Tag Archives: Art

Review: HENNI by Miss Lasko-Gross

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With characters and settings removed from everyday reality, Miss Lasko-Gross has set out with “Henni,” published by Z2 Comics, to tell a fable about faith in a most stripped down manner. Henni, our main character, like all the rest of the characters, is some sort of feline creature. She lives in something like a grim version of a Dr. Seuss world. The rules of society are cut and dry: obey and don’t ask questions. And, by all means, especially if you’re a female, follow orders. Your eye is directed to a graphic novel with a distinctive focus in a pared down surreal landscape.

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Filed under Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Miss Lasko-Gross, Z2 Comics

Jeremy Eaton Holiday Art Show in Seattle, Saturday, December 13, Noon to 6pm

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For our Seattle readers, be sure to stop by and check out the boldly ironic paintings of one of Seattle’s favorite sons, Jeremy Eaton. He regularly graces the pages of our favorite alternative weekly, The Stranger. Jeremy Eaton is a published cartoonist, illustrator and painter living in Seattle. For his paintings he utilizes discarded plywood he finds in the shipyards of the city, applying acrylic paint in bold splashes of color and overlapping strokes of black in order to replicate the pulp printing of the comic books and magazines of his youth, often sublimating this with wider cultural themes and commentary. Be sure to visit Jeremy right here.

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Filed under Art, Comics, Illustration, Jeremy Eaton, Painting, Seattle, The Stranger

LA Journal: Murals

Pacoima Neighborhood Mural by Levi Ponce

Pacoima Neighborhood Mural by Levi Ponce

Every great city has its murals. Los Angeles is a great city and its murals are grand, a part of the fabric of life. As part of Comics Grinder’s visit to LA, I want to share with you some of my favorite murals.

"You Are The Star" by Tom Suriya

“You Are The Star” by Tom Suriya

On Wilcox and Hollywood Blvd, there’s a truly landmark mural depicting many of Hollywood’s all-time legends kicking back and enjoy a matinee in a grand ole movie theater. It looks like they are viewing the viewer in “You Are The Star,” by Tom Suriya, painted in 1983.

Nancy Sinatra mural by George Sportelli

Nancy Sinatra mural by George Sportelli

Across the street, just opposite the Suriya mural is a new Nancy Sinatra mural by George Sportelli. This is one of his best among others on Hollywood Boulevard.

Hollywood High School mural by Eloy Torrez

Hollywood High School mural by Eloy Torrez

Then there’s one that really tugs at my heart, the mural at Hollywood High School by Eloy Torrez, on Highland Ave, painted in 2000.

Anthony Quinn mural by Eloy Torrez

Anthony Quinn mural by Eloy Torrez

Here’s a mural with Anthony Quinn as Zorba the Greek, right opposite the Bradbury Building on 242 S. Broadway, also by Eloy Torrez, painted in 1985.

Pacoima Neighborhood Mural by Levi Ponce

Pacoima Neighborhood Mural by Levi Ponce

And, finally, a most beautiful mural, the Pacoima Neighborhood Mural, at 10335 Laurel Canyon Blvd, by Levi Ponce.

On a different topic….

Comics Grinder Nominated for an Excellence Blog Award

I want to thank Aquileana from La Audacia de Aquiles for nominating Comics Grinder for an Excellence Blog Award. She shares great insight into Greek mythology, art history, and so much more. Aquileana demonstrates a passion for her subject. At the heart of this award is reaching out to other passionate bloggers.

The rules are that each nominee then nominates ten fellow bloggers and they go on to create a post similar to the one here, including the award logo. So, I follow up by humbly accepting my nomination and nominating ten bloggers that I have come to admire.

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These are my nominees for the Excellence Blog Award:

1. Pastrami Basket
2. Set to Stunning
3. Projector Magazine
4. The Night Gallery
5. Ototsy!
6. Sci-Fi Jubilee
7. Shamagaia
8. Graffiti Lux and Murals
9. The Lost Lighthouse
10. Wrong Hands

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Filed under Los Angeles, Murals, Travel

The Official Star Trek Convention Returns to Seattle December 12-14 with Jeri Ryan and Walter Koenig

Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov in "Star Trek"

Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov in “Star Trek”

If you’re in Seattle, and you love Star Trek, then there’s only one place to be this weekend. The Official Star Trek Convention returns to Seattle on December 12-14 with Jeri Ryan and Walter Koenig headlining the event!

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Filed under Star Trek, science fiction, Seattle, Television, Sci-Fi

Comic Arts Los Angeles (CALA) Debuts a Comic Arts Festival

Comic Arts Los Angeles at Think Tank Gallery

Comic Arts Los Angeles at Think Tank Gallery

Comic Arts Los Angeles (CALA), a new comic arts festival in Los Angeles, took place this last Saturday, December 6, in a walk-up art gallery, Think Tank Gallery. This is the first major comic arts festival of its kind in the second largest city in the United States, taking its place alongside such notable comic arts festivals as MoCCA Comic Arts Festival in New York City, Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland, and Short Run in Seattle, Washington.

Located in a part of the city tucked near Gallery Row and the Arts District, the actual site is amid a dazzling display of predominantly Mexican businesses, both storefront and street vendors. One banner atop the entrance and staff for the event lead you in. And so you climb the stairs and you are instantly transported to a world of indie comics. As Jen Wang, one of the founders of CALA, said in a panel discussion at the event, “When it comes to breaking into comics, you just make them and you’ve broken in.” In that spirit, you come to this event which is a mix of creators relatively new to breaking into comics along with many seasoned indie veterans attached to various publishers.

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When it come to breaking into comics, while it may seem simple enough, there are a myriad of approaches, motivations, and sensibilities. I can tell you from my vantage point, as someone who has broken in, that there is and there is not a typical cartoonist profile. Referring back to this panel from the show, the last panel of the day in fact, Wang led a discussion on how to sustain a life in comics. Among the comments made, Ron Regé Jr. spoke to the fact that he never ever expected to make a dime off of his comics. And that pretty much says it all in one fell swoop because there are always cartoonists ready to make money from their work right along with others who don’t focus on demographics and the like.

Comic Arts Los Angeles

Comic Arts Los Angeles

A comic arts festival like CALA focuses on the more unusual and offbeat type of comics that are more prone to taking risks with the market. You will see table after table of minicomics and professionally bound books on a multitude of subjects and themes. There are no superhero comics, per se. In this context, a superhero theme is possible but most likely in a ironic tone. The overriding theme is personal and artistic. Of course, major publishers of comic books are hip to what the alternative comics crowd are up to and will collaborate with them from time to time. For some years now, major publishers have been publishing the best that emerges from self-published cartoonists. So, in a sense, the indie cartoonists are akin to stand-up comedians who may get picked up by a network. However, it’s complicated. Some cartoonists try to capitalize on trends, others follow their own muse. Ultimately, it’s quality work that wins out and transcends all these issues.

Ellen T. Crenshaw and "Colonial Comics: New England, 1620 – 1750"

Ellen T. Crenshaw and “Colonial Comics: New England, 1620 – 1750″

I was speaking with cartoonist Ellen T. Crenshaw who is a fitting example of a professional cartoonist/illustrator with an independent sensibility. Take a look at her work and you see an engaging style. She was pleased to see a great turn-out for CALA. In her experience with the Boston comics scene, it can be very rough for the first year of a comic arts festival. But CALA came out strong right out of the gate. Taking a closer look at Crenshaw’s work, it’s a successful combination of a clean and polished approach married to offbeat content. I picked up a hilarious and sweet minicomic of hers, “The Woodsman and the Bear,” that follows a bear who has fallen in love with a lumberjack. That will give you some indication of her vision. For something more challenging, there’s “Colonial Comics: New England, 1620-1750,” published by Fulcrum Publishing, that provides stories about Colonial America that you won’t find in the history books.

Farel Dalrymple and "The Wrenchies"

Farel Dalrymple and “The Wrenchies”

You could sense the energy in the crowds. I spoke with a number of friends in the comics community and everyone was all smiles. It’s just a matter of diving in and checking out various tables. Each creator is there in support of their most recent work along with their other titles. For instance, there was Farel Dalrymple in support of his graphic novel, “The Wrenchies,” published by First Second Books.

MariNaomi and "Dragon's Breath"

MariNaomi and “Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories”

MariNaomi was there in support of “Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories,” published jointly by 2D Cloud and Uncivilized Books.

Yumi Sakugawa

Yumi Sakugawa and “Bird Girl and Fox Girl”

Another favorite is certainly Yumi Sakugawa and she was there in support of “Your Illustrated Guide To Becoming One With The Universe,” published by Adams Media and “Bird Girl and Fox Girl,” published by Sparkplug Books.

Rounding out my coverage of CALA, I spoke with Jen Wang, one of the organizers and the illustrator of one of my favorite recent graphic novels, “In Real Life,” published by First Second Books. She was definitely excited about how well CALA was doing.

And, just to top it all off, I spoke with cartoonist and renowned comics historian Scott McCloud and got his take on the event. He was quite pleased to say the least.

Think Tank Gallery proved to be a great venue for CALA. With about 70 creators, the space afforded enough room to mix and mingle. Around the corner, there were panel discussions throughout the event. In the end, the reader, the potential buyer of said comix, indie comics, alternative comics, had much to choose from in a delightful setting. We all look forward to this being the start of a new comics tradition in LA.

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Filed under Alternative Comics, CALA, Comic Arts Festivals, Comic Arts Los Angeles, Comics, Independent Comics, Indie, Jen Wang, Los Angeles, Minicomics, Scott McCloud, Short Run

Review: ‘Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences’ by Matthew Christopher

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The immediate impact of these photographs is undeniable: Outrageous oblivion. Everything torn apart, inside and out. Nothing spared. Nothing redeemed. You quickly draw your own conclusions despite what your more sober thoughts might tell you. This is a book about total destruction, along with numerous more measured considerations. “Abandoned America” takes you on a most unusual journey with this collection of photography by Matthew Christopher, published by JonGlez Publishing.

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Filed under Art, Art books, JonGlez Publishing, Photography

Review: ‘SuicideGirls: Geekology’ by Missy Suicide

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Geek out this holiday season with “SuicideGirls: Geekology,” by Missy Suicide, cofounder of SuicideGirls and all-around geek. This gorgeous hardcover art book shares a passion for geek culture among some of the most beautiful women in the world. There’s the ancient stereotype that a beautiful woman is only beautiful but culture in general has become so fluid and interconnected that these tired old assumptions are now, more than ever, a slippery slope.

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Filed under Geeks, Gifts, Gifts 2014, SuicideGirls, Tattoos

Comic Arts LA (CALA) at Think Tank Gallery in Los Angeles, Saturday, December 6, 2014

CALA-Think-Tank-Gallery

If you’re in Los Angeles and love comics, there’s only one place to be this Saturday, December 6, and that’s Comic Arts LA (CALA) at Think Tank Gallery, 939 Maple Avenue, from 10am to 6pm. Free to the public! This is one of those big moments as a significant comic arts festival launches in LA. Comics Grinder has the travel bug and will be there! Will you be there?

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Filed under Alternative Comics, animation, CALA, Comic Arts Festivals, Comics, Comix, Independent Comics, Jen Wang, Los Angeles, Minicomics

Office Follies: ‘Facility Integrity ‘ and ‘The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil’

From "Facility Integrity" by Nick Maandag

From “Facility Integrity” by Nick Maandag

From "The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil" by Stephen Collins

From “The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil” by Stephen Collins

Two recent works in comics tackle our sad lot in cubicles from two distinctive vantage points: “The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil” by Stephen Collins; and “Facility Integrity” by Nick Maandag. Each has a very different sensibility but, at the end of the day, both can agree that office work and conformity are for the birds.

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Filed under Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Last Gasp, Nick Maandag, Spit and a Half, Stephen Collins

SEA/PDX: Field Notes From SAM’s ‘Pop Departures’

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Seattle Art Museum is a veritable Popland for its show, POP DEPARTURES, OCT 9 2014 – JAN 11 2015. For more details, visit our friends at SAM right here.

What follows are field notes from the current show. Consider it a review, a guide, a friendly tour. When it comes to reviewing a show like SAM’s exploration of Pop Art, it’s a brave new world. Today, a handful of local art critics no longer command public opinion as much as make a noble contribution. No sooner have they done that, in a poetic, or quirky, or straightforward fashion, than a babble of reactions shoot out from below in the comment section. And that’s exactly what Andy Warhol would have wholeheartedly approved of!

As much as can be said for Pop Art shedding a light on a dead end, Pop Art is full of life. It’s our world, made up of mass media galore and celebrity worship. Let’s do something about it. Since it’s not going away, engage it. Make art. The babble in the comment section can rage on and on and on. Some of us learned how to love the bomb, so to speak. That is the overriding sensibility to be found here. There’s social commentary, critique, and satire, of course. But, ultimately, when Warhol suggested that everyone would get their fifteen minutes of fame, it wasn’t a barb but a realization.

SAM provides a refreshing look at Pop Art byway of where it came from and how it continues to reverberate to this very day. You may even see such familiar figures as Warhol and Lichtenstein in a new light. What this exhibit does so well is demonstrate how, as time progressed, and consumer culture became more complex, so did contemporary art. Layer upon layer, extended the bright and bold message of consumerism. As the landscape of pop culture evolved, and devolved, art responded and collaborated.

Art and its subject end up doing a dance together. And the most subversive work will find its way into the mainstream. Consider the cacophonous video on display by Ryan Trecartin. You may find that you got the joke and want to walk out as soon as you walked in. But stay a while. Wait a minute, something about these vacuous characters spouting gibberish and thinking themselves profound is very familiar. Compare this to the mainstream co-opting (or is it stealing?) by Saturday Night Live with their popular ongoing skit, “The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party.”

As we view the Warhols and Lichtensteins, we don’t need to see them as only a part of art history. They continue to breathe life. They continue to provide a road map (sorry, no GPS) for making sense of the landscape.

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“Pop Departures” is on view from October 9, 2014 thru January 11, 2015. Visit our friends at SAM right here.

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Filed under Andy Warhol, Max at Hotel Max Comics, Pop Art, Raymond Pettibon, Roy Lichtenstein, SAM, SEA/PDX, Seattle, Seattle Art Museum