In February, a staffer form SDVoyager.com, a San Diego-based arts and culture web magazine, contacted me and asked me to do an interview for a feature.
It published today!
A couple years ago, I took a portrait sculpting workshop with Jim and found him to be a great instructor.
During this workshop, we had a model pose for us throughout the day as Jim guided us through measuring with calipers to keep our sculpture in scale, pointed out and described the anatomical reference points and structures, and helped us avoid the pitfalls of the porcelain clay medium.
I’m pleased with how my work turned out, and it should be ready to fire in May.
Once the work is fired, assuming it doesn’t crack in half, I plan to paint it as a polychrome work in naturalistic colors, preserving and slightly altering the model’s tattoos to add some conceptual layers and subtle social commentary to the work.
I’ll post another photo when I’m finished.
Australian young adult fantasy author Zara Quentin and I have been partnering on her “Airwoman” trilogy for a few years now. Quentin has released the second installment, “Spiritwoman,” with another Townsend original cover illustration and design. The flyleaf:
A missing dragon. A friend in mortal danger. A young woman’s quest to save them both…
Spirit Woman is the second book in the Airwoman series. If you like being immersed in captivating worlds, compelling characters, and a dash of romance, then you’ll love the latest in Zara Quentin’s action-packed adventures.
Can’t wait to read the third!
Back in the summer of 2015, we refurbished the floors in our apartment with beautiful, dark composite hardwood.
The problem was, I ordered 125 square feet too many, and the distributor was going to charge me to take it back.
That’s when I came up with a vague idea to craft it into a mythology-inspired triptych with models in various motifs from history and world folklore and religion. All three panels would have female nudes reminiscent of the three Fates in Greek myths or the Norns of Norse legend.
Now I’m about two-thirds done with the second panel and have detailed construction plans for a hinged set of frames. The piece will stand on its own some 7 feet high as a screen, backed with velvet. In other words, though I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out, it has become a baroque monstrosity fit only for an expensive brothel.
Luckily, I never expected anyone to buy it for the price I would demand, given the labor, so it will be an excellent show-piece to take around to art shows and garner clients.
I did my first sketch of a model I liked from the figure drawing sessions in October of 2015, then crafted my first approximately 6’X3’ arch-topped panel with glue and tacks.
First, I tried to use the traditional Renaissance method of gridding the original drawing and then scaling it up, square by square. Unfortunately, even though this results in an accurate copy, it loses something undefinable about the original. Plus, I painted it directly on the wood, which was not an ideal surface for oils.
I scotched that effort and wrapped canvas around the panel – a much better surface. Then, I used a light projector to project a copy of the original drawing on the canvas to trace, which allowed the drawing to retain its original vitality.
It took me about a year to finish, off and on, and it’s titled “Vanna and the Celestial Jukebox”
For the second painting, I was inspired by my May, 2016 trip to Bali, Indonesia with my wife. In the spirit of cultural mashup, I depicted two Hindu demigods/characters from the epic The Ramayana playing a banjo and a fiddle as the woman in the foreground looks to the stars beneath a sacred banyan tree.
For this one, I found a nude photograph I liked. Some other models at the art supply studio sessions were great, but didn’t work for this project. Also, considering I don’t have a proper studio, I didn’t want to be that guy who puts an ad on Craigslist to hire a chick to come get naked in his garage.
The third panel is built, but I haven’t yet designed the image. I’ll need to finish the second and stretch the canvas for the third while I work out my ideas in my sketchbook.
Stay tuned for further updates! I’ll post progress photos as I complete the work.
I did this silly little oil sketch based on a drawing I made in my sketchbook. It’s called “We Thought You Were Sending Matt Damon.”
I decided to paint it because I liked how the character turned out, and I liked the concept of martians receiving our radio, television and pop culture signals for the last 100 years and becoming vapid and celebrity-obsessed without our ever realizing it. Without realizing it, that is, until they start peppering the first human Mars explorers with questions about the Kardashians and Queen Bey…
I recently completed this approx 24″ by 36″ ink-on-paper work inspired by a trip my wife and I took to Bali in May of 2016.
In addition to a relaxing vacation, the trip was an artist’s sabbatical for me. I was excited to explore the rich visual artistic traditions of the island, now part of Indonesia.
The wood, stone and concrete sculpture especially are incredible and wholly alien to Western eyes, though just as rich and complex as any artistic tradition in the world.
As far as the media and method for this piece, I was inspired by the incredible brush-pen work of the master Korean illustrator Kim Jung gi (see video ).
So for this piece, I tried in my own limited way to ape the expressive, freehand line work Kim Jung gi uses. The only underdrawing I did with a pencil was for the Balinese script (which reads “Monkey Forest; Ubud, Bali) and the checkered pattern at the bottom.
By the way, my friend from the trip Ngurah Widnyana did the translation for me. He runs a tour service on the island, so like his Smile Bali Tours and look him up if you ever go.
The paper I used is from discarded blueprints. Because the paper is designed to be slightly weather/water resistant on construction sites, it doesn’t let the ink bleed too much. An excellent, cheap and green resource!
For the framing, I developed a novel method. I cut a sheet of plywood to size, then carved out holes through which I inserted standard metal binder clips you can buy at any office supply store. The clips hold the paper without using any glues or adhesives which might corrode the piece or make it inextricable from the plywood if the purchaser wants to change the frame in the future.
Over top of this bolted a piece of plexiglass, held away from touching the paper by several millimeters of washers stacked on the bolt.
The image in the upper left is a Barong, depicted based on photo research into parade costumes used during various Balinese festivals. The Barong’s function in the Balinese religion — which borrows from Hinduism to layer on top of tribal animism developed uniquely on the island — is that of a protective spirit of good. His frightening aspect helps ward off demons. Think of the Barong’s function as (very loosely) analogous to a gargoyle in medieval Europe.
The underlying philosophy of Balinese religion focuses on the dichotomy of good and evil, dark and light. That’s why the checkered pattern seen at the base of the poster is ubiquitous at temples throughout the island — it functions to convey the same idea as the yin-yang symbol also seen around Bali.
The folkloric significance of the statue in the middle has me stumped, but I can guarantee you it’s an accurate representation of one of the many sculptures in the Monkey Forest in Ubud, located near the center of the island.
The people are based on photos of local Balinese people I took while touring the island — that and some fictional aspects I added to fit the layout. If you look closely, you may see my wife and I in the background.
It’s always good to hear nice things about yourself. It’s even better for prospective clients to hear about the kind of quality product and work ethic you bring to the table.
That’s why I’ve collected some client testimonials below. If this post leaves you scrambling for the phone to hire me, my number is 740-632-3819, or contact me at A.MaxwellTownsend@gmail.com.
Priscilla Gonzalez, Orange County theatre director/producer:
Adam Townsend is by far the most talented graphic illustrator I have worked with in my experience working in various production companies in Orange County.
I, along with production companies that are supported by Townsend’s work, receive nothing but the best developed marketing materials/artwork that we are proud to display/distribute.
As artists ourselves, we value bringing creativity and thought provoking messages to our audiences. Adam plays an important role in providing a strong first impression to our audiences through the marketing materials he develops and creates for us.
Adam’s illustrations are full of creative ideas with aesthetically pleasing detail that will certainly make you look twice. His attention to a director’s intention and objective is always interpreted clearly and focused when represented in his work. His use of color, inspirational techniques and illustration style pave the way for a visual language that cannot be communicated through words.
Jen Blanchard, Author and Writing Coach, New York State:
Adam is my go-to cover designer. His illustrations make my books feel like works of art. I’m so proud that I get to share his talent with the world through my–and now my client’s–books.
Zara Quentin, YA Fantasy Author, Australia:
Adam designed the cover of my novel, Airwoman. He was a pleasure to work with, came up with a range of design ideas and worked with me to narrow it down and modify until we had exactly what I wanted. The end result is absolutely beautiful- I love it. I would certainly work with Adam again next time.
I just finished an illustration/cover design assignment this week for Australian fantasy author Zara Quentin‘s debut novel “Airwoman.”
I got to read it early as her illustrator, and it was a super fun read! This will be the first in a series, so I’m already excited for the next installment.
To create this image, I used a combination of traditional and digital media. I used a public domain sunset photo and took the mountains from a different public domain photo and rendered each as vectors in Adobe Illustrator.
Then, once Zara approved the concept, I drew the figure and painted her with acrylic and ink on illustration board.
Then, I photographed the painting and cut her out in Photoshop, then rendered her as a vector graphic as well. The rendering process made the painting look a little bit more like a photo and the photo portion look a little more like a painting, so the piece works together harmoniously.
It’s set up like an old 4-color press, but of course there are more than 4 colors. I just wanted to evoke the style.
Also, though it was overused in the mid- to late 1990s, there’s nothing better for a murder mystery than vintage typewriter font.
Recently, I finished my novel #LeroyJones: A Skip Maddox Mystery. I’m currently deep into the editing and revision process, but the book is in a form now I can start shopping around to agents and editors.
If you read my story pitch below and want to find out more, call me at 740-632-3819 or email email@example.com to read the first 20 pages or receive a copy (print or digital) of the entire manuscript.
Here’s the pitch:
Unemployed sports writer and borderline alcoholic Skip Maddox is about as low as he can get. The LA Times laid him off, he separated from his wife and his landlord evicted him from his shabby West Covina apartment.
Things seem to be looking up, though, when second-tier sports news website StadiumCentral.com hires Maddox to freelance at the fight of the century, starring the wealthy, flamboyant boxer and controversial civil rights activist Leroy “Panther” Jones.
But two days after the troubled Jones wins the fight, police find him brutally killed in front of his Beverly Hills mansion, a racial slur spray-painted across the front door. The murder is a media bombshell, and the online newsfeeds are dominated by “#LeroyJones” as millions of readers clamor for the full story.
StadiumCentral taps Maddox to cover the murder. He learns the FBI, led by combative East-Coast agent Tony Morone, snatched the investigation from local police control in a suspicious move. The same day, Maddox gets an anonymous tip: The murder isn’t the random hate crime the FBI has made it seem. When the hard-luck reporter questions Morone, the agent threatens StadiumCentral, getting Maddox fired.
Calling for help from his friend and former colleague, the esteemed ex-investigative journalist Harry Bloomquist, Maddox descends into an interstate conspiracy involving the mob, high-level corruption and gut-wrenching secrets lurking in Jones’s past.
From the opulent MGM Grand in Las Vegas to Beverly Hills; from the tough LA neighborhood of Watts to the industrial waterfront of Newark, NJ, Maddox and Bloomquist contend with a gang of mafia thugs, a recalcitrant criminal justice bureaucracy and an unscrupulous PI who’s not quite on their side.
The reporters are determined, but it’s not clear they’ll live to publish the truth.