Wednesday, September 11, 2013

His Best Friend is a Racoon in a Smoking Jacket and They're Off to Play Mahjong

Toodle-Oo! All you need is a few extra long work days and the first reasonable workday out, you are filled with an outsized sense of *possibility!* for the evening, whatever will you do with the hours? You have energy! Your brain isn't mush! The bounty, the bounty! Soooo, what's it gonna be then, eh? Anything but get sucked into the internet, melding your eyes with a computer, no, how could you possibly, not when you spend all day seated at a computer, feeling your thighs jellifying with every hour. You will: Phew! Glad that's settled.

What I *can* tell you is that one tenth of the new items I click on Etsy all filter back to illustrator Matte Stephens, based in New Hampshire, U.S. of A. His love of mid-century art and design is readily apparent once you see his paintings peopled with animals in suits and animaled with happy introverts. They have nifty wordy titles like "Although Frederick was considered odd by his peer group, Rupert always understood him best." and "Monsieur BenoƮt was obviously a Walrus but that was no excuse for him to have to be served his dinner outside, the cats alone were a distraction."
The cookbook my Mom used most. Favorite is the cake icing itself
Some titles are certainly shorter and seemingly mundane, like "Glazed Ham," only the ham has a face and is smoking (get it? get it?), like my very favorite wacky vintage cook book illustrations, none of which equal Stephens' work, but his illustrations share the same spirit. His client roster is impressively large and high profile, including Tiffany, NPR, Chronicle Books, American Express, Herman Miller, etc.   

And don't you love that he also does little stop motion videos (back to his flickr account, first link). And you may think, "I'm not going to watch 3 minutes of his dog in a Citroen, but I warn you, you probably will, It's hypnotic, it has happy Frenchy* music, and you find yourself in the same place as Oliver, the dog: if you look away, you are probably going to miss something.

*I clearly have no idea.
"If there weren’t art supplies around in the house I would feel totally hopeless." Grain Edit has a pleasing interview with him here. He has painted since kindergarten and has worked hard enough and is talented enough to succeed -- I like that the interview shows the love of art plus a daily commitment to it:

"I really love to paint. I think if you never give up on something it will work for you in the end because you learn so much in the process of getting to where you’re going."

And within the fun slide show, his paper owl, based on one of his paintings, makes me want to lock myself away for a few days with construction paper (and pretty pretty papers from Hollander's, truth be told), scissors and glue stick/ gun (GLUE gun, not glue stick+ gun. different blog. Too much Breaking Bad notwithstanding).

Separately, were you familiar with Grain Edit? I wasn't. They specialize in art/graphics from the 50's-70s, or art done in this style. A recent post showed the work of Mattson Creative, who designed some *gorgeously* sinister screen prints for Dexter (maybe a few seasons ago? was so happy to see it again). Featured poster: Bull, by Curtis Jinkins. Want. Isn't that fantastic? Jenkins also has a funny text based screenprint of the lyrics to "Beat It"...ayaand off to gather more URL bouquets...

But first, to show that I have not been *entirely*'s the progress on

"No Matter How Much They Watched, No Matter How Long They Waited...Cakes Continued to Disappear":

Tested last week
Some tweaking, but mostly ready for an edition!

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