Joan Jonas’s Art Ecology Reflects the Ocean’s

Joan Jonas has an installation at Ocean Space, a new exhibition venue made to facilitate artists and scientists studying the oceans. It’s fascinating and eclectic. Jonas incorporates performance, sculpture, video, drawing, and painting into the work, which may not be fully finished till the end of its run in September.

She’s paralleling the natural ecology of the sea with a kind of ecology of artistic practice. Everything works together as a whole piece, no one element is meant to stand on its own. They feed and support each other.

Julia Iredale’s Haunting Conceptualscapes

I don’t put a lot of illustrators on the blog, even though I have a soft spot for many, and probably more of my art books feature them than any other type. I really like Julia Iredale’s work, however, and love her sense of color. She often chooses limited palettes, moving deftly through various line styles to suit the piece.

I’ve found quite a few that would fit a “mood” meme post, and Iredale is among the few whose work is deceptively simple, incorporating clever arrangement and scale to tell stories with image alone.

Paul Pope and Battling Boy, a Wild and Weird Vision of Gods and Other Worlds

It took me a long time to start—and then to finish—Battling Boy, the first in a series by Paul Pope, of comics fame and renown. I don’t think the expected continuation of the series has happened, at least not yet. Other books in the series are prequels. This first volume ends pretty abruptly.

But Paul has always been adept at crafting future worlds very unlike the tropes of shiny, glowing science fiction films and TV shows. His are gritty, chunky, dark, and diverse visions, and I find them endlessly inspiring and fun. He always seemed assured and able, where I felt the very opposite of those things.

Paul was among the few creators, including my cousin and me, who did a co-signing event back in the early 90s. It was my first one, ever, at Comix Experience in San Francisco. Paul brought the first THB, a massive 104-page issue, and seemed to me both then and now to be something of a rock star. A rock star wielding a brush as his instrument.

But for someone so clearly destined for worthy praise and continued success in the field, he was always kind and encouraging to me and my work. Technically, he was a peer, though I looked up to him and his confident process for being miles ahead of me and my stuff.

It still seems appropriate, the rock star mantel, as he’s grown in skill and popularity over the years. His stories and art are wonderful and strange, drawing all his influences through his brain and onto the page. I loved entering this world, and I’ll be there if and when he continues the story.

Reid Miles, Brilliant Blue Note Album Cover Designer

Miles is an often overlooked part of the striking design of many Blue Note jazz albums, having designed hundreds of them during his time with the label.

He designed, sometimes photographed, occasionally drew, and exhibited a seemingly endless capacity for clever juxtapositions and flashy, effective, bold colors and typography.

The simplicity and contrast of image and color influenced design for years, maybe still does. Reid contributed an essential component of American culture that went hand-in-hand with the scintillating sonic brilliance of the music inside those wonderful covers.

Give Art, Give Blood, Both Are Life

Notwithstanding the problems some of us have giving blood (sexually active gay men are still prohibited), if you can, it will likely save someone’s life.

Art is the same. It can save, after it can also excite, enrich, and enliven the people you give it to.

The piece above is by one of my drawing professors, Siobhan McClure. The drawing was a gift to me, in thanks for a supplies donation I made to the School of Art when I left L.A. it was unexpected, and it delighted and humbled me.

Art is so very basic to our humanity. Giving it to each other is an act of acknowledgement and celebration of that essence. If you make art, don’t overlook its power as a gift to others.

Expanding Your Creative Sources Helps Your Work

A quick but perennial trope of art making: look at as much as you can, read as much as you can listen to as much music as you can. The eclectic approach doesn’t just feed your soul and demeanor, it supports your work with multiple sources, like a well-planned essay.

With deadlines always approaching of various degree, the best defense against both writer’s block and well-worn creative paths is a continually growing list of other creators we admire. And whom we want to steal bits from.

Exciting Works From Michael Sailstorfer Connect Ordinary and Conceptually Fantastic

There are lots of sculptures to marvel over at Sailstorfer’s web site, and they range from static, pedestal-bound allegories to machines in motion to indoor-specific to outdoor manipulations. Expectations are twisted and new connections made in brilliant presentations that are simple on the surface but full of ingrained substance.

Take some time and poke around, Sailstorfer is masterfully repurposing things of contemporary society and rethinking their places.

Real World Art Interventions by Magda Sayeg

I’m always fascinated by artists who interact with the physical world in various ways. Especially when they turn the familiar upside down. Magda Sayeg does this sort of thing a lot, creating what I’d call interventions more than merely installations.

Using yarn as a medium has some deep connective salience. It’s familiar, but outside the context of a home or apparel, it brings a sometimes unnerving resonance to both natural and human made objects. Simultaneously, it adds touches of humor and cozy familiarity, drawing us in with bright color and warmth.

Tolkien’s Words Illuminated His Illustrations as Well as the Reverse

As related in this article about the current Tolkien exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York, J.R.R. Tolkien thought of his drawings and paintings were of a piece with his writing. He didn’t do either as afterthought. They went together.

“As he was writing the story, he would draw the scenes to help him create the textual description…and, in turn, what he was writing would inform his illustrations.”

— John T. McQuillen, Ph.D.

There’s a place for these kinds of media combos, outside places where they work together, as in animation. There are worlds to explore, still, and genius that will spring up and give us new ways to work and explore. All art is remixing.