30 April, 2007

Natalia Yovanne

My friend Natalia Yovanne has put up her cyber-shingle. Check out her website, where she's got a portfolio of her most recent work. Natalia is from Chile (by way of the D.F.), and she studied painting at SVA. I enjoy her use of graphic stencil-like imagery (although to the best of my knowledge, they're not stencils, per se, since she hand-draws each instance individually), her penchant for working on surfaces such as brown butcher's paper, and the print-like quality of her work. Plus, she digs pirate ships. Can't go wrong with pirate ships. Ever.
Or rather- 'Evaaaargh!!!'
Sorry 'bout that.

25 April, 2007

Scott Mc Cloud (of Understanding Comics fame) has posted parts one and two of his online comic, The Right Number, online for free. From his site:
The Right Number was originally presented in June 2003 using a micropayments system offered by a company called Bitpass, sold for 25 cents each. Since Bitpass ceased operations in January 2007, I'm offering Parts One and Two for free now.

Part Three was delayed due to severe hand strain problems on my part a few years ago and delayed again when I began work on my recent book, Making Comics. I do still hope to finish the third and final chapter and make it available at some point in the future. Part Three will also be offered free through this page. (Sorry for the delay!)

Although the The Right Number was an experimental story, in an experimental format using an experimental payment system, I do like it as a story. I hope you will too.

Nifty creator, nifty comic, and hella nifty flash interface. Check it out!

24 April, 2007

Food for thought

From the fine folks over at the Guardian:
Fascist America, in 10 easy steps
By Naomi Wolf
From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all.
Fascinating article, and more than a little disconcerting. I'm tellin' ya: we won't be seeing presidential elections in '08. Mark my words.

23 April, 2007

The Farm Bill– Yes, it's gonna cost you.

From the New York Times Magazine: A fascinating look at the U.S. Farm Bill, which is a five-year subsidy plan for the Agriculture sector, and its (mostly) adverse effect on nutrition, on the environment, on global poverty, even on immigration (NAFTA cakes, anyone?). A couple of choice quotes:
"A public-health researcher from Mars might legitimately wonder why a nation faced with what its surgeon general has called “an epidemic” of obesity would at the same time be in the business of subsidizing the production of high-fructose corn syrup. But such is the perversity of the farm bill: the nation’s agricultural policies operate at cross-purposes with its public-health objectives."

". . . a school lunch lady trying to prepare healthful fresh food is apt to get dinged by U.S.D.A. inspectors for failing to serve enough calories; if she dishes up a lunch that includes chicken nuggets and Tater Tots, however, the inspector smiles and the reimbursements flow. The farm bill essentially treats our children as a human Disposall for all the unhealthful calories that the farm bill has encouraged American farmers to overproduce."

". . . Americans may tell themselves they don’t have a national land-use policy, that the market by and large decides what happens on private property in America, but that’s not exactly true. The smorgasbord of incentives and disincentives built into the farm bill helps decide what happens on nearly half of the private land in America"
While this is hardly a new, or surprising issue, it's nice to see it getting some press. I don't think that most citizens of the United States are aware that the hypocrisy and cynically self-serving attitude that has come to light with the current presidential administration is hardly limited to them— the whole of the government is to blame –and has for some time now– for letting big business fuck regular people in the ass. After all, the legislators who so cheerfully bend over for campaign contributions and perks from lobbyists in exchange for things like the Farm Bill aren't the ones who feel the effects, when all is said and done. They're rich. They can go shop at Whole Foods, or Trader Joe's, where good, healthy, organic food is sold- at a premium, of course.

12 April, 2007

Big Damn Print Day

We couldn't have asked for a nicer day for the steamroller print session: the sun was out, it wasn't too cold, and the wind was only a minor inconvenience. We pulled the first print at around 9:30 AM, and went right through to about 5:30 PM, inking blocks and printing them. I don't think Aristides, the steamroller driver, ever got off the steamroller, even for lunch!

In the morning, we were visited by a small crowd of children (presumably from one of the local schools or maybe Pratt's Saturday Art School, I was too busy to chat them up and ask), who all proceeded to 'ooo' and aaah' all over the place. Fucking adorable. Some of the printmaking students had set up a station for making silkscreen prints on t-shirts, so the kids got to take home their very own self-printed souveniers. At noon-ish, some of the Pratt printmaking kids brought out their music gear and set up a badass punk rock cover band, which proceeded to be very loud and fun for an hour or so. Dennis hooked us up with pizza for lunch, and bananas and Mountain Dew for snacks (weird, I know, but Dennis is a huge MD freak, so he had us all hopped up on that crap!)

Everyone who walked by had to stop and chill for a while, just to see what the hell was up with these crazy printamkers and their heavy machinery. There was some wonderful work printed, not only from Pratt students, but also from Martin Mazorra's Parsons printmaking classes, as well as some blocks by Swoon, and other artists from the NYC print scene. The best part about it, for me, was that since it's practically impossible to ink a block and pull a print all by yourself, we all got to work collaboratively. For someone who is used to working alone, in the dark recesses of my studio (or office, depending on the day) the spirit of camaraderie and cooperation among the printmakers from Pratt, Parsons, and the NYC printmaking community was wonderfully refreshing. There were no egos flying, very few bad vibes, and everyone looked out for everyone else's work. For more pictures of the process, and images of some of the final printed pieces, go to my Facebook album here.

We got two good prints out of my block, although I printed it three times. Since I hadn't shellacked my block, the first time I inked it, the wood sucked up all the ink, so it made for a bad, faded print. Once the ink had sucked into the wood, and the new ink could sit on top, all was good. I think I want to pick up some large pieces of nice paper and hand-print the block, though, just to have it on paper, and a sharp print. Although the steamroller is fun, and a great way to do large-scale prints, there is some unavoidable slippage, which leads to ghosting and double images sometimes. I want a so-called 'prefect' print in addition to the ones I've pulled so far.

As soon as I got home, I hung up the better of the two prints I took home (the third one -the best one- is still drying on the racks at Pratt, since we pulled it at the end of the day). Since the ink still hadn't settled completely, my house now smells lie a print shop, which is great, since I love the smell of fresh ink. Also, if you come into my house now, you can get high on ink fumes for free!

In all, a fantastic time was had, and I have the farmer's tan, blisters, and sore arms and back to show for it. Oh, and some nice zombie prints, too. . . .

10 April, 2007

Check, check, check, and check. Good to go.


Strange lesions.
Out of body.
End report.

04 April, 2007

No rotten tomatoes. . . yet.

AU Students Protest After Karl Rove Speech
White House Advisor Karl Rove was the target of a protest on the American University campus Tuesday night, News4 reported. Rove was on the campus to talk to the College Republicans, but when he got outside more than a dozen students began throwing things at his car, an American University spokesperson said.
The students then got on the ground and lay down in front of his car as a protest.The students said security officials picked them up and carried them away so Rove could leave.
Maniacal cackling could be heard as the car sped away. One of these days, this kind of thing will turn into an old-fashioned lynching. This would not be a bad thing. Lynch the politicians, I say. Lynch them all.

Urban Farming. It's the wave of the future. . .

Via New York Magzine: Dr. Dickson Despommier, a professor of environmental sciences and microbiology at Columbia University, believes that “vertical farm” skyscrapers could help feed cities, and fight global warming. To that end, he's conducted a comprehensive study on the costs and projected benefits of 'skyscraper farms' in urban settings. These structures would not only provide organic crops year-round, but would also collect rainwater, treat blackwater, create energy through solar, steam, and wind power, and bring peace to earth (um, just kidding on that last one, unfortunately). The vertical farm could grow fruits, vegetables, grains, and even fish, poultry, and pigs. Enough, Despommier estimates, to feed 50,000 people annually.

And the price tag? Roughly $200 million per farm for startup costs, and the idea is for each 'farmscraper' to be self-sustainable.

Details at VerticalFarm.com. Check it out!

01 April, 2007

It's aliiiive!

I've finished the carving the block for the zombie print, and I'm pretty damn pleased with it. I think I enjoy working large. I haven't done it too often (only three times that I can think of), but each time it's been a daunting, but very satisfying experience. I'm definitely doing more zombie prints (and possibly other monsters or characters). There's so much you can do with the undead. . . I've been doodling in my head all week. Maybe not as large as this, but probably around 20 x 30 inches, which is the largest I can fit on a press at school.

The steamroller print session is a week from this Wednesday, so I have time to go back in there next weekend with the Dremel and see if there's anything that needs touching up, if I want to. Score one for finishing something ahead of schedule!

Actually, next weekend I should probably clean out the back yard. It's time for a Sunday afternoon cookout.

Here's some shots of the almost completed block. I didn't take pics of the finished block because Dennis dropped by to work on one of his blocks, and we got to talking while I cleaned up after finishing.