Tag Archive | Barkitecture

Artist Bruce Hilvitz immortalizes Reggie J Rabbit in Portrait

Reggie hanging out

This is the photo we sent Bruce. Look below to see Bruce’s work.

I have written about our Warrior Bunny, Reggie. He is funny, mischievous a little pushy at times but we love his spirit. Almost a month ago, we had a scare. Reggie came down with something. He stopped eating, and started losing weight. He became lethargic. So we took him to his vet, Dr. Riddle. He got an injection of antibiotics and an additional 7 day supply of antibiotics to take home. It took almost 7 days before we saw that he was making a recovery but he is doing awesome now and from this experience he has become more affectionate and sweet. He will come up to me and ask me to pet him. if he is in his little hiding place under his chair and I need to see him,  I call him and he comes out so I can pet him. This experience brought us closer together. I realized then I wanted to get a portrait done of him. I have never been able to paint or draw rabbits but when my husband’s Friend, Bruce Hilvitz, who is a very talented artist donated a pet portrait for the yearly Humane Society of the North Bay’s Barkitecture,  I asked Bruce to make a portrait of Reggie. It was an easy process. We sent Bruce a hi-resolution photo of Reggie and he sent us back a digital file of Reggie within the week. It was really fast. He really captured Reggie’s essence. As I am looking at Reggie’s portrait, these questions about Bruce’s art started flooded in my mind.  How did he develop his style? Does he believe he has to suffer for his art? So I decided to ask the artist himself. Here is a short interview I did with Bruce:

Did you take formal art classes?

Bruce: One month in art school was all I could muster. Back in those days, where I was, there wasn’t any respect for cartooning in art school.  Although, I did grow up within an arts community, via my Mother, so way before High school, I had experience in virtually all disciplines of art

What was the defining moment when you realized you wanted to pursue your art as a career?

Bruce: I can’t recall one, per se…I’ve always drawn, played with paints, clay, whatever was handy at the moment.  I’ve always relied on visuals, be it art, toys, cars, buildings…anything that I enjoyed looking at.

How do you describe your art?

Bruce: My art and career has been based on comic art mostly.  Something I’ve been drawn to my whole life (no pun intended).  It can run the gamut since I’ve had to learn to wear many “hats” in order to make a living … comics don’t pay very well, and they are time consuming. Illustrations a bit better, general graphic design, hourly, is the best.  Special projects, here and there are also nice when there’s that opportunity…like book design, and editing, limited edition print production. 

What artists influenced you when you were developing your style?

Bruce: Early on I was weened on MAD Magazine, of course…guys like Basil Wolverton, Jack Davis, Wil Elder, Harvey Kurtzman. I had a very short lived love affair with super hero stuff…I appreciate that stuff more now, than I did then…but my true love came to light when I first laid eyes on a Robert Crumb comic, and it finally struck me with the thought that ANYTHING is possible. And so it is.

How would you describe the medium you work in?

Bruce: These days it all seems to be based on digital technology.  I sometimes start with a regular ‘ol drawing that I scan then work out color or details in a vector based program, usually Flash or Illustrator. I don’t draw “on paper” as much as I really should, digital art doesn’t have the tactual satisfaction that paper does…no originals to really drool over. You can see who has “chops” when you see an original drawing on stiff white bristol board.

Do you agree you have to suffer for your art?

Bruce: No, but it helps. Truthfully it’s a tough profession, if you are not willing to sacrifice common things in life, then you better think of something else to do.

When did you decide to start doing pet portraits?

Bruce: I started this past holiday season…I live in a neighborhood with many, many dogs, I figured someone might be interested…just another “hat” to wear.

Do you have any animal companions?

Bruce: The best dog on earth…a reformed runaway name Aristotle. A black Pekingese, only an Anti-Pekingese…he doesn’t bark, maybe twice a year, if that…he does sneeze, and fart a lot though…I can’t blame him, he’s in the neighborhood of 14 (years).

This Is Bruce's pride and Joy, Aristotle.

This Is Bruce’s pride and Joy, Aristotle.

Any advice for aspiring artists?

Bruce: Don’t do it!!! no…just learn, work hard, be honest with yourself…  The best advice I try to follow, not sure who said it, in the lines of… “Do art as if your parents are dead.”

Can you expand on that philosophy- “Do art as if your parents are dead.”

My interpretation is ‘don’t be afraid of what other people think…just do it.’ Criticism, and especially self-criticism, is the death nell of art. Even though it’s hard to avoid, or listen to.

For anyone interested in having you create a portrait for their pets how can they contact you?

Bruce: Easy as going to my site…

www.flatwurks.com

Bruce captured Reggie's essence.

Bruce captured Reggie’s essence.

Ain’t Love Grand?

This is the front of the Valentine's day Card I gave to my Honey, David

Yes, “ain’t” is a word in the dictionary. Today is Valentine’s Day. A day to celebrate love, proclaim love from the deepest parts of your soul to your special someone (or someone’s if you are are in a plural Marriage like the show that was on TLC, “First Wives”). It sure takes a lot of self-esteem not to get jealous of your husband showing love to your other sister wives, I could never do it, but I admire people who share a common foundation that works for them. As long as it is in agreement between all parties, and it doesn’t hurt anyone, why not? I watched the series on NetFlix and was taken with the deep love and respect they have for each other and their kids. And guess what, you have other people to help with the housework and child raising, and if you are not in the mood, you can ask your sister wife to “take the bullet for you”, so to speak.

But I digress. I am so grateful for the love that my husband, David and I share. We  say “I love you” everday. We do special things for each other, make coffee for each other or fix meals for each other, take over the household chores if one is swamped with work. Because we are both artists besides the work we do for the company we work at, Divineware, David is the webmaster at the Humane Society of the North Bay, that is an ongoing project. He gets to do his cartoon art on the website. He is in the midst of promoting their annual fundraiser, Barkitecture, that is another full time job.

I have my art work. I am producing my “Let Their Voice Be Heard” concert fundraising project to go to places in the country promoting the

This is Fiona showing you what Dad and the Four-legged kids got for me. The kids gave me the "Hello Kitty" Chocolates. Fiona says she resembles "Hello Kitty".

message of peace, respect, love and dignity between animals and humans (as well as other beings on the planet). I am writing more songs. I started working with a guide,a well-known singer/songwriter who passed on, that is helping me fine tunng my piano playing skills.

I just agreed to serve on the Board of Trustees for the church I belong to the Vallejo Center for Spiritual Living. I am also the Chair of the Public Relations committee (I am still in the process of bringing in the committee). So between all our activites. We are constantly taking care of a project. And then besides our work we also have 5 active four-legged kids. So constant cleaning to the cages, litter boxes (our rabbits have their own litter boxes). We don’t free feed our cats or rabbits, and our bunnies get fresh organic veggies from the garden or the store.

But that is some of the things that keeps our 11 year marriage growing strong. I was talking to a lady from our church recently, Linda Moore-Watts and asked her what makes her 24 year marriage work? One of the first things Linda said was “patience” the second thing she said is “listening”. She also mentioned that it is important to have your own interestes besides things you do together.

When I have posed this question to people, who I can tell still have that spark for each other, I hear similar responses. One of my favorite phrases is “don’t take anything personally“. The times that David and I argue, we may say some pretty intense things, out of anger, but I know that in spite of these verbal barbs thrown at me, he loves me. He has since were sophomores in high school and this fact, reminds me when I want to storm out of the house and say “That’s it!”

I want to leave you with a valentine email we got from our boss:

“Its a special day to us because it was  vday 11 years ago that I proposed the idea of starting the company to Virginia  so that I could spend each and every day with her.” 

What a wonderful declaration of love. And one of the big tests they have passed of how well they not only love each other, but like being with each other is that they leave their home in the Sabastopol area and travel in their RV and stay in  San Diego with their two cats. Now that is togetherness!

Thinking outside the box in a different way

I hear this phrase , “think outside the box” all the time. So I started thinking, instead of thinking outside the box, why not go inside the box and re-shape it into a shape you like? who says the box is made out of a rigid substance? maybe the box is make of pipe cleaners or clay? It is like being a visionary alchemist. We use things that may not fit in our life and visualize them into something else. Just a thought…

Amy is a happy girl who loves to dress up.

Today I finished my art project for the Humane Society of the North Bay’s Denim and Diamonds Barkitecture fundraiser. What is this. I will go into details in a moment.  The project I created is an 3D  8 X 10 wall hanging . A cat  I named Amy. Amy is wearing a jacket and skirt made of denim to go with the theme. The photo I have included doesn’t really show the 3 dimensions, but it is still cute. My designs will tell me what to name them. Amy was made with watercolor paper,  gold fabric paint, clear rhinestones, 3d scrapbook roses and a touch of decoupage sealant. The frame I got from a thrift store. It was a little weathered, but the frame was well built. I took two coats of Indian Blue acrylic paint and two coats blue glitter paint. I never worked with fabric before or made a jacket or skirt, but for the first time, I am very pleased with her. I really want her to go to a good home.

What is the Barkitecture fundraiser for the Humane Society of the North Bay? It is an annual event in which organizations and individuals build dog houses and cat domicile’s and then they are auctioned off. They also have a silent auction (that is where Amy will be) and people write down their bids. They also have fabulous food and drink.  This is one of the Humane Society’s well attended and successful events, the dream child of the HSNB Director, Peter Wilson. I have known Peter for quite a while. We both met when we worked at Pet Food Express.  If you are in the Vallejo area, please plan on attending. Like I said it is really a lot of fun and a very good cause. For more information go to www.barkitecture.net