Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Prince's Purple Rain

I remember listening to this album constantly when it came out. I had the 45" of "When Doves Cry" and my sister had the LP, and we'd listen to it at our house and her best friend, Jennifer Wentzel's house. I would sing, "this is what it sounds like, when dogs dieeeee!!!" I didn't know what "Darling Nikki" was about, but I wanted to. Spin just published a huge feature package marking the 25th anniversary of the release of the movie and album, and they got a bunch of bands to cover the album. Best part for me? I got to do the photo-illustration for the cover under art direction from Devin Pedzwater.

This first sketch is something I threw together that didn't get used. I had done a few different ink versions before I scanned this and colored it in photoshop. It got me very comfortable with the image, which helped when I made the final.
This is the final version, as it looks on newsstands.
And this is the original photo, by ASP.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

the Retouching Arts

(photo by Kevin Van Aelst, no permission. Great example of clever and well-done retouching. Filthy filthy lies!)

Communication Arts has an article by Kate Chase, published last December that just came to my attention. Given the generally negative and inflammatory way retouching has been portrayed in the press (OH MY GOD LOOK WHAT THEY DID!!!), it is nice to see a more measured and reflective look at the biz. (photo pilfered from CommArts website)

She talks about the Wild family and their retouching lineage, and how they changed from the late 1800s with the first airbrushes, all the way to the advent and proliferation of Photoshop.

"It’s been debated over the last few years if the term photo-retoucher is still applicable to describe today’s modern digital artist. For me, it’s still the perfect description, because all others ­fall short in comparison to what’s been thrown out as a replacement. ... The dedicated and sophisticated retoucher continually proves that it’s the educated artist in this niche who is sought after and retained to surpass expectations. It seems everyone is still looking for the name of a good 'airbrush' artist."

Friday, June 5, 2009

Angry Wade's Running Team, redux II

Here's the mockup from the printer!

dipping my toes into the AfterEffects pool

This is so terrible, but I'm pretty damn excited about the class I'm taking (at SVA) and what I will hopefully be able to do after the 8 weeks of class, and beyond. Adobe After Effects is a pretty powerful engine, I think I learned how to start it up and put on the directionals last night.

logos I like

These are some of the logos that I spent a lot of time drawing and redrawing all day long during classes at JFK Jr High in Florence, MA. I think they influenced me and the way I approach logos and type as much as all of the cover titles on the comics I love. Do bands still go out of their way to have an iconographic logotype? I should probably know since I work at a music magazine. I'm gonna poke around on the interwebs and see if I can find some contemporary ones that I like. These were the bands that I loved as well, and it was only a few years ago that I found out that Raymond Pettibon was responsible for the uber-iconic Black Flag logo, because his brother was in or managed Rollins' band back then. I think he did some of their cover art as well.

Not shown - Bauhaus. I think I was in my third year of art school before my Russian buddy informed me that the Bauhaus was actually a collective of designers, etc. from Europe who basically birthed modern design, and that Peter Murphy and the gang just completely ripped off their logo. Ah well.

Also not shown, but worth mentioning - the Aerosmith winged-A, AC/DC, Anthrax, Def Lepard, anything at all whatsoever by Peter Saville (well documented lately), KISS, Metallica, Misfits (unfortuanetly co-opted and now completely played out), Ramones, Stones, and on and on.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rant: You Kids Get Off My Lawn!!!

The beginnings of a full-scale rant, in their raw form, an email back to a friend after a pretty innocuous comment from him. Couldn't really tell if he was being sarcastic or not, but the gray area allowed me to grow my rant.

From: Diran Lyons
To: Eli Noogabooga
Subject: ?

You really hate Girltalk? He's a legend in the remix world...reminds me a bit of Ethank.

From: Eli Noogabooga
To: Diran Lyons
Subject: ?

When did we communicate about Girltalk? I don't like him, but maybe I'm just an old man, railing against the yoot. He's one step further removed from cd-DJs, and even further removed from LP DJs, who really do show talent sometimes, in their mixing, etc. Girl talk as a studio artist is fine, he mashes up, he mixes and remixes, he creates a new composition from found pieces. Fine. But Girltalk getting $xx,000 to 'play' a Thursday night promo gig thrown by Canon and the magazine I work for? Fucking ridiculous. And, yes, full disclosure, I think I am a bit jealous.

My problem with Ethan's work (ed's note: ran a band's fansite before gradschool, continued doing so and as far as I could tell the only thing he changed for art grad school was the way he talked about this site. The Emperor's New Clothes theorum, as it were,) was mostly one of classification; what he was doing was mostly social engineering and social networking. His argument was that he was creating 'happenings', but most of the time it was just social networking that he was passing off as happenings. I think because of his SD background he saw himself fitting into the continuum of some of the seminal artists of that genre that are associated with that school. I think he also subscribed to the Jevbratt school of thought wherein Code = Art. This gets into a tricky area for me because its a bit of the tail wagging the dog; similar to printmakers, paper-makers, and ceramicists, the process becomes the focus of the art and the experience of the art, rather, the prescribed experience of the art by the artist, rather than a more laissez-faire attitude about viewer/user experience and appreciation really being up to them.

It is my belief that prescribing meaning is a slippery slope to a fascist and monistic attitude and posture, and that it should not be necessary to know all context specific to a piece of work for it to be understood and thus 'good'. (An argument for using language like 'good' or 'bad' in terms of art is too big to have here, so let's just assume its ok to judge ;)) I think we have had a lot of discussions about the relative value and merit of art that is text-dependant, where the Text is what drives the work, sometimes propping up the most flimsy facade.

To bring this full circle, Ethan's work is, I think, interesting, and has value, and is not merely style, but substantive. Whether or not it is art, and from there, whether or not it is 'good' art, is an altogether different discussion, but I don't think it is art, rather it is craft, technical skill, and from there, it is most definitely not good art. Girl Talk's remixes might be art, but definitely not good art, as they are 100% style, and are merely pastiche. He is a visual decoupagist, not even on the level of a true collage artist. That he is valued in the more public realm of popular music, commands money, etc. does not solidify him as an Artist, rather as an entertainer. He is a huckster selling snake oil, and he is louder than the other slimy hucksters clambering for the same bit of soap box in the town square.