Jeremy Bastian and His Cursed Pirate Girl Return!

As you know, Century Guild has relocated its gallery from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California, and we are very pleased to announce that our new location will open with a very special book signing with none other than our good friend, Jeremy A. Bastian.  We will be holding a Grand Opening for the new gallery on December 1st, 2012 from 6-9pm.  Jeremy will be there in person to sign books, including advanced copies of his graphic novel, Cursed Pirate Girl, which is being published by Archaia Entertainment.  We will also be displaying exclusive artwork from Cursed Pirate Girl for the first time.

Cursed Pirate Girl: The Collected Edition, Volume 1 (Archaia Publishing, published Dec. 2012)

The ongoing story of Cursed Pirate Girl tells the whimsical tale of a young girl as she sets sail for adventure in search of her missing father, who is one of the legendary Pirate Captains of the mythical Omerta Seas.  On her voyages, both above and below the surface of the ocean, she encounters a series of bizarre, charming, and grotesque characters that leap forth from the page with such vitality and imagination that they rival the fantastical creations of Lewis Carroll, Winsor McCay, and Terry Gilliam.

Jeremy A. Bastian, attending San Diego Comic-Con 2012, stops by the Century Guild booth to meet fans and sign autographs of his work.

At a time when just about everyone seems to be familiar with comic book characters and their worlds, primarily due to the high-end film adaptations of superhero comic books, it has become increasingly rare for comics fans to stumble across anything original.  As Hellboy creator Mike Mignola has said, “It’s all too rare that I see work that is truly original – and I almost never see work THIS original – Jeremy Bastian is a genius.”

Jeremy’s work stands out for a number of reasons.  Not only does he cite amongst his influences some of the great names in comic book art, he also looks even further back into the past to classic artists of the Golden Age of Illustration, and even further back than that to certain Renaissance and medieval artists.  His artwork and visual narratives are created with the skill of a master, and his imagery explodes with eccentric nuances and brilliant humor that the pages can barely contain.  Beyond just the amazing style of his work, there is the technique with which he creates it.  While many artists in the field of fine illustration or comics go about their way, content to work with pen on over-sized sheets of paper, Jeremy creates his work using an ink well and brush, creating the work you see in the actual size and ratio that it is printed in.  There are some who may call what he does madness, but if it is indeed madness, it is madness with a method and a madness to be celebrated!

Jeremy’s iconic Cursed Pirate Girl character lovingly rendered with incredible attention to the tiniest detail.

I was fortunate enough to interview Jeremy at the beginning of this year about his exuberantly imaginative creations and how he brings them to life.  Here is part of that interview:

Sean:
Could you tell me how you first conceived of Cursed Pirate Girl?

Jeremy:
I was experimenting with all these different styles and I was really into tattoo art for a while. I don’t actually have any tattoos, but I admire the simplicity and classic design sense for its illustrative nature.  I was doing a series of pin-up girl type illustrations with Prismacolor markers and pencils, and I did this pirate girl or pirate woman, and she had an eye patch – I think I even included the X on the eye patch – and she had a treasure chest on her shoulder and she was standing on this wreck where a shark had come through.  It was a very complex drawing for me at the time and I really just liked the idea.

Then I was asked to do a four page mini-story for a local university that was putting on a comic art show and they were going to make a comic book for the program and anyone who showed up to the opening would receive one of these for free.  So, we got a bunch of local artists together like David Petersen of Mouse Guard fame.  So, he did a four-page story and I did a four-page story, based on that character.  I decided that I wanted to make her more like Alice in Wonderland, or Dorothy, or Little Nemo in Slumberland, so I made her a kid instead.

Then David came out with Mouse Guard and he self-published that and I saw how well that did.  So I decided to take that Cursed Pirate Girl idea and make a whole story out of it.  That’s where it all came from.

Sean:
Your work is incredibly detailed, both in regards to your intricate line work as well as to the multitude of characters and visual motifs that you use, so how long does it take you to complete a piece on average?

Jeremy:
Well, it has changed since when I first started.  I think I was much quicker, but I can’t remember exactly how quickly it was.  I do know that now it takes about a week per page.  I get more obsessed with just how much detail I can put into things.  I think for book one, I was using a size zero brush and now I’m working with a double zero brush, so I use a much smaller brush sometimes.  For me, it’s a personal challenge to see how much I can put into something and try to outdo the last page I did and to have an evolutionary process.  I know that I will get it done, but it will take a long time, and I hope that many of my fans will decide to stick in there because they want to see it in print.

Jeremy A. Bastian proudly holds “The Sacking of the Royal City of Cub” which was created over the course of an astonishing 500 hours. Even more astonishing is the level upon level of minute detail incorporated into the work which measures at only 13.5 x 19 inches. To truly appreciate Bastian’s incredible draftsmanship, one must look at this under a magnifying glass.

Sean:
Cursed Pirate Girl has been quite a success for you so far.  It’s been through four printings by Olympian Publishing now, I think, and is being gathered into a collector’s volume featuring the first three issues published by Archaia Entertainment, which means that your readership will expand even further.  Could you tell me how you feel about Cursed Pirate Girl’s legacy?

Jeremy:
I can’t wait to see what more people think about it.  It will be kind of difficult since it will be different from what people are used to because it will be a while before the next volume is ready to come out.  I am working on Volume II, Issue #1, but I’m only a handful of pages into it and it’s going to be a pretty big book. There will of course be a space, or gap, between the two books [Volume I and Volume II].  A lot of people I’ve talked to and explain this to, have said, “Oh, you know, don’t worry about it. It’s worth taking the time to work on it.”

That’s how I’ve always seen it.  If you cut corners to meet deadlines then you deny what you really want to put into it, because you have to meet a deadline for somebody else.  I’ve never really understood that.  The bottom line is that you’re supposed to learn to work within those parameters, but I’ve seen artists start off really strong and then they get signed with companies and have to cut corners to meet deadlines, and their work has suffered considerably for that.  That’s just not something I’d want to put out there.  I want to put out the best work that I can and that’s part of the obsession.  I know that I can improve and be better.  I look at Issues #1 and #2, and even some in #3, there are things I wish I could have taken more time on and drawn them in a different way.

I’m interested to see what people think of it.  I’m really excited that it will be getting a much broader audience.  I’m really excited to see what Archaia does with it because the books they are putting out are really nice, really high quality, and very interesting stuff.  I think it will fit in well with them.

Jeremy’s colossally epic and extraordinarily detailed masterpiece, “The Sacking of the Royal City of Cub” (Ink on paper, 2011), made exclusively for the patrons of his unprecedented Kickstarter campaign.  This monumental piece was created over the course of three months (500 hours of actual work) and features a plethora of eccentric characters from the “Cursed Pirate Girl” universe.


In the above video, you can see the printing of the exclusive bookplates that will be available at the exhibition and will be included in the advance copies of the hard cover edition of Jeremy’s graphic novel of which we will have 100 copies on hand.

Here are details on the upcoming Grand Opening and exhibition

LOS ANGELES, CA – Century Guild, the leading Art Nouveau and Symbolist gallery in the world, is opening a West Coast location with a Grand Opening December 1st with an exhibition celebrating one of the most intricate artists of any century, Jeremy Bastian.

Reception:  December 1st, 2012, 6-9 pm
Exhibition:  December 2nd and December 6-8th, 2-8 pm

Century Guild
6150 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

For further information, contact Melissa Chapel:
800-610-2368 or chapel AT centuryguild.net

For more on Jeremy, please visit  and ‘like’ the official Jeremy Bastian (HERE) and Cursed Pirate Girl (HERE) Facebook pages!  For more information on Century Guild, be sure to ‘like’ the official page (HERE)!

– Sean

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