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Category Archives: Rubylith

Beautiful Boxes


The folks at Criterion designed a nifty package for their edition of the low budget monster movie Equinox. At first I thought Charles Burns drew the art, but it looks like it was appropriated off the movie’s poster art (or maybe a bitchin’ back issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland). The type treatment is very effective. Man, it would be a dream come true to design stuff for them.

Dazed and Confused is another recent Criterion title that got a great box design. The DVD packaging was made to look like a 1970s high school notebook covered in doodles — perfect. I remember, when that movie came out, being disappointed that whoever designed the poster used Emigré’s Template Gothic for the title font. A hip choice back in 1993, but utterly wrong for that film!

Computers and Books and Toys, Oh My

I’ve been asked to contribute to the spiffy new group weblog On My Desk, in which creative professionals share photos of their workspaces. Here’s my entry. Not very fancy or high tech, but it suits me OK.

Happy Little Bears

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Check out this beautiful set of Terrytoons cartoon lobby cards presented by the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive. Appropos of nothing, whatever happened to those Happy Little Elves on The Simpsons? I loved whenever they’d pop up on the early episodes, with “cheap” animation and helium voices; I even used to entertain thoughts of a Happy Little Elves Spinoff Special. Nowadays you’d be lucky to catch a glimpse of the elves hanging on Lisa’s bedroom wall. Bring back the Elves!

Drawing Inspiration

Penguin Graphic Classics is a new line of paperback literary classics with covers designed by today’s hottest graphic novelists. Bookslut effusively praises them here; Fantagraphics shares more covers here. It’s an interesting concept — I suppose the success of individual volumes depends a lot on the talent of the artist involved. For example, Chris Ware’s treatment of Voltaire’s Candide comes through as typically brilliant and sumptuous even when pixilated and tiny on a computer screen. I’d love to see what the “dead tree” version looks like. On the music side, the Deutsche Grammaphon label is taking on a similar tact with its Classical Bytes series.

Spinning Wheel

Circa ’70s NASA illustrations of what a space colony of the future might look like. Thanks to Chris for sending this my way.

Crazy, Man, Crazy

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flora-sinister.jpgRecently I revisitied the Jim Flora gallery and was reminded again of what a brilliant artist he was. Mostly he’s known for a series of eye-popping album covers drawn for RCA and Columbia Records in the ’50s, but he did amazing magazine and book illustration as well (I actually saw a Flora children’s book at an antique mall a few years back, but the dealer wanted, like, sixty bucks for it). I love the way he utilized the limitations of printing from that time, and how much energy he could convey with line and shape. His work has the kind of uninhibitedness that you’d find in the drawings of mental institution patients, but surprisingly Flora led a normal life of a family man with a wife and five kids.

Flora’s art has been showcased in one book already — Irwin Chusid’s The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora. Now comes news that Chusid and collaborator Barbara Economon are working on a follow-up, The Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora, set to be published by Fantagraphics in early 2007. While Mischievous focused on Flora’s commercial works, Sinister will delve into Flora’s even more “out there” personal art. Check the AIGA’s interview with Chusid and you can see samples of this jaw-dropping stuff.

Oh, and this is a gas. Mr. Chusid was kind enough to share a piece of art from the Sinister book with yer humble weblogger. Behold — Flora, doggie-style:

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