05:41, it’s a treat to end the night, and a rough week, with some sick graf footage. It’s one thing seeing the finished product, but, what about the process? Especially when it comes to graffiti, understanding, or at least glimpsing into the process is important in adding depth to the end piece… The vids below show how it all builds up – building, building – it’s all about layers…how the artist’s body moves along with the spraycan he’s clutching, the motion and flow adding an intimacy – and intensity – to the act, to the dance. Watch closely, notice the techniques used – and I’m sure you’ll agree when I say: who the fuck says graf is not art??
A few summers ago, I was introduced to Fables by a friend from my hometown when I was back there visiting my folks. What ensued was a love affair: with Bill Willingham’s genius in creative writing, and more passionately, an obsession with cover artist James Jean’s breathtaking talent. The two fused to create a world that both jumped into your own reality, as well as pulled you deep into its own fantasy. The fairytales of my youth took on new meanings; they were transformed into something more real and relatable – tangible even – yet still powdered with a magical and unknowable existence that triggered the reaches of my imagination…
The biggest influence from all this was my exposure to James Jean. He quickly became one of my top artists, and not for a particular style either. He manages to create paintings and illustrations using a variety of styles, yet each undeniably James Jean. Even beyond the beauty of his forms, his use of color and composition blend to create full narratives within a frame that needs no explanation with words…just pure vision, an inherent understanding of emotions, meanings, humanity. Absorbed in any of his artworks, it feels like the visual images naturally created by the imagination have found their place and home inside each piece. Yeah, the key here is naturally…every piece seems so effortlessly composed, which is not common in even illustration.
I just got my copy of Fables Covers by James Jean in the mail yesterday, after wanting it for ages and not being able to get it, and man is it everything I hoped it was. Not only are there all the Fables covers in high quality full color ink to be drooled over and admired, but there’s additional information about each one…and best of all, the pencil sketches of the covers before they evolved into the final product. To see the rough linework of those sketches and the steady growth of a piece is more than any fan could ask for.
The last few photos above showing images of the Fables Covers book are from James Jean‘s personal website. Above and beyond this work, though, Jean is a truly phenomenal artist whose work transcends just this kind of story-telling based on comic books…His online portfolio is pretty substantial, showing his truly immense artistic capabilities – definitely something to check out! x
** To check out more images inside the book along with a book review, click here.
If you have time, check out the vid below. James Jean did some insaaaaane art collaborations with Prada. Even though this video starts/ends haphazardly, it shows details of his work, and gives us insight into the artist and his processes as well! Score.
Finding great stop motion animation clips has not only lit up my night, but also convinced me that turning a blind eye to all the research waiting for me has actually been a positive thing. And it has! Below are 4 different vids, each in the “stop motion” genre, sharing one form (poorly represented and underloved, imo), but showing that there are so many ways of expressing something through it. As they say, the only limitations we face are the ones we place on ourselves. Ahem, that said, perhaps I should use this new inspiration for the old academics then eh..enjoy =)
***PS, because I love getting you all to check out more work from amazing people – Carlos Lascano has some beautiful work down in his web ‘folio. I’ve just found this guy, and already can’t wait to see what else he’s gonna create. If you don’t have time to check out *everything*, treat yourself to The Can, gorgeous, gorgoues style <3
So even though big cities can be intimidating and/or despairing, they do present more opportunities for art – especially ‘informal’ art. As previously noted, I love street art, and seeing it strewn across the landscape in all shapes, sizes, colors, topics, and mediums, is worth waking up for. Below is a gallery of some random art I managed to snap – the quality here (of my photographic abilities) is a lot worse than others, seeing as most of this was taken at the most random times (in a rush – or being rushed by others – or at night, etc). The hardest to see is probably the one that says “I’M SO TALL”: it was 4am, Friday night, post-bar exploration with new and reunited friends, sitting on a SoHo apartment rooftop, soaking up the view…everyone was rambling about the events and people we had just encountered, but my eye was (forever) wandering, till I spotted this sign. I thought it was absolutely brilliant – old skool rolled paint style, simple words, quirky and fun. I tried a few settings on my compact cam but this is the clearest I could get. Now that you know the context, maybe you’ll see the point!
The others are equally random (that’s the beauty of street art!!!) – (1) Sid Vicious stencil on a walkway in Jersey; (2, 3) big, wacky unfinished mural; (3, 4) a wall covered in stickers saying “New York Against The World” – def one of my favorites; (6) “I’m so tall”; (7, 8 ) mix of stickers, graf on route to getting inked; (9) murals depicting and appealing to 2 totally different groups of people — juxtapose the words “MISBEHAVE” .. and “I learn // I go to school” : intended, or not? ; (10) “Alice in NYC” wall mural running along the side of a road – it was really long, telling a crazy tale about Alice’s adventures in the Big Apple (!!??); (11) Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian walkway graphic that takes on a new life with the addition of a sticker and some sharpie marks – and yes, he looks better sideways ^^
*** note: I was riding the subway in the early hours of the morning this past Monday/Tuesday and looked up to see a paper cutout design lining a top section of the car. I didn’t have anything on me that could’ve snapped up a photo reference of it but…It turned out to be a piece by Beatrice Coron, 1 of the artists I featured in my very first blog post! Making art like this publicly accessible can only be good for the upliftment of society as a whole. Get it out there, get people inspired! x
Thinking about music videos – this one didn’t provoke as many intense emotions as the CocoRosie vid from my last post, but I’m stoked on the comic-book influence used. I love comics, so to see it translated in a way to another medium I adore, music, is just awesome! When artists have fun with what they’re doing, allowing their music to be about more than purely sound, the enjoyment gained from hearing their stuff grows exponentially. Further, I don’t know about you, but often I’ll like a song because of a video, even if it’s not something I would usually listen to (or for that matter, would’ve liked without insane visuals)…I don’t understand the psychology behind that one, and I won’t say I like that MTV made a killing from it, but hey, it is what it is. Just enjoy it.
“we climb the rocks in snowing rain | in search of magic power | to heal our mother’s pain”
Now that you’ve watched the video yourself, I need not give a lengthy explanation about how awestruck I am. At once tender and innocent, “Lemonade” is tinted with a delicate & beautiful melancholy that swept me up and carried me away into the land that lies behind my screen. Exquisite costumes & sets, a fine eye for detail, & an outstanding performance by the singers, this is true art in motion. <3
I can’t believe it’s already December, and that snow has started to set in (had my first snowfall experience yesterday!) Days are slipping by and there’s never enough time for anything. So, here’s my attempt to catch up on the last week’s worth of life (and blogs) and dish out some of the things that have been inspiring me – and more so, keeping me goin’ strong!
I spent 7 days in NJ and NYC over Thanksgiving break, and the first hour saw me snapping up photos of some crazy colorful graf that was breaking up the monotony of grey and brown building blocks. Street art is one of the best things about traveling, seeing how locals (and visitors too in some cases) choose to express themselves in the spaces they’re in. It’s an intimate connection with the place’s architecture, its people, its history, and its politics…a way of getting into that network and creating out of it, being influenced by it, and also influencing it by its very existence. As with graf, whether people hate it and think it’s vandalism, or like myself, love it enough to stand for a while and admire it, it leaves a mark on those who come across it. NYC’s rich history in the graf movement is something to be revered, and to see how it’s evolving to this day is a pleasure and privilege. Unfortunately, time took me far away from 5 Pointz and other lesser known graf spots, but when I return in a few weeks, hopefully I’ll strike gold and get to check that out too.
Here’s some snapshots of some graffiti I saw when I was in NJ/NYC. I’m in LOVE with the trucks that are entirely painted, beaming as they ride through New York’s overflowing streets. Like the garage that reveals its art only at night when the store is closed, or the tag hiding on the side of a pillar watching me as I watched the Manhattan skyline, this graf is found in unexpected places, popping up in the nick of time to save me from the mindless blur and almost deafening hopelessness that I experienced in the Empire State.