IF: Resolutions

The Cholmondeley Ladies ( cats), Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, the second sketchbook projectI am resolved to be true to myself. Whatever I see in the mirror, the reflection in a dark window, the glance in a glass, is true and something I should be happy with. I will embrace my wicked side along with the one that suffers to be good. There is something in parallels that disturb and challenge. This is my resolution, to better understand that paradigm.

First day of Summer, 2010

Summer Bounty, Q. Cassetti, 2010Not much to say. It was redding up last night and a load of laundry this morning. Shady went out with me to check on the efficacy of the Irish Spring treatment on our apple trees (its working) this morning. She managed to get herself tangled up in velcro weed and ended up covered in thorny, green pods which wasnt the end. She found a delicious patch of something that she started rolling in…ending up sticky, and appropriately stinky. Then, she shared the wealth with me. Cut to the chase, a bath before nine….for Ms. Shady Grove along with a lot of brushing.

Kitty is finishing her adirondack chair this morning. Hopefully we can engage her in class selections and take her picture for Hampshire. Long and drawn out.

I discovered my illustration work was being posted, “blogged” and “reblogged” on Tumblr.com There are posts by people talking about reusing my artwork ( I know, I know, that this is wrong…but how do you stop it). I am fine if they want to use it, its more the sheer courtesy, yes manners, of asking before taking. But, I am showing my old age and fussy upbringing in even saying this. Erich is always reminding me that things have changed despite the laws, and that once things are  posted, they are public and out of my control. Tumblr is microblogging, in a sense like twitter, but a way to share ideas, images, photographs etc. How would you address this…? Yes, its like Twitter and Facebook but feels somewhat more random for me. Here is what I found on Tumblr re: me, me and did I say, me? 

Starting a new sweet picture in the Lubok spirit….same topic, new style (or changed style)… More later. These take a bit longer.

Candy House

Kay Nielsen, Hansel and Gretel, from www.nocloo.comI am reading a bit about Hansel and Gretel. Not a happy tale. There are two iterations with the first being an outgrowth of a practice during the Middle Ages of leaving a child in the forest because there was not enough for the family to eat. Thus, Hansel and Gretel left by THE MOTHER and the good, reluctant father to perish> finding the house etc. The  other was the sweeter version of mom dropping dead, dad remarrying the STEPMOTHER, who had no interest in the children and insisted her new hubby get rid of them...and so on. The happily ever after is somehow the kids and dad (maybe mom but stepmom drops dead), bringing physical riches (stones, gold, etc) to make a happily ever after for all of them. However, during my cruising around, found  the Kay Nielsen illustration from that tale (shown to the left). Just love Nielsen anyway he comes, but wow. So much Mary Blair in this (really the other way around), and look at the depth of how he pops the color in a warm shell of neurtral trees. He definitely says, look here.  I found this and other great illustrations at Nocloo.

Nocloo.com  describes itself as:

"Well, it's a typo for noclue, someone already took the noclue.com domain before it came to my head that's a good name for my project. It's a project born out of the passion for old children's books that I collect over the last 10 years. I just want to share some these amazing artworks from the great Golden Age illustrators that I love.
Sadly, many of these books are no longer in print; too expensive to acquire or totally unknown for the majority of the younger book readers. The project started as a resource for book collectors like me, but over the past few year, it has evolved into a creative source for artists, students and many others."

They have a lovely collection but have watermarked images that are common property as well as sell prints of the said images which though legal rubs me a bit the wrong way. However, if you are looking for images, its an interesting resource.  I found Nocloo from the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive website. ASIFA Hollywood is a great site for more than just animation and comic strips. They have a lot of good talk about illustration, illustration/animation practice and people etc. Worth the looksee.

Work on lots of design stuff today/tomorrow. Wednesday through Friday in Amherst with Kitty. Should be interesting and hopefully fun. This journey continues albeit in a much sweeter way than in the past. More later>>

Cinnamon snippets

The boys are coming home from a long week at the office. We have two lovely senior girls who are here for a french movie festival with Kitty. Alex is all over it....trying to be cool....but you know...gorgeous girls can make a young man's head turn. We had a mess of track runners parked in the kitchen talking about books and such. Lots happening in the office. A total redesign of a publication keeping aspects of it.. and then, after throwing my hands up...redesigning and writing as I go. I even found new pictures, did some retouching and background matching for the comp...and DANG. It looked pretty good for being stone soup. Cleaner with some thinking about the hierarchy of headlines, subheads, pullouts etc. And a grid...imagine! A structure to hang this whole magilla off! 

Cinnamon bun making is the bread project for tonight. I made oatmeal bread (on the King Arthur bread flour bag) and folded a bunch of bulgur wheat into it. Didnt puff up like I expected, but its more than edible and with the crew around here, we will devour two loaves in two days. So more learning about yeast and proofing, rising and raising and how long the loaves need to cook to be done but not overdone...Its all a new path that seems to fill in the time between my funny silhouette drawings. These babies are quick...not as much articulation as the others and right now, a welcome change.

It's fun how the current flip mirrors a technique that is all about flipping. I hold the idea of Hans Christian Anderson cutting his wicked little pictures as he spun stories of little mermaids walking on feet that bled or the spinning eyes of the frightening dog that guarded the treasure in the Tinderbox. Cutting and stories, an aesthetic that is shared with Slovenly Peter and the wild haired, wicked heros that have entertained and frightened me since the first hearing. Nice to know that being over 50 and still fearful is a good place to be. Time moves forward and some of us stay locked in the same fears and pleasures as our childhood. And sometimes those fears and pleasures, as in the case of fairy tales, can be the same.

My stamp with the Double Happiness illustration got recognized as a "Best" yesterday. I got a lot of nice kudos from my fellow Zazzle designers along with two sales...(to the tune of $2. profit). However, it is fun to do, and if the illustrations can make me dresser change, then its more dresser change than I had yesterday.

IF: [Homer's] Opinion

Thus has Homer proved his opinion of our poor sex—that the love of beauty is our most prevailing passion. It really grieves me to think that there certainly must be reason for the insignificant opinion the greatest men have of women—at least I fear there must.—But I don’t in fact believe it—thank God!

Frances Burney (1752–1840), British author

Day Four: HAS: NYC

Yesterday was chock a block--and for me, all in, the most thought provoking time during our encampment in New York. We started the day with Zina Saunders, who is an electric person, filled with passion, intelligence, wit and artistry. She lives her life weaving her thoughts, her amazing perceptions and insights with her art with a seeming endless fount of energy and spirit. Can you imagine, I was blown off my cotton-pickin' chair and found her speech riveting, inspirational, and insightful.

I have a new hero in my pantheon of heros.

Zina stood up, and in her upfront, no frills way, detailed how she came to illustration through her father, the late, Norman Saunders, known for his pulp and sci-fi illustration. Zina was influenced by her father to get into the business and still paints in details and concepts that are homage to his work and humor (a nice example was in the Calamity Sarah picture she shows on Drawger, Sarah Palin is holding the reins of the bucking bronco between her teeth--referencing Zina's memory of the delight her father had in western movies when the cowboy was riding a horse, guns a blazin' with the reins of the horse in his teeth. This, Norman Saunders declared, was something the cowboy would only do once as he would no longer have any teeth after the first go round). And, as Zina has herself, made a career of illustration--doing everything from licensing jobs (books about Sponge Bob, Blues Clues and Dora the Explorer), she has transcended illustration and has fused it with her curiosity of life, the people she lives with in that small town called Manhattan, her energy and her passion to grow and develop completely as a person, an artist and a spirit.

She is a witty and opinionated person who not only says laugh out loud funny stuff, but she uses her lithe and willowy person to accentuate and to some degree, illustrate the commentary, her tales, her insights. She is a complete package with her public speaking. She also is not afraid to teach and share, talking about her transition from a pure traditional media person to all digital with the making of custom brushes, and her desire to paint just as she had before in a new environment, using healthier materials abut with the same vision, same brain and same hands as she had in the more conventional methods. Zina takes up challenges whether it be the white lie to a client that yes indeed, she had done thus and so type of work in thus and so type of media to the current challenge laid down by Nancy Stahl on the Drawger site, challenging the women to do political work. This, Zina Saunders picked up with a zeal that manifested itself in the most amazing collection of images about John McCain and Caribou Barbie--their relationship and all the funny juxtapositions that occurred_ during the short campaign. Zina really found a groove with this--allowing her room to joke and yet bring her formidable talent and skills as an illustrator to deliver the goods. You should really check it out She would often, during this time, get up at three in the morning to create her illustration (she is fast) and have a low res jpg in the mailboxes of the major papers by early morning before the editors even had their coffee. From this resulted phone calls and requests for high res jpgs of the same files...and she was off to the races. She got in front of being tweaked and pinched by the art directors due to the freshness of the art..the Now-ness...and in so doing, created a wonderful body of work which should spin all sorts of other projects.

This entrepeneurial spirit manifested in this political work stemmed from her independent work on the unknown New York and on a women bicycle messenger from Zimbabwe. Zina independently started making pictures of the men who had these wonderful hybrid bikes she used to admire growing up on 104th Street. These vehicles are remarkable, strange, contraptions which, it turns out has a following, a club of people who make and ride them. Zina got friendly with one guy, did an illustration of him a week later and then presented him with the work. One picture a week, a new guy, a new bike--burgeoning to a collection of images that include people that raise bees in the city, raise racing pigeons etc. Wonderful people with passion gave to Zina and she, in turn, gave back to them, and to us, enriching her vision and ours, of the world, of Manhattan. And, this work has been picked up and printed...so once again, her passion and vision has driven a body of work which has had a payout for all of us.

Something to remember and think about.

We had Joe Ciardello speak about his work, his engagement in fusing his interest in music with that of illustration. His work is beautiful and inspiring in his use of line and color--muscular despite it's seeming delicacy. He works on a hot press watercolor paper I need to get my hands on as it took the water and paint beautifully. He too, is developing personal work which is becoming paying work with his aspirations for the near future being around some personal publishing work much like Zina's new book from Blurb of the McCain Palin project, The Party's Over.

We had Cheryl Phelps come and talk about licensing, her quick chat about it (you can have her coach you), the complexities of the deal and contracts, how to "find the bachelors", how do develop a portfolio with templates for the market segment you want to focus your illustrations for, and the ways to get your work out there from tradeshows, publications, advertising etc. With her matter of fact discussion, her depth of knowledge and her gentle humor, it was very exciting and for me, a definite opportunity as I know about markets and market driven work, the bodies of work I currently do, throw off illustrations and patterns, and I know how to present ideas in a format to sell. I know how to comp a product. I know production methods. I know how to put a tradeshow together. I can sell. And, aligned with my desire to create alternative cash streams that can spin the green stuff, this fits in perfectly. So, def on the trip to Surtex..and more.

We then went down to the Illustration House to see the work and hear Walt Reed and his son Roger tell us about the work, the up and coming auction and their insights about the work and artists they represent. I had a chance to spend a little time with Walt to ask him about how he got into this business that he virtually created. Walt is an illustrator, who, while he was in Westport, CT was part of the illustration whirl,meeing with friends, going to parties, mixing with some of the phenomenal talent that filled the editorial and magazine pages of the time. He said that at the time, at one of the Westport Art Club meetings one of the members stood up and informed the group that they should all go home and destroy their archives of work as their families would be taxed on the work (as a part of their estates) at a very high level. And many illustrators took his word immediately. Walt had been (as many illustrators do today) swapped illustrations with his friends so he offered to take the pictures off these worried illustrators at that time. From that moment, he was in the business. It moved from Connecticut to New York in several locations to the place they are today on 25th Street. Walt and Roger were part of the unfolding of the Rockwell forgery that was in the press in the last year or so and were the people to inform the family of it's illegitimacy. After he told the family, the family went looking for original and as the story unfolded, they found it hidden in the attic (if my mind serves me, it was hidden because of a divorce or some other split in the family). When asked where illustration was going, and what was going to be in his gallery in ten years, Walt seemed unsure. He mourns the moment of painting--seemingly not recognizing digital media as an option. I find it curious as illustration, as it was practiced in the 50s through the 80s really does not exist in the same places. It is purchased and infused into other aspects of our lives. It is not dead. Illustration doesn't sell Cream of Wheat in an idealized way any more...but to my pleasure, Washington Mutual and their heavy advertising (with illustration) in the New Yorker points to something happening--maybe for novelty or maybe for the illlustrative context of the publication. Maybe what is old will become new...like the chicness of pinhole cameras (Bill K. cited the interest at Pratt), and turntables (like Mr.A's interest in that and "vinyl"). Who knows? The greening of the wold makes used and old, new and fab. We can hope...but not wait.

my roommates from Left to Right:
Jackie Decker, Lori Ann Levy Holm, Linda Tajirian all looking at Grey's Anatomy on TV.
Lotsa laughs with this crew.

IF: Clutter[ed Paradise]

This is the Tree of Knowledge from the Genesis story of Adam and Eve. As you can see, it was mighty tempting to touch the tree with all this insanity going on. After all, it was the beginning of things prior to Adam's sons and Eve's daughters were thrown out of paradise to toil and try to replicate that perfect experience--cluttering up the world with the fruit of that knowledge obtained in paradise.

IF: Live Wide

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.

Diane Ackerman

What we see is often not the whole picture. Take this willow. It rides above the ground, filling space with its graceful willow wands growing toward the ground to establish new plants by taking root. It's roots are wide and deep and when established can transform a swamp to dry ground. Using this beautiful tree as a model, we should try to live wide, live deep and live broad. We should try to touch the sky while grounded on earth, in our families, communities, art and culture.

From the Ape, Little Chimp Society

Just a short and sweet newsletter. Although a number of you already know, I just wanted to bring to the attention to those who don't that recently the LCS was plagiarized (images and LCS interviews) and published as a book called Colorful Illustrations 93 degrees C! This was done with the knowledge or permission of me or anyone involved.

For more information read my blog post about it...

What can you do to help? :)

Please make as many people aware of this as possible by linking to the above post from any social networks, blogs, portal, or news submission sites you can get to. This will bring awareness to the situation and hopeful shame the resellers into removing it from there stock and sites.

And if anyone is feeling brave please ring Index Book on (+34) 93 454 55 47 and ask them POLITELY to stop selling it :) Please they are Spanish, but have English speaking staff.

I personally use http://www.jajah.com/ for long distance calls.

Thanks for your time and I appreciate your continued support.


ohmygoodness! OHMYGOODNESS! What is happening? Why all of these wonderful things? Why me? I am shocked and surprised in a lovely way. I got a call from Carol Tinkleman seconds before a scheduled phone call about branding with the big Green company. She was very guarded in her chat--asking if I had gotten the emails...had I gotten them? I looked and was shocked to see that Carol and Murray had nominated me for a Graduate Presidential Fellowship from The University of Hartford. And....they had accepted me. There were eleven nominations and eight awards. This is huge! There is some money to offset some of the tuition which is tremendous, but even better is that I was competing with other graduate students (more than the world of illustration and illustrators) for this honor. And even we weak minded art types could be recognized in this manner. I am thrilled. Thrilled. This is almost as good as winning two gold medals for the Mellon Bank Christmas illustration competition I won in fourth grade. (that was 50 silver dollars and a box, a flat black box of Prang crayons). Am a bit confused as it was cited that my experience, an MA and the schools I attended were important despite a weak UG GPA (which I need to understand as I graduated from CMU with University Honors and the SU gpa thing was good too>). Unless its linked to my bad housekeeping skills, inability to organize etc. I will need to understand that. But hey.Good news all around!

Back to the blog. Need to get with Jim Reidy to take the design further. Also, have veered away from Squint...but am back to it. I like the edgy, unbalanced, bloggy quality of the name...so I am going to chase it. Now, its a question of the URL. HASSquint.com, SquintHAS, thesquint, squinty....need to go to register.com to seek out a direction.

More later.

585 out of 11,440

So, what does that random group of numbers mean? I got a note saying that this blog was reviewed by blogged.com and was ranked as an "8"in the Entertainment category. The ranking is based on"Editor reviews are provided by professional editors who evaluate a blog based on the following criteria: Frequency of Updates, Relevance of Content, Site Design, and Writing Style."
What does that get us? me?
Probably Niente, nada, nothing. But we'll take any kudos coming over the wall.

more on the same

I believe with great conviction that Barack Obama should be the next President. I have been paying close attention to him since the Democratic convention in 2004. I feel that he is more a statesman than a politician. He was against the war when it was an unpopular position (and Hillary was for the war at that time), Obama is for energy and environmental conservation. He is for healthcare reform. Check him out for yourself: barackobama.com. Proceeds from this print go to produce prints for a larger statewide poster campaign.” Shepard Fairey

Chain Linked Moments

The snow is doing its thing. We just finished another late dinner thanks to yours truly not getting her sh*t in gear earlier. The team is deployed in dog activities, sweeping the white stuff and personal time. I am listening to random selections from itunes...with a big focus on Jazziz monthly CDs and of all folks, my mini collection of (as my italian friends said in the late seventies...THE Barry White). Poor Barry. Gone from us. Poor Barry, bigger than a 1967 Cadillac, with a sound as big albeit accompanied by (as my Muse as coined)" the purina cat chow orchestra". I love the singing, but even better is the insane talking over/lead in for the big build of the song. My italian pals (non English speakers) would emulate him down to phonetic copying of his lead ins and singing. An absolute scream. It makes one want to climb into fly away collars, bad hair and stacked heels. Makes me want to be a disco bunny.

As I am swinging and swaying to the robust, The Barry, White...I have dropped into something equally sublime. Drawn, the cooperative illustration site, links to a slide show about fellow Pittsburgher Robert Weaver in the NY Times>> Anything Weaver, for me, is a total kick in the booty. Weaver and Al Parker are the Barry White of my illustration world. Maybe more (they seem to exist without the purina cat chow orchestra). Could we all collectively beg the Taschen folks to do books ons on both. These guys are not side line players.

"Life is not a single snapshot, it is a series of events that are chain linked and proceed frame by frame." Robert Weaver

Why is it, that there is no significant monograph, show catalog or even web site on Weaver? His tremendous skill as an illustrator and designer shines through the few examples one can surface...but no tome,no collection to study, learn, review. There are students and peers of Weaver out there>> why no book, no significant recollection?

A nice reference is here in the Ulcercity blog, particularly appropriate for the here and now of Obama/Clinton>> with equally as fascinating responses/comments. I believe this author is one in the same that submitted the slide show to the Times. Mr. Dowd, from my skimming his blog, is a fascinating person, a serious teacher and educator and someone I plan on dropping in on on a regular basis (unlike this lightweight drivel from a nattering nabob who knows nothing).