Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day 84 (Or: rk post & C.J. Lane at The Red Raven in October)

I’m a little bit giddy.  And I have a HUGE geek-girl crush. 

Sometimes I get to meet, rub elbows with and generally fall in crushes with some seriously amazing people.  Laurie McClave (neighbor and bestie), C.J. Lane (bestie and cutie), and (new to me) rk post give me the shivers.  They’re just awesome in the sauce arena.  And I know them?  Or…in the case of rk…get to talk to them as they’re foot commuting through downtown Seattle to their “day” job?  Pssshhht.  Lucky me. 

AND I get to talk about games, and toy-stores, and my favorite coffee shop on the planet?  Stick a fork in me and call me pleased.   

A shortened and slightly altered version of the following feature was published today in the Port Townsend Leader, and because these peeps are so phenomenal, I wanted you all to see 

the WHOLE shmear…

Photo courtesy rk post

Randy “rk” Post (hereafter referred to by his preferred professional nomenclature:  rk post – no punctuation, no capitals) travels to conferences the world over, for comic-cons and fan signings of his work.  Each new location comes with a new tattoo, artists carefully researched by post, artwork “signed” by the artist in permanent tattoo ink. posts body, now featuring 20 of his visits, and 20 artists, is a visual map of his artistic proclivities and of his extensive travel.  

The travel follows a lifetime career of impressive freelance and contract illustrative work for Wizards of the Coast, Microsoft, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, 20th Century Fox (Alien vs Predator) among many others (post jokes that his work is “too extensive to list.”).

This life is a far cry from growing up on farms in Illinois and Iowa where post, the son of a John Deere salesman, never took an art class and thought he’d be a veterinarian. After what post calls an “extensive college experience” – an 8 year study program, spanning veterinary science, graphic design, and eventually illustration – post found himself at the tail end of TSR’s Dungeons and Dragons production, illustrating interior black and white illustration book-work for the famous RPG. This break into the world of illustration through Dungeons and Dragons, lead to work with Wizards of The Coast, where the door opened for a remarkable career in art and design. 

A soft, ready laugh prefaces posts description of the work, the experiences, and the travel that followed those 8 years of study. “Growing up, we never traveled anywhere that we couldn’t reach by car.” He says, but when Wizards of the Coast bought out TSR in the mid-90’s, the company flew artists out to Seattle – his first flight – and post now looks back on that flight, saying “if you’ve done it once, all the rest are the same.” The difference now, is that after 15 years of illustrative work, when post travels from Seattle, his home town where he’s the Senior Artist at Big Fish Games, he ends up in Barcelona, Spain, Moscow, Russia or Sao Paolo, Brazil – as well as many other international destinations.

The Red Raven PostMortem

Avatar of Woe, rk post

Red Raven Gallery celebrated its one year anniversary in September, and in the year since opening, has featured an impressive lineup of local artists and visiting artists – many with magical, fanciful and eccentric inclinations. The cooperative gallery of 6 artists is owned by Sarah Fitch of The Rolling Raven Studio, and co-managed and curated by fine artist Laurie McClave – who calls herself a “Jacqueline of all trades.”  McClave, whose impressive curation has brought in high caliber fine artists – photographers, painters, fiber artists – said that she “looks for individuals whose work is quality and who have a level of personal professionalism.”  Of particular importance, and an indication of her own measures of success, McClave pays special attention to “artists who have interaction with a fan-base, having a Facebook page or a blog, or some way that they’re keeping active and interactive with other artists and with collectors.” 

McClave, who studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, and a highly collected artist herself, keeps an active hand in the online network of artists, and it is partially this networking and marketing ethic which has enabled the gallery to host national and international artists.  “rk was one of my first MySpace contacts – remember the days of MySpace?” She joked.  “I knew I wanted to feature something gothic and creepy in October, and because I’d known of and followed his work online, rk came immediately to mind.  Much to my surprise, he said ‘yes’ when I approached him.”  Earlier in the year, the gallery hosted the phenomenal  Jel Ena Markovic, a Serbian born, Los Angeles based figurative artist, and PostMortem will be followed in November by German born, Seattle based  designer and artist Redd Walitzki (

In a coup, an artistic scoop, if you will, The Red Raven cooperative gallery and McClave are “thrilled and excited” to bring illustrator rk post to Port Townsend. “rk features strong women and female characterizations, and uses the figure in a lyrical way.  There are dark undertones in his work, and the pieces offer an intrigue – he’s a softer H.R. Giger.” MccClave said of post and his work referring to the surrealist painter who won an Academy Award for design work on the film Alien.

On Oct. 6, PostMortem debuts at the Red Raven Gallery featuring the fanciful and eccentric art of illustrator rk post and photographer and Red Raven cooperative member C.J. Lane.  PostMortem, will show at the Red Raven Gallery, 922 Water Street, through October.  Both artists will be on site for the gallery walk on the evening of the 6th, starting at 5:30.

Both divine and diabolical

post has published a now sold out collectors volume of collected works “Potmortem: the Art of rk post” posts website describes the work in his online gallery, as “both divine and diabolical. Sinistry and innocence. Fluffy-cute and damn-that-looks-spiky.”
Cover Art, "Postmortem: the Art of rk post"

Notably, the original cover artwork painting for “Postmortem: the Art of rk post” will grace the wall of the Red Raven Gallery, a work highlighting posts strong female figurative work, and the gizmo-riddled fantasy world that he’s known for. post, says that for the Red Raven Gallery show, in addition to non-magic related work, he’s “found a forgotten trove of more recent pieces,” and will be labeling and selling with artist proofs and prints.

post has garnered a following in the illustrative world, and is especially known in Port Townsend for work in the Role Playing Gaming (RPG) world of Magic: The Gathering. The Port Townsend Gallery walk, on Saturday, October 6, 5:30 – 8:00 pm, will be lively in the diminutive alleyway gallery, with local fans of the gaming world, and fantasy art collectors assembling to see the original artwork behind familiar gaming characters and well-known illustrations.

The Raven and the Pumpkin

C.J. Lane and model Tassa Briel Greif
photo Cara Leckenby
In complement to the fantasy work of rk post, C.J. (Carole Jean) Lane, cooperative member and co-feature artist for October at Red Raven Gallery, has a gift with the camera lens. Lane started photography in college, and her passion grew further when she moved to Korea to work as a military staff photographer. Since those early days in photojournalism, C.J. has turned toward fine art photography, and she and her husband, Terry Lane, are the vision behind “Lanebrain Photography”. “ Her unique perspective and edge give her work a painterly quality,” said McClave, “and she has an important story to tell”. This month, that story will be of “The Pumpkin Queen” and “The Raven King” – fantasy figure photography, highlighting a creepy burton-esque bent.  C.J. is a founding cooperative member of the Red Raven Gallery co-op and is working in photography while raising a family here in Port Townsend

The gathering

Port Townsend community dedicated to Magic: The Gathering is celebrating a weekend of firsts starting at 6:00 on the evening of Friday, Oct 5 at Whistle Stop Toysin Port Townsend. Steve Goldenbogen, owner of the toy shop, is hosting a launch for the newest of 59 “expansion sets” (or game play kits) for players ranging in age from 10 – 60. “Return to Ravnica” is a much anticipated expansion, and the evening will be an interesting pre-cursor to meeting rk post, the artist behind well-known Magic characters, “Avatar of Woe,” “Morphling,” and “Arbor Elf.”

The following evening, Saturday, October 6th, post opens PostMortem at the Red Raven Gallery.  Goldenbogen is an avid Magic player and fan, and describing the extent of Magic: The Gathering’s popularity said “There are 59 expansions on the game, and over 12500 figure cards. I’m making sure that I’m off work on time for the show on Saturday, and I’m telling all my players.” Tournament play will continue at Whistle Stop Toys through January of 2013, on Friday evenings at 6:00 and Goldenbogen notes that he has plenty of members willing to teach new players.

In addition to formal tournament play, Amy Smith, Executive Director of the BoilerRoom at 711 Water Street says that there are “all the time games at the Boiler Room these days. There hasn't been a day in the past two weeks without a Magic game.” The Boiler Room is a non-profit youth resource center and coffee house, with convenient couches and tables for game-players of all ages.

More information, and game kits, about Magic: The Gathering can be found at Whistle Stop Toys 1005 Water Street, Port Townsend.

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