Filtering by Tag: Animals

Latest Project: Ego's Dream Gallery

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

When I first started at Grey in 2014, my desk was right next to a conference room that had floor-to-ceiling glass panes and a giant bed in it. The agency lore was that when Grey moved their office to Flatiron, a bed was errantly delivered to them and they just kept it.

Since then, it has changed into an Instagram sideways installation room, a room with a couch and a Playstation, and most recently, an art gallery featuring stuff people in the agency do outside of the agency, called Outside This Box.

Through the grapevine, my partner Conor threw my name over to Denise Da Curator, to take a look at my stuff and she loved Ego’s Deck Dreams. And then to tie the show together, Denise wanted to include Ego’s Delft Dreams, the accidental sequel to the series that showed Ego’s new life as a Dutch lady.

As a simple request, Denise asked if I could supply, like, maybe a few more paintings of Ego. Something both she and I knew could be done very quickly.

So during jury duty where I sat in one giant room all day while the mounted TVs were playing fried, bootleg episodes of Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America, that were manipulated so that YouTube couldn’t detect a copyright infringement, I drew Ego a bunch of times, and was never picked to even have the possibility of being picked to be a juror.

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Then I went through my usual process routine of importing the Procreate files into Photoshop while watching something in the background, this time was the University of Houston playing, winning, and advancing in the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

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Next step was to help Denise Da Gawd hang the prints up and after it was all done, I couldn’t stop thinking how good it all looked. Not just the art, but the print quality (shoutout to Joe in the Studio, best in the biz) and the selects that Denise told me she carefully pored over to get the tone and vibes juuuuuuuust right, and the color story that you get walking through the former bedroom and seeing every piece.

So if you happen to be by the International Toy Center in the late spring months of 2019, pop in and see if I’m around and I’ll get you a guest pass to come up to see it. It’ll be weird, but you just have to act natural, ok?

(And don’t get it confused with the Grey Art Gallery down by Washington Square like I did when I first started.)

Latest Updates: July 2017 to February 2019

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

My favorite podcast episodes are ones where they’re like, “We did this great reporting on all these stories and we just wanted to touch base, check in, reconnect, and update you on all these stories.” So that’s what we’re going to do: go far back into the /latest where updates would make sense, I’ll give a brief recap on the project and what the latest update is and will skip the ones that I’m too scared to start up again because it’s too daunting.

These updates are in chronological order, which is the opposite of the blog, and it’s strange that we’re forced to read things in reverse chronological order like that, but it worked for Memento, so I guess.


Summer Pattern 2017 (Birds and Bees)

RECAP: In the summer of 2017, I made two patterns, birds and bees.

UPDATE: I put it onto two bags: one where each pattern covers the entire canvas on both sides, and one where the pattern is shaped into a pyramid for the birds and a hexagon for the bees. After getting the two bags, I liked the minimal one more and put that in the shop, and gave the full-bleed bag to my mom cause she likes almost everything I make.

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Laser Chat

RECAT: I rescued a mass-produced painting from my apartment building’s trash room and painted a cat on it. I then rehung it in the building elevator and then it went missing.

UPDATE: My friend Mike took it because my other friends, Joe and Yuwi, couldn’t fit it in a box when they moved to Seattle!

 
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Ego on a Canal Boat

Recap: I painted a picture of Ego riding a canal boat leaving New York to go to Amsterdam and I cried so much.

UPDATE: I printed this out and gave it to her! Unfortunately, I didn’t think ahead and printed this out in imperial measurements so when Mark tried to frame this, he had to squeeze it to fit a picture frame measured in centimeters.


Latest Project: Frieds of March 2018

RECAP: I made an event called the Frieds of March

UPDATE: My work friends and I went around East Village. I don’t know why I didn’t document it thoroughly as I tend to document these sorts of dumb ideas, but I do have, like, eight different photos of me wearing a cat sweater with Pinot when I got home.


Line Star State

RECAP: I refreshed a previously designed version to make it cleaner and added another iteration that features a heart.

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UPDATE: I put the flag onto a hat and gave it a really cute name. That’s for sale, too.


Mud

RECAP: I made a painting of my favorite coffee place of all time using their own coffee.

UPDATE: They have (had) two other properties (RIP Mud Truck), and because I’m obsessed with doing things in threes, I rounded out the series.


Cats of New York

RECAT: I made a toile du jouy pattern featuring different cats of New York and called it, Cats of New York.

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UPDATE: I took my toile du jouy pattern featuring different cats of New York and made it into a sweater called, Cats of New York. Also in the shop.


Oriental Tailor Shop since 1976

RECAP: I made some ads honoring my parents and their shop they’ve owned since 1976.

UPDATE: I was going to buy ad space in a local magazine but that was going to cost a lot of money so I printed and frame them. I don’t know where they put them, I didn’t see it in the house, and I didn’t get to visit the shop when I went home for Tết, but I did find this jacket I used to wear in high school with my mom’s embroidery on the inside cause I used to lose stuff a lot. My dad wears it now.

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Delft Ego

RECAP: I drew a bunch of Delft-inspired tiles featuring Ego and her new European lifestyle.

Update: I visited Ego in November 2018 and gave these tiles to her! I also printed it onto a sweater because I guess I’m obsessed with all-over print sweaters now.

I also had a chance to go to the actual city of Delft where these traditional tiles are made. I learned that the tiles aren’t actually painted with any particular blue paint, but rather with cobalt oxide and when it’s heated in the kiln, that’s when it turns that Delft blue. Wow!

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Lắc Bầu Cua (2019 Year of the Pig)

RECAP: Tired of looking at the same, ugly game board we traditionally play during Tết, I made my own, which includes three dice.

UPDATE: I printed two boards, one for each side of the family. They loved it and I made a gambling profit for once. I also got an ovation from my family, they were so happy.


The Đặc Biệt Longevity Sweater

RECAP: I designed a sweater based on the dinnerware I used growing up.

UPDATE: The sweater was a hit. It wasn’t immediately clear to some that it was based on that bowl I’m cradling in my hand, but the rumors spread. I was also asked where I bought this and I said I made it, which impressed them twice over (after the custom Lắc Bầu Cua board), and my family was also impressed that I knew how to spell words in Vietnamese.

This isn’t for sale yet, but it will be soon. Won’t make an update post for that, don’t worry.

Latest Project: Lắc Bầu Cua (2019 Year of the Pig)

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

Growing up, my dad’s side of the family brought all the games to my childhood. My aunt taught me how to play xiangqi (aka Chinese chess), tiến lên (aka VC or 13), and the perennial lunar new year game, lắc bầu cua.

Now if you don’t know how to play this game, it involves a three six-sided dice and a mat. Players put their bets down on what they think the dice landed on and they get paid out one-to-one. Oh, and the dice actually have animals instead of numbers. So you’re betting on animals like a deer, rooster, fish, crab, shrimp and also a random gourd. Not sure how a gourd convinced people that it deserved a spot but it’s in the name. I mean, the literal translation of lắc bầu cua is “shake gourd crab.” (The game goes by other names, but this is what I called it growing up.)

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Anyway, I spent a lot of time during Tết playing this game and it never struck me how ugly this board is. And it seems like this exact board is ubiquitous among every Vietnamese household. If not this one, then another one of the two, which are just as ugly.

Tired of looking at this thing, I decided to make my own. So as usual, I started with a sketch in Procreate.

Then I traced it in Photoshop via Astropad Studio using Kyle’s Halftone Brushes.

It’s a good start, but when I worked on the Nicorette pitch, I learned that smoking is actually really cool. I knew that when I read comic books in the 90s, and I knew that when I drew a bunch of animals smoking a cigarette all over my Nicorette brief. So I added some much needed swagger to these guys.

Oh hell yeah.

As a present to my families, I ordered these boards and dice for the coming new year, and I’m also considering making this an annual tradition. Will it be available in the /shop? Find out in the Year of the Rat!

Latest Project: Delft Ego

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

Someone told me I was obsessed with Ego. Multiple people, actually. And I don’t know, maybe I am, but Vincent Van Gogh did a bunch of self portraits and no one ever said he was obsessed with himself.

After visiting her in June (and consequently my best friends Mark and Bonnie), I was so inspired by her new European lifestyle, like how she slimmed down, eats food measured in the metric system, and can sleep in the sun under a skylight. I even think she barks in Dutch now, with a lot of throat sounds and extra vowels, like “baark” or “van woouf.” Did I want to move to Amsterdam now? Did I want to bike everywhere? Was I prepared to get yelled at by Duolingo on a daily basis?

These are all questions I asked myself on the seven-hour journey back home as I drew Ego living her new life in the style of traditional Delftware, like the ones I saw at the Rijks Museum.

Ego Delft (Process)

I spent 2 weeks in Amsterdam and this is what I was able to come up with, representing the quaint, Dutch life.

For reasons, most likely related to what I went through with the Cats of New York pattern, I let this sit on the shelf for a couple months. It wasn’t until on my flight to Albuquerque did I decide to try to refine it.

Drawing Ego nine times was easy. I’m “obsessed,” after all, the thing I had the most trouble with were the flourishes. Should they be simple and minimal, or ornate and flowery? And making sure the Dutch scenes weren’t culturally insensitive was another concern, but I’d be upset if museums didn’t allow dogs into their halls, honestly.

Ego Delft (Process) v1.1

Using Procreate’s new feature where it can reflect what you draw in quarters, sixths, or eighths made this question much easier to decide which direction I wanted to go in. Sure this new round of tiles is super ornate, but perhaps gaudy and distracting from what you’re supposed to look at: Ego.

And plus, if I was going to redraw each tile from beginning to end without duplicating the corners nine times and only filling in the center circle, my hand would fall off. So late in October, to get in the Halloween spirit, I watched Beetlejuice for the first time and began painting simple corners.

With a future return trip to Amsterdam to see Ego just a month away, I needed to finish these quickly so I could send them off to print onto tiles so I could gift them to her for Thanksgiving. I watched Youtube tutorials to get the painting technique right, studied pictures I took from the Rijks Museum and from Google, to get the color and shading right, then used the Luna Display and went in.

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When I’m back in the Netherlands for Thanksgiving, Maybe I’ll go to the city of Delft and do a painting course to see how close I got with digital compared to physical, and maybe I’ll do a tile of Pinot, and maybe people will finally recognize that I’m obsessed with both Ego and Pinot. It’s dialectical.

Latest Project: Cats of New York

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

Back in March 2018, a couple months into a new phase of my life, one without Ego and seeing the Pulaski Bridge cats on my morning commute, but instead with Pinot and seeing Brooklyn Library cats on my evening commute, something struck me to draw a bunch of cats of New York.

This diary entry is going to take you on an odyssey, so please grab a snack and buckle up.

I started at Grey in 2014 and one of my favorite things about the office was the wallpaper in the meeting rooms. Sure ad agencies are quirky, but this wallpaper was cool because it’s a modern take on toile du jouy featuring something I’d heard about just months before. Since then, I always wanted to try my hand at a toile pattern, especially after the Museum of Art and Design had a 3D version of one.

Chinatown Toile  by  Dan Funderburgh  Seen at Grey New York

Chinatown Toile by Dan Funderburgh
Seen at Grey New York

Fast forward back to March 2018, I came home from my walk home and started thinking what felines are present in New York City. Bodega cats, of course, they’re the best. The New York Public Library lions. I really racked my brain on this one. Maneki-neko? Yeah, definitely.

Anyway, I started drawing them out in Procreate.

Cats of New York (Process)

Every now and then I’d open up the file and try to noodle around and figure out how I’d fit these cats together in a toile de jouy style and it was just really difficult in the Procreate app because I was mentally shackled to how Photoshop works. In June, during my seven-hour flight to Amsterdam, however, I was determined to figure it all out. Except I started missing Pinot, my roommate/best friend/business parter/Albuquerque native/cat lover’s cat. It’s a weird feeling of infidelity knowing that you’re flying across an ocean to see a dog you missed so much while also missing a cat back home a lot.

JJ, one of my best friends in elementary school, grew up with both a cat and a dog and that blew my mind. I read Garfield with my brother as a kid and it was always truth that dogs and cats cannot cohabitate. I’d always wanted a dog growing up and the only cat experience I had was a neighbor’s cat who’d hang out on our driveway. But Pinot was exactly the animal I needed as a transition with Ego living on a different continent.

So as someone who is constantly crippled by multiple forms of guilt, I drew out Pinot in most of the nicknames Casey and I’d given him.

Not pictured but should’ve been: Peanie Baby™

Not pictured but should’ve been: Peanie Baby™

And before I knew it, it was time to put our seat back and folding trays in their full, upright position. I was nowhere near finishing the Cats of New York pattern, but Cat of Putnam Avenue was in pretty good shape.

No fear, I still had a seven-hour return trip back home. And it’s not like there were more nicknames I could’ve put in Pinot’s piece. So I opened up the Procreate app and…instead began doodling Ego living her new Dutch life. I mean, it’s only fair. I had to get it all down while it was fresh in my mind. And then, of course, per FAA regulations, I had to put my iPad away cause I was back in New York.

This was all part of the plan, though, you see. In May 2018, I backed the Luna Display, by the people behind Astropad (an app that turned the iPad into a Cintiq), on Kickstarter. So I waited for my Luna to come in. And then it did. And then I just waited. And waited and waited.

I had another flight in September, this time back home to Houston, so I used that time to finally, finally work on the Cats of New York pattern. Except I also had the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man on, and I ended up watching that instead.

No fear, however, because there’d still be the four-hour return trip home. Except again…instead…I drew my friends’ pets who passed away.

The key to solve stress-induced procrastination, it turned out, was to put yourself in a situation where whatever you had to finish was much less stressful than whatever was happening around you. For instance, writing an article a day before deadline is stressful, yet somehow the apartment always seems so much messier at the same exact time. However, if you absolutely had to clean your apartment in an hour, there’s always an extra minute to fire off a really good tweet about your Lyft driver the other day.

The thing I had to finish (Cats of New York) was stressful because the end of the year was close and I still didn’t do my annual summer pattern. And the only thing more stressful than that and able to distract me back onto my work is the 2018 Midterm Election Night.

So with the returns up on the screen, I distracted myself with tracing the cats I drew on Procreate, in Photoshop via Astropad Studio.

My dinner on Election Night was a four-piece at Popeye’s. I ran out of Whataburger Spicy Ketchup back home so I had to stop by the bodega and pick up regular ketchup. Their credit card minimum was $5 so I bought ketchup, ice cream, some M&Ms, and these Arizona fruit snacks which were kinda gross, except their credit card machine wasn’t working so in a move that I’d never once experience in my entire time in New York, the bodega guy said, “Oh it’s fine, just pay me back tomorrow on your way to work.” An Election Day miracle.

My dinner on Election Night was a four-piece at Popeye’s. I ran out of Whataburger Spicy Ketchup back home so I had to stop by the bodega and pick up regular ketchup. Their credit card minimum was $5 so I bought ketchup, ice cream, some M&Ms, and these Arizona fruit snacks which were kinda gross, except their credit card machine wasn’t working so in a move that I’d never once experience in my entire time in New York, the bodega guy said, “Oh it’s fine, just pay me back tomorrow on your way to work.” An Election Day miracle.

First I had to test which brush was best for the desired effect, so I drew the library lion a few times and landed on Kyle’s Ballpoint Pen Brush.

For the next six hours, as the polls closed and races were called, I kept outlining, crosshatching, and occasionally looking up to see what the count was.

And just as the Pod Save America bros were wrapping it up, I finally put my pencil down. I finished the Cats of New York. It wasn’t exactly in the spirit or design of a traditional toile de jouy pattern I initially sought after, but gosh darn if I wasn’t proud of it.

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The next challenge was to make it into a seamless and tileable. In the pattern above, you can see the Cats on Broadway are aligned horizontally, but staggered vertically. Though the desired end result is visual randomness without seeing a clear seam of where things are repeated, it still has to function as a tile, if it were to be produced into wallpaper.

So as I had initially assumed on that first time I gave up, moving things around as a group was much easier in Photoshop. And that’s how I ended up with the 2018 pattern, Cats of New York.

Mission Accomplished.

Except then I realized I totally forgot about one more cat of New York that I never wrote down and so in a panic, a couple days later, I went through the whole process again: Draw the lion in Procreate, import to Photoshop, open up Astropad Studio, trace and crosshatch on Photoshop, and rearrange everything AGAIN, except this time with Escape from New York on instead of the ABC News.

And now, at last, my 2018 pattern: Cats of New York.

Featuring:  NYPL Lion; Pinot as a Bodega Cat; Maneki-neko at a Chinese restaurant;  Cats  on Broadway; Bryant Park’s Le Carrousel cat; Lunar New Year Parade’s Lion Dance; off-brand Garfield Thanksgiving’s Day Parade balloon; Katz’s Delicatessen

Featuring: NYPL Lion; Pinot as a Bodega Cat; Maneki-neko at a Chinese restaurant; Cats on Broadway; Bryant Park’s Le Carrousel cat; Lunar New Year Parade’s Lion Dance; off-brand Garfield Thanksgiving’s Day Parade balloon; Katz’s Delicatessen

The end.

Latest Project: Lion Harty Phone Case

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

I always hated the Society6 mentality of taking a thing you made and putting it on practically everything they sell: A pillow, shower curtain, regular curtain, clock face and a bath mat. I mean, if you want to get your money, I'm all for it, but it's not for me. If I was going to make a thing, I wanted it to make sense for the medium. So out of spite of nobody except my imagination, I wanted to make a unique phone case for my upcoming store.

In 2016, I got a new project manager and she was new to Grey and her phone lock screen background said, "NOBODY CARES. WORK HARD." Not one to encourage hard work, I gave her my "LAY LOW, WORK SLOW" phone background instead.

I checked back in a year or so later to see what phone background she had now. It was neither the "WORD HARD" one nor the "WORK SLOW" one. Great. I asked her what her favorite animals are and she said a lion and sloth. Cool. 

Experimenting with layout, looks, brushes and color. Always gotta accommodate the headroom up top for the clock

Experimenting with layout, looks, brushes and color. Always gotta accommodate the headroom up top for the clock

So I made this lion iPhone wallpaper.

But the whole point of this entire exercise was to make a phone case…so…

Hell yeah. Now I just have to do a sloth.

Coming to the /shop

Latest Project: Alief Assemble

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

Did you hear? I'm from Alief, Texas.

I went to Heflin Elementary School for six years, O'Donnell Middle School for three years, and Alief Hastings High School for four years. I'm a lifer and one time well into or after college, we had a Heflin Elementary School reunion. I'm told that's weird, but Alief is just a weird, special place.

Some famous alums include Beyoncé (for a semester at Elsik), Rashard Lewis, Tila Tequila, Michael and Martellus Bennett, and I wondered what would happen if every school combined forces and work as one instead of having dumb high school rivalries (Elsuck, amirite?). Like if all those alums except Tila Tequila got together to do something great. It'd be pretty awesome. Like, the Alief's first school, Alief Hastings High School, has the Fighting Bears, and the rival sister school, Alief Elsik High School, has the Mighty Rams, the newest school, Alief Taylor has the Roaring Lions, and Alief Kerr has regular tigers.

Regular tigers? Yeah. I checked.

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What would happen if all these schools just…joined forces. Like…literally came together…and protected Alief?

Behold!

I shared this initial sketch of this guy to my good friend and high school prom date Caroline and she named it MegAlief and I thought that was genius so shout out to Caroline.

On a flight back home to Alief for Têt, I sketched this idea in Procreate. It went through different stances, but just standing erect was too ominous and X-Men Sentinel-esque. There was an image I ran across on Tumblr years ago of a kid by Mike Cohen that always stuck with me, so I took his little stance and made it for this robot holding Alief's giant sundial pencil.

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Once I felt good about the shapes and stylings of the robot, I began on the individual school robots. This was infinitely much tougher.

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After getting the thumbs up from my brother and cousins, I traced the robots in Illustrator.

The Illustrator process: 1. Tracing the Procreate lines // 2. refining it so the angles make sense // 3-5. Color // 6. Shading and stippling // 7. Refining the shades  // 9. Highlights // 10. Thickening stroke

The Illustrator process: 1. Tracing the Procreate lines // 2. refining it so the angles make sense // 3-5. Color // 6. Shading and stippling // 7. Refining the shades  // 9. Highlights // 10. Thickening stroke

Then I sat on these illustrations for months and worked on other stuff while waiting to go back home in May to photograph the four campuses on the weekend so it wouldn't be creepy. It had been a long while since I've been back in the vicinity of Hastings and boy did it bring back memories. Like falling asleep in the back of French class and getting yelled at by Mr. Katre and him telling me I'm no longer allowed to sit against the wall anymore. There were more memories that was always funny to me.

I often go into things and not know how it'll live, but I'd been thinking about opening a store for Alief-related stuff. Like how Kanye West sells socks that says Calabasas on it, except mine says Alief. But with these, I knew I wanted to at least make something I would've liked as a 15-year-old: stickers.

So look out for these on your TI-84s, Alief Seniors Class of 2019!

Latest Project: Long Dog

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

I keep receipt paper at work for scrap papering, note-taking, to-do-list making purposes, and one day during an in-office happy hour, I doodled my friend's favorite dog on the paper and it wrapped around naturally as receipt paper does, and I thought it was cool and she thought it was cute and then I forgot about it until I checked this place where I printed my Birds and the Bees bag and it turns out, they did all-over printing on t-shirts, which is perfect because this doodle wouldn't work unless it was seamless, so then I paced around the apartment with excitement, sat down and fired up Photoshop while watching Nocturnal Animals.

I started off with a sketch of my roommate's favorite kind of dog, even though she's a cat person, the dachshund. Then I had to take that dachshund sketch and put it into Illustrator to stretch the dog out and make sure it'd wrap around correctly.

Could I have done this in Photoshop? Yeah, but I thought about doing a vector outline first and then decided to not do that at all and keep the lines natural, but by then it was already too late and the program was already open and then I was like, yeah sure. I'm watching  Nocturnal Animals  so who's really paying attention to what I'm doing, anyway?

Could I have done this in Photoshop? Yeah, but I thought about doing a vector outline first and then decided to not do that at all and keep the lines natural, but by then it was already too late and the program was already open and then I was like, yeah sure. I'm watching Nocturnal Animals so who's really paying attention to what I'm doing, anyway?

Once I got the dachshund to the optimal length, I exported her back into Photoshop to start different brush tests.

Testing different Kyle brushes

Happy with how the little guy looked, I went back to the original pup cause I knew at least one shirt would be bought. It took a while to get the correct brush, but it didn't occur to me to fill out the scottie instead of outlining him like the dachshundd.

Testing different Kyle brushes

The final step before I sent these out to be made into shirts was to put it back into the Illustrator template.

With the shirt template layer turned on

With the shirt template layer turned on

With the shirt template layer turned off

With the shirt template layer turned off

Now look at these mock-ups and imagine how excited I was to get the orders in.

Just look at it!

I broke my style guide rule and wore a shirt with a print on it to work. I was very excited.

From my copywriter,  @conopatttt

From my copywriter, @conopatttt

From my account person,  @caatnaps

From my account person, @caatnaps

My other roommate works in fashion and gave me her approval, so it'll be in my revamped store soon!

Also, because I like things in threes, there'll be a third dog soon.

Latest Project: Grey's Dog and Pony

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

Six times a year, Grey gets the agency together after work to enjoy a happy hour together. They call it Dog and Pony. I don't know why, I must've missed it during orientation.

March 2018's Dog and Pony is going to be put on by the Famously Effective Women of Grey for Women's History Month and through some happenstance, Jessica Deutsch, my fellow Grey softball outfielder, asked me to make a poster promoting the Dog and Pony.

So I made some posters. And then I painted some posters.

Not entirely sure how I ended up making three posters, but I couldn't stop after one. I think it's because I thought of the empowering phrases that are all around pop culture and sweaters since November 2016: "Wild Feminists," "Future is Female," and "Slay Bitch."

It became the basis of the concepts. I don't remember which poster concept I thought of first, the photographic one where it's more Wolf & Horse than Dog & Pony, or the fully painted one that's more Dog versus Pony than Dog & Pony, but I do remember telling Jess that I was planning on spending my weekend working on the posters because I was super excited about them and she said, "What?? No! It's the weekend! You should enjoy yourself! Go make some friends!" But the thing is, it's really hard to make friends after you turn 30 and the only friends you have at that point are the ones you already have and also any animals you adopt.

So late Friday night, while unironically listening to Sugar Ray, I started things off the way I usually do, with Procreate:

As you can see, I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. But I started getting it to the point where the horse was less of an intruding cartoon character and more of a demonic horse. Once I was happy with the general layout, I traced the landscape in Illustrator so I could paste it into Photoshop and paint into it.

I decided to keep it achromatic because it was much more dramatic, heroinic, and because Jess needed it the next day and I had spent too much time on the tarot card. Anyway, I was very please with how this turned out because I always wanted to try landscapes for when I finally get started on my Space Zoo book.

When I was thinking about "Future is Female," I remembered watching Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, with my brother a couple months ago, and the idea of tarot cards was still fresh in my head, so I went with that instead of a crystal ball.

Grey Dog and Pony: Future Is Female

Hopefully more people show up to this Dog and Pony than the happy hour I set up for Texas expats who work at Grey the other day.

Making new friends is hard :(

Latest Project: Laser Chat

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

We've been living in this apartment in Greenpoint for a 18 months and for about 10 of those months, we lived immersed in some draaaaaaam-aaaaaa.

We saw the highs of our neighbor buying a large (and I mean large tv), see his girlfriend move in, hear them adopt a dog together, and within all this, we heard the lows of them fight almost every day through our shared wall. It finally climaxed to the point where things slowly piled up in the trash room and sidewalk. She eventually moved out and so did he, and now we live next door to a family with kids and a piano somehow.

Things that were in the trash room were slowly distributed throughout the building. Their trophy was placed in the gym, their lamp were placed in the game room, and this weird, impressionist…ish painting was hung in the elevator.

A mysterious, untitled painting appeared in our building's elevator, depicting a quiet, Parisian scene.

A mysterious, untitled painting appeared in our building's elevator, depicting a quiet, Parisian scene.

It's a weird piece in a weird place, but collectively, the building and its super allowed the painting to be hung in the elevator even though the trophy and lamp were taken away and probably trashed.

But maybe the painting wasn't weird. Maybe I was weird. But then after some weeks of it being hung on the elevator, it was back in the trash room.

So I rescued it. Because I'm not weird.

I like to paint stuff on already existing landscapes, and it's been a while since I've painted with real paint, so this is basically just a deck dream but from some garage-sale dream.

I started off in iPad just to see where to put things.

I turned on The Good Place, dusted off my gouache paints and brushes and started to paint on this painting where the image was already printed on the canvas, and boy I forgot how hard straight lines were. 

LASER Chat , 2017

LASER Chat, 2017

I often wonder if you could improve upon a masterpiece, and if this, indeed, is an improved masterpiece or simply just a fig leave sculpted and glued onto a Greek statue.

The quiet, Parisian café scene makes a triumphant return to our elevator.

The quiet, Parisian café scene makes a triumphant return to our elevator.

LASER Chat , 2017 (Gouache on canvas)

LASER Chat, 2017
(Gouache on canvas)

Hopefully this time, this painting won't be taken down and will remain there until we've long moved out, like those pair of Nike Frees that are still hanging on my East Village apartment's fire escape.

UPDATE (November 27, 2017):

Someone took it down, and so I put it back up, and then someone took it back down again. I incquired the building's Facebook group and though Liz seemed to enjoy it, Bryan, my new enemy, hated it.

Anyway, I did a reverse Google search and found the original painting, Springtime in Paris, on sale for 19€.

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Update 2: December 29, 2017

Turns out my good friends Joe and Yuwi took (rescued?) the painting from the elevator because they're moving to Seattle and wanted to hang it up in their new apartment.

That's Joseph wearing a Houston Astros World Series Championship hat holding my painting in his near-empty Brooklyn apartment.

Update 3: January 4, 2018

Apparently, the painting was too big to pack and bring with them so they gave it to my other friend Mike, which it seems to be settled in its new home in Queens.

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Latest Project: Chendra and the Wild Quest

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

A tweet caught my eye one Wednesday because it showed a picture of an elephant looking at a seal, and a book agent I once submitted to quote tweeted that she needed a children's picture book of this story "right now."

Now, I love interspecies friendships, and I love children's picture books. Growing up, I watched a bootleg tape of The Fox and The Hound, until the tape no longer worked. And I happen to be pretty good at drawing animals after a year of practice. I wasn't going to pass up this opportunity from a book agent who once passed on my submission, so I gave it a go.

First step was to gather what landscapes I've photographed in my entire life. My travels around the country, that time I filmed a couple commercials in Thailand, and IcelandAir's free layover plan definitely helped with that. I also had to dig deep into the archives of random road trips around Texas in the mid-2000s, too. I mean, I've been places, but I haven't seen every ecosystem here on earth, so some things had to be cheated

106 images I could have used for this book.

106 images I could have used for this book.

Next I needed a story. Sure the original story of the baby elephant visiting all the animals and gravitating most towards the sea lion was nice, but having the setting in a zoo is kinda sad for me. I had writer's block of sorts, but while waiting in line to see Shea Serrano at The Strand for his new book, Basketball (and Other Things), something clicked and I realized how to write this story so I began furiously typing out the online on my telephone.

When I got home, I began to sketch out the elephant in my favorite locations.

Painted directly in Photoshop using Kyle's Brushes.

Painted directly in Photoshop using Kyle's Brushes.

Though I couldn't deliver the book immediately as was requested, I spent two whole weeks working on each image, and writing out the story and getting feedback and refining and tweaking.

Anyway, this is the book.

If I had more time, I would have fleshed it out more. I wanted Chendra to visit more animals. But getting to draw animals on my photographs but with a story this time was a lot of fun. I teased a sequel at the end and maybe, who knows, I'll get to do that next quest adventure.

Latest Project: MacBook Unicorn Decal

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

I doodled a Liger and gave it to my friend and producer at work. To be specific, I taped it to her desk and didn't really give her a choice.

Luke The Liger, from my illustrated thesis that smoking can make anyone look cool.

 She liked it and asked if she could get a decal for her MacBook. Not of the doodle but maybe of something else? Yes. And of a unicorn? Sure.

Here you go, Amanda.

For a 15" MacBook Pro

It's not perfect, but she likes it, and perfection is subjective, so maybe it is. And maybe I'll make it into an actual sticker decal for the computer and not something printed on tabloid-sized paper from the office printer, but new MacBooks don't have light-up apples anymore, so I'm not sure if it has the same effect. So still TBD.

The  Foodie Uni Selfie  proof-of-concept on Amanda's work computer.

The Foodie Uni Selfie proof-of-concept on Amanda's work computer.

Latest Project: Dachshund Buns

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

In January, during a very boring, very tedious and meandering phone call, I doodled this little guy: My spirit animal, jumping into a pillowy, perfectly-sized bun while being drenched in Whataburger condiments

The Quick Yellow Dachshund Jumps Over The Lazy Bun  (2017). iPad

The Quick Yellow Dachshund Jumps Over The Lazy Bun (2017). iPad

I particularly liked this doodle and didn't want it to be thrown out immediately after the call or disappear after 24 hours on Snapchat, so I tried to put it into something a little more permanent. So I gave it a shot on my iPad. Clearly, I wasn't happy with this, but I was also doing it in bed before I went fell asleep, so this isn't a fair assessment.

Months went by and I always wanted to revisit this little dog. I didn't know whether I wanted it to be a pattern or just a thing, but I did know that I didn't want it to end on this note.

So I gave it a couple quick sketches. One was to see how it'd look as I daydreamed it and the other was to explore different angles the little dog could be viewed.

I exported the image into Photoshop with the outlined layers and traced over them with Kyle's Brushes. I debated what style I wanted to do these in. The first attempt was with using a halftone technique, limited to four colors.

It was ok, but still not how I pictured it. I spent an entire year drawing animals with an outline and I didn't want to rely on that, so I tried again.

Dachshund Buns (2017). Digital

Now this is what I see when I close my eyes during a phone call with a client: Jumping into a bunch of buns.

Happy Fourth of July.

Latest Project: Summer Pattern 2017 (Birds and Bees)

Added on by Nathan Hoang.
A first pass at the nested cactus and also a  Damien Hirst  I guess

A first pass at the nested cactus and also a Damien Hirst I guess

I like to make a pattern once a year. It started off with the popsicles and big cats in 2015. Then it was the chameleons in 2016. This yearly exercise wasn't planned, but I guess two's enough to make anything an annual tradition, so…let's go summer 2017!

My friend friend Casey likes cacti because it reminds her of New Mexico and I find birds nesting in cacti so fascinating because I want to know how elaborate it is inside and if it's like an I Dream of Genie situation where it's extremely spacious and comfortable inside or what's going on in there? So I started off with a sketch on my iPad to plan placement and positions.

I didn't like what was going on here so I left it alone for months. Two weeks ago, I flipped through a CommArts Photography Annual and saw Craig Cutler's image of a bee on a honeycomb and I couldn't stop thinking about it. So I decided to make complementary patterns for 2017, birds and bees.

But not like that, weirdo.

After a year of drawing animals on Procreate, I wanted learn how to use other iPad tools, like AstroPad, so I did everything there (except for Adobe Illustrator work).

First step was to get the vectors down and try out some different patterns. As usual, the simpler the better.

The next stop was the transfer the vector layers to Photoshop and paint over all of it while watching Grand Designs on Netflix in the back and wonder how these people with normal jobs can afford such lavish, custom-made, three-story houses with a pool in the basement.

Then I pasted the different shapes into Photoshop, painted over it using  Kyle's Brushes . Then I went in and sketched out the placement of the bees, then painted the bodies, then the wings, then the antennae and legs, and then the shadows.

Then I pasted the different shapes into Photoshop, painted over it using Kyle's Brushes. Then I went in and sketched out the placement of the bees, then painted the bodies, then the wings, then the antennae and legs, and then the shadows.

Though I couldn't get these tubes to work as an illusion like the honeycomb hexagons, I think it turned out pretty ok. Pretty. Ok.

Though I couldn't get these tubes to work as an illusion like the honeycomb hexagons, I think it turned out pretty ok. Pretty. Ok.

Apparently, a lot of birds like owls and lovebirds like to hole up in cacti. But I chose woodpeckers because of their red caps. It's cute. And some cacti have those red balls on top of them, so it made sense.

See you in summer 2018.

Save our honeybees!

Latest Project: @Grey Instagram

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

Every week, one employee gets to take over Grey's Instagram. By choice.

Since I was wrapping up my year with Ego's Deck Dream, I decided to apply what I learned from drawing an animal every day into drawing some animals for a week for my employer.

Below is my week's takeover along with process video and some commentary no one asked for.

Sidenote: Every person's takeover has to start with a selfie.


Monday, May 29, 2017 (AM Post)

At the Grey Centennial party, there was a bedazzling station that my friend convinced me to go get bedazzled after a bit of drinking. Yes I bring my selfie stick to the club. Everyone hates it until the next day when they want to see their faces.

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Monday, May 29, 2017 (PM Post)

I went to Dia:Beacon with my friend Casey the week before. It was a rainy day and I lost her in the Richard Serra installation cause she walked into the spirals and all I could hear were her shoes.

Monday_2

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I come here when work gets to be unnecessarily stressful. 

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

This was the second game of our second season and we won.

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

I've never bought shoes from Flight Club in my entire life, but I stop into their stores often. Why I don't know.

Thursday

Friday, June 2, 2017

Friday

Saturday, June 3, 2017

This is my favorite bodega in the city. It's East Village Grocers on 9th and 2nd in my old neighborhood. They carry all sorts of stuff. Vegemite, Kinder Eggs, Ben and Jerry's Mint Chocolate Chip. Everything. They used to have a bodega cat but she passed away. 

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Sunday, June 4, 2017 (AM Post)

Also views from my old neighborhood.

Sunday

Sunday, June 4, 2017 (PM Post)

I had to bring a waterproof iPhone sleeve into the pool, wait for the kid doing the private swim lesson to get out of the pool so the next kid doing the private swim lesson could get in, so I could take my phone underwater and get a shot where there were no kids learning how to swim.

Sunday_2

Though I didn't break the social media engagement records that I wanted to, it was fun, but stressful. And if there's one thing I learned this week, it's that social media algorithms are the absolute worst.

Latest Project: Skyline Paintings

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

The evenings out on our deck have been nice, laying slow and working slow and all. But after taking, like, 20 pictures of the thing, I needed to change things up while getting back in the habit of working on the iPad and Procreate app. Daily schedules and habits have changed after the move.

So I'm keeping a diary of sorts, chronicling the skyline and things that happen around it.

To see the every deck dream, visit the Instagram or full gallery.

Latest Project: Lay Low, Work Slow

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

It's summer in the city. I just moved to Brooklyn. And there's a deck just for Ego to lay out on. Every day should be Summer Friday, but sometimes the account team likes putting a 4:00 meeting on your calendar. On said Summer Friday. In said city.

So I painted this in between said meetings so everyone'll know what Summer 2016 is all about.

Lay Low, Work Slow , 2016. Digital

Lay Low, Work Slow, 2016. Digital

Lay Low, Work Slow , digital process on Photoshop

Lay Low, Work Slow, digital process on Photoshop

My dear friend Valerie loves sloths, so I made an iPhone background for her. Grab it if you'd like.

Latest Project: Ballerinas

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

Last year, I watched An American in Paris with my friend Valerie. There was a scene in there that I thought was so beautiful. No photography is allowed during a show, of course, so I committed the scene to memory and randomly accessed that part of the brain last week and decided to put it down on digital paper.

The show is about humans, but to keep with my recent theme of painting animals doing stuff while I watch tv shows about humans doing unrelated stuff, I decided to go with alpacas and llamas while my roommate had a friend over to watch The Bachelor finale.

South American Ballet, 2016. Digital

A thing I enjoy about painting animals is that I learn some things along the way. For instance, farmers often keep a llama around to protect their herd of alpacas because they're independent and alpacas are timid herd animals.

That's why the principal dancer is a llama and her supporting dancers are alpacas.

Process: I felt weird building this gif and seeing a nude (tutu-less) female llama, guys.

After I finished this piece, something I forgot I had in my brain since 2015 while watching a show with Valerie, who got me the tools to finish this piece to begin with, I feel like I'm ready to finally tackle my next big project that I've been planning since 2014: Noah in Space (Name WIP).