Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Download Project Flop: Free for Christmas!

Did you get a Kindle for Christmas and need a good book to read? Well, I've got another present for you! It's the eBook Project Flop and it's free!

Download Project Flop for Free December 24-26!
Click here!

The only class I ever failed in college was ‘Intro To Art Education’. Ironic, as I am now the Arts Department Chair at Apex High School. So why a book about failures? Because I believe I can’t take credit for my successes unless I take credit for my failings. There are hundred’s of books about classroom successes. This is a book about failures

Kindle Edition on Amazon 
Paperback on Amazon

All project start off with the best intentions. Whether you create the lesson from scratch or borrow it from someone else, in your mind you envision success. You write your lesson trying to plan for every situation that may arise. The supplies are laid out, a presentation and a demo are reviewed and practiced, and everything should go off without a hitch.

Then, be it fate, a misalignment of the planets or perhaps the art gods are angry, the lesson falls apart. Regardless of your preparation the students don’t understand. As for your enthusiasm, the class simply doesn’t share your zeal for the project. You try to pull it all together but in the end, for lack of a better word, it fails. Worse off, you take it personally. You feel like you failed. You will be happy to know that you’re in good company.

Project Flop consists of stories from some of the biggest failures that Ian Sands ever taught at Apex High School. Some projects were domed from the start, others appeared successful till an unexpected twist occurred.

Kindle Edition on Amazon 
Paperback on Amazon

Here are some of the best failed projects!

I wanted a project that would out do any project we had done before or probably would do again. I came up with the best idea in the world. A giant replica of the Mona Lisa created out of balloons. Click Here to see The Monalloon!

Interactive Chalk Mural:
I was standing in the courtyard watching the students snap photos of their friends inserted in the art. I leaned over and asked the creative writing teacher what she thought, expecting obvious praise. “I hate it,” she said. View the Interactive Chalk Murals!

Expressive Skittle Portraits:
The project created a class full of students weary of gluing rows of candy, angry moms tired of purchasing Skittles, and a hungry mob that circled the trailer waiting for any chance that the door might open. View the Skittle Portraits!

Broken Kites:
March comes in like a lion and after having been cooped up all winter in a musky auditorium, I thought it would be fun to take the Art History class outside and let them feel the wind in their hair. View the Kites Project!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Sketch Song Project: First Release

With Sparkcon coming this weekend to Raleigh, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to release the first set of CD's from the  Sketch Song Project!

Back in the late 80’s I owned a Tascam 4 track recorder. Using regular cassette tapes, I was able to create multi-track recordings. I can compare the songs I wrote and recorded to that of an artist’s visual journal. These weren’t polished works of art by any means but rather rough sketches.

Most tracks were recorded in one take with mistakes becoming part of the song. All the songs chosen for this project hold promise. However, if one listens to the recordings with anything other than a sketchbook mentality, they will miss the value of the work.

In total there are 100 CDs produced for this project. I’ve selected 20 songs and created 5 CD’s for each song. Like all my artwork, all 100 CDs will be left somewhere to be found.

I plan to leave at least the first ten CD's at Sparkcon on Saturday. Hope you find one!!

This is the first song to be part of the Sketch Song Project. The title of the song, I used to be a Wombat is based on the name of a band I was a member of back in the late 80's. We were the Wombats and had fun playing clubs in NYC like CBGB's. All the lyrics in this song are made up of lyrics from other songs we wrote. I still find it interesting how well they strung together.

I Used to be a Wombat

I found a piece of yesterday
It was such a long road away
The sun was half way cross the sky
I pull the cover cross my eye
I never think I’ll dream again
Till you are with me my old friend
Been down before
Not anymore

Don’t think I forgot just where I sat
Don’t think I don’t know how I got where I’m at

Starts with once upon a time
Was living in a nursery rhyme
This old souls be burning out
And I might live my life without
When did the night turn into day
I’m gonna find another way, another way.
Another way

Don’t think I forgot just where I sat
Don’t think I don’t know how I got where I’m at
I used to be a Wombat

Something strange is coming over me
Somehow all of this, was meant to be
focus on the sound
Take a look around

I’ve been down before
Can’t you see me
Don’t you need me anymore
anymore, anymore

So run, hide if you must
Your heart may fade but never rust
We’ll only take the tumble yall
We all start to crumble yall
When vampires come to snatch your soul
Out of the blue they howl so
Come home, come home

I used to be a Wombat


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sketch Song Project: Burning CDs

So I went to the store and picked up some CD-R's so I could burn a song on each for the 100 Sketch Song Project

I was thinking I should pick up some printable labels but then I thought, why not just spray paint right on the CD? So I picked up some spray paint instead.

When I got home I created this little Zonkey stencil out of a cereal box. Isn't it cute!

Then I spray painted the stencil on CD #1. The song is "Use To Be A Wombat" just in case you wanted to know.

This is the CD on top and the stencil once removed below.

Here is the CD in the case. It's almost a complete package. This little project has a lot of parts!

Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sketch Song Project: Moving Along

Progress on the Sketch Song Project is moving along slow but steady. The first three album covers are complete and I've started work on the next four. If you're aren't up to speed on the project, read about the idea and how it got started here.

This is the second set of images. These are done so next step will be to cut them out, fold them up and place them inside a jewel case.

Meanwhile, the 20 songs play list is completed and all songs mixed down from cassette tape to MP3. The quality is less than perfect but what can one expect from 25 year old magnetic tape...

Stay tuned!

Friday, August 01, 2014

The "100 Sketch Songs "Project

Back in the late 80’s I owned a Tascam 4 track recorder. Using regular cassette tapes, I was able to create multi-track recordings. I can compare the songs I wrote and recorded to that of an artist’s visual journal. These weren’t polished works of art by any means but rather rough sketches. 

Most tracks were recorded in one take with mistakes becoming part of the song. Although songs held promise, if one listened to the recordings with anything other than a sketchbook mentality, they would miss the value of the work. AKA be sorely disappointed :)

I got to thinking, it would be interesting to see what would happen if I put these sketch songs out there. How would people react? Listen to the song and laugh like one would at a blind contour drawing? Maybe they would throw it away? And the long shot, maybe enjoy them for what they are.

With that thought, the 100 Sketch Song Project was born.

In total there will be 100 CDs produced for this project. I’ve selected 20 songs and will create 5 CD’s for each song. Like all my artwork, all 100 CDs will be left somewhere to be found.

Today, I started work on the first two CD inserts. 1 of 100 and 2 of 100.

Each will be folded up and inserted in a jewel case along with a CD containing only one sketch song.

Here's a look at the first CD.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Zonkey in Art History


Cave Zonkey:
The earliest depiction of a Zonkey in Art History is this cave painting dating roughly 17,000 years ago. These Paleolithic cave paintings contain over 364 images of equines as well as 90 paintings of stags but this is the only know cave painting of a Zonkey.


Barking Zonkey:
Keith Haring and I both attended the School of visual Arts in NYC. His work was a big influence on me and obviously from this work, mine was for him.

Zonkey of the Great Wall of China:
Over time, many people have scratched their names as well as other images and symbols upon the Great Wall. See above, this Zonkey image's date is unknown but scientists believe it may be as old as summer 2014.


Banksy created this tribute to the Zonkey with spray paint on a wall in an unnamed city.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Zonkey Products

That's right Coke, you know where it's at! Zonkey Cola!

Here's where I stop and pick up my groceries when I'm on my way home from virtually spray painting the rest of Apex. It's the Food Zonkey!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Trip to Wrightsville Beach

zonkey street art

A weekend excursion to Wrightsville Beach and some fun Zonkeys. Above, ate at 22 North. Yum!

I used to teach middle school in Sampson County so i gave them a Zonkey too.

zonkey street art

Zonkey will keep the pool open! Go Zonkey, go!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

More vGraffiti near and around Raleigh, NC

zonkey street art

Found a few fun places that looked like they needed a Zonkey. Above, a doorway on the side of an outdoor shopping mall. This spot didn't look all that attractive yet it was right in a place where everyone would view it. Went with pink stripes to pretty it up!

zonkey street art

They just leave these trains sitting all over the place. you think they would move them to a train yard or something but no. I was looking at some of the other graffiti and like the outline effect so i tried to mimic that with this Zonkey. I'll keep looking and working on that.

Tomorrow, i'll be in Wilmington and i'm sure i'll find a place or two that need a Zonkey!

Monday, May 05, 2014

Street Art : Gripe

start rant --

I'm not one to complain. In fact, I bet if you look through all the posts on this blog you won't find even one post where i'm complaining... till now :)

OK, here's the thing. It's 5:30 in the afternoon and you're driving home from work. The traffic is heavy, stop and go type stuff, and all you want to do is get home. Then, of all things the train lights turn red and the little bars come down so you can't pass. So what's the big deal? It's just a train right? Well no.

You see, the trains in Apex for whatever reason actually stop dead in the middle of the crossing. The lights don't stop flashing, the bars don't go up, the train doesn't move. The trains in Apex literally block traffic in Apex for an extended period of time right at the peak of rush hour.

Next, this is a photo of downtown Apex during Peakfest. Peakfest is an annual event where the streets of downtown Apex are closed (I know, what's up with Apex and road closings?) and they have venders and food and bands. So what could be so bad about that?

Well, my band the Dead Hamsters applied to be one of the bands to play but we were rejected! That's right. My home town of Apex rejected my band and instead got some lame bands from who knows where that sucked.

--end rant

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Street Art: The NC Museum of Art, Raleigh

zonkey street art

(above: Zonkey of the NCMA sign)

Yesterday, I stopped by the NC Museum of Art for their ArtScene 2014 Spring Teen Event. Three Apex student's work was accepted into  the show, which is pretty exciting.

The Museum made a day of it with live bands, food, art activities that everyone could participate in and even free entry into the current exhibition: Estampas de la raza/Prints for the People: The Romo Collection 

(This might be one of the largest  Zonkeys I've done so far)

I'd like to think I have a pretty good relationship with the NCMA. I've work on a few projects with them including taking part in a think tank group for their virtual Game Design class, leading a week long Street Art workshopand having an artwork selected for the Art of the Auction. With all that in mind, the NCMA makes a pretty good spot for a little virtual graffiti... don't you think?!

zonkey street art

(wall at the entrance to the NCMA west building)

Did you know that there was a Zonkey born in zoo in Mexico this week?? At the same time, this exhibit about Mexican prints is opening up at the NCMA.. so doesn't it make sense that a Zonkey appear (virtually) on this wall at the NCMA??

Ian Sands is considered a leader in the virtual street art movement. His virtual street art has (not) appeared on spaces in San Diego, Raleigh and even Apex, NC


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Street Art: More from Apex, NC

zonkey street art

Zonkey outside the Music & Rock School building. A great place to learn to play an instrument certainly needs great art!

zonkey street art

I'm not sure who Wrench is but I tried to match the colors of the Zonkey to compliment the writing. I like the large, forward facing Zonkey portrait. It works well on this type of space.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Street Art: Washington, D.C.

Spent last Friday in Washington DC checking out the art in the National gallery and also the Hirshhorn Museum. The photo above is part of the National Gallery's Sculpture Garden. This is part of the bench that surrounds a fountain pond. In the back is a stabile by Calder. I choose the red stripes on the Zonkey to compliment Calder's red.

zonkey street art

I really enjoyed the Hirshhorn's recent exhibit titled Damage Control: Art and Destruction. There was one work of art where the artist didn't like what he created so he burned it and baked it into cookies. How fun os that?! You know what else is fun? A Zonkey. So now the Hirshhorn has one. Their collection is now complete!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Street Art: Apex and Raleigh

Along with the street art I saw when I was in San Diego, I'm now trying to do a better job of documenting the Zonkey street art I find from all my travels.  

Here are some recent examples from Apex and Raleigh. I also have some to post from my trip to DC.. coming soon!

zonkey street art

Zonkey on a train in Apex NC

zonkey street art

Zonkey on a wall at City Market Raleigh, NC

Words in Art

April 12, 2014 | 3:00p – 7:00p

Join us for an afternoon of wine and cheese, and book and poetry readings. View our April exhibition, Words in Art, including the Apex High School Showcase and meet some of the talented writers and poets working in the Raleigh area. 

Text Art by Emma

To celebrate this event, Apex Art Teacher Ian Sands has made three of his books available as free downloads!


Jirst Bluefin's biggest problem is being ignored. Kacela Middleton is the one person in the world who is never ignored. Jirst is about to discover that sometimes it's better to be ignored for no reason than to become popular over nothing at all.

Free Sunday and Monday
Amazon Kindle, Download Now!

Tucker's Aunt Nyce is his mom's little sister only she isn't that little and she isn't that nice. He has to get used to it though because he's stuck working at her beach restaurant The Crab & Grab for the next two weeks.

Free Sunday and Monday
Amazon Kindle, Download Now!

Crushing Turtles

Tori crushes turtles. She crushes box turtles and painted turtles, sliders and musk turtles. She secretly wishes she could go to the beach and step on baby sea turtles as they leave the nest. The only turtle Tori hasn’t crushed; the only one she wants to crush, lives in that lake. It waits at the bottom buried in the mud. Tori has never seen it but she knows its there... and she hates it.

Free Sunday and Monday 
Amazon Kindle, Download Now!

Text Art by Lizzie

Text Art by Madyson

Text Art by Curtis