Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Larry’s Chamber of Chills (aka Larry’s Vault of Forgotten and Neglected Artwork)

For Halloween I’ve dragged out some random drawings done over a span of years for a variety of projects.

I did these horror caricatures way back in 1976 for a long forgotten movie buff magazine.
Max Schreck from Nosferatu, Lon Chaney Sr. from silent movie classic London After Midnight and Bela Lugosi.

Peter Lorre
By the time I completed the assignment the magazine was already out of business.These caricatures were never published (and I never got paid). The joys of freelancing.

I did this skeleton mask some time in the late 70’s for a Halloween cartoonist’s party. (I got some photos somewhere of people wearing it at a Gahan Wilson art opening  held on Halloween).

This is a large  paper  cut out for a school spook house back in the brief and torrid years when I was teaching kids.

The hunchback drawing is from a 1980 sketchbook.

A few more skeletoons. In this case linoblock prints done circa early 1980's

And this sketchbook drawing done a few months ago.

The Nightmare --drawn in white ink on black (1978)

                                                 Happy Halloween !

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Homestretch for the Pressing Matters Printmakers Show

This version of the flyer created by Zoltron

The Pressing Matters reception and event last Saturday started out with a bang--quite literally.

Just as things got rolling, a transformer on a power pole outside the San Geronimo Valley Community Center blew up in grand Hollywood pyrotechnic fashion. Which started an immediate grassfire with a downed power line. The fire department was called.

Instead of greeting visitors, I found myself along the roadside with a fire extinguisher .

The fire department and sheriff closed the road. Traffic was blocked and the only people who could get in had to park and walk down Sir Francis Drake Highway.

The Center lost its electricity so my track lights in the gallery were out as well as my video presentation of 500 Years of Printmaking. We staggered on.

I’m indebted to printmaker Zachary Gilmour for setting up his press and conducting a day long presentation. 

Zach demonstrates how to make a monotype.
Photo courtesy of Larry Gilmour
I was sufficiently distracted by events to fail to remember to take pictures.  I got a few offhand snap shots. 

Here they are:

(Barbara Morris in back)
Here's one of Zach's monotypes.

Xander Weaver-Scull showed his process for stencil work.

(Xander on the right)
Here's the stencil
A stencil print
A few of his prints

One of his lithographs

Fred Lee Berensmeier (in vermillion shirt with blue vest below) shows his collograph work.

Here's the collograph plate

(I seem to only to have photographed Fred from behind)

Outside, Danielle Fogel (not pictured unfortunately) had a table making simple scratch foam prints (Hey, there’s Fred).

Bea Benjamin's table below (no picture of Bea either, unfortunately)
Bea is another fine printmaker.

I did get a shot of  Larry Gilmour, Steve Parun and Molly.

And Larry G. provided this shot of Molly and Steve.

and Zach and me.

There’s over 50 pieces in the show so I haven’t managed to show them all (see blog posts for Sept. 30th, Oct. 5th, Oct 6th and 8th for more related images).

Here’ a couple more from the San Quentin printmaking workshop:

A silkscreen by Tan Minh Tran

A linocut by Henry Frank 

The show ends on the 30th

A special thanks to Zachary Gilmour, Danielle Fogel, Gabriele Schwibach, Larry Gilmour, Susan Shannon, Katya McCulloch and of course Molly.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Larry's Vault: A Mini History of Mini Comics

My recent post on the Treasury of Mini Comics with a bit of mini- history received a couple of comments. So I thought it might be worth while to expand on that a bit.   Here goes:

In the early 70’s I was living in a flat with Gary Arlington, (proprietor of the legendary San Francisco Comic Book Company). I was also working at his mail order comix business.

I recall Justin Green coming over with the paste up boards for Spare Comic? He showed us how the format worked (one sheet of back to back printed paper folded and quartered makes a 8 page chapbook or mini comic).

Gary and I were both impressed with it and began creating our own titles which Gary’s San Francisco Comic book Company printed (I believe he may have published Green’s Spare Comic?  as well).

The intro page from my mini Baloney 1972

The first of these minis were sold at Gary’s shop on the shelves with the underground comix. Gary also sold them through his Eric Fromm mail order business. They were sold in bagged packets for 50 cents as “Off the Cuff Comics”. 

Here’s a page from an Eric Fromm catalog of that period:

Eric Fromm mail order catalog page (click on it to enlarge)
Most of these sold for 7 cents--why?   Because Justin Green decided Spare Comic? should be seven cents --everyone else followed suit.

Most of the above shown titles were probably published by Gary and again, they were printed on photo offset presses from plates not photocopied.

Two comics shown above are not on the Justin Green model --the larger sized Murder by S.Clay Wilson and the rectangle formatted Mr. Infinity by Art Spiegleman.

Toy Dandruff and Lullabye for a Speed Freak by Scotty are actually booklets of poetry.  (I did the covers for both of those)

Since we’re on the subject, I also put together the cover of the mini faux Zap #7 (Gary dreamed that one up). Gary had the Crumb original art for an unused Zap logo. I did a paste up of the logo adding it to an old printed flyer by Crumb. I also added some other Crumb elements. The little “7”s were drawn by me.  (I did some paste up/production on some other minis as well).

Way back in ‘72 I drew the label for the Off the Cuff packet.

This was placed in the baggie with the mini comix set.

Other factoids:

A commentary on the infamous Dan White trial from the 1980 mini comic Pep Comix
I often see alleged histories of the mini comix movement that it began in the 1980’s.  I don’t know how this bit of historical revisionism became so popular. But the facts are there was a continuum of mini’s from 1972 on through and including the efforts of Clay Geerdes and Artie Romero in the late 70s and early 80’s --and on and on with all the varieties of alternative / DIY/  productions to this day.

And another skeleton sketch from Pep Comix:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Treasury of Mini Comics

I recently received copies of the newly published Treasury of Mini Comics, edited by Michael Dowers. The book is a survey of the phenomena of artist -published, limited edition, small chapbooks known as Mini Comics (or Comix), Off the Cuff Comics, 7 Centers, New Wave Comics and many other labels over time.

The common format was first promoted by underground cartoonist Justin Green in early 1972. Justin’s Spare Comic? was followed by a flurry of mini activity by San Francisco cartoonists that included Gary Arlington, Jay Kinney, Art Spiegelman, Trina, Victor Moscoso, Bill Griffith, Leslie Cabarga, Sharon Rudahl, Joel Schenkman and many more. Within about a year there  were a couple of dozen titles. The format has continued on for decades which is nicely documented in the book.

The Treasury of Mini Comics reprints an old mini comic I created in 1980. Skeletoons.

I was able to dig up the original cover drawing--a direct India ink pen sketch (no penciling).

The original book (see above) was published by Artie Romero's Everyman Studios.

More mini history:

In a matter of weeks (and actually maybe more like a matter of days) after Justin Green’s Spare Comic? was drawn I put together Baloney (full title No Matter How Thin You Slice it, It’s Still Baloney, published May 1972; the title was supplied by Rube Goldberg)  and then later Picture Stories from the Bible  published in July of 1972 (in honor of the old M.C. Gaines comic books).

Over the years I did a few more minis:

A Tender Regard for Mutants --a 24 pager published in 1978.

An interior page from Mutants.

No Audience --a 40 pager published in 1981.

An interior sketch from No Audience.

And then there was  White Stuff on Black Stuff in 1980 (curiously printed on yellow stuff by my helpful but misguided printer).  A footnote: the early comics were all professionally printed rather than photocopied as the usually are now.

I contributed to a few anthologies as well such as Space Junk, Pep Comix, Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom, Purple Warp, and quite a few others that escape my immediate memory.

Here's my cover for Space Junk.

 Treasury of Mini Comics is a 848 (!) page, hardcover book published by Fantagraphics Books, Inc.

You can find it through Fantagraphics, Amazon and real book stores, etc.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Virginia Irvin, October 9th 1917 - March 24 2009

 Happy 96th Virginia!
My mother Virginia Irvin circa 1945



V.I. 's children Christie and Jamie on Hyde st.. S.F.

Monterey Cypress in San Francisco

San Francisco

Contemplating drawing herself

Nasturtiums by V.I.

Contemplating drawing herself again

Virginia in St. Crois sitting near her father's (Rea Irvin) cover for the New Yorker magazine

V.I.'s daughter Molly at the sink

Molly and Guitar

Hee Haw 


Traveling through France with Michael Greig

Earth Woman by V.I.


All Artwork copyrighted