Nice Rack

IMG_7955b

While Klaus and I searched for our castle on the northern beaches of Sydney, we knew that there was one piece of furniture that was required above all else … A surfboard rack. (as we were being given a spectacular array of hand-me-downs of pretty much every other thing you need in a house – thanks fam)

So when we finally did lock down our bitchin’ beachside haven, our first stop was the hardware store, then straight back to my mum’s place to rip the bandsaw, drill press and various other power tools.

What a waste of a gloriously big and flat timber surface, I thought. So I chucked a painting on it, inspired by Klaus’ favourite mural in San Francisco which I reckon speaks the language of the ocean. Great to have a bit o’ Bay Area memorabilia supporting the shred sticks.

I used acrylic paints for the colour, then chucked a gloss over it, then drew the outlines with a dark brown acrylic paint pen (that Kramer gave me for my birthday – thanks pal) and left it matte for a bit of texture. Froth city.

Advertisements

I Don’t Think You’re Ready for this Jelly.

wc_prawn2

I was going to title this post “Goodbye Cali-prawn-ia, Hello Octstralia!”, but as I’m not moving back to Sydney for another 5 weeks, I thought I’d keep it classic – plus, I’m going to a Prom themed party tonight, and I’m expecting to hear a ton of Destiny’s Child.

I just got back from a night at Dillon Beach, NorCal, where I squeezed in a little sea gazing accompanied by some highly relevant ocean-themed watercolour painting. After all, I had a new self-watering brush I wanted to try out which I used for the jellyfish and the octopus. It was a little limiting, and the thing I love about watercolours is their flexibility… So I put it aside and grabbed a normal brush to add some movement to the octopus.

Then, something magical happened in about 15 seconds. And that magical thing, was a prawn.

Really pleased with the prawn.

Also, can’t wait to chuck a coupla prawns on the barbie in 5 weeks! Oi oi oi!

Great Willy Wonka Wall of China Town

IMG_5457a

Just on the edge of China Town in San Fantastic-rancisco is a tech co-op space called The Vault. It’s underground, it’s full of computer-bound entrepreneurs, and it’s on the old site of the famous Ghirardelli chocolate factory (circa 1863). That’s right, this one’s an antique.

As nobody in the space seemed to have the foggiest idea of the place’s historical significance, the community manager (SO MANY STARTUP WORDS) decided an old advertisement for the chocolate factory would be the perfect fit for the reception area’s mural. Only problem was that I’d never actually done any text on a mural – ever… And as this was more of a ‘replicate and exaggerate’ sort of job, I needed to be a little more planned/precise/particular about how I would get this thing up on a wall, rather than just freestyling it as I usually do. It was also to be on a grey wall and using only black paint, unlike my standard bright colours – so I managed to pull the ‘artist’ card and bargain a bit of gold into the equation too.

The whole thing was rather a trendy sounding idea.

So I did a bit of photoshop work to see how it could be placed, fused the advertisement with some doodles from an old Ghirardelli sign that I liked, projected it on the wall, slapped some masking tape on the straight line edges, and got hectic with the black paint. When I say hectic, I mean as precise as possible. (Neck pain for days. I’m fine now though, thanks Klaus for the amateur chiropractic work.)

I did have to take some liberties with the text as the blocky resolution of the projector proved to be only adequate for a rough guide. Anyway, once it was all done, I had intended on gold leafing just the shadow of the heading (as planned, and shown in red on the projection). Needless to say, that freestyling side of me came out in the eleventh hour, and significantly more gold leaf ended up getting chucked on the wall. Which I’m stoked about, because not only does gold leaf look like Willy Wonka’s golden ticket, it is also just basically extremely epic.

I have been breathing out gold leaf dust flecks ever since, like a mythical creature. Note to future users of gold leaf: probably wear a respiratory filter unless you plan to attend some sort of dungeons and dragons convention every day for the rest of your life.

Burn, baby, burn.

IMG_4212

I had not planned to attend Burning Man this year, although I’d considered it and ruled it out. So in a massive yes-man move, I accepted my architecture client’s offer of a ticket on the Saturday (as he was the only person I really needed to work for that week) and drove out with a 16-year veteran (nice to meet you Glenn!) and my megapal Katie (who took the above photo) late on Sunday night.

I won’t go into the whole thing too much, but suffice to say that I had the opportunity to play the flute for a herd of cows on the way out to Black Rock City (life highlight) and the week maintained that standard of epicness throughout.

After painting several people and items of furniture (clearly all of which were ill-documented), I noticed a mate in my camp, Rowan, assembling a cart to pull some speakers behind his bicycle for that night. All the time in the world on my hands at that point, I offered to paint it. Playa landscape inspired.

In the spirit of what is truly an inspiring festival of fleeting art, it only felt right for the work to be completely transformed by the environment, come morning. What I’m trying to say is that it was completely buggered, but that was cool.

Painty Pointy Precipice

IMG_3334top

I was commissioned to paint this mural for a house in Cow Hollow. The request was for the image of a Bison as a tribute to Boulder, Colorado (and which I also thought was appropriate considering the mural’s location).

Enlisting Klaus, we set about taping up and painting an abstract version of the Flatirons rock formation for the background. I then-

Nope. No, I then did nothing else.

I intended on drawing a giant Bison on this chunk of dining room wall, but never got the chance. It seems our patron was so pleased with the work, that he wanted us to leave it as-is, and paint him a separate artwork that is in keeping with the theme, but one that he can also take with him when he moves out of the house one day. How good is that? Keep ’em peeled for part 2!

What Does the Fox Say?

 

claudia pickering foxen mural

In the interest of staying relevant and on the pulse of popular culture. Wait. Let me start again. In a convenient coincidence, I have just finished a mural of foxes in the same week as the release of that catchy new hit single  “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” (dingadingdingding ding) touted as this year’s Gangnam Style – so you know it’s a ripper.

Finally someone (three former members of the Harvard Fox Club) let me paint a massive double-height wall in their residential home with the help of many pals, two big-ass ladders, a ton of nachos and the occasional beer. After drawing a shockingly vague sketch on an old cardboard box of how I wanted the geometries done, it took about a month (a few nights every week and a party) and here’s the progress:

Yep, little guy on the right is totally dreaming up those shapes.

An overwhelming number of people who came to see the mural commented how strikingly ‘3D’ it appeared in person. About 4 people. Such feedback pleased me as it is, after all, 2 dimensional pretending to be 3 dimensional. Which is not that many dimensions compared to how many we might actually be existing amongst according to string theory. Anyone who has ever wondered about space and time should watch the series The Fabric of the Cosmos: It’s fascinating.

Special thanks to all who helped: Klaus, Paul, Pascale, the 2 Canadian Alex’s, Katie, Kramer and all you cats at the post-masking tape party. And the landlord – for not spewing about it.

If you think this is the last fox post, buddy – you are wrong. All good things come in threes.

Thievery, family and paint.

So I vanished from the interwebs for a couple of weeks – and for good reason, well three good reasons. The foremost being: I had no computer. Why? Well this mural above is largely at fault. So am I, but I would certainly prefer to put the blame on something inanimate who will wear it with far more grace than me. Yes – I was painting this mural with Klaus at [freespace] with my car parked out the front (“who parks a car in SOMA?!” – says everyone after the fact.) and my window got smashed, my trunk opened and my laptop and camera gear (among many other things) were flogged.

This is just a symptom of me being a huge noob in San Francisco. Yep, it’s a learning curve. Turns out everyone I mention my tale of woe to has had something stolen from them within the last year in this city. Most of them not lucky enough to have travel insurance and to end up with a faster-than-Usain-Bolt, higher-resolution-than-real-life, brand new macbook pro. Like moi. What a smug little bastard. There it is again. Lemons to lemonade. I do still find myself sans a decent camera, but that will come.

Anyway – the half-finished mural. It’s a collab with Dr Klaus again (although my mum who was in town last week (WHICH WAS EXCELLENT) did have a hand in mixing some colours for us) and there’ll be some ink on top. Perhaps the dripping whitewash will give you a clue…

… Okay the suspense is killing me. I’m thinking of drawing a cow on it.

Image

We also did these posters that will be cut in half, branded and gifted as thank you’s for the good people who donated to the second month of [freespace]. We taped up some poster paper and when choosing colours, I suggested “let’s just do the whole thing gold”. No objections from Klaus.

In retrospect, the Dr Klaus/thedarclaud mural style may have been ominous – looking like smashed glass and all, one might say we predicted the theft from my car, Carlos. Which would make us clairvoyant. So my next post may be just purely tea leaf-based art.