Just a reminder that tonight is the opening reception for "Bowie in the Basement", the David Bowie tribute gallery show at the lovely Thunder-Sky, Inc. gallery. I talked about the show here and showed the two pieces I contributed. I still had the finished pencil drawing comps laying around so here are those, too (horrific quality, I know, I snapped them as I as walking out the door rather than scanning). The varied artwork at this show is going to be stunning and just about very piece I have seen has put a big smile on my face. Come on out to the show and grab a burrito at The Comet next door! Also, the show runs through June 25th if you can't make the opening.
I recently came across the print version of "Dig! A Journey Under the Earth's Crust" by John and Faith Hubley. I have talked about the always inspiring work of the Hubleys here before, and the way they were able to capture a certain spirit and emotional quality in their animation work that I don't believe has ever been matched. Although they animated for just about every format (from commercials to Sesame Street to features to their own independent short films), "Dig!" was an exception and an example of the Hubleys tackling an educational subject matter for a Saturday morning television special and putting their own magic touch on it.
As far as my research has shown, approximately three of the Hubley films were translated to children's books: Dig! (1973), The Hat (1975), and Zuckerlandl (1968). Well, only the former two would constitute as children's books (both published by wings of the now-defunct Harcourt company). The latter's format would probably be best described as an adult picture book.
It's great to now own all three, dirty old dust jackets and all. Dig! and The Hat got the full hardcover treatment, while Zuckerlandl has flimsy stapled binding.
I would love to have some insight on how these books were constructed. For example, "The Hat" seems to be a pretty distinct transfer of the film to print pages. "Dig!" is fairly similar, except it used a more clever, design-oriented approach, such as sometimes breaking scenes from the films into small boxes with the text underneath, almost like a comic strip, as well as making good use of spreads and page layout.
While animation was the ultimate artform of the Hubleys, I can't help but wonder what even more of their films would have looked like translated to print form. How about the brilliant Urbanissimo or Moonbird? Truthfully, many of these films should probably stay just that. Their ebb and flow combined with all of the filmmaking elements are what makes these films special, For example, in print form you do not get the brilliant use of jazz soundtracks (or, for example, Dizzy Gillespie voicing one of the characters in "The Hat"). It is not easy to replicate this on paper and condensed to a short number of pages. However, I am glad to have these select few on my bookshelf as tangible pieces of my admiration for the Hubleys.
I have been so humbled by all the support I have experienced since "Tunnel-Ball" came out a few days ago. Clive Mole agrees, amidst answering a bunch of cliche media questions at his busy locker (pictured below). The first round of orders were shipped out this morning. I also did a sporadic "test run" reading or two as an experiment and they went really well. Some official readings are in the process of being scheduled.
Thanks so much for all the early support! P.S. - there are still a few "Bases-Clearing Double" bundles remaining in the store.
Now available in the online store ... my new picture book, Tunnel-Ball! The book is hardcover (36 pages), and every purchase includes a pack of Topps cards featuring some assorted characters from the story.
There are two buying options in the store ... the regular, hardcover book is available for $15, or for a limited time (while supplies last), you can purchase the "Bases-Clearing Double" bundle for $25. The bundle features a copy of the book, the Topps cards, a refrigerator magnet set, and a 9x18" felt pennant (example pictured below) featuring the team name from the story. Free shipping on either option.
I am proud of this one and have been working on it for parts of the last two years. I hope you and/or your family enjoy it!
I was fortunate enough to be able to contribute a couple of pieces (one watercolor and one b&w ink) to an upcoming David Bowie tribute show called "Bowie in the Basement" at the Thunder-Sky, Inc. gallery in Cincinnati. The show's opening reception is a couple Fridays from now on April 29th, and the show runs through June 25th. This should be a fantastic event. You can gaze in awe at all of the remarkable fine art pieces that should be on display, and maybe mine can ... at least make you laugh, perhaps?
I knew that I wanted to create some pieces based on the lyrical content of some of my favorite Bowie songs, which was a unique challenge. The main challenge, of course, was simply narrowing down the tracks. I will dig up some of the "outtakes" from ideas I didn't end up going with later in a separate post. As "Low" ('77) is my favorite Bowie album (and one of my all-time favorite records in general), I knew I wanted at least one piece to be of a track from that record ... but which one? Initially I took a crack at designing some space-age cars to draw in sequence all over a page, crashing into various craters and asteroids and whatnot (from "Always Crashing in the Same Car"). And then there were, of course, unlimited possibilities for the opening line of "Breaking Glass" ("don't look at the carpet ... I drew something awful on it"), but the right idea just never came. Switching away from Low, I doodled a theatrical "Life on Mars" poster using all of the colorful characters used in the chorus of the song, attempted a brand new "alternative" LP cover for "Scary Monsters", etc. It was a ton of fun.
The "Low" piece I ended up going with was simply my favorite track (and a little bit of "Breaking Glass" thrown in for good measure). Go figure.
I also stuck with "Life on Mars", but rather than making the film poster I mentioned before, a thought occurred to me when dissecting the lyrics. As someone who is a bit nerdy about kaiju and Japanese monster toys ... why can't "Pink Monkey Bird" be exactly that?
Most of you are probably celebrating Opening Day tomorrow, but if you are like me and your favorite team is one of the six to get things started today (it feels incredibly weird to have opening day on a Sunday), today is the day!
Tunnel-Ball is also right around the corner (literally). My original plan was to have the book out by Opening Day to do some cool promotional stuff that way, but it looks like we just missed it. Any last minute setbacks notwithstanding, I anticipate the books to arrive in about a week or so.
... in preparation to ship out books, plenty of felt pennants have been hand-made and packs of Topps cards have been assembles (more details shortly).