Category Archives: Art

Black Hole

Comics. What wonderful universe I’m so ignorant about!

I’ve always loved this way of telling stories making such a visual impact, however I’ve never been a great follower nor expert. Used to buy a magazine when I was 8 one of these  weekly girly magazines named Jana, following all the stories, but I found really frustrating to spend most of the time waiting for the next issue while it was taking me so few to devour it, so I wasn’t good at collecting at all. Never been a good collector at anything, to be honest, so after that I was buying spare issues of comics just for fun, and Spiderman and Batman stories.

I consume volumes. Not that I buy many, but I’ve been getting acquainted with great works such as The Killing Joke, From Hell, Frank Miller’s The Dark Night Returns or Sin City, The Preacher recently, and the last weird discovery, thanks to my friend Mich, Charles Burns’ Black Hole.

black hole

I got so hooked I read it in just a couple of nights. Sick, twisted and totally uncomfortable. It’s so weird it’s really difficult to define what Black Hole is, and I reckon a second read is absolutely necessary, to get more meaning. For this reason I immediately related it to any of the early Cronenberg’s films. They were so shocking I had to watch them several times to really enjoy them. In this sense Black Hole could be equal to Videodrome. You feel irresistibly attracted to it at first, but you don’t really know what’s going on nor why, and have to dig deeper and deeper to make sense.

The plot is set in Seattle, in the 1970s. it mainly deals with a couple of teenage characters, Keith and Chris, who barely know each other from highschool but they somehow empathize. There’s a bug, a sexual transmitted disease which causes mutations among youngsters even though the origin is not explained. Some of them suffer really awful mutations which immediately turn them into outcasts, and they tend to isolate from society, in order to avoid rejection, torture and punishment, and some others manage to deal with it. Chris, the girl, gets infected when hanging out with Rob Fancincani, due to a misunderstanding, and from that moment she feels compelled to get away. Keith gets hooked with Eliza, who’s grown up a tail, but, unlike Chris, he can handle the situation in a better way. And then, there’s Dave, who’s a total freak, in love with Chris, whose actions will make a huge impact on these people.

keith chris

There are lots of drugs and sex, both subjects I find totally appealing, there are lots of interesting music references, and plenty of dreamy stuff. The imagery is absolutely great, even though I was so stuck to the story man things passed by without me noticing them. Visually it’s overwhelming, with this thick and heavy black ink, which makes the cartoons so powerful.

All the constant references to this spreading decease made me think of AIDS. First, for being sexually transmitted, and also because of all this social barrier created around. I remember the first days of AIDS, when it was officially recognized, and we all felt threatened (well, perhaps not me, I was a little girl after all), not so sure of the ways to be infected, and even though we were all told to be close and supportive to the people suffering from it, how society was giving its back to the illness. I also remember the first time I heard some acquaintance who had passed away was infected, and this panic around me increasing, with thousands of questions involved. “Was I to close to him?” “why didn’t he tell us?” Have I been too exposed?”, “What if anyone knows I am friend f this person?”It was really awkward, and scary, and I remember it freshly.

eliza

It also made me think of Larry Clark’s Kids movie, which also dealt with a crazy and out of control teenage society, and AIDS, and the way youngsters were jeopardizing their lives for the sake of having a sexual encounter, without pounding the consequences. All very fucked up.

Again, what is Black Hole? Is it the story of mutants, a portrait of a disease, the troubles of a teenager to fit or to get away, the reflection of social confusion, or just a weird and heavy acid trip?

Perhaps I didn’t understand anything or different readings can be pulled out of it, but the only thing I’m sure of is that Black Hole is perturbing and fascinating all the same.

Hamilton Ventura

Hamilton Ventura, what a sexy name! It could work for an adventurer, a super hero or an actor. One of those names that, I don’t know, they just imply something classy, far from the standard.

hamilton ventura

Ventura is actually a wristwatch, and it was one of the first electric models in the world designed by the American industrial designer Richard Arbib in 1957 for the Hamilton Watch Company. Not only It was quite revolutionary for the mechanism but also for its non-traditional assimetrical design.

The first celebrity wearing one of these Ventura models was Elvis Presley, known for being a passionate for wristwatches, including Longines, Omega and Rolex. You can see his Blue Hawaii film poster with him wearing this watch. After him, the creator of one of  the most amazing tv series ever, The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling, was introducing the audience to the 5th dimension every week with his Hamilton Ventura. Stray Cats leader, Brian Setzer had one too, and it was part of the outfit of the Men in Black, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.

hve

You realize when a design of an object is a work of art when it’s not affected by the passing of time, this is, it never gets old nor outdated. This is the case of Hamilton Ventura. It’s elegant, classy and timeless. In fact, the company has been releasing updated editions of the watch, but also recovering the classic models in limited adition, for the 50th anniversary of the first electric watch, and the 75th birthday anniversary of Elvis in 2009.

Most of my life I’ve been using wristwatches, since I was 6 and wanted to assimilate the concept of passing time. it’s been few years, since I got my right forearm tattooed with the lighthouse since I don’t wear watch, but I’ve been thinking of recovering that habit because as soon as the battery of the phone runs out, I’m totally confused not knowing what the time is.

So, if you have approx. spare USD 700-1000, and feel like making me a present, one of these wonderful toys would be terrific. 🙂

MASTERS OF INK & NEEDLE: ALVARO LLORAR.

jaws llorar

I love Álvaro Llorar. I really do. He’s one of my favorite tattoo artists, lives in Barcelona and works at Barcelona Electric Tattoo 20 minutes away walking from The Hellhouse.

Fist time acquainted with him was through my friend Dave, who got tattooed by him in 2010. This beautiful woman whose tears water and feed the roses really caught my eye.

dave

At the end of 2012 I started thinking of getting a woman inked. I didn’t want the typical face, and thought of a woman with the eyes in flames, it made me think of something like “I’d rather burn my eyes (see no evil)”.

After assessing different artists, it was precisely before Christmas Eve supper, having some beers with Dave, he suggested and encouraged me to talk to Alvaro, and so I did. I knew he wasn’t going to fail me, as he’s a master with women, tattooing speaking (well, probably in other senses too).

When I visited him at the studio, one of the main things which confirmed me I has chosen correctly was the immediate connection to him. It was very easy for me to explain the concept of the woman in flaming eyes and he got it instantly, looking very enthusiastic about the idea. We got on well in a second. That made me feel very confident. 4 days later he was showing me two designs of a lady, both with just one eye on fire to highlight the features of the gorgeous lady, and I chose the skull clip for the hair and the chrysanthemum. The experience of getting tattooed by Llorar was terrific. Not only because we could chat a lot and he answered all my questions, but also because he was all the time making sure I was feeling comfortable and suffering the less possible. The result was Carmen, my gorgeous woman.

carmen

Álvaro was also thrilled by the result and admitted she was going to be one of the tops of the year. I’ve seen many of his works afterwards and even though they are brilliant, I gotta admit he was right.

He’s definitely a ladies artist. The way he works on the faces, the intense and wide eyes, the blush around them, the treatment of shadows on the chin and neck, lips and nose, the hair, and all the beautiful accessories added… Alvaro’s a master of the classic and traditional Mediterranean woman, very feminine, gorgeous, nostalgic and very evocative. His ladies make me think of sailors, who would be very proud of getting inked a beauty such as my Carmen.

Women Llorar

 

They are so recognizable, it happened to me some time ago at a concert a couple of guys came to me asking if my girl was inked by Álvaro, completely fascinated, and started showing me some of their tattoos done by him too.

Of course ladies are not the only field Llorar is good at. He’s got a taste for the dark and gloomy. Many of his illustrations portrait evil scenes, quite disturbing. It’s hard to understand when you get to know such an outgoing and friendly guy though. His skulls are very unique.

skulls llorar

Álvaro is guest spotting in different cities in Spain. Mallorca, Pamplona, Zaragoza, Cordoba, and also takes part of some conventions in Europe. Best advice I can give is, in case you’re interested in getting one of his wonderful tattoos, to contact him through Facebook in order to check when and where he’s available, as fortunately he’s quite busy.

Llorar is not even 30 right now, but is one of the most solid artists I know nowadays. as an artist he’s very creative and talented, and you can see he loves his job. As a person, only for the hours I spent with him, he’s straight, very easygoing and adorable. The combination of these two sides made my experience terrific, and I’m looking forward to repeating some time soon.

varios llorar

MASTERS OF INK & NEEDLE: ROTOR FINERATS

It’s been long time since I don’t write about tattoo artists and now that I feel a bit cold turkey and Summertime is definitely the worse season for tattoo artists due to warm weather, I’m in the mood to talk about Rotor Finerats, a 200% artist, not just talented with the ink and the needle. Beyond the tattoos, this guy has an immense talent and creativity reflected on his illustrations, very inspired in the lowbrow art movement.

rotor viking skulls

Some people have asked me why I never talk about Spanish artists, wondering whether I’m not interested in the national product. I’ve been thinking about it and I can only reply that I never got the chance or perhaps foreign artists came first to my mind. At this point I’m so into this world, I reckon there’s an impressive community of Spanish artists spread throughout the peninsula, and especially settled in Barcelona. I’m very lucky on this regard.

Thus today I’m talking about Rotor, my first Spanish tattoo artist I haven’t had yet the pleasure of visiting myself for my piece. But I’m pretty sure eventually that day will arrive and I’ll get one of his post-nuclear tattoos.

Rotor works at Aloha Tattoos studio in Barcelona, at this point I’d say it’s the most established and popular studio in town, ousting the classic LTW studio in Tallers st. It used to be the place of reference, but since it’s always been very expensive and the rotation of artists is too frequent, Aloha eventually won the crown, thanks to Rotor, El Carlo, El Javi, El Monga, Tai Iglesias…too much talent at that studio.

I think it was a year ago when I saw  a tattoo of Rotor’s for the first time and it really blew my mind. I can’t be 100% sure, but I’d say it was this one.

rotor mechanical whale

I felt fascinated with this mechanical whale, as I like to name it, and the combination of the industrial element with one of the most amazing creatures on Earth. Nature corrupted by industrialization? Replicant animals in the future to replace extinct breed? Who knows, only Rotor, there might be lots of symbols or perhaps none, but these post-nuclear tattoos are his trademark, making his designs very unique.

post nuclear tattoos by Rotor

Rotor’s style is closer to old school than Miss Arianna, for instance. Even though both artists prefer thick lines, Arianna enhances details through shading while Rotor prefers this style of  lining, in order to provide his pieces of this classic roughness. No doubt he can also stick to a more complex or detailed style too, but to be honest I’m not as interested in that part.

His universe also includes weird creatures, vampires, or aliens, quite vintage looking, keeping this childish and reckless halo.

Rotor Creatures

And I love everything he does involving skulls.

skulls rotor

Rotor, together with Ibie, is co-editor of Fine Rats illustration magazine, recovering the works of many independent artists who unfortunately cannot expose their work in public so in this way these compilations can achieve more audience. I had the chance to purchase the first five issues, printed in very good quality and offering a different kind of art, much more trashier and rude. I will write about this publishing in a near future, on a separate post.

Here you can watch this video introducing Rotor who explains a bit about his work and influences. It was recorded to support him in a contest held by Jägermeister. Unfortunately he didn’t win, but it was a good promo for him.

Rotor is on my list of artists I would like to get tattooed by. All this sci-fi, vintage future designs are terrific, and his post-nuclear creatures are simply awesome. His style might look very simple, but it’s the imagery, all the complements added to the main figure, which enhance the effect of them. His work is very special.

MASTERS OF INK & NEEDLE: PIETRO SEDDA

The renowned International Tattoo Convention in Milano took place last weekend, hosting very important artists such as Miss Arianna, Chad Koeplinger, Adrian Edek, Horimasa or Tai Iglesias.

Conventions are like fairs, offering lots of entertainment with many events programmed, artists not only tattooing but also showing their amazing sketchbooks and selling merch, and of course, showing their skills on the field, available to every attendant. Indeed, it’s the best promo they can have, even though it’s harder for some of the artists to stay focused due to so much bustle.

You can get a tattoo on the go, but many artists work on command, this is, they’ve already scheduled appointments with clients. If you think about it, it’s easier and cheaper travel to a big city such as Milano or London, rather than visiting certain artists to their parlors in God knows where in Poland.

Thanks to Internet, nowadays it’s possible to follow up the development of the events at tattoo conventions. Plenty of updates including photos of the pieces done might get you a picture of what’s going on.

Pietro Sedda is a Cagliari born artist settled in Milano who works at The Saint Mariner. I’ve been following him for a couple of years already, amazed by his conceptual work I will refer to in a minute (or half).


Checking his Milano updates on Sunday, I discovered he had received the best artist award for Saturday. Curious as it seems, there is a single day award, and Pietro was the most acclaimed on the 9th. His previous post was this amazing piece I presume he did that day. I agree with the jury decision, this piece is so much different from what I’ve seen lately, it’s impressive.

mon amour by Pietro Sedda

The merging of the sailor with the couple kissing, and the twilight sea scape, with the lettering C’est La Vie on one hand, and Mon Amour on the beret, is so romantic, and dreamy!

The new old school extended tendency and expertise of the Italian artists is again proved by Sedda’s work, and even though all are remarkable fr their own personal features, Sedda’s conceptual tattoos make a difference.

Birds are usually portrayed including a human a human face inside, which makes me think of human beings deprived of freedom, as if locked up inside the body of a bird, the ultimate symbol for freedom.

human birds by Pietro Sedda

This is something very similar to the pieces related to men and krakens or octopus. Men are trapped by their tentacles, as if swallowed, and women are the octopus, ready to embrace, grab, and finally catch you for themselves.

octopus by Pietro Sedda

Human faces are quite enigmatic, and literally puzzling sometimes.

puzzled people by Pietro Sedda

Faces can also be used as the lid, the cover of a recipient, which can already contain something, usually some other creatures. Those removable faces remind me of s the 70’s horror sci-fi movie, Westworld. Brynner’s quite creepy.

westworld faces Pietro Sedda

In the animal world, not only birds predominate, but also the sea creatures such as whales.

whales by Pietro Sedda

Anyway, there’s no doubt about his preference for human beings. It’s like Sedda was always trying to face en against some other creatures, mainly animals, being these the winning side in the struggle. And there’s another element, translated into skulls, which always wins: Death.

death by Pietro Sedda

His technique is super clean and very solid. The use of shading is outstanding in faces, especially in eye contour, and wrinkles, however, his characters show this neutral and cold expression, quite typical in this old school. Their glance does not help you in understanding what’s going on, but what comes with them, the accesories, which have the same relevance as the creature.

Wish I could ask Sedda about the meaning of his personal symbolism. Probably he’d laugh reading about my personal interpretation of them. What is true is that all this crypticism is very appealing and Sedda is a master of the riddles through tattoos. If you like his work, you can follow him on FB or visit his beautiful website. Pretty amazing, don’t you think?

THE DO-IT-YOURSELF POSABLE PAPER

Let’s s take a break from music for a while. I’m aware that my last posts have been related to albums, and perhaps you’re a bit saturated. Sorry if such is the case!

Xmas is coming, and even though I just have a 5-days break to visit my family and friends in my hometown, I’m being pretty busy for the next 2-3 weeks.

What about you? I’m sure many of you have a long Xmas break, and once the shopping spree is done and the presents wrapped, what are you gonna do?

I got an indecent proposal for those days you basically overfeeding and lying on the couch hardly digesting all you’ve been eating while watching the typical same boring movies.

I’ve recovered this Do-It-Yourself Posable I discovered many years ago on Google when looking for something I could apply what I had recently learned related to  Photoshop selection and transformation. David Hasselfhoff in his different roles, ready for you to start customizing your hero at your pleasure.

PoseableHoff_82.FH8

It you take a serious look, there are plenty of tiny details which make this paper toy awesome: the different main characters he’s been playing, the changeable smiles, the Knight Ryder leather jacket, the portable hairy chest… pretty good, although everybody has noticed the absence of the hamburgers, refreshing that image of the actor, trying to eat a burger, completely drunk lying down on the floor.

Today good ol’ Hasselhoff came to my mind and then I remembered this posable. while looking for a picture to keep it, I found another version of this posable, closer to God, thanks to The Pope.

diy pope

Now that he’s so popular thanks to his newTwitter account, @Pontifex, from which he’s been sending his message of peace and love, this posable could turn into one of the hottest souvenirs related to The Pope.

Don’t think I will have time enough to give them a try, but if you do, will you please send a me a photo of them? Ha!

PHOTOSHOP? NOPE, I’M IN PAINT MOOD

I’ve never been good at drawing, in fact, art was one of the subjects I used to find most difficult at school. I even failed sometimes. Drawing, painting, cutting or modelling… same shit. Being lefty didn’t help much either.

I remember once, my parents bought me one of these drawing notebooks to exercise and improve my skills. They thought the more I practiced the better I would draw. What they didn’t suspect, or at least they didn’t seem to, is that what I actually improved were my tracing skills, which were very useful that day in 6th degree, when my math exam was rated 1/10 thus I had to show it to my parents and return it signed by them. I’m positive when they read this, it will be first news after 25 years. Yes, Elena, my former teacher, you used to mark us like shit, and I didn’t want to be reprimanded nor punished, so the only way out was to fake my dad’s signature by tracing. Believe it or not, it worked, and nothing happened. Life went on.

When I was at high school, we had this compulsory technical drawing subject just in order to ruin my life. We had these assignments in which, to start with, we had to fill the template boxes with our names written with 45º inclination. After two assignments, I decided not to waste my time on that crap, and I was so determined to find a solution, I’d pay for them to be done. It wasn’t necessary. I started exchanging drawing assignments for English homework, and passed the subject. I was 14.

And now that I’m 36, someone suggests to draw, or better say, adapt an album cover using PAINT app, and start copying them like crazy. And you know the funniest thing? I use the mouse as right handed  rather than trying with my “good” hand.

Can you guess the name of these albums? All of them have been albums of the week here. Ok, I give you some clues…

I went to see this artist to Porto last year, and this is his last album.

ashes and fire

This is the debut album of Evil Elvis and his band.

danzig paint

You can see another version of this album cover in wood carving on he top righ of this blog, included in the header. This was the wedding present for my friends Artie and Mayra.

harvest moon

I discovered this band and this album in Spring. It’s 80’s.

jeopardy

I attended a show of the leader of this band in April, and even though he’s always quite serious, I made him laugh.

Screaming Trees

Feel like giving it a try?