Sunday, December 20, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Pencil and digital, 2009
This is a full page-illustration for Kansai Scene, published November 2009. For the article "Hosokawa: The First Ronin Prime Minister".
Why does this matter today? Because the DPJ again has power - real power - for the first time since Hosokawa's 93 attempt. Many are calling this Japan's chance to have a "real" democracy for the first time in its history, where the elected officials have the power they are intended to have, and the bureaucrats do not.
I guess we'll see what happens. Check out this article when it's published for a really interesting analysis of this situation.
Learn more at
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Download the issue for free, here:
My cover above is based on this old print by a Japanese artist named Utagawa Kuniyoshi. I saw his triptych with the skeleton (first in a book, then later in person at a museum) during my time in Japan, and loved it. I has since wanted to draw my own versions, mostly for the fun of it, and the Japanzine cover gave me that chance!
Illustration for Japanzine, October 09
From the article, written by Ken Aichi:
9. Eating fugu
Designated by the Japanese government as a “living national treasure” for his work as a prominent kabuki actor, Bando Mitsugoro VIII wanted to show off how much fugu he could eat and not die. He demanded a few too okawari and, well, died. His demise came after four plates of fugu liver prepared by a chef who felt he couldn’t possibly refuse the requests of a “living national treasure”, even if that attitude turned him into a dead one...
"Choking on Mochi (a sweet rice paste and popular Japanese desert)"
From the article, written by Ken Aichi:
7. Choking on mochi
In 2007 alone, four old people died after not chewing their New Year’s mochi properly, with many more hospitalized. The toll of old mochi victims has become something of an annual event, as news reporters inevitably tell the nation how “This year 'x' old dudes left us because of failing to sufficiently masticate their rice paste.” If mochi gets stuck in an old person’s oesophagus, the best bet is to hold a vacuum cleaner to the rojin’s mouth and turn the power on. (A few years ago, an old relative of a Japanzine’s writer’s wife was killed by mochi; the deceased’s family still look back and laugh at the silliness of it – it’s become something of a comical source of pride for his descendants.)
Pencil and digital, 2009
Spot illustration for Metropolis Magazine, (to be) published on October 16, 2009.
(An updated/more polished version of this earlier sketch.)
For Metropolis Magazine's "Last Word" this week, readers can enjoy a wonderful Halloween-ish piece about the importance of yokai in Japanese culture, written by Matt Alt. He, along with Hiroko Yoda and Tatsuya Morino, produced a great book (which I happily own) called "Yokai Attack!: The Japanese Monster Survival Guide". Check it out.
For more info on this awesome member of our cryptozoological community, see here.
Friday, October 9, 2009
"Sooner or Later"
Pencil and digital, 2007
These companion pieces were displayed at Aqua Trip's concert/art show/multimedia extravaganza held in Times Square on Nov. 5, 2008. Those lucky enough to have been within the NYC vicinity uniformly reported an amazing night.The concert/multimedia art event benefitted CONNECT, an NYC–based non–profit organization dedicated to the prevention and elimination of family and gender violence.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Cover (1 of 8 images)
This one shows Kakuei Tanaka, former Prime Minister and so called “paragon of corruption.” (more info on him further in...)
KAKUEI TANAKA: LOCKHEED & LOOPHOLES
The wide-ranging Lockheed scandal, involving a diverse cast of politicians, businessmen and yakuza fixers, is often seen as the culmination of the career of Kakuei Tanaka, once described by Time magazine as Japan’s “paragon of corruption.” When allegations surfaced in 1976 that the Lockheed Company had been paying billions of yen to secure aircraft contracts, Tanaka had already stepped down as prime minister over an earlier misdemeanor. When eventually found guilty of taking $2 million in Lockheed bribes, in 1983, the former PM was able to stay out of jail thanks to legal loopholes and with the full support of his Niigata constituents, many of whom had benefited from decades of lavish pork-barrel politics.
TOSHIKATSU MATSUOKA: STRINGING A LIE
In Japan, suicide is often the honorable way out—but not when you do it like Toshikatsu Matsuoka. In 2007, the then Agriculture Minister was found hanging in his pajamas from a dog leash in a parliamentary dormitory. This followed allegations of bid-rigging, dodgy political contributions, and perhaps the most pathetic excuse in the history of Japanese politics. Asked by reporters why he had claimed ¥29 million for “utilities” for his parliamentary office—where rent, electricity and water are free of charge—he replied, “We’ve installed nantoka (whatchamacallit) rejuvenated water in our plumbing.”
"Shoichi Nakagawa" (7 of 8 images)
Drawing and digital, 2009
(Note: While I imagine Mr. Nakagawa didn't hoist himself all the way up to Laocoön's shoulders, he was said to "molest" the 2000 year old statue of this Trojan priest who was already having a hard day. I hardly had to invent a scene for this one - the actual events were so perfect for a picture!)
SHOICHI NAKAGAWA: DRUNK IN THE VATICAN
Exemplifying the trend in Japanese political scandals toward the baffling and pathetic rather than the sinister and malign, Shoichi Nakagawa’s inebriated performance at the meeting of G7 finance ministers in Rome in February has nevertheless spawned its own conspiracy theory. Nakagawa’s behavior was so odd—15 minutes after drunkenly dozing off at a press conference, he visited the Vatican Museum, where he crossed a barrier and sat on the famous statue of Laocoön—that some saw it as a concerted attempt to devalue the yen by undermining international confidence in Japan’s financial stewardship.
"Yoshitada Konoike" (8 of 8 images)
YOSHITADA KONOIKE: RAILING AGAINST HIS DNA
Following the Nakagawa scandal, Prime Minister Taro Aso’s poll rating dipped below 10 points, until a financial scandal involving the opposition DPJ saw it bounce back to 30-plus. The surge lasted until May, when it was revealed that Yoshitada Konoike, the 68-year-old deputy chief cabinet secretary, had been using his official rail travel pass to take a younger married woman to a hot spring via shinkansen for a romantic weekend. “It is in my DNA from my grandfather,” Konoike explained to his forgiving constituents. “My father was the same, drank heavily and ran after women. That DNA is in me, too.”
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
pencil and digital, 2009
I remember tracing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle over and over out of a Nintendo Power magazine in the 5th grade. I think it was a big part of learning to draw.
Later in Mrs. Bill's Art II class in high school, I chose a particular panel from the original Eastman and Laird TMNT comics as the basis for my clay project, a shot of Raphael perched on the corner of some NYC roof ledge, all cool and stuff.
Anyhow, here's the new one... : J
(and for purists, tho I based dude here on a Box Turtle - Brits and Aussies calls those tortoises)
Friday, July 17, 2009
I thought it was a fun idea to try and do the ladybugs in a trompe-l'œil (French for 'trick the eye') level of detail, like they are actually still on her feet after walking thru some tall grass.
(KGS described having the tattoo on one of her feet - but never said which - so, I sent this one with examples on both just in case.)
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I'm just taking a few days to play around with this picture, seeing what background and texture change about the basic image.
In other news, my art show in Osaka nears. See this page for solid info:
All are welcome, and my prints will be on sale. As of Friday, May 29, prints are available for 2500 yen (around USD $25.00) each.
All prints are on high quality B4-sized (9.85" x 13.9") semigloss paper. Prints can be pre-ordered - just let me know which one you want:
Monday, May 25, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
School: BFA in Drawing at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN; MFA in Illustration at Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Media: Though I still love and use traditional media, most of my professional work begins as a regular pencil drawing before being scanned into Photoshop, where I add color and otherwise polish the image to its finished state.
What are you presenting here?
My pieces presented here come from 3 different projects: the 3 images with the small boy come from a children's book that I made for my graduate thesis project, about a small boy who comes to see monsters all around him, and which he learns to deal with and conquer. "TV Man" is a slightly older image made combining my media studies with images I've taken from 1950s ads. "Himeji Joe vs. Ultra-Takoyaki" is part of a series of images I've made during my time in Japan, and this one features the most famous castle in Japan, from my adopted hometown of Himeji. I thought a giant takoyaki would be funny. It's not exactly symbolic of anything, as some have asked - I just like giant monsters.
Why are you doing what you're doing?
I love the act of drawing, of making something that's in my head. The process itself is a pleasure. I love language and get ideas from everywhere, from things people say. Reacting to life in Japan - becoming familiar with a whole new culture of images with its own aesthetic - has been awesome for my work.
What are your aspirations?
Some fun, rewarding collaborations with various writers on different comics/picture-stories are really catching my interest now, exploring the ways that words and pictures can together tell stories in ways that no other medium can. I think making and publishing stories is my real next step.
Celio: "Boles' work has a strongly defined style: it's filled with volume, weight and wit. His renderings of the human figure in a wide array of situations showcase a masterful use of media to communicate ideas clearly and concisely. His figures are filled with emotion and seem to suck us into the dreamlike worlds his characters inhabit. Fear, sadness, anger, worry, joy, passion are all exquisitely captured and emphasized with dramatic composition. Bold colors and dramatic lighting round off this talented artist's work."
Friday, February 13, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Yay! Just found out that the updated version of my piece "Himeji Joe vs. Ultra Takoyaki" has won an award in the Himeji Art Museum Prefectural Competition. Awards were given from various civic offices in each of 7 categories. I entered mine in the design area and found out this weekend that it received the award from Himeji's equivalent of the Chamber of Commerce.