it's always cool to get a phone call out of the blue from a record company. I got one of these calls a few weeks back from Oh Boy Records, John Prine's record label, out of Nashville, Tennessee. The fellow on the phone told me that Mr. Prine is touring for his new record The Tree of Forgiveness (get yourself a copy here), and he asked me to create an image for his upcoming show at the Warfield.
He said something about a tree in heaven that doubles as a bar. I was thinking about a recent trip to a friend's property close to the Sonoma Coast, where we sat under this lovely old oak tree. So I used her as the basis of the sketch.
Here's the final below. I'm pretty happy with it.
Here are some images of the printed poster courtesy End Hymns Printing Company.
I have a funny history with John Prine; I was asked to create a John Prine poster for a Fillmore show some years back, and our band covers one of his songs that he sings with Iris DeMent. See the video for that song below as well as a cool little film about the new record.
The release party for my new kids' book ABC Oakland is on April 29 at Oaklandish, 1444 Broadway (between 14th and 15th) from 5-7 pm.
ABC Oakland is a collaborative venture between myself, Heyday, and Oaklandish. The Book is itself a celebration of Oakland, its iconic monuments, and its storied history, that is fun for younger audiences and adults alike. ABC Oakland highlights everything from famous streets and boulevard such as Broadway Avenue, to Children's Fairyland and other icons, to the Ohlone people, who have lived in what is modern-day Oakland since before Spanish colonization. Michael, Heyday and Oaklandish all wanted to make this book a fully educational body that simultaneously celebrates the Town's history and people.
In order to make this book accessible to all of the Town's children, Oaklandish and Heyday are teaming up with the Oakland Unified School District to provide a copy of 'ABC Oakland' to every kindergarten classroom in the city!
In addition to the book's release, I am teaming up with Oaklandish on a t-shirt collaboration that will be in-store the day of the event.
So please join us from 5-7pm on the 29th to celebrate ABC Oakland, listen to live music by Special Ghosts, and pick up your own copy of ABC Oakland! Here's the book trailer (thank you to Andy for his patience and iphone skillz):
Also: Meet me at Children's Fairyland on Saturday May 6 for Turn the Page, a children's book festival featuring 25 local artists and illustrators! I will be on hand to sign books all day, from 10-4.
More ABC Oakland: A is for Aviary, a home for the birds; B is for Broadway, from College to Third. C is for Cranes standing tall in the sky; D is for Dogs, wagging tails, saying “hi!” On May 26 at 7 pm, I will be hosting a fun-filled PJ Party at Diesel Book’s Oakland location! Kids are encouraged to come ready to party in their PJs and excited for cookies and milk. Look for: Milk. Cookies. Drawing. Singing!
Even more ABC Oakland: Laurel Books has generously offered to host another ABC Oakland event at their lovely shop right on Broadway and 14th Street on May 27 at 2:00 pm (which is the day after the Diesel event)! I have a feeling we'll be attempting to draw their beautiful building. Maybe I'll bring a bunch of sketchpads and we can walk around the building. There will probably be: Lots more Drawing. Even more Singing!
See you at one (or more) of these events, and thanks!
are you sitting comfortably? Good. Let me tell you a story.
Back in 2011 (my, how time flies), Jim Winters and I set out to make a follow-up book to his artists' book Queen for a Day. Jim Worked up a set of coats-of-arms, and I did portraits of my favorite queens. We hand printed the whole shebang at Inky Oxnard Studios on Rives BFK and trimmed and glued the prints into accordion-folded books. Behold.
On the left, my queens (interspersed with Jim's coats-of-arms) :
The B-52's. Siouxsie Sioux. Elizabeth Taylor from the movie Boom. Lynda Barry. Helen Lawson from the movie Valley of the Dolls. Pepper LaBeija. Rosalind Russell from Auntie Mame.
If you don't know who they are, then you haven't lived.
These are the colorful, talented, quirky, smart-as-a-whip ladies who inspire me to keep on making stuff every day.
I'm excited to announce that I will be showing along with illustrator (and mensch) Josh Ellingson at the first-ever show at Mule Gallery in the lovely North beach district of San Francisco from January 20th through February 26. The opening is on February 5, from 6-9 pm. This event is part of North Beach's First Fridays gallery walk. Join us?
Josh Ellingson & Michael Wertz
Jan 20th-Feb 26th, 2016
Opening Feb 5th, 6-9pm
80 Fresno St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
I'll be showing a bunch of the Some Wags prints : see below. All prints are framed & ready to move. We'll also have a small collection of unframed prints for sale.
Friendlies, Milkfed Press and Wertzateria Illustration are proud to offer "Home", a set of six beautifully letterpressed two-color blank greeting cards, suitable for sending or framing. Each set arrives to you signed and numbered with six folded blank cards on "Lettra" flourescent white paper and six printed envelopes. This is a limited edition of ninety-five sets. These six images are based on dogs who have lived at East Bay Animal Shelters. The cost is thirty dollars plus shipping. Get yours here.
From upper left: Home. Big Head. Dahlia. Olive. Bowie. Big Ears.
The full set.
All wrapped up.
Here's some video of the shenanigans whilst printing. The dream of the 90's is alive in the East Bay!
I'm attempting a little experiment over here. We (the royal we) have created a monthly inbox zine called Wertzeen. If you sign up, it will arrive, like a magic mist, in your email inbox. Once a month, and no more than once a month. It is a zine without the paper: a zeen. We’ll keep you informed not just of our illustrative scribblings and meanderings but also of the happenings of the Bay Area creative community. It will be good fun, and it means you no harm. It is free and easy. If this interests you, click on over to this page.
I'm posting issue #001 tomorrow, and I can't wait.
if you know me at all, you know that I do indeed love the Halloween. I have a couple (and by a couple, I mean two) of these ghost stuffies left for sale. Get yours here before it evaporates, like a mist, into the dark night.
.. and when I say LOVE you best believe I'm in LOVE L-U-V.
A one-color poster design for the Oakland Museum and Oakland Pride. I'll be with the OMCA's "mobile unit", teaching folks how to screenprint their own take-away posters at the Pride festivities. We'll be close to the intersection of Broadway and 14th. Come say hi!