Sunday, February 28, 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Graphite and paper - an Ellsworth Kelly kind of game.
"Song' because the shape progressions remind me of medieval music notation.

This is a 14 page 'scribd' booklet:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Playboy abstract

I've been enjoying looking at the sale of original art for Playboy cartoons currently at Heritage auctions. Interestingly, some of the cartoons--from the fifties and sixties, primarily--feature abstract art in the background (associated, perhaps, with the sophisticated image Playboy was trying to create for their ideal reader?) as well as some surprisingly loose "modernistic" brushwork. Here are some details, which I'm too lazy to link to their respective sources. See if you can match them! If you click on each image, turn off pan & zoom (you only need to do this once), then click on "look closer," you can download some super-high-res scans of the pictures.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ed Howard's best comics of the decade, wrap-up

I'm late in pointing this out, but Anthology contributors John Hankiewicz and Gary Panter are at nos. 6 and 2, respectively. I'd say we did pretty well overall, wouldn't you?

Jed McGowan


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Alex Chauvel, "A Lacunary History of Comics"

Alex is a second-year student at the Ecole Européenne Supérieure de l'Image at Angoulême. A 24-hour comic by him can be found here.



Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Best comics of the decade update: Warren Craghead III

Well, we may be 42nd on Ed Howard's list, but Warren's magnificent How To Be Everywhere is 22nd.

In the same list, at number 21, is Omega the Unknown, mostly illustrated by Farel Dalrymple, but featuring pages (one of which is illustrated in the review) by our own (may I say that?) Gary Panter. I bet there will be more Gary in the top 20.

May I also point out, from yesterday's list, that Richard Hahn's Lumakick is at no. 54, and friend-of-the-anthology Bob Sikoryak's Masterpiece Comics at no. 53?

Here's some interesting stuff from the Luscious, which is a project that describes itself as:

"luscious pays homage to fashion designers and photographers, those who compose rousing images of light and color that fill the pages of glossy magazines. The piece is our attempt to distill their visions into abstract compositions.
To create the images in luscious, we began with a series of magazine advertisements for luxury brands. We then used a custom algorithm designed to extract “peak” colors from any picture (much like our Wired anniversary piece). A random arrangement of concentric circles fills the plane, representing the essential colors of each region. The resulting image hides context and representation and lets the viewer concentrate on pure color."

Monday, February 22, 2010

42nd best comic of the decade?

We're at no. 42 on Ed Howard's "Best Comics of the Decade" list.

Ed (one of my favorite film bloggers, but who also writes really well on comics) has this to say about the anthology:

Abstract Comics is an important book because it gathers in one place a persuasive argument for thinking about comics, not in terms of narrative or even figuration, but as pure sequences of images with complicated and ambiguous relationships between one image and the next. Editor Andrei Molotiu believes firmly in abstract comics — comics with no narrative throughline or even "unified narrative space," as his introduction puts it. The anthology then presents an overview of this nascent field, ranging from freshly commissioned pieces to classic examples, and encompassing artists who have never worked in the form before, artists whose work has occasionally flirted with abstraction, and those who have, mostly in recent years, created whole bodies of work meeting Molotiu's definition of abstract comics. They are comics where the sequence is everything, where the pure flow of images is the whole content of the experience. These pieces cannot really be "read" in the conventional sense, but rather challenge viewers to come up with whole new ways of appreciating and understanding them, encouraging a reading experience somewhere between looking at a painting and reading a sequential narrative. Maybe it's the experience of looking at a series of paintings in order. In any event, the book features some truly stunning and imaginative work: the organic blobs of Anders Pearson, the Duchampesque watercolor scrawls of Casey Camp, Henrik Rehr's shifting currents of densely packed lines, Mike Getsiv's suggestive, boldly colored swirls, Warren Craghead and Richard Hahn's mastery of panel rhythms, the unexpected visual gag inserted into Geoff Grogan's multimedia collage, Alexey Sokolin's forbidding stormclouds of black scratching, Andy Bleck's sensual scribble figures, Derik Badman's renderings of only background fragments from old Tarzan comics, the multiple contributors who turned in dense, virtuoso ink pieces towards the end of the book. Not everything here is at the same high level, but it's a surprisingly consistent anthology, unified by its theme and Molotiu's commitment to including pieces that advance his definition of this particular approach to comics. What's best about the book is how open its territory ultimately is, how much room it leaves for artists to come up with their own ideas about abstraction and sequence. It is a truly groundbreaking book that points the way towards a whole new conception of comics and challenges readers and artists alike to explore this new area.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Blue growth

Here is a piece I must have made about a year and a half ago, which I found yesterday as I was looking for a different file (I'm trying to work through all my unfinished or barely started projects. There are a lot):

More on the great blogger Abstract Comics debate

Kent Worcester comments on some remarks in Craig Fischer and Derik Badman's discussion.

Derik responds.

If people would like to keep going with this, may I make a suggestion? I would love to see actual close analysis of a single piece, especially one that works for you (or one that doesn't, fine, but to me that would be less interesting). If the proof is in the pudding, let's figure out what's in the pudding that makes it tasty. I would tell but I've already cooked parts of the meal, not to mention catered the whole dinner.

However, I will be so vain as to point out Jog's earlier analysis of my piece, "Expedition to the Interior" , which struck me as particularly well done. Similarly, I really appreciated Charles Hatfield's analysis of the design and overall arrangement of the anthology. Again, it may be vain to praise a critic for totally getting what you were trying to do--but, well, he did. (Now, I have a few problems with his last couple of paragraphs--namely, his view of abstract comics' place in the wider world of comics, view which results from his wider and, I would argue, too restrictive definition of comics--but I don't know if I have the energy to address that any further. I've already discussed the issue with him in some of the comments to my earlier posts here, and I'd be just repeating myself.)

Follow Up Post about Asemic Writing in the Classroom

I thought I'd follow up my post on Asemic Writing in the Classroom with some images of some of the work. (I am now fully aware that I was not using Asemic Writing, but some of the work ends up being Asemic after all)

Today we pulled our first group of prints with a small group of special needs students. Here's what they had to offer:

Untitled comic by Florian Huet

Florian is studying comics at the Ecole Européenne Supérieure de l'Image at Angoulême. Together with Alex Chauvet (whose comics we will feature next) and a few others, he publishes Polystyrene, a journal of experimental and abstract comics.