Monday, March 31, 2008

Movie Weekend (part 2)

Watched this weekend:

Putney Swope (1969, dir. Robert Downey Sr.)
Kagemusha (1980, dir. Akira Kurasawa)
Two Lane Blacktop (1971, dir. Monte Hellman)
The Loved One (1965, Tony Richardson)

I also watched that Hunter S. Thompson documentary, Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride. I don't know if it has ever been confirmed or even talked about, but I think HST was inspired the by The Loved One to have his ashes launched in that elaborate rocket cannon at his funeral (which he had planned since the 70s). I first read about The Loved One (the movie with Jonathan Winters) when HST quoted Winters' greedy, corrupt land developer/minister, who needed to clear out the corpses buried in a plush cemetery in order to swing a real estate deal. The scheme was to launch the bodies into orbit, "the graceful peace of space". I think Thompson really admired the movie (which was co-written by the legendary Terry Southern) and Winters,
who he called a "bull-goose looney".

Movie Weekend (part 1)

I watched a bunch of movies this past rainy weekend (including some old favorites I haven't see in a while). Two Lane Blacktop was among those favorites. I like sitting with a sketchbook while flipping through comics and magazines and watching great movies on rainy days...very productive...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Drawing Joanie

I drew Joan Jett recently for Strayhorn Magazine and really liked the way it turned out. I'll probably draw Suzi Quatro next. Its a win-win lookin' girls with cool names (making logos from their names would be fun too). I can't show these drawings yet; they are a secret until the magazine is issued.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Constructive Criticism and JTO

I've been entering designs at the t-shirt competition lately (2 designs so far). Mainly because I'm kind of broke and need to buy a new design computer for home, so I'm flinging stuff down every avenue that pops into view. Its fairly easy to mock stuff up and submit (that's what I do at work all day anyway) and its free and the win is pretty damn decent, so what the hell. The comments were interesting during the voting process. Many of them reflect the kind of criticism that scrapes my nerves, the little gently "constructive" advice that suggests ways to clarify in order for a design to make more sense(!?!). So I get stuff like "the unicorn seems a little creepy, I like the colors, though : ) !!". I've heard this sort of thing from fellow students, clients, and occasional random strangers for decades. Save your breath- I'm into nonsense.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Black Cat screens at Flicker Mar. 31...

Next week Strayhorn Magazine (a project created by Todd Kelly...I've been pitching in with art and stuff) is screening The Black Cat (1934) directed by exiled auteur Edgar G. Ulmer, starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. We have a monthly slot screening stuff at Flicker (a great bar/theatre/performance space near the 40 Watt in downtown Athens GA) and try to showcase out of print or at least generally rare stuff (Deep End, Greaser's Palace, Mickey One). The Black Cat is not out of print but it has not been very available on DVD in the rental joints and media stores, at least in the Athens area. I rant and rave about this one when I talk movies with folks (which happens a lot, a can babble like a broken record) but not many people I know have seen it. Its a favorite of mine, I love Bela and Boris, and this is one of their best together. Its totally crazy, very unpredictable and dreamlike and weird. Not at all a typical monster mash. If you live in the Athens area and want to see it, come by the Flicker Monday at nine PM. Free admission, free popcorn, and reasonably priced cocktails! I finished this poster and I"m hanging them up at the local haunts after work today.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I hate colored stones!

I heading down to see the folks for Easter. Monday the world will be full of drastically discounted chocolate bunnies.

Chilly, I found it!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Supernatural Gangs

I always liked the "splash page group shot" style art of weird superhero/monster combos or cartoonish rock bands like the Inhumans, the Herculoids, the animated Addams family, Kiss, etc. There is usally one big lantern-jaw lunkhead guy, a foxy girl, some kind big dog creature, but not always. I used this approach for my Gumpuppet t-shirts. Now I'm sketching some "weird team" ideas to include in my new series...I actually bought a sketchbook last week; I've been totally slack about doing preparatory sketches lately.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I got my Dave Cloud and The Gospel of Power CD, The Napoleon of Temperance, last Saturday in a hazy hangover and weird tornado weather. Wow, its a double CD pack with 45 crazy, killer songs. I was raving about it last night when I was out on the town, describing it like if Guided By Voices used Lee Hazlewood instead of the British Invasion for a conerstone. Lee Hazlewood is a hero of mine...I wish I had more of his records.

Mad Love

This movie is so killer, none of my favorite rental places have it now, so it will probably be my next purchase...

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Naked Kiss

Sam Fuller is such a great director, and this opening scene for The Naked Kiss is fantastic...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Bolan (Eagle in a Sunbeam)

Marc Bolan/T Rex is one of my all time favorites. I was listening to the bonus stuff on the Zinc Alloy CD last night, really killer music. Really, one of the main goals I would like achieve is to make my drawings look like T Rex sounds, beguiling and inscrutable and instantly familiar and catchy.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kidz of the Godz

Children of Paradise (dir. Marcel Carne 1945)
A classic I have neglected to watch for years until last night. Very Awesome.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Movie Weekend (part 2)

Justice League: The New Frontier

Oh yeah, somehow I forgot to mention the new direct-to-video animated movie about the classic JLA. Its pointless to write another glowing review among all the countless others so I won't. If you like D.C. comics, and the Silver Age in general, watch it. That's just a given for me, I don't know how someone who is not aware of the Martian Manhunter or Green Lantern would like this. I really liked it, and the more I think about it the more I like it.

White Spine

White Spine
24" x 24"
This is the newest drawing of my new series. I not really sure if any of them are really "finished" yet, I want to get about 20 to a certain state and then decide if anything is needed to pull them together, some thread that can flow thru the series and make it one thing. This is why I am hesitant to sell any of them individually yet...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Dave Cloud & The Gospel of Power

Old pal and killer artist Brian Buchanan introduced me to the music of Dave Cloud a few years back when he moved from Athens to Nashville for a while. I'm pretty sure he knew Mr. Cloud and got a disc straight from the source. It was awesome...totally weird and raw but smooth and familiar. It had an unhinged aspect that reminded me of Captain Beefheart, but was totally its own creature. Recently Brian sent me a video of Cloud...he's on Myspace now, so its very easy to find songs to hear. I am ordering his records this week...It will be perfect pinball-machine-customizin' music. I'm tearing down the Star Explorer next Saturday.

Go to his Myspace page to hear some of the songs. I dig Lavender Clothes!

Book of the Damned

I missed the Jack Davis lectures they had at UGA last week...I don't really know how much Mr. Davis actually spoke (there were other famous illustrators speaking as well) but I did find Foul Play! by Grant Geissman at Borders in Athens this Sunday. It covers all of the E.C. Comics greats- Kurtzman, Wood, Ingels, Craig, as well as Jack Davis and many others. The book is packed with color illustrations, a bio on each artist, as well as a complete sample story from the classic E.C. era by each comics legend. Borders had huge stacks, selling them for $4.99 each!! If you want to learn about the Mt. Olympus and its deities of comic book art swing by Border on Alps Road in Athens GA and grab a copy.

Weekend Movies (part 1)

The Films of Kenneth Anger vol. 2
This disc covers Scorpio Rising through Lucifer Rising. These were good to watch with the commentary on. Anger provides lots of anecdotes about cast members and all the strange stuff that happened during the making of these short films. This is my first time viewing Anger's works but I was vaguely aware of his work due to his connection to British Invasion rockers I have been into since childhood (Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Marianne Faithful, etc.) and always had this impression of this diabolical maniac from some infernal distant planet. He is actually conversationally very down to earth...he hates cigarette smoking and rails against it repeatedly, he laments the passing of Al Capp's "Lil' Abner" comic strip, and complains about Marianne Faithful's irresponsibility carrying drugs into the Egyptian locations of Lucifer Rising. Its always interesting when people reveal traits that contradict their reputation.

Crazy Love
I can't say much about this except its really interesting...don't dig around and look at any spoilers and it will be kind of stunning.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Old Graveshifter (dot com)

While I'm getting nostalgic for the late 90s, rehashing old art titles and stuff, I took a look at my first art website, today. I can't believe its still running. Its like the Mary Celeste, unmaintained, forgotten, adrift. I got the name Graveshifter when I did a Halloween art show at my favorite bar in Athens, GA, the Manhattan Cafe with two killer artists and generally great creative guys, Jim Stacy and Joey Tatum. Jim (who tended bar there at the time) was lining everything up and designed these beautiful screenprinted posters to promote the very rare event (the Manhattan rarely has art shows). He was always doing neat projects, and at the time he was hosting a "Nightmare Theatre" type show as the creepy Dr. Crepula. He wanted me and Joey to have cool, scary nicknames for the poster as well. Joey was "The Machete". I coughed up Graveshifter at the last second. Later when I bought a domain for the website I just had to use it. The site is very homemade and sprawling and took forever to upload and edit on my clunky PC dial-up rig. One of the most fun features I did on the site was my short lived, super sporadic "Book of the Month" review, where I showcased an illustrated weird book I found at the many thrift stores I haunted. Maybe I'll pick up that bit for this blog...

Star Explorer

Not too long ago I work out a trade with a pal of mine and got a pinball machine for a portrait commission. Its a weird "rec room" model made in the mid 70s by a South African company. Its a little banged up but works really great (except for the insanely loud "sound effects" that sound like a smoke detector...I had to cut the speaker wires). Decorating the exterior with some killer drawings and logos is my spring project. I just love having a pinball machine in my home.

Speaking of Starcrash,I saw this in the theatre when I was a little kid and it warped me for life. Marjoe Gortner rules! They have this movie at Vision Video in Athens, GA on Broad Street. Rent it this weekend!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Vampire Canyon

I'm trotting out some old titles to tack on new pieces (I made another Vampire Canyon, as well as a Baron Calm, years ago). Its not like anyone but a handful of people and myself would know anyway! I'm probably gonna add some kind of logo to the top of this one.

aboard the starship...

One big source of inspiration for me now is weird, glammy, almost sci-fi uniform-style gear that rockers in the seventies wore before punk really broke out. Its like all these bands were crews on spaceships (ELO really ran with this concept). I'm also looking at lots of starship designs from the same era, like the hand-shaped space station in Star Crash.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Baron Calm

This is the first drawing of a new series I just started at the beginning of the year. It was made for a Sci-Fi themed group show at the MF Gallery in NYC. It was so fun to draw more pieces just kind of quickly erupted. Most of them are 24" by 24" stained plywood panels drawn with brushed black ink with white ink highlights. I was in a rut making these really tiny, elaborately colored paintings and this series is the cure. See the others at my site,