Sunday, February 21, 2021

"Easter Island"

In a rare instance of dodging a bullet of inconceivable tastelessness (not normally an ongoing concern of mine) this was in the proverbial pipeline of production when it coincided with with what could have been - but so amazingly wasn't - an incredible disaster. There's any number of borderline taboo topics to never touch, and while I don't have many, there are some personal boundaries I won't ever cross. That said, death, horror, and the general existential misfortunes of awareness would drag me under would it not be for the recuperative power of comedy. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

"Happy Halloween"

Posting this just to rub it in how far I've spun off the wheel when it comes to observance of regularly scheduled things like what season actually is outside, or holidays. Though you can sure bet your sweet arse I dutifully took care of the Significant Otter today.

Also this particular panel earned me some mixed reviews - going strictly by the number of in-person comments from folks that ranged from the usual "that was great by the way," "loved last week's man!" to "what the hell is wrong with you?"

One saving detail was my insistence on it being run as an actual color piece in the paper, even though 99% of the panel is rendered in black & white. The teeny-tiny little dots of red were enough to lead many a viewer along the breadcrumbs to getting it. Of course being an Alaskan helps.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

"Sound Bearier"

This particular panel is an interesting reversal of process with the semi-permeable barrier between image + meme. I think I was inspired upon coming across one of the various takes on this concept by realizing how much more better it could be if rendered differently.

Like drawing it would be so much more funnier. For me it comes down to the dookie expression on the seal. But than, as regular readers will know, there isn't anything on this planet that doesn't look ridiculous like this - at least on the inside where it counts.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

"Downtown Cruise Ship"

Just so you don't go thinking I'm slacking off in the high-intensity visuals, what with the recent spate of sketchy stuff. So here's one that I distinctly remember thinking to myself while in the middle of sketching out the situation: "Why do you insist on doing this to yourself?"

I based the composition on an amalgamation of aerial imagery taken of our little Interior metropolis, and endless pics of tourist ships, leavened with the usual hallucinatory imaginatory scene. As often happens this was concocted + executed during the linear perceptive potion of another semester, and so served as an excellent example. It literally illustrates the power of suggestion, as opposed to adhering to any basis in fact or reality. 

What else can I possibly say besides that it's a way of life.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

"The Third Ear"

I see your third eye and raise you one consciousness. One detail about this one is how much immediate feedback it got withing hours of the Sunday paper coming out: just during one quick, short jaunt to town I crossed paths with several random folks who gave me great, positive reactions to it, as well as a couple "passing it around" online. That really means a lot and feels super when I sit down in the studio again. Real-world, tangible results in real time - maybe I should get out more often, maybe shave and put on pants more often. 

So the panel is yet another in a recent series of comparatively unsophisticated compositions that, in perspective, is an attempt to compensate for the overkill of the preceding ostentatious period. In other words, keeping it simple. Now I need to apply such brevity and restraint to my writing. Cough, cough.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Oaf of Office

Today we start the long struggle towards a more hopeful and sane future. Though not my first (or 3rd-5th actually) preferred candidate, America definitely could use a symbolic grandfather figure now, as opposed to the raging, senile racist, bigoted uncle. Trust me - I have just enough contact with family members to count on one hand after rejecting the toxicity, negativity and outright insanity that has infected the majority of 'em. Anyways, the viral image above revealed an interesting detail of note: the framed cartoon strip seen tucked behind the laptop under the lamp. There probably isn't a more fitting legacy strip (aka zombie) character to fit hand-in-glove with the grandfatherly image, and that includes the equally enduring and problematic baggage associated with it. With all that being said I'm really looking forward to a mentally healthier and more refreshing change of pace.

Sunday, January 17, 2021


This gag goes hand-in-glove with last year's best/worst. We'll see if it's the proverbial bottom of the barrel by the time 2021 is all over.
I can't wait.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

KTVF Channel 11 Interview

Got interviewed by reporter + anchor Alex Bengel from local station KTVF Channel 11, and the piece was just broadcast/uploaded this week. It was conducted on-site at the 6th annual retrospective exhibition down at the distillery, and I was already primed to give tons of soundbites after lots of practice giving the Private Tours. What a great job condensing maybe half an hour of material down to a tight, concise, focused segment - I'm always impressed at the work these folks do at a job that is so technical and challenging in breadth + depth. Once again proving what a crucial part journalism plays in bringing so many different facets of our community, from important news to interesting features, to the public's attention, whether on a regional, national or worldwide in scope.

Just as a point of clarification, because I still get confused about this finer point of detail, the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce awards the Artist of the Year for the upcoming/ongoing year-in-progress (as opposed to honoring the recipients in other categories for their respective efforts from the previous year) as a way to showcase + promote their work throughout the season. And on account of 2020 being such a bust what with the pandemic's impact, they graciously extended a generous opportunity to just roll the award over, thus making me 2020's and 2021's AOY. Let's hear it for the reboot, and looking forward to other upcoming venues and gigs.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

"Never Let Go"

Regular readers know of my affinity for soundtracks in the studio background while working away on creating another cartoon. There are folks on YouTube making some truly impressive compilations - longplaying amalgamations from many composer's pieces to blockbuster franchises. This is something akin to DJs whose remixes can earn more accolades and devotees than the originating artists (see Zimmer's "Dark Knight" and "Man Of Steel," and this "Avengers" medley too). I have mixed feelings about this since, unless a license was purchased to ensure some proper remittance and all due credit, technically it's also in violation of copyright, and the artist is ripped off. They were/are also handsomely compensated by the corporate media giants who hire them to deliver another commercially profitable venture, and these studios are in a symbiotic relationship with such fan-based efforts like artistic remoras. Or maybe artis-ticks?

But if you want the best for raw inspiration and to get those creative juices flowing, always go straight to the source material- for example I've been undergoing a classic John Williams renaissance of sorts, and have recently added another excellent backing track to studio classroom dramatic entrances (Thanos, Vader, Magneto and Voldemort still occupying the top slots) - not to mention what with the way 2020 wound up, it's also quite often been my go-to for a wake-up track if not theme music for the daily disaster.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

"Hindsight: 2020" Non-opening weekend

A couple notes in reflection of the "opening" weekend down at the distillery... still compiling video segments to edit together with detailed stills so as to have a nice little virtual walkthrough at the end of the month. First off is finally getting a chance to unveil the spiffy new banner made by Date-Line Digital Printing last year - makes a very nice passive but prominent presence.

It's a good addition to the slate of options when trying to entice engagement with an audience. Unlike a formal gallery setting, venues such as this mean the majority of folks are not there for the show - the artwork is entirely incidental. I remember the first series of retrospective best-of-year in review shows that I used to have long ago at the original Hot Licks Ice Cream Parlor. That was the hottest alt-exhibition space in town - and the site of the first espresso machine in town. People would have to line up alongside the display wall while waiting to approach the counter and place an order. So I would get a voyeuristic thrill at hiding (not that I needed to - I was anonymous on account of being comparatively unknown) behind a paper with my coffee off in the corner. But the reality was being humbled in the observation that the overwhelming majority of customers never look anyways. Same here - I've seen folks sit with the work a few feet away from their faces and they never see it (sound familiar to the many personal issues I never face in my own life). The reward however comes in the occasional hearing firsthand the cause-and-effect laughter. I suppose this is the closest I'll ever get to understanding the powerful charge a standup comedian gets with a live audience - for a visual artist it can be quite the impression.

Seeing everything up on the wall also affords one an entirely different perspective on the body of work, and to an extent, the admittedly arbitrary period of time it encompasses. I feel tremendous satisfaction at the consistent level of quality drawing, marked by many examples of pushing myself to reach results way outside my creative comfort zone that I never would have otherwise have accomplished. This is always tempered by the awareness of my limitations and many failings too. Also there are several d*ck jokes this year ("Tuck In The Hose," "Pleistocene Problems," and "Arctic Skinny-Dip"), which seem to assume a disproportionate presence, or maybe you just see what you bring to the piece. And then there's the occasional dud, plus a chance to explain the joke, which is another lesson in humility. Again and again it proves the importance of teaching observational skills in my classes by such incessant training with critiques.

One of the peculiar aftereffects of having an art opening is sometimes getting hit with a wave of sadness as a result of the anticlimactic end to all the buildup beforehand. Investing so much time + effort on a monumental event only to feel such emotional fallout afterwards is a sneaky phenomenon I frequently warn first-time exhibitors for their thesis shows. I thought I was long-since inured to such pitfalls, but then after getting all of the pieces up for this annual retrospect and realizing that was pretty much it was kind of a bummer. Just made me recommit to reaching out even more in the marketing efforts.

Speaking of, the "Daily Doodle" series of teaser images for the official event page has been fun to do, especially the Instagram posts with all the added filters + effects. A fun way to keep the show on everybody's radar on social media - and boost the host venue as well. Hopefully I'll drag some more media into the event and entice some television reporters out to partake and peruse.

Promoting the new line of merch including the canned Bloody Marys - never had 'em before and boy am I ever a big fan now. And the line of tshirts, stickers, and glassware compliments the scene. These folks are among the many local small businesses that are trying to adapt to pandemic conditions, and deserve our mutual support since they in turn have provided us with a great venue in hosting these gigs over the years. Grateful to be able to leave behind a table on site to peddle the wares when I can't be there in person - and this year I dropped prices a bit since a l lotta people are getting pinched, if not in an economic crisis as a result of the coronavirus.

Did have several successful trial runs on the Private Tour option, and revamped the scheduling so as to accommodate an hour instead of just the advertised 30-minutes. My talk would run 35-40 minutes, but there needs to be some padding and a bigger buffer zone so as to accommodate questions and comments. Not to mention just hanging out with really fine folks. Funny how one can always tell just how big a smile can be behind a mask. Of course the laughing always gives it away. I really appreciated the opportunity to expound upon the behind-the-scenes trivia that long-time blog readers are more than familiar with.