Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Art of Bomonster

Call him, Dear Bo, or Mr. Monster...I don't know. I first meet him at a Goodguys show and later we talked again at Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend. He goes by the name Bomonster and 'Art' is the name of his game, precisely in the world of art, it's called scratchboard. I was so curious and jazzed about his style, I asked him to do something for the blog.

You can call it Lowbrow, Hot Rod, Comic or Underground, it's just bitchin' and every hand stroke comes from his heart. If you're like me, trying to draw a simple line is hard, you can appreciate his talent.

A young Bomonster picked up on art watching his hot rodding dad create pen and ink drawings of cars. Later he saw a concept pen and ink by Ed Newton where Newton had used black lines and dashes of white paint on the ends to highlight the illusion of chrome...Bomonster was hooked. Today while not scratching away, he works as a professional in the advertising world.

I often hear my artist wife use the art world terms, loose or tight, his creations are loose, fun and inviting to gaze the small details. After you see how he does it, spend some time on his website to check out finished pieces. While you're checking them out, look for a very small 1964 Kellison Astra GT somewhere in each...his dream car.

The finished art, read on to see how he does it.

Flathead progress 1: I start with a new black scratchboard surface with my previously drawn image transferred to the surface. I like graphite. The Pizz told me he likes carbon paper. Wearing white archival gloves to keep skin oils off the surface (or is it to keep the black ink off my hands?), I start scratching, occasionally blowing off the the residue shavings so I can see what I’m doing. Image © Bomonster.

Flathead progress 2: My work is a lot of repetitive scratch lines. To simulate squishy brain matter, it’s all about curving the lines - sometimes letting the lines touch to create a highlight - and letting the edges stay black to define the direction. Image © Bomonster.

Flathead progress 3: For the flathead motor, I basically outline and and start to fill in details. What you don't see in this picture are the reference photos in the background. Image © Bomonster.

Flathead progress 4: For the chrome air cleaners, I scratch almost all the way to white but leave thin black parallel lines to look like chrome reflections. I added Ed Roth flies for low brow effect. Image © Bomonster.

Flathead progress 5: More brain matter has been added and the eyes start to take shape. Also at the base of the brain stem I added something I try to sneak into every one of my pieces - my car - a 1964 Kellison Astra. Image © Bomonster.

Flathead progress 6: After outlining the eyeball veins - which look a lot like flames in this case, I fill in the whites with more scratch marks. Image © Bomonster.

Flathead progress 7: Spinal cords and disks are added. Not exactly an anatomically-accurate rendition you’d find in a medical book, but close enough. Image © Bomonster.

Flathead 8: Here’s where the magic happens. My style has been described as a “high intensity drawing style” and I really liked that description. I was originally going to do something different with the background but felt that in this case “high intensity” could only help. So I start scratching and scratching and.... Image © Bomonster.

Flathead 9: ...and scratching. It’s important to keep the lines parallel and directional like they are glowing off the subject matter. Sometimes to make sure I’m on the right path, I’ll jump ahead and throw some little lines down where I’m heading so that when I get there I can check to see if I’m still keeping them going in the right direction. Image © Bomonster.
Flathead 10: This is a very important step. Once finished, I stand the work up and stare at it while enjoying a refreshing beverage. Inevitably, I’ll see something that can be better. Then I give it the “overnight” test. The next day, with fresh eyes, I always see something that could be better. Once done, I spray a matte fixative over the surface and frame for the show. Image © Bomonster.

Flathead 12: No matter how much you love your own work, there’s nothing more humbling than turning it over to a gallery for a public hanging. Here it sits at Gasoline Gallery waiting to be hung next to a bunch of very talented and much more famous artist’s work. Image © Bomonster.
Check out Bo's website for some bitchin' work at,

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