G A N Z E E R . T O D A Y

The above piece featuring my friend Mona Eltahawy went out to the Letterform Archive in San Francisco, which acquired it for its permanent collection along with a couple of process pieces, namely:

Didn't even know such a typography-focused artspace existed prior to this. Looking forward to paying them a visit once this pandemic is no more and it's cool to board planes again, which from the looks of things shouldn't be too far off. 🤞

2020 is coming to a close, and looking at the work that was done this year... y'know, not entirely a bad year! There are even a couple things not yet listed on the site that got done, but won't be announced till January. Would've liked to get more THE SOLAR GRID out the door, but hey, there's always next year (and hopefully ONLY next year!!!).

My resolution will likely involve getting distracted by less things and finally bringing THE SOLAR GRID to a close (though I must admit I'm feeling the nastiest urge to create more erotica, but it's totally possible that it's just the pandemic getting to me).

It's becoming clear to me that I am almost always attracted to things that involve a combination of art, rebellion, and sex. So it makes sense that that's exactly the type of art project I oughtta set out to do.

#Journal #Work

Temperature is down to 8 degrees Celsius (46 Fahrenheit), which may not be as cold as some other places, but it's cold enough for me. Cold enough to rock my snuggies outside with zero fucks given (yes, that's what the pants pictured above are called, yes).

My virtual talk with Kickstarter's Oriana Leckert for Society of Illustrators went online, and today I'm back to work on TSG06! A scene that takes place on Enceladus to be precise.

The other thing in the above sneak, the brush-strokey ornamental wing, that's part of another thing I should be able to share by next month I think.

Okay, more coffee, more drawing, all in my snuggies.

#Journal #Work

Yesterday was the first day for me to catch a breather in two very intense sleepless weeks. Spent it tending to all the things I'd had to neglect in the meantime: scrubbed the bathroom, tidied around the office, cleaned the studio garage, and responded to email. It was a good day.

I always love the comedown after the high of a good grind. Can't get one without the other.

It's been a period of music-related collaborations, the fruit of which are beginning to see the light.

FLAP MY WINGS by The Lazours is the first single from their upcoming album FLAP MY WINGS: SONGS FROM 'WE LIVE IN CAIRO', which revisits some of the key songs from their hit musical WE LIVE IN CAIRO. The album's title song, FLAP MY WINGS, is a powerful tribute to Khaled Saiid who's murder by Alexandrian police ignited the spark for the events that would topple Egyptian dictator of 30 years Hosni Mubarak.

YA HABAYEBNA by Ramy Essam is a kind of electro-rock remake of a track by original revolutionary Sheikh Imam (known for writing songs critical of Nasser's regime in the 60's as well as Sadat's in the 70's together with poet Ahmed Fouad Negm). The song asks friends and loved ones “Where are you? Do you still remember us?”, which can be taken as a call for help from those in prison, or a tune of longing from those in exile.

[FLAP MY WINGS dropped yesterday, and YA HABAYEBNA drops tonight! Also, another one I worked on for Ramy (EL AMIIS EL KAROO) dropped a few weeks back.]

#Journal #Work

It's been one helluva 1000mph week and it's still not over. Today is the day I deliver all assets for an animated music video. It is also the day I participate in this webinar hosted by the University of Edinburgh (“Disappointed Hopes: Reclaiming the Promise of Resistance”). Tomorrow I've got the Society of Illustrators talk together with Kickstarter's Oriana Leckert.


But also: 💪

Above image, btw, is the cover art I did for new single from Ramy Essam, El Amiis El Karoo (“Flannel”), which you can find on Youtube and Spotify.

#journal #work

It's been a minute since I've found the time to journal, working round the clock on the art for an animated music video. The animation itself however will be done Paul MacLachlan, otherwise referred to as The Wizard for numerous legitimate reasons.

Also, I have another virtual talk coming up! This time for The Society of Illustrators together with Kickstarter's Oriana Leckert who graciously asked me to present with her on alternative comics' place at Kickstarter! December 8th the day and 6:00pm EST is the time. Don't miss it!

Work aside, the wife and I managed a short getaway to Austin over Thankstaking weekend, where we stayed in an utterly pleasant artist-run AirBnB. To enter the house, you have to walk through lush a greenhouse. There were many paintings of flowers and fauna, and chickens freely roamed the property.

A different kind of artist than myself or anyone I know. The kind that lives the way artists live in the imaginary when we think of the term “artist”. Apparently, she lives and thrives outside of the imaginary as well.

#journal #work

Tired of hiding all your explicit wall art when family and prudes drop in? Introducing HALAL PORNOGRAPHY, the third series in my reworked poster releases.

Abstract art and kink copulate in these sly works of concept pop, available as huge 12”x36” posters (roughly 61x91cm) only from Garage.Ganzeer.com

#Work #Art #Design

Having added this “murder wall” on a whim inside the lunar police captain's office (THE SOLAR GRID, Ch. 6), some function in the back of my head is now tinkering with the thought of a serial killer on the moon. This has no place in THE SOLAR GRID proper and there will be no mention of it, but if in the future I ever want to mess around with a detective procedural type thing, I may be enticed to set it on the moon in the world of THE SOLAR GRID. I wouldn't want the setting to be pointless dressing of a run-of-the-mill detective story though; it would have to be an integral part of the concept and tie in closely to notions of trade, migration, and imperialism (what with the Moon acting as a kind of port city in space within this particular world). One thing I hate about most detective stories is that they (knowingly or not) act vehicles of police propaganda, so I imagine I'd want to turn my story around and make it an indictment of policing instead.

Simple though, and not overly elaborate; a tight slim graphic novella. Then again, I've littered THE SOLAR GRID with so many little easter eggs that could all very easily warrant their own little graphic novella spanwlings.

This is perhaps where a regular magazine might come in.

There's a bit in the introduction to KALILA & DIMNA that does not mince words as to the work's approach, an approach that very much speaks to my own philosophy of Concept Pop: Wisdom enveloped within entertainment. The wise come unto it for the wisdom, and idiots come unto it for the fun.

And there's a bit in Thomas Mann's DEATH IN VENICE speaking to me in equal measure. The bit that describes Gustave Aschenbach's epic on the life of Frederick the Great (wherein both Gustave and his work are of course fictitious): “Outsiders might be pardoned for believing that his Maia world and the epic amplitude revealed by the life of Frederick were a manifestation of great power working under high pressure, that they came forth, as it were, all in one breath. It was more the triumph for his morale; for the truth was that they were heaped up to greatness in layer after layer, in long days of work, out of hundreds and hundreds of single inspirations; they owed their excellence, both of mass and detail, to one thing and one alone; that their creator could hold out for years under the strain of the same piece of work.”

It's been 5 years of THE SOLAR GRID to date. Hopefully not more than 1 more year to go. After which, I may need to indulge in a perverted masquerade or two.

Not in Venice necessarily.

#Journal #Work #Comix #TheSolarGrid

For the past couple of weeks now, I end my days without completely ticking off everything on my deck because my assessment of what I can handle has been a bit off. Today however is the first day in a while where I got all the things done and even added a couple more since I had the time. Squeezed in a short workout too, and whipped up a mean chicken fajita bowl for dinner. Life is good.

Pencils for THE SOLAR GRID Ch.6 are getting looser by the day (see above) as a result of having taken on multiple work-for-hire stuff this month. Which may not be a bad thing. It just leaves more room to actually draw stuff in the inking stage. Something I'm gonna need to account for when allotting time for it. Keeping inks till after I'm done with these other projects.

#Journal #Work #Comix #TheSolarGrid

Finally cracked open a copy of KALILA & DIMNA the wife scored for me on one of her many pre-COVID travels. Needed to get on a good reading kick before diving into this one, which MEN OF TOMORROW and MARVEL COMICS: THE UNTOLD STORY successfully supplied.

Before KALILA & DIMNA though, I'd initiated a read of THE PULPS by Tony Goodstone, deeming it a kind of unofficial prequel to both MEN OF TOMORROW and the MARVEL COMICS book; after all, America's two largest publishers of comicbooks did get their start as publishers of pulp magazines. After reading a couple of idiotically racist stories though, I had to put THE PULPS aside, with the resolve to read it intermittently rather in one continuous go. And thus my start on KALILA & DIMNA began.

KALILA & DIMNA is a collection of fables written sometime between 750-1250 AD. Actually, that's a lie. It precedes that, having been in the Persian cultural conscious for however long after having made its way there from India. The Arabic collection I now hold in my hands was adapted by Ibn Al Mokafaa', largely considered to be one of the most important Arabic authors in history despite his Persian origins—and as such, Arabic not being his mother tongue. The book comes with an extensive intro on Ibn Al Mokafaa', citing the importance of his contributions which can more or less be summarized in two points:

  • Introducing new uses and wordplay into the Arabic language inspired by his Farsi mother tongue.
  • Translating multiple books from Farsi into Arabic, including numerous books that were originally translated from other languages into Farsi, such as Indian and Greek; essentially introducing Arabic readers (and by proxy, speakers at large) to a wide array of knowledge from other cultures.

It also helps that Ibn Al Mokafaa' was by most accounts what you might call a, um, an infidel (possibly the reason behind his assassination); essentially injecting progressive thought into an otherwise conservative society. Then again, there was a lot of that happening at the time what with the Abbasid empire's rapid expansion and its embrace of a great many cultures in the process, one of the main reasons it is perversely (and ironically) pointed to as an “Islamic” golden age. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

This actually relates quite closely to a few things the MEN OF TOMORROW book got me thinking about, namely that you can probably relate any culture's “golden age” to an influx of immigrants or its exposure to and/or absorption of other cultures. Picture America without the contribution of its Jews, Mexicans, Greeks, Africans, Italians, Arabs, Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans... and what you're left with is awfully bland, isn't it?

#Journal #Reads

Huge congrats to Doctor Kelsey P. Norman's first book release, RELUCTANT RECEPTION from Cambridge University Press, for which I happily provided cover art and design.

Let's face it; academic books are notoriously fugly, even those put out by top university presses. A quick skim through any academic press's catalogue will aptly demonstrate such.

And if you zero in on any press's “middle eastern studies” department, you'll see that they are far from exempt of the clichés of American mass media; women in niqab abound, a close-up on an exotic Arab face, or perhaps crowds of angry or miserable looking brown people, or maybe... a photo of Islamic architecture, even if the subject matter has nothing whatsoever to do with architecture.

Honestly, clichés and stereotypes aside, it still wouldn't be so bad if the designs were actually good. Terrible typographic treatments and horrendous compositions are aplenty with academic books.

Not on my watch (Humblebrag without the humble 😎).

#Work #Design #Publication

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