Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More Moby-Dick art available in the Etsy shop

Okay, I'm only going to let myself get all personal like this one time. In just about 3 weeks in mid-August, my wife and I will have been married for 10 years. We're taking a vacation someplace wonderfully hot and sunny and we are both really looking forward to it. Since there is no way I would have ever finished this project without her love and support, and since this is the first anniversary in two years where I haven't been completely distracted and buried by art responsibilities, I want to do something special for her. I've decided just this once to be a brazen profiteer in terms of my art so yesterday I added a big group of 22 new pieces to my Etsy shop. It's a real mix of art, from very simple and inexpensive illustrations to some of the largest, most complex and most elaborate pieces.

This will be all the art I add to the shop until some time in late August when we've gotten back and things have quieted down a bit. Okay, brazen profiteering is now officially over.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ann Weaver, Knitter

One of the great joys of this Moby-Dick illustration project has been sharing the work with so many other people interested in, and inspired by, Melville's great novel. I knew that quite a few brilliant artists had plumbed the depths of the work in the past, but I was quite surprised at how many current creators were still drawing from the same well.

Knitter Ann Weaver is one of them, and she is crafting some of the most unique and intriguing Moby-Dick-inspired art I have ever seen. What completely stunned me is that she contacted me to let me know that some of my own illustrations had sparked her own ideas, and that she had knitted pieces based on what I had done. Honestly, I can think of no greater compliment than to learn that my own art fuelled the creative drive of another artist, and after seeing what Ann has made, I am almost speechless. This stuff is truly like magic to me.

Ann was kind enough to share some photos of her new creations with me, and to grant me permission to post them on this blog. First, here is Ann's Castaway Hat...

Next, her Lamp cowl, based on the whale-oil lamps and my piece illustrating that...

And finally, an absolutely gorgeous piece based on the try-works of the whaling ships, where the whale blubber is rendered down into oil. This photo shows the detailing from behind...

Ann's blog is constantly fascinating and endlessly entertaining, and even though I don't think I have ever even touched a knitting needle, I find myself visiting quite often. I quite liked this particular quote from Ann...

I am thinking that my knitting will become more and more conceptual until it has no audience whatsoever. Things seem to be heading that way!

I've had almost those exact same thoughts about my own art, so it was heartening to read that an artist as accomplished and gifted as Ann is interested in pursuing some of those same ideas.

Okay, more on Ann's Moby-Dick inspired creations in this post, Ann's blog (which you should really be following) here, and Ann's site, where you can learn more about her and purchase her books and patterns here.

My book is mentioned...

Over at Library Journal, Barbara Hoffert had some really kind things to say about my upcoming Moby-Dick art book in this piece here. (You'll have to scroll down a bit, and start reading next to the cover image of my book.) This was my favorite part...

Sometimes vibrant, sometimes somber, Kish’s images are relentlessly fresh and eye-catching. A white shape rises behind a thicket of harpoons; a glaring Mr. Stubbs is partly obscured by blue drops (seawater? rain? tears?). To proclaim the stunning moment when Moby-Dick rises from the ocean, Kish offers a great armored being against a black sky, puffing like a steam engine and shaking off ropey swirls of water. Even the least visual readers will feel energized by Kish’s artistry and his obvious passion for Melville’s work.

But she has even more perceptive commentary at the link.

"Heart of Darkness" illustrations

This blog is for all the Moby-Dick-related art and news, but I do have another blog where I share all the other art I am working on. I've been asked to contribute 10 new illustrations for Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness to something called The Graphic Anthology of Classic Literature coming out in 2012 in three volumes from Seven Stories Press. Since that is decidely non-Moby-Dick related, I'll be posting some of the new pieces over on that blog. The publisher wants most of the content of the anthology to be new, so I'll only be able to post 2 or 3 of the pieces, but the first one is up on my other blog right here so please check it out and let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Moby-Dick art book hardcover preview

The wonderful designers working for my publisher Tin House Books have really created an exceptionally beautiful object for the slipcased hardcover version of Moby-Dick in Pictures. Some time ago, they sent me some photos of the mock-up, and I'm pretty sure these are now floating around out there online so I can finally share them. Remember, these images are of a mock-up they made with color printouts and a fake book, but they'll give you an idea of just how incredible the hardcover version is going to look.

First, a spread showing the front and back covers and the spine...

Next, the way the book will look peeking out of the slipcase...

Here is the front cover of the book, leaning against the slipcase...

And finally, the front of the hardcover adjacent to the back of the slipcase...

Keep in mind, these are still prototypes. There could be some changes, major or minor, and I've been told there will be some additional tweaking and clean-up of the art. But this should give you a good idea of what the hardcover edition will look like. I really couldn't be more excited...this thing is going to be gorgeous.

Well, not ALL of them...

Yesterday the Huffington Post ran a piece about me which I thought was pretty fantastic. However, there was a slight misquote. While the article indicates I said "There's a lot of artists out there, they're real assholes..." what I actually said was that SOME of them are real asholes. I don't think all artists, or even most of them, are assholes. But yeah, some of them really are, and some of them have been real assholes right to me. I don't regret saying that at all.

Really though, most of the artists I have either met or corresponded with have been fantastic and I don't think they're assholes at all. People like Shawn Cheng, Daniel Anthony St. George 2nd, Joe Kuth, Cheryl Sorg, Jeffrey Meyer, Sophie Blackall, Tom Williams, Kyle Wallace, Craig Bogart, Aaron M. Fitzwater, Andy Bennett, Matt Dembicki, John Mejias, Matt Wiegle and Steve Loya have all, at various times, offered me thoughtful critique, genuine encouragement, needed advice, and simple friendship. Their kindness has balanced out the sometimes scathing treatment I've received from some other, well...assholes.

And that's that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I am interviewed at the Huffington Post

Lucas Kavner of the Huffington Post interviewed me and you can read the whole thing right here. It was a great conversation, and I swore a bit more than I realized, but I stand by my words. Check it out.

More Moby-Dick art available in the Etsy shop

I added another 15 Moby-Dick illustrations to my Etsy shop so check 'em out if you're interested. My plan is to add 10 or 15 pieces every 2 or 3 weeks up until October when the art book finally hits bookstores. Then I'll probably add a couple of big batches of pieces and see how things shake out.