7″ x 9″
Category Archives: drawings
A viking ship and some letters in the elegant Bodoni font. I’ve been doing a lot of middle-of-the-night studying of fonts. The world of typeface design is complex, intelligent, and sensitive. It’s also a warren of deeply held, and militantly defended opinions about the most minute minutiae, it’s hilarious. Not sure where the viking ship is coming from.
This one I’m twisting my beard, a nervous habit I can’t seem to break (though I honestly haven’t tried). Self-portraits often strike me as sad. I don’t make self-portraits very often, but I like seeing other people’s self-portraits. What a touching and awkward thing to record, studying and drawing one’s own face. I do love Jim Dine’s horribly awkward self-portraits. Rembrandt’s almost don’t count. Maybe my favorite self-portrait is old Bonnard in his later years, purple fists up in the bathroom mirror.
“You collaborate with your peers, either directly (that is, you write works together) or not (that is, by parallel creations you form the work that comes to be recognized as that of a period style, the art of your time). Competitiveness is a form of collaboration. Addressing an audience—conceiving an addressee, a reader or viewer, for the work—you collaborate with that shifting phantasmagoria. Such sociability is what puts the work in the world.” — Bill Berkson, from “Working with Joe,” 2002
It’s these broad definitions of collaboration that gives me hope. Sociability, generosity and conversation at the heart of art-making and art-viewing softens the sense that the Art-World is a fractured and self-important megalith. I had an uplifting morning with Bill Berkson at SFMOMA; this isn’t a great drawing necessarily but captures the conversation as I experienced it. And the Ellsworth Kelly room was elegant.
I do not want to close, and to worship, but you have my ears pierced. Sacrifices and sin offerings you will not, therefore, behold, I come from, we told him. The head of the book is about. I’m not asking you, you, I, and about the middle of your heart.
(this text is a mutation of Psalm 40:6-8, having translated the excerpt using Google Translate from English to Italian, Danish, Latin, Turkish, Bengali, Finnish, Hebrew and back to English)
When Jessica and I were designing the homepage for the new issue of Trickhouse (this one here), we wanted to use a paper alphabet, so I cut letters out of construction paper. This is the layering of the paper that remained. This is also I guess the first Workaday post that is neither a painting, nor a drawing, though an expanded definition of drawing would include any mark left which records a movement, action or idea. So, let’s call it a drawing. Not that it matters.
The title of this little drawing of Bookoo and Cilice in a cave of eyes is derived in part from Michael Hurley’s classic song of the same name, the opening lines of which are as follows:
ate a sack of poison sugar
crawling out of the barn
to the weeds to die.
Rolling his eyes.
8″ x 10″
This is a process drawing for the animation that is nearly finished called “Wastrels Find a Home.” A hopeful tale. Or something. In which Bookoo and Cilice tinker within the domestic arrangement. With exquisite writing and voice-over by Kate Bernheimer and forthcoming (and eagerly awaited audio) forthcoming from the Eric Jordan.
9″ x 36″
This is a single panel from this triptych:
If you click on the image to enlarge the full drawing, you’ll see that you can read the text left to right as one big paragraph, up and down as columns, or in a staircase fashion. I wrote the sections vertically and assembled them as columns, so how they read horizontally is a surprise to me. Fun with permutations! Cilice can eat a bug in a snowstorm.
8″ x 9 1/2″
This one here has Bookoo being approached, by whom we do not know. The text (provided by Julia R. Gordon) can be read up and down as well as left and right. That’s kind of how I read, which is why it takes me forever to read a page, so I find this text very satisfying and unnervingly accommodating for the wandering eyes. I’m working more with this up-down-left-right text thing, feeling out how to make permutations. Maybe there will be another example tomorrow.
6″ x 10″
In Swannanoa, North Carolina there is a cluster of mobile homes on a circular street called “Good Loop” and when I’d pass by the Good Loop, Shirley Temple’s classic song “On the Good Ship Lollipop” always came to mind. There are a lot of trailers in the Blue Ridge Mountains, sometimes they appear to have fallen from the sky. I have made a lot of drawings and paintings of trailers, not for any social commentary, but seeing the trailer as a protagonist, in lieu of a figure.
4″ x 6″
I had a dream last night that I was a school teacher. I walked into another teacher’s classroom and on the chalkboard someone had written lines, over and over, like when you get in trouble as a child. I could not read what the lines said. As I was looking at the chalkboard lines, trying to make out what it said, a bombastic little girl bounded in and erased a section across the middle of the words and quickly drew a huge stylized horse and then ran out of the room. I stood there staring at the image and the text and thought “Oh my god, this is perfect.”
This drawing is not perfect like the girl’s drawing, but it is enough to hold the dream in place. Since I couldn’t read the text in the dream, the text in my drawing says “I will not think of a horse” after that thing about how if someone says: Do not imagine a horse, in order for your brain to not imagine a horse it first has to imagine a horse… which makes the whole thing impossible. I think it is a well-known psychological exercise. I just tried to find evidence of it online, but couldn’t, maybe I dreamed that too. I’ve used it in text/image classes for years, and will continue to do so.
4″ x 6″
Wherein Bookoo intentionally goes through a hole in the ice to demonstrate her ability to breathe under water. In previous versions, Cilice does not realize Bookoo can breathe under water so goes in to save her and nearly freezes to death for which Bookoo feels really bad. But in this version Cilice is unaware and Bookoo is trapped under the ice. Though not a tragedy since she can breathe, it is still a tense situation.
4″ x 6″
Español: Colón llega a América
English: Christoper Columbus arrives in America
Deutsch: Christoph Kolumbus trifft in Amerika ein
Русский: Христофор Колумб прибывает в Америку
Français: Christophe Colomb arrive en Amérique
Italiano: Cristoforo Colombo arriva in America
Česky: Kryštof Kolumbus připlouvá do Ameriky
8 1/2″ x 11″
Here’s another working cell (so to speak, I call it that, but a real animator might roll their eyes) for the Wastrels animation. The animation is made by scanning: I draw with lithography crayon on the acetate, scan, wipe off a bit, redraw it, rescan it and so on, forever. This one has a haircut scene, bookshelf with fish swimming scene (above) and a rendition of Shelton Walsmith’s painting that’s on our wall.
8 1/2″ x 11″
This is a transparency – grease pencil on acetate – from the Wastrels animation I’m working on. Each figure represents a stage in a movement of a spectral figure walking down stairs. The two pieces of acetate were lying on the floor on top of one another and I found it to be a good image on its own.
8″ x 9″
This is one of the (as of now) fifteen images for Kate Bernheimer’s captivating book coming out next year. In total there will be seventy something images, one for the facing page for each paragraph of text.
All of the pieces are on three layers of tracing paper (an archivist’s nightmare)so are pretty fragile, but the materials allow for all sorts of shenanigans. I’m somewhat pulling from Depression-era cartoons for these drawings.
Also, I’m remembering some of the drawings that my mother made on the wall of the uninhabitable third floor of my grandparents house, wobbly Little Lulu and others. They were still there when I was a teenager. If one were in a pensive mood, those drawings could call up feelings of fleeting innocence, or imminent absence. And nothing speaks to imminent absence like the ancient story of the origin of drawing according to Pliny (if I remember right… ahem):
A young woman from Corinth was spending the night with a soldier as he was about to go off to war with no chance of his return. Realizing her pending loss, she took a bit of coal from the fire and traced his shadow on the wall. The End.
12″ x 18″
(definitely have to look at the enlargement with this one, it’s all very light)
I made a drawing of Neil Armstrong the day he died and Hannah recently mentioned that she had written these lines in response to it. Luckily I had the beginnings of another N. Armstrong drawing and put her words in pink middle school curly script next to it to make a diptych. Reminds me of when everybody wanted to be an astronaut. Those were weightless times.
I am Neil Armstrong
I am on the moon
I am standing on a sheet
The sheet flows
The sheet is a moon
The moon of the Earth