Saturday, January 14, 2012

Life as a Pork Chop...

I discovered an Australian artist named Tony Edwards sometime back in 2009 and dug his old surfing-influenced art so much I actually wrote to him and asked about getting some prints. He was real nice but said he'd moved on to landscape painting and that his older stuff was basically behind him. I kinda wanted to say "anybody can paint barns, but wit is rare" but I didn't, and a good thing too, as you'll see later.

The Goodvibes art that caught my eye.

Tony wrote to me again last month about his new collection of Captain Goodvibes material, and in spite of the exorbitant Australian postage rates went ahead and got one. If you want one too ya better hurry, they're only printing 1,000.

Da Big Book.

And what a book it is. On newsprint, with dayglo inks throughout. It's a truly beautiful book, and big too, about 13.5x9 and around 400 pages. These notorious Captain Goodvibes strips started around 1973 and ran in a paper called Tracks. There are hundreds of these faithfully reproduced along with various other pieces, and they're so visually dense I haven't begun to digest them all yet.

You could say they're "Underground" in appearance, but there's a meticulous artistry to much of it that most of the American Comix guys couldn't come close to. It's as if some artistic proto-species had evolved alone downunder without much input from elsewhere and not giving a marsupial damn either.

Can you zoom in on this one?

And I'm glad I bit my tongue about the landscape stuff because Tony's pieces are flippin' exquisite, a term I don't use loosely. They simultaneously embody the kind of linearity he employed 30+ years ago and yet are completely "painterly" as well, so the tension between the two approaches generates some real eyeball interest. If I had to compare them to anyone, and no kidding, it'd be Edward Hopper.

A beguiling sample of Tony Edward's current paintings.

If you're rich and lucky you may still be able to grab a copy from

You can't have mine but if you drop by I'll let you look at it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Post #300...

Welcome to Post #300, and not only is it an anniversary, but it's also a New Year. It also turns out I've been on eBay for ten years, but that's not exactly cause for celebration around here.

I recently wrote some stuff about Art today, and here's part of the correspondence--I'll try and reference w/text when necessary:

Well, thank God Frazetta didn't go to this guy's ( An Italian "Maestro") school. He'd have been smashed down flatter than a pancake. The world would have been robbed.

As for Art students, only a small % of grads will ever amount to anything. My experience is that the teachers know all along who doesn't belong there--and they take the money anyway. Usually the parent's hard-earned money.

Speaking of money, these Classical Art techniques apparently developed in order to flatter the people with lots of it. Now, the Fine-Art grads can go out into the world looking for folks with lots of $ who need flattery. Or, as they actually suggest, learn how to crank out paintings by the yard. Then you can try to compete with the Chinese on eBay.

Maybe it's just me, I am not a "joiner". All I need is a book.

Then there is the question as to how relevant all this Art History and its techniques really is anymore. Some young kid, when smacked with centuries worth of "This is how it must done" may never be able to escape mentally. It's a kind of prison.

A few hundred years ago, when life was much slower and quieter, I suppose the effect of these paintings was very different. Now, I think the effect is not the picture, but to the young artist it's "I want those skills".

And I admit that's what it was with me, too. Having the best skills is really just another way to beat people up. It's a form of violence. You wouldn't believe how many artists have told me their dreams where they went to visit Frank Frazetta. Why? Because he's the Art Uber-male, the Alpha, the Bad-ass.

I guess this is where Ego will serve the artist better than anything else. Like a Picasso had the audacity to tear up everything up to that point and reassemble something new from other inspirations. He drew from plaster casts too, so no wonder he was a little crazy.

At this point, I'd rather look at a cave painting from Lascaux than any clever Still-Life no matter how technically good it is. Who taught them how to draw? Did they have their own schools, where some fat parasite charged them in fresh meat and women?

All this stuff sorta reeks of that "Past Is Better" idea to me, that the "Old Ways" are still the best. They're not the best, although they may have been for their time, but today is a different time.

There's groups online that champions people like Bougereau, and they actually claim that those paintings "speak" about life whereas Modern Art is a hopeless dead-end. Check these people
out, they are totally rabid:

So it's all fight-fight-fight, and in true religious fashion, indoctrinate the Young and clueless. Some of the Young may be looking to their Elders for advice and direction, and God help them
if Classical Painting chops is the best they can offer in view of the Future we're facing.

I've seen modern "classical" paintings, with all the rendered light and oil paint stuff, trying to be relevant about things like 9/11, and to me it's like listening to a Edison wax-cylinder recording
about the Moon landing. I can't describe it any other way than CORNY. Pure, unadulterated, maudlin CORN.

How about a series of hand-tied lacework depicting the chain of events of the Afghanistan war? Heck, Lace is lost art, too.

Maybe human nature doesn't change, but societies do, and I don't think there's anything much about our contemporary lives that is screaming out to be immortalized in Oil Paint, lace, or anything similar. We need to use our own tools and techniques to talk about ourselves.