BKB C-Note

bkbben.gifThis week’s entry in my growing pile of original art is the main image from the last tee-shirt I designed for my former band, the Bare Knuckle Boxers. This image, with the website URL below it and the words “Irska Musika – Americke Svaly” (Czech for “Irish Music – American Muscle”) above it in a warm cream color on a dark-green tee appear on the front of the shirt; on the back, the words “Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy” appear as a quotation above the signature of Ben Franklin, which can be seen on the bill as well.

Originally I designed this so that it was much more like the new $100 dollar bill, but thought better of it and reversed the orientation so that it’s clearly NOT a forgery. If you click the image above, an 800 pixel wide image will open; I encourage you to do so, as there are some entertaining details, including Roddy McCorley’s title. Finally, the serial number – “MR5HN DRK1N CG V3” is, in essence, the chords to an Irish song we performed, “Murshin Dirkin”.

Seoul Brother

seoul_brother_flyer.jpgThe weekly original art I’ve selected is from a series of xerox flyers made in the summer of, um, 1987. In fact, it appears to have been made in June of 1987, when the Korean government first suspended the constitution, and faced massive popular unrest before backing down by June 29th, with the Korean government announcing major democratic reforms in response to the public pressure. As with all of my Monday images, clicking on it will produce a greatly enlarged image.

(In looking for linkage pertaining to the topic at hand I noted this interesting essay concerning the roots of the Korean democratic movement.)

The unrest at the time generated incredible images – little old ladies smacking Samurai-Vader riot cops with rolled umbrellas, walls of cops standing in sheets of Molotov cocktail flame – and at the time I knew nothing of Korean politics save the bare info that it was one of the many repressive governments around the world that the US equipped and trained. I was just interested in recycling the imagery as a means of expressing the general excitement I felt at seeing the shape of the static global politics of the day challenged – calls for democratic reform were being heard in China, in Korea, in South Africa, in Chile, in the socialist countries.

Later, my parents adopted a Korean grad student as a family member, and my dad worked with a lot of Korean auto-industry and business prof types, so I became more interested in the background to these images.

In my reading about it, the event that was of most interest to me was the 1980 Kwangju uprising and massacre, covered at length in an issue of Granta for which I could find no good links. The link here is to an article in The Nation which concerns itself wth the extent to which US officials knew in advance about and may have approved the use of the Korean military units that performed the suppression of the uprising.

Fortunately for me, the Indiana University daily paper had published an ill-advised coupon for “50 free copies” at Kinko’s – the coupon did not have the usual “limit one per customer” or and expiration date printed on it, so a band of my friends and I systematically harvested the downtown area for these coupons and squirrelled them away for use all summer long. I believe in the end I designed about 40 or so flyers. Most are similar to this one, in that they express a political opinion but are not polemical.

Just about two years later, I watched the events in Tiananmen Square with interest that escalated to concern as I realized that my parents had left the US to fly to a conference in Shanghai and were to arive there on the 5th of June. The army moved on the Chinese students while my parents were in the air, and let’s just say that media coverage combined with information I was getting from democracy-supporting Chinese students at IU gave me concern.

There will be more of these flyers seen in this space over time.

Laguna Beach drawing


This is the view of the headlands at north end of Laguna Beach, specifically Main Beach; I drew this on May 27th of this year. I believe this opens Vacation Week here at mike.whybark.com, where I’ll try to write about things that I did while we were in Southern California.

Still life, part III

Here is the completed painting, which I’m giving to my in-laws as an anniversary present. All of the materials in the painting have something to do with their life experiences.

You can see a WHOLE lot more of the process of producing this painting in my photo gallery for May 2002.

I believe the appropriate sub-albums are entitled “Still life”, or a similarly imaginative combination of words.

Blue Underpainting


Whoops! Meant to have this up this morning – lost track of time.

This is the underpainting for the still life I posted a sketch for last Monday.

Seattle Pacific Zeppelin Airlines

Shocking news!

Recent discoveries indicate that in an alternate timeline, the company which produced the poster above makes money hand over fist over jowl!

For a printable PDF, click the image.

UPDATE: I’ve realized that I misused the word “Zeppelin” in the poster. Since I depicted the Cargolifter dirigible and not the currently-flying Zeppelin NT I suppose I should change it to Seattle Pacific Dirigible Airways, or mayy-be Seattle Pacific Air Dirigibles. That would have the added benefit of gently teasing the Germans with the acronym SPAD, an obvious nod to some very excellent and fast areoplanes from the Great War which were 100% French! Whoo! Vive la Brie! J’aime bien les brioches! J’ecoute Serge Gainsbourg!

April 29, 1992

octo_rk.gifTen years ago we watched LA burn. I ran from my first riot, a few dozen people who gathered outside the police station in my neighborhood and chucked a few bottles, shattering a window. Almost everybody splt when the kids with the bottles chucked ’em.

I also drew an Octogon that day. I think it’s kind of fatuous, but it’s just the sort of thing Farble would do. I think Bill wrote the strip, but, honestly I don’t remember. Click the frame to see the whole thing.