Monthly Archives: August 2013

Ow! My Back!

Rainbow

Ugh! I hurt my back this morning. It’s a dumb cliché, but seriously, Mondays aren’t working out for me lately. First I had tremendous migraines, and now I hurt my back and walk as if I’m pregnant.

Last Friday was my best friend’s birthday. A great artist, gallery owner, as well as community figure, Jordan Miller. http://www.jordanlmiller.com/ She’s one of the many reasons why I will always be tied to Winnipeg and will always consider it home. I’ve already bought tickets and we’re scheduled to visit her sometime in the future. I can’t wait to hang out and watch her down at least a dozen rum and diet Cokes.

Tonight, we’ll be celebrating my wife’s best friend’s birthday which happens to be today. Jordan, if you’re reading this, you’re way cooler and I would rather drink away my Monday night with you, bad back and all.

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Headache Hackery Hmmm?

Cat_fish

Been sick for the past couple of days. Giant headaches, no appetite, general weakness, fever chills, etc. Couldn’t quite point out the cause, but had the same thing happen to me yesterday. Couple of things that happened as a consequence of me being ill. One, is that I lost a bit of weight. Win! Two, is that I didn’t shave for a couple of days, and not I trimmed my beard to an 80s mustache. Win?

Trolling around the Internet, I stumbled upon the artistic works of 80’s star Richard Grieco. Now I don’t mind it if actors also dabble in the arts. In fact, I’m impressed by the works of Federico Castellucio and Jane Seymour. People like them, I wish I had half their talent. Let them do the acting, and I’ll do the artistic bit. It is a cruel world when people are blessed with talent, not just in one field but two. But when I saw Grieco’s work, I just got pissed. What a hack! http://www.griecoart.com/#!MOMENTS-OF-MADNESS/zoom/cxd4/image1y0h

“I’ve actually been told it look like Pollock, DeKooning, and others. I paint from above, I guess similar to what Pollock did.”

Yes, no shit, Sherlock! You guess? At least acknowledge that you’re stealing his shit, or ahem, incorporating his style. Don’t be dismissive like it’s dumb coincidence. You can steal art. You can borrow style. What you can’t do is paint a giant can of Campbell’s soup and not acknowledge that you’re borrowing from Warhol. “I guess”??? Ugh! This hackery is almost to the same level as when Nick Simmons (Gene Simmon’s son) plagiarized works from popular comic book artists (more popular than him) for his comic book series entitled Incarnate. At least the kid had the good sense to later say that his plagiarism wasn’t plagiarism but a form of homage.

If you’re an actor, be an actor. Become a good actor. If you’re the kid of a rock legend, be the kid of a rock legend. Be a decent human being and don’t pretend to be an artist just because there’s people out there who will tolerate your bullshit. There’s enough of us struggling artists out here to have to put up with vain hackery from those who don’t need the dough.

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Strong Suit

dream

 

Ahhh… illustrating for people. I don’t mind working for other people now and then. It’s nice to be given directions and see where another artist takes your talents to. Inevitably however, you’ll be asked to draw things you don’t enjoy drawing. For me, it’s buildings. Buildings and straight lines are not my strong suit. Ironic, since I just posted a picture of buildings a couple of weeks ago, but it’s one of those things that never really excited me much, something I dreaded drawing back then. They seem more like filler… background noise to the drama up front.

Looking at other people’s work, it’s sometimes easy to spot what the artist avoids drawing. Sometimes a lack of interest in drawing people could mean they’re either not interested in drawing people or they just aren’t good with anatomy. And speaking of anatomy, not many young artists are good with fingers and feet, so they hide them in their works.

I remember being in an art opening in Seoul and the artist was really hamming it up. It irritates me how some artists have to act like “artists” and not just be a normal person. She was dressed like a member of The Cure, had colored hair and wild nails, and was exaggerating the effects of what little alcohol she consumed. The art was not my cup of tea… portraits of doll-like women/children. I was just there accompanying a friend when the said friend HAD to mention that I’m also an artist and was foreign. The artist spoke great English but awful, empty, artsy bullshit. Annoyed, I asked why all of her figures were cut above the knee and had their hands behind them. She then went on about the symbolism of being helpless or whatever….

…helpless at drawing hands and feet.

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Super Problems

Ghostbusters

I was sketching out ideas for a graphic novel yesterday. I was explaining to the writer that there seems to be a trend nowadays of making comic book characters more normal. While super muscular demi-god types are still the order of the day, there are more books now with normal, everyday characters. Just look at the Walking Dead. I believe that the series is popular not only due to the current recession and its effect on the popularity of zombies in pop culture, but also because the characters are really quite normal, normal people in extraordinary situations doing extraordinary things.

Speaking of making characters more normal, Stan Lee pioneered this by adding flaws to characters in order to make them relatable. Spider Man is really a geek, the members of X-Men have their own little problems, etc. But it was Alan Moore who really ran with it, giving comic books more adult themes and making characters more complex and flawed. Suddenly, it wasn’t just about superheroes fighting nefarious villains, but superheroes battling personal demons. Heroes dealt with personal loss, addictions, different mental conditions, etc. And now the most successful superhero in film has a drinking problem. Back then, the only problem superheroes in film had was keeping a double life.

It makes me wonder though, what about other problems that are less serious but are made worse due to the hero’s super status? Like a character with a super hoarding problem? I guess that’s been done already (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collector_(comics)). But what about a character with a crippling smoking addiction? Not a cool smoking habit that many writers use to indicate manliness (see Wolverine), but a crippling super smoking addiction that not only threatens the characters health but also alienates him from his super friends.

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Oh Basics!

organs

Part of my job is instructing people on how to fix problems on the books my company publishes. It infuriates me however that sometimes the artists we work with appear to have no formal art training whatsoever. We had such n artist last week. This is an illustrator from South Korea, a country where those with artistic talents are discouraged to pursue careers as artists but instead work on the technical aspect of art and pursue careers in graphic design and advertising where there would always be a need for them.

I’m not claiming I’m a great technical artist, but the artist we were working with yesterday seems to have no idea about proportions and perspective. She also drew objects which made no sense… like people who climbed ladders hands free. We try to explain the problem to her, but she just came back with the laziest of solutions and the most minor of changes. Fortunately, I was just working as a consultant and was not working with her directly, otherwise I would’ve yelled at her myself. Now, I realize that she’s not earning a fortune doing small assignments for us, but that doesn’t give her the right to phone it in. It was just embarrassing/frustrating, and I’m amazed at the patience of my Korean co-workers whose heads didn’t explode working with such an inept illustrator.

Let this be a lesson to all future illustrators out there. Learn perspective and proportions first. Don’t learn from Rob Liefeld. Observe things in real life. Or if you’re going to learn from other artists, make sure they are good ones. And don’t fall in-love with your own work. Learn to change it for the sake of the client. That will get everyone out of the office early on a Friday night.

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