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‘Most of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear on No Stamp’: Kings and queens of hip-hop
12.15.2014
01:24 pm

Topics:
Art
Design
Music

Tags:
hip hop
Chuck D.
Madina

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Artist and designer Mark “Madina” Culmer produces lyrically inspired work from “The Golden Era Hip-Hop 1980s-1990s.” Taking The Public Enemy album/track “Most of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear on No Stamp” as his cue, Mark has created a print consisting of 42 postage stamps honoring the kings and queens of hip hop who:

...propelled the genre from humble beginnings in the block parties in New York to the global phenomenon we see today. So if you thought ‘most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps’ a few words of advice ‘Don’t believe the hype’.

Based in Brighton, England, Madina’s designs are also available as T-shirts and hoodies, and the whole range of his work can be found here.
 
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Chuck D.
 
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J Dilla.
 

The Notorious B.I.G.
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Inked ladies: Vintage photos of women with full body tattoos
12.15.2014
08:08 am

Topics:
Art
Feminism
History

Tags:
tattoos

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The 1991 discovery of the well-preserved body of a 3,000-year-old corpse revealed (amongst many other things) that ancient humans tattooed their bodies. The mummified body was called “Ötzi the Iceman” after the Ötztal Alps where his remains were found. Ötzi had 50-odd tattoos across his body, which some scientists have suggested may be evidence of an early form of acupuncture—which if true, would put this form of treatment 2,000 years before its first documented appearance in China.

Tattoos have a long and culturally significant history—being used as a sign of initiation, association, clan, tribe, ownership, or sexual and personal liberty.

In Victorian times, upper class women had their bodies tattooed as a symbol of their independence. In her book Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoos, Margot Mifflin believes this was a “feminist gesture” with these women “taking control of their bodies when they had little power elsewhere.” Winston Churchill’s mother Jennie had a serpent tattoo around her wrist as a symbol of her feisty independence. However, not all Victorian women who sported tattoos did so willingly. Mifflin reports how some poor women were forcibly tattooed and exhibited in freak shows and carnivals.

The first recorded woman tattooist was Maud Wagner, who was said to have traded a date with her future husband to learn the craft of tattooing. In the 1920s, full body tattoos were popular, but their charm was lost during the 1930’s Depression, only to re-emerge during the late 1940s to 1960s, when they were seen as a symbol of outsider status.

These vintage photographs show tattooed women from early in the 1900s to 1960s.
 
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More tattooed ladies, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Flower power: Guns replaced with flowers in vintage war photos
12.15.2014
07:48 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Design

Tags:
Mister Blick
Flower Power
anti-war

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It was poet Allen Ginsberg who came up with the term “Flower Power” in his essay “How to Make a March/Spectacle” when he suggested anti-Vietnam war protesters should hand out thousands of flowers to policemen, soldiers and politicians as a symbol of their passive resistance to conflict.

French artist and designer Mister Blick makes a similar anti-war statement with his collages of historic war photographs in which weapons are replaced with giant flowers, and bullets with colorful petals.
 
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H/T Vintage Everyday.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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The astonishingly incompetent superhero art of Fletcher Hanks
12.11.2014
10:48 am

Topics:
Art
Heroes
Unorthodox

Tags:
comics
Paul Karasik
Fletcher Hanks


 
The other day I was trying to describe the work of Fletcher Hanks to a comics collector friend of mine, a fan of Spider-Man and the X-Men and Daredevil, and I made the following analogy: Fletcher Hanks is the Shaggs of superhero comics…. they have the same combination of fascinating (ahem) “excellence” and off-putting weirdness, the same feeling of a direction very much not taken, the same outsider status, the same fervent adoption by devotees.

Hanks drew superhero comics for a terribly short time—1939 to 1941—before dropping off the map altogether. It’s a bit of a miracle that we have so many of his comics in print, and much of that is due to the heroic labors of Paul Karasik, a former RAW employee of Art Spiegelman’s who also collaborated with David Mazzucchelli to create a graphic novel version of Paul Auster’s novel City of Glass in 1994. Hanks first became known to contemporary readers in Art Out of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries, 1900-1969 edited by Dan Nadel, a fascinating delight for comics lovers, experts, dorks from 2006. In 2007 Karasik published I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets! and in 2009 You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!, both of which are highly recommended if you like what you see here. The first volume contains a 16-page comic by Karasik about discovering Hanks’ work and meeting with his (it turns out) estranged son.

Hanks was born in 1887. We know he was married and had a son but then packed up and left around 1930. According to his son, who is named Fletcher Hanks Jr., he was an alcoholic and physically abused his wife and son. We know that he was found, frozen to death on a park bench in Manhattan in January 1976, at the age of 88. Hanks’ work had two primary characters, “Stardust the Super Wizard” and “Fantomah the Mystery Woman of the Jungle,” and a host of less interesting characters like Space Smith, Big Red McLane, and Whirlwind Carter. Hanks used pseudonyms like Hank Christy, Barclay Flagg, Bob Jordan, and Charles Netcher. As Karasik points out in the video below, part of the fascination Hanks exerts is that he is a rare early case of a true auteur, a comics artist who “wrote, penciled, inked, lettered, and, I think, colored his work.”

Stardust is a well-nigh omnipotent space traveler who has prodigious strength, can read people’s thoughts, can control objects with his mind, produce all manner of anti-gravity rays from his body, and generally do whatever he wants. On the page he seems a lot like Magneto of the X-Men but in truth he has a whole lot in common with Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen. Fantomah was similarly prodigiously powered and whenever she used her powers, her face would transform from that of a normal human woman to a blue-skinned skull-like visage with a blond locks of hair, an arresting voodoo-like image.

Stardust bears some resemblance to Superman but in fact ends up being an unwitting critique of Superman, in that a creature who has so many powers ends up being less than interesting. Stardust never faces the slightest resistance in any of his plots. A typical Stardust story features Stardust becoming aware of some nefarious scheme by some gangsters or “fifth columnists” and then zeroing in on the malefactors and stopping them and then either depositing them with the federal authorities (who have done nothing to assist Stardust) or else consigning them to some horrible fate that somehow, poetically, serves as a just comeuppance. The best-known example of that comes in “De Structo & the Headhunter,” in which he punishes the ringleader by reducing him to nothing but a head, while stating “I’ll punish you according to your crime, De Structo. ... You tried to destroy the heads of a great nation, so your own head shall be destroyed.” In another story he turns the head honcho into a rat with a human head.

Here’s Nadel on Hanks, as quoted in Tom Spurgeon’s Comics Reporter blog:
 

Fletcher Hanks I like graphically. Some people might call him a primitive, but what’s so great about him is that he took this idea of superheroes as gods literally, even before anyone articulated the idea. He made these moving statues. You have characters carved out of granite, moving around the page, and then maybe he got lucky with whomever was coloring the Fiction House stuff. There are these clunky outlines of bodies and this gorgeous flat color laid over it. Icons moving across the page. Granite statues. It’s really intriguing. Every single Fletcher Hanks comic I’ve seen is like that. They’re just these incredible visions of statues in motion. The writing is just bizarre, so intense and vicious—maybe one of the more visceral comics in there.

 
Hanks’ stories are full of un-nuanced plots and schemes with bad guys who are constantly trying to “enslave” or “destroy” something. Even adjusting for the pre-WW2 atmosphere of fear, these stories are just silly most of the time. What sets Hanks’ works apart are his remarkable compositions and use of color—Karasik is quite right in observing that these strips are so fascinating because they so CLEARLY emanate from one mind. All the compositions are defiantly 2-D, and as Karasik establishes in his second Hanks volume You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!, he frequently reused entire pages in different stories. Hanks’ comics are wildly inert, improbable, at times ugly, yet always bountifully colorful and arresting and distinctive. Hanks showed great imagination in his tropes, which frequently involve Stardust or somebody suspending a phalanx of tanks suspended in mid-air, or rocketing every human being in existence away from planet Earth simultaneously before Stardust can set it right. The vitality of Hanks’ expression isn’t on a par with Winsor McCay and George Herriman but does have something of that flavor of strange distant fever dreams from long ago…...
 

 

 

 

 
More amazing Fletcher Hanks frames and a Q&A with author Paul Karasik, after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Three Dadaist recipes from Man Ray
12.10.2014
06:54 am

Topics:
Art
Food

Tags:
Man Ray
Dada


 
If you happen to see an affordable copy of The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook in a bookstore—assuming there are any bookstores left—grab it. It looks like most online booksellers’ copies are going for between $100 and $200 this holiday season, but I found one for just $8.50 a couple years back, so there must be other affordable copies out there.

Published in 1961 by Contact Editions in Sausalito, the cookbook collects John Keats’ recipes for pike and duck, Isak Dinesen’s oysters au naturel (not much of a recipe, really), Marcel Duchamp’s steak tartare, Lillian Hellman’s shrimp creole, Edgard Varèse’s boeuf bourguignon, Pearl Buck’s spare ribs, Robert Graves’ yellow plum jelly, Paul Bowles’ recipe for majoun—the Moroccan cannabis candy that fueled The Sheltering Sky and Let It Come Down—and much else. I can’t say I’ve used the book much for cooking, mainly because the recipes are so heavy on meat. But even if, like me, you don’t plan to whip up a batch of Enid Foster’s brains in beer anytime soon, where else can you come across things like Man Ray’s “Menu for a Dadaist Day”? Here are three mouthwatering, kitchen-tested Dadaist favorites that will have your family clamoring for seconds.

Le Petit Dejeuner. Take a wooden panel of an inch or less thickness, 16 to 20 inches in size. Gather the brightly colored wooden blocks left by children on the floors of playrooms and paste or screw them on the panel.

Déjeuner. Take the olives and juice from one large jar of prepared green or black olives and throw them away. In the empty jar place several steel ball bearings. Fill the jar with machine oil to prevent rusting. With this delicacy serve a loaf of French bread, 30 inches in length, painted a pale blue.

Dîner. Gather wooden darning eggs, one per person. If the variety without handles cannot be found, remove the handles. Pierce lengthwise so that skewers can be inserted in each darning egg. Lay the skewered eggs in an oblong or oval pan and cover with transparent cellophane.

Mmm! Just like Mom used to make.

 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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You know you want these knitted Morrissey dolls
12.09.2014
08:50 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Music

Tags:
Morrissey


 
Kate Park makes these fantastic knitted Morrissey dolls. Sad thing is, since Kate’s work has blown up on the Internet, she simply can’t fill all the orders she’s been getting. That’s a good problem to have for a small business that makes knitted Morrissey dolls, right?

If you’d like to contact Kate about her tiny open-shirt Mozzer, here’s how:

Enquiries are still arriving and I’m thinking that at this rate, I might do a mailing list next year, so if you’d like to be on that (should it happen) and get emailed when a new doll goes on sale, please email knittedmoz@gmail.com to leave your details.

Please, please, please let me get what I want!

Yesterday on his website Morrissey listed his reasons for declining to deliver Channel 4’s rival programming for Her Majesty’s annual televised Christmas Day message on BBC. The singer, well known for despising the monarchy, said that he was sympathetic of the Queen’s right to address the country, adding that she’s irrelevant anyways, so why bother?

“My view that the monarchy should be quietly dismantled for the good of England is reasonably well-known, but I don’t think Christmas Day is quite the time to be trading slaps. The Queen should be allowed the impassioned trance of her annual address to the British people, if only to once again prove that, in her frozen posture, she has nothing to offer and nothing to say, and she has no place in modern Britain except as a figure of repression; no independent thought required. The Queen very well might be the most powerful woman in England, but she lacks the power to make herself loved, and the phony inflation of her family attacks all rational intellect.

All over the world highly civilized peoples exist without the automatic condescension of a ‘royal’ family. England can do the same, and will find more respect for doing so.”


 

 

 
via Boing Boing

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The marvelous cover art of the early ‘Star Trek’ comic books


 
Poor Gold Key Comics. Despite their stewardship of tons of familiar titles, they always ranked a tier (or three) below the A-list. While Marvel and DC had all the high-octane superhero star power, Gold Key largely got by on licensing properties from other media. They did comic book tie-ins with Hanna-Barbera, Warner Brothers, and Disney cartoons, and brought TV shows like The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Twilight Zone, H.R. Pufnstuf (!!!), Dark Shadows and Star Trek to the comics racks. Amusingly, some of their tie-in comics outlived by years the original TV series’ upon which they were based, but the company’s fortunes waned throughout the 1970s, and after they lost the lucrative Trek license to Marvel in 1979—just months before that franchise’s cinema revival—their days were numbered. Gold Key was done for by the mid 1980s.

But though they were never the heaviest hitters, Gold Key weren’t wanting for talent. A young Frank Miller’s first pro gig was illustrating a story in The Twilight Zone, and ‘60s-‘80s sitcom deity Garry Marshall wrote scripts for some of their titles. And they had cover painter George Wilson. It’s is beyond frustrating how difficult biographical data on Wilson is to come by. Despite being as prolific as he was accomplished, he has no Wikipedia entry, and searches for his work are complicated by the existence of a pulp novel cover illustrator by the same extremely common name. But his obscurity—and I get that he was basically a jobber, but still—does nothing to diminish his gifts, and it’s just all kindsa wrong that as yet there’s been no big, lavish, coffee-table book collecting his work. He produced incredible numbers of vivid, exciting, superbly designed, impeccably rendered, ridiculously fun cover paintings for Gold Key’s sci-fi, adventure, and horror titles, including many for Star Trek. A lot of the covers that weren’t by Wilson were thrown-together photo illustrations. We suspect you’ll agree that these are far preferable.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Blown-glass Solar System ornament set
12.08.2014
11:06 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
The Solar System


 
Even if you’re not putting up a tree this year or simply don’t, I’m sure you could do something else even more imaginative with this hand-blown glass Solar System ornament set. Perhaps some sort of glass planet solar system mobile? I bet it would look awesome with natural sunlight shining through each planet.

The price ain’t cheap, though. Each set goes for $375.

Admittedly I’m sucker of this type of stuff, remember those terrific Solar System lollipops a few years ago?


 

 

 

 
via Geekologie

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘In Drones We Trust,’ a grassroots protest of the U.S. military’s use of drones
12.08.2014
10:44 am

Topics:
Activism
Art
Economy

Tags:
money
drones


 
Joseph DeLappe is not your ordinary artist. He’s a professor of art at the University of Nevada, and some have called him the first “gamer artist.” In October 18, 2002, with the TV show Friends still on the air, he and five gamer friends staged a recreation of “The One Where No One Proposes,” the premiere episode of Season 9, in the medium of a Quake III Arena game server (that is, a massively multiplayer environment where hundreds of players compete in the same arena). The project was called “Quake/Friends.” Each character in the show was given an avatar in the violent shoot-‘em-up, and the players used the in-game messaging system to render the episode’s dialogue: “Our performers functioned as passive, neutral visitors to the game—we were constantly killed and reincarnated to continue the performance. The piece was presented a second time in 2003 using six projected points of view, multiple audio channels and microphones for each performer.” The episode they were reenacting was not quite a month old at the time of the first performance. It was kind of a big deal at the time—the New York Times gave the second performance of the piece a writeup with the title “Take That, Monica! Kapow, Chandler!

More recently, DeLappe’s work has shown a more explicitly political flavor. From 2006 to 2011, DeLappe undertook the impressively subversive “Dead in Iraq” project, which involved logging on to the U.S. Army recruiting game “America’s Army” with the username dead-in-iraq and typing in the names of all 4,484 (at that time) service persons who had died to date in Iraq. In 2013 DeLappe commenced the “Cowardly Drone” project, which was essentially an elaborate effort to fuck with Google Image search results. He would take images of e.g. MQ9 Reaper Drones and Photoshop the word “COWARDLY” on the vehicle’s side in large bold letters, then re-upload the images with unprepossessing titles like “predator drone” in the hopes that some of his images would come up as hits in Google Search. The images are intended as “a subtle intervention into the media stream of US military power.”

DeLappe’s newest idea, “In Drones We Trust,” is combining a critique of the U.S. military’s use of drones with the defacement of U.S. currency. He noticed that all U.S. bills in wide circulation (except for the $1 bill) feature an etching of an august edifice connected with the U.S. government on its reverse side. (The $2 has a reproduction of Joseph Trumbull’s painting The Declaration of Independence.) In each case the building comes with an entirely featureless, placid sky, so DeLappe figured, why not add a menacing image of a drone to them? “It seems appropriate,” writes DeLappe, “considering our current use of drones in foreign skies, to symbolically bring them home to fly over our most notable patriotic structures.” He has created a couple hundred rubber stamps with the drone image and you can get one for yourself for a nominal price that simple covers the price of postage ($3 for domestic orders). I ordered one, and I can’t wait to ... er, use it on non-currency bits of paper! (Actually, if I’m reading this right, it’s not illegal to draw on or add markings to U.S. paper currency.)
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
No video of “In Drones We Trust” that I could find, but here’s a look at “Quake/Friends”:
 

 
via Internet Magic.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Highlights from the world’s first Juggalo art exhibition
12.08.2014
07:17 am

Topics:
Art
Hip-hop
Music

Tags:
Juggalos
Insane Clown Posse


AWJA
 
British artist Lucy Owen put herself through a crash course on America’s most amusingly violent subculture, the magnet-bedazzled Juggalo “family” that regularly congregates around events run by Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, better known as Insane Clown Posse. The annual convention of the band’s facepainted fans has become a riotous annual tradition in the Midwest known as the Gathering of the Juggalos, complete with bands, standup comedy, Faygo, wrestling, helicopter rides, crystal meth, and, at a guess, third-degree burns? 

Owen became intrigued by an online forum encounter with a self-identified Juggalo who claimed to be ridiculed and mocked constantly—something I just did myself. Quoth Owen:

“The negative reaction from the other people on the forum was so intense, I was wondering if he’d just admitted to being a child molester or a mass murderer. ... So I started to research it. What I found was a subculture so profoundly bizarre—at times shocking, and other times plain funny—that I felt compelled to start exploring it through my work.”

Owen immersed herself in ICP’s music and headed for Detroit, the band’s home base, and not only attended the Gathering but also followed the band on tour for dates in the Midwest. The fruits of her research can be seen in the 27 paintings of Where the Juggalo Roam, a show that opened last Friday at Start Gallery in Detroit; it runs until December 20.

I have to say, these paintings are quite deftly turned out, a darn sight better than (no offense) whatever image the phrase “Juggalo paintings” was likely to call up.
 

Psychopathic (detail)
 

America’s Tortured Brow
 

Abomination
 

Fuck Gainsborough
 

Poster Boy
 

Paperman
 

Murder Is to Crow as Family Is to Juggalo
 

New Gotham
 
More Juggalo masterpieces after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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