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Sketchbook Porn: Joey Veltkamp

The cozy, bear-hugging, positive-as-fuck world of Joey Veltkamp is all about comfortable things, about sowing seeds of goodwill with don't-worry-be-happy aphorisms stitched on both sides of a thick, handmade quilt or flag. Each is emblazoned with statements like: "A day without lesbians is like a day without sunshine!!” and "Your love is my drug." Of course, cutting through the warm fuzzies are none-too-shrinking political statements and sentiments—just as bright, bold and unrelenting as Veltkamp's sizzling pink/plaid/dayglo palette. Veltkamp took up quilting only two years ago, but the transition to a new medium (for which he clearly has a knack) hasn't caused him to abandon pen and paper altogether.

"I feel bad saying it, but I really never integrated sketchbooks into my artistic practice," Veltkamp says. "They are mostly just a convenient way to keep my scattered notes about art in one place. I’m always jealous of artists who can keep amazing sketchbooks, like Jeffry Mitchell. It wasn’t until the flag series that I actually started to enjoy using my sketchbook and saw the value in it. Prior to that, I mostly worked on loose scraps of paper that I’d stack in a corner of my studio until I moved and then I’d throw it all away. I have an awful memory, so I use the books as a way to jot down really quick ideas and notes. I have found that if I don’t write something down right away, I probably won’t remember it later. It’s also a great way to work out fast designs for the flags. Most don’t get made (I have a lot of overly sincere impulses!) but I’ve included some images of some of the ones that have been completed." The following are excerpts from Veltkamp's sketchbook with comments by the artist.

The following are excerpts from Neuwirth's sketchbook with comments by the artist. - See more at: http://www.cityartsonline.com/articles/sketchbook-porn-dylan-neuwirth#st...

Sketch for a group drawing show. The finished piece was a drawing but before that I had to actually make a flag because I almost always need a source reference (even if I'm drawing a can of beer that I've drawn tens of times before!).


From a series of flags about Kesha and summer in Seattle. A little more aggressive than my usual work, but I think Kesha (like a lot of folks) is pretty pissed off at the Patriarchy!


One of my pages on notes for my upcoming Joe Bar show. It’s always interesting to go back and see how close the end product ends up being compared to the original idea.


An early drawing of an aborted quilt series about American Folk heroes (turns out it’s not a very diverse group, and they’ve already been celebrated enough—let’s celebrate new heroes!)

The latest body of work is a series of flags, but I wanted them to have more weight, so these flags are masquerading as pillowcases. Here’s the sketch that shows how I decided to present them.

A flag that I haven’t gotten around to completing yet…


For my latest commissions, I’ve been doing drawings of items that aren’t already in my wheelhouse so it’s been a really great way to in-fill some of my artistic gaps (such as my strange inability to draw a decent tree). I typically will break things up into sections and work out areas individually and then take those and build them into a final composition.

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