Sunday, March 29, 2009

Persepolis - Animated film

Watched the film based on Marjane Sattrapi's graphic novel about growing up in Tehran, Iran during the cultural and Islamic revolution of the early eighties. She gives you the perspective of what her family life was like during those times.

I've spoken to people from Iraq, Iran, Suadi Arabia and other mid eastern countries on the internet and for the most part they do not hate westerners, they are humans trying to make it in this world. . The people, as in the USA, are much different than the poilitical ideals of the government.

Marjane's perspective on adapting to the constant changes throught the 80s and 90s in a repressive country was very enlightening. A woman with progressive ideas was frowned upon by the government a govenrment that had become very fundamentalist. What happens in the home is very different from what public life is like. She takes us throught the cost of civil life during the Fals of the Shah, the Iran/Iraq war and the growing fundamentalist dogma. Pantheon books has a very good review of the novel, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood . Much better than I have written here.

I wish to give full credit to Random House and their Pantheon book division for the excerpt below.

By Marjane Satrapi, as told to Pantheon staff
Chances are that if you are an American you know very little about the 1979 Iranian Revolution. "This revolution was normal, and it had to happen," says Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis, a totally unique memoir about growing up in Iran after the Shah left power. "Unfortunately, it happened in a country where people were very traditional, and other countries only saw the religious fanatics who made their response public." In her graphic novel, Satrapi, shows readers that these images do not make up the whole story about Iran. Here, she talks freely about what it was like to tell this story with both words and pictures, and why she is so proud of the result.

Why I Wrote Persepolis
From the time I came to France in 1994, I was always telling stories about life in Iran to my friends. We'd see pieces about Iran on television, but they didn't represent my experience at all. I had to keep saying, "No, it's not like that there." I've been justifying why it isn't negative to be Iranian for almost twenty years. How strange when it isn't something I did or chose to be? After I finished university, there were nine of us, all artists and friends, working in a studio together. That group finally said, "Do something with your stories." They introduced me to graphic novelists. Spiegelman was first. And when I read him, I thought "Jesus Christ, it's possible to tell a story and make a point this way." It was amazing.

Writing a Graphic Novel is Like Making a Movie
People always ask me, "Why didn't you write a book?" But that's what Persepolis is. To me, a book is pages related to something that has a cover. Graphic novels are not traditional literature, but that does not mean they are second-rate. Images are a way of writing. When you have the talent to be able to write and to draw it seems a shame to choose one. I think it's better to do both. We learn about the world through images all the time. In the cinema we do it, but to make a film you need sponsors and money and 10,000 people to work with you. With a graphic novel, all you need is yourself and your editor. Of course, you have to have a very visual vision of the world. You have to perceive life with images otherwise it doesn't work. Some artists are more into sound; they make music. The point is that you have to know what you want to say, and find the best way of saying it. It's hard to say how Persepolis evolved once I started writing. I had to learn how to write it as a graphic novel by doing.

What I Wanted to Say
I'm a pacifist. I believe there are ways to solve the world's problems. Instead of putting all this money to create arms, I think countries should invest in scholarships for kids to study abroad. Perhaps they could become good and knowledgeable professors in their own countries. You need time for that kind of change though. I have been brought up open-minded. If I didn't know any people from other countries, I'd think everyone was evil based on news stories. But I know a lot of people, and know that there is no such thing as stark good and evil. Isn't it possible there is the same amount of evil everywhere?If people are given the chance to experience life in more than one country, they will hate a little less. It's not a miracle potion, but little by little you can solve problems in the basement of a country, not on the surface. That is why I wanted people in other countries to read Persepolis, to see that I grew up just like other children.It's so rewarding to see people at my book signings who never read graphic novels. They say that when they read mine they became more interested. If it opens these people's eyes not to believe what they hear, I feel successful.

You Have to Think Freely to Know What to Write
My parents were very proud when they read Persepolis. If I criticize them once in a while, it's because it's the truth, and they laugh. My father always says, "It is only an idiot who never changes his mind." My parents accept that times change, and they are not right anymore. They've taught me that you can make mistakes. They were extremely open-minded about what I said and they were demanding. I'm also tender with them because they were magnificent parents. They gave me the most important thing -- the freedom of thinking and deciding for myself. The best present anyone can receive is not being formatted because the world or a religion wants you to be.I Have Mistakes, Not Regrets
In the translation that my American editor is working on now, I tell about when I was only seventeen years old and a junkie living on the streets. It's a terrible part of my life, but I don't say it was a mistake. I learned from that that you can change your life anytime. Of course, I'd rather not have lost two years of my life. But I had my hippie friends in the streets. Maybe I would be boring without them. Maybe I would be an engineer marrying another boring engineer, and not a graphic novelist.
When I was featured in a prominent magazine, the publishers didn't want to print how my great-grandfather was a king, but I ended up a junkie. They decided I would not be a role model if I want to make this past public. But there is nothing I regret. If one is intelligent, one can learn and grow from her mistakes. I like myself now and that is what matters.

You've never seen anything like Persepolis--the intimacy of a memoir, the irresistibility of a comic book, and the political depth of a the conflict between fundamentalism and democracy. Marjane Satrapi may have given us a new genre."--Gloria Steinem
Read more about the book and view sample pages here.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Metamorphosis from Glenn Marshall on Vimeo.

Stumbled upon this beauty....Not sure what software is Processing, but Glenn explains it somewhat on his blog / website Butterfly . He uses Wordpress and has an RSS.

Processing software. Here is a quote from Glenn's website:

“Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and interactions. It is used by students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production. It is created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional production tool. Processing is an alternative to proprietary software tools in the same domain.”

My mantra is still "search for inspiration" and perhaps with this I may find a way to animate some of my ideas.

However, everything at a cost. Spend money, invest in hardware and software. Invest time in my own pursutes and isolate myself from family. Lose touch or struggle for balance. The stuggle for balance is the better way to go - search for inspriation and find balance in life as much as possible. My biggest hindrance to relating to my kids is my lack of interest in sports. Of course that does not hinder my love for them. As usual I ramble on.

I've continued with the drawings of the orange and will post them soon. I am up to eight sketches and will complete my latest self assignment. To draw one each day for three days. Today is day two, the drawings are roughtly 2"X3". As promised I will post them all when completed.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Orange drawing

Below is a drawing I recently did of an orange given to me by Charles, it's the first time I posted any of my work. I did this drawing with a very limited palette, could not find my colored pencils so I had to make do. Since then I have found them out in the garage where I thought they were.

My sketchpad is a Moleskine and I've been drawing in it since the end of January. I plan to keep drawing the orange until it withers to... well what ever oranges wither to.

Still reading Wicked. The screenplay is formulating , but I am not allowing it to take dominance until I finish the book. I'm still thinking it will be about a child that gets to go to the theater where his father works.

Done traveling for now. It was fun, I got to go to many different cities. Cleveland, Columbus, Louisville, Cincinnati, West Palm Beach, Dayton, Kalamazoo, Indianapolis, Port St. Lucie and Chicago. Wish I had taken adventure photos at each one. Though nothing spectacular happened other than the experience of seeing all those places. I do have some cool images which I will post eventually. I promise to myself that I will work on the images and post them in chronological order.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sculptor Mark Leichliter

His blog makes for a very cool read. Love how he references and links material. To say the least he mentions the works of Brian Eno; software reviews and intallation/execution of his works.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Sketch Book Project

March 13, 2009. Randomness: Stumbled upon this blog link to the Sketch Book Project . Some very nice sketches. He has links to other artists. You'll notice this particular one almost has a sense of doodling, but with his shading and modeling delivers his own style and conveys atmosphere, character and attitude to the musician.
You can find more sketch book artist in the links column,

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Martial Arts

I came across this You Tube video... this guy's skills are simple and effective. Great to study again and again.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Illustrator - Douglas Smith

Douglas Smith illustrator for Gregory Maguire books (Wicked) represented by Richard Solomon . He represents some pretty nice artist.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

wine and wine labels

Wine is good to drink... my latest favorite at the moment is
Menage a Trois.
Very mild and I love the red. Today, being the type of day it is, makes it perfect for wine. To be frank I have not even had a sip, but I do feel like it is a spendid day to sip.

Meanwhile, I forgot to say that I am back from Florida. Another business trip for the company I work for; rather uneventful. I had the afternoon and evening to myself and did not do a thing except browse the internet and watch a movie. (more on the trip and the movie later)

Below is the home page image of Folie a Deux Winery, makers of Menage a Trois red.

The web site was designed by 4C. They do very nice work and tag themselves as an interactive design and development company. Here's the plug from their website:

4C is a multi-disciplinary interactive design firm that specializes in creating brand centric, cross medium integrated sales & marketing campaigns that combine interactive, email, and print platforms.

I've run across another link in the ArtDepartment blog. It is the February 14 post in which Irene Gallo , owner of the ArtDepartment blog, makes a very short tag on the wine label designs of James Jean. Excellent illiustrator.
His work is highlighted in the website Dieline, a site pretty much dedicated to packaging design.
I could pretty much get lost just looking up wine label designs (Wescott Design is pretty good).

His wine labels are below and his blog is addicting. He gives a decent explanation of the the wine label design. From brainstorming to sketch to final label; read the entry to get his take on the process. The type of work he does inspires me to continue with my sketch book. He shows a lot of samples of his work and links to his sketch books as well as the art he sales. Again James Jean painter, illustrator.
His styles goes from very polished, classsical portraits

... and illustration.

to his sketches, whimsical fantasy and figure studies.

Obviously I am more interested in his drawings and sketch books, but he seems to do quite a bit of illustation for magazines like Wired; Rolling Stone and so on.

I drew while I traveled, bought a magazine on Laptops - a sort of PCmag just for laptops users. There were quite a bit of reviews and also some tech talk and gadgetry. Small camera with superior lens first > then a laptop.

I also bought the book Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I'm going to make another attempt at a screenplay. This may involve a young man that gets involved in theater production. Possibly a "coming unto oneself" story.

Lion or Lamb

'Tis March.
I feel like I should be poetic about March.
It has come in rather neutrally, neither lion or lamb.
I woke and felt mildly optimistic it was not freezing cold
At the same time a rather uneventful unveiling of the day.
Sunlight without any particular flair.
Overcast without dread
A glass of tepid wine
Feeling neither young or old


Khoda from Reza Dolatabadi on Vimeo.