Posts filed under ‘Illustration’

One City to Check Out One Night

sure, it looks nice from over here and with a nice filter...   © Flickr user nicoatridge

sure, it looks nice from over here and with a nice filter... © Flickr user nicoatridge

If you’re like me, you probably have no reason to go to Newark most of the time. Unless it’s to pick up some German friend of yours from the airport, or because your friend from Jerz swears they have a good reason to go. There is a good reason to go next week, March 6th 2009, and I want all of you to go because I unfortunately cannot. It’s sure to be an impressive show, I give you:

holy crap that's a lot of people!

holy crap that's a lot of people!

One-hundred artists? That’s amazing. One-hundred artists who are all alive and producing art? Even more amazing. Collective shows are always interesting in the way that the pieces inevitably show some sort of relation from one artist’s work to the others. It’s that idea that if you spend enough time with other people you start to pick up on  their mannerisms, and in this case, artistic preferences. I don’t know how many of these people know each other, and the reality is that most of these people probably don’t know each other, but that makes it more intriguing to me. The scope of this show is going to stretch a wide variety of mediums and topics. This is held at a place called Jajo Gallery, and it looks like they have a fairly good time here judging by the party pictures.

I found out about this show because my best friend, Emily Kane, has been working a full-time job during the day, and dedicatedly working on new works for the show at night.

this is her day job with Jeni, Fritillaria Earring © De Mi A Ti

this is her day job with Jeni, Fritillaria Earring © De Mi A Ti

The most impressive artists to me are those who are severly dedicated. I’ve never questioned her dedication, even if she could talk her way into good math grades in art school. I am definitely disappointed I will be missing this show, not just for the 99 other artists who will be there, but to miss a good friend’s first show. You will definitely see more coming from her in the future, but here’s and example of her work:

holy crap, that's a big drawing! © Emily Kane

holy crap, that's a big drawing! © Emily Kane

Another friend of mine will be showing his work at the show too, but he’s a great deal more secretive about his process and what he’s working on. Pillis has been up to some really spectacular video and animation lately, and I would hope he is going to share some of that at this show. You can check out some of his past work at his blog.

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February 23, 2009 at 4:15 PM 1 comment

Nifty Fifty Shmifties

everybody must parade!

everybody must parade!

I haven’t done a design or illustration post in a while, and I need to redeem myself as an illustrator. While paging through an old Print magazine, I came across a book review for Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in Fifties Animation. I could only see the cover, pictured above, but I knew that this book was for me, and I will soon be in ownership of it! The author, Amid Amidi has also put together a very nice blog, which I have now added to my ever extending list of bookmarks. This is a great supplement to those fans of the wonderful retro blog, GrainEdit, who wish they would update more. They definitely believe in quality over quantity, and I’m not complaining.

the hardest way to play!

the hardest way to play!

I’ve mentioned being into fun drawings before, whimsical characters and drawings. I have not mentioned Jim Flora, who’s work is pictured. He was a really great designer from the fifties. Now I also translate this appreciation to 50s animation as well. Fifties animation had a great style, that also featured off set inking. (Note for non-artists: off -set is when the ink color and the line don’t match up, aka off-registration printing) It also features really great textures and color themes and mixtures that are really unexpected. I wasn’t able to figure out why I was so drawn to this style until about a month ago when I saw a Mr. Magoo cartoon for the first time in several years.

caution: blind man with a temper stuff in traffic

caution: blind man with a temper stuck in traffic

When I was younger, I really had a thing for old men, Mr. Rogers and Jim Henson included. The cartoon old man Mr. Magoo is really great, and I know why I liked it so much. He’s such a strong willed little man for being blind, and he always knows what he’s talking about. I think I developed a great deal of my personality from watching Mr. Magoo navigate his way around the world. He’s very sassy, which I think I’m pretty sassy. He also inadvertently becomes the center of a catastrophe frequently. Plus he acts like he’s drunk the majority of the time, becoming increasingly demanding and condescending of other characters. The cartoon is a visual feast of stuff I’m about to rip off! Netflix will be delivering a DVD to me shortly.

I think I would like to live here

I think I would like to live here

This brings me to a studio who is cleaning up with their monopoly of this style. Invisible Creature is two guys, brothers, sitting around and drawing, having a grand old time. At least that’s what I imagine, but I know they must be working very hard to be producing the amount of work that they do. I mentioned Grain Edit earlier, and they were great enough to have featured Invisible Creature in one of their artist interviews. These interviews are really great because they usually feature some tips from the artist on how to create these visuals yourself. How wonderful is that? Wonderfully nice! I’m not so nice, I probably wouldn’t reveal my secrets.

Don & Ryan Clark of Invisible Creature

Don & Ryan Clark of Invisible Creature

WOW! Doesn’t this all look like so much fun. Well, it’s the weekend, go off and have yourself some!

-posted by samsquared

February 20, 2009 at 8:04 PM 2 comments

coming soon: space in your face!

nebulaaaahhhhhhzzzzz

nebulaaaahhhhhhzzzzz

No, not this space. Although, space pictures are really cool. I’m a big fan of nebulae, because it’s like making shapes out of clouds, only they are sweeter. Because they come in super radical colors, and plus that’s where stars are born. That’s all pretty badass to me, but then again, I still love going to the planetarium. Don’t hate.

theselby.com

theselby.com

Also,this interior space is also not in your face. It could be. I wasted several hours looking at these interiors. Owned by people who presumably have cooler lives than I do. (Or at least nicer houses and apartments). The photography is truly interesting. I can thank one of my favorite online writers for this find, Rosecrans Baldwin. He writes for the Digital Ramble column in the New York Time Magazine’s The Moment. He’s coming out with a book later this year, so I’ll keep you posted on that. For now you, can also catch him on The Morning News, an online publication that he helped to start in 1999.

The space I’m talking about is the one being carved out by N.A.S.A. It’s okay, I also thought that our space program might be releasing an album of ambient space noises, asteroids colliding, or secrets hidden alien tracks recorded for the past 30 years. It’s actually a collaboration between two L.A. based DJs and their friends. If that saying is true about the company you keep, this album is going to be awesome. Their new single, Money (see video below) is going to be making them just that. It features David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge, and Z-trip. If that’s not enough for you, their album is going to be released featuring covers by five artists: Shepard Fairey, Marcel Dzama, Sage Vaughn, The Date Farmers, and Mark Gonzales.

Sidenote: Russ really likes how I manage to reference Shepard Fairey all the time. It’s not my fault he’s popular and people love to blog about him, take pictures of his installations, and crowd his openings. So in an attempt to write about other things I’m interested in, it was only fitting that Shepard Fairey ironically show up anyway! I heard he designed this poster people may have heard about, it had to do with our new president. I also heard that the poster is now in the National Portrait Gallery.

inauguration installation

inauguration installation

Last spring I chased two of my favorite men, (who are also extraordinarily fast walkers, it’s a light jog of a pace for anyone of the short legged nature) around the galleries in New York . One of the best shows I’ve ever seen was by one of N.A.S.A.’s cover artists at the David Zwirner Gallery. Marcel Dzama’s Even the Ghost of the Past was on display, with the first room dedicated to paintings and sketchbooks. The second room was dark with two displays of his sculptural work. The third room was a theatre for a black and white video installation. One of the things he is most noted for is his muted color palette, which is attributed to his using a root-beer paint for the variations in browns he achieves. He also kept amazing company in a collective known as The Royal Art Lodge, with Michael Dumontier, Neil Farber, Drue Langlois, Jonathan Pylypchuk, and Adrian Williams. Marcel features work in several galleries. I’ve seen some minature sculptures at a gallery in Philadelphia, as well as a print of his featured in a show at F.U.E.L. gallery. His sculptural work and video is as equally and as darkly enchanting as the rest of his work.

Owl Troubles, 2003

Owl Troubles, 2003

May I suggest keeping good company? It seems to be working out for everyone else.

-posted by samsquared

January 26, 2009 at 8:59 PM Leave a comment

Adventures in consumption

posted by russellmania3000

We are apparently in the throes of a recession. I wouldn’t know. But I have little doubt that at this point we’re mostly doing it to ourselves. Forget whatever weak housing markets or flawed “financial instruments” or incorrect models you’ve been told of to explain away why. You know what causes a recession to continue? Talking about the recession every goddamn day.

I find it odd that people respond to economic downturn by saving more money, since our economy is defined pretty much by how much we spend, not how much we have. The funny part – as in funny strange, not funny ha ha – is that, if you buy into the Paradox of Thrift, by spending less we actually save less than if we were to spend normally. I know that seems illogical but that is why something like this is called a paradox rather than, say, a law.

Though Sam has lately been on some sort of crazed anti-consumerist crusade, I haven’t personally felt the recession, at least not yet, so I recently posted on some of the newly purchased artwork that I’ve hung in my home, and today I’d like to continue giving props to the creative individuals who have tricked me into giving them my goddamn chips, but this time for neat things that cannot be framed and hung on walls. It’s not my intention to turn Redikulus into some kind of NOTCOT-ish celebration of materialism. I’m simply doing my patriotic duty to stimulate the economy.

By the way, “stimulus package” is my new favorite sexual euphemism. Try that one on and see if it doesn’t tickle you ever so slightly, you gigglepuss you. Okay here we go.

Books

Malfunction - Eric Joyner

I’m currently trudging through Infinite Jest and I have Sidewalk, Collapse, and Godel Escher Bach waiting in the wings. I know, some light recreational reading. So I picked up some lighthearted fare to refresh me when I need a break. I found this Giger book at a local comic shop and it’s way cheaper than any other Giger book you’ll find but just as comprehensive, good quality reproductions and all that. While I was there I picked up Flight Vol. 5 and Eric Joyner’s Robots & Donuts. Flight is without a doubt the most gorgeous and heart-warming series of comic anthologies I’ve ever seen, an absolute joy to look at and read. And Eric Joyner is a terrific painter, even if you’re not into robots or vintage toys.

Kobe - FreeDarko

But far and away the best book purchase I’ve made lately is FreeDarko‘s Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac. This book has been getting a lot of good press from every angle, but I’m not sure about this “you don’t have to like basketball to like this book” idea that a lot of reviewers have been floating. I work in the NBA so whether I like basketball or not isn’t really up to me, but the Almanac makes me like it more but for bizarre, twisted reasons. The book is an otherworldly amalgam of gorgeous illustration, inventively hilarious charts and sports writing that intelligently weaves in science, history, art, and mythology to paint players as cosmic archetypes of style and super- (or sub-) human feats. Their blog is good, but doesn’t even hint at the analytic onslaught the reader is in store for. And the authors occasionally, though more so in the blog or other writing, let the fact that they’re Jewish peek through, which is … what’s the word I’m looking for … charming.

Clothes

Candy Floss

My man Gene, who works up at Dock Street where they make delicious beer and pizza, has a fledgling clothing line going called Candy Floss, and their stuff ain’t cheap but it’s quality. FreeDarko and Damon Soule also make classy shirts in addition to their prints, books, toys, etc.

World of Goo

Games

At a younger age, I used to insist that video games were an art form, but now that this idea is largely accepted and I’ve moved on from wanting to design them for a living, I’ve stopped evangelizing on this. With more demands on my time and better things to do, I don’t really have as much interest in games as I used to. But every now and then, a game comes along that reminds me of both why I loved them so much and the creative potential in the medium. Right now that game is 2D Boy‘s World of Goo. It’s also gotten press and a few award nods lately, though some of you may have been hip to this thing back when it was Tower of Goo at Carnegie Mellon’s Experimental Gameplay Project. You won’t do much better than this for $15 (Wii) to $20 (Mac/PC). It’s got intelligence, humor, charming visual direction, strangely touching music, memorable levels and a well-designed progression of difficulty and physics-based play mechanics. I do so hope 2D Boy makes fleshing out The Swarm their next project. Also, though it’s not by Kyle Gabler and it probably wouldn’t make a good finished product, On a Rainy Day is pretty great batty fun.

Music

It’s been over a month since I attended Blip but I’m still sort of on a chiptune/electronic music kick, though much less than in the days immediately following. Except for a few rare instances, I haven’t been in the habit of paying for music for many years. So as luck would have it, most of these 8-bit artists are total computer nerds and put out a lot of their music for free online anyway. Of the guys I haven’t already given nods to, recently I’ve been favoring Trash80, Stu, and Nullsleep. Speaking of which, Nullsleep is playing 8static (who knew there was a Philly scene for this stuff? Not I.) on Feb 7, and Starscream are no slouches either so I’d consider showing up if I were you.

January 19, 2009 at 4:47 PM Leave a comment

Your ankles are mighty sexy..

There are some people out there who believe they were born in the wrong century. I must admit, I sometimes feel this way too. However, upon a recent discussion, my friends were talking about how the 1800s were really where its at. I had to disagree. If too much of your ankles were showing at this time, you were a harlot! And I love wearing jeans a whole heck of a lot. Seriously, you had to pretend like you had no sex drive, and you couldn’t even discuss sex. I sometimes wonder how people even knew how to do it back in the olden days.

recently-deflowered-girl-01-thumb

I do like old ‘racey’ illustrations. Today I found these Edward Gorey illustrations. This is a great article, because this guy is as much into Children’s writers getting all pervy and weird with their adult material as I am. Many people are unaware of the favorite Childhood authors, who also have amazing adult works. One of my favorites is Roald Dahl’s short stories. He used to write for Playboy starting in the 60s, and one story has the subtle title of  Bitch. Bet you didn’t borrow that from your local library when you were a kid.

The problem with a few of these stories and illustrations is that some of the content was only relevant at the time. Some stories but mostly the comics leave me feeling out of the loop. Do not let this deter you, there are far more that are surprisingly timeless. An example of this is cartoons and stories by James Thurber, who used to write for the New Yorker. This guy fathered all cartoons that have the mentality of, ‘Wench, go in the kitchen and make me a sandwich’. He is also capable of making fun of men, he’s just not as good at it.

wildwomen01x2

So we can suggest it may have been better to live in simpler times, but lets not forget the horrible places you could have ended up back in the day. For example, the Puritans were back in the day, and they were pretty much one big no-fun zone! Also, being that I have red hair, there were several civilizations that were convinced we were Satan’s spawn. I’ll stick with  the non-witch burning openly sexual time I was born into. The 1980s. Bitches and blow.

-posted by samsquared

January 15, 2009 at 4:42 PM Leave a comment

What’s on your wall?

posted by russellmania3000

Though ill-advised as I was still recovering from food poisoning, I went down to National Mechanics on Saturday for Sam’s birthday, to have a beer and put in my face time. She introduced me to a friend who upon hearing my name said something to the effect of “oh, the other half of the blog, the half who never updates.” I feel stupid trotting out the quality-over-quantity cliché, but not so stupid that I won’t do it. And if one was to compare word count rather than number of updates, we’d be about even anyway. Irregardless nonetheless…

Remember the “what’s in your tray?” game? You might not; it had a pretty short shelf life during the 1990s. If you were of that flirty young age but old enough to have a multi-disc CD changer, you could use this to get to know someone on a completely superficial level. It was handy since most people with decent taste in music had trouble naming favorites, there was a good chance a guilty pleasure would slip in, and the number of albums named would speak to economic status. Sadly, it was quickly phased out by the “what’s in your playlist?” game, which is still played competitively today.

Note: this is not to be confused with this variant of the “what’s in your tray?” game. Nerds.

As people get older, taste in music becomes an increasingly poor measure of character, so I’ve taken to making note of the things people use to decorate their living space. It’s rather shameful when someone hasn’t graduated beyond the typical dorm room Pulp Fiction/Animal House/Hendrix/Floyd poster, but it’s a quick way of knowing I won’t have to remember someone’s name.

I put a decent amount of effort into adorning my apartment and office and, especially now that I make a modest living, I like to throw artists some duckets when I find something deserving of my precious little wall space. I know a lot of artists will hang their work in their own homes, but I have a policy against that. I guess they’d say that looking at their work constantly forces them to be critical of it and improve themselves, but I’d argue that it makes you either self-satisfied or simply reminds you of old lines of thought and hinders new ones. Anyway. Some of the things I hang I’ve had since I was a small child, but I’ve recently acquired some new stuff and I feel I should give the artists their due.

New York

I rearranged a few walls to make room for a pair of eBoy posters, which are delightfully playful and colorful and HUGE! The nice thing about pixel art is that it can be enlarged quite a bit without losing clarity. They’re moderately priced if you grab them from a US reseller. But you may notice that they are available only in really large and non-standard sizes, sizes that would cost over $100 to get a fitting poster frame. There’s something disconcerting about paying over four times the coin for a frame than for the piece in it. What to do, what to do?

Fortunately I happened across these handy Poster Hangers which were much cheaper and did the trick nicely. Granted, you wouldn’t want to use these for something really nice unless you got it laminated or something. But they offer a little protection for the top and bottom edges and look a hell of a lot nicer than tacking something to the wall.

Speaking of tacking to the wall. Ever wonder what to do with all those postcards you get from show openings at galleries? You know, the ones you take thinking to yourself “this looks really cool, I’m gonna hang this up or use it in a collage or something” but you never do, they just sit in a folder or at the bottom of a drawer or on a shelf collecting dust. Postcard mobile, bitches! It drives cats bananas.

little blind rat

Without a doubt my favorite additions are a pair of Damon Soule prints. I saw his work several years ago at the Nexus Gallery, before they were rudely displaced from their home in Old City by some fucking hair salon. Please give his work a look; the prints are lovely but do not nearly do justice to the other seminal examples he has on virtual display. He even included a little ink drawing on sketch paper in the package. What a guy. Guess where that is? Postcard mobile, bitches!

I’m currently in the market for a Brute! poster, but not that one. Anyone have any leads? I’m coming up pretty dry. I’ve been chatting with Aidan Hughes himself on Facebook (I know, right?!), where he has a pretty sweet Manhattan Short Film Festival poster for sale, but he says he’s launching a store on his site in the coming weeks, so I guess I can hold out.

So what’s the guilty pleasure in my apartment? The framed equivalent of my Juno Reactor CDs? It could be the Softer World print. Or the Ben Shahn posters. Or the alphabet made of butterfly wings. Or the Pixar colorscript. No no. Child’s play. Behold:

fuck yes

I have no idea what this is or who to attribute it to. It was given to me by a crazy old friend who brought it from Seattle. There’s no writing anywhere on the goddamn thing, no clues. I think “motorcycle warrior” was the second or third thing I tried in Google image search and lo, there was my poster at like number 2. I shit you not. I love this thing. It’s right next to my head when I wake up, so if you were ever to sleep with me, it would be right next to your head too, and that’s something you’d have to take into consideration.

So, I pose the question to you, dear internet denizen: what’s on your wall?

Update: 1/13/2009, 3:47 PM – An old college buddy has informed me that my most prized piece of artwork is in fact the source illustration from the poster for George A. Romero’s 1981 film Knightriders, a movie I’ve never seen, but now I suppose I must. So, um, thanks to Max, the human compendium of B movies.

January 12, 2009 at 4:37 PM Leave a comment

Got the look

trends of a feather

Russ and I went to First Friday a few months ago, in order to see the Todd St. John show. He is the brains behind HunterGatherer. I really loved his work, and was even happier to have a design show to see in Philadelphia. Although, a friend left the show unimpressed by his work.

I recently discovered that I tend to notice trends, either that or I’m OCD and find mundane connections between unrelated topics. Other people, like my friend, blaze their own trail and make trends. Maybe it’s my eye for pop culture. I’ve noticed what looked cool to me since I was 13 and started listening to the Smashing Pumpkins. I even owned a pair of silver pants. That said,  I’m an illustrator who hasn’t quite found her style, but loves to draw and create, I pay extra attention to what I like when I see it.

I’ve liked Charley Harper for a few years.  A classmate recommended looking at his work, as well as that of the local Eleanor Grosch. It was helpful because they love birds and I was illustrating The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde. (I highly recommend it for you pessimists out there) I loved what I saw from these two, and Eleanor states she draws inspiration from Harper. I recently noticed how this style is everywhere now. The style of simplistic shapes and retro fitted colors seems to be on everything.  Todd Oldham (who is already the cat’s meow) has put together the first complete retrospective of Harper’s work. Another big book I truly can’t afford but would love to own. Even if this is on it’s way to jumping the shark, I’m going to argue for it.

This “minimal-realism” style is getting good looks from everyone. And has been for a few years now. Yet those who are on the brink of the next wave are those who are stepping further away from the computer. Whether it’s the addition of textured brushes in Illustrator, or just scanning in a penciled drawing for an illustrator line. Hand-done quality is going to grow in popularity. As the computer grows, and the increased belief that anyone can use Photoshop, appreciation for quality hand skills will inevitably be produced. I really like where awesome people like Mike Perry and Damien Correll are taking this boat. Mike Perry also made some cool books, slightly more affordable than the Harper book.

A teacher of mine once told me that it was important to do what your happy with. He lived through the trend of 1980s and 90s airbrush. He refused to trade in his ink pen for the airbrush to get work. It’s now becoming retro and almost vintage, but for now, it’s still ugly.  Harper is a retro classic, and we’ll see what outlasts the next wave.

-posted by samsquared

December 17, 2008 at 7:55 PM Leave a comment


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