Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Alan Aldridge

You probably won't believe me if I said that I was not very familiar with the art of Alan Aldridge. Yes, I did see his crazy Elton John's 'Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy' album cover once, years ago I made a note in my sketchbook to look for his famous book The Butterfly Ball and also, my work has been compared to his a couple of times. All plausible reasons to make me search the web for info or dash to the store to get my hands on a publication of his work. But... I didn't. I wasn't avoiding it, I wasn't being lazy, it just didn't happened, for no reason whatsoever.
Until last week, when I was pleasantly surprised by the gift of a special edition Butterfly Ball, given by dear friends of mine who, by coincidence, found themselves at the Aldridge exhibition in the London Design Museum. The art of Butterfly Ball smothered me in it's imaginative sugar bomb cloud and I enjoyed every sparkle of it. I know -even better- now where the comparison with my work comes from and I must say it was a bit scary to discover that Mr. Aldridge and me sometimes share the exact same details and ideas. All in all I'm glad Mr. Aldridge's work found it's way to my book shelves.

The exhibition of Aldridge's work unfortunately ended a few days ago, but as I type the info on the show 'The Man With The Kaleidoscope Eyes' is still online; click here. And for your listening pleasure, here's a link from the DM website to a nice podcast of Alan Aldridge's talk at the opening of his show. In a very charming and witty way he tells wonderful stories about his creative career and at the same time sketches a great character of an era. (Slightly shaky audio material here and there).

Hmm, I feel like listening to The Beatles...

(Pic: the Alan Aldridge website - The Butterfly Ball and more examples of his work can be seen here).

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Olden Goldie

I was listening to Squirrel Nut Zippers and remembered that their song 'The Ghost Of Stephen Foster' goes with a lovely Betty Boop styled animation. An olden goldie worth seeing. (From: Squirrel Nut Zippers - Perennial Favorites, 1998)

The Only Way Is Up

Having no TV cable means I'm not always on top of things, so there's a chance this post's already old information for some of you. For those of you who don't have a clue, click here and watch the T-Mobile commercial. I find it a wonderful antidote for bad news. (Click here for a short 'making of').

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Awesomeness On A Stick

In the animal kingdom being poisonous often means you have bright coloured skin to warn other creatures that you are inedible. Quite the opposite goes for candy for humans, like the 'beauties' I scored today. But although I have a sweet tooth, I don't feel any desire to take a bite from these lollipops at all. The enamel on my teeth crackled just by the look of these four sugar soaked fellows. I bought them solely for their attractive appearance.
I'm especially fond of the first three egg shaped characters: the hare/rabbit, the bear(?) and the er... chicken? But the awkward Rest In Peace Cat's pretty cool too.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Baby Sea Cucumber & Starfish

'Minute transparant early stage of a sea-cucumber. It swims in the open sea by means of girdles of microscopic cilia shown in the figure. After a period of free swimming and a remarkable metamorphosis, the animal settles down on the floor of the sea in relatively shallow water'.
'A common starfish, which has loft three arms and is regrowing them. The lowest arm is being regrown double'.

Found in the ebook 'The Outline Of Science' volume 1 of 4, by J. Arthur Thomson. See more here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Daily Noodles

Playtime #2
Noodles playing with a mousey in a shoe box right before she switched to stealth mode.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

100 Beasts In GRSF

The three valid excuses to skip the upcoming BEASTS! show on Januari 17 at Giant Robot in San Fransisco are: a) a sick feline/canine friend, b) a UFO abduction, c) lost wallet. So, people of San Fransisco and other places, if you don't have a bad case of a, b, or c, go to Giant Robot to see ONE HUNDRED creatures captured in traditional techniques or print!

‘Giant Robot is proud to present Beasts!, a group show featuring artists from the worlds of comics, skate graphics, rock posters, children's books, and other commercial and gallery arts.

Since its publication in December 2006, Beasts Book 1 has become a pop culture sensation, quickly selling out two printings and finding an enthusiastic worldwide audience. A meticulously crafted object, the book combined colorful illustrations of mythical monsters with imaginative text describing the folkloric origins and characteristics of these creatures. To commemorate the publication of Beasts Book 2 and the simultaneous release
of the paperback edition of Beasts Book 1, Fantagraphics Books art director Jacob Covey has pulled together artists from both volumes for an eclectic exhibition of original works and art prints’.

Beasts! at GRSF, January 17, 2009-February 18, 2009
Reception: Saturday, January 17, 6:30 pm-10:00 pm

GRSF, 618 Shrader Street, San Francisco, CA 94117, 415-876-4773
(Pic: GRSF)

UPDATE: Jacob Covey posted some nice sneak peeks on his Beasts! Blog.

The Daily Noodles

Playtime #1
I keep trying to capture Noodles on camera when she's in a playful mood. She's can be as fast and invisible as a ninja so I consider this photo reasonably successful.

James Jean

The works of James Jean from his new show ‘Kindling’ at the New York based Jonathan Levine Gallery can be seen online now. I wish I could go there and (almost) press my nose to the canvasses and inhale all the detials and wonderful painting skills since I’m a big fan of Mr Jean’s art. I love the ‘illustrative’ Batter for the combination of greys and bright colours, but I also wouldn’t mind to have the more abstract Mer hanging in my livingroom. Wouldn’t mind at all! (Pic's: Jonathan Levine Gallery)

Gimme Gimme Octopus

Boing Boing recently wrote a little feature about ‘Kure Kure Takora’ (which can be literally translated as ‘Gimme Gimme Octopus’), an old tv show for kids that I was already familiar with for some years. My pal Zoltan introduced me to it and every now and then I watch a few episodes. For those of you who don’t know the (often unexplainable and plotless) stories of Kure Kure, but are keen to find out about this Japanese show from the ‘70s, let me give you an introduction:
Takora is a red coloured octopus who lives in tree and always wants to have things (‘gimme, gimme’) and he has a buddy called Chonbo who, I think, is a life-size peanut, but he might as well be some sort of life-size pumpkin or squash, and they run around on a colourful set, just like their younger Teletubbie or Yo Gabba Gabba nieces and nephews, but the Kure Kure story line is much more surreal and violent compare to the sweet world in which their modern relatives roam and it often leaves Takora and Chonbo (or the other characters for that matter) with bumps and bruises or knife cuts when they try to get the attention of the pink walrus girl Monro or get into a fight with a bad guy that looks like a ghost/fish hybrid (who squeaks like Flipper and can spray liquids from his head which frightens Takora a lot), or when they run into those grumpy looking blue and green and purple gherkins (or are they shrubs on legs?) when they are drinking in a bar or attempt to shoot the sun out of the sky with a cannon.

Update: The gherkins/shrubs are in fact a gang of sea cucumbers and the ghost/fish is a jellyfish and goes by the name of To Ro Ro. (And the liquid he sprays is vinegar).

And if you want to see this brilliant weirdness, click these links:
Clip #1
Clip #2
Clip #3

Circuitboard City

My favorite marsupials got a new single! (Pic: The Wombats)

Say Yes To Pes

Any moment of the day is the right moment to visit the animated kingdom of the inanimate: Pes. Feast your eyes on the olden goldies like Roof Sex, Kaboom, or Human Skateboard, and watch one of his latest creations: Western Spaghetti. Eat Pes! It’s is good for your health.
(Pic: Eat Pes)

Bubblegum Poetry: Leendert Masselink & Sauerkids

Luscious marshmallow pink and Granny Smith green, delicious typography and finger licking cool characters are the ingredients of the shared show called ‘Bubblegum Poetry’. Toss those ice skates aside and be warmed by the hot fluorescent rainbow cocoa that is called the work of art pals Leendert Masselink and The Sauerkids (Mark Moget & Taco Sipma). They share the walls of the Amsterdam based Koch Bos Gallery with their bright coloured paintings and drawings.
Poetry indeed, so get on your feet -don’t take it slow- go see this show!
Bubblegum Poetry runs untill Januari 24, 2009. For details check: (thanks for the photo's E & H!)

The First

I don’t think of myself as a good photographer. Yes, digital cameras made photography a little easier but when a real Kodak moment appears I often find myself staring at the scene it in stead of acting. Ruth Orkin on the other hand was a great photographer. I love her recognizable ‘Comic Book Readers’ but my most favorite is ‘American Girl In Italy’, shown above.
I remember I first saw American Girl when I was 13 or 14 years old and the cinematic atmosphere of the photo made quite an impression on me. Orkin captured the flirting guys and the uncomfortable looking girl at just the right moment. I never grew tired of looking at this photo.

Every time I see American Girl I’d like to think of how the scene evolved. It all started further down the street, right where those older men are standing. They watched the girl walk by and approved quietly. The commotion started with those two guys on the scooter, who made a remark which made those two other guys on the corner respond too. The girl, the unwanted centre of attention, is protectively pulling her scarf a little tighter when she passes those two men at the corner closely; one guy provocative, the other motionless, with a silent hey-let’s-check-this-chick-out! stare. The man at the table on the corner also heard the fuzz and is leaning back to see her pass. She has the complete street staring at every move she makes. You can almost hear her count down the steps to the end of the street. What made her stand out like this I wonder... was she dressed in a different way with, for example, very hip shoes? Was she therefore recognized as a foreigner? Or was it a simple ‘lovely looking girl entering a domain of bold men’ situation?
This photo is a popular wall decoration in cafe's and restaurants and I’m aware that it’s almost a cliche image. But that won’t keep me from loving it. The scene is so tangible that you can easily imagine the remarks of the men, the buzz, the sounds of the street and the smell of coffee, cigarettes and that scooter at the sidewalk. Orkin must have acted in a split second, because the girl is only a few steps away from her ‘escape’. Therefore Ruth Orkin had what I completely lack; the gift of acting on ‘le moment décisif’.
(Photo: ©Ruth Orkin, American Girl In Italy, 1952. See more of Orkin’s work at Orkin Photo)