Joe Alterio's blog on illustration, comix, design, animation, and other bouts of total awesomeness.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

"Waters Red" wins award

"Waters Red", the video I did for Argo, just one won runner up at The Greatest Story Never Told's multimedia contest. Word! Watch it again for the first time.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Sterescopic Photography

Above is a frame from a page I found with stereoscopic images looped into an animated GIF, and it's just phenomenal. Remember how incredible 'Bullet Time' was the first time you saw it? And then NFL tried to do it, to hideous, awful horrible effect? This is better than all of that. Like, times a million. In my humble opinion.

The best part about the relatively recent obsession with stereoscopic technology is A.) how old and low tech it is, and B.) the level of fanaticism of the current crop of lenticulators. While the current level of stereoscopy is involved in some serious next level stuff, the quaint turn-of-the-century old-timey charm of vintage stereoscopic images is undeniable. I think it's because these images are clearly produced strictly for enjoyment, and the manufacture of a 3D realm out of a 2D medium is also what happens turns my gears. I guess it's because everything that I'm interested in, on some level, exactly that: the manufacturing of reality artificially. It's the God Complex writ large.

So, why is this stuff so much cooler than the high tech stuff? Because it's mostly all DIY, and DIY stereoscopic tech is sometimes, very very DIY. Additionally, these stereoscopic images, on Chinese Jet Pilot and else where are, for the most part, still very prosaic images: people living their normal lives, without exploding cars and flying bullets. The benefit is that, for just a fraction of a second, you get to be there with these people, in their private moments, sharing their space, as only they experienced it, a frozen moment of nostalgia for anyone to share. And that's deep, baby.

Sketchblog 3/23/07

Above is a birthday card/invite I did from my friend Matt's 30th birthday party, and I like how it turned out. It was unintentional initially, but I like how the tonal quality of the color echo the old super structure of the bridge and the car, making it kind of industrial and nostalgic at the same time.

And hey, if you're in SF, and you wanna stop by the party, email me to get the info, the more the merrier.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

MOMA (heart)'s Comix

Above is Arturo Herrera's's entry into NYC's new MOMA exhibiton, Comic Abstraction, a show in which 13 artists took on the genre of comics, and it's interplay with the wider art world. There's some pretty ridiculous ones in the show, but there's also some really really outstanding stuff, like Herrera's, too.

(Flash player required)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Onward and Upward

Two rather self-aggrandizing points to note, and then back to the good stuff (I know, I know, after yesterday's post, it's a little too much to bear: sorry, I'll get back to bitching soon.)

* I'm now officially represented by Richard Salzman Int'l, my first agent since beginning to self rep myself 5 years ago, and it feels really great. Richard is a super nice guy and is very experienced in the field, so here's hoping that great things come of it.

* I've been shortlisted for The Greatest Story Never Told prize for multimedia animation for my Waters Red music video for Argo. You can go here, and help me win by casting your vote for my stuff. Go! Do it now! I'll wait. (The site is a little hincky, and very Flash-heavy: be warned.)

(The above image was done in effort to round out my portfolio for editorial stuff: I think that it would look great in the pages of a magazine, don't you?)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

AIDS is SO last century.

Just quick note to let you everyone know that this summer, I'll be running the 2007 San Francisco Marathon in support of the fight against AIDS, here at home and in the developing world. Molly, who I'll be doing this with, and I, have committed to raising 3600 dollars by April 27th to this effort. While you maybe don't know anyone personally with this terrible disease, you know someone that does. And I'll be damned if I let some stupid virus push the human race around.

If you're feeling generous, you can donate to our cause here. Anything at all helps, thanks so much for you help. More artsy-fartsy stuff soon.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Remixology 101

There’s an apologetic reflex I think, the happens in the mind of all but the most arrogant artists when they take up their weapon of choice again after seeing something wonderful and inspiring created by someone else. After the initial thrill of imbibing that heady elixir of admiration, self-consciousness, jealousy, and inspiration that always leaves me a bit woozy, there’s a very natural fear that comes back up like a bad tequila burp. It’s the fear that you have now been ruined forever, that your mind has been permanently scarred by someone else’s superior vision, and your life will be nothing more than common retreads of other’s themes for the rest of your life. Those of normal psyches quickly banish this thought and charge ahead, confident in their own abilities. Those that don’t, blog about it.

There was an outstanding Harper’s article a few weeks ago by the untouchable Jonathan Lethem about the innate quality of appropriation in art: I read Joey “Yeah, I seen that shit” Campbell as closely as the next film student, but I have to admit, it paradoxically made my heart both lighter and heavier to find out that one of my most favorite books, Lolita, had been possibly plagarized. The article, among other examples, asserts that, consciously or not, Nabakov essentially strip-mined a story he most very likely read 20 years before. However, instead of waving the flag of crime in his face, Lethem asserts what many have deduced, and then rolled with, long ago: there ain’t nuthin’ new underneath the sun.

I don’t mull this over for unreasonable means: I’m not usually in the habit of just repeating what an article said and passing it off as my own (though, considering the topic, might be just what the doctor ordered). Last week, I was suddenly reminded of the anime film Metropolis , a cartoon released in 2002 by Tezuka that was essentially a remake of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

The path of sly reference, unwitting allusion, accidental cop, and outright stealing is sticky one. Before seeing the film, I had loved the Fritz Lang film since I first saw it at 16. With the addition of M, Lang was one of the twin giants that informed my narrative aspirations (along with Hitch, or course). Plus, it had totally awesome robots and cool models of a futuristic city.

I have kept the film so near and dear to me, that, in the back of mind, I always harbored a secret to desire to remake it, but my way: a production design project in school resulted in The Wizard of Oz, re-imagined as a Langian shiny future dystopia of Art Deco buildings, an evil newspaper magnate moll as the Wicked Witch of Western Publishing, and a robotic Prometheus as the Tinman, It was as strange and brooding day then, when, shocked at my discovery of the Tezuka release, I made the even-more shocking discovery that, after renting the film and watching it, I HAD in fact seen it, in 2002 when it came out. My robot poster series, which the comic is based on, came out in 2004. Infer what you will.

I don’t really know what to make of all of this. (The fact that the Tezuka movie, much to my disappointment, is a sub par affair is besides the point). A few points in my defense is that my conceit takes a wholly different tact than either version of the film, and I’m exploring (or plan to explore) a lot of issues that aren’t raised in the movies. However, I am writing a comic about an uprising of robots. I did name my city Cosmopolis as an intentional nod to Lang. And I do stay up late worrying as to whether people will take one look at my comic and see me as an also-ran.

On an even greater intellectual level, though, the whole thing has left me befuddled. The brain is apparently a very strange thing. Did I mean to skip over the 2002 version in my allusions? How much did the 2002 version influence me, considering that I seemingly removed the movie from my mind for a while, always going back to the Lang version? To that end, would my intended allusions to Lang (which I desire), be even stronger had not I seen the 2002 version? Are readers, especially those not familiar with Lang, put off by my apparent band-wagoneering? And in the ultimate question, in the art world, who is to say the art world is nothing but appropriation?

I’m always flattered when someone cites my work as an inspiration for theirs, so I guess I shouldn’t think on any of this too much. It sure makes it easier to pass the time at work, though.