Steve Wacksman
October 2006
Taking Apart A Well-Oiled Machine
A failure, sure, but a learning experience.
Yesterday I visited the optometrist. After gazing through a series of high-tech binoculars, stereoscopes. monocles and spectacles I was rather ruefully informed that I was 'in biiiig trouble'. It seems that i've been in need of specs for some time now (15 or so years, by the doc's estimation) and have been forcing my eyes to focus, the equivalent of spending your waking life with your fists tightly clenched.

When I was finally fitted with lenses of the proper perscription I felt a sense of relaxation and relief that I had no earthly idea I was missing. It was as if someone had loosened a screw in the center of my forehead.

Interesting, right? But what's the relevance, you ask. Well, ( and bear with me; this might be kind of a stretch)- it's all about ways of seeing. I've been focusing, literally and figuratively, on one level for so long that I've lost touch with other...planes? possibilities? And while my 'style' has most certainly evolved over the years, I fear that my thinking about my artwork hasn't.
Quick and photoshoppy.
I'm trying some new things; new approaches, techniques, media. I'll keep the rambling to a minimum, but here's a look at what's been going on. Keep in mind that these are baby steps- I'm unbelievebly uptight. But I'm dipping my toe in...
Personality Plus!
Did this one last week for the Boston Globe. I spent the majority of my time working on character design ,which tends to be  my favorite part of any job. This one, I'm afraid, suffered for it somewhat; I'm not thrilled with the dynamic of the 'lead character' in the crowd.

It was done piecemeal and the 'lead' figure was concieved in a seperate sketch. I had to rework it extensively to fit the dimensions of the cover and allow for type. In trhe end time got tight and there wasn't enough time left over for a bunch of fidgeting. And man, can I fidget when time allows.

Another issue that came into play was the fact that I finished this piece in Photoshop, a method that, while gaining chops, I'm still not entirely proficient with yet. I had a plan to attempt to add depth to the image using a splatter-y airbrush technique, but multiple passes at it were unsatisfactory and I finally gave up the fight.

Anyhow, the article is about how sometimes it's best to look past the resume and hire someone with a sparkling personality- you can train him to have the skills, but you can't train a guy not to be a complete dick.
Think FINK!
Monster Art of the 1960's is one of the things that inflames the passions of my inner child, along with Funny Face Drink Mix, Pilsbury Food Sticks, Evel Kenevel and Rankin-Bass holiday specials. Here's to the king monster of Monster Art- RAT FINK!
Hope For Today's Youth
Insane. In the best possible sense.
Attention Parents: Turn off Dora. Turn off Thomas.



Could it be? Is someone daring to actually challenge young minds?? Where are the marketing execs? Why haven't they put a stop to this?
Taking Another Crack At Ye Olde Photoshoppe
Nick Magazine suggests putting a pizza in your parka might not be the best way to stay warm in the winter months. It's always worked for me, however.
Just turned this one yesterday. I'm feeling pretty good about it. Photoshoppin' is still a bit alien to me. In fact it slowed me down quite a bit. But I've been displeased with the work I've been doing for the children's market for a long while and I think I might be coming around the bend here.

Whenever an assignment for the kids' market comes up I immediately channel my set of 1967 Childcraft Encyclopedias. Almost the entire set is done in Cyan and Black tones and is the coolest goddamn thing ever. I've tried to slip this past several clients but to no avail.

Anyhow, the texture and line in those books and in the illos of the era are something I've been after for some time and with this last one I believe I'm closing in on it.
This was one of several rejected homages to my beloved Childcraft Encyclopedias.
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