Thursday, November 29, 2012

Roz Chast's Golden Years?

The original framed artwork for Roz Chast's cartoon Golden Years or Waxy Yellow Build-Up? was offered for sale on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $695 (plus $30 shipping). It didn't find a buyer at this level but instead sold for a mere $300 with the Make Offer feature. The back of the frame includes Ms. Chast's Certificate of Authenticity, quite amusing in its own right.

Roz Chast, Golden Years or Waxy Yellow Build-Up?

Roz Chast, Golden Years or Waxy Yellow Build-Up?

Roz Chast, Golden Years or Waxy Yellow Build-Up? Signature

Roz Chast, Golden Years or Waxy Yellow Build-Up? Back of Picture with Certificate of Authenticity


Roz Chast, Golden Years or Waxy Yellow Build-Up? Certificate of Authenticity


Roz Chast, Golden Years or Waxy Yellow Build-Up? eBay Winning Offer, September 26, 2012

Roz Chast, Golden Years or Waxy Yellow Build-Up? eBay Item Description, September 26, 2012

Roz Chast, Golden Years or Waxy Yellow Build-Up? Original eBay Buy It Now Price, September 26, 2012


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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Edward Gorey: In Praise of Cheesy Prose

The world of illustration art is full of mysteries. An illustration is commissioned for a specific editorial purpose, say to enhance an article or a short story. It is accepted or rejected, kept as is or modified, and either published or not published. Years later the original artwork may turn up devoid of any context and leave us to ponder what must have been its original intention. Some illustrators annotate their artwork with scrupulous publication histories. Others do not.

Take this drawing by Edward Gorey. It depicts a writer sitting inside a cheese wheel setting pen to paper on a moonlit night. We are told that it may have been published in the New York Times. It is at once atmospheric and absurd. What exactly is going on? Is this meant to illustrate a meditation on the preposterous difficulty of writing about cheese, a challenge akin to the more well-known task of writing discerningly about wine? Is it about ready-made snacking during the creative process? Surely it cannot be, as my attention-grabbing title glibly suggests, about writing "cheesy" prose.

It's been five years since this drawing was auctioned at Illustration House and possibly we may never know what it's all about. But it's also possible that someone reading this will recognize the piece and step forward to solve the whole mystery.

I'm patiently waiting....

Edward Gorey, writer inside giant cheese wheel, Illustration House

Illustration House
December 8, 2007
Lot 49Edward GoreyGavel=$1,900. +15%=$2,185.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Frank Frazetta's Land of Terror

Frank Frazetta's preliminary pencil study for the cover of Land of Terror by Edgar Rice Burroughs uses the curvature of the crocodile's body to give the composition a forceful left-to-right sweep. Ultimately though, this is not the approach used in the published version, which instead opts for the dramatic frontal view of the writhing crocodile.

Buying preliminary Frazetta pencil art can be tricky because there are fakes out there. Presumably, the provenance from an Illustration House sale in 2003 minimizes that particular risk. Nevertheless, the winning bid of $365 does not seem to be especially strong for a coveted Frazetta original.

Frank Frazetta, Study for Land of Terror cover

Frank Frazetta, Land of Terror

Frank Frazetta, Study for Land of Terror, eBay Listing


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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sempé Snowed In

Last year Bonhams New York sold this amusing, illustrated letter by the matchless Jean-Jacques Sempé. It was written, apparently, in the winter of 1986-1987 while he, Martine, and the cat were trapped by snow in their Provence home. The drawing shows Sempé comfortably seated at his drawing board while Martine tries to shovel a path to...where?

Jean-Jacques Sempé, S.O.S!


http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19514/lot/203/

Jean-Jacques Sempé, S.O.S!


Detail

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

2012 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation

On the evening before the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the character balloons are slowly inflated on streets near the American Museum of Natural History. These two photos taken by my daughter show the balloons Sailor Mickey, Sonic the Hedgehog, Ronald McDonald, and the Pillsbury Doughboy. The view is from an apartment overlooking the festivities. The balloons are covered in netting and weighed down with sandbags to prevent them from floating away.

Sailor Mickey had its debut in the 2009 parade. It represents the Disney Cruise Line. This version of Ronald McDonald and the Pillsbury Doughboy were introduced that same year. The new Sonic the Hedgehog balloon dates from 2011.

Sailor Mickey balloon and Sonic the Hedgehog. 
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation 2012
Sonic the Hedgehog, Ronald McDonald, and the Pillsbury Doughboy balloons.
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation 2012

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

The 2012 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

I did not attend the 2012 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade today, but Marc Hoffman kindly provided me with these photographs taken high above the parade route at Columbus Circle. Here the parade now turns from Central Park West onto Central Park South on its way to 6th Avenue and thence south again to Herald Square.

Kermit the Frog balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012

Kermit the Frog balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012


Good Grief!  Charlie Brown balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012

Good Grief!  Charlie Brown balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012

Mount Rushmore's American Pride float with Don McLean, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012
Spider-Man balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012


The Papa Smurf balloon is New for 2012, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012

Sonic the Hedgehog balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012

The Pillsbury Doughboy balloon heads down Central Park West, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012

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Turkeys in the Trees

I took these photos of wild turkeys taking to the trees in January of 2008. Turkeys don't fly much, but their wings can take them up for short distances.

Turkeys in the Trees, January 2008



Turkeys in the trees, January 2008




Note:  See more wild turkeys here.

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Wild Turkeys

I photographed these wild turkeys in the greenery alongside a parking lot in November 2006.


Wild Turkeys


video
Video:  Wild Turkeys, November 1, 2006

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The 2005 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

These photos of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade were taken by me on November 24, 2005 from an apartment overlooking Columbus Circle in New York City. The high vantage point will be unfamiliar to most viewers. It gives a good sense of the scale of the event, and it's great to see how many people enjoy the parade from viewing stands,balconies, windows, and the street. These photos and videos represent only a small selection of the balloons and floats and they were taken during the latter part of the Parade that day.

Ronald McDonald Balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005

Picachu Balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005

Again, the Picachu Balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005

Little Drummer Boy Float, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005

"Healthy" Mr. Potato Head Balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005

video
Video:  "Healthy" Mr. Potato Head Balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005


American Eagle Float, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005

Uncle Sam Balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005

Macy's Blue Star, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005
Garfield Balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005

video
Video:  Garfield Balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005


Strawberry/Pistachio Ice Cream Cone Balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005

Frosty the Snowman Balloonicle, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005

M&M's Red and Yellow Balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005

video
Video:  M&M's Red and Yellow Balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005



Poinsettia Balloons and Candy Cane Balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005


video
Video:  Candy Cane Balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005

Jojo's Circus Balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005

video
Video:  Jojo's Circus Balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005

Balloons of Red and Blue Elves, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2005

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Book Review: Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann

Three Bags Full:  A Sheep Detective Story (2005, English Translation by Anthea Bell 2006)

Leonie Swan
I find it hard to praise a book it took me seven long and painful months to plod through. In truth, I had expected to be completely delighted with Leonie Swann's first novel Three Bags Full. Carl Hiaasen, trusted author of any number of offbeat but reliably amusing novels, has a glowing cover blurb above the title. How could I go wrong?

The premise seemed both promising and original: a flock of sheep set out to solve the murder of their shepherd. One of the sheep, the cleverest, is named Miss Maple. It sounds like a lot of fun, right?

Wrong! First off, I did not find the sheep endearing in the slightest. I cared for the human characters even less. I kept expecting some big payoff, but all I encountered was a meandering flock and a meandering, tedious tale. It's not that the writing or even the translation were really bad--they weren't--but rather that I found the whole confection utterly boring.



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