Sunday, December 11, 2011

Skinny Man in Japan Series.....

Here is something a bit different from the past few months and probably the first in a good long time... old fashioned prints on paper. I decided to take a break from the flags and go back to the basics for this set of prints. I found some great handmade paper, 10" x 10" and ran some screen prints on them. This set is called, "Skinny Man in Japan."

Please pardon the strange cuts on the paper. These are on handmade paper, which was a big draw. The initial premise is the same as the flags. Using the least amount of "parts" (images) to create a new scene. There were only 6 images placed on the screen. They are, of course, images from my first trip to Japan. Temples, buddhas, tanukiis, and large dense bamboo fields. This set has 14 finished prints in all and each one different. By printing the images over repeatedly in different sequences these thingees cam alive.

The first trip over in 2008 was a very confusing bewildering experience. None the less, a wonderful experience. Brian P. and I were there for a month with very little experience. We did not know the language, rented a house so we would have to commute to work, do our grocery shopping and some other adventures. This was our life for the month... and guide students around this new place witha bit of help from some great people. The idea of these images is to give that sense of what it was like. Is that Buddhist temple or Shinto Shrine? Is that dish soap or laundry detergent? What is that huge bell for? A tanuki!!!!! It was strange and wonderful and ????

Perhaps this is coming out of nostalgia, perhaps not. With each trip over it is always different. With this set I kept to the idea of a bit of humor and solitude and confusion. How on earth does one find a tanuki near a Buddhist temple. The large swaths of the bamboo landscape was and still is inspiring. In short these fine little prints recall that fun trip in 2008 and the weirdness of it all. I must say that it was fun to return to old fashioned prints on paper for a bit. So what should I do with these? I have no idea. Perhaps they will become funky postcard art? Eh? Maybe?

And yes, these were made in The Blue Think Box! Drop on by and see us at some point. It is turning into a very nice treasure. Having a good collaborative space has been well. Being able to drop in and see a few different faces and print at the same time has been good. drop by and see us some time at 29 Cabot Street. I think over the next few months I'll be considering how to expand Velvet Pelican Projects and the Blue Think Box. I'll tell you when I figure it out. Being a mid career artist is proving to be fun!

That is us above. Oh yeah... another set of flags! Perhaps next time. And until next time....

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The new flags and the Blue Think Box....

 Hello again and again. Here are pics of the finished new flag project. This will be the last flags... for a bit. I am pretty happy with this set. The difference being they were made during regular day light hours... WEIRD. I have not finished any projects before 7 a.m. for almost 15 years. It was a learning curve but it does seem to have some benefits. The early morning hours are now just spent with koans and hot tea.

 This is the front of the Blue Think Box with the new flags. They look weird there but I kind of like it. Working in a collaborative space has been interesting and challenging. All of the sudden there are people around at random times! And you talk to them while you work. I have never agreed with the artist in isolation and being a mad genius... bullshit I say. But it has been good to change up habits and be working with the others in the Blue Think Box. As this is something I have considered for years it is good to see it come alive. There are no written rules... just come down here and make. And that is exactly what is going on.....

For the next few projects I will be putting the flags away as not to develop a dependance on them. No thanks. Some small prints and some wood cuts in the near future. Many good fun to come. As a 40nothing. I won't be famous in the art world... nor want to be. I have decided this gives me lots of liscence to move forward. I guess I have caught the printmaking bug again.

That press there on the left... that is where the next project is coming out of. Of other interest to those of you in Beverly next weekend... the Blue Think Box will be open for the Art Walk thing.... 4-9 o Friday and 12-4 on Saturday! Come on by and meet a neat place.

Thanks all.... and until next time.....

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Blue Think Box and a new project....

Greetings All and Interested....

Since my last check in life has moved alonge weirdly but good. First off the new space is open and basically ready to go. After much distraction from work obligations and getting this off the ground we are basically moved in. My expectations are huge of myself and I am learning, that at times, they are uber human. All the well here is an inside look at the Blue Think Box.

A good Takache etching press, silkscreen printing area and a small letter press has been added. A few more odds and ends will be coming. As this is an idea I have betted around for years it is nice to see it coming to fruition. The next move is to start collaborating regularly again. One will be coming this winter with my pal Brian Pellinen on a Japanese wishes project. Thankfully he is much smarter in the liberal arts then I. Getting to mid life does that I guess.

So the last project mentioned bit the dust. I suppose one out of 8 or so is not so bad. I will have to persue the indoor rock garden soon... oh well. Above is the new project midway. At least a snippet of it. Now that I have much more time I am trying to expand upon what has been constructed since May. I should not expect success everytime but hey.... um... yeah. This one has the temple from Nara as well as many parts of the backwoods landscapes from Japan.

Here is the middle section. One of the things I am learning is that the least essential parts is what is needed to make this kind of work happen which makes it somewhat the harder to do... in my brain. It is hard to break from your basic training and make the honest work you want to.

This is the other corner. I hope to finish this one by Monday of next week. I would love to hear from folks who would like to collaborate on projects in the future. It need not be of the nature that I have presented here on the blog. Come on and email me, perhaps work at The Blue Box Think Tank and help put a dent in the world.

On a last note... I would still love to send out more flags to people who might want them. Perhaps you might want to install them as a complete string and dole them out as you see fit. I would love to hear from you. The idea is simple: find a good space, tie them up, document them, send me pics and give them away..... So there.....

Until next time.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

And again....

First off let me apologize outright to the folks I planned to send off a large number of flags to. Now don't laugh but I lost my "Remember" book with all of the relative information. Yup. Lost what I was supposed to remember. Found it in a coat pocket last night by fluke. Stacy laughed at that one. I suppose I did too. Anyhow, I will put those out this week. So you should see them soon.

Perhaps you are wondering why I post this odd little blue building? Well... Stacy, I and a few others will be moving into this fine place to open a print shop studio kind of thing. We have talked about this for years. My friend Brian and I bumbled across it a few weeks back and thought... "Now this has potential." After a little digging and a couple of meetings we have decided to take it. Not very large at 435 square feet of space but the price is awesome.

View inside from the back door toward Cabot Street. The landlord is awesome and the interior is in good shape. The basement needs a bit of tidying but will make a good storage space. This little thing used to be a house about a hundred years ago. I have thought about this for years and here it goes. Very weird. Seems like such a grown up thing to do.

This is the view back from the front of our tiny playground. We will be moving in on November 1. It is going to be nice to get the press and silkscreen stuffs out of the house. I think I'll turn my office into a small Japanese self contained house. None the less, I will post some pics on the cleaned up space soon. I think we'll call it "Barry the Mean Fish's Place." Ha! Really though I have no idea.

And Finally.... The last listed project is almost done. The above pic is a small section of it. This thing kind of grew a bit more then I planned. It is now 3 feet by 9 feet. Oops. I need to add a few more bits and tidy it up. I will most likely separate it into sections to make a long slew of flags. I hope to finish by November1 but I will get back to that in out next installment.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

So It Has Been a Couple of Weeks......

Greetings and fall is finally settling in. Life has been a bit odd but good and keeping me away from this blog. Getting used to a bit more downtime then I have been used to over the past five years has taken a bit more time then I accounted for. Trying to figure this out has consumed a couple of weeks. Being a "mid" career artist and restarting is very exciting and sort of like floating at the same time, None the less I am getting the lay of the land.  I will be shipping out a good chunk of flags this week; finally. It will be late this week so have a bit more patience please.

I have also been considering what project to run alongside the flag project. As winter and the cold months are upon us and I won't be able to work in my beloved rock gardens I came up with the above picture. I have decided to produce a large scale printed rock garden that is modular. The pic above is 60" x 80". Each piece is moveable. I have test drove a few models on the computer and will probably have to increase the size in the actual world. The projected finish date is mid November. In the mean time I will be looking for various indoor locations to temporarily install it.

I want to let people come into the space it is installed and allow them to compose with the printed rocks and make their own garden. At first I thought this was a bit cheesey. Then I wrapped my head around it and decided that it was a decent idea. I really don't want to wait until I'm 50 to decide the idea is good enough. I will post some actual prints of the piece as it goes. If you have a suggestion as to a where please drop me a line.

The plan for identifying a printmakiing studio space is getting closer. I hope that we are able to get situated within the next month. That is all for now.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Giant White Flags and new distribution.....

Distribution.... sounds so cold. Maybe, perhaps, let's just look at this as a new way of letting the general folks in the public have a few of these. I have some remnants and would like to start reaching to point further away then just the general vicinity I dwell in. This does not preclude it though. I'll dive into this idea a bit more later.

So the new flag set is done. I am not even going to bother trying to number them anymore. This set is simply called Giant White Flag Set 0911. I decided to return to the landscape format and raise the scale of the pieces.

As you can see from the above pic they are substantially larger. This set is made form two simple stencils on the screen. If you look very closely at the bottom center of the pic you can see the back of my Buddha guarding my household. Anyhow, I am very excited by how this set came out. Using the very minimum of stencils to create a large scale landscape was the primary mission. I was aiming to also create the view of the passing landscape in rural Japan that I saw while passing by on train. It is quite the impressive experience. The trees in the forest often look as thought they are the same size. I believe this might be due to how they grow into the hills and mountain side. As I am not the tree scientist type of guy I can only speculate.

This is a good look at the new set in mid production. Please pardon my use of the camera. I am not too photo smart and trying to learn how this new camera works. None the less, I believe I have the scale of the window down from the train in relation to the distance of the landscape. I am also trying to play more with the format of Japanese banners called nobori. They are often used in festivals and temples there. For as much patterning that happens here the semi-ordered layering brings the image to a place of stillness. I think I'll head down this road a bit more over the next few months.

So anyhow I would like to start getting these past the general Beverly MA. neighborhood. As I do not have the time or fiscal means to travel and install them around the country or the world I have an idea I'd like to try to explore. I have some pieces left from over the past summer, including this new set. I would love to see them get homes away and will ship them to you. A nice forested home is preferred but not necessary. Heck, I'll ship them to you. All I ask in return is that a good jpeg of their home is sent to me at so that I can post them here. My goal is not selfless promotion. It is to keep the the Velvet Pelican mission to help people remember a few moments of solitude for themselves or others. Heck if you want to go and hang them out in the public for the taking do it. Be sure to keep one for yourself. Be a part of the art practice yourself; even if you are not particularly artistic.

Don't be shy....

Coming up soon.... I/we are hunting down a locale to open a new printshop!!!!! Details to happen soon!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The White Flags

Hello on this fine August morning. Here is another set with a few changes. For one, this set has a title. This set is called,: Finding the Buddha Though the Trees." When you see them it is obvious why. Think of something being revealed to you through a clouded mess. This set is comprised of 11 finished pieces. There are many more layers involved with transparent Buddhas and trees. Yup, I suppose this is a very zen like approach but, well... consider the source.

This set and a previous one will go out for consumption this upcoming Friday, August 26. Please remember if you decide to procure one that a photo of the final home for it is sent to Another idea is to pass it along to another person who might be having a bit of a time.

So on Friday stop by Beverly Commons and take one. My only idea is to put a bit more of a good foot out in the world. When life gets a bit too busy or the news coming out in the world is ugly, we all need reminders of solitude and peace of mind.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Velvet Pelican Tree 1

Hello yet again. Finally this summer I have been able to get around to putting some flags out for the general populace to consume at random. I have, over this summer given out a handful to some folks who have been kind to others or just as a pleasant surprise. The set in the last posting went out for whomever wished to take one. I chose to locate them on the Beverly Commons not too far from my house and right next to Montserrat College of Art.

I put them out around 6:00 Friday morning, yesterday. This set originally had ten pieces but 7 made it to the tree. One for my archives, one random recipient and a third was lost to weather experiments. Each one had a small plastic sheet attached with some simple instructions/ a request attached to it. I have asked each person who takes one to send a photo to the Velvet Pelican email so that I might post it here.

It is my hope that people will keep in the spirit of my intents. That being to help remember to have a few moments of solitude in their day. As I am not able to require this we will have to wait and see. It would not be in kind to dictate their location or use as I am in working in this capacity.

So why do I do this? Well... I can not see me becoming the world famous artist learned about in the art history cannon. Nor do I ever really see the day that I will be making a ton of money doing this or my art. So what do I do with my super secret art powers then? Velvet Pelican is my answer. If one person walks away with a refreshed thought or memory then I have accomplished my mission. Is it that simple? I suppose so and I am comfortable with that.

I have started to discover a new funny aesthetic with this set and come to an interesting conclusion. I have considered working with fancier materials and getting a bit more complex. This seems a logical route. What I have decided though is a bit contrary. The ethic is to keep it simple. The flags are the artifact of the intent. The combination of the production, intent of them, installing and the idea that they are gifts become the total package of the art piece. This might change down the road but, for the moment, it seems to be developing hand in hand with the Velvet Pelican mission.

Well, I suppose I have rambled on enough for now. If you have one of these nifty items please be kind enough to send a jpeg to: I would very much appreciate your efforts. I will be setting another set loose shortly and will post the info as the time draws nearer. Until next time....

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Flag Set 6

Flag set 6 is finally complete. Some very hot days and a few technical issues delayed this batch. Anyhow, for this group I have decided to let them exist as individuals. This is a bit different from the previous sets as they are intended to function as a group.

This set has a Buddha head from the 40 foot one at Todajai Temple in Nara, a few jizo, a Buddha from the Ryoanj Temple in Kyoto and a couple of returning characters. I am sticking with this theme as I have been very consumed with zen philosophy and the portrait of peacefulness in these days in which we exist. Art serves all sorts of purposes in the world and I have chose to keep on this path for the time to come.

I have been deliberating, mostly with myself, as to if these are too decorative to be fine art. As "fine art" is such a huge tradition and much too defined at some points, I have come to the conclusion that decorative is fine. In years past fine arts applications have been applied to other arts. This is a means to an end. Can "fine art" be utilitarian? Most certainly it can. The first to come to mind is Alexander Rodchenko and Vladmir Tatlin. The early Soviet artists applied their skills to address the general public. I don't think Velvet Pelican will tread down that particular path of the Soviets. It is a little to strong armed for me. None the less, the concept is relative.

There are 8 finished flags in this set. Each are similar. I will put them out in public for consumption on Friday, August 5. There are a simple set of instructions attached to each one. Should anyone desire to attain one please be sure to read the included paper. Even better pass it along as a gift to someone you might know. Perhaps someone who has helped you out along the way.  It is hoped to pass along a sense of good will and a sense of down time from the hecticness we live in.

Until next time.....

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Flag Set 4 and 5 Pics and Some Randomness

Greetings yet again. In this set I have posted Flag sets number 4 and 5. There are actually a total of 6. One was lost in a weather experiment... oops; much learning did occur though. So I am now down to two in my possession. I will finish up 6 completed sets before letting these out in the world. I am shooting for mid August.

This set depicts the Buddhas from Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto. This is perhaps my favorite temple in Kyoto with the best rock garden. Anyhow, there are also jizo depicted with the Buddha. Jizo are the protectors of children and travellers. While not a full blown Bhuddist myself, I see these images as very peaceful and serene. This is keeping within the idea of giving people a few moments of reprieve in the days.

These new sets have switched material from being printed on kitikata to a good fine weve cloth. It is a bit more difficult to print the layers but much more durable for the outdoors. Recently I have been in conversation with some folks as to what these are. Installations, temporary, prints? To tell the truth I am not sure I really have an answer. The idea of the temporary does strike me. Moments of solitude and serenity are meant to be evoked though these for whoever recieves them. I suppose that I would most likely deem them as gifts. Yes, they are pieces of art but art is also the tool or vehicle to move the whole idea/ message across.

The art of the gift and giving is a very important part of putting these out in the world. It is like visiting a temple in reverse. The sense of being in a temple or place of solitude brought to the audience. Of course I will not be the one installing them in the final homes once they have been given out, but I do hope they keep with the spirit of the project. So many people are struggling to get by, working too many hours or not able to pay the bills. It is my idea with this project and future ones that people will get a few moments of relaxation from these days we exist in.

I suppose I have gone on enough. I will still be working a collaborative project in the near future based on omikuji. At the moment I am very much enjoying these and have chosen to stay with them for a bit longer. If you have any ideas or whatever please feel free to post or send an email to

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Flag Set 4 Complete and Other Thoughts....The Art Of Giving

Greetings on this hot summer day. Flag set #4 is complete. Pictures will soon follow. I have decided to stockpile the flags and have a hunt/ give out in the near future once I hit 4 or 5 complete sets. The idea I have in my mind at the moment is the gift. This is inspired by my trips to Japan and exchanging gifts with folks I have not seen in a bit. It need not be large or of huge importance. Pen sets, jackets and etc. have happened in my experience. The act of the giving is of the importance. Giving without expectation of return. This is where the current Velvet Pelican Project is headings and the next one as well.

A gift reminds and brings back memories, ideals and moments we have experienced. This is the goal of the flag project. My big question has inquired as to how art can serve people in genreal. This is my answer. Give out the gift of a silent moment or memory. We live in a world of corruption on both sides, manipulation, and more corruption. What is important? Family, education and the bond we develop with others as we grow older; I believe.

Soon this stockpile of flags will be posted for public consumption. Take them when you find them. Let me know where they end up. And perhaps... if you feel bold... let me know if they brought back and idea/ ideal or whatever that helped you get back to a better place and time and resume it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Prayer Flags... Set 3

This is third finished set temporarily installed in my garden. You can see a few structural changes. I won't get into the technical parts of it here though. This set depicts Japanese temple bells and trees. Should the person who gets it decide to re-assemble the flags they will find a landscape print. And again I will get this set out for some person to claim or receive.

Returning to Velvet Pelican Projects after too many years has been very exciting. Thankfully, Stacy has been highly supportive with my job change. This has allowed me to produce my first finished work in years. At first I was not certain what to do and this hit me like a brick on the side of the head.

Many artists work with what the purpose of their work is and what to do with it. With returning to Velvet Pelican Projects and getting the work out to the world I have accomplished what the purpose of the work is and what it is. These flags are a good start. Reminding people that yes, we live in very troubling times but here is a reminder that there is good will and wondrous stuff still out there in the world.

And that is the purpose and mission of the work. I will be collaborating with a goof friend soon on a project we are hoping to get out by August. I will fill all in more as it becomes more developed. This set of flags will go out this week. If you are the one to claim it or snap a pic of it please send me a notice at the email in the header. I would like to post it so that a good archive can be made here.

I will be adding interesting blogs here soon. Thanks to Gordon Arnold for his kind invitation as well.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Project 1

For the first project I/we worked with the idea of Tibetan prayer flags. The dimensions were variable, about 17" deep by 20 feet long. Each individual flag in the line was either 10" x 16" or 17" x 20".
These were silkscreened onto kitikata rice paper and then separated out into separate parts.  The images are of single trees printed repetitively until a landscape pattern was realized. Perhaps a bit of abstraction but a little work on the part of the audience.
Should the recipient of this project choose to unassemble the prints and reconstruct the original format they will find three prints of a landscape nature. Now remember the intent is for the general populace to take and enjoy them. A few more of this sort of project will be coming out soon. This particular one was place in Beverly MA. at the local library. It disappeared pretty quickly. These photos are taking from my yard while test driving the project.

How this will work out better in the future will be developed. I will keep people advised here as to when and where these will be popping up in the future. For the person who took up the initiative to acquire this first project... enjoy.

Velvet Pelican Projects


Welcome to the Velvet Pelican Projects blog.

What is Velvet Pelican Projects?
This is a printed matter project, mostly silk screened, of work that is intended to go out to the general populace and be consumed by them for free.

Over the course of my time making art I have come to the conclusion that I want to address the world at large in the most effective and productive manner possible. I highly appreciate the work in museums and galleries and have worked with them, but I find for the kind of work produced through Velvet Pelican Projects for this to be the best avenue.

Why the alias?
This is simple. My ego is already big enough. The importance of Velvet Pelican Projects is the intent of the work. Also, as in the past with Velvet Pelican Projects I do like to collaborate with other people.

What has heppened over the last few years?
Again simple. I had a job, which I loved dearly, that was very time and brain consuming. After five years of it I have chosen to work elsewise and focus more effort on Velvet Pelican Projects.

What kind of work was done in the past?
For the most part Velvet Pelican mass produced small books that were given out to the general populace though different means. galleries, stuffed in newspapers, mailed and any other way I could get them out regularly. Largely speaking they addressed contemporary world issues and daily life. About 50 editions were silkscreened and sent out. This was usually in a print run of two to three hundred. Over the course of the next month I will post some of these as I pull them out of the flat files.

So what now?
I will pick up where I/ we left off a few years back. Politics has fallen by the way side though. In our times we need reminders that the world is a pretty good place with many good people and places in it. I/we will move forward with this as the guide line. Produce printed art and matter for the general populace to consume and take at their leisure.