Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Portrait of the Artist When He Isn't There

Just in case you were wondering how it all came together.

Enough of this! This weekend I'll hopefully have new drawings of actual people.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

PotAWHIT Board

Last of the five drawings I did for "Portrait of the Artist When He Isn't There," a head-on diagram of my trusty bulletin board. Among these treasures is a flyer I designed for the Philolexian Society to promote the 2005 Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest, an oversized postcard depicting Al Capone's luxuriously appointed prison cell from when I visited Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, a weird polaroid of me and my friend Andrew Liebowitz, and two postcards from Vox Pop. One bears the clever slogan "Man is born free, and everywhere is in chain-stores, and the other is this gorgeous reproduction:

It's "International Solidarity of Labour" by Walter Crane, drawn in 1897. It may not live up to our PC standards today (why are the American and Australian white? why is the Angel of Freedom white? etc) but this was 1897! Who else was promoting an image of total racial equality at that time? Practically nobody but the socialists, that's who. The central motto is, of course, "Workers of the the world, unite!" It was true when Marx said it, it was true when Crane drew it, and it's still true today.

One last explanation: the long skinny drawing tacked above the bulletin board is the original drawing of Theo crawling through the desert that I incorporated into this "animated" jpeg used to advertise SNitLoE on the internet:

Monday, September 27, 2010


When I got to Portland, I knew I'd need a drafting table for comics. I bought one from somebody's grandparents and brought it home on the bus. The driver was not happy.

Hanging to the left of the bulletin board is a print that I bought of one of my favorite webcomic strips ever, a guest strip for Pictures for Sad Children by KC Green.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Here's part three of "Portrait of the Artist When He Isn't There," my coat-rack. Found it on the side of the road near the Hollywood Max stop. Prominently featured are:
- the cassock and supplice I wore during the Byrd festival
- my limited edition t-shirt: "Local Roots Farm Team 2009: This Bunch is Rad-ish"
- my hat from when I worked at Brooklyn's greatest coffeeshop, the late Vox Pop.
- my piece-of-s*** shoes

I am still a little distraught by the foreshortening of the ellipses in this drawing. As you can deduce, my eye-level was about 75-80% up the full length of the rack (I was sitting on my bed). Maybe the rack itself is bent a little bit.

By the way, tonight was a rad party for the release of Stumptown Undeground's "Birthday" issue. My "screaming baby" piece made the inside front cover, probably because they didn't want a blood-spattered infant penis on the front cover.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


This was the second drawing I did for the "Portrait of the Artist When He Isn't There" series. It features the Nigerian blanket given to me in primary school by my best friend Sule Otori, my severely dilapidated schoolbag "Ursula," some Renaissance sheet music, and a copy of G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy. I've gotten in the habit of piling crap on my bed so I'm not tempted to sleep on it during the day.

Friday, September 24, 2010

PotAWHIT Shelf

The theme of October's Stumptown Underground compilation is "Self-Portrait/Self-Reflection." I've never been one for auto-biography. So though many of my friends have worked in the genre, and I enjoy many auto-bio comics, I've never been able to do one myself. Even when I tried keeping a daily "comics journal" in the style of Chelsea Baker at the beginning of 2010, I was unable to stay on the topic of my own life (which in January was admittedly pretty boring) - I would end up describing the book I had just read or the movie I'd just seen, including only a cursory auto-bio framing narrative, or none at all.

I hardly want to come off sounding like some righteous crusader against solipsism or attention-whoring; after all, I have a facebook page and TWO blogs. I'm certainly not above the frothy foam of perpetual self-reinvention that characterizes my generation of rootless hipsters. But nevertheless, I do think a certain diligence is required to look beyond the confines of the self, or at least an acknowledgment of the self's permeability. Increasingly I think of it as a duty to understand that "who I am" is not some secret identity locked in the vault of my own skull, but a complicated network of relationships, many of them mysterious to my own subjectivity. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said something like "the self is not that part that is known only to me and to no one else, but precisely that part that is external and unknown to me, who I am to others." I could write on this subject endlessly, but this is an art blog.

Anyway, this mush of Anglican theology and waaaaay too much structuralist criticism resulted in me not wanting to draw a traditional self-portrait or an auto-bio comic, but rather a series of still life drawings of the things around my room entitled "Portrait of the Artist When He Isn't There" (PotAWHIT) Talk about the absent core of subjectivity! I think somebody snooping around my room when I wasn't there could get a better idea of "who I am" just from looking at the books on my shelf, the drawings on my desk, and even the clothes on my hangers, than from briefly meeting me in person. I've left little pieces of my self strewn on the floor.

Go Buy Ben Bates's Comic

My friend Ben Bates from Periscope Studio penciled the most recent issue of Sonic the Hedgehog, #217, on stands this week. From what he's told me, Ben has pretty much wanted to draw the Sonic comic since he was like thirteen. At that time, he was thrilled to discover that there was a comic about the beloved video game, but was very disappointed upon realizing just how crappy it actually was. Now at the helm, he has some very fixed ideas of how the comic should be. I'm pretty awed by a.) how well Ben knows what it is he wants and b.) how doggedly he has pursued that goal. If I had half as much of either quality as Ben does, I'd have it made in the shade.

If that weren't bad enough, I also lack the ability to draw the spinny Sonic legs - you know, where he's running so fast his legs are a total blur? Admittedly I didn't really try this time - except for the color, this was drawn in about 10 minutes in a waiting room. The dude getting knocked over is supposed to be Andy Johnson of Cosmic Monkey Comics.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Finally Back to Figure Drawing

Hey blogsciples. I finally have enough discretionary income to start going figure drawing at Hipbone Studio again. This morning I went with Katy Ellis O'Brien; she gave me some of her big brown pieces of paper to draw on.

They're useful, because then you can draw highlights and not just shadows. Human skin is shiny, and to look convincing, part of it has to be lighter than the overall tone of the paper.

The model was very, very good, as usual. Great dynamic poses. I also assure you that she had a pretty face and did not, in fact, look like Kevin Kline.

Stay tuned to this blog! Lots of fun stuff coming up next week.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...