Archive for November, 2007

Mouse Problem Revisited

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What was once an unwelcome home invasion is now a painting. The final body count for the intrusive vermin rested at four, which is really not so bad, but when you find those four in the space of 30 minutes, your imagination tends to assure you that the worst is yet to come. Thankfully, in this instance that was not the case. Now I just have a rotten peace of mind about looking for and/or killing wayward mice that happen to find their way up three flights of stairs. I’ll live, but even with the mixed feelings involved in killing small, relatively helpless rodents, I can only give the mice a 50/50 shot.

Blessed Unrest

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Blessed Unrest is a non-fiction account of current popular activism. Paul Hawken, the author, essentially sets out to document everything that’s going right with grassroots and non-profit organizations committed to any and all forms of environmental, political, social and/or human rights advocacy in operation across the globe as opposed to what’s going wrong. It’s a roundly optimistic and impressive account. His thesis is that each individual group, be it a human rights organization, an anti-drug coalition, an environmentalist group, a trade policy monitor etc., are all part of a larger, sweeping movement that thrives on its lack of central, unified organization. It would sound like the insane rants of a university-landlocked hippie if the information wasn’t so compellingly and effectively presented. It’s presently in hardcover still, so it’s worth a look.

These cover comps were intended for the paperback version. Roseanne Serra, one of the art directors at Penguin, contacted me on a Friday needing covers to present for her meeting on Wednesday. This gave me just enough time to tear through the book and grind out some possibilities to have ready on the morning they were required. She gave specific direction to use exactly three photos in my layouts that would draw connections to the far reaching effects and goals of these various, unrelated organizations. She also added a caveat that once I provided comps conveying specifically that, then I could do whatever the hell else I wanted afterwards to see if it stuck. Color me joyous.

So, working backward, the above comp is what I submitted last. It’s intended to reference the big-idea-that-originated-on-a-diner-napkin suggestion with all the various groups and causes linked to one another without ever holding a center.

These next two are different riffs that I first provided Roseanne based on her initial direction:

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The first one was put together making a conscious effort to use images in which all of the primary figures were in silhouette. The two photos of rows of people bookend an image of multiple propellers to suggest movement and progress happening in real time effecting current situations. In the second comp, the pictures were selected to underscore how different and far-reaching these developments are. Between factory recycling, human rights relief in Africa, and a single hand harvesting a plant, the cover implies that the book to follow will draw the thread that connects them all.

The author ultimately decided on keeping the paperback cover the same as the hardcover version, so these comps were killed after all that elbow grease. Nonetheless, it was flattering in no small respect to be working on such a bold, uniformly positive account of social unrest. How often do you hear from an activist who’s rants aren’t defeating themselves in your ear as they spew?

Brain On Hold

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I keep long, late hours. I tend to wake up in a sour mood if I feel that I hadn’t made the most of my available time outside of work the evening prior, so if I’m overtired by the end of the week, the choice is most often wholly my own and I accept full responsibility.

Something that’s only recently occurred to me is that a natural side effect for keeping such long hours with what amount to be a constant rotation of various client-based or self-initiated projects, is that that funny, buzzy feeling of overstimulation sustains itself a little bit more than l’d prefer. Short of horse tranquilizers or a Buddhist-for-hire, the ability to dial the brain down before I go to bed is a bit of a challenge.

To combat this, I’ve begun closing the days out by digging up earlier sketchbook drawings I’ve done and reworking them without any thematic motive or intent. It’s a narrative free, subtext free, meaning free excuse to play with a picture and explore all of my idiotic, baseless impulses. The one above was a recent experiment by adding arbitrary bubbles of color around what was before just an ordinary drawing of someone’s head. I couldn’t explain the motivation to do that specifically to his head, but I did discover that it was extremely satisfying to wind the day down by playing around with something without the self-imposed pressure to ask yourself what, specifically, it means. Plus, I slept like the dead.

New Adventures in Image Transfers

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I’ve been experimenting recently with image transfers using stacked layers of gel medium. I spray mount an image to a glass palette, and cover it with successive layers of the medium until it’s built up a thick enough consistency to soak in water and slowly remove the paper. Thus far, the imperfections and nicks have given each result a welcome inconsistency that I’m so used to seeing eliminated with Photoshop these days. However the real exam will come either this weekend or next when I see how successful it is to incorporate such a transfer into a painting otherwise comprised exclusively of acrylics. My craftsmanship-based interests have officially leveled with scrapbooking tips and helpful hints for housewives. A customized apron for such applications is in the works.

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Found, Nov. 13th

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I was in Williamsburg for dinner last night and bought a book on the street beforehand. Flipping through it a few minutes after I paid for it, a handful of decidedly personal photographs slipped out from behind the inside flaps of the dust jacket. There were nine total, but I’ve included my two favorites here.

If anyone knows these people, or more to the point, are these people, I’m happy to return the photos if they have sentimental value, but I think I’m entitled to an explanation as to the events that are being celebrated. I’ve got a question.
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Pics from the Mammal Launch

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With much of the planning credited to Devin’s dogged determination, the Mammal 001 Launch Fiesta went off like gangbusters last week. We expected a whole five people to show up and instead were received by 30 or more, some of whom included some old friends we hadn’t seen in years. A modest turnout maybe, but being that this was a school night in a comic book shop (as opposed to a bar), I’d say we were flat-out blessed to have so many guests curious about the book. Rocketship was courteous well beyond need and let us hang out a solid hour past the store’s bedtime to browse, drink and chat. Boasting a sterling reputation among comic devotees, I’d still never seen so many people in the shop at the same time before last week.

Also of note, Rocketship has a shower in their restroom, which was news to me, in case that information might be useful to anyone at some point down the line.

Devin’s wife, Jenny, was kind enough to snap a few pics for the sake of posterity.

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