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June 3rd, 2012 | No Comments | Posted in Art stuff, Pistol Grips, pretty pictures

Since launch is just a month away, I thought I would show another teaser shot of what I have going on.

This is a combination of carving and wood burning.  The wood is Mahogany.  I like the contrast of dark and light on this and the burning brings out the carving really well.

Of course, any and all comments/critiques/criticisms are welcome.  I survived art school with my ego intact so don’t be afraid to be honest.

New Tool

November 22nd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in Art stuff, It's all about me, Pistol Grips

Got this new tool the other day to aid with my grip making

Digital Calipers.  Now I can get some very precise measurements for those grips that don’t have a simple flat back on them and instead have weird lips and levels – like the ones on my Browning.

At the end of the month I’ll also be picking up a nice tabletop drill press and bandsaw.  I’ll also be ordering the wood-burning (aka – pyrographic)  tools that I need as well as the chip carving tools.

My goal is that by new years I have the website done (I have to learn about online shopping carts and payment methods/costs) and by March I have some product to offer and also be ready to do custom orders as well.

I always thought that when I went to art school I would end up doing animation.  That’s what I focused on and all my classes were for, but now I am finding that all those classes have instead sent me in the direction of custom grips and woodworking.  I now use my computer modeling skills to model out a grip design so I can have a 3D look at it before I attempt to make it because many times what looks good in 2D doesn’t work in 3D.  Of course, many times what looks good in 3D doesn’t work in the real world either.

I am still going to finish my thesis – I have been stalling on it and that is a bad thing, but I am very excited to be working with my hands again.


In Defense of Artists

October 19th, 2011 | 2 Comments | Posted in Art stuff, ramblings, webstuff

With all the jackassery going on at Wall Street, I keep hearing one phrase pop up over and over again – “starving artists”.

I hate that term.

It’s as if everyone who isn’t an artist thinks all of us that are just sit around on our ass and wait for someone to notice how wonderful our shit is.  The reason for this rant is a post I read over on The Warrior Class that made me shake my head.  Now, before you think I am attacking Six or the DO – I AM NOT – I am addressing a misconception about artists in general and since it was the DO’s post that made me shake my head in disbelief, that it who I am using as my example of the misconceptions.

OK, here’s the part of her post that I want to address, the rest of her post is spot on so no need for me to say anything else about it.

I have an associates degree in (gasp!) fine arts, yet I also held a job and paid for college without going into hock.  And I got a real job that had nothing to do with art.  I’m also not attempting to get a higher degree in art.  Know why?  THERE’S NO MONEY IN IT.  Didn’t want to be a starving artist.  I saw art for what it was: a fun degree to get while getting my GE credits, and I left behind when it was time for real work.  That these people are trying to say that they represent me because they were too stupid to be realistic is their own fault, and I’ll be damned if anyone else should take the fall for them.

I DO have a higher degree in art and I did work my way through college as well.  I did have to take out student loans because there was no way to hold a full time job while taking 15 credit hours with classes that required at least 10 hours on each homework project, if not more.  I’m not bitching about that, it’s just a fact.  My wife did the same thing but her loans are less than mine because she also got a scholarship and a grant.

Now, to the point of my rant “And I got a real job that had nothing to do with art.  I’m also not attempting to get a higher degree in art.  Know why?  THERE’S NO MONEY IN IT.

Negative, there IS money in art, LOTS of money.  But as in anything, you have to be GOOD at it to get anywhere.  The starving artist meme is a load of bullshit that was started by Jackson Pollack so people would feel sorry for his drunk ass and every crappy artist since then who hasn’t sold one of their “I shit on a canvas” paintings has been using it as a crutch since then.

The last sale my wife and I did we cleared about $2600.  That was a one day art sale that was only on for six hours.  Her stuff brought in the most – oil paintings – but about $400 of it was mine from my ceramics work.  Now, it’s easy to say “Great, but what are you going to do next month for money?” and that is true, like any freelance work you have to scramble to keep the cash coming in. In our case, since we have now settled down, we have been scoping out galleries, she has been adding to her portfolio so she has about 25 paintings, and looking at what art sales will be coming up in the next year.

I recently went to Santa Fe to check out some galleries, and the word from them was that yes, sales were slower but the good stuff was still selling, and by ‘good stuff’ I mean paintings that had price tags from $9,000 – $50,000.  But again, you have to be good to get to that level, but it’s like that in almost any job, if you want to move up you better know your shit.

The point is that art is work, and very hard work indeed.  Those little fuckwads that want to sit around and listen to “The revolution will not be televised” or want to do shit like this are not artists at all.  They are overly indulged children who would not have survived through the first semester of my art school.  We lost more than half of my class by the time we graduated because it was too much for them.  They couldn’t handle the amount of work it required, the criticism, or the constant pushing from instructors to reach higher and work more.

To put in in a personal perspective, what do you consider art?  Is it just something that hangs on the wall to be looked at? OK, then take a look at this site and tell me that there isn’t something there you wouldn’t want hanging on your wall.  That is my wife’s work and it is selling.  She one time was working on a plein air painting when a person walking by offered her $400 for it – and it wasn’t finished yet.  So that’s the traditional stuff, gallery art, things to make your house look like more than four walls and a roof.  What about practical art?

That P226, that was designed by an artist.  The holster – that’s art too, and I think the amount of work that Micheal puts into his holsters would also count as a real job. Also, what is a “real job”?  What does that mean? That you work for someone other than yourself and they give you a paycheck?  Or that you put in a certain number of hours doing something that someone then will pay you for?  If so, then Micheal and my wife both have ‘real jobs’.

See, art is a lot more than some douche-nozzle hippie crying on a street corner about how his work isn’t understood.  It’s also a lot of hard working individuals who keep their nose to the grindstone and work their asses off making a living at art.

What art do I do? I’m trained as an animator but I also do sculpture, ceramics and drawing  My industry (like everyone) took a big hit and laid off a lot of people.  So right now I work in a call center while I am getting my own business model set up to make custom pistol grips.  I am also working on a portfolio of drawings to take into a gallery, I mostly do landscape drawings of old buildings and the like because they appeal to me that way.

Yes, there are the crybaby artists out there wanting everyone to feel sorry for them, they are the real 1%.  The rest of us work our asses off.

Getting a Grip: Part 1

September 19th, 2011 | 2 Comments | Posted in Art stuff, Pass the ammo, Pistol Grips

No, this isn’t a political posting, this is a gun and art posting.

So it’s like this, I have been ignoring my thesis for much too long because I have jumped into teaching myself how to make custom pistol grips.  I was actually inspired to start down this road by my friend Michael, maker of amazing custom holsters, to get into this for a few reasons; One, it could potentially be another source of income for us, and with a baby (and the wife wanting a few more) extra income would be nice.  Two, I’ve seen bunches of custom grips for .45’s but not much out there beyond that and I think with the proper tools, methods and practice I think I can provide a product that people will want. Three: Along with Michael’s  inspiration I also wanted to make a set of custom grips for my dad’s .45 Kimber for Christmas.

So, with all those in mind I decided to start with something that I already have, a Browning Hi-Power 9mm.  I actually figured this is a good one to start with because it is not a flat back grip, the grip actually curves into the back strap of the pistol and on the backside of the grip there are some cut outs that help hold the grip in place since it is only mounted with one screw.

So rather than just having to worry about shaping the sides and face of the grip I also had to do some carving and right angle work as well.  I figured if I could get this one to work then I could probably handle the flat back grips too.

Below the fold are pictures and narrative of what I started doing

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