Category: art

RACCOONS IN THE STORES: Uh … No

ImageJermaine Rogers is an artists I hadn’t heard of until very recently, when a friend of mine alerted me to the newest label for Dogfish Head‘s Festina Peche. The art shows a creepy looking raccoon clutching a peach. Unfortunately, the brewery’s Fish Finder has proven less than reliable and there doesn’t seem to be any of this beer available near me. More recently I was browsing the Kid Robot store in Boulder, CO and noticed a vinyl statue of a raccoon wearing a suicide vest titled “My Brother Was a Hero,” which was also designed by Jermaine.  I don’t know if they’re all supposed to solid black, or if that’s just some chase variant, but it was the only one they had on display at the store.  It’s a lousy choice, as it mostly eradicates the raccoon-ness of the design (and since the bombs are the same color as the body, one is really unsure what the heck they’re looking at until they get up close.)  Also, the imagery just doesn’t do it for me.  I’m sure, as an artist, Jermaine will be tickled pink to know he’s designed something a voracious consumer of raccoon related merchandise like me would turn down, but hey, I’m sure it’ll have an audience somewhere.  Well, maybe if there’s one that has a little more color to it, at any rate.

Source: Vinyl Pulse

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Weird Remnants of the Past

One of the few benefits of being terminally unemployed is the copious amount of free time I have to read through my backlog of books.  Lately I’ve been focusing on reading (or maybe re-reading, I really can’t remember) books that I had purchased for my college curriculum and were, for one reason or another, still in my possession.  Back then, I either sold them back to the book dealers or threw them away (people will insist that you absolutely shouldn’t part with old college text books because “you never know when you’ll need them again,” speaking as an accountant I can assure this has never been the case; cut down on the clutter and get rid of those things once you’ve graduated.)  I was a little surprised when I picked up The Machine that Changed the World, by James Womack–which was surely bought for a management class along with The Book of Five Rings and The Art of War because ZOMG how MIND BLOWING is it to use old combat strategy books for BUSINESS?! THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!!–and noticed something tucked in about halfway through the book (page 160-161, to be exact.)  It was a small (6″ x 4.75″) print of The Larder by Antonio Maria Vassallo.

I reeled at this relic of my past!  Had I been reading through this book a decade ago (I don’t recall trying to read it at any point since graduating) and marked this as my last reading spot?  Or had I simply tucked that print in there for safe keeping at some point?  When, exactly did I buy this print?

I remember I took a Spanish Art History class to fulfill a humanities requirement (I have a couple of books leftover from that course as well, Los Caprichos and The Disasters of War by Francisco Goya.)  There was exactly one piece of art I was exposed to during that class that I really liked, and that was Two Women at a Window by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (really, this piece just so perfectly captures a facial expression.)  I trekked out to the National Gallery of Art to see it in person and must have bought a print of that painting along with this small Larder one.  I have a tradition of using postcards of paintings I like for bookmarks (sadly, I lost my card for Alexander Archipenko‘s Woman with a Fan II, another piece of art I adore.)

Years later, while visiting my parents, I was rummaging through the closet of my former bedroom and came across a larger print of Two Women at a Window (roughly 8.5″ x 11″.)  I was so thrilled to find it, having forgotten I’d ever bought it.  I took it out and put it somewhere so I wouldn’t forget to bring it back with me when I returned to Jersey.  Alas, that proved to be a terrible mistake, as it found its way to harm and got all crinkled up before I went home.  I really need to track down a replacement for that print.  Frame it up. Make it look nice.

Well, I’ll need to get a job and a place of my own again before I worry about decorating.

Badass Art

Sunday was Cinco de Mayo, if you care about that sort of thing.  Through circumstances beyond my control I found myself in the Baltimore Museum of Art (or BMA as their marketers clearly hope all the kewl kids will call it.) It was okay, a lot of older art along with typical inane modern art (a canvas painted all black.)  However I noticed a series of sculptures that had a certain theme and which I later realized were all the work of the same artist, who I now think is especially badass.

Yes, badass artist.

Typically when on think of sculptures at an art museum (not modern art) you expect a lot of busts,  some Madonnas, or women with no head and arms.  But how about these?

Tiger vs. Crocodile!

Dude murdering a minotaur.
Dude and a hot, naked chick on a pegasus! (Very Boris Vallejo-esque.)

The sculptor for all of these was Antoine-Louis Barye, a 19th century Frenchman who seemed to build a career out of making totally awesome, detailed bronze sculptures.  He was apparently best known as an animalier, which means he specialized in portraying animals.  But he really excelled in portraying them doing awesome stuff! He’s more like an awesimalier !

Sadly, he has no work of raccoons that I could find.  Nobody’s perfect.

It’s Amazing How the Mind Wanders

Today I had a job interview.  I really hope I did well.  It was a little on the short side (half an hour) so I can’t be confident that I impressed the interviewers.  A half hour is a frustrating amount of time as it’s just short enough to think they wanted to rush you out because you botched an answer to something, but long enough that it doesn’t seem like a complete failure of an interview.  At 45 minutes I’m much more confident.

Anyway, on my way to the interview (and on the way back) I found myself riding behind Toyota Siennas.  For whatever reason, I put it together that the arrangement of the lights, rear windshield, license plate and contours looked like an angry, chubby-cheeked rodent.

Tell me what you think.

No license plate here, though.
Grr!

This could be taken as an example of pareidolia wherein the human brain sees things that vaguely resemble something familiar in terms of shape or structure and fills in the gaps to make that imagery make sense.  This would be something that we evolved with, for instance being able to recognize a predatory animal in a jungle despite portions of it being obscured by foliage.  It’s just that with a more powerful brain we can abstract much more from limited stimuli.  This is often seen as an explanation for many paranormal photographs where people see faces or figures among arrangements of light, shadows, objects, or even the film grain (called matrixing).

Kickin’ it at the Small Press Expo 2012 (Part 1 of 3)

I went to the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD yesterday.

Like last year I ended up not buying many books (although there’s one that I’m really excited about) and was very focused on art.  Prints just interest me a lot more for some reason.  Maybe it’s because I already have a backlog of stuff to read (including something I bought at last year’s SPX) that I’m unwilling to really buy many comics.  It could also be that I don’t see much in terms of a value proposition to buying a “rag” style comic for $4.

I still had the impression that independent comics were primarily barely concealed autobiographical slice-of-life comics.  Such can be confirmed by the presence of a panel discussion titled Drawing Out Childhood: Summoning Childhood Experience, where I heard a panelist say something ridiculously pompous and meaningless along the lines of “I’m interested in life and living life and the meaning that the lived life has.”  However, when you look at the list of material that debuted at the show it seems to have a variety of subject matters.

There seemed to be a greater emphasis on youth-oriented material this year, odd considering the lack of children in attendance.  Even this had a corresponding panel discussion (which I didn’t attend.)  I have to admit that some of the best stuff I’ve read in the past was meant for kids (Leave it to Chance, Akiko, the Batman and Superman comics based on the 90’s animated series were vastly superior to their mainstream counterparts.)  Even last year I bought the preview for Princeless because it looked like something in that vein.  Fitting in with all of this was a stronger representation from fantasy and science fiction.

Here’s the stuff that caught my eye and/or I bought:

  • Metro Kitty had a funny “Edgy Comics Bingo” which I think fits a lot of the material found at SPX
  • Anarchist Book Fair Bingo by Laura Ellyn can describe some of the people in attendance
  • Scenes from a Multiverse has some awful cute white bunnies
  • A print from Shelli Paroline, who premiered a book titled  “Life on Triton”
  • A print of an amazing piece titled “Stability” from Sam Bosma
  • A print that showed an assortment of cute, whimsical little robots from John Martz
  • Poop is funny and workplaces are ridiculous, so a comic titled Poop Office from Naked Grape Comics was irresistible
  • Sticky Comics has the perfect thing to wear to the premier of The Great Gatsby (in 3D!!!) next year
  • Mike Luckas‘ “Conquistas” had some pretty slick art