Thursday, January 9, 2014

Getting the weirdness over with

Be careful what you wish for.

I sure got it, asking a publisher if I could experiment with the next illustration.

What emerged was the weirdest illustration I ever attempted, and the single largest trading day for the X-Acto®©™ company.

I had been inspired by an illustrator who showed his work at one of the Art Directors and Artists Club's annual Envision conferences in Sacramento, where I once posed as president.

I think the illustrator's name is Eddie Guy, can't be certain. I remember he did one distinct illustration style under another name and persona, and this cut-and-paste style under his own name and real persona. Or vice versa. I can't remember. I don't know if he still does this.

It was interesting and aggravating to meet someone getting work as two distinct people, when I was struggling with my single milquetoast personality.

I riffed off the illustrator's style to illuminate a story for Brew Your Own Magazine about the pleasures and pitfalls of providing entertainment with your meals and brews.
Step 1: Go to the library, buy an armload of magazines, 25 cents apiece. Fashion magazines — Vogue, Mademoiselle — held the greatest potential, or so I thought.

Step 2: Clothespin my nose so I can browse the magazines with minimum aerosol poisoning from the perfume ads.

Step 3: Buy X-Acto®© blades. Lots and lots of X-Acto™© blades.

Step 4: Forsake all else save the numbing turn of pages as you search for something you don't know you're looking for.

Step 5: Cut out hundreds of precise shapes in the wild hope they'll come in handy.

Step 6: Store them somehow in a manila envelope.

Step 7: Try to sort them, but give up in disheartening futility. Cram the cut shapes into the envelope, hoping you find them again.

Step 8: Do not sneeze.

Step 9: Buy glue sticks. Lots and lots of glue sticks.

Step 10: Glue the exact shapes you need to your elbows, where you won't find them until you go to wash your hands and accidentally see them in the mirror.

Step 11: Get smudgy, gluey fingerprints all over everything. It can't be helped.

Step 12: Despair that this is how you'll spend the rest of your life, and that you will be found comatose in a cascade of tiny cut-out eyeballs and hands.

Step 13: Somehow, some way, finish, resolving never to do it again.
Thirteen steps seems about right.

I had the basic sketch worked out, even the goofy BrĂ¼ Oyster Cult name for this fictitious joint. Everything else depended on whether I could find what I was looking for — and how willing I was to shift on the fly.

Lots and lots of shifting on the fly.

After following all the steps religiously, and looping through steps 5 through 8 a couple of times, I managed what you see here. Completely. Bizarre.

I had trouble finding the pearlescent texture for my oyster. I think the result came from my wife's scrapbooking papers.

The entertainer's face is Bruce Willis', I think. I gave him two left hands on the fretboard. I was high on glue stick fumes by this time.

The proprietor's face is Nancy Reagan, and attached to the black-and-white lower jaw it came out looking like Alan Alda. The hand holding the gentleman's cigar is Bill Cosby's. The superstructure holding the sign is a bridge arch.

The original art is probably still glued to the back of something else, lost forever.

I don't know how this Eddie Guy did this and still stayed sane. It looks like he still does a variation, and I hope he does it digitally.

When I attempted a similar style recently, it was so much easier to find patterns and images online, and re-purpose them to a new image. I have probably violated copyright protections that haven't even been conjured yet. Here's how I begat Huell Howser, for example (above).

I don't even know where my X-Acto®™ knife is anymore.

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