Blitt by Blitt by Me


Yesterday (Sunday, October 29, 2017, for the historical record) I went to a talk and book signing at Politics and Prose for Barry Blitt's new book "Blitt," available in hardcover at fine retailers everywhere. 

Blitt is one of those illustration rock stars, kin to Steve Brodner and Edward Sorel, who have made their name mostly through caricature.  Blitt is personally infamous for his topical New Yorker covers, sometimes dashed off in a few hours in the middle of the night against hard deadlines, his most notable being the Obamas giving a "terrorist fist bump" in the Oval Office.  In the movie of his life, he's played by Martin Mull or Bob Balaban.

I dig him because he draws the old-fashioned way, with a crowquill pen and watercolor on paper with little underdrawing, sometimes drawing the same piece over and over to get it right, if deadlines allow.  There's a freshness to the best illustration (I think) that turns it from a mere drawing into an idea that just happens to also be in drawing form.

This is the long way of saying I didn't buy his book, because it cost $40.  But I did do a drawing of him from the front row while he was answering audience questions, which he seemed to approve of and signed for me.  My left eye was acting up, hence my funky expression in the above photo, but all in all, not a bad night. 



New Ilustrations: Part 1 of 746

I just realized how long it's been since I'd paraded my published work online.  As a professional illustration, that is bad of me, and I ought to be punished, preferably by leggy women wearing black leather and stiletto heels.

Well, Experience Life continues handing me awesome work, including this piece about the multifarious joys of Farmers' Markets, including balloons, fried dough, and, if you're truly desperate, fresh produce, dairy, and meat.

Most recent is my illustration about the hourly activities of a health food blogger, as told by a real-life health food blogger.  I tried a different medium with this one, shading with pencil, just to see if that would work.

I also have an upcoming piece for In These Times, whom I've never worked for before, that was fun because they specifically insisted that I use watercolors.  "Well, okay, if that's what you want, I told them, bouncing up and down giddily in my seat."  It should be available online and in stores in a few days.

That is all for now.

Charlottesville, a Little Late

I’m from Charlottesville. I moved to DC... a week before the whole Nazi March That Turned Into A Riot That Turned Into a Homicide happened, and I don’t know how to feel. Part of me wishes I was there, knocking nazi skulls. The other part knows that I would have accomplished a grand total of fuck-all had I been there. They came with violence as a goal. But you can’t retreat from nazis. So you gotta use violence to defend yourself and your town. What you end up with is everyone fighting, half out of principle, and half just because there’s fighting everywhere. As far as I can tell, the entire point of civilization was so to minimize the amount of melees and torch-wielding barbarians happening in our vicinity, and I can’t help thinking that there’s someone out there prodding us into chaos just so they can climb the ladder a little higher.

The most obvious suspect is the media, and boy if that isn’t an unpleasant thought, since fascists and white supremacists have embedded themselves in government and law enforcement, the media is the only machine working for liberty.  Ever since Trump appeared, pundits have been righteously indignant about the media valuing his gaudy spectacle over his non-existent substance, but no one has gotten really, REALLY angry about it.  It's easy to get mad at nazis.  It's easy to get mad at the government.  It's harder to get mad at the news.  Not in a "They're biased!" sort of way, but in the "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!  HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO US!  YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO PROTECT US!" sort of way.  I haven't seen that sort of reaction a lot, probably because if I had seen it, it would have had to have been published in the media, who are understandably resistant to publishing scathing, solely disappointed critiques of themselves on their own foreheads, and even less resistant to doing anything that might cost them readers or money.

There's no point to this.  I propose no solution.  I can't think of a good one.  Just disappointment.