Jack Kirby is probably one of the most important and influential comic book creators to have ever lived. He helped make funny books a little more sophisticated and thoughtful, and turned them into a Pop-Art phenomenon. He also developed some of the most unique and memorable characters around. Characters that most people have at least heard of, even if they’ve never picked up a comic book. And on top of that, his drawings and line work can be so beautiful that I sometimes get completely lost in it.
Kirby started his career as a newspaper cartoonist, and went on to draw all sorts of comics for a number of different publishers. Mysteries, romance, westerns, horror, sci-fi, etc. This is before TV, when comic books were cheap and easy to find entertainment, and a single issue might sell over a million copies each month. Jack Kirby was right there from the beginning, helping the new artform develop.
It was when Kirby met artist, writer, and editor Joe Simon that his career really took off. Together, the two of them developed one of the most popular and longest lasting characters in comics, Captain America. Before the United States had even entered World War II, Jack Kirby had Captain America fighting the good fight, and punching Hitler right in the chops. Good old Cap!
When America did finally join the war, Kirby was drafted and sent off to Germany, where he was given the extremely dangerous job of scouting out towns ahead of the troops in order to draw reconnaissance maps and pictures.
After the war Kirby met and began working with Stan Lee. Together, Kirby and Stan Lee pretty much created the foundation for Marvel Comics in the early 1960s with Thor, the Hulk, the original X-Men, Dr. Doom, the Silver Surfer, the Inhumans, the Celestials and Eternals. Captain America was bought by Marvel, revived, and became an Avenger. There are too many characters to count. Probably my all-time favorite is Galactus, who is the last survivor of an extinct universe, and now runs around this new universe eating planets! Yummy!
Eventually there were legal problems and ownership disputes over these characters that caused Jack Kirby to leave Marvel Comics and head on over to Marvel’s rival, DC Comics, where he created even more fantastic artwork, stories and characters. The Demon, the whole Fourth World Saga with the New Gods and, another favorite, Darkseid.
Damn, what an amazing career, and what a legacy! Jack Kirby defines pure imagination to me. Even if you don’t really appreciate this comic book stuff, you’ve got to admit he left a lot of creative work behind.
But really, it is his artwork that stands out the most. In my library I have a book called the “Kirby: King of Comics“. The drama and action he is able to capture, the way he depicts power and energy, the way he illustrates machines and technology, the simplicity and beauty that goes into each line…
Crossroads Urban Center is a cool organization that helps the homeless and underprivileged. But, did you know that it also has a program to get reduced–priced fresh fruits and vegetables into the hands of every ordinary Utahn?
It’s called the Community Food Co-op and the website is https://www.foodco-op.net/. The way it works is that they buy food in bulk, and then sell it at a vastly reduced cost over ordinary grocery stores. You buy a “share” like you would at the Farmer’s Market. Each month, the items change depending on what’s in season. Here’s what they have for January for only $10:
5 pound bag of potatoes
1 head of cauliflower
1 bag of spinach
You order in advance, and then you’ll be given a pick-up date.There are pick-up locations all over town. In addition to paying for your share, they ask that you do two hours of volunteer month to give back to the community.
If you pick up the produce share on Monday, let me know, I have a great recipe that calls for potatoes, spinach and cauliflower.
This is my third year of an annual tradition. A few friends and I try to go see as many Oscar movies as we can between the time the nominees are released and Oscar’s night. Oscar’s night is on Feb 27th, it will be a wonderful night for movies, but is also one of the best nights of the year for fashion voyeurism. My favorite Oscar’s dress in recent years was Reece Witherspoon’s beaded Dior number from 1955. I love it when the actresses wear vintage. I’d really like to see the gents decked out in bits of fashion history, too. Maybe our friend Ron Green, vintage trendsetter, who owns the Green Ant, could give them a lesson.
Here is the list of Oscar nominees for 2011. Who is up to the challenge of carrying on my movie-watching tradition? Drop us a comment and let us know your picks. Who do you think will win my favorite category: Best Costumes?
Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem in “Biutiful”
Jeff Bridges in “True Grit”
Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network”
Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech”
James Franco in “127 Hours”
Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale in “The Fighter”
John Hawkes in “Winter’s Bone”
Jeremy Renner in “The Town”
Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right”
Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech”
Actress in a Leading Role
Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right”
Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone”
Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”
Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine”
Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams in “The Fighter”
Helena Bonham Carter in “The King’s Speech”
Melissa Leo in “The Fighter”
Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit”
Jacki Weaver in “Animal Kingdom”
Animated Feature Film
“How to Train Your Dragon” Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
“The Illusionist” Sylvain Chomet
“Toy Story 3” Lee Unkrich
“Alice in Wonderland”
Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”
Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Larry Dias and Doug Mowat
“The King’s Speech”
Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Judy Farr
Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh
“Black Swan” Matthew Libatique
“Inception” Wally Pfister
“The King’s Speech” Danny Cohen
“The Social Network” Jeff Cronenweth
“True Grit” Roger Deakins
“Alice in Wonderland” Colleen Atwood
“I Am Love” Antonella Cannarozzi
“The King’s Speech” Jenny Beavan
“The Tempest” Sandy Powell
“True Grit” Mary Zophres
“Black Swan” Darren Aronofsky
“The Fighter” David O. Russell
“The King’s Speech” Tom Hooper
“The Social Network” David Fincher
“True Grit” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
“Exit through the Gift Shop” Banksy and Jaimie D’Cruz
“Gasland” Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic
“Inside Job” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
“Restrepo” Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
“Waste Land” Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley
Documentary (Short Subject)
“Killing in the Name” Nominees to be determined
“Poster Girl” Nominees to be determined
“Strangers No More” Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
“Sun Come Up” Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger
“The Warriors of Qiugang” Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon
“Black Swan” Andrew Weisblum
“The Fighter” Pamela Martin
“The King’s Speech” Tariq Anwar
“127 Hours” Jon Harris
“The Social Network” Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter
Foreign Language Film
“In a Better World” Denmark
“Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi)” Algeria
“Barney’s Version” Adrien Morot
“The Way Back” Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
“The Wolfman” Rick Baker and Dave Elsey
Music (Original Score)
“How to Train Your Dragon” John Powell
“Inception” Hans Zimmer
“The King’s Speech” Alexandre Desplat
“127 Hours” A.R. Rahman
“The Social Network” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Music (Original Song)
“Coming Home” from “Country Strong” Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
“I See the Light” from “Tangled” Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
“If I Rise” from “127 Hours” Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
“We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3″ Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
“Black Swan” Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
“The Fighter” David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
“Inception” Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
“The Kids Are All Right” Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
“The King’s Speech” Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
“127 Hours” Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
“The Social Network” Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
“Toy Story 3” Darla K. Anderson, Producer
“True Grit” Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
“Winter’s Bone” Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers
Short Film (Animated)
“Day & Night” Teddy Newton
“The Gruffalo” Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
“Let’s Pollute” Geefwee Boedoe
“The Lost Thing” Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
“Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)” Bastien Dubois
Short Film (Live Action)
“The Confession” Tanel Toom
“The Crush” Michael Creagh
“God of Love” Luke Matheny
“Na Wewe” Ivan Goldschmidt
“Wish 143” Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite
“Inception” Richard King
“Toy Story 3” Tom Myers and Michael Silvers
“Tron: Legacy” Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague
“True Grit” Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey
“Unstoppable” Mark P. Stoeckinger
“Inception” Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick
“The King’s Speech” Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley
“Salt” Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin
“The Social Network” Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten
“True Grit” Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland
“Alice in Wonderland” Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
“Hereafter” Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski and Joe Farrell
“Inception” Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
“Iron Man 2” Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
“127 Hours” Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
“The Social Network” Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
“Toy Story 3” Screenplay by Michael Arndt; Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
“True Grit” Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
“Winter’s Bone” Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini
Writing (Original Screenplay)
“Another Year” Written by Mike Leigh
“The Fighter” Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson;
Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
“Inception” Written by Christopher Nolan
“The Kids Are All Right” Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
“Almost all cubist pictures are about things close to us. They don’t jump off the wall at you. You have to go to them, and look, and look. The camera does not bring anything close to you; it’s only more of the same void that we see. This is also true of television, and the movies. Between you and the screen there’s a window, you’re simply looking through a window. Cubism is a much more involved form of vision. It’s a better way of depicting reality, and I think it’s a truer way. It’s harder for us to see because it seems to contradict what we believe to be true. People complain that when they see a portrait of Picasso where, for instance, somebody has three eyes! It’s much simpler than that. It’s not that the person had three eyes, it’s that one of the eyes was seen twice. This reads the same way in my photographs. The fact that people can read photographs in this way made me think we’ve been deceived by the single photograph—by this image of one split second, in one fixed spot. I now see this fault in all photographs, and I can tell when drawings or paintings have been made from photographs. You can sense when the picture is not felt through space.”
David Hockney quote from Photography Speaks: 150 Photographers on Their Art
I could probably start my own art gallery with my paintings and collages by Justin Wheatley alone. A home grown Utahn (now a husband and father), Justin studied art at my own Alma Mater, Utah State University. Todd and I discovered his work at Palmer’s Gallery (may it rest in peace) and we usually bump into him at the Utah Arts Festival. We have eight small (about 6 inches by 6 inches) wooden panels of photos collaged with paint, musical notes, sketches and book pages as well as one medium piece (about 12 by 12) by Justin Wheatley. But enough about my collection — let’s talk about Justin.
Justin’s artist statement says it all and is so beautifully written I thought I’d just print it word for word:
“I have always been interested in architecture. What intrigues me most is the man-made geometry that has been forced onto nature. It is fascinating to see cities and suburbs of harsh lines and shapes stacked and spread into an organic space.
“We seek shelter in those shapes. What happens inside of them defines and molds us. What happens inside is hidden from the eyes of everyone else. There are layers there. Layers of paint, layers of history. There is the mark on the wall left by a child drawing and a knick in the wall left by a father moving furniture. There are photos hanging in reverence to fond memories and books with those memories described in words.
“I have often thought about my own life and experiences and then looked at a person across the room, trying to wrap my head around the fact that this person too has experienced just as much as I have, but with a completely different set of people and places. And a different place to call home. Different layers.
“My work is about those layers.”
Find him on Facebook under “Justin Wheatley Artist” and we also hope to have some of his pieces at the Artduh.com Anniversary Show in April at the Hive Gallery.
When I when think of what to wear to fit in in Santa Fe, I imagine a cross between the Sundance Film Festival and an old couch. With a sprinkling of Crocodile Dundee thrown in (you know leather accessories, like those Australian cowboy hats).
Since I made plans to take Todd there for the big Four Oh, my first thought is naturally not where to stay, shop, eat or even see art (which is why we are going). I see this as an opportunity to dress up.
A quick glance around the internet shows that Santa Fe is awash in Bebe, Lucky, and the other ordinary brands I’m slightly ashamed to have hanging in my closet between my vintage and handmade treasures.
But, since I’m not driving 11 hours to wear Bebe, I kept digging. Further research shows, I missed an exhibit of fashion based on one Santa Fe woman’s collection. Dicky Pfaelzer’s “Native Couture” showed at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in 2007 and 2008. The collection is primarily made up of Dicky’s jewelry from American Indian craftsmen and women. It is rich in symbols like bear claws, bow and arrows and squash blossoms.
I hope to return from Santa Fe with a few more bits of American Indian jewelry to call my own. Specifically, the quest for the world’s largest and most beautiful turquoise belt buckle is still on. And I’m also on the hunt for another current passion – tiny stud earrings, turquoise and coral would be perfect. It also sounds like a great place to look for cowboy boots. I expect I’ll do most of my shopping in the small towns and at Navajo jewlery stands on the way down.
The fact that I keep seeing Southwestern-themed clothing at Urban Outfitters makes me think it is an emerging trend. They even have a vintage Navajo coat on their website.
Now that I’ve got the question of what I should wear and shop for solved, tune in next week for Santa Fe Fashion Part 2. I’m expecting a low of about 20 degrees, and since Scout is coming with, I’m on the hunt for dog-wear that is both warm and stylish.
If you’ve read many of my Sunday art history ramblings, it probably won’t come as a surprise when I say European Surrealism produced some of my favorite paintings and painters during the ’20s through ’40s. I’ve already written about two of my favorite Metaphysical/Dada/Surrealist painters, Giorgio de Chirico and Max Ernst. If their was a third to round out and create a trinity of talent, I’d have to include Yves Tanguy.
It was during my high school senior year on a trip to San Francisco, where I just kind of wandered around the city visiting as many galleries as possible, that I found myself in the SFMOMA standing in front of a Tanguy. I became a fan for life.
At that time, I did as much research on the life and career of Tanguy as I was able. There was surprisingly very little to be found. In those pre-internet days, I relied on the library and book stores for much of my art history research and education. It wasn’t until 2001 or so that I finally found a book about Tanguy and his work called “Yves Tanguy and Surrealism“. It is still a treasure in my library.
Tanguy’s life was spent making artwork. Most of what I’ve read about Tanguy deals with his thoughts and theories about Surrealism and art. He was one of Dada and Surrealism’s original pioneers. Something I find interesting is that Tanguy decided to become a painter when he was riding a bus through Paris and spotted a painting by de Chirico in a gallery window called “The Child’s Brain“. Tanguy got off at the next stop, ran back up to the gallery to see the painting again, and stood there staring and deciding on the course his life would take. When I look at the work of Tanguy I can see de Chirico’s influence, especially in de Chirico’s empty landscapes and paintings of mannequins, although Tanguy definitely developed his own style.
There is a quote from Tanguy that I love, and I think it describes his work perfectly:
“I’m tempted to paint the things behind the hill, the things I will never see.”