Monthly Archives: May 2009

New York is Free Street Theater

New York Eye Candy

New York Eye Candy

Walk down a street in New York, and you’re surrounded by art. And it costs you nothing.

The whole city is like a movie set, first of all. Every neighborhood, landmark and street seem like you’ve seen them on the big (or small) screen at one time or another, and you probably have. On top of that, the signage, Times Square, the taxis, etc? Those are all pop art. Then of course there is actual art art: murals, statues and whatnot, out there in courtyards, in the parks and on the streets for all to enjoy.

But I’m talking about something different here. It’s what’s happening on the streets and other public places. People. People amusing people. All the time. Sometimes on purpose (buskers, breakdancers, goddamned mimes) and sometimes unintentionally (angry old women bitching at length about cold eggrolls to a Chinese waiter who’s been in the U.S. two weeks and speaks five words of English).

And then there are the stunts. This week David Pogue from the Times wrote about a group called Improv Everywhere. Their public antics (breaking into an elaborate musical in a food court, freezing in place at Grand Central) add to the richness of New York art, and we are better for it.

Read Pogue’s article here. And when in New York, keep your eyes open. Art is all around you, all the time.

Yeah, yeah, yeah... Chicago. Close enough.

Yeah, yeah, yeah... Chicago. Close enough.

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Filed under art in new york

Three Reasons to Like John K

ren_and_stimpy02_10241. Ren

2. Stimpy

3. His blog

(Okay, there are more reasons, but why clutter this posting?)

John K, besides being a talented artist, is also a highly principled guy. He reveres good design and drawing, deplores much of the cluttered new “design” we see these days, and he tells us why on his blog, John K Stuff. He has a fine appreciation for quality vintage cartooning and layout, and carefully explains its merits, to both the professional and the layman.

And the man has a soft spot for the cereals (and their vintage packaging!) from our childhoods, too.

Good design. Right here.

Good design. Right here.

Check out his blog, John K Stuff. I find it enjoyable and informative every time I visit and I hope you do, too.

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Filed under cartoon art

Remember the Del Rio?

Del Rio: R.I.P.

Del Rio: R.I.P.

Way back in 1997 I drew a cartoon based on observations I made while hanging out at the Del Rio restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was a fun project, and people enjoyed it, mostly I assume because of their love of the place, which closed in 2004. A damn shame, because the place had heart, soul, good music and the best freakin’ pizza in town. Not to mention the last wisps of Ann Arbor’s mythical 1970s funk factor.

I recently found my notes and initial sketches that preceded the cartoon, and I’ve posted them below, with the final product. Hope you enjoy a trip down Memory Lane, all you folks fortunate enough to remember this place.

What favorite establishments would YOU like to see get a similar cartoon treatment?

Del1Del2Del3

Dinner at the Del Rio, as it ran in Current Magazine

Dinner at the Del Rio, as it ran in Current Magazine

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Filed under cartoon art, original art, SOLD

Humbug!

In 1956, Mad was the hottest thing since sunburn. It was selling out every issue, featured the best artistic talent in the industry and buoyed Bill Gaines’ EC comic book empire, unintentionally spawning several wannabe parodic rags in the process.

Editor Harvey Kurtzman wanted to upgrade Mad into a glossy magazine, paying big bucks to lure top writing talent. Gaines said no. Young Hugh Hefner liked the idea. Harvey and others made the leap to Hefner’s new, glossy Trump. It folded after two issues.

Then, after knocking back several alleged shots of Old Rotgut, Kurtzman, Will Elder, Al Jaffee, Arnold Roth and Jack Davis decided to start their own humor (also pronounced “YOO-mur” here in NYC) mag called Humbug. It was a site to behold. It blew many a young mind (see: “Crumb, Robert”). It folded after 11 issues, never to be reprinted. Until now.

Big Box o' Fun

Big Box o' Fun

It’s American popular history, kids. Dig in.

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Filed under Artists, cartoon art, parody