29 September 2011

Lack of sleep verses too much sleep

Tonight, Colored Gigs Volume 3 opened in Dresden. The show will be on display again tomorrow night, minus me and Gary Houston, who will be in Leuven, Belgium for the 14 Years Orange Factory poster exhibition. Leuven is over 700 kilometers from Dresden, which means we're getting on a train at 5:50 AM and taking a whole mess of connections through Germany and into Beligum. I am taking a tram to Dresden's central station in about three hours. The last stretch of this trip should be interesting.

OCCUPY WALLSTREET

27 September 2011

Mangos, soymilk, dental floss, and gendered nouns

To the left is Dresden as seen from the Rathaus tower. From the circular balcony on eleventh floor, you can see the city from above and in every direction. It was unusually warm, and the clear and sunny weather made for excellent visibility.
Colored Gigs Volume 3 opens this Thursday, September 29th in Dresden and will feature the work (and presence) of rock poster artists from Holland, France, the USA, and Germany of course. I was featured in a writeup about the upcoming show in a German publication, so if you can read German, you can check it out here: Kunst durch Sieb gepresst

(tip: using an online translator is not effective)
In a couple of hours, I am heading to the gallery here in Dresden to meet up with a few people and to discuss some of the mechanics and details of the show (and probably just hang out a bit). The nature of the Colored Gigs shows is pretty punk rock, by which I mean I'm reminded of my days putting together independent punk/indie shows with my friends. With regard for the installation and hanging of artwork, there's a lot of collaborative effort to set up a big event for a couple of nights, and then it seems like it's over as quickly as it came. But as always, it's totally worth it. And just like in punk rock, you form friendships that will last the rest of your life.
The Douze family have gone to great lengths to accommodate the out of town artists and organize and promote this event. It is definitely people like these who are pushing poster culture and actively working to expand its profile in Europe. I look forward to seeing how the scene grows here in Germany and the rest Europe in the next few years.


25 September 2011

Fin

Flatstock Europe 6 came to a very tired (but happy) end last night. It was great to meet some of the newcomers to Flatstock, as well as see some familiar faces. Luke Drozd and Graham D. Pilling did subversive audio interviews with various artists and patrons of Flatstock Europe 6. This also featured a segment with me entitled "Justin Time For Cocktails," in which the three of us review fancy drinks we ordered from a bartender who wasn't particularly amused with us. We also renamed some popular drinks. If you're ever in Hamburg, make sure you order the "Sex on or Near the Bench" or a "Something About Cobras."
I'm off to Dresden this evening with a bunch of other artists for Colored Gigs Volume 3, which opens on the 29th. Unfortunately, I'll be cutting my stay in Dresden a bit short in order to make it to Leuven, Belgium for the Orange Factory show. Lots of fun up ahead before I return to Chicago next week.

23 September 2011

"So 'lemon' means 'lime,' and 'lime' means nothing!?"

Oh shit! Flatstock Europe 6 is already here! Yesterday was a long and busy (and incredibly fun) first day of this year's Euro Flatstock. Hilariously, it seems I have become something of a vegetarian food guide in the rock poster community, too. Veg(etari)ans have been asking me about where to get food in Hamburg, what restaurants to eat at, etc. I'm more than happy to help, of course. Come say hi to me at my Flatstock booth today; I'll tell you how to speak enough German to order a pizza without cheese but with a bunch of vegetables. Or maybe you're concerned there's butter or yogurt in that Indian dish? Come see me. I'll set the record straight.
I don't mean to make vegetarianism or veganism sound like a set of self imposed restrictions or a maniacal quest for purity. It's really about doing your best to live a life that extends consideration to our non-human roommates on this big old planet of ours. I think people get overwhelmed when traveling and trying to keep Kosher with a vegetarian diet, but it's not hard or unenjoyable. I've had some outstanding meals on this trip.

I'm back at my friend Henni's place in Hamburg with Dan MacAdam. We don't have to be at Flatstock until 3 PM, so we're hanging out and talking about the Minutemen (the excellent band, not the less-than-excellent xenophobic vigilante group) , VHS tapes, the US Postal Service, and bungalow houses.
I'm going to get out and wander this city for a bit. If you're in Hamburg, come witness the hooliganism. After Flatstock, I'm off to Dresden for the Colored Gigs Volume 3 poster show, followed by the Orange Factory poster exhibition in Belgium. Then I fly back to Chicago and begin/resume working on a bunch of fun new projects. Expect a whole mess of new prints this fall.

18 September 2011

...

I took a train today, which was followed by a short bus ride. I walked in the rain with a borrowed umbrella and passed through this cold iron gate. I tried to imagine what it must have been like when it was locked and constantly surveilled by guards. Today, it swings open with ease for people like me to walk in and tread lightly among the countless ghosts of some of the most intense and senseless suffering mankind has ever known.
The magnitude of it all could not ever leave the haunted, overgrown earth. It's in the stones underfoot, on stained walls, and in the growth rings of the moss-covered poplar trees. They never made it out of here.
We make a solemn pilgrimage to spectate and take pictures, and then we get to go back home. We quietly go about the rest of our lives. I try to make sense of it, but I cannot. I listen to casual and friendly chatter from tourists on a heated bus back through Dachau.

1933-1945

15 September 2011

This is just a romantic concept

I arrived in Munich yesterday after a long (but comfortable) train ride from Hamburg. I was greeted at the train station by my friend Bernd Hoffman, poster artist Senor Burns. Bernd and I have a gig poster show together here in Munich that opens tonight at Foyer der B├╝rogemeinschaft (more info here). We spent a good chunk of yesterday afternoon hanging posters at the gallery, which is connected to an architecture office. I will try to get some photos of the full gallery tonight; this space is really cool.
I am staying with some new friends of mine, who are in a band called Candelilla. They are an artist on Bernd's record label, Red Can Records, and they have just returned from a little city called Chicago where they were recording a new album with Steve Albini. Last night we were given a preview of the album, and it's really, really good. Listening to the final mix of the album with them, hearing them talking about future plans for the band, upcoming shows, etc. makes me really miss playing music. So yeah, if anyone wants to start a mathrock band with me in Chicago, get at me.
Red Can Records' tenth anniversary show is this Friday in Munich, so I'll get to see Candelilla play (which I'm quite excited about), along with a bunch of other bands from the label.
Okay, time to find vegan food in Munich!

Note: Any orders that have been placed through my site since September 9th will unfortunately not be shipped until I return to the US on October 3rd. For those who have to wait an extra week or two for their orders to ship, I will be including some free stuff.

14 September 2011

Slack Motherfucker

You never offered me a job. Also, I never asked you for one. But you did threaten me. You tried to teach me a lesson about authority. Subordination. Obedience.
Instead, I'm on my second glass of wine, thousands of feet above the Atlantic. I wouldn't be here had I tried to impress you.

- notes from flight 437

13 September 2011

Vee vee

To the left is the view from the backseat of the car as we took a small ferry from what was previously West Germany to what was previously East Germany. Our hosts shared stories about what the border was like during the Cold War, and we were able to see the old lookout posts. I guess German citizens who lived in the vicinity of the border used to have to carry special identification. Now you can get across freely, and all you need is seven euros and the collapse of the Iron Curtain.
We took an incredibly pleasant tour of the German countryside out to Appleslounge, where a friend of ours makes his own line of cider and specialty wine. I got to try wine that was really like nothing I had ever tasted before, and we ate outstanding food and got to see how the whole process of making wine and cider works. It was really cool to learn about making wine and running a business from someone who is so passionate and knowledgeable about it. I've experienced some of the most amazing hospitality while in Europe.
It's hard to even explain how peaceful the countryside is. Tiny, two hundred year old farming villages with thatched roofs amidst incredibly green fields and slowly moving streams with swans in them; chickens, geese, cows, and goats grazing or nesting calmly; giant, power generating windmills; and plums and apples you can pick and eat right off the tree. There's something really comforting about walking past a tree and having each of us stop to eat something from it. This may sound utterly trite, but it's nice to be reminded of the fact that this planet has sustained life for millions of years without packaging, deep frying, artificial sweeteners, or mayonnaise.
I'm not really sure what the plan is today, but I know the next thing I do will be obliterating the emotional little point I just tried to make in the previous paragraph by buying food from a cafe around the corner. To be fair, though, it is going to be plant-based! Vegetable sandwiches on fresh bagels just sound a bit too delicious right now.

12 September 2011

Bagels, data roaming, square toilets, and handsome dogs

Greetings from Hamburg! Saturday night was the opening reception of Das Pferd aus Illinois in Feinkunst Kruger gallery. The reception went really well. Jay and I spoke broken French with each other, paintings and drawings were sold, and I popped the cork off a bottle of champagne for the first time ever.
Many pieces from the show have been sold, but there are still some available. If interested in seeing a full PDF with all the work in the show (and more) along with a complete price list, feel free to contact the gallery here, or email Ralf: info(at)feinkunst-krueger.de You can also contact me for the PDF, and I will send it to you, but all purchase inquiries are to be done through the gallery.
Yesterday, we went to the Horst Janssen museum in Oldenberg, which was pretty awesome. Jay and I drink chocolate milk and German fruit juice, respectively. I had a remarkable cheeseless pizza from an Italian restaurant, and Ralf showed us the new location for his gallery.
I am eating bananas right now, and I'm about to head over to the gallery to meet up with these hooligans so we can head out to the country and have apple cider.
Next stop is Munich for a joint poster show with Senor Burns, followed by Flatstock Europe 6 in Hamburg, Colored Gigs 3 in Dresden, and 14 Years Orange Factory in Leuven, Belgium. Stay tuned!

UPDATED: All work from "Das Pferd aus Illinois" can be viewed here. This includes a few extra originals that were not part of the show, as well.

07 September 2011

You can't really make out to Silver Mount Zion

Please excuse the utter lack of updates on my little sliver of the blogoscape. I'm leaving for Germany this Thursday, and I've had a rather offensive amount of loose ends to tie up before I head to the airport. One of these loose ends included printing and signing an edition of 1,075 tour posters for James Blake's upcoming US and Canada tour. To the left is the big stack of all 1,075 prints (as well as some AP's) that I spent a good chunk of my afternoon and evening signing and numbering. I was kept company in part by an excellent documentary called The Voice of Free Labor, which is about the Freie Arbeiter Stimme, a Yiddish anarchist publication. The movie focused on the Jewish labor movement (specifically anarchist sects therein) in the United States in the early part of the 20th century. Fascinating stuff.

I've been informed that all my new paintings and drawings have safely made it to the gallery in Hamburg, despite a brief delay in customs. Das Pferd aus Illinois will open this Saturday, September 10th at Feinkunst Kruger in Hamburg, Germany. As I've mentioned, this show will feature new (non screen printed) work from Jay Ryan and myself, and both of us will be at the reception.

I've got some packing to do, as well as a bit of shipping, email writing, invoice sending, and goodbye saying. Still a lot to take care of before I get on that plane.
Stay tuned for updates from overseas.