I am sure you are asking yourself why in the hell I just stated that.
Truth is, have been sitting here for easily 30 minutes trying to figure out how to start this post and that is what sounded best. I have the feeling many of you reading this though agree with me.
The Cleveland, Ohio, America, World-Renowned artist Derek Hess has been creating concert fliers, illustrations, artwork and prints for nearly 20 years and finally someone had the right state of mind to do a documentary on him.
To say I am excited is an understatement. I have been a fan of Hess since I was a kid and have had the pleasure of meeting him multiple times. I am proud to say I have a few of his prints from over the years and one day hope to obtain an original.
I know the man has been through a lot and I am very curious to learn more about him soon. I can say he is a quality person and I know this documentary is going to be amazing.
The following comes from the press release:
“Forced Perspective” is a documentary film showcasing the life of artist Derek Hess directed by Nick Cavalier. The film illuminates Derek’s struggle with alcoholism, bipolar disorder, depression and watches him triumph over his personal demons while showing how these experiences help shape his artwork. From Derek’s early flyer work and celebrated sketches to his elaborate mixed media pieces, this film showcases the evolution of Derek’s art and the emotional ripples it leaves behind in the world.
It’s been a while since I have done an interview here on BHP but I thought I would make it up all you readers out there by creating a super interview. I have been wanting to do this for a while now and thank the fine women who make up the Northeast Ohio Rock ‘n’ Roller Girls.
Seeing women of all shapes and sizes skate as a pack on a oval track is indeed something that everyone needs to see. With music playing, announcers calling out the match, and the fans cheering their team the bout is just as entertaining as any other sport out there.
Just in case you have no clue what I am talking about, I speak of roller derby. Specifically women’s indoor flat track.
If you have not heard of roller derby you are missing out. Maybe you live under a rock or just don’t get out much but roller derby is a pretty big deal. Don’t agree? Check it out live at least once, I promise you will think differently.
Not only do the girls skate their hearts out all season long but they also get involved with charity and local organizations. Honestly, out of all of the sporting events I have been to in my life I have never seen the wholeheartedness that is seen during a roller derby bout. When you go to a match you are also going to a fundraiser of sorts with the money collected from the raffle tickets and beer sales sold by the roller derby grils during and after the bouts.
Last October I attended a roller derby match at the Summit County Fairgrounds. The bout was between the Northeast Ohio Rock ‘n’ Roller Girls and the Buffalo, NY Assault City Roller Girls. Along with a nice sized crowd, I cheered the home team on to a victory. It was actually the final bout of the season so not only was it a pretty important win for the team but also a start to a well deserved break.
For those of you who do not think roller derby is a sport you really need to reconsider. The girls wear helmets just like football players do, elbow and knee pads like pro skaterboarders wear, and mouth guards (do you see what I am going here?). To top that, their playing grounds are flat concrete surfaces where they compete to score points by pushing, blocking, and shoving the opposing team.
I watched girls fall hard on to the concrete that night only for them to get back up and jump back in the game. A couple of them took falls so hard I don’t think I would have gotten up myself but they were in it to win it and brushed themselves off and jumped back in the game. It was an exciting event with the fans going crazy and both teams trying their hardest for a win. When all was said and done the final whistle was blown and the Rock n Roller Girls finished their final bout of the year with a victory.
So who are these girls? Some are moms and wives, some are students, and many carry successful full time jobs. They are people just like us and they do not hide their secret of roller derby status like they belong in Fight Club. They are good people with families and friends with their own lives outside of the rink.
Regardless of what their day gig is or how they live their lives, they all are part of a sport where practice is mandatory and teamwork is key. When the team comes together they become their own supportive family not only helping one another but also helping the community.
Recently I had the privilege to get some questions answered by a slew of the wonderful girls of the Northeast Ohio Rock & Roller Girls as well as a couple of their referees. Instead of interviewing one team member I decided to interview as many as I could. Be prepared, this is a long read…
So the holidays are over, the presents were unwrapped, and even though I was happily satisfied with all the J-Day gifts I received I felt as if I lacked items for entertainment purposes.
I was a good boy, I done no wrong, in fact this was the first New Years since I was 12 I was completely sober so I think that means presents for me from me. I am just looking for some excuses to buy crap…
Now it is show and tell time. Lookie what I got/have/own…
First up is something I hesitated to buy because it was not something that I needed at all. Hell, none of the items I recently purchased were things I needed… Anyways, I am currently the proud owner of a MC Chris action figure. The thing is poorly made, can’t stand up on it’s own, does not move, and was not designed to do anything. It just lays there motionless, with no desire to entertain; but here is the kicker… it is awesome. It is so awesome that it now is one of my favorite non-animate objects that I own.
Why would I dare say something so poorly made is awesome? Well it reminds me of a toy you would find from the early 1900’s at your grandparent’s house, something you would look at and scratch your head at. I really think I have a piece of treasure here and to prove it I bought it for $25 from the MC Chris website and now it is on the very same site for $75 (they are claiming to have 3 left). Why the price increase? Well it seems as if there are only 50 in existence as the 450 others were lost in the order according to a bulletin that MC Chris had posted on MySpace.
Next up is a Derek Hess print I have had my eyes on for a while. Last year I interviewed the Cleveland rock artist and remember questioning his affordable prices. He wanted to make sure he sold his work at prices that people without a lot of money could afford. Well I am without a lot of money and I love his work. I was actually buying a print for my good friend for a belated J-Day gift and could not help myself in getting one for my own house.
This is my third Derek Hess print I now own and I know I have many more to acquire in the future. I have already framed it and will place it accordingly in my dwelling so that all can see. One day I hope to have an original piece in my collection…baby steps for now.
If you would like a print for yourself you might want to act fast as this offset print is limited to 300 and I scored numbers 204 and 205 for myself and said friend. Once 300 is reached it will be sold out and very difficult to find.
For my media pleasure I picked up a copy of the hilarious DVD Pineapple Express. If you have not seen the movie yet I promise you some foul mouthed stupid humor plus a little bit of action. The duo of Seth Rogen and James Franco are perfect for this derranged adventure involving two stoners.
Watching the movie last night had me rolling. I enjoyed it a lot more than originally when I saw the movie in the theaters seeing how it was ruined by two jackasses in front of me who clearly pregamed before the movie. The other benefit of DVD over going to the movies are having extra content. The deleted scenes were not too entertaining but the gag reel was hilarious.
Today I ventured to the Borders book store I used to work at a few years back. I went there looking for a vegan cupcake book. I know, what the hell was I thinking right? Well have you ever had a vegan cupcake? Exactly. Once you have you will want to know how it was made.
Let’s get back to why I went to Borders. Well that vegan cupcake book was nowhere to be found so I kept looking around and found something that I have been wanting for a while, a copy of Anthony Bourdain‘s A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines. The book captures Anthony Bourdain and his travels for food. I can not wait to find some free time to sink my eyes into it.
My wife also found a book she knew I would have interest in called Punk: The Whole Story that usually retails for about $25. It was sitting there in the budget section with the attractive price of $4.99 so I grabbed it seeing how I never pass on a good punk rock deal. Full color hardbound book full of punk rock history, a great find if you ask me.
As I finish up this bragging of a blog I keep telling myself there was one more thing that I purchased…something very recent.
Oh yeah. I bought an album on iTunes today. Dirty south punk meets crunk act Whole Wheat Bread recently released their third CD on iTunes before it hits shelves and I could not wait. The Afro Punk rockers have been favorites of mine since they first released their material in 2005. The album Hearts of Hoodlums will be released in stores on January 20th. Inauguration coincidence? Perhaps. That also happens to be the day back in 1977 that I started kicking ass and taking names or however you say that (hint, hint).
Well I guess my show and tell time is over and I should go sit back down on the magic carpet and see what the next little kid out there had…until next time.
Here’s a Whole Wheat Bread video just for the heck of it:
Whole Wheat Bread covering Rancid‘s “Roots Radicals” featuring Chris from Stretch Armstrong at Peabody’s in tropical Cleveland, Ohio
One of my goals this year was to have an article I did featured in a magazine. I achieved that goal earlier this year with help from Cleveland artist Derek Hess. He was kind enough to answer some questions and the article first appeared on DeviantNation.com (NSFW 18+). To my surprise I submitted the article to a music magazine and it appeared in a June 2008 issue of Hails And Horns. I was thrilled to have the article take up three pages of a metal magazine that was in color. The issue is now a back issue now but I am sure you can grab a copy on Interpunk.com.
I thought I would post it here for anyone interested:
Derek Hess is one hell of an artist. Throughout the years, this pro-Cleveland resident has created some memorable works of drawings, CD cover art, and even concert fliers that have art collectors going mad. His work is commonly known through the music and tattoo scene and is even featured at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Louvre in Paris.
The easiest way to describe his art is to see it for yourself with help from the Derek Hess website. His art is a little dark and a little ingenious. Some works are dark lines morphed into faceless humans holding bleeding hearts while others show more empathy and detail.
Many bands have had the privilege to have Derek Hess’ art grace the covers of their CDs. His art showcases have traveled the globe entertaining many. There really is not anyone quite like him.
Not only has he has great success with his drawing abilities but Derek Hess also launched the successful clothing line Sthress Clothing and even helped formulate the Sthress Fest music festival.
Recently I had the opportunity to chat with Derek Hess. He was more than kind to answer some questions I have been pondering over for quite some time.
First and foremost, I am just curious how you got your start as an artist.
I booked a club here in Cleveland [called] the Euclid tavern from 1989 through 1995. At the same time I was studying printmaking at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Since the shows were my responsibility, I started making fliers to promote them, which then became prints. The two came together beautifully, the union of two of my favorite things, music and art.
Do you have any artist influences that helped motivate you?
My father, Heinrich Kley, and Gil Kane all were big influences on my art.
What kind of music did you listen to growing up? Were you into the music scene as a kid in Cleveland?
Metal. I was born in 1964, so when I turned 13 it was the big three: Kiss, Queen, and Aerosmith (only up to draw the line), which then lead to Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, UFO, Judas Priest, AC/DC, [Led] Zeppelin, etc… I was into the scene here when I got a little older, mostly the metal scene, then in the mid-eighties there was an awesome crossover scene where the metal kids and the hardcore kids would attend both shows. One night I might be at a Voivod or Raven show, and then the next night Circle Jerks or the Dead Kennedy’s.
I remember when I was a kid seeing your concert flyers of your work posted all over the concert venues and coffee shops (Arabica coffee house in Coventry). Most notably Cop Shoot Cop and Helmet stick out the most to me when I think back. How were you able to create these posters for these now classic artists?
Those were shows I booked at the euc [Euclid Tavern].
When did the concert flyers become less of an advertisement and more of an art? How did this come to be?
It [fliers] happened in the 60’s with the psychedelic posters. The counter culture at the time was just that, counter the culture, so they made the poster works of art to go against the gain of strict graphics.
You seemed to have kept a low key for a while and soon your artwork exploded all over the music and art scene. Can you tell me a particular piece you drew that possibly gained you a lot of attention?
I guess there were several things, a story in Newsweek in the early 90’s, the Louvre [in France] requesting a body of my work around the same time, the grand opening concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame poster, and the two Converge CD cover[s] are a few that come to mind.
Speaking of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Louvre in Paris, some of your artwork is showcased at both locations. How does it feel to have your work on display at these two impressive museums?
Well, very honored and lucky.
Seriously, what has kept you in Cleveland all these years? Seems to me when people get big in this area they usually pack up and leave.
I’m pro Cleveland. The people here are real, most tours stop here, and the Browns have no logo on their helmets. They play on natural turf in an open air stadium on the shores of Lake Erie in the elements as it should be. I’ve been to many places, but nowhere else I’d like to live, except Germany, Switzerland, Detroit, and Omaha.
One thing I have always admired about you is your prices for your work seem to be affordable. I have been to recent shows and have purchased posters for a mere $15. Friends of mine have gotten actual prints for less than $300. Not that I am complaining, but why do you sell your work for so cheap?
I feel art should be available to the masses. Not everyone has the money to purchase big ticket items but they still want a piece of art. Prints only cost so much to produce and artist that charge huge prices for prints and posters are being unfair to the buyer.
Your art has also become a staple in the tattoo community. How does it feel to have your artwork become a permanent piece on someone’s body?
Speaking of flattering, you were voted one of Cleveland’s sexiest men of 2007. Any thoughts on that?
Yeah, must have been slim pickings last year.
Your clothing line Strhess is amazing and I see a lot of people including myself sporting it. How did the idea for a clothing line come about? How does it feel to run into someone on the street wearing your art?
We realized not everyone could afford $200 for a print or even $50 for a print so we wanted to develop something that was in a price range that everyone could afford. It always feels good to see someone wearing Strhess [clothing], but at the same time I can’t… like… it’s a little weird…ha ha.
You helped illustrate some comic books in the past. Can you give me a little incite of how that came to be?
I’ve only done three covers for Captain America which was a huge honor since he’s been my all time favorite [super hero]. They [Marvel] came to me about the job which was really cool. Apparently one of the Marvel guys saw an interview I did in a tattoo magazine and they showed one of my cap [Captain America] tattoos, so he hit me up.
Aside from creating prints and shirts you also have drawn out CD covers for bands. What are some of your favorites? I myself dig the Converge cover you did.
Yeah, I like that Converge one too. The first Murder Your Darlings from 2005 [is another]. I’m pretty happy with the In Flames one too.
Do you still do artwork for any bands? Can you tell me who you may have recently worked with?
Yeah, but I really haven’t been doing posters much anymore. I’m working on a CD cover right now for Since Yesterday, they’re a hardcore band from Turkey.
You actually had some of your artwork banned by Wal-Mart. I believe it was the Methods Of Mayhem CD cover art? How was it working with Tommy Lee?
It was very cool, and Tommy was the easiest client to work for. Everything I sent him he was all about [with] no changes. They [Tommy and crew] were “off the hook, go with it”.
You seem to surround yourself around the emo, hardcore, indie scene. What is it about those genres of music you like so much?
Well, it’s fresh (or was when it started). The content of the music is solid, as is the presentation.
What was it like to be on LA Ink? Did you see more people checking out your website after that episode premiered?
It was cool. I was a little weirded out having my shirt off for the country to see….maybe I’ll get some modeling jobs out of it 😉 The web site did get a ton of hits the night it aired and the MySpace page got like 600 new friend requests. TV is good.
You have a lot of art shows worldwide these days at various galleries, where was your first overseas show and how did it turn out?
May of 1999 in Hamburg, and it was great. I’ve always done well in Germany. You can check out all shows, past, present, and future in chronological order in my exhibits page (off of my news page) on www.derekhess.com.
What is next for Derek Hess?
We have several books in the works, and [will] continue to do the gallery shows.
If someone has never heard of you, Derek Hess before, how would you describe your artwork to them?