Great illustrations by Ian O’Phelan. I am insanely jealous of this guy’s line work. Giving the illusion of so much depth without even cross-hatching is pretty incredible. Thumbs up!
Beautiful Polaroid collages by Patrick Winfield. It is incredibly depressing to know that this work is, for all intents and purposes, the death rattle of Polaroid, as production of the self-developing film is set to end later this year. By the second quarter of 2009 it will be impossible to find in stores. Even stocking up is impossible, considering the shelf-life of Polaroid film is little more than a year, meaning any unused film you might have will begin to seriously degrade by the end of next year. Goddamn digital cameras. (art via Fecal Face.)
Well this is exciting. Yesterday I received an email from McSweeney’s that contained an offer for a free copy of their upcoming book, Arkansas, in exchange for a short review that is to be published on their website and newsletter. HECK YES, I say. I had already been looking forward to the book, considering the dearth of Natural State-related lit, but getting it for free certainly launches it to the top of my reading list. And thanks to the wonders of the internet, I’ll be receiving the book in my mailbox before the end of the week. Finally, a little payoff for living in a cultural wasteland! Now how fucking awesome is that?
We are staring into the abyss, people. Word is that the Spike Jonze/Dave Eggers adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are is in big trouble. The folks at Warner Bros are apparently unhappy with both the child-lead, Max Records, and the tone of the film itself (which is being described as “too dark,” “too scary,” and “subversive”) and are considering massive re-shoots. The movie has already been pushed back to 2009, and I’m starting to seriously worry that it might slip into development hell, never to emerge. A possible silver-lining: there’s a chance that Jonze has a final cut provision in his contract, which would mean he could refuse the re-shoot demands, but then WB could always replace him with a director more willing to cooperate. Either way, we lose. Fuck you, Warner Bros, leave this one alone. Let it see the light of day.
Well, tonight is the last lunar eclipse until 2010. Sadly, the forecast here in Arkansas calls for clouds and ice. A massive disappointment, if I do say so myself. Last night the weather would have been perfect, too. Way to be late to the party, Moon. We should have blown you up when we had the chance. And hey, Clouds — FUCK YOU TOO.
Some absolutely stunning Photoshop work by Nik Ainley. Some day I hope to have his degree of Photoshop handles. Slowly but surely, Brock, slowly but surely.
Hilarious, incredibly detailed comics by Travis Millard at the Fudge Factory. Fucking ace!
Since its release, internet nerds (and I use that as a term of endearment, considering I’m fucking King Dork) have complained that Cloverfield was nothing more than a shaky-cammed cocktease. The fact that we never got a true reveal of the oh-so-mysterious monster was a real sticking point for a lot of people. Personally, I thought it added to the experience — these critics are the same people who complain that they never get any answers from LOST, all the while ignoring the fact that this type of entertainment is enjoyable because of the mystery, not in spite of it. It’s the means, not the end, people. It’s an inevitability that whatever answer is provided simply won’t live up to the image in your head. Which is why the above image is such a disappointment. What you’re seeing is the Cloverfield monster in $99, 70-points-of-articulation toy form. And it’s just not very cool looking. I would have been perfectly happy never knowing that it’s just some pasty, daddy long legs/praying mantis amalgam. But whatever, killjoys. There you have it. ROAR!
After months of drawing pretty girls, I figured it was time for a change of pace, and thus the above piece was created (click the image to see it bigger.) I used myself as a model for the zombification process (which I gave a sneak peak of a few weeks ago), and then fleshed things out (pun intended) using Photoshop and Illustrator. This was my first go at Illustrator since high school, which proved to be a bit of a challenge, but I masked my inexperience by putting everything into Photoshop and texturing the shit out of it. I know the text is nearly illegible (which was done on purpose) — it reads “diabolos,” which is the Greek root for “devil.” Figured it was appropriate. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a hankerin’ for brainnnnsssss.
This clip features the amazing Lyre Bird, a natural mimic that has not only mastered 30+ bird calls, but also camera shutters, car alarms, and chainsaws. Better than that Police Academy guy, easy.
Today Pitchfork is featuring a retrospective of Neutral Milk Hotel’s album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, which turns 10 years old this year. They have a number of indie-rock luminaries discussing their love (or lack thereof) of the album, so I thought I might take the time to remember how it came into my posession, and how it has remained my favorite album for the better part of the past decade.
These were still the nascent days of the internet, before it became ridiculously easy to pilfer any album in a matter of seconds, and as such the discovery of music was far more of an adventure. As a 15 or 16 year old, I would spend hours in the few secondhand record stores that existed in my hometown, obsessively combing through stacks of albums, often purchasing them based solely on their cover art. During this time, my friend Amanda generally served as a musical bellwether, and it was she who first introduced me to Neutral Milk Hotel. If memory serves, she downloaded a 96kb, static-filled version of “Two Headed Boy,” while she and I were hanging out at my parent’s house. I then proceeded to play the song ad nauseum. I had never heard anything like it. The next week, I had one of the record stores order a copy (which was a chore in itself, considering the album was not on a major label, and that the record store clerk was completely unfamiliar with it.) A week after that, I had it in my hands. This came after the initial release, and as such my copy did not contain the lyric sheet that came with the original pressing (and I believe comes with current copies, as well) — only a cardboard insert with the cover art. And God, what perfectly bizarre art it is — the drum-headed girl in the starry dress, saluting in front of an ocean of bodies and wreckage; the motley crew of parading animals on the back; the Victrola-cum-aeroplane — it was all so surreal, yet seemingly grounded in the same alternate past where these things could, and did, exist. It felt as though the album itself was an artifact of a bygone era, hidden away in some cobwebbed corner, waiting to be discovered anew.
And I suppose that aura is a major reason why the album has resonated so forcefully — it’s not just the music, but the entire package, the mythos that comes along with it. Like Loveless, it is more perfect because nothing has come since. It has become something larger than Jeff Mangum, larger than Elephant 6. Even as it has grown in renown these past 10 years, it still feels like a personal treasure to hold and to play. And that’s the way I like it.
As a design student, I was disheartened to learn over the weekend of the death of John Alvin, who was perhaps the preeminent poster artist of his generation. You may not know his name, but if you’ve been to a movie theater in the past few decades you’ve almost certainly been exposed to his work. A true artist, Alvin often imbued his posters with an effervescent glow that tended to place his work somewhere between the golden haze of Old Hollywood and our contemporary cinema. He will be missed. (A gallery of many of his posters can be seen here.)
The above picture was snapped a few months ago, during a Pepperdine/Brigham Young basketball game. It seems to me to be conclusive evidence that the human skull is doubly useful as a bowling ball. Luckily, Jonathan Tavernari, the Brigham player, was completely uninjured during the play, and somehow, no foul was whistled. Let that be a lesson, I suppose: basketball should ALWAYS be played with the eyes CLOSED, lest something like this happen. Simple logic, really.
UPDATE: a few hours after I posted this, Deadspin posted a nearly-identitcal article. Now, I don’t really think they saw this post, but I DO think it’s kind of weird. Similar (bad) jokes and all…