Sunday, June 26, 2016

Live drawing at the art museum

As part of the centennial weekend of the Cleveland Museum of Art, I took part in the live drawing event on the museum's front lawn. Live drawing is definitely NOT my bag, but it was a beautiful day and what's not to love about artists gathering to make stuff?

My assignment was to re-imagine a favorite piece of art from the museum's permanent collection. It was an easy choice, George Bellows' "Stag at Sharkey's." I first encountered this painting when I was a teenager. I was mesmerized by it then, and it still fascinates me. That's it (above).

I re-interpreted it by placing the painting in the upcoming GOP Convention here in Cleveland!

I'm a big fan of Bellows, the best known artist in the Ashcan School of the early 20th Century. Not only is his work incredible, he's also an Ohio State grad, like me, and drew illustrations for various campus publications, including the Ohio State Lantern, the student newspaper where my cartoons were first  published. After college, he moved to New York City and fell in with the leftist radicals there. He contributed drawings to The Masses, the only publication ever shuttered by the federal government, under the Sedition Act, which basically eliminated the First Amendment during WW1. Bellows had split with The Masses by then, when he disagreed with their anti-draft position. He stopped doing political work and concentrated on painting scenes of his grimy Lower Eastside neighborhood. Sharkey's  was right across the street from his studio.

It's ok, for a live drawing done with a Sharpie! Should have placed another sign on the left to blance the weight of the composition... and I forgot the referee altogether. Could have made him a Dead Breitbart reporter live streaming the floor fight. Oh well, like I said, live drawing ain't my bag. I had fun though, even if I inadvertently swallowed about 20 mayflies, who just had their giant Spring hatch and are pouring off Lake Erie by the billions. Lucky I had a Great Lakes draft (pictured below) to wash down the bugs!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Paris Metro!

Yeah, it's been nearly a month since my last post. Been too busy for anything except Facebook and Twitter posts. 

Been slogging along on The Baron of Prospect Ave. webcomic. Thirty pages and counting now up for your enjoyment HERE.

And the TRASHED promotional tour continues. I just returned from two weeks in Flanders and Holland and an appearance at the Haarlem Comics Festival. It was all great fun. Next up... gulp.... San Diego Comicon! I'm an invited guest and this will be my first Comicon. I'm a little nervous, since mainstream cons aren't my thing and this is the Lord God of mainstream cons. I'm also up for an Eisner Award and appearing on (so far) FIVE panels!

Here's another project I was working on. The Rock en Seine festival in Paris hired me to draw one of the 40 posters for the fest. I requested the American band Clutch, who I've long been a fan of. Conceptual poster art is not really my thing either, and frankly, I struggled with the poster. I work well when I have a concept to wrap a drawing around, but just coming up with an image out of the ether? Never been able to do that. Here in Cleveland, we have a tremendous tradition of great rock poster artists, from Derek Hess to Jake Kelly to John G.

Took me over a week to come up with an image I was ok with, and another week to finally land on a color scheme I thought would pop. Here it is:

Subtle it is not! I decided to go for it with a really radical color.  As is normal with pieces I struggle with, I wasn't sure if this was good or shit when I finished it. But I simply ran out of time. The deadline was here and I emailed it to the Fest art director with just minutes to spare.

Well, I'm happy to report it's apparently NOT shit, because Rock en Seine selected my poster as one of the ones they would plaster on walls in the Paris Metro! I just received this photo, my poster blown up HUGE, on the wall of the Duroc Station (on line 11 and 13, for those of you familiar with the Paris Metro). The first picture above comes from that station. Below is a friend of mine in Paris who was kind enough to take these shots for me. NIce re-enactment!

Ten years ago I was toiling away in a dying genre in a dying business, losing papers and income in bunches, and losing interest in my own work, too. I thought then: Time to try my hand at books. What have I got to lose? Now I've got giant posters hanging in the Paris Metro and just finished my 15th European Tour in the past four years! If I think too much about tall his, I just start laughing in disbelief.

The final photo (below) is from the massive Les Halles station in central Paris. These will only be up for a week. Wish I could have seen them in person.