Saturday, September 26, 2009

My History with Shadow Puppets Part 3

In 1997, I wrote and illustrated my first storybook, A Search for Meaning: The Story of Rex. In July 1998, I took the plunge and self-published the book as a signed and number limited edition hardcover (1000 copies printed).

In the book, a little fox named Rex goes through a series of strange landscapes, meeting weird and unusual creatures in his search for enlightment. The story is somewhat autobiographical and reflected my own spiritual quest at the time. I used several black silhouette ink drawings within its pages, as well as on the cover (although, the current edition of the book uses a different, more colorful cover).

The following two years, I wrote, illustrated and published three more books in the same format: The Mystery of He, The Great Shadow Migration and The Bird, The Spider and the Octopus. Each one explored more of my strange concepts and philosophy. These first four books in my bibliography all used shadow puppet imagery to various degree to convey rhythm, mood and ideas.

These limited edition books were a big hit at the San Diego Comic-Con and quickly sold out. In 2004, I digitally remastered all the artwork and repackaged all four books into a 126-page anthology called Parables, again using a silhouette illustration as the cover.

These works were the launch of my publishing career and they really helped defined my illustrative style. I still have a soft spot for them.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My History With Shadow Puppets Part 2

From 1996 to 1998, after seeing a Kandinsky exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), I became completely obsessed with doing fine art.

At the time, I was supervising special effects for Warner Bros Feature Animation which was a pretty demanding job - but still, I managed to create 75 fine art pieces in that two-year period which were displayed in several gallery shows.

The pieces were mostly abstract in nature and were done in a wide spectrum of mediums: acrylic paintings, wood sculptures, collage and ink and mixed-media. They ranged from large to small and complex to simple. All the pieces are very silhouette oriented and several of them use black to strongly define the shapes.

Doing fine art was a way to relax and express myself without commercial constraint, but more than that, it allowed me to build and elaborate my own visual language and iconography which would later show up in all my further work: special effects, book illustrations, comics, etc. A lot of the ideas I came up with during this phase of my art are being transposed and developed in our game, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet.

I rarely have time to do fine art these days but every once in a while, I'll create a piece for a gallery show and as usual, the silhouette aspect is always present. You can view a sample of some of my fine art work at this link.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My History With Shadow Puppets Part 1

Although my art has many facets, I've always enjoyed the art of silhouette. Perhaps it is due to the fact that I see the world in 2D, having lost an eye at the age of twelve. My world has been 2D for many years.

But then again, in 1974 at the age of nine, three years before I lost my right eye, I designed this logo for my mother's store. The store has been sold and resold several times, but the logo still stands.

Looking at it today, it bears a strange resemblance to some of the design work in ITSP.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Interview @ The Reticule

Here's our latest and probably last interview for a while. Click here to read.