Category Archives: Art

2012 New Yorker Festival Announces Dates and On Sales

2012 New Yorker Festival (Oct 5-7, 2012)
New Yorker Festival

The 2012 New Yorker Festival will take place from Oct 5-7, 2012 at various venues throughout Manhattan. For “updates, surprises, and the complete program when it’s announced,” visit newyorker.com/festival. Tickets for the 2012 New Yorker Festival go on sale on Friday, September 14. (Hopefully, it won’t be a repeat previous year’s debacles.)

Roulette (Brooklyn) Almost Ready To Roll

Roulette
Photo: RouletteNYC.wordpress.com

Roulette, the new 7,000 square foot performance and art space and 509 Atlantic Avenue (the old YWCA space at 3rd Ave) is just about ready to open to the public.

The newly renovated space will offer two levels of seating for up to 400 people (600 standing), a multi-channel sound system, a massive projection screen for multi-media and film events, state-of-the-art lighting, a modular stage and a specially designed floor to accommodate dance and other innovative performances that Roulette is known for.

[Jim] Staley and his crew are currently putting the final touches in place, but in September the season will kick off with a four-night grand opening celebration featuring performances by Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Kaiia Saariaho, Margaret Leng Tan, Marc Ribot’s Film Noir, and many more. [Brooklyn Downtown Star]

ROULETTE GRAND OPENING PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE (Sep 15-18, 2011)
09/15 – Kaija Saariaho / Margaret Leng Tan / Henry Threadgill & Zooid / Mark Feldman and Sylvie Courvoisier
09/16 – ETHEL/ Marc Ribot: Film Noir Project / Shelley Hirsch w/ Fred Frith
09/17 – Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed and John Zorn
09/18 – COSA BRAVA featuring Fred Frith, Carla Kihlstedt, Zeena Parkins, Matthias Bossi and the Norman Conquest

View the full Roulette performance schedule over here. View a teaser video for the new Roulette performance space after the jump.

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An Interview w/ Sketchbot Creator Steve Talkowski

Sketchbot Variants
Sketchbot Variants

As I mentioned the other day, animator and toy designer Steve Talkowski is over at the SDCC this weekend plugging his new line of Sketchbot custom toys. You can say hello to him at the Dragtomi booth (3848) at Comic-Con on Saturday at 11AM or follow him on Twitter (@SteveTalkowski) or over at his blog, sketchbot.blogspot.com. Check out my interview with Steve below.

Bumpershine: How did you come up with the idea for the Sketchbot character?

Steve Talkowski: I wanted to start a blog and begin showcasing my own work online. I was trying to come up with something original and eye-catching, and thought about what would best convey my love for drawing combined with my obsession for robots, and Sketchbot was born. I doodled a quick sketch of a silhouetted robot with a single eye, and that became the basis for the character.

Bumpershine: Who are some of your favorite comic book characters?

ST: If we’re talking Superhero comics, it would be Spider-Man and Iron Man. Those were the two I first got hooked reading when I got into comics in the mid 70’s. I also loved the early Judge Dredd stuff that A.D. 2000 put out.

Bumpershine: Does Sketchbot have a backstory?

ST: Not yet. The character was more a creation of what I envisioned a retro-style robot might look like, but wielding art creation tools vs a destructive nature.

Bumpershine: Your background (and current day job) is in animation, how did you get interested in making custom toys?

ST: Well, I have a soft spot for collecting robots – Gigantor being the main character I’ve been obsessed with for quite some time. As I refined the Sketchbot design, I had the constant notion of how I might go about turning it into a physical sculpture. A toy seemed to be the logical result.

Bumpershine: I know you experimented a lot at home with creating your own molds for the Sketchbot prototypes, how many prototypes did you create before settling on one you liked and how long did that process take?

ST: You can track back and see the evolution of the character on my blog. I initially hand sculpted the first version and pulled five resin casts, painting up two to show at comic con in 2008. It was a worthy experiment that I learned a lot from, and the main thing I discovered was that I wanted a more polished “production” feel to the piece, so I went back to the drawing board, further refining the shape and details, and eventually modeling it in 3d on the computer.

Bumpershine: What were some of the most important thing you learned while making your own prototypes?

ST: How to create molds and pour resin was a big deal during the first hand sculpted version. I attempted to do a 2-part mold for a solid, single piece character that in hindsight, was totally the wrong way to approach it. I did learn quite a few tips from making contact with other artists on Flickr that would post process pictures of their own experiences with sculpting, mold-making and casting.

Bumpershine: How long did it take you to go from prototype to production model?

ST: Once I had the 3d model created, it was simply a matter of getting a 3d printout produced that I could then send to the factory for tooling and molding. That process was a few months, as they would send samples for me to comment on. We went thru three iterations before I signed off on the final. With the time difference and delivery distance factored in, it was around 5 months.

Bumpershine: What was the production run of each Sketchbot?

ST: I have 500 pieces of variant 1 and the DIY blank versions, and 300 pieces of the remaining 5 variants for a total run of 2,500 pieces.

Bumpershine: What were some of the steps involved in getting a toy actually manufactured on your own and how did you figure all this stuff out?

ST: Talking to a ton of artists at Comic Con that already had a toy out was extremely educational. I decided to work with Solid Industries as my manufacturing partner because Jeremy Madl (MAD) already had a great working relationship with the factories in China. Online research, asking lots of questions, and advice from fellow artists that had a few toys already produced was another logical step.

Bumpershine: You had a Sketchbot custom show at My Plastic Heart in NYC in that ran during March and April of this year, can you tell me a little about that?

ST: People who saw the design liked the shape of the figure and the topic of whether or not I was going to offer a DIY (do-it-yourself) version often popped up. I never set out with the notion of turning Sketchbot into a “platform” toy, but always planned on doing multiple colourways. It made sense economically to produce a run of blanks within the production run, and that led to me having product to release to artists to customize for a show. People who I formed online relationships with had been following my progress via the blog and my Flickr stream, and it was simply a matter of inviting those whose work I admired and was a fan of to be part of my custom show.

Bumpershine: The first Sketchbot you’ve released is the classic orange character, I know you’re also planning on releasing some variants on that design, can you tell me a little about your future release plans? What happens when you sell out of everything?

ST: His is another aspect of releasing a toy that I’m learning as I go along. My distributor, DKE Toys, has great advice on how best to introduce new versions and the appropriate timeframe to do so to avoid flooding the market too early, for example. I was wisely encouraged to use the exposure of San Diego Comic Con to unveil the next two colourways, which shows potential customers that this is part of an ongoing series. This also creates buzz amongst my growing fan base. If/when we sell out the entire run, I get to design new variants and make more!

Bumpershine: Do you have any other characters up your sleeve that you would like to make? Perhaps some additions to the SB universe?

ST: Absolutely! I have plans for a series of artBots, in addition to other bot-related characters that could live in the same design universe. I’d also like to do some other characters that are in no way related to Sketchbot.

Bumpershine: My son would love to see a Sketchbot cartoon, are you planning on making any animated Sketchbot videos? If so, would you make them in 2D or 3D?

ST: Yes, yes, and yes! It’s simply a matter of finding time to get the projects started. I’m working on short animated vignettes (in 3d) to introduce the different Sketchbot variants. This could also lead into a children’s book at some point. Ideally, I’d love to create a series of animated shorts that could find their way into, say, interstitials for someone like Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network. Stay tuned to sketchbot.tv over the coming months for further information and you just may get a glimpse at some animation tests!

Comic-Con Starts Today, Sketchbot Will Be There

Sketchbot at the 2010 SD Comic-Con (July 22-15)
Sketchbot at Comic Con

The annual 2010 San Diego Comic-Con starts today (July 22) and our good friend Steve Talkowski will be there with Sketchbot, his latest custom toy creation. If you’re gonna be attending the SDCC, make sure you swing by the Dragatomi booth (#3848) on Thursday at 11am and Saturday at 11am, when Steve be on hand to sign and sketch. Stay tuned for an interview with Mr. Talkowski coming soon!

Target Arts and Wonder Events NYC

Target Arts and Wonder Event (July 16-18, 2010)
Target Arts and Wonder

Those fine corporate philanthropists over at Target are sponsoring a bunch of (nationwide) free events from July 16-18 as part the Target Arts & Wonder Free Family Event. Highlights in NYC include free all day Sunday admission at the Brooklyn Museum on July 18, free admission at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan on July 16-17 and six free concerts in the parks by the NY Philharmonic (July 13-19). View the full list of New York Target Arts and Wonder events after the jump.

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Whitney Live: Summer Concerts at the Whitney Museum

Whitney Live
Whitney Museum

Like they have in the past, the Whitney Museum of American Art is putting a series of “pay what you wish” concerts this summer. Check out the Todd P* curated music lineup for “Whitney Live” below. Who says Madison Avenue doesn’t know how to rock?

Whitney Live: Summer 2010
Presented by Keds
Fridays: July 2, July 23, Aug 13, Aug 27
Lower Gallery / Sculpture Court
7pm

Downstairs this July and August Whitney Live rocks the Lower Gallery and Sculpture Court with upstarts in experimental pop, tropicalia, chill-wave, beach music, garage rock, post-punk, and globe-trotting bass-inflected DJ beats. Whitney Live is free with Museum admission, which is pay-what-you-wish on Fridays from 6-9 pm.

JULY 2
HIGH PLACES + TORO Y MOI

JULY 23
BEAR HANDS + DARLINGS

AUGUST 13
JAVELIN + WARPAINT

AUGUST 27
DJ/RUPTURE + TANLINES

* Actually I have no idea who booked these shows.

List of current and upcoming exhibitions at the Whitney after the jump.

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“Play Me I’m Yours” – The Street Pianos Project

Play Me I'm Yours

Rick: You know what I want to hear.
Sam: [lying] No, I don’t.
Rick: You played it for her, you can play it for me!
Sam: [lying] Well, I don’t think I can remember…
Rick: If she can stand it, I can! Play it!
Casablanca (1942)

I’m sure you all recognize the famous “Play it again Sam” line from Casablanca. Well, this summer it will be like Rick’s American Cafe all over Manhattan when British artist Luke Jerram brings his “Street Pianos” installation to various public spaces throughout NYC. You can view all of the proposed piano locations over here.

Touring internationally since 2008, “Play Me, I’m Yours” is an artwork by artist Luke Jerram.

From 21st June – 5th July, 60 upright pianos will be distributed across New York City by Sing for Hope. Located in public parks, streets and plazas the pianos will be available for any member of the public to play and engage with. This website is made for you to post and share your films, photos and stories about the pianos. While documenting each piano’s journey, the website will connect the pianos with their individual communities across the city. Following the artwork, the pianos will be donated to local schools and community groups. [Play Me I’m Yours]

Last Day For Sketchbot Custom Show at My Plastic Heart

Sketchbot Custom Show at My Plastic Heart (Mar 26 – Apr 23)
Sketchbot
Gigantorbot by Steve Talkowski

If you’ve looked at this site in the last month or so, you may have noticed the sidebar ad for the Sketchbot Custom Show at My Plastic Heart in NYC. “Sketchbot” is the original creation of our good friend Steve Talkowski and the current exhibit at My Plastic Heart features the work of 50 artists who worked from blanks to create their own custom Sketchbots. Today (Apr 23) is the last day of the show, so I encourage anyone who can make it down to the LES to check it out (gallery hours are 12PM – 7PM). You can view some pictures from the exhibit in this flickr set.

View a video from the show opening after the jump.

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Today In New York History: Walgreens Buying Duane Reade, Pearl Paint Closing Stores Around The Country

Walgreens Buys Duane Reade

Major news today for two New York retailing icons (well, okay maybe one icon, and one eye sore).

Duane Reade Bought By Walgreen’s

Walgreen Co. (WAG 34.26, +0.18, +0.53%) said Wednesday it would buy the privately held metropolitan New York drug store chain for about $1.08 billion from private-equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners.

Walgreen, the largest U.S. drug store chain, currently runs 70 of its own stores in the New York metropolitan area, compared to Duane Reade’s 257. The Deerfield, Ill.-based company said it will decide over time how to best “harmonize” the Walgreens and Duane Reade brands. Duane Reade will continue to operate under its brand name after the transaction closes, Walgreen said.

Why they’d keep the battered Duane Reade name is a mystery, surely Walgreens has better brand equity. New Yorkers would likely embrace a Walgreens. Let’s hope it’s only the name that remains the same. [MarketWatch]

I guess DR’s big marketing push didn’t really turn things around for the ubiquitous drugstore chain.

Pearl Paint Closing Stores Around The Country

The self-proclaimed World’s Largest Discount Art Supplier, Pearl Paint is closing up shop around the country. Of the two Manhattan locations, both on Lispenard Street, the framing shop is in the process of closing and surplus products have been making their way over to the main store across the street. Other stores have already closed. As of today, the Web site lists only six locations – two in Manhattan, one in Paramus, New Jersey, and Los Angeles, as well as two others in Florida. (The corporate offices are located in Fort Lauderdale.) The large Chicago store, which was once rated the best art supply store by NewCity.com, closed down last week, with the San Francisco and Iselin, New Jersey locations following suit this week. [ArtFagCity]

The NYTimes also reports that the Pearl stores on Long Island, in Westbury, NY, Selden, NY, and Cambridge, Mass have already closed. Pearl’s problems aren’t just limited to the East Coast either, the stores San Francisco and Los Angeles are running deep-discount sales like those in the final days of the stores that are now gone.

The New Pornographers Get “Together” Again

As you may have heard by now, the New Pornographer‘s have a new album coming out on Matador this year, on May 4, 2010 to be exact, and it’s called Together. Check out the artwork for the new album below:

New Pornographers - Together

Trainspotters may have noticed that the font on this album looks remarkably similar to the one used on Neko Case’s Middle Cyclone, well, that’s because the font is the same and it was actually designed by Neko herself. The cool cover art comes from a print called The Cliff by Walter Martin and Paloma Munoz. Check out the original image of The Cliff below:

The Cliff by Walter Martin and Paloma Munoz
The Cliff
For more images like this, check out Martin-Munoz.com.

Last but not least, here’s the official word from the label about the new record:

Coming on May 4: the new album from The New Pornographers, entitled Together. Their fifth full-length was produced by the band and Phil Palazzolo, and recorded in Vancouver, Brooklyn, Woodstock, and Catskill, NY. The album is comprised of 9 A.C. Newman songs and 3 Dan Bejar numbers, and features the full eight-person lineup of Carl, Dan, John Collins, Neko Case, Kurt Dahle, Kathryn Calder, Todd Fancey and Blaine Thurier. Additional musicians include Annie Clark (St. Vincent), Zach Condon (Beirut), Will Sheff (Okkervil River), and the Dap-Kings Horns, among other talents. [Matablog]

In case you forgot, Carl Newman, Nicole Atkins and Rhett Miller are playing as “The Seekers” at the big Haiti benefit at The Bell House on January 27, 2010. No NPs tour dates have been officially announced yet, but their booking agent has them slated to be on the road during June and July of 2010 (though not technically in June, a Sasquatch performance seems like a good way to kick off the tour).

PS So after searching the Internets high and low, I realized that pretty much every pun involving the words “Together” and “New Pornograhers” had already been used in a headline today, so I apologize for my lack of originality, there are only so many phrases a man can turn.