Yeah, eat a Cleveland steamer, 2017.
I’m not going to complain. I’ve got it out of my system.
But I’ll say this: between my own health stuff which forced me to literally decimate my incoming orders, legal and other junk, and some horrible shit that happened to a few of my regular clients, let’s just say it’s been one of those years that makes you aware of how freakin’ fragile our lives are.
Then again, good stuff too. I’ve got a new company called Black Rainbow to handle all of the animation and mixed-media work I’ve been doing. (Went into business with the wife, so we’ll see how deep THAT water gets). I also saw Guns and Roses in Madison Square Garden which was a life-changer. And how many times did I see Blade Runner in IMAX? Five. I went and saw that bad boy five times and I would have seen it again if I knew how reduced the experience was on the regular screen. If you missed that shit, you just flat-out missed it. Don’t get it on iTunes and watch it on your little smart whatever and then post on whateverbook and talk about how you don’t know what the big deal is. I also saw the restoration of Suspiria on the big screen in ATL. Go Synapse Films! Oh, and Phantasm.
And Zima came back. Which is awesome because it reminded me of drinking it in college. But it also sucks because it reminded me that it sucked.
That didn’t stop me for buying like 8 cases and drinking them all while listening to GNR’s Use Your Illusion double disc.
Enough rambling, let’s talk turkey.
Another great thing about 2017 was some douchebag ripped off my tiki design. Remember this one?
Well, I made a new custom Tiki for Ed with extended teeth and a badass green gemstone in the forehead. So get busy, assholes, you got a new one to steal.
It’s a one-of-a-kind and even has a cool ‘wood’ type texture on the finish. Ed wanted it BIG and he sent me a shot of it on his hand (which, by the way, Ed, looks like you’ve used to punched the crap out of some people, so I’m glad you were happy with it.)
Ed did this one full custom with me. Can’t be duplicated, but I’ll be making a new similar Tiki at some point for pre-orders for those of you that dig the tiki thing and want to get one. Keep in mind, I’m still rocking the ORIGINAL Tiki Tattoo. Here they are side by side. The gemstone is a custom addition, but the standard Tiki ring is here. I’m going to make 3 more this season, so let me know if you want one.
I also had a client order a custom skull ring and torque combo set in the Mystery Cave style. This is one of those cartoon skulls that I’ll carve up for people on occasion. They had the awesome idea of making the ball-ends of the torque into additional cartoony skulls and I thought it was a great call. One of those orders I hated to send out and would have much rather worn myself.
I’ll still do these cartoon skulls every one and a while. If you’re interested in one, drop me a note and we can talk. (Jenna, I know I owe you one.) I’m interested in doing a few of these and continuing to explore the skull as a reduced shape. I’ve been tooling around with a wax, in fact, that will probably end up being something once I finally figure out what I want to do with the eyes. Thinking about a vertical shape, maybe.
On the realistic skull ring front, I’ve had a few requests for a King Skull and I’ve been telling clients to hold off as I’m working on a new sculpt. I’ve been threatening to retire the current king skull and I’ve finally done it. I love her and she’s one of my favorite designs, but like the McRib, I think these models work best when they are exclusive and in limited editions. The new jawless skull will be introduced soon, I hope. Right now, I’m busy with Gentlemen.
The Gentleman ring. (Seen here with a black lace agate which looks freakin’ great in there). I’ve just started working on a new custom ring for a new client who wants it done in beautiful high-dome Burmese jade. I wear a jade ring like this and it’s my absolute favorite gemstone. Look at this massive jade cab I got my mits on for this beauty.
That’s over 50 ct of REAL jade. So many so-called “jade” gemstone rings I see out there are completely fake. There are a number of ways to tell that I won’t get into here. A great way to start is that real jade isn’t cheap. Now in Asia, the high rollers wear a very, very brilliant deep green stone that looks almost like green plastic.
First – most of this is fake. If you didn’t get a nosebleed when you paid for it (and usually a certificate of authenticity as well) you bought “not jade.” Or maybe you bought a lower quality jadeite that has been dyed. Now even if it is real, it’s expensive and frankly I’m not crazy about the look. Because, yeah, it looks like plastic or even chrysoprase, which is, in my humble opinion, a much better-looking stone and costs about 10% as much.
Some other jade fans wear this stuff called Nephrite. Which, I will say, can be awesome if it’s used in the right context and size and it is actually jade. I’ve done a few skulls with Nephrite eyes and they look badass.
The color is deep, forrest green and I dig it, BUT if you buy cheap nephrite it just looks like frozen spinach soufflé. You’ve got to check the stones in good light to make sure they don’t have too many occlusions.
Me? I’m a Burmese jadeite man. I like the lighter, creamy jadeite jade which hasn’t been dyed at all. It’s still pricey, but nowhere near the level of the candy-green stuff.
Yeah, that’s my set I wear MOST days. Those beads are made by Jason Walz over at Custom Mala Shop, but the rest is me. I get my stones from Hong Kong, usually, or order them from one of my trusted vendors when I can’t catch a good flight over there.
This new Gentleman client of mine spotted my full custom jade ring with the buddhist knots in either side and asked if I’d make him something in the same aesthetic vein.
His Gentleman will be a bit larger, actually. It’s going to take me a while to get the stone lined up and the additional custom carving done in the wax, but I’ll post pics soon.
Meanwhile, how about a SPECIAL? This is for 2018, so I call it, the
DARK DAYS OF WINTER SPECIAL
I found this freakin’ beautiful black obsidian gemstone with a bit of gold highlight. You know obsidian, right? Called “dragonglass” in a very popular, yet litigious and unnamed book series and television program starring orgies and dragons. If you’re more like me, you’ll be more interested in it because it’s also what the man’s wife uses to kill herself in Cormac McCarthy’s soul-crushing novel “The Road.”
Check this stone out:
So I’m curious if anyone is interested in a Gentleman with this gemstone. I’ve only got one, so first paid, first served and I’m only doing it with this stone because I think it’s awesome. But if your’e into it, I’m going to do it up in a Gentleman ring for $420 delivered to the US. Gonna name her the “Road Agent.” I’d vote for her in a gunmetal finish, but high-polish would look great too.
Well, that’ll do it. I’ll leave you with a shot of a recently completed Leonids ring with that beautiful Kingman turquoise. I’ve only got one more stone left, so let me know if you want her.
So, seeing as how this past year went, like most of you, I think I’ll not WISH for a happy new year because that shit doesn’t work out. Instead, let’s MAKE this fucker happy. We’re gonna beat 2018’s ass so hard that 2019 might just not show up at all. Have a good one and stay safe.