Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Bocanada: A Journal of Pop Culture and the Arts - The New E-Zine From Ghibli Blog

Bocanada: A Journal of Pop Culture and the Arts - The New E-Zine From Ghibli Blog

Bocanada: A Journal of Pop Culture and the Arts - The New E-Zine From Ghibli BlogBocanada: A Journal of Pop Culture and the Arts - The New E-Zine From Ghibli Blog

Bocanada: A Journal of Pop Culture and the Arts - The New E-Zine From Ghibli BlogBocanada: A Journal of Pop Culture and the Arts - The New E-Zine From Ghibli Blog

Have you downloaded your free e-zine yet?

Many years ago (longer than I care to admit), I created zines to nourish my love of writing and popular culture. I wrote about Star Trek and science-fiction, video games, music, art, and the ups and downs of daily life. They were created on simple desktop publishing software, word processors, and an assortment of clip art and marker pens. It was very low-tech, but highly enjoyable. I even managed to score some freelance writing work at GamePro, which was tremendous fun

Ever since then, I wanted to return to zines. I even had recurring dreams about finding an old computer with long-forgotten websites that were still active, and communicating with old friends. 21 years later, while working on my multiple book projects, I thought it would be fun to finally take the plunge again and create a zine that I could share with my readers and fans. And so Bocanada Issue 1 was born.

Bocanada: A Journal of Pop Culture and the Arts. That long-winded title means, simply, that I get to write about whatever the heck I want, but mostly aimed in the same direction as my writings on Ghibli Blog and the new books: Zen Arcade, Pop Life and Greatest Hits.

For Ghibli Freaks, this issue includes essays on Kiki's Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke and My Neighbors the Yamada. For classic and retro video game fans, there are reviews of Altered Beast (Genesis), Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis), Bonk's Adventure (TG-16), Mega Man (NES), and Street Fighter 2 Turbo (Super NES). For music lovers, we have articles on Miles Davis' 1974 jazz-fusion album Get Up With It and Sony's PS-X75 Biotracer Turntable. Finally, we have an art gallery of zine-worthy graffiti works created by me back in 2002.

The cover image is another one of my artworks, a 2005 digital painting created entirely on computer. The title is an homage to Gustavo Cerati's 1999 album, a glorious mashup of trip-hop (remember that?), Radiohead's Kid-A and The Beatles. The pages are "half-size," meaning that they are standard 8.5" x 11" pages folded in half. The zine is 48 pages in total, which matches the output of my old zines perfectly (they were 245 pages at standard size).

Bocanada was created for both physical and digital formats. I find the half-size format works perfectly for tablets and even smartphones. The pages are very readable and neatly designed without becoming too cluttered or dense. I created everything on Scribus, a freeware tool, which I suppose would disqualify me in the eyes of many zine publishers -- it's not a "real zine" unless everything is created on a typewriter, scissors and markers. Whatever.

Bocanada is available as a "perma-free" download, meaning the digital version will always be free. All you have to do is join my mailing list. In addition to receiving the zine, you will also receive regular email newsletters that feature the latest news and developments from DT Media (my indie publishing label) and Ghibli Blog, including the new books!

When is Bocanada Issue 2 coming? Soon. I'm still very busy with releasing the books, assembling the new DT Media website, and doing the usual promotional work (translation: hassling everyone with review copies and appearance requests). If we can assemble and publish the second issue in time for Thanksgiving, I'd be thrilled.

As always, thank you very much for your continued support of Ghibli Blog.

P.S. I keep mentioning the new books: Zen Arcade, Pop Life and Greatest Hits. Well, the books are finished and ready to roll out! As for release date, availability and price...join my mailing list and I'll share all the answers in my next newsletter.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Art Gallery: 1999

1999 (1999)
Acrylics and correction fluid on paper, approx. 24" x 48"

This was one of my first acrylics paintings that I created in the Spring of 1999. I named the piece after the year, in fact. The canvas actually belonged to an old painting that was in the basement of the student house where I was living, some light drawing of flowers. The canvas wasn't primed, which made for a big mess with the acrylic paints. I'm pretty sure I covered up the basement floor pretty well. Maybe. Ahem.

This was a very large painting and I enjoyed hanging it on the wall. Somebody bought it, but I honestly can't remember the details. Fortunately, I was able to send it to the photographer and save it for posterity.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Art Gallery: Take the Power Back

Take the Power Back (1999)
Acrylics on canvas, 16" x 20"

B-Side (2000)
Mixed media on canvas

Take the Power Back is part of a series of acrylics paintings I created in 1999. I was living in a large house in Dinkytown at the University of Minnesota, one of those student houses where everyone has a room and shares the living room and kitchen. There was a very large basement that was well-lit and well supplied, and worked perfectly for me. I was free to make a very large mess on the concrete floor with my paints and canvas.

I've always enjoyed this piece, it's one of my favorites. There's a lot of action and movement, multiple layers like an endless series of explosions. It was always my conviction that abstract expression should flow and sway. It should never be static, but alive. "Action Painting" should apply to the art and not just the artist who creates it.

The B-Side is one of the earlier ones, most likely created in 2000, but possibly began sometime in 1999 (the red marker text). The whole idea arose from my idea that art could be created that was purely text-based, not unlike newspaper or website layouts. Scott McCould was also a source of inspiration for these ideas.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Art Gallery: Mike Tyson Eats Children

Mike Tyson Eats Children (2000)
Acrylic paints on paper, 20" x 30"

This painting was created with only two colors of paint, mixed with some kitchen floor tile enamel that I found in a basement. That was a nice discovery, and it mixed with the paints very nicely. The extra thickness of acrylics allow for more swirling and mixing around, which was a lot of fun. This was created after I had begun the watercanvas series, so I adopted those techniques to these paints.

The title was another gag, taken from a line Mike Tyson threw out during the promotion of one of his later fights before finally retiring.

Finally, is it just me, or do you see a face in the upper half of this piece? That's probably just my brain making trouble for me, finding patterns in everything just for kicks. But, still. I have too many "haunted" paintings in my collection. Weird.