I talked with this one artist, Skinner, at Comic Con, not realizing just how influential the guy was. He had a style where he did what he wanted.
“How do you make a living off of this?” I asked.
“What?” he said, surprised that anyone would ever a question as insulting as that.
“Hold up – I meant that as a compliment. In that you’re doing clearly what you love, unlike so many other people here who are just doing it in a style that the company would want them to work – you’re doing your own thing, and I respect that.”
“But making a living doing it in your own style – that’s so hard.”
“Well, I get hired, like on skateboards and buildings and shit like that.”
“I think I saw a piece of yours in Juxtapoz,” I said.
“Yeah – I was in there.”
He never quite said how he got to a point where people were hiring him for it, but I got the impression he’d been doing it forever, doing it for free, and from there people started paying him. At first, he was living in poverty, but over time he started making enough money to move out on his own and make a name for himself.
This is me projecting, as he told me nothing, and I don’t care to look it up.
It’s the same for just about any artist or writer I respect. For a long time they did what they loved for close to no pay. They always took little pay over doing something they hated, as they believed in what they were doing.
It’s the single minded focus, and a drive causing them to produce a ridiculous amount of work that got all of them to where they needed to be. Slowly, I’m starting to believe in my own ability to make this happen. I’m reaching a point where I’m amazed at just how much writing I’m doing. I’m surprised at the single minded drive I’ve been able to go at it with. My level of output recently has been crazy. But more than that, the amount of time I’m spending on it is even crazier. I can’t imagine anyone else spending/wasting this much time on something that has such a small chance of ever paying off.
When I tell people I’m writing 1,000 words a day as a bare minimum, the common reaction is, “Wow – that’s crazy.” If they knew how little of it was usable, how much of it a collection of self doubts and depression they might say something else. The follow up, if there is a follow up is, “So what are you writing?”
As it stands, the answer is, “A Modern Family script, a pilot, some sketches, a few short stories, and a longer novel – in an attempt for something to hit and to build a portfolio.” That’s a lie, however. The truth is I’m writing warm up entries and an endless series of blog posts for the sake of getting into the habit. The truth is I rarely get into a groove where I lose all track of time and go for hours on end. The truth is I worry about what’s next. And then I think back to that conversation with Skinner – just keep going. Do what I love, and see where it takes me.
I thought I liked the movie Exit Through the Gift Shop, but now I’m blown away on a whole other level after reading this clip below from wikipedia on Mr. Brainwash and whether or not he’s real.
Mr. Brainwash speculation and theories
Since the release of the film Exit Through The Gift Shop, there has been much speculation that the film and story of Mr. Brainwash are a hoax concocted by Banksy and Shepard Fairey themselves. When Guetta is shown “working,” he is only seen splattering paint using aerosol cans to haphazardly color images and clumsily attempting to paste up a poster. Other aspects of the Mr. Brainwash character seem deliberately comical, such as his being pushed in a wheelbarrow after supposedly breaking his foot.
The Times of London noted that “The blogs buzzed with rumours: that Mr Brainwash is nothing but a front for Banksy; even that he is Banksy.” Fast Company concludes “The whole thing, it’s clear now, was an intricate prank being pulled on all of us by Banksy, who has never publicly revealed his identity, with Fairey as his accomplice. … [His work] looks like Banksy trying not to look like Banksy…”
Some suggest that Fairey and Banksy have been artificially inflating up the sales of Mr. Brainwash’s work. According to Rebecca Cannon, Mr. Brainwash’s work hasn’t sold as well on independent forums. “With both shows held outside of commercial galleries, no professional dealers have had their reputation on the line in making fake claims of high sales. However, if Guetta is a hoax, there also exists the possibility that these artworks are actually produced by Banksy himself, in a style deliberately intended to suggest inferior artistic skill.
As the movie opened in North America, in April 2010, The Boston Globe movie reviewer Ty Burr found it to be quite entertaining as a farce and awarded it four stars. He dismissed the notion of the film being a “put on” saying “I’m not buying it; for one thing, this story’s too good, too weirdly rich, to be made up. For another, the movie’s gently amused scorn lands on everyone.”
This is a lot of fun, but misses the subtlety – It doesn’t work as two separate images, and isn’t hidden if spun upside down. More than that, it feels like a copy. The question for artists post Arcimboldo is how to add to the conversation, and one up what’s come before.
Arcimboldo set the standards high with images like these three:
Here’s a few more directly inspired by Arcimboldo, but taking it in a modern direction.
I was planning on doing one comic per post for five or so posts. I scanned them in in one swoop, so figured why delay? Here’s three more comics to round out the set. If you haven’t read these, you don’t know comics.
Maus, Art Speigelman telling his father’s tale in the Holocaust.
Sandman, in which Neil Gaiman rewrote the comic genre
Sin City, Frank Miller being Frank Miller
PS. I’m starting to feel like my blog is lacking direction. I’m all right with that. Perhaps when I start wanting readers, that will change. For now, I’m happy.
If this makes me a jerk, at least it’s in the nicest of ways possible. I was talking with Ben, a friend and the writer of brokenjpg.net.
He told me, “There’s a legitimate NY comic shop across the street from my legitimate NY agency. I’ll be broke in a week”
“But so, so happy,” I said, “Let me suggest the comic Invincible to start your wallet emptying.”
“I started it with Planet Hulk,” he said, “which I only read half of in Barnes and Noble and never found again. So that will hold me for now. I basically wanted to just knock everything off the shelves into a shopping cart starting with the Alan Moore graphic novel shelf.”
I said, “Nice. Ooh! and Fables. and Preacher. And…Kabuki. Actually, push Kabuki up to the top of the list.”
“I hadn’t heard of kabuki,” he said, and then paused and looked at me (this was gchat, but I assume he would have looked at me). “Also, stop that. I just spent 40 bucks. Enough that when the woman said ‘do you want to open a rebate account- credit for every 100 bucks you spend’ it actually sounded like a good idea, and I did so.”
“You’re not going to like what I do next, then,” I said, “It’ll take a couple minutes.”
So here’s part 2 of comics that anyone who claims to like comics must read and should own.
Illustrated by Dave McKean and written by Grant Morrison, if not the very best Batman story ever told, it’s certainly in the top 10. Many say it was a large inspiration for the movie Dark Knight.
Last year I went to Comic Con in San Diego, and based on my roommate’s advice, I bought Kabuki from David Mack. He couldn’t of been nicer. He threw in some reprints of sketchbooks of his for free, spent time to draw me a picture, and gave his advice on which of his books he liked best. I bought it for the art alone, fully aware of the quality of writing in most comics written and drawn by the same person. I leafed through the art, loved every page, and let it sit on my shelf until a week ago when I finally read through it.
It blew me away. It was unlike any comic I’ve ever read, setting my mind free and inspiring with each turn of the page. If you haven’t read it, go check it out. Below is three pages from Kabuki: The Alchemy (Volume 7)
For those in the Los Angeles area, Saturday night is the opening for the Terrible Yellow Eyes showing at Nucleus gallery. It’s a stunning collection of work, and I have no doubt the who’s who of the artist community will be showing up. I’ll be caught in the throws of Rosh Hashanah, but wish I could make it. The least I can do is pass the event on to everyone who can.
I recently discovered that one of my all time favorite artists, Dave McKean, despite not having a website, does have a twitpic feed. While I’m not much a twitter user, knowing there’s a place where he posts his latest works left me in awe, so I thought I’d share them all with you. Pictures are all from Dave McKean’s twitpic feed.
With over 1500 posts, I’m not sure why he only has 10,000 followers. Must still be a bit of a secret. If you insist on heading to a traditional website, the official one for him is DaveMckean.com, but I’d suggest heading to the fan operated McKean Art site. Also, if you like his style, check out Allen Spiegel Fine Art, the agency that represents him. All of the artists there, from Kent Williams to Thom Ang to George Pratt are stunning. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’m a bit obsessed with the guy, and I’m still reeling from the one time I got to meet him. I garauntee this isn’t the last you’ll here about Dave McKean on this blog.