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Justin Blyth

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Justin Blyth is getting vintage futuristic on you with no apologies. These turbotronic images are a mix of digital, xerox and collage.  He’s showing as part of a group show in Amsterdam in March.

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Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work takes viewers on a year long ride with Joan Rivers, the comic legend who broke barrier after barrier for female comedians and paved the way for the likes of Kathy Griffin, Sarah Silverman, and Tina Fey. As the story unravels, Mrs. Rivers talks frankly about how she got into show biz, the ups and downs of the industry, being banned by NBC late night for life, and how she will even do adult diaper & penis enlargement commercials for cold, hard cash. At the young age of 75 it seems that Joan Rivers has the energy and drive of a 25 year old, rarely stopping to catch her breath in between interviews, writing and acting in a play about her life, doing midwest comedy tours, and starring in (and winning) Celebrity Apprentice.

Next time you feel too old, uninspired, or just plain lazy, go watch this documentary for a swift kick in the ass. Joan River’s drive to keep doing what she loves until she drops dead is nothing but awe inspiring. I work harder than the average joe but walking out of the theater I felt like I had to run straight to my studio and go on a painting rampage for the next 6 months. In short Joan Rivers is a rude, crude, ass-kicking comic genius and my new personal hero.

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Johnny Negron’s Comics And Curvy Ladies

Jonny Negron - Pen and Ink

Jonny Negron - Pen and Ink  Jonny Negron - Pen and Ink

When I met Jonny Negron at the Small Press Expo two years ago, I had him sign a copy of his book, Negron, for me. Rather than just signing his name, he drew on the back cover, which coincidentally is a large picture of his face. Negron completed his doodle with a lizard tongue, drawn with a gold paint pen. This act of an excessive signature is a metaphor for the type of work that he creates. It’s in your face and unapologetic, as well as being stylish, humorous and at times, scary.

Negron is best known for his comics and propensity for drawing large women. They are extremely curvy and wear crop tops, bikinis, and leggings, or nothing at all. Couples engage in sexual acts, and while often NSFW, the drawings don’t have the same vulgarity of something like an ad for a porn site. In an interview with The Comics Journal, Negron says that he doesn’t fetishize these women, and that he’s gotten a very positive response from women regarding his drawings. He goes on to say, “You go to a magazine stand and half the magazines are the same very thin woman. Beauty is not limited to that kind of person. Anyone can be beautiful. That’s part of the statement I’m trying to make with those drawings.”

Oftentimes, Negron’s work is without context. His characters exist in blank space, and his comics focus on a moment rather than a long passage of time. Negron cites films as an inspiration to his work, using their sense of lighting and stasis as a way to pace his sequential art. Looking at his style of drawing, it’s evident that he enjoys manga and video games, but it is more well rounded than that.

Negron is really active on Tumblr and is constantly listing his work for sale in his online shop. He is also an artist with PictureBox, a small press publisher.

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Ryan Bradley’s Butterfly Effect


Ryan Bradley’s large, intricately composed pastel paintings of attractive female faces are seductive.  The delicate paintings are “unfixed,” which means the pastel is left loose.  This creates a surface similar to butterfly wings.  If you touched the paintings, some would rub off onto your hands.  I can’t help but think there is some relationship between the fragility of the surface and the portraits’ beauty.  Like the really ripe moment when someone is at the tops of their looks, you know it can’t last, but you can look away either.

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Steve Lazarides Discusses Banksy And The Future Of Street Art

Steve Lazarides

In a candid conversation with Art Market Monitor and Artnet News, Famed London gallerist Steve Lazarides discusses his long term involvement in the street art scene. Initially selling works by Banksy out of his car, he officially opened his gallery space in 2006 just as the street art market gained popularity. In this podcast Lazarides discusses a wide range of topics from the street art bubble of 2007 to recently curating BANKSY: The Unauthorised Retrospective” at Sotheby’s London S|2 gallery space.

 

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Richard Balzer’s 19th Century Optical Toy Gifs

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Forty years ago, Richard “Dick” Balzer saw his very first magic lantern – an early image projector invented in the 1600s. This encounter would prove to be the start of an intense preoccupation with early animation technology. Following this discovery,  Balzer began collecting magic lanterns and other optical toys, eventually amassing thousands of illustrations and machines that can now be found at his Boston-area home. His collection includes literature concerning the early animation machinery, as well as 150-year-old optical toys like henakistiscopes, zoetropes, praxinoscopes, and other “scopes” and “tropes” derived from the Greek words for “viewer.”

According to Balzer’s site, “There was a period, the last seventy five years of the 19th century, when scientific experimentation based on the phenomenon of ‘the persistence of vision’ in which the brain retains the impression of an object for a fraction of a second after its disappearance creating the possibility of apparent motion.” These early animation toys and machines sought to merge images to create uninterrupted motion. “We’re all interested in seeing movement,” says Balzer. “It was a different time, but the same challenge: How do you make things move?” These early animated loop illustration toys and machines mark the beginnings of the animated loop file we frequently encounter on the internet – the gif.

Five years ago, Balzer began digitizing his collection with the help of LA-based animator, Brian Duffy because he wished to share the early animations with a larger audience. So far, Balzer and Duffy have digitized only a fraction of the collection (which they periodically upload on Tumblr) due to the trial-and-error process involved in getting the speed of each animation just right. The creators of the early toys and machines probably never anticipated that their images would become as widely and immediately available as they currently are through the work of dedicated people like Balzer and Duffy.

The Verge notes, “Balzer refrains from theorizing about how his archival work may influence others, or what it might say about digital art and visual vocabulary today, noting that there are several other organizations undertaking similar efforts. His goal, he says, is to simply share his passion with as wide an audience as possible while preserving works of art that may have otherwise been forgotten.”

Balzer says, “I mean, these are just extraordinary feats of animation that took place more than 150 years ago.” “And if you’re just holding on to them, I think you should share them with other people.” (via the verge and wired)

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A New Years Gift To All Our Readers!

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Happy New Year to all our readers! To make sure we all start the new year full of inspiration and creativity we are extending our holiday 50% off sale until January 10th! Get 50% off all books, magazines, and artist shirts and get inspired by the thousands of artists and designers that we feature in our pages.

Just use discount code “happyholidays50″ during checkout and save big!

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Shanna Allyn Documents A Strange World With Even Stranger Faces

Shanna Allyn - Photography

Shanna Allyn - Photography

Shanna Allyn - Photography

Shanna Allyn - Photography

Photographer Shanna Allyn is the master of a universe where women are covered in kittens, faces are obscured with food, and they have eyes like a cartoon character. Her series, Strange Beautiful, is, not surprisingly, strange. This coupled with Allyn’s style of photography (which seems less focused on technical aspect and more on documentation) takes the viewer through a bizarre world where there are more questions than answers.

In a statement about her work written by T. Martin Crouse, co-founder of the publisher Sic Semper Serpent, he describes it as, “The use of quirky objects combined with the locations and postures of her models creates a sense of surrealism. Out of place props in a variety of lateral interpretations have a strong effect.” Later, he goes on to say, “In Shanna’s universe of tampon cigarettes and hotdog mouthpieces, who really has control?” That statement itself is absurd and captures the essence of what Allyn is trying to do. These photographs record what goes on in her world, which is comprised mostly of a group of women with cartoonish eyes. They wear them as a mask, allowing them to look unaffected and apathetic. Nothing phases them, and we don’t immediately understand their motivations.

I see Allyn as a documentarian, capturing images that aren’t full of tension or sadness, but just show a day in the life of Strange Beautiful. The emotions that these models don’t show is compensated by our associations to objects in the images and content she presents.

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