Sunday, October 30, 2011



Long time no post!

The reason for this posting delinquency is that I just spent this past year exploring people's tattoos and the stories behind them as a side project at work, with an end goal of displaying this work in the 9th floor gallery space. I wanted this to be very story telling, and to communicate my findings through a mix of photography, design, illustration, and lettering.

First up, getting the stories. I had everyone e-mail me their tattoo's meaning with no set guidelines. I wanted this to be real; any length, no editing. The smallest tattoo ended up being the longest story in the end, which made for a fun display solution.

Next up, getting everyone photographed. I had the great pleasure of working with photographer Jane Kortright on numerous studio and location shoots that fit the concept of the story, then took the raw photos and integrated design and illustration to further push the concept. Lettering all of the stories became an overwhelming task at first, but when they seemed to take on a look and feel over time, the process started flowing nicely. I felt the stories were equally as important as the photos, so I wanted them to visually carry as much weight as well.

There are 6 display windows around the outside of the gallery, and I decided to use them as a way to integrate the inside with the outside. My final solution was to paint tattoos morphing out of spilled ink on mannequin limbs, and have pulled quotes from different stories that had impact in one way or another floating in front of them on the glass. I then experimented with printing on low tack vinyl, making it appear that ink had spilled from the body parts to the ground, out of the windows.

Making everything work in a set space to hopefully transcend people passing through the gallery into their world for a moment was my last challenge. I wanted this to be multi-sensory.. I had an oil fragrance made to give off the scent of a sterile tat shop using a mix of patchouli, clover honey, and amber.. I wanted the reception food to communicate ink and pain, so I served chili pepper infused chocolate, cracked pepper crackers with blueberry jalapeno jam for a subtle sting, and the clear cups with chilled water were partnered with a variety of 'Mio' flavorings, which when squirted in, produced a flowing ink visual. I also had plead the case for music being an important emotional layer to the overall experience, and very graciously I had surround sound installed. I fussed over the music for a bit, but in the end put together an ambient mix that had texture, imperfection, a slow pace to it.. collectively the sound just felt right when viewing the imagery and reading the stories. And a last minute decision to loop behind the scenes video footage of some of the shoots turned out to be the center piece of the interior.

I sent a call out to the Hallmark community in October 2010, asking if anyone was interested in being photographed and sharing the meanings behind their ink. 26 participants and one year later, STAINED has finally seen the light of day. I put together a little slideshow sampling of set up/reception pics. Thanks again to everyone involved! -C

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Automatic Tattoo Machine

A co-worker forwarded me this link today about an automatic tattoo machine called Auto Ink. Why this seems to only randomly assign religious symbols is a little strange and limiting, as is the forearm only placement.. but with further development, imagine the possibilities. For better or worse, this has left me intrigued. The precision factor is kind of appealing (assuming the machine doesn't get bumped!). And If you could upload and program the needle to move with your own artwork, the possibilities are endless. But missing out on the hunt for a good shop, the smells, the music, working with an artist.. that would be a shame. These are the things that create an experience. What ever happened to human interaction? Human inter-huh?? Anyway, as a standalone object, the machine has a nice shape to it. Customizing it to your liking could plus it even further.

I have mixed feelings about this 'Auto Ink', but lean towards supporting those tattoo artists sticking themselves out there making a living doing what they enjoy. -C

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Missouri Western State University: Working Artists Discussion

Our good friend Misha Kligman teaches foundation drawing at Missouri Western State University, and asked if we'd come talk to both of his classes about life as working artists. We were happy to do it, and put together a little power point presentation featuring work that showcased our process. More exciting though was getting to participate in two critiques. The assignment was to do an autobiographical illustration either in a series or a single image. The results were varied, and dishing out constructive criticism to a bunch of new-to-us students was kind of a thrill. Between Misha, Mirna and myself, a good range of comments were offered up.. I kept touching on composition, concept, and paying attention to details.. Mirna had drawing technique advise and related well to illustration concerns.. and Misha didn't sugar coat anything. Very tough, very sincere, very effective. To stay engaged and give everyone your full attention for hours (with little nourishment) was exhausting. I left having a new respect for teachers.. and Misha. Great experience! -C

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

Gallery Opening at Leedy Voulkos

This was a juried show which was first showing at the Hallmark Creative Gallery, and has now moved to the Leedy Voulkos (2012 Baltimore Kansas City, Missouri 64108). I have two pieces in it- Enchanted Forest and Happy Home. Hope you enjoyed the show. -m

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pistachio Portraiture

These are little portraits on pistachio shells. A result of a very energizing and at the same time exhausting brainstorm. -m

Monday, January 3, 2011

Two Headed Cousins

In keeping fresh posts during this holiday lull of personal work, thought we'd share what came up while searching the related images of a 'two headed beast' search. COUSINS!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Those Sharpies keep inspiring me! If I were to build a city, this is what it would look like. -m

Thursday, December 9, 2010

sharpie sketch

I got these new fine Sharpie markers. They come in really nice colors. Now I bring them with me to every meeting :) -m

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Passage of Time

I knew for my next creation I wanted to push what I do. Collaging with clip art alone was starting to feel a bit limiting. When I created our website, I experimented with photo collage. I was instantly hooked! The process is the same; with clip art it's scanning.. with photos, it's shooting. Being these images all live on the computer, the crossover was easy, and photos have much more life to them.

I thought bringing my tattoo to life would be a nice in-the-moment challenge, and I already had a *concept and blueprint to work with. The gathering process was the fun part, as I felt like I was on a scavenger hunt with printout in hand trying to photograph all of the elements it required. I've been to the zoo, museum, antique malls, downtown, the library, and around the house to make this happen. The effort, though demanding at times, made it all the more rewarding upon completion. -C

*see original tattoo drawing previously posted.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Metamorphosis 2010: Art For Kyrie

Local artist Tuesday Schmidt asked if we'd want to participate in a silent art auction to benefit the Kyrie Foundation raising research funds to fight pediatric brain cancer. We're honored to be part of this exciting event and glad to support a good cause. Above are the two pieces we're contributing. A simple white frame felt fitting for Mirna's 'Stormy' piece. I lit the 'Refugees' frame on fire around the burning mountainside. The quality prints are provided by Tip Top Gallery. For all the event details, check out the poster. -C

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Enchanted Forest

This is a piece for an upcoming show in February. All submissions will be reviewed by a jury and select pieces will make it to the final gallery show. More details to come!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tip Top Gallery

Both Mirna and I were recently approached to be part of an online art gallery, called Tip Top Gallery, that offers limited edition archival pigment prints of photography and illustration in various sizes. After seeing how simple it works and hearing some of the other talented artists that were going to be involved, we gladly agreed. The site is now live, and will continue to be updated, so check back often. We will be linking this to our twoheadedbeast website soon to bridge the two and make buying prints from us even easier. Thank you Tip Top for the opportunity. -C

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Abandoned Places

Just wanted to share a link from '' of this fascinating collection of modern day ruins. !!! Love !!! -C

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Poor Stiffs

I recently went to photograph animals at the zoo for my next piece, and was quickly reminded that the suppressed behavior of caged animals left them either pacing, asleep, or absent all together. So I took what I could and headed to taxidermy heaven, aka Cabela's. I left thinking one man's retail paradise is another man's good laugh. Who'd have thought the Big Bad Wolf would be reduced to a men's shoes model. -C

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Saw this gem-stop en route to a camping trip. Wow. -C

Thursday, September 30, 2010

lunch box notes

Here are some samples of my daily morning sketches that I put in Alex's lunch box. He's a great kid and has always appreciated them (that's what keeps me going every morning...) I've been doing this for a couple of years now, so it's become a habit. And as habits go, I don't think much of them and don't expect him to either. However, he made my day recently when he said that he and his friends always wonder what the drawing of the day just might be. Knowing that he and his buddies are excited to see them just makes me melt... Aaahhh, I'm so lucky. -m

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

the Shake Shack on Santa Fe

Our neighbors recently opened up a little restaurant called the Shake Shack on Santa Fe in old downtown OP, and asked if we could help them out with signage. The idea here is simple; serve up good old fashioned burgers and shakes, with an emphasis on being local, organic, and sustainable. A simple hand-done, nostalgic solution felt fitting. -m

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I recently had the great pleasure of working with an old friend from college, Mr. Michael Marsicano, on the album artwork and design for the band Gilgongo. He flew out to KC to brainstorm old school, face to face. The idea we ran with is to have this spider vixen on the cover with an expression leaving you to assume she's awaiting her next victim. Opening to the inside reveals a guy actually wrapping himself up in her web, victimizing himself.. a theme found within. We wanted the colors to support the overall melancholy vibe. The grey on the disc shown above is faked in to represent the raw disc, which slips out of the inside right panel. He illustrated the exquisite figurative work, I worked all of the supporting elements, layout, and lettering. -C

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Greaserama II


This Labor Day we met up with friends to check out Kansas City's 9th annual Greaserama car show. From rusty grime, to pristine perfection, this custom car and bike collective left me wishing I had more time on my hands, a bigger garage, and an old car to play with. Set in an old drive in theatre, there was cheap beer, big hair, and a steady stream of live surf punk/rockabilly music. Though regrettably we didn't stay, at night they were playing a double feature of Grindhouse and Sin City. Finding inspiration in unexpected places is refreshing. -C

Monday, August 30, 2010


Our friends Emily and Sergio recently had a baby shower. As one of their gifts a couple of girls and I designed different iron transfers for the onesies. Knowing that Emily and Sergio always have been big Frida Kahlo fans, I decided that their baby must be a fan as well :) -m