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plastic messy

September 27, 2008 at 10:12 pm

Right now I’m working on quickly printing a poster for Bread & Puppet, the legendary puppet theater company. They will be performing all over Providence during the third week in October…

I was initially commissioned to draw this poster myself, but the decision was made that I would adapt and print a drawing by Peter Schumann, Bread & Puppet’s equally legendary founder/patriarch. (As one of my housemates put it, “He’s a 70-plus-year-old guy who gets up on 12-foot stilts. Is there anything more to be said?”) We had already ordered the paper, so we sent Peter a sample sheet and he sent us back a rough line drawing in a single thick weight of Sharpie marker. When I opened the tube the marker was still fresh; the smell of the ink was strong. His note on the back: “Have fun! Put colors as you like!” I’ve been excited about the chance to match his messiness with a little bit of carefulness, but also with my own messiness.

First step: to the photocopier to transfer different parts of his drawings to transparency. Next: chopping them up ruthlessly with the knife:

I inverted some of the photocopies, because I want the shapes inside the lines to print, instead of the lines themselves. These letters have been cut out of their backgrounds:
[the paper is behind it, it’s more or less this color!]

After another trip back to the copy place (to fill in stuff that I had missed the first time), the poster layout has been taped down to a board, and my room looks like this:


The orange layer (which will be the last color printed) is in process in this picture:

…and here, I’m filling in the large color areas on the white layer (the first color to print). The large letters, as well as the horse’s body, and some outlines and other stuff, will be white…

This is fun, obviously. It flows easily, since all the elements are at hand… and it’s great to have Peter’s messy lines to keep me from taking it too seriously. If you’ve never seen B&P before (and even if you have), it’s totally worth catching them while they’re in town. There will be some free circuses and some cheap ($10) theater pieces.

Keep your eyes open for the posters… B challenged me to use only colors that have no complementary color mixed into them, and I’m starting from this great bright blue paper… so they will be relatively garish and hard to miss!!!

It’s a rainy night (more hurricane leftovers I guess). A little bit earlier I left the house on my bike to go to the AS220 Print Lottery… I got there, somewhat damp — talked to a couple of awesome folks — and wandered among the crowd of people buying lottery tickets, drawing their numbers, etc. The amazing Mickey Z. was MCing and keeping the group riled up, everybody seemed really psyched about getting beautiful prints to take home. I walked around only a little awkwardly in my wet raincoat… then I had one weird interaction, and suddenly felt really awkward and decided to go home. I could have stayed and stuck it out… but I got to talk to the people I wanted to talk to, and it was fun and warm and sociable, in exactly the way that it should have been, and staying 15 minutes was enough. Better to be home and happily working on rad stuff, getting done the things that need to get done, than trying to feel comfortable in a social situation that’s not sitting quite right.

A couple of nights ago Chlöe drew this rad tattoo on my arm!!!


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