Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I think of this month's cover image as more of a question than a statement. I heard about Japanese education before I came here and have since seen many varied examples of teachers, their styles of teaching, and the seeming effects on students. Teaching styles differ between higher and lower level schools, between older and younger students. I don't know when I heard the phrase "The nail that sticks up gets hammered down," but it lead to this image. I know it certainly doesn't apply only to Japanese schools, if even then.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
I received a surprising letter a few weeks ago from one Prof. Oleg Gochev, an artist, muralist, and professor at the National Art Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria. He, thru his amazingly polite assistant Milena Kardaleva, was asking for permission to use images of some murals I completed at North Drive Middle School in Hopkinsville, TN during 2001.
As I had not featured these images on my site or focused on my murals for a few years, this was a surprising, if flattering, message to receive.
Here's a preview of some of the murals from that project:
One of my faves, outside of the library, they had these in-set doors that lead to this idea for the book case illusion. All of these books can be found inside on the actual shelves. I think we picked the books most often checked out for these murals. There's another bookshelf mural outside the library's other exit on the opposite side with different books.
Where the school band practiced... I remember the model for this face was a 13-year-old flutist with an attitude.
Math Mural How easy was it to come up with a "fun" idea for a math mural? I'm not sure I did, but the math problem about calculating the circumference of the earth kinda relates to a giant globe I painted down the hallway for the Geography classrooms. That bar over its left side is some cork strip for hanging things in the hallway that the janitors insisted on putting back up... art critics.
Flag Corps Mural This is the mural for the Youth Communist League... No, not really - this is for the Flag Corps. Do you have that in other countries? Some girls whipping flags about lethally, throwing them high into the air and catching them at the last second?
Some additional info: North Drive Middle was a school with an incredibly long central hallway running like a spine thru the center of the school. Standing at one end looking at the other was a disorienting optical illusion of geometric perspective. Anywhere in the middle, its was difficult to tell exactly where you were. Thus the murals as a solution to create visual landmarks in this seemlingly endless beige-brick corridor.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
You may remember me mentioning my involvement in a great big concert/multimedia art event to benefit CONNECT, an NYC–based non–profit organization dedicated to the prevention and elimination of family and gender violence, all organized around the music of NYC band Agua Trip, who will debuting their long awaited new album Genetics.
For Agua Trip’s Genetics Release Concert and Fundraiser, 20 artists have contributed artwork based on songs from Agua Trip's new Visual Songbook. These companion pieces will be displayed at their concert/art show/multimedia extravaganza in Times Square on Nov. 5, 7pm-10pm. Those lucky enough to be within the NYC vicinity should definitely save the date for what promises to be an amazing night.
As the date approaches, the band is profiling the individual artists, digging into the process and inspirations behind each piece as well as their connections to their companion songs from the album.
I can't ruin the surprise and show you the piece just yet, but soon we'll be able to see all the great work put into this whole project, and I'll be posting it here.
When and Where:
Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Now what was the magic spell for perfect design & type?...
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Listening to some This American Life episodes that I've let stack up on my iTunes. I love the show and in more than 10 years of listening, have never once been disappointed by it, but more than a few times have been moved to real thought, laughter, and tears. It strikes me as one of the biggest examples of a contemporary urge for sincere sentiment. I was talking with my friend Billy a week or so ago about his artwork. One important element in his work is his exploration of the line you cross from sincere emotional expression into something showy or false. He also contrasts it against "knowing" art, a kind that works from a (real or contrived) jadedness, a kind of defensive, cynical unwillingness to let one's guard down, to be real. The example in my mind is that of a wise-cracking sitcom kid, though I'm sure Billy could say it better. I'm seeing this impulse in different folk's art and media these days, and am really interested in it.
At the moment, I think of two artists from my grad school time at MCAD who's work I think in this same way: Molly Roth and Shepherd Alligood, though for now I have to leave it at that. Gotta get back to drawing a pig playing an accordion.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
This is a gee-tar-in Red Tailed Hawk. It took a while to find a Hawk to pose for me, and even longer to find one who could play. I finally had to ask him just to pretend to play the guitar.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
The challenges, pt.1: Of course it was raining for the 10 minutes I was on my bike, promptly clearing up as soon as I entered their office, visible through the huge picture windows with their incredible view of Himeji Castle. On top of this, it is the summer rainy season and so extremely hot and humid (mushi-atsui desu, I love it that one of their words for "humid" is "mushi," cause thats how it feels). So I was completely soaked in either rain or sweat, and spent the first 20 minutes trying not to drip on my own drawings. I'm sure I looked like a freak, but folks seemed nice about it.
The challenges, pt.2: Most interactions here serve to remind me of how bad my Japanese is, and today was no different. However, I lucked out in that the owner of the design office is passionately interested in learning business English, and was very nice about helping out with conversation beyond my initial introductions and job descriptions.
The good news: I met another illustrator (who coincidentally had drawn a picture of Himeji castle up and walking around, even though his was very cartoony and for a small animation), a few designers, a printer, plus a few others. I wish I had a chance to see more folks' work, though I did see the work of this one dude. Besides being a DJ, he meets with 3 other artists to make a zine. They set themselves a time limit of 2 hours to produce the zine from the first step all the way to the final printed copies. They were rough and spontaneous, and looked like tons of fun. I was happily reminded of SALart, a similar zine (minus the time-limit) that I (co)edited over a few years during my time in undergrad at APSU. Sounds like a great idea for a party...
Anyhow, decent for a first attempt. There will be another lunch next month!
Plus the new website is almost done!!! It'll be up asap, and of course it will posted here.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
I realized that I have some of his stuff in my box of stored comic at home in the U.S., which I bought for the same reasons listed above. I love seeing this level of work going into telling stories. This level of stuff almost only makes it to covers, and a whole comic of this is a real treat. Not to throw judgement on the scripts he works on, but this kind of art can make crappy writing look a million times better, like movie stars can lend believability/credibility to some terrible Hollywood blockbuster. I guess thats a compliment, too!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I was drawing it one day from a nearby park and started to see a face in the castle. Thoughts of what it would look like if it stood up jumped into my head. I found/took some pictures and started playing with ideas. What would its body look like? Arms? Legs? Plus, might as well call him Himeji Joe, you know?
I knew I wanted to show it from the ground, looking up at it, towering over us. And what the hell - might as well make it fighting some other huge creature. After thoughts of the Statue of Liberty and Big Ben facing off against our hero, Jenai suggested I use a girl dressed in a Japanese style we were reading about called ganguro. They are sorta scary, which is a plus, AND they are often interpreted as caricatures of Western women. Awesome, I'm starting to like the layers coming up here...
So develop the pose, examine details...
With the other creature to be worked out later, I got into faking the perspective and exaggerated ground-level view. This was, like, a 3rd attempt. Pretty frustrating at the time.
After a few tries, I got something I was into, the sketch below. In the previous post, you can see how I am developing areas of this basic sketch, one at a time. So fun.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
I've been taking a break from getting the new website ready to work on something thats a lot of fun. I'm making a fake Monster-Movie poster for my idea of "Himeji Joe vs. Ultra-Ganguro". It involves our town's castle standing up like a giant monster and fighting a giant ganguro woman. More to come on that later. But here are my two favorite drawings from this weekend. I'm learning that these architectural details take forever! God knows I'm adapting the actual design to fit my anthropomorphization (jeez, is that a word?), but I still want to get as much in as possible, and I want it to be instantly recognizable, at least to locals.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Been drawing all day, and will be drawing all night. I like the feverish, focused times like this.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
So I just finished the July cover, my second for the Hyogo Times. It comes from the Art Director's idea to have Japanese Prime Minister Fukada set in a purikura photo booth.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Sketchbook page, 2008
I spent a few hours at a friendly local (and American in origin) fast food joint. While there, saw a dude in line at the checkout whose posture and build struck me as interesting. Luckily, they were busy and he had to stand there for a while. I only got a few glimpses at his face and never saw his lower half anyway, but got this sketch made.
The drawing began with the full standing figure, proceeded to exaggerating the few looks I got at his face, and went to the drawing of our new friend on the left. When I saw the guy in line, I thought of a turtle-like Japanese mythological creature called a kappa that I read a lot about this week. There's a bowl-ish haircut named after the do they are supposed to have, and the dude in line had it. He looked like what I would want a kappa to look like, so I dug in while I could, playing with the posture. Real dude didn't look near as bad as my version of him.
My kappa has the haircut, and I tried to leave a space for its primary feature, a depression on the top of its head in which water must be for it to retain its dangerous mojo. If you are a polite person with a habit of bowing, then it will return this bow, lose its precious H2O, and you're in the clear. So remember kids, don't be rude little bastards or a horrific water-dwelling turtle monster will come up under you in the water and there'll be no more of you - no sir.
Brought up thoughts of one of my first affinities in drawing that I felt alright at - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I think I was tracing them out of a Nintendo Power magazine I had in the 4th grade, and its one of the first things I can remember actually drawing for other people's requests. Knowing that their standard design is still my default for a humanoid-turtle, I tried to get as far away from that as I could, at least in the details. Hence the rib-y anterior plates and knobby shell.