Monday, December 21, 2015

Spiel on art

All my life I have been making art, mostly drawing. Nowadays, pushing 50, I consider myself an artist, true, but not necessarily a drawer. My drawing skills are limited. I can't draw you or your house. I mean I could give it a fair shot, even surprise myself, but that's not what I want to do, even remotely.

As someone who makes comics I've met and befriended artists that can draw you, your house, you as a centaur, your house on telescoping robot legs spanning the whole of a major city, tropical jungle, whatever. From any angle to boot. My own dear brother John Mavreas can do these very things. I cannot. Sometimes I wish I could but then again I also wish I could design playgrounds, do backflips, think of something to make for dinner, drive a car.

These artists impress me. They want to draw like their heroes draw. They cite golden age, silver age, adventure, fantasy artists. They cite renowned draftsmen and obsessive pop culture visionaries. I will never be counted among them. I realize more and more that the art I love to make is all project oriented. Sometimes it'll be drawing cute critters for a colouring book project (see a couple posts below), sometimes, collaging abstract bits of paper using a copier or old fashioned glue and scissors (see immediate post below). I also have conflated my collecting with my artistic practise, honouring certain found scraps as I honour my own creations. This has confused things a bit since I also run a curiosity shop.

My heroes are unnamed. I love lots of disparate work, lots of thinkers, writers, artists, lots of plain everyday working folk who do other things, like design parks or make dinners. Sure I love Frazetta and Kirby but not enough to become them if I could. I also love Schwitters, Debuffet and Klee. Maybe I could be 10 percent of those guys.

My art consists of some drawing, some collage, some writing. I do all these things freehand and I also do all these things on the computer. All these things also fit neatly into the pages of smaller or larger books. So, yeah, I like making books. But I don't only make books. I also make paintings.

I also make installations but I'm certainly not versed in the history or theory of installation art. I've read some art history, mostly dada, surrealism, pop and comics. I studied literature but my lit theory is abysmal. I make concrete and visual poetry but talk about that as if I was a parking lot rocker with mostly yelps and awed grunts as tools of communication.

Almost, because I also lead collaborative creative workshops that touch on all of the above. I've also yelped and grunted to rock music for years with my pals in a shitty practise room.

I needed to write a bit this afternoon, so here it is.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A visually poetic month

Recently I've had the good fortune of having three visual poetry mentions in three different places on the internet.

First off Nico Vassilakis invited me to participate in Singular Vispo :: First Encounters.
The challenge was to select one piece of instrumental visual poetry that got my personal ball rolling. Here is my effort:

Secondly, Amanda Earl asked me to participate in Brick Books celebration of Canadian concrete and visual poetry. I chose one piece from a series entitled New Value Black to showcase.

Thirdly Ian Whistle kindly featured the entire series mentioned above on his blog h&


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Colour Me All Of Us ! My new colouring book

I recently completed a colouring book. It's 20 pages long with an introductory poem about how fun and easy it is to colour things. Now I'm well aware of the craze but must say that this is not an adult colouring book. I mean adults can colour it of course but I made it with the thought of entertaining kids. Sure, there are odd jokes in it that maybe only big people would notice but it's meant for kids. the lines are thick and chunky an the drawings are mostly of bunny creatures being the silly cartoon characters that they are.

I drew the whole thing on photoshop, using a large brush or eraser and switching back and forth between black and white, zooming in to clean up lines, changing brush size to taper lines. The process is a little like whittling. I'd draw a thick black line and then use an equally thick white line to carve the first line down a bit making it wonky and uneven. It's a fun process, easy to do, with minor head aches.

After each drawing was done I'd plunk in my little name logo I designed for the project and then print out the page, I brought a stack of paper to the copy shop and had the whole thing printed on smooth white cardstock and then had it spiral bound, the intro page printed in hot pink. A first edition of 200.

I've been selling these things for 20 bucks, offering a decent set of 12 markers as part of the package.

The whole thing has been pleasant, well received by my friends and family and has provided for me a necessary respite away from the pressure I have recently given myself to produce my next graphic novel, which is so far nowhere to be seen. Getting back to simple and fun cartooning has been a breath of fresh air. sometimes i get so serious minded about my art practise that nothing gets done.

This got done. If you want one message and paypal me at yesmonastiraki @ and ask for shipping details. Thanks.

Maybe my favourite one. I like to think of this one as vintage European kids art.

Ice Cream Angel Tramp

Modern Puzzle face finger pointing that-a-way
Bold and brash critter hollering !!!!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015


In university in the late eighties / early nineties I majored in Eng. Lit. I wrote poems using words and they were like rock lyrics for fictional glam bands all about the street and nonsense like that. I also made poems like the one above. Here I used a rubber stamp spelling FIRST CLASS MAIL to create the fragments, edging the stamp just so. Very satisfying. 

Monday, July 06, 2015

And i'm backish ...

As any casual visitor to this blog could figure out in a couple of seconds, I haven't been around for a while. I aim to return with more regularity, which shouldn't be hard, except it probably will be.

As one could see from my list of occasional and defunct blogs on the right, I have been busy spreading myself incredibly thin in various ways all around the internet.
I have not bothered to include another that many blogs that were/are one-offs, jokes, conceptual things, collaborations, etc.
I may get around to blogging about those projects here, though.

This is my aim, to consolidate all personal artish type web blogs right here. Not only that, but I also aim to comment on what I post, and not simply put up un-aided images or stark text solo.
Will I let my tumblrs and other blogs dwindle and die ? Maybe. Who cares.

Now, the most regularly updated blog I run (co-run, actually) is my shop, Monastiraki's blog.
The shop also has a tumblr (occasional), an instagram (fun!) and all that facebook nonsense, of course.

The above image, chosen because it's kinda fresh, is a photo of some asemic scraps I wrote recently and tore up. I have hundreds of such things. I very much enjoy the practice of gestural handwriting-like drawing.

Ok. Let's see where this goes. Thanks for reading.