As you may know, I prefer to spend my time making pictures rather than talking about them in the vapors of cyberspace. But occasionally something comes along that is particularly shareworthy. I just saw Wes Anderson’s GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL for the second time. I’d read a lot about it; great reviews, so I had great expectations. Obviously I was not disappointed. There’s a lot to absorb in this quirky masterpiece. The storyline is a flashback within a flashback. Anderson distinguishes between the two with a shift in screen format. Most of what we see onscreen is almost a square proportion, not widescreen. I’m sure everyone didn’t catch it, but as a big proponent of compositional shapes, edges and cropping, I certainly did. And loved it. I won’t bore you with the details from here on, but if you’re a visual person with a good sense of design and a slightly odd sense of humor, I recommend it. Five stars. And not an explosion, a car chase or a zombie anywhere!
A busy April. My favorite picture book collaborator J. Patrick Lewis was in town a couple weeks ago. He was the featured speaker at the University’s annual literacy conference for English majors and educators. Pat’s the former U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate and together we also “enlightened” 200 fourth graders on the fine art of making storybooks together. And we opened an exhibition of our work together - six books total - at the Hearst Center for the Arts here in Cedar Falls.
Two weeks later, another collaborator, builder Peter Colver and I installed my 8 by 10 foot dimensional mural at the Iowa African-American Museum in Cedar Rapids.
Some heavy lifting … literally. It took four of us working five hours. A unique project for me and in the end, I’m pretty proud of it.
Finally, I’ll be hanging out with my Illustration Academy friends at the Spectrum Convention in Kansas City come May 9, 10, 11. Even though Chris Payne did a killer portrait of me as Mr. Spock, I’m not really a fantasy art guy. Never watched a single episode of Star Trek. However, I do appreciate the level of traditional drawing and painting skills on display. They even have life-drawing sessions at this deal. Imagine that! Maybe I can give Greg Manchess a few pointers. And assuming George Pratt is in the building, there will be laughs. They say the Spectrum Weekend is like Comic Con without the crush of pop culture geeks. I’ll let you know.