Friday, October 16, 2015

DC Comics + Katherine Brannock = Love

As 2015 descends into Autumn, we find ourselves near the cusp of All Hallows' Eve and Dia de Los Muertos -two special days held close to the heart of Yours Truly. Halloween, of course, has evolved into a time of year where anyone can assume their alter ego... good, bad, boldly grotesque and/or extraordinarily exhibitionist. The Day of the Dead, on the other hand, seems to encourage the more specific visage of Latino flavored, sugar skulls. But, regardless of the conceptual meandering of mainstream cultural expression, this time of year remains an unmistakeably sacred moment for people to pause and acknowledge the masses who have left this earth plain for that ineffable space in the sky.

Humanity's roots in sanctimonious escapism certainly dates back to the dawn of civilization, and using the mask/costume as an implement of expression or empowerment remains embedded in our cultural psyche. For many of us, this act may remain dormant for a majority of the year, but mainstream media has found unique ways to facilitate our subconscious fascination with slipping into an alternative visage as well as the accompanying mindset.

When I was first approached by Shawn Knapp, Senior Art Director of DC Comics, I was floored by the opportunity to participate in their production process. Having regularly attended the San Diego Comic Con since I was about ten years old, my dream of finally exhibiting among these titans was compounded by my desire to, one day, be a part of the team. And as soon as that chance presented itself, I couldn't refuse.

Shawn's brainchild, Gotham City Garage, features a line of limited edition collectible toys inspired by the all American symbol of untamed freedom (Harley Davidson Motorcycles) in conjunction with DC's most notoriously unbridled women. His vision to bring these empowered characters to life on the open road, comes complete with a rugged ride as well as a restyled character donning their new tattoo. When given the assignment, Harley Quinn was unveiled as my muse. She has always been a favorite instigator of mine and the challenge of creating a meaningful image to decorate her neck, sternum and shoulders was an exciting task.

The tattoo image was inspired by the fascinating background story of this multifaceted Super Villainess. Beginning with her background as a psychologist, I decided to incorporate a caduceus to represent Harley Quinn's
(Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, M.D.) work in the medical field. As the snakes pour out the mouth of a menacing winged skull, they additionally curl around Harley's signature diamond symbol, bells and a checkered bow. The skull centerpiece across her sternum dually protects the many sides of Harley's personality, while stoking the furnace of her id which undoubtedly wishes to fly free (symbolized by the wings). 

The final touch of Harley Quinn's mask across the skull's face, brings us full circle towards the initial discussion of this Blog post. Once again, we are posed with the idea that humanity created a need for the mask. Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel's story is not a far cry from the everyday struggles of your average man or woman. It is my personal opinion that many individuals place a more, or less, obvious mask on themselves as soon as they step onto the stage of our social theater. The masks we choose to wear could be practical and pleasant, or they might be used to intimidate and control. These facades may or may not be as obvious as the costumes donned by our favorite heroes and villains -but in some way they seem to parallel our need to hide the aspects of our character that we may fear as a weakness.

Therefore, my hat goes off to the Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, a.k.a. Harley Quinn, in addition to the many other righteous and/or evil, costumed characters in the DC Universe. For in those vulnerable moments, faced with the brink of our sanity, we alone must choose the higher or lower path to maintain survival in an unforgiving social system, encapsulated by an even more savage planet. Do we choose to indulge our darker proclivities in order to live another day? Or do we choose to fight against the ways and means that brought us to this precipice of confusion? What sort of mask emboldens you to take on the pressures of this world?

Harley Quinn may be a Villainess, but a part of me will always respect a person (be they fictitious or factual) who has embraced a means to express their true nature. Not everyone can be a perfect little angel, but without a villain, there (of course) is no hero.

Thank you for joining me today,
and take care until next time.



Friday, October 9, 2015

Oceanside Museum of Art : Baby Tattoo : Carnival of Astounding Art

Resuming with last week's Blog Post theme; Yours Truly intends to continue her recap of the best and brightest accomplishments of 2015 -so prepare yourselves for another personal milestone, lovingly expressed to the masses in the humblest of literary fashions.

Shortly after the close of San Diego's Annual International Irreverence Fest, another deviant display seductively slapped the traditional white walls of Oceanside's Museum of Art. An unprecedented exposition of color, kink, and sideshow madness made its way into (yet another) conservative corner of San Diego County. Thanks to the ever expanding vision of OMA's Director of Events and Community Management, Mitzi Summers, a path was created to accommodate Bob Self's visionary circus stagecoach, equipped with all the bells & whistles of his signature events.  

Bob's reputation for facilitating phenomena composed of surrealist circumstances, happens to be one small drop in his benevolent bucket, ceaselessly contributing to the contemporary arts community. Whether he's donning the spotlight regalia of Dr. Sketchy or humbly helping behind the scenes of a curated art show, Bob's principle passion lies in his appreciation for maverick individuals who uphold the revolutionary, as well as rebellious spirit of Lowbrow, Alternative and Outsider Art. 

The "Baby Tattoo: Carnival of Astounding Art" Exhibition not only encompasses an impressive retrospective of Bob's Self's influence upon the arts community via his publishing company, Baby Tattoo Books, it additionally covers his noted public displays of affection via journalism, happenings or other curated events outside of his publishing projects.

The Exhibition Reception was a tremendous success. Bob's indefatigable attention to detail went so far as to fetch permission from the City to place promotional banners on the Oceanside light posts, and much of the OMA staff worked around the clock transforming their exhibit space into a sexy, storybook Big Top. Yours Truly even had the unexpected privilege of DJing the opening night for attendees. Everyone shmoozed to the tune of T-Rex's "Electric Warrior" ablum, followed up by Mulatu Astatke's "New York-Addis-London" album. It was a night to remember, but my proudest moment that evening was finally seeing one of my Bic Ballpoint Pen Illustrations hanging on the wall of a Museum.

It has always been an honor to work with Bob Self, and he is one of the few individuals that has witnessed, as well as encouraged, my development as an artist. Beginning with a chance encounter at The San Diego Comic Con International, Bob and I built a rapport which led to an interview for The UK's Bizarre Magazine. At that time, I could not foresee this event leading to my participation in a museum show among talented celebrity artists (many of which I've idolized since childhood), but looking back on my interactions with Bob, I now realize that his determination to expose hidden beauty is nothing short of astounding.

 "The Baby Tattoo: Carnival of Astounding Art" certainly marks another major milestone in my journey as an ever-emerging, ever-evolving visual artist. I would undoubtedly credit Bob with triggering my slow progression out of a timid shell, and onto a vessel that could navigate the uncharted corners of my subconscious. The road less traveled in any discipline is always littered with obstacles to incite fear in the hearts of those who wish to one day manifest their dreams on a stabler plain.  

Hold fast to those that lend a hand during moments of insufferable confusion -there is no shame in accepting help, nor is there shame in asking for it. And if I've learned anything in my many hours of silent sketching, it's that you must never ever give up on your self.

Thank you for joining me this week,
and take care until next time.


Friday, October 2, 2015

The Adventures of Someday Mouse

The end of 2014 was unexpectedly turbulent; I was involved in a car accident which provoked a near death experience, and I dealt with the untimely passage of a friend and mentor. Both instances forced me to reassess my aspirations in life and I began asking questions like: What's important to me? What sort of impression do I want to leave behind for future generations? How much time do have left? What does it mean to really live?

Up until the point I was faced with my own imminent mortality, I had never truly considered these thoughts -but the idea of leaving any unfinished business behind was scarier than the reality that my time here is limited. Needless to say, the more I ruminated on this fact, the more I realized how every moment was unmistakably precious, and I needed to focus my efforts towards expressing gratitude for every additional second I had been gifted. How that gratitude would take shape, was still a mystery to me, but I quickly found myself funneling attention towards the instinct to create.

Shorty after these unfortunate events, I returned to San Diego in order to spend time with my family, concentrate on healing myself and building the next chapter of my life. As a result, 2015 has proven to be a very satisfying period of regrowth and development for Yours Truly. I have many accomplishments to share with all of you in successive Blog posts, but my most prized achievement in the past year centers around a self-published book, geared towards sparking the limitless potential lying dormant in all of us.

The Adventures of Someday Mouse was initially meant to inspire children, but as the tale unfurled its meaning I realized that this story had the potential to appeal towards all ages, races, genders, and philosophies. My suspicions were validated during the book's debut at
The 2015 San Diego Comic Con International, where Someday Mouse generated a positive buzz from a wide variety of convention attendees.
"The Adventures of Someday Mouse" By Katherine Brannock
The Adventures of Someday Mouse

The Adventures of Someday Mouse tells the tale of a tiny, genderless Mouse named Someday who has written a long list of things to accomplish. Initially, Someday's story began with only a short list of about nine tasks, but in the process of writing and illustrating the book, Someday's list of ideas blossomed into ninety-nine feats that included everything from common household chores to the initiation of wild adventures, sprinkled with the occasional emotional breakthrough.
"The Adventures of Someday Mouse" By Katherine Brannock
This is Someday reading a long list of expectations.

 As Someday's journey unfolds, the multitude of trials, tribulations and triumphs, lead to self discovery and a sense of inner peace, thus allowing our little Mouse to truly appreciate the inherent beauty in every moment. Having secured the greatest treasure at the end of this quest, Someday Mouse can finally rest -leaving the reader with a subtle reminder that our time is finite and we are meant to seize the day when the moment is at hand.

"The Adventures of Someday Mouse" By Katherine Brannock
This is Someday seizing the spirit of adventure.

I secretly harbor high hopes for The Adventures of Someday Mouse. My humble dream is to one day see this little Mouse existing within every home, in some form or fashion, gently encouraging this generation and the next to strive for their limitless greatness.

This is Someday Mouse, humbly taking a bow.

You can attain your own copy of The Adventures of Someday Mouse via my Etsy Store or the gift shop inside The Oceanside Museum of Art. There are less than 500 copies of the book left from the first print edition, so I would secure your own Someday Mouse as soon as possible.
This is a little snippet of my Etsy Shop.

Each "Someday Mouse" book comes with its own certificate of authenticity.

All of the "Someday Mouse" books are hand signed and editioned.

                  One last note: If you happen to truly fall in love with little Someday Mouse, I would encourage you to set up an appointment with Yours Truly and permanently inscribe an homage on your lovely visage. Each illustration within the pages of The Adventures of Someday Mouse was designed to double as tattoo flash, reminding you that your Someday is already here...

 Thank you for joining me today
and take care until next time.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Moving Forward...

Morning Lovelies...

I've had quite a time in the last few months... not to mention the San Diego Comic Con International. There's so much to talk about, I'm not exactly sure where to begin! But for starters, I will do everything in my power to remain dependable with blogging, announcements, and overall "well-wishing" to all of you lovely, patient, participants who have stuck with me through all the inconsistencies.

I can't wait to report on all the amazing news, so in the meantime -please enjoy a visual snippet of all the incredible works to come. I'm so excited to share the amazingness with you.


Photo Credit : Ana Brown

Talk Show Host 
At Radio Pulso Del Barrio 
Comandante de Cultura 
At The Roots Factory

Monday, July 6, 2015

Katherine Brannock + San Diego Comic Con = Love

Hello My Lovelies!

Yours Truly has been happily working towards a very special project in the last two months, and I am proud to announce that my first children's book, The Adventures of Someday Mouse, is polished and poised to appear at The 2015 San Diego Comic-Con International!

The first five-hundred copies will be packaged and ready to take home with you after paying a quick visit to Exhibitor Table J-06. I will be patiently awaiting your arrival (in the same corner of the Convention Center as the previous years) and I am so excited to see your wonderful faces -as well as befriending some new ones!

So please make it a point to visit me next week, in order to secure your very own copy of The Adventures of Someday Mouse, in addition to scoping out the new prints, shirts and original artwork from Yours Truly, Katherine Brannock.

See you soon... xoxo!

PS: In case you eager beavers can't wait until the next blog post, feel free to follow me on Instagram @katherinebrannock for more minute by minute updates involving my latest projects, giveaways, whereabouts and current moods...