jump to navigation

Jon Vermilyea Spills His Guts: Class Visit October 4, 2010

Posted by leskanturek in Artists, Comics, Guest Visits, Narrative, Printmaking.
Tags: ,
add a comment


Monday, Sept. 27th  Illustrator-self publisher-silk screener Jon Vermilyea came to class to show his work, talk about his influences, his process and to offer advice.  Our class was joined by Peter Hamlin’s concepts class and Veronica Lawlor’s drawing in motion class along with other visitors, so  a good crowd were present.  Jon brought a variety of his work and started right off with some tee shirt designs.


A few  books Jon worked on were passed around and Jon spoke about connections he made in school and how that lead to self publishing. Jon attended SVA for cartooning. He also talked about the importance of school as a place to experiment and try different ways of working without the fear of failure.  Embracing opportunity seemed to be a theme of Jon’s presentation.

The fact that he self-published, created an animation music video  for Animal Collective (http://vimeo.com/2616231) silkscreened prints and has a tee shirt line among more traditional work like comics is fairly signifigant and one of the reasons I asked Jon to stop by.  Jon generates his own projects and I think does so with a lot of integrity .

(above) Jon walks us through his Venom cover redo.


(above) The Animal Collective box set illustrated by Jon designed by Rob Carmichael


(above) Jon explaining color choices on the Mothman screenprint for the Giant Robot (San Francisco) show One Hundred Beasts that ran for the book Beasts! Book 2 published by Fantagraphics.

Thanks again for stopping by Jon it was great.  Here is a link to Jon’s site www.jonvermilyea.com/

Shunga May 13, 2010

Posted by leskanturek in Art History, Printmaking, Student Blog posts, Student Post.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

by Josey  Herrington

Shunga are erotic Japanese woodblock prints which can be traced back to the the Heian period (794 to 1185) but reached it’s peak in the Edo period (1603 to 1867). The intention of these prints is not to depict sex in a direct, explicit manner, but rather to express the energy, intensity, and beauty of erotism which exists in the Japanese culture but can not be openly demonstrated.

(above) An example of how Shunga seek to combine explicit sexuality and aesthetics)

These prints depict not just one idealized portrayal of erotism but explore varying and irregular forms of sexuality. The subjects depicted range from the Courtesans who attended the Shogun’s high court to the ordinary working class, from couples drastically differing in age to homosexuality and even zoophilia.

(above) Exploring sensuality between nature and animals


In the eyes of outsiders this could be seen as a form of primitive pornography, but on the contrary Shunga was not seen as a taboo and was widely accepted as a form of art. As western concepts of the erotic revolve around the amount of explicit nudity, the subjects in Shunga are clothed in flowing garments. This is because public baths or onsen were a part of everyday life in Japan and thus nudity was not valued as the erotic. The subjects clothing creates an aesthetically pleasing flow to their bodies but also directs the viewers eye to what is intentionally revealed.

Shunga is translated into “Images of Spring” and stands as a connection between the erotic and the beauty of the changing of seasons. It is an acceptable medium in which a culture embraces and connects  within strict social boundaries.
(above) Cherry Blossoms are iconic in Japan for representing spring

Ye Olde Terminator December 15, 2009

Posted by leskanturek in Folk Art, Printmaking, Steampunk, Visually Cool & Relevant.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

I don’t have a lot of  info on this, (okay none) it’s in Russian but I came across this on the web and it was too clever for me to pass up.  Modern movies re-interpreted as old wood cuts.    at : http://ziza.ru/2006/06/16/rastamanskie-narodnye-skazki.html

If anyone can shed some light on where this is from or who did it please let me know.

Follow up:

Bibliodyssey which is a wonderful, wonderful  site displaying “eclectic and rare book illustrations derived from many digital repositories, accompanied by some background commentary”,  has an older post for these prints (Sunday, June 18, 2006)  They identify this style/genre of print as “Russian lubok” here is a copy of their link to an explanation by Alexander Boguslawski.

From http://tars.rollins.edu/Foreign_Lang/Russian/Lubok/lubintro.html  (Copyright Alexander Boguslawski 1999)

The lubki (sing. lubok), simple printed pictures colored by hand and often called broadsides, popular prints, folk prints…”

Wild Pilgrimage by Lynd Ward April 16, 2009

Posted by leskanturek in Books, Political and Social Art, Printmaking, Student Post.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

Post by Paula Searing

Recently I read Wild Pilgrimage by Lynd Ward. It really blew me away, and I was surprised to have not  heard of him before. Wild Pilgrimage, published in 1932, (by Harrison Smith and Robert Hass, Inc. New York) is comprised of 95 wood engravings and was originally described as a wordless novel. It’s one of the precursors to today’s blogpostpaula1 graphic novel. Ward’s novel tells the story of  a young man as he navigates through the  racism, injustice, and poverty issues America faced during the 1930’s.

(Left) An illustration of the young man from Wild Pilgrimage.

Lynd Ward (b. 1905-d. 1985) was an American artist who worked from the 1920’s well into the 1980’s. While attending the National Academy of Graphic Arts in Leipzig, Germany in the the late 1920’s , Ward was exposed to the work of  German artist Otto Nukel and Belgian artist Frans Masereel.  Also working in woodcuts and engravings, Masereel  is among the first wordless novelists , publishing Passionate Journey in 1919. After studying printmaking in Germany for a year (1926-1927),Ward returned to the U.S. and would eventually  complete five wordless novels in his lifetime; God’s Man 1929, Madman’s Drum 1930, Wild Pilgrimage 1932, Prelude to a Million Years 1933, Song Without Words 1936, and  Vertigo in 1937. His career also encompassed children’s books, and illustrations for classics such as Beowulf and Frankenstein.

“In the American experience there is probably no more basic or recurrent impulse than to leave society. It is a madness- or a sanity- that can take hold of any citizen when the daily grind becomes suddenly more abrasive than anyone should be asked to endure; when the crush of too many people in too small a space is finally more than one can take; when the noise and smells of the city are at last too stifling to be borne. Then the urge to pick up and leave, to get away somehow, is irresistible. Surely, the impulse whispers in your ear, it is not inevitable that I should live and die in this hellhole; surely, there is more to the world and to life than this.”

-Lynd Ward on  Wild Pilgrimage


(Above) Two engravings from the book.

It amazed me how particular the depictions in the novel are to the Great Depression in America, but the story still has a universal message. The dual narrative made it much more of a personal navigation through a political situation or setting.

Below are two consecutive panels from the novel, introducing the main character for the first time. On the left is one of the reality panels, showing the protagonist looking back at an industrial setting, factories blowing smoke in the background, stifling and claustrophobic. The one on the right, printed in a redish- orange, shows an inner narration of the main character, struggling to break through bars. The color narration is used throughout the whole novel, creating metaphors as the story goes on.


(Above Left) “Reality” panel introducing main protagonist in Wild Pilgrimage (Above right) a “Dream” panel of main protagonist in Wild Pilgrimage

The term “Political Art” holds a certain stigma for me, and that may speak for a number of us. Wild Pilgrimage is one of those pieces that  skillfully balances what it is to make political art,  and what it is to be a human. Wards work reminded me of the contemporary poster artist  Luba Lukova, who came to speak at the Picturing Politics Symposium at The New School. During the symposium she referred to herself not as a political artist but as a human expressing her reactions to what is going on in the world.


(Above) Luba Lukova’s “The dried up mother earth, in her arm a screaming baby – a symbol of the self destroying treatment of men with nature.” (www.lukova.net/)

Lynd Ward’s wordless novels are enjoying a resurgence and are available as paperback reprints. Wild Pilgrimage can also be read in  Graphic Witness: Four Wordless Graphic Novels edited by George A. Walker.

Printmaking Friends You Will Love March 15, 2009

Posted by leskanturek in Handmade, Printmaking, Student Post, Visually Cool & Relevant.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Post by Julie Pinzur

When I was home for winter break in January, I went to the Threadless store in Chicago for The Little Friends of Printmaking opening which consists of J W & Melissa Buchanan, a husband-and-wife team of artists & designers based out of Milwaukee, WI.  They were originally trained as fine art print makers, but their love of making silk screened concert posters quickly turned into a design career. In 2006, they received the Young Guns award from the Art Directors’ Club, honoring the world’s finest emerging creatives under 30.  While they still hand screen all of their posters, they have branched out into web design, animation, toy design, illustration, and graphic design.  The show was called “Tough Luck” and featured a lot of really cool prints.  All of which are available in their webstore at:     www.thelittlefriendsofprintmaking.com


But that’s not all.  The Little Friends of Printmaking are also featured in the book Handmade Nation, written by Faythe Levine and Cortney Heimerl which is a documentation on today’s craft world and how it has emerged as a marriage between historical technique, punk culture, and the DIY ethos, also influenced by traditional handiwork, modern aesthetics, politics, feminism, and art.


Along with a video crew, Faythe Levine traveled to 15 cities and interviewed 80 individuals (including The Little Friends of Printmaking), documenting the rise of D.I.Y. art, craft, and design that exists through websites, blogs, and online stores.  It was made into an hour-long movie that is now being premiered throughout the country.  The opening in NYC was on February 12th, and if you can’t get to any of the screenings which are posted here:


I highly recommend that you get the book, here: www.amazon.com/Handmade-Nation-Rise-Craft-Design/
It is creatively inspiring and just fun to look through.  You should at least check out the website at www.handmadenationmovie.com/

Happy Hunting!