Archive for the San Diego Comic Con Category

You wanted ’em? We got ’em! Come see the amazing FREAKS!

Posted in Century Guild Contemporary, Gail Potocki, San Diego Comic Con, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 8 April, 2013 by SeanChase

The days of circuses, carnivals, vaudeville, cabarets, and early cinema have always held a hypnotic sway over me and I’ve been obsessed with them since my childhood.  Of particular interest are the sideshow attractions and freak shows.  The wondrously bizarre, beautiful, and grotesque world of sideshow freaks has been a source of fascination and controversy from the time of their inception in the 19th Century, though circuses themselves date back to ancient Graeco-Roman traditions.  While today we may not have direct access to the theatrical spectacle of circus sideshows, at least not the ones that proliferated in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries and which focused on physical abnormalities, we do have certain portals into that world of entertainment that existed in the dark shadows of The Big Top.  Aside from modern sideshow attractions, which focus more on physical performance than physical deformity, there have been numerous films and works of art that have attempted to pay homage or preserve the atmospheric ambiance, the eccentric characters, and unbelievable world of circuses and their inhabitants.  Perhaps the strange allure of the sideshow can be reduced to the simple dynamics of exhibition and exploitation, but then again, most forms of art and expression can.  What is it that makes carnivals and circuses so tantalizingly mysterious to the outside world?

Perhaps the circus is the exaggerated reality that lies just beyond the periphery of our accepted social sphere.  It at once allows us a glimpse into an environment where everything is heightened, pushed to the limit (and sometimes far surpasses it), and while things may be familiar, nothing is really the same as in the lives that we know.  Though it isn’t feasible to escape our frustratingly mundane personal realities and simply “run away to join the circus”, it is possible to seek inspiration and escapism within the world of freaks and carnies.  Taking inspiration from this spectacular world is exactly what Gail Potocki has done.  Begun in 2009, the Freaks portraits series is an ongoing project for Gail, and only a few of her amazing portraits have been revealed and even more have yet to be created.  The brilliant portraits are like a peephole into the circus tents of the past.  Not only do they shine the spotlight on some truly unusual characters, but they also expose their humanity in a way that is both profound and endearing.  Each portrait embraces its subject as an individual, both celebrating their differences and acknowledging their humanity, and all the while doing so in a playfully creative manner that is fitting of Gail’s symbolist style.

The first five "Freaks" paintings by Gail Potocki!

The first five “Freaks” paintings by Gail Potocki!

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A Sensual Fantasia from the Mind of Dave McKean: A Review of “Celluloid”

Posted in Dave McKean, San Diego Comic Con, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 23 August, 2012 by SeanChase

When it comes to the subject of erotica in art and literature, I consider myself to be a person of discerning tastes.  Outside of John Cleland’s Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, the writings of Donatien Alphonse François, le Marquis de Sade, and D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, I have found most explicitly erotic literature to be banal and mechanical.  So often, it merely serves a primal function,  but rarely offers up anything more than titillation or sexual catharsis.

When it comes to art, a great example of this would be the erotic illustrations of  Édouard-Henri Avril, one of the premiere pornographic artists of the late 19th Century, and an artist whose work I admire very much.  However, while Avril’s work is splendid in its timeless appeal and subject matter, what it lacks, what it fails in, is that it’s fairly unimaginative and unexpressive.  The compositions are predictable and the use of color is minimal and overly restrained.  Though his illustrations succeed in providing an iconic visual counterpart to the erotic literature it accompanies, it rarely ever offers provocation of the mind or evocation of the emotions.  In other words, it is simply visual eye candy displaying a wide range of physical experiences without the enrichment of genuine expression.

Yet there is another kind of erotic art that manages to do so much more than this.

Artists such as  Gustave CourbetFélicien RopsGustav Klimt,  and  Egon Schiele  found their own unique way to convey erotic themes and ideas through artwork, and their works, while varying in style and predilection, all display a level of personality and expression that was unsurpassed during their lifetimes.  This was art, not for the sake of arousal, but art for the sake of art and with the power to elicit feelings of passion, desire, loneliness, and introspection.

With the commercial rise of erotica in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, there has been an ever outward-growing spiral of mediums to accommodate those in desire of exploring their carnality and sensuality vicariously through the creations of others.  Today, we have artwork, literature, music, cinema, and countless other media with which to express ourselves, so unsurprisingly human desire has spilt over into all of these areas, although in some areas more than others.

One art form that has been proliferating in the public eye since the late 1930s is comic books and graphic literature.  Strangely, with the exception of lasciviously humorous cartoons and buxom heroines in tight-fitting costumes (or no costumes at all, in some cases), the medium hasn’t explored sensuality as in-depth as other narrative mediums.  Outside of Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie’s Lost Girls, it is difficult to think of one well-known work of erotic graphic literature… until recently.

Last year saw the publication of an exceptional work:  Dave McKean‘s text-less graphic novel, Celluloid.

The cover of “Celluloid”, an erotic graphic novel by Dave McKean.

Celluloid, which was published in 2011 by Delcourt in Europe and by Fantagraphics Books in the United States, is perhaps a different kind of erotica than what people have come to expect.  Firstly, it is a graphic novel, and unlike so many graphic novels, it does not revolve around superheroes, monsters, or crime.  It’s a work of fantasy and like most works of fantasy, it is about a journey, but this book is about a journey inward into the sensuality of the human mind and into the mysteries of human desire.  It is “fantasy” in the purest sense of the word.

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Wear Cutting Edge Art with Pride – New Shirts Now Available!

Posted in Comic Conventions, Gail Potocki, Jeremy Bastian, Malleus Rock Art Lab, Merchandise, San Diego Comic Con, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 12 July, 2012 by SeanChase

Step right up and see what wonders we have for you!

Just in time for the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, the Century Guild booth (Booth # 2845) is debuting new t-shirts featuring the extraordinary work of Jeremy A. Bastian, the Malleus Rock Art Lab, and Gail Potocki!  These new graphic t-shirts, aside from being fashionable and extremely comfortable, showcase the work of diverse and immensely talented artists at the height of their creative apex.  Now, why should you buy one (or all) of these very cool shirts?  Because they are amazing!  Let’s take a closer look at each one and you’ll see why.

 

First off, let’s see the exceptionally cool shirt done by Malleus

Thomas Negovan ‘The Divine Eye’ t-shirt (MALLEUS, 2012)

Available in sizes small, medium, large, and extra large, and produced in a limited edition number of 80, this deep v-neck, fitted t-shirt exclusively for the ladies (sorry, guys) is made of highest quality 100% cotton, features gold foil details, and the graphic was screened using high resolution to create the best possible image.  The design appearing on the t-shirt was originally created for a poster to help promote the release of  Thomas Negovan‘s historical 2011 debut single “The Divine Eye“, which was recorded on a Thomas Edison phonograph and released as a limited edition wax cylinder.  Certainly such a feat is worthy of recognition, and indeed commemoration, but no mere work of commercial art would suffice, so naturally Thomas turned to Malleus Rock Art Lab and what they created is simply spectacular.

Thomas Negovan ‘The Divine Eye’ poster (Malleus, 2011)

Malleus is an artist collective comprised of three unique and talented individuals.  Their work is inspired by Art Nouveau, Expressionism, Surrealism, Psychedelic Art, and Pop Art.  They’ve created works for everyone from Queens of the Stone Age and the Mars Volta to The Dresden Dolls and Amanda Palmer.  When it comes to creating indelible and iconic imagery to accompany and promote the releases and tours of today’s best music acts, Malleus is already a legend.

 

And from Gail Potocki‘s fantastic Freaks series…

Freaks t-shirts collection (Gail Potocki, 2012)

Also available in BOTH men’s and women’s sizes small, medium, large, and extra large, and produced in a limited edition number of 85 each gender, these ultra-comfortable and timeless, dark grey, crew-neck shirts are made of 100% cotton and screened from high resolution to best capture the masterful work of modern symbolist Gail Potocki‘s brilliant paintings.  The imagery for these two shirts is derived from  Gail’s Freaks series  done in 2009, which lovingly pays homage to the world of circus and carnival sideshow figures from the early part of the 20th Century.  These detailed and nuanced portraits manage to not only capture the essence of their subjects, but also the imaginations of all those who see them.  Imagine the look of intrigue on your friends’ faces as you proudly wear your own shirt featuring Annie Jones the Bearded Lady or Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy!

Annie Jones the Bearded Lady (Gail Potocki, 2009)

‘Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy’ (Gail Potocki, 2009)

Of her fascination with the freaks, Gail says, “I think part of it is that they had to blaze their own trail whether they wanted to or not.  Because they are so unique and rare, they stand out like diamonds in a sea of glass.
So too will the wearers of these awe-inspiring t-shirts, which are sure to become cult favorites and collector’s items, so be sure to pick yours up soon because they will disappear fast!

 

And from the imagination of Jeremy A. Bastian

Cursed Pirate Girl t-shirts (Jeremy A. Bastian, 2012)

Available in BOTH men’s and women’s sizes small, medium, large, and extra large, and produced in an extremely limited edition number of only 70, these stylish, grey crew-neck t-shirts are made from 100% cotton and feature a slick wrap-around design which was screened from high resolution and allows for the insane amount of detail of Jeremy Bastian‘s work to display itself.  The exclusive design features the Cursed Pirate Girl herself as she heroically leaps out of the reach of the clutches of her vile nemeses.  Whether you’re a fan of comic books, pirates, illustration, or just want to wear a really handsome shirt, we have your needs covered thanks to Jeremy’s remarkable work.

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

Jeremy’s astonishingly illustrated and darkly, whimsical comic book for children has been acclaimed by some of the comics industry’s most respected names and the first three epic issues were recently collected in a single volume by Archaia Publishing.  The title has been on the rise in popularity and there’s even a radio-dramedy in the works featuring Stephanie Leonidas (the star of Dave McKean‘s films MirrorMask and the upcoming Luna) as the title heroine and swashbuckling adventurer.  Jeremy will be appearing at Comic-Con with Archaia at Booth # 2635 and Stephanie will also be making an appearance at our Comic-Con booth along with some other guest surprises, so keep an eye out, matey!

 

All of these shirts, both in style and sizes, are available in very LIMITED QUANTITIES only at Comic-Con and they will go fast, so you will want to be sure to purchase yours while you can.  Stop by Century Guild at Booth # 2845 and pick up yours!

– Sean

…and Miles to Go Before We Sleep (1: final San Diego photos.)

Posted in Antique Fairs, Century Guild Contemporary, Century Guild Events, Comic Conventions, Gail Potocki, Jim Rose Circus, San Diego Comic Con, Steampunk on 15 February, 2011 by Thomas Negovan
Rod wrangles the teeming hordes of Thomas Jane fans for us.

Rod wrangles the teeming hordes of Thomas Jane fans for us. His signings in our booth caused a bit of a traffic jam. (Ok, MORE than a bit, there was a whole security contingent issued to sort the mayhem.)

I am averaging about one post a decade at this pace.  Let’s relive the magic and splendor of Comic Con with the belief that if a picture tells a thousand words, you are about to experience a million word essay!

It is always magical to see Brian Froud and his wife Wendy, the artists who created the visuals for The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth.  (Photo taken by Dave McKean, director of MirrorMask, the third of the three Jim Henson fantasy films.)

It is always magical to see Brian Froud and his wife Wendy, the artists who created the visuals for The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. (Photo taken by Dave McKean, director of MirrorMask, the third of the three Jim Henson fantasy films.)

Jim Rose is right: San Diego Comic Con is full of the strangest things one will EVER see...

Jim Rose (holding up a vintage poster for his Circus) is right: San Diego Comic Con is full of the strangest things one will EVER see...

An example of the insanity...

An example of the aforementioned insanity... From Art Nouveau... to LEGOs! In only twenty paces!

Because Michaelanne LOVES "CHiPs"! Her first celebrity connection at Comic Con? Erik Estrada!

Melissa auf der Maur (Hole, Smashing Pumpkins, Rufus Wainwright) was lovely... I suspect that her aura is a Heavy Metal loving teenage boy spinning a Pre-Raphaelite dream.

MAdM and Lee Moyer signed a poster for her "Out of Our Minds" environmental music and film Friday and Saturday.

I can't believe that the League of Steam convinced Gail and Stuart to do a circle of electrocution...

I can't believe that the League of Steam convinced Gail Potocki and Stuart to do a circle of electrocution...

But then I shouldn't be surprised that Holistic Health Maven and Consistent Overachiever Stuart did it TWICE.

As much as Michaelanne loves Erik Estrada, it doesn't come close to how much Gail Potocki LOVES Paul Komoda!!! Here she is with his pendant "The Kiss".

And before we knew it, it was midnight on Sunday. The neckties came off, and after hours of blood and falling timbers the truck was packed full of Art Nouveau goodness.

Thanks also to Steve Diet Goedde, who also signed in our booth but is strangely absent from photos!  The curse of the photographer, I suppose…

Keeping up with the Zullis, part two… or- countdown to San Diego Comic Con

Posted in A Day in the Life, Century Guild Contemporary, Century Guild Events, Comic Conventions, Gail Potocki, Haute Campe, San Diego Comic Con, Sioux Sinner, Uncategorized on 26 August, 2010 by Thomas Negovan

A photographic essay (1).   Thank you for your patience.

Arriving in San Diego, Jack pounces on his beloved Sioux Sinner.  I believe that is Michaelanne's bra on his head.

Arriving in San Diego, Jack pounces on his beloved Sioux Sinner. I believe that is Michaelanne's bra on his head.

We immediately descended onto Gail's favorite: PINKBERRY.  And the drunk A&R guy staying at the Hard Rock immediately descended on Michaelanne.

We immediately descended onto Gail's favorite: PINKBERRY. And the drunk A&R guy staying at the Hard Rock immediately descended on Michaelanne.

A chess set sized to match my massive intellect.

A chess set sized to match my massive intellect.

Boating in the harbor on choppy waters, Michaelanne was soaked and wounded.  Gail was seasick.  And I was in heaven!

Boating in the harbor on choppy waters, Michaelanne was soaked and wounded. Gail was seasick. And I was in heaven!

Darling Jack can't take the sun in Balbo Park.  Gail Potocki is made of tougher stuff.

Darling Jack can't take the sun in Balbo Park. Gail Potocki is made of tougher stuff.

Next: The convention…

Keeping up with the Zullis, part one of my summer…

Posted in A Day in the Life, Antique Fairs, Century Guild Contemporary, Century Guild Events, Comic Conventions, Dave McKean, Michael Zulli, San Diego Comic Con on 26 August, 2010 by Thomas Negovan

Michael insists that I blog, and in heading over to his site, I see that he is putting his money well where his mouth is.  So here I am.

Things have been relentless since April.  Most recently, I’ve been really wrestling with my optimism, and maintenance thereof.  I’ve also learned some great things about diplomacy from Melissa Auf der Maur, and am trying to figure out how to balance those ideas with the brutal honesty I crave.  San Diego Comic Con was wonderful, all said, but not using drugs does not equal sobriety, and the ways in which people fight tooth and nail to perpetuate a view of the world that makes them feel justified to be- well, to put it bluntly, shitty human beings- has shocked me once again.  “I can’t control what people think of me” is a sentence that shouldn’t be used as a license to be a complete and utter asshole.  Because one sure way to at least help increase your chances of people saying nice things about you is putting love and art above money and paranoia.  But I digress, with MAdM tugging at my sleeve to get back on point.

The positives: well, there IS the Melissa Auf der Maur one, to begin- she really seems like one of the good ones.  I enjoyed getting to know her.  And for all the phone time I’ve had with Michael Zulli, this was the firs time we met face to face, and I have to say that I am deeply deeply in love with this man.  You couldn’t make him up!  Well, you could, but no one would believe it.  Dave McKean’s wife is amazing, and I keep seeing new facets to Dave each time I am around him- each one making me understand more that his success- both as an artist, and as a man- are no accident.

I’d like to thank ABC news for running that four minute piece on us, but then I’d have to show it here, and having the Anti-Defamation league call us Nazi Sympathizers for carrying a parody poster about “secret Nazi mating camps” is best left in the past.  But it was entertaining as hell.  The image in question is HERE, if you’re curious…

So thanks to everyone who came out to San Diego- Jeremy Bastian remains a genius to the nth degree, I’m even more of a Steve Diet Goedde fan than I was before, the lines for Thomas Jane caused massive disruptions for security, MZ’s lady Karen is like a goddamn superhero (I love her as much as I do Michael), Lee Moyer is an Angel with a capital “A”, and thanks to God’s Girls and Reverend Mitcz for keeping the Haute Campe corner fun.  Michaelanne, Jack, and Sioux came through in a big way, they are like marathon runners, and I continue to take Gail and Stuart for granted, thank God they know how much I need them, haha!

Enough with words, I never blogged about Artropolis, the movie deal, or what is coming next month, so I just need to let some pictures to the talking to try to recap five months of life and get back on schedule.  Love to you all, and yes- my optimism remains intact.  I am lucky to have had the parents I did, and the friends that I do.  Check it out…

Because no place is safe.

Because no place is safe.

Jack and Michaelanne dress up for Artropolis

Jack and Michaelanne dress up for Artropolis

Thomas Negovan and Stuart Tomc at Chicago Art Salon opening at Primitive Annex

Thomas Negovan and Stuart Tomc at Chicago Art Salon opening at Primitive Annex

Before the mad preparations for San Diego Comic Con, one last trip to the farm and the beach.

Before the mad preparations for San Diego Comic Con, one last trip to the farm and the beach.

Seeing this in my alley made me think of Jack for some reason.  A sign of the week to come?

Seeing this in my alley made me think of Jack for some reason. A sign of the week to come?

Lastly, the night before we left for San Diego, I had a candlelit concert with The Leather Push...

Lastly, the night before we left for San Diego, I had a candlelit concert with The Leather Push...

To be continued…