École de Louvre

Last year I had a small obsession begin; an overwhelming desire to go back to school. An old dream to go to art school reawakened in me. When I was choosing Universities back in the day, I was looking at CCAC, the San Francisco Art Institute and UC Santa Cruz. It was very expensive to go to art school and I thought it might be more reasonsible to get a general education, who knows what the future might hold? But I always regretted not having a formal art education.

I started to become obsessed more and more with L’école de Beaux Arts. I started to hang around there a lot and tried the competition to get in. There were 1500 applicants, 800 were invited to submit a portfolio. I submitted mine but didn’t get to the next step. I was very disappointed. But I had a Plan B: I thought I would look for a painting instructor, take tap dancing and try to seriously get better at the ukulele.

I started talking to the artists I know in Paris and asking for introductions to painters who I consider to be possible mentors. One of the first ones I met with said he learned more at “L’école du Louvre” than he ever did at L’école de Beaux Arts. It’s true that technique is not really taught any more, even though students are very interested. I responded: “But L’école du Louvre is art history classes!”. “No” he responded, “I’m referring to going to the Louvre to copy the Masters”. So I went with him one saturday to sketch.

This was the first lesson. Poussin. Saint Frances of Rome. It looks like a witch but it’s actually the virgen Mary. Mary borne on a cloud appears to St. Francis, the broken arrows symbolise the eradication of the plague.

By the second lesson at the Louvre, I was on my own. My drawing is about 400 percent bigger than the original. Jean Cousin le Fils – The last judgement, it doesn’t do justice to all the volume and expression in about 3 square inches.

Antoine Caron “Tiburtine Sibyl” Emperor Ceasar being shown the way to Christanity.

Jan Vander Straet “vanité, modération and death” (except I didn’t get death in my sketch)

I usually go saturday mornings.These sketches were copied after bronze sculptures of Aphrodite. I get to the museum by 9:00 and draw until lunchtime. Often I go to my studio after and tattoo. I pretty sure this is the life I dreamed about when I was studying french in high school.

Pygmalion fell in love with his sculpture. Anne-Louis de Roucy-Trioson 1819 (I was so disappointment to find out that Anne-Louis was a man) a student of David’s at L’école de Beaux Arts, later a teacher there.

I think I’m making progress already! What do you think?

Tattooed Furniture Part 6

Finally, I finished my own piece of tattooed furniture! A cute little good luck footstool. You may have seen some of the inspiration I posted here and here.


I used the special sign painter’s paint called One Shot. It is a paint also used by hot rodder’s to do pinstriping. It is very stinky and should be used in a well ventilated area. The finished result is glossy like an enameled glaze. It is tricky and messy and needs to be cleaned up with turpentine. That’s why it took me so long to finish!


The footstool will be on display at my upcoming performing art piece here in Paris. Intrigued? You will hear all about it soon!

Artsit Alan Aldridge

Inspirational artwork from english artist Alan Aldridge, works from the ’60’s and ’70’s. Mind blowing technique!






Learning Lettering

Back when I was apprenticing at Goldfield’s I got interested in lettering. Henry Goldfield was a sign painting nut and I always admired lettering in tattoos. The problem was, I hated my own handwriting. So I decided to practice and studying good lettering for tattoos. I bought a notebook and started filling it up by copying or trying to copy the styles I admired. I also did my designing for lettering tattoos in the book. Now when anyone asks for lettering I can show them the book so they can see all the styles available and chose what they like. It’s a great exercise for any kind of drawing you want to get better at. I’m filling up a book of pretty ladies and I want to do one with dragons someday.

Disclaimer: I can imitate some popular tattoo lettering styles but I’m pleased to see that I’ve really developed my own style. Copying may be sometimes ok for the sketch book but it’s not fair to bring it in your own work. Like they say “Emulate, NOT Duplicate”.


Where Ideas Come From

I fell in love with this image and was tempted just to redo it with girls instead of mustachioed chinamen. But, after meditating on it and sketching a bit I came up with the drawing for Alice’s Voyage.


It was around the time I was coming up with images for Tea and Circus an art show I had in Berlin. First she’s traveling in a tea cup. Disney, oh how you have influenced me.


This sketch is very close to the first inspiration.


Some of the research images.


Final drawing:


Inspiration for color: Tim Walker fashion photo


And final painting:


Tin Toys

I’m a huge book collector. I find tons of inspiration for my work in books like 1000 Robots, Spaceships and Other Tin Toys and American Tin-Litho Toys.

I had the chance to go to the Museum of Tin Toys in Yokohama last spring, it was like a pilgrimage for me! (I will tell you more about that later)

Here’s a silkscreen print that I did and the toy that inspired the image. The title is Solve and Coagula (seperate and rejoin) the first priciples of alchimy. Instead of turning lead into gold she’s turning fabric into monsters!


The silkscreen print is available in my shop (ten colors!)

After The Vacation

I’m just back from 5 lovely days on the cote d’azure. While I was relaxing I tried carving some little stamps. Apparently it’s all the rage in Japan, but I don’t know what this craft is called. It was super easy to cut into the rubbery surface. I think I’ll try to do some larger images to resemble lynograveur.