The title for this essay "God is Black" is about all I had to go on at the TIME, as it was not yet written. The premise is that the authoratative voice has been African American for awhile now (think James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman).
It was a great opportunity to draw some of those strange little Putti characters.
It was good to receive an assignment from TIME outlining the many crimes of the outgoing administration. I could not help but think of the hulking machines driven by the puny pink aliens in War of the Worlds. I used this opportunity to indulge my armor fetish as the vessel for the little man.
Is anyone else having trouble getting their head around the constant talk of billions of dollars? And just when you feel like there might be a cieling to the billions, a discussion of trillions begins. And then there is this nagging feeling that no matter how much money we (taxpayers) throw at the problems (incompetence, fraud, gluttony), it's like shoveling it into a bottomless pit. Hence my idea for the current TIME commentary page on bailouts.
The final art running in today's Wall Street Journal.
Pirates no longer resemble the iconic characters of Treasure Island, but the danger still exists for any ships navigating the waters off the coast of East Africa. There's no romance in the chaos born pirates of today, and drawing them, sans eye patch and peg legs, is no longer fun.
The sketch had the motley crew dregged up from the waters holding an assortment of weapons. I reasoned that they wouldn't be captive for long if they still had a means for violence, and so I struck them from the final version.
This alternative sketch draws upon the "walk the plank" idea. I was uncomfortable with the image and was glad they chose the other.
Arrrr...is there anything more interesting to draw than pirates? Ok...dragons and devils and deep sea fish, perhaps.
The Leaves are on the ground in Eastern Pennsylvania as we begin to turn our thoughts to Winter and our interiors.
To Autumn by William Blake
O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain'd
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may'st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.
'The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust'ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather'd clouds strew flowers round her head.
'The spirits of the air live in the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.'
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,
Then rose, girded himself, and o'er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.
At this point in time, all I have is this poor repro of my contribution to the Artist's against the War show. For a better look at the ugliest elephant ever drawn (my infamous claim) you'll just have to turn out to the opening Wednesday evening. See you there!!!
A gathering of Drawgers and Inxsters took place on my turf this past Saturday under blue skies and perfect swimming conditions. We ate, drank, laughed and swam. The goal of having a relaxing day was acheived.
Along with my son, Dylan, and his girlfriend, Sam, we traversed four state lines to spend the Fourth of July with Randy & Leann Enos at their home/studio/horse farm in Connecticut.
Here, Randy is proudly displaying the catch of the day. It's not uncommon for Randy to follow a horse, bucket outstretched , as it relieves itself... in an effort to catch poop midair before it spoils the immaculately kept arena. Meanwhile, Dylan & Sam get acquainted with various parts of a horse's anatomy.
After a few quick lessons by consummate riding instructor, Leann, Sam was galloping off on her own.
All creatures great and small, are welcomed at the Enos ranch.
Randy & Bri (Musey) strut arm & arm to the house to prepare a sumptuous lunch, followed by a visit to Randy's subteranean studio. The walls are a visual feast and everywhere there is evidence of the rich life Randy lives through his art, family, friends, various collections and momentos from his long, successful career.
THE BLOCK WALL: The wall leading to the studio is lined with Randy's lino blocks. Many of these are discarded and never make to the wall, which i suggested to Randy ...might be considered a crime by most of us. I managed to wrestle this gorgeous original block from Randy, somewhere in between the flat file and the trash bin. I am mesmerized by the mandala like quality of it.
After frolicking on the Westport beach for awhile, we enjoyed each other's conversation over dinner at a local Enos haunt. There is no fireworks display that can compare with the colorful, charismatic, gracious qualities of Randy and Leann Enos.
My two contributions to this interesting show on artist's take on armor at the Williams Center for the Arts, Lafayette College, Easton, PA.
I've always been interested in the imaginitive designs for metal as it conforms to the human (or animal) form.
Amour d’ Armor: Fear, Fantasy, and Fashion in the New Age Historically, the function of armor has been protection, although during some eras, such as the Renaissance, its use was primarily ceremonial and as fashion. The need for protection has guided human inventiveness throughout history. In the complex modern age, our desire for safety may be greater than ever, even as we realize the essential futility of warding off all dangers, real or imagined. In the quest for protection, contemporary inventors and artists alike have created wildly inventive devices that fuse practicality, fantasy, paranoia, and fashion. This exhibition will explore recent “armor,” from the fantastic to the practical, in a collection of objects that reveal the obsessions of our age. Curated by Lafayette art historians Robert S. Mattison and Ida Sinkevic
Thoroughly Modern Millie began it's run last night, with my daughter in the role of Millie. It played to a sold out audience and Anna was in her best form. We delivered the backdrops the night before the full dress rehearsal and everyone seems pleased with the result. If you think facing the "white Bull" of a blank piece of paper can be intimidating...try 48 feet of blank canvas.
A view of the down stage curtain with the excellent pit band.
Just a few of the photos I shot with a telephoto lens.
There's been little time to blog lately because the backdrop time of year has rolled around again. My daughter is the lead in this year's high school production of "Thoroughly Modern Millie". So i get to do the scenery. This year, I followed the ideas & drawings of my friend (and muralist) James Gloria. Together with a third friend, we finished and hung the first of a series of curtains and props. Sorry...gotta go. There's another 48 foot curtain to paint tonight.
Painting on the floor presents a number of challenges. We held our breath when the curtain was hung for fear that the perspective was skewed.
My daughter recieves the early decision acceptance letter to the college of her choice. Her criteria for choosing a school was that it be small, with a strong sense of community, and provide a well rounded education. the priority, of course, for this passionate & gifted young woman (gush), is that it have an outstanding theater program. We were advised by faculty at NYU & Rutgers (without knowing where we lived) that this Pennsylvania college was one of the best for musical theater and drama. And so the journey begins.
So many years between these cards. Incidentally, I thought I was smiling (both times).
So I return to the place that inspired me to pursue my passion for drawing. It's tempting to say that my new role at Pratt is no longer on the receiving end. But anyone who teaches well, knows that not to be true. It's an inspiring give and take exchange of ideas. If it were not for the monumental artists (perhaps more importantly - extraordinary human beings) like Jos A. Smith and James Grashow, I would surely have taken another path. BIG shoes to fill. Wish me luck in my efforts to make a difference in the new crop of artist hopefuls.
Few public figures stir the heart and soul like Martin Luther King did, and still does. When my kids were small, I'd sit them down to listen to his speeches on this anniversary date. What would follow was a larger discussion of American values. King remains a heroe and an example of decency and courage in this household.
I gave myself 2 hours this morning to create this image. The medium...brush & ink, & foil.
Today, I juggled gratis work with my deadlines. This is the poster art for my daugher's high school play. She is the lead (millie) in "Thoroughly Modern Millie". They requested something simple and eye catching, so I used the single figure and a bright palette. There will be a great deal of text added to the top and bottom, so it will undoubtedly get busy. i forgot how difficult it is to control watercolor on such large (15 X 22), saturated paper.
The Gothard household, ready to receive guests through the main doors.
Each year, our big event is to host a dinner party for family and friends alike, on Christmas Eve. This year, the guest list rounded out at 25. My goal is to create a magical atmosphere in which everyone can relax and revel in one another's company.
Each place setting is designated with a cutout. This year's theme..."The Gothard Circus". Drawger Jos. A. smith sits here.
Our son, dylan, lights the 100 plus candles before the guests arrive.
With everyone in full attendance, the feast begins. Mrs. G, in the left side of this pic, finally gets to relax.
Afterwards, good conversation continues through the night.
Meanwhile the cleanup crew breaks down and our house is restored to , well....it's original chaos.
Post dinner, the kids retreat to the guest room, where they pile onto the couch, and hopefully, another warm memory is established.
Every Christmas Eve, we host a dinner for friends and family. I create place settings with a theme. These are always cut-outs with everyone in attendance photoshoped into the image. This year, the theme is "The Gothard Circus". I used a 1920's Diixie Cup Circus propmotional set that we picked up years ago, for the basis of the circus. It's a 30 piece set with extraordinary illustrations (artist unknown). Here are the results. Of course, I am the ringleader.
My son, Dylan, always ends up lookin good.
Daughter, Anna, riding some duck - ostrich hybrid.
Yesterday, Jos.A. Smith and I visited the Brooklyn Museum to take in 3 extraordinary shows. I wasn't familiar with one of the artists who ended up being the one that left me awestruck. Walton Ford meticulously renders large scale fantasical looking animals in a style reminicent of early scientific depictions, and Audubon's work. Look further and they become metaphors for contemporary issues, complete with hidden imagery, scrawled notes, and an attention to detail that never gets "tight", all on carefully distressed paper. The works are beautifully rendered and powerfully moving. Highly recommended.
November 3, 2006–January 28, 2007 Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 4th Floor
New York–born artist Walton Ford, a 1982 graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, draws inspiration from the work of such nineteenth-century artists as the naturalist John James Audubon and the French caricaturist J.J. Grandville, whose part-human, part-animal subjects satirize man's shortcomings. This exhibition presents more than fifty of Ford's large-scale, meticulously executed watercolors from the 1990s to the present, which depict birds and animals in a style resembling Audubon's prodigious Birds of America—but with a significant twist. While beautiful, Ford's paintings often portray scenes of violence and offer a wry critique of colonialism, the naturalist tradition, and the relationship between man and animal. Tigers of Wrath: Watercolors by Walton Ford is organized for the Brooklyn Museum by Marilyn Kushner, Curator of Prints and Drawings.
A weekend ago was a birthday to remember. Randy and Leann Enos, James and Guzzy Grashow, visited bearing gifts of art and renewed vows of friendship. How many times is one cast in art as a heroe, by a heroe? My first selfish impulse was to hang this very personalized art above my drawing board, where only I and a few random visitors could enjoy it. But...it's just too damn good not to share. S o here I am, chucking paint brushes at villians, and tending to my garden of loved ones. If one measures his or her life by the quality of friends, then I am truly blessed.
This is a last feeble attempt to lure some fellow Drawgers out to our show's opening tonight, Friday, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm. Hey, we're only 80 miles this side of the Hudson river, and if the promise of an endless supply of wine, good food, stimulating conversation and some OK art, all in beautiful, historic, downtown Bethlehem is not enuf to entice you...jest stay home.
I'll remove this redundant post by tomorrow.
For more info: eDavidgallery.com
Time warp....this is an early job that brought a good deal of attention (1982 - checkitout!). I was repped by a legend in his day - Ted Riley, who passed away shortly after this date. Ted was furious with me - post job - because the editor called and asked for the original art (as a gift!), and I agreed. Hey, I was still pretty green! Ted was big on selling the original art - no gifts. The biz was then run by his nephew Whit Stillman (now of independent film fame - Metropolitan, Barcelona, etc.). He used it on all the promos. That was the last of my positive agent experience.
My one and only ever music post.....
Last night, Lyle Lovett and his big band performed in Princeton, NJ and I was among the sold out audience. His quirky personna and lyrics were balanced by some legends in the music biz, mostly from Austin & L.A., that comprise the band. They blend R&B, rock, bluegrass & yes, country, seamlessly. He makes me wanna wear a ten gallon hat.
For all you Drawgers within striking distance of the sleepy hamlet of Bangor, Pa. (85 miles from NYC / 65 miles from Philly ) we extend this invitation to come join us at our pool nestled in lush gardens, for a fun filled day of good food (homemade Indian food), good music, spirits, swimming, and great conversation. R.S.V.P for directions by using the contact link here at my Drawger page.
For the record, The NYTimes is great for starting campfires (especially the biz & real estate sections). Firstly, because there is SO much of it in the Sunday edition. And then there is ALL that bad news. So I reached for it last night as we prepared for some serious marshmellow meltin. Just as the fire caught the smaller kindling, I noticed an Enos about to toast. Realizing the moral and aesthetic crime about to take place, I thrust my arm into the burning pyramid of twigs, risking third degree burns, and saved this beautiful art. Well, slight exageration, but I can only hope that someone might return the favor some day and retrieve my work from the bottom of a bird cage or litter box. Sigh.
Nice work Randy!
I'm gonna do my best to keep the proud papa gushing to a minimum. Last night was the big extravaganza televised ceremonies honoring all the high school's theatre productions in a wide area of what is known here as the Lehigh Valley. It's kinda like a pseudo version of the Tony awards, with all the hype, limos, tuxedoes, red carpets, and excitement. My daughter came away with the prize, but has it all in reasonable perspective ( I don't ).
Gave a talk to academia this week (me on the left). The focus was Iraq and terrorism, using my editorial work as the vehicle. Admirably, the college is attempting to raise the consciousness on campus - Joel Meyorwitz talked last week (a tough act to follow). Started out with 150 images, editing it down to around half that. Had a very thoughtful and interested crowd in attendance and so it went very well. The principle point I was trying to make was that in the age of spin, rhetoric and propaganda, the artist as "purveyor of truth" can cut through it all like a knife. Or, conversely, become a tool of the propaganda machine. Because of the narrow and often skewed opinion expressed in editorials, I try not to illustrate the rant, but instead find a universal humanity - engaging viewers emotionally and hopefully provoking them to think beyond the rhetoric.
Having just put this down as text, it looks so damn lofty and self important, but luckily, I think I struck the right chord for the talk.
For those of you who love drawing from the model but don't get enough time in....here's your chance....an all nighter, drawing from several models, plus pizza. Man, who could ask for anything more. I've heard about this from friends for years, but this will be my first time I'm participating. Scratch it in yer calendars.
Show curtain for local high school musical "State Fair".
Call me De gratis artist. Every community has to have a village idiot and a token artist. That's me (the token artist - wise guy) and since my daughter stars in the high school play....guess who does all the backdrops? I enlisted a friend, and together we banged out three 14'x42' backdrops in little over a week - working the graveyard shift to get it done in time. I do manage to have some fun though. This pic is of the show curtain I decided to give a carny theme to, which actually has very little to do with the wholesome, hoaky world of the Iowa state fair. Also managed to borrow a circa 1900 Coney Island carousel lion for the play. Had restored it some 6 or 7 years ago after it's discovery in a storage shed. Some knucklehead with a goldfinger fixation had sprayed it with gold paint and (probably) having realized the crime he'd comitted, abandoned it to decay. I'll post a pic of the lion in it's current glory.