Sunday, June 24, 2007

David Driesbach

This past spring, I had the happy fortune to take a printmaking class at College of DuPage with David Driesbach, who taught etching for several years at Northern Illinois before retiring recently. He signed up for the C.O.D. printmaking class as a student, just to keep printing--an inspiring gesture that reflects his devotion to the medium.

It was wonderful to see his prints, absorb his advice, and listen to him talk about his studies with master printmakers such Mauricio Lasansky and William Hayter. Prof. Driesbach's work is like a visual diary as sketched in a dream, dense with symbols but leavened with absurd humor. His use of color is extraordinary, and he helped bring Hayter's pioneering viscosity color technique to American print studios.

I hope Prof. Driesbach takes the class again, since there is much more to learn from him. You can see some of his work and read about his methods at

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Baltimore! Brooklyn! All Civilized, Destroyed!

Today I'll be joining forces with Tao Lin to read the shit out of some prose. Yeah, that's right. I'll be reading some words, not comics. Because reading comics aloud is like whistling a sun set. Or something like that.

Things will happen this way:

Atomic Pop
June 21st
7-9PM. Free
3620 Falls Rd. Hampden, Baltimore

Then, hang on! Tomorrow I'll be at Rocketship in Brooklyn, where I will not only sign books, but there will be some alcoholic beverages, and some of my bloated, swaggering original art for sale on the walls. The whole debacle is a prelude to MoCCA...

What the police report will say:

June 22nd
8PM. Free
(Beverages provided by Six Point Craft Ales and Smith and Vine)
208 Smith Street, Brooklyn, New York

And then I'll be at MoCCA, signing books, but primarily picking up a copy of what is sure to be one of the best books of comics ever wrangled into a single volume: "I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets: The Comics of Fletcher Hanks." I got a chance to flip through it while I was in Richmond, and I could hardly control my brain.

At the Fantagraphics Table
Saturday: 3 to 4
Sunday: 12 to 2
Puck Building (293 Lafayette at Houston), New York City

See you in a place, if I am there, and you are there, and no one is invisible or visually impaired.

Monday, June 18, 2007

This is the cover painting for a spanish language edition of Dogs and Water and Sisyphus and a few other short strips. It is one of several pieces of mine that are going to be hanging at two separate shows on opposite coasts. This piece is in 'Free Ice Cream Day' at Giant Robot NY, along with several other paintings, fragments of things, and three original pages from The End #1. I have two drawings in 'Panelists III' at GR2 in L.A. both landscapes of a sort. I also designed the card for the Ice Cream show (above) (Also, by the way, Jeff is in both these shows as well, I think).
On Saturday the 23rd, as part of MoCCA I'm also doing a slideshow/panel with (the fabulous) Gabrielle Bell. We're reprising the slide shows we put together for our West Coast book tour in February (those dates featured Kevin H as well...he couldn't make it to NY, which is too bad because his show about Starlings, adapted from his story in the D&Q showcase was awesome). The slide show I'm doing is comprised of a reading from Don't Go Where I Can't Follow and an adaptation of a strip I did as a limited edition print for a show at Cinder's in Brooklyn. It's more or less related to the material in The End #1--and will probably appear in adapted form later this year in The End #2.
Lastly, here is the most recent incarnation of the constantly evolving bugs bunny sculpture in my living room. The guitar, which is a piece of garbage that I was about to throw away and the concrete pedestal are new. Also of note: a full but weathered budweiser can that I found washed up on the beach in San Francisco in 1998, and the most nearly spherical rock I've ever seen (from a beach on Lake Superior in Northern Michigan).

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wholphin and the Necessity of McSweeney's

I've been meaning to post something about the DVD magazine Wholphin, produced by the fine people at McSweeney's, and now is as good a time as any. Actually, scratch that: now is a better time than any. McSweeney's needs your help.

Many small publishers have been hard hit due to recent bankruptcies in the distribution realm, and McSweeney's is among those publishers. And I do mean hard hit: to the tune of $130,000. For more information on the reality of this loss and its ramifications, please read more here.

McSweeney's is, in my opinion, one of the most important publishers of the past decade. They have help to found and promote writing centers across the country, they have given a publishing vehicle to the voice of prisoners, educators, young writers, the underprivileged, and other voices with so much to say, but so often without a way to be heard. Please help out. And helping out is as simple as buying amazing books and DVDs. Who loses there? Not you, and certainly not McSweeney's.

I bought the first issue of Wholphin based simply on the good taste and reputation of the people of McSweeney's. But they, as they so often do, only outdid themselves. I immediately bought a subscription to Wholphin. I heavily recommend you do the same. Great film. Great literature. Great design. Great comedy. Great people. Long live McSweeney's.

A Month Ago I Was In England

England looks very much like England looks in pictures. To prove this, I took this picture in London. Looks exactly like London.

I started my visit to England in London, signing at the excellent comic shop Gosh! on a lovely Saturday afternoon. Across the street from Gosh! is the British Museum, which houses the Rosetta Stone, as well as some old Japanese comics.

My partner Jennifer arrived along with our son Oscar the next day, after sorting out some passport issues(having to fly into England separately necessitated leaving the laptop at home, which will remain my excuse for not writing about the trip while we were there). They were just in time to head to dinner with cartoonist Tom Gauld. Tom's most recent book is 'Hunter & Painter' from Buenaventura Press. You should check it out, because Tom is not just a nice guy, he's also a great cartoonist.
From London we headed to Leeds for a signing at OK Comics. So far the infamous rainy English weather had yet to show up, and at this signing I was also fortunate to be given several CD's of music from readers. This also exposes one of the drawbacks of ipods...if you don't have your computer with you, it's really hard to play Cd's on ipods. Jared Myland, the owner of OK, hosted us for the night and treated us to fish and chips.

From Leeds we headed to Nottingham. We avoided the forest which is apparently more than a little touristy these days, and hung out with Page45 owner Stephen Holland, who had kindly made his house extra baby friendly. We finally got the rainy weather, but the signing went very well and a good time was had by all. Stephen also gave us a ride for the next leg of our trip, in Bristol. Despite the pouring rain, people were in good spirits at the signing at Travelling Man, and I was again treated to a number of Cd's. There was also this very nice window display from Jess Bradley.

Bristol was also home to the Comic Expo, which was the reason we decided to do this whole trip in the first place. It was two busy days, with a good turnout for the show. I was given some great cupcakes, and my nagging urge to diet and be healthy was easily overcome. After Bristol we actually headed back to Leeds, this time to sign at the Travelling Man store there. Here is Nabil and Lisa from Travelling Man, entertaining Oscar while I'm signing.

Nabil drove us from Leeds back to London for our final night before flying home the next day. All in all it was a great two weeks, and many thanks to everyone who helped out, hosted us, said hello, bought books, and kept us company. It turns out travelling with a six month old can be a lot of work, but we seem fortunate to have a pretty well behaved baby, even when alleged thunderstorms in Chicago added three hours to our flight home.