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.
Lizz Hickey is one of the reasons I decided to do another anthology this year. Working with a mythology all her own, her work is the kind of world I love to be let in on and the more I've looked at her portfolio the more she's become one of my favorite young artists. Primarily a printmaker, there is definitely an aspect to Lizz's work where an understanding of traditional print processes reinforces the awesome nature of what she does. Although there's an impulsive quality to her style nothing she makes is easy, nothing is throwaway. It's pure elbow grease. On the other hand, her work is personal and compulsive and can't be scrutinized on just some technical level.
The best part of the art is the way it works as a cummulative force, where every piece is an elaboration on a bigger universe. One piece may be dense with details (full of complicated social systems with that you can't even make out in that jpg up top) and another will just be some amorphous hand floating on the page, holding a ghost. But even then, most likely, the latter print will be printed and drawn upon a dozen different times, each time revealing more about the creatures and their world. And I can't say what it reveals, specifically, but I'm comforted by her playful characters who thrive in a world of mutual suffering and soothing and exploration.
April 28th-May 3rd Lizz has her Senior Show happening at Purchase College in New York. I'm a shut-in but if I were in the area I'd go to the reception April 30th if only to get ahold of the inexpensive silkscreened goodies she's selling.
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