Category Archives: Link

Sweet home, uh, Something-or-Other.

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Filed under Link, News

Been packing for the move to Chicago – it’s coming up this Saturday. Road trip! I will have the Blues Bros. soundtrack on loop. GET IT? LOOP? I just came up with that. …Wow, it’s late.

I finished off that graphic novel project I’ve been working on, words and all, and it’s ready for the mail. I’ll wait a little bit before adding it to the site, since I’ll probably want to change some wording yet again, given what a nut I am for re-reading and editing everything I write, ever. The old “everything is a draft until you die” quip would be appropriate somewhere in this paragraph, probably. I can always edit it in later.

Been downloading individual grant applications for that installation I want to build, but it turns out most of them are for 2010, so I’m really going to take my time to polish them to a professional, oh-my-he’s-thought-of-everything sheen. I may ask the print shop if they have an option for scented paper, and I will perhaps include some personalized heart-candies: “B MY PATRON” has been a staple greeting of the art world since William Hogarth (actually, I wouldn’t put that past him).

A comedian friend of mine in Chicago says he wants me in some skits he plans to do; it’ll feel good to be on stage again. There’ve been a lot of neat stop-motion videos I’ve seen lately, and I think there’s a lot of potential in something like that (SNL used to have some fantastic examples back in the ’70s, when they had that “submissions” segment, and were funny), so I’ll try to get him and his A/V friends with their nice camera on board a project like that.

Might be doing illustrations for a kids’ book! Am discussing details with the author over email. Further updates as events warrant.

Jon out. My next dispatch will likely be from the, whaddyacallit, Breezy Town.

When Culture gives you Lemons…

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Filed under Fun, Idea, Link, Sketch

Did some sketches to accompany the grant proposal in addition to the actual descriptions of the thing. I’ll just re-use the fancy collaged forms I made for the hotel gig, at least as far as the descriptions of the thing itself goes. Here are the two (very rough! These will all be full oil paintings!) sketches to accompany the app:

install01
install02

The basic idea is that there are LEDs behind each of the paintings, and a central control console with a button corresponding to each one. You have to press the buttons in sequence to get the cover over the large central painting to retract, and as you “activate” each painting, a section of it is backlit, providing you with a clue as to what the next painting in the sequence might be. You can’t see all those clues here, since this is just a rough sketch, but they’re described in the accompanying text (Here, they’re drawn in the left-to-right sequence you’d activate them – Try to find the connections!) The sequence is supposed to represent a progression of various styles and media in art, but have them circle back and eat their own tail, with the central painting being a kind of synthesis of the whole deal. Looking at it now, from a more objective viewpoint, I can see how it would be a bit of a head-scratcher, but it’s already a literal puzzle in the first place, so I think it works out….Well, I wouldn’t have posted it, otherwise.

I’ve got three other developed conceptual installation ideas involving building rather elaborate objects, two that require old cars, and one that also requires a boat, so I’ll see if this simpler one flies first.
—-
Excellent Madison comedian Alan Talaga, AKA Dan Potacke, has put together this video for his live talk show. Consider this a plug.

Who’s applying to Grant’s tomb?

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Filed under Idea, Link, News

I’m applying to Grant’s tomb! (I also wear short shorts.)

Remember that artist-in-residence thing I was a finalist for a little while back? Well, I’m taking that idea and parlaying it into a bunch of new grant applications in Chicago; There’s no shortage of funky installation ideas, but I need some capital in order to build them. It’ll be something to do while trying, in the back of my mind, to compose the verbal part of that graphic novel project below. I’ve got one line I like, and everything else ends with me thinking, “nah, that sucks.” I’ll try to belt out some stuff tonight and then cherrypick from that to get something that works.

You have to admit, one of these would be a pretty impressive status item; I think it’s pretty well established that infamy is just as good as regular ol’ good-guy fame. Everyone in that pantheon of larger-than-life figures is King Midas.

Sometimes I do things.

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Filed under Fun, Link, Sketch

Sometimes.

I just got what I feel is, in all objectivity, quite a rad album. Right now I am listening to the first track, “Carolina,” on loop – It is just that awesome.

A man said to me, “give Pikachu a new face.”  So I did:
oldmanpika
eyechu

Finished a logo for a comedian I collaborate with, and a little 3D modeling project for fun. I might have those up later.

But right now, it’s time to get back to work on that graphic novel proposal…

Three Guys

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Filed under Link, Sketch

Doodled a scene from a nightmare I had a while ago…
monster01

And, uh, something else. Just kinda went with the flow:
qpnlavessad

I know I said in the last post that I didn’t like TV very much, but I also never claimed to not be a hypocrite (though I undoubtedly will later on), but Hulu is now showing all of the “Stella” TV episodes. Those of you who know me might be aware that my sensibilities run a little towards the “meta” end of the spectrum, so I can assure you this is right up my alley. This episode, especially, is fantastic:

To the Sky!

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Filed under Fun, Idea, Link

I just finished a 4-page sample for a possible collaboration on a graphic novel – A drama this time, as opposed to a comedy or a big existential “look how smart I am!” festival. I’ll refrain from posting it because this is just between me and said collaborator, but rest assured, I am not resting on any kind of assured laurels or, heaven forbid, sitting around drinking scotch and drawing goofy cartoons that shall remain unposted for fear of embarrassing loved ones…

In the mean time, however, feast your eyes on this:

This is, and I feel I can say this without hyperbole, the greatest thing to ever be on TV, ever. I don’t even like TV that much – in the ’50’s they told the public that this magic viewing tube would be a window unto knowledge heretofore unseen by the general public….

…That space above is my only reaction – However! This program that I have linked to is one of the very few things I’ve ever seen that actually fulfills that promise of humanism and knowledge. Here is not only a view of the entire universe on an emotional, meaningful level, but a manifesto for human cooperation rarely seen in any medium. I defy you to watch this episode and remain dry-eyed. For those in a hurry, the 37-minute mark starts off The Greatest Story Ever Told.

Some good ol’ Sci-Fi

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Filed under Content, Gallery, Link

Just finished a little digital painting for the guy who made me this website you’re looking at.  He’s writing a science fiction novel, and this is a scene from it.  Check it out in the “Digital” section.  And check out his website, too.

Drawn in Circles

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Filed under Link, News

First, a little publicity:
If you’re in or around Madison, be sure to check out some of my drawings at the State Street Gallery show.

Here’s an interview with the editor emeritus of Nature, who passed away recently.  Fascinating ideas about probing into the human brain using notions of fear, as well as all the other questions science has been probing lately.

Finally, speaking of fear and bizzare ideas, yesterday I read a horror comic called “Uzumaki” (“Spiral”) by Junji Ito.  It’s wormed its way into my mind and laid eggs, so I’m going to talk them out of my brain and get on with my business.  It’s a story about a town that is cursed by, well, spiral shapes, which act like a kind of contagion, slowly destroying the town and its inhabitants. On the surface this sounds irredeemably silly, but Ito has a knack for atmospherics that makes you believe these shapes have the supernatural power to make people go mad, or mutate into grotesque monsters, or kill each other and themselves in a variety of creatively gruesome ways.  The story follows a high school couple, and we see the events through their eyes as people are warped or killed by a kind of invisible, Lovecraftian personification of “spiral-ness” itself – as the story goes on, the pattern loses all its ordinary connotations and becomes a kind of character as well,  which appears in and corrupts everything it can.  Even the blades of grass begin to curl.  I’m not normally that interested in horror, but this has a kind of surreal, apocalyptic feel that propels it above the normal gore and scares.  Ito  draws beautifully, too, if sometimes a little clumsily, in a subtle, noir-ish way that augments the strangeness of the story. In the end, not to give too much away, the town is obliterated, but it seems like the fate of the villagers isn’t too terrible considering the events up to that point; they at least seem to end up in a kind of off-brand Nirvana, which is rendered exquisitely across a two-page spread.  Nothing about the curse or its origin is explained, beyond a basic “spirals exist to mesmerize, and so want desperately to be looked at.” – For mere humans, in this case, there is no answer.  Definitely recommended.

“I am the astonishment…”

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Filed under Link, Sketch

I can’t believe I had never heard of this man before.  I had heard of Ridley Walker.  I had heard of Turtle Diary.  I had not, however, put two and two together and determined that they were written by the same man – A man who has a certain flair for the uncanny that I find inspiring.

More animal fact sketches, just because:
roach
cosmopug
…OK, I think I’m done with these now.

The Spice of Life must Flow

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Filed under Link

I would love to sit down and comment on this essay, but my powers of expression, enough to light a candle, would be drowned out by the solar furnace of Zadie Smith’s writing and insight.  I suggest reading it now.

“The first stage in the evolution is contingent and cannot be contrived. In this first stage, the voice, by no fault of its own, finds itself trapped between two poles, two competing belief systems. And so this first stage necessitates the second: the voice learns to be flexible between these two fixed points, even to the point of equivocation. Then the third stage: this native flexibility leads to a sense of being able to “see a thing from both sides.” And then the final stage, which I think of as the mark of a certain kind of genius: the voice relinquishes ownership of itself, develops a creative sense of disassociation in which the claims that are particular to it seem no stronger than anyone else’s. There it is, my little theory—I’d rather call it a story. It is a story about a wonderful voice, occasionally used by citizens, rarely by men of power. Amidst the din of the 2008 culture wars it proved especially hard to hear.”

At the very least it provides vindication for anyone who feels unfocused or too experimental in their work.