I'm on the road again. Today it was Waco to Little Rock. The same radio station frequency that, in Waco, played the same hundred songs ('hits from the 60s, 70s, and 80s) each day, in Little Rock plays informational and philosophical ballads. At least I think that is what I was listening to.
Here is what I learned, a few moments ago:
Rain makes corn,
Corn makes whiskey,
Whiskey makes my baby
Feel a little frisky.
Oriana is the daughter of Barbara, whom I bragged about a few weeks ago. She paints in two quite distinctive styles. The first is super-to-hyper-realistic. I have one of these that I really liked because it impresses me and freaks me out how someone can capture ice/glass/light in this way:
The work of hers that I am keen on are these sea and sky-scapes. For instance:
This one was done in support of the victims of Hurricane Sandy, last year:
And this is a commission that I asked her to interpret, based on a photo that I really liked at the shorpy.com site:
The much more impressionistic sort of style for the ocean paintings helps convey, I think, the motion and drama of the sea. Having grown up near the Atlantic and now having spent most of my life in the Midwest, I think there is a bit of longing in my reaction to her paintings (besides the fact that she's quite talented).
I mean, really... what can I say about Gerhard that has not already been said? I call him Saint Gerhard the Magnificent. The man knows how to draw, and he is a real peach of a good guy.
The 2010 interview done by Sean Michael Robinson is, I think, the definitive take on Ger's career. If you are curious about him and never caught this, it is worth reading.
Sticking with my intent to feature stuff from the Aartvark Vault, I've asked Ger to take a few crazy ideas and, with a few million little lines, turn them into reality.
My unnatural love of Cerebus #29, p. 20, is well known. In 1982, for $50, it was the first piece of original comic art I ever purchased, and it was THE PAGE, for me, at the time. In 2006, Dave and Ger re-imagined pp 19-20, as though they were being done for the first time. In my mind, I was hoping this would inspire a re-imagination, in full-out Dave/Ger color, of the entire issue as a special edition.
Props to both of them, here, because in my view, these two pages were simply hit straight out of the park and as over the edge as the wickets ball in the last panel.
Skipping ahead, you will recall that the inspiration for this entry in the "World Without Cerebus" series, which I call "Collateral Damage," is the follow-up to these two pages.
Later in 2006, I picked up this pretty large (22"x40") sketch, and in a pique of inspiration, asked Gerhard if he would consider giving it the background treatment.
Gerhard's first reply is a matter of public record:
His second reply was less traumatic:
That having worked out so well, he did a series of four drawings for me that were derived from pictures I had taken of the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. Here is one of them, pre- and post-color.
Gerhard is soooooo funny and thoughtful. As a total and complete surprise, he did a fifth image for me based on another picture that had been taken... of me... on a camel... at the Great Wall... dressed up as a Mongolian dignitary. I pretty much fell off my chair in hysterics when I saw this.
You already know about the "World Without Cerebus" series. Here was the first entry: "Fallen Idol." It is so cool that there are now 2 entries in the series commissioned by people other than me. More to come.
"Gerhard Dreams" is a masterpiece, and that's just true. And once again, he slipped the fucking camel picture in on me as a surprise. I'm going to break a hip if I keep falling off my chair.
This was a real collaboration - a mash-up of my long-time motto, taken from a Medieval tapestry, imagined as the legend of an illuminated manuscript page depicting a highly secular theme.
And, what might yet be the most ambitious and challenging piece: "Set a Spell" - still under construction.
Abbey Ryan (http://ryanstudio.blogspot.com) b. 1979, in 2007, joined the emerging "Painting a Day" movement. There are lots of these folks, but I think she's a standout. The movement embraces the no-gallery / no-middleman / no editor structure that the internet brings to the individual artist, who can communicate directly with clients. Abbey's Painting-a-Day pieces, like the one I featured in the Brag Aart sidebar, draws heavily from the style and sensibility of the Old Dutch Masters. The impression of natural light in a brown world with no electricity comes through clearly. If you look at most of the others in the Painting-a-Day crowd (e.g., http://www.dailypaintworks.com, http://www.dailypainters.com, http://www.dailypainterreview.com) I think you will see she is one-in-a-ten-thousand, or so.
Paolo Rivera broke into the comics art scene about 7-8 years ago with his unique take on painted comics pages. He has a strong sense of draftsmanship that reminds me of Jack Kirby doing layouts for a Steve Rude/Alex Ross collaboration.
He is a multi-media sort of artist, moving fluidly from blue pencil on art board to drafting on the computer. It's pretty cool that one of his main inkers is his dad.
The piece I've selected was an interpretive painting of the splash page from the first appearance of Iron Man. At 24x36 inches, it is one of the larger works he says he has ever done, and it dates back to 2002, or earlier, because it was done while he was still in school. I scooped this up while his star was really starting to rise, and I have to say I am quite glad to have this particular painting.
Historically, one of the great things about life in higher education was its freedom from much of the nameless, mindless corporate organizational bullshit that Scott Adams satirizes so well in "Dilbert." No more. As the ones in charge have moved from being the faculty members to the accountants, and now to the lawyers, the insanities of the private sector have found a new home in academia.
You want to know what has at least contributed to the financial stresses in academia? High priced middle management (and lots of it) who do not actually make money for a non-profit institution, and plenty of them around for hire, given how well they fucked up the private sector. They are good at what they do.
In the lingo of the day, I was definitely ROTF LMAO when this message (cleansed to remove identifiers) came out from my department, this morning:
"Please join me in congratulating Judy Smith on her promotion from Accountant Associate to Accountant Intermediate. Judy starts his (sic) new role effective tomorrow, and beginning Friday she will be located in the 3rd to last cubical (sic) on the left within the Management Office. Her new phone number is 555-4321."
In my head, I hear whirs and clicks chirping off a droid message:
"The new unit #555-4321 will be located in sector C3LM. Please join me in congratulating 555-4321 on its efficiency."