Eye Candy du jour.

Here's a gumdrop for you. It's sweet. It's little. It's a treat.

As you know, I am a fan of the idea of an artist being able to "do a style" really well, and snapping it to a topic that is au courant--or nerdy. Preferably both. Remember the wonderful images created in the Lubok style by Andrey Kuznetsov? Here is his spiderman image to remind you, and a link to a great collection of images at Pagefiddler.



Good stuff? I love this. It refreshes the super hero (or any of the other topics) and brings it a whole different skew. Makes you think. And, its funny. What's  not to love? Okay, one more because I am feeling jolly. This one brings Avatar to light:



So in this tradition of funny reimagining of popular culture, these Ukrainian paintings by Sergei Iukhimov are stellar examples of the fusion of Russian Orthodox iconography and the works of J. R. R. Tolkien.


Rapture! The End is Near, Q. Cassetti, May 18, 2011, pen and inkOnly three more days until the Rapture. What to do? Cook? Plan? Cancel our utilities? How to prepare? Make all the beds and iron our all white outfits (or for some of us, like me—get the pitchfork out?). So, instead, I am doing some little greeting cards to honor the Rapture (yesterday and today). More to come. Great to have a fun little topic. Devils! The gaping maw of Hell (inspired by our pals the Lubki artists!).

Work has been insistent. A drumbeat of little niggling details that I am fearful of dropping or forgetting…so the list keeps getting longer and more abstract. It cant be me getting older…it is a slippery slope of disconnected ideas…and everyone moving a bit too fast. At least the exhibit gets put out…as does the big book. Oy.

Am looking at all the interlinking aspects of social media. Why? Dunno…but I was thinking about Tumblr (which I flow my blog and tweets to) and trying to understand how it works. I checked with my consultant, the college student and she reassured me that as I had coverage with a blog and twitter, I didn’t need to worry about Tumblr as it is a way to blog in a mini way (microblog). However, the magic of a RSS feed always stuns me. Behance, as I mentioned the other day, can be flowed to Facebook (the easy one is the LinkedIn> Behance relationship—total sweeness while not needing to.to monkey with Feedburner to make that happen). I am interested in becoming part of Dribbble, a site that one submits a small screenshot of what you are working on to share with the community of like souls. I’ve seen some of my more favorite Dribbble players post to FBook from that site. Another thread to understand. What else can I trigger with a RSS feed url or a twitter post. The whole mechanism is fascinating and an intuitive thing  that I wish I could better grasp.

Gotta go. Files to release.

Brilliant Shadows

India inspired Sirin, Q. Cassetti, 2011, sharpies on moleskineBrilliant Shadows, blue on the snow in the bright light. It is quiet and mild (unlike last night when the light snow continued apace). The weather rumors say that we are up for a big snow tonight through Tuesday, so we will see. We have plenty of coffee and milk, so we can hole in for a few days.

Just got off the phone with my little glimmer of light, Kitty. She is in fine form thrilled with everything, her social life, her studies and the new add to her whirl, contra dancing. She is charmed (and I am sure charming). We went through the people, places and things…and things have changed a bit to make her happier as there is more fun in her life. As I am her mom, I want the best for her and from her…and I hope she is keeping pointed in the right directions and stays on center for her work, her studies, her self discovery.

We had overnight guests which was fun. I made some quiche and we hung out and talked. Rob and group went to Ithaca for the Chili cook off—and have gracefully left me to write, layout my new cover for 3x3, and get more branding work done for our client (all due 4/6).

I am a bit panic’ed so….

Need to get rolling.

New Week

Indian Heads, Q. Cassetti,2011, pen and inkIcy cold today. Ice on the windshield—such that it was hard to see the road. A bit scary as Alex cajoled me while I drove with my head out of the window trying to triangulate on what I could see, pretend I could see and not see at all. Like driving with a shower door between you and the road.

Got a bunch of work done on some pubs today. And got a lovely opportunity for tomorrow to design some bus graphics! First a tractor trailer for the Museum. Then a container for the Museum. Then an airplane for Corning and my other client. And now a promotional bus!

It was dust lockdown central here. The boys were whaling away on a wall (new bathroom and reconfigured storage) in the new princess office area. All sorts of air breaks with tarps and tape, tarps/tape and tacks. It had it’s moments re noise, but it wasn’t anything the mute button on the phone could muffle. I think tomorrow is the end of the dust raising. Then, its rebuilding time.

I put some images up on the Directory of Illustration site (as I bought a page in the book last year and hadn’t taken advantage of the portfolio pages they make available (along with streaming blog and tweets). I think its a pretty robust offering (more expensive but more reach than the iSpot). We will see if it produces.

Advent Calendar Day 19: Progress on all fronts

Holiday makers, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, moleskine, from the Second Advent Calendar ProjectNot much of an entry yesterday. My apologies. It was just enough to begin to get the house back to living. Wonderful David is here getting all the salt off the wooden floors which we both were shaking our heads over, but better salty floors than people falling down. It was an amazing event on Friday. We had a zillion (more like 350 people) come here to sing, gather and eat the piles of cookies that crowded our dining room table. The house looked great and really showcased Rob’s and my skill at display. Way back when, before I got a full time job in New York City, I styled the Steuben Glass showroom for Christmas (I made gingerbread houses and glued them together with hot melt. We rented fireplaces and an enormous “groaning board” that we filled with glass and fruit and cookies etc. The whole thing almost prepared us for this styling except, we hired a doorman (before the doorman thing became what everyone did) and a jazz pianist who played on an enormous baby grand (black, rented from Steinway) to set the tone for our un-named theme (but the theme we made decisions against) ” Holiday open house”. Well, it was a Holiday Open House here, for real with every shape and size, old and young coming to gather, to sing to commune.

I held court in the kitchen as I tended to the hot crockpots (and keeping them full) of mulled cider. I had a lovely group of friends and we chatted the night away until “the public” left and then it was our event. I pulled out jars of french olives and cheese (from the regional). Stefan brought the fruits of his first bake which we pressed on everyone. And, there were new and old friends with everyone laughing and having a great time. I must admit, public parties that you see who shows up is really great. We should model the Pourhouse gig on this one.

Another thought is to do this when I open the gallery. Yes, I am opening a gallery here in the Camp House to showcase my work and the cards etc. I have for sale. I may buy things to go with this work and make it available (like the felt balls etc). This is where we are going. We may have shows, we may use the space for community things, for parties etc. Rob is 200 percent behind this…and as I engage in the idea, I am warming too. More on that soon.

Yesterday, we picked up and went to Ithaca to pick out tile and a tub for the next rennovation project, the new bathroom off Kitty’s room. There were decisions made—and it was fun to be the four of us all over again. We had a great lunch at Taste of Thai Express with everyone (but me ) having something duck. As there were some “fatty bits” we gathered them up and I, the mom, was supposed to carry them out of the restaurant in a lettuce leaf for Shady Grove. Well, I had an envelope in my pocketbook, so we stuffed the bits and the lettuce in the envelope and marked it Special Delivery for Shady….and took it out neatly, sealed to see what she did. Oh, she was so polite (in front of us…but lets remember her gently pulling out every piece of plastic wrap from the cookies out of the trash and leaving them on the floor for us to discover her sweet iindulgence). But, as soon as I nicked a bit of the envelope open, she was all over it. Manners indeed!

Today, I made granola, the gravy for Saturday and found the recipe for the peanutbutter dog biscuits I plan on making for friends’ dogs. We do not need the cookies, but the dogs do! I wrapped a few more presents and am planning the week of work, wrapping and cooking without rush. Much like the choral event, if much of the work is done in advance, I can enjoy it so much more and not feel bludgeoned on the day of the event. I loved how it all worked out on Thanksgiving…so a bit a bit a bit.

Kitty stamped all the holiday cards. Done. All packages in the mail. Done. Phew.

Tonight we are TJ Maxxing to buy a nutcracker for our collection. Alex actually asked if we could do that. He is a boy that loves tradition….and so, we will oblige.

I start a new moleskine with this Advent Calendar Project on Day 19—with several more days to go… and then on to the next. As I mentioned, “pretty and creepy” delighted me but I am puzzling about what is it about these images that are creepy? can you or someone out there in readership land tell me how they interpret it. I will not be insulted. I genuinely want to understand this….to either play it up or see where it can go…Creepy is what makes it distinct. There is a lot of pretty. Edward Gorey was creepy. Tattoo artists are creepy…is this where I am? Can we put some language around this?

Advent Calendar Day 17 (bonus): Good and Interesting News!

Run, Run, as fast as you can, you can’t catch me! I’m the Gingerbread Man!, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, from the Second Advent Calendar Project

We are in full prep, full holiday mode. Instead of ribbons and bows last night, I addresses and sealed all my holiday cards while watching junky teevee. This morning, I finished the wrapping and got two boxes in the mail, got the envelope weighed and bought the stamps for the cards. Then, down to the Regional to pick up the lovely sourdough loaves I ordered (along with some goodies from the little cantina). Then back to the house to neaten, compile, compost and recycle. Now we are into the afternoon. Kitty is decorating the tree. I am decorating wreaths and the chandeliers. Next step, the weeding and sorting of the bitsy bits in the singing room along with the great posting of paper.Two nice things happened re illustration yesterday. First off, I was noticed (via Behance) by the design blog, “OK Great”. I adore the editorial: “I love these illustrations from Q. Cassetti’s 2010 Advent Calendar. They strike a perfect balance of pretty & creepy.” PRETTY and CREEPY. Wow. I am thrilled. That is exactly the box I want to be in, and I am not even trying to be there! Yay. OKgreat seems really nice…and wide ranging. Interestingly, I have only posted these images (outside of my blog) to Behance which is nice as it confirms this simple line approach (inspired by the Lubki—and their simple lines).

The second surprise came from Charles Hively from 3x3 Magazine. He inquired if I would like to be featured in the next issue…and need to supply links to imagery, a short article and pix.  How nice! 3x3 is a gorgeous magazine—and smart…national publication.  Here’s how they describe themselves:

“3x3 is the first magazine devoted entirely to the art of contemporary illustration and the only one published in the United States. Twice a year we take an in-depth look at art and environment of three illustrators. We explore their influences. How they work with clients. How they got their first big break. Each article is written by a fellow illustrator who knows exactly what our audience wants to hear. From the U.S. to Europe, Asia, or wherever, we’ll stay tuned to what’s going on the world of illustration.

We’ll feature four or more new talents in every issue, they might be right out of school or are just now beginning to make a name for themselves or illustrators we find that have a truly unique take on the art of illustration. 

Plus we’ll showcase the recent work of as many as sixteen of the best illustrators in every issue. Selection will be by invitation only. All in all it’s eighty-plus pages of the best illustration has to offer, including guest articles by artist reps Vicki Morgan and Gail Gaynin, a feature on a living artist who has made and impact on the industry, an in-depth look at a recent advertising campaign that has successfully used illustration, a profile of a leading art director and an ongoing feature where we ask our featured artists the same twenty questions.”

I am simply thrilled. More on this as we move forward on this. Need to get going on CA…and see if there are more grants I can apply for.



Advent Calendar Day 15

A visit from the three kings, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, from the SEcond Advent Calendar ProjectKitty comes home today on the bus. I am manning the phones to make sure the connections are made and reassurance is there. We rehearsed where to go, where the stop is, what she needs to do, the time she has between buses. So, we will see. She is not top of her game (still ill) and needs some time off to rest and get her stuff together. I might call the doctor so she can be seen on Monday.

Tonight is prep night for the party. Hopefully, we will see Mandy today/tomorrow. We have a tree to decorate, ornaments to hang. We have things to move and store in the upstairs rooms. Its going to be a rush after 4 and tomorrow afternoon.

Lots of phone calls and busyness yesterday. I snuck in a quick illo for my meeting with the Hangar next week. It was a curious approach as I was using a picture and cut out a few layers of color and used the blob brush and eraser to do the heavy lifting. I like what is happening (see here) with the image of Tim Curry which I found to be more disturbing than the clownish tranny pix that are out there. It seems a tad bit darker…which I like.

Need to crunch on finalizing some of these projects.  Hopefully more Hangar stuff next week. Would love to get the broad images done before January 3.

Advent Calendar Day 14: sampler

Santa Nutcracker, Q. Cassetti, 2010, pen and ink, from the Second Advent CalendarColder than cold. Freezing nose. Freezing toes. Shady loves it (this is her season) and the cats have all searched out all the hotspots on the floor and are perched on top of them, soaking in the heat. Rumor is talking lots of snow today/tonight…upwards to 8” for us. There is lots of buzz around that. I walked home from Yearbook class and relished the sharp sparkle of the cold and the astringent quality of just being in the moment.

I think that Mr. Mel is coming today to sweep the stovepipe on the little cricket stove (cricket on the hearth) so we can ramp up two stoves in the kitchen/ t.v. room. Additionally, we are going to see the piano tuner, Eileen, to tune the Hermon Camp piano in the hallway for the Sing. So, we will def have our stuff in gear at the end of today.

We scaled the mountain of work yesterday…to my delight as there was a ton to do..lots of think stuff which is rough on this girl. Hate thinking. Love slothfulness. Need my teenagers to help me with the office holiday cards….and need to get the final box of stuff out in the mail. I sense everyone else is as bogged down in details as I am. There is more for today along with some fun sidebars such as entering the Communication Arts show (due 1/07), get the images to the Society of Illustrators for the opening and get the paperwork together to start thinking about refinancing the house. So, plenty to do.

We are swinging into the season of the Hangar soon. We are meeting on Monday with the communications team and wonderful Peter to make plans around what needs to be done, when. I am looking forward to having some time around the holidays to get the art done for these posters….Five or six pix. Quite a bit. There is a brochure, posters, handbills. I hope we can get it organized so as not to be the insane thing it was last spring. I am pulling some of the images out of the archive…and need to do some that are big, bold and graphic…and everything does not have to be the hour upon hour of doing the vectorizing that the portrait work demands. The simpler the better. Looks so good and strong on the banners etc. I have two in the can….and am thinking that Ragtime might want to be a line drawing. Rocky Horror will be a graphic close up of a face…very Liza Minelli simple. Maybe I should give myself an hour to do that to cut to the chase? You know, that sounds like an idea.

Thinking some more about portly Mr. Penn. Noble and humble, honest and true, Mr. Penn. This could be a very silly little exercise. A colonial fantasy and fairy tale.

Advent Calendar Day 12

Angels of Light, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, from the Second Advent Calendar ProjectHoliday fun. Rob worked on decorating yesterday (I did a little but mainly cooked and fretted). Rob was far more productive. The whole staircase has fresh swags and lights, we have two wreathes trimmed a bit more, the chandeliers are trimmed and decorated (nutty)….(I used red Mardi gras beads which surprisingly looks good despite the garishness). So, we are working against Friday being the big concert here chez Camp….with Kitty and Mandy under the roof too.

Today its work work work and get the financing on the car squared away. Its that time of the year to account for one’s accomplishments and time, so Erich and I are reviewing all the file folders we have and personally, I am seeing where all the time went. Wow. busy.

As I keep working on this advent calendar project, old nuggets seem to surface with some odd ones right out the blue. So, with this frantic drawing project, I have found two subjects I want to settle down with in January and work out. The first one you know about, the Green Man. The second, truly just slammed me in the head, was a fantasy interpretation (based on Fraktur, on colonial illustration, on the Lubok style and of course, dear dear Edward Hicks)…but a series of fantasy pictures (and stories) around Mr. William Penn. Penn was essentially, the landlord for Britain with this state filled with heathens and savages (I am sure that was the British thinking)…and Penn, the Quaker, had to manage and secure this little kingdom…which he did.  My perception of that ideal kingdom is where the imagery could go…an American Garden of Eden would be great…along the lines of Hicks’ depiction of this perfect native world.

I almost laughed out loud when I really focused on Penn in one of the many Hicks’ illustrations of Penn making Treaties with the Native Americans, to find out that he was not portrayed as a heroic, handsome man, but a lumpy, real man who honestly tried to do his best to create harmony in the New World.


Advent Day 7: Santa Box

Santa Doll, Q. Cassetti,2010, sharpies from the second Advent calendar projectNice little Yearbook class today. There was editing, cover designing and we planned a fun event for the last day of school prior to vacation. We are having the tacky Holiday sweater/ hat contest with a prize (a free yearbook). Lots of energy there. Plus, we just got the link to get into the Entourage site so we can get the templates, the training, the tools to do the book.

More lacy line drawings this week for the Advent Calendar. I am spurred on by Russian Nesting Dolls and the chops from the Lubok looksee that I have been studying. Santa to the left is a nesting doll too… decorative and happy. I have another one in the works and then maybe some shining baby pix along with something having to do with the bad hats.

A week and counting to the Holiday choral event. Kitty and Mandy will be home to help decorate…so we need to get the trees up this weekend and plan what goes where. Its all got to be done before next Friday as the gig starts at 7 so we will need to be prepared to roll into it. Piano tuner coming on Tuesday. Maybe I should get some candycanes?

I found that Ludgates is selling the perfect turkeys…so I will make a call for one today. So, that has been figured out (yeah!). Now its time to make the cakes, freeze the side dishes, make some gravy and have a holiday in the freezer before the day. It is so easy to make a feast that way. I think chocolate layer cake? and maybe a derby pie? Stuffing just like Thanksgiving with sausage, mushrooms and parsley. What about cocktail food?

Communication Arts is due January 7th (the illustration show…I am going to enter the design one too). Need to call Picture Salon to find out what is doing re the Society of Illustrators output….need it as the first show for Illustration 53 opens January 7th. So, I gotta book.

Advent Day 7: Holiday Greens

Green Man, Leaf Man, Q. Cassetti, 2010, pen and ink, from second advent calendar projecThis is a green man, the beginning of my next series after this advent calendar project. It has been done as part of the advent calendar and will sit in that group, but it is a spur to more work. This green man was inspired by my friend who got the back of his head tattooed with another image of the Green Man which inspired me to do a little reading…which surfaced a deep body of work to reference, inspire and push me further.

Wikipedia nicely sums up why it works:

“Found in many cultures around the world, the Green Man is often related to natural vegetative deities springing up in different cultures throughout the ages. Primarily it is interpreted as a symbol of rebirth, or “renaissance,” representing the cycle of growth each spring. Some speculate that the mythology of the Green Man developed independently in the traditions of separate ancient cultures and evolved into the wide variety of examples found throughout history.”

This is spurring me on. I have some more lacy angels, a new nesting doll and plan on some santas, Zweit Piet and others to keep this 25 day celebration of the holidays interesting. I have been looking at the lubki inspired work done recently, and discovered that those clues are peeking out of the new line work (no crosshatching just pattern on pattern) and feel that the line work is tighter and more along the lines of some of the Murray encouragement. So, I think there will be some more simple line work in addition to the more intense ink/brushy stuff.  To see other images that havent reached this spot, please click> and, for last year’s advent calendar>>

The weatherman is predicting snow. And some inches for us in Tompkins county…between 4-8”—so I am hunking down (with my cough) and Rob has the wonderbus. I have some stuff in the oven to roast (and turn into something with the marvelous pressure cooker). I want to start some sourdough starter/biga today..so as to be able to start throwing down some bread in the next week or so.

We are knocking down a bunch of projects and got some big steps yesterday. Gotta get stuff in the mail soon.

Cool article on an animator/microbiologist, Janet Iwasa, featured on EarthSky. Iwasa decided that scientists were communicating in a very primitive way about cells so she created these films. Here’s a link>> I love the idea of scientists being animators…and what about animators who are scientists…? What a great world we live in…that people that were previously siloed can cross over and use the arts to explain science. The two disciplines are so close…but in the academic world, kept separately…There is a place for the fusion that can happen given the new acceptance of polyglots(thinking Kitty).  Kitty has gotten her papers done and now has a day or so to finish up her film/animation s he is working on. Feels like there might be a late night or two in that. I miss Kitty…but we had a nice chat to catch up…and it was reassuring for her old mom.

Tuesday progress

Blue Lubok Cat, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies and prismacolorsSetting stuff up. Knocking em down. Got the holiday lists taken care of. The holiday cards are selling(!) on Etsy so much so that I am a thinking about valentines and how do I do a few more for February on GotPrint. Its too late for holiday cards (so hopefully we will clear out our inventory). Next year we wil be offering laborador cards and laborador holiday cards along with that of cats. I think a buffalo card might be great too…? But, this is very interesting and I will be buying promotional space on Etsy to take it further.

Have posted more of my moleskine images on My Moleskine and gotten some nice commentary from folks (particularly Russians who like my Lubki inspired work!). Evgenia suggested my Lubok Cat reminded her of Koschey Bessmertny. Koschey the Deathless is the male counterpoint of Baba Yaga in Russian tales. Wikipedia says:

 “Koschei cannot be killed by conventional means targeting his body. Hissoul is hidden separate from his body inside a needle, which is in an egg, which is in a duck, which is in a hare, which is in an iron chest (sometimes the chest is crystal and/or gold), which is buried under a green oak tree, which is on the island of Buyan, in the ocean. As long as his soul is safe, he cannot die. If the chest is dug up and opened, the hare will bolt away. If it is killed, the duck will emerge and try to fly off. Anyone possessing the egg has Koschei in their power. He begins to weaken, becomes sick and immediately loses the use of his magic. If the egg is tossed about, he likewise is flung around against his will. If the egg or needle is broken (in some tales this must be done by specifically breaking it against Koschei’s forehead), Koschei will die.”

There are more images from sketchbook project #2 for this month here>>. There are new Lubki inspired cats, demons, maw, and a winged woman/bird (Sirin) inspired by my Lubok book. I am still prisma and sharpie gal…but am feeling a bit constrained by the small size…but maybe “its good for me”.

Rumor has it that the new operation on Main Street in the old Pourhouse space is opening this week? No rumor on this one, Good to Go is open—our new small grocery and prepared foods store. Very exciting.

I love the templates on MSK for folks to customize their content and construction of their moleskine books from calendar formats to flow your calendar into, to address books to even cool pockets to build into the book. They are on MyMoleskine and can be a good resource if you are a Moleskinner.

We are putting family projects behind us (with the back porch in the finalizing stages), dead wood being cut and turned into firewood for the winter, and plans are being made for the next steps. I am going to run a few errands this p.m which is very exciting as it gets me away from my desk for a minute or two.

24 hours and counting

Lubok Shout, Q. Cassetti,2010 pen and ink, digital, Grassroots eve. Tburg’s alternative Christmas! The music is ramping up. The tents are being pitched. The crowd at Gimme! Coffee has some new faces. Rabbit Run is filling up with the future campers patiently waiting in line to get in. Rob is mustering the teen forces to work more. They limply complain but follow. New friends await.  For Rob, the thrill of working with an onsite sawyer—creating slabs of wood to spec. It was like heaven to get what you want, when you want it, accurately. Old technology is wonderful.

And Rob performed magic at the end of the workday by buying the ultimate deal ($9. for a box of 30 iced cream sandwiches at the Byrne) and tossing them to the workers, moms, kids. The candy man! He was thrilled to delight the crowd in such a simple way.

So the riches abound. The Tburg Farmers Market has music, then the Rongo with the Zydeco Trail Riders. After that, Preston Frank down on the Commons. And then, the All American Helldrivers at Barangus to close out the night. Ramped and amped.

I will be shooting pictures all weekend. That is my fun project.

The rooster is a new approach with illustrator brushes and big thick markers. QUUUUIIICCCK. Will be doing some more animals just to learn this approach. Maybe a chinese zodiac? Lots of animals there.

Rob visited wonderful Joe Seppi, owner of Pioneer Printing in Interlaken, and a lead type, letterpress afficianado. I am so taken with Joe’s work (and prices) that I am seriously thinking of doing a single letterpress holiday card. Elegant and many of my illustrations will work for that type of thing. Same for Valentine. I bought a stack of Cranes cards with matching envelopes that he could imprint the address/and the card. Come to think of it, if I do that, I could have them set up type for the message and change it out and offer it to my friend with just a slug change. Could be soooo easy. There’s a thought.

Doing a little more validation searching for my big client. Interesting 4 hour meeting yesterday. I managed to chop up our content and detail it with sketches to drag the monster consulting firm to better understanding the thinking we need to see. This consultant is treating this work topically not fully understanding or searching for the scope of the work and making uneducated dictates ie ” you may not use red”. Huh? Why not? Maybe we need to find the right red? Right?

Whoa. I am sounding like a fogey.

Monkeys on the Brain.

Musical Knights, Q. Cassetti, 2010, pen and ink.Sorry for the delay. I thought I would get to a blog posting yesterday…but, thinking is not doing. So, please forgive me.

Sunday was filled with getting people places and then having a moment to swim and in my case finish the picture to the left. Lubki inspired, three musicians on a horse riding to who knows where. That’s it, plain and simple. I have a rooster to celebrate tomorrow that takes the Lubki idea once step further which is to hand draw the main lines and then scan it into photoshop (b+w at 600 dpi). Then I exported a workpath from photoshop into illustrator and filled it…giving me nice fat objects to work into. From that I have developed (and continue to do so) a series of tapered brushes (art and pattern brushes) that I use to make up the pattern and texture I have to restrain myself from doing. However, it comes up with a very interesting and energetic effect that I think I am on to something. You can judge for yourself tomorrow.

Speaking of Lubki, hear me out on this one. Just to set the stage, Lubok or Lubki (plural) is a Russian illustration style that depicts Russian folk tales and mythology (as one of the channels of how the work is carved up). Okay. Point two, I love that wild work that the Russian artist did with Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings etc. Right?

I love popular culture, the wierder the better. And, to take that out a bit further, that becomes, to some degree, another type of current mythology storytelling that we, and the New York Post seem to glom onto. So, with that in mind, I am thinking of doing a few lubok illustrations around “The Tales of Travis, a Connecticut Monkey”. Remember Travis? The chardonnay swilling, lawnmower driving chimp who seemed to be game for anything? Xanax? Sleeping in beds? Working the television? Hot tub soaking? Plant watering? Teeth Brushing? Wearing clothes? Car Driving?  Being a child to a lonely woman who needed a special friend. Travis was for me, one of the Red Rose Tea Monkeys come to life! And HE LIVED IN CONNECTICUT! Not the forests? Not the zoos? No. Suburbia. Bliss! Now, play that through the Russian Folklore lens…and you get the idea. Fun! Unfortunately the Travis story ends sadly…which I do not think I will touch…but the description of this chimp and his owner is enough to make a few pictures to test the waters.

Grassroots in in full swing. Rob and Alex have been wielding hammers while Kitty was pressganged into helping decorate the new Cabaret Hall. Surprisingly, everyone is happy and very engaged. Rob just took two of my pieces down for the Art Barn (my beehive valentine/big, and the Forever Valentine (smaller) as we think that might make someone happy. They are for sale— and we will see if anyone comes to the table on them . I doubt it as they are priced to replace the printing and a little more but the Grassrootsers are not there to buy art. They are there to buy CDs, iced tea and eat. But we will see. You never know who might be needing to decorate their tents?

Beautful clear day. Hope the trend continues.

Cat Alert

Lubok Cat, Q. Cassetti, 2010, digitalHarumph. Working away at branding stuff. Was quite pleased during the conversation with the consultant that my work (self propelled) was put out there for the consultant to review as how to take a concept further. Also pleased that the due diligence on the palettes were also referenced for them as well. I would have done the work for my client if I were in the hot seat for this branding stuff, but these guys definitely march to a different drummer than I do. Different motivations, bigger teams, bigger billings and from that (from my ant’s eye view) higher expectations from the client…but this is the element of the equation that goes south. It is an interesting process that I have chosen to act as a design advocate for my clients versus the self proclaimed victim of something that was imposed on me waiting for someone else to throw the first hammer at the proposed work. And so it goes.

The cat is done in illustrator/ working with the new and wonderful blob brush. The blob brush (shift b) is a brush that creates a shape (not a vector that looks like a shape) that you can grow or erase out of…more intuitive than the pen. To my thinking, its working with a speedball round pen. Wonderful tool…just trying to get my way with it. am working the sloppy color as the Lubki prints are random…and using some brights just to see where they can go. I am jazzed as its vector immediately so scaleable etc. etc. Trying to get a handle on some techniques as the going big with the Hangar posters really did a lot of teaching re what works for this challenge of illustration/and to some degree identifying the theatre. I will be working this way for a bit, just to see where it takes me.

It is lunch time already. I ordered Alex’s Sausage fest shirts online (cheap) at cheaptees.org yesterday and am thinking holiday thoughts in advance of our meeting. Gotta go.

Lubok, Lubki

The Goat and Bear, second quarter of the 19 c., National Library of RussiaLubok is singular, Lubki is plural…who would have known? Figured if I found out the plural, I might find more of a cache of images than the ones I have found. Nice thought. Fraktur and the Pennsylvania Germans were prolific and collected/curated. These babies are few and far between despite their popularity:

The National Library of Russia>>

Johns Hopkins University, Sheridan Library,  Alex Rabinovich Collection of Lubki Prints>>

Fine Press Book Association: Lubki, The Wood Engravings of Old Russia by Adela Roatcap

San Diego Accountant Guide (?) Lubok Multimedia Guide>>

The Koren Picture Bible (Wikipedia) (1692-1696)

Lubok (Wikipedia)

Boguslawski, Alexander. “Russian Lubok (Popular Prints).” 29. January 2007

New York Public Library Digital Collections: Lubok>>
(best resource by far) 

I thought for sure, the Russian Library(for Lubki) would be the Free Library of Philadelphia (for Fraktur). This was popular art that even the Czars collected for themselves and children, charmed by the stories, the humor, the crude color and linework. So where are those royal collections? In the trashbins?

Need to cut it short. I am betwixt and between today with lake work, work, work and kid work. I will pick up a bit later to see if there is more to talk about.