endings, beginnings, and such

 It liiives!

This blog, I mean, as well as my art-making. It's been going well, I guess. I had two gallery shows in the past two months, and have contacted another one regarding showing (haven't heard back, though). I've been working on two new paintings and am probably going to set up for a third, which will be nice and bloody. Yay!

In the meantime, have the first and second installments of a small illustrated story I've been working on. I'm calling it The End or the Beginning, because that's what it's about. 

See, I don't normally use art as a means to directly express things going on in my personal life. My personal life affects my art, of course, but I'm not usually prone to illustrating it literally. This series, however, is close to doing that. Obviously it's not literal literal (I don't know people who habitually wear burlap sacks on their heads), but this series is about something I went through over the summer, which was both an ending and a beginning for me. It also corresponds to some writing I did about that issue, and some of these images are direct illustrations of those writings. 

Again, I don't make comics, and this is probably the closest I can comfortably get to making something akin to a comic (Duck vs. Cactus notwithstanding). On a technical note, I'd like to bind these, but they're all on separate pieces of paper, and I'll have to finagle something.

the story format, or, why no, i don't make graphic novels but thanks for the suggestion.

I mentioned in an earlier post graphic novels/comics and I are not friends. We just aren't. Despite this fact, many people have told me that, since I like to make art and I like to write, that I should make graphic novels. My answer: No. This answer is usually followed by whining by the other person about how I should, and how they're so cool and lucrative, and how I should try because they would TOTALLY read it. My answer: No.

For one thing, I can never successfully write and draw/paint at the same time. I've been on an art-making kick for over a year, which means I haven't done any passable writing in all that time. (I should note that by "writing" I am referring to fiction. My writing form is novel-length fiction. Blogging and nonfiction writing I can always do, and I'm not counting it in this discussion.) To me, they are both forms of storytelling, but through different media, and it's hard for me to combine the two in a successful way.

I've also said before that I don't like using text with images. Illustration is one thing, but I don't like text actually in the image. Sometimes it works, but, like paint drips, it usually ends up looking rather stupid and forced when used in a serious way. Things like editorial cartoons are something else entirely. The top image is the only piece I've ever done where the text doesn't offend me. It's part of a larger body of images, none as successful as this one. It's watercolor and pen on paper, 9 X 12 inches.

However, I also really like art books and bookmaking. I only have one semi-completed book to date, which is bound but not filled in with pictures all the way. I've been painting pages for another small book, in the "medieval" style, inspired by medieval gospel books. It kind of tells a story but since it has no words it's very open to interpretation when it comes to what exactly happens in that story (spoiler: there are sexytimes). This interpretive narrative is the one that comes most naturally to me when working within the format of storytelling. The pages seen here are the first (center) and fourth (bottom) pages of the eight-page book, the only ones that are totally complete. They are about 4.5 X 6 inches, and are ink, watercolor and gouache on paper. And it's a dude. I'm also planning a fancy, possibly gilt cover it. Of course, mine will be bookboard and gold leaf (if I feel like buying it) and not gems and ivory.

I do, however, like reading graphic novels (the good ones, anyway), and I can recommend the following: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, Cancer Vixen by Marisa Acocella Marchetto, Kimmie66 by Aaron Alexovich (which was part of the now-defunct and totally awesome Minx imprint of DC), and American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. These are all people who can do comics and do them extremely well. I am not one of them.

some small things

Here are some little things. I've been concentrating on large things and I think it's time the little stuff got some love. The three images you see here are three pages from a tiny little art book I've been working on. It's quite small, only about two-and-a-half inches tall. It will, when complete, be eight pages of illustrations like these. I don't generally like to mix text and images, and therefore, no, I don't write comics. People ask me that a lot, since I do the art thing as well as the writing thing, but I've just never gotten into comics and graphic novels. I like to read them, but the truth is, I'm too impatient to make one.

They are made with watercolor, ink (acrylic ink and India ink) and gouache (white, for the highlights) on paper.

Anyway, the pages of the book are kind of like a guide to the symbols that appear in my work. They don't have a direct meaning, but are mutable and dependent on the work in which they exist. These images are the symbols in their purest forms, and illustrate ideas such as power, family, growth, spirituality, sexuality, and emotion. Which, when you think about it, are the things that everybody thinks about and works with, in art and in everything else.