Category: What’s on Franky’s Mind?

What’s in there…

Amber Alley – Chapel Hill, NC

To finish out 2017, I had the opportunity to create another 3D public artwork.  This time, I created “street signs” for a walkway / alleyway for the City of Chapel Hill, NC.  Part of their “Alleyway Improvement Project”


(3D signage facing Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC)

The city was very specific in what they needed for that area:  directions to and from the main street, through the alley and back to the “Wallace Parking Deck”.  There were 5 places the signs would be positioned, each sign needed to direct foot traffic, “Parking Symbols” needed to be added and I had to address the origins of the area “Amber Alley”.

First, I as I do with all my artworks, I do the research…what was Amber Alley?  I had been to Chapel HIll before and knew that there’s ties to UNC, so eventually I’d need to add something of the school to the sign.  But, Amber Alley…hmmm? I didn’t know much about that.  What I did find was very interesting:

Back in ’99 (that sound funny to me…) an artist (Michael Brown) created a full mural for the back of Amber Alley.  There was a popular restaurant / bar called The Rathskeller or “The Rat” by locals that closed down after many years in Amber Alley. Mr. Brown, who created many other murals in Chapel Hill / Durham area.

It looks like he took the idea of a necklace with “amber stones” and placed imagery in each stone.  Read more about his inspiration for the mural (as well as a walking tour of his other works) HERE.



Originally, Amber Alley got it’s name for the amber color of the electric lights that glowed “amber” to light the pedestrian walkway, and not from the precious stones.


(Amber Alley view from Franklin Street – lights)

I forget exactly where on the net I found that specific tidbit of information, but I had envisioned the old gas lamp era of the 19th century.

Next steps: My interest in old / out of print money has always fascinated me. I had researched out of circulation US currency and found a treasure trove of interesting images to work with.  One in particular was the silver certificate from the Educational Series of 1896: “History Instructing Youth”.



From there, hours of digital collage / 3D work to get all the aspects included into each sign.  A couple of changes as per Chapel Hill and now, the final products hang for all UNC / Franklin Street visitors to see, and yes…in 3D!  (Just need to get those Chromadepth Glasses.)


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These artworks are temporary and eventually they will make their way back to city hall, where they can be reassembled into ONE ARTWORK.  Hopefully, if the interest is there, I’d like to do a larger work for them to install in Amber Alley.


Rogue One: Death Troopers


Rogue One: Death Troopers



As NC Comicon Durham gets closer, the work continues…. Completed the companion piece to the K-2S0 artwork from last month.  Here’s my 3rd Star Wars action figure 3D resin piece dedicated to the elite Storm troopers from Rogue One:  the Death Troopers!

Looking forward to getting these out to Durham next month (wow, the time is flying by…)

The 2018 “painting season” is coming to a close…so that means I can gear up for all the new orders and start painting right away in the Spring!  Lots of action figures out there…

Boba Fett in CARBONITE… I mean, RESIN!



Boba Fett finally got “poetic justice”…Frozen in Resin.  I don’t think I could have got the same result as carbonite (definitely need that clear resin for the colors to show through)!  This is my 2nd Star Wars action figure painting with the master bounty hunter himself. If you look carefully, you see Fett as well as a couple of other images.  The action figure was from the HASBRO “Ultimate Bounty” collection.  So, If there’s anyone interested in the other 3 figures from that set placed in a original painting, let me know.


Here’s a close up of the figure in the bottom left corner:



So, if you’re tired of having your favorite action figure in a package in a box and want to give it an “upgrade” in value…2018 painting season is just around the corner…

“Congratulations, You’re being…POSTED”


Rogue One: K-2S0

Great to finally get this one out to you all.  It’s my newest Star Wars – Rogue One inspired painting.  K-2S0 gets to be the FIRST in my line of actual Action Figures inside the painting!  Yep,  If you look closely at the bottom-left corner of the painting, you’ll find K-2S0 hanging out there.  He’s completely inside the painting.  K-2S0-figure-close-upHere’s a close-up of the figure in the first stage of painting.  When I first thought of the idea of placing a Star Wars figure in the painting, I wasn’t quite sure how, or if, the process would work: “Would the figure melt from the resin curing?”  “Would it change shape and look terrible?”  Would it change color?” I had to try.  So, as I’m pouring into my mold with the resin slowly oozing and swallowing K-2, I heard James Earl Jones’ voice in my head….“We do not want the Emperor’s prize damaged…we will test it, on CAPTAIN SOLO!”  Well in this case, it was K-2S0!

As Han Solo made it through the carbon freezing process, K-2 is “frozen in RESIN”, quite nicely!

So, for all of you Star Wars Action Figure collectors out there…. you’ll need to visit the NC Comicon in Durham.  I’ll have this artwork and (if all goes to plan)  I’ll have 2 MORE Star Wars Action Figure 3D paintings to see…and yes, they’re for sale!

Send me your Action Figures!!!  I can make a custom “tribute” 3D Resin painting of your FAVORITE STAR WARS CHARACTER….Who’s your favorite character?  I still have my Early Bird Set from 1977…


GOING “Rogue” for next artwork



November is Comicon in “The Bull City”, so I’ve been working on another 3D Resin-ance painting to display at the show.  As the title says “Going Rogue” on this one.  Can you see what character and subjects are in this frame… Still in the first level stage on this one…come back tomorrow (or a bit later as I need to order more resin!) to see the next stage!

Sunken Treasure Trap



Summer is winding down fast…finished the “Sunken Treasure Trap” a couple of weeks ago, but just had time to finally get it on to the web site.  Looking forward to it’s first public showing at NC COMICON in Durham later this fall.

Lots and lots of little “treasures” to find in this baby!  “X” does mark the spot…but heed the warning of the “dead man with his vulture”!  How many fish can you find?  “Waldo” is one of the divers in search of the treasure!

Working on an “installation” for the City of Chapel Hill, NC… Will post images and more info when that commission is complete!

Durham Herald-Sun on “Charging Durham”

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(Close-Up – center panel / “Charging Durham” – Durham Herald-Sun – Cliff Bellamy)

Thanks to Cliff Bellamy for placing his article and video on the Durham Herald-Sun web site.  You can hear a very brief description of the addition of the old city map and steps to making this “digial sketch” into a full resin painting.  Here are the links:

The Article:

The Video:

and the same video should appear below.

3D Prints…Looking good!


I received a couple of e-mails from collectors that purchased prints at the Raleigh Comicon, this spring.  Audrey Cross has “The Treasure Map” beautifully matted and used a blue frame (nice choice!)

Steve Griess also purchased “The Avengers” and has both framed for his guests to enjoy in 3D!


Thanks so much for visiting my booth at the Comicon and purchasing prints!  Durham Comicon will have 2-3 new artworks for you to view.  Head over to my Twitter page for a sneak preview of my latest painting in progress!

Installation complete!


“Charging Durham” Installation 7-14-17




FastSigns of Cary did a great job installing “Charging Durham“.  (You could say they did it, well…FAST…too cliché.) They were very professional and the printing and placement of the work was worth the time and effort on my part (making those panels fit together using Photoshop).  Thanks to Michael Ray and his team for placing those babies up nicely!  You can see in the bottom right corner of the photo above next to the Durham City Hall, the alcoves are across the street (with the red and white awning).

Cliff Bellamy, from the Durham Herald-Sun, stopped by.  He’s already written about artwork building up all over town.  We talked more about my process and how this digital print is half way to a resin painting (although I don’t know how much it would cost or how heavy this one would be to complete.  If anyone is interested in the endeavor, let me know!)  He said that he was creating another posting for the Herald-Sun, which I will link to in a future posting here.

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It’s great to see the artwork up close.  The details really came through on the printing process.  As always, the images can be viewed with the 3D Chromadepth glasses (on line or in-person).  You’ll be able to get a pair of glasses from the front desk of city hall (directly across from the artwork).

Brian Smith (From the Durham Office of Economic and Workforce Development) was also instrumental in completing the project. Without his efforts, this would not have happened at all.  Thank, Brian!  He’s a busy guy, adding to the cultural aspects of a city with its sights on the future!  We’re hoping to continue our collaboration with a little help from Google on a project about historical “Black Wall Street”…(Shhh…we’re still working on that one!  More to follow!)



Finally, I have to thank my family:  Jill (for all the hours of letting me photoshop this artwork as well as ALL the others), Grant (for being my Social Media Manager / Photographer) and Lia (for being a GREAT cheerleader and positive force in our lives!)


So, take a trip to the “Bull City” and stop by City Hall for a look at “Charging Durham“.  3D Chromadepth glasses will be available by the revolving door and at the front desk.  And if you can’t find a pair, e-mail me!  I’ll be back in NOVEMBER to showcase NEW 3D resin paintings at the NC Comicon in the DURHAM CONVENTION CENTER (Nov. 10th, 11th and12th)!



“Charging Durham”



I’ve been keeping this “Top Secret” for several months…Friday, my LARGEST artwork to date will be installed:  “Charging Durham”.   I’ve been working with Brian Smith in Durham since around May, coordinating and finalizing the placement of this huge endeavor.  The artwork will be on display at DURHAM CITY HALL and yes, it is 3D!  It is a digital sketch printed on vinyl and placed on metal.  10′ x 27’….and all done on my Mac computer!  The file was HUGE and it took a lot to rework and resize the file to get the print correct.  More stories to come…

I’ve place the image on FINE ART AMERICA and Instagram.  If you would like a signed print and 3D glasses, contact me!

You can see the alcoves (where the artwork will reside for the next year) in a video and read the article about public art written by Cliff Bellamy in The Durham Herald Sun.

New public art in Durham coming to a corner near you?

Stay Tuned…