Showing posts from July, 2011

Alan Ilagan Cheesecake Boy in Progress, Part 2

My new painting, Beach Bum, Starring Alan Ilagan, is progressing swimmingly, and I wanted to take a short break to share a little more of the concept. Previously, I posted a cropped version of the sketch focusing on the all-important "Pin-Up Face." Today's post is all about "The Situation." No, I don't mean the guy from Jersey Shore. I'm referring to the circumstances leading to our pin-up boy's wardrobe malfunction.
A glance through the archives of classic pin-up art shows us just how difficult it was for women to keep their clothes on. The streets are littered with obstacles when you're a Cheesecake model. Everything from stray nails... mischievous darts... curious crustaceans could result in a hapless flash of one's unmentionables.

And let's not forget gravity!

The inspiration for the scenario in my new painting, however, comes from an even more unlikely (but every bit as legendary) source -- the Coppertone Girl:

Tally Embry Adv…

Alan Ilagan Cheesecake Boy in Progress, Part 1

As the intense heatwave continues outside, I am working diligently in my air-conditioned studio on a seasonally-appropriate new Cheesecake Boy painting -- Beach Bum, Starring Alan Ilagan.

If you’re a fan of good old-fashioned seaside debauchery, you should enjoy this one! Aside from all the exposed flesh coming your way, one important element in a pin-up painting that never gets its due is the facial expression of the model. Granted, this might not always be what the viewer notices first. However, the “oopsie” face -- a titillating combination of surprise and embarrassment with just enough of an arched eyebrow to make you wonder how accidental the wardrobe malfunction really is — was a crucial part of the cheesecake aesthetic honed by painters like Gil Elvgren and Art Frahm. Here are some gloriously cheesy examples:

When I started the Cheesecake Boy series, I wanted to capture that same “OH-NO-my-undies-are-showing!” expression in male form. Thus, I spent many hours in front of a mirro…


My new painting, Sanctuary, evolved over the past several months during which we launched the You Will Rise Project, a website that features artwork, stories, poems, videos and other creative expressions by victims of bullying. Consequently, I began reflecting on my own experience of being bullied and used it as the inspiration for this piece.

I was constantly made fun of as a child for being effeminate, quiet, tall, and uncoordinated. My coping mechanism was to disappear into my imagination. There, I could explore fantastical worlds where bullying, self-doubt, and fear were never welcome. A gangly, awkward boy from the Midwest could become a fairy tale princess or a glamorous movie star. And when the white walls of home felt too confining, more enchanted surroundings were just around the corner. Art gave me a means of capturing my daydreams, making them real, and seeing the work of other artists meant being invited into their secret worlds too.

I’ve been deeply saddened to hear abou…