• 10,000 thumb tacks + a large blank canvas


Hi Dojo readers,

I realized the other day that not all of you follow JM’s Art of the Dojo on Facebook…which you totally should! 🙂 That’s where I post all my latest artwork for people to follow along with as I go.

For those who don’t know, my two undergraduate degrees are in fine art, specifically drawing and painting (Associates of Fine Art, Reinhardt College [now Reinhardt University!] and Bachelor of Fine Art, University of Georgia), and I currently work full time as a portrait artist in order to help fund the ministry here at the Dojo…in fact, if you haven’t already, take a minute and check out the various galleries of my work by clicking the “Art of the Dojo” drop down menu right above this post! And if you see something you like, it’s probably for sale, so message me about it via the Dojo contact page!

I wanted to share the latest non-commission project I’ve been working on for the past few weeks. It started off with the series of ballpoint pen portraits I’ve been doing lately of various pop-culture icons and childhood heroes of mine such as…


Repeeetal Fender

Jack Burton




James T.


These were all done entirely in ballpoint pen and were so much fun to do (stay tuned to my ballpoint gallery for more to come!), but as I was in Office Depot one day looking for new pen colors, I thought “I wonder what other office supplies I could use to do a portrait…?”

That made me think of all the great characters from TV and movies who work in offices, of course. If I did a portrait with office supplies, it would need to be of someone who’s synonymous with the office setting. There were so many great characters to choose from, as I am a huge fan of the original British version of “The Office”, as well as movies like “Office Space”…but I wanted to do something with a character who was more popular with mainstream American audiences (such a piece would probably be easier to find a buyer for, after all!), so the choice was fairly obvious…


But what medium should I use to do it in?

I had an old 3.5 ft square canvas that’s been sitting around waiting to be used for years that would be perfect. I thought about using paper clips, but I didn’t want to have to use any glue or adhesive. My next thought was using staples…which I tried. But the force required to staple them stretched the canvas too much (though I may try again in the future with a smaller or more sturdy surface). So I finally decided on thumb tacks. They require no glue and are fairly easy to remove and rearrange as needed.

I had my subject. I had my medium. It was time to start.

Once I sketched the initial proportions onto the canvas, it was simply a matter of sticking the tacks in place…


But it would take about 10,000 or so to cover the canvas. That’s a lot of repetitive thumb-tacking!

After about a week, however, I stepped back and looked at the final result. I was satisfied with this first attempt in the new medium of office supply thumb tacks. I uploaded the pics I’d taken along the way to an album on the Art of the Dojo Facebook page as well as Disciple Dojo’s tumblr page. And the response was great. Within the first day of posting it on tumblr, it got picked up and reblogged over 250 times, and the comments on Facebook were equally encouraging. But I wanted to share it here as well, for those who don’t use social media.

So here you go.  Dwight Schrute (from NBC’s hit show “The Office”, which just wrapped up its final season a few weeks ago) in 10,000 thumb tacks. I entitled it “Blatant Misuse of Company Property”…because that’s exactly what Dwight Schrute would deem it!








The finished piece is 3.5 ft square and weighs a few pounds (all those metal thumb tacks add up!). It would love to find a home, so if any fans of The Office out there want to get a piece of original art that celebrates their favorite Assistant-to-the-Regional-Manager, AND want to help support yours truly, for $600 this can grace your wall…or even better, your office wall (what better reminder to your bureaucratic underlings that they better not be slacking off than to constantly be under the watchful Schrute gaze??).  🙂

Anyway, it was a fun project and I’m already thinking of what my next one will be…so head over to the Facebook page (if you’re a FB user) and give it a “like” so you can stay in the loop! Also, share this with your friends or on your favorite social media sites…word-of-mouth in the age of the internet is a huge help for unknown artists, and I’m very grateful for the support my work has received thus far!

And if you have any suggestions, or would like to commission something for yourself, be sure to drop me a line and let me know, or leave a comment below.

Blessings from the Dojo,


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  1. Self-described “artistic superstar” Rob Surette used 24,790 colored thumbtacks to create his pushpin portrait of Jesus.


    Comment by Les Brady on July 2, 2013 at 2:26 pm

  2. Great blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress
    or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that
    I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any suggestions?

    Bless you!


    Comment by Tommie on August 28, 2014 at 8:00 pm

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