Saturday, 28 November 2009

The Annunciation

Wouldn't it be great to have angels trumpeting and glowing hands beckoning from billowing clouds to clue you in? It's a tad more romantic than peeing on a stick if you ask me...

Friday, 27 November 2009

The Libyan Sibyl

OK, now for an (art)history lesson. The Libyan sibyl's name was Phemonoe, she was the daughter of Zeus and Lamia (the half-woman half-snake who snacked on kids and was queen of Libya). Phemonoe was not only an oracle... she was the FIRST oracle. Plutarch tells the story of Alexander the Great marching to her oasis in the Libyan desert where she proclaimed him divine and rightful Pharaoh of Egypt (Libya, at the time was the name the Greeks used for ALL of Northern Africa, it wasn't just the country we think of now!). Serapion wrote in his poetry that even after she died, her prophecies were still being told by the crops that grew from her grave and her soul being visible on the moon.

Michelangelo painted her on the Sistine chapel, and although she's pretty white (which could sort of make sense as there were a lot of settlers from Europe in Libya), it is an amazing study. Michael Erhart carved an Oak bust altarpiece in Germany. The third famous depiction of her was by this guy:

William Wetmore Story. He started out studying law, became a (renowned) sculpture and (obscure) poet. His sculpture of the Libyan Sibyl is more than just an old nod to the old myths. Prior to the civil war, he created his masterpiece as a tribute to Sojourner Truth and her work toward abolition and women's rights. She was a preacher, a modern day oracle, and the violent amputation of the South was on the horizon.

The sculpture is really beautiful. If you have a chance, go to the Met and see it. It was in the Smithsonian, but now that the new American wing is finished, it is there. And I sketched it today.

Thanks for reading!

Bonus trivia round: Libya is the only flag in the world with just one color and no other insignia or design. It is solid green.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Midnight Movers

Rather than fight the holidays, I am learning to accept. Accept, yes, that is what these holidays are about. Witness the proto-matrix in action!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Black Beetles in Amber

So a few people have been asking about the title The Broken Light... it is from an Ambrose Bierce poem written in response to a man who was upset about the country honoring Confederate soldiers after the war. I decided to put it here so you can read the whole thing! Enjoy!

To E.S. Solomon

Who in a Memorial Day oration protested bitterly against decorating the graves of Confederate dead.

What! Salomon! such words from you,
Who call yourself a soldier? Well,
The Southern brother where he fell
Slept all your base oration through.

Alike to him--he cannot know
Your praise or blame: as little harm
Your tongue can do him as your arm
A quarter-century ago.

The brave respect the brave. The brave
Respect the dead; but you--you draw
That ancient blade, the ass's jaw,
And shake it o'er a hero's grave.

Are you not he who makes to-day
A merchandise of old renown
Which he persuades this easy town
He won in battle far away?

Nay, those the fallen who revile
Have ne'er before the living stood
And stoutly made their battle good
And greeted danger with a smile.

What if the dead whom still you hate
Were wrong? Are you so surely right?
We know the issue of the fight--
The sword is but an advocate.

Men live and die, and other men
Arise with knowledges diverse:
What seemed a blessing seems a curse,
And Now is still at odds with Then.

The years go on, the old comes back
To mock the new--beneath the sun.
Is nothing new; ideas run
Recurrent in an endless track.

What most we censure, men as wise
Have reverently practiced; nor
Will future wisdom fail to war
On principles we dearly prize.

We do not know--we can but deem,
And he is loyalest and best
Who takes the light full on his breast
And follows it throughout the dream.

The broken light, the shadows wide--
Behold the battle-field displayed!
God save the vanquished from the blade,
The victor from the victor's pride!

If, Salomon, the blessed dew
That falls upon the Blue and Gray
Is powerless to wash away
The sin of differing from you.

Remember how the flood of years
Has rolled across the erring slain;
Remember, too, the cleansing rain
Of widows' and of orphans' tears.

The dead are dead--let that atone:
And though with equal hand we strew
The blooms on saint and sinner too,
Yet God will know to choose his own.

The wretch, whate'er his life and lot,
Who does not love the harmless dead
With all his heart and all his head--
May God forgive him--I shall not.

When, Salomon, you come to quaff
The Darker Cup with meeker face,
I, loving you at last, shall trace
Upon your tomb this epitaph:

"Draw near, ye generous and brave--
Kneel round this monument and weep:
It covers one who tried to keep
A flower from a dead man's grave."

Friday, 13 November 2009

How About a Big Hand?

I've been sketching as much Civil War era stuff as I can in preparation for my upcoming webcomic THE BROKEN LIGHT. The Metropolitan Museum has a new show of American painting from the late 18th century through WWI. I felt as though it was a mixed bag. There was some amazing stuff, especially toward the beginning, but I think the entire collection failed to be a cohesive whole.

The great thing about researching the civil war is the amount of visual information that exists. Photography was just catching its stride, so there are a lot of amazing (and gruesome) photos, even photographs of paintings that have been lost. In addition, there were great painters working in their prime, not only formally, but ideologically. A great deal of the pictures existed for a political purpose or to make an (often ambiguous) argument.

It is incredible how noble our ideals are, yet how short our actions often speak them. And how this has been the case for centuries. It's so easy to forget how artists were tools not too long ago (and some continue to be). Seeing these artists create their OWN statements, rather than be used to present someone else's is truly inspiring.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

World War Three Preev

If you don't know World War 3 Illustrated, it is a comics anthology with rotating editors. It began in 1980 and is still going strong. It's had some amazing contributors over the years, and some really fantastic issues. It is left-wing, and yes, often didactic, but I think it's completely justified if you survey the politics of American comics. They are conservative, sometimes to an extreme. Superheroes give way to fascist, unchecked overseers. The Green Lantern is nothing more than a cosmic cop, Batman a vigilante one man war on terror, Captain America... need I say more?

Even the not-so-mainstream follows a conservative line. Bill Willingham manages to slip in his views into seemingly innocent (and award winning books) like Fables. Dave Sim, god(s?) bless ya, is making anti-feminist studies of fashion magazines, or the inherent racism of Frank Miller's 300. Politics aside, I have much respect and admiration for each of these artists (all write and draw btw). I continue to study their work, and am in awe of their talent, drive and artistry. But as much weight as Alan Moore pulls, you'd think comics wouldn't lean as far to the right as it does.

So here's the spreads from the book! I'll let you know when the release party is! It is so exciting to be a part of it! Oh, and it was written by Carlo Quispe (who helped edit this issue) only illustrated by yours truly!

Thanks for checking it out!

Bookmark Aqui: