Posts Tagged ‘Patrick Smith’

Paul Karasik on Fletcher Hanks


Sunday, July 26, 2009

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Paul Karasik is the very first cartoonist I interviewed (well, as an adult. When I was 13 I interviewed Paul Ryan for an 8th grade paper and made a case that he was vastly under appreciated, natch). That first Karasik interview became a lengthy examination of comics history and was published in the very first Ganzfeld back in 2000 with considerable help from our own Tim Hodler and the beloved Patrick Smith. When we debuted the issue, Paul sat behind our table at SPX and helped flog the thing. Why, mine eyes, they grow misty just thinking about it. Ok, wiping away the tears from my keyboard, I now present, nearly 10 years later, Karasik v. Nadel: The rematch. Paul looks better than ever: He’s in lean, tanned, fighting shape, while I am old, graying, bitter, hunched and prone to mumbling. Paul won again. Sigh.

Thanks to Gabe at Desert Island for hosting a fun evening and asking me to interview Paul on the occasion of his book signing for the fantastic second Fletcher Hanks volume, You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation. Click below to listen to the interview.

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

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Patrick Smith, old pal and co-founder of The Ganzfeld, has just released his long gestating new game/animation/world Windosill. It’s a gorgeous thing to lose yourself in. Patrick designed and drew the covers and endpapers for The Ganzfeld 5, and of course drew a comic that still, to my mind, is pretty far ahead of its time, in the very first Ganzfeld. Anyhow, he’s just a wonderful artist so go check out Windowsill.

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Big Weekend Ahead


Monday, June 18, 2007

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Well now PictureBox has big plans this weekend. We’re releasing Matthew Thurber’s 1-800 MICE #2, Comics Comics #3 and The Ganzfeld 5: Japanada! at MoCCA at NYC’s Puck Building, all day Saturday and Sunday, booths A14-16. Lotsa signings all weekend:


12-1: Lauren Weinstein and Matthew Thurber
1-2: Gary Panter and Brian Chippendale
2-3: Paper Rad
3-4: Mark Newgarden and Megan Cash
4-5: Brian Chippendale and Frank Santoro
5-6: Taylor McKimens and Dan Nadel


12-1: Taylor McKimens and Matthew Thurber
1-2: Lauren Weinstein and Brian Chippendale
2-3: Paper Rad
3-4: Dan Nadel and Frank Santoro

Patrick Smith: “Caterpillar”, 40″ x 48″, oil on canvas

AND! I’ve curated an exhibition opening Friday night!

“New Mutants”
Curated by Dan Nadel for PictureBox
Opening Friday, June 22, 7-9 pm.
Artists in attendance.

55 Chrystie St.
NYC 10002
Wednesday – Sunday 12-6 pm.

The artists:

Melissa Brown
Brian Chippendale
Julie Doucet
Trenton Doyle Hancock
Ben Jones
Amy Lockhart
Sakura Maku
Frank Santoro
Patrick Smith
Michael Williams

The show:

CANADA presents an exhibition of imagist paintings by emerging North American artists. This group of artists is linked by its unabashed use of representative imagery in service to surreal and oblique narratives. These artists find their lineage in the midwestern explorations of the Hairy Who, deep dish surrealism of Gary Panter, the raw beauty of H.C. Westermann and the fantastics of Max Ernst. Like their artistic ancestors, the artists at hand use a private symbol language to assemble communicative pictures. This is not decorative psychedelia or overheated allegory, but rather deeply personal and formally constructed images marked by an absence of irony and an attention to the formal elements of a cartoon and vernacular based vocabulary.

Five of the eleven artists exhibited are based or have roots in Providence, RI’s fertile arts culture. Melissa Brown’s (now based in Brooklyn) mixed media landscapes elevate the horizon to an experiential hallucination, while Brian Chippendale’s collaged images enact his own cartoon narratives on an epic scale. C.F.’s all-over images accumulate dozens of small moments, forming an idea of a distinct visual sensibility. Ben Jones, of Paper Rad, presents flattened portraits of anonymous cartoons in search of a plot, while Michael Williams paints midlife crises of universal hippies. Exiting Providence, Vancouver’s Amy Lockhart’s paintings are meticulous visions of characters in midstream, while Texan Trenton Doyle Hancock’s tactile visions of his Mound-world capture a brief narrative moment. Julie Doucet, based in Montreal, creates painted objects that function like images–her drawn vocabulary suddenly occupying three dimensions. Pittsburgh native Frank Santoro combines a comic book sense for action with a traditional painter’s attention to detail. Two New Yorkers are engaged in painted introspection: Sakura Maku used texts to layer and subvert her jangly images; Patrick Smith’s portraits of spaces and faces made of and living through surreal forms are striking passageways into another consciousness.

All of these painters refuse to be pigeonholed, allowing themselves and their images to change and mutate through multiple media.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

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1. I don’t want to turn this blog into an all-Lauren Weinstein, all-the-time promotional vehicle, but it’s been a good month for her. First, there was the new Believer interview, and now she’s mentioned in the same breath as the great Daniel Clowes in a New York Times review of Ariel Schrag‘s new anthology Stuck in the Middle. Which is too awesome not to mention.

2. I also don’t want to turn this blog into an all-Patrick Smith, all-the-time promotional vehicle, but he is apparently the 146th greatest cartoonist of all time, which is also too awesome not to mention.

3. I enjoy Sean T. Collins’s blog quite a bit, but I don’t really agree with this sentiment from a recent post:

The thing that most irks me about [Alan] Moore’s work, even his best work, even his work I enjoy a great deal, is how ostentatiously writerly it is–the way his Godlike Authorial Hand shows in every move machination of his clockwork-precise plotting. And the thing is, to employ a criterion frequently used to lambaste superhero comics of a very different sort, what does this say to you about life, anyway? I think it’s awesome that there’s a completely symmetrical of issue of Watchmen, but it has sweet fuck-all to do with the way the world actually works.

First of all, who said art has to tell you anything about life? Who says art has to tell you anything about anything? This is not a criterion I use to evaluate comics. (I realize that not everyone will agree with me on this.)

Secondly, whatever a person might think of Alan Moore’s work in particular (I mostly like it, especially in the work from his pre-ABC years), this kind of complicated, thought-out, formalistic art has a very long and healthy pedigree, and I for one find discovering the hidden riddles, subtle thematic symmetries, and multiple levels of meaning buried in a well-conceived example of that kind of work to be one of art’s primary pleasures. It’s why I like the books of Nabokov and Borges and Gene Wolfe, the comics of Ware and Clowes, and the films of Kubrick. This kind of art may not reflect “the way the world actually works”, but it can certainly reflect the way the artist’s mind works, and can provide a readerly pleasure otherwise unavailable. A comic or movie or whatever that really reflected the way the world works would be as chaotic and unformed and nonsensical as life itself, and very difficult to understand.

Which isn’t to say that I disagree with Collins’s larger point: art doesn’t have to be so deterministically planned out to succeed, and certainly more improvised fictions also have their particular charms and effects. (And it would be foolish to deny that over-plotting can be stifling, and that Moore’s comics sometimes suffer from that.) But both strategies can work, and I imagine most artists use a little bit of both as a matter of course.

Also, I have to say that judging from the recent mainstream comics I’ve read, it’s simply not the case that writers are over-thinking their comics’ formal aspects.

UPDATE: While I was writing this, Collins put up another post, clarifying his problems with Moore, and making his argument a lot more supportable. I don’t really think Moore is quite as guilty (in terms of leaving “only one way to skin the cat” of his stories) as Collins does, but it’s certainly a fair point.

4. On a somewhat related note, a Jon Hastings post referenced by Collins does a really good job of explaining one of the more common problems with current mainstream comics. (I’m referring to part II of the post.) This argument seems a lot more convincing and specific than the standard complaint that the problem is just “too much continuity”.

When I read superhero comics as a kid (and I didn’t read very many, other than the odd issues my mother bought me for long trips or on days when I was home sick), the references to past events and other comics titles were often the most exciting parts. They indicated that there was a whole big world of this stuff to explore, Iron Man and the Hulk had had tons of previous adventures, and if only I could track down Avengers #89, Hulk #55, or whatever, I could follow along. (I never actually went ahead to do that, and left the mysteries unsolved by continuing to read superhero comics only very sporadically, but I may have enjoyed the ones I did read all the more just because of that. I never spoiled my imagined versions of their incredible adventures by actually reading them.) Which is all just to say that I think Hastings is making sense when he explains why comics “continuity” references doesn’t always work that way anymore.

5. And now the bloviating ends.

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I Endorse


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

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This endorsement of the great Patrick Smith‘s Vector Park. Patrick has recently been making some terrific paintings, as Sammy Harkham pointed out a while back.

Here’s one of them:

This is all in the interest of having an extremely roundabout and strained excuse for reminding everyone that Sammy is collaborating with Guy Davis on a really amazing cover for the next issue of Comics Comics. Get psyched.

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Our Invasion of the Nation’s Cultural Consciousness Begins


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

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In this week’s issue of the trade newspaper Advertising Age, “Media Guy” Simon Dumenco has astutely chosen this publication as his current “Pop Pick”.

‘Comics Comics’ ($5 by Internet order) is a new mini-mag that “aims to document contemporary and past comics, from a pluralistic, affectionate, but critical standpoint.” If that sounds a little heady, well, it is–and things get equally quasi-scholarly at, where you can find loving meditations on the artistry of greats such as Scrooge McDuck father Carl Banks [sic]. But you don’t have to be a comics nerd to get inspired by the beautiful art. … Comics Comics shares creators and contributors with The Ganzfeld, an art annual … that shares a similar passion for thinky illustration. Check out and roll your mouse over the letters of the logo to view a supercool animation by Flash genius Patrick Smith. And then amuse yourself further by visiting his web site,

Now we just sit back and wait for the flood of advertising requests from Courvoisier and Aston Martin, anxious to get in on this whole “graphic novel” craze everyone’s talking about. (Actually, come to think of it, if we were really that smart and marketing-savvy, we should have called the magazine Graphic Novels Graphic Novels.)

Also, sometime soon we will begin presenting actual, not just self-promoting material again. We felt like we needed to give you a chance to catch your breath and rest your mind a little first. We’ll start learning you again but soon.

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By Way of Introduction


Friday, June 2, 2006

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Dan and I are relatively new to blogging, so it may be a while before this blog (and the magazine it’s related to) turn into the zeitgeist-changing juggernauts they’re destined to become.

In the meantime, I thought it might be a good idea to introduce ourselves.

Dan and I (along with the brilliant painter and Web designer Patrick Smith) worked together on the early issues of The Ganzfeld, a journal which, since my departure from its pages, has become a pretty amazing, sort-of-annual publication of art, comics, and design with very few peers.

Now, we’re putting together something a little different, Comics Comics, a magazine devoted entirely to comics, which we hope will fill in some of the gaps left empty by current comics criticism. It includes reviews, editorials by working cartoonists (the first issue’s op-ed is by Paper Rad), comics by such luminaries as Mark Newgarden and Matthew Thurber, interviews, lists, essays on comics past and present, and other whatnot. Also, it’s free. (You should be able to find it in the same kinds of places you can pick up Arthur.)

Here’s a quote from the introductory essay in our first issue, which should be available in most areas in the next couple of weeks:

This magazine aims to document contemporary and past comics from a pluralistic, affectionate, but critical standpoint. Many of our contributors are cartoonists themselves, and are in a unique position to offer their personal takes on the medium. One particular goal of Comics Comics is to shine a light on corners of the medium that we feel are underexposed (such as the work of Jessica Ciocci) and to examine the work of more celebrated artists (such as Wally Wood) from new angles. We’re also interested in the comics library, and to that end feature book reviews that span the whole history of the medium, from the obscure and out-of-print to the popular and widely available. In each issue, we will feature reviews, essays, and interviews, as well as more unusual features, and, of course, comics from our contributors.

I guess that’s it for now. In the future, posts will probably be a lot more informal. And more frequent.

Next week, I’m going to try to talk about a great Scrooge McDuck story from a new, excellent, and cheap Carl Barks collection, which I highly recommend purchasing if you don’t already have any of his stuff.


One other thing I should probably make clear in the interests of full disclosure: I am married to the cartoonist Lauren R. Weinstein, so any mention I might make about how her new book Girl Stories is one of the best comics releases of 2006 should possibly be taken with that in mind.


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