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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Weekly Comic Strip: hiatus

For the next couple of months my weekly comic strip poem is going to be more sporadic. It's Comic Convention season, and I'll be traveling a lot in the near future. Which makes it difficult to keep up with the strip on top of the regular freelance work that I have to do to pay the bills. I hope I can get a few more strips done in the coming weeks, but if not, I do plan on doing more of these strips, and hope to resume a more regular schedule after July.

In the meantime, I'll be heading out to New York for the MoCCA Comic Arts Festival next week. I'll be taking up some space at Sparkplug Comic Books. This will be the first appearance of The Blot at this Festival.

Later in June I'll be at the Heroes Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. I've never bee to this festival, but I'm really looking forward to it. Again, I'll be taking up some space at Sparkplug Comic Books.

Then July brings the ridiculously huge San Diego Comic Convention. More details will come soon.

I'm going to have The Blot with me at all the conventions. And I hope to have some new minis and prints, etc.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Weekly Comic Strip: #19

for Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg died last week and I didn't find out about it until yesterday. I guess I've been living under a rock lately or the art world has stopped sending me transmissions.

I can't say that Rauschenberg's death was a shock or tragedy to me personally. I never met him. But his work and his life have been very important to me. So, in case you aren't as familiar with his work, I thought I'd give an explanation for this weeks comic strip poem.

Click the link to

Though there's no obvious trace of his influence in my art today, Rauschenberg was one of the biggest influences on me as a young art student. I used to try to paint like him. Him and Cy Twombly. They were my heroes of art back when I was a painting student at the University of Tulsa making large abstract and collage paintings. Back in '97, when I was just finishing up my undergrad degree and getting ready for grad school, the Guggenheim had a huge retrospective of his work in NYC and I had to fly up there to see it. A few months later I took a roadtrip with a few friends down to Houston, TX, to see the show again. I spent most of that year painting every day in preparation for entering the MFA program at the San Francisco Art Institute. During that time I was inspired by his "anything can be art" attitude. At the end of the summer before moving to California, I had a solo show at a small gallery (that was actually a warehouse attached to a friend's apartment) in Tulsa. I called that show "I Will Destroy You," which soon became my epithet. Though my art was a bit derivative at the time, that was one of the most productive and fun periods of my artistic life because I was trying to make art the way Rauschenberg did- with complete freedom and enough balls to think you could do anything. But then I went to art school to get my MFA and had all of that spirit stomped out of me. Years later I feel like I'm still trying to get back that feeling. Pouring through all of my books about Rauschenberg this week reminds me of that feeling and makes me long for it even more.

Part of the reason I began my comic strip poems was to give me a space to do anything I want. I don't worry about any preconceived ideas about my art. I don't approach them with any worries of what the viewer might think or expect. I don't restrict myself to draw in any certain way. It's my time to explore whatever ideas I have about art, comics or whatever. Doing these strips is restoring that Rauschenberg feeling that I've been trying to find for so long.

This strip is a drawing after Rauschenberg's "Automobile Tire Print" from 1953 (above is photo of a section of the piece). His piece consisted of 20 pieces of paper which he glued together and then asked his friend John Cage to drive his car over with a paint-soaked wheel. To me it's a perfect embodiment of Rauschenberg's spirit that anything and everything could and should be art. Rauschenberg was also a joker and parodist and was always poking fun at his contemporaries. This piece was a subtle jab at one of his favorite painters, Barnett Newman. Newman's abstract paintings consisted of thin lines of contrasting color that were meant to evoke spiritual contemplation through minimalist expression. Rauschenberg pokes fun at Newman's work, but with a tongue in the cheek and a friendly nod to his contemporary.

Rauschenberg often paid homage to his fellow artists through parody by tearing down the conceptions of their art. When the abstract expressionists were taking painting beyond it's known limits, Rauschenberg took it even further when he erased a de Kooning drawing. He continued to toy with his ab-ex friends when he created Factum 1 and Factum 2, a performance in which he created two identical abstract paintings.

So, when trying to think of a way to pay homage to one of my heroes, I decided to give him a taste of his own medicine. I decided to recreate his tire track by drawing it by hand with a brush and ink on paper without the use of a tire or a car.

The words in this strip are also Rauschenberg's. In an interview about his process, he said:

"I don't think any honest artist sets out to make art. You Love art. You Live art. You are art. You do art. But you're just doing something. You're doing what no one can stop you from doing."

Words that any artist should live by.

R.I.P. Robert Rauschenberg.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Book By Its Cover Sketchbook Series

Check out my sketchbook pages at Book By Its Cover.

If you don't regularly check out Julia Rothman's Book By Its Cover blog, then you should. She does great little snap-shot book reviews of lots of interesting art and illustration books and the occasional comic book, too. (She reviewed my book last summer)

She has also been posting a regular "Sketchbook Series" in which she asks different artists to send her pictures from their sketchbooks and comment on them.

When she asked me, my first thought was "I don't use my sketchbook nearly enough..." my next thought was "My sketchbooks are full of terrible drawings that no one should ever see!" But I managed to dig through and find some stuff that might be interesting. So, go here and check out my sketchbook pages at Book By Its Cover.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Weekly Comic Strip: #18

for Aidric...


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

slight delay...

sorry- the weekly comic strip will be delayed slightly...
due to recent travels, i haven't finished the new strip yet.
i will post it late wednesday or thursday morning.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Back from Portland/Seattle

I can't say that I recommend Seattle's Emerald City Comic Convention as the best place to try and sell an indie comic book or graphic novel, but it was a good excuse to go up to Seattle for the weekend. It also gave me a chance to visit nearby Portland and see all my cartoonist friends that live up there.

Two of the many things I love about Portland:
Vegan Cupcakes and lots and lots of green trees

While I was at the convention I asked several of the people in costumes to pose with my book. I've done that at several cons now, but this is the first time where I got "attitude" from some of the costumed people. Some douche who is way too old to be dressed as Magneto said "are you going to pay me for this endorsement?" Do you really think I need an endorsement from an old man who dresses up like a super-villain? Here's a tip- if you wear a cartoon costume in public, you wave your right to have an attitude. But he wasn't the only one, I also received similar sentiments from a dude dressed like some kind of video-game-anime demon and a jack-ass dressed like Gambit.

But anyway... Here are a few of the nicer costumed people who were happy to pose for a photo with my book.

That scarry bunny from Donnie Darko:

Guy Gardner of the Green Lantern Corps:

A couple of the Suicide Girls:

I also came up with a new comic convention pass-time...
putting "kick me" signs on the backs of stormtroopers:

Also- if you're ever in Seattle, go eat awesome vegan pizza at Pizza Pi!!!


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Weekly Comic Strip: #17