Wednesday, March 5, 2014


"What is a scientist after all? It is a curious man looking through a keyhole, the keyhole of nature, trying to know what's going on." - Jacques Cousteau.

Why is it important to question, to rework and take another look? In relation, I was thinking about cover songs this morning because I noticed that a bunch of the music on my playlist playing oddly in succession are pretty damn good if not better cover versions from the original. Jeff Buckley covering "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen, which hits in all the places (and notes) the original does not, is a great example. Interpretations from Ryan Adams' "Wonderwall" by Oasis, Sonic Youth with "Superstar" by The Carpenters, The xx with Beyoncé’s “I Miss You” are also good improvements. There's a video concept and cover version of Rihanna's "Only Girl" by Frida Rydén, formerly of the brilliant Swedish band Cinnamon. Frida turns the song on its ear and produces a version that is arresting and beautifully sensitive, with an interpretation that she states, "focuses on the feeling of vulnerability I found in the lyrics."

And Coltrane's My Favorite Things by Rodgers and Hammerstein is, well, immeasurable. They should of put that on Voyager. When we inquire, we gain the ability to modify a perspective and this change allows us to "turn a corner" and explore things in a new light. So better to leave no stone unturned. It's okay to question everything. Just make sure to do this with the Trane playing on track sometime.

Friday, February 21, 2014


Connectivity is electricity. Interconnected networks in data, nature, neural and social structures, flow like currents between two or more points conducting the vital sharing and cultivating of ideas, information, opportunity, as well as our relatedness in laughter, sadness, fears, hopes and dreams. They are sparks lighting an idea that we are not an aggregate of characters methodically dissolving away. It can also be quietly simple as a feeling you get when in the sweetest company, you want to invite the entire world to the table and to that moment, because you know it's fleeting as days can feel like hours and minutes like seconds. It's remarkable how little we know about ourselves, about human beings. Asking questions are how we get to know just a little bit more. There are records sent out aboard the Voyager1 spacecraft with the intention of contacting intelligent life apart from our own. There are 55 messages in 55 languages recorded on one of the audio sections. Carl Sagan assembled the images and sounds for NASA and even asked the Beatles to contribute the song, "Here Comes the Sun". All of the languages have in common, a single phrase transmitted with the optimism and infinitesimal hope that the message will make a connection. A shared imagination of improving and mapping our understanding of the universe. Carl Sagan said, "the launching of this 'bottle' into the cosmic 'ocean' says something very hopeful about life on this planet". Perhaps he was highlighting the value of contact as he imagined this spacecraft sailing out in interstellar travel with a dream to reach beyond the familiarity, create unimaginable networks and inspire something or someone to reconnect and say it just like in those 55 languages — Greetings.

"Network"- Ink & Sword Stellar Science Series. Artwork © 2014 Ink & Sword

now playing: Washed Out - All I Know

Monday, February 10, 2014

Energy To Spare

Just a quick update as I've finally gotten around to getting things relatively back to normal at the new location. And just in time, with much abuzz at the studio. I'm currently in the thick of it with some exciting new art projects and a music related one that should keep my head spinning for a while. Quite a few people have asked me about larger size formats for our posters so the good news is that the 24x36 option will be available on the shop pages soon. In the meantime here's a better look at some brand new additions to the Stellar Science Series! (Posters shown are 18x24 hand pulled screen prints on artist paper 100 lb. cover stock.)
Artwork © 2014 Ink & Sword

now playing: Jedidiah Dore - Song demo 9

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


I moved Ink & Sword Studio this past weekend. It's a long story but it involved some traversing from Brooklyn to uptown Manhattan back and forth and included some blood, sweat and almost tears. With the aid of some great friends it all happened during a snowstorm and went into the early morning hours. And by friends, I'm not so much referring to the "like" your random social status update type. I mean the people that show up at your door at dawn when you tell them you need them to haul heavy furniture up flights of stairs and during a snowstorm variety. We must have driven up and down the FDR, East River Drive, the West Side Highway, the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and even through the spine of the city on Broadway, over a dozen times. Side hopping traffic flare ups, accidents and construction delays. I learned so much about this city during this move. The actual distance I relocated measures less than 15 miles apart. In NYC that's tantamount to moving to a foreign country. For some an entire life can be spent never leaving their own neighborhood or borough. After 15 years, I bid farewell to my corner bodega, Dumbo, Clark Street and the Promenade, Cobble Hill, Bed-Stuy, and Bushwick. All places I've Iived in Brooklyn. I unloaded the last box into my new home at 4am and went for a walk in my new neighborhood. My hands were pretty cut up and I was pretty banged up from all the work so the ice-cold air seemed like a good antidote. I thought about this transition happening and I passed a scene not unlike the one I had just left the day before in Brooklyn. A man was gently sweeping the front of the bodega at the corner and someone else delivered a bundle of morning papers. I forgot where I was for a second as he smiled and said good morning. I realized that nothing much has changed. Only I have.

Below are illustrations I created for Plain Ink and The Qessa Academy. Both enterprises were launched by the remarkable Selene Biffi whom I had the great pleasure of working with for this project. Plain Ink and The Qessa Academy are based in Italy, India and Afghanistan. Part of their mission is to help provide communities with access to books and education by way of storytelling and cultural narrative.

Artwork © 2014 Ink & Sword

Monday, January 6, 2014


It's been unbearably cold in NYC as of late. So cold out that kids at the mall pull their pants up and I saw a dog jump starting another dog. The past couple of days have brought negative temperatures. Negative! The other day I read the temperature reading was -14. Nice that it's warmer inside my freezer. So that means having my refrigerator is redundant. I've been hunkered down, resolutely working on an art project for several months now. It's for an exhibition called IMPRESSI. Friends were beginning to wonder about my absenteeism from life outside the confines of the studio. I listened to fireworks displays, parties of people and people in parties with incongruous laughter and random gun shots outside, all reaching an apex and culminating into a single harmonious countdown and celebration. I worked into New Year's Eve that night and well into a new day and a brand new year. I didn't mind that at all. I've since stepped out with 16 original works and into the frost with a pretty rooted fire lit inside and feeling pretty sunny about it. Happy New Year and 2014.

IMPRESSI | ART.SCIENCE.GALLERY | January 11 – February 9, 2014
In keeping with the scientific affinity for Latin to describe natural phenomena, impressi comes from the Latin imprimō, ”to impress, to press into, to print, to stamp”. These six science-inspired artists all have different takes on the printmaking process and employ a diversity of techniques including solar etching, aquatint, relief printing, block printing, silkscreen, and more. Scale ranges from the compact 6″ x 6″ squares on Jenn Schmitt’s Periodic Table Printmaking Project to the 7-foot wingspan of Inked Animal’s Cathartes aura (Turkey Vulture). Inspiration comes from scientific discovery and wonder, natural history and description, scientists and science history, and an appreciation for how art and science enhance the human experience.

Jed Dore (Brooklyn, NY)
Ele Willoughby (Toronto, ON)
Inked Animal / Adam Cohen + Ben Labay (Austin, TX)
Jennifer Lynch (Taos, NM)
Cathy Savage (Austin, TX)
Jenn Schmitt’s Periodic Table Printmaking Project

Opening Reception Saturday, January 11, 2014 7-11pm
Artist Talk + Printmaking Demo with Adam Cohen + Ben Labay of
Inked Animal Saturday, January 18, 2014 1-3pm
PrintAustin Reception Saturday, January 18, 2014 6-9pm
Artist Talk with Printmaker Jennifer Lynch Saturday, February 8, 2014 1-3pm

Artwork © 2014 Ink & Sword

now playing: rocketship - like a dream