From the monthly archives:

July 2009

Cats, dogs, and spacecrafts

by Mark on July 30, 2009

Flying carz

Swedish illustrator Mattias Adolfsson blends machines and animals with an elegant whimsy.

The cult of the professional

by Mark on July 22, 2009

Crayola_eschipul_Flickr

A Twitter rant/essay celebrating amateur instincts.

Writing for the Telegraph, Andrew Keen observes the new digital talent agency Polyphonic.

He concludes that “we might—just might—be on the verge of a glorious new age of the artist.”

You may remember Keen from Cult of the Amateur, a book that largely asks you to appreciate his taste in culture.

Clearly this continues to frame his reportage. Somehow, the internet didn’t make this “the age of the artist.”

Providing ubiquitous and cheap tools to make, share, and consume media wasn’t THE factor.

(Then everybody gets to participate. And why would we want that?)

No, what will give rise to the “glorious age” are outfits that can market and monetize artists.

People, like Keen, who can separate the wheat from the chaff. Tastemakers who can explain the virtues of “good” to us.

Note to Keen: In art (and all endeavors, including the technology you use), the “glorious age” is when anyone can participate.

It IS the amateur ethic—the lack of experience, the awkward groping to create—that produces something fresh.

Any painting, song, or film you’ve appreciated started with an “amateur.” Pollock was an amateur. So was Yorke. Soderbergh too.

The very culture you disdain is the very culture that created this glorious age.

That artists can get support from middlemen like Polyphonic is helpful. Artists shouldn’t starve.

But middlemen reframe things—eerily like reporters—and over time exert their own tastes on what they support.

This is what led us to the “inglorious age” that the internet thankfully disabled.

So, thanks for all the fish. But we’ve got our own boats now. We’ll take it from here.

It's a line, silly.

We occasionally use Twitter for rants or essays:

Publishers are the new Flickr Groups

We are the media

The Sid & Nancy of artist marketing

The great showdowns

by Mark on July 16, 2009

The Great Showdowns

Insanely adorable protagonist/antagonist portraits by Scott Campbell for Gallery 1988′s Crazy for Cult exhibit.

Albus, we love thee

by Laszlo on July 15, 2009

The not-so-nutty professor

Thanks for getting the kids this far. We’ll miss you.

Sneak peek #4

by Mark on July 9, 2009

A look at upgrades to the artist shop and the new artist dashboard.  (Toggle the full screen icon on the player for best effect.)

Story art by Victoria Usova, a Ukranian-born New York-based fairy tale maker. Visit her portfolio and ETSY shop.

Click here to see the previous sneak peeks and other artist resources.

A fascination with endpapers

by Kaye on July 5, 2009

Lately I’ve rekindled a fascination with endpapers –  the paper pasted to the inside cover that holds the book together. I’ve always felt they were a ‘secret’ additional source of information, whether it was the map of the island/world the book was exploring, or silhouettes of Nancy Drew solving various mysteries. Every day I’m inundated with massive doses of digital text that I quickly skim and then move on – endpapers are just the opposite, they invite me to stop and study their content and its relevance to the book, making reading that book much more of a therapeutic leisure activity than an information-gathering exercise. Both are valid activities, but oh, so different :)

Here’s one great resource for endpapers: Drawger.com

Love, reign o’er me

by Mark on July 2, 2009

Erwin Madrid

Erwin Madrid is magic.