James Jirat Patradoon: Updates

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One of my favorite pop illustrators has very recently updated his portfolio with some imagery from a recent gallery show. James Jirat Patradoon also got down on generating some animated gifs for the show that played on old televisions. Cool idea.

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Alexandre Salles

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Artists Inspire Artists has an ‘inspiring’ (go figure) feature about Brazlian artist and illustrator Alexandre Salles who digitally paints some beautiful film and comic book inspired imagery.

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There is something to be said for knowing who you are and where you fit in with this industry and illustrator Boneface seems to have a good grasp on his identity as you can read in his description about him and his work:

“the things that make me right for this job… maybe they’re the same things that make me wrong for everything else.”

staple diet: videogames / cartoons / comic books / crappy b-movies

I very much like the imagery he is generating.

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Diego Patino

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There is a wicked cool body of amazingly diversified but consistently good illustration work happening throughout the portfolio of Diego Patino.

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City of Transients

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I am digging this series of collages by artist and photographer John Vincent Aranda. It’s definitely Roy Lichtenstein inspired work but of course Lichtenstein’s work was influenced by popular comic book artists of that time. The circle goes around. I was more inspired though because I have been looking at old comic book illustrations like this a lot lately as an influence on my own drawing and illustration work.

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James Jirat Patradoon: Updates

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I have been a fan of illustrator James Jirat Patradoon for several years now. He has recently updated with both a new website and several new illustrations for various clients. He’s kept his edge and is still churning out some great stuff.

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Francesco Francavilla

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Illustrator and comic book artist Francesco Francavilla has a skilled hand at the ready to produce live, vivid and kinetic imagery of some very loved characters.

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Patrick Leger

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Wow, mark us down as huge fans of the retro comic book-inspired work of North Carolina based illustrator Patrick Leger. His work is bold and colorful but highly accessible from the childlike subconscious memories of every boyhood (or girlhood) comic book and newspaper comic fan.

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Connor Willumsen

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Connor Willumsen is a curious illustrator based in Montreal, Canada. His work is somewhat unusual and you have to keep clicking into his Flickr-folio to really uncover some interesting imagery that recalls comic books and functions almost as surrealist pop art.

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Alex Lukas

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Artist and illustrator Alex Lukas has a fascinating portfolio that mixes all kinds of strange things like apocalyptic art collages and comic book style art and illustration. Just when you think you might have figured him out you click on something else and voila, more talent is exposed. You can also purchase some of his prints at Cantab Publishing.

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Ernest Borg 9 / Paul Pope

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Beautiful comic book art, comic book inspiration and artistic inspiration all served up by the Flickr-folio and pages of Ernest Borg 9 who is also known as Paul Pope or Pulphope. You can also see more at his blog.

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Movie Review: Watchmen

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It’s rare that I actually want to see a movie twice, but I sat through a second viewing of the Watchmen today and I was glad I did. The movie was honestly something I did not expect. I read part of the graphic novel as a kid, but more skimmed the surface of the material as opposed to actually really reading into what the story was really all about. In a way I am glad I didn’t reread the source material before watching the movie. I think it allowed me to take the movie in more as a work of film in and of itself and judge it more on those terms.

Watchmen is a much more densley layered movie than I expected and actually left me wondering and thinking more than the normal feeling of completion felt when taking in a relatively mindless blockbuster comic book action movie. There is spectacular visual effects in the Watchmen, so many in fact that you almost begin to disregard them entirely, and then you are either lost or completely absorbed by the story. I could definitely  see how some people would determine that the movie feels disjointed in parts, but I think if the film had been forced into an easily digestible mold it would have been yet just more Hollywood bullshit. And I don’t think the Watchmen fits that mold. Besides there are plenty of those movies coming out this summer. I am glad the Watchmen came out when it did so it wouldn’t be lost in that drivel.

Many are saying the film lacks a solid narrative voice, but I think that narrative has to be filled by viewer interpretation. Translation: Watchmen just isn’t for everybody and some people simply will not like it. If the film had been overly linear, I think it might have threatened some of the raw genius of the movie and the story. I am sure though that some will end up really hating this film, but I think when something or someone reaches for the level of art they often end up being hated by at least a few, if not many.

Its hard really to even write a succinct review of the movie.Violence abounds and the violence in the Watchmen is incredibly intense and absolutely unapologetic. I wondered though, especially after the second viewing, if the violence wasn’t there to make a point that the world we currently live in is incredibly violent and most of us just like to pretend that isn’t so, when honestly, that’s an absolute fact. The greatest thing about the Watchmen though is where it picks at some very deep questions about humanity and society. Its really a fairly sincere attempt to try to realize what it would be like if there were superheroes and how they would see and judge this world. If there was a person out there who was in effect a God and could do anything, how would he or she view humanity and this world? Would they deem us worth saving or are we already a lost cause? Why bother with saving us when we do almost nothing to save ourselves? If you could see and truly understand that time is relative and therefore all time (past, present and future) were happening simultaneously, would it even matter to you if humankind destroyed itself? In the context of the entire universe, what difference would it make? If you refused to compromise your ideology and believed in absolute justice, could you even survive in this society?

Yes, if you look into it, the Watchmen does ask some of those questions and go that deep. I really do think it is a brilliant movie that reaches much further than it can probably grasp, but I also think that’s a great thing. Its a quantum leap for director Zach Snyder, and I hope he can continue into deeper material after this.

My only bone to pick was with some of the performances. There is some wooden acting in the movie and the most responsible culprit is the female lead, Malin Akerman. You can feel the energy and sincerity sucked out of several of her scenes just as soon as she opens her mouth and begins reciting her lines. Not to say that she is an absolutely terrible actress, but it would have been nice to see someone cast that was able to bring needed depth and conflict to her character. Especially in her scenes with the wonderful Billy Crudup (who plays the God-as-man true and only superheroe in the movie, Dr. Manhatten). Crudup’s character has some pretty profound things to say about the human condition, and it is hard to truely appreciate some of it when it is propped by Akerman’s sexy but empty backdrop.

Regardless, I still think the Watchmen is definitely worth a viewing. Yes it is long, weighing in just shy of 3 hours, but if you can hang in there and stick with it, there is a great movie there to appreciate. I think it will find a relevant place in film history and has definitely brought something new to the genre. Just don’t go to it expecting the normal mindless rollercoaster ride. And please, do not take your kids. This is a comic book movie made for adults and asks some serious questions that I think more people in this day and age should be thinking about.

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Joshua Middleton

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Absolutely fantastic work from comic book artist and illustrator Joshua Middleton. Just beautiful work. Real talent.

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Watchmen Trailer Released

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I wrote about this film earlier this year. It is being released next year (2009) and is being directed by rising star filmmaker Zak Snyder who rose to international fame after the epic massive fanboy extravaganza 300. Well, this one looks even more spectacular and outrageous. The movie is based on one of the most popular graphic novels of all time. The original Watchmen comic also signaled a shift in comic book trends towards a darker grittier realism.

This trailer was just released and it is smoking hot. It looks like it is going to be the big-budget action superhero movie to beat next year.

Here is a short plot synopsis (and a link to the first post I did about this film):
“Watchmen is set in 1985, in an alternative history United States where costumed adventurers are real and the country is edging closer to a nuclear war with the Soviet Union (the Doomsday Clock is at five minutes to midnight). It tells the story of a group of past and present superheroes and the events surrounding the mysterious murder of one of their own.”

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Raul Allen

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From his site: “The town of Valladolid saw him grow up, come and go. While in Salamanca he graduated from Fine Arts, later on he moved to Boston to study Illustration and Design. He currently lives in Spain. He is been always searching for a way to see the inside and outside of things, to the extreme of sleeping with his eyes open.

His work has been selected and awarded by the Society of Illustrators of NY 49th Annual Exhibition, Illustration West 43, 3×3 Magazine of Contemporary Illustration, The National Drawing Award Gregorio Prieto, Expocomic,Jovenes Creadores2006 Comunidad Madrid , Artis Gallery Drawing Award, Arte Joven of La Junta de Castilla y Leon, and La Diputación de Valladolid. His work has been exhibited in New York, Boston, Madrid and Barcelona.”

See Raul Allen’s work here. Great stuff.

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Frazer Irving

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Frazer Irving doesn’t exactly have the sexiest website I have ever found but what he does have is some really interesting and contemporary illustration work and comic book work. He is responsible for a wealth of illustrations and there is a lot to wade through on his site but it is all quality and he is very good at what he does.

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