Monday, April 30, 2012

Gallery 1988: MEMES show

MEGA BIG-TIME debuts in LA

Gallery 1988 is celebrating its 8th birthday with a MEMES show, 100 artists taking inspiration from viral videos and images on the Internet. We're excited to say that MEGA BIG-TIME will be part of this show!


MEMES  opens Friday, May 4th at Gallery 1988: Melrose

-Ben & Amanda

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Six moments in my life with Spider-man

I present to you, six of my memories of Spider-man.

1. The Formative Years and TV Weirdness

Like a lot of people in my generation, my first exposure to Spider-man had to have come from seeing him on TV. There was the Electric Company's live action shorts, (Funky!) and of course the animated cartoons. But the Spider-man moment I want to tell you about happened in a movie that I saw on TV. When I was about six years old I saw this movie that (I'm sure to adults) was a heart-warming story about a deaf kid. Again, I was very young when I saw this, but from what I remember, the story revolved around how this kid's parents didn't realize the boy was def so they were flummoxed by his "odd" behavior. At one point in the  film the boy and his older brother are watching Spider-man on TV.  Because he can hear, the brother understands that Spider-man is a hero, but to the deaf boy Spider-man is just some weird looking bug-man. The deaf boy sneaks off, takes his brother's Spider-man action figure (back then they were basically a 12" Ken doll wearing a polyester super-suit), and sticks Spider-man in the oven. When mom finds him and pulls him out, Spider-man is all charred and melted.

This freaked me the EFF OUT!

Melted Spiderman

...I'm pretty sure things ended up fine for the deaf boy. 

Anyway, Spider-man went on to be huge for me regardless. I had Spider-man clothes, Spider-man Halloween costumes (sometimes weird knock-offs) complete with trick-or-treat buckets in the shape of his head, birthday cakes, you know, the webby works. And then I started reading comics.

2. Comics and McFarlane

Once I hit the 7th grade, I loved nothing more than reading and copying drawings out of comics. At this point in my life I didn't do much else. One time in school I was pulled into the counselors office for a surprise study interventions. I knew it had to be a big deal because my parents were there. In the same room. Together! The counselor talked to me about how I was doing with classes and studying and, wanting to learn about my study habits, asked to see the contents of my backpack. I only carried one binder for all my classwork. When they opened it they found one lonely comic book and not much else. Hey, at least I was interested in reading something.

I bought a lot of comics but mostly I was obsessed with X-men and Spider-man. Todd McFarlane started on Spider-man about this time and that clinched it for me. Spider-man was rad! I especially obsessed with black costume Spider-man. 

3. First Publication
Technically, the first of my artwork to ever be "published" was a drawing of Spider-man I had done which ended up in my 8th grade yearbook. 

4. I Razzed Stan Lee

In 1987 I went to my first comic book convention. It was the year Spider-man got married so this became the theme for all the festivities. If you are not familiar....somehow...with Stan Lee, he was a writer, then editor, now Comic-culture God who collaborated with artists to create most of the super hero characters you've ever heard of: X-men, Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-man and so on. At this time, Stan Lee would actually hang out and look at drawings by gangly preteens and offer them encouragement. So that happened! Stan would also take part in panel discussions and field a question from said preteen. I loved Spider-man and could have asked anything in the world! I stood up and said,

"How is it that in the cartoons, Spider-man can shoot a web and make it into a baseball bat or shield? And how does he travel over the ocean?! What are his webs attaching to, passing planes?"

 I felt stupid as I was saying it and even worse as the Spider-man who was MCing the panel repeated the question word-for-word to Stan Lee. Stan answered, "Well, it's just a cartoon and it's supposed to be fantasy and fun." Everybody cheered and as I sat down I nodded to my friend in agreement and approval of his answer.

5. Spider Skates

When I was in high school I worked at a roller skating rink. I bought skates and painted Spider-man on them...I guess there isn't much to that story.

6. The Future!

OK I don't really have something specific to recall here. I reserved this spot for the climactic moment when I might do cool Spider-man artwork professionally in some way. I'll leave room at the bottom of this page and just see where life takes me. Excelsior!

Thanks for reading,

Ben Walker

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The benefits of Snake Oil - Designing for T-shirts

First, I want to thank everyone who made "Walker-con" such a success! It was a bummer missing Wonder-con but I was able to dang-near sell out of all my T-shirts through this experimental web-store event! Thanks to everyone who picked up T-shirts and to everyone who helped spread the word.

Well, since my portfolio site is currently devoted to my illustration and personal artwork, I thought it would be good to compile some of my "Snake Oil" T-shirt designs, stories and testimonials as a blog entry. I've had to slow down on printing T-shirts now that I live in a small San Francisco apartment but I've had some recent opportunities to design cool stuff for clients.

This is a logo I did for Mad Trapper Tea Company, a new place to get a warm beverage in the cold and unforgiving Yukon territory. I printed up some T-shirts too.

Here is a limited edition Tee I recently designed for Yahoo! Inc. Sorry, it's just for awesome employees of Yahoo!

I designed this Tee to sell at the 2011 Santa Rosa Handcar Regatta. It was also made available at select boutiques in San Francisco.

I stopped this guy on the streets in SF. Represent!

More Snake Oil designs. These T-shirts have been known to get people out of speeding tickets and into hot dates with hotties! (Results not typical)

Ben Walker's Snake Oil Logo tee

Jackalope Crest tee

Toast Boy tee

Armed Bear Icon tee

Bad Bear tee

Armed Bear Crest tee

Winchester's Bicycle tee

Society of Flying Machine Operators tee

Armed Bear West Side tee

Hey, check out these sweet customer photos and testimonials!

"Ben is a great artist with a great attitude! He's very easy to get along with, does excellent work, and his T-shirts are awesome.”
-John Romero, Game Designer

“Ben’s Old West inspired designs are clever, eye-catching, wearable art. Gun slinging bears, giant jack-a-lope, and moose antlered hares, fill Ben’s cotton canvases. Every time I wear one I inevitably hear, 'Great shirt! Where did you get it'?”
-Michael Slack, Children's book illustrator

"Ben is a great artist, AND a great person! ... Ben has done incredible T-shirt and graphic design for me: timely, original, affordable and incredible!"
-Kepi Ghoulie, Rock Star

“I've been a fan of Ben's artwork for some time and the Snake Oil company is a fantastic direction. I get comments every time I wear a design. They're my favorite.”
-Cheyenne Allot, Account manager

"I've never had more comments or compliments wearing a graphic tee than I have with one of yours. In fact I'm wearing one today. I own four of them and even though my Toast Boy one is well worn and ready to be retired I can't bring myself to toss it because I love the graphic that much. Thanks Ben for making me feel hip again."
- Marc Mascot, Sculptor

More Happy Customers

Authors of Cool Jerk and One Con Glory (respectively) Paul Horn and Sarah Kuhn

Actor, Author, Geek legend Wil Wheaton

Epic Artist, Matt136

Well, there it is: The full Ben Walker's Snake Oil experience. I'll keep designing cool T-shirts and getting them out there however I can. I'm also looking for new opportunities to collaborate with larger clothing companies, bands, and what-have-you. Hit me up!

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mega Big-Time

I was inspired to post something after The Bold recently posted an article on on Power Couples in San Francisco. The article features some local couples who do amazing work individually and in colaboration with the person they love.

Over the past year I've been collaborating on projects with my girlfriend, Amanda Storey. She is full of fresh, clever ideas and I love that we can bounce ridiculous ideas off each other. It's also refreshing to be able to create things that don't exactly fit with the look and subject-matter I usually work with. Amanda may be all about style, beauty, and sugar-frosted feminine fantasy, but its the fact that she has the exact same sense of humor that I do, basically that of a 15 year old boy, that makes us work well together.

Check out Guest Checks

So now any artwork that we do together is created by Mega Big-Time. Here are a couple paintings that came from characters in Amanda's sketchbook.

Princess Adora of Dobel Woods, Princess Fraulein of Muhlenberg

The only rule of Mega Big-Time is that there are no rules!!

When I was asked to be part of Gallery 1988's tribute to Wet Hot American Summer, it was Amanda's idea to make a road-sign pointing people to the campsite or "town". The rest was easy.

Props to Matt136 for helping with the wood cut-outs!

But why stop there? Amanda had the idea to take advantage of a sunny San Francisco day by doing some promotional photos before the artwork had to be shipped off to LA.

What's next? Mega Big-Time is excited to be part of Gallery 1988's 8th birthday and celebration of the Internet's favorite creations. MEMES Opens May 4th, 7-10pm.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Logos and such

I've done a couple illustrations recently that allowed me to check off items from my "Always wanted to do that" list. This first one is a beer coaster for Cypress Grove Chevre, a goat cheese company in Humboldt county. So these are getting handed out to beer enthusiasts at brew festivals. Check! Plus I love goat cheese so I'm looking forward to a care package from these guys.

Created in Adobe Illustrator.

This is a logo I did for a coffee and tea company in the cold and unforgiving Yukon territory.
The Mad Trapper was a real guy who was the focus of a wild man hunt in Canada back in 1931.

So, next on the list is a beer label. I'm talking with a microbrewery about a concept for one of their labels right now. I'd like to do lots of beer labels, wine too. Maybe I should stalk wineries at the events around Napa and Sonoma....road trip!

Thanks for reading!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Ah, the Romance

I thought I'd post a few illustrations I've done recently that are muy romántico! This first one is a pin-up caricature of my girlfriend that I drew for her as a gift. Want one of yourself? Hit me up. (sorry, if you aren't my girlfriend, it won't be a gift.)

Personal pin-up Yow!

Did you know I can be commissioned for ultra-personalized wedding invitations? This one was hand painted in watercolors. My hand-writting could be, uh better, so for this one I used a transfer from a print-out of the desired text. I don't want to post the snap-shots this couple sent me but I can say they were very happy with the likenesses. This illustration even prompted the groom to loose a little weight in order to look more like the invitation. My drawings can improve your life!

Wedding invitation, watercolor

Birthday invitations too. You don't need to have the budget for a full-on watercolor painting. I can do a sweet line drawing and color it digitally. Snap! It's ready to send out to all your jealous friends.

Birthday party invitation

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Gama Go

My first job after graduating from Academy of Art University in 2006 was with Gama Go, a San Francisco design company. I helped create designs for their Fall, 2006 clothing line. It was a great learning experience working with people I truly look up to.

Below are some samples of the artwork that ended up on T-shirts and in their book of collected works, Art and Design of Gama-go.

Here's a design concept I was playing but didn't make the cut (haha).

Game Art

I'm looking for new opportunities to make cool art on a full-time basis. Here are some samples of artwork I've done for various game companies. I'm good with the whole Adobe creative suite. Hit me up.

For more info, please check out my Linkedin profile.