Category Archives: the arts and artists

Who Doesn’t Love Basquiat: AbstractCelebrity on Etsy

So, it’s been a while since I’ve actually posted, you know, other people’s art out here. And it’s like Christmas Eve and stuff, so, I’ll keep this short.

This isn’t Basquiat. Heck, I don’t really know the name of this artist, she just goes by “AbstractCelebrity” on Reddit and Etsy, but Basquiat’s primitive style was one of my early influences in my style and I love seeing someone who can nail that look far better than I can.

By AbstractCelebrity

By AbstractCelebrity

Good job, AbstractCelebrity, whoever you are. Now, if you also like this, head on over to her Etsy and buy it, therefore assuring my jealousy as I can’t currently swing the money to myself thanks to a recent gear-glut.

On Etsy

Art Is A Lie

Art is a lie and we are all liars.


Pretty much exactly that, yeah. There’s probably some more nuance under that, but, if you need a one-sentence summary of art, that would be it.

Oh yeah, and the source comic also pretty much sums things up, but isn’t nearly as perfect as it’s title. Funny, that.

X-23 vs Outlaw: A Feminist Musing, Of Sorts

File this under nothing to do with anything, but I was reading into some stuff about the Marvelverse after hearing more about Joss Whedon’s upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D series, and things got a bit tangential (as they are want to do after Wikipedia enters things). Long story short, I was reminded of the character X-23 when I learned they’d paired Gambit with her for a while. And, I wasn’t sure how I felt about this.

For those of you even less up-to-date on Marvel than I am, X-23 is the ‘successful’ version of Wolverine, except with boobs instead of mutton chops. She’s a clone of him, with all his powers, except she was actually successfully programmed to be a weapon. The driving interest in her character is that once that program cracks, she sets out to redefine herself as a person. And that’s cool, it’s a neat, interesting idea. But, well, there’s that thing where she can really be most easily described as Wolverine with boobs. She’s not really her own person, she’s another, more popular character… but female. And she has no moral compass or personality, which leads to her always being told what she should or shouldn’t be by stronger male personalities (hence my indecision about how this would work with Gambit, Marvel’s greatest Lothario.) It’s a bit of a mixed message, for sure. They were clearly going for a commentary of some kind, but it gets lost under all the typical comic book cheescake. And boy is she guilty of that:


Seriously, I haven’t seen such a delicate balance of pleather and unabashed sexualization since Eliza Dushku was a regular on Buffy:


Unlike Faith, however, whose fashion changes as her character matures and becomes more comfortable with her own self, that is X-23’s post-revelation outfit. Save it’s not exactly her personality that’s getting revealed. So, I guess in the end, she comes across to me as Marvel’s equivalent of a Not Quite Feminist Phil meme. She’s got a lot going right, but then it all gets horribly subverted and Marvel’s left not getting why we’re giving them a funny look.


Ultimately, she seems sorta like the anti-Outlaw to me. I won’t lie, Outlaw is easily one of my favorite Marvel characters, despite being so minor. And part of that is because of her particular variety of cheesecake, I won’t deny that either. But here’s the thing: Outlaw clearly started out as just a good cheesecake-y character to put across from the very bro Deadpool. She’s not only got only the most generic of mutant powers (some poorly boundaried enhanced strength and durability stuff), but she looks like this:


And, not only does she dress like a stripper, but her character’s bio specifically includes stripping in her past occupations (before being a person who kills other people, much like X-23). But unlike X-23, who’s supposed to be serious but the sex keeps undermining it, Outlaw’s supposed to be sex, but they keep undercutting it with her actually being a person. The boobs she admits herself are fake, for her own confidence. The hair is a wig. She wears jeans and hoodies these days when not on the job. She has an apartment somewhere. She hates being called by her childhood nickname because she still has esteem issues from it. You know, relatable stuff.  All around, she’s a person poking out from the cheesecake veneer. She’s Inez, and Outlaw is just a veneer and she’s bluntly honest about that.

Heck, let’s compare farther. Here’s a nice tender/quiet moment between X-23 and a male co:


Gambit: relaxed, at ease. X-23: stiff, vacant gaze, doing her best impersonation of a real doll. Now, one with Outlaw:


Note how despite there being actual sex involved with Outlaw, she still manages to come across as less of a sexual object than X-23. It’s that, it’s exactly that. X-23 is supposed to be some awesome commentary about finding identity in a world where she’s always been told what to be, which should have been some awesome feminist commentary. Except it gets totally undermined by the cheesecake and the patriarchal ‘guidance.’ Outlaw, in contrast, was supposed to just be a sexy blonde before something happened and they gave her humanity. X-23 makes me uncomfortable, but I root for Outlaw any time she shows back up these days. Funny how that goes, right?

Comics Kick Ass – Dan LuVisi

Venom, by Dan LuVisi

So, it’s not every day I’m floored by something I find on Deviant Art. It’s not that the good stuff isn’t on there, it’s just the signal-to-noise ratio can be a bit… disheartening. But it’s all worth it when you stumble across a gem like Dan LuVisi. Dan seems to be a digital painter, with an emphasis on comic book cover illustration. His formal portfolio is full of an impressive amount of work, for a list of names like DC, Hasbro, Fox, Universal, Microsoft, and more. His series of the characters from Kickass is pretty damn awesome, as is his picture of Spidey getting drooled on by Venom (which is currently plastered on my phone, provided constant amusement every time I check it).

So, yeah. If you’re looking for a guy who knows his way around virtual paint, and you love well done texture and gloss, you need to check Dan out.

His Deviant Art is here:

And his portfolio is here:

Eloisa and Abelard, Part 1

So, for new readers, part of what I do on a regular basis is donate my photographic time to my friends over at EclecticPond Theatre Company, a scrappy little theatre start-up whose end goal is to bring high-energy, low-cost plays to communities and schools that might not otherwise get to experience theatre live. I like both their goal and their people quite a lot, but sadly don’t have the time I wish I did to help them in a more regular capacity. So, I take their pictures about once every couple months. Not a bad gig, really. They’re all nice and lovely people, and the different plays are always giving me neat new things to shove a lens at, so, it works out.

This time their play isn’t Shakespeare, but rather a play by Michael Meeuwis called “Eloisa & Abelard: A Farce of Godly Proportions.” It’s roughly based off this story. It’s supposed to be a lot of fun. The pitch was to do a handful of scenes that aren’t actually in the play, but capture the spirit thereof, and to do them in a style that emulated the Vermeer school and the Caravaggisti. I don’t think the director quite realized this was right up my alley. I also don’t think she quite expected me to show up with two Quadra kits, a softbox, a stripbank, a silver PLM (affectionately dubbed “Moonraker”), an Elinchrom Octa, a bounce reflector, and some gridded barndoors, and to use every last one of them throughout the night. But I did. And the results, well, they speak for themselves.

But wait! The post-title says “Part 1,” Zed. What’s up with that?

Ah. Right. One of their actors was out for the shoot. So, I’m doing a follow-up to get the last headshot, and to get the fictional scenes which needed his character. That’s what. I’ve got more of this coming. You bet I do. But for now, pretty pretty pictures.

Oh. And if you’re enar Indianapolis, don’t forget to go see the play itself. June 8th & 9th, 15th & 16th, or 22nd & 23rd. Friday evenings @ 8.00, Saturday evenings @ 7.30 & 10.00. Regular tickets are $12, students are $8, and you can learn more at ETC’s page.

Red Hong Makes Me Look Like A Rank Amateur

I had a professor once who insisted that drawing was a skill, not a talent. With the right instruction and enough practice, he could teach anyone in the world to draw, he said. And by and large, I believe him. But every now and then, you look at the ease and creativity someone puts into rendering an image onto paper, and you have to acknowledge there is some seriously impressive talent at work. Such is the case with Red Hong, who does her large-scale drawings without any traditional utensils. Instead, she uses things like paint and basketballs, or coffee rings. Seriously. If you haven’t checked out her work, you should do that now.

Image from Core77's Post