I wish I had time to Flog all that I'd like to Flog but until I manage to write some decent design-related posts (as if anyone wanted my take on the history of the illuminated Bible up through the Wolverton Bible), here's a quick bit of editorializing promotion for a few talented people:
• There's a new interview with Andy Smith over on James Morrison's Caustic Cover Critic book cover blog (which is a good place to hang out if you care about such things). Andy is a UK illustrator who does a lot of distinctive book cover design work. He also makes silkscreened comics by way of a kids-book format (one illustration per page/spread). The work is lively and really satisfying to hold. Frequently his books use typography as a narrator's voice but also as a kind of character and setting. I'm always impressed with people who can pull off messy, loose drawing styles with total confidence and Andy manages to do it with deceptive sophistication. These are comics meant to be a joy and they are.
• Last weekend I had the chance to put up Mome artist T. Edward Bak in our guest room and I really enjoyed talking with him about the research for his in-progress graphic novel about the life of G. W. Steller. With all the self-indulgent Kickstarter projects that feel like sad panhandling, Bak's book is a standout for what makes that site a great resource. Anyone who wants to support comics as a legitimate form of reportage/biography should fund this project on principle alone. Bak is doing a remarkable amount of background study to make this book not just some accessible story of an easy-to-glorify character but one that presents a new perspective on a legendary naturalist explorer. Sign on here.
• Then there's Lizz Hickey. I love the artwork of Lizz Hickey so if she wants to make a comic book out of copperplate etchings, then I can get behind her need to raise money for such an expensive endeavor. I'm not going to try to describe her work. She's unique, very unique.
• T. Edward Bak and I were also talking about the Facebook posts of Art Chantry. Chantry is an icon of contemporary graphic design and a wealth of popular culture knowledge (especially of the blue collar variety) as it relates to design. He's had a big impact on me over the years and his lengthy and entertaining Facebook posts are well worth enduring whatever makes Facebook supposedly evil.
• And speaking of Chantry, Mikey Burton did this smart poster for one of Art's speaking engagements. Mikey does some great design work and I was excited to talk to him recently about xerox transfer process but all he did is tell me I should quit it because it gave him spontaneous nosebleeds. What a killjoy.
All the proofs have been approved and on press right now is our latest collection of Basil Wolverton's work. Archiving every "Culture Corner" strip ever printed alongside every extant original sketch for each of those strips, this book is a fascinating document of the artist's process. It also inlcudes a large number of rejected or otherwise-never-printed sketches for the strip, as well as Wolverton's hand-written log of these things.
In short, it's all very incredible.
Culture Corner was a lot of fun to work on and I'm once again grateful to Monte Wolverton for trusting me so fully with the task of designing a book of his legendary father's work.
Everybody's doing mash-ups of one kind or another these days but nobody does a character mash-up like Jeremy Eaton's inspired cartoon jumbles. So when he started taking custom orders I jumped on it with "Original TMNT" vs "Archie TMNT." It's absolutely the best Christmas present I ever bought myself.
Jeremy does these with a beautiful combo of tones, from the tint of the paper to the hues of the wash. You can order your own Spider-Bat or whatever you like in the sidebar of his blog.
I admire the smart punk aesthetic of Raymond Biesinger a great deal and I keep his small book "100 Black on White Illustrations" next to my desk to keep me motivated in dark times, to remind me why minimal color is best, and to reinforce my conviction that the computer is great but is bettered by analog techniques. He was in Beasts2 and now he's updated his site and has a blog.
Art Clokey, creator of Gumby and a significant torch-bearer for stop-animation, passed away on Friday at the age of 88. In July of 2006, I was excited to have the opportunity to meet him and his son, Joe Clokey (above). Below are some photos I took of Gumby artifacts in the exhibit that was touring at the time, in celebration of Gumby's 50th Anniversary. Art Clokey was very sweet and the family was clearly excited to have their father getting this public recognition for his iconic creation. Gumby has a long life outside of the great film shorts, including a recent line of comic books from Bob Burden and Rick Geary. Plus he oversees the production of all of your favorite Fantagraphics books, hanging from a lamp on Adam Grano's desk here in the Art Department.
R.I.P. Mr. Clokey.
* I've posted a larger image of the exhibition photo on my Flickr page here.
On the occassion of his 500th post, I want to direct Flog attention to the ridiculously hungry aesthetic mind of my pal Will Schofield and his blog, A Journey Around My Skull. Anyone interested in illustration and design (and photography and art and whatever is visually interesting that has existed somewhere in time, somewhere on the globe) should have this page bookmarked.
Equally impressive to any of the content is the sheer enthusiasm Will has for the work he features. This isn't link-blogging or pixelated attention-deficit syndrome, the guy is committed in a way that I wish I could be to anything. He seems to always be tracking down some 1970s Polish kids' book, or trying to unravel who is the (bizarre) Norman Rockwell of Japanese culture, or otherwise awaiting a dozen books from some foreign incarnation of Ebay.
Meanwhile, he works away at his day job editing for an intriguing independent book publisher (and surely, somehow, sleeping and eating) while carving out time to research, scan, and write up work that is almost uniformly obscure or under-appreciated. I honestly can't quite understand why he even does it, it's so damn generous. Please enjoy A Journey Around (Will's) Skull.
TONIGHT sees the opening of a joint solo show from Femke Hiemstra and Junko Mizuno. See the Roq site for more info. If I understand the Roq blog correctly it appears that Femke's work is already sold out. Show runs through January 30th.
Tiny Showcase has their "10 Beasts!" print set on sale for the holidays (along with most of their many other prints). At half price, it's a steal for ten pieces from ten great artists.* It should be noted that unlike most of the TS prints, these are letterpressed and done so in many colors.
Heck, if you don't mind breaking up the set you can give a print out to ten lucky pals for the holidays or, if you're one of those "prepared" people, you could always have ten gifts on hand for those birthday announcements that pop up on your Facebook page, right?
Artists who made new work for this set include Souther Salazar, S. britt, Jesse LeDoux, Saelee Oh, Josh Cochran, Meg Hunt, Kenneth Lavallee, Keith Shore, Tony Millionaire and Jordan Crane.
*Note: I curated it but I do not have any monetary interest in this collection.
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