Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Storm Tharp, one of the artists whose work was chosen for the 2010 Whitney Biennial, is a great example of an artist who is informed by (and perhaps informs) illustration. A lovely seamless combination of media and approaches. The Whitney's description of his work:
Storm Tharp builds his strange and beautiful characters by first drawing contours on the page with water. Before the water has a chance to dry, he applies drops of mineral ink, resulting in unruly and expansive bleeds on the paper. This process is repeated in various instances to build forms and light sources. Once the adequate amount of ink has been dropped and dried, the artist manipulates the form in a variety of ways, such as drawing and erasing. Tharp takes his inspiration from a wide-ranging set of influences including 1970s American cinema and Japanese portrait prints. His characters have names, histories, and narratives, but they suggest multiple interpretations. Is the woman clutching a knife in Pigeon (After Sunshen) defending herself or is she a vengeful murderess? Is the girl in Dolores tethered by the medal around her neck or free like the bird perched on her head? In these enigmatic portraits Tharp investigates the performance of identity and the point where the myth of a person supercedes reality and becomes truth.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Well, Hello Friends!

These weeks have been filled with many fantastic fiestas for Fantagraphics. This week is extra special because we have two nights in different cities with Steven Weissman.

First, Steven will be celebrating the release of his newest release, Chocolate Cheeks, in Portland, OR with an art exhibition and book signing at Floating World Comics this Thursday, Feb. 4th. Next, Steven heads to Seattle, WA on Saturday, Feb. 6th to grace the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery with an evening of book signing and art selling. Address and times for each event are below.

We hope to see you all there!
-Fantagraphics Books

Floating World Comics
20 NW 5th Ave. Portland, OR 97209
Thursday, Feb. 4th from 6-10pm

Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery
1201 South Vale St. Seattle, WA 98108
Saturday Feb. 6th from 7-8pm

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Manga Kamishibai: Japanese Paper Theatre

I'm fascinated by this part of the history of storytelling illustration. I've just started reading the book whose cover is pictured above. On the streets of Japan, starting about 1930, this scene could be witnessed:
During the height of kamishibai in the 1930s, storytellers would travel to villages and set up their butais (miniature wooden prosceniums), through which illustrated boards were shown. The storytellers acted as entertainers and reporters, narrating tales that ranged from action-packed westerns, period pieces, traditional folk tales, and melodramas, to nightly news reporting on World War II. More than just explaining the pictures, a good storyteller would act out the parts of each character with different voices and facial expressions.