It’s not every day that you meet an artist who paints with their own blood. Over some beers last night, I was introduced to Nick Kushner a painter who does just that. The results are quite similar to water colors.

If you’ve never had a few spare million dollars to spend on a painting, you probably haven’t put too much thought into how values of expensive art are determined or how great works are authenticated in a world of fakes. Though a controversial figure, Paul Biro became a go-to painting detective of sorts. He is featured in the 2006 film Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollack, a documentary about an elderly truck driver who believes she has uncovered a Pollock at a thrift shop. In the film, Biro is presented as an expert who is using science to irrefutably identify the painting and is seen as a contrast to the opinions of the upper-class art world that determines whether a painting is real or not simply by what their gut tells them. This fascinating New Yorker piece digs deeper into Biro’s past to reveal a thing or two about forgery. While on the topic of the validity of art work, another documentary was made a few years ago that follows the story of an alleged four year old Picasso in the making, My Kid Could Paint That. Common themes arise in the Biro article and both documentaries mentioned above.

As of this week, the Afghan War is the longest in America’s history at eight and a half years. Oddly enough, this fact didn’t seem to draw much attention in the media. Both this war and US operations in Iraq almost seem to be forgotten by the general public and media alike. I wanted to share a few features that I found on NPR that highlight works of two artists who are dedicating their work to the honor of those involved in these wars. Matthew Mitchell is painting 100 portraits of people who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. See the project’s website here. The other story is about an Iraqi born artist named Wafaa Bilal. He staged a 24 hour performance called …And Counting in which he transformed his back into a permanent memorial to casualties of the war in Iraq. Here is more on this project.

Recently, I’ve been collaborating on some work with my uber talented friends at HUSH. Hidden on a computer station, we discovered this illustration of us all. It had been curiously left in a folder of work by a freelance animator who was helping out on a project. Upon closer inspection, we realized that he had managed to incorporate all of our first initials into the image.

Nick Jakubiak is something of a bohemian type artist. He use to live on my block, where he spent a lot of time outside. Often he was to be seen smoking and painting pictures of his favorite places in the city, or people he had met. We’d shoot the shit from time to time. A few years ago, he made the move back to his home state of Michigan. I just had a look at his portfolio site and thought I’d share his work.