Thanks to everyone who participaed in Illustration Next last night at SVA. Very honored to be included in the Illustration Week festivities. We had about 370 outstanding works by the top artists in the world, many of whom showed up to add comments about process and execution. It came in at just under 2.5 hours but not tiring to me. Art and people like this create their own evergy. Most stuck it out till the bitter end; I think they were surfing on the power of the work too.
The discussion hinged mostly on a single concept: the artist as producer. We no longer wait for the call. We dream the project, make a presentation, make the calls, make the connections, sell, create . . . invoice. Then do it some more. If this is exciting to you, and to many of us, including me, it is, then this profession continues to work for us. That was my point made over and over by the brilliant work of my colleagues. Here are some videos from the talk. The first is the full Bo Jackson ESPN doc using illustrations by the amazing Mickey Duzyj.
Jonathan Rosen, providing the images for Christopher O’Riley, playing Debussey’s Jardins sous la pluie.
Kyle Webster is a brilliant entrepreneur, devising brushes for Photoshop. Here he sells them perfectly: Ultimate Drawing Set 2:
Simon Spilsbury’s Bath Project. He collaborates with poets in painting on walls in the town of Bath using projected images.
Yao Xiao’s and other young artists have found organizations like this, Imagelink, that provides live-art documentation for conferences and speeches.
Titmouse Studios employs some 300 artists. This and other businesses are always receiving applications from young artists. They, it turns out, give you a test. My suggestion: if you dig animation find out what the test is like, take it.
Seraph by Dash Shaw, who is a comic artist. He was given the chance to direct this honest and deeply human animation by David Cameron Mitchell.
Richard Borge’s animated ad for Rawporter:
Victor Kerlow, an illustrator who is a young creature of print, going all out, doing hundred of drawings, the old fashioned way, for a History Channel / KIA ad:
Hanoch Piven, our friend and wonderful collage artist, has done an incredibly beautiful project. Working with the Beit Hatfutsot Museum in Tell Aviv he has encouraged families to work on a family portrait done in Hanoch’s inimitable style: using found objects. Each piece was photographed and placed in a huge mosaic that tells the group story of Israeli families as well as each one individually. Here is the video he made to explain the idea to visitors to the museum.
Thanks to Icedrum 2: https://www.youtube.com/user/icedrum2?feature=watch
Joe Fournier is one of the most vigorous caricaturists around. He has combined his various talents composer, musician, writer, illustrator, filmmaker, voiceover actor into a magic blend that takes us to new places in this field. His animations have appeared on the Chicago Tribune website and his print pieces are offered up for syndication. I am a fan, not just of his work, but of Joe’s demonstration of what we all need to do in this market; diversify and explore. Hey, nobody know’s where this all is going. Going forward in this chaotic and transmutating industry will take the kind of person we see in Joe. Strongly attacking the problem of covering the field while tenaciously holding onto his standards; not falling into the Kitty Pit. Here are (approximately) 4 questions for Joe Fournier.
Here are 4 questions for Joe Fournier.
1. Tell me the difference between the print series and video series. Do they overlap? Are you adapting the same ideas? If not do you find a different approach to similar ones?
They are pretty similar. The print pieces are or could be animatics for animations I suppose. They are also much easier to turn around in a few hours as opposed to the week it would take me to do the animations. With the news cycle zipping by with the attention span of a chimp, the shelf life of all these things is a little longer than you can hold your breath. So, sooner the output the greater the impact, bigger the laugh.
2. What is the funding for the videos like? Are it all Trib or are you syndicating?
The videos? Close your eyes. What do you see? As for the printed pieces, that I am being paid by an industry that’s circling the drain could be looked at as a victory, though a nominal one. I am currently shopping the OpArtpieces for a syndication deal. Hope springs eternal.
3. What recent cartoon have you done that has given you the most fun to do; actually made you laugh in a high pitched cackle in the middle of the night that might have disturbed a sleeping dog?
I liked the Rose Garden heckler No Such thing as a Stupid Question and the Sheriff Arpaio America’s Toughest Sheriff pieces. Bigger the a-hole the more fun they are to tee up. I like them for the little, second tier jokes that I’ll insert after I run the whole thing. “TUCKER CARLSON SMELLS LIKE PUDDING!” means absolutely nothing, but I liked the sound of it, particularly coming from that guy. And sheriff Arpaio saying that he was all aquiver to be able to “shake down anything darker than Debbie Reynolds!” made me very proud, though I put in a great amount of thought deciding whether Debbie Reynolds was funnier than Doris Day. I think I chose well. But I’m also partial to the song pieces like The Tale of Romney Hood, and the completely absurdist pieces like Willard Scissorhands. Of course, no bigger jerk have we than The Donald. ! The Donald on The Donald is a personal favorite, near and dear to my heart.
4. Political cartooning is such a thankless, undistinguished, masochistic profession. Are you an idealist assuming that cartoons will make a difference at some point and that they haven’t as yet is not a good indication of anything yet, or a romantic, suspecting that the glorious past of the art will by some inherent quality return a golden glow to people today, or are you pathological in some way and can’t really explain this nervous tick you have?
Our politics are so hostile and mean spirited right now, I think people need a little levity, a little fun. Maybe that will turn out to be the common ground we’re looking for, who knows? Peter Sellers, the theater director, says that all art is political, and I think there is some truth to that. I’m not an idealist. I started doing this work because the straight up illustration work went away. I’m not tied to past political cartoonists. Though they were brilliant, in today’s environment people look at it, categorize it by slamming it to either the left or right, and dismiss it. It doesn’t have the impact it once did. Just more white noise. I’m trying to loosen things up, use my animation background along with some elements of the graphic novel, and get people to laugh, relax, and maybe take a bit more in. Shit, now I do sound like an idealist. A not-very-self-aware idealist.
Okay 5 questions. How did you learn to draw real good?
Why, by studying music, of course! I’m a conservatory trained sax player, composer and arranger. (Intake of breath, pause for haughty reverence.) After college I studied music in India for a time, then returned to the states where I promptly cut my middle finger damned near off. (My drawing hand, of course.) So I sat around, ate Cheerios, drank cognac and watched the Oliver North trial. (Still to this day, our finest American liar under oath.)
Then I became an illustrator.
Okay 6 questions. Where can we buy stuff you make?
Well, depends on what you want to buy. If you’d like a copy of my compendium of printed pieces from last year, This One Goes to Eleven can be purchased here http://www.lulu.com/shop/joe-
My cd with the quartet, Calder’s Circus, can be purchased here http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=
My site has everything else, including the large oils I’ve recently gotten into. www.joefournierstudios.com
Finally a big thanks to you Steve, our top-shelf, groove daddy of the illustration world. Thanks for including me on your blog. You’re the best!
Thanks to you Joe, for trailblazing and showing that great work will rise, even in the rushing river of brackish media. Keep up the crazy brilliance. And don’t forget to write.
The last week has seen an ongoing protest on Wall Street. This weekend we saw how un-finest the NYPD can be. It is inquest time in Lower Manhattan. There enough thugs in public life without any of them being on payroll. Neither protesters nor Cops are angels. But they all need to be above board and not break laws. It is inquest time in Lower Manhattan. Ed.
This group of “occupiers” have had enough of privatized profits and socialized risk; many of the protesters come from hard-hit states, some whose homes have been foreclosed on.
Jane Maisel found about 200 hearty souls camped out and making noise.
There are times when a protest needs to be specific, but this is not one of them. occupywallstreet.org has called for people to protest the system as it now functions—or doesn’t function—for many of us, here dubbed “the 99%.” This group has gathered in the spirit of Tahrir Square, in this case speaking against the corporate powers that seem to have a death grip on what we like to believe is our democratic society.
Saturday had brought a flood of people to march along Wall Street in front of the NY Stock Exchange. So in the NYPD’s effort to keep the protesters from disrupting business around the New York Stock Exchange, police have now lined Wall Street with barriers, creating such narrow paths that everyone, including executives, tourists, and delivery people, must shuffle along nearly in single file.
I got off the Number 3 train at Wall Street, on the cool and rainy Day 4 of the protest. With the help of a kind Tweeter and some grudging, sarcastic directions from a NYC policeman, who said, “I’d like to find them myself,” I found my way a few blocks north to Zuccotti Park, at Broadway and Liberty Street. The park has a wall on the north side, just the right height for passersby to look into the park, which many did. They were as drawn as I was—what was going on?
I encountered a young man with a plastic bag for a raincoat who was serving as part of an impromptu welcoming committee along the periphery of the park. Twenty years old, here from South Carolina, he told me that he is part of the 99% in this country who are suffering because of the 1%’s greed. He explained his view that this is not personal greed, but structural greed. “And I’m going to stay here as long as the group is able to stay here.” He wanted to know if I had ever heard of agents provocateurs. We talked about the dance scene in The Grapes of Wrath, and he promised to look it up. After four days living outside, this twenty-year-old still didn’t need a shave.
Code Pink offered me a hot pink paper to fill out, extending the 60’s rallying cry, “Make love not war.” My sheet said Make ______ Not War.
The soggy paper quilt on the sidewalk made up of others’ contributions had already covered the necessities:
Make safe neighborhoods…
Make a mess ….
Make anything but…
and one that would make my father’s heart sing (he’s writing a book with a similar title):
Make laws not war.
As I entered the park I noticed that the man standing next to me was wearing a T-shirt stating “I am Troy Davis.”
And there were more cardboard signs, soggy, torn off cardboard boxes:
“Do you feel it trickle down?”
“Corporations are NOT People”
“Unfuck the World” (the only printed bumper sticker I saw)
“Only the Oligarchy got Democracy, not the 99% of us”
“Get your money out of our government”
(and tied to a balloon in the shape of a smiling pig) “Greed makes me happy”
A member of the group who was serving as a medic gave a short talk on the warning signs of hypothermia and how to avoid it. Pizza, water, hummus, bananas, and peanut butter in Costco-sized packs were neatly stacked along one of the planters, free for anyone to help themselves. Empty pizza boxes covered much of the pink granite walkways on this private park/public space, put to use to keep people from slipping on the cold wet stone between chrysanthemum plantings. The boxes are remnants of the huge numbers of pizzas that have been delivered from neighboring pizza places, paid for by orders placed by people around the world—as was done in Tahrir Square.
Arrests had been made that morning. I was told that police had removed the tarp that covered computers and other electronic equipment. When protestors replaced tarp the arrests began. A young man lying handcuffed on the ground was described to me as having called out that he was unable to breathe—having an asthma attack— but the police dragged him away, ignoring his pleas for his medication. He was rumored to be in critical condition.
The group is determined to remain peaceful. They have asked the police to see themselves as the protectors of the demonstrators and their right to free speech. Some of the police seemed relaxed and tuned in to the situation; others looked disgusted or bored.
I happened upon the moment when a lawyer was offering to seek an injunction to stop police from clearing the park and protect the group’s First Amendment right to free speech, and to gather and pitch tents in the park for as long as thirty days. One of the speakers addressed the group, asking whether they would collectively accept this offer of legal help. Since the police had ruled out the use of any amplification, people had to serve as amplifiers by repeating what was being said. Speakers spoke one phrase at a time and the assembled members repeated it so that all would be able to hear. What first appeared to be group-think turned out to be an effective solution to the need for amplification. Practicality mixed with the absurdity of the situation when the lawyer asked and his words were repeated: “Would anyone mind—” (the crowd: “Would anyone mind—”) “if I smoke?” (the crowd: “if I smoke?”), at which point the woman near me reached out and asked the lawyer, “Can I have one, too?” The lawyer handed her a cigarette, stating “I don’t have enough for everyone.” (About 200 of us were huddled together to hear him speak.) Suddenly many were lighting up and a great cloud of fragrant smoke wafted over the crowd.
Not only is the group determined to be peaceful, but it is also determined to be democratic. Engaged in the inefficient but virtuous quest for respectful discussion leading to consensus, they are really pulling it off. People were asked to be concise and they were. Questions were raised. Direct responses were given. The whole discussion was polite and avoided oversimplification. All this from a crowd that had been sleeping under plastic tarps with a layer of cardboard between them and the granite pavement for three nights—and had seen their neighbors dragged away earlier in the day.
When I had to leave I had to climb over people and up onto one of the polished, slippery granite walls. I gauged the distance and wanted to hop down, behaving like the twenty-year-olds around me, but thought better of it. I realized that I felt free to look my age, so I asked a young man to lend me a hand and I safely stepped down from the wall. You gotta do what you gotta do, which this group understands.