2009 November

November 2009


The most recent cover of Bud’s Art Books features a cover by the amazing, amazing Peter de Seve.

deseve

At first, I noted a few of the small similarities between this and an ink piece I halted work on this summer, which featured a makeshift group of super-bad-guys sorta posing for a yearbook picture. It was delicately titled ‘The League of Fuckin’ Shit Up’, and I hope that it’ll see the light of day as a print before too long. But I digress.

What struck me was the skull-headed spaceman on the far right, half off-panel. I went in search of more information, because it looked familiar. I was even more surprised to find a year-old blog that featured an extremely similar image to deSeve’s. It is all detailed here, including a polite apology from de Seve for accidentally / subconsciously / unknowingly creating a piece so similar to the original.

That’s not why I went hunting. That skull-spaceman bears a remarkable similarity to MonstreHero’s Intergladiator figure.

britesquad

Under those helmets are skulls. The V-shaped suit, the helmet as wide as the body – striking similarities. I have absolutely no doubt that MonstreHero created their figure completely independently of a relatively obscure illustration, but there’s something in the collective creative unconscious that’s all about the skeletal spaceman.

dr_who
Of course, there’s this guy from Dr. Who.

no_way_back

This amazing science fiction book cover.

Our fear and fascination with space is deeply enmeshed with our fear and fascination with death.

You may or may not know this, but every day that I go to work at the library, I draw a portrait of a patron.

Usually, I draw the most obnoxious or demanding person I’ve encountered in a given day, or failing that, a particularly memorable person. As the library is located in a rural area with old time mountain folk mixed with the yuppies who have moved into the developments that exist where forest used to be, we get a good cross section of humanity.

Of course, I’ve made this gallery of human failures and wonders a secret, and only my closest friends can see it. I mean, until I leave this job – then it’s getting published. Anyhow, we have a patron who comes in almost every day.

patron

He’s been coming in for years, and while I have multiple stories of him getting into altercations with other patrons, creating as much noise as he possibly can when he sneezes (which he sometimes fakes just for attention), and the time that he developed a ‘fear of books’ to explain why he didn’t return a whole bunch of biographies he took out until a year later, one memorable story happened the other day.

See, this guy couldn’t get into his car – not because it was locked with the keys inside but because he ‘gave some Muslim a ride’ somewhere. Said ‘Muslim’ was allegedly wearing some kind of oil or something which Patron was severely allergic to and ended up in the ER with very bad symptoms of something-or-other. As a result, he was convinced that he could never get into his car again and had to sell it. It remained in the parking lot of the library for a week or two as I helped him list it on Craigslist. I even helped him get the mileage off of the odometer because he was so terrified to stick his head into the car. Granted, the car smelled like a sweaty guy who smoked cigars too much, but to each their own allergies. I’m willing to suspend disbelief, if only because it takes too much energy to refute something so pointless. It became pretty obvious that racism was creating more of an intense psychological reaction than any actual substance was.

On Tuesday, he asks me for a ride to the place where he works. It’s right up the hill from the library and I go to that area anyway to buy lunch every other day.

Now, I know that signing on to do anything for or with Patron will be an adventure of weirdly epic proportions, but I’m ready for anything. So, I agree.

At 2PM, when I usually go for lunch, he suddenly wants a ride to his apartment too. Fine. It’s in another direction, but it’s also nearby. As my brand new car fills with sweaty cigar man smell, I realize that he’s the second person I’ve ever actually given a ride in my car anywhere, and I hope that he doesn’t leave anything behind that forces me to sell it. You know, ‘like a Muslim’.

As we finally depart from his apartment to the workplace, he’s screaming in my ear. His talking voice is a bellow, and my car is small, and I’m twitching and trying to keep both eyes on the road. He screams for the entire ride.

“Nothing against Muslims, but I would kill ‘em all!” he says. “This county was a lot better before they got here!”

I’m not about to start a sociopolitical debate in my new car. He’s gesticulating and every so often, brushing against my bare arm. It can’t be accidental. I don’t know anyone who tries to drive their racist point home with a gentle caress, but it wouldn’t the strangest thing he’s done.

“You know what I do? I KILL people with KINDNESS! You know what I’m saying? I KILL THEM. With KINDNESS,” he says.  He repeats this, literally, about a dozen times, obviously impressed with his own words. “That way, no one can be mad at me and I can get them to do stuff for me later,” he says to the guy who’s giving him a ride to the place where he works so he doesn’t lose his 3rd job in a row. Granted, he’s gregarious and friendly in a very gruff, forceful manner, but it’s wearying to everyone around him. I smile and nod. There’s too many things to argue against, and at this point, the adventure has already paid for itself in human weirdness. But it didn’t end there.

He complained that his best friend was too cheap, that the world was falling apart, that he didn’t want to sell his car, that people were jerks sometimes if they refused to be raped and slaughtered by his obvious kindness and do his bidding.

I dropped him off in front of his place of work, and he said that he wanted to give me a few bucks for a soda. I declined, but he insisted. Instead of giving me a few bucks, he wanted me to come and find him inside, get a $5 bill, purchase a drink, and BRING HIM THE CHANGE. I wasn’t going to argue the point, but after I’d already taken an extra 15 minutes to detour to his apartment, I didn’t have time to play Where’s Waldo for a Pepsi. I got my food and made sure that he didn’t see me as I bolted out and went back to work to eat in peace, knowing that he wouldn’t be back for the rest of the day. While I’ll have to answer for my evasion on Monday, it is what it is.

I have very small adventures, but I like them.

ghost2

As someone who has had his hands in resin and experimented with toy materials from rubber to MDF to anything else I can find, I’m struck by the strange gracefulness of DC Universe Classics’ Wave 8 Gentleman Ghost figure. Every so often, the formal properties of a comic book toy transcend the state of ‘toyness’.

The character was created in 1947 by Robert Kanigher, and primarily was designed to harass Hawkman and Hawkgirl (because his spirit cannot die until their spirits do, and unfortunately for him, they are perpetually reincarnated), so plenty of credit goes to him and Joe Kubert for creating a character that was basically a translucent tuxedo with a monocle. Where the real beauty comes in is seeing this as a figural representation in solid, flat white, and fading into translucent, ghostly areas at the cape’s edges and lower legs. The finer details like the stitching around the lapels really cements this as artful. A pure white pistol is a very neat touch, as is the solid white cane.

Whether or not you care about comics, or Gentleman Ghost is kinda aesthetically astounding.

(Many aspects of this body were later reused for The Joker.)

In May, I did some records for APW‘s ‘Arts On Record 2′ show.

I finished four in time for the show. They hung them, destroyed the backs of them with glue, and mailed them back with another piece which they also damaged. This in itself was a feat, as I contacted them three or four times over the course of 8 months and they never responded to my inquiries until I threatened them with legal action. In retaliation, they busted my art. Many people have had similar experience to my own.

Anyhow, the four that I did are right here. I went with a weird ‘supervillain and funky font’ theme.

The fifth was never completed.

eggsPerhaps for the best.

Yes, the weird grammar is intentional.

So, I haven’t checked my web stats for ResonantFish.com in about a year. It doesn’t really play a large role in how I organize the site, but it’s usually a good indicator of :

a) What parts of the internet are talking about me.

b) Who is stealing my images.

As it turns out, I’m scoring about 2000 hits per day, which is pretty great considering that I don’t promote myself very much. So,  I decided to take a narcissistic journey into what parts of the internet have been talking about me recently.

- A majority of my traffic comes from a LiveJournal account that I barely touch anymore, instead opting for Facebook groups and being very, very quiet.

- A fair amount comes from On My Desk, an artist blog that I was asked to contribute to a few years back which seems to constantly generate interest. My working arrangements have changed – perhaps I should update them.

- Third on the list of traffic generators was a spam blog about incest, who had stolen a painting of mine and linked it directly form my website. Granted, this painting is is a nude (ex)girl(friend) being carried by a robot, but I don’t feel that they’re related in any way, nor is their relationship sexual. How dare you, weird internet thing! This still only amounted to 235 hits.

PGAR1

- I also found this blog, which likes my stuff. The comments, however, tell a different story. I painted the Justice League painting as a commission that I was never paid for and later had to sell for half of the original asking price, as I’m too stupid to get half up front. It’s far more cartoonish that I usually go, but the images were working on a 3″ x 3″ scale. For the record, Hawkgirl’s neck isn’t all wobbly – it’s just partially obscured by a curve of hair.

- This papercraft blog was kind enough to link to me, and A guy from The Netherlands on NicePaperToys took a photo of a Maplebot in the wild, which is awesome.

- SuperPunch linked to me a couple of times. They link to really cool stuff, so I’m honored.

- Also, traffic from another incest website. After careful inspection, I cannot find what’s been linking to or stealing from me. The only thing that I know is that the internet is a very strange place and that I need to pray.

- Apparently, this MySpace girl has been using my art in her profile, somewhere. Also, this dumb kid with excellent taste.

Fame, fortune, you come in mysterious guises.

Dear James Patterson,

I have written a book about you.

patterson-TutNow, I’ve never met you, and I have little more than circumstantial evidence about you. In fact, I’ve never subjected myself to one of your books, but as a library employee, I’ve entered countless volumes of your work into our database so that our patrons could read them. They are quite popular.

Given the fact that your most recent book, ‘The Murder of King Tut’, is billed as a ‘Nonfiction Thriller’, I’ve decided to use the same research methods and presuppositions that you have used to construct your own critically panned book. I mentioned that I worked at a library, and I can tell you that entering this book into our circulation system with a Dewey Decimal number instead of a ‘Fiction’ tag was genuinely appalling to me. At best, it is a work of historical fiction. I have read one paragraph of this book, but it was enough to be able to know the difference.

But I digress. I’ve included some excerpts of my book below, along with annotations I’ve designed especially for you to indicate where I’ve drawn my conclusions from. I am certain that you will not object, as my reasoning about you, your innermost feelings and your daily life is similar to the reasoning that you have utilized when creating King Tut’s inner monologues and other various, unrecorded conversations that were held in private. I’m still not sure how these qualify as ‘nonfiction’ (which generally applies to things that actually happened), but there you have it.

Enjoy.

———————-

James Patterson saw the first glint of sunlight through his window and rose from bed, scratching his buttocks with a diamond-tipped cane. “Nothing scratches a buttock better than a diamond,” thought James Patterson. [You have sold many books, so I assume that most of the things you own incorporate diamonds in some way, and modern man is known for their morning butt-scratching activities.]

He stumbled to his fridge and peered inside, eyes still hazy from whatever it is that makes your eyes hazy in the morning. Some people believe it is sand, but that’s just stupid. James Patterson’s eyes focused on his favorite food, baby. He removed one from the fridge and laid it on the counter. He began to sing the National Anthem. [Careful research on Wikipedia revealed that you enjoy eating babies. Never mind if I put that paragraph in there myself.]

“MMmmmmmm! MMMMMMMMMMHHMMMMMMM! Babies taste like baby!” James Patterson proclaimed over the alarming sizzle of the baby in the frying pan. [See?] “Today is going to be the day that I finally conquer the moon!”

James Patterson made a side of toast to go with his delicious baby breakfast, and sat down at the kitchen table to read pornography. [A woman at a book signing reports that she distinctly saw toast crumbs on your front pocket, and a general odor around you which she described as 'burnt bread'. Also, men typically enjoy pornography.]

———————-

There is much more where this comes from, but I thought that you’d appreciate this, being so similar (and in fact inspired by!) your own exhaustive research and ability to capture the exact words that someone you’ve never met and have no special insight into has thought. We are kindred spirits, you and I.

Your response is appreciated.

Collin David

[sent to James Patterson on November 20, 2009]

- Walmart’s new logo looks alarmingly like a bubble popping, which is strangely apropos given the role of Walmart in the economic collapse that we face. Alternately, were the designers thinking that it looked like an asterisk? Were they implying that Walmart comes with exceptions? There’s something subtly apocalyptic about either connotation. Next time, I suggest that they just use a skull and crossbones. At least that has the connotation of ‘sexy pirates’.

walmartlogo

- My spellcheck wanted me to replace ‘Blu-Ray’ with ‘blurry’. I think that’s a pretty good definition of irony.

- If you kill someone with a drill, you can comfortably say that they were bored to death.

- Scareglow. Scareglow is really neat. I have a strange affection for toys depicting skeletons and skulls – which explains my irrational enjoyment of Ghost Rider, aesthetically.

scareglow

I taught art for a year at a private school. One of the classes I taught was about comics. The plan was to have everyone in the class create comics, which I’d then compile into a great big comic, print up within the school’s budget, and give it to everyone.

It didn’t turn out that way. At all.

I detail all of this in the comic, as well as why I decided to not go back. But I’ve been working on this on and off for two years now. I’ve never shown anyone any part of this before but a panel or two here and there.

These pages haven’t been edited for stray pencil & ink marks or clarity. Just a quick scan to show you what I’ve secretly been up to for a really long time. No particular order, no particular importance, but I think that they turned out really expressively for a comic where it’s a lot of me talking. It’s a huge challenge to make a talking head comic interesting, but I also kinda wanted to present it how the students probably saw me, too. So, there’s a thematic relevance to my apparent narcissism.

firstyear1

firstyear2firstyear3Ultimately, the comic will run about 40 pages – 20 of them drawn by me, and 20 drawn by students. OR, because of possible legal entanglements (though they signed off on having their comics published in the course description), my hand-made reproductions of their comics.

I am a one-man comic team. Enjoy these, please. There are many more, and I feel that they are good.

polaroid
I have one or two old, old packs of Polaroid film left, and a trusty Spectra AF camera. They stopped making the film a few years back, and I mourned the loss. There’s something about the sleepy contrast and selectively hard/soft edges of everything captured on Polaroid film that takes it out of time, that makes it weirdly immortal, that keeps it almost precisely how our memory will perceive it twenty years later. It’s analog, like us, and imperfect, like us, and it’s such a human medium that halting the production of Polaroid film feels a little like genocide. Like my romancing of LPs, the quiet, slow science of chemicals fighting between thin sheets of film to give us a small part of what was is beautiful.

This resulted in The Impossible Project.

The passionate response to this has recently provoked Polaroid to start production of Polaroid Instant Film cameras again, in conjunction with the reverse-engineered science that The Impossible Project generated. Polaroid also released a celebratory package of vintage Polaroid equipment in October for $430. Only eight were made. The Polaroid website is still exhausting their supply of remaining film, but at expensive prices. $2 to take one photograph on the Spectra AF is a steep price, but art is not cheap.

I spent one of my last packs of Polaroid film on Coney Island a couple of years back. It was the last summer before THOR was to come in and destroy countless years of history, so I kept what I could, and I kept in the most immortal way I could think of.

feedtheclown

They’ve also developed an amazing little film called ‘Fade To Black‘, which only works with a relatively expensive variety of camera. Over the course of 24 hours, your photograph fades into view, and then becomes deeper and darker, until it completely fades into darkness. The process can be stopped, scanned, or slightly rejuvenated by placing the dead photo into the sun ‘for a few weeks’. The PDF manual presented by the website presents some photos that perfectly exemplify why I love them.

Art moves in four dimensions at once, and back and forth through all of them.

Once, I had to write a review of a really bad Nintendo DS game, because that’s the life of a blogger.

111207b

They stopped sending me games after this.

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