Posts Tagged ‘Graphic Novel’

Faculty Updates

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

What have SVACE faculty members been up to, besides preparing for Spring 2016 classes? We have exciting updates from Grant ShafferKeith MayersonIlene StrizverMatt Rota, and Viktor Koen.


Grant Shaffer at La Mama Galleria

Grant Shaffer will open a solo exhibition, Gay Arms, on February 26 at La MaMa Galleria. For Gay Arms, he will present a new body of photographic work. Shaffer writes, “When I’m taking pictures, I think of myself as an alien who’s here for a while, trying to understand the experience of my sliver of life on this planet.  It’s hard to say what my photos and this show are about.  It’s just intuitive.  It’s very personal and at the same time very public. It’s me trying to take in the world and asking people to notice or consider something.”


Tom Hart, “Rosalie Lightning”

Keith Mayerson, current faculty member, will speak with Tom Hart, recent faculty member, at a public discussion and book signing for Rosalie Lightning, Tom’s new graphic memoir. The book is based on the grieving process of Tom and his wife after the death of their young daughter. Keith and Tom speak on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 7pm, Barnes & Noble, 2289 Broadway, New York City.

Sagmeister & Walsh, "The Happy Film"

Sagmeister & Walsh, “The Happy Film”

Ilene Strizver interviewed design titan Stefan Sagmeister for her TypeTalk series with Sagmeister speaks about his thinking process, his education, your education, and his dream job. One takeaway: “The current generation of design school faculty all learned about design in the 80s and 90s when ideas and concepts were king, and formal considerations were dismissed – including by me – as decoration. I now think that was wrong. Beauty is very much part of what it means to be human. Good-looking things communicate more effectively.”

Matt Rota for GQ Italia

Matt Rota for GQ Italia

Matt Rota produced new illustrations for GQ Italy about hackers that stole $45 million from ATMs throughout Manhattan. And Viktor Koen crafted a feature illustration for Scientific American magazine about the incredibly sophisticated tracking system our mammalian brain uses to find its way around, before we racked up points using Waze.

Viktor Koen for Scientific American

Viktor Koen for Scientific American

See more updates on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages!

Friday Hot Links

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Happy Friday! We want to share some interesting articles and stories shared online by the SVACE faculty and community.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 10.58.31 AM

A Bug’s Death (via Adweek): Volkswagen’s deception undoes generations of great ads. (via Kevin Brainard)

Tinybop for Tots (WIRED): A new app for kids uses stunning illustrations and physics-based animation to encourage Earth exploration. (via MFA Visual Narrative)

Mexico’s Monarch (Print Magazine): Peter Kuper discusses Ruins, his opus graphic novel about Oaxaca, Mexico. (via Steven Heller)


Unplugged, Rebooted

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Unplugged, Rebooted

Horror Hospital Unplugged is the graphic novel created by artist Keith Mayerson and writer Dennis Cooper.  Juno Books published it over ten years ago, and Harper Perennial republished it this year.

Unplugged, Rebooted

The story covers a fledgling Hollywood band and its frontman, Trevor Machine, who in real life might have envied Darby Crash or aged into G.G. Allin.   The band, cannily named after an obscure 70s zombie film of 1973, emerges on the zine scene as a queer touchstone and on the glam atlas as the next big thing, attracting even the Geffen Records eponymous Powerman.  However, it’s the band’s only straight member who connects Trevor with his tragic love, Tim.  Disdained by Trevor’s bandmates as a “clone,” Tim is relatively secure in his sexuality.  With this leverage, he challenges Trevor to locate his creative engines and then to admit the indomitable onset of LOVE.  Meanwhile, the band’s surge of attention, fueled by a disingenuous collaboration with Courtney Love, and monitored by the ghost of River Phoenix, culminates on the night that Trevor learns the hardest lesson of his short life.

Unplugged, Rebooted

Keith Mayerson handles the tumultous arc by wrangling several species of drawing styles, including hallucinatory symbolism; and effervescent, plastic manga; and syndicated illustration, like a hazy Jack Kirby flashback.  No page feels laborious or over-researched; instead, Keith conveys decisive urgency and capitalizes on his existing familiarity with these styles.  -Or, as the gallery spins it: “if Antonin Artaud and Keith Haring took the wrong drugs and collaborated on a kids cartoon show.”


Things keep moving.  As the story develops, Keith nimbly leaps from panel-based sequence to sprawling splash pages teeming with stream-of-conscious maps and vignettes.  He handles a night at The Viper Room, where River Phoenix famously overdosed – in real life and in this story – as a seat-assigned index of celebrities, wherein the stars appear as terriers.  A later page, anchored by an all-seeing sun, branches out into a galaxy, with each planet occupied by a cast member.

Hearts Beating Together

Unplugged, Rebooted

And Keith brings the inside to the outside.  This unusual ability is what pushes his Horror Hospital Unplugged drawings beyond the service-based conventions of illustration and into the limitless anarchy of real art.  Keith doesn’t just “show” what happens, he intimates what happens.  Principal and peripheral characters morph and transform into horrific beasts, often in tandem with predatorial surges.  During the feverish heights of sex and drugs, and through the coupling (and tripling) of warm bodies, Keith’s reductive, permissive curlicues and arabesque contours violently fracture and bleed into streaky, desperate scrawling.  Figures dissolve into skeletal cinders, as if life is incompatible with these indulgences.  But it’s not pleasure, per se, that annihilates corporeal functionality.  For example, the sweet sex scene between Tim and Trevor is cosmic, a flight through zip-a-tone filler into the rabbit-hole sublime.  Sex doesn’t equal death; but imbalanced rapacity kills.  Chicken hawks kill.  Drugging someone kills.  Commercialism kills. Pollution kills.  Exploitation kills.

Unplugged, Rebooted

Unplugged, Rebooted

Unplugged, Rebooted

The current show at Derek Eller Gallery is an unprecedented opportunity to see Keith’s visionary drawings in the flesh.  On varied, provisional sheets of paper and board, the drawings are pinned to the walls, freely accessible and available (or vulnerable) to tactile appeal.  We can see Keith’s swift composition with non-photo blue pencil, his correction with masking tape, and the margin notes with which he advises himself.  He lets his handiwork freak-flag fly high.  This informal preference is terrific, as it matches the  lo-fi, punk resistance to preciousness we find in the drawings (and their characters).  (WWTMD*?)  On the other hand, some drawings are precariously dangling off the wall; one strong autumn wind might send them to the floor.  Thus, superficially, they are quite underdressed.  More importantly: Keith Mayerson is a great artist.  All of his work now demands dignity (and protection), despite any unassuming moments from the past.

Yet, I think the Keith Mayerson of Horror Hospital leaves conservation to conservators.  Like rock gods, these drawings were made to live fast.  Archival consternation would just slow them down.  This show restages the immediate gratification that Keith magically harnessed as a virtue, and we should enjoy that while we can.

*What Would Trevor Machine Do?