Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Comicon 2007

Me and Dan Santat at the Comicon on Friday, the only photo I got before my camera died. This is gonna be a decent sized entry.

Left early Thursday morning so I could make the 2 hour drive and still get parking under the convention. The night before I came down with a cold, I had serious stuffed up sinuses, runny nose and just felt like shit in general. The drive down really sucked, not to be a whiny byatch but I’d only slept a couple hours at most the night before, and I just felt like curling up and sleeping. I almost turned around twice.

Once I got to the Con, I decided to sleep in my car down in the parking dungeon. Yeah, it was stinky, hot and humid down there. I tried to sleep but I was feverish and very sweaty. So I put my seat back, and thought, I’m a man, I can be shirtless in public (besides, who’d see my fishbelly white flab down in a dank parking garage anyway?) I took off my shirt and put my arms up to air out my sweaty pits (wow, this is turning out gross). I fell asleep like that and woke up suddenly an hour later unable to move my arms which were dead asleep. I jumped up, and looked to my right and there were three guys looking back with surprise in their eyes. Hi. Shit. So I layed back in my seat and clumsily put my shirt on with asleep limbs.

I crawled out of my car. Smiled at the three asian guys that saw me jolt awake. And headed to find a bathroom.

I got into the exhibitor’s hall right when it opened at 10, went and found Mark Murphy where I’d be sharing a booth. This is my 12th year attending the Comicon, and only the second time I’ve had a booth to park all my stuff. So nice to be able to stash my backpack and walk around. This booth was to be our home base for the next 4 days, this was where we laughed, cried, ate our lunch (usually overpriced mediocre cheeseburgers with buns the size of floatation devices), and overall had a pretty fun time.

That first day I did a ton of drawings but I was really feeling pretty ill. I probably spread colds to everyone in the “Toy Growers Garden” or whatever they’re calling it. I was trying not to shake hands but people wanted to. It doesn’t matter, I handled so many sketchbooks, sharpies and giant Qees that were then passed around to more artists that I wouldn’t be surprised if half the Con got my cold. Sorry.

I missed a couple parties because after drawing hundreds of drawings and being nice to so many people all I wanted to do was take some Nyquil and crawl into bed. It’s not hard being nice to so many people, I enjoy meeting my fans, it’s just exhausting to always put on your happy face and draw good stuff when your feeling under the weather.

I made it through the first two days somehow and by Saturday I felt awesome. I had a little nagging cough but cough drops work wonders. My pal Jon came out from Vista and we got to walk around for a couple hours. All this time I didn’t really get to take any photos. I took a couple then my camera ran out of batteries and I couldn’t find anywhere in the convention that had them for sale. So I did some drawings. Mark Murphy was a great booth partner, we had a lot of fun. What a generous guy. Saturday night he threw a party at his place. Here’s what happened:

Mark Todd and I got a ride from San Diego illustrator Pamela Jaeger. On our way to the party Mark saw some indie comics guys and waved. Jacob Covey promtly flipped us the bird so we busted out our guns and started shooting. I think Jordan Crane got hit in the shoulder. Suckas.

When we arrived Mark Murphy had the serious food and drink setup going. This dude knows how to throw a party. Taquitos, self serve tacos, chips, salsa, guacamole, rice & beans etc. Very good stuff. Someone made me a pretty strong Marguerita.

I decided to show people around Mark’s place. He has an awesome art collection, some Joe Sorren pieces, a big Tim Hussey, a Manuel O’Campo, etc. and some weird hand molds that are actually pretty cool.

I ended up making friends with artist Gin Stevens and his girl Elizabeth. Super rad folks. (note: He doesn’t look dead in real life, it’s just the picture). He’s part of the Igloo Tornado, an artist collective. The other guys never showed up.

John Goff played his bagpipes for everyone. Pretty sweet, I’ve never heard them up close like that. Afterwards the Goff brother provided the music- check their stuff- SSI.

I talked to my booth neighbor Jermaine Rogers about Texas.

The Munson smoked some herb on the Murphy front porch.

I was cold because I didn’t think to bring a sweatshirt (who knew? It’s still hot at night where I live). Mars-1 was there and we finally got to talk for a while. Great guy, I can’t say enough about Mario. And I got to meet David Choong Lee who was also really cool. So Mars was telling me UFO stories, creeping me out on a foggy full moon night and then Mark Murphy comes up and starts telling ghost stories. Ask him sometime.... creepy stuff. I was pretty freaked out- was i shivering in fear or from the chilly SD air?

A lady died in Mark’s house a long time ago. It was in the upstairs bathroom, and her ghost is around....

Joe Ledbetter came by and introduced us to this guy Jack who’s a world champion yo-yo guy. I looked him up online- Jack Ringca. Wow, this guy was doing some crazy shit with that yoyo.

I ended up talking with Martin McIntosh from Australia, Mark Todd, husband and wife duo Brandt Peters and Kathie Olivas, and Joe Ledbetter. I was still really cold. Woops I forgot to draw/paste a head on myself.

Towards the end of the night these guys came looking for the Igloo Tornado.

After everyone was gone we found that someone tracked dog poo into Mark’s house. Sonoffa! There are some reports it was Mike Bertino (sorry really dumb inside joke).

The last day I brought my camera. I didn’t want to take photos of all the people dressed up as the same shit every year. So I just shot friends mostly.

Jeremy Kove and Jermaine Rogers guarding our booth Sunday morning.

Aaron Mason and family came out. Gavin had fun.

Eric Nakamura from Giant Robot is always so nice.

Nichole (AKA ToyBaroness) from KidRobot had me draw some stuff in her secret sketchbook. Only the chosen few know what’s in there...

Never did end up saying hi to old pal Tara McPherson. Every time I came by she wasn’t around.

Mitch O’Connel was there in Artists’ Alley with copies of his book. When I came back to pick one up they were sold out.

Dov Kelemer got half the attendees their badges.

Kozik’s sign. Hmm..

Ron English cow chick. Is that Ron next to her? I didn’t even notice when I took the photo.

Roman Dirge and Steven Daily looking sharp over at Slave Labor.

Brandt Peters and Kathie Olivas seemed to be pretty swamped with fans.

Gary Taxali Vader helmet.

Grasshut had the coolest booth as always. (That’s also Martin from GR on the left making a guest appearance)

Bwana and Martin had a good Con (and they deserve it!)

Annual Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson Comicon photo. Thanks for the ride back to my hotel Mark!

Tom Neely and Levon Jihanian from Igloo Tornado. Some guys were looking for you last night.

By Sunday afternoon I was ready to go home; actually I was kinda ready after that first day. The convention is a lot of work and stress, it’s getting crazier every year. Our booth did really good, and I’m hoping to do the same thing next year. Thanks goes out to everyone who came by, we appreciate the support.

Good to be home again... and now back to finishing work for my September solo show!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Comicon here I come..

I'm getting stuff together for the San Diego Comicon, leaving early tomorrow to go stand in line for an hour to get my Pro badge. Why is it that every year this thing gets more and more stressful? I remember when they mailed your entry badges to you a month ahead of time. Ah well, things change. So here's what's going on:

I'll be at Murphy Design's booth, #4933. I have a signing schedule (can't find it now but swing by the booth and ask) but I'll also be there throughout the day, every day of the con.

My calendar just came out so we'll have that for sale and I'm bringing some new stuff that is not for sale on my website yet.

A new giclee, "Thunder Cloud Over a Flower", edition of 50.

A new 3 color serigraph, "Storm Cloud" edition of 115.

And a new 16 page minizine- "Hope". I made 200, each is signed and numbered and comes sealed with some buttons.

All the new stuff has special Comicon pricing- when I put the new merchandise up online next week things'll be a little higher. That's my way of saying thanks to those who are braving the crowded, stinky, sweaty halls of Nerd Prom, er, Comicon.

Alright see you there. Look for the nerd dressed as a Tauren Moonkin.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

L.A. dreamin'

This might be a long entry- be warned...

Chris Ryniak was in town from Ohio to take part in a show at Scion Art Space called “Life Size”. Thought it’d be fun to get out of the studio for a day and be his tour guide. Our goal was to see as much as we could in the way of galleries in Los Angeles so my pal Jon and I headed out from Riverside. We picked up Chris and Dave Chung (AKA The Chung!!) in Culver City and headed out for adventure.

First stop was Gary Baseman’s house where he was working to put the final touches on his show that goes up next week. Opens July 14th at Billy Shire Fine Arts. He had this amazing wall of drawings on tracing paper. Pretty interesting to see how he works. Crazy seeing his awards just chillin’ on his hearth.

Next we came by Gallery 1988 where there’s a group show called Packed and Loaded. Really nice seeing this stuff in person, especially the painterly brush strokes of Brandt Peters. Jensen tried to take us out for gellato but the flavor chemist had his shop closed much to his dismay.

On a side note, there are some awesome trannies in L.A. Wow.... okay back to the story...

Next we went to check out La Luz de Jesus and peeked in on the Daniel Peacock show, unfortunately we couldn’t make it to the opening that night. Looked good from what I could see. I bought all too many art books. La Luz is awesome for books but hard on the wallet.

We headed to Thinkspace next where they have the ArtDorks exhibit going on. Chris and Dave are part of the Artdorks collective, it was nice to see their work in the show. The show was really good overall, once again, nice to see work in person that I’ve only seen online. I really liked the Robert Hardgrave stuff, Brendan Danielsson (killer bush), Heiko Muller, and Gregory Jacobsen.

Who are these guys? Artdorks, that's who!

Backtracked over to Merry Karnowsky Gallery. Awesome 10th anniversary show. This place never disappoints. Shepard Fairey, Junko Mizuno, Eric White, Kent Williams, wow what a show! Here’s some stand outs for me:

Jim Houser

Camille Rose Garcia

Rich Colman

No L.A. gallery trip is complete without swinging by the infamous New Image Art. Marsea Goldberg has been doing her thing and has consistently shown artists that are doing big things (Barry McGee, Faile, Swoon, Ed Templeton, the list goes on...) There’s always a special place in my heart for New Image Art- Marsea was one of the first to show my work and give me support. I forgot my camera but I pulled some of my favorite work off their site. There was a great Eric White piece but I can’t find an image of it.

David Ellis

Date Farmers

Kelsey Brooks

Next we headed west to eat at Giant Robot's restaurant GR/eats..... but they were closed (they shut down for a couple hours between lunch and dinner). Always next time...

At the GR store I bought too many books again and Chris, Dave and I drew with crayons in their guestbook. At GR2 they had a pretty good comics art show. And I bought more artbooks there too. Damn.
Please do not steal the drawing!

Into the early evening L.A. traffic and back to Culver City to catch the last 10 minutes of Tim Biskup’s show at Billy Shire Fine Art. We barely made it, the door was actually locked but the nice lady let us in luckily. This was my favorite show of the day (Date Farmers being a close second). It really felt like Biskup’s work has matured at this point, it was less humorous, more raw, more emotional and more beautiful than previous work I’ve seen. The work has a lot of feeling. I was impressed. And the giant sized realization of his painting was spectacular.

Next we went to a 3 person show at The Lab 101 featuring Andy Jenkins, Andrew Pommier, and Andy Mueller. Three Andy’s. Damn, left my camera in the car. It was nice talking to owner and artist Freddi C, she’s really cool and we go pretty far back (she curated me in a show up in SF in 2002). I was really excited to see Andy Jenkin’s work. I remember it vividly from when I was 10 and reading Freestylin’ magazine. I think he wrote and did artwork for the mag. He’s still got a nice style, a lot of movement in his strokes. Good stuff.

We missed Sixspace, Corey Helford, and a bunch of others. Never made it to Bergamot Station either. But you can only see so much in a day. L.A. is huge and galleries are open 1-6pm (lame).

Our last stop was Scion’s art space in Culver City to get a behind the scenes look at “Life Size” a group show curated by Francesco LoCastro. Chris had been setting up with the other artists the day before and was finishing up. Looks to be a killer show from what was already on the walls. Opening is Saturday July 7th, 7-10pm. I can’t make it because we have a wedding to go to (Go Lisa and Rick!), but if you’re in the area swing by and say hi to Chris Ryniak.

When we were there Esao Andrews was working on his wall, nice talking to him. I was reminded that Tomer Hanuka, Mu Pan, and Regino Gonzales were all classmates of his at SVA in NYC. Crazy.

Ronald Kurniawan has work in the show but wasn’t around. We have a similar aesthetic- probably why I like his work so much. Never met him, but would like to.

Jen Stark (I just realized the only woman in the show), has some interesting work consisting of layered colored paper. They were really amazing actually, she is young, should be interesting to see where she takes it.

Seeing her setup her wall with all the other guys got me thinking about how much a “boy’s club” this art scene is. I’m not trying to single out the Scion show, in fact all the galleries we checked out had more men showing their work (except Gallery 1988, and Merry Karnowsky was also pretty even). Why is that? Are there more men artists out there? I know when I curated a show 5 years ago, I knew many more male artists than female that fit into the show’s theme. Is this genre of art more male oriented? Is it sexism? I don’t know and don’t have the answers. I know the Guerilla Girls have been addressing this for decades.

Sorry for the little side-rant. So Jon and I dropped off Chris and Dave and left Los Angeles, our heads whirling with imagery, tired, worn out, feeling like we packed two days into one. Chris and Dave will have their report up too.. check their blogs at:
Eat the Future
The Chung Fortune Cookie

A quick note- there is a gallery called LowBrow Fine Art that is having a "show" of my prints next week with an "opening" and everything. I don't know anything about this gallery, they never told me about it and I won't be there. Sorry if there's any confusion. This sort of thing chaps my hide, and I sent them an email asking what they're trying to do. Anyways just wanted to let people know I have nothing to do with that gallery.

Finally- I'll be taking a break from blogging for a while. Probably after September I'll drop another long entry but for now it's time to close up shop and finish all the artwork for my next show. Good thing I have a helper...

Jeff signing off till September!!!