An artist named Josh Dorman emailed me from New York a month or two ago. He told me that he used to listen to music while he worked, but he'd spent the past few months listening to nothing but The Sound of Young America.
Podcasts are popular among those working in visual fields, especially lonely ones where people work solo and crave human voices. I do get an email like this from time to time, and it's always nice to hear. Not usually, though, am I so struck by the work. Dorman's paintings are beautiful, a sort of visual wunderkammer, with archaic illustration aesthetics and painting techniques getting all mixed up with maps and print and gorgeous palettes.
His show, Lost Divers, runs for about another month at Mary Ryan Gallery in New York. They're at 527 W. 26th St., and they're open pretty regular hours. I wish I was in NYC so I could take a look in person.
Our own Graham Clark of Stop Podcasting Yourself is also an accomplished artist who creates charming paintings using his beard as a brush. The subject matter is lively, fun and diverse ranging from a portrait of Don Rickles to two robots playing leapfrog. He has painted and sold more then 50 pieces and donates all of the proceeds to charity.
That's all terrific, but, let's best honest: you've lost countless hours of sleep wondering how he does it, right? Now, finally, you can watch his beard in action!
Video bonus: Graham discusses his painterly technique with an attractive blonde lady wearing a v-neck garbage bag.
I'm happy to announce that, in exchange for a rather modest portion of your worldly fortune, you may now obtain protective covers that will permit you to carry the delightful artwork of Brandon Bird on your iphone, in your pocket, near your heart.
Lucky, lucky you.
On Thursday, September 22nd, the Little Mountain Gallery in Vancouver will host the opening reception for an exhibit of beard paintings created by our own Graham Clark of Stop Podcasting Yourself. What is a beard painting? Well, as the name suggests, it's a work created by the application of paint to canvass using facial hair. Although Graham has been creating paintings this way for some time, it's his first show exhibiting this methodology and the money from any painting sold will go to a charity of the purchaser's choice.
After the opening, the exhibit will run until September 27th. You can find all of the details, including the time and location, here.
Lynda Barry is a legendary comic strip author whose Ernie Pook's Comeek has run for many years in alternative newspapers around the country. Her two most recent books, What It Is and Picture This are about writing and creating art, respectively. The former won an Eisner Award, comics' most prestigious prize. The books take the form of a notebook, filled with text, collage and drawings. The content is based on a series of seminars Barry has taught on getting creative work done. In our interview, Barry talks with Jesse about activating the brain and the benefit of doing creative work that doesn't need to fall into the dichotomy of beautiful/not beautiful, good art/not good art, or being productive/being nonproductive.
JESSE THORN: It’s The Sound of Young America, I’m Jesse Thorn. My guest on the program is Lynda Barry. She’s one of the nation’s most accomplished comics artists, graphic novelists, comic strip writers, artists, etc. etc. Her comics have run in alternative newspapers across the country for many, many, many years and more recently she’s turned much of her time towards writing longer works. Her book of just a couple of years ago, What It Is, was about the process of writing, and her latest, Picture This, is about the process of making art. They’re beautiful multimedia comics collage works that, as I said, are about process.
Lynda Barry, welcome to The Sound of Young America.
LYNDA BARRY: I’m delighted to be here.
Every year in college, my favorite event was the UCSC Print Sale. The whole studio art department at UCSC sells prints for absurdly low prices for one long weekend. My house is still full of things I bought at the print sale, and if I were in the Bay Area, I'd be planning to drive down right now. If you're in Silicon Valley, it's a great excuse to get over the hill and spend a great day in the Scruz, and if you're already in the Monterey Bay Area, you should just go. It's great.
One of the most amazing things in the world is the Throne of the Third Heaven The Nations Millennium General Assembly. James Hampton, a janitor, was called by God to create it, and worked on it secretly for 14 years in a rented garage. It was intended to herald the Second Coming. The throne is huge, nearly ten feet tall, and made of foil and scavenged materials. It was discovered after Hampton's death, and is considered quite rightly to be one of the most remarkable pieces in the history of American folk art.
The throne, composed of humble materials, is spectacularly beautiful, and every piece vibrates with the care of an untrained hand driven by divine revelation to create beauty. It was literally Hampton's life's work: he never created another work of art.
I saw some amazing pieces of art at the Smithsonian this weekend in DC, but the Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millenium General Assembly is always the highlight of the nation's capital for me.
A month or two ago, an artist from Brazil named Daniel Ferreira emailed me to ask me permission to use a Sound of Young America podcast to make a derivative work. I was more than happy to say yes, and the product was a wonderful bit of sound art called "Ahn. Hm."
Here's what Ferreira says about the piece:
"The idea behind this was to remove all audio except for the portions referring to the secondary functions of language, like the emotive (non-verbal sounds) and the phatic (referring to the message itself or to the communication channel)."
I think it's kind of beautiful and completely fascinating. One thing I really like about it is that he focuses on how these sounds do have meaning -- they're not just noises we make if we're too dumb to make words. Sometimes I get an email from an irate radio listener upset because there are too many "likes" and "uhms" in the show. From now on, I'll share this piece with them.
The interview used is our show from last year, with cartoonist Ariel Schrag.
Our old pal Brandon Bird has posted some new Law & Order: SVU valentines on his website. If you're looking for a special way to say that you are defenseless against your partner's love prosecution, this is a great way to do it. Check them out in sets or alone here.
Hello people. So. We have chosen the three winners of the Morris Day VS. A Wild Animal contest. Here they are in no particular order. Thanks to all who entered!
Chris Vendrick: Morris Day strangling and kicking a bear in the knee. Do you see fear on his face? I don't. If you like this illustration Chris has a blog. Nice work Chris.
Ian Thompson: It looks as though this lion has interrupted Morris Day walking like an Egyptian through the park. You know what you get for that Mr. Lion? A finger in the eye. Excellent MS paint skills Ian.
Thanks again everyone. You're a talented bunch.