Saturday, December 29, 2007

abstractExcercise 1.07

This type of post will show random drawings, studies, or experiments that either led to final work or were nothing more than fun excercises. I'll post more of these as I get a chance to scan them. It's interesting to see what each of these contribute to in terms of future projects.

polaroid of a shower with illustration

study of plants and various items on my balcony

study of a rock found in South Dakota

experiments with typography

All work © 2008 joe blend. All rights reserved.

a new look for a new year!

I finally buckled and upgraded my blog to the new format and in the process, decided that abstractLatte needed a new look as well!

I've also been finishing up a ton of work which naturally means a lot of scanning. The portfolio section is completely updated; there are a few pieces you may recognize from before but most are brand new. I've also got a few projects in the works so keep an eye out for those to be posted soon!

Have a safe and happy new year!

Friday, November 09, 2007

SFG Blank Book Project

This has got to be one of the most interesting projects that I've come across in recent months...even years. I've participated in collaborative projects before but this one has so many more facets to it that I am consistently excited about what's next!

By the way, don't forget to check out the map!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

SPECK: A Curious Collection of Uncommon Things

For those of you that like to leave something interesting for your guests to read on the coffee table, this book will start conversation very quickly. It's called SPECK and is a compilation of creative projects that were intended to among other things answer questions, serve as creative experiments, or bring to light seldom seen details in our surroundings. If you'd like to read more you can check out Amazon's review as well as thoughts on the book from others. I'll leave you with the first sentence of the book..."Notes: On the dusk of August 14, 2000 one red helium balloon was released into the hazy Brooklyn sky."!

(moved from 02/2006 archive)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

from washington dc to miami, fl to cancun, mexico to washington dc!

I just returned from a trip to Mexico and am finishing up some journal artwork from that trip. It was a lot of fun to take the journal international; I've also found that one of my favorite places to draw at is airports due to the vast diversity in people, clothes, objects, etc. Luckily, I had the opportunity to experiment with a slightly new medium and I'm very excited to see how it will fit in with my journal work.

I'll post the finished pieces within the next couple of weeks!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

my new focus and a new transition!

After a lot of reflection on what I wanted to accomplish with my body of artwork, I realized that I had solid work across a variety of media but all of the categories and individual pieces seemed disjointed; I felt as if my work didn't have enough conceptual substance or utility and function. It was at that point that all of my experience, education, and exposure to the fine arts and graphic design came together to create a single epiphany...I wanted to document life through art using a journal approach, along with artwork using individual media.

Over the years, I've become increasingly interested in sketchbooks and journals as well as documentaries that focused on nature. From travel logs and handwritten notes in sketchbooks to the Planet Earth dvd series, I found the documentary aspects, and how they integrated with art and creativity, to be fascinating. I wanted something more for myself than creating a piece of artwork for a wall or website; the idea that my work might only receive a passing glance truly bothered me. For the record there are many great artists, illustrators, and designers that generate an idea and translate it to paper or the web and do it in such a way that is amazing. For myself, I needed to merge my fine art and graphic design skills with an appreciation of what's around me in order to generate a fresh, unique, and highly functional body of artwork.

As for moving my entire portfolio and web prescence to my blog...I decided that a blog is the perfect communication tool to display my body of work and convey myself as an artist that uses a journal/documentary approach. I'll post new work as it's created but will also upload it to the portfolio section. As usual, I'll post new articles so check back regularly for consistent updates.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

featured artist 10.07: Danny Gregory

Normally, an artist will post his/her portfolio online and most (if not all) of us sit there in awe of their amazing talent. Well, with this month's featured artist, I not only sat there in amazement but found numerous articles that both inspired me and helped me figure out a few things about myself as an artist. His website is entertaining, helpful, inspirational, funny, focused, and an overall wealth of knowledge about creativity and life.

Monday, September 03, 2007

sketches...a preview

To pick up where my last post left off, I have a preview of what's to come in terms of my new body of work.

The piece that I'm displaying here isn't a result of sketching on-location and/or during travel but rather a visual study that will be a part of my still life work. I chose the subjects not only for their "non-traditional fine art subject" qualities but also for the conceptual contrast. All of my sketches are free hand; no pencil outlines were created prior to the use of the chosen medium. I'll post more to my blog and website as they're created.

title: "garter and garlic, study#1"
medium: pen

© 2007 joe blend. All rights reserved.

life, travel, and sketching...

Several months ago, I developed a renewed interest in the fine arts; it started with an unannounced desire to paint and is currently a strong desire to sketch/draw/illustrate. Along with this new direction for my work came a strong interest in handmade elements and mixed media. Over the course of developing new work that "worked" and new work that "didn't work", I realized that I wanted my work to have a strong purpose...and that purpose was to document as well as re-interpret. But it didn't end there. I couldn't just sit down in front of a still life for all my work; I needed to document places, people, interesting attributes of life, etc and I needed to create these sketches on-location and not from a photograph or entirely from memory.

Drawing and painting is something I never thought I'd get back into but I guess some things take time before they're fully understood and realized. Although I just finished several sketches from a recent trip to Atlanta GA, I still need to work on refinements and color (for some of the sketches anyway) so for now I don't have any completed travel pieces. I'll post those soon on both my blog and website.

Friday, August 17, 2007

featured artist 08.07: Thievery Corporation

These guys create some of the most amazing music by blirring the lines between genres and ultimately creating a new, very engaging experience. I've been listening to them for years and they're usually in my cd player when I'm

featured creatives and new directions

For quite a while I've been posting articles about featured artists, designers, photographers, etc; until now the selected individuals or studios had been within the realm of the visual arts. In order to broaden the base of inspiration within my blog, I've decided to include creatives from other disciplines and industries such as musicians or individuals that have started creative endeavors (profit or non-profit).

I hope you enjoy the new additions to this group of articles!

Friday, August 03, 2007

caffeinated update...

It's funny how much you can accomplish when you nearly cut yourself off from the rest of the world! Ok, so I didn't cut myself off completely but sometimes you have to step back and focus in order to make progress.

I've been hard at work on some mixed media and illustration work, I'm gettting ready to start on a new graphic design project, and the additional photography that I am installing in Capitol Eyes is almost ready for matting/framing so things are moving along! I've started on a new "journal" along the lines of my journal that I wrote about a while's a different direction, more idea-based, but it's proving to be very interesting and useful.

I've decided to post a new article every week to keep things fresh; if there are any topics you would like to read articles about in my blog, feel free to contact me at "info at joe blend dot com". Unfortunately, I can't guarantee that all ideas will be accepted (for various reasons) but I'll do my best to tailor some articles around specific interests of my readers. Thanks again for all your support and check back soon for new stuff!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Joe Blend and Capitol Eyes: a gallery experience

A couple of months ago, the owner of an eyeglass boutique in Washington DC commissioned six of my photographs for display/sale in his store. After a couple of stressful months of shooting/editing/matting/framing, the work is finally installed (the sixth photograph will be installed on Tuesday May 22nd). Both myself and the store owner are very happy with the results; upon installation, he commissioned another four pieces so it's back to work for another exciting round of art production!

Anyway, here are four of the photographs that I selected for display/sale...


Empire State Building:

Cherry Blossoms and random zoo plant (respectively)

I'll post a preview of the additions after they're installed. For those of you in and around the DC Metro area that are interested in checking the work out in person, here's the address of the store:

Capitol Eyes
1201 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004

I'd like to say thanks to all of you that have supported me and my work in one way or another over the years and thanks to Dr. Allouche of Capitol Eyes for this incredible experience!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

portable creativity

As artists, designers, photographers, sculptors, and “insert creative discipline here”, we are constantly looking for inspiration and a unique perspective…or at least we should be. We all struggle at times to find a reason for creating, a solid direction to follow for a particular project, or some other need that is preventing us from making progress on a current project(s). Sometimes it’s the act of “growing as an artist” that seems stifled. Whatever the reason, a journal can be the solution. One of my biggest reasons for starting an art journal was to engage in creative activities while outside of my work. Not that I wanted to photograph subjects 24/7, I just felt as if something was missing and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that a journal was the answer. Not only could it serve as a source of inspiration but it could be an archive of notes, a list of objectives and goals for a given period of time, and most important an ongoing experiment.

Sitting in my workspace was a nice leather bound journal from Borders (very nice, two flaps of leather covering the pages, a small leather strap holds it closed) so I figured that was the best place to start. I’ll be honest, it was pretty daunting at first; so many pages and not the slightest idea as to what to fill them with. My first instinct was to start writing down everything from ideas for photography subjects to notes on my favorite artists and designers. Later, I added everything from blog article ideas to favorite websites and around six months ago, I began to add images. After filling quite a few pages, I felt as if my journal needed to be kicked up a notch. Images were the natural next step but I wanted to do it in a thoughtful way. I gathered all my design and photography magazines and cut out anything that grabbed my attention for more than a few moments; this included type, pictures, and illustrations...for all you graphic designers out there, you know how hard it was to get the courage to butcher up well designed magazines! That quickly led to cutting out whole paragraphs and eventually entire articles.

When gluing the images and forms to the journal pages, I pushed the limits of graphic design and created compositions that either supported the image/form or that made me curious as to how well they’d work from an editorial design standpoint. Sometimes I created spreads that were mundane and straightforward whereas other times, I’d use photos that needed to be folded over (sometimes for a reason and other times simply because I could). The more I engaged in this kind of activity, the more I got inspired and the more curious I became about type and its relation to concept and message. I began to break apart articles that interested me and adhere them to the journal pages in ways that where interesting to me or somehow supported the article’s content; other times, I had no idea why I did what I did, I just knew that’s the way I wanted to do it!

What I have now is a thick journal that is nothing short of an exciting work in progress. You might be asking what has come from all this. Simply put, I feel as if I have an outlet for exploration that also serves as a source for inspiration and information. At any given time, I can open my journal and flip through it perhaps finding something new or even adding to it. I can look at fascinating textures, interesting articles, or random thoughts that one day may serve as the spark for a great idea. The bottom line is that I now have a portable outlet that helps expose me to ideas and other creative disciplines while strengthening my own work and creativity.

Images from my journal:

inside front cover:

spread dedictated to typography:

another spread dedicated to typography:

random spread with one of my favorite
Jack Kerouac quotes:

random spread (left page focuses on expression,
right page tries to decide what "it" is):

intro to pages about what exactly "art" is:

spread showcasing an artists work:

a spread that deals with some interesting books:
a spread dealing with the conflict between elite
and "average" people (inspired by an article on
Henry Rollins):
a sample page from a section on quotes (I used
found typography to replace two of the words in
the quote):

a random spread:

theme#34 "Long": first place photograph

Title: Tentacles
Description: Wouldn't want to get caught up in these!
Photographer: Lynn Pilewski
Location: Atlanta, GA
Date: March 10, 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

running to catch up...

It's amazing how far behind certain things can get if you get extremely busy! The last few months have proven to be some of the busiest yet for me...I've been shooting a lot of new photography as well as working on some new facets to my studio work.

I recently got a commission for six pieces to be displayed in an eyeglass boutique in downtown Washington DC with more work to be provided as needed! It's a great opportunity since it's an open ended gig, not to mention a great location and a great client. Anyway, I've been working on those pieces (as well as framing and matting) but I'll post when the work is up and I have some photos of the work in the space! I have a couple of articles that I'm pretty excited about but I won't promise when they'll be posted...just kidding!...I should have them published within the next two weeks.

To sum up, I'm still around so continue to check back for new stuff!

PhotoFortnight first place photographs

Well, it's been a while but I'm finally starting to catch up!

Theme#33 "Street": First place photograph

Title: I Walk The Line
Description: A candid street shot of a man set against a backdrop of horizontal and vertical lines
Photographer: Jonathan Morton (mort)

Location: Dublin, Ireland
Date: February 18, 2007
Technical: Canon 400d, Canon 17-40L, ISO 200, F9, 1/80 sec, BW conversion using channel mixer, levels and unsharpen mask.

Theme#32 "Line": First place photograph

Title: Drawing the line
Photographer: Greg Barry
Location: Mayo
Date: February 15, 2007

Theme#31 "Car": First place photograph

Title: Worn out
Description: This gem was found in an arboretum in Arizona.
Photographer: Jenn
Location: Arizona
Date: January 13, 2007

Theme#30 "Holiday": First place photograph

Title: Night
Description: Lit by a full moon, the Caribbean Sea shows off its colours on my New Year's holiday in Cuba.
Photographer: Jeope Wolfe

Location: Playa Lindemar – Cayo Largo, Cuba
Date: January 3, 2006
Technical: Canon Digital Rebel, kit lens, ten-second exposure with time-value mode; levels, sharpening and dodging in Photoshop.

Theme#29 "Speed": First place photograph

Title: Carousel Gallop
Photographer: Christopher Teske
Location: Spokane, WA USA
Date: November 26, 2006
Technical: Nikon D70s w/ Sigma 14mm ultra-wide, .5 exp. @ 2.8 w/ rear-curtain flash, tweaked in PS