Thursday, June 28, 2012

Snatched from the Jaws of Defeat

Three years ago I cobbled together a fundraiser to support the raging fight to pass Obama's health care law. I was humbled by the many other artists who joined in. But a lot has happened since then and yesterday I would have called my own attitude about the law's chances extremely pessimistic. I expected it to get washed unceremoniously down the political drain in the raging deluge of rightward moving storm clouds we've all been struggling against lately. But it survived. The Chief Justice surprised me. Expanding health care is good policy, it's the human thing to do, and it actually goes a long way toward reducing wealth inequality in this country, but I've been more active in support of health care rights than other issues in part because I lost someone whose life might have been saved if she'd been able to afford insurance. And I'm far, far from alone in that circumstance. The law isn't perfect. I still support Medicare for all. But this is a victory. And it's as clear and ringing a call as we can expect that while this president may be imperfect he has done something historic and remarkable in passing the Affordable Care Act. And he deserves the support – along with the emphatic nudging – of those of us to his left.

The sky photos above and below are Cheryl Weaver's. More here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sonnenzimmer Rules

Nick and Nadine over at my favorite @#$%ing printshop on the planet earth are raising money to make a book. Even if they raise their goal... well, they don't really seem to be paying themselves. They're too damn nice. Kick in some cheddar. Get a book. Get these mother@#$%ers paid. If you don't they'll all sell and you'll be pissed because your friend will have one and you won't. Because they'll be GONE.

Friday, June 15, 2012

and then Prometheus Sneaks Back into the Garden of Eden to Steal More Fire

The show opens tonight. Here's another page from the accordion book.

And if you can figure out how to be in two places at once you should go see Kevin and Dan, too.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Adam Henry made some paintings

I met Adam Henry in freshman orientation for art students at the University of New Mexico in 1992. We immediately connected because we stood out as skaters. Big pants, baggy shirts, wrecked shoes. We've been friends ever since. And I could write a novel about all that's transpired in our lives since. But from that first year he's been the best, most quietly ambitious and committed painter I know. I mostly stopped painting after undergrad to tell stories, but talking to him about the medium – or whatever else he's doing (there were these amazing collages a few years back, too) always gets me stoked on making stuff. It's like clockwork. He's worked in all sorts of media in the last ten years, but in the last two or three he's come back to painting. With a vengeance. It feels to me like he's come home. He has a show up right now in New York at Joe Sheftel. Its only up for another week. So you should get down there.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

When Venus Passes before the Son

In honor of today's astronomical peculiarities: a selection from the accordian book Rage of Poseidon

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Adam and Eve Sneaking Back into the Garden of Eden to Steal More Apples

I haven't been drawing in my sketchbook much lately – as the dearth of recent blog posts will attest. Instead I've been preparing for a show I'm putting up at the Elmhurst Art Museum outside Chicago in a couple of weeks (opening June 15th). The show will mostly be drawings and includes the largest drawing I've probably ever done, a 5' x 8' leviathan with the above title, which can be seen, dimly, in the background of the photo on the left. In addition to the drawings I'll be showing one painting and a 28 foot long hand made accordian book called Rage of Poseidon. The book compiles a number of stories adapted from my sketchbooks, all stories of familiar gods and angels, including ones about Isaac and Abraham, the Devil, Leda and the Swan, and one where Jesus tries to pick up Aphrodite in a bar. The stories are coupled with silhouetted imagery, a technique I picked up a few years back as a quick way to create a slide show from the Poseidon story when Joe Meno had asked me to do a reading with him for the release of his book Demons in the Spring. Born of laziness the technique seemed to work unusually well with the subject matter. I ended up reading the pieces several more times including at stops on the book tour for Big Questions when it turned out that slide readings of comics – especially long silent sequences of sad and sickly birds crawling around in the grass exchanging curious looks – was a little awkward.

Making the accordian book has been as  epic a wrestling match as figuring out how to navigate a 5' x 8' drawing turned out to be – when one's line is as thin and airy as mine. Between the two I feel like I'm being ground into the mat and getting my head stapled by Mickey Rourke. How do you fold a 28 foot piece of paper into 48 separate pages evenly? How do you keep the glue at the hinges from warping the paper? How do you attach the damn thing to its cover? I have been repeatedly reminded why I started out in 1999 xeroxing drawings I didn't expect anyone to like on the cheapest paper I could find and stapling them together in a pile. That took an afternoon. In the process of making Rage of Poseidon I had to relearn how to screen print in order to make the covers (see above). I also found out that it's basically impossible to print accurately on both sides of a 44" x 84" piece of paper using an Epson 9880, but that it is possible to cut rolls of that paper into 9 inch wide strips on a chop saw... though in the end those rolls of paper turned out to be useless for other reasons.

To close out the post I'm attaching a few images of studies for the big drawing. The first two are of Adam and Eve and the general composition. These are followed by a number of studies of some australopithicenes who make their home in the garden. This little duo also show up in one of the stories in the accordian book that features Prometheus. I just can't get enough of that little guy with the cats. I'll be back in Elmhurst on August 17 to give an artist talk and do some readings from the book.