March 7th, CMYK Magazine #49 went to newstands as some sort cruel birthday gift for me. The editors decided to subject their readers to illustrations (if you can even call them that) I happened to have banged out when I was still doodling for dollars, back in the before-time, before the continents had drifted apart, before the ice receeded to the poles. Without my permission, even. Imagine that. 'Oh, here's a hack job that Zimm did for Mountain Dew that was obviously done under extreme duress because he simply needed some cash and didn't care where it came from. Let's print that! Wait, wait, here's a stunningly meaningless turd that Zimm did on a hangover for the 'Got Milk' campaign. Print it? Heck yeah! Ask his permission? Why bother!' Imagine the joy in the seeing these reminders of hackery and despair in print once again. Thanks CMYK! I usally hate my birthday anyway!
Where did CMYK find these forlorn relics, these dried-up left-overs from the salad days of illustration (people would buy anything back then, I tell ya)? On my largely forgotten website that even I haven't looked at or updated since the internet was discovered. A cruel reminder to all you people who haven't updated your sites in years. Just keep in mind, somebody might actually publish that crap without even asking!
Backstory: Ronald J. Cala wrote me an email some time back to inquire if I would write something for the magazine. I wrote it, sent it in, decided I hated it, then asked that it not be published. Well, truth be told, I told Ronald J. that I didn't like what I wrote when I happend upon him at this years' AI Party, so he probably forgot. It's the only thing I remember distinctly from that night, so I know these things happen.
Happily: My article, along with the editors largely mis-informed (who the heck has time to call and get it right these days?) introduction, is sandwiched between articles featuring Scott Bakal and Yuko Shimizo. It was nice seeing my friends, at least!
I LOVE work surfaces (where the mysterious magic happens) and was lucky enough to snap a few during a recent trip to NYC. Figured I'd share these, for anybody who feels the same as me. Give it up for the work surface, yo!
Steve Broder's work table above. Forty years of hard labor and mad mad love in grisly detail.
Detail of Brad Holland's chaotic and at the same time serene work area, pictured above. The piece he was working on at the time (inches away from what you see here) was everything you'd expect from the MAN, and then something more, but you don't get to see that.
Tim O'Brien works standing and as such, his board is as straight-up and verticle as the man himself. Here's a small, yet subline detail of his large working surface at the time of my visit. What else do you want to know? BAM!
Nancy Stahl invited me to visit her home and studio during a recent trip to New York. I asked if I could take a few snap shots and luckily she didn't mind. Obviously I'm not a professional photographer, but I think these amatuer pics provide a partial glimpse into how this remarkable woman is able to stay vital, current and simply bad ass by surrounding herself with inspiration.
I wonder if I call you if this thing (left) rings. I certainly hope so!
There's no way that I could show everything Nancy surrounds her life with - just a wee little glimpse is all I can show here. Her space is remarkable and I walked away feeling that at every turn of the head, she's challenging herself to constantly move forward.
I was on the phone with Enos yesterday and we were chatting about his days at the Famous Artists School. The talk inspired me to rummage around in my garage and pull out some of the course books I've collected from the school. If you've never seen one of these, they are large (14 X12) and impressive items. The ones I have are from 1959.
I haven't thumbed through these in many years, but once I started, these was no stopping. One of the books, blue cover, Lesson 18, titled Principals of Experimental Design contained a lesson designed by the great George Giusti, which I thought I'd share with everyone.
3.The Air Genie is a spherical, full-color video-surfaced, helium airship designed by Tom Shannon. Like a lot of things I want, this doesn't actually exist yet. I want it anyway, and I want it as soon as possible. The idea of flying around and projecting whatever I want on the surface of my airship, it's just exactly the thing I want to do.
5. The CH4 Wall Decal by Cody Hudson for Bodega is one of those impulse items I know I'll regret later but I can't help it, I want it anyway. Maybe it's just the idea of art you stick to your wall that appeals to me. I wanna do it! I could always peel it off when I get tired of it, right?
6.The MIT 6-D ImageSystem. I asked for this last year from the Santa at Macy's, so I think he's a phoney. I want this and I've been a very good boy THIS year. Please, please, please let me HAVE ONE!
7. Can Steven Heller simply have a legit RSS feed for his Daily Heller column at Print? I'd like to have his feed in my daily news without having to check the Print Site all the time to read what he's going on about...Santa can make this happen, I just know it, it's a no-brainer!
8. I wanna be Randall Enos for ONE DAY. I understand this may be unreasonable, because he values his own body, but I PROMISE to return it (his body) after 24 hours. Image pulled from The Mocha Dick Project.
Did this finally after many stops and starts: Ohger, a site for students and recent grads in illustration.
What happened: I've been wondering for two years solid whether I could (or even should) do something for students of illustration, to help them find out who each other are, provide them with a site where they can learn about best practices from professionals and quite possibly get exposed to a few art directors along the way.
Pacing back and forth on the idea, that's what I've been doing. "Yes I should do it!", "No way you dope, it's a really really lousy idea!", "Yes indeed, I must make this happen if I can!", "Get a freakin' grip dude, it's the lamest idea since melba toast."
I finally stopped pacing and struck a semi-heroic pose in the mirror. Said, Yes, " I need to make this happen if I possibly can"
Why oh why: If illustration hasn't yet crossed the border into the Wild West, where the rules no longer apply and the law is nowhere to be found East or West of the Pecos, it looks to me like that unhappy horizon is rapidly approaching.
Free is becoming the new normal.
Sure thing, most working professionals delivered a free piece of art when they were fresh out of school, in exchange for dubious exposure. Perhaps they did a piece for chump change to get a client listing as well. Today, those opportunities are much more pervasive and abundent enough to start looking like free is gearing up as the new normal. What are the newcomers supposed to do, except to hopefully band together if they can and take a stand? I'm hoping Ohger will be a buttress in that defense.
I figure that if illustration (which is the only thing I actually like besides kids playing baseball) is going to hold some ground, I can at least help get these students talking in one place if I can. Hopefully the pros will stop in to offer encouragement as well.
OHGER.COM - for students of illustration and recent grads (one year out only). Hit me!
Like everything else I try to help with, it may well be dashed to bits on the rocks below. If that's the case, so be it. I'm giving the idea time and effort now and at the very least I don't have to pace around any more thinking about it.
In 2004, Jesse Sunnenblick interviewed Jerelle Kraus for The Columbia Journalism Review. When I read the article, I thought to myself: There's a book here! In fact, I thought: There's one heck of a GREAT book here!... Little did I know, the book was already well underway.
Four years later, the lucky folks who attended ICON 08 got a small taste of that book, dished out from Jerelle herself.
Now you can bite into the whole thing. All the Art That's Fit to Print (And Some That Wasn't): Inside The New York Times Op-Ed Page, by Jerelle Kraus
Stepping boldly out on a limb here: This may well be the most important book ever written on the subject of editorial illustration to date. It's a chronicle of where ediorial illustration has been, how it got to where it is today and shines a bright light on where it should go from here. But don't just trust me, the esteemed (is he a Knight yet?) Ronald Searle said it's "Certain to become the illustrator’s bible". Everybody's in it - recognize any of these names?
In or around NYC? Attend the book party at the Strand, November 13th. She'll sign a book for you! Buy one for a friend. Buy one for your least-favorite art director. Buy two for you favorite art director, for sure!
Not around NYC? - Buy it online
Oh and - Jerelle has agreed to do an interview with me over at illoz, so look for that coming soonish. Should be fun!
This is a team of 8, 9 and 10 year olds playing this fall in Western North Carolina, corporate home of illoz.com.
Western North Carolina Fall Baseball is a BIG DEAL around these parts and I thought "what the hey...", if a $325 sponsorship will guarantee that a bunch of kids can get dirty and hit some balls, then we're in! Right?
Today was opening day for the Angels. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. Seeing them take the field in those little illoz shirts....I can not EVEN begin to describe the excitment of it. I wish everyone could have seen it like I did.
Our illoz Angels went up against the highly favored Astros and came away with a narrow defeat, backed by solid defense and swift base running. When the game was over, team drinks were immediately poured down each other's necks and they went and played in the creek, the narrow defeat forgotten ... immediately.
Ah, to be a kid again...
When you look at kids like this...how can you POSSIBLY not want to help them play ball?
Glad that illoz had a few bucks left over (thanks so much to everyone involved) to make this happen for the Angels. They are one chill team of characters.
Great parents too! As the illoz Angels slipped in the 4th inning to hand over the game to the Astros, parents calmly chattted amoung themselves about how hard the team was trying and how the next game might be better. Parents make a huge difference in youth baseball and the Angel's parents made it all good in the end, the way it should be.
The Angel's dugout was really the place to be. These kids hung the fence every minute and chewed a lot of gum.
Thanks to Coach Yohon Whitaker and his assistant, Ronald Blackman. I happened to snap this pic of them while they were making out their lineup and not exactly sure if they were all that happy about me wandering around on their field at the time...Like I said I was a bit excited, perhaps a bit too excited.
These guys really do have the best interests of the kids in mind at all times and I'm SO PROUD to be able to help them field a team this fall, with the help of everyone involved with the illoz project.