Tag Archives: john tebeau

A Thank-You Postcard from Burning Man

Just got back from a fairly intense stay in the Nevada desert. Alkali dust, all the time, from an ancient sea bed filled with the pulverized shells of long-dead shellfish. Breathe that stuff, eat it, get coated with it like a sugar donut. That’s the way it is at Burning Man.

But after a period of acclimation, it can be a good thing. It got a lot better when Colleen and I got with the spirit of giving (one of the ten principles of The Burn) and started gifting these postcards to people.

“Thank You from Burning Man MMXII”

We printed up a couple hundred, stamped ’em, and encouraged people to write a thank you to someone back home or wherever, and we would see they were mailed. A little tip o’ the cap from Burning Man. Colleen’s suggestion, and a fine sentiment, to be sure, but I didn’t expect the reaction we got.

We were swamped. The first woman we met was hoping to send postcards back home, but had just missed one opportunity to do it. Then, boom. We showed up and she got her wish. Uncanny coincidences like that happen all the time at Burning Man. I conjured a root beer out of thin air once.

Another girl started to write a note home and began crying as she was doing it, big old tears running down her dusty cheeks. Foreigners flocked to us, ready to spread thanks around the globe. Kids sent thanks to parents, and parents to kids. It was sweet.

We sent a few, too (and saved a few extras), so you might see one soon. We were surprised to get quick reactions from a couple of folks who already received ours. The moral of the story is this: say thanks to people. Right now. Do it. They’ll appreciate it, and so might you.

… and a tip o’ the pith helmet from Mr. Bob Hope. Bob HOPE, ladies and gentlemen! Bob Hope!

Thanks for reading!

YOUR U.S. Snail Service, always at the ready….

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under cartoon art, original art

“Who Will Save Us?” (a nice article by Stephanie Thompson)

(The following is a little write-up by Brooklyn arts reporter Stephanie Thompson on the recent show I have in Park Slope which ends Friday. Thanks, Steph!)

Who Will Save Us?

The Art of John Tebeau

It could be the bacon or the inviting open doors that draws one first into the new Dizzy’s Diner on the corner of President St. and Park Slope’s bustling 5th Ave. But once inside, the bold poster-style art that screams from the walls is the big star.

The arresting images by John Tebeau, up until July 27, immediately bring a warm smile of recognition followed by a giggle at the artist’s sly clever twists on the

“1978”

familiar. In the powerful illustrated montage, 1978, there is the full white-toothed smile and solid stand-up breasts of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, power bracelets braced and ready. There is Steve Martin, mouth and eyes open wide, an arrow through his head. There is Cap’n Crunch and the Play-Do primary-colored O-faced grin of Mr. Bill. There too are the gun-toting feather-haired girls of Charlie’s Angels, the Grease logo and John Belushi’s mug atop a “College” sweatshirt. There they all are and there we are, those of us who remember, brought back to a comfortable time and place, secure.

As a longtime illustrator and packaging designer, Mr. Tebeau clearly understands the power of icons and symbols to motivate emotions and drive people to action.

“I try to inspire or excite people with iconography, I want my art to be useful,” Mr. Tebeau said in the same earnest winking tone of his fabulously entertaining images. “If it makes somebody feel better or focuses them in a way, great, then it’s worked.”

Stroh’s, That Seventies Brew

And it has. The blue-skinned James Bond depiction, the purple-hued Duke Ellington, the orangey-red rendering of Star Trek’s Uhura, not to mention the Stroh’s beer can, all goose the diner-goer to stop mid-bite of bacon and reflect on the great motivational power of heroes, superheroes and icons from a certain place and time in history. Time past always seems better, more hopeful somehow. We can see the changes that artists make more easily with hindsight.

Mr. Tebeau’s work is inspired by artists Peter Max, Wes Wilson and Victor Moscoso whose bold posters reflected what he calls thejoyous optimism” of San Francisco in the fast-changing ‘60s and ‘70s.

By hearkening back to that time, Mr. Tebeau well captures that optimism and the necessity of bringing it back again.

“It’s easy to get distracted in life, especially the way it is now, with a lot of stimulus and not all of it good,” he said. For Mr. Tebeau personally and, he believes, universally, images and icons offer up necessary inspiration and focus to drive one’s intended life work.

“I see work as a form of salvation, although maybe that sounds too religious,” Mr. Tebeau said. “But ‘work’ is what you’re supposed to do in life. John D. Rockefeller said, ‘If you want the key to happiness, find something you do fairly well and do it with all your heart and soul.’”

As the regulated work world morphs more and more into unstructured freelance, necessitating greater self-motivation, Mr. Tebeau’s suggestion is actually faith-based: we need to trust and believe in a fair bit of divine intervention.

In Universe, Mr. Tebeau reflects the hand of God offering Adam an Ace of Hearts.

Divine Intervention

“It’s about good luck and love and the divine, about the unlikely opportunities and interventions that can come into your life that you need to seize and claim, that can help motivate you,” he said.

It is reflective of Mr. Tebeau’s own great joyous optimism that he believes this can happen to people, to anyone.

“If you focus on a vision of what you want, you can bring it to yourself, draw it to you…” he said.

As proof, he offers up the story of an investigative journalist who asked him for a rendering of his hero, Edward R. Murrow. After hanging the image over his

Murrow Five-Way

work space, the man went on to win three Edward R. Murrow awards.

Mr. Tebeau is commissioned for such work but also wants to inspire more widely with his images.

“Art doesn’t work if no one sees it,” Mr. Tebeau says, grateful extending thanks to Dizzy’s owner Matheo Pisciotta and his wife, Mary Fraioli.

The couple works with Park Slope-based art curating service Radar Curatorial to set up shows featuring local artists like Mr. Tebeau every three months at the new location on 5th Ave. as well as on the original location at 9th St. and 8th Ave.

“We have such amazing talent in Brooklyn, it’s great to support them,” Ms. Fraioli said.

Her husband agrees. “I say, ‘Buy art, save lives.’” Is the saving just of the starving artists, or is it ourselves, that is the question.

The couple has featured the art and music of staff as well as that of friends and neighbors since they first opened their doors in 1997, among those they gave their start the now well-renown photographer Lori Berkowitz.  More recently, they formalized the effort by hiring Michele Jaslow and Spring Hofeldt of Radar and offering wait-staff a 5% commission for any art they sell.

Visit Dizzy’s for the bacon, for sure, but think of buying some salve for the soul as well.

2 Comments

Filed under Art Shows, brooklyn, cartoon art, pop art

Blast From Past Dept: “Want Some Bacon?”, a 1995 Sketchbook Piece Commemorating Pulp Fiction

Thanks to shoulder surgery, I’m posting reruns. Here’s a little chestnut from my sketchbook circa 1995, based on the infectious dialogue from Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. Enjoy!

Personality Goes a Long Way

Leave a comment

Filed under cartoon art, original art, sketchbook art

“FINISH WHAT YOU START,” said Hemingway, blunt and true and with purpose.

Hard to think of Hemingway now and not conjure up how Woody Allen had him portrayed in Midnight in Paris. That doesn’t detract, though, it just distracts. He said some wise things, many involving work. On how to write, he is reported to have said, “Write every day and finish what you start.” Substitute a different verb for “write” and it can be applied to any endeavor. Good advice, sir. Give that man an illustrated quotation.

Leave a comment

Filed under original art, quote paintings

Some Kind of Meaningful Message (another quote painting)

I’m in the back row of a classroom. I think it’s an art class. A phrase pops, fully formed, into my head. I know it’s important, so I grab the first thing I can and I write it down. I use a charcoal stick and write on a piece of driftwood.

Then I wake up. Then I write it down for real. Later I cut and sand and prime a piece of masonite board and go to Lowe’s with Sorgatz and buy wood to build a frame, which I stain and finish. Then I paint the board with gold and black paints, complete with an absurdly detailed border. And I hang the whole thing above my desk at the studio.

"Work to Reveal"

3 Comments

Filed under original art, quote paintings

The 52 Project: Week After Week of Riffing

Take a look at the 52 Project. It’s created by Chrissy Deiger and Brian Ralph Short as a venue for artists to speak to each other; to make things that would not have occurred otherwise occur; to mix media so that it melts, stumbles, smolders, erupts; to both interrupt and prolong the creative process; to enjoy the multitude of ways we have to communicate with each other, to make meaning, to insist and react and be still.

Each week for a year a different artist riffs on the art that was posted the week before. Mine’s up now, called “Work Chair.” Check out the guy before me, week 26. He did a dumpster dive, on video, and resurrected a chair (the one I drew below), on the fly.

"Work Chair"

Now get to it. Go do your work, fearlessly.

Leave a comment

Filed under Artists, original art

Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, a Legitimate Bidniz, and Another Postcard from New Orleans

“Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop” by John Tebeau © 2011

Yeah, Jean LaFitte. What a guy. Murder, robbery, pillage and murder. He liked murder. It’s alleged that he and his bother used a “blacksmith shop” as a front. A Legitimate Business, if you will. A place to hold sit-downs, make deals and, probably, party.

The joint (now a pub) sits at the quiet end of Bourbon Street, and is a fan favorite to this day. I rendered this little picture in ink from a photo I took recently. Enjoy, and when you’re down in New Orleans, stop by Lafitte’s. Grab a cold drink and cop one of the chairs outside on the sidewalk, facing Bourbon. I recommend sunset time. Watch the sky fade from blue to pink to black as the clouds cruise overhead like plastic shopping bags blowing over the rooftops. Then make the short hike over to Frenchmen Street and catch some local jazz. The odds are strong that you’ll have an excellent evening.

2 Comments

Filed under original art, Postcards from New Orleans