Tuesday, 7 July 2009

In my neighbourhood

the family upstairs were moving their furniture around all through the night. I had words with them on this matter several months ago. In fact they have already been evicted once. But they are a disreputable bunch of scoundrels. Look at the malevolent look in this one's eye.

The above photo and the following both happened during the period I had stopped blogging:
Dame Edna launches cosmetic line-16th January 2009,
The colours of the 17 products in the range are inspired by Dame Edna, with titles like Kanga Rouge and Possum Nose Pink.
“The colour on my eyes is Varicose Violet and it’s inspired by my mother’s legs,” Dame Edna said.

No animals were harmed in the making of this blog. All creatures of the woods were released back where they belong.


Monday, 6 July 2009

it's turned cold down here in the southern hemisphere. Here's a photo of a pair of jeans drying under the fan heater on the wall. You will notice that two cats have found a warm place to sit, one on each jean. I like the way cats' brains work.

Here's a cat in After the Snooter. It has been caught short, on the wrong side of the door.

Knowing the wrongness of fouling the carpet, it manages to stack its poo vertically against the door.

I like the way a cat presents its work for view:

The electric light in the bathroom failed over the weekend. The wife of my bosom gets up so early that she's been showering in the dark at both ends of the day, and it's not something easily done by candlelight. She says she hasn't seen herself for three days.


Sunday, 5 July 2009

wee Hayley Campbell has just had a sojourn on the isle of Skye. Here's my little piece of it:

That's a cask strength special (with the top already knocked off it, as you can see.) Here's Hayley herself:

Isn't that the most beautiful sight ever? And the girl's not a bad looker either.
This is how she looks in one of the previously unpublished pages in "The Years have Pants"

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Saturday, 4 July 2009

since I've been missing from my blog here for a number of weeks, I thought i should clear out the drafts folder, where I find this scan of a drawing by the young Hans Holbein, left over form a series of four posts I wrote on the subject of Holbein's marginal additions to The Praise of Folly by Erasmus of Rotterdam (1515)

There's a superb overview of Holbein's most important graphic works, his three treatments of the Dance of Death. But it's much more than that. It traces all the editions and copies, showing complete versions of each. This is a truly remarkable resource which can absorb the historian of graphic art for hours. For example here's an sample woodcut from each of four series out of the seventeen collected in their entirety. I've picked the fighting soldier panel in case some of my younger readers might get bored. Pretend it's a zombie wars flip-book or something:

1.Holbein, 1525:
2. Hollar, 1651:
3. Deuchar, 1788:
4: Bechstein, 1831:
A note to any of those younger readers still hanging about after the pictures finished. We're not looking at cases of artists 'ripping off' another artist. there was a time, long ago, before you were born, when if you wanted a copy of something, you couldn't just scan it. Pictures in books were printed from engraved woodblocks, which would wear out after much use. Thus fifty years later, if a reprint of the book was required, it would be necessary to hire another artist to hand-copy the whole job. And each successive artist copying the same images would be likely to add his own touches. He may also not have had access to the earliest version and have worked from an intermediary copy. It was akin to a shakespearean play, which would have to be restaged and performed anew for each generation. The linked site gives a scholarly assessment of the likely sources of each version. Regarding the panel of the soldier: "Variations: Birckmann has equipped Death with a gigantic arrow instead of a bone; Death doesn't have a shield, but grabs the soldier; Death has placed the hourglass on one of the fallen soldiers. These changes are copied by Valvasor, Hollar and Deuchar. Rubens finishes the drawing of the bone; Death raises his arm, so one can see the face; Death has a nose. These changes are copied by Mechel." The set by Rubens, one of his earliest works, I have never seen before, and in fact it was only discovered in a sketchbook in Amsterdam in the 1970s. These were discovered to be the main source-artwork for the version of the book already known to have been engraved by Mechel.
another note: the process of copying involved pencilling the image onto a woodblock which would then be engraved. In its simplest form, ie not getting into complications by using a mirror, this would leave the image reversed after printing from the block. Thus, one of the images above had to be flipped in photoshop to make it face the same way as the others.

The Holbein section is part of a bigger project of which this is the site map, Lubeck's Dance of Death, dealing with just about all the known information on the subject, of which the Holbein book is but one example. Martin Hagstrøm appears to be the author of the project, which really is colossal, and of inestimable value to anyone curious about the tradition of the Danse macabre.

Watch out for Eddie Campbell's The Dance of Lifey Death, contained in Alec: "The Years have Pants".

And click the 'alec2' label below for many more posts on the subject and excerpts from the big book. When you get to the end of that selection you'll find an 'alec1' label. Click that for more.

Would you pledge your soul as loan collateral?
RIGA (Reuters) – Ready to give your soul for a loan in these difficult economic times? In Latvia, where the crisis has raged more than in the rest of the European Union, you can. Such a deal is being offered by the Kontora loan company, whose public face is Viktor Mirosiichenko, 34. Clients have to sign a contract, with the words "Agreement" in bold letters at the top. The client agrees to the collateral, "that is, my immortal soul." "If they don't give it back, what can you do? They won't have a soul, that's all," he told Reuters in a basement office, with one desk, a computer and three chairs.


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Friday, 3 July 2009

if you are intrigued by the zipatone style I wrote about yesterday, then I should mention that I pulled out the sheets of the stuff for the new book, "The Years Have Pants", the 35 page addition which brings Alec up to date (and gives its name to the whole collection). Here's a panel from it:

I read somewhere on the net yesterday that“Top Shelf has wisely kept From Hell in print as a nice affordable softcover. At 576 pages, it's longer than either the Bacchus book or the Alec book would be.” Note that the Alec book is in fact 64 pages longer than From Hell, with a total of 640 printed pages, and goes for the same price, 35 bucks soft and 50 bucks hard.
Housewife first up for 100-day "live sculpture"
"One & Other" is a work devised by sculptor Antony Gormley for Trafalgar square's empty plinth, now a platform for temporary works of art. The first of 2,400 people to feature in Gormley's work is Rachel Wardell, a 35-year-old housewife and mother-of-two. "I wanted to be able to represent normal, everyday stay-at-home mums who aren't normally a feature of major artworks -- to show my kids now, and when they're older, that you can do, and be part of anything, no matter how ordinary you are or feel," Wardell said. She will appear on the plinth at 9 a.m. on Monday, July 6, and will be followed at 10 a.m. by Jason Clark, a 41-year-old nurse from Brighton.
WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Air New Zealand has hit on a novel way to make sure even the most jaded flyers keep their eyes glued on its flight safety briefing. The national carrier's safety video for domestic services on its Boeing Co 737 planes show pilot and cabin crew dressed only in body paint.


Thursday, 2 July 2009

a couple of weeks back, Alex Holden, an artist worthy of our attention, wrote on his blog about the elusive Zipatone:
Zip A Tone has been on my mind because I recently received "Two Eyes Of The Beautiful" from Ryan Cecil Smith, who is currently living in Japan. Some equivalent of Zip A Tone (in virtually unlimited variety) is still widely available in Japan, despite the advent of the computer. "Two Eyes of the Beautiful" is all about Zip A Tone, from simple dot patterns, to trees and foliage......even buildings.
I recalled this because in the course of scanning my Ace Rock'n'Roll Club pages as part of the routine digitalization of my whole back catalogue, I came across a particular story where I set myself the challenge of making all the pictures as much out of tone as possible, with supporting ink-work kept to a minimum, even excluding panel borders. This is a panel from that story, drawn in Feb 1979, thirty years ago.

(click for a close-up)
I was able to get some tonal gradation using superimposition and overlap, creating a sense of light and atmosphere, but this approach proved too expensive and time-consuming. I carried a much simpler version of it over into the Alec Book. The white lines in the picture are a result of shrinkage of the material, which happens over time. I'd probably want to mend those if i ever reprint the story.
For more on the subject, click the label.

I'm told that the event I discussed here last thursday went well, and Amos's latest posters sport nifty slogans such as:

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Wednesday, 1 July 2009

once kick the world, and the world and you will live together at a reasonably good understanding."-Jonathan Swift.

I see Mr Bent of Bent Books in Brisbane still hasn't put our 2008 set of bookmarks up with the others, so here's a first showing of this one. I expect he has had more important things to think about, what with the recession. Follow the label below for some more.