Friday, August 15, 2014

Brag Aart: "Meadow" by Jeffrey Catherine Jones

Although Jones was known as a terrific comics illustrator and comics/sci-fi painter, I like having the more Jones-as-artiste works in my collection. For example, this meadow scene:

With all the celebrity death coming down this past week, I turn to the stats people for the answer to the question: what is likely to kill you?

From: M. Heron "Deaths: Leading causes for 2008." National vital statistics reports. 2012, 60(6).

Mmmmm, Mmmm. That bacon and bleu cheese burger done to a black-char goodness on the grill appears to be a problem. 

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Brag Aart: The Regency Elf

Yeah yeah yeah… Elf, schmelf….

go check out the artwork that Gerhard did for promo kit of the new Cinemax series "The Knick"… the Elf will still be here when you get back…

check it out:

Pretty cool.

Cerebus 29, pp 4-6: the first appearance of The Regency Elf

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Orphan Black

Thanks to ALK for the pointer on this one.

"Orphan Black" is a BBC America production that has two 10-episode seasons under its belt. To say anything about what it is about would be telling you too much, but it explores themes that intersect modern genetic science, with intellectual property issues about who owns information (even genetic information), with extremely compelling questions about nature/nurture identity. It is a densely intelligent show and features an extremely strong lead whom you can see here, in the first before-title scene from the series premiere. I am not often hooked before the title even shows, but it is a credit to the writers who follow the most fundament rule: one purpose of any sentence is to get the reader to want to read the next one.


Friday, August 01, 2014

Brag Aart: Old Shanghai by Liu Shu

Liu Shu is a faculty member at the Chongqing Institute of Art. I have a reasonable number of his works, all of which have this same characteristic: from about 3-4 feet away, you can easily believe you are looking at some sort of photographic image. When you get closer, you are struck by just how impressionistic the paintings are. So he has a knack for understanding how the eye sees the world and leaves enough for you to fill in with more detail than is truly there. This piece is about 3x3' oil on canvas.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A pinch of this, a dash of Tang

The fiber optics out of Beijing are always better than elsewhere in the country, so I caught up on 4 weeks of "Falling Skies." I enjoy this show quite a bit. They are short (10 episode) summer seasons, and the fifth and final one will be in 2015.

"Guardians of the Galaxy" is getting some really great early reviews. Any kid growing up on Marvel comics during the 1960s who stuck with all of these characters for 50 years could never, ever imagine how the studio would end up being so, so smart about these properties. The marketing of this film, introducing the characters, was genius.

Not to mention the next freaking Avengers movie.

The house ad for the "Hotel Massage" in Jinhua was … different. The bathroom stocked two full boxes of condoms, and also stocked his and hers light cotton underwear for sale on the same display. Yikers. I probably should have scanned those sheets with a UV light. Or not. Hotline, indeed.

Visiting four cities at different stages of their development, as opposed to the traditional tour destinations, has given me a new metric for assessing the degree of development, namely, the level of sophistication of the breakfast buffet.

Is there a real kitchen grill behind a glass shield, where you can order any sort of eggs you want, or are there two kids in greasy chef coats standing at a small fry pan on a tabletop burner (on a small table) dishing out the fried eggs?

Is there conventional Western silverware available or not?

Is the organic juice the actual juice of oranges or is it Tang?

And, I have travelled a lot, and never ever before have I encountered orange juice (the Tang kind) that was served out of a coffee urn, at a piping hot temperature.

Is the mattress stone hard or not?

For that matter, are the beds short enough that your big America feet, sitting there at the end of your long American legs, dangle over the edge?

Down at the bar, in the refrigerated display cooler with the beers and the cans of Cokes, is the thing actually turned on?

When the air conditioning goes out in the entire hotel, and they come into the room to deliver an electric fan with the two-hour promise for the repair, how many hours past the two hours before they move you to the hotel next door?

Don't get me wrong: I am not complaining. I consider it all a great adventure, actually. The hot orange-colored juice drink really got my attention, though.

I asked my host in Jinhua if there was nearby convenience store, or inside grocery, where I could go grab a (cold) fizzy beverage. He said sure, just a minute's walk to the east outside from the hotel, a two-story inside market with all the amenities, he was there yesterday on the way home. Less than 16 hours later, the place was completely gutted for remodeling, and looked like it had been that way for a month. By the time I left, less than two days later, it was substantially rebuilt. No one ever gets this about China : it is not just that the slope of the line is positive, it's that the magnitude is so damn high.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Brag Aart: In the Days of the Mob #1 p 27 by Jack Kirby

There are often complaints about how Vince Colletta over-simplified, softened, and eliminated background detail from Kirby's art, and it's probably warranted. This series came later in the game, when Kirby was at first at DC in the early 1970s. There were two issues in a magazine format, as I hear it, and they simply got lost among other magazines because readers for this were not looking there. The stories were collected, years later, and appreciated in retrospect.

I'm so lazy to scan anything any more, so the image you see above is actually derived from the image you see below, which was used in the eBay auction. Thanks, Adobe.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Brag Aart:

"Blue Moon Stones" by Barbara Kacicek

I thought this composition had a huge amount of energy in it. Starting from the inevitable focus on the big blue dot of the flower as a starting point, the lines in the bottom two stones swirl you up to the third.  In fact, the balance seems just a bit off, like that top stone should be causing the lot of them to topple. But you are pulled just a bit by the arc of the line in the top stone, as it not only reflects the arc of the moon-sliver, but also invokes the slight tug of the moon's gravity that is keeping the balance in place. You swing up to the moon, around its arch, and it lands you with force, right to the crotch of where that second stone meets the first. It does not fall, but you do, back along the arc of the bottom stone an home to the blue flower.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Brag Aart: Elan Meets Rafa by The Mice

I have mused before about how generally terrific the Internet is for artists who simply want to create and then share their creations. Sometimes these look big and flashy, and sometimes they look like "Elan meets Rafa."

Under the pseudonym of The Mice, someone whom I think is a young woman living in California has been hitting a regular, semi-weekly deadline with a delicately written "boy love story with a cat and a sharpie pen."

There are about 400 pages of story to date, available at

The writing is engaging because the characters have character.

The artwork is not sophisticated, ranging from High School Art Class to what I would call Evocative Drafts with Great Charm and High Potential. But the point is that the whole package is fun to follow; it did not take long for me to look forward to each installment.

Here is a representative page:
Sometimes I really love plain, old-school drawing: no tracing, no photo references, just you and the notebook and the pencil.

When I admire, I try to support, particularly if it involves art. I cruised back through the story and identified 40 or so pages I thought I would like to have of this work, and then offered a reasonable price for all of them. Here's a couple:

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Brag Aart: Pears & Strawberries by Abbey Ryan

"Two Pears & Four Strawberries" by Abbey Ryan

I'm behind the great Firewall for a month. I'd say things are a little more strict than in the past, at least where I am. My VPN seems to last 3-10 minutes and then shuts down, and I cannot directly connect to Google. 

I am happy I got most of my research done before the trip. Every time I call up a search and get nothing, I wonder: how does anyone get work done this way? The answer, of course, is that they have more available work-arounds than I do because they live here.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Brag Aart: JM Watt

Original advertising art for Rowntree's Chocolates by British illustrator and painter John Millar Watt (1895-1975). This is thought to be from the 1920s. In 1921, Millar, as he was known, created a strip that would eventually be called "Pop," in honor of its lead character. This was one of the few British strips to be successful in the US. His wife, daughter, and grand-daughter are all artists (