Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Saying No

Posted in Uncategorized on December 16, 2012 by scratchyb

A lot of my Facebook friends were posting and reposting an article from the Onion: “Fuck Everything, Nation Reports.” I can understand the despair in this uncharacteristically unfunny article. But I respectfully have to say no.

“Fuck Everything” has been a mantra of my teen years, then seeping into my young adulthood, corroding everything I value and turning every desire to take positive action into a frustrated, impotent rage. No thanks. Not anymore.

With every senseless tragedy that happens I find another piece of my old anger falling away. Why not the opposite? Because I’ve been there, and it leads nowhere. Accepting the fact that tragic, senseless things happen and are part of the human condition is in itself not a negative thing, unless you allow it to progress into despair. Acceptance leads to action. I fear everything, I live in dread of any number of things my imagination can conjure, and my imagination is strong. But I also prepare, I plan, and ultimately, I accept.

So no, I’m not going to say I give up on humanity, or that the world sucks. Because I already knew that the world sucks—in part. I also already knew that the world is a beautiful place, where life returns again and again no matter where it is snuffed out, nor how badly it is crushed. That’s a solid fact, not a sentiment. And I think a little distance will show us that humanity is in fact, decent at the core. Where else do you think your outrage comes from?

Here’s what I will do instead: I will redouble my efforts to be a better person. I will stop the selfishness that’s prevented me from seeing the needs of others, I will stop wallowing in my own misery. I will set aside the petulant “why me” attitude, and recognize the wealth I already have. And then I will share that with others, to the degree that I know how. Because in the face of overwhelming evil, all you can really do is roll up your sleeves and get to work.

No New Ideas

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 26, 2012 by scratchyb

I was doodling at a show one day and came up with a sketch that I thought would make a cool pyrography painting. Then my girlfriend bought me a t-shirt on Threadless that had the same elements, same concept and motifs, but different design. It was just close enough to kill my enthusiasm for that particular design, but it got me thinking a little bit about the nature of ideas, the old saying that there are no new ideas. That saying pre-dated the Internet, but what happens now, when we are all basically tied into the zeitgeist, and the zeitgeist is composed of all of us?

I get my ideas from the outside world, just like we all do, but I also go to great pains to keep from being derivative. I usually let an idea stew for a few months, even if it means potentially missing the opportunity to be a “leader” in a trend and not just another dude on the bandwagon. And why should that matter anyway? How many innovators were overrun by the people who copied and then improved upon their innovation? Truth be told, I’m doing the same thing, as are most of us. But part of staying creative includes realizing this, and making the effort to keep the pool of influence wide enough to avoid clear and obvious influence.

Take Frequent Breaks

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 23, 2012 by scratchyb

Something I normally don’t need to remind myself of, unless I’m working on an art project. During the sketching phases, I’m distracted and fidgety, but once the idea starts fleshing out, and I’ve tossed out or added new elements, I get into the zone.  And that’s when time slips out from under me, and I don’t snap out of it until I realize that I have to be at my day job in 15 minutes, or that my hand has cramped up, or my shoulders and back have cramped up. This can be bad when I’m burning, because I can forget I’ve got a hot instrument in my hand instead of just a pen.

I’m not one to glorify marathon work sessions. I value the downtime of a break, even a working break. Sometimes, when I’m working intently on some repeated patterns, other ideas emerge that need to be given some rudimentary form, or they’ll nag me all day and night.  So I stop for a while to sketch them out, and then let them sit for a while.

But the most important thing is to know when to get back to work.

Break’s over.

Asking questions, learning from others

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 9, 2012 by scratchyb

My mom likes to chat people up. With a few pointed questions, she can get almost anyone to spill an abbreviated version of their life story, or their dreams, or their skill set. It was always the skill set that interests her the most. She used to bug furnace installers, auto mechanics, and maintenance crews about what they were doing, and as a kid it drove me nuts.

It was downright embarrassing, having your mother constantly asking these questions. I refused to do the same. As a result, I never learned unless someone took it upon themselves to teach me. I didn’t ask, because I didn’t want people to find out that I didn’t know. And I didn’t know, because I never asked. It wasn’t a lack of curiosity, I had plenty of that. It was a deep sense of inadequacy that kept me from researching anything that couldn’t be learned from a book. And I just avoided situations that required new skill sets.

It took me the better part of a decade to break those habits in my adulthood, and I still find plenty of progress to be made. Over the past couple of years I started the practice of asking about any topic that I didn’t know about if it came up in conversation. That’s a first step, working with people you already know and situations that are fairly familier. But just walking up and talking to people is not my default behavior, even though I know how enlightening it can be. So I’m steadily trying to trick myself into developing the habit of encountering new people doing things that interest me and asking about the process

Just today I came home to find that the people across the alley from me had torn down their garage and seemed to be rebuilding it, by themselves.  These people have always interested me, because they have sculptures in their yard and I always had the sense that they were working on something in that garage of theirs.  So, did I stop to talk to them? I wish this post could have a more positive end, but really, I pulled onto my parking pad and brought the groceries into the house. Lesson learned, boundaries discovered. Now I just need to start pushing my toes over the line. I’ve done it before, I can do it again.

Further Experimentation

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2012 by scratchyb


I have also been playing around with the engraving nature of pyrography.  Here’s a clock I did that I then painted over with gold paint mixed with a little black, to create a brass color.  Then I cleaned up the details with a dry, stiff brush to bring back the fine lines.

Just Be Yourself

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 14, 2012 by scratchyb


A new Etsy posting. This was something new that I put together for the Constructor Craft Fair last Saturday. It’s currently being used on a card, but I’m thinking of turning it into a T-shirt.

All images © Eric Battaglia 2012

Constructor Aftermath

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 14, 2012 by scratchyb


Had a great day at last Saturday’s Constructor Craft Fair at Fitzgerald’s. This was the first craft fair where I wasn’t sharing a booth, so I took advantage of the space. A big thank you to people who came to my booth and supported me, and also to my fellow vendors, who were just plain fun and inspiring to be around. I shouldn’t leave out the organizers,  who always go out of their way to make this a great event.

One thing I have picked up from this show is that I am ready to start moving into more products, like a greater range of cards, and finally, T-shirts. While I’m still continuing with the major and minor pyrography art experiments I’ve been doing, I’m also going to explore some other avenues for my designs.

And now, it is time to return to work.

Doings and Goings On

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2012 by scratchyb

In keeping with my goal of getting out to more galleries and art events, I’ve been trying to make sure I go to at least two or three exhibitions and/or openings a month. So far, I’ve done four events in the months of March and April. 

I was excited to go to the opening of Black Thorns in the White Cube at Western Exhibitions, curated by Amelia Ishmael, because the theme was art inspired by black metal.  It just so happened that I was working on a series of small pyrography paintings of corpse-paint faces at the time, so I was in a very black metal mood. This exhibit ended April 14th,so blame yours truly for not having posted about it sooner.

I also went to the Creative Chicago Expo at the Chicago Cultural Center, although I was really only there for the last two hours on Saturday. While I was there, I checked out the exhibit Morbid Curiosity, the Richard Harris Collection. Richard Harris is a collector focusing on the representation of death by artists and cultures from around the world. The highlight of the show for me was the bone chandelier by Jodie Carey, especially since it sort of snuck up on me, despite its size.  I highly recommend seeing this exhibition if you’re in town, it’ll be up at the  Chicago Cultural Center until July 8th.

Most recently I went on the Second Friday art walk in Pilsen. I was interested in seeing Matt Maniscalco and Jennifer Cronin’s paintings at the Black Cloud Gallery, and had missed the opening the weekend before. And I always like this little light display along Halsted St.


Photo by Mandy McGee

Devil and the Halloween Party

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2011 by scratchyb

Sketch of devil stuck in doorway by his horns.

The devil tried to crash the Halloween party, but had a little trouble getting through the door.

Just a little sketch I worked up, toying with some other ideas.
Happy Halloween!

My attempts at abstract

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2011 by scratchyb

I don’t know if you can call these properly abstract. I’ve been experimenting a little bit beyond the figurative, that’s weird for me. These are woodburn paintings. I burned in the design and then painted around it with watercolor and acrylic.

I’ve not been blogging lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on anything. I’ve got this Egypt themed box and a few other things up my sleeve that I’ll be posting about soon.

This stuff’s going to be posted to my Etsy store soon.

All images © Eric Battaglia 2011