Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Phantom Mommy: When Retcons Spoil Your Fanboy Escapism

There was a time when hoping for a comic book-turned-movie project to fail would be treasonous. Now the noxious far-right in comics openly disparages any creative alteration to an established property they disagree with, hoping for the downfall – and calling for boycotts – of whatever latest blockbuster. The ideology of this fringe is incoherent and confusing – and entirely selective. Impenetrable and completely irrational to outsiders, their world view makes perfect sense to them, however; everything they don’t happen to like in comics and pop culture at any given time can be blamed on some Phantom Mommy who wants to ruin their naughty-boy fun.

Monday, February 18, 2019

"How Much Do You Need?" Hate and Jealousy in Comics, 2019-Style

The recent spate of comics hate that has emanated from certain dethroned creators reminds me of the early Image Comics years. I happened to have had a front-row seat, thanks to Moondog's Comics in Chicago, who hosted the Chicago Comicon in 1992, and my friendship with Larry Tales of the Beanworld Marder and Chris Eb'nn Ecker. Both worked for Gary Colabuono in the Moondog's central office and along with Bevin Brown, masterminded the Image Tent.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

When a Giant Pencil is Worn to a Nub on South Craig Street: Yet Another Pittsburgh Arts Casualty

Just two weeks after the announcement that the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (once the flagship of a national chain of trade schools), and only a week after a realigned Pittsburgh Center for Arts and Media tacitly announced a downgraded role for traditional manual arts such as drawing, painting, and sculpture in their newest incarnation, an iconic Pittsburgh art supply store has abruptly announced it will be going out of business after 48 years.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

PCAM: 21st C. "Arts" .org Too Ashamed to Mention Drawing, Painting, or Sculpture by Name

If you want another sign of how completely debased the word "art" has become in our twenty-first century civilization (not to mention the intellectually corrosive effects of an MFA in the visual arts), herewith the Friday, February 8, 2019 email announcing a new local arts .org (note the words drawing, painting, and sculpture are completely absent):

Friday, February 8, 2019

Spectrum Disorder: Whither Drawing? Part 2

Another sign that drawing is withering away from our culture: The newly-rebranded Pittsburgh Center for Arts and Media, ostensibly a fine arts .org composed of the ashes of Pittsburgh Filmmakers and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, issued a press release today touting its "agenda for advancing excellence in film, digital video, photography and the spectrum of visual arts." Drawing, painting, and sculpture, once a mainstay of classes at the old PCA are never mentioned by name, presumably falling under the "spectrum" category.

Presumably, such quaint traditional arts too insignificant anymore to break out individually.

Update: read the entirety of their press release here

Full disclosure: I took all three kinds of classes and taught several cartooning workshops there myself over the decades.

Some latter-day student work from the Carnegie Museum of Art adult studio program, before 2014.

This demotion of actual art in favor of recording media follows the news of the closing of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, flagship for a chain of design schools that abandoned traditional art in favor of digital animation and other newfangled media at the turn of the millennium. (I once attended and taught there as well.)

Less than a year ago, the Toonseum shuttered its downtown gallery location and entered what was described as a year-long "curtains drawn" hiatus. Whether it will ever draw anything again besides curtains remains to be seen. (I was shown there and participated in a drawing workshop.)

Less than six years ago, Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Art discontinued its adult studio art classes, including drawing. (I taught several cartooning, drawing, and sketching workshops there.)

As I remarked on Facebook, Pittsburgh, once a haven of culture, is becoming a drawing desert.

More: Whither Drawing? Part I