Friday, January 17, 2014

Dancing Bears!

Hat-tip to Nicki!

A classic from daze of yore: my Alaskanized version of the Grateful Dead's "Dancing Bear" icon done twenty years ago in 1994 (here's a link to some more serious collector's info on the characters):
Dancing bears: A series of stylized marching bears was drawn by Bob Thomas as part of the back cover for the album History of the Grateful Dead, Volume One (Bear's Choice). Thomas reported that he based the bears on a lead sort from an unknown font. The bear is a reference to Owsley "Bear" Stanley, who recorded and produced the album. - from Wikipedia
A dear old friend long since migrated to the Lower 48 recently emailed a scan of this to me... the copy's been stuck up on a wall somewhere even after all her travels, an that just made my whole day.
It's a relic from the vault ... pre-computer, made way back when I worked at DateLine Copies: I had first assembled cut-up photocopies of the bears around a digital copy of the rose (done for an art class pen + ink assignment), then made another master copy and colored that in with Pantone markers, and made a limited set of posters from that new master. This is around the time we had gotten the very first color copier in Fairbanks, and I was in heaven playing around with it at work. Man were those ever some great times with such good people in the neighborhood... potlucks at cabins, bonfires, music + friends.
This in turn triggered another memory, that another friend had an awesome tattoo based on the poster (to my knowledge the only tat ever done of one of my drawings), and he emailed me a snapshot of it, very cool:

Hat-tip to Woody!

Update: Okay so now this is wonderful + weird. A week after writing this post, and after the unsolicited, random email of the old poster, I was sitting in another friend's living room describing a work-in-progress that was "really rich in lush, textural detail like heavy crosshatching." Ironically enough the title of the work is a book-length story called "Dancing Bear" - more on that later. But outta left field she says "Like that rose you did!" Turned out that tucked away in her back room in a broken frame was the original of the centerpiece that I actually drew in '94, sitting in her kitchen when I needed something to draw for the next day's art class. Now that's a long strange trip...

Hat-tip to Jeri!

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