Rob Dunlavey
June 2007
Arp's Bicycle
Hans Arp was known for incorporating quirky organic shapes into his artwork. The funky white-ish cloud shape was left over from my daughter's art experiments and I knew I could put it to use as a stencil.
Who here has an Epson printer? Just about everyone. I'm mostly satisfied with mine but it has a nasty habit of thinking its cartridges are out of ink when they aren't. Can you relate? Well, don't toss those half-spent cartridges away because they have lots of ink inside and ink means: Art Supplies!
The cyan blobs in this picture are what squirted out of the cartridge when I peeled off the forbidden stickers.  Very messy stuff that soaked through about five pages of the sketchbook and behaves strangely with the cheap paper. I wouldn't have it any other way though. Accidents like these are like moguls to a skier: go with the flow and get in a rhythm. Maybe you'll transcend what you thought were your limitations!
A Sleeping Nation Goes Off to War
Epson ink, ballpoint, gouache 8 1/2 x 11"
After a variety of artistic meanderings, this image arrived out of the welter of marks that were seeking some kind of justification. It goes in step with a book I've just finished reading: "The Greatest Story Ever Sold" by Frank Rich. This book catalogs, analyzes and lambastes the media and the Bush administration for the profound mess they have created in Iraq and by extension, the equally profound mess here in the "homeland". I've been against the war and Bush (both of them) from the very beginning. But after reading this book, I feel as if I was asleep during the whole run-up and subsequent execution of the war. And I fear about what is happening AT THIS MOMENT as we prepare for our own bit of democratic regime change.

The coming election becomes a popularity contest at our own peril. We have to drill deeper than who is "electable" and all that. Follow the money and look hard at the underlying philosophy of the candidates. Bush brought us Enron, Cheney, Rove and Wolfowitz.  What will the Democrats bring along with them??

It's time for the people to wake up and lead the nation in a way that restores a battered but resilient American ideal that has been sadly abused of late.
Saturday Morning
Creative chaos!
collage in progress "House of Fish" Soundtrack: "Rise Up" by Thomas Mapfumo and The Blacks Unlimited Art is everywhere!
Adios Mac!
Good stout cords (lots of them) and those nasty black bricks. Au revoir!
Finally putting this old puppy down in deep storage in the basement. It never died on me and was always eager to help out. I started my digital illustration business on this model and I was chagrined to see that I used it on projects that are still quite fresh in my memory. I remember getting it on an educational discount from a sister-in-law who is in academia. My first print job on it was birth announcement for my  now (almost)13 year old daughter.

A Power PC 7100/66 with a gaggle of peripherals.  Remember all those drives daisy chained together and SCSI cords as fat as your wrist? I upgraded the OS on it as far as I could go and was always trying to squeeze RAM into it one way or another. It's pre-Internet; imagine that!
Dismembered, ready for a dark corner and a long cool sleep.
The Macs had this little hole in the case next to the floppy drive (floppies, remember!!?). If your precious data got stuck in the floppy drive you could pop it out with a straightened paper clip inserted in that little hole. Steve Jobs thought of everything!
And who could live without one of these?!
Those were the days!
Optimized Popeye
Here's a view of a final bit of cover art I did last week. The concept started as  a doodle along with a few more straightforward ideas for an issue of Network World devoted to what engineers can do to optimize existing computer networks.
Sketching is a funny process: I see-saw between ideas that seem like good concepts that will sell the idea and those that will work in with my personal artistic agenda du jour. I was surprised when Brian Gaidry, the art director chose the Popeye idea.
Here are some of the sketches ganged up. Since it was  a cover I had to work around the title, cover copy and place for the address label. Network World contacted King Features Syndicate and was given the green light to use Popeye.
I found it challenging to turn the Popeye icon into something I could call my own. I kept thinking of Richard McGuire's "P+O" book of Popeye and Olive Oyl silhouettes.

I tried keeping my approach  primitive and simple while still clearly existing as a digital concept. I even made a 3-d computer model of Popeye. I ended up scrapping all that as too much distraction or trickery and just drew the darn thing and tried to make it as pretty as possible.
This was created in Adobe Dimensions. I thought it would  give the image a primitive yet "cyber" quality. It just didn't seem right for the concept or, more importantly, for me. I was very conscious of one of my illustration heroes: John Hersey. I kept thinking, how can I do this assignment and have it clearly be my own (even though working with an graphic icon like Popeye) and still acknowledg my debt to people like Hersey and McGuire. Hopefully I've found a little stylistic toehold to call my own. A place to continue the evolutionary process of articulating my own voice.
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