Writing

Pieces

I’m sitting at my desk on post-election day, reviewing eight pages of aborted paragraphs I’ve scribbled in my notebook, wrestling with the desire to communicate and connect with you, to say something important or useful or — if all else fails — something clever or entertaining. The eight pages have come up short on all fronts. I got bupkis.

All I can do is tell you what I’m going to do: Make things I care about and call out bullshit when I see it. I will do these things because I think they’re important and vital to our culture and society (and also because they’re the only things I have any aptitude for). So I will play to my strengths, even if it’s in the form of a dumb joke. So be it. These are the tools I have, so I’ll use them. I encourage you to create art and fight against the things that make you mad, too, in your own way, using the tools you have.

Go forth and make something. A scathing op-ed, a stupid meme, a fierce metal riff, a sketch (comedy or pencil), a protest sign, a hilarious book about drinking coffee available on Amazon next month, a photo of your world, an earnest Facebook post, whatever. Inform your audience, or rile them up, or give them joy. Play to your strengths. All I ask is that — on some level — you believe in your thing, it communicates something you give a shit about, and it’s the truth. Cut off little pieces of yourself and set them loose in the world. Don’t be afraid. You won’t run out.

Let’s Talk About Art.com and Allposters.com

art_logoRecently it was brought to my attention that my artwork, along with art from a large number of other poster makers, was being sold without artist authorization on a couple of home decor/’art’ websites. Art.com/Allposters.com had the brilliant money-making notion to buy the books Gigposters Vol 1 and 2, cut out the pages, and offer them as framed “art prints.” This has not engendered good feelings from the poster artist community affected. Discussing the copyright/intellectual property legalities of this situation is beyond my purview, so I’m not going to get into that. What I’d like to do here is discuss the poor business decisions and murky ethical practices of this endeavor. Continue reading

Reading, And Also Writing

I just finished re-reading Kurt Vonnegut’s A Man Without A Country. Back when it came out in ‘05, I wasn’t particularly excited about it. I was an active Vonnegut nerd and I felt like I’d heard or read or seen most of the thin book already – in interviews, online, and at a talk he gave at Smith College (I guess that was back in 2000, 2001?). Continue reading

Fudgicle vs. Fudgsicle

There has been a long-running disagreement in my brain concerning my tendency to say “fudgicle” even though all packaging and humans around me clearly pointed towards “fudgsicle.” Last night I took part in a lively scholarly debate, and some research was conducted on various handheld Internet-enabled devices. REVELATIONS OCCURRED. Continue reading

Stunt Design

There’s an insidious monster whispering in the ears of amateur illustrators and designers, haunting Twitter feeds and blogs and tumblrs across the web. It isn’t an art movement or anything, it’s an internet trend. I have come to refer to it in my head as Stunt Design.

Stunt Design, n. The phenomenon of designers & illustrators creating gimmicky graphics purely in the hopes of ‘going viral’ on pop culture/arts blogs. Continue reading

Charles M. Schulz

“It is difficult to talk about what I do, because I do it so I don’t have to talk about it.” – C.M.S.

Today would have been Charles Schulz’s 89th birthday. An opportune day for me to jot down a little something, I guess, because I’ve just finished reading Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography and I’m currently halfway through re-reading Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz. I don’t claim to be a big fan of many people, but I suppose Mr. Schulz (I can not bring myself to refer to an adult as “Sparky”) counts as one of ’em. Continue reading

Boundaries

Here’s a two-page comic/story monster tale that appeared in the Styles section of the Boston Phoenix a-ways back in October, 1996. It’s a story I wrote in college and it’s illustrated by the ever-talented Mister Reusch, who 100% nails the mood. I’ve always liked it. It’s got good tempo and a good payoff. Apparently, I used to know how to write. HO HO HO. Continue reading

Cartooning vs. Technology: How Steve Jobs Ruined Comics

Cartooning is, to me, an art form of simplification. The artist uses a minimal amount of lines to communicate characters and place to a reader. Mouths are often oddly-shaped black holes. Cartoon evolution often does away with lips, body hair, elbows. Eyebrows are reduced to lines. Eyes become dots. A background might be a line indicating where the floor and wall meet. Maybe a squiggle of distant trees, or a cloud. Maybe just a flat field of color. Continue reading

Poster Design: Minimalist Shallow Bullshit

Every three or four weeks, I see a new link get passed around the comic/geek/design circles. It’s usually called something like “Movie/TV/Video Game Minimalist Posters” or “Some Fucking Stupid Shit Re-Imagined As Vintage Paperbacks” or “Look At All These Pop Culture References Reduced To Simple Colors And Shapes” or what the fuck ever. Continue reading