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Posts Tagged ‘art’

Constructing the 1% Free Book Cover

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on October 30, 2016

I found Jon Hunt through the “Hire An Illustrator” website. I was impressed by his online portfolio. (Here are Jon’s Facebook page and blog.) We exchanged emails, discussed the scope of the work, negotiated a payment, and finalized an agreement. I gave Jon the basic action tableau–male and female protagonists vs threatening alien–and he did some preliminary sketches:

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In discussing these first sketches via email, Jon asked for more context to help him do his job. I sent him two longish excerpts of cyberpunk description from the book. After more correspondence, Jon produced this brilliant sketch:

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The illustration was excellent, with a gritty mix of cyberpunk and Giger. Unfortunately the action depicted occurs in a Southern California-style Craftsman bungalow in the novel. More emails, and more sketches followed:

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As the sequence of action sketches in the bungalow progressed, we dealt with picking the right fonts for the title. I’ve been told that a good title for a trade paperback needs to be visible from 15 feet away or more, but I also wanted it to be punk and distressed. The more distressed the better.

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I liked the font “Bullet in Your Head” and Jon distressed it further. The last illustration is essentially the front cover. I’m afraid I badgered Jon with way too many minor corrections along the way, but the results are wonderful. Without the lettering, Jon’s illustration is a stunning science fiction poster:

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Now, let’s go back to the cyberpunk sketch midpoint in this whole process:

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I realized I had the potential for a back cover in this sketch, and I asked Jon to play around with it. He came up with the following, first in gray tones and then in colors to match the front cover in tone and mood. One sign in the grimy cityscape spells out “Gibsons” in a nice touch:

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I now had what I needed; sharply drawn, gorgeously illustrated, hauntingly themed front and back covers which I then turned over to my book designer. He put them together to produce this book cover which made superb use of Jon’s back cover design to create a wraparound jacket with an integrated spine:

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But the use of Jon’s captivating illustrations didn’t stop there. I needed a two-sided, full color publicity postcard to distribute around the Bay Area, and Jon came through once again:

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That’s how the cover of my novel 1% Free was constructed. The book’s insides were another matter entirely.

Posted in 1% Free, art, life | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Home Decor

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 5, 2016

I’m a flâneur for enjoyment, a stroller of my city and other cities for pleasure. Both of these houses are in the Castro. This one is on 20th Street. These stylized mural geese remind me of Walter Van Der Heyden or Tom Killion in style.
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While this one is on 19th Street. The characters on these two steel strips are rendered in a turn-of-the-20th-century art nouveau style and represent various professionals of the day.
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Posted in art, Castro Street, life, San Francisco, The Castro | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

In solidarity with Illma Gore

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on May 7, 2016

In solidarity with the artist Illma Gore.

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Posted in art | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Triumph of the Counter-Intuitive by Ruben Bolling

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on March 12, 2015

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Posted in art, life, neoliberalism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Vic Chesnutt, Cowboy Junkies, and the cure for depression

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 23, 2014

Cowboy Junkies. Photo by Chris Lay

Cowboy Junkies. Photo by Chris Lay


Cowboy Junkies performed two sets on Saturday, June 21 at Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse. The second set was devoted to playing the entire Trinity Session album in full, with the first set featuring songs from CJ’s Nomad series of four albums. Two songs–“Wrong Piano” and “Square Room”–were Vic Chesnutt covers from their “Demons” album.

Vic Chesnutt at the Bowery Ballroom in New York in 1999. Photo by Rahav Segev

Vic Chesnutt at the Bowery Ballroom in New York in 1999. Photo by Rahav Segev


I went into a depression when I stopped drinking. One of the things that helped me combat my depression was listening to Vic Chesnutt. Terry Gross did an interview with Chesnutt on December 1, 2009 in which Vic talked about his various suicide attempts in his life and how he felt about his just released song “Flirted With You All My Life:” “This song is a joyous song, though. I mean, it’s a heavy song, but it is a joyous song. This is a breakup song with death, you know what I mean?” Here’s a version of that song recorded December 14, 2009:

Vic was left a partial quadriplegic after a drunken automobile accident at 18 in 1983. Vic was in frequent pain, struggling with alcohol abuse, and depressed for much of the rest of his life. Despite feeling better at the time of the above “Fresh Air” interview, Vic Chesnutt committed suicide on December 25, 2009 from a conscious overdose of muscle relaxant pills. He had racked up some $50,000 in debt due to medical bills by then. “And, I mean, I could die only because I cannot afford to go in there again.” Vic said to Terry Gross of his choices. “I don’t want to die, especially just because of I don’t have enough money to go in the hospital.”

Singer/song writer Vic Chesnutt

Singer/song writer Vic Chesnutt

At first blush, it seems counterintuitive to listen to dark, morose music in order to alleviate one’s depression. There’s a whole subculture, called Goth, centered around depressed adolescents listening to depressing music. The Cowboy Junkies have been described not just as alt country, but as “Gothic country,” and Vic Chesnutt’s musical style has been called “Southern Gothic.” However, in The Way of the Samurai, Yukio Mishima commented that: “Hagakure insists that to ponder death daily is to concentrate daily on life. When we do our work thinking that we may die today, we cannot help feeling that our job suddenly becomes radiant with life and meaning.”

Rest In Peace, Vic Chesnutt.

Posted in art, Berkeley, life, music | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Amazing STEPS to ART

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 17, 2014

There are times when following a fellow blogger is so worth it. As in the case of fernOnline blog speaks, and in particular, this marvelous post Amazing STEPS to ART. Here it is, copied as best I can, without the fancy fonts and stuff. But please, check out fernOnline, a truly extraordinary blog.

Posted on June 7, 2014
Amazing STEPS to ART
©ourtesy of totallytasmia | mentalalchemy | marquitaharris

amazing-steps

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Posted in art, blog, blogger, blogging, life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »