Decompression Session

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Here are about a month's worth of pics. I like how the time it takes me to conceptualize and draw a picture has significantly lowered during this period. I find it weird considering the amount of stress and multitasking I've had to do at the time. Either it's the stress that causes me to draw faster or it's the fact that drawing calms me. The former wouldn't surprise me but I hope it's the latter since it's healthier.

Laugh, and the World Laughs with You...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Here's a review I wrote on Marjane Satrapi's lecture at my university:

I love comic books. I love them so much that I end up in arguments trying to explain their artistic and cultural merit to the uninitiated. The people who look down on comics do so with sweeping statements. Yes, there is an over-saturation in the superhero genre. Yes, the comic industry can be a tad misogynistic. However, these generalizations overlook landmark works such as Art Spiegelman’s Maus, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and, more recently, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. Satrapi came to Campbell Hall not just to lecture about her graphic novels, but also to discuss her particular perspective of Iranian culture, by which her comics are influenced.

Satrapi describes her experience growing up in France to be one of alienation. During her teenage years, being Iranian meant once came from an “evil” nation. The misconceptions people had of Satrapi and her native country caused them to treat her differently. This ignorance helped influence Satrapi to write her award-winning graphic novels.

Some creators tend to emphasize the term “graphic novel,” but “comic” may better represent Satrapi’s work. Taking place during Iran’s Islamic Revolution and war with Iraq, Persepolis is written through the lighthearted autobiographical perspective of Satrapi as a young girl. Satrapi uses humor to break across barriers and connect with an international language. The goal of her work is to get her audience to smile at the same things she finds funny. If people can laugh together, then they can understand together. Satrapi stresses that the simple art style and distancing from overt ethnic elements allows people to more easily relate to the story.

The self-deprecating humor found in Persepolis also appears during the lecture. Satrapi describes her artistic style as the epitome of her inadequacy at drawing. While many children gave up drawing upon realizing that they lacked the skill, she chose to “suffer” through life by refusing to give up making comics. What she can’t draw, she writes, and what she can’t write, she draws.

During the Q&A session, Satrapi recollects an offer made to her by a Hollywood producer to make a live action version of Persepolis. The concept would have combined her memoirs with a “Beverly Hills, 90210” twist. She turned the producer down after pondering the possibility of a trendy teenage show emerging from the backdrop of the Iran/Iraq war.

Despite all her accomplishments, Satrapi remains humble and realistic. She declines any comparison to Art Spiegelman, even if it is intended as a compliment. Satrapi’s work may have successful worldwide reception, but she does not believe it will instigate any radical change. Instead, she continues to take pride in making other people smile. Perhaps through that, Satrapi hopes for a better understanding and exchange of cultures.

Super Fun Happy Slide

Friday, October 21, 2005

Compared to the previous batch of pictures, I had plenty of fun with these drawings. I'm starting to warp and exaggerate my style more towards the look that can be found in works made by Spumco. I really love the expressive and anarchic results that John Kricfalusi, Jim Smith, and Katie Rice end up with in their drawings. I suggest checking out the Spumco reel at Acme Filmworks to see what I mean.

Posted by Batalla at 12:13 PM 0 comments  

Adventure in Old Ventura

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Here's my first written article of the school year. It's a review of the Bloodhound Gang concert I went to on October 9.

Last week my roommate suggested that we catch the Bloodhound Gang concert over in Ventura. He said the live show he went to in Iowa was the best damn show he’d ever seen. While not one to take any Iowan at face value, let alone one that ran in last year’s A.S. presidential race, I’m a casual fan of the Gang and felt it would be worthwhile to validate this hyperbole. On Sunday night we grabbed our balding friend and his newly-dyed clone to make the trek to Ventura. We even tried to kidnap a CSO but he jumped out of the moving vehicle. If still not evidently clear, this was going to be a night of hilarity. Walking into the Ventura Theater with its quasi-classy dŽcor and seeing the banner with “Bloodhound Gang” written on top of a crossed out “Metallica” served as a warning for those without a Bam Margera-esque sense of humor. Say what you will about the juvenile and politically incorrect lyrics found in songs like “I Wish I Was Queer So I Could Get Chicks,” but the Bloodhound Gang definitely knows how to have a good time. The concert was meant to promote their new album Hefty Fine but the Gang quickly dropped their set list to let the audience pick which songs they wanted to hear. The songs spanned from the rocking “Magna Cum Nada” to the electronic “Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss.” Out of the blue they even incorporated some Franz Ferdinand and Jay-Z into their songs. I was surprised when the band took a break for five minutes only to come out wearing helmets with drums attached to them. Drummer Willie the New Guy then played on the bands’ heads for “You’re Pretty When I’m Drunk.”

Listening to their live music wouldn’t have been as much fun without the band’s onstage antics. Lead singer Jimmy Pop shook his ass in front of super-masculine bassist Evil Jared, which kicked off a spitting contest between the two. This was a challenge as to who could spit the nastiest loogie at the other person during the most inopportune moment. They even asked the audience to get involved. Not one to quench his thirst from a deluge of saliva, Evil Jared later grabbed a beer bong full of Jagermeister and downed it in a mere couple of seconds. One of the band’s common routines is to offer an audience member a hundred dollars to pull off a dare. This time it was to strip naked and dance at the back of the theater. One burly volunteer stepped up to the dare and was immediately taken away by security. The moment things started to mellow, the roadies would proceed to slingshot merchandise or kick dozens of beach balls at the audience. There was never a lull in energy at any point of the show.

The Ventura show was less of a concert as it was an four-hour long party. I may have started as a casual fan but now I listen to the Bloodhound Gang’s songs everyday. The best shows are the ones where the band isn’t trying to take themselves too seriously.

On the Tip of My Pen

This group of drawings comes from a difficult week of opinion articles. The articles were either about sensitive subject matter or written in such a way that it was hard to conceptualize a complementary visual image. At the same time, I'm glad I did them because the challenge in itself was quite rewarding during that moment when I would click save and send the picture off to the opinion editors.

Posted by Batalla at 9:51 AM 1 comments  

I have a much uglier word for it sir...MISAPPROPRIATION!

Monday, October 03, 2005

So here's the picture I was referring to. I didn't believe it myself until I found one of these flyers while buying a couple King Cobras. It might seem like a minor thing but striving to keep control of one's art is one of my personal ideals. While I don't really mind that this drawing was used for the flyer, it would have been nice if the Isla Vista Foot Patrol would have asked permission from either me or the Daily Nexus. I am also prevented from pointing out the flyer to my friends on campus because my name isn't credited on the sheet. I don't plan on making a big deal out of this...but then again someone has to teach those pigs a lesson.

What's for Launch?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

So here are the first batch of pictures I've done for the Daily Nexus. Before drawing these, I hadn't even put pencil to paper in about a month due to my trip in Australia. There's definitely some rust in my hands which I hope to get rid off with more and more practice.

Also, my roommate pointed out to me that several of my pictures had been used for various signs around my college town. I'll try to find some samples and post them with the original art when I get the chance.

Posted by Batalla at 2:55 PM 1 comments  

Preparations Are Go

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Despite this first post, I'm still in the middle of gathering up material for people to see. Expect opinion columns and plenty of pictures. The genuine launch approaches.

Posted by Batalla at 10:52 AM 0 comments