Thursday, October 29, 2009

Orgasm Vodka: The Final Product

Yesterday I received the studio photos of the finished Orgasm Vodka bottle. I think it's exactly what the doctor ordered. My only regret is that the label has been printed on a regular paper instead of metallic, but the gold foil stamping also looks great.

The Founding Fathers (a.k.a. Bulgarian Perverts) promised to send me a few bottles, so hopefully I'll have a chance to study the final product up close and personal (but not THAT personal, if you have some lewd thoughts on your mind). They have almost finished the "discreet package" design for supermarkets and presently are working on posters (with my involvement in the latter). Meanwhile, you can enjoy the teaser video from YouTube:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Aeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Ahem... Sorry for that. It's just a fit of my genetic craziness about khinkali, shared by many of my compatriots, for whom eating this traditional Georgian sort of meat dumplings is always a special occasion and a joyful event, because we usually eat khinkali in a merry company of our friends and family members. Besides, it's really tasty!

Khinkali is believed to be originated from Pshavi, a historical Georgian province on the southern foothills of Greater Caucasus. From there, it spread to the neighboring places and became a trademark dish for Khevsureti, Tusheti, Mtiuleti and other highland provinces. So, my genetic affection to khinkali is doubled, because my family name, Kaishauri, also comes from that part of Georgia.

Today khinkali is widely (and wildly) popular throughout all Georgia and is considered a nationwide culinary heritage, but still, the "real" khinkali is always associated with the places of its origin. That's why many semi-prepared food manufacturers tend to distinguish their khinkali with titles based on the associated regions (Khevsuretian, Tushetian, Mtiuletian) or geographical names (Shatili, Pasanauri). Of course, these products have very little in common with the traditional cooking methods practiced in the "home regions" of khinkali, they just try to bring an air of authenticity.

This is exactly the case of the dish we have on the menu today. It's called Mtiuluri Khinkali, implying it's somehow related to Mtiuleti, one of the renowned "khinkali provinces." But, as you could have guessed, it's rather a wish than reality. In fact, the product doesn't even stand up to the standards of a regular "urban" khinkali, not mentioning a Mtiuletian one, because it features soy as an ingredient -- a cheap "mass addition" to the meat.

Of course, the highlander's genes in me were terribly outraged by this heresy, but then I remembered my three wives and eleven children, and after some brief inner struggle (about 5 seconds) decided to take the order... Alright, alright, I do such things on a daily basis and I feel no shame. Satisfied?

So, what's a Mtiuletian khinkali without something Mtiuletian? I remembered the famous series of paintings by Gigo Gabashvili, depicting drunken Khevsurs. They are not Mtiuls, but very close. I decided to make my own version of a drunken highlander, very "cartoonish" and light-hearted. Naturally, he had to be unshaven, wearing a mustache and a papakhi. A quick marker drawing, scanning, tracing, coloring and my drunken Mtiuli was all ready. Somewhere in the process he lost a front tooth, but that's OK.

Now all he needed was a dish full of khinkali, suitable in visual style. More drawing, tracing and coloring... and here it was. But wait... there was something missing from the picture. Ah, a jug of beer! What's khinkali without good fresh beer? Either that, or vodka... but I prefer beer with khinkali. My label, my choice! Waiter, a beer over here!

That's it. If you ever come to Georgia, you absolutely have to try khinkali. Heh... who am I kidding here? You WILL HAVE NO CHOICE but to try -- just don't resist, it's futile. I'm sure you're gonna like it. Well, George W. Bush certainly did, if it helps... And don't be afraid: we treat our guests only with best khinkali -- no soy, no cheap tricks, only the real thing!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Stairway from Heaven II

This particular theme in my artwork has a long history. I had painted the very first version of my "winged prostitute" in 1994 (exactly 15 years ago), when I was graduating from Nikoladze Art School. Actually, it was my diploma work, although it barely passed the test: for the examination board members it looked more like a mockery. I really can't blame them: an "angel" with the body of a streetwalker and the face of a transvestite isn't exactly what you expect to see in the diploma work of a model pupil.

When I was asked, what it represented, I said it was about the duality of the human nature. That's why I referred to the work as Dualism, although it never had any "official" title. The painting, done with oils on cardboard, beside being the largest piece of art I've ever done (105 x 85 cm), also remains to be my last oil painting, and it currently covers a hole in my apartment, face to the wall.

Later the same year I did a black-and-white version for my "Graphic Fantasies" copybook, which has a long history of its own. The copybook version had been titled Two Natures, and looked somewhat caricatural. The next year I did another remake -- this time with color pencils and ballpoint pens, which happens to be not only my first serious attempt in that technique, but also the very first work that laid the foundation of my whole artistic career as a surrealist.

Stairway from Heaven (Morning Version)

Stairway from Heaven (Evening Version)

Stairway from Heaven (Night Version)

As you can see, the remake came in three different versions: morning, evening and night. I decided to change the title from Two Natures to Fallen Angel. Years later I came up with a more original title: Stairway from Heaven.

When I first met Diana in person and we started our artist/model relationship (in step with the romantic one, that is), it was only natural for me to think about remaking the old works with her as the model. In the next two years we did a lot of photo-shooting for various projects, including the "Dianized" versions of some previous titles, but the only actual remake (or rather a sequel) we did so far was Still Waiting..., continuing the story of Waiting for Another Crank-Up.

Thus, Stairway from Heaven II was to be the second remake with Diana, and the first one, actually featuring her face (we saw only her back in the previous remake). I started to work a couple of days ago, and it took only two full days to finish the drawing.

My "winged prostitutes" are simply doomed for experiments. The original oil painting was sort of a Frankenstein monster, painted from different models (one lent me her arms and torso, but was too shy about her legs, the other was just vice-versa). Besides, it was the one and only painting where I used the elements of pointillism (in the mosaic texture of the stairway). The 1995 versions represented a real training ground for my emerging trademark technique. As for the remake with Diana, it was the first time I tested my new LYRA Osiris aquarelle pencils. They proved to be an excellent medium, perfectly suited for my style, and they were especially handy when rendering the stairway texture: they can be applied wet, which makes the dotting process a lot easier, among other things.

But that was the only experimental thing about it. As you can see from the different stages of work, all the rest proceeded as usual, from the basic layout to the intermediate processing with color pencils, subsequently refined with the ballpoint pens, as seen in the finished artwork below.

When put beside Stairway from Heaven (Morning Version), this remake perfectly illustrates the improvement of my drawing technique. But the new version looks much better not only because of that, but also because it features Diana, who can make any artwork of mine look way better than it is without her...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Orgasm Vodka

Recently I've been contacted by a new customer from Bulgaria, asking if I could make a label design for a... let's say... specific brand of vodka. The new product was titled Orgasm Vodka, but what really cracked me up was the suggestive shape of the bottle and the very idea behind it. As explained by the customer, the product was intended to have three spheres of application: as a drink, as an aphrodisiac (apparently they put something in it to "stimulate the desire") and... well... use your imagination here (the bottle's made of plastic, if your imagination needs a hint).

It was a perfect job for an old pervert like me, so I took it gladly. Having received the label dimensions and the basic concept, I eagerly set to work.

I liked the idea suggested by the customer: a naked (and preferably masturbating) young woman lying on the word ORGASM, with her legs and her lowered panties making the letter A. But the diamond shape of the label and the shortness of the word prompted me to put the woman in a seated position. With the concept fully ripened in my head, I started to draw the so-called "orgasm girl."

After finishing the drawing (represented on the left), I scanned it into the computer, traced it and completely digitized it, which would easily allow me any further manipulations and experiments. Below you can see the digital version of the original artwork, as it progressed from tracing to coloring and shading. It was the most laborious task, but the efforts were fully repaid, because now I was able to quickly (and separately, what's more important) modify all the parts of the figure -- from the hair to the shoes.
I made the three initial demo versions of the labels: blue, pink and black. Respectively, the "orgasm girl" was represented in three different images: brunette with black stockings, red-haired with pink stockings and blonde with white stockings. All three versions included a starry background, where the stars, as some of the other elements of the design, would be printed in gold or silver.
The "Bulgarian perverts," as I lovingly codenamed my new-found customers, returned the following suggestions: to shut the woman's mouth a bit (according to one of them, she was "howling at the moon") and to cover her nipples with stars (government regulations, you know). Also, I was to further experiment with the font, the colors and the placement of the Triple Pleasure tagline, because it didn't quite fit into the whole picture.After sending some more demo versions with the modified girls, I was asked to experiment with red. I revere the erotic fantasies of my customers, so I immediately dressed my girl in bright red stockings and send her back to work along with her completely color-drained version, placed against solid dark blue background (also a part of the aforementioned fantasies).
The Bulgarians liked the red versions very much, but I strongly advised them to stick to the pink color, having noted that while red is definitely sexy, pink is more "libertine" and therefore more suitable to the subject (not mentioning the deep bluish-purple color of the bottle). Also, pink looks a lot better than red, when printed on metallic paper (that was the plan). Fortunately, my arguments were heard and the ultimate choice was decided in favor of the pink versions.

At this stage I was finally provided with the actual cutting outline, fitting the label depression in the bottle precisely. As expected, it required some corrections to the design, but nothing major. Also, as requested by the printing company, we had to remove the yellow color from the woman's body entirely. Guess what? She looked even better now -- all pink, happy and orgasmic. Soon the work was done and the final version of the label, as seen below, was sent to the customer.
As a bonus, I threw in the "retro" versions of the "orgasm girls," just for fun. But the other party took the idea quite seriously, having said that they might use it for some future projects -- like a brandy for Russian export, for instance. More erotic fantasies... Fascinating!
I really enjoyed working on this project and I'm definitely looking forward to more opportunities like this -- it's exactly my line of work. As any other self-respecting erotic artist, the only thing I like drawing more than a naked woman is a masturbating naked woman! And when someone pays money for this, what more could I wish for? Only more naked women, more money and more "pervert" customers, who are not afraid of daring experiments.