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Published Date : August 28, 2014


Luke Ramsey

Published Date : August 28, 2014

Looking closely at one of Luke Ramsey‘s images, one sees the big bold shapes dissolve into a chaos of squiggles only to find new patterns emerging. Somehow he manages to distill the sense of order and chaos found in nature into his work. From his home studio in Pender Island (BC) Luke Ramsey works independently and in collaboration with the many artists participating in his Islands Fold residency.

We’ve read your work described as belonging to “The Psychedooolia Movement”. Can you tell us what it means to you?

I wouldn’t say that I belong to any particular group, but referring to Psychedooolia does trace back to some creative roots. I don’t think it was ever considered a movement, but I like to think of it as one. Psychedooolia is a term coined by artist Marc Bell, who has been a positive influence on my work. Marc used the term to describe a book he compiled titled “Nog A Dod”.

The book features a variety of artists who I’ve identified with in the context of artists who make zines, mail art and primarily make drawings. I have collaborated with Marc and various artists in this collection. Such interactions inspired me to have lots of collaborations over the years.

The Mammoth Collection, Luke Ramsey, 2010

The Mammoth Collection, Luke Ramsey, 2010

Luke Ramsey

We love how your work’s convoluted lines, nested within even more convoluted patterns and shapes, mimic strange forms found in nature. Can you tells us where you find inspiration for your subjects and style?

Thanks. I love connecting to nature. A few years ago I hiked into a forest and sat in front of a tree. I wanted to draw every detail of that tree. After drawing for a few hours, I realized I couldn’t do it. It became a chore and I was overwhelmed with the detail and complexity of the this tree. It was taking up too much of my thought. I realized that to express this kind of detail in my work, it had to be thoughtless and free flowing, just like the energy in nature.

My art is about organizing chaos and celebrating harmony with it. From a distance, you can look at a tree in a forest and it looks peaceful. When you look up close to it, you see insects getting eaten by birds, fungi taking over other life forms, decay and creation. It’s chaotic, but it’s all organized within the form of the tree. I think about my drawings like this.

Luke Ramsey, 2010
Luke Ramsey, 2010

Luke Ramsey, 2010

Much of your work is in the form of murals. How do you feel about work in public spaces as opposed to work on paper, canvas, etc…?

To me, public art is a balance between responsibility and being unattached to the work. The responsibility is about personally caring about the message in the work. Being unattached is about not being offended by how people react to it. People who want to find the kind of art I make, can go looking for it online or in print. When it’s public, nobody’s looking for it and I like that element.

Giant Transition, Josh Holinaty & Luke Ramsey

 Giant Transition, Josh Holinaty & Luke Ramsey, 2010

 Giant Transition, Josh Holinaty & Luke Ramsey, 2010
 Giant Transition, Josh Holinaty & Luke Ramsey, 2010

How did you come to start up your Islands Fold artist residency? Can you tell us about the program and your experiences with the many artists you’ve collaborated with?

Islands Fold came about to combine by interest in art and my wife’s interest in health and nutrition. I had a 6 week residency at The MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire in 2005, and that had a huge influence on me wanting to create a residency.

Right now, we’re putting residencies on hold, so I can focus on personal projects and prepare for the next chapter of Islands Fold. For the first 3 years we hosted 30 different artists. I would invite artists that I wanted to work with and would also consider submissions

An artist would stay with us for a week. We’d supply accommodation and good food free of charge. We’d fund the cause by selling work that artists donated. During the residencies we’d hang-out, make art, eat food and enjoy life. It’s really special to get to know the person behind the work.

Islands Fold has been a wonderful experience for this. I wouldn’t be able to briefly mention all the fun collaborative experiences-there’s been a lot which I’m happy about.

Howie Tsui and Luke collaborating, Island Folds

Howie Tsui and Luke collaborating, Islands Fold

Derek works on a very detailed drawing

Other

Given unlimited resources to direct a movie, what kind/genre would you make?

That’s the best interview question ever. Describing the genre would be difficult, but I’d probably co-direct with R.Kelly and make another 22 chapters of Trapped In The Closet. We’d cast Natalie Portman, Viggo Mortensen and Paul Vasquez.

Anything on the horizon we can look forward to from you?

If I don’t get in touch with R.Kelly, I plan to release and tour a sci-fi book in 2012.

S&TM:We want to thank Luke Ramsey for doing this interview and sharing his awesome work with us!


Peter Kalyniuk

Published Date : August 28, 2014


Charline Wang

Published Date : August 28, 2014


The Blot – Part

Published Date : April 24, 2013

The Blot Part 2

The story of The Blot continues, told in sound and images through the collaborations of a seriously amazing group of musicians and illustrators.

Chapter 3

The Blot - Chapter 3 - by Keith Jones

The Blot Chapter 3 – by Keith Jones

Thom Gill

Thom Gill, member of OG Melody, and countless powerhouse music and art projects in Toronto and beyond.

How do you feel about the character of The Blot so far? Is he hero or villain? Tragic or underdog? Who is he to you?

Thom Gill: The Blot is the mind, no? In and out of clarity, unhappiness, confidence.

Encountering the unknown constantly. Frightened of overtaking itself and/or coming up short of itself.

In that case, The Blot a kind of hero. Humanity is, hopefully, about love. It’s interesting that the Blot stayed in a dark, confused place for so long, that we artists chose to keep him there. I certainly like him now, seeing him in the light.

I know he will die though. And whoever gets to tell that story in their chapter may not choose to present as a heroic death.

Given how the story has evolved so far, how did you approach creating your instalment of the The Blot? Does seeing and hearing the works made for previous chapters shift the way went about your piece of the puzzle?

We were pretty ambitious with our chapter. I was pretty stoked on creating an oil sands allegory. And the line “try to hold sand / imagine the power is in your hands / when all the while it’s just slip slip slipping away”, got that across for me. But then we move away from that image by having the Blot speak to the world as its audience in a plea to banish their expectations. I think we had hoped for this to be a seed for the subsequent Blotters to characterize the Blot as fallible yet good. That a civilization, a collective mind, that can do such damage and wrong will still be forgiven.

Chapter 4

The Blot - Chapter 4 - by Erin McPhee

The Blot Chapter 4 – by Erin McPhee

Nick Grottick

Nick Grottick of Bad Channels

How do you feel about the character of The Blot so far? Is he hero or villain? Tragic or underdog? Who is he to you?

Nick Grottick: The Blot still seems to be finding its place in the world. It has good intentions, but who knows how that could change in next chapters

Given how the story has evolved so far, how did you approach creating your instalment of the The Blot? Does seeing and hearing the works made for previous chapters shift the way went about your piece of the puzzle?

Nick Grottick:The previous chapters were more lighthearted, with the blot sort of getting its footing, so I felt it was a good time to give it its first real challenge and throw something really dark its way.

Where do you see the story evolving from here? Is it the Never-ending story? Will The Blot take a more concrete shape and reveal a face? Will the story splinter in to many alternate Blot realities? What does it all mean?

Nick Grottick: Whoa, I like all those ideas! I think it would be cool if the blot took a more concrete shape, maybe even became a human? Or maybe the Blot will split in two?? Good Blot Vs. Evil Blot! I really like the idea of putting the story in to another artists hands and seeing what they do with it.

Chapter 5

The blot - Chapter 5 - by Jeanie Phan

The Blot Chapter 5 – by Jeannie Phan

Moshe Rozenberg of DD/MM/YYYY and Absolutely Free.

How do you feel about the character of The Blot so far? Is he hero or villain? Tragic or underdog? Who is he to you?

Moshe Rozenberg In place of explanation/disruption/influence, here is an excerpt from Richard Brautigan’s In Watermelon Sugar:
“Just call me whatever is in your mind.
If you are thinking about something that happened a long time ago: Somebody asked you a question and you did not know the answer. That is my name.
Perhaps it was raining very hard. That is my name.
Or somebody wanted you to do something. You did it. Then they told you what you did was wrong—“Sorry for the mistake,”—and you had to do something else. That is my name.
Perhaps it was a game you played when you were a child or something that came idly into your mind when you were old and sitting in a chair near the window. That is my name.
Or you walked someplace. There were flowers all around. That is my name.
Perhaps you stared into a river. There as something near you who loved you. They were about to touch you. You could feel this before it happened. Then it happened. That is my name.”

Given how the story has evolved so far, how did you approach creating your instalment of the The Blot? Does seeing and hearing the works made for previous chapters shift the way went about your piece of the puzzle?

Moshe Rozenberg:The past wraps the present in a ribboned cube and all we contributed was the bow. Think item number five on Captain Beefheart’s guide to guitar playing:
“If your brain is part of the process, you’re missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something that is fur bearing.”

Where do you see the story evolving from here? Is it the Never-ending story? Will The Blot take a more concrete shape and reveal a face? Will the story splinter in to many alternate Blot realities? What does it all mean?

Moshe Rozenberg:As most things, it will age indefinitely through earthwormholes’ reinterpretation and digestion.

Jeannie Phan, an internationally published illustrator based in Toronto, Canada.

Given how the story has evolved so far, how did you approach creating your instalment of the The Blot? Does seeing and hearing the works made for previous chapters shift the way went about your piece of the puzzle?

Jeannie Phan: Yes, definitely. It’s hard not to base it off of the last set of artists because I want the narrative to flow. But, at the same time I wanted to throw in a jolt of something exciting to at least throw The Blot into leading to some sort of decisive action.

Where do you see the story evolving from here? Is it the Never-ending story? Will The Blot take a more concrete shape and reveal a face? Will the story splinter in to many alternate Blot realities? What does it all mean?

Jeannie Phan: I feel like The Blot will take shape after a few more instalments. Right now I think we’re all trying to feel out how his personality is like based by his reaction to all the crazy things we’re throwing at him. He’s becoming some sort of cosmic entity.

Suburban Dreaming by Jeanie Phan

Suburban Dreaming by Jeannie Phan

Chapter 6

The Blot - Chapter 6 - by Howie Tsui

The Blot Chapter 6 – by Howie Tsui

Ho Yan (Howie) Tsui is a Canadian visual artist, born in Hong Kong.

How do you feel about the character of The Blot so far? Is he hero or villain? Tragic or underdog? Who is he to you?

Howie Tsui: For me, Blot seems to almost be a victim of existence. Gradually evolving and trying to make sense of these drastically shifting environments that it inhabits with each chapter. To me, Blot is a juve. Yet to sprout a pube.

Given how the story has evolved so far, how did you approach creating your instalment of the The Blot? Does seeing and hearing the works made for previous chapters shift the way went about your piece of the puzzle?

Howie Tsui: I listened to all the preceding chapters first in order to visualize the narrative arc for the character, trying to place myself in its shoes. Really relieved Blot made it made it past Chapter 5 alive, which was a pretty traumatic experience. I took our Chapter as a post-traumatic psychic healing session. Repeat listens of Olga and Jace’s track put me in this floating, ethereal, unconscious space world. So I tried to capture this image of Blot hovering beyond the planet, buoyed by the transmissions from a Walkie-Talkie.

Where do you see the story evolving from here? Is it the Never-ending story? Will The Blot take a more concrete shape and reveal a face? Will the story splinter in to many alternate Blot realities? What does it all mean?

Howie Tsui: Tough to say. Much of the narrative depends greatly on the music that will be written in future chapters as they serve as the springboard for the imagery. I believe in circles/cycles. The Blot may just self-detonate and become a library.

Silver Tree by Howie Tsui

Silver Tree by Howie Tsui

Chapter 7

The Blot - Chapter 7 - by Irma Kniivila

The Blot Chapter 6 – by Irma Kniivila

Dan Werb and Maylee Todd

Dan Werb (left) and Maylee Todd (right) of Ark Analog

“When It’s Mine” was skillfully crafted by Maylee Todd and Dan Werb, who wrote the words and music. Their excellent new duo project is called Ark Analog and we’ll be seeing much more of them in the future. Dan has previously written and recorded with Woodhands, and Maylee’s new solo record Escapology comes out April 2nd. The visual component is by the wonderful artist Irma Kniivila, who has paired illustrations with many musical works.

How do you feel about the character of The Blot so far? Is he hero or villain? Tragic or underdog? Who is he to you?

Dan Werb: To me, the Blot represents that aspect of a person that is susceptible and vulnerable to being defeated or undone by the pressures of the world. I see it as a manifestation of the inner secret life that we all live and often try to hide from others. So I interpret the story of the Blot as one of overcoming neuroses, or anxiety, about living authentically, which can be a scary and potentially self-destructive experience. When you put yourself out there, you put yourself at the mercy of the other…

Given how the story has evolved so far, how did you approach creating your instalment of the The Blot? Does seeing and hearing the works made for previous chapters shift the way went about your piece of the puzzle?

Dan Werb: It seemed clear that by our chapter of the story, the Blot seemed to be at risk of going down a k-hole of neuroses and anxiety. I feel like we’ve all been there, and I personally feel like the best way to avoid that urge to let your unchecked thoughts take over is to ground yourself in the physical, the tangible – another person, your own body, the natural world. So I wanted the Blot to start understanding its own sensuality and capacity for feeling something real outside of its own endlessly circling thoughts. That’s why the lyrics focus so squarely on touch and exploring the physical other.

Where do you see the story evolving from here? Is it the Never-ending story? Will The Blot take a more concrete shape and reveal a face? Will the story splinter in to many alternate Blot realities? What does it all mean?

Dan Werb: I really hope that the Blot becomes a real concrete manifestation. Our aim with the chapter we worked on was to start that process, and I think that’s reflected in the artwork and the lyrics. It’s always better to start taking shape…I think one of the most seductive traps we have in this era of endless choices is indecision – or, to put it another way, making decisions to never truly define yourself because self-definition means cutting off potential other lives. We all want to be everything and I think sometimes that stops people from doing anything at all, because it’s comforting to feel like doors are always open. But there comes a point when you’ve gone too far without having the courage to make a choice about who you are, and that’s a dangerous trend. Which is just a long-winded way of saying: the narrower the definition of the Blot, the better!


Kyle Harter

Published Date : March 23, 2013

Kyle Harter – Healing

Kyle is a freelance illustrator and a teacher. After living in Chicago for ten years, he now resides in San Jose, CA. Kyle loves running around outside, playing Ms. Pacman, and eating vegetables. You can see more of Kyle’s work on his website: www.kyleharterart.com or his blog: kyleharterart.tumblr.com

Kyle Harter


Jeff Hamada

Published Date : January 3, 2013

Jeff Hamada

Since launching his hugely successful art blog Booooooom! in 2008, Vancouver-based artist Jeff Hamada has been on a mission to share awesome art with the world. Connecting with a huge community of artists and art lovers, Jeff has put together a variety of art projects, online and out in the world, designed to get everyone involved in having fun being creative.

Jeff Hamada

Picture from http://www.stussy.com

What inspired you to start Booooooom? How has it grown and changed since it’s inception? Where do you see Booooooom in next few years?

I want people today, tomorrow, 20 years from now to be able to look through it and be inspired by a giant archive of creative work. I try not to post too many things that are time-sensitive, flyers, kick-starters, things that you’ll have to scroll past a year from now. In some ways it hasn’t changed a lot, my mission has been the same, but it has grown bigger than I ever imagined it could or would.

I’m really inspired by The Creators Project. If someone could just hand me a bunch of cash and say go and make creative things with this money, I would do that for the rest of my life. It sounds like a fantasy but I actually feel like I’m only a half step away from being able to live that dream.

Booooooom's Site

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You’ve connected with a huge community of art lovers and artists online, encouraged people to go out and make things for Booooooom projects, curated several art shows in galleries. Have you ever wanted to start a Booooooom gallery, or other offline projects to further bring the community together?

I’ve thought about it. I would hate to have to be somewhere from, 9-5 or whatever gallery hours are, so I’d only look at doing something like that if it was with someone else. I want to have a physical space here in Vancouver just to show films and have games nights. More of a public living room than a gallery.

Booooooom's Fresh Letter Project

Example of Booooooom's Remake Project

Booooooom's Remake Project

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Your own personal art and design work is really fun and graphic. Has your approach to your own work changed since working on Booooooom became a full time part of your life? Do you think of the two separately, or do they feed off each other?

Working everyday on Booooooom does take away from time to make my own work, so I do see the two things as distinct in some ways. They both inform one another but I am trying to make more time to just concentrate on producing stuff for me, for my own enjoyment, maybe not even to be shared.

Jeff Hamada Painting

Jeff Hamada's Paintings

You’ve initiated some pretty extraordinary projects through Booooooom that all focus on inviting everyone to get out there and get busy creating things. The recent Made of Imagination project challenged people to invent and make new kinds of musical instruments. How do you come up with project ideas that you think will really spark people’s imaginations?

I have always found it easy to come up with an idea that will bring people together. Most of them come from a very naive, child-like sense of wonder, type of place. I think I’ve just exercised that part of my brain the most.

Andrew Spackman – Birmingham, United Kingdon

Andrew Spackman – Birmingham, United Kingdon

Oliver Jeffers – Brooklyn, New York

Oliver Jeffers – Brooklyn, New York

Made-of-Imagination-Project

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Where would you say the most interesting art/music/animation/photography is coming from today? Who are some artists you’ve seen lately who have just blown your mind, and inspired you personally?

This is an impossible question to answer, it’s not coming from any one place, those topics are so broad. I enjoy Mimi Jung‘s weavings, Matthew Dear‘s music, Hoji Tsuchiya‘s animations, Jennilee Marigomen‘s photographs.

Mimi Jung (left) Jennilee Marigomen (Right)

Mimi Jung (left), Jennilee Marigomen (Right)


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Pow Wow Hawaii art event

What are your 5 most memorable Booooooom moments?

1. Pow Wow Hawaii art event – living together in a house on the North Shore with artists from around the world, making work and making life-long friendships.

2. An email from Brent Hines, a Peace Corps volunteer in Armenia who heard about my Little Drifters project and brought a group of kids to a river to make little boats out of twigs and do the same thing we did.

3. Anytime I meet a stranger who knows about Booooooom and is genuinely excited about it.

4. Speaking at Creative Mornings recently, meeting a lot of people in my own city who really made me feel like I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.

5. Getting a book deal with Chronicle Books.

Jeff Hamada


WRAP Magazine

Published Date : December 29, 2012

The concept for WRAP magazine is really unique – part magazine featuring artist interviews – part product composed of illustrated wrapping paper designed by your favourite artists. How did the idea come about? Can you tell us a bit about how WRAP went from concept to reality?

A. The idea was to make a magazine that promoted up-and-coming illustrators alongside established more seasoned artists; to interview them and to get their work in front of lots of people and in as many shops as we could.

We decided not to stick with the classic magazine format and wanted to come up with a way of fully showing the work of great illustrators, giving people looking at it the opportunity to see the skill, technique and ability that goes in to each piece and really appreciate it.

We didn’t like the thought of our magazine being looked, read and then discarded, so figured out ways to extend it’s life or give it a double purpose somehow – and that’s where the wrapping paper idea came from. We thought it would be awesome to print illustrators work on a big scale and make the publication so that pages could be pulled out of the and shared in the form of wrapping paper.

WRAP Magazine issue 6

WRAP Magazine Issue 6

WRAP Magazine issue 3

Spread from WRAP issue #3

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Ed J Brown

Ed J Brown www.edjbrown.com

Can you tell us a bit about yourselves, and the talents and passions that you bring to making WRAP?

A. Wrap was started by two people, Polly and Chris (me). We both studied design, Polly product design and me graphic design. We try to capture what we both like about design in Wrap magazine, from the way it looks to the way it functions and feels.

We’re not illustrators but illustration is something we love and have done for a mega long time. It’s our love for brilliant design and illustration that forms the foundation for each issue, but then there’s our editor Harry, writer Sarah and researcher Anna that help to drive and shape Wrap.

WRAP Magazine issue 4

Chris Harrison & Polly Glass

Chris Harrison (left) & Polly Glass (right)

Each issue has a theme that the artists use as a starting point for their illustrations. What were some of the most unexpected/surprising illos that came back to you for the themes you’d chosen?

A. The first time we made Wrap we didn’t have a theme and we got back a whole load of stuff. One of the most memorable and unexpected was an illustration called ‘Gay Santa’, a drawing of Santa Claus riding his sled pretty much naked wearing rainbow coloured swimming trunks. That’s when we decided to make each issue themed. We’re always blown away by the work we get back and, although we know the style of the artists we ask, it’s always surprising to see how the brief has been interpreted.

It’s also ace when illustrator’s use the brief to better their technique and explore new approaches to how they work, like Bjorn Rune Lie and his piece ‘After Snowfall’ for the issue six front cover and the illustration ‘Play Your Cards Right’ Jesse Tise did for issue six.

Riikka Surmunen

Riikka Surmunen http://www.riikkas.com/

We love the design of WRAP magazine, your website and your products. Can you tell us a bit about the design style you’re going for, and how you manage to carry that through all the different projects you have on the go?

A. Thank you! Everything starts with the magazine, it drives the expectation we have for all the other things we do and make.

So when it comes to new products we want them to be the best they can be, made in the best materials, and (where possible) involve some of the best illustrators we know. We make things that we’d like to out and buy and that make sense to us.

Style wise we like to keep things contemporary and sometimes fun with a strong narrative.

WRAP Gallery opening

Framed Spreads

You started with the magazine, but now have expanded your shop to include custom designed stickers, cards and wrapping papers. Where do you hope to take WRAP in the future?

A. We’re going to continuing to focus on the magazine, working with more talented people in to develop and mould our publication which is exciting for us. Also we’ll be working on a couple of new stationary products in the new year that will enable us to commission and promote more illustrators we love and and develop our range. In nearly everything we do, it’s about the illustrator and how we can get their work seen by people. So we’re looking forward to continuing this in 2013.

Josephin Ritschel

Josephin Ritschel http://www.mevameva.de/

On a personal level – what’s the best thing about making WRAP?

A. 100% the best thing about making Wrap is having the opportunity to meet, work with and write about great illustrators, designers and creative practices. We’re really lucky!

Kim Sielbeck

Kim Sielbeck www.kimsielbeck.com

Patrick O'Leary

Patrick O’Leary www.patrickoleary.co.uk

Janine Rewell

Janine Rewell www.janinerewell.com

Charlotte Trounce

Charlotte Trounce www.charlottetrounce.co.uk


Flickr Comics!

Published Date : December 24, 2012

This month we started up a Flickr group, open to all, to share comics on S&TM! Every month we’ll feature a few selections here on Squidface & The Meddler! This month’s comics by Jack Teagle, Hyein Lee, and John Martz!

Come join us and share your comics at:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/squidfaceandthemeddler_comics/

 

Jack Teagle

Jack Teaglewww.jackteagle.co.uk

Jack is a freelance illustrator based in South West England. He keeps many sketchbooks and goes through many tubes of paint. Jack loves collecting action figures, reading badly written silver age comics and watching classic horror films.

Jack Teagle - Dust to Dust -  comic form A Graphic Cosmonogy from Nobrow Jack-Teagle - McSweeney's - The Jungle Pages 1 and 2 Jack-Teagle - McSweeney's - The Jungle Pages 3 and 4 Jack-Teagle - The Origin of Snakeman 1 Jack Teagle - The Origin of Snakeman 2 Jack Teagle - The Origin of Snakeman 3

Hyein Lee

Hyein Lee ~ www.hyeinlee.com

Hyein is an engineer turned an illustrator and motion graphics designer. She gave up her big fat paycheque to pursue her dream; she is poor now, but somehow a lot happier. Her work is populated by lonesome, humble and friendly monsters which depict melancholy moments with cuddly-toy appeal. Autobiographical in content, these intimate diary-like paintings are often a direct translation of the artist’s feeling. She was born in Korea and came to Canada when she was 14. She now lives in her favourite city, Toronto.

Engine Summer - comics by Hyein Lee

John Martz

John Martzwww.johnmartz.com

John Martz is illustrator, cartoonist, and designer living in Toronto, Ontario. His work appears regularly in The Globe and Mail, and I is the illustrator of the picture books Dear Flyary by Dianne Young (2012), and Who’s on First? by Abbott & Costello (2013).

Thought by John Martz Poke by John Martz Overwhelm by John Martz Music by John Martz Entwine by John Martz


Johnny Cobalto

Published Date : November 28, 2012

Johnny Cobalto »

Milan’s loss is Toronto’s gain as artist and illustrator
Johhny Cobalto brings his own delightfully twsited mesh of characters to new horizons.

Q. You recently moved to Toronto from Milan. What brought you here? Has your work been influenced at all by the change of scenery?

A. Well… I can say that the last year has been full of huge changes. So, I decided to move here as a joke in this March, looking for something great. Two friends of mine who play in the rock band Sorry Ok Yes were contacted by an agency for few shows in Toronto, and when you got itchy feet like mine, you can’t really miss the boat.

Regarding the artistic matter, I can’t say if the transfer has produced changes in my works yet, but this city is very inspiring and full of art so… I’m sure I will do a lot of stuff.

 Sorry Ok Yes poster by Johnny Cobalto »

Sorry Ok Yes poster


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 art by Johnny Cobalto »

[left] 2meters x 2meters print for PUMP THIS STORY. [right] Mi Odi Festival poster

Q. You’ve done art in a pretty diverse range of styles, shifting this year to a simpler, looser, hand-­drawn aesthetic. How would you describe your style?

A. Ah! Good question. Someone has compared my works to lowbrow art or pop surrealism and yes, I reflected in that styles. I’m always looking for better interpretations of what I imagine: it’s cool doing a good job, feeling it right and reaching your goal. I love to play with weird characters in my works and merge them in a kind of texture with particular objects and shapes. I love chaos and I like to fill my drawings with a lot of detail; sometimes to tell a story and sometimes even simply improvising.

Returning to the style’s speech, I can resume it like this: my stuff it’s just a chaotic, soft, weird dream.

 Sketch by Johnny Cobalto

Sketch by Johnny Cobalto

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 art by Johnny Cobalto »

[left] Pump This Flyer, [right] Sorry Ok Yes poster

Q. Your recent gig posters for Pump This and Sorry Ok Yes are awesome! Is music a big part of what inspires you? Can you tell us abit about these projects?

A. To be honest I’ve to say that no, music is not really a muse for me. Well, I love to draw while listening to good music, but it’s not basic in my work progress.

By the way, the project with Pump This was born also a year ago when I met the founders of this great night (and not only) event made in BolognA. They contacted me for the new season’s posters of the show after three years of collaboration with amazing italian illustrators like Tristan Vancini, Fidia Falaschetti and Andrea Moresco, so for me it was an honor to carry out a project in which these great artists had taken part.

The project was immediately clear: create something between ad and art, something that anyone could find by street and pin up in his room. I’m really feeling good to work with Pump This’ staff. It’s awesome to have the chance to express your art conveying a message, and it’s also a great way to get to know my art. So…hell yeah!

Regarding Sorry Ok Yes, I’ve known them for a few years. Initially I made the cover of their first cd (“Rubberized”) and then I edited a music video for the song “Bipolar Girl” (one of my favourite!). As I said, I decided to follow them to Toronto and now I draw their gig rock’n’roll poster.

Both projects were very exciting for me and gave me a lot of satisfaction, so…I have to find other people like them and then I can die happy.

 Pump This Flyer by Johnny Cobalto

Pump This Flyer

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 Johnny Cobalto »

[left] Sketch, [right] Johnny Cobalto

Q. Your drawings are packed with some pretty insane characters! Where do they come from?

A. Since I quit smoking pot (lol), my characters came just from my imagination. I know, this is not a good answer but sincerely, it’s rare for me stop and thinking about a precise subject to draw; I only do what my hand suggests me in that precise moment (I know, this is a pretty stupid speech).

I like transforming animals into persons and vice versa, add extra eyes and deform their usual aspect into something weird. Yeah, just do what I feel. No more.

Q. Who are some of your favourite artists right now?

A. Jeremyville, Gary Baseman, Gary Taxali, Low Bros, Eboy, Mauro Gatti, Olimpia Zagnoli.

 Milano Horror by Johnny Cobalto

Milano Horror

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Chalk Mural by Johnny Cobalto »

Chalk Mural

Q. What would be a dream project for you?

A. Design types & poster for a Wes Anderson movie or a Joe Lansdale’s book. Yeah, should be amazing.

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S&TM: Thank you Johnny for taking the time to do this interview with us.


Vortex #

Published Date : November 18, 2012

Mark P. Hensel – Vortex #3

Vortex #3 continues the adventures of the Miizzzard on the planet of the shape-shifting aliens who call themselves the Vortex. In Vortex #2, the Miizzz entered the communal dreamscape of the ultra-violent Vortex to try and free their minds from outside control. Now the Miizzz must battle through layer after layer of berserk nightmares …

We’ve featured Mark’s amazing comics before on S&TM (Assault on Yurg). As well as a sneak peek of the previous installment of Vortex (Vortex #2). This is a preview of his latest edtion, Vortex #3. You can pick up a copy on Mark’s site for $6.00 (or a combo pack for $10.00).

Purchase Vortex #3 »

More comics by Mark P. Hensel »

Mark P Hensel

Purchase Vortex #3 »


Luke Painter

Published Date : October 9, 2012

There’s a lonely and terrifying echo felt but not heard in Luke Painter’s stark dreamscapes. Rendered in woodblock etching textures and muted antique lithography colors, his images are often populated by architectural structures ripped out of time. Their telltale ornamentation and historical context give us a glimpse into the many fixations that inform Luke Painter’s work.

While the overall feeling we get from your recent paintings is a surreal desolate future vibe, we’re curious about many of the historical motifs you reference: the William Morris Arts & Crafts style fabric patterns, the turn of of the century woodblock style, images of the Crystal Palace. What is it about that period that fascinates you?

I recently became interested in Britain in the 1850’s. I don’t usually research such a specific time period but some of the people, ideas and architecture spoke to me. I do a lot of research around the history of ornamentation (which is a vast subject of course!) which let me to the seminal book The Grammar of Ornament.

Known as the world’s first muliticultural design sourcebooks, the architect, author, designer and publisher Owen Jones travelled the world, sketching and recording different examples of ornament. Jones goes on to design the book and innovate a new printing process that becomes known as chromolithography.

My more recent colour works have been very influenced by the colour schemes from this process of printing. I am interested in this time where architects (Jones and Morris) were engaged in a number of different fields and would go to great lengths to have their vision become reality.

Of course there is the philosophy in the Arts and Crafts movement to bring a focus back to the handmade. As a material artist and maker I would say that I connect with that.

Crystal Palace by Luke Painter

Crystal Palace by Luke Painter ^

Architecture seems to take the place of people, or becomes the main character in many of your paintings. We found the effect to be really unsettling, even menacing. Saarinen House starts to feel a bit like the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. How do you feel about the houses that inhabit your paintings?

I am interested in the anthropomorphic qualities that are given to or projected onto architectural structures. Specific examples of this include gothic cathedrals with their rose windows that are supposed to represent the eye of god and horror movies like House (from the 80’s) where the architecture seems to emanate a personality.

I created a collaborative work with my father in 2008 where we rebuilt from memory a house that used to be across the street from his house. The rebuilt house was around 9 feet tall and 8 feet wide and changed quite a bit from the original. In the back of the house there were two stained glass eyes that had projectors behind them that shone through the eyes and beamed an animation out into the exhibition space. The house literally took on an anthropomorphic appearance.

The Arch of William Morris by Luke Painter

The Arch of William Morris by Luke Painter ^

Saarinen House by Luke Painter

Saarinen House by Luke Painter ^


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There’s an incredible amount of detail and intricate ornamentation in your paintings. One can go a bit crazy looking at the images close-up imagining the work that went into them. Is detailed rendering for you a favourite part of painting, or rather a challenge in trying to achieve the look and effect you’re after?

I have been concentrating on drawing for the last 10 years and I think the work has changed and become more detailed. I try to connect that sense of a laborious process to the content of the work. For example, the Saarinen House is based on the architect’s Eliel Saarinen house which is Arts and Crafts style. Eliel and his wife Loja designed everything in the house including all of the linens. It is a tremendous amount of work and I wanted to display that obsession that a person can have with their surroundings through the rendering of the drawing itself.

Woodland House by Luke Painter

Woodland House by Luke Painter ^

We couldn’t help but notice one or two nerd-friendly references in your painting titles (The Last Gasp of Sauron 2, The Two Towers of William Morris 2. ) William Morris’s writings had informed Tolkien’s books. Is it fair to say your inner fantasy geek might be hiding behind your inner architecture and design geek?

Yep. For sure. I like the mixture of high and low aesthetics, so mixing architectural references with Tolkien and Morris comes naturally. I like that Morris had a literary effect on Tolkien. They are both interested in the Medieval and are both out of step with time but become wildly popular in their own fields. I am usually drawn to cultural pinpoints that have a historical ambiguity to them. It is a fairly specific reference (Morris and Tolkien) and most people won’t know it of course, but my work is fairly contextual in the first place and probably needs the viewer to dig a bit to get everything. A tad nerdy I suppose.

Black Smoke Columns (Detail) by Luke Painter

Black Smoke Columns (Egyptian Revival) by Luke Painter

Black Smoke Columns (Egyptian Revival) by Luke Painter ^

Woodlot House (with Victorian Stained Glass Windows)by Luke Painter

Woodlot House (with Victorian Stained Glass Windows) by Luke Painter ^


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Any new projects coming up we can look forward to?

I am currently working on an animation project that is going to be included in an exhibition curated by Peter Burr called Special Effect. 20 artists have been asked to create 30 second animations that respond to the movie Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky. I am very excited by it and it opens at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York in November.

I also co-curate and host (with Meera Margaret Singh) a karaoke based art show called K-TOWN. Meera and I have asked over 50 artists to make karaoke videos to their favorite songs and then we perform them. Lots of fun and very different than my solitary drawing practice. We had just hosted K-TOWN at Nuit Blanche in Toronto and then we are traveling to Montreal in November to mount the performance at Galerie Trois Points.

Woodlot Cliff by Luke Painter

Woodlot Cliff by Luke Painter ^

barnabus

The Last Gasp of Sauron 2 by Luke Painter

The Last Gasp of Sauron 2 by Luke Painter ^

Artist Luke Painter in his studio

Artist Luke Painter in his studio

S&TM: We’d like to thank Luke for taking the time to do this interview with us. We really apprieciate it!


Sam D'Orazio

Published Date : October 3, 2012

The improbably brief bio on Sam D’Orazio’s website reads: “Sam D’Orazio likes making things about people and colors.” This may very well be as close as any of us are going to come to defining the wide range of experimentations and approaches in his work. Churning just beneath a surface of flat shape and colour are stories of angst and humor, anger and wonder.

Q1. While we love your commercial work, we were completely blown away by the range of style and experimentation in your personal paintings, and extensive sketchbook work shown on your blog. How important is this to your process? Do you approach personal projects differently from commissions?

I think it’s just important to play and keeping things interesting. If I feel a sense of revulsion putting down an all too familiar shape I know I’m not in an engaged state of mind. Generally I’m not interested in creating a “brand” via my work – that happens inevitably. I’m more interested in seeing what falls under the umbrella of my vocabulary and feels natural. I dont like deliberate stagnation. Right now I have a bunch of small drawings on my desk that have a Rugrats meets R. Crumb/Zap Comix vibe that I think might be definitively “not me”. Sometimes you swim too far out into the ocean and lose sight of the beach. It all makes sense next to each other anyways, I dont think it’s too different from piece to piece.

I think the biggest difference between commissions and personal projects is just that I have to sketch commissions at the beginning, and I also have to respect a deadline and context. For the most part the end result isn’t that different.

Top-right: “Unrequited”

Bottom-right: Illustration for Plansponsor about “keeping complex information organized”

Sam D'Orazio

Sam D'Orazio

From Sam D'Orazio sketchbook

Endpapers from Sam D’Orazio sketchbook

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Q2. Can you tell us a bit about what inspires your paintings?

I think the general DNA of what I make involves a bunch of different strains competing for interest: formal play (vibing out to shapes, colors, organization, composition), narrative, the collision of our intense personal moments with the repetitious architecture around us… My friends, Woody Allen, painters like Jake Longstreth, Paul Wackers, Guy Yanai, the Romanticists (as well as plenty of Blockbuster favorites, Hockney, Guston, Bacon, etc.). Cartoons/comics across the ages, nature, cheesy sunsets, reflective light, Minecraft. Each thing I make is like some kind of shitty curry, and I’ve made it with all of these aforementioned spices thrown in, and sometimes the cap falls off on one of the shakers.

Top-right: Safe Transactions

Right: The Last Tree

Sam D'Orazio

Sam D'Orazio

Risky Real Estate for PLANSPONSOR

“Risky Real Estate” for Plansponsor

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Q3. We’ve noticed a tendency towards abstraction in your sketchbooks, and in your piece ‘Explosive Growth’ (for Plansponsor) you went all-out abstract on a commercial illo. Was it challenging to reflect an editorial article theme without any figurative elements? What is it about abstract work that you like?

I think for illustration I dont like to think in one mode of representation…Sometimes things dont feel natural being done in a more abstract fashion, though. Sometimes the solution comes to you in the fog of sketching and says “Hey man, I think you just want to paint a dude getting struck by lightning this week. Its okay.” I generally think abstract solutions are more porous can sometimes lead to more rewarding experiences than some of the loaded imagery and one liners that happen across the world of illustration. I envision a future where I keep chasing my interest in abstraction and I eventually end up doing shit more like Sol Lewitt or something, stuff that’s beyond naturalistic/representational abstract… Like you’re opening up your copy of Bloomberg or whatever and a ton of fucked up confetti and glitter spills out of the page with the article about “Unwanted Business Models” (i.e pop ups)!

Genrally the abstract things I make come from a few different places…Sometimes it’s not as satisfying, or interesting, or evocative or whatever to portray reality objectively. Sometimes it’s also satisfying to deal explicitly with what certain colors and shapes do or say. Sometimes I dont have an explicit story to paint but I know there is something in me that will be fun to paint that day. I think most important about shifting between modes of representation is just getting to hit a spectrum of things. I like finding ways to touch different emotional wavelengths.

Explosive Growth for PLANSPONSOR

“Explosive Growth” for Plansponsor

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Q4. You’ve recorded a ton of music as Phantasmosis. How would you describe the kind of music you make? Is there any connection between your visual work and your music? Do you find different parts of you come out when making different kinds of art?elements? What is it about abstract work that you like?

If someone asked about my music I would, for better or worse, call it “indie rock” or “guitar pop”. I say indie rock with derision because it also is as silly as using the term experimental as an aesthetic qualifier. But that statement is disingenuous since I also like plenty of indie rock. I think there is a loose link between the visual and audio stuff-general threads and ideas. I feel like some of the chord structures I use have a similar chroma to my paintings.

The best part about working with music is just the ability to craft extremes easier. Any number of sounds noises and chords can create moments of any thread in the emotional fabric. And those things can create some dynamic narratives or exist as purely experiential moments. Lots more room to create knee jerking, affecting possibilities. Right now I’m working on stuff that has a McCartney I/drone/Jim O’Rourke vibe to it. Trying to craft quietness.

Q5. Given the opportunity, what would be a dream project for you?

What wouldnt be? Going on tour again. Making a book. Designing a video game. Impossibly huge, Anselm Kiefer/Richard Serra type shit. Murals. Surface design. Hosting The Price is Right after the Drew Carey era. Right now though, I’m all about illustration!

Sam D'Orazio

Q6. Tell us something people don’t know about you.

Much like Prince, the aforementioned Jim O’Rourke, Ghandi, Pablo Picasso, Voltaire and Cyndi Lauper I stand at a mere 5’3”. I am exactly 107 years older than James Joyce. And I just updated my website!

Sam D'Orazio

Planadviser-Pinterest

“Pinterest” for Planadviser

S&TM: We’d like to thank Sam for taking the time to do this interview. We really appreciate it!


Hugh Langis

Published Date : July 23, 2012

http://www.hughlangis.com/


Wax Cross

Published Date : June 23, 2012

A first reading of Wax Cross by Tin Can Forest feels like trying to reconstruct a very long series of dreams upon waking. What comes through first is the visual: beautifully dark and dancing images populated by witches, werewolves, farmers, demons, priests, and one very sinister goat. You almost need to get past how beautiful the art is to focus on what’s going on.

Structured as a series of linked episodes, the book reads more like a poem in chapters. Tin Can Forest (a.k.a Pat Shewchuk and Marek Colek) repurpose the visual vernacular of Eastern European folklore to spin a meditation on our severed connection to the natural world. Set in “the twilight of the modern age”
– an incantation carried on the wind sets off a chain of encounters between men, women, spirits and demons.

The book, published by Toronto’s Koyama Press, is beautifully designed, and the large format really does justice to the art.

Just like the forest at the heart of its story, Wax Cross is a dense and mysterious tangle of ideas and emotions, bouncing form devilish mirth to melancholy. The haunting poetry of its pages stays with you long after you read it.

Wax Cross by Tin Can Forest

We loved the poetic, non-linear, dreamlike approach to storytelling in this book. How did you go about putting it all together? Did the art come before the words? Was the story planned from the beginning, or did it develop naturally, more organically?

Tin Can Forest: We started Wax Cross in the winter of 2010, and the first draft was entirely in black and white /grayscale, and all the text was in the style of the incantations that now appear in the spiral on page two of the book. When spring arrived, the black and white version vanished and we began to work in colour. We produced the colour spreads from late summer through autumn. When winter re-arrived, the first version re-emerged from the furthest recesses of our paper shelves and hard drives. The final edit is the combination of the two seasonal sessions.

The governing principal of our process is always collage, but with artwork that we ourselves create rather than found imagery. We work on the art and text concurrently, and neither is subordinate to the other, more a kind of counterpoint, sometime harmonious, sometimes (intentionally) dissonant. Many of the themes explored in the book were there at the inception, but we always incorporate experiences, influences, remembered dreams, and so on, that have an impact on us during the time we’re building of the book.

Wax Cross by Tin Can Forest

Congratulations to @samiviljanto, winner of an autographed copy of Wax Cross by Tin Can Forest! Many thanks to all who participated!


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Wax Cross by Tin Can Forest

In terms of the art and design there’s a noticeable shift stylistically from chapter to chapter. For us it felt like the shift of mood/scene in a sequence of dreams. Was this your intention, or was it more about creative exploration?

TCF: It was definitely intentional. We wanted the chapters to be something like different songs on album, so you could listen to/read the whole thing consecutively or listen to different cuts individually. It’s not exclusively a linear, cover to cover structure. Hopefully it stands up to repeated plays.

Wax Cross by Tin Can Forest

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We ended up reading Wax Cross maybe 4 times, each time picking up on a new detail or connection between characters from chapter to chapter. We sensed many of the allusions to eastern European myth and folklore (especially about demons, vampires, werewolves, and witches). Without spoiling too much of the mystery, can you help us understand the meaning of the title Wax Cross. Also, why many of the characters have a single bare foot (something we’re really itching to know)?

TCF: The name Wax Cross is a metaphor for the phenomena of dual belief ; identifying as Christian publicly and yet holding to an animistic world view as well.

More specifically, Wax Cross refers to faith in the powers of Beeswax poured during healing ceremonies in rural Saskatchewan and Alberta by descendants of Ukrainian settlers. The incantations that are recited during this ceremony refer to both Christian as well as Pagan imagery and sacred numbers. These rituals, practised primarily by women, have their roots in a European pre-Christian, Matriarchal Shamanism. This also relates to other themes in the book, such as the Witch Trials and the sanctity of bees.

About the lost shoe… well, that originates with the way devils are depicted in Czech fairy-tales, one foot in shoe, the other a cloven hoof. A long time ago, I started extending that to other characters I drew. I like the asymmetry of it, one bare foot implies a certain vulnerability, or perhaps a character was a devil in another incarnation, and a missing shoe gives them away.

Wax Cross by Tin Can Forest

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Wax Cross by Tin Can Forest

To us the subtext of the story felt like a lament for the loss and destruction of the natural world. Can you tell us a bit of how you approached expressing these very current concerns in the language of more traditional folklore?

TCF: At its core, traditional folklore is essentially describing phenomena in the natural world, the change of seasons, the phases of the moon, the unique qualities of different animals and plants. Pat and I are very influenced by Ukrainian Poetic Cinema, directors such as Yuri Ilyenko and Sergei Paradzhanov. These artists used visually rich folkloric imagery, and folk symbology to create polysemic narratives that spoke of landscape and national identity under a repressive Soviet state.

To me, science and statistics, even when used by well intentioned ecologists and environmentalists, abstracts our genuine experience and relationship with nature and animals. Folklore returns the power, mystery, and divinity to animals, plants, and other natural phenomena. I feel that a folkloric perspective has profound, even revolutionary implications in the context of contemporary ecological discourse.

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The epilogue shows nothing but a wild tangled growth of trees, followed by what looks like a scene of cremation. Is this an optimistic ending?

TCF: Ha Ha! It is! Or maybe it’s a surprise ending. I actually just recently made a conscious decision to be an optimist about the state of the ecology. No small feat, and most likely it’s just wishful thinking. But after years of following the doom and gloom, I’m tired of being in a constant state of alarm and despair.

The drawing that you refer to as the cremation was done on our last trip to the West Coast, where we’ve just returned. My studio window looks onto a wall of fir trees, their thick, heavy branches fill the entire view. Nature is sanity. As someone wise once said: ” History ends in green.”

Thanks to you both for the interview and especially for such a thoughtful reading of our book.

Wax Cross by Tin Can Forest

S&TM: Many thanks to Pat and Marek for making such a beautiful book, and taking the time to do this interview!


The Blot - Part

Published Date : May 14, 2012

The Blot

a series of interviews with the musicians and illustrators collaborating to bring us the story of the blot in sound and images. Check it out at: theblot.tumblr.com and theblot.bandcamp.com

Intro What is the blot

Squidface & the Meddler to the organizers, Ryan Carley and Casey Mecija:

SF&M – How did this project get started? What inspired the initial story of The Blot?

Ryan Carley

Ryan Carley

Late one snowy night this past November Casey and I were working away on a track intended for a Christmas collection by a blog in the UK. We had begun the session with the idea of making something dirty. Casey played through some ideas on guitar and gave us the feel. I followed it with some sputtery chords on my Juno. We intended to take it pretty far out of the holiday realm then bring it back in a jokey way by calling it “How the Grunge Stole Christmas.” By design it was a black hole carol, describing a monstrous antithesis to joy, with no move toward remittance at the close. Totally intense.

We hadn’t come up with any lyrics as yet and were fishing around for the heart of the song, a single image that would start us off. The Dr. Seuss story was on our brains, and we were excited by the image of a thief in the night, stealing some integral part of the spirit of a household. Next to my synthesizers is a shelf of my favourite books and they stared at us as we sat and pondered what this creature may be wanting to take from us. We both think and write a lot about words and the creative power of knowledge transference and myth-making held within them.

The blot Begins by Jake Pauls

The Blot Begins by Jake Pauls

It was Casey who first suggested that what could be stolen from us is the stories we hold dear. I liked the idea of something unstoppable coming from afar and stripping the very ink out of our books. All of a sudden we had this monster that would get bigger, stronger, and smarter with every word it ate. A few minutes later Casey had written the first verse, describing the creation of our creature, and giving it a name. The Blot had begun.

Before we were halfway done the song we had happily given up the notion of meeting the deadline for the Christmas song compilation and were tossing around the idea of writing a rock opera with The Blot as the central character. It seemed like a wicked idea but something that would take forever if we mounted it on our own. I had been thinking for a while about starting a monthly digital single series that would pair two different composers or producers per track.

It seemed like a very natural move to merge this series structure with The Blot, knowing that in the hands of a number of talented creative partnerships, our creature could become something much richer than either Casey or I could imagine working alone. This allowed us to take on the roles of curators, simultaneously guiding and staying out of the way of the fantastic brains of our favourite musicians.

As we were discussing all this, our old friend Jake Pauls (with whom I shared a studio space at the time) offered to illustrate and add further depth to the ideas we were presenting in our song. This was a nice vote of confidence and spurred the idea that each song or chapter of the project should be interpreted by an illustrator. Jake had introduced me to the work of so many great artists in the year previous and I was excited for Casey and I to enter into that world.

“It seemed like a very natural move to merge this series structure with The Blot, knowing that in the hands of a number of talented creative partnerships”

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SF&M – How are the visual artists paired with the musicians? Are they matched for compatible styles, or were you hoping to accidentally happen upon strange and exciting combinations?

Casey Mecija

Casey Mecija

This project is very much about the surprises that emerge from the visual and musical collaborations between strangers. Many of the artists paired up thus far have not known each other and I think because of this, there is a creative freedom in that uncertainty. When you are familiar with an artist then perhaps you might try and write or draw with their aesthetic in mind.

Ryan and I are trying to create unexpected surprises with each song and each illustration so starting each chapter with a new collaboration of strangers is really exciting for us.

At the end of each month we get to see how different musical and visual aesthetics collide to create a sensory narrative for our character The Blot. We see the character come to life in different shapes, colours, chord progressions and lyrics…it’s the best way to tell this particular story.

Casey Mecija of Ohbijou. © F Yang 2011 www.chromewaves.net

Casey Mecija of Ohbijou. The Great Hall in Toronto – December 21, 2011
© F Yang 2011 www.chromewaves.net

Ryan and I are trying to create unexpected surprises with each song and each illustration so starting each chapter with a new collaboration of strangers is really
exciting for us.

SF&M – Strangely enough, the story of the Blot seems to start with the creative potential of books and words, a medium not explicitly included in the project (apart from song lyrics). Any plans to bring in a written element to the story, maybe as part of the final songbook edition?

Ryan Carley

Ryan Carley

Well, we originally we conceived of The Blot as a storybook of sorts. We imagined song lyrics accompanied by an illustration for each chapter, and a pocket in the back with a download card for the music. It’s possible that we could write short transitions to fill in any gaps and help the reader from one chapter to the next, but I like the imperfect nature of the project. It is a hairy, wild beast, and I don’t think we’ll try to comb it or style it beyond what our teams accomplish month by month. The illustrations and music do so much to propel the story, and leave so much room for interpretation, which lets The Blot grow further and go farther in the minds of its readers.

Ryan Carley via http://cdn.thelineofbestfit.com/wp-content/media/2010/11/kite-hill.jpg

Ryan Carley (image via thelineofbestfit.com )

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Chapter 1 the blot begins

Squidface & the Meddler to the composers and artist, Casey Mecija, Ryan Carley & Jake Pauls:

SF&M – How did it feel composing words and music that would serve as the start of an ongoing story that other artists would pick up on? Was your process different knowing you were part of a larger collaboration?

Casey Mecija

Casey Mecija

When writing lyrics for the first chapter I definitely had it in mind that the song and words were a part of a larger collaboration. I wanted to start the story by laying out that the Blot was an ink blot and that it grew larger as it stole ink from books. To me the character is sinister, tenacious and mischeivious.

I wanted to create this personality through the words for the first song by writing phrases like: “Give me all your stories. I will show persistence. Getting so much bigger”. I definitely wanted to avoid telling too much of the story so as not to prevent the narrative from growing. The first song is an introduction to the character and in the next eleven chapters who knows how the character will evolve.

SF&M – We loved the lyrics for The Blot Begins! The Blot seems to have an insatiable hunger for words and ideas, but we had a hard time telling if he’s a sinister or benevolent character. Is he the hero or villain of this story?

Ryan Carley

Ryan Carley

This is a tough one, and something we’re still trying to figure out ourselves! At first I was sure that The Blot was nefarious in itself, or at least had sinister motives. We’re not quite sure it’s a creature acting on its own accord, or if it’s the puppet of some external force. The body of the ink is now the vehicle for something, but I feel as though it might have come from nothing. I think that it’s simply a force; neither hero nor villain. It may do things which we consider good or evil, but it likely doesn’t see the world in that way. So it might be difficult to call it a hero or villain.

I believe that there’s a potential for it to go one way or the other, but its consciousness is still forming. At this point it’s only feasted once, on one bookshelf. Who knows what those books contained, or how that information was interpreted. It could be looking at millions of words with no apparent connection to one another. Perhaps it hasn’t reached the critical mass of information necessary to bring it to an understanding of who it is or what it wants to do here besides eat our beloved books. But perhaps it’s more together than any of us know. It seems to realize that it exists, and is wondering at it all, which is a magnificent first step. I’m excited to see where it goes.

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SF&M – How did you get involved with this project?

Jake Pauls

Jake Pauls

I’ve been friends with Casey and Ryan for a long time. Ryan and I were sharing a studio when he and Casey were first writing the song, so I was listening to it all happen while I was doing other drawings. When the idea started getting bigger, like as a project rather than just one song, they invited me to be a part. I love doing art for music projects and working with friends so it was a great fit. We’ve talked about bookending the project with another song/art collaboration between the three of us, so we’ll see if that happens. For now it is just nice to watch the project become something.

Illustrator Jake Pauls www.jakepauls.com

Illustrator Jake Pauls www.jakepauls.com

SF&M – Your illustration for the first installment The Blot Begins is pretty epic! Were you conscious of setting the tone for the rest of the series?

Jake Pauls

Jake Pauls

I wasn’t, which I think is good. I guess I am hoping that the rest of the series doesn’t have a specific tone. It would be cool if each new artist didn’t look at any of the work that came before. I’d like to see what people come up with completely out of their own heads, which is what I got to do. The blot is such an abstract character that it could be visually described in endless ways. I other ideas that were pretty abstract and flowy but I ended up giving it a shape and “body.” I wanted a striking image, with large areas of black…that isn’t how I normally draw but I wanted to try something new.

The blot Begins by Jake Pauls

The Blot Begins by Jake Pauls

SF&M – What was it like working to Ryan Carley & Casey Mecija music and lyrics? What elements of the song resonated the most with you?

Jake Pauls

Jake Pauls

It was great. These are two people who I have always considered to be really talented musicians. There are a lot of things in the song that resonate with me. The tone of the song treads a really nice line between somber and uplifting. It has a dark edge that I appreciate. And the story itself is right up my alley…a being that builds itself out of words and ideas, so nice! It is fun to watch other people continue the story, but I sometimes wish that we had just keep it all to ourselves. I’d like the chance to interpret the character more.

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Chapter 2 Winter Bloom

Ryan Carley & Casey Mecija to the composers, Dan Goldman & Daniela Gesundheit:

Ryan Carley

RC&CM – We learned in the first chapter that The Blot not only feeds and grows from the ink contained in books, but from the ideas as well. So it seems to follow that The Blot would have a lot to say after the feeding frenzy of the first chapter. What informed your decision to create an instrumental portrait of our character at this stage in the story?

Jake Pauls

Dan Goldman & Daniela Gesundheit

We wanted it to feel as though The Blot was out in the world for thefirst time post information-feeding-frenzy; in a state of gestation, like a python slowly digesting its prey. The initial moment of rapture, of ingesting all that information is done, and now, alone outside, it realizes its form. In this swell of awareness, The Blot is gathering its senses.

RC&CM – There seems to be a number of different elements at play in this piece. What sorts of compositional tools or techniques did you employ in the writing of Winter Bloom?

Dan treated it like a string quartet written for voices. We started with the vocal arrangement and worked backwards from there. We liked the idea of it sounding like a chorus from other peoples’ dreams, perhaps the sounds of the ancestors from The Blot’s original home speaking in tongues. We also aimed at having some thematic echoes of the first song written into the arrangement in order to give it a sense of continuity.

Dan Goldman & Daniela Gesundheit

Dan Goldman & Daniela Gesundheit. luxurypond.com

RC&CM – What do you hope the listener will take away from your composition?

A sense of space, a moment of repose and introspection before the long journey ahead.

RC&CM – Do you tend to think in visuals while composing? What did you think when you first saw Juliana Neufeld’s visual response to your music?

Not really. We loved Juliana’s rendition. We felt it captured an electric stillness we were aiming at in the music.

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Jake Pauls to the artist, Juliana Neufeld:

JP – How did you get involved with the project?

Juliana Neufeld

Juliana Neufeld

I was contacted by Casey Mecija of Obijou. I’m a fan of their music and love any chance to collaborate with musicians so it was an easy yes on my part.

JP – Were you familiar with the musicians you were working with, or were they totally new to you?

I hadn’t heard of SnowBlink in particular, but I was familiar with some of their previous work with other bands. The Toronto Indie music scene is pretty tight so I knew a bunch of bands they are associated with.

JP – I had lyrics to work from, but you were working with wordless music. Did that make it easier or harder for you?

I guess it was a bit harder in the beginning, when I was figuring out where I was going to take the story, but it ended up being a blessing. The track was so dreamy and open to interpretation that it let me feel free to indulge my imagination. It became more about a feeling than a narrative.

Illustration by Juliana Neufeld

Illustration by Juliana Neufeld

“The song felt 100% outdoors at dawn, so I kind of went with that.”

JP – That’s interesting because you got to direct the story. You continued the narrative by putting the Blot out in the woods, rather than in the city or where-ever. Was that conscious? Did you imagine the progression of the story, or just a single image?

The song felt 100% outdoors at dawn, so I kind of went with that. I kept the city in the background so there was a reference to where the Blot could have come from and where it could go back to, but as soon as I had found a location it became all about the single image.

JP – Did you listen to the song while you worked? Where did your ideas start from?

Yep! I listened to it a few times each drawing session to get into the right frame of mind. The Blot’s character in my portion of the story is still very new to the world and SnowBlink’s track is light, mysterious and enchanting…everything together inspired the scene in the woods at dawn. A time when everything is quiet and the world feels like it is being born again each day.

JP – Your work is full of monsters/creatures, so this project seems like a good fit. What moves you to draw those things?

There are no specifics requirements when you draw a monster. I’m not confined to a particular human or animal feature. complete weirdo art freedom I guess. I can let my inner brain do the talking.

JP – If you could “feed” The Blot one book, what would it be and why?

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. Cause it’s absurd but still kind. I like that combination.

S&TM: Our sincerest thanks to Jake Pauls, Casey Mecija, Ryan Carley, Dan Goldman,
Daniela Gesundheit, and Juliana Neufeld for taking the time to do this elaborate game of interview tag!


VORTEX #

Published Date : May 10, 2012

Mark P. Hensel – Vortex #2

Vortex #2 delves into the strange, alien world the Miizzzard encountered in Vortex #1. Discover more about the world’s inhabitants – shape-shifting, ultra-violent beings who call themselves the Vortex – and see what they have hidden deep within their underground complex.

We’ve featured Mark’s amazing comics before on S&TM (Assault On Yurg). As well as a sneak peek of the first part of Vortex (Vortex #1). This is a preview of his latest edtion, Vortex #2. You can pick up a copy on Mark’s site for $7.5o (or a combo pack for $12.00).

Purchase Vortex #2 »

More comics by Mark P. Hensel »

Mark P Hensel

Purchase Vortex #2 »


By This Shall You Know Him

Published Date : May 5, 2012

Ever get the feeling that your life, the universe, and everything are just a big cosmic snafu? That all the mesmerizing complexity of creation doesn’t make any more sense as you see the bigger picture?

Anyone who’s ever pondered the meaning of existence through philosophy, religion, evolutionary theory, astrophysics, or reruns of Star Trek: The Next Generation will definitely enjoy By This Shall You Know Him.

Written and drawn by the crazy-talented artist Jesse Jacobs, the story follows the birth of life, humanity, and good and evil, as the unintended side effects of a game of show and tell between squabbling, god-like celestial beings.

Much like his previous book Even The Giants, the story and art do double duty, at once profound, meditative, but also gross and funny.

Cleverly structured and beautifully rendered in 2-tone blue and purple, the larger book format really brings out the trippy detail in Jesse Jacobs’ artwork.

More about By This Shall You Know Him on superstar Toronto publisher Koyama Press’s website!

Jesse Jacobs Contest


Congratulations to @petehamilton – winner of an autographed copy of By This Shall You Known Him!

Jesse Jacobs Interview

Q. Everything about this book is gargantuan! The story touches on everything from the nature of the cosmos, the origins of life and humanity, to the struggle between good and evil… Seems like you had a lot on your mind when you were writing this! You start the book with the Don Delillo quote “The spectacle of the unmattered atom.” What inspired this story?

I draw a lot of weird doodles on scraps of paper and in sketchbooks and I wanted to create a story that allowed me to freely showcase all of the random things that I most enjoy drawing. The idea of featuring characters that can conjure an infinite number of shapes and patterns and creatures meant that I could work pretty much anything I wanted to draw into the project. Initially I was intending to make more of an art book, with separate stand-alone drawings, but as the pages evolved I ended up working a lot of the random stuff together into a cohesive narrative. This comic is a collection of my drawings over the last year couched in a familiar creation-story.

My sketchbooks are full of a lot of my own writing along with stuff I hear on the radio, in podcasts, or read in books. When I was looking though it for ideas I saw that line about the unmattered atoms and drew it into the opening page. After a google search I saw I must have written it in there when I was reading Underworld, which I enjoyed all right but isn’t one of my top books or anything. I just think that line works really well with the overall sprawl of the story and imagery- just a bunch of weird stuff floating around.

Page from By This You Shall Know HHim by Jesse Jacobs

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Q. Lots of great creatures in this book! What are the 2-legged dog-like beasts called? Were they modelled after your dog?

Thanks. I really tried to balance the geometric shapes with looser more organic characters. Those dog guys were coming out a lot in my drawings. Where they came from and what they’re called I’m not exactly certain. I guess they’re just prehistoric dogs. I wish my dog had such strong hind legs as those guys. I did draw my dog in the comic but she’s really small and you wouldn’t know her to see her among all the other animals. I probably referenced Desmond when drawing those doggy creatures at some point, I’m sure.

Page from By This You Shall Know HHim by Jesse Jacobs

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Q. The tone of the title is fairly Judeo-Christian, but really the whole thing feels kind of Greco-Roman (where humans are the playthings of a rather dysfunctional family of very flawed celestial beings). Was it tricky blending the scienc-y perspective with the philosophical side of the story?

I won’t say some parts were not difficult, but the making of this comic was very enjoyable. Probably due to the lack of restrictions I had given myself. If a certain scene was becoming boring to draw, I would just move onto something else and return to it later. Like the blending of the animal and nature drawings with the geometric shapes and patterns, the story itself is kind of an assortment of a few approaches. The celestial beings are so different from the early humans that it was almost like drawing two different stories. Generally I had a lot of fun drawing all the stuff. I had the loose idea for the story, and from there the drawings guided much of it.

Page from By This You Shall Know HHim by Jesse Jacobs

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Page from By This You Shall Know HHim by Jesse Jacobs

Q. 88 pages is huge! How long was the whole process of making this book end to end? (We feel like we saw some of the art for this a year ago at the last TCAF). Will you be taking a vacation, or are you already onto your next endeavour?

I started drawing it a little over a year ago, and you did see that screen print I did last year, featuring that weird wormy character encased in the chamber. That was one of the first images I made for the comic, and that thing pops up throughout the book. That character takes longer to draw than any other, and that says a lot because most of them took a long time. All the patterns on the beings are hand drawn, which was time-consuming but satisfying to do. I picture those blue patterns flowing and moving on their “skin”, kind of like Rorschach’s mask. So I guess it took me about a year to complete, though I had huge breaks where I did other stuff as well. There were times when the narrative kind of slid away and I edited a lot of pages out of the book that afterwards seemed unnecessary. Anne Koyama was a big asset in helping with the editing.

I’ve been thinking about and sketching another comic that is still in its early stages. I’ve also got a few other small projects on the go. It’s gardening season so we’re getting into that now. It’s always easier to be productive in the winter, I find. Koyama is bringing me to CAKE (Chicago Alternative Comics Expo) next month and I’m looking forward to that.

Page from By This You Shall Know HHim by Jesse Jacobs

Page from By This You Shall Know HHim by Jesse Jacobs

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Q. The book will be launching this weekend at TCAF! What are you most looking forward to at this year’s event? What other Jesse Jacobs goodies can we snag at your table?

I’m really excited that Gabriella Giandelli will be in attendance, and I plan on catching her retrospective exhibit. I love her comics so much.

I wish I could say I had a bunch of stuff to sell, but this year I’m really just focusing on the book. I’m actually in the middle of doing some more skateboards with Homegrown, with imagery loosely based from By This Shall You Know Him. They will be finished for CAKE, and I’ll make sure to hang onto a print for you guys.

Page from By This You Shall Know HHim by Jesse Jacobs

Page from By This You Shall Know HHim by Jesse Jacobs

Page from By This You Shall Know HHim by Jesse Jacobs

S&TM: Huge, huge thanks to Jesse Jacobs for taking the time to do this on the eve of TCAF!


Britt Wilson

Published Date : April 14, 2012

Britt Wilson – Buttsex

Britt Wilson is a 20-something illustrator living in Toronto, Ontario. She draws comics every so often, and even made a book with Conundrum Press, releasing early May.

» Britt Wilson’s website
» Britt Wilson at Conundrum Press

Britt Wilson

» Check out Britt Wilson’s website


Nicholas Fox

Published Date : March 15, 2012

http://foxnicholas.com/


Micah Lidberg

Published Date : March 4, 2012

The most immediate impressions of Micah Lidberg’s work are of colour, complexity and movement. The whole of natural history finds its way into each of the images, populated by avian and reptilian creepy-crawlies, navigating their way through dense and dangerous wilderness.

There’s a timeline effect created by the flow of entangled characters and environments, kept in sharp relief by Micah’s vivid use of colour. Combined with a deft use of hand-drawn typography and delicate line-work, the stories in his pictures seem to be continually evolving every time you look again.

» Micah Lidberg portfolio
» Micah Lidberg tumblr
» Hugo & Marie store

“Nature is certainly one of the most common themes in my work. Not only is it the most common but it’s also the most fundamental theme.” ~ M.L.

Micah Lidberg Illustration

Most of the scenes in your images seem to take place in some strange and frenzied wilderness (more than a few dinosaurs, monster birds, torrents of water and crawling vegetation). Is it silly to ask if nature in general is the main focus of your illustrations?

Micah: I don’t think it’s silly at all! Nature is certainly one of the most common themes in my work. Not only is it the most common but it’s also the most fundamental theme. For me, nature means everything – the universe, reality, all of it. I think the tangible parts like rocks, trees, and creatures are expressions of a deeper nature. That deeper nature is what I’m truly curious about. It happens to also be shrouded in mystery, so it’s hard to draw on a piece of paper. I draw the surface and tangible things but it’s always the intangible relationships between the things that intrigue me.

Micah Lidberg Illustration


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Micah Lidberg Rise and Fall

Photo via Nowbrow

On a related note, your positively epic panoramic book The Rise and Fall (published by Nobrow) tackled the extinction of dinosaurs, and the rise of their mammalian successors. What guided your choice to do the book as two very long panoramas, rather than a series of illustrations? Oh – and what is your favourite dinosaur?

Micah: Nobrow wanted to do a concertina book with me so that was the source of the idea. I think it’s a perfect format for the story though. I wanted to make something that felt continuous and connected. That’s nature’s way and it’s the basic form of evolution. With time, everything is connected through a flow of change. I decided to punctuate the book with the asteroid strike. That felt like the right moment to turn the page.

I’m not sure which dinosaur is my favorite. It’s a tough call. I might have to go with a sauropod (long necked dino’s). I think they are so elegant. I also like that they were so huge but not fearsome. I’ve never been a big fan of T Rex. He always seemed like a show off and a little rude.

Micah Lidberg Rise and Fall

Photo via Nowbrow

Micah Lidberg Rise and Fall

Photo via Nowbrow

Micah Lidberg Rise and Fall


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Micah Lidberg Illustrations

We loved your interpretations of Haruki Murakami novels for Nowness. How did you approach distilling his strange and diverse novels into illustrations?

Micah: I made lists while I listened to each book (listening was easier while I worked). The lists I made were really personal. Any element or character that really resonated with me I wrote down. After I had made my list, I started to visually string all of the things together in a way that felt similar to the story. It was a really intuitive process. The images are familiar and disorienting at the same time. I think that quality is some of the brilliance of Murakami and why I enjoy his work so much.

Micah Lidberg Illustrations

The lists I made were really personal. Any element or character that really resonated with me I wrote down.

Micah Lidberg Illustrations


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What’s it like working with the New York-based creative agency Hugo & Marie?

Micah: Fantastic! Jennifer Sims and Mario Hugo are an incredible team and they are full of energy and optimism. I think it’s important in any relationship, business or otherwise, to have a sense of mutuality and reciprocity. I lucked out with Hugo & Marie. It didn’t take long to feel like we just clicked. I love their taste and professionalism. It’s deeply comforting to know I’m represented by someone who understands and appreciates me and my work on personal level. Also, the creative world is tough. Business mind is not creative mind. However, both are required. Working with Hugo & Marie makes the business hurdles much easier to negotiate.

Micah Lidberg Illustrations


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Do you have a dream project/client that you’d love to work on/for?

Micah: I don’t know if I do. I think some of the dream projects I have would actually make me wreck as I’m so emotionally attached to the clients. I think it’s good to have some objectivity involved in a project. If Peter Bjorn & John or Panda Bear contacted me to do an album cover, I’d just freak out. Outside of dream clients, I think I’d love to write and illustrate some books… but that’s still brewing.

Micah Lidberg Illustrations

Micah Lidberg Illustrations

Micah Lidberg Illustrations

S&TM: We’d like to thank Micah for taking the time out of his busy schedule to do this interview!


Sophie Alda

Published Date : February 23, 2012

intro_arrow

UK-based painter Sophie Alda populates her images with the dreams and experiences of her physically and emotionally imperfect lumpy characters. Starting with a kaleidoscope of stories rooted in the mundane, her images evolve and take on spiritual dimensions, examining the connection between our everyday hopes and fears to the myths we create. Working in gouache, Sophie uses a delicate colour palette which works oddly well with the rough and tumble
subject-matter.

Q1. There are many references in your images (Demifloat and Totem Pole) to ancient myth and folklore (particularly gnosticism). What is it about these stories and world views that appeals to you, or draws you to explore them in your paintings?

Reply_intro

Myths are interesting because they’re author-less and collective. They’re often very rich in imagery, I particularly like reading creation myths as they demonstrate alternative foundations of belief and explanations of existence that reflect the concerns of the communities that told and believed in them. And they’re often so complex! They demonstrate that cultures change and that stories change to provide the comforts we require. I particularly like the idea of the demiurge: the imperfect and artisan-like creator.

Totem Pole

Totem Pole

Demifloat

Demifloat

Mothersick

Mothersick


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Q2. There is something spectacular about the fragmented format that you tend to work in (images like Heavy Brains). It reminds us of pages from a comic, telling many stories simultaneously. What is it about this format that appeals to you?

Reply_intro

Exactly that! I developed this format in an attempt to present a fragmented, implied narrative. Like different sides of the the same story to create a texture of place and activity.

 Heavy Brains

Heavy Brains


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Q3. We love the plump, long-nosed, small-eyed characters that you often draw. Was it a conscious choice to stylize your characters in this way, or something that tends to happen naturally?

Reply_intro

It’s definitely an on-going progression – although I definitely like my characters to appear a little gross and lumpy. There’s nothing more boring than a drawing of a figure which is just cutesy and pretty when most people aren’t like that at all.

 Bellygrope Heartbreak

Bellygrope Heartbreak


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Q4. Can you tell us a bit about your piece “Naked Summer’s Thigh” . What were some of the themes/ideas that your were exploring?

Reply_intro

Ha! That one is actually quite personal, It’s about a really exciting and sad summer, breaking up and holidays and building sites, knowing your city and loving someone with bad teeth. – So lots of sides of the same story and a demonstration of how memory can be broken down into a series of scenic and representative landmarks.

 Naked Summer's Thigh

Naked Summer’s Thigh


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Q5. We love all the Illustrations that you have done with artist Matt Swan (Earworms). What brought about this collaboration, and are you planning on doing more with other artists?

Reply_intro

In summer 2011 Matthew invited me up to participate in a group show called Boondocks at his gallery Superclub in Edinburgh – it was a fantastic show in a very frenetic style with a great group of people. We started working on collaborative pieces almost straight away – live printing images on top of each other at the private view and continuing onto a series of T-shirts, and staying up all night painting. He’s a fantastic, prolific painter – I wish I could work with the speed and precision that he does!

We have continued the collaboration with a series of visits (I’m based in London) and most recently made some work together for his Dead Guys show, also at Superclub. It’s funny to tell people that we met on the internet! But it’s great to find that you work so well with someone who is relatively far away. I’d love to do more! This summer I hope to be working on a comic with illustrator Tom J Hughes who is an amazing storyteller with a great imagination.

Earworms

Earworms


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Q6. What’s next for you?

Reply_intro

At the moment I’m working on a series of shop window displays – I’m currently making a life sized hiker for a spring window, and some egyptian themed quilts. A T-shirt for the great company 1 in a 100, my next exhibition which is going to include a series of animations, painting and 3D work (The Bunker opening in May at Jaguar Shoes London), and a couple of comics. I’m also off to stay in Mexico for almost a month with my favourite girl who’s been living there since June last year – so expect to see that reflected in my work in some way!

Jungle

wiggledog

S&TM: We’d like to thank Sophie for taking the time to do this interview.


The Survivalist

Published Date : January 18, 2012

Box Brown is no stranger to exploring diverse, and sometimes bizarre extreme sub-cultures. His new graphic novel The Survivalist follows an angst-ridden political outsider as he survives surviving.

While Box Brown‘s ongoing print and web comics series Everything Dies has run the gamut of examining varied religious beliefs and traditions, The Survivalist tells its story in the head-space of a conspiracy theory obsessed bunker-dweller.

As the story progresses, the initially unsympathetic character becomes increasingly human through his relationship with a fellow disaster survivor.

Fans of Everything Dies will love the longer, more involved story and beautifully detailed artwork.

» Purchase a copy of The Survivalist

The Survivalist by Box Brown

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Q. While the heart of the story in The Survivalist is essentially a personal journey for the main character, the context is made up of a lot of fringe political views and conspiracy theories. What inspired you to use these as a starting point for the story?

Box Brown When I was working on Everything Dies I was researching a lot of religious fundamentalists and really a lot of extremists in my opinion.

I’m fascinated by people who see the world in a way so contrary my own reality. So, I got into listening to these conspiracy talk radio shows. The host is a charismatic cult figure-head type but what stood out to me were the commercials.

The commercials were for all kinds of survival equipment. It was all stuff that would help you survive a crazy apocalypse. That got me really thinking about who the audience for the show really is. That listener is the central character in the Survivalist.

The Survivalist by Box Brown


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Q.The Survivalist is your first longer form, larger format comic. How was the experience of working on it compared to your earlier works Bellen! and the Everything Dies series?

Box Brown I had done longer stories in the print editions of Everything Dies but none as long as The Survivalist.

The Survivalist was drawn at twice the size of all my other comics and I drew each page on two separate sheets of bristol and assembled them in photoshop. So, it was drawn on 88 separate sheets of paper. In terms of story, it reminded me a lot of working on Bellen! because of the nature of the relationship of the two main characters.

The Survivalist by Box Brown


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Q.Can you tell us a bit about working with Blank Slate Books who published The Survivalist? Your earlier works are self-published, and you run your own publishing venture Retrofit Comics. Was there any kind of editorial or design collaboration involved in making The Survivalist

Box Brown I really enjoyed working with Blank Slate. They never forced any editorial changes on me but they made some suggestions along the way.

I did a few different covers before Kenny Penman finally sent me an email just kind of giving me his basic thoughts and understanding on what he thought a comic cover should be. I thought it was really insightful. The cover we ended up using is based on vintage patent application illustrations.

The Survivalist by Box Brown


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Q.Any plans to continue The Survivalist as a series? The end of the story feels very much like a teaser for things to come.

Box Brown I have some ideas on where the story is going. It could continue at any time! I wouldn’t mind returning to it.

Q.What items would you pack in your own survivalist kit?

Box Brown I’ve thought about buying the food packs that are supposed to last a long time just to try them out. I bet they’d make good snacks on the go.

The Survivalist by Box Brown


Levi Jacobs

Published Date : December 20, 2011

Chaos and order collide in strange new ways in the isometric worlds of Netherlands-based illustrator Levi Jacobs.

» Visit Levi Jacobs’ website
» Buy Prints of Levi’s work!

Q1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What inspires you, and how you got started in art and illustration?

Levi Jacobs

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I began my ‘career’ when I was very young. I watched cartoons and played a lot of computer games. I started drawing cartoons. When I was in highschool the somewhat boring math classes were inspiring as well. I filled my excercise books with drawings inspired by isometry. My mathteacher always gave me trouble because my mathbooks contained more drawings then calculations and formulas.

The streets became my creative outlet, where I tried to brighten up the streetlife with my graffiti. It was mostly the action itself which gave me a kick. It’s a wonderful feeling when nobody is watching you when you are creating something.

My time in highschool was mainly about drawing, so after an education in graphic design I ended up at the Art Academy, where I studied illustration. I graduated almost a year ago, but most of the time I’m still working on my own work instead of assignments.

Levi Jacobs

Levi Jacobs


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Q2. The central characters in your images are most often animals rather than people. Can you tell us a bit about the stories you?re telling in Catburger, Tiger and Spaghettiman?

Levi Jacobs

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When I draw people I always have the feeling I have to have some comparison. That’s difficult for me. My solution was born out of necessity. For example when I don’t know how to draw an arm a certain way, it becomes a tentacle. I can’t draw a human the way I want to, so animal-like creatures are born.

My work has an alienating effect this way. In short, it’s really difficult for me to explain the story behind the illustrations, because the story creates itself while I’m working on it. Yes, there is a certain idea or fascination behind each illustration, but I like to leave the rest up to the viewers’ interpretation.

My way of creating illustrations is very intuitive and from the subconscience, which makes it hard to create illustrations for a client. I see myself more as an image creator than an illustrator.

Levi Jacobs

Levi Jacobs


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Q3. Your Lowlands Freakshow series of posters very cleverly incorporates typography into the illustrations. What role does design play in the way you put together illustrations?

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As I said before, I have also studied graphic design, where I learned to use typography. With the graffiti, letter-design became more illustrative. I still love typography, but unfortunately I’m not using it as often as I want to.

Levi Jacobs

Levi Jacobs

Levi Jacobs


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Q4. We loved the T-shirt design on your website. Can you tell us about that design, and where can we get one of those shirts?

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In the design “captured cat” my fascination for isometry and organic forms flow together. I created this design and handmade the shirts with screen printing. I only made a small number of shirts and sweaters, which were sold out inmediately. I would like to create some more designs for t-shirts in the future.

Levi Jacobs

Levi Jacobs


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Q5. Your use of colour is really striking! How do you approach deciding colours for your images?

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I used to hate colouring when I was little. Especially when I was forced to colour within the lines. The use of the computer is perfect: the paint bucket is my best friend now. I experiment a lot with the use of colours. The colour-combination in my graffiti pieces were never crazy enough. Now when i’m finished with a illustration I ask myself wether or not it can be more extreme.

Levi Jacobs


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Q6. Given the opportunity, what would be a dream project for you?

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I’m already doing what I love the most. So a dream project would be one i’m being paid for.

Levi Jacobs

Levi Jacobs

Levi Jacobs

Levi Jacobs

S&TM: We’d like to thank Levi for taking the time to do this interview.


Tessa Hulls

Published Date : December 14, 2011

Driven by an unrelenting need to discover what lies around the next corner, globe-trotting artist Tessa Hulls revels in her sweet unrest.

On your blog you document your adventures biking 5000 miles across the United States on your own, and now your journey to Antarctica working on a remote research station. Presumably there’s not much opportunity to make art while travelling that way. Can you tell us a bit about how you balance your life as an artist with your travelling?

Tessa Hulls: My short answer is that I don’t really differentiate between myself as an artist and myself as a traveler. I’m hugely reliant on a fairly constant influx of new horizons, so when I’m in active travel mode, I tend to think of myself as being out on a reconnaissance mission. With that mindset, I find it easy to content myself with working on sketches in my “field notebook,” and I don’t really miss my usual studio practice.

Years and years ago, I remember reading something about physics and stumbling upon the notion that there are three different types of equilibrium.

I drew you a picture because it works much better visually:

Types of Equilibrium

It’s a concept that has stuck with me ever since, and I am only happy if I keep myself in a state of dynamic equilibrium. I need my balance to be active, always on the cusp of falling off. It leads me to adhere to a self imposed project schedule/lifestyle that many people might call masochistically busy, but it’s what works for me, and I wither if I find myself in a place of neutrality or stasis.

 Oh, That Sweet Unrest

 Oh, That Sweet Unrest

From the series: Oh, That Sweet Unrest

These past few years I’ve really watched my friends struggle with the late twenties/early thirties existential crisis of “What am I supposed to do with my life? What is my passion? How do I make a meaningful contribution to my community?” and it’s made me extremely grateful for the fact that I’ve always known what it is I’m supposed to be doing. The older I get, the more I realize just what a gift that certainty is. So I feel that the very least I can do is always rearrange everything in my life to make room for art.

Finding time for art down here at McMurdo Station is actually extremely challenging because of the crazy social scene. You wouldn’t necessarily expect this of Antarctica, but I’ve never been anywhere where it would be easier to just fritter away all your free time drinking and pretending that you’re in a very icy Ke$ha video. I’ve been forced to become uncharacteristically antisocial to get work done down here.

I illustrated this for you:

 Tessa Hulls Comic

I have actually made an art studio under my bed and spend a lot of time down there painting.

 Tessa Hulls art studio under her bed


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Many of the characters in your series Oh, That Sweet Unrest wear skeletal costumes reminiscent of Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations. Can you describe the role of these characters in a series that seems very much about yearning, and living in perpetual forward movement?

Tessa Hulls: A lot of the imagery for this particular series came out of spending so much time biking through the desert. I spent over a thousand miles basically following the Mexican border, and passing through a landscape of such haunting isolation was overwhelmingly inspiring. I felt like the desert was full of latent stories that it wanted me to express. All those miles of canyons and plateaus came with their own forgotten narratives, and when I finally sat down to start painting, they came rushing out as these delicately hulking beasts that didn’t really know the measure of their own strength.

This series was hugely personal for me. I’d spent the last few years making myself miserable trying to force myself into a settled life that I didn’t genuinely want, and I set off on my bike trip at a point where I was feeling like I’d lost track of myself. I was wrestling with the contradictions between my longing for a sense of home and my pull towards the joy of my own forward momentum, and these creatures were the synthesis of that struggle and the whispered stories of the desert.

 A Kind of Fighting

A Kind of Fighting


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 Mysterious Something

From the series: Oh, That Sweet Unrest

The addition of text into many of the paintings makes Oh, That Sweet Unrest read like a poem. For series like this, do you begin with the writing, or are the words derived from how you feel about the images after they’re done?

Tessa Hulls: When I’m at home and have all my supplies and a sane amount of time to work, text and image evolve more or less concurrently. They each gather focus as the piece comes together. But in this case, I was stuck on my bike and couldn’t start painting, so I instead obsessively focused on the text and allowed it to take the reins. That was a huge departure from how I usually work. Ordinarily, I have almost no gap between getting an idea and charging off to make it happen, so this trip forced me to slow down and focus on theory instead of practice. Delayed gratification is something that is so thoroughly foreign to me that I imagine it’s probably a good character building exercise.

 Mysterious Something

Mysterious Something

Tessa Hulls

Tessa Hulls


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But Now We Are Not Sure We Should Have

But Now We Are Not Sure We Should Have

Looking back over your body of work it feels like your style is becoming more graphic and simplified. The result is really striking! Do you have style influences that you take inspiration from?

Tessa Hulls: I wish I could say that the simplification was a deliberate choice, but honestly, I think it might have had more to do with the time frame: when I got back from my bike trip, I had three and a half weeks to put a solo show together. I spent my first night back in Seattle in my sleeping bag on an entirely empty living room floor, and the next morning I set up my drafting table and started painting 12 hours a day. So there was very little time to experiment and hit my stride, which definitely made things a bit more… er… sparse. I’m glad that you think it worked!

In terms of style influences, my list is pretty Northwest centric these days, just because there’s such a different level of impact in seeing work in person.

Stacey Rozich is a constant favorite of mine, and Gala Bent’s drawings (and the sources that inform them) never fail to fascinate me. Some other favorites are AJ Fosik, Evan B. Harris, Tim Karpinski, Mandy Greer, Jeremy Mangan and Justin Gibbens.

Theo Ellsworth is both a stylistic and philosophical role model for me. I stumbled upon his book Capacity at a point when I was feeling isolated from other artists and my own creative practice, and it gave me a sense of renewed artistic faith that I really needed. He has a part in Capacity where he talks about wearing an imaginary outfit over his clothes every Tuesday, and about how it’s changed the way he looks at the world. When I read that, I think I might have actually shouted out something to the effect of, “Ha! So I’m not the only one!”

 xxx

I’m less drawn to looking at art than I’m drawn to looking at absolutely everything. That’s the thing about inspiration: you don’t know what is going to inspire you until it DOES inspire you. It’s a strange black box like that, and I’m always surprised and delighted to discover the weird things that set a project in motion. So I consider it my job to throw myself out into the world to experience the widest, most diverse swath possible.


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 xxx

We loved the photos on your blog of the roof-top mural you did in Marathon, Texas. Your work looks amazing at that scale. Are there other mediums or kinds of art you’ve been wanting to try your hand at?

Tessa Hulls: Thanks! I’ve actually done a fair amount of mural work over the years. When I was in college, I wrote my undergraduate thesis on murals and street art as community building alternatives to the traditional inaccessibility of the gallery system, and I still stand firmly behind the idea that art should be an integrated part of everyday life. Particularly for people who don’t consider themselves to be artists. Everyone starts out as an artist, but somewhere along the way they buy into the notion that they’re not, and that unnecessary dichotomy has always annoyed me.

Since getting to Antarctica, I seem to have developed an insatiable appetite for making comics. Again, a lot of that is probably just a reaction to circumstance.

I’m in the kitchen working ten hour days six days a week, and have taken on way too many projects (dynamic equilibrium forever!), so when I do eke out a moment to make something, it’s pretty quick and dirty. Which, to be honest, I am reaalllllyyy enjoying. I am definitely looking forward to exploring some more comic and graphic novel styles when I find myself with free time.

I’ve also been working on some projects lately that have reminded me how much I love ridiculous word play and absurdity, so I’m looking forward to getting back in touch with the more Edward (Gorey and Lear) influenced side of my creative practice.

 xxx

xxx


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You refer to The Wind in The Willows and The Once and Future King as inspirations for Oh, That Sweet Unrest. What are some of your favourite books?

Tessa Hulls: Oh man, that is an enormous can of worms. I have a lot of favorite books. Maybe even an unreasonable amount. I have fond memories of hiding under my desk at school so I could stay in and read during recess…

To name a brief few: Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood. Kitchen, by Banana Yoshimoto. Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, by Haruki Murakami. Not Fade Away, by Jim Dodge. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle. The Necessary Grace to Fall, by Gina Oschner. Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro. The Neverending Story, by Michael Ende. Capacity, by Theo Ellsworth. The Way Things Work, by David Macaulay.

I also cannot overstate the role that Calvin and Hobbes has played in how I turned out both as an artist and as a human being.

It’s been a while since I truly fell head over heels in love with a book. I’d love book recommendations. If anyone reading this points me in the direction of a book I end up loving, I will totally send you a thank you drawing!

Guardians

Guardians


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Anything coming up that we can look forward to from you?

Tessa Hulls: Why yes indeed! I’m glad you asked, because I’m currently in the middle of a participatory project and I would LOVE to have more people take part in it. Ever have one of those moments where you say something as a joke, and then pause and realize that it’s actually an idea that really needs to happen…? Well. I’ve turned my under the bed studio into the Under the Bed Gallery, and am curating local shows out of it complete with miniature art opening food—finger sized loaves of braided challah, wine from falcon tube science beakers…

In February I’m putting together a show of work about outside notions of Antarctica, and it looks like submissions are starting to come in from folks all over the US. I would love more tiny submissions (I will fit them in somehow!), so send ‘em my way. Here’s my address. I need them postmarked by January 1, 2012.

Tessa Hulls, NANA
McMurdo Station
PSC 469 Box 700
APO, AP 96599

Guardians

Other than that, I’m really looking forward to getting back to Seattle and seeing what comes out of my strange new desire to establish a sense of place. The work that I’ve been making for the past handful of years has revolved around romanticizing escapism, so I have no idea what I’ll make when I’m actually craving some measure of roots.

I actually left to come down here at a bit of an odd point in my life. I’d just met this really intriguing pack of artists, and felt like I was at this place of exciting new beginnings, and I had to leave right in the middle of it to come down here. So I’m curious to see what happens when I go back.

Guardians

S&TM: We’d like to thank Tessa for taking the time to do this interview and for creating such great comics for her answers. We appreciate the time she has taken doing both while away in Antarctica.


VORTEX #

Published Date : December 14, 2011

Mark P. Hensel – VORTEX #1

VORTEX #1 chronicles an epic battle of swordblows and slime between one of Mark’s recurring characters the Miizzzard and a new alien with unknown powers. The story begins when the Miizzz discovers a hidden energy source on an uncharted planet. Although this minicomic is the beginning of a longer story, it also stands alone.

We’ve featured Mark’s amazing comics before on S&TM (Assault On Yurg). This is just a preview of his latest comic VORTEX #1. If you’d like to know how it ends, you can pick up a copy on Mark’s site for $6.oo.

Purchase VORTEX #1 »

More comics by Mark P. Hensel »

Mark P Hensel

Purchase VORTEX #1 »


Dadu Shin

Published Date : December 8, 2011

Concept is king in the beautifully understated and inventive work of New York-based illustrator Dadu Shin. There’s a master logic at play in every one of Dadu Shin’s meticulously constructed illustrations. Entire worlds are created to serve the idea that drives the image.

Q1. What matters most to you when making an illustration?

I always try to come up with a good concept and a good way to convey that concept. With the exception of privately commissioned work in which people tend to ask for something more aesthetically pleasing than conceptual, I always try to have an idea behind the work. With personal work I do allow myself a bit more room to be vague in conveying the idea.

These days I find my work becoming more simple with each piece because I’ve been trying to only include what is necessary to get the idea across.

Reusing the Junkyard by Dadu Shin »

Reusing the Junkyard by Dadu Shin »

Free Play by Dadu Shin

Free Play by Dadu Shin ^


Q2. You often use huge contrasts of scale to get your ideas across. What is it about this “zoomed out” perspective that appeals to you?

I’ve always been drawn to vast landscapes and spaces. I used to have dreams when I was younger of worlds where everything was gigantic. Maybe I saw Honey I Shrunk the Kids too many times. Anyway, I like the narrative qualities that this kind of composition possesses. I get to create a world and populate it with characters.

The more zoomed out I am, the more world and inhabitants I get to show. It also allows me to create different focal points easily. However lately I have tried to vary it up, as I will admit I have fallen back to this composition many times.

TOP RIGHT: Safe Transactions ^

RIGHT: The Last Tree »

Reusing the Junkyard by Dadu Shin »

Reusing the Junkyard by Dadu Shin »

Red Coat White Trees by Dadu Shin

Red Coat White Trees by Dadu Shin ^


Q3. We love the inventive and beautifully stylized fashion illustrations on your side project blog “I don’t like clothes”. Can you tell us a bit about what the blog title means to you, and what draws you to explore this other kind of illustration?

Fashion is a recent interest of mine. In fact, for the majority of my life I thought fashion was incredibly snobbish and shallow. It still is in some aspects, but I’ve seen past that and realized I was just being ignorant. I could go into an entire discussion about fashion, style, design and what it means to me, but I think that’s for another time.

So that’s kind of where the title came from, it’s a little inside joke with myself. I started the blog to just get myself to draw more often. With a consistent subject matter I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to draw next, and the endless ways to design and match patterns, proportions, and colors provide me the with the right amount of creative freedom to not get bored.

Sketchbook's by Dadu Shin

Sketchbook's by Dadu Shin

From Dadu’s sketchbook ^


Q4. We’ve noticed griffins (are they griffins?) recurring a lot in your images what’s going on there?

Haha, I think this answer is quite simple. I just like drawing them. I love birds, wings, beaks, and other animals and enjoy combining them into different shapes and creatures. I love the silhouette of a graceful wing or the silhouette of a sharp beak. As a kid, I loved drawing eagles and falcons and though they were so incredibly noble and awesome looking.

Getting an Upgrade by Dadu Shin »

Getting an Upgrade by Dadu Shin

Second Thoughts by Dadu Shin

Second Thoughts by Dadu Shin ^


Q5. The many sketchbooks scans on your website are fantastic. What’s the role of sketching in your creative process?

Thank you! Recently, I haven’t been working in my sketchbook as much as I would like too. It’s taken a smaller role in my process and just now I’m starting to bring it back. I kind of got lost in the convenience of the computer and am looking to include a little bit more traditional work into my portfolio over the next few months. However I still use my sketchbooks even though I may not be working in them as often.

I always flip through my old sketchbooks when I’m searching for inspiration. It’s a diary of images that reminds me of the work I’ve done in the past and the work I want to do in the future. I always find forgotten ideas, techniques I want to try again or develop, and small drawings that inspire stories or images.

Sketchbooks by Dadu Shin

Sketchbooks by Dadu Shin

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Q6. Given the opportunity what would be your “dream project”?

This is surprisingly a hard question to answer. I think I would love to do a weird, makes no sense but kind of does make sense, narrative picture book, with little to no text. Hmm yeah, I like that.

Sketchbooks by Dadu Shin

ABOVE: Lots to Consider by Dadu Shin ^

RIGHT: Under Threat by Dadu Shin »

Sketchbooks by Dadu Shin

Chinese inspired landscapes by Dadu Shin

Chinese inspired landscapes by Dadu Shin ^

Dadu Real Estate by Dadu Shin

Dadu Real Estate by Dadu Shin ^

S&TM: We’d like to thank Dadu for taking the time to do this interview.


Entropy

Published Date : December 6, 2011

Aaron Costain – Entropy 7

Aaron works as an architect and lives in Toronto’s Kensington Market with his wife and cat. He was born in Victoria, British Columbia, and has lived in Halifax, Chicago, and Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He is the author of numerous minicomics, including the ongoing long-format series Entropy – a re-working of a variety of creation myths, both modern and ancient. His work was been nominated for Best Emerging Talent at the 2010 Doug Wright Awards, and has been shortlisted several times for the Expozine Alternative Press Awards. He is also a member of the disreputable jam comics collective Team Society League. His comics and prints are available through his website

Aaron Costain

Read the rest of Entropy 7 »


S&TM ultimate holiday gift list!

Published Date : December 4, 2011

In an effort to skip the malls and find gifts that won’t get re-gifted, we’ve put together this gargantuan list of artful stocking fodder. Direct from artists, local shops and indie publishers!

It’s a steal! Gifts under $25

A selection of really inspired gifts that won’t cause you a debt-related panic attack when reading your post-holiday credit card bill.

Nick Sheehy Postcards

Postcards (a.k.a. mini art prints) from UK artist Nick Sheehy. Perfect as a gift or to use as holiday cards. (£5.00)

» Nick Sheehy postcards

Lisa Hanawalt prints

Dog Chasing Pigeons with Hot Dogs in their Mouths print by Lisa Hanawalt ($6). Tons of great prints, cards and comics in her shop.

» Lisa Hanawalt Shop

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xo–//THT\\–ox print from artist Jon Boam on his Society 6 store ($15).

» Jon Boam prints

Forest Power Glove t-shirt by Jake Pauls

Forest Power Glove t-shirt by Jake Pauls ($18).

» Jake Pauls shop

Snakes in the Forest by Heyin Lee

Snakes in the Forest print by Hyein Lee, 10″ X 8″, ($19).

» Hyein Lee prints

Gloria Badcock by Maurice Vellekop

The naughty comic Gloria Badcock by Maurice Vellekoop, from Koyama Press, is the prefect stocking stuffer! ($5)

» Gloria Badcock

Yeti at Night print by Ryan Snook

Yeti at Night print by Ryan Snook ($18.00).

» Ryan Snook store

The Black-Tailed Werewolf Hunter print by Nik Dudukovic

The Black-Tailed Werewolf Hunter print by Nik Dudukovic ($18.00).

» Nik Dudukovic prints

Klaus by Richard Short

Klaus by Richard Short, published by Nobrow ($19.95).

» Klaus at the Nobrow shop

Comics Class by Matthew Forsythe

Comics Class, 44 pages of loosely-drawn, quasi-autobiographical comics by Matthew Forsythe ($5).

» Comics Class

The Armed Garden and Other Stories

The Armed Garden and Other Stories by David B.

» Fantagraphics shop

Cowboy Brooch by Matt Taylor

Cowboy Brooch by Matt Taylor (£16).

» Matt Taylor Shop

Upgrades by Dadu Shin

Upgrades print by Dadu Shin ($20).

» Dadu Shin prinst on inPRINT

Everything We Miss

Everything We Miss by Luke Pearson ($20). Touching and beautiful story by Luke Pearson. Puablished by Nobrow.

» Nobrow shop

The Great Disappointment

The Great Disappointment by Box Brown ($17) – collected comics form the most excellent online and print comic Everything Dies.

» The Great Disapointment

Seriously awesome! Gifts $25 ~ $100

Better than full-body wool jumpsuit pyjamas, these are the gifts we’re really jonzing for.

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The Flooding of the Prinsengracht print by Kozyndan available at Magic Pony ($45.00).

» Buy it at Magic Pony

The Klondike by Zach Worton

The Klondike. A seriously epic graphic novel by Zach Worton about the Yukon gold rush ($24.95).

» Buy it from Drawn & Quarterly

Treading Water by Peter Diamond

Treading Water print by Peter Diamond.

» Peter Diamond prints

Metropolitan Hunting Season print by Victo Ngai

Metropolitan Hunting Season print by Victo Ngai ($95).

» Victo Ngai prints

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Overkill by Tomer Hankua – amazing retrospective book by one of our favourite illustrators ($40).

» Buy Overkill at Magic Pony

Illustrators Unlimited

Illustrators Unlimited:The Essence of Contemporary Illustration. A showcase of cutting-edge illustration talents from around the world. Published by Gestalten ($68).

» Buy Illustrators Unlimited at Gestalten

Yuko Shimizu

Yuko Shimizu published by Gestalten ($30). Finally a collection of Yuko Shimizu‘s work all in one place!

» Buy Yuko Shimizu at Gestalten

Cloudy Collection Print Editions

Cloudy Collection Print Edition: 2012 Calendar of the Impending Apocalypse ($50). Edition of three-color screen prints of twelve months.

» Buy

Hot Potatoe by Marc Bell

Hot Potatoe by Marc Bell ($44.95).

» Hot Potatoe at Drawn & Quarterly

The most ballin’ presents ever!
Gifts over $100.

Make up to that special someone for the Starbucks gift card you got them last year with a gift that lasts!

Vainglorious print by Winnie Truong

Vainglorious limited edition print by Winnie Truong.

» Winnie Truong’s prints shop

Campfire print from Tin Can Forest

Campfire print from Tin Can Forest, 20 x 20″, ($180).

» Tin Can Forest shop

Geometric Constructions by Mark Whalen

Geometric Constructions, 2011 by Mark Whalen, 3 colour off-set lithograph on Fabriano paper ($250).

» Mark Whalen Fine Art Prints

Children Shall Inherit the Earth by Chris Buzelli

Children Shall Inherit the Earth, original art by Chris Buzelli, oil on panel/24″x36″ ($4800).

» Chris Buzelli store

Avatar of Moro Silkscreen Print

Avatar of Moro Silkscreen Print by Andrew Remington Bailey ($150).

» Buy it at Magic Pony!

Jessica Hische letterpressed alphabet collectors set

Jessica Hische letterpressed alphabet collectors set ($2000).

» Jessica Hische shop


Nobrow

Published Date : November 27, 2011

We’ve been anticipating the arrival of
Nobrow 6: The Double for sometime now, as it showcases the works of many of our favorite artists we’ve featured on S&TM.

The Double refers to both the theme and format of the book. Sporting dual front/back cover art by Gwenola Carrere and Tom Gauld, the book is also divided into two halves. One half collecting full-page illustrations, while the other half is chalked-full of beautiful two-page whimsical, metaphysical and existential comics.

As with all of Nobrow’s editions, the book is beautifully designed and produced, with a careful eye to curatorial selection. The most distinctive feature of the book is the choice to print only in 4 eye-melting spot colours. It is interesting to see how the artists have worked within this constraint, each somehow finding a way to personalize the color scheme. The result is a really cohesive collection of art that carries Nobrow’s signature look an feel.

Nobrow 6

Jon McNaught


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Thematically, the comics and illustrations address the theme of The Double in many ways. Where Michael DeForge’s protagonist wrestles with the realization that he’s dating his doppelganger, Matthew Forsythe’s pseudo-documentary follows pairings of similar strange creatures and their couple’s reminiscences.

The tone varies from jovial (Scott MacDonald’s Ol’ Pale Horse), to sinister (Jesse Jacobs’ life-stealing impostor story). John Martz comically catalogues all the varied ways The Double can occur in fiction, from Alternate Universe Self to Android Replacement. On the illustration side, Sam Kolchoz’ image is a hallucinatory film noir detective murder mystery. Sean Lewis’ twin hillbilly giants take in the landscape.

Weighing-in at 120 pages, the book features far too many amazing artists to list fully here. It being so close to the holidays, I would say that anyone into indie-comics and art should own a copy of Nobrow 6.

Nobrow 6

Mikkel Sommers

Each story lingers and stays with you, calling for you to pick it up over-and-over again, making it one of the most exciting releases of the year!

> BUY THIS BOOK

> SEE MORE OF NOBROWS CATALOG

Nobrow 6

Robert Hunter

Nobrow 6

Jesse Jacobs

Nobrow 6

Jack Teagle

Nobrow 6

Sean Lewis


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Nobrow 6

Nobrow 6

Nobrow 6

Nobrow 6

From Nobrow’s site

Nobrow 6

Nobrow 6

Nobrow 6

Nobrow 6

From Nobrow’s site

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10 Animated Videos

Published Date : November 27, 2011

1. The Walkmen – On The Water

The Walkmen – On The Water from Nir Ben Jacob on Vimeo.

2. The Lovely Sparrows – Year Of The Dog

The Lovely Sparrows – Year Of The Dog from Eric Power on Vimeo.

3. Grizzly Bear – Ready, Able

Video for “Ready, Able,” from Grizzly Bear’s ‘Veckatimest.’ Directed by Allison Schulnik.

4. The Dead Pirates – Wood

Music video done by mcbess & simon , produced by the Mill , for the band Dead Pirates

5. Björk – Wanderlust

Bjork – Wanderlust from One Little Indian Records on Vimeo.

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6. Panda Bear – Alsatian Darn (unofficial)

Panda Bear – “Alsatian Darn” (unofficial) from ori toor on Vimeo.

7. Fleet Foxes – The Shrine / An Argument

The Shrine / An Argument from Sean Pecknold on Vimeo.

8. Hooray For Earth “True Loves” (Cereal Spiller Remix)

Hooray For Earth “True Loves” (Cereal Spiller Remix) from Cereal Spiller on Vimeo.

9. Ohbijou – New Years

OHBIJOU “new years” directed by Exploding Motor Car from Vision Entertainment on Vimeo.

10. Do I Have Power – Timber Timbre

Do I Have Power – Timber Timbre (2011) from Carlos De Carvalho on Vimeo.


Toyin Odutola

Published Date : October 31, 2011

There’s a strange reversal of impression that occurs when looking at the work of Toyin Odutola. The initial impact of stark inky black figures and faces, set against a crisp white background, gives way to an overall feeling of depth and subtlety. The eyes of the portrait subjects lock on you, and it’s that gaze that trumps the stylistic effects that you’d first noticed in the image.

Odutola’s drawings, done in pen ink, have a singular attention to detail. While abstracting and stylizing skin texture, musculature, and hair; the images achieve a sense of realism, feeling as if drawn from photo-reference. The portraits have overtones of race and gender politics, but never succumb to simple messaging.

The Nigerian-born artist, currently completing her MFA at The California College of the Arts, is showing at Jack Shainman Gallery, Oct 13 – Nov 12 in Geoffrey Chadsey, Toyin Odutola and Articfacts From Nagaland

Inetrview with Toyin Odutola on TheGoodGoodBlog

Untitled (Fade into Monochrome) GIF animation. 2011

Untitled. Pen Ink and Marker on paper. 11 x 14 inches. 2011

Untitled. Pen Ink and Marker on paper. 11 x 14 inches. 2011

Untitled. Pen Ink on paper. Diptych. 7 x 11 inches (each). 2011

Untitled (Sequence 6). Diptych. Pen Ink on paper. 7 x 11 inches (each). 2011

Untitled (Sequence 6). Diptych. Pen Ink on paper. 7 x 11 inches (each). 2011

Ishmael. Pen ink and marker on paper. 11 x 14 inches

You can have her..if you can find her. (No. 1). Pen ink and marker on paper. 9 x 12 inches. 2011

Untitled GIF animation. 2011

Do what you will. It’s all the same to me. GIF animation. 2011

Discovered via http://picdit.wordpress.com and beautifuldecay.com


The Tamblyn Show

Published Date : October 23, 2011

http://www.thetamblynshow.com/about-the-show/


Ryan Snook

Published Date : October 10, 2011

There Goes The Neighborhood

Ryan Snook is a Toronto-based illustrator specializing in editorial, children’s and advertising illustration. His work has been awarded and recognized by American Illustration, 3×3, Applied Arts and The Advertising & Design Club of Canada

There Goes The Neighborhood is a short comic about one little hobo’s troubles finding something to eat and one large man’s surprise.

Check out more of Ryan’s work at ryansnook.com.

Ryan Snook

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S&TM: Huge thanks to Ryan for contributing his work to our comic section.


Dream On, Little Ghosts: New Illustrations by Andrea Wan

Published Date : September 29, 2011

https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=172770956138691


Speakeasy Illustration Show

Published Date : September 29, 2011

http://www.blttogo.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=21&Itemid=31


Pope Hats

Published Date : September 29, 2011

Ethan Rilly returns to the story of Frances Scarland with the second installment of Pope Hats

When the first issue of Pope Hats made the rounds in 2008, in the form of a mini comic that Ethan Rilly self-published, it grabbed a lot of attention as a remarkable debut work, and was nominated for the Doug Wright award for Best Emerging Talent. Soon thereafter it found a wider audience when published by the awesome AdHouse Books. Great art, well crafted dialogue, and well developed characters left fans wanting more.

After three years, and several false starts, Ethan Rilly revisits the characters Frances and Vickie in a second issue of Pope Hats. The bulk of issue 2 focuses on Frances’ work life at high-pressure Bay Street law firm, as Vickie balances acting and her alcholic tendencies. Both the art and writing have grown in confidence and subtlety making Pope Hats 2 well worth the wait.

Q. There’s a noticeable evolution in the art and storytelling from Pope Hats #1 to issue #2. In both the drawing style, and in the narrative, there seems to be a deliberately greater attention to detail and realism. Can you tell us a bit about how you approached furthering the story and characters you’d set up in issue#1?

Ethan Rilly To be honest, the evolution is probably a result of some false starts prior to Pope Hats #2. I had failed at getting through a weird graphic novel about the main character Frances and her past. It just wasn’t gelling together like I wanted, so I abandoned it. 

I came full circle and got really excited about the idea of doing a comic book again. The format is just so snappy and appealing as a package. I love comic books. It’s funny how they can be both trivial and pretentious at the same time.

I decided to not worry about being faithful to the first issue and I approached the story with a clean slate, which made it really exciting to write. I really wanted to flesh out Frances’ external world.

Pope Hats by Ethan Rilly

Pope Hats page 4

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Q. Your depiction of the frenzy of the main character Frances’ work life in a high pressure law firm seems so real. Was this inspired by your own work experiences?

Ethan Rilly I’ve never worked for a corporate law firm, but yeah, I probably draw from some of my own work experiences. I have worked with an assortment of government lawyers, though they tend to be super calm compared to lawyers in other arenas.

I think a lot of my stuff comes from the fact that many of my friends aren’t really artists or cartoonists and just have very normal and challenging office jobs. I understand what they go through. That world seems much more real to me than the “artist life” or whatever.

Pope Hats by Ethan Rilly

Panel from Pope Hats page 11

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Q. A crowd favorite character from the first book, the ghost Sarsgaard, was absent from this story. Can you kill off a character that’s already dead?

Pope Hats by Ethan Rilly

Pope Hats page 2

Ethan Rilly Ha ha, good question. I’m not much of a crowd pleaser, apparently. Sarsgaard fell victim to the clean slate. I think I decided much earlier that a talking ghost character was too gimmicky and easy for my changing interests. I hope people don’t get too upset about it. 

I decided to not worry about being faithful to the first issue and I approached the story with a clean slate, which made it really exciting to write. I really wanted to flesh out Frances’ external world.

Pope Hats by Ethan Rilly

Pope Hats page 3

Q. Both your main characters are women, both with very divergent career paths. Do you find it challenging to write from a women’s perspective?

Ethan Rilly I haven’t given too much thought about what it means that these characters are women or how I should treat them. I guess I just think about them in terms of character. As a reference, I think about girls I’ve known pretty well over the years. 

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Q. What does the title “Pope Hats” mean to you?

Ethan Rilly It’s just a punchy and meaningless title. I like that it has a tinge of irreverence. It creates a very silly image but quickly morphs into nothing at all. Does anyone literally think of a spy plane when they hear “U2”? I wanted something solid and simple that you could get behind, like “Love & Rockets”. Plus, how lame is it when a title is exactly the contents of the book? Very lame!

Pope Hats by Ethan Rilly

Pope Hats page 37

S&TM: We’d like to thank Ethan for taking the time to do this interview.


Michael DeForge

Published Date : September 18, 2011

Reading a Michael DeForge comic is an experience made up of equal parts
euphoria and nightmare.

Toronto-based artist Michael DeForge makes comics that seem to funnel the whole of comics history though the byzantine conduit of his imagination, anxieties, fears, dreams and desires. His stories are at once touching and terrifying, intensified by the dripping, dizzying eye-candy goo of his idiosyncratic drawing style. We caught up with Michael to find out what’s next for the immensely talented and prolific artist.

Michael DeForge: Portfolio | Blog | Twitter | Flickr

Ant Comic by Michael DeForge

Excerpt from Ant Comic.

S&TM: You’ve been incredibly prolific in the last few years, releasing three issues of your comic Lose, the book Spotting Deer, what seems like hundreds of short comics for mags like Vice and Smoke Signals, commercial illustration work, and even recently Philip K. Dick cover designs for The Divine Invasion benefit for Dylan Williams. How do you keep up such an insane working pace? What kind of balance do you have between personal projects and commissioned work?

Michael DeForge: I split my time pretty evenly between my paid work and my comics work. On weeks when I have tighter deadlines on the paid stuff, I take it easy on the comics side of things. And obviously, on weeks where those deadlines are more relaxed, I try to take advantage of the extra time and fit more comics in.

I’m not sure if it’s that insane a pace, though! I usually end up working about 60-80 hours a week (depending on how much I have on my plate,) which I think is the roughly the norm for most artists I speak to.

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S&TM: Your comics can often be pretty gut wrenching. The mix of horrific images with touchingly honest and sweet stories really gets under your skin. You seem like a pretty easy-going guy, where do all the dark elements in your work come from?

Michael DeForge: I struggle a lot with anxiety and depression, which I imagine informs a lot of my comics. It’s good to hear that I seem easy-going, though! For the most part, I’d guess that each of my comics reflects my general mood and outlook for the stretch of time I spent working on it.

Bonding by Michael DeForge

Excerpt from “Bonding” published in Smoke Sognal #9

Dog 2070 by Michael DeForge

A page from “Dog 2070” from Lose #3

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Lose #2 by Michael DeForge

S&TM: Since last year you’ve won a Doug Wright Award, and recently an Ignatz Award (congratulations!). As you get more exposure and recognition do you feel that it enables you to have more freedom to do the kind of work you want. Or does it create more pressure and limitations?

Michael DeForge: The drawing process can feel like a bit of a vacuum some days, so it definitely helps to know that there are actually a few people reading and responding to what I’m doing. As far as pressure goes – being nominated for those awards is such an honor, and it’s often alongside books that I think are much better than mine. So I definitely feel a pressure to up my game – to work harder to draw comics more deserving of being included amongst those other nominees.

Cover of Lose #3 by Michael DeForge

Cover of Lose #3

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Cover of Root Rot by Michael DeForge

Cover of Root Rot published by Koyama Press

Cover of Thickness #1

Cover of Thickness

S&TM: You co-edited the forest-themed anthology Root Rot with Annie Koyama, and also Thickness with Ryan Sands. Is the editorial/curatorial side of things something you look forward to outside of drawing/writing your own comics?

Michael DeForge: I’ve never actually had much interest in being an editor. Root Rot and Thickness are both unique cases because I believed in the idea behind each book, and enjoy working with Ryan and Anne so much. But unless a specific project comes along that I get equally excited about, it’s not something I plan on pursuing in the future.

I even feel a bit guilty about being listed as a co-editor alongside Ryan and Anne on those anthologies, since they’ve both done most of the heavy lifting on each book. As editors, they have a focus, drive and vision that I completely lack, and I suspect I have been the weaker link in both collaborations – or at best, just the guy “going along for the ride,” or something!

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S&TM: We love the strange existential quality to your new bi-weekly web comic Ant Comic. With most of your work appearing in print, was there anything you’re hoping to explore by publishing direct to web?

Michael DeForge: I tend to prefer print as a medium, but I’ve always felt comfortable putting my content online. I’ve posted a lot of material that’s already seen print up for free on my blog, and more recently on the What Things Do site.

Ant Comic is the first comic I’ve drawn that I’ve designed with both web *and* print in mind, though. All the other comics I’ve posted to the web were still designed for print first. That they were readable online was just a happy coincidence afterwards. The Ant Comic pages are drawn to (hopefully) look good stretched across a monitor screen, which is something I will likely experiment with. I’m also approaching the story a bit differently. There’s going to be a loose narrative connecting all the strips together, but I’m also attempting to make each installment readable on its own.

I do plan on collecting them all in print when I’m finished, though!

Ant Comic by Michael DeForge

First installment of the web comic Ant Comic

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S&TM: Anything coming up we can look forward to you?

Michael DeForge: You’ve mentioned Ant Comic appearing bi-weekly on my site, and I’m also contributing a weekly gag strip to Frank Santoro’s column on Comics Journal website.

Print-wise, I have a monthly strip that’s been appearing in Alvin Buenaventura‘s comics spread in The Believer, and am halfway through a quarterly serial I’ve been drawing in Maisonneuve Magazine. The second issue of Thickness should be coming out in October, as well as the second issue of Open Country, a mini-comic I’ve been self-publishing. Note by Note, a 24-pager I’m drawing for the Secret Headquarters store, and Lose #4 are also on the horizon for 2012!

Cover of Thickness #2 by Michael DeForge

Cover of Thickness #2

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Spotting Deer by Michael DeForge

Excerpt from Spotting Deer

S&TM: Huge thanks to Michael DeForge for taking the time to do this interview.


The Fringes

Published Date : September 6, 2011

http://erinstumpprojects.com/


Jake Pauls

Published Date : September 5, 2011

From metaphysical pondering
to a grounded love of nature, Jake Pauls’
art probes the far corners of science and myth.

Toronto-based artist Jake Pauls makes the universe fun again through the dizzying detail and frenzied explorations in his illustrations. Whether re-writing the story of the big-bang, or chronicling Ghost Wars, his images always take us to places we need to go.

Jake Pauls: Portfolio | Twitter | Tumblr

S&TM: Online there seems to be a shroud of mystery veiled about you. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What drew you to art/illustration? What inspires you?

Jake Pauls: Really? I would love it if that is true. It’s not something I cultivate, I just don’t put a lot of personal information out there.

I’ve been drawing since I was very young. When I went to art school I got really interested in conceptual art (which I sucked at) and stopped drawing for a while. I would still draw sometimes, just helping friends out with band shirts and album art, but I never hit my stride. Then I got into illustration more recently via an intense period of interest in graphic novels. I guess it just took a while for me to break down the stigma I had attached to ‘commercial’ art and to re-realize that I just want to draw.

Spirit (2011) by Jake Pauls

Spirit (2011)

I read a lot of fiction and I spend a lot of time outdoors…those things inspire me a lot. Being social and taking part in events gives me a lot of ideas. I will see or do something and think “that would be even cooler/weirder/better if it was like _____.” I think I just draw things that I wish I could see in real life.

Unfortunately, I do just spend a lot of time just staring at paper, waiting for something to come. I’m trying to get better at actively sketching more. As a break from drawing I play my friend’s drum kit (we share a studio). I’m just learning but it just feels good to move more of my body rather than just my wrist. It refreshes things when I sit down to draw again.

I guess it just took a while for me to break down the stigma I had attached to ‘commercial’ art and to re-realize that I just
want to draw.

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Ghost War (2011) by Jake Pauls

Ghost War (2011)

S&TM: Images like “Ghost War” and “The Spell” have a strange metaphysical quality to them, as they seem to have elements of nature, science and spirituality. Can you describe some of the ideas you were exploring in these pieces?

Jake Pauls: I love nature and it seems to me like if you made a Venn-diagram with science on one side and spirituality on the other, nature would be in the middle. Science is amazing, especially the fringes of it (I’m mostly thinking of quantum physics). But despite how great science is, I think the world is a much better place if you allow for some things to be unknowable. Then you can project your own ideas into it that empty space.

“The Spell” is a mythology of the big-bang/birth that I made up, but it seemed true enough. It is half science, half imagination. “Ghost War” was more about texture and trying to draw something less apparent. I could draw some human-shaped ghosts punching each other (which would be awesome), but I’m always more satisfied when it is abstracted.

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S&TM: Your illustration for Raw Design’s 5th anniversary show is amazing! How did you get involved with Raw Design, and can you tell us a bit about your piece?

Jake Pauls: Thanks. I was approached by Raw and hadn’t heard of them at that point. But I’m really interested in design so I was psyched. When I looked at what they were doing I really liked it and felt like we had complementary approaches. I also really liked that they were doing it for a charity in their own community. That made it easy to get involved.

The piece was tricky at first; the theme threw me off because birthdays are so loaded with sugary sweet imagery. It was also scary doing something as a one-off drawing on paper. I usually like colouring on the computer because I can finesse the details. I ended up having to leave in some of my screw-ups, areas of the image that aren’t as well resolved and couldn’t be undone. But it was nice to just have it there in front of me. It made me want to write more letters.

Illustration for Raw Design's 5th anniversary show (2011) by Jake Pauls

Illustration for Raw Design’s 5th anniversary show (2011)

The piece was tricky at first; the theme threw me off because birthdays are so loaded with sugary sweet imagery.

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Crystal Cat t-shirt sdesign (2011) by Jake Pauls

Crystal Cat t-shirt sdesign (2011)

S&TM: You also design pretty badass t-shirts (“Crystal Cat” T-Shirt). Do you have any other creative outlets outside of illustration?

Jake Pauls: Too many…but they say if you chase two rabbits you’ll loose them both, so I focus on drawing. I’ve sometimes had this image of myself slowly shedding all other interests until the only thing left is drawing, which would put me at the top of my craft. Then I realize how devastatingly unhealthy that would be to my life and relationships.

In my free time I write, garden and cook. I’m totally happy to spend three hours cooking a meal. This summer I’ve done a lot of canning; I’ve got years worth of jam!

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Open Air (2011) by Jake Pauls

Open Air (2011)

S&TM: What would be a “dream project” you’d like to work on?

Jake Pauls: Doing album art for Panda Bear or the Animal Collective would be a dream project. Anything where I could work with some of the musicians I admire. I’d like to design some fabrics or wallpaper…you really have to come up with something understated and interesting for people to enjoy looking at it repeated over and over, day after day.

I think it would be great to do a graphic novel because I like writing stories, but I know how labour intensive that would be. I couldn’t sustain it without changing my drawing style. Also, illustrating a fantasy board game would be an amazing project! Unfortunately fantasy illustration seems to be its own genre, with lots of over-sized muscles, boobs and weapons. I’d do it differently than that.

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Sketch (2011) by Jake Pauls

Sketch (2011)

S&TM: Anything coming up we can look forward to?

Jake Pauls: I’ve got a number of half-baked ideas that are waiting to be taken to the next level. Nothing that I am willing to describe out of fear that they might not be finished. Though I’m working on a t-shirt design that has been sitting in my mind and sketchbook for some time and it will definitely become a real thing. It’s called “forest-glove” and the title really describes it well.

S&TM: Many thanks to Jake Pauls for taking the time to do this interview.


This Place In Time

Published Date : August 24, 2011

http://news.showandtellgallery.com/2011/08/upcoming-this-place-in-time.html


Rajni Perera: The New Archeology / The New Ethnography

Published Date : August 23, 2011

http://rajniperera.tumblr.com/post/9050936321


Nick Sheehy

Published Date : August 22, 2011

Severed snake tails, speech bubble constellations, and troubadour birds populate the alchemical dreams of UK-based artist Nick Sheehy.

Through strange geometries
and intricate crosshatching,
Nick Sheehy’s drawings describe worlds of mystery and wonder. A sense of theatricality pervades the scenes in which the subjects are also the storytellers.

portfolio | twitter | prints

Right: The Crowd (2011).

S&TM: Given how often the character appears in your works, we thought we needed to ask: is the chicken your spirit animal?

Nick Sheehy: Ha ha. Um… No. Truth is I have no more connection with chickens than any other animal. Showchicken was a name I gave my website when I used to draw obese chickens many moons ago. It seemed fitting at the time, but there was no plan of the name sticking. Now the obese chickens are in the past and I draw other stuff.

To me, the name ‘showchicken’ has taken on the same sort of meaning as a brand name … the individual words no longer retain their meaning and it has just become a sound.

I don’t really see my characters as chickens. They are mostly birds, but not usually from a specific family.

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S&TM: We’ve been trying to decode some of the recurring motifs in your paintings: severed snake tails, speech bubbles in the forms of constellations, nodes or molecules. Without giving too much away, would you discuss what some of these mean to you?

Nick Sheehy: I don’t think I’m interested in singular or explicit meanings. I like uncertainty, and shades of grey. I also think that the meaning interpreted by the viewer is just as interesting as the one intended by the creator. I tend to just draw without thinking too much and I try to draw scenes I have never seen before.

Most of the visual elements you see come from my personal experiences. I draw a lot of birds and snakes, because that’s what was around me as I grew up in Australia. I like drawing guitars because I play guitar and my dad kept giving them to me as birthday presents.

Before The Fire by Nick Sheehy

Snake Wrap by Nick Sheehy

The costumes are probably inspired by my girlfriend’s quilting. I draw wooden structures when I am making things out of wood (for the garden for instance) and I draw lots of plants when new growth is all around in Spring.

When you group these objects together over the space of a few works, you can start to build up colonies and worlds of varying weirdness where new narratives and mythologies start to evolve and everyday objects start to take on magical qualities.

Snake Wrap (2011).

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The Offering by Nick Sheehy

The Offering (2009).

S&TM: There’s a certain amount of pageantry going on in your images: characters in costume, carrying instruments, marching in parade formation. We often feel like we’re not seeing the real story, but characters putting on a play. Is this what’s being referred to in the name “Showchicken”?

Nick Sheehy: That’s an interesting take on it. I guess I do like a sense of theater. Like you are watching an unscripted performance. At the risk of sounding too deep that’s kind of what the work is about, all the performances and rituals that we go through as we live life: following rules and laws, sacrificing to the gods, exchanging goods for currency, meeting people, hunting for food, encountering hierarchy, dealing with other customs. I suppose it’s a mutant anthropomorphism in play.

I always feel my work has a sense of alienation and un-comfortableness to it, all wrapped up in a slightly banal hallucination. Which is sometimes how I view life. To me, things like going to the dentist, getting on a bus, speaking to a person on the phone halfway around the world to sort out your broadband, are typical and mundane activities and yet sometimes they can seem like the weirdest things in the world to do.

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Sketches, clockwise from left: Boar, Bull, Crocodile (2011), by Nick Sheehy

Sketches, clockwise from left: Boar, Bull, Crocodile (2011).

S&TM: We’ve been loving the new sketches posted on your Flickr page. Can you describe some of your approach to exploring new ideas/directions in your work?

Nick Sheehy: It all stems from the fact that I felt that what I have been drawing was starting to feel like it had plateaued. I was starting to feel limited by what I was drawing and how I was drawing it. Many of my drawings have usually involved some element of planning. The cross-hatching technique can be tedious enough as it is… but if you then introduce planning and layout into the mix… you’re setting yourself up for a slow way of making work.

Pipe Bird (2010), by Nick Sheehy

Pipe Bird (2010)

The new sketches are where I have set rules for myself: no birds, no snakes, no planning, etc in the attempt to free myself from what I thought was holding me back. Most of my favourite artists work involves high levels of ‘winging-it’ and it’s exactly this that I wanted to be able to do. Basically I just wanted to make more fluid work, quicker.

I’ve also found over the years that working in a naive style had made me become a lazy drawer. So through my latest drawings I’ve tried to become more observant, and more technically aware of what I was drawing.

The Band (2010), by Nick Sheehy

The Band (2010)

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Bio portrait of Nick Sheehy

Nick Sheehy

S&TM: Given the opportunity, what would be a “dream project” for you?

Nick Sheehy: I’ve already worked on a few “dream” projects that ended up being the opposite. But I would like to work on a book or a comic. That’s going to have to take some planning and I have no idea what sort of book it would be.

I generally enjoy projects where the brief is just to do what you want. I find creating for media that isn’t paper is enough for your brain to start working differently. Even if you aren’t given much direction.

Tall Bird (2011) by Nick Sheehy

Top: Tall Bird (2011). Right: Songs (2010)

Oh yeah, and my dream job as a kid was to design album covers. Up to now, this still hasn’t happened. I used to be into heavy metal and the associated imagery… not sure if there many metal bands out there in the market for birds in suits strumming weirdo lutes.

Songs by Nick Sheehy

S&TM: We want to extend a huge thanks to Nick for taking the time to do this interview and for being a constant source of inspiration. We wish you all the best in your future projects.


Edward Kwong

Published Date : August 14, 2011

http://edkwong.com/


Heather Watts

Published Date : August 14, 2011

http://www.heatherwatts.com/


Andrea Wan

Published Date : August 14, 2011

http://andreawan.com/


Rajni Perera

Published Date : August 14, 2011

http://rajniperera.tumblr.com/


Andrew Remington Bailey

Published Date : August 14, 2011

http://andrewremingtonbailey.com/


Chris Kuzma

Published Date : August 14, 2011

http://www.chriskuzma.com/


Julie Moon

Published Date : August 14, 2011

http://www.juliemoon.ca/


Carly Waito – Specimens

Published Date : August 14, 2011

http://www.narwhalartprojects.com/events-exhibitions/carly-waito/


Julie Moon - Pretty, Strange

Published Date : August 14, 2011

http://www.narwhalartprojects.com/events-exhibitions/julie-moon/


Alex McLeod – Distant Secrets

Published Date : August 14, 2011

http://www.angellgallery.com/exhibitions/index.php?detail=110


Julie Moon

Published Date : August 10, 2011

Toronto sculptural artist Julie Moon discusses the nature of all things “Pretty, Strange” on the eve of her new show at Narwhal Art Projects.

Q. We love how your sculptures often meld amorphous bodily forms with intricate and playful ornamentation. Can you tell us about some of the ideas that you explore in your work?

Julie Moon. I consider the forms I’ve been building over the past few years as figurative. They’re definitely not realistic representations, but more an expression of the body…and perhaps an expression of culture and consumption and indulgence. I try to work intuitively but I definitely believe that the traditions and properties of my materials influence my work most.

Making for me is play and throughout the process I have a tendency to anthropomorphize the objects I build, including my materials. Clay itself is fleshy and sensual, moist, malleable, dependent on gravity, slowed down by its size and weight, these are things that I try to channel in my work. However, once it’s fired in the kiln, when all chemical water is driven off, the work becomes lifeless and brittle. Working the surface by adding glaze and decoration, helps me to give the objects I make identity and meaning.

It can also help make the experience of viewing familiar and accessible to the viewer.

Bridge by Julie Moon

Bridge.

Three Legs by Julie Moon

Three Legs.

Q. Before fine art, you studied Fashion Technology at George Brown College. We can definitely see elements of garment and jewelry design in your works. Was shifting from fashion to fine art, sculpture, and ceramics part of a natural evolution for you?

Julie Moon. Yeah for sure. My interests in creating objects have always involved the figure and decoration, so whether it’s fashion or textiles, or sculpture, I’ve always been interested in ideas about culture and the body…and whenever I switched mediums, I never really felt I was abandoning a material or career in fashion or textile design. It seems that I learn best through experience and now that I think about it, through the process of elimination.

I like working with my hands and I love all the Material Arts; textiles/fibre arts, glass, wood, jewelry, ceramics.But for me, clay is the perfect medium. I’m so inspired by the range of objects you can make with clay and that I am able to focus on creating forms and decorating surfaces.

I Love You by Julie Moon

I Love You.

Swan (detail) by Julie Moon

Swan (detail).

S&TM: We’d like to thank Julie for taking the time to do this interview in the midst of finishing her artist residency at the center for ceramics in Berlin. Thank you!!!


1200 Posters

Published Date : July 28, 2011

An idea for a project that would build authentic community through the collective creation of something meaningful.

On the 12th of every month for a year, 1200 Posters is releasing a limited-edition print (100) by an up-and-coming, young artist, speaking to the power of community, collaboration, and conversation. We caught up with the good people at Big New Ideas to learn more about the 1200 Posters project.

Thanks to all who participated!

Thanks to all who participated and congratulations to the winners: Charis Loke and @verwho !

Can you tell us about Big New Ideas, and how the idea for 1200 Posters came about?

1200Posters: Big New Ideas is a multidisciplinary team of creative thinkers and doers working to make change. We help forward-thinking businesses and organizations start conversations, communicate effectively, and activate community. Building systems and tools to facilitate meaningful community engagement is not limited to any particular industry or skill-set, and we continue to discover that the best ideas rest in the overlaps between industries. With so much happening online, and so many new tools coming out every day, we work to instill our values of community, collaboration, and conversation, into everything we do.

Last spring, Aaron came to New York and got dinner with Max, Greg, and Robyn. Aaron had been consulting on web projects, Greg and Robyn were new arrivals to the city as freelance artists, and Max was working with a new charter school. We were all following, in different fields and different mediums, the same feeling of community we’d all experienced.

The conversation continued, and landed on an idea for a project that would build authentic community through the collective creation of something meaningful. As with any project we encounter, the possibilities can sometimes be the most overwhelming part. In brainstorming ways to structure our project, we revisited a piece of text we’d found from Margaret Wheatley’s “Turning to One Another.” The text says everything we were trying to communicate beautifully, while leaving enough room for limitless unique interpretations.

As artists and illustrators themselves, Robyn and Greg were ready with a community of artists eager to make these prints together. And by selling the posters to fund the next month’s printing, we could engage an even wider community of customers in that conversation by supporting, purchasing, and owning the prints.

Poster #1 • Mando Veve

Mando Veve

“My process involved collaging and digitally composing an accumulation of small drawings into a larger composition. This was the first project in which I had to utilize the computer to organize the chaos that usually characterizes my process in order to have something legible”

Poster #2 • Catherine Chi

“I’m fascinated by nostalgic objects; faded colors, smoky patinas, and other imperfections that mark the passage of time. I also love the accessibility and versatility of digital media. My digital work often strives to replicate the quality of traditional print media, particularly that predating latter half 20th century.”

Catherine Chi

How did you go about choosing artists for this project? Was there a particular style, medium etc that you were looking for? How did you approach each artist, was there something you were hoping to communicate?

1200Posters: Our main criteria when hiring our artists is their visible appreciation and understanding for the importance of community in the art / design world. We tend to select artists that employ whimsical and dreamlike imagery in their work as well as having excellent type/image integration skills. Before we hire each artist we also make sure that they have an open attitude towards sharing their process as well as their support for other artists in the project.

Poster #3 • Victo Ngai

Victo Ngai

“There’s a Chinese saying: “it takes hard work, talent, and luck to be successful”. I believe having good relationships with people makes up a large part of the “luck”. Since graduating in 2010, I’ve been trying to find a place in the highly competitive editorial illustration industry. In the limited few months of my career, I was very lucky to encounter and be helped out by a lot of great people”

Poster #4 • JooHee Yoon

JooHee Yoon

“I like to create pictures that are odd and interesting, that have a narrative. Sort of a parallel world inhabited by strange people, who at first glance might seem absurd but which are in fact based on the realities I observe in my everyday life.”

What are your goals for 1200 posters? Is this something you plan on continuing in the future. What have been some of the challenges you have faced?

1200Posters: Our goal with 1200 Posters is to offer these artists the space and the freedom to express their values, while living those values as members of our 1200 Posters community. When we started, we were offering the chance to break out of their day to day and introduce their work to a new audience.

As the project has grown, we’ve found a more compelling opportunity in the collective nature of the project, and continue to see our artists support each other and grow together. Whether through the website, on twitter, or on Facebook, by aggregating the posters and the community in one place, we’ve made it easier to find these artists and support their careers.

We’ve faced quite a few challenges in launching this project, keeping it financially sustainable, buying so many tubes! and working to keep each and every customer happy. We’ve gone through at least a dozen iterations of our printing process, how we bring each new artist into the group, and how we share the project to a larger audience. Social media has proven an invaluable tool in helping us grow a regular machine out of nothing, and we’re sure will help carry it forward.

We don’t know what’ll be next, other than it will be something. We’d like continue exploring the role of community, collaboration, and conversation, perhaps in this medium again, or maybe others. Ideas?

Poster #5 • Ole Tillmann

Ole Tillmann

“Talk to people you know. Talk to people you don’t know. Talk to people you never talk to.” serves as one of the most fundamental rules to progress in community, in my opinion. While it may seem very basic it ends up connecting so many strands of what it means to be.”

Poster #6 • Caitlin Heimerl

“I will “expect to be surprised” by the boundless possibilities of imagery and design that come from a collaborative effort like this. I have felt most engaged in communities where I am asked to put my best foot forward and am met with support and respect. I think that this project has engaged me in a similar way.”

Caitlin Heimerl

What does “creating community, collaboration, and conversation” mean to you?

1200Posters: We think it’s simply about being real people. Being honest with ourselves and each other, no matter what the context. When we look each other in the eyes we can solve problems, whether trying to sell posters, imagine an idea, or all the way to our most important issues like education and climate change.

We’ve all experienced it, whether through the arts, local communities, family, friends, or any number of other organizations – the power of a passionate group of people to accomplish something together. We hope these posters capture a little bit of that, and remind people how important it truly is.

Poster #7 • Lia Marcoux

Mando Veve

“Using the text as part as the environment, as art directors Robyn and Greg urged, helps make this part of their relationship instead of just the line of a moment. This piece was more conceptual than my usual, purely narrative work.”

Poster #8 • Kali Ciesemier

“I decided to indulge my childhood love of secret places, which led to the idea of a floating hideaway that these explorers (and birds!) had helped build. Also, c’mon, who wouldn’t want to climb up an impossibly tall ladder to plant a sky garden?!”

Kali Ciesemier

Poster #9 • Sam Wolfe Connelly

Sam Wolfe Connelly

“When I think about creating art, I always see it as a solitary process. Something that is solely between the creator and the created; a relationship that requires itself to be detached from anything else in your life. However, in order to create, you need the drive and you need the inspiration. I don’t think there is anything more important than these two things, and in order to obtain them, it is crucial to have a growing community.”

S&TM: Tremendous thanks to 1200 Posters for generously contributing the contest prizes and for all their time!

CONTEST DETAILS: 2 winners will be selected randomly and notified via email or twitter on Friday August 5th!


Chris Kuzma

Published Date : July 19, 2011

The many visual worlds created by
Chris Kuzma are as varied as they are strange. The Toronto artist is as likely to be found exhibiting his painted works in galleries, as making editorial illustrations for magazines, self publishing comics, or curating anthologies with his co-collaborators in the art collective Wowee Zonk.

His paintings subvert the calm orderliness of everyday life, tipping mundane situations towards nightmares of cartoon violence. His comics are far more overtly bizarre and riotous, deliriously navigating his Orwellian office world of the “Complex”.

Step 5 by 	Chris Kuzma

Step 5

Question 1

Your paintings from the “Secret Shame” show at LE Gallery are quite unsettling in their violent encounters of the mundane and cartoon worlds. What were some of the ideas your were exploring in this series?

The majority of those pieces were collected from other shows I’ve participated in over the past three years and seeing them all together at the LE show definitely revealed a common theme to me.

I feel that I’m striving for a balance between the familiar and the jarring, or the playful and the sinister, and that I’m constantly trying to paint a pretty picture that, upon closer inspection, might leave the viewer slightly unsettled.

I have always loved cartoons and respected them as art, and the best ones always had an overtly sadistic element to them. This, coupled with my realistic approach to painting, opened up so many avenues for how I might combine these two influences.

“I feel that I’m striving for a balance between the familiar and the jarring, or the playful and the sinister, and that I’m constantly trying to paint a pretty picture that, upon closer inspection, might leave the viewer slightly unsettled.”

Harness by Chris Kuzma

Harness

Lumberjerks by Chris Kuzma

Lumberjerks

Question 2

Your recent comic Complex is awesome! We loved the bizarre dystopian office world you created. What was on your mind when you wrote this?

Thanks! Complex is a giant facility that extends so far in every direction that it is unknown as to where it started or if it ever ends. I wanted to create a world where I could do a story about literally anything and it would remain in this particular continuity.

I guess that’s pretty anal on my part (after all, you CAN do whatever you want in comics), but for some reason I like having the option of that connectedness. For instance, there could be a part of Complex that’s stuck in the Paleolithic era and another that’s light years in the future, but they are both contained within the Complex mythology. It’s like that show Sliders with Jerry O’connell!

Silly via Plath by Chris Kuzma

Silly via Plath

Question 3

Your paintings are quite stylistically different from your comics work, which in turn are quite different from your editorial illustration work. Do you intentionally vary your style to suit the medium? What do you like about working in each of these genres?

I do vary my style based on the medium, but I never feel that I’m being dishonest with my artwork or pandering to anyone. With my comics and personal work, I am free to experiment in any way I choose and there are elements from each present in the other.

When I get an illustration assignment, my approach is often dictated by the deadline and the mood of the article. But I always feel like my work is my own.

I’m not sure if I ever want to arrive at that comfortable point in my artistic career where I say “This is it. This is my style. This is how I draw”. It is my opinion that if you are not constantly challenging yourself and trying new things, you are redundant.

That’s why I find working in each of these mediums so interesting. Comics allow me to be loose and goofy, painting trains my hand and eye, and illustration has me thinking on my feet and learning to trust my artistic instincts. Each offers up different challenges and instructs different parts of my artistic self. And oftentimes, these lessons learned will overlap and reveal something new.

Or maybe I have ADD.

Those Tattoos Are Precious by Chris Kuzma

Those Tattoos Are Precious

Dionysus by Chris Kuzma

Dionysus

“I’m not sure if I ever want to arrive at that comfortable point in my artistic career where I say “This is it. This is my style. This is how I draw”. It is my opinion that if you are not constantly challenging yourself and trying new things, you are redundant.”

Hilarious Pressure by Chris Kuzma

Hilarious Pressure

Question 4

We loved the painted typography you recently did for the Creative Type 3 show in Toronto. How did you approach that piece, given that you don’t usually incorporate type into your images?

Actually, that piece was based off of a painting I did for a show at the Steamwhistle gallery last summer. I painted a figure whose body was made up of different buildings. I found that I really enjoyed painting these tiny detailed buildings, so I decided to carry that into the Creative Type piece.

I have no idea when it comes to the technical aspects of typography (kerning, tracking, etc.), but I’ve developed my own measuring system that works for now. I would like to learn more about the actual techniques typographers use.

Sprawl by Chris Kuzma

Sprawl

Question 5

You are one-third of the Wowee Zonk art collective (alongside Ginette Lapalme and Patrick Kyle). How did you guys meet and what are your goals for the collective? How do you approach working collaboratively?

We met at OCAD a few years ago and have been hanging out ever since. The main focus of Wowee Zonk is the comic anthology of the same name. It is our goal to produce an increasingly excellent comic anthology that highlights the amazing talent that is happening Canadian comics today.

We have released three issues so far and have recently begun planning for the fourth. The always amazing Koyama Press published the third issue for us as well as a book called Pobody’s Nurfect, which collects some of our paintings.

We are all pretty agreeable people and we share similar artistic influences and aesthetics, so we are fairly trusting of one another when it comes to our collaborations. I’m just glad to be hanging out with these guys, they continually challenge and inspire me.

Chris Kuzma

WoweeZonk 3 by WoweeZonk

WoweeZonk 3

S&TM: Huge thanks to Chris for taking the time to do this interview.


Complex

Published Date : July 19, 2011

Chris Kuzma is an illustrator who lives and works in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is one-third of the Wowee Zonk art collective (alongside Ginette Lapalme and Patrick Kyle) and Teacher’s Assistant for Illustrative Life Drawing at the Ontario College of Art and Design.

The story follows young Terry Hersham, a citizen of the multi-levelled Complex, and his trials and tribulations as he attempts to gain access into Fuckplex (a particularly naughty level of Complex).

The book is 32 pages long, and chock-full of adventure and gross-outs. The excellent illustrator, Josh Holinaty, also contributed 4 pages. It’ll only cost you $5 CAD + shipping! PURCHASE HERE.

Check out more of Chris’s work at chriskuzma.com.

Chris Kuzma

Complex by Chris Kuzma

Complex by Chris Kuzma

Complex by Chris Kuzma

Complex page 7

Complex by Chris Kuzma

Complex page 16

Complex by Chris Kuzma

Complex page 20

S&TM: Huge thanks to Chris Kuzma for contributing his work to our comic section.


Andrew R. Bailey

Published Date : June 18, 2011

There’s a sinister logic to the games found within the many-layered, multifaceted prints by Toronto-based artist Andrew Remington Bailey. Drawing on the visual language of comics, video games, and science-fiction, Andrew creates a maze where he confronts his shadow self.

Q.What strikes us most immediately about your work is the strange assemblage of recognize-able pop culture references, especially from comics, fantasy and sci-fi. Can you describe why you bring these elements into your images and how you manage to morph them into something completely your own?

Last summer in preparation for my thesis year at OCAD, I was doing a lot of reading that focused on the more academic aspects of pop-culture. Within this early research, I stumbled across a few articles that addressed the concept of pastiche, a literary technique where a text is cobbled together from snippets of other pre-existing texts.

My current work is an attempt to employ that technique visually, using text and images mined from my own adolescent experiences with fantasy, science-fiction, and horror media. I have become very interested in how early cultural imagery and obsessions can inform personal identity, and have been trying to use the fractured framework of the comic-page to map out all the nooks and crannies of my own sense of self.

Fluke Man

Fluke Man

Q.Your prints employ hyper-detailed patterning, hatching, geometric motifs, and then the generally grid-like panel structure of comics pages – to the point of feeling almost dizzying and fractal-like. Is this mostly an aesthetic decision (relating to screen printing), or does it hold a deeper meaning for you?

My tendency to make things patterned and overtly detailed is definitely an aesthetic decision related to the process of screen-printing. The more complexly patterned and layered an image is, the harder the piece becomes to accurately print, so it was partially just a way to push myself and ideally become a better printmaker. However, I also love how a dense composition can allow for a large variety of potential meanings to be discovered when someone is trying to interpret one of the prints.

Life Partner Deathmatch

Life Partner Deathmatch

Q.Can you tell us a bit about your piece “You Have To Kill Your Shadow Self ”? We love the dark and cryptic story that seems to dig into the psychology of fantasy versus one’s more grounded rational self.

This piece was inspired the idea of the Shadow Self, however it wasn’t originally inspired by the concept as it appears in psychology texts. The shadow self is actually also a really popular archetype for a boss enemy in a lot of role-playing and adventure video games.

Usually towards the end of a game, the protagonist has to face off against a dark shadow version of themselves who would have all of their same skills and abilities. “You Have To Kill Your Shadow Self” is basically is an attempt to mash-up this idea as it pops up in video games with how it functions within psychology.

You Have To Kill Your Shadow Self

You Have To Kill Your Shadow Self

Q.We noticed that symbols and cryptography are a recurring part of your series “Mind Games” – are there hidden messages to be discovered within the images?

I like the idea of symbols and icons because they can be visually pleasing, but also allow for another layer of meaning to be encrypted into an image. Someone may be interested in my work because of the colours, the patterning, or the fantastical imagery; but then there are also the people that may recognize some of the references I am making, and that is what draws them into the work. There are no outright hidden messages in any of my prints, just different levels of interaction depending on what the viewer recognizes and how they are make connections to other portions of the image.

Avatar Of Moro.

Avatar Of Moro

Q.What are you currently working on that we might look forward to?

Currently I am working on a weird non-linear comic-book that will include a lot of rhyming verse in addition to some minor use of appropriated text. The general narrative of the book is inspired by Jim Jarmusch’s most recent movie, The Limits of Control. The film is about this mysterious silent assassin who must meet up with a variety of contacts in order to get him closer to his target. Each contact gives the assassin an item that will help him progress further in his travels, and also offers him a short piece of cryptic advice.

I have written the comic to follow loosely this plot structure, except that it will be stylized using trope from cyberpunk and science-fiction literature. I have been reading a lot of William Gibson, Philip K. Dick, and Neal Stephenson lately to get inspiration and source material, and hopefully I will be able to have it all inked up by the end of the summer. Also I just started renting out my first studio space so I am going to be trying to outfit that for screen-printing this summer as well.

Andrew Remington Bailey

Andrew Remington Bailey’s table at TCAF 2011, Toronto Reference Libraray. Below: Pariah

Pariah.

Together - Process

Together – Process and Final

Together

S&TM: We want to extend our depest thanks and appreciation to Andrew for taking the time to do this interview.


Sean Lewis

Published Date : June 13, 2011

“This series of paintings describes the turning points of various infamous outlaws. Each image dissects the reasons behind why these people abandon societies rules and carve their unlawful paths through life”

The true stories and dark motivations of American history’s most notorious outlaws are the subjects of the latest series of paintings by Toronto illustrator Sean Lewis. From Black Bart to Pablo Escobar, the portraits are fascinatingly ambivalent in their treatment of these grim characters.

The stories are at times tragic, sometimes resembling an anti-hero narrative, or in the case of the Unabomber, simply retold with a shift in emphasis form the commonly told tale. We caught up with Sean Lewis to talk all things vile and villainous.

The Kray Brothers

The Kray Twins: Growing up together in London’s East End, Ronnie and Reggie were one of the most violent organized crime leaders during the 1950’s. As teenagers they were relatively successful lightweight boxers but became more known and feared for their violence outside the ring. They rose through London’s underground and became prominent nightclub owners. They were huge fixtures in the night life there and were affiliated with many celebrities at the time, most notably Frank Sinatra.


Q1>From all the famed criminals throughout history, what drew you to choose these particular ones for your project? Were there certain qualities or characteristics to the story you were looking for?

When it came to researching figures the only quality I was really focused on was telling an interesting story, although I knew each painting needed to play on different emotions and say something different. I was very conscious about the time period they lived in and this played a big role in keeping the body of work from becoming too repetitive. So each person’s era became really important to the painting because it usually dictated the imagery, colour scheme and conceptual devices I would use. 

I also wanted to balance lesser known figures with famous ones so people could hear a story they may not have heard before.

Being sensitive to more disturbing stories and depicting them in a tasteful way was really important to me as well. I didn’t want my work to be a drag to look at, or be about me condemning the already condemned. As long as I could keep a neutral stance on the subject, or depict more disturbing stories in a more poetic way, I was excited to approach their story.

The collection of criminals I ended up with wasn’t preplanned. I would just research them and if something popped into my head or could be worked out then I would go right into sketching.

Pablo Escobar

Pablo Escobar: Rising from one of the poorest regions of Colombia, Pablo went to become one of the richest men on the planet through his vast drug trafficking empire. Notorious for public assassinations on politicians, bribery and extortion, Escobar had almost complete control over his country. Despite this he was championed by the poor for his financial support from which many came to rely on.

Q2>Do you have a favorite story among these – one that fascinates you more than the others?

Black Bart, who I talked about in the previous interview, remains one of my favourite stories because it’s a pretty classic revenge tale. Despite him breaking the law he held onto his own code of ethics. He’d only rob Wells Fargo and never the passengers of the stagecoaches he would target.

My other favourite story was the Barefoot Bandit aka Colton Harris-Moore, which unfortunately was a painting I wasn’t happy enough with to feature! This is so epic and just happened within the past two years.

The short of it is: at 17 he runs away from home Washington State and lives out in the woods. He supports himself by breaking into homes and and stealing food and cash. He’s known to have stolen at least 2 cars, a boat and up to 5 planes which he figured out how to fly on his own! From Indiana he steals a plane and flies it to the Bahamas. He stuck out a little there so the authorities were finally able to close. Although this was after a high speed boat chase where the police had to shoot out the engine of the boat and talk him out of shooting himself. Now he’s back in the states awaiting all the charges faced against him!

Ed Gein: Raised and sheltered by his religiously fanatic mother, he was teased for his effeminate demeanor. Ed went on to dig up the bodies of women at the local graveyard and later murdered two women. When the police raided his home they discovered one of the most horrific crime scenes any have witnessed with skin stretched over furniture, skull bowls, a body suit stitched from skin and many other body parts used in disgusting ways. He was the influence for many horror movies such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho, and Buffalo Bill’s character in Silence of the Lambs.

Ed Gein


Q3>If making art went badly for you and you had to choose a life of villainy, what manner of criminal would you be?

I’d probably get into good ol’ environmental terrorism. Take a similar route as The Unabomber although I’m not into the idea of bombing poor random people… But it would be badass to take an aggressive stand against something I’m worried about. Although it’s a pretty unrealistic thought seeing as I’m a paranoid about even the most petty of crimes like riding my bike at night with no lights…

Andrea Yates

Andrea Yates: Suffering from postpartum depression and dementia Yates lived for a time in a small trailer with her 5 children and husband. They were devoutly religious and “would seek to have as many babies as nature allowed.” The pressure of their growing family proved to be too much for Andrea and after multiple failed suicide attempts she drowned her 5 children in their tub

George Gordon

George Gordon: A drillmaster and eventual brigadier general for the Confederate army. He became the first nation wide Grand Master of the Klu Klux Klan

Andrea Yates

John Torrio: One of the head mob bosses and booze smugglers during prohibition era American. John Torrio immigrated from Italy when he was a child with his mother after the death of his father. Raised in New York City he helped build the criminal empire known as the Chicago Outfit and mentored its successor, Al Capone

Q4> You recently graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design. What (in the best of worlds) do you see yourself doing with your work in the coming months?

I just hope to hold onto the many friendships I’ve made with all the talented people I’ve met these past 5 years and earlier. I know as long as I stick around inspiring work and people with aspirations I wont fall too deeply into laziness or suffer much loss of motivation.

Ideally I’ll continue doing group shows (like the one opening June 3rd called Romance of the Wheel at Jet Fuel), make some neat books with my friend Lisa, some posters for a site being put together by another friend, Symon, and continue to be pushed by everyone else’s great work! Nothing gets me more excited than collaboration and as of now that’s the only way I see myself doing well.

If I can work with bands I love and make a living from freelance illustration I’d be a happy man but I have to get my butt in gear on the promotional and business side of things. But for now I’ll be spending the summer working in Muskoka and when I return I hope to be refreshed and ready to delve right into things with people I really admire!


Ted Kaczynski

Unabomber: Considered a mathematical child prodigy, Ted Kaczynski attended Harvard at the age of 16. After completing his PHD and a short time spent as a professor Ted moved to a remote cabin where he attempted to become self sufficient. It was from here that he started a mail bombing spree that spanned over 20 years. Spurred by the destruction of the wilderness around his home he used bombings to attract attention for his cause. He sent a letter to authorities claiming to stop the bombings if the Times or Washington Post printed his manifesto. It was through this letter that he was eventually apprehended.


Aileen Wuornos

Aileen Wuornos: Born into an unstable home Aileen was abandoned by her mother as a child and raised for a time by her grandparents. From an early age she became sexually active with multiple partners, and at 15 was thrown out of her grandparents house. She lived in the woods and supported herself through prostitution. She later hitchhiked to Florida and it was there that she murdered 7 men whom she claimed had sexually assaulted her while working as a prostitute.

Phil Spector

Phil Spector: A famous music producer throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, Phil is most famous for his recording technique called the “wall of sound”. Suffering from intense bouts of paranoia he was known for violent mood swings and famously pulled a gun on The Ramones. Spector later shot and killed his girlfriend and appeared in many courtrooms with an assortment of ridiculous wigs.


Black Bart

Black Bart: Known for his gentlemanly demeanor when robbing stage coaches, he was most famous for leaving poems at a few of his crime scenes. His criminal career resulted from his troubled history with Wells Fargo. The company approached him when seeking to buy his land where he had a small mining business. After refusing their offer they cut off his water supply and ruined his land. He went on to target and rob only their stage coaches.

S&TM: Huge thanks to Sean for his time and all his help with this interview! We wish you the best for the future!


Germination

Published Date : June 12, 2011

www.communicationgallery.net


Mark P. Hensel

Published Date : June 9, 2011

William Cardini is the tofu-chompin’, wizard-bearded alter-ego of mild-mannered Austin-based writer and programmer Mark P. Hensel. They create comics, drawings, paintings, and animations that explore their psychedelic space fantasy cosmos, the hyperverse. Their comics have been published in the 3D comic Math Fiction, the newsprint anthologies Smoke Signal and Secret Prison, online at arthurmag.com, and elsewhere. Check out more of their work at hypercastle.com.

Mark P Hensel

Assault On Yurg by Mark P Hensel

Comic by Mark P Hensel

Assault On Yurg/p>

Comic by Mark P Hensel

Assault On Yurg

Comic by Mark P Hensel

Assault On Yurg

Comic by Mark P Hensel

Assault On Yurg

Comic by Mark P Hensel

Assault On Yurg

S&TM: Huge thanks to Mark P Hensel for contributing his work to our comic section.


Rajni Perera

Published Date : May 19, 2011

Just like the Russian doll in
Matryoshka with Golden Panties,
Rajni Perera’s paintings are all about
the delight and dread of of peeling back cross-culture layers of meaning.

Her pop sensibilities, applied to traditional miniaturist style, work their way deep into the tangle of Eastern/Western culture and gender questions. While exploring heavy territory, there’s something undeniably weird and fun about Rajni’s work. Having recently been awarded the Drawing/Painting Medal for this year’s graduating class at OCADU, Rajni
spoke with us about her
latest series.

Matryoshka with Golden Panties

Q> Your work draws heavily on the imagery of traditional South-Asian art, yet seems to be playing with the modern influences eastern and western culture have had on each other. As a Sri-Lankan artist living and working in Toronto can you tell us about some of themes addressed in your paintings?

A> One thing that I like to address for sure is the intercourse of kitsch that goes on between Eastern and Western visual culture.

For instance, Bollywood is a response or re-appropriation of Hollywood to a certain degree, and then there are western parodies of it and so on.

Specifically what I like to discuss with the viewer is the visual treatment of the ethnic female body image. I’m not at all the first artist to talk about this in their work but I use a pop-ish, sort of subversive aesthetic to bring the issues of female ethno-sexuality in online or screen culture to light.


Specifically what I like to discuss with the viewer is the visual treatment of the ethnic female body image. I’m not at all the first artist to talk about this in their work but I use a pop-ish, sort of subversive aesthetic to bring the issues of female ethno-sexuality in online or screen culture
to light.

Colored

Q> Paintings like Chinnamasta and Matryoshka with Golden Panties examine representations of eastern women’s body image and sexual identity in both traditional and modern contexts. What are some of the ideas you’re exploring in these works?

A> Well, one thing I’ve had in mind for a while is the idea of the ethno-pornography site. Maybe this will help me to explain what I’m trying to do with my images.

We’ve all seen them- they’re these hyper-stereotypical web images of African girls in beads and wood, Japanese girls in kimonos, and Indian girls in saris; all very subservient, all very saleable; this is my point. There’s something for sale there.

I am trying to take that thing – the downward glance of the Caucasian male spectator – and turn it on its head. Or at least sideways.

Chinnamasta by Rajni Perera

Chinnamasta

We’ve all seen them- they’re these hyper-stereotypical web images of African girls in beads and wood, Japanese girls in kimonos, and Indian girls in saris; all very subservient, all very saleable; this is my point.

Detail of Chinnamasta by Rajni Perera



Q> The dinosaurs are a fun counterpoint to the religious iconography in your paintings. How did they find their way into your images?

A> I love dinosaurs. I don’t know. They’re just there and people really seem to like them, which makes me happy. People say they’re feministic, but I’m just having some fun and painting hot girls on these sort of phallic reptilian beasts.

I find they’re more about my love of style than anything else. This series is separate, it’s called The New Archeology. The others, concerning the East and idols, are called The New Ethnography.

Climbing a Diplodocus

Riding a Gallimimus by Rajni Perera

Riding a Gallimimus


Q>While your paintings reference eastern miniaturist style, can you tell us why they eschew the elaborate scenery leaving only figures on blank backgrounds?

A> My focus is on the treatment of the human body, as I explained before. Eschewing the background is also actually (or more so) an aesthetic decision. If I wanted to paint backgrounds I’d just be doing traditional miniaturism, I think.

Amma by Rajni Perera

Amma

Q>You recently graduated form the Ontario College of Art and Design. What (in the best of worlds) do you see yourself doing with your work in the coming months?

A> I’m continuing both series a little longer and then starting a new one. I have this one in the dino-series of an asian afro-lady riding two crocodiles. Im pretty excited about it. The new series will be in the same vein as The New Ethnography but will feature masks from my home country, which are pretty scary! And also things like food-sex and jewels and garlands of flowers.

Oh, and I plan to move around a lot more. But I do want to represent Toronto and show here and sell here. It’s my hood.

S&TM: Huge thanks to Rajni for her time and all her help with this interview! We wish her the best for the future!


The New Ghost

Published Date : May 16, 2011

Rob Hunter’s art runs against many of the strong currents in the world of comics.
I know tons of comics that are tough, gritty, funny, gross, goofy, dark, trippy, distopian, complex, satirical.
These aren’t bad things at all, but how often do you come across a comic that’s light as air, dreamy and poetic?

Detail from The New Ghost

The New Ghost, Rob Hunter’s first full length comic for Nobrow, tells the tale of noobie ghost who’s strayed far from his fellow spectres. His falling from the sky is noted by Tom, who tracks the birth of stars during nocturnal watches at the nearby observatory. The story follows their meeting and Tom’s efforts to return the New Ghost to the company of his peers.

The art is beautifully minimalist and nuanced and, as with many of the other books published by Nobrow, it’s the colours that really stand out. Robert Hunter is an amazing illustrator and his style lends itself really well to comics. Also be sure to check out his 7 page comic in A Graphic Cosmogony.

» BUY THIS BOOK

» NOBROW’S CATALOG

Page from The New Ghost


Detail from The New Ghost

Detail from The New Ghost

Detail Ghost Print

“Rob Hunter graduated from U.W.E Bristol in 2007 and has been working as a freelance illustrator since. Alongside his professional practice, Rob always makes time to pursue personal projects, such as his growing body of narrative work. For Nobrow, he has produced a 7 page comic which appeared in 2010’s A Graphic Cosmogony, a beautiful tale of creation and destruction told in a bold but gentle manner entirely new to the field of comics. The New Ghost is his first solo comic with Nobrow.”

» BUY THIS PRINT

Detail Ghost Print



TCAF

Published Date : May 14, 2011

This year’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival was bigger than ever as we braved the mobs of thousands of comic fans stampeding the Toronto Reference Library.

Joining us in our travels was fearless Toronto photographer
Sam Javanrouh who documented the weekend’s festivities.

The 6th gathering of the now annual arts festival, founded by The Beguiling‘s Peter Birkemoe and Chris Butcher, brought together fans with their favourite comic artists, writers, and publishers from Canada and abroad.

Photographer Sam Javanrouh by Jeremy Sale

Photo by Jeremy Sale

Sam Javanrouh
Since he moved to Toronto in 1999 from Tehran, Sam has been caputring the changing face of the city, one day at a time, on his photo-blog Daily Dose of Imagery.

Jillian Tamaki - photo by Sam Javanrouh

Jillian Tamaki - photo by Sam Javanrouh

Photos by Sam Javanrouh

Jillian Tamaki, the Brooklyn-based illustrator and comic artist, signs copies of her art book Indoor Voice and graphic novel Skim at the Drawn & Quarterly table.

Seth by Sam Javanrouh

Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Seth, Canadian graphic novelist, author of Palookaville and Bannock, Beans & Black Tea, to name a few, signing at the Drawn & Quarterly table.

Marek Colek – Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Photos by Sam Javanrouh

Marek Colek one half the brilliant Tin Can Forest (aka Marek Colek and Pat Shewchuk) shows off copies of Baba Yaga and The Wolf, nominated this year for a Doug Wright Award, published by Koyama Press.

Edie Fake – Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Lisa Hanawalt – Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Photos by Sam Javanrouh

Edie Fake, Chicago-based artist, author of the phenomenal Gaylord Phoenix at the Secret Acres table.

Lisa Hanawalt showing off her amazing Bird Visions Print and copies of her comic I Want You (1 & 2).

Koyama Press represents with a Last Supper-esque table and an amazing group of artists including Michael DeForge, Dustin Harbin, Hellen Jo, Steve Manale, Steve Wolfhard, Keith Jones, and many more…Michael DeForge (left) signs copies of his book Spotting Deer.

Michael DeForge – Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Koyama Press table – Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Koyama Press table – Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Photo by Sam Javanrouh

TCAF main floor – Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Adrian Tomine – Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Photos by Sam Javanrouh

Adrian Tomine praticipated, the following day, in a panel with Jillian Tamaki and Lorenzo Mattotti on the differnces between comics and illustration.

Chester Brown – Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Chris Ware – Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Photos by Sam Javanrouh

Chester Brown, author of Louis Riel and his latest graphic novel Paying For It, air-doodles for the crowd.

Chris Ware looking bemused at the D&Q table.

Chester Brown – Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Ryan North photo by Sam Javanrouh. Aaron Costain photo by Jessica Fortner.

Ryan North (left) acting out a scene from his online Dinosaur Comics, while Aaron Costain (right), author of the Doug Wright Award nominated Entropy greets fans.

Jesse Jacobs – Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Photos by Sam Javanrouh

Jesse Jacobs draws an arctic snow giant in our copy of Even The Giants, while we try to snatch up some of his amazing prints.

Chris Pitzer – Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Photos by Sam Javanrouh

Chris Pitzer, publisher of Adhouse Books, talking to us about awesome comics like Afrodisiac by Brian Maruca & Jim Rugg.

Chris Pitzer – Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Photos by Sam Javanrouh

Sam Arthur – Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Photos by Sam Javanrouh

Sam Arthur of Nobrow proudly displays the collection of über-beautifully drawn and produced books. Look out for the forthcoming book The New Ghost by Robert Frank Hunter, published by Nobrow

Britt Wilson and Vicki Nerino – Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Photos by Sam Javanrouh

Vicki Nerino (left) and Britt Wilson surviving the hectic TCAF crowds.

Kate Beaton – Photos by Sam Javanrouh

Photos by Sam Javanrouh

Kate Beaton sigining prints from her hugely popular online series Hark! A Vargrant

Kate Beaton – Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Kate Beaton drawing for fans beside stacks of her book Never Learn Anything From History.

Tiny Kitten Teeth – Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Tiny Kitten Teeth fans mob the table of creators of the popular online comic.

Toronto Comic Arts Festival: Pencil it In from Toronto Comic Arts Festival on Vimeo.

Director: Christopher Hutsul
Director of Photography: Vinit Borrison
Producer: Nick Sorbara
Executive Producer: Jacinte Faria
Editorial: Melanie Hider, Bijou Editorial
Score: “Background Noise (Don’t Become)” by Solvent, Courtesy Ghostly International
Sound Design: Vapor Music
Online Artist + Colourist: Hardave Grewal, RedLab
Graphic Novelists: Chester Brown, Michael Comeau, Steve Charles Manale, Vicki Nerino, Michael Cho, Michael DeForge, Seth, Fiona Smyth + Britt Wilson.

A Hard Citizen Production.

S&TM: Our sincerest thanks to Sam Javanrouh for all his help and wonderful photos!


THE NEXT DAY - Montreal Book Launch w John Porcellino MAY

Published Date : May 10, 2011

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=101219233299904


What is Bü? Art Showcase & Launch Party

Published Date : May 10, 2011

http://www.crywolfclothing.com/bu/launch.html


Smiling Antimatter

Published Date : May 4, 2011

https://smilingantimatter.wordpress.com/


Illustrated Type

Published Date : May 4, 2011

http://www.gallerynucleus.com/gallery/exhibition/285


"The Show Off": the 96th Annual Graduate Exhibition

Published Date : May 4, 2011

http://apache.ocad.ca/events_calendar/eventdetail.php?id=2882


Maya Hayuk & Jen Stark

Published Date : May 4, 2011

http://news.showandtellgallery.com/2011/04/upcoming-jen-stark.html


Nadja Sayej

Published Date : May 1, 2011

Watching an episode of ArtStars* is like a shot of high-grade art criticism, cut with sly wit and humour. The perfect cure for gallery opening blues.

The online art show, hosted by Gonzo art critic Nadja Sayej, quickly turned the Toronto art scene on its head, with guerrilla tactics drop-in interviews at local art openings. Effortlessly courting controversy attired in an array of über-glam outfits, Sayej has simultaneously elevated the level of art discourse in Toronto, while injecting a much needed sense of fun and irreverence.

ArtStars* has since gone on world tour with stops in Iceland, Finland, and Germany. We caught up with Nadja to talk about art, Gonzo journalism, and the future of ArtStars*.

Photo by: Gwen Lim-Brydson. www.gbrydsonphotography.com

Q. It takes some pretty huge balls to do what you do. What prompted you to go the Gonzo journalism route over being a more conventional kind of art critic?

Nadja Sayej: Conventional art critics don’t stand out, they conform. What am I motivated by? Opening the pages of Artforum and wishing it was Playboy because then I might actually be interested – or entertained. The fire in my soul comes from going against the blockbuster academic jargon and art theory so often found in art criticism – even in video art criticism. I care as much about the art as the political art world that surrounds it, and revealing it – Gonzo style. Conventional art critics are timid, I’m not. I actually want to have fun. It’s serious business.

ArtStars* 52 – Michael Triegel on God in Leipzig

ArtStars*: Michael Triegel was commissioned by the Catholic Church to paint a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI. We went to the opening. Here we are at the racuous celebration of his solo exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Leipzig, Germany. When asked: “Has this regained your faith in God?” Triegel replies: “It’s private.”

Q. ArtStars* is now over 50 episodes into it’s run as an online show. How has your approach to doing the show evolved? Have your goals for the show changed?

Nadja Sayej: Yes! Of course it has. The goal is Damien Hirst. I’d love to interview that man about fame in the art world and whether he’s deserving of it on any level. How does he deal with the haters? The jealousy? The enemies pretending to be friends, the hanger-ons, the groupies?

I think the show has become less about the culture of art openings and more about tracking down the big-name art stars – I’ve covered Peaches, Douglas Coupland, Alex Grey, Carsten Holler, Cyprien Gaillard, the doppelganger of Mark Flood, and the hit list includes Yoko Ono, Jeff Koons, Marina Abramovic, David Lachapelle – even New York art critic Jerry Saltz. He’s on their level and doesn’t even realize it.

ArtStars* has left Toronto and we’re in the big league now. Anything’s possible in the city of Berlin.

Nadja Sayej portrait by Patrick Struys

Photo by Patrick Struys, patrickstruys.com


ArtStars* 54 – Cyprien Gaillard

ArtStars*: When we uploaded this video, Berlin gallery Sprüeth Magers asked us to take it down. But why? Is it because German tax payers paid for a 40,000€ pyramid of beer? French artist Cyprien Gaillard talks to ArtStars* at the top of the K-W Institute of Contemporary Art to find out why the party pyramid.

Q. You were recently asked by Cyprien Gaillard’s gallery to take his episode of ArtStars* off of YouTube. While many ArtStars* interviewees seem pretty sporting about your interview style, have you ever gotten any reaction from the artists you didn’t expect or couldn’t handle?

Nadja Sayej: I’m prepared for everything, really. There’s nothing I haven’t seen: Legal threats. Irate galleries. And one British art dealer at Preview Berlin literally shooed us away, screaming profanities. It would be fun to make a DVD of all the bad interviewees that were never released, and that’s what ArtStars* is becoming – a bit of a tabloid. Stay tuned!

I feel like Howard Stern meets Hunter S. Thompson in the body of Anna Nicole Smith but with the mind of a gay man. Like Pepé Le Pew. I always felt he was gay. But the Cyprien episode is totally worth a watch.

Nadja Sayej talks to Peaches! Photo by Chrisoph Wehrer: http://christophwehrer.de/

Nadja talks to Peaches in Kreuzberg, Berlin. Photo by Chrisoph Wehrer, christophwehrer.de

We got so much press. New York art critic Jerry Saltz posted the video on his FB profile and hundreds from his comment army clicked away. Some were saying that nothing so fun could happen in New York, and they’re right. You can still make waves in Berlin, New York is a place to warm someone else’s seat. And Toronto? I’d be nothing without my haters. The more they attack me, the more famous I become.

ArtStars* 53 – Peaches

ArtStars*: We caught up with Canadian performance artist and electroclash superstar Peaches at the Roses bar in Berlin. We reminisced about Toronto, what it was like living down the street from the AGO and the scoop behind this year’s Massive Party, upcoming on April 14 (that was *before* we got into a cat fight, believe it or not). The blue glasses are done with.


ArtStars* 6 – Keith Jones

ArtStars*: Keith Jones at Hunter and Cook Gallery, June 5, 2009. Comic extravaganza – and garbage. hunterandcook.com


Nadja Sayej portrait by Alyssa Bistonath http://www.alyssabistonath.com/

Photo by Alyssa Bistonath www.alyssabistonath.com


S&TM: Thank you so much Nadja for doing this interview!


Root Rot

Published Date : April 22, 2011

One look at Michael DeForge’s deeply weird and beautiful cover art, depicting the romantic entanglements of a forest dwelling ghost and a Sasquatch, will tell you that Root Rot is no typical forest-themed art book.

Drop Cap letter B

Bringing together the talents of 16 artists, each given 2 pages to run amok with the title theme, Root Rot is a strange excursion into our collective imagination of what goes on in the woodland’s strangest corners.

With consistently amazing art from cover to cover, what is most interesting about Root Rot is seeing how each of the artists took the theme in their own direction. While Jon Vermilyea’s iridescent trip-out is instant eye-candy, Robin Nishio’s blood-thirsty squirrel still haunts our dreams days after the last reading. Joseph Lambert, Angie Wang, and Jesse Jacob’s short comics effectively allude to larger stories, while Inés Estrada’s vision of the forest is a singular sprawling dream-scape.

Root Rot, the latest offering from the maverick Toronto-based Koyama Press, was co-edited by artist Michael DeForge and Annie Koyama. We caught up with Annie to talk to her about all things Root Rot ahead of its launch at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival in May.

@holharris & @jaredschorr each won a copy of Root Rot by tweeting this review.

Annie Koyama Interview

The title “Root Rot” has a rather seedy undertone for a forest themed art book. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired the title and theme?

Annie Koyama: I like anthologies and wanted to work with Michael DeForge on something other than his ‘LOSE’ series of comics.

We wanted a theme that was quite broad to give the artists the most freedom to create but also something that in Michael’s words would have a unifying aesthetic.

I may also have had beautiful forests on the brain after working with Tin Can Forest on their ‘Baba Yaga and the Wolf’ book. Michael came up with ‘Root Rot’ as a working title but it sort of grew on us (sorry) and we decided to keep it.

Jesse Jacobs

Jesse Jacobs


T Edward Bak

T Edward Bak

Root Rot features an incredibly eclectic group of artists. How did you go about choosing them? What qualities were you looking for in the work?

Annie Koyama: We both made lists of who we’d like to invite. Not surprisingly, there was some overlap. I’d personally hoped for some comics and some non comic spreads but did not put any restrictions on anyone. We chose a variety of cartoonists, animators, printmakers and illustrators.

We narrowed down our lists by trying to go with artists in Canada and the U.S. but we love Inés Estrada (Mexico City) and wanted to include her. That group of artists gave us some very different styles.

Angie Wang

Angie Wang


Jon Vermilyea

Jon Vermilyea

T Edward BakRobin NishioJason FischerJesse JacobsMickey ZacchilliBob FlynnLizz HickeyDan ZettwochChris EliopoulosJoseph LambertJon VermilyeaDerek M.BallardAngie WangGreg PizzoliHellen JoInnés Estrdada

Koyama Press books debuting at this years Toronto Comic Arts Festival:

Colour Me Busy

Colour Me Busy,
by Keith Jones

Rackham Loses It

Rackham Loses It,
by Steve Wolfhard

Lose 3

Lose 3,
by Michael DeForge

Monster Party

Monster Party,
by Chris ‘Elio’ Eliopoulos

S&TM: Huge thanks to Annie Koyama for her time and all her help with this interview!


Even The Giants

Published Date : April 10, 2011

The bleak expanse of the Arctic can get lonely, so it helps to have company – even if it comes in monstrous forms.

Jesse Jacobs’ new book Even The Giants is a story of solitude, wonder, and turbulence, as it follows the adventures of an Arctic giant couple crossing paths with the motley inhabitants of their polar neck of the woods.

Written and drawn by the supernaturally talented Canadian artist Jesse Jacobs, Even The Giants is beautifully minimal in its silent story-telling and its monochrome blue artwork. As the main story is inter-cut by episodes from his trippy existential comic One Million Mouths, Jesse Jacobs balances sharp humor with meditative mood.

Published by AdHouse books, and debuting this May at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, Even The Giants is one not to miss.

Excerpt form Even The Giants by Jesse Jacobs

Interview with Jesse Jacobs about his book Even The Giants

Even The Giants brings together a generally wild and diverse cast of characters: Inuit hunters, Arctic monsters, snow bunnies, a shipping container stowaway and a clan of bearded mariners. Can you tell us a bit about the characters and what inspired this story?

Jesse Jacobs: Everything in the book is fairly experimental. The process of creating Even the Giants was ultimately an attempt to figure out how to use comics in a way that I was comfortable with.

More than anything else the book is an exploration of isolation. The characters exist by themselves, in a vast landscape of the desolate arctic. Most of the short strips involve a singular voice reacting aggressively to some sort of trespass against them.

All of the characters are pretty insulated and unknowable; even the characters that cohabitate panels demonstrate a kind of solitude. That is why I drew one of the Giants in a lighter tone; I was attempting to illustrate a disconnect between the two characters. I think this theme unconsciously came out of my own experience of moving to a new city where I didn’t know anyone, and spending most of my time on a solitary activity.

Excerpt form Even The Giants by Jesse Jacobs

All of the characters are pretty insulated and unknowable; even the characters that cohabitate panels demonstrate a kind of solitude.

– Jesse Jacobs

Excerpt form Even The Giants by Jesse Jacobs


Excerpt form Even The Giants by Jesse Jacobs

All of your books so far have had at least one surprisingly epic/tragic moment. We’re thinking of the climactic death of the circus ring-master in Small Victories and the ending of Blue Winter. Can you tell us (in your opinion) what makes a good story, and about your approach to narrative writing for comics?

Jesse Jacobs: When I was drawing this comic I was interested in tone and mood rather than creating a solid traditional narrative. I enjoy narratives, especially ones that require the reader to do a lot of the work, and have fun trying to write them, but this book wasn’t so much about that as it was an effort to create a kind of feeling.

Through that emerged a loose story, where I brought some of the characters together to arrive at some sort of resolution. I couldn’t help myself but to force a soul shattering tragedy upon the characters, it just seemed to work with the themes.


Your One Million Mouths comics are deftly interspersed between chapters of the Even The Giants. What, to you, are the parallels between these two very different comics that make them work so well together?

Jesse Jacobs: The short strips typically focus on a character’s reaction to some sort of grievance against them, and are charged with a lot of emotion, while the longer narrative attempts to achieve a quiet and desolate tone.

I attempted to weave the two styles together in a sort of contrast. I was aiming to have the two play off of one another in an effort to enhance the mood of each, resulting in the arctic scenes seeming even more muted and the voices of the short strips even louder and more emotional than they would be on their own.

Excerpt form Even The Giants by Jesse Jacobs


Your previous books Small Victories and Blue Winter, Shapes in the Snow were self published making Even The Giants your first book to see general release (published by AdHouse Books). Did you approach the writing of this book differently knowing it would reach a wider audience?

Jesse Jacobs: I didn’t realize the book would be professionally published until after it was finished. I intended to self publish it. I approached Ethan Rilly, who drew the book Pope Hats, about applying for a Xeric grant (as he was awarded one a few years ago).

After he read the book he was kind enough to send it to Chris Pitzer (of AdHouse Books) who offered to put it out. I love self-publishing and will definitely continue to make little minis but getting published is a huge leap forward for me. Not having to worry about production costs or distribution is very helpful.

Jesse Jacobs' studio

Jesse Jacobs’ studio.


Preparatory sketches for Even The Giants by Jesse Jacobs

Finish this sentence: Even the Giants…

Jesse Jacobs: ….get the blues.

Preparatory sketches for Even The Giants.


S&TM: We want to thank Jesse Jacobs and AdHouse Books for all their help and for taking the time to do this interview!


Andrea Wan

Published Date : March 31, 2011

Memories, the subconscious, and the anxieties in our everyday lives are some of the themes I’m interested in.

– Andrea Wan

The illustrations of Vancouver-based artist Andrea Wan read like dreams, mystifying yet lucid. Her characters explore environments of the subconscious, seemingly suspended in a white void. The usual flow of time breaks up and objects take on a life of their own.

After graduating with a film degree from Emily Carr University, Andrea shifted her strong visual sense and love of storytelling to studying illustration and design at Designskolen Kolding in Denmark.

While exhibiting her fine art works at San Francisco’s Gallery Hijinks, Andrea has rocked editorial illustrations for a range of publications like Nylon, Montecristo Magazine and the Globe and Mail.

The Wait by Andrea Wan

The Wait

Q. Your personal work seems to draw heavily on the logic of dreams and the subconscious. We love some of the recurring images such as houses nested within each other like Russian dolls. Can you tell us a bit about the themes you address, and how you approach your personal work?

Cat by Andrea Wan

A. Houses has always been an ongoing subject of interest to me. I grew up in the suburbs where I spent most of my time until I moved out last year. In a place with urban sprawls and shopping malls everything seemed to have a recursive pattern.

There were very little interactions between people on the street as they are busy with their own lives. In the evenings, I used to take long walks alone in my neighbourhood, observing the houses and trying to imagine the lives of people inside by looking at clues from their lawns.

I often felt isolated while living in the suburbs and only wanted to stay home and draw. In my art I explored my response to the surrounding environment, integrating personal feelings with imagined landscapes.

Memories, the subconscious, and the anxieties in our everyday lives are some of the themes I’m interested in. I simply see my personal work as an outlet for my emotions and an on-going process of self discovery.


Q. After completing your degree in Film, Video and Integrated Media at Emily Carr University you went on to study illustration and design at Designskolen Kolding, in Denmark. What prompted the switch to illustration, and why choose to study in Denmark?

A. During my final year at Emily Carr, I worked on an animated film with a hand-drawn, illustrative look for my grad project. Some people asked if I have ever considered doing Illustration after watching my film. I didn’t have a concrete idea what I wanted to do but I was opened to trying new things.

At the same time I really needed a break from Vancouver to travel around and live somewhere else. Designskolen Kolding happened to be one of the few schools in Europe offered illustration and design courses in English, so I stayed and studied there for about 7 months after traveling around for a month.

Untitled Self Portrait by Andrea Wan

Untitled Self Portrait

In my art I explored my response to the surrounding environment, integrating personal feelings with imagined landscapes.

The Only Way In.





Andrea Wan’s studio (left), and sketech  “Fragile”.

Andrea Wan’s studio (left), and sketech “Fragile”.

S&TM: We would like to thank Andrea Wan for making amazing work and taking the time to do this interview.


Kris Kuksi

Published Date : March 27, 2011

http://www.narwhalartprojects.com/events-exhibitions/kris-kuksi/


Toronto Hearts Japan

Published Date : March 27, 2011

http://www.torontoheartsjapan.com/


Andrew Hem

Published Date : March 27, 2011

http://news.showandtellgallery.com/2011/03/upcoming-andrew-hem.html


Tessar Lo: Maps

Published Date : March 27, 2011

http://news.showandtellgallery.com/2011/03/upcoming-tessar-lo.html


Heather Watts

Published Date : March 27, 2011

At the heart of every one of Heather Watts’ paintings are an epic struggle, a sinister threat, a tragic loss, and an underdog victory. The heroes of her allegorical scenes face the full range of life’s slings and arrows, yet the sense is always there that good might yet triumph over evil.

The Vancouver-based painter has been steadily evolving her narrative perspective since her professional debut in 2003, painting Tiki-styled scenes of mystery. Her previous series of paintings , The End Is Near (2007), introduced many of the thematic arcs now characteristic of her work.

Though strongly connected to the approach and aesthetic of Pop Surrealists like Mark Ryden, Heather’s work delves into her own personal explorations of inner strength and morality.

Hot on the heels of the success of The Lowbrow Tarot, a group show of Tarot card inspired art for which she painted The Wheel of Fortune, Heather is now readying her stellar solo exhibition Small Heroes at La Luz De Jesus Gallery in LA.

Heather Watts online:
Website | Shoppe | Facebook | Twitter

Since your start as a painter in 2003 your work has evolved dramatically, yet there’s a strong feeling of continuity to your themes. Your last solo show The End is Near in 2007 had a raucous apocalyptic vibe. Small Heroes, the title of your upcoming show, suggest a more hopeful outlook. What does Small Heroes mean to you, and what what kind of work can we expect to see?

What Small Heroes means to me, and what the work really stems from, even before this series, is a sense of idealism. Not about the world as a whole but about the individual. In that way I guess there is something hopeful about it. I see a lot of darkness in the world, but in the individual I see glimmers of possibility, potential for strength and honour, perseverance and courage in the face of struggle.

That’s what Small Heroes is about for me: that ideal, that inner potential which doesn’t always have a lot of opportunity to shine in our daily lives. I sometimes describe it as being like the glow of a lantern. You can’t always see it when the world around you is bright, but when night comes, when the world is dark, even the smallest amount of light is like a beacon. To me, these paintings are of characters discovering their inner lanterns, finding ways to shine, to be beacons in the darkness. There’s something so personal and thankless and humbling about that act which I think makes it heroic. That’s the spirit I’ve tried to draw on in creating this work.

There’s definitely a thread that connects Small Heroes to the work I did for The End is Near, but what sets Small Heroes apart for me is that it represents the first time I’ve consistently tried to create work that reflects this very precious part of my inner world, rather than trying to simply address a larger theme. In a strange way, these paintings for Small Heroes are like still life paintings to me, only instead of working from a bunch of objects set up on a table in front of me, I’ve been painting from something within, from some inner muse, my own inner ‘lantern’ maybe. If you can imagine me inside my own head, setting this part of my being up on a mental table and walking around it, viewing it from different angles, at different distances, under different lenses, you’ll begin to get an idea of where these paintings come from and the intensely personal meaning they have to me.

The images that make up Small Heroes are interpretations of this same thing as it reveals different parts of itself through the characters, stories and struggles of each painting. Doing this work has really inspired me, because I feel like it is very much a first step, like I’ve only just scratched the surface of whatever it is I’m looking for. I think that’s what keeps me painting, the possibility of stripping away more layers and searching for new stories and new ways to tell them with each work.

Pearls of Wisdom by Heather Watts

Pearls of Wisdom

I see a lot of darkness in the world, but in the individual I see glimmers of possibility, potential for strength and honour, perseverance and courage in the face of struggle.

The Rat King by Heather Watts

The Rat King

The Protector by Heather Watts

The Protector

The Rat King in progress by Heather Watts

The Rat King in progress

You’re a self-taught artist who has become quite successful. Did you find it difficult, or liberating to bypass traditional art instruction? Can you tell us a bit about your working process and how you approach making art day to day?

Looking back, I’m really glad I was self-taught, and that I got a solid university liberal arts education which I think is even more instrumental in the art I create now. But being self-taught has definitely come with it’s challenges. In one sense I think it made everything that much more difficult when I was starting out because I didn’t have the support of friends or mentors in the arts, or any general knowledge of the industry. I also didn’t have the years of practice and experimentation in other media that being a full time art student gives you. Everything was trial and error. It was incredibly scary. At the same time, the reason I’m so glad now to have been self-taught is that I credit it for a lot of the uniqueness and originality in my work.

Because I was such a quiet, don’t-rock-the-boat type of kid back in high school, I feel like if I had gone on to art school after that, the teaching itself, combined with the natural pressure to fit in and the osmosis of absorbing things around me would have tempered my work into something that was less ‘me’ and more ‘other people’. Instead I feel like I’ve had this gift of being able to develop a style organically in isolation that is really a genuine reflection of my attempts to explore what I want to create and why

It’s an ongoing process that continues with every painting, and I definitely haven’t ruled out the possibility of pursuing some art schooling in the future as I pick up oil paints and try other media.

As far as my process goes, or my approach to making art day to day, it is constantly in flux, changing according to my workload and the projects I’m working on. Also it’s by no means refined to where I want it to be.

I procrastinate a lot. I have trouble taking time off. I find it’s so easy to let painting take over and the mundane things pile up, like accounting, filing, returning emails. I think that’s maybe the thing people forget sometimes about artists, that unless they’re lucky enough to be fully financed or have someone who can manage all that stuff for them, being an artist is actually a really difficult balancing act of two huge jobs, art and business, a balance where it’s incredibly easy to get pulled too far in one direction or the other.

There is a chasm between what I see there and what I’m able to paint, but something like the rough edges of a piece of slate, or the grain of raw wood can add an extra element of feeling, a reality or presence to the piece that isn’t there in just the image.

Detail from New Gods by Heather Watts

Detail from New Gods

Similarly, with the velvet, I had a hunch that that the light-absorbing nature of the black would really lend itself to a contrast with the illuminated style of my work. It’s amazing, but everything just glows brighter on that rich black background like it never could on a background of black paint or paper. I’m now experimenting with black light paints on velvet to take even more advantage of this property of the medium.

The second thing that has drawn me to experiment with different materials is much more mundane but just as important, maybe more so, and that is practicality. Being an artist is difficult. It’s a lot of work. If I can find a way to make things easier on myself, to speed the development of my work and get more of it out into the world without having to give something up or compromise something then that is a big accomplishment.

Bestest Halloween Ever by Heather Watts

Bestest Halloween Ever

With the velvet paintings, I remember thinking that if I could master those, I would be able to produce a whole series of work in a lot less time, do something novel and different to intrigue people as compared to ‘traditional’ velvet painting or the non-velvet works I was doing, paint more, charge less, all while learning new techniques and making new connections. So aside from really wanting to try it artistically there was an endless list of practical benefits behind my decision to pursue velvet work alongside my other painting.

S&TM: We want to extend our deepest thanks and appreciation to Heather for all her generous time and enthusiasm doing this interview in the midst of preparing for her show!


Nick Edwards

Published Date : March 24, 2011

Nick Edwards is a cartoonist from London. He currently studies illustration in Brighton. He will have his first comic book, Dinopopolous, published by Blank Slate Books later this year. Other interests include pizza and cats.

Nick can also be found on his livejournal, Team Dynamite Lazer Beam.

Nick Edwards
Comic by Nick Edwards

Twan Bwop Dup! by Nick Edwards

Comic by Nick Edwards

Isometric Platforms by Nick Edwards.

Comic by Nick Edwards

Planet Sunday by Nick Edwards

Comic by Nick Edwards

Insect Map by Nick Edwards

Comic by Nick Edwards

Cat and Neil by Nick Edwards

Comic by Nick Edwards

Dinopopolous cover from Nicks forthcoming book Dinopopolous published by Blank Slate

Comic by Nick Edwards

Dino Good time – a page from Nicks forthcoming book Dinopopolous published by Blank Slate

S&TM: We want to thank Nick for contributing his fantastic work to our comic section.


Luke Pearson

Published Date : March 16, 2011

Luke Pearson is an illustrator and comic book artist from the UK. His comics can be found in anthologies such as Solipsistic Pop and A Graphic Cosmogony, music newspaper The Stool Pigeon, the self-published Dull Ache as well as scattered across the Internet. His first book ‘Hildafolk’ was published by Nobrow Press in 2010 with his second ‘Everything We Miss’ due in June 2011. You can find all his work at www.lukepearson.com

Luke Pearson
Comic by Luke Pearson

Long-Forgotten Fairytale

Comic by Luke Pearson

How to Exist for a Day

S&TM: Huge thanks to Luke Pearson for contributing his work to our comic section.


Diana Tamblyn

Published Date : March 16, 2011

Canadian cartoonist Diana Tamblyn‘s stories draw on the personal and historical in a way that is both immediate and touching. Whether she’s recounting one man’s quest to re-create a World War 1 canon, or her first experiences as a new mother, Tamblyn’s focus is always on the human aspect: the character’s perspectives and experiences.

Her crisp black and white artwork is incredibly expressive, complementing her direct and intimate approach to storytelling.

Tamblyn, who has been publishing comics for over a decade, mostly in mini-comics format, is now working on a full length graphic novel “From Earth to Babylon: The Story of Gerald Bull and the Supergun.”

Comics by Diana Tamblyn

Comics by Diana Tamblyn

There You Were by Diana Tamblyn

Pages from There You Were.

The Paris Guns and Diana Tamblyn

The Paris Guns by Diana Tamblyn

Duty Must Be Done by Diana Tamblyn

Duty Must Be Done by Diana Tamblyn

The Toca Loca Project by Diana Tamblyn

The Toca Loca Project by Diana Tamblyn.

S&TM: Many thanks to Diana Tamblyn for sending us such wonderful comics!


Diana Tamblyn

Published Date : March 7, 2011

http://www.dianatamblyn.com/


Alex McLeod

Published Date : March 5, 2011

http://www.alxclub.com/


Ryan Snook

Published Date : March 4, 2011

http://www.ryansnook.com/


Joy Ang

Published Date : March 3, 2011

http://www.joyang.ca/


BORING. PEOPLE. LOVE. DRILLS

Published Date : March 2, 2011

http://blog.carouselmagazine.ca/?p=213


Back To Beyond

Published Date : March 2, 2011

http://seanlewisdraws.blogspot.com/2011/02/back-to-beyond.html


Mike Kerr

Published Date : March 2, 2011

http://www.wronghand.com/


Adrienne Kammerer

Published Date : February 27, 2011

http://adriennekammerer.blogspot.com/


Good Folks

Published Date : February 27, 2011

http://news.showandtellgallery.com/2011/02/upcoming-good-folks.html


Edward Kwong

Published Date : February 26, 2011

Header by Edward Kwong for Squidface & The Meddler

Drop Cap letter M

Montreal-based illustrator Edward Kwong proudly mines the gamut of art movements of the first half of the 20th century to create images both familiar and strikingly new. His graphic approach is a mashup of Art Deco, Futurism, German Expressionism, crossed with the urgency of comic book art and bold typography.

His portraits of Greek gods in his “Mythos” project are rendered in a style that feels like something between Art Nouveau and Deco, but are intimate and original re-interpretations of the
age old themes.

We caught up with Edward Kwong to talk about his inspiration and work in the upcoming Anthology Project Volume 2.

Zeus by Edward Kwong

Zeus

Your art has a strong current of Art Deco styling to it. What is it about the art and design from that period that inspires you? What are some of your other influences?

There’s always been something strangely timeless for me about the ’20s and ’30s that I’ve always been fond of, whether being its music, its fashion, architecture, or its art and design; those decades stick out in my mind as having a particular sense of audaciousness and modern elegance that I admire, both aesthetically and in terms of creative spirit.

That coupled with the fact that Art Deco incorporates other design styles and movements (Neoclassical sculpture and architecture, Cubist painting, Constructivist poster design) that have influenced my work in one way or another over the years, will give you a good indication as to why I have an inclination towards the style.

Beyond that, I’m interested in Mythology, Orientalism, Symbolism, ’50s and ’60s design/illustration, and poster design in general. I should also mention those individuals who continue to inspire me to push myself further to no end, guys like Gustav Klimt, J.C. Leyendecker, Charley Harper and James Jean to name a few.

Sun Wu Kong by Edward Kwong

Sun Wu Kong

Those decades stick out in my mind as having a particular sense of audaciousness and modern elegance that I admire, both aesthetically and in terms of creative spirit.

The Anthology Project Volume 2 cover by Edward Kwong

The Anthology Project Volume 2 cover

We love the images from your Mythos Project, which you descried as “A compendium of reinterpretations of the Greek Pantheon”. Can you tell us about what prompted this series and what you draws you to Greek mythology as source material?

The Mythos Project started out of a desire to step as far away from the classical representations of the Greek pantheon, and a choice to skew the image that I think most people in western culture have in their minds when they think of what say Zeus or Poseidon look like.

There’s so much symbolism and richness to each myth that it provides a plethora of ways to mold each character to whatever fashion I see fit, to extrapolate my interpretation of their characters. I suppose it’s my way, through art, of further appropriating the myth of those who have been adopted before. Just as the Romans gave Greek gods new names, I’ll try to give them new faces for modern times and for “posterity’s sake”, as a good friend of my mine so often says.

Furthermore, I’m fond of the notion of deities, as seemingly all wise and powerful as they are, having the propensity to be as emotional and petty as humans. Where else, but in Greek mythology do you find gods who routinely meddle in earthly affairs for their own whims, that sleep around and throw tantrums when they don’t get what they want? Olympus, that’s where.

Hades and Persephone by Edward Kwong

Hades and Persephone

Apollo by Edward Kwong

Apollo

What were some of your favourite projects to work on
and why?

I find it hard to pick favourites among my past projects, or rather, I can’t say if I have one. I try as much as possible to enjoy an aspect of creation from each and every one. Some more, some less. It’s always nice to have projects that invite me to push myself as far as possible and encourage me to take risks creatively.

More often than not, personal projects excite me more so than commercial work. All the better if whatever I happen to be working on manages to make me feel nostalgic or bring me back to that feeling of unbridled awesomeness you get when you’re a kid drawing something you love, and the world your focused in makes utter sense. That’s a great feeling to be reminded of.

Sniff Sniff by Edward Kwong

Sniff Sniff

The Roosters by Edward Kwong

The Roosters

Edward Kwong

Edward Kwong

Anything on the horizon we can look forward to from you?

I illustrated the cover and have a short comic in “The Anthology Project Vol. 2”, a comic anthology that will be coming out this spring, published by Lucidity Press.

I’m also starting as the colourist for a new DC title called, “The Witchlands”, written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by Connor Willumsen. It should be out later this year.

Keep an eye out on my blog for more additions to the Mythos Project as time goes on.

King of All Cosmos by Edward Kwong

King of All Cosmos

Tokatsu Dance Party by Edward Kwong

Tokatsu Dance Party

S&TM: We’d like to thank Edward Kwong for taking the time to do this interview and for contributing the beautful header artwork!


Marian Bantjes: I Wonder

Published Date : February 20, 2011

http://www.ocad.ca/about_ocad/articles/news_releases/20110203_marian_bantjes.htm


Box Brown

Published Date : February 12, 2011

Box Brown is a cartoonist and illustrator living in Philadelphia, PA. He has been creating the web and print comic Bellen! since 2006. He is currently developing the world’s largest body of comic work but still trails Osamu Tezuka by many many hundreds of thousands of pages. He has studied under the tutelage of Tom Hart (Hutch Owen) and the greatest teacher of all, life.

Check out this recent review of Everything Dies #5 on Avoid The Future.

Box Brown
Comic by Box Brown

Unpublished

Debate Between Bird and Fish

Sample page from the forthcoming “Debate Between Bird and Fish”.

I Survived by Box Brown

I Survived, excerpt from a 3 page comic for Pat Aulisio‘s 3-D anthology “Math Fiction”.

Box Brown

Page from a children’s book in collaboration with Daniel Helmstetter


Kazoo! Festival

Published Date : February 9, 2011

http://www.kazookazoo.ca/


Winnie Truong

Published Date : February 3, 2011

http://www.winnietruong.com/


Matthew Forsythe

Published Date : February 3, 2011

http://comingupforair.net/


Michael DeForge

Published Date : February 3, 2011

http://kingtrash.com/


Vicki Nerino

Published Date : February 3, 2011

http://www.vickinerino.com/


Britt Wilson

Published Date : February 3, 2011

http://brittwilson.com/


Chris Brett

Published Date : February 3, 2011

http://chrisbrett.ca/


Get your illustration fix

Published Date : February 3, 2011

http://www.yveslaroche.com/en/news_details.php?id=171&page=1#news


Black Ice: David Blackwood Prints of Newfoundland

Published Date : February 3, 2011

http://www.ago.net/black-ice-david-blackwoods-prints-of-newfoundland


Sketchkrieg Presents Paper Trail

Published Date : February 3, 2011

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=131516590246287


Andy Kehoe

Published Date : January 28, 2011

The characters in Andy Kehoe’s paintings inhabit a place frozen between the last golden days of autumn and the coming dead of winter. Similarly, their lives seem stuck between some previous idyllic period where nature was untamed, and the encroaching trappings of civilization. For his upcoming show at Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York, the Pittsburgh-based painter continues to evolve his complex, wild and melancholy world.

We’ve come to love many of the characters in your paintings (in particular the one made of spectral white vines and disembodied blue eyes, and the man wearing a helmet of blue leaves). Are the re-occurring scenes and people in your paintings a way of telling some on-going larger story?

There is definitely an overarching story going on, but it’s mostly day to day tales of strange characters in a strange world. I like feeling like a silent observer visiting an unknown, bizarre land and watching these characters from afar while chronicling their activities. There are certainly some characters that come to the forefront.

The spectral flower vines are some of the spirits that wander around. There is a whole spirit world that exists closely with the living world.

The veil separating the two is pretty thin, so there are regular encounters between the living and spirit world. Some of the more magical creatures live freely in both.

The blue-headed character is kind of a strange case. He’s a sort of weed and parasite that touches trees and takes them over to produce more blue leaves. His blue leaves have become valuable and often used as currency so he’s been kind of pulled into the civilized world. There are tales behind a lot of the characters. Hopefully I find a way to tell them all one day.


Onward Again My Friend by Andy Kehoe

Onward Again My Friend

Can you tell us why some of the animals in your paintings are wearing suits, scarves, sweaters? Have they spent time in civilization?

There is more civilized part of the land that’s more practical… well, as practical as they can be I guess. They have things like clothes, leaders, laws and taxes and a lot of the bullshit we have to deal with everyday. There are also creatures that reside mostly in the forest and some outlying islands that live wildly and are more steeped in magic and nature.

A Welcome to Coming Days by Andy Kehoe

A Welcome to Coming Days

You have a big solo show coming up this March at Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York. Do you have any special regimen for preparing for a show? Where did the idea for the show title “Strange Wanderings” come from?

I usually start my larger and more involved pieces first so I can work on them through out the first couple months or so. I use mostly oil paint so I have to plan out which paintings will take the longest and which paintings I can start later. Starting a show is always tough with all the planning that is involved and it’s definitely my least favorite part. Slow going. The first couple weeks are filled with priming wood, sketching, laying out and underpainting. Once I get going, I usually work on at least 6-8 paintings at one time. That way I always have a painting to work on while others are drying. I like it this way especially when I get deep into the paintings. Then I get into the details and everyday is a new journey and a new problem to solve. It’s exciting to see something you’ve been working on for months finally coming to life.

“Strange Wanderings” came from my move back to my hometown of Pittsburgh,PA from Portland, OR. My brother Ben, my mom and my grandma met me in Portland and we did a cross country trip and got to see Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Devil’s Tower and the Badlands. It was a little overwhelming to see all that beauty on such a grand scale. I was endlessly inspired by everything I was seeing but another part of me was totally intimidated. As I was looking at all these natural wonders, I kept thinking, “How the hell can I compete with this? Nothing I can ever make will ever top this.” So a lot of the show deals with characters and creatures taking journeys and dealing with things larger than themselves and searching for where they fit in.

Delight of a Decomposer by Andy Kehoe

Delight of a Decomposer

Passing Forests Bring Unlikely Companions by Andy Kehoe

Passing Forests Bring Unlikely Companions


Passing Through the Forest Deep by Andy Kehoe

Passing Through the Forest Deep

Your brother (Ben Kehoe) is an awesome artist as well. Do you influence each other? Any healthy competition?

I don’t know if we influence each other directly, but being twins, we definitely have a lot of the same influences by just growing up together. We’ve spent the better parts of our lives around each other so I’m sure a lot of themes exist in both our works. We aren’t competitive with each other at all. Even in other aspects, we usually avoid competing against each other because things will might get heated and we usually just feel bad for the one that lost. Haha. Yeah, it’s weird. Being on the same team is always much more fun. In that respect, we try to help each other out as much as possible when it comes to artwork. I wish him as much success as possible.

If you weren’t a painter, in an alternate universe you’d be …

hockey player/crime fighter/playboy

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Of course, I’m looking forward to my shows coming up this year. I’ve got the Jonathan LeVine show in March and my first show with Roq La Rue in October. Amazing year for shows! I’ll be taking a road trip in between to do a couple weeks of camping which should be awesome.

Old Enemies Reconcile Unseen

Old Enemies Reconcile Unseen

Lonely Home for a Wayward Soul

Lonely Home for a Wayward Soul


At Ease Amidst My Fellows by Andy Kehoe

At Ease Amidst My Fellows

S&TM: Many thanks to Andy Kehoe for taking time out of his preparation for his upcoming show at Jonathan LeVine Gallery do this interview.


Luke Ramsey

Published Date : January 27, 2011

Looking closely at one of Luke Ramsey‘s images, one sees the big bold shapes dissolve into a chaos of squiggles only to find new patterns emerging. Somehow he manages to distill the sense of order and chaos found in nature into his work. From his home studio in Pender Island (BC) Luke Ramsey works independently and in collaboration with the many artists participating in his Islands Fold residency.

We love how your work’s convoluted lines, nested within even more convoluted patterns and shapes, mimic strange forms found in nature. Can you tells us where you find inspiration for your subjects and style?

Thanks. I love connecting to nature. A few years ago I hiked into a forest and sat in front of a tree. I wanted to draw every detail of that tree. After drawing for a few hours, I realized I couldn’t do it. It became a chore and I was overwhelmed with the detail and complexity of the this tree. It was taking up too much of my thought. I realized that to express this kind of detail in my work, it had to be thoughtless and free flowing, just like the energy in nature.

My art is about organizing chaos and celebrating harmony with it. From a distance, you can look at a tree in a forest and it looks peaceful. When you look up close to it, you see insects getting eaten by birds, fungi taking over other life forms, decay and creation. It’s chaotic, but it’s all organized within the form of the tree. I think about my drawings like this.

Luke Ramsey, 2010
Luke Ramsey, 2010

Luke Ramsey, 2010

Much of your work is in the form of murals. How do you feel about work in public spaces as opposed to work on paper, canvas, etc…?

To me, public art is a balance between responsibility and being unattached to the work. The responsibility is about personally caring about the message in the work. Being unattached is about not being offended by how people react to it. People who want to find the kind of art I make, can go looking for it online or in print. When it’s public, nobody’s looking for it and I like that element.

Giant Transition, Josh Holinaty & Luke Ramsey

 Giant Transition, Josh Holinaty & Luke Ramsey, 2010

 Giant Transition, Josh Holinaty & Luke Ramsey, 2010
 Giant Transition, Josh Holinaty & Luke Ramsey, 2010

How did you come to start up your Islands Fold artist residency? Can you tell us about the program and your experiences with the many artists you’ve collaborated with?

Islands Fold came about to combine by interest in art and my wife’s interest in health and nutrition. I had a 6 week residency at The MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire in 2005, and that had a huge influence on me wanting to create a residency.

Right now, we’re putting residencies on hold, so I can focus on personal projects and prepare for the next chapter of Islands Fold. For the first 3 years we hosted 30 different artists. I would invite artists that I wanted to work with and would also consider submissions

An artist would stay with us for a week. We’d supply accommodation and good food free of charge. We’d fund the cause by selling work that artists donated. During the residencies we’d hang-out, make art, eat food and enjoy life. It’s really special to get to know the person behind the work.

Islands Fold has been a wonderful experience for this. I wouldn’t be able to briefly mention all the fun collaborative experiences-there’s been a lot which I’m happy about.

Howie Tsui and Luke collaborating, Island Folds

Howie Tsui and Luke collaborating, Islands Fold

OTHER working on a lino-cut at Islands Fold.

OTHER working on a lino-cut at Islands Fold.

Given unlimited resources to direct a movie, what kind/genre would you make?

That’s the best interview question ever. Describing the genre would be difficult, but I’d probably co-direct with R.Kelly and make another 22 chapters of Trapped In The Closet. We’d cast Natalie Portman, Viggo Mortensen and Paul Vasquez.

Anything on the horizon we can look forward to from you?

If I don’t get in touch with R.Kelly, I plan to release and tour a sci-fi book in 2012.

Luke Ramsey

S&TM:We want to thank Luke Ramsey for doing this interview and sharing his awesome work with us!


Irena Zablotska

Published Date : January 26, 2011

Irena Zablotska is a Ukraine-based illustrator living in Lviv. She is the co-founder of Keepa, a design studio who specializes in illustration, graphic, web and interface design. Her work has been featured in the magazines Huck , Caldonecultivo, and Deleted Scenes; and she has worked for clients as diverse as Elle and EPOS. Her work is a beautiful combination of bold shapes, strong colors and geometric patterns inlaid within them.

Hysteria by Irena Zablotska

Hysteria

Bleed by Irena Zablotska

Bleed

Few by Irena Zablotska

Few

Sea Accident by Irena Zablotska

Sea Accident

Dead Spook by Irena Zablotska

Dead Spook

Planeta Alerta by Irena Zablotska

Planeta Alerta

Skull by Irena Zablotska

Skull


Oh, What A Cruel God We've Got

Published Date : January 22, 2011

Jesse Jacobs is an artist and illustrator based in London, Ontario. He has created t-shirt designs, newspaper illustrations, record covers, skateboard graphics, and comic books. In 2009, his books Small Victories and Blue Winter were short listed at the Doug Wright Awards for Canadian Cartooning. He received the Gene Day Award for Canadian Comic Book Self-Publisher of 2008. His work has been exhibited in galleries across the country.

Oh What A Cruel God We’ve Got originally published by Black Warrior Review


S&TM: Huge thanks to Jesse Jacobs for contributing Oh What a Cruel God We’ve Got, originally published by Black Warrior Review


A Graphic Cosmogony

Published Date : January 22, 2011

Publisher: Nobrow (Oct 21 2010)

The Judeo-Christian story has God making the universe and everything in it in 7 days. Now the good people at Nobrow have given 24 artists 7 pages each to tell their stories of the creation of everything in A Graphic Cosmogony. The results are strange, beautiful and as varied as the styles of the artists involved.

The book itself is an art object, beautifully printed and bound with stunning cover art by Micah Lidberg. A Graphic Cosmogony is our favorite book yet from Nobrow who, since 2008, has been publishing an amazing assortment of books and comics out of London, UK. Be sure to check out their website for more titles.

» Nobrow’s website

A Graphic Cosmogony by Nobrow

Cover art by Micah Lidberg

Genesis by Brecht Vandenbroucke

Man’s fall from grace in Brecht Vandenbroucke’s “Genesis”.

Andrew Rae’s “Deity School”

Our universe as the result of a God-child’s science project gone wrong in Andrew Rae’s “Deity School”.

“Illumination” by Stuart Kolakovic”.

A plague-dropping mosquito bite causes a vision of the true nature of the universe in “Illumination” by Stuart Kolakovic”.

“Ginnungagap” by Michael Sommers

The Norse creation myth retold in Michael Sommers’ “Ginnungagap”.

Luke Pearson’s “New Game”

Luke Pearson’s “New Game”

Artists appearing in A Graphic Cosmogony:

Stuart Kolakovic, Mikkel Sommers, Brecht Vandenbroucke, Luke Best, Rob Hunter, Jon McNaught, Ben Newman, Andrew Rae, Luke Pearson, Jack Teagle, Jon Boam, Jakob Hindrichs, Clayton Junior, Daniel Locke, Isabel Greenberg, Mike Bertino, Nick White, Rui Tenreiro, Sean Hudson, Luc Melanson, Katia Fouquet, Yeji Yun, Matthew Lyons, Liesbeth De Stercke.


Toronto Comic Arts Festival

Published Date : January 17, 2011

http://www.torontocomics.com/


Jesse Jacobs

Published Date : January 17, 2011

http://www.jessejacobs.ca/


Tin Can Forest

Published Date : January 17, 2011

http://tincanforest.com/


Peter Diamond

Published Date : January 17, 2011

http://peterdiamond.ca/


Jacobe Rolfe

Published Date : January 17, 2011

http://thefloatingworld.net/


Julia Hepburn

Published Date : January 17, 2011

http://www.juliahepburnart.com/


Dani Crosby

Published Date : January 17, 2011

http://www.danicrosby.com/


Anita Kunz

Published Date : January 17, 2011

http://www.anitakunz.com/


Luke Ramsey

Published Date : January 17, 2011

http://lukeramseystudio.com/


Hyein Lee

Published Date : January 17, 2011

http://hyeinlee.com/


Jessie Durham

Published Date : January 17, 2011

http://jessiedurham.grandportfolio.com/


Tessar Lo

Published Date : January 17, 2011

http://www.tessarlo.com/


Nicholas Di Genova

Published Date : January 17, 2011

http://mediumphobic.com/


Sean Lewis

Published Date : January 14, 2011


Koyama Press

Published Date : January 14, 2011


Jesse Jacobs

Published Date : January 14, 2011


Tin Can Forest

Published Date : January 14, 2011


Peter Diamond

Published Date : January 14, 2011


The Dazzle

Published Date : January 14, 2011


Sam Bosma

Published Date : January 14, 2011


Jacob Rolfe

Published Date : January 14, 2011


Julia Hepburn

Published Date : January 12, 2011


Greg Hill

Published Date : January 12, 2011

http://www.ghillustration.ca/


Anita Kunz

Published Date : January 12, 2011


Nick Sheehy

Published Date : January 12, 2011


Talita Hoffmann

Published Date : January 12, 2011


Kristina Collantes

Published Date : January 12, 2011


Dani Crosby

Published Date : January 12, 2011


Wilson

Published Date : January 12, 2011


Asterios Polyp

Published Date : January 11, 2011


Sean Lewis

Published Date : January 8, 2011

http://dd.bwys.org/