Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hallowe'en BBWW

Here's the Big Beautiful Wonder Woman for October. Yes, I'm well aware that I've not posted one for September and I really meant to. Work and a good number of drawings to get done along with getting 24 Hour Comics Day 2012 going have made September BBWW-free unfortunately.

All these things got in the way of this current BBWW. It's a sketch that I really want to turn into a finished cover for "The Werewolf of Paradise Island!".

In honor of Jake Parker bringing back Inktober, I've been really wanting to get back to my deep inking; crosshatching and more black. However, it's been a while and not being Art Adams is really getting me down. I tried to do this last night and two crappy versions (with some okay elements) and three more crumpled pieces of paper made the night not so good. I learned a lot, but not learning fast enough ;-)

Here it is, such as it is.

Here's a small sketch I did for Becca's Happy Little Art Challenge's challenge of "Your Art Hero"

I grew up watching Bill Alexander on PBS. For those who don't know, he was the guy who taught Bob Ross how to paint. Bill's Austrian bombast and joy of painting had me swiping paints from paint-by-numbers sets and slapping that paint on canvas boards.

Ian Miller's crosshatching work in the Tolkein Bestiary had me swiping my dad's Pilot pens to try pen and ink.

And Frank Frazetta. Oh, Frank Frazetta. Nobody could paint like him, though many (too many) have tried. Frazetta's voluptuous women had me... well, never mind.

But, in all this whirlwind of artists, one person stands head and shoulders above the rest as my Art Hero: Jim Zemianek.

Or, as I often refer to him "Weird Uncle Jim". He was a massive influence to me both artistically and personally. He was nearly a legend in his own time having been a good friend of my dad's since I was two. An artist of no mean ability, he never taught me anything directly save for how to draw simple pine trees. But, he encouraged me constantly always ready with a new pack of markers or a pad of paper. He exposed me to gobs of surrealism both in art and life. He was a kind, giving man who was the best uncle anyone could have hoped for artist or not.

He died in the nineties, far too young. Regrettably, I have no artwork of his and besides the memories and anecdotes the only other things I have are two photographs of him, some photos he took, a black and white Hawaiian shirt (that recently ripped) and a theater card depicting Emilio Lizardo and John Bigboote (From Buckaroo Banzai) that he talked the theater manager into giving me.

His will stated that my father should have painted Jim's ashes into a painting. His family contested the will and he was buried instead.

There are so many Jim stories I could spend hours telling them, but here are a few. These are not definitive, but only the ones I found easiest to write quickly and concisely.

1) This is a story from my Dad: Jim, my dad and some other folks were sitting around on the stoop of our building in Brookline, MA smoking weed and drinking beers. A summer thunderstorm had just passed by and there was some residual lightning. Spooked by the storm a pigeon slammed into one of the building's windows and dropped to the sidewalk. Jim went over, picked up the pigeon and proclaimed:

"I AM THE POWER AND THE GLORY!" and threw the pigeon into the air.

There was a flash of lightning and the pigeon, who was only stunned, woke and flew away.

2) in the basement of his house he had a huge Victorian iron birdcage. On the perch was the skeleton of a bird that he stripped and assembled himself.

3) Jim was an early adopter of VHS. I'd often spend summer weekends sleeping over his house. Many fine R-rated films made up our movie nights. I saw Alien, Night of the Living Dead and Heavy Metal long before I was old enough to get into an R-rated film in the theater.

4) For my twelfth birthday, he told me I was "King for a Day" and could have anything I wanted. If I'd have asked for a new bike he'd have gotten it for me. All I asked for was a coke, a roll of quarters and for him to go to the arcade with me (Yes, I'm old enough to have gone to arcades).

So many more. So little time./p>

Listening to while posting: "Crooked in the Weird of the Catacombs" by Oranger

1 comment:

Don Snabulus said...

I think a painting made of someone would have been amazing...too bad the family didn't see it that way.

Great stories. Thanks for sharing them.

The drawings are quite nice as well.

On an unrelated note, I hope the fall colors are nice there right now. That is one area where Oregon doesn't even come close to competing.