Maggie Sutrov’s plein air comics, Dan Nadel chronicles Paper Radio; Clean Sweep; Creators For Creators; Koyama Press in the news; Rokudenashiko;  Jason Moran; Remembering Harold Cohen. 

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New Comics – Maggie Sutrov
Comics Workbook is featuring  a collection of comics drawn and painted by teacher and artist, Maggie Sutrov this week. Made on site and in the moment, these comics represent an under-examined mode of comics making. Join Maggie for a walk on the page. Here’s hoping her work gets you inspired to make observational comics of your own.
Check it out here!


Inside front cover of Christopher Forgues’s Low Tide #5, November 2001.

Inside front cover of Christopher Forgues’s Low Tide #5, November 2001.

Punk and Hippie
Dan Nadel has put together a killer reflection on the collaborative work Ben Jones and Christopher Forgues(CF) did as Paper Radio over on Art in America. It’s something else. A Comics Comics boomerang that smacks you hard across the face. Nadel explores the roots of their comics, growing up in Massachusetts, subversive fan fiction, and the monumental impact of their short lived collaboration in the early 2000s. So many great details in this piece:

Jones and Forgues found their own ways into making comics, but neither made a hierarchical distinction between mediums.Everything was fair game, except perhaps the remote-seeming New York art world. As Forgues recalls, “The idea of being an artist seemed absurd.” The venues, audiences, and markets for gallery art appeared totally foreign. “I’m going to do an installation? Where? I’m gonna paint on canvas? How? Where am I gonna show? At a coffee shop? Art seemed like the past, and a zine was the present and tangible . . . a way to proceed.”

And this one:

Both Jones and Forgues drew, as they still do, in pencil, which was unheard of at the time in professional circles but appropriate for Paper Radio’s primary printing technique: photocopying. Without the need for the photostat process by which older comics were created, there’s no need for ink. They produced flat and open figures through their airy, calligraphic approach. Paper Radio never attempted illusionistic realism; instead, the drawings invite projection from readers, which the artists saw as a way of initiating an intimate exchange with their audience. As Forgues puts it, “I was thinking about how to make this work with the least amount of stuff possible. That sounds easy or lazy, but it’s actually incredibly hard. The whole mission of cartooning is, with a few lines, to bring something across that’s real in the mind. The whole magic of what it is to represent something on a surface. The space is there, and you fill it with your brain.” By foregrounding, and deepening, the interaction that happens in all kinds of reading, Forgues and Jones understood Paper Radio as connected to performance, which was integral to so much of the culture pouring out of Fort Thunder.

Read it all here on Art in America.



Clean Sweep
CF has released 3 new works that you don’t want to sleep on:
Dumb, beautiful and soon to be out of stock. CF takes on the scroll. Minds are sure to melt.
See what it’s all about over on the Free-CF site.



 A Neo-Xeric Grant
Image Comics and Iron Circus Comics have teamed up to create the Creators For Creators grant. Seems like good stuff for makers who feel they have the chops to get a big break from two independent publishing powerhouses. 

The goal of the Creators for Creators grant is to help pave the way for the next generation of comics creators by supporting their work financially and through mentorship, as well as providing opportunities for their creations to reach a wide audience. We plan to give $30,000 to a single cartoonist or writer/artist duo in order to support the creation of a new and original work of a length between sixty-four and one hundred pages over the course of a single year. The recipient will be selected by committee according to rigorous criteria.

Submissions opened yesterday. Learn more here.



Illustration by Lisa Hanawalt
Illustration by Lisa Hanawalt

Koyama Corner
Koyama Press has been featured in the culture section of FADER, the music magazine. It’s great to see Koyama Press, and Annie in particular, getting profiled for audiences outside of comics circles. Zainab Akhtar puts together a nice profile of the publisher for folks outside of the very comics publishing bubble that Koyama press has spent it’s existence trying to bust. From the article, here’s Michael Deforge on Annie Koyama:

“She was a comics reader, but Koyama Press didn’t start out primarily as a comics publisher, so she didn’t have that weird, insular point of view that some people who’ve spent too long in comics can develop,” says DeForge. “She didn’t have preconceived notions about what a ‘proper’ comic looked like, what a sellable one looked like, or the formats they should be printed in.”

Check it all out here.


Robert Kirby takes a good look at Koyama Press’ What is Obscenity by Rokudenashiko over on The Comics Journal. It’s great to see this book make it through people’s hands and gain momentum as a vessel for Rokudenshiko’s thoughts and experiences as a Japanese woman.

Ultimately, Rokudenashiko’s greatest weapon is her refusal to capitulate to the attempts at belittling and dismissing her: when she claims “Rokudenashiko”/”Good for Nothing”, as as her own, she ties herself to a long and noble activist tradition of reappropriation (for example, feminists reclaiming “bitch,” to express strength and independence, and the LGBT community’s use of “Queer” to connote solidarity among its different factions and to state opposition to sexual binaries). Also, she tells us, “I’ve always liked to fight.” The fact that the authorities prove utterly clueless about crowdfunding, among many other things, only strengthens her resolve and defiance.

Read it all on The Comics Journal.


The work of musician/composer/artist Jason Moran is being exhibited in Bushwick gallery, Luhring Augustine through July 30th. Moran’s work links music and visual art in a way that deeply explores racial entanglements in American cultural production. This exhibition is an especially notable one for how it explores the flow of music through space and time via architecture and the performance of remembered music. It’s jaw dropping stuff.

STAGED will include a range of objects and works on paper, including two large-scale sculptures featuring audio from Moran’s STAGED series that were recently exhibited in the 56th Biennale di Venezia.  Based on two historic New York City jazz venues that no longer exist (the Savoy Ballroom and the Three Deuces), the sculptures are hybrids of reconstructions and imaginings.  Works on paper and smaller objects will be in dialogue with the stage sculptures on many levels: citing performance and process, employing sound, and exploiting the visual history of jazz in America.

It’s interesting to see how the history of Jazz is treated in the world of fine Art, when it’s not just seen as an ancillary development to the narrative of arts movements.  It’s really striking when Jason speaks in the above video about the role and Jason Moran’s body of work speaks to how the music transforms from healing to hurt. Makes you think.


Harold Cohen Has Passed Away
Last week, on the 27th of April, code artist, Harold Cohen, passed away at age 88.

Cohen, a computer scientist and artist, developed AARON, code which could generate unique visual compositions autonomously in 1973, starting with abstract and later with more representational subjects. Interestingly in the 1990s, Cohen’s compositions were translated to the physical realm, drawn and painted by plotters onto canvas.

The blog, Prosthetic Knowledge, has a good look at his AI and its evolution for those interested in his legacy.


That’s all for today. Until next time.
Stay dry.

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