Archive for the A Day in the Life Category

TECHNORGANICA

Posted in A Day in the Life, Century Guild Contemporary, Century Guild Events, Comic Conventions, Dave McKean, Olympian Publishing, Silent Cinema, Uncategorized on 9 February, 2010 by Thomas Negovan

I have successfully entered the 21st century, and I am now wired in to post on Twitter and Facebook remotely!    Look for Century Guild on Facebook, and at twitter.com/centuryguild as I’ll be posting updates from the Dave McKean signing and the Nitrate and Kinogeists exhibition in Los Angeles this weekend…!

xO

T

I hate my spotty servce too much to promote the iphone.

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In the Footsteps of Thomas Edison: the Nature of Electricity, and a Technological Seance.

Posted in A Day in the Life, Antique Medical Equipment, Steampunk on 3 December, 2009 by Thomas Negovan

Antique Medical Equipment electrical therapy: The Polysine Generator.

Roaming the wilds of the Midwest, where the economy flourished in the days of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, I came across the remains of a lovely woman who lived to the ripe old age of 92 years.  “My success in the arena of longevity,” she insisted, “is due to my attention to health, regardless of public conception as I subscribe to only the most modern of medical advances.”

Well, that’s what she said in 1910.  Shortly thereafter she changed her motto to “If you find something that works, stick with it.”

One prong of her two-pointed attack at warding away the Grim Reaper was a sophisticated Hydrotherapy machine.  The other, a Polysine Generator.

Arrow Indicates Positive Pole...

Complete with Asbestos pads and metal hand-bars which connected to the terminals and delivered a gentle electric shock, this is the equivalent of a home Electroshock Therapy Machine were one to turn that beautiful voltage controller uppppppppppp someplace a little more… aggressive.

Red jewelled power light; modality selector; voltage controller...

Steampunk?  Perhaps.  Revolutionary?  Certainly.

This will be disassembled here at some point in the near future, as its brilliantly designed modality selector and polysine generator combination appears to be perfectly suited to electrically exploring specific frequencies aligning with the aetheric plane, which according to the notes I acquired- in the hand of Thomas Edison, no less- could facilitate audio communication with what he referred to as “the dearly departed”.

We shall see.

The finer points of publishing keepsake books; or, not.

Posted in A Day in the Life, Gripes, Olympian Publishing on 12 September, 2009 by Thomas Negovan

Picture 22I had a sad moment yesterday.

I’ll start at the beginning; we published a beautiful hardcover book- one of a proposed two volume set- a few years back that was not only fine art, but sequential as well, or for the peanut gallery, “comic art”.

We want every book that comes out under the Olympian Publishing heading to be more than just a pile of papers- we focus on the hand of the paper, the weight, the surface, the translucence, and compare these factors to the material soon-to-be impressed onto their surface.  We try to find print houses that will do things that they might not have been asked to do in a hundred years or so, and pay whatever it costs to retool their setups to make something old new again.

For this book, a halloween themed graphic novel, we wanted it to feel like an old leather bound book.  So we found a top quality “leatherette” (wholly animal friendly, of course), had heavy metal die stamps made to deboss the cover for gold foil in a way that wouldn’t rub off in our lifetime, even had special endpapers made that had raised cobwebs, to ensure that from those very first pages the reader felt as though they were stepping into a musty library.  We used paper that had a textured high gloss, so that it gave the appearance of high gloss but with the utmost readability.  The interior material we had to work with was Master Level, and we applied the most sophisticated and respectful of design around it to give it a full cinematic presentation.

These were very very costly to produce, but we wanted to make sure that fans of this artist received something really, really special.  And we were able to do so for a retail price of only $29.95.

Nine out of ten people, I feared after watching the crowds for a year or so, couldn’t tell the difference between what we had made and a paper sack.  But every now and then, someone in the book or art industry who I respected would glow profusely and articulately on how much they appreciated the attention to detail that we had applied, and this made the shrugs from the other 90 percent worth it.

When we parted ways with the artist of this book, a very successful publisher was happy to complete the two volume set, and the artist stated publicly that this publisher would be applying the same level of quality to the second volume.  This made me happy- I am a fan of these books first, and was very excited to hear that they would be following our lead.

But I had the opportunity yesterday to finally see this Volume 2, new in stores this month.

No special endpapers, just flat black paper; the extensive sections previously published in black and white that we wanted to see properly colored to make this a special edition stand out as boringly stark in their original black and white format on such glossy paper.  They echoed our design of the first volume just enough that it looks more like the same book than something completely different, but I was heartbroken that the sensitivity of the book design, the materials from the cover to the interior paper, even the interior layout all are what can only be called mediocre.  Even the beautiful logo, debossed and foil stamped on our cover, appears on this one as if it began rubbing away the moment it left the printer.  And to top this aesthetic insult-of-packaging off?  The retail price for this affront to taste was HIGHER than the first volume.

Should I be happy that this makes our edition look SO much finer?  No.  Because, like Oscar Wilde (and perhaps Hugh Hefner), I want to live in a world of Beauty.

Should you still buy the second volume, if you’re a fan?  Absolutely.

But I just had to post a rant:

“Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerkmach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm.”

Continue reading

goofy bourgeois

Posted in A Day in the Life, Antique Fairs, Gail Potocki, Jeremy Bastian on 3 June, 2009 by Thomas Negovan

Someone typed that on Google and it- curiously- led to our blog.  I’m serious. (And now that I’ve used it as a title, we are actively crawling up that particular search string.)

Too tired from looking at art and posters and making posters for Dave’s show and planning shows and exhibitions and booths and stamping books and packing art and shipping said art and eating leafy greens to do anything productive…

I thought about the interviews where they make an artist put their iTunes on random and make them share the playlist, no matter how embarrassing.  I won’t share the fact that I’m listening to Earth, Wind, and Fire relentlessly as I work on the Kinogeists book, or that my shuffle is now playing Rick Springfield, for fear of losing my massive artistic credibility.  What I will do is this:

Thirteen images, universally lucky number and Baker’s dozen, pulled from my iPhone by their anonymous file code, and presented here unedited and unphotoshopped.  (Let’s hope there’s no incriminating shots of Jack supergluing shut the new and highly controversial Chicago parking meters.)

I can’t wait for the Nitrate and Kinogeists show here in Chicago, I think that we may have a really fantastic new artist to announce before San Diego, and it is impossible to be as Zen-master calm as Allen Spiegel, but we mere mortals can keep trying.  In the meantime, enjoy thirteen magical seconds of my life:

Lovelovelove,

Tom

This one

Oh, this is a good one. Our archivist couldn't find a tube that was long enough to hold the Opium poster, so he wrote warnings on the side for the Merchandise Mart's not-always-so-careful Union handlers. The other sides said "Pushing Down=Murder" and "Push Down, Kiss Your Life Good Bye".

Jeremy Bastian loves Industrial music, and Mexican Food at 4 a.m.

Jeremy Bastian loves Industrial music, and Mexican Food at 4 a.m.

After the midnight show of The Dark Crystal at the Music Box; thankfully we only found one of these tossed aside.

After the midnight show of The Dark Crystal at the Music Box; thankfully we only found one of these tossed aside.

I didn't buy the chair.  But I should have.

Fairies and ghosts love old leather.

Gail Potocki is happy about twice a year.  This was one of those nights.

Gail Potocki is blissfully happy about twice a year. This was one of those nights.

Stuart was so funny this show, I wish we had a video camera.  I'm not kidding.

Stuart was so funny this show, I wish we had a video camera. I'm not kidding.

Every night is Halloween around here.  I love it.

Every night is Halloween around here, and I love it.

I pulled up to a stop sign around 1 a.m. just as this woman stumbled past in her bathrobe.  Not kidding.

I pulled up to a stop sign around 1 a.m. just as this woman stumbled past in her bathrobe. Not kidding once again.

The Reverend Hudson.  Jack touched Hugh Jackman's butt mere moments after this was taken.

The Reverend Hudson. Jack touched Hugh Jackman's butt mere moments after this was taken.

I have no idea.  I think for the wall texture.

I have no idea. I think for the wall texture. (It was very "European Gulag".)

Our Artropolis booth.  You can see the unbelievably sexy original Walter Schnackenberg painting pretty well here.

Our Artropolis booth. You can see the unbelievably sexy original Walter Schnackenberg painting moderately well here on the front column. People's reactions were VERY varied, and VERY entertaining when they rounded the corner and saw "Opium" "Hunger" "Syphilis" and "Cocaine".

This the second day in 2009 when Gail Potocki was wildly happy from playing in the garden.  That's her quota.

This the second day in 2009 when Gail Potocki was wildly happy from playing in the garden. (That's her quota.) This is an old box spring from a sleeper couch that she converted into a trellis for her Clematis. Lyta is wagging her tail as she gets scratched under the chinny chin chin.

Lyta has a magic snaggletooth that is soooo heavy that she just has to rest it sometimes.

Lyta has a magic snaggletooth that is soooo heavy that she just has to rest it sometimes. And, yes, she sits there with her legs straddling the arm of the chair like that every single day. When not sleeping on the back of the chair like a cat.

A Day in the Life of Century Guild: Silent Films, Dave McKean, and Gardening.

Posted in A Day in the Life, Silent Cinema, Transmission Atelier on 28 May, 2009 by Thomas Negovan

What we did today:

Jim Kay of Transmission Atelier: “I brought all of my gear- lights, monitors, and computers- into Tom’s bedroom so that I could color correct our edition prints of these Dave McKean paintings for the umpteenth pass.  I barely even noticed all the dirty laundry on the floor.  Barely.”

Jim Kay with multiple color variations of "Mélies (Untitled)" checks them against the monitor.

Jim Kay with multiple color variations of "Méliès (Untitled)" checks them against the monitor.

Jim and I have spent a lot of time together in my bedroom these past weeks.

Jim and I have spent a lot of time together in my bedroom these past weeks. Alone.

Checking the prints against the original Dave McKean painting

Checking the prints against the original Dave McKean painting

Hour four.

Hour four.

What Jim Kay sees (1).

What Jim Kay sees (1).

What Jim Kay sees (2).

What Jim Kay sees (2).

Bob Reveley: “The things we do for Gail Potocki and her garden.”

Upside?  Bob gets to be outside.  Downside?  He is digging a trench.

Upside? Bob gets to be outside. Downside? He is digging a trench.

Lyta and Lucyfur supervise Bob's gravedigging... from the cushy chaise on the back porch.

Lyta and Lucyfur supervise Bob's gravedigging... from the cushy chaise on the back porch.

Meanwhile, down in the cellar… (Jack will kill me if I pretend to be him and type something here.)

Jack hard at work on the posters for the Nitrate and Kinogeists weekend.

Jack hard at work on the posters for the Nitrate and Kinogeists weekend.

Thomas Negovan: “While Jack rots in the cellar and Bob wallows in the dirt, I ascend the staircase to the tower where the library resides.  In the recording studio, we are transported to Berlin in 1923; I use the wall space in here to hang silent film posters as I work on the Kinogeists book. Giant originals, and for sake of space, small prints that Jim from Transmission Atelier custom produces for my endeavor.”

Ok, I wouldn’t really use the word “endeavor” in a sentence, but it reads well.  The last photo shows not only my desk, but how much more sunlight I get than Jack.  I do, however, somehow still match him in pastiness.

Original 1915 poster for Italian silent film Zinga (Gypsy).

Original 1915 poster for Italian silent film Zinga (Gypsy).

Miniature Transmission Atelier prints...

Miniature Transmission Atelier prints...

Command central: the library.

Command central: the library. (I really need a steampunk keyboard.)