic paper whose pages wait to be turned

Red sky turns purple as blue lights high above hum to dull glow

The cobbled walk tries to trip my step as it leads me home too slow

 

Upon my porch the round orb above casts it’s yellow and hazy light

As moths and their cousins dance and swarm within their endless flight

The brown, rusty springs stretch on the end of the porch swing chain

Screaming their protest as my weight settles in  the seat that I claim

 

Lost with Uncle Scrooge, Huey, Dewey and Louie within a vault

I sail away until mother calls me to bed, until tomorrow I shall halt

But upon the sunny morning I shall again be whisked far and away

As Hot Stuff, Green Arrow and Lottie jump forth and ask me to play

 

And when the magic has been used up within the pages faint and torn

Again shall I visit the World News Stand where my mind can be reborn

-The GYPSY-

The Scent Of Lilacs Oil Painting By The GYPSY

The Artist Life: The Scent Of Lilacs

Drifting on the breeze
A scent that puts my soul at ease
Lilac fragrance fills the air
Triggering memories of time without care

Delicate blossoms on the sprig
Not long they’ll last what joy they bring
One bush here another there
Signals of spring sight and smell to share

Grandpa loved the flower
In it’s color there laid such power
When I was just a child
The bush he planted grew so wild

Outside my bedroom window
The bush would bloom and ever grow
Never again to be shorn
As each spring its scent would be reborn

Now my paint brush
Tries to capture the fragrant rush
Of my own Lilac bouquet
Whose color and scent hold me sway

And when the canvas
Has taken my color within each crevasse
Then the scent of Lilac
Will be captured and kept intact

And I will have painted
Pure nature, perfect in essence and untainted

A scent that puts my soul at ease
Lilac fragrance fills the air
Triggering memories of time without care

Delicate blossoms on the sprig
Not long they’ll last what joy they bring
One bush here another there
Signals of spring sight and smell to share

Grandpa loved the flower
In it’s color there laid such power
When I was just a child
The bush he planted grew so wild

Outside my bedroom window
The bush would bloom and ever grow
Never again to be shorn
As each spring its scent would be reborn

Now my paint brush
Tries to capture the fragrant rush
Of my own Lilac bouquet
Whose color and scent hold me sway

And when the canvas
Has taken my color within each crevasse
Then the scent of Lilac
Will be captured and kept intact

And I will have painted
Pure nature, perfect in essence and untainted

Yeso Wall Watercolor Painting By The GYPSY

The Artist Life: Yeso

YESO

I rolled down the endless highway into the bright New Mexico day. Clouds hung low in the blue morning sky like poly fiber torn from an over stuffed pillow. As I rolled along I knew that the soft clouds could gather into a storm, I watched the sky with wary eye.

Mile after mile passed beneath my wheels as I headed east along Highway 60 towards Ft. Sumner. I watched the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe tracks running along side the road, rail keeping pace with asphalt.

The clouds had congealed into a soft gray mass and I prayed that if they opened it would be a quick desert rain and not a deluge of biblical proportions.

I was thinking about the last 22 miles I had to travel to our destination when I topped a rise in the highway and there it was; A Ghost Town!

I grabbed brake, instinctively, pulling onto the dusty shoulder in front of, what was once, the dead towns post office. I did not have to wonder if I should stop, I knew the answer. My artist eyes had seen this treasure and I knew Yeso, New Mexico was mine for the taking.

Yeso means “gypsum” in Spanish; the town was established in 1906, when the AT&SF RR came to the area, and it became a trading center for ranchers (and the very few farmers) in the area.

Its post office began operations in 1909, and is now the towns only business servicing the nearby ranch’s from a small metal building. The postmaster lives behind the small office in a 5th wheel trailer.

Yeso was spelled Yesso during the years 1912-1913, for unknown reasons. When it became clear that the land was not suited for farming, and only useful for sheepherding and cattle grazing, many of the original settlers moved away. Only a hand full of people still call Yeso home. On this day I was Yeso’s only tourist.

Yeso is a true ghost town in every sense of the word. It’s abandoned red adobe brick buildings are slowly returning to the earth from which they arose.

Open doorways beckon you into passages dimly lit by the ambient light of the desert sky. Sage and course grass cover areas of collapsed flooring like a rolling carpet of dusty green and dark sienna. Empty windows stare out at the world while tumble weed residents roll along long forgotten sidewalks.

Here and there you can hear the residents of this once thriving town talking to each other. The desert finch warns the curious Kangaroo rat that the red tail hawk is nearby while the crows gossip about what the diamondback did last evening. If you listen even closer you can still hear echo’s of the human voices that once filled the vacant structure’s.

I moved around the town, photo after photo capturing what one day would be no more than a dusty pile along a busy road. Foundations that served as planters for prickly pear and cholla cactus today would tomorrow be nothing more than a mound from which creosote arose.

My camera’s shutters click, click, click was answered by the whistling wind that played through missing roofs and broken rafters. I speculated on belongings left behind and what the town must have been like when it was populated with humans instead of desert willows.

I returned to the highway and continued on towards Ft. Sumner. The thick gray clouds were started to thin out as I rolled on. I looked in my rearview mirror one more time for a final look at Yeso. The desert ghost town disappeared from my view as it would one day disappear from the world. It will be forever lost to the ages but captured, at least for a brief time upon my film to one day be brought back to a tenuous life upon my canvas’s resurrected by an artists brush.

-The GYPSY-

TopCon Pop Expo 2020 Banner

TopCon Pop Expo To Artist Alley Studio

TOPCON POP EXPO to ARTIST ALLEY STUDIO

Changes come from unexpected places and as the old saying goes “God works in mysterious ways.” So it was with the death of TopCon Pop Expo and the birth of Artist Alley Studio.

When the Covid-19 Pandemic hit TopCon was well on track for our seventh year. When I created the event in 2014 I had never imagined that it would grow to the size it did. In our seventh year we had contracted to bring Animaniac’s in Concert to the Topeka Performing Arts Center. The main event would be held in the newly remodeled Exhibition Hall at the Stormont-Vail Events Center. To top it all off the Greater Topeka Partnership was talking with us about making TopCon Pop Expo a weeklong event.

While we were gearing up for TopCon Pop Expo 2020 we were also moving the Artist Alley Studio out of the NOTO Arts District out to our current location on Southwest Topeka Blvd. We had outgrown our space in the Amused Gallery where we were renting a studio room. It was time for me to come out of semi-retirement and go back into tattooing and piercing full time.

My wife Raychel and I had combined our LLC’s and had made the transition from Skin Art Creations Tattoo Emporium to Artist Alley Studio Tattoos and Piercings. We were remodeling our newly acquired storefront and we were on track for an April 1st opening. Then the world shut down on March 25, 2020. Everything came to a screeching halt and life became an uncertain future of what-ifs and maybes. We would have to wait until the quarantine was lifted to open the studio and TopCon’s future was uncertain.

During the shutdown the news came down that the Coronavirus Pandemic would be around for an unknown period of time and would get worse before it got better. We decided to cancel TopCon for 2020 and concentrate on getting Artist Alley Studio going in the direction it needed to go. On May 18, 202o the Artist Alley Studio opened, and we were on the road to recovery. We held hope that TopCon Pop Expo would return in 2021.

As we moved out of 2020 and into 2021 we started plans for TopCon Pop Expo 2021. We had lost the opportunity to host Animaniac’s in Concert so we were looking at other possible acts for TPAC so we would not lose our deposit. We were also working with the agent for Animaniac’s in Concert since we had paid a large deposit with his agency, and we did not want to lose that either.

We were faced with many obstacles that were becoming harder and harder to overcome. One Con rescheduled their event for the same weekend as TopCon had always been. Plus plans were made to have the delayed Topeka Saint Patrick’s Celebration on the same weekend also. We moved TopCon from the 3rd weekend in September to the 2nd Weekend in October to avoid the competition and possible low attendance.

Business was good at the Artist Alley Studio but the future of TopCon was uncertain. TopCon Pop Expo’s fate was sealed with the news that we could expect a new surge of infections in the Fall. Between the risk to public health and the mask mandate not to mention most Con’s had already experienced low attendance in our new Pandemic world; we pulled the plug on TopCon Pop Expo.

By the time we refunded our vendors and cancelled contracts losing the deposits we experienced a $20,000 loss. This loss effectively killed TopCon Pop Expo and we laid Topeka’s First Pop Culture Convention to rest. There would be no reschedules; it was over. It was time to move on.

We have since poured all our efforts into making the Artist Alley Studio the best it can be. We have also renewed our faith in God and become more involved in activities at our church; Topeka Bible Church. Whether it is our Tattooing and Piercing Services, our in studio and online store or our Art Gallery both physical and online we work hard to progress and offer the best we have.

Part of our transition was within our newsletters. We migrated people that had signed up for the TopCon Pop Expo newsletter over to the 3 Artist Alley Studio newsletters: At Needles Point, The Artist Life and Free Art Fridays. We hope that the fans and friends we made with TopCon Pop Expo will continue to be our fans and friends with Artist Alley Studio.

I personally like keeping in contact with our newsletters. I can share news and interesting info with our subscribers, and I feel like it is a more personal form of communication that goes far beyond social media. Long before social media was a thing we communicated and socialized through emails and email newsletters. I have noticed a trend back to this form of social communication and I am proud that Artist Alley studio can be part of it.

If you enjoy our newsletters and you think you know someone else who would enjoy them, please feel free to share our subscription link. We also hope that you enjoy our efforts with Artist Alley Studio enough that you will share our Tattoo and Piercing Services with other as well as our Artwork and websites.

Thank you so much to those who supported TopCon Pop Expo during its existence and Thank You to those who continue to support us and our Artist Alley Studio. May God Bless and Keep You and Yours Always.

-The GYPSY-

Traditional Tattoo Flash Sheet

The Artist Life: Times They Are A Changing

THERE WAS A TIME THAT THE INTERNET DID NOT EXIST

I know it is hard to believe but it is true. When I first started tattooing in 1976 my clients picked their designs from Flash Sheets. A Flash Sheet is (usually) and 11″ x 14″ Sheet of designs used for tattooing. The term “Flash Art” came from early Tattooists in New York City where tattooing was illegal. The New York Tattooist could not advertise to tattoo without fear of being arrested. However there was no law against showing tattoo designs.

The tattooist would usually have a spot near the docks where they did their work. They would take a book of tattoo designs to the dock as ships came in and “Flash” the designs to perspective customers. Without saying a word the tattooist could display his product and escort his customer to the shop where the tattoo was done secretly. Eventually tattooing became legal in NYC but the term “Flash Art” had been indelibility entered into the English Language.

At one time I had over 35,000 Flash Art Designs. The truth is I still do. The difference is they no longer dominate my studio; covering walls and filling shelves of notebooks. I now have the most popular ones within a few notebooks. The large sheets are stored away for prosperity. What was a normal part of tattooing has gone the way of the dinosaur. Google, Pinterest, Instagram and a host of others have become the new Flash Art Wall. I cannot tell you when the last time I used a piece of my Flash art to create a tattoo for a client but it has been a long, long time.

Now a client sends us via text message, instant messenger or email a design they found online. We talk to them about size and placement and then send them a quote. If the client is satisfied with the consultation then we schedule the appointment. At that point it is up to me to compose their design based on what they sent. In face consultations are almost a thing of the past.

Yet is is not only Tattoo Art that has been affected by the Internet it is also Fine Art. At one time a person might walk into an Art Gallery; Browse the Art Available and leave with an original piece of art or an art print. Though Art Galleries still exist carrying exclusive works by their signed artists more and more artists are independent of the restrictions of a gallery and now have their own online galleries where they sell their art without having to pay hefty commissions. This has made it possible for the artist to sell their art at a less expensive rate.

Technology has taken the art world to a whole new level never before imagined. The artist can easily sell originals, art prints and print on demand merchandise like t-shirts, greeting cards, cups, bags and more right from their website. One of the most exciting innovations for online galleries is AI. You are able to access an artists works from your cellphone and using an AI app place that piece of art on your wall. This technology allows you to pick the art that is right for your environment.

If you have never tried this before give it a try. On your cell phone visit our online store at www.ArtistAlleyStudio.com  Pick a piece of art then pick any type of print from the menu you like. In the lower left corner of the print you will see an icon of a hand holding a cell phone, click that icon. You will then be able to visualize the print on any wall you choose. Also check out the 3D view of the different print on demand items while you are there. These technologies take buying art to a whole other level.

Yes tattoo art and fine art have come along way in the past 15 years and where it goes from here is anyone’s guess. I will grant you that things were simpler in the past but the future has opened doors that the artist and art buyer never dreamed of. I am excited to see where it goes from here.

-The GYPSY- 

Orangutan Djakarta Jim and Gary Clarke Topeka Zoo

The Artist Life: Anyone Can Create Art You Just have To Have A Desire To Do So

Anyone Can Create Art But Not All Art Can Be Created By Everyone

The Human Species has an ingrained desire to create. Whether planting a garden, building furniture, decorating a home, customizing a vehicle or creating works of art men and women long to create. It is one of the ways we leave our mark on the world and it has been ingrained in our species since the beginning of time.

But the desire to create is not just limited to our species. That desire can be found in many other creatures that we share the world with. Take for instance Djakarta Jim, a male Orangutan from the Topeka Zoo in Topeka, Kansas. Djakarta Jim came to the zoo as an infant in the late 1960’s. In 1971 Zoo Director Gary Clarke was approached by Jim’s Keeper who told him that Jim seemed to be drawing pictures with his food. They gave Jim non toxic paint, a brush and canvas and the rest is history.

Djakarta Jim won awards for his art and opened a door for other animal artists. Research into the artistic abilities of animals was in it’s infancy. But with the public acclaim of the orangutan artist more and more people took notice and more animal art was born and inspired. There are now famous works by Elephants, Horses, Chimpanzees and even dolphins.

If animals are able to create art then so can you. However understanding that you may not have the ability to create all types of art is the first step on your artistic journey. Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to become an artist…

I have people come into my studio all the time and say, “I have a friend that can draw really well and is thinking about tattooing.” My response is always the same, “Just because you can draw a pretty picture on a piece piece of paper does not mean you can tattoo; it takes a certain touch.” This is the same for all art. A Pottery Artist may be the greatest Pottery Artist to step foot on the face of the earth but may be unable to draw a straight line on a piece of paper. Being good at one thing artistically does not guarantee you will be a master in all things artistically and that is OK.

Discovering what your artistic talent is actually easier than you may think. Here is my advise on where you should start: get a pencil and piece of paper. Write down a top ten list of things you like and I do not mean artistically I mean those things you like that make you happy. Arrange the list in your favorite thing at the top and working down to number ten. Now make a separate top ten list of the type of art you like. Examples might be; pencil drawing, pen and ink, watercolor, acrylic painting, oil painting, block printing, decorative art, stained glass, graffiti art, pottery, plaster cast, digital art, pastels, crayon art, portrait art, landscape art, cityscape art, seascape art, animal art, jewelry art, sculpting and on and on and on. The possibilities are endless. Now arrange that list in the order of the type of art you like best with #1 being your favorite and #10 being your list favorite.

You now have two lists; favorite things and favorite art. What are your two number one things? Do you like Motorcycles? Do you like Stain Glass? Now think how you might combine those two things. Maybe make stain glass images of motorcycles or motorcycle events. Do you like Birds? Do you like Decorative Art? How would you combine those two things? Stenciled wall art feature birds or bird themed decorative trim? Do you like Trains? Do you like Graffiti Art? Well I wouldn’t suggest going out and doing graffiti art on trains but what if you painted a picture of a train using a graffiti art style? Are you starting to get the idea?

You can even go a step further; You like old buildings. You also like pottery and acrylic painting. What would stop you from creating artwork in acrylic paint of say an old barn on the side of a pot you made and then glazing that pot. You see where you start on this artistic journey is only limited by your imagination. Now that you have your key elements the next step is fairly simple… experiment and I mean really experiment! Do not just try something one time and say, “Well Gee I guess I can’t do it.” There is an old saying; “Practice Makes Perfect!” If creating art in a style you like is what you really desire to do then practice, practice, practice. But there is a Catch 22.

If you are unfamiliar with what a Catch 22 is it can be defined as a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions. Remember what I stated above, “Just because you can draw a pretty picture on a piece piece of paper does not mean you can tattoo; it takes a certain touch.” If you have practiced and practiced and practiced the type of art you have chosen and still cannot seem to get it do not let your frustration rule you or kill your desire to create. At that point it will be time to move on and try a different artistic endeavor. You may go through several different things you like and several different types of art combinations before you find the one that is right for you. But I cab assure you that you will find the magic combination that will have you creating art that you admire and that will be admired by others.

Here is a final word of advice; Do not be afraid to ask for help. Taking art classes or buying books that explain the creative process are things you should be willing to do. The greatest cure for ignorance is education. Become artistically educated and you will find that your art will improve along with your abilities as an artist.

One word of caution however for those thinking about tattoo or piercing art; though there are a lot of videos on Youtube showing how to tattoo or pierce. Those “How Too” videos are garbage. You can only truly learn how to tattoo and pierce properly under an experienced state licensed  trainer. If anyone ever tries to charge you for Body Art Training you are in the wrong place. A professional Body Art Trainer makes their money when you start tattooing or piercing in their studio. They do not make their money by taking it out of your pocket and teaching you nothing. Contact your state licensing board for a list of qualified trainers.

So with all that being said I hope that this blog has helped to point you in the right direction on your artistic journey. It is worth repeating to say to you; Anyone Can Create Art You Just Have To Have A Desire To Do So.

-The GYPSY-

 

Artist Alley Studio Ukraine Support Banner

Artist Alley Studio Site Banner Changed In Support Of Ukraine

Our website banner was changed in support of our Brothers and Sisters in Ukraine. The banner will remain as this as long as this tragic war is taking place. As Kansans and Americans we cherish and will fight to the death for our freedom. The people of Ukraine are doing just that even as I type this.

We strongly urge you to contribute to aid organizations helping the people of Ukraine. For a list of some of those organizations please go here https://www.npr.org/2022/02/25/1082992947/ukraine-support-help

Xunantunich Pyramid in Belize

The Artist Life: Inspiration From A Haunted Pyramid

Inspired To Paint El Castillo Pyramid at Xunantunich in Belize

The moment I saw the photograph of the El Castillo Pyramid in Belize I knew that it would be on my list of future paintings I would create, People have not inhabited this site in western Belize for a thousand years, but something else is said to roam the place.

Belize is a Caribbean country on the northeastern coast of Central America. It borders Mexico to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and Guatemala to the west and south.

The name Xunantunich (Stone Woman or Maiden of the Rock) was given to this ancient Mayan archaeological complex in the 19th century. The name is said to be derived from the sighting of a ghostly figure of a woman who disappears as one gets nearer to her.

Other aspects of these city ruins are decidedly more solid: Six plazas and more than 25 palaces and temples are preserved within roughly one square mile, situated high on a plateau above the Mopan River.

The Maya civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500 BC and AD 300 and flourished until about 1200. They left behind monumental cities and pyramids. Few are as awe inspiring as El Castillo.

Sometime soon in the near future I shall take brush to canvas and create my version of the ghostly and majestic giant that has survived far past it’s creators.

-The GYPSY-

Before The Storm Oil On Canvas Board By The GYPSY

Anatomy of a Painting: Before The Storm

“Before The Storm”

By Romani American Artist J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY 16″ x 20″ Oil on Canvas Board.

A Throwback Thursday offering. This painting from 2006 was my first attempt at painting a seascape. I had always shied away from seascapes but on this particular day I was feeling adventuresome.
I originally had not intended to make the clouds so bold and dramatic but as I started layering them I could not help myself. The sea was originally calm with gentle waves but with the boldness of the clouds I could feel the approaching storm. To offset the drama of the clouds I gave the water it’s own boldness as it rolled in “Before The Storm”.
I do a Christmas giveaway every year of one of my paintings and this one went to a sweet lady in Coffeyville, Oklahoma who had some health issue. She said of the painting, “I feel like I am the sea and once I get to shore I will be calm. This painting makes me feel peaceful.”
-The GYPSY-