Point of Exquisite Suspension

Thoughts & life experiences of a Chicago area graphic artist

13 September 2017

Polaroid Selfies from the 80s

Click to enlarge to see detail.
Before social media posted iPhone photo selfies and even before social media was a thing, Polaroid was the King of selfies.

Above I have a small sample of selfies I took in the early 80s with a Polaroid 660 camera. Many of them I manipulated for "Special FX" by using a wooden stylus to push the chemicals around through the plastic cover while the image developed.

Happy 80th Birthday Polaroid!

04 September 2017

Overcoming Gravity

I had a lot of fun creating this comic. Believe it or not it was an exercise in drawing carefully in ink without initial pencil sketches. I was in a zen-like state, as I recall. Later, I scanned the line art into a digital format and colorized the art in Photoshop. 

The lettering is also created digitally using a font (Nutoon) based on my own lettering that I crafted using the old-timey software Fontagrapher years ago.

I pretty much made up the dialog on the spot and fine-tuned it before settling on the final version you see above.

My art and technique was inspired by the work of artist Anders Nilsen whose cartoon art I first saw at a home exhibition in Chicago. I made a smaller homage to Nilsen in my 365 Tigrikorn Day Creativity project (see the particular sample below and the original captioned work on Flickr).

I'm not exactly sure where I got the idea of overcoming gravity by falling. I'll leave it to you, dear reader, to Google the phrase. I'm vaguely thinking I gleaned the notion from something I read by Oscar Wilde or Gore Vidal.

© O. Douglas Jennings. All rights Reserved.

Anders Nilsen had a variety of styles. This homage is from his earlier work.

31 August 2017

I Went to see "Whistler's Mother"

My sister Alicia (left) went with me to view the historic painting. Sorry for the glare on the glass.
The painting historic significance of what is most popularly known as "Whistler's Mother" lies in that it's official name is Arrangement in Grey and Black No. I (Portrait of the Artist’s Mother). The artist's decision to give the painting that title is a striking 1st step toward abstract art.

Another important note is that this classic American painting is owned by France. It had not been to Chicago for over 60 years.

Below is the Art Institute's Commentary that was displayed at the exhibit:

An American Icon Returns to Chicago

In 1871 James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834—1903) created Arrangement in Grey and Black No. I (Portrait of the Artist’s Mother) —a pivotal work that marked a shift away from the artist’s more realistic style to an increased embrace of abstraction. This change is reflected in his application of thinned down paint and his use of titles. Drawn from musical terminology, works like arrangement emphasized the formal properties of art over its subject matter.

Indeed, as Whistler himself wrote about the breakthrough painting, “Take the picture of my mother, exhibited at the Royal Academy as an ‘Arrangement in Grey and Black.’ Now that is what it is. To me it is interesting as a picture of my mother, but what can or ought the public to care about the identity of the portrait?

Despite Whistler’s intentions, the reception of the painting could not be divorced from its sitter, and was soon better known as “Whistler’s Mother.” Initially met with puzzlement, it was eventually heralded, spurring a staggering quantity of critical interpretations, reproductions, and pop culture references.

Acquired by the French state in 1891, the work has only occasionally been exhibited in the United States. Its status as an icon of American motherhood gained momentum over the course of the 20th century, beginning with its touch of the country in 1933. Now, more than 60 years since it was last exhibited in Chicago, Whistler’s masterpiece returns to the Art Institute, where it is shown in the context of the artist’s use of family members as subjects and his abstract treatment of genres like portraiture and landscape. 

 --> See more of my photos of the Whistler Exhibit on my Flickr site.

30 August 2017

140 letters of fame...

Through my Tigrikorn account, I posted a reply tweet over a year ago that my Twitter notifications continue to tell me is being liked and retweeted. My reply was rather flippant and a one-off comment. I never imagined it would have such longevity.

With all the numerous likes and retweets, my comment only garnered a total of four replies. My favorite is, "Who hurt you?"   Well  ...   😳 ...  🤔... 🙃 ...  😜 ... That comment is a perfect combination of faux concern and shade. Or it could be sincere. Twitter replies can be hard to read that way --at least for me.

At any rate, I'm glad a lot of ppl have gotten a kick out of my snarky post. Ego fodder etc.

21 August 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017 had it's Moments

Cheeky cookie celebration of Eclipse Day! Thanks, Jan!

We celebrated at our office with cookies. A couple of us made a shadow box (Pro Tip: make the hole for the shadow box with a pin or tack - not with a nail. I tried both and the image from the pin hole was much more distinct.). One of my fellow employees, Elizabeth, brought official Eclipse glasses.

Only two of us made shadow boxes to view the event. Note to self:  smaller pin hole (no nails) works best!

It was troublesome that clouds rolled in at 1:10 pm just before the peak eclipse coverage of the Sun. But we could see glimpses through the clouds, in the shadow boxes and a couple of good looks through the glasses. It was just enough for me to feel a part of an historic event.

The light outside dimmed noticeably and some of us thought the temperature cooled a bit as well.

An iPhone photo of the Eclipse through the clouds. Thanks to fellow employee David D.!

After it was over we all returned to work. So there you have a summation of my experience of #SolarEclipse2017 from Arlington Heights, IL. We were roughly 300 miles from the totality path.

13 August 2017

Monument against War and Fascism, Vienna, Austria.

During our recent trip to the wonderful city of Vienna, Austria, our hosts solemnly took us to a stunning monument at the city center, behind the opera house and in front of the celebrated Albertina Museum of Art (which houses remarkable art by Albrect Durer, among other treasures).

The Monument against War and Fascism contained sculptures that were jarring. As you read the plaque and see the unique art of granite and marble depictions of the inhumanity suffered by the people of Europe under the boot heel of and war-mongering totalitarian government, you'll see why it is a clear warning to future democracies who think Fascistic leaders seem desirable.


Text on the plaque at the
Monument against War and Fascism

Alfred Hrdlicka (1928-2009)

Granite, marble, sandstone, bronze

“This was once the site of Philipp-Hof, an imposing apartment block built during the prosperous final quarter of the 19th century. It was destroyed in an air-raid on March 12th 1945. Hundreds died who had sought refuge in its cellar. The exact number of dead has never been verified as bodies could not be recovered from the rubble. For this reason, it was deemed during the commemorative year of 1988, to be an appropriate site for the City of Vienna to place a Monument against War and Fascism. The Austrian sculptor Alfred Hrdlicka was given the commission for its concept and execution.

The Gate of Violence stands at the front of the square: It is constructed from Mauthausen granite, identical to the stone that thousands of prisons were forced to carry up the Steps of Death at Mauthausen Concentration Camp.”

Photos © by O. Douglas Jennings. All Rights Reserved.

12 August 2017

Cartooning Class Comic Page Demo

This Cartooning Class Comic Page Demonstration was part of a unit on basic story layout and tips for depicting an action scene.

The step-by-step demonstration began with giving students the choice of what characters to use in the plot and what action sequence to tell visually.

Students then followed along on their own art as we pencil-sketched the art/layout before pencilling the lettering and then using Sharpie markers for inks. 

After the inking of the art was finished we erased the pencil lines to reveal the crisp black final art on the white paper.

See other demos and scenes from our class on my instagram:

Students also worked on their own projects. It was a good week.