The Artist Speaks – Part 1

Hello readers. It is I, the artist for The Object.

A metal cast block showing a Cthulhu like squid figure.

In late June 2012, a relic was found in modern-day Iraq, dated to roughly 20,000 BC, depicting a strange, squid-like creature. Tests are being conducted at Boston University to ascertain the origin of this artifact.

I’ve remained voiceless for the entirety of the Object’s youth. Why?

Because I’m the art guy, not the writer.

But now that The Object has matured and blossomed from its humble beginnings, it may be time for my presence to be known.

And after all, haven’t we all got a story to tell?

What I’d like to share in this first part of my introduction is just a foray into my process and patterns of thought when making art.

On an average day, it goes a little something like this:

Text Message Received.

Winston: Hey I’d really like to see a picture of the small squid creature.

Justin: Ok, what’s it doing?

Winston: It’s outside the window of Lillia’s house, on the roof.

Justin: Neat. Ok, let me see what I can come up with.

And that’s basically it. Winston takes his thoughts, loads them into the double-barreled shotgun and fires them in my direction. I must then catch each of the mind-bullets and translate the world that Winston sees into a visual language.

Take the picture below for instance.

A small glowing squid Cthulhu type creature floats.

Cute little thing, right?

The difficulty with creating the above image was this: How can I portray that this creature is on a roof, outside a window, and still get a detailed close-up? The only way to show the window on the roof is to be far away; if I only made a close-up of the squiddy, the window might not be noticeable as that particular window.

So I split the middle, and drew both. The top panel gives the necessary sense of scale and luminosity for the little guy, and the bottom panel gets you up close and personal with our orange cutie.

We hope to one day see plushies of our glowing little guy in Barnes and Noble.

The giant object over Louisville hides the sun.

Half the time painting this, the piece was upside down.

Speaking of colors, that tends to be another theme in The Object; the deep oranges and reds, colors of rust and dirt and fire, colors of sand and lonely sunsets.

I envision Louisville under the Object as a land of perpetual dusk, where the sun’s light struggles to edge around the massive sphere and climb through alleyways and abandoned roads until the once radiant sunlight crawls as a mere cinderous glow.

The image to the left is one of my personal favorites. It is also the longest, top to bottom, of any image I’ve made so far. This encourages the viewer to “read” the image.

You start at the top, noticing details of some unusual landscape. You continue, slowly realizing that you are looking at the bottom of something, and that the bottom of the image is actually a skyline.

Beyond the flat facts of a picture, though, is something much more important. It’s my opinion that a piece of art should try to evoke some emotion or mood. The best kind of artworks tell a story, raise some questions, and most of all, make you feel something.

A blind homeless man holds a sign that reads The End is Nigh.

This originally began as a quick portrait to test a few new painting techniques, but I got carried away.

The above painting is one of my favorites, for two reasons.

1. It is one of my best works, in terms of technical ability, message and mood.

2. I really love the television trope of “the blind homeless man that somehow knows too much“.

With this piece, I really stressed the feeling of desolation. When looking at this image, I want the viewer to be uneasy. I want them to feel the stillness of mad certainty. I want them to be haunted.

What originally started as a way to play around with some new Photoshop brushes turned into a fully fledged painting, and Winston liked it enough to include it in the story.

When your art can inspire the writing, you know it’s damn good.

That, or you’re working with a truly great writer.

Stay tuned for more awesome posts, and the second part to my introduction, which will show you, step by step, how I create a piece of art for The Object.

If you’d like to see more of my work, click here.

Take care, my friends.

~ Justin ~


The Drought is Free Today!

The Drought by Lily White is free again today on Amazon.  Grab a copy, ’cause it’s good stuff!

Remember, you don’t have to own a Kindle to download and read this book.  You can store it and read it in your Kindle Cloud Reader, then transfer it to any future Kindle you buy.

Each download helps the author, whether you intend to read it or not!

Other ways to help out are to scroll down and agree with the tags on the book’s page.  Also “liking” the page helps, too.

Free on Amazon


A Circle in the Woods FREE today

A Circle in the Woods is free again today for Kindle, so go download it before I cry.

Also, you probably noticed that I didn’t post Episode Six last night.  The cable shorted out on my laptop two days ago and the computer died shortly thereafter.  That’s put me behind in finishing the episode, but I’ll have it up soon.

Now go download my book.

Circle Free; Also, Help Kill Ted

Tomorrow and Tuesday (May 7th & 8th), A Circle in the Woods will once again be free on Amazon.

My goal is to give away even more books than I did last time, so I need all the help I can get.  Please share this post on your Facebook, Twitter, etc., or just copy and paste the link to the book itself.  More readers of A Circle in the Woods could mean more readers of The Object.

So head on over to Amazon and download a free copy of A Circle in the Woods, and when you’re done with that, tell everyone you know about it.

In the meantime, for those of you who are caught up on The Object, take a vote on what should happen to Ted in Episode Six:



You’re Not Gonna Make It (But I Am)

That’s what all writers like to think about themselves and each other, at least.  I’ve spent the past two weeks researching every aspect of self-publishing and self-promotion and I’ve come to realize it’s all a big nasty mess.

I’ve read blog entry after blog entry on How to Sell 1000 Copies of Your Book in a Month and How I Went From Being a Dipshit 9 to Fiverr to a Full-Time Writer with Doritos Crumbs Piling Up on My Chest Almost as Fast as Money Piles Up in My Bank Account.

All the advice is the same, all the popular tools for self-promotion are the same, all the tips & tricks & insider secrets are the same.  And guess what?  All the results are the same (give or take a small and brief and meaningless injection of sales for some, here and there).  I’m not seeing any huge success stories stemming from these promo teams and review sites.  What I’m seeing is unknown authors being sold a false sense of success and celebrity.  Yeah, you moved 40 copies of your book today, and Amazon’s ridiculous algorithm has launched you into the Top 50 of your category.  So what?  You made eighty bucks and no one knows who you are.  Next week, your sales are likely to return to what they were yesterday.

As I browse the dozens of FREE TODAY! ebooks being Tweeted each every 47 seconds, I notice something else.  The books are all the same, too.  Regurgitated Twilight.  Regurgitated Harry Potter.  Regurgitated Tom Clancy, James Patterson, Stephen King.  Bland.  Boring.  Reiterative.  Crap.

Anyway, most writers who happen upon this blog post will leave it not liking me very much.  I don’t care.  Aside from a few good folks I’ve met and formed a correspondence with on Authonomy, “a place where writers come to get their hopes up,” I can’t stand writers–especially ones who spend more time honing their marketing skills than their storytelling, whose pitches are better than their books, whose book cover is top-notch but first page is riddled with grammatical errors and cliches.  Writers effin’ suck, man.  They bore me to tears.  (Not you John Eric Lucia Ross Simon Jason Becca Splinker Groaner Mary Ellie.  And especially not YOU, the writer I didn’t mention who happens to read this.  Haha.)

I’m not writing for writers.  I’m writing this for readers.  It’s my plea to you: get behind me, Satan.  Subscribe to this blog or bookmark it or just remember it and come back to read The Object.  It’s freaking spectacular.  And if you have a few bucks to spare and want to read a book that’s guaranteed, if nothing else, to not regurgitate past bullshit to make new, more sour bullshit, then buy A Circle in the Woods.  It’s the best book you’ll run across today, whether you like it or not.  And hell, if you don’t want to spend any money or you can’t afford it, email me at winstonemersonATgmailDOTcom and I’ll send you a copy free.  Just promise you’ll come back here and tell me what you thought of it.  I don’t mind if you think it’s horrible.  I just want you to read it and form an opinion.

And I don’t want you wasting your time on the shit Amazon and the rest of the publishing industry are peddling.

That’s all my ranting for now.  But there’s gonna be a lot more.  Stay tuned.

A Circle in the Woods, available on Amazon Kindle

“All my life you’ve been pacing around me in circles. What do you want from me? Why don’t you just take it and leave me alone?”

In a place where people have been disappearing for years, a little girl gets lost in the woods. Meet the man who saves her life.

On a late summer morning in 1958, Phil Stapleton discovers and rescues five-year-old Brittany Duncan after she spends two days lost deep in the Kentucky woods. Two months later, when a tree branch crashes through the rickety trailer where Brittany lives, Phil takes the girl and her mother under his roof. What follows is a decade of mystery, terror, violence, and tragedy, with no escape in sight.

A Circle in the Woods is a novel that lulls and charms its reader while quietly drawing a knife.

“A significant literary achievement. . . . At times the writing is genuinely brilliant.” — an editor at HarperCollinsUK

“The new generation of literary fiction.” — Casey Watson, author of The Boy No One Loved: A Heartbreaking True Story of Abuse, Abandonment and Betrayal

A Circle in the Woods on Amazon, $4.99

The Drought, a very long small-town novel

While you’re waiting for The Object, check out The Drought, by Lily White, available only for Amazon Kindle.

Already read The Drought?  It needs Amazon reviews! =)

Buy The Drought on Amazon!

Want to read more about Lily White?  Check out her blog, Lily White’s Nightmares and Blurbs!

And as always, keep an eye on the sky. =)

My Doppelganger – a short story

Originally published in the WKU Zephyrus in 2009.  Winner of the Ladies Literary Club Fiction Award.

“My Doppelganger” is now available on Amazon as part of a short story collection:

The End of the Party: Three Stories and a Poem

by Lily White