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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Window Shopping



Rhoda Morganstern would've loved this window.

Remember Rhoda? Mary Richards' best friend in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show?" Mary represented the girl we wanted to be, but Rhoda, for many of us, represented the less perfect reality most of us related to.

This being television, even Rhoda had a cute little apartment (not as nice as Mary's, but cute in a boho style) and a cool job designing display windows at department stores. This was, I suppose, still a time when department stores employed window dressers. Then again, this was a time when there were real department stores.

It was understood, by the bead drapery in that little apartment and the kerchiefs Rhoda would occasionally wear over her hard-to-tame hair, that she was a creative, and that creative was kind of a double-edged sword. I always thought Rhoda's job sounded cool, even if she seemed underpaid. I also figured that Rhoda probably had a fantastic sense of genius with her windows.

So here it is, Rhoda: The latest fantastic window from our local Anthropologie store, which actually employs people to do this kind of display. The larger-than-life-size dress is constructed of dyed coffee filters that are tied and arranged in sweeping lines. Looks like it would be tedious as heck to put that together, but how wonderful that someone put the work in.

What I love most about this, and about the other things Anthropologie does like this, is that they don't have to do it. It's an extra put there to delight the eye, to grab some attention and to remind us that visual surprises can be right around the corner.

Monday, February 21, 2011

When was the last time ...



...you let your imagination run away with you?
Where did it go?
Did you resist?
What are the barriers between you and a good flight of imagination or two? Too much work? Too much radio? Too much Facebook? Pure exhaustion?

Remember when you were a kid and clouds looked like animals? Sure you do. All kids think clouds look like animals. It's one of the benefits of being a kid.

Today in Cleveland, the whole sky is one big cloud. The grownup part of me think it looks like five miles of slow driving. The kid thinks it looks like the palm of the Abominable Snowman closing in on us.
What does it look like where you live?

Friday, February 18, 2011

It's like a perfect pair of jeans



When a basket fits perfectly, you just want to get down in it, right? You just need to be a loaf in that basket, knowing that the admiration you are attracting is just and good.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

And yet ...



and yet it's kind of frightening, isn't it?

I started out thinking to do something a little cute and kids-bookish, and drew this in my sketchbook. I was called to mark it up with garish colors, which, in combination with the proportions of the blue cat -- which said proportions make me think of the creepy disproportions of humans as they're drawn in Early American primitive art -- contribute to these vaguely unsettling qualities.

One of the compelling things about being someone who likes to draw is that even when one has seemingly nothing to draw, stuff comes out. The where-does-it-come-from question pulls me in. The girl here is singing to her cat, by the way. The cat may be torn between horror and a need to continue to be cute.

Is there something to be done with this? Transformation? Repair? Evolution? I just saw a film about street artists. Perhaps I'll turn the girl and her blue cat into a giant stencil and paint her all over the city. Wouldn't that be fun ...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Meet my new favorite blogstress: Alisa Burke



Image above, and video link below, all by Alisa Burke.

One of my recent happy discoveries is the blog of Alisa Burke. You can check out her astounding creativity by clicking her link on my blog roll. But in the meantime, check out this cool video she made about her artistic inspiration.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Morning come-to-Jesus



We go every Sunday now. The slight, loud, funny, inspiring black woman who leads the meeting makes it feel like church. I look around at a lot of faces. I imagine that they are tired of the struggle, like me. But I sort of admire us anyway.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Grays Armory in Cleveland



Grays Armory stands in downtown Cleveland as a memorial to the Cleveland Grays, a voluntary militia formed almost two centuries ago, and as a museum to military history. I joined the Cleveland Sketch Crawl on Saturday to draw and learn more about the armory. You can see some of what I found right here.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Que Seurat Seurat



OK, so the failure here is that with the technique being used (pointillism), the eye is supposed to "blend" the varied colors of dots into new colors that we're actually going for. I think if you stood perhaps 20 feet back from your computer, MAYBE some of this would be happening. Maybe.

On the other hand, it sort of succeeds as a cool little image, if you ask me. The actual dog, by the way, was a dachshund I shot a couple of frames of at the "Made in the 216" event last summer. The dog is a kind of yellowy brown (with some white) in the head region and white with dapples on his cute little sausagey body.

Sunday, February 06, 2011



So I've been reading this book called "Drawing the Line" from the Comics Journal Library. I bought it because it has art and interviews with Raph Steadman, David Levine, Jules Feiffer and Edward Sorel, all of whom I admire, artwise. One of them -- I can't even remember which one -- at one point describes what it's like to do what he does. (Or, perhaps, did. Levine is dead. Don't know about Sorel.)

Anyway, he talked about how he would finish a drawing, be pleased with it, feel lighthearted and good about his work, and then pretty quickly the doubts and self-loathing would creep in again. I'm paraphrasing here, but the gist is right.

People who decide to go into the arts with the idea that it's a more fun way to make a living than, say, doing telemarketing or digging ditches are, I'm quite sure, correct. It IS more fun. I'm sure.
But it isn't easier, emotionally. It's just a different kind of hard. Do lawyers and bartenders and teachers and dentists go to work every day and vacillate between, "I'm a genius!" and "Good god, I am the least gifted person who has ever earned a nickel from this gig"?

I think not. But if you are a lawyer or a teacher or a bartender and you'd like to set me straight, I'd be fascinated to hear what you have to say. Meantime, the artists and the writers and the poets and composers, the stand-up comics and (perhaps) the dancers and the actors -- they all know what I'm talking about.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

It Is True -- I Love Ralph



It is true that I was sort of dreading taking Color Theory this semester. It seemed dry. Essentially, anything with "theory" in the title bodes ill, right?

Well, the class has been strange for reasons I won't go into here. But one of the cool aspects of it has been that it really is firing my exploratory gene and making me think and notice different things. That might be one of the highest callings of art school.

Rather in that vein, I've been studying a book about five well-known illustrators of the 20th century -- the folks I think of as the Pen Guys. I have been especially smitten, for quite a while, with the work of gonzo illustrator Ralph Steadman. Perhaps you will see his influence in my crazed bird here.

Are you feeling like a crazed something-or-other after all thissss endlesssss snowwww?