On our eighth episode, we sit down with Dustin Oswald, AKA Dorshak Bloch, who owns and operates Bombs Away Art. We talk about drawing, ‘good’ band shirts, music gurus, growing up in our small (or smaller) towns, the new book, and much more!
As a special bonus, our friend Philly B. stopped by for our brand new intro, “Talkin’ Turtles”.
Be sure to check out Dustin’s work at bombsawayart.com
Comic book creators help Speeding Bullet celebrate anniversary
Submitted by Speeding Bullet Comics
Two well-known comic book creators, Sterling Gates and Dorshak Bloch, will help Norman's Speeding Bullet Comics celebrate the store's anniversary on June 18.
Speeding Bullet Comics, 614 N. Porter Ave., welcomes writer Sterling Gates and writer-artist Dorshak Bloch to the store for an exclusive signing event from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 18.
“Both creators have strong Oklahoma ties, making it a perfect way to mark the anniversary of our shop, which our family has owned and operated since June of 1998,” said Matthew Price, who owns the store with his wife, Annette. Both owners were born and raised in Oklahoma.
Sterling Gates grew up in Tulsa before earning a degree in fine arts from the University of Oklahoma and moving to Los Angeles to begin a career writing scripts and screenplays.
Gates is best known for his critically acclaimed run on the “Supergirl” comic book, and many of his stories have inspired episodes of the Supergirl TV series on CBS. Gates’s impact on the character came full circle when DC Comics asked him to write “Adventures of Supergirl,” a comic book based on the show.
Since selling his first story to DC Comics in 2007, Sterling has written titles including “Justice League of America,” “Flash: Season Zero” and “Green Lantern Corps,” among many others.
Alongside writers Geoff Johns, James Robinson, and Greg Rucka, Sterling co-wrote the New York Times best-selling "Superman: New Krypton Saga" graphic novel series. Sterling also scripted the “Man of Steel” prequel comic (based on a story by David S. Goyer, Geoff Johns, and Zack Snyder) and served as writer/producer on the award-winning, independent, live action superhero feature film, The Posthuman Project, which was filmed in Oklahoma.
Writer-artist Dustin Oswald, aka Dorshak Bloch, will be signing his graphic novella "The Bloodied Past of Jingle Heimer SVS." According to publisher Literati Press, this informal follow-up to The Story of Ivan A. Alexander features the grim, yet hopeful story of a rabbit-done-wrong who sets out on a path of vengeance, then on a path of redemption.
Oswald is also the artist behind the popular Bombs Away line of T-shirts and prints. Many of his images depict Oklahoma themes. His contemporary pop art has made him in-demand in the Oklahoma art scene. Oswald’s Bombs Away art gallery is located at 3003A Paseo Drive in OKC.
Writer/artist Dustin Oswald, aka Dorshak Bloch, will be releasing his graphic novella "The Bloodied Past of Jingle Heimer SVS" at a release party Thursday evening.
"Jingle Heimer is a young and beautiful rabbit full of promise when it seems his path in life becomes significantly altered. Or does it?" Bloch said. "It is a graphic novella about understanding and controlling both negative and positive emotions, living in and maintaining a state of zen while battling or dealing with inner demons. Heavily influenced by the likes of Edward Gorey, Maurice Sendak and Beatrice Potter. It's a timeless tale of circumstance and living in the moment."
According to publisher Literati Press: This informal follow-up to The Story of Ivan A. Alexander features the grim, yet hopeful story of a rabbit-done-wrong who sets out on a path of vengeance, then on a path of redemption.
The release party is part of an event at The Paseo Plunge, 3010 Paseo, and Bombs Away Art 3003A Paseo, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Paseo Plunge is also hosting a talk on Thursday night with historian William Wedge of the Oklahoma Historical Society tracing Oklahoma’s path from Indian Territory to statehood.
June is the month of Jingle Heimer Schongauer Von Schultzendorf! My second book dropped a couple of weeks ago (thanks to everyone who came to the party, it was a blast!) and we will be celebrating its release throughout the month with a nice combo-pack featuring a copy of the new graphic novella, The Bloodied Past of Jingle Heimer S.V.S., a new and beautiful enamel Jingle Heimer lapel pin, and a limited edition shirt to match. The pack will be available through June. However, the goods are available for 25 percent off only for you beautiful newsletter subscribers until Sunday, June 5th! Check out the details below.
Be sure to come out to the First Friday Paseo Art Walk this Friday. Jingle Heimer will be there signing books and unloading combo packs, thanks to our good friend Dayna Brown, the costume director at the Oklahoma City Ballet. Brown recently crafted an awesome Jingle Heimer mask that really brings the character to life (left). I will also have framed and panel limited edition prints available during the art walk.
I will be at my favorite comic shops later this month to sign copies of The Bloodied Past of Jingle Heimer S.V.S. I will be at Empire Strikes, 600 NW 23rd St., on Saturday, June 11, and the following week — June 18 — I will be at Speeding Bullet Comics, 614 N. Porter Ave. in Norman. I will also stop by New World Comics, 6219 N. Meridian Ave., but we are still working out a date for that. I have art shows slated for June 10 at DNA Galleries, 1709 NW 16th St., and June 16 at Urban Teahouse, 7518 N May Ave # D. Come say hello and check out my new artwork! June is “Off the Wall!” My friend Casie Hobbs will be representing Bombs Away at the Vans employee retreat at Huntington Beach this summer. Hobbs, the Vans Regional Store Manager for Oklahoma, selected Bombs Away to provide original artwork on a pair of canvas slip-ons that she will wear while kicking it on the West Coast with the higher-ups in the company. As a longtime Vans shoe-wearer, I am excited about this project. I will post photos of the shoes on my blog when I finish them. Goodies Galore This month I have two discounts for you all. Visit bombsawayart.com and enter “JingleCombo25” to get 25 percent off the aforementioned combo pack. You can also get the June Print of the Month for 25 percent off by entering the code “PitofDarkness25.”
As always, be sure to check out Bombs Away on social media because we are always giving away discounts. See you next month!
Originally done for my friends at Skeleton Root, a winery in Cincinnati, Ohio, I liked it too much to not make it available at as a print. The label, which was done for the Skeleton Roots rosé varies slightly with a different background and color, and the winery's initials are on the label(seen below).
The month of May is going to be awesome, and I hope you all are feeling as good about it as I do! I have a new book coming out and I’m excited about some shows coming up that will be fun and showcase a new direction in my work, and as always we have the First Friday Paseo Art Walk tomorrow, where there’s always something special going on at Bombs Away Art. Also, did I mention that I have a new book coming out in a few weeks?!
My second book will feature a new character that has made several appearances in my artwork throughout the years. His name is Jingle Heimer Schongauer Von Schultzendorf, or S.V.S. for short. The book is the second installment in a universe that is also home to the character in my first book, Ivan A. Alexander, and it will be available on May 26. The book, while similar to the first in aesthetics, is about a character that I’ve been working with for years now, and the ink work is my best yet.
New pins & patches available now!
April was a great month. I wrapped up a project with some friends of mine in Ohio who are opening a winery called Skeleton Root in downtown Cincinnati. I designed a label for their rosé called Pegasus and the Fallen Poet. That is also the name of the print that will be available in the gallery for the next two months. Check out the blog at Bombsawayart.com to see it!
I also finished up shirts for Cleveland Elementary’s 5th grade class, the students are going to look great in them, one of which happens to be my son and another one is my nephew. So, it was an honor to design shirts for the graduates who are moving on to junior high.
I have an art show at urban teahouse on June 15th that will feature new and unique 12x18" panel prints, so be sure to put that in your calendar. Once again, I have a discount for you all, just go to the website and type in BAmonthly20 for a 20 percent discount on your purchase and you will also receive a free Bombs Away enamel pin. Be sure to follow me on all social media (links below), as I am always giving out discounts.
It seems just last week that we hosted OKC artist and radio powerhouse, Jack Fowler at the Bombs Away gallery for March’s First Friday. But, alas, April is here and I’ve got a ton of projects in the works.
Friday, April 1, is not only the first Friday Art Walk in the Paseo, but it is also Allied Arts’ Artini Arcade. The annual event kicks off Friday at the Farmer’s Market and will feature work from several Oklahoma artists (including Bombs Away), restaurants will have tastings and there will also be raffle prizes. Around 800 people are estimated to be there. This is one of the biggest fundraisers for Allied Arts, so please check it out! Tickets can be purchased at http://alliedartsokc.com.
I’m also working on a new subscription club for those of you that can’t get enough Bombs Away goodies. It is still in the works, but I can tell you it will focus on free prints and T-shirts every month for around $20, plus insight, news and other items that I feel like giving away. More on that to come!
My second book is coming along and I’m extremely excited to tell you it will be finished and available to purchase by May 25. I will definitely keep you posted on that, but check on the blogs and media section at bombsawayart.com for more details.
Also in April, Bombs Away will be dropping new shirts off in select stores, so be sure to check back with the blog to find out what is new and where you can find new gear.
Be sure to follow me on social media because I’m always throwing deals out for my followers to take advantage of.
Also, to celebrate you reading this all the way through I have set you up with a loyalty discount of 20 percent off all products at bombsawayart.com. Tell your friends and they can get in on the action! The offer is good until Sunday at midnight. Type in “BAmonthly20” at checkout.
Artwork by Tony Trammell on display at Planet Dorshak. (Mark Hancock)
Oklahoma City is experiencing an art boom, and 2015 is shaping up to be a banner year for the local art community. From Tall Hill Creative’s planned art and music festival in March called Everything Is Not OK to Kasum Contemporary Fine Art’s upcoming exhibit of street artist Jeannette Herrera’s (aka Blue Face Killer) work, art followers have much to look forward to in the first quarter of 2015.
Planet Dorshak — the home of Dorshak Bloch and Bombs Away Art Company, as well as the primary retailer of Literati Press comics and books — is planning a 2015 full of science fiction-tinged comic book art and other mixed media. According to studio owner Dustin Oswald — the artist and designer behind the pseudonymous Bloch — they will feature a different artist every other month.
“I’ll leave their stuff up for a couple of months,” Oswald said. “We had Tony Trammell’s stuff up in December as our featured artist, and I left his up for the new year.”
Next month, Planet Dorshak will feature illustrator Natasha Alterici’s work as part of an effort to focus on contemporary American pop culture themes, Oswald said.
In March, Oswald will host the Marvel March Action Auction, a private showing featuring various artists’ takes of their favorite Marvel superhero or villain on 12×18-inch cradled birch panels. He will donate the proceeds from the show to the arts enrichment program at Cleveland Elementary School.
Tyler Wardlaw, an illustrative artist, will be the featured artist in April.
Later in the year, Planet Dorshak will have a book release party for Oswald’s second graphic novella, limited edition prints and t-shirts.
You can find out more about Dorshak’s upcoming events at facebook.com/planetdorshak.
print headline: OKC renaissance, There are many excellent art galleries to check out, and they have a lot planned for 2015.
Prehistoric Origin by Tony Trammell. (Mark Hancock)
Local artist Tony Trammell met the late, great Ray Bradbury at a sci-fi convention. Fortunately, the circumstances of the meeting would not dictate his art career.
“I ran him over,” Trammell said. “He was late to give a speech, and we turned a corner at the same time, going different directions. I knocked him all the way to the floor. I was so embarrassed.”
Meeting one of your idols is daunting for any artist, but to literally knock one over is the stuff of nervous daydreams. Trammell, now 63 years old, said Bradbury was kind and understanding.
“The sci-fi conventions were where I met my idols,” Trammell said. “The conventions opened doors for me professionally.”
Trammell is a postman, and his route in Oklahoma City takes him by the house of Dustin Oswald, owner of Bombs Away Art and fellow artist. Oswald also owns Planet Dorshak Gallery in the Paseo Arts District, and after meeting and speaking with Trammell, he agreed to feature his letter carrier’s work at Planet Dorshak.
In addition to the original art, which will be on display through the end of the month, the gallery collaborated with Trammell on prints of his work.
Those will be available even after the show closes and include the first in the series, a Godzilla painting. In the piece, Godzilla is towering over a burning city while characters drawn in almost comedic fashion watch from rooftops.
Godzilla is one of many so-called kaiju monsters, a subject of many Japanese films. For many people around the world, Godzilla and other monsters became pop art icons thanks to the kaiju films.
Tony Trammell with his work. (Mark Hancock)
Charles Martin, an author and artist who works at Planet Dorshak and owns Literati Press, said Trammell’s work is devoid of cynicism.
“Tony captures what I really love about pop art: the appreciation of our cultural icons without the cynicism often tacked on in an effort to seem clever,” Martin said. “He heralds the beauty of the kaiju monster movies of Japan, re-imagining these creatures of destruction into noble beasts.”
Trammell admits to being a “closet sci-fi artist” early in his career.
He focused on landscapes because he believed people were not interested in sci-fi and fantasy art. While some of Trammell’s work is certainly of the animated or cartoon variety, much of his painting borders on fantastic realism.
Dinosaurs and monsters are juxtaposed with modern cityscapes, not in a comic book style but more in a “this could be happening right now” kind of way.
Martin described Trammell’s approach as attempting to present the monsters in such a way that they are just as of this Earth as we are, despite their sizes.
“These are our modern-day dragons, just as symbolic and complex,” Martin said.
Trammell’s art career has covered more than three decades. He has three grown children and seven grandchildren. He also was a painter in the Air Force for a time, the kind who paints buildings, not canvases.
In his career, he has illustrated books, comics and magazines and has even created a few puzzles.
He estimates he has painted more than 300 pieces in his life, and he has sold many of those pieces. Trammell will sign any of his work that is purchased from Planet Dorshak.
Print headline: Art of science, For over 30 years, this local postal worker has painted science fiction art and knocked over a few of his idols in the process
Tahlequah-based artist Natasha Alterici will have a showing of her new works at Planet Dorshak, 3003-A Paseo St. An opening reception will be from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday.
The art in the show focuses on the Old West, with a twist.
“I’m calling this collection of works ‘False Grit,’” Alterici said. “It’s a kind of a disillusioned exploration of the American frontier. Wide open spaces and the pioneer spirit, but stripped of its romance, shown without the veil of nobility. Humans stubbornly fighting against nature, destroying it, altering it, evolving from it, surviving it all the same.”
But for her new comic, which will go on sale at the show, Alterici has gone even further back in time, to the era of the Vikings.
Alterici has worked with writers Jackson Compton and Sterling Gates previously, but for her Viking story, “Heathen,” she served as the writer and artist.
“The biggest thing I’m working on is ‘Heathen,’ a comic I’m writing and illustrating, which follows a young Viking woman on a mission to take down the Norse gods,” Alterici said. “It incorporates traditional Norse mythology and legendary figures, for which I had to do a lot of research, and incorporates them into a thoughtful adventure story.”
“Heathen” is being published in its initial form by local publishers Literati Press. Charles Martin, founder of Literati Press, praised Alterici as one of a group of artists gaining recognition in the Oklahoma comics scene.
“Natasha is among a group of ambitious and hyper-talented artists that are preparing to change the way the world views Oklahoma,” Martin said. “If we can keep creators like her, Dorshak Bloch and Jerry Bennett inside this state, then we have a chance at creating something really special.”
Since illustrating the comic “Lucid,” in 2013, created with Oklahoma-based writer Tim Berry, Alterici has made art her full-time career.
“I’ve had clients from all across the country, mostly from just stumbling across my work online,” Alterici said. “It is at the same time a source of pride and humility to have someone say they like your work enough to hire you for their own project, and I am very grateful to everyone who’s taken a chance on me.”
Literati and Alterici have been part of a comics scene in Oklahoma that’s shown growth over the past few years.
“I’ve only just started participating in the scene a couple years ago,” Alterici said. “I was sort of working in a vacuum, not putting any work out, just sort of trying to figure out a path when a friend invited me to SoonerCon. Since then, I’ve collaborated with several talented locals on comics and illustration projects, and I’ve branched out to do craft shows — where I like to do quick, on-the-spot sketches for people, and now actual full exhibitions. So I would say the scene is hopping.”
Literati, meanwhile, plans a long list of prose and comics for 2015, including releases by Clint Stone, Bloch and Don Rosencrans. The fifth issue of the anthology “Literati Presents” is set for April, with the theme “What the Stars Must Think of Us,” Martin said.
Alterici continues to work locally, while submitting comics work to larger publishers, as well.
“I’d like to get one of my comics picked up by a big publisher, and just be able to dedicate myself fully to that one project,” Alterici said. “Right now, I live off commission work, so projects like ‘Heathen’ I have to do in my spare time between the paying gigs. I like doing commissions, but I’d like even more to have a steady schedule. And in addition to that, I’d like to do more fine art shows in galleries around the state and farther even. Full-time comic book artist/writer, part-time fine art painter.”
Dustin, aka Dorshak Bloch, at his new gallery, Planet Dorshak. (Mark Hancock)
Dustin Oswald, aka Dorshak Bloch, is a local and well-known artist. He has been a full-time artist for about a decade, and he has built his brand, Bombs Away Art, to create and sell Okie-centric t-shirts, prints and other work through his website and local boutiques like Blue Seven, 7518 N. May Ave., and DNA Galleries, 1709 NW 16th St., and at bombsawayart.com.
Recently, he opened his own gallery, Planet Dorshak, 3003-A Paseo Drive. He moved into the space about a month ago and is readying for his second First Friday Art Walk on Oct. 3.
While the life of a professional artist might seem all glamour and creativity, the actual day-to-day work of sustaining a business around creativity is not the most thrilling part of the job. We got some enlightening answers to the daily details of an enviable career.
Have you met Dorshak Bloch?
How difficult is it to balance the business and the creative sides? Do you feel it takes away from your creative side?
Yes, absolutely. I haven’t had the chance to sit down and make anything new; I haven’t had the time, especially since we opened the new gallery.
Right now, I am focused on the fall and winter lines, all the new shirts and styles, trying to get those out. I think everything is out on the website, and then I will start emailing those to the boutiques that carry my work, so it’s still in the working stages.
The apparel side of my business takes up a lot more of my time than anything else right now.
The gallery, day to day, is easy so far, comparatively, and it has been going really well. We’re getting a lot of positive feedback.
What is the best part of your job?
It’s when I get to sit down and actually create, draw a picture and know that I can, once it’s finished, sell it.
Have you left behind the days of living paycheck to paycheck?
Month to month, the sale of art varies so widely you can’t really ever count on a set profit, and it’s so wild. Summers are completely dead. Fall and winter are different, with Christmas and the Thunder season. I actually still live paycheck to paycheck, but I’m better off than I was when I started. That’s for sure.
What are the best, or the most consistent, times of year for you?
November and December for the holiday season. Also, if the Thunder makes the play-offs, Thunder is super hot. During the holidays, I see a lot of Thunder shirts and also a lot of my most popular shirts; the Oklahoma Kitty shirt and the Osage Shield (pictured) tend to be popular.
It’s just a weird business. Nothing is consistent.
Dorshak Bloch’s Oklahoma Kitty T-shirt by Bombs Away Art
Dorshak Bloch’s Osage Shield T-shirt by Bombs Away Art
What misconceptions did you have about being a professional artist?
I think I had good enough mentors, and it’s not easy and there’s a lot of talent out there. I was encouraged to take the opportunities as they were presented and continue to do that. My dad was a small business owner. He ran 3E0 Geoponics, a family farming corporation. Being a small business owner, I’d say he inspired quite a bit of the hardworking farming mentality.
When did it occur to you that you could do that for a living, and have you ever questioned that decision? If you couldn’t make art, what would you do?
I always was encouraged as a child and felt like I had enough ideas that if I could execute at least a small percentage of them, I could make it happen. You have to have a lot of faith in yourself, and I think that I was given the tools that I never questioned, “Should I?”
What are your five-year plans?
Firstly, the gallery being successful, of course. Consistently selling out of limited edition prints; knowing as soon as I post it, it’s sold. I will be traveling to small press exhibitions each month.
BY LAUREN HAMMACK | PHOTOS BY CARLI WENTWORTH | www.sliceok.com
Oklahoma Artist Dustin Oswald Is No Stranger to Oklahoma City’s Paseo arts district, but the opening of his new gallery, Dorshak Bloch Art Studio & Gallery, marks a fascinating introduction to an entirely new universe of contemporary pop art, illustrations and chimerical literature.
We expected Oswald, one of the state’s most popular t-shirt designers and the brains behind Bombs Away Art, to be just as unconventional as his art, but our exchange revealed an authentic, insightful artist who is as intriguing as he is down-to-earth.
Are you a native Oklahoman? Yes. I grew up on a farm in Apache, Oklahoma, a town of about 1,200 people.
You sure didn’t end up with farmer’s hands. Were you the kid in school who was constantly drawing? I did work on the farm growing up, but yes, I was drawing all the time. My notes were always covered with doodles. I’m fortunate that my parents and my teachers encouraged my art.
Where did you go to college? Oklahoma State. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a minor in Art History.
Congratulations on the new studio! How did the name come about? Dorshak Bloch is a pseudonym I use. I’ve enjoyed the name Dorshak for some time but I don’t recall where I came across it. Bloch comes from Robert Bloch, the author of “Psycho” and many science fiction stories that I happened across in old comics and magazines.
Your portfolio is really diverse. What will the gallery’s focus be? Mostly it will be my illustrations and some out-of-print t-shirt designs. I’m excited about having a channel to try some new things here, like limited editions of some of my t-shirt designs. I’ll also be inviting other local artists in from time to time.
Do you have anyone lined up yet? Yes. Oklahoma illustrator Jerry Bennett’s comic book covers will be featured here in October. In December, another artist named Tony Trammel will be showing his sci-fi art.
Is it fair to say your t-shirt designs have put you on the map? I’ve been designing t-shirts for years (as Bombs Away Art) and some of those have really taken off, especially my Osage shield, the warrior head and scissortail designs. Those have kept me busy.
Busy, because you provide the t-shirts to retailers? Yes. Early in my career, I designed t-shirts and sold them to retailers in OKC, Lawton, Dallas and Austin, among others, and I still do that now.
Who took a chance on your designs first in OKC? Blue Seven at North May and Grand. They still carry my shirts and they’ve been great to me.
Where would you like the opening of the new art gallery to lead? I hope it will lead to an opportunity for me to get to create a drawing and produce something meaningful every day.
Your illustrations are so intricate in their design. You’ve worked in a lot of animals. What’s that about? I’ve used a lot of deer, wolves, foxes, alligators and crocodiles in my work. I like to present ordinary things in a less-than-obvious context.
Besides the opening of your Paseo studio, I understand you’ll be busy elsewhere this fall. I’ll be traveling to several trade shows and comic book conventions, which are really good venues for illustrators like me. I’ll also be promoting my new graphic novella, “The Story of Ivan A. Alexander – Ivan the Innocence,” which I published under the Dorshak Bloch pseudonym through Literati Press in Edmond.
What’s the best advice you never took? “Always quit one before you think you should.”
What’s your best character trait? Empathy.
Which trait could you do without? Being a perfectionist. It can really get out of hand.
Do you have any recurring dreams? Yes. I’m in a small, white house and there’s a tree in the backyard with a light pointed on it. The tree is dying because at the base, there’s a rattlesnake buried under it and the snake is poisoning the tree. In the dream, I’m always looking for something I can use to get the snake out. Wowwwwww. That really strays from the “day of the final exam” dream people usually tell me about.
Which movie can you recite the words to? “The Big Lebowski.”
Do you have a favorite hole-in-the-wall in town? I only eat at local restaurants. I really like Cafe Antigua and Florence’s (east side). For a drink, I love Sean Cummings Irish Pub on North May.
What can they get you for your next birthday? A plane ticket to Japan.
Where would you like to be years from now? In Europe, maybe in Scotland in a castle somewhere, sitting in a tower and drawing everything I can see from there.
Dustin Oswald is the artist behind the Bombs Away line of T-shirts, many of which are designed with Oklahoma themes.
BY HEATHER WARLICK MOORE email@example.com • Modified: July 12, 2011 at 10:35 pm • Published: July 11, 2011 | www.newsok.com
Oklahoma City artist Dustin Oswald is humble about the success he has found with his Bombs Away line of original T-shirts. The shirts, he said, are a means to continue working at his real passion: painting.
Scissortail is one of Bombs Away designer Dustin Oswald's most popular Oklahoma-themed designs. Cutoff shorts are by Artisan De Luxe and sold at Gil's Denim & Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman. CHRIS LANDSBERGER
“That's what pays the bills,” he said of his Bombs Away line.
Oswald spends much of his workday at his small studio, 2921 W Wilshire, hand-pulling T-shirts at his four-color manual press. His designs are hand-drawn, and he uses silk screens for producing the shirts. He has so many orders, he said he hardly has time to do anything else.
The thing about Bombs Away shirts that makes them special to Oklahomans is that many have Oklahoma-themed designs. Oswald's most popular and recognizable design is Osage Shield, from the Oklahoma flag. Also Oklahoma-themed are his Scissortail design and an American Indian image called The Warrior.
“I like the fact that Dustin's line is all hand-drawn and not just tweaked in Photoshop,” said Amanda Bradway, owner of DNA Galleries, a Plaza District boutique that specializes in art, crafts and other items from Oklahoma artists and crafters and carries many of Oswald's shirts.
“It's inspiring for the public to see artists in Oklahoma truly make a living and growing right in front of them,” Bradway said. “Dustin is really making a huge impact on our state's culture.”
A sense of pride
Like many artists, Oswald admitted he didn't always feel like he fit into his local society, especially while growing up in small-town Apache. Oswald was into punk rock music as a teen and said he always felt a bit alienated from the rest of the community.
The term “Bombs Away” has long been meaningful to Oswald, he said. “It's kind of like my carpe diem, live-in-the-moment kind of thing.”
He felt such a kinship with the term he even had it tattooed on his shoulder during a trip to New Orleans about 12 years ago. That was five years before he would start his T-shirt line. His first shirt was commissioned by Blue Seven, he said.
After finishing college at Oklahoma State University and moving to Oklahoma City, Oswald said he started seeing a wave of Oklahoma pride among his artist friends and acquaintances. That was just what Oswald felt he needed: pride in where he lived.
“I wanted to do something that would make me feel more a part of the Oklahoma City community,” Oswald said. “I wanted to be proud of where I came from. I wanted to embrace my roots and see where that could take me.”
Though he considers himself an artist who makes T-shirts, Oswald's shirts really are expressions of his artistic nature. The designs are as cool and interesting as his paintings.
In his painting, Oswald uses mixed media of acrylic and ballpoint pen to create whimsical yet slightly disturbing paintings that lean toward fantasy, fairy tale and absurdity.
Where to find them
Bombs Away T-shirts are available at Blue Seven and DNA Galleries in Oklahoma City, at Stash in Norman, The Rage in Ardmore and The 18th Block in Lawton.
For more information about Oswald and his Bombs Away line of T-shirts, go online to Bombsawayart.com.
Bryan O’Quinn poses with an assortment of comics at Empire Strikes Books! (Mark Hancock)
What happens when owners of a local comic book store — which draws its name and inspiration from one of the most popular and profitable science fiction movie franchises of the last 40 years — decide to close their doors?
If you’re Jeremy Privett and Camille and Bryan O’Quinn, owners of Empire Strikes Books, 600 NW 23rd St., you open up a new and larger shop down the hall and throw a party.
Empire Strikes Books opened on May 4, 2013 — better known to Star Wars fans as Force Day (“May the Fourth Be With You.” Get it?) — to serve fellow comic book fans in Uptown OKC while paying homage to Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, Bryan’s favorite installment of the saga.
Camille, also a fan of comic books, had only one hesitation to the store opening: its name.
“Make sure we don’t get sued,” she advised her husband.
Flip the ink-covered pulp pages forward 20 months and you’ll read about how Empire Strikes Books has kept a steady clientele of fans and customers, plying them with the latest and greatest issues of scores of different comic book series, ranging from the popular to the obscure. (And no, they didn’t get sued over the store’s name.)
While the vast majority of the store is filled with nationally known titles, Bryan, Camille and Privett pride themselves on a special section filled with works from local comic artists like Jerry Bennett, Tyler Kelting, Brian Winkeler and Dorshak Bloch. Bryan said these homegrown works will now be showcased in the new location instead of being (proverbially) “shoved” into a corner in the current store.
The party, which is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 14, is to celebrate expanding the store’s space and the relaunch of the popular, long-running comic book series Star Wars.
A new hope
In case you’ve been disconnected from the mainstream science fiction world in the past year, you should know that Star Wars, the epic sci-fi movie saga conceived and created (and, to some fans, wrecked and tainted) by George Lucas, is getting a reboot.
Hollywood megadirector and self-professed Star Wars fan J.J. Abrams — whose works include two installments each of the Mission: Impossible and Star Trek franchises, which have grossed nearly $2 billion worldwide to date — wouldn’t have gotten the nod to write and direct Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens had Lucas still been at the helm.
But it took The Walt Disney Company reaching into Mickey Mouse’s deep pockets in late 2012 to plunk down a cool $4 billion to scoop up Lucasfilm, Star Wars’ parent studio.
You might not know the Star Wars cinematic saga also had a companion comic book canon.
While Marvel actually owned and published the original comic book series from 1977 to 1987, the series was essentially defunct for a few years until Dark Horse Publishing put it back out on the stands in 1991. However, December was Star Wars’ final month with Dark Horse, and Marvel will reboot the storyline entirely.
George Lucas might be wiping away his tears with hundred-dollar bills nowadays over losing creative control over Luke and Leia. But the O’Quinns — Star Wars fans and comic book collectors — had different responses to the Force now being with Marvel and Disney.
A modest sign reveals the location of Empire Strikes Books! on NW 23rd Street. (Mark Hancock)
Empire Strikes back
Bryan said his take on the sale was a bemused and slightly surprised “Wow.”
“The best thing George Lucas could do for the Star Wars series,” said Bryan, “was to sell it to someone else.”
Disney/Marvel wasn’t on his radar of potential suitors for Lucasfilm. Yet after processing how successfully Marvel’s recent adaptations of some of their classic comic titles to the big screen have fared — Iron Man and Captain America are ringing (and ka-chinging) examples — Bryan said he had “renewed hope” in the upcoming film series.
Camille’s initial response, however, was an incredulous “What?”
“A lot of us diehards were skeptical [of the purchase],” she said. “I did not want to see Leia drawn in with the rest of Disney’s princesses.”
But she was pleasantly surprised to hear about Abrams’ signing on to make Episode VII.
“He has the ability to make it as authentic [to the original storyline] as he can,” said Camille.
So what does this mean for the comic series? The O’Quinns said if recent pop culture crossovers are any indicator of what the future holds, Star Wars as a comic series might just go more mainstream.
Bryan said the relaunch of the Star Wars comic series is “a good jumping-on point” for anyone interested in the movies to get into the comics.
He and Camille both hoped it would also expose a new generation to comic books as a legitimate art form that has many merits (and some pretty cool stories, too).
For more information on the Empire Strikes Books launch party, including its costume contest and pre-ordering copies of the upcoming Star Wars first issue, call 771-0763.
Star Wars release party 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14 Empire Strikes Books 600 NW 23rd St. facebook.com/EmpireStrikes Twitter: @empire_strikes 771-0763
Article Courtesy of The OK Gazette | By Devon Green
Well-known local artist Dustin Oswald is Dorshak Bloch. But if you know any local artists, you probably knew that. In fact, you might know who Dustin Oswald/Dorshak Bloch is without even realizing, simply because of the prolific amount of localphilic t-shirts you’ve seen at Blue Seven and Local OK, 7518 N. May Ave., and DNA Galleries, 1709 NW 16th St., among others.
He owns local company Bombs Away Art Company, which he founded a little over 10 years ago, and publishes a graphic novel series, “The Story of Ivan A. Alexander” through local publisher Literati Press.
His new gallery, Planet Dorshak, has its formal grand opening during the First Friday Paseo Art Walk Friday.
Dustin Oswald, aka Dorshak Bloch, in his new space, Planet Dorshak (Mark Hancock)
“I’ve always been drawn to the Paseo. I’ve always enjoyed being down here and showing at AKA Gallery. And this space became available,” he said. “My last space was just a place to work. This place, I get to hang out in the art vein and just enjoy being in it.”
“Everything that I do is under Bombs Away Art, and then the graphic novels are a side of that,” he explained.
Although his work is and has been featured in group shows and other galleries throughout the city for a decade, this is a space he feels really good about.
He’s been using the pseudonym since he titled a show Dorshak Bloch a few years ago.
“Bloch is an homage to Robert Bloch, the crime fiction writer,” Oswald explained.
Bloch is a prolific American crime novelist who penned Psycho, the novel that was adapted into the film of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock.
Dorshak is a play on the first letter of Dustin’s name and a reference to the Rorschach inkblot test, which is a psychological test developed by Hermann Rorschach.
“Plus, I just thought it sounded like a cool German name, ” Oswald said.
Although the show’s formal opening is Friday, you can visit anytime it’s open (Wednesdays-Sundays noon-5 p.m.). Stop by and welcome him to the ‘hood.
Note from the editor: Dustin Oswald is Oklahoma Gazette General Assignments Editor Kory B. Oswald’s brother. However, that did not influence our decision to cover the artist, as we have covered Dustin in the past.
If anyone has ever considered himself a free spirit, it would be Dustin Oswald. His new exhibit, ” Right Where You Are,” opens Friday at the aka Gallery, 3001 Paseo.
The exbibit features 25 of his new pieces, all with the underlying theme of living in the moment and remaining conscious of the world. He said producing art is a daily experience, and it’s the simple things that inspire him.
“It’s from the books I read, the music I listen to “ a line of a lyric or note of a song, a sentence in a book,” Oswald said. “I just kind of feed off of that. It all kind of starts from a simple thought.”
But these ordinary thoughts are transformed to intricate artwork on paper. He uses a ballpoint pen, acrylic paint and matte board “ materials Oswald said separate his technique from other area artists. He described his style as “eccentric.”
Oswald has returned to aka Gallery after traveling around the country to take part in various group shows. This is the first solo exhibition he’s been involved with so far this year. Gallery owner Ashley Griffith said she’s thrilled about it.
“Oswald’s work is collected by all stages of collectors “ both new and longtime collectors,” she said.
An opening reception for “Right Where You Are” is scheduled from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday. The gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.