Sunday, November 26, 2006

John K. Hates Rap...And That's Okay.

I was visiting The Beat blog on Friday, and noticed a link to all kinds of stuff, the weblog of Ren and Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi. I realized that I hadn't visited his blog in while, so I went n' checked out the entry that The Beat linked to.
John's been posting notes here n' there to educate younger folks as to what made classic 2D animation, well...classic. Some folks, though, have a problem with what could be labeled as his curmudgeonly statements about a living "in an age when knowledge and skill is completely out of fashion". Me, I couldn't be more thankful. No matter what kind of art education you've had, you never stop learning.
I scrolled down to see an entry on Buster Keaton, which I thought was dope, because I've loved Keaton's work since childhood. In that, he stated that only the truly gifted should be
entertainers, not average folk:
Nowadays we have cartoons by people who can't draw (or write), "voice actors" by people who don't have distinct voices or acting ability, "songs" where people talk instead of sing and tell you how great they are without having to prove it to you with skill and talent.

I agree with him to a point. While it'd be great to have more Jackie Chans and Busters, I kinda like being able to see the average schlub do something that makes me laugh or causes my jaw to drop. That's what makes YouTube so moderation, of course. I read further:
Is there anybody alive that couldn't write or draw Family Guy? Anyone looking at that or listening to a rap "song" can easily imagine himself with a couple weeks practice and some luck being able to be a big star.

That caught my attention, and the attention of a few others. To see where his head was at, I thought I'd make a comment:
I highly disagree with your digs at supposed lack of talent in accordance with a degree. The majority of what's touted in the mainstream variety of rappers and/or rap groups, well, they suck ass. Putting out less than memorable, filler-saturated albums is no way to get my entertainment dollar. And that goes for the "underground" indie emcees, too.
And I fully understand that rap music (and hip-hop culture as a whole) isn't everyone's cup of tea, either.
I hear you as far as Buster goes. I've been a fan ever since I saw The Railrodder when I was a kid. We could use more folks like him nowadays.
And for the record, I totally appreciate the notes you post here. You can never learn enough.

Someone named the clownninja followed up with:
you can't dismiss a whole musical form that offhandedly...

John shot back with:
If there was any music in it I wouldn't.
Music requires a melody.

That's where I got my dander up. I'm fully alright with someone not liking rap music, but disregarding it as a form of music altogether? Yeah, I've got a problem with that.
So I responded:
"Music requires a melody."
I never saw eye-to-eye with that argument. I can't find melody in a Gene Krupa drum solo, but that's some of the finest music around, to me.

...and his response:
listen before and after the solo. You're supposed to play the whole song.

I thought about what I would say next and came with this:
"listen before and after the solo. You're supposed to play the whole song."
And I have. The drum solo happens to be my favorite part.
I can actually hum the odd rap track, even if it's based on a borrowed/re-recorded/cobbled together melody.
Does your distaste for spoken vocals extend to CW McCall and Phil Harris, or just this genre? Not tryin' to bust your balls, just curious.

I think he got angry after this...
To compare Gene Krupa's superhuman skill, talent, charisma and taste to anyone in rap is beyond arrogance. It's really stupid too.

Krupa, like all instrumentalists of the time knew that they were part of a bigger thing called music. They took their turns soloing amid the beautifully and intelligently arranged and scored melodies and rhythms.

No comparison at all with anything today.

Anita O'Day was Gene's main vocalist btw and could actually carry a tune - unlike rappers.

For a second, I was like, "did he just call me or my argument stupid?"
Gaining my composure, I responded with...
I wasn't comparing Krupa to anyone, really...I just brought him up as an example. And not that I was trying to change your mind (now THAT would be stupid), but I'm sure we can agree to disagree. I'm inspired to listen to The Drum Battle.

And I left it at that.
I don't know why I decided to dwell on this for so long, but I tend to obsess over trivial shit. I guess not seeing eye-to-eye with someone I respect affects me a lil' bit.
At any rate, I gotta say that John K.'s blog is still worth frequent visits. His wealth of knowledge makes it a must for any young animator (or illustrator, for that matter)...despite the crankiness.
Related links:
Bill WrayWilliam Wray (Bill and William are the same dude, but stylistically different) • ASIFA

Monday, November 20, 2006

English Al Jazeera

English Al Jazeera
(click to access "all sizes")

For an opinion piece in The Manitoban. I haven't been able to read the article yet, but the writer himself said that he hoped the English version of Al Jazeera would give us North Americans a more balanced view of the Arabic world, and that's what he wanted to express in his piece.
I'm hoping that the angry Muslim hand puppet doesn't cause offense. I was trying to get across the reinforcing of Islamic stereotypes, and how condescending such an action is.
Originally, Ted (the graphics editor of The Manitoban) thought it was just going to be on a black and white piece, but found out otherwise. I came up with the color version relatively fast.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Random Thoughts: November 19th, 2006

Behind the Ramada

  • I already wrote this at, so I'll just cut n' paste it:
    So, I quit my job last week. No more Icelandic community newspaper for me as of the end of this week.*
    On the 27th, I'll be working for a company that produces publications for different businesses, and I'll be one of several ad designers.
    I'll be workin' in a cubicle, but the folks seem pretty cool.
    I figure what I'm gonna have to do is put the heat on my personal creative endeavours during my off-time hours, so someday I'll be able to that kind of shit full-time. For now, this is a good gettin' married/get outta debt sort of thing. Word 'em up.

    Uh...that is all.

    *For the record, I ain't leavin' because the job sucked. On the contrary, I've never felt more appreciated. I redesigned the paper, got to throw the occasional bit of illustration in there, and get my feet wet in the world of layout, which I never reallythought I'd mess with. I'm leaving because I've gone as far as I can with 'em...and I'm poor. Being that it was only a part time job, I was livin' hand-to-mouth for most of the year.
  • Don't you just hate it when motherfuckers cut pages and/or pictures out of library books? It's infuriating! Twice, I've come upon volumes of Golgo 13 that have the sex scenes cut out. I'd like to slap whoever did that. I mean...the shit isn't even yours! So lame.
  • Got tickets printed for our social. Time to work on the poster that I'm gonna e-mail to everybody (due to liquor laws, I can't promote this thing by traditional means. It'll be all about e-mail, MySpace, word of mouth, and running into people.)
  • Two folks that have been totally kicking my ass mentally on the illustration tip: Rick Geary and Jen Wang. I've liked Rick's work for a long time, and I've been getting more n' more into because of his A Treasury of Victorian Murder series on NBM. His line is fuckin' exquisite. Jen, on the other hand, I found out about recently via Drawn!, and I'm SO glad I did. Her sense of anatomy has no equal, and the humor in her work is biting. And don't get me started on the sensuality of the women she draws! Whew!
  • Well...time to get my hustle on. Got an illo for The Manitoban to do, and it's a little weightier than what I've usually done.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

4th Anniversary Random Thoughts: November 8th, 2006

Rushin' Home.
October 30th: first substantial snowfall of the season. It don't look like this now. It's kinda like a mild spring. God is teasing us!

  • So...four years ago today, I started this thing. Why? I dunno, it seemed "neat". I've changed how I write about stuff here over the years. There's a little less swearing (a little), less porn-related stuff, and less whiny bullshit "feeling" crap. Lately, it's been about my creative endeavors and shit I think is cool, and I think I'm gonna keep it that way.
  • Today, I looked back at the passing of Mandy Coyne. Her death really hit us all hard. We didn't recover (if you can call it that) for a long time. Crazy, how it's been over two years.
  • On a more positive note, I just finished reading Paul Has a Summer Job. At the end, I shed a few tears. You can call me a colossal pussy for doing so, but there are some very sweet moments in that there book. I've read Paul Moves Out, so now I gotta catch Paul in the Country. Michel Rabagliati, I salute you, sir.
  • I'm slowly re-watching Crumb for what's probably the sixth time. On DVD, I can catch every fucked up nuance.
  • I love flickr, but it's become a bit of a burden as I have a huge backlog of show photos to post, and I know folks wanna see 'em (because they were in 'em, yo.). I gotta make sure they're lookin' good n' shit.
  • MySpace is good for something. Thanks to that techno-marvel, I'm gonna do a tattoo design for a fine lady from Chicago that I first got acquainted with at good ol' Fat Forums. I can't wait to tackle that!
  • Yo, if you're lookin' for something to do on Friday, you can check out my man Peter Farmer's art show and auction at the Fairmont. 100% of the proceeds from one of the paintings will go to ArtCity. Great art, a good cause, and Bothwell cheese!
  • G'night, y'all.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Guy Fawkes

For The Manitoban:

Guy Fawkes

For some reason, this is currently credited to graphics editor Ted Barker (a swell guy) online. I haven't picked up the print version so we'll see if that's happened there.