October 1, 2014
Art, politics, angels, demons . . . and righteous dogs.

John Callahan

Sad news today that one of the greats has gone.  John Callahan, quadriplegic and alcoholic and used his suffering to create cartoons of the most shockingly honest kind. After physical therapy he could use a pen and created a body of  work that is astonishing.  The humor was what we used to all sick humor.  In his hands cartoons that had their roots in anguish rose to level of a consciousness-raising act.  Cartoon liberation. Farewell JC.

Here are two takes. The last was drawn with my left hand.

ILLUSTRATION NEXT

Here, finally, is the video version of the Illustration Next talk given last spring at SVA. The evening was devoted to ways artists are now working away from the editorial market. Some of the biggest stars in our field showed up that night as well as four of the brilliant up and coming variety. It goes on a bit and I get fuzzy now and then, but this was a labor of love and put together by everyone in their spare  time (did I have spare time?).  My apologies for any snarky comments made in the rush of the moment.  Also to giving short shrift to Elwood Smith, Rob Dunlavey, David Klein and Victor Juhasz.  The final segment here restores their work to the project. My thanks to the artists, young and nearly young, who helped here.  You ALL made this an extremely interesting evening. Thanks to Tom Woodruff, my dean at SVA, Lisa Reist, my wonderful assistant, Ben Shapiro who shot all of this so well and Richard O’Connor who gave this the TLC it needed in the edit. And a special thanks to Marshall Arisman. I knew this evening would succeed when we got the special blessing from the rabbi.

No big answers to our existential problem are offered here.  Just lots of ideas; ways in which people are reaching to the next thing, whatever that is. To the extent that it spurs continued exploration in the viewer this will have been worth the trouble.

1. Illustration Next: Marshall Arisman introduction 3/23/10 at SVA from Illustration Next on Vimeo.

2. Illustration Next: James Blagden 3/23/10 at SVA from Illustration Next on Vimeo.

3. Illustration Next: Chris Buzelli 3/23/10 at SVA from Illustration Next on Vimeo.

4. Illustration Next: Alex Juhasz 3/23/10 at SVA from Illustration Next on Vimeo.

5. Illustration Next: 3/23/10 at SVA from Illustration Next on Vimeo.

6. Illustration Next: Hanoch Piven 3/23/10 at SVA from Illustration Next on Vimeo.

7. Illustration Next: 3/23/10 at SVA from Illustration Next on Vimeo.

8. Illustration Next: 3/23/10 at SVA from Illustration Next on Vimeo.

9. Illustration Next: 3/23/10 at SVA from Illustration Next on Vimeo.

10. Illustration Next: 3/23/10 at SVA from Illustration Next on Vimeo.

11. Illustration Next: 3/23/10 at SVA from Illustration Next on Vimeo.

Obama, Where Art Thou?

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

FORD

Today, on his birthday, we remember Pres.  Gerald R. Ford, 1974-77.  “Not a Lincoln”, he said, “but a Ford”.  A good stab at autobiography.  In fact he was a place-holder while the country caught its breath after 6 years of Nixon. He promised to Whip Inflation Now, told NY City to Drop Dead, sort of, but mostly will be remembered for pardoning Nixon, a guilty felon if ever we saw one (although small fry next to the still at-large Bush gang). The pardon may have cost him the election to Carter; also perhaps his accident-prone personae, brightly underlined in early episodes of Saturday Night Live. Here Nixon is his biggest bump. My favorite Ford line, “We gave Jimmy Carter the economy on a silver platter  . . . and he blew it.”

Sketchbook: The Cult of Swisher

Yankee Stadium, July 4, 2010.  Yanks vs. Toronto.  NY  7-6 in 10 innings. Sitting in 189 degree heat in very sunny box seats located in Right Field. Saw three pegs at home plate, one spectacular error in center field and a great walk-off hit by Thames. A great day at the stadium (a very fine eating and drinking establishment that features a major league ball field).  Also saw:

It’s a long game.  You can text a lot.

The Statue of Ice Cream.

The game runs on Garlic Fries.

More garlic fries.

She was there.

And her too. Keeping cool somehow.

Food court team leader. Inspiring no?

There’s this strange near-cult of Nick Swisher.  He fans it, working the crowd.  They call to him.  He salutes. I started to worry about this.

You see people like this. Would you be happy if he missed the ball?  Schmuck.