Tuesday, June 29, 2010

JUNE post, {which actually WAS written in June this time!}

REAL JUNE (not Mock this time; I really am writing this in June, honest!) June—whew! Just made it in under the deadline here, didn't I?

If you waste time on Google, you may’ve come across this. If not, I was part of an art project that my pal, Carl Wyckaert, put together for an art book/gallery showing in Paris and Belgium in May. Here's a link to my friend Carl who organized it the gallery show, and is putting out a book of all the cards in the tarot deck.

My old buddy Josh Hagler was there, David Mack, Baron Storey, Mike Dringenberg and a bunch of other artists i haven't met in person so i won't feel to guilty if i flake on mentioning them here. I couldn't BE there for the show, but I asked to have my art burned at the show, and to my surprise and delight, they happily obliged!

(note sinister lighter in Carl's left hand as he smiles down at them!)

Now, before this freaks any of you out (IF it does), please read this, which i wrote for the show and was printed on the back of some prints of the art they sold at the show:

Still horrified? Then just hear me out: Lots of artists often throw out or otherwise destroy stuff they don't like. It's fact. Nothing personal. It's our right. Or stupidity. (If it helps, I don't burn everything I do; some I give away, some I burn, some I keep or sell in galleries for more than my comic book art goes for.

I have not sold any comic book art in about three years and have discontinued doing so. Why? Because much of my art is so digital, there IS no art to speak of TO sell anymore. I never have or will look down on comic art, but I also don't wish to hide my respect for illustrators and contemporary art— which I don't talk about much publicly, only because I hate the elitist baggage that often accompanies it. I don't mean the artists, I mean the fine folks who speculate and profit off it like crabs feasting off rotting fish. Not to seem bitter…

I still remain friends with my old comic art dealer, Albert Moy, a true pal. But as I've told him, my focus now is increasingly gallery-focused, meaning, for lack of a better word, the art I do outside of comics is what my old pal Alex Pardee calls;

'...personal art ',

Like weird crap i build or sculpt by hand, like this Box i made. dozens of magic boxes made of clay, toilet seats, feathers, something that makes ZERO sense at all...

Like this big-ass panting of yet another asian woman, which dwarfs my usual original art size and stimulates different parts of my brain to work so BIG and use mixed media so DIFFERENTLY than i do in comics.

So i make crap, so what right? Lots of people do. If i use rope, cords, fur, rusty old crap and cobble together.. i'd not be the first one to do it -- so why call it personal art?

I just mean as opposed to work for hire, meaning art I do for ME.

To keep me Happy and Stupid. Foolish fun. This is the kinda stuff that pollutes more and more of my sketchbooks, unapologetically so. My feeling is, if only ONE person wants to buy a piece of this art, cool. If not, that's fine too. I know that fewer fans 'per square inch' will like, or follow, or care about this stuff and most will pine away for Maxx and Julie, little bitty hairs on Wolverine's arms, or Batman looking his usual melodramatic self or… (insert favorite mindless superhero's name here). That's cool too. I STILL love that stuff or I wouldn't be doing comics anymore, would I?

An imaginary friend of mine (who doesn't exist except as an excuse to ask me something in the third person) asked me, "Hey Sam, why should us fans buy a gallery painting for thousand of bucks, if he can get a comic page for so much less?"

No reason, and I say, if you’re looking for a deal, or a Zero Girl or Wolverine comic page inspires you, GO for it. I drew it for you to enjoy. But just respect my right to ALSO paint things of a personal nature too. Stuff that may take more time and sweat, as well as inspire me on a personal level. If such work takes more out of me, then yes, I AM willing to either ask more for it or, in some cases, give it away, or, yes—sometimes burn it and give it back to the earth.

So I ask your patience and support as I branch out into this, for lack of a better word 'gallery' or 'personal art' side of stuff. And I bet most of my fans are already open to this, given how I mix styles and media, even in my superhero work nowadays.

Remember as R. Crumb once said, "It's only lines on paper, folks."



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Kat said...

Hello Mr. Kieth. I've been a lurker for a few years now, but I thought I'd throw a comment toward your lines on paper -- this seemed like a good place to post said comment, not only for that very fitting Crumb quote but because the only other comment is spam...

Here's my (relevant to why I'm commenting) story:

When I was really little, I used to stay up and watch television that I wasn't supposed to. One of those shows was The Maxx on MTV Oddities, which I didn't "get" at that age, but I fell in love with anyway. A few years later, I found trade's of The Maxx at a comic shop (that has since heartbreakingly closed its doors) and felt something familiar, so I picked up the first trade and fell in love all over again -- Only this time with a level of understanding that really clicked with my teenage mind. Shortly after enjoying The Maxx in its entirety, I discovered Zero Girl. I credit Amy's unique struggle with helping me through the toughest years I had experienced (there were quite a few in a row).

Over the thirty years of my life, I can't recall a time that I wasn't inspired by one of your works. The direction Arkham Madness took while in your care: following a night nurse rather than another visit with inmates and/or guards was truly wonderful and led me to appreciate Batman on a level I never thought I would.

I would be so very much indebted to you if I could make a bold request. I have been purchasing The Maxx: Maxximized issues from the best comic shop around (I Want More Comics in Colorado) as they come out through their subscription service. Issue #13 "sub" came as a sketch cover and I would love to hang a Sam Kieth original (Personalized if that is a thing you'd be willing to do, I'd never sell it for any reason that I can imagine, it's just for me) in my living space. If a sketch cover is asking too much, I would be equally ecstatic to have my original issue #1 simply signed and personalized (same as the sketch, I'd never sell it for any reason).

I would insist on paying for shipping both directions as well as any commission dollars (and/or donate to a cause of your choosing) as well as solemnly swear on everything I hold dear to never share the shipping information or do anything creepy with it. I absolutely understand your need for privacy, I respect and honor every aspect of your introversion. Honestly, if I ever met you directly at an event or otherwise in person I'd probably be too overwhelmed to ask for anything more than a simple autograph. Then I'd cry, clutching my new prized possession in protective plastic as I went straight home to frame it.

Take care of yourself and thank you dearly for all of your creations,