Thursday, June 28, 2007

Scott Adams (artist of comic strip Dilbert) Champagne Moments

Paul's Note:

I came upon this Blog accidentally (surfing), and it turned out to be by the cartoonist who does Dilbert.

I personally am not a big comic fan, and don't read them daily. But if a cartoon catches my eye and my mind- I am the type to clip it and hang it on a wall to share with others. Dilbert has made it onto my walls many times.

I came upon his blog by searching blogs about Iran. And Scott Adams in his blog had an opinion : "There are two ways the United States can overthrow the government of Iran:

1. Massive military attack  2. Withdraw from Iraq

This was at the moment that the government of Iran had started rationing gas, and the Iran public were revolting.

Interesting I thought, and I read more of the blog and I came upon this piece that I thought - `wow, this is worth sharing among artist:

Champagne Moments

I remember the day I got a call from United Media telling me they wanted to offer me a contract to be a syndicated cartoonist. Yay!

But hold the champagne, I thought. The contract was for what they call a “development deal.” That means you work together for six months, and at the end they decide whether or not to sell your comic to newspapers. About four months into my development deal, United Media informed me they planned to launch Dilbert. Yay!

But hold the champagne. There’s no guarantee that enough newspapers will buy the comic to make it successful. As it turned out, only a few dozen smaller papers picked up Dilbert. You need sales in major markets to really get things rolling. One day, after a few years of limping along toward oblivion, the Boston Globe decided to run Dilbert. Yay!

But hold the champagne. That doesn’t mean the readers of the Boston Globe will like the comic. It got off to a rocky start, but eventually it found an audience and stayed. Yay!

But hold the champagne. One major newspaper isn’t enough. I needed lots more. The new newspaper clients trickled in at nearly the same rate as existing clients cancelled. It was five steps forward and four steps back. My editor at United Media suggested that maybe a publisher would be interested in a Dilbert book, and if successful, perhaps that could get newspapers more interested. Andrews McMeel Publishing agreed to publish my business-themed book, “Build a Better Life by Stealing Office Supplies.” Yay!

But hold the champagne. It takes a long time to write a book and get it published. About 18 months later, the book hit the market. It was a modest success, but didn’t set the world on fire. The book helped newspaper sales a little, and the publisher asked for another book. Yay!

The second book didn’t do as well as the first, although it made money. But at least new sales to newspapers were exceeding cancellations by a better margin. Yay!

And so it went, in ant-sized steps forward. Every pat on the back came with a kick in the nuts. I worked for ten years without a day off. During one particularly busy year, I held a full-time job at the phone company, wrote and drew Dilbert, and wrote a book called “The Dilbert Principle.” I didn’t sleep much that year. It was my first hard cover book. Yay!

The Dilbert Principle found the bottom of the best seller list fairly quickly. Each week it climbed until it hit a wall at #2. Dennis Rodman’s tell-all book held the top spot and refused to let go. You would think that having the #2 best selling non-fiction book would be a good reason to crack open the champagne. But I waited. I hoped. And each week I got the call from my publisher, “You’re number two again.” I was happy about my book’s success, of course, but something was missing.

Finally, I got the call. “You’re number one.” I can’t describe what that felt like. If you’re thinking it feels a lot like being number two, only slightly better, you missed it by a light year. I was home alone when I got the news, and I cried for about two hours. Life changed. Newspapers started snapping up Dilbert. Someone released the media hounds. Dilbert was showing up on the major magazine covers. I was booked on the morning shows. It was several years before I could come up for air.

I still haven’t popped the champagne. I just raise the bar for what would be the right moment, and tell myself how tasty it will be if I ever accomplish something special in my work. Apparently the thing inside me that makes me work so hard is the same thing that keeps me unsatisfied. It’s a package deal. The best you can hope for is a family that understands.

Scott Adams

His output is amazing.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Joe Bravo's Tortilla Art

CBS news discovered an artist in East Los Angeles who paints on tortillas.

Joe Bravo said he's been at it 30 years, explaining, "I didn't have money for canvas, so I just started painting on tortilla."

And there is some serious motivation, he says, for using them: "I grew up eating tortillas, they represent the Mexican, Latino, uh, life, our food, our family, just, you know, our heritage. … It's a responsibility to accurately portray my culture to the world"

A tortilla exhibit is breaking attendance records at L.A.'s Mexican Cultural Institute. The small, non-profit gallery was on the verge of closing its doors, but its fortunes could be turning, thanks to tortillas, Kauffman says.

In his home studio, Bravo begins with the biggest tortillas he can find, then adds fire.

The burn marks are inspiration, he says, as if the tortillas tell him what they want to become.

"We look at things sometimes and we see images in them," Bravo explained, "so the tortilla is a perfect vehicle for that."

Coated with acrylic, and with burlap on the back, the tortilla becomes a flexible canvas.

"If (the tortillas weren't) coated with varnish, (they) would break," Bravo says. "It's like I'm encasing (them) in plastic."

Whether kitsch, or fine art, Bravo's works are earning Bravos not just form lookers, but buyers, including celebrities.

"Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers bought Virgen de Guadalupe," Bravo told Kauffman. "Tyra Banks commissioned me to do a portrait of her, and I did one of Hillary Duff, as well."

Some of his pieces sell for as much as $1,500, Bravo says.

Joe Bravo has become quite well known for his innovative use of tortillas as a ground for traditional painting. Here's what he has to say about his works: "I use the Tortilla as a Canvas because it is an integral part of the Hispanic Culture and my heritage. For the subject matter of my tortilla paintings, I use imagery that is representative of Latinos, conveying their hopes, art, beliefs and history. As the tortilla has given us life, I give it new life by using it as an art medium."

"The preparation of the tortilla for painting is as important as the actual painting itself. I first bake several tortillas to get the right texture, shape and coloration for the image I want to paint."

Bravo's Tortilla Artworks are part of a high quality limited edition series. Each painting possesses unique characteristics and no two works are alike. Therefore, the pictures used on these pages are approximate representations of the artist's Tortilla Paintings. To inquire about or purchase Bravo's Tortilla Art, contact him at: Email:

To see much more of Bravo's work and learn much more about him and exhibits his work appears in, visit his Web site at

Tortilla paintings are now on display at a Fresno, Calif., art gallery, Arte Americas, whose Web site can be found at

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Close-up look at the life and times of eight master artists on PBS

Simon Schama’s, The Power of Art

The Power of Art, an engrossing series that takes a close-up look at the life and times of eight master artists, begins its series premiere tonight on PBS (Monday, June 18th, 2007.)

Created by fêted art historian and author, Simon Schama, the broadcasts focus on Mark Rothko, Jacques-Louis David, Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, Rembrandt van Rijn, Caravaggio, Vincent van Gogh, J.M.W. Turner, and Pablo Picasso.

In Schama’s own words, “This is not a series about things that hang on walls; it is not about decor or prettiness, it is a series about the force, the need, the passion of art - the power of art.”

Each one-hour episode examines a masterwork produced by the segment’s featured artist through Schama’s narrative, dramatic recreations, use of historic films and still photos, as well as images of the artist’s works. Tonight’s premiere begins at 9:00 p.m. ET with the story of Vincent van Gogh, followed immediately at 10:00 p.m. by the chronicle of Pablo Picasso. Successive episodes will run each Monday evening through July, 30th, 2007.

Schama’s telling of Picasso’s history begins with a favorite anecdotes regarding the radical Spanish painter. The broadcast starts at the artist’s Paris studio in 1941 during the Nazi occupation, just as the fascist secret police conduct a raid on the artist’s Left Bank apartment. While rummaging through Picasso’s things, a Gestapo officer sees a reproduction of the artist’s famous work, Guernica, and asks “Did you do this?” Picasso replied, “No, you did.”

But Simon Schama’s telltale history of Picasso’s famous mural doesn’t play it safe - the history of the Guernica painting is updated to reflect current realities.

The segment ends with Schama reminding us that in 2003, just prior to the American invasion of Iraq, U.S. officials arranged to cover the tapestry version of Guernica hanging in the United Nations so as not to conflict with the pro-war speech given by then secretary of state, Colin L. Powell.

“The censoring of Picasso’s mural is illustrative of art’s immense power. It is a civilizing force that erases national boundaries and strengthens human solidarity. In particular Picasso’s masterwork continues to aim a laser beam focus on the madness and inhumanity of war, a message that transcends the barbarity suffered by a small Basque village in 1937.

As Picasso himself once said, ‘Art is a lie that tells the truth.’ The artist’s profound mural still speaks the truth to the people of the world, so much so that the powerful feel compelled to censor it.”

Read more about the The Power of Art series - including a schedule of local broadcast listings - at the PBS website.

Friday, June 15, 2007

OsHa hALL :: sElf pOrtRaiT

OsHa hALL sElf pOrtRaiT

Self portraits are an interesting portrayal of ones view of themselves. I call it a mark in time. A calculation during a faze of life. At what ever age in the moment. At what ever emotional, physical, and mental state present.

What side of the personality is visible? Can viewers some how understand an individual through a self portrait? How about their living conditions. What happens during the creation process?

I believe an artist can create a mood. The artist can invite a viewer into their thoughts. An artist has the ability to set the environment tone. We can use a serious tone or a playful tone. The medium an artist uses is a part of this. I believe though that people will read what they want to into any image they feel drawn to. They will like it or dislike it based on their own reasons. I also believe an artist can control the majority of that by the image content and rawness or softness portrayed.
Self portraits are fun. I like to see how my work has changed or not changed over time. How I look is also a part of it for me. My hair changes all the time as does my weight. What I see in the mirror isn't always what others see. I find all parts fascinating.

What about me is necessary for you to know?

I am a graduate from Pacific Northwest College of Art with a Bachelors of Fine Art in Illustration. My mediums of choice are oils, watercolors, and colored pencils. My interests include creating illustrations that educate, evoke, engage, enlighten, and stimulate minds.

I have studied the work Jerry Pinkney, Andrew Wyeth, and many other Illustrators and Artists. These guys render people really well in my opinion. Realism is my thing.

Illustrating children's books is my goal. A job of a lifetime to work with an author who has wonderful words that bring pictures to the mind. I would have the opportunity to help the images have life and meaning visually. Words teamed with pictures make a book powerful to whomever would be engaged. I've been blessed to be able to work on such a project earlier this year. I also have my own that I have big big plans for. Mainly to be in print and much more after that.

Although the field of illustration has a wide spectrum of opportunities. I have only dealt with two areas. Which leads me to greeting cards which I love to create. I specifically do handmade greeting cards and have been fortunate to have a rep out of New York by the name of Constance Kay.

My blog space is

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Jan Wurm :: Self Portraits

"Pandora" mixed media on cigar box
private collection, Oakland, California

"Odalisque" mixed media on paper 11"x14"
now on view "A Tribute to the Rotonde " Gallery Gabrichidze, Brussels

"Medusa" watercolor and chinagraph on paper 12"x10"
collection Archive Verein der Berliner Künstlerinnen, Berlin

"Leda and the Swan" watercolor and chinagraph on paper 10"x12"

"The Couple" oil and charcoal on paper 11"x14"
from "The Look of Love" The Loft Space@ Art Object Gallery, San Jose,
California February 2007

Jan Wurm writes:

Whether engaged by the mythology of the Greeks or the lurking myths of
family or the daily weaving of lively tales, images of Medusa or Leda
or Pandora or the Cat Caught with a Bird, all work forms a self
portrait. And as Leonardo wrote, we are all painting ourselves ( and he
warned that we be alert to our own physical shortcomings lest they
appear in our paintings ). Thus a short survey of these self depictions
are interesting not so much for the recurrent features - curly wild
hair, bumpy nose, wrinkled brow -as for the recurring themes: struggle
with the suitor ( be he bird, swan or man ), seduction, exploitation,
abandonment. All of this cloaked in storytelling and a red wig.

Jan Wurm

Jan Wurm graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, and received a Master's degree from the Royal College of Art in London. Wurm's work has been exhibited in many galleries, including the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, the Mandeville Art Gallery of the University of California, San Diego, the Newport Harbor Art Museum Art Rental Gallery, and Southern Exposure Gallery, San Francisco. She has taught for the University of California Extension, and the Art Studio of the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC). Wurm lives and works in Berkeley, California.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Jesse Edwards :: Self Portraits

Jesse Edwards lives in a downtown studio that is packed with his paintings. They lean in stacks and protrude in piles. His bed is a sack on the floor, which is littered with fast food packaging, art books and objects he uses for his still lifes, including a skull, a skateboard, pop cans, bongs, porn magazines, shredded dolls, a toy cop car and the odd piece of fruit.

Jesse Edwards, 29, is a formal easel painter living a highly informal life. In spite of his thuggish behavior and attitude, most of the Seattle art community has been very welcoming thanks to his undeniable talent.

He has a computer covered in graffiti on a wrecked table beside half an office chair, foam spilling out, that he found on the street.

Creature comforts are not his thing.

"I'm an artist," Jesse Edwards said. "I want to paint in oils like the old masters."

An aspiration to old master painting is not the first thing that comes to mind on meeting him.

He looks like a thug. At 29, he's tall and lean with thick muscles running up his tattooed arms and down his torso. His smile doesn't often reach his eyes, which bore into people.

"I'm an ex-thug," he said. "In the old day, I'd stomp people who disrespected my tags."


"Put them down so they don't get up. I was a kid. I didn't know any better."

Edwards considers art his salvation, the job that focuses his energy, calms him and gives him a leg up in the larger world.

(text from Seattle Post Intelligencer October 2006 (read the whole article here)

Jesse Edwards Website

Jesse Edwards MYSPACE

This is part of an on going project that seeks to display self portraits from living artist in the United States. So if your an artist - please submit! To see all of the other submissions go here go here

Jesse Edwards is the Ninth artist to submit to the Art Talk Self Portraits
The other artist are:

Rob Byrd His website (
Kieth Farris (visit his myspace here)
Charlie Allen Kraft (visit his site here)
Chris Ellis

Gwen Seemel (visit her at
Andrew Sloan
Robin Feeyly (visit her here at
Poet Robert Klein Engler (visit him here at

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Self Portrait :: Rob Byrd

You can see more of Rob Byrd's work at his website:


This is part of an on going project that seeks to display self portraits from living artist in the United States. So if your an artist - please submit! To see all of the other submissions go here

Rob Byrd is the eight artist to submit. The other artist are:
Kieth Farris (visit his myspace here)
Charlie Allen Kraft (visit his site here)
Chris Ellis

Gwen Seemel (visit her at
Andrew Sloan
Robin Feeyly (visit her here at
Poet Robert Klein Engler (visit him here at

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