Wednesday, November 30, 2011

AC Film Festival: Len Lye

"Tusalava," 1929

"A Colour Box," 1935

"Kaleidoscope," 1935

"Swinging the Lambeth Walk," 1940

"Colour Cry," 1953

"Free Radicals," 1958

"Particles in Space," 1966

More on Lye. His influence is, of course, all over McLaren's work as well as over that of Stan Brakhage, and many others who experimented with direct animation, painting on or scratching directly into film stock.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Abstract Language #5: Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich’s Men of Letters and People of Substance

Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich’s Men of Letters and People of Substance (David R. Godine Publisher, 96 pp., $14.95) takes a playful position towards visual poetry.

Instead of metaphorically constructing portraits of writers and famous personalities though literary description, de Vicq projects those writers’ chosen media back upon them.

Born in Brazil—but now a resident of New York City working in graphic design—de Vicq works in a richly illustrative style, using typefaces to create portraits of famous authors made entirely out of the letters of their names. Each portrait is made out of a suitable, characteristic typeface—from the blocky Ziggurat typeface used for Ayn Rand to the flourished Nuptial Script of Gustave Flaubert

With Bembo’s Zoo (2000), de Vicq crafted a menagerie of animals, each in the typeface Bembo, using only the letters in each’s animal’s name. De Vicq has more anthropological prey in Men of Letters and People of Substance. With this volume, de Vicq continues under a similar constraint, using only the letters in each author’s name—and includes a listing of the frequency of each letter’s usage.

As an example, de Vicq’s portrait of Kurt Vonnegut is crafted in the flourished script “Aja” capturing Vonnegut’s playful, fanciful style in a typeface of his time. Just as much of Vonnegut’s prose engaged with self-examination and personal history, de Vicq’s portrait of Vonnegut uses only the letter’s in Vonnegut’s own name (2 K’s, 3 u’s, 8 r’s, 3 t’s, 4 V’s, 4 o’s, 7 n’s, 1 e and 4 g’s) created a self-reflexive textual portrait.

Men of Letters and People of Substance is a light-hearted book, but one that is a useful introduction to shaped poetry and portraiture will appeal to enthusiasts of unusual writing, graphic design, and the visual arts.

David Greenberger Tuesday!

"Staring Contest (Tie)"

"Their Limited View of the World Didn't Include Triangles"

"Pages 1-4"

All images ink on paper, image area 7.25" square

Monday, November 28, 2011

AC Film Festival: Norman McLaren

"Dots," 1940

"Boogie-Doodle," 1948

"Begone Dull Care," 1949

"Blinkity Blank," 1955

"Lines: Vertical," 1960

"Lines: Horizontal," 1960

"Spheres," 1969

"Synchromy," 1971

More on McLaren.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

David Greenberger Tuesday!

[If you are viewing this on a small screen, please right click to view image or download, so as to be able to read the captions.]

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

A troylloyd two ways

So, I've had this untitled (and as far as I know unpublished) strip by troylloyd hanging on the wall of my bedroom since he sent it to me, about three years ago:

Then, recently, I had to take it down for some cleaning, and while it was lying on the bed, I caught a glimpse of it upside down, and noticed some things that I had never noticed in it before: there are some figures there, it seems, and even something like speech balloons:

I don't know which way I like it better--all the way abstract, or only partially so. Troy had never told me which way to hang it. (But this also reminds me of the anecdote of Kandinsky "discovering" abstraction by seeing his paintings upside down... Only in reverse. Or something.)

This is also a post to ask if anyone knows whatever happened to Troy--he hasn't posted here or updated his own blogs in a couple of years, and my emails have remained unanswered. If anyone knows, please contact me. Or if you are reading this, Troy, speak up, dude!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

David Greenberger Tuesday!

David (about whom more here) has been making so many of what could be called "abstract cartoons" that, in trying to make a selection for a post here, I thought there was no way I could offer a single representative sampling. So David has graciously agreed to make this a weekly feature. We'll feature three cartoons a week, but we'll begin today with a double-sized post:

By the way, it's a good idea to friend David on FB. The original art for many of his cartoons is for sale there, priced the same as his age (which is currently 57).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Balloon

Abstract comic using famous art as a foundation.
The Balloon, or the Rising of the Montgolfier
Francisco José de Goya
1818 – 1819
Oil on Canvas
Musee des Beaux-Arts, Agen, France

Hope! The comic

I made this a couple of years ago--well, you can figure out when--and then, for some reason, I decided not to post it. But now it doesn't seem quite so cheesy as it dit back then...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

couple recent ones

Spidey and Ab Cmx, and a couple of other announcements

Some of you may remember my old monster post on Ditko's Spider-Man of almost two years ago, and how I promised there would be a second part to it. Well, that second part mutated into a proper scholarly article, "Abstract Form: Sequential Dynamism and Iconostasis in Abstract Comics and in Steve Ditko's Amazing Spider-Man," which is now available in Matt Smith and Randy Duncan's new edited volume, Critical Approaches to Comics: Theories and Methods. Please check it out if you get a chance.

Also, I have some abstract comics coming out in periodicals: in the Canadian literary journal, Carousel, in the Yugoslavian comics journal Stripolis (actually, they came out in Stripolis no. 2, earlier this year, but I haven't seen a copy yet), and in the Swedish anthology C'est Bon, I guess in issue 13. Having already been published in Swiss, Portuguese, and Australian anthologies, I guess this is all part of my project of world domination...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

James Mahan's "CONVOLUTED NARRATIVES:Filmstrips from an imaginary abstract film"

James also has a color version of the first image above, but I'll let you discover that if you friend him on FB, or on his upcoming website. He will soon be joining us as a member of this blog.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nina Roos on YouTube

This blog's own Nina Roos speaks, reads, and shows images from her book, "Narrative in Abstract Drawing," at an arts festival in Rotterdam. Unfortunately, it's in Dutch. But you can see the images at least!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Emma" by Nico Vassilakis

Nico, along with Crag Hill, edited The Last Vispo Anthology: Visual Poetry 1998 - 2008, forthcoming from Fantagraphics Books, Fall 2012 (so I guess it's kind of like our sister anthology?). Samples of Nico's work can seen at

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mirage 3

Created using four colour ball point pen and twink (correction fluid). I really like the how the eye mixes these four colours together. Mirage 3 is definitely my favourite comic so far from this series. For more see the category.

Mattias Fausse-Monnaie on Eggeling and Richter

Mattias Fausse-Monnaie writes in with the following quote and comment:

"En déchiffrant ces notes programmatiques, on comprend que la peinture, en tant qu'inscription immobile, devenait un support trop étroit pour l'exploration d'un contrepoint généralisé des formes. […] Aussi Eggeling et Richter se tourneront-ils vers une écriture dynamique, d'abord sur des rouleaux où les dessins étaient disposés en séquences pour suggérer un déroulement temporel, […]."

Son et lumière
, catalogue centre George Pompidou, Paris, 2004, p 158

(In my translation: "In deciphering these programmatic notes, one sees that painting, being just marks frozen in place, was becoming too confining a medium for the exploration of a generalized counterpoint of forms. [...] Thus Eggeling and Richter turned toward a dynamic writing [mark-making], first on rolls of paper on which drawings were arrayed in sequence to suggest a temporal unrolling." The quote refers to abstract film pioneers Viking Egggeling and Hans Richter. More on them here.)

Mattias continues: "So, were Viking Eggeling and Hans Richter abstract comics' pioneers ? Probably… I'm curious to see it (if this proto-abstract comics always exist…)"

Andrei speaking now: Well, I don't know if theirs survived (I should look into it), but I know that one of the pioneers of abstract sequential art, Kurt Kranz, got to it by conceiving his images almost as storyboards for animation. See my earlier post on Kranz. In his case, the situation is inverse. I've heard that, later in life, he did transform some of his sequential pieces into abstract films, but I've never been able to track those down.

From the above link, which is well worth reading--Richter:


And please, if I may--compare the Richter to my piece here, for which it was certainly an inspiration.

Also, just a few days ago, I wrote "The relationship between abstract comics and abstract film needs to be further investigated." (in the Bea post). I'm glad we're beginning to do just that!

By the way, it's well worth checking out Mattias's new blog. Here is his piece, "D'après Poussin 1: les aveugles de Jericho":

--based on this image (I think):

Having also (but more cryptically) done an abstract comic based on a Poussin painting, I can totally dig it.

whit eboar d com ic

"Franz Kline, Road Crew Employee," by David Greenberger

More on the artist. We will have another post, with David's abstract cartoons, soon. "Franz Kline" is available for purchase as a $10 poster. David does not have a website for his abstract pieces, but you can see some other kinds of his work at his Duplex Planet website, or you can contact him via his Facebook profile.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Peanuts - June 12th, 1960

Abstrakt Comix by James Mahan

So, it turns out that we have a precursor to our title! James Mahan published a zine called "Abstrakt Comix: The Journal of Non-Linear Sequential Graphix" back in 1998-99. These are the only images I have from it:

Recently, James has returned to making abstract comics. Here are some pieces of his from the last year:

James does not have a website, but if you want to see more of his work you can try to friend him on Facebook.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"Pequenos Mundos" by Diniz Conefrey

I can't find an easier way to link to it directly, but go here and open the pdf under the first thumbnail to see the entire 41-page comic.

Diniz writes "I´m a Portuguese comic author that since the 80's has done some experiences with abstract forms in comics." This is his "full first experience entirely abstract in comics... The name of the sequence is Little Worlds."

Back in March, Diniz also wrote a series of three posts about his experiences with abstraction in comics. If you read Portuguese, or just want to look at the beautiful drawings, go here, here, and here. Again, I don't speak Portuguese, so if anyone were willing to provide a quick translation or a summary, I'd be very grateful.

Thanks to Diniz for writing (and apologies for my delay in posting this!), and also to Pedro Moura for a heads-up.