Drawn.ca (another great art blog) had this linked up yesterday, and I’ve got to pass it on like the ultra-spliff it is… Nuthin’ But Mech, nuthinbutmech.blogspot.com. Even the name is cool. They feature, (can you guess? ), lots of ROBOTS!! Here’s a couple to whet your mecha-ppetite…
This blog has collected some awesome art, see all 20 or so pieces here, but I’m a little irked this is being called “retro futurism”. These are more like the opposite of retro futurism. Straight lines, grids, triangles, no. Not RF. Just because these pics are set in space doesn’t define them as futurism or retro futuristic. I think I’ve just revealed myself a hard-geek for art terminology , but when you talk about something with artists they (and you) need to know what you’re really referring to. Below are tripped-out, kick-space-butt, shine-a-light-through-a-prism, Pink-Floyd-esque posters. Call it whatever, Retro-Dark-Side maybe, but its not futurist. It is cool though.
There is some trouble defining this retro-futurism term though. Take out the “retro” though. There was a Futurist movement in painting. Which eventually influenced a lot architecture that idealized (maybe even parodied) what the future would be like. Saucer-ish shaped buildings ( at LAX airport), diners with huge arches (ahem McDonald’s anyone?), boomerang / rocket shapes in buildings, even the cheesy Welcome to Las Vegas sign. Whet your appetite for info and pics over yonder… http://www.spaceagecity.com/googie/ or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Googie_architecture . And to confuse things a little, this architectural child of the movement tends to fit the term “futurism” a little bit better than the what the actual Futurist painters were doing. At least with a building that looks like a spaceship its easy to say “wow, futuristic!” But the real fathers of this movement weren’t drawing space cities, but just playing with chaotic movement and swooping shapes of ordinary landscapes, buildings, or people.
I’m okay with some loose definitions. When I think of futurism my mind calls up the more playful, doo-woop stuff that was being done in architecture to portray howfun the future would be. Someone else might think of this Boccioni painting. (Runs back from trip to Wiki) The term has some range. But none of the Tron-inspired art below would be considered retro of any Futurist stuff in the early or mid 1900′s. If there’s one common thread to that movement, I would say it was about loving movement and playing with shapes. The pics below are precise. They are grids, they are stacked lines and boxes that are conforming to a path. Yes, they have motion, but they aren’t loving being in motion. Like tossing a baseball in space, its just gonna make a straight line for a long long long time. A real Futurist would want to depict all the potential movement of that baseball, in one painting , starting with the winding motion of the pitcher.
So what are good examples of retro-futurism? Well consider first what ended Futurism. The future. Duy. Obviously Futurist painters died off. Saucer shaped buildings were always a novelty, not the norm. A giant arch around a building was eventually just costly and unnecessary. People were gonna eat cheeseburgers because they liked chesseburgers, arch or no… So I’d say art that revives the fun of the future would be considered retro-futurism. A great example is obviously Futurama. Every background shot of New NYC in Futurama is exactly that silly Googie architecture across an entire city. But are cartoons not serious enough to be consider retro-futuristic. Well, “retro” anything is always playing off what that thing was. And futurism wasn’t boring, so to retro-ize it is like double the fun. I’d consider many cartoons retro-futurism. Dexter’s Lab was also highly stylized with elements from futurist architecture, but even the character design includes many of the same swooping shapes.
Now to be fair, the Unicorn Alien Killer below is very playful, but I won’t give it marks for being retro-futuristic. It could be considered “retro”-something. I’m reminded of getting my dad to buy me Atari games based on how cool the box art was. Someone else might be reminded of a Motley-Crew t-shirt. I have no problem with the term “retro”, its just that “futurism” is reserved already and its not what’s below. Hear yours truly wax philosophical even longer on this topic in this drawing tutorial.
So a couple weeks ago I installed TweetDeck which is a great AIR app to take up an entire second monitor. If Twitter were a car, TweetDeck would be a giant dashboard: lots of stuff you rarely look at while driving. But even a little peripheral distraction into the twitter network is a lot better than what I was doing before , which was pretty much ignoring it entirely. I have my tweets set up through TwitterFeed.com which just publishes my blog titles and adds a link. So I wasn’t really logging onto Twitter before, and definitely not paying attention to anyone else. For shame I know. But TweetDeck has changed that a lot. I have some search filters set for terms like “Adobe Flash” or “Toon Boom” so I can listen in on what others are saying about things I might want to chime in on. And of course there’s a column for Friends tweets, Direct Messages, etc. Anyway, I’m not trying to sell you on downloading a totally free program, but just FYI, if you do, I’m a little more reachable now on Twitter.
Which brings me to my meddling. I found an artist, Ian Merch (here’s his portfolio site) and I noticed he was pondering on his blog whether to go with a pro font lettering for his webcomic, or hand draw out the lettering. So I had to chime in. Hand-lettering is really tough to pull off I think. I’ve seen a lot of webcomic artists try, and rarely does it look good. Or legible. I suggested trying Artbrush Medium, which Ian is using now. Artbrush is a great font, and anyone reading this blog has seen it a few times, as its the lettering for “CARTOON” in the logo.
Anyway, in exchange for inserting my not-so-humble opinion into Ian’s world, I promised I’d give him internet fame for a day. So check out his work!…
The annual Drawing Day is upon us! Never heard of it? Well here’s the skinny from the source, DrawingDay.org …
What is Drawing Day?
One day a year, the world stops to remember that joy we had when we first picked up a pencil and created our first piece of art – that’s what Drawing Day is all about. The goal for Drawing Day is simple – to create enough drawings to make some noise worldwide for the sake of art. 2008 was the first year of this initiative. Our goal is definitely a long-shot, but wecontinue to aim for 1 million drawings worldwide. We have no precise measure to know if we reach this goal. If we come close we will all definitely know. Even if we reach 10% of our goal in the first year of this initiative, it will be a great achievement but we will continue aiming for the magic million.
Give a read over at http://www.examiner.com/x-10198-Portland-Cartoons-Examiner~y2009m5d7-Cartoons-arent-just-for-kids … Rob’s ongoing theme for articles at the Examiner will be cartoon related. =)
I’ve mentioned before on the blog I’m kind of a junkie for art books. For example, I have “The Art of…” books for Pixar movies that I haven’t even seen. But among 200 or so books, I have about 3 that actually get to sit on the desk with me, and Meet Mr. Product is one of them. So for me, its pretty exciting that the authors have put together Ad Boy, which I think is safe to call a sequel. They’ve got a minisite for the new book here… AdBoyWorld.com, with links to pre-order it.
And aside from my drooling personal endorsement and love for all art “retro”, why buy this book? Well, where else are you going to find out what Suicide Food is!?