Saturday 27 June 2009

At last the big ALEC OMNIBUS, now titled "The Years have Pants", has gone off to the printer, and will return in all its glory in time for its September appearance in the stores. That title is a quotation of the title and first line of a poem by William Ernest Moenkhaus, a bright light of the 1920s who died much too young. The book has a striking cover designed by Eric Skillman who has been getting a lot of attention for his work on the Criterion Collection DVDs. Here's a recent interview with him.

Here are brief glimpses of one of the new stories that I've drawn specially:

This particular story is a five- pager and is a sampling of the 45 pages of new or previously unpublished material included in the book. If all you've seen previously are the four books I published myself between 2000 and 2002, then this volume has 90 pages altogether that you won't have seen before.

It's being solicited right now in the Diamond Previews catalogue. Make sure your local outlet knows about it!

In the meantime, I chipped my back tooth this morning on the wife's well-cooked bacon and no dentist is open till Monday. "Worries, worries, pile up in my head. Woe is me i should have stayed in bed," in the words of Problems by F and B Bryant , as sung by the Everly Brothers in 1958 (and heard here in rare demo).


Friday 26 June 2009

the problem with having a standing google alert for my name is that I've got to be constantly reminded of this bastard who is doing more with his life than I've been doing lately:

If only I could cut a swaggering figure in the world like this one here:

Instead, I am this indigestible lump:

The Inkstuds interrogation is here. If you think that's cranky, just you come round here and I'll give you cranky!

Men At Work's Down under 'ripped off' Kookaburra
ONE'S a pub classic, belted out at top volume by tipsy patrons around closing time. The other is a more dignified affair, a favourite of youth choirs and choral groups. Now, as unlikely as it seems, the classic children's ditty Kookaburra and the Men At Work hit Down Under are set to go head-to-head in court amid accusations part of the rock anthem is a rip off.
These idiots can bugger off. I'm sure the lady who wrote the old song, who i think died in 1988 was probably quite happy to see it quoted like that, an indication that it's part of the musical currency of her country. It's when Art becomes the property of accountants that this happens. But having said that, I cannot say that some of my fellow artists are not idiots too.

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Thursday 25 June 2009

i meant to write about the full length documentary film PROCEED AND BE BOLD much earlier than this, but I’ve been in a funk for a couple of months. I’m jolted out of it suddenly by noticing that there’s a connected exhibition in Chicago that only has a couple more days to run:
QUIT YOUR JOB AND BECOME AN ARTIST- Closing Party Saturday, June 27 from 12pm-6pm. Free and Open to the Public. Please join us at the Cash-and-Carry Poster Sale, where you will be able to meet Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. and purchase posters at $15 each. Posters can be signed by the artist. Enjoy beverages by Peroni and music from the Manley Diehl at this free event.

Amos Paul Kennedy is a very personable fellow who creates letterpress posters of immediate appeal, using type and colour in support of mottoes that are variously serious, utilitarian and mischievous.

The rise of letterpress as a small scale artform is a current that up till now has not caught my eye and I'm finding it full of charm and interest. The documentary, made by Brown Finch Films captures the spirit of this movement in flight, with several international practitioners commenting on Kennedy's work. You can view excerpts at the link.

Amos is particularly good at the Art of gentle disruption- see the sequence where he is called in by the university police to explain his provocative postcards and he takes his mascot lawn jockey along with him. “He enjoys being a social irritant,” says one commentator. As the film proceeds we see him obtaining an old machine and collecting printers’ unwanted type here and there. Intercut through the film, director Laura Zinger shows clips from an old black and white 1950s documentary on the history of printing. At one stage I suddenly realized she had just cut in a couple of shots of Amos in mock old-style monochrome.

Kennedy's work ranges from richly vibrant like the detail above, to simply practical like his job for a local night club (Proprietor, Tee, shown below with the poster):
“LADIES, NO FIGHTING IN THE BATHROOM. (This is a grown folks establishment)" – "I had a few left over," says Amos, "and mothers started buying them, mothers with two daughters- I need ThAT in MY bathroom!"

I love the Dvd and recommend it. It mulls over many questions about art in our times, such as who owns it and who has access to it, and why and why not. They're on sale for twenty at the producer's site and also at the event linked above. Also keep an eye on the Brown Finch news page for screenings and hopefully more to come.