Max Dohle invited me to become a contributor to his communication blog. An offer I couldn't refuse, because I have been sending him so many comments that I had to put my money where my mouth was. Which means I am going to have to write in Dutch, which puts me under more pressure than when I write in English. In English all my mistakes are forgivable (I like to think so anyway) but in Dutch... on the blog of a published writer...
This doodle is the result of me trying to acquire some more computer skills. I used Piffin's and Otger's drawings and an old cook book. Doesn't it just drive you crazy if you can't do what you want? And it all sounds so simple when somebody who does know explains it to you? I am a woman I am a woman I am a woman I am a woman. And yes I have a highschool diploma with only languages, history and geography. Used to be called a fun schedule.
I still haven't shown you the book Martin gave us for christmas. Printed by hand, copyright 1967 - Mika Silk Screening Limited, Belleville, Ontario. It's called "Toronto Magnificent City - An Illustrated Look at a Great Metropolis", and it contains over a hundred Toronto scenes. The one above is closest to where we live, though we could never afford to live in the slums and skid row mentioned in the text. What fourty years can do. Fortunately the skyscrapers Nick and Helma Mika predict on Queen Street were never built. I still shop in these exact same shops. And we own a peeling paint and sagging verandah ourselves. And the second hand shops are very elegant. Today we frown upon the buildings idealised back then.
I am still sick. To fight the boredom, my friend Joris sent me a long list of URL's he took from the illustration issue of Credits. I missed this issue because of our move, it didn't get forwarded. So now I am up to snuff on Dutch Illustration. And I am in total Flash shock. Websites that catapult themselves full screen, producing horrible sounds and crashing my computer twice. Overly enthusiastic freshly graduated artschool students mainly I'm afraid, all very hip, and some of them truly interesting. A couple of agents representing older illustrators, showing what was hip when they graduated. What is it that sentences so many artists to life in the Zeitgeist of their graduation year? I bet you 80% of the young dogs I surfed this morning will keep doing what they do until long after everybody is sick of it. Maybe not Johan Kleinjan, I like him. I think he has something to do with this incomprehencible website. This is his Flash agent.
Incredible! I sent William the giclée print January 21st and already it's right there on his wall. Who said anything about snail mail? Funny to see my work on somebody else's wall. My editor seems to have spotted a newspaper clipping of this same drawing in someone's bathroom. Unfortunately he did not take a snapshot...
For more fun visit Robot Johnny. A lot of lovely pettifoggery in the comments between christian homophobes and cartoon lovers. Don't expect me to summarize, I'm sneezing my nose off here. Nice pictures.
Some serious snow at last, and I am as sick as a dog. Otger infected me big time. I did nothing today except watch some online Dutch tv and engaged some people in annoying email threads. I can be quite nasty when somebody deserves it, ha! They don't read my blog anyway. I shouldn't really bother of course. But it gave me something to do. Are you nasty sometimes? Tell me. Now if nobody writes anything in the bleeding comment box I am going to think none of you is ever nasty. Okay, I'll tell you one of the nastiest things I ever did. In a students' house where I used to live there was a girl that irritated the hell out of me. One day she moved out, and that morning I painted the handrail. Now I would have just sticked newspapers on the wet paint, but she cautiously carried all her stuff downstairs. That was very mean of me, there is no excuse. Now tell me your meanness.
Otger was two when he got the pair on the top. And now he is eleven, bottom pair new today. Not bad. The fifth pair of glasses in his lifetime. Funny thing, I am wearing my fifth pair too! But that's not fair, I started later and I wore contacts for more than ten years. I wore my first pair for ever and ever. I got it in grade four, and it must have lasted until grade eleven. I looked like old fashioned shit. After each gym class we used to play soccer with my glasses, but they were really sturdy. Then one day, one half went one direction, the other another. The class cheered. And I finally got my new pair of glasses. Of course I never told my parents this story.
I sent the giclée print off to William Wilson today. I hope it will arrive before William is off to Stockholm. William turns thousands of animals inside out. I am so happy they are fake ones. Don't know if I would have sold my artwork to him otherwise. I am thrilled though that he made me do what I have been wanting to do for the longest time, some serious art printing of my work. And I am serious about doing more. I can give you an idea of the costs involved. This print was a 20 x 26 inch one. Which translates to 50.8 x 66 centimeters. Printing costs were 157.39 CAN $. I would double that for you, hence 314.78 CAN $. Mailing it to Holland costs 55.42 CAN $. Makes 370.20 CAN $. And today that would mean 232.33 €. A rather complicated figure, so let's just say a 50 x 65 cm. print costs 250 €. And approximately 300 US $, considering cheaper shipping.
Just a quick snapshot after picking it up at Image Works. I'll need to take a better photo before shipping it to Amsterdam. The giclée print turned out really really good. Rich colours on thick heavy water colour paper. I want to do it again, again, again! Order prints! You can look up the printing costs of the size you want, and I'll double the damage, so I earn a little too. That's more than fair isn't it? Anything from the portfolio. Except Tim, Tim is the publisher's copyright.
I'm afraid that if I would tell you why I show these photo's today, I'd get the kind of I-can-relate-to-that cheerleading comments that I hate. So I don't. I can explain what you see though. On the right hand side you see me. All graduating artschool students were expected (1985 mind you) to hand in a photo of themselves for the yearbook. Of course to do so was really uncool. And to not do so was arrogant. And I was cool but not arrogant (that came later). So my way around it was to add some hidden emotional value. And I portrayed myself as my mother.
Otger is feeling miserable. Feverish, throat ache, stomach ache. He's asking for cups of tea, that's a sure sign of seriousness. He's watching Ice Age now, maybe that'll reduce the fever. The image above is a graphite miniature by Jason d'Aquino. On his website he states: "Reproduction without express permission of the Artist is prohibited by law. Pirates will be blown from the water." I'm holding on tight. I'm a pirate with good intentions though, so I hope I will be forgiven. And I love Jason's drawings.
Some people kept asking us to open up Willem's comments, so we did. And immediately an old girlfriend of Michiel's brother shows up! Willem is our cyborg, he is going for some rewiring next month, after which he will hopefully be fit enough to travel to Canada. His last reboot is a while ago already, so we can be carefully optimistic. Maybe some day we can just upload Willem to cyberspace, that would be quite handy. Make him blog to eternity. After surviving three different types of cancer and a couple of heart attacks, he is open to any kind of medical experiment. He is a big fan of state of the art medical science, it keeps saving his ass. Not so for yet another friend of ours who bit the dust last friday. Brain tumors suck.
This Helmut Newton photo used to hang over Piffin's changing table. It helped me come to terms with motherhood, and it gave Piffin something colourful to grab at. That's how it got the distressed look. I thought of it because of yesterday's Coney Island picture. I did a Google search on Coney Island and found this great picture of Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith. (Helmut Newton and Robert Mapplethorpe somehow sit close together in my brain, this blog entry is a mess.) And guess what, lately Piffin is constantly playing my Patti Smith CD, it vanished from the kitchen I just noticed, she must have taken it to her room. Children!! They make all the good stuff disappear, I bought FIVE erasers yesterday because of that, grrrrrr.
I have peer recognition. An artist with an NRC subscription ordered a print. It's really interesting, I am having a gigantic Giclée Fine Art Print made. Hot press on watercolour paper. It's lovely, perfect, magic, I saw the test print today. That's why I was emailing back and forth with William, and he kept sending me strange pictures. I sent him back this one, it made sense, believe me. It's me, back in the mid eighties, Coney Island. Thought I might as well show it to you guys. I'll dedicate a blog entry to William's work in the near future, promise.
Made another deadline. And now I hope there won't be another assignment for at least two weeks. Let me work at the HOUSE for a change. Invite friends, eat drink, shop, party. No drawing.
I had planned on having this one ready today. Too many other things. Otger's glasses died, we found a mega cool new pair. His left eye is very poor according to the optometrist, but at least his prescription didn't change. I'll show you the glasses next week, when they're ready. With sun clip even.
I was already in bed, and then I realised I didn't blog anything today. So I got up again. Now how dedicated is that? I had been drinking the Jasmine tea Michele (How sweet! She plays a tsunami relief concert) gave me for christmas. The kind where you put a stone hard ball in the pot and it becomes a huge flower. It's beautiful, I showed the kids with a torch. Shining a torch in a teapot is sort of weird. But this tea is a real sedative, it just knocks me out after a couple of cups. That's why I was in bed so early. And now I'm going back, yawn.
Willem is seventy today. Hurray!
Bought a lamp today. Thought it might cast some interesting shadows, but it turned my studio into something of an aquarium. Nice lamp though, clear glass with white glass drippings melted all over it, almost like it's tangled up in Ipod wire. Bob Dylan and I have a lot in common.
I love it when I find a TV program with someone I have to portrait.
Ten little postmen brought me my Golden Bookstore today! (I seem to have a storage thing this week.) I assembled it trembling with pure excitement. My first real seriously for sale cut-out house! With instruction manual! It is supposed to give room to 36 little golden books, but I fitted 48! I guess American little golden books are thinner than Dutch ones. Here you can see Tim's mother read a book. And here you can see Mister Dog going for a late night snack.
In my October archives you can see some sketches for the bookstore.
Some more interior design today. A nice example of the condition of things in our household, mint! Hugo Kaagman is a graffiti artist who spraypaints half of our country, even oven cloths, and comes away with it legally. He started out in the eighties with his own house, which he covered in zebra pattern. A friend of ours lived in the same house.
Zeppo tipped me about these shelves. They are absolutely it. I want them. Over my night table. I won't put Kristien Hemmerechts on there though, nor Simenon. But hey, I read in the papers that a new Houellebecq is coming out.
No idea who did this illustration, Dodge is the writer so it seems. Is it an American book? You can read the whole thing online if you want to. But I very much doubt you do. Anyway, it is the best known Dutch hoax. And I am researching old boy book covers.
Martin and Michiel are building the wardrobe. It's going to be quite different from the one above, unfortunately. Though the one above is probably also more complicated than it looks. M & M have to redo half the electrickery in the bedroom, before they can start to rebuild some walls that one of the previous owners demolished. They want a sliding door on the outside of the wardrobe, much like a barn door. With an antique cast iron sliding system. All they have to do is find such a thing.
Full page and half page magazine illustration. Now I can finally help with scratching of the wallpaper. And yes Zeppo, we do use a super high pressure plant spray. But several layers have been painted with effing waterproof paint. The party last night was fabulous. I am starting to believe we live in Toronto's best neighbourhood. One of my neighbours is a cartoonist and a Jim Carrey lookalike. And actalike. And born in Ottawa.