Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"Hot Doughnuts Now" - Catharsis #11 Cover Illustration

CATHARSIS #11 - June 1990

There once was a fine monthly alternative publication called "Catharsis" that existed from the late 1980s until the mid-1990s. It was the cranium offspring of Don Harrison, a writer/publisher/radio personality from Richmond, Va area. "Catharsis" was a garage rock melange of music, art and literature that helped the young and hip keep pace with what was cool. Don had found me through my "Reluctant Sadist" comix and profiled me in the fourth issue. This image is the cover of the eleventh issue of  "Catharsis" from the summer of 1990. It is the infamous, "Hot Doughnuts Now" cover that grabbed eyeballs all over the region. My favorite story of how this image infiltrated the local culture came from one of the photographers from "Catharsis" who had a part-time gig shooting high school yearbook photos. Reporting for one job at a small High School in North Carolina, she was greeted with hallways plastered with xeroxed copies of this cover image altered to include information for an upcoming dance!

In the stream-of-conscious rambling intro from that eleventh issue, Don made a predication:

"Future pop culture critics will unanimously agree that the kicker to a fine publication is -- of course-- the cover. For this reason and more, the work of sculptor/cartoonist/filmmaker/man-about-town Hal Weaver will be rediscovered in the far-flung future when copies of this notorious issue surface amid decades of rumor (a whole stack of Catharsis #11 found in a trunk up in the attic of Henry del Toro estate in the year 2088??? Who'd a figure?)"

I'm too impatient to wait until 2088 for this art to be rediscovered, so judge for yourself in 2014.

While researching this article, I was surprised to find little to no information about "Catharsis" on the old inter-tubes. Hey Don Harrison, time to get a web site set-up or better yet, how about a "Catharsis" book!

Side note - Henry "The Bull" del Toro was a local Rock'n'Roll DJ for FM-99 at that time who left us all too early in 2002 at the tender age of forty-four. Click his name to read an obit. RIP.



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Personal Anthropology Trip that Yielded Magic & More

Issue #21 of "BackStage"

Researching this book project has led me to dig back through the ancient history of my early beginnings in art. It took some time and effort to bring order to the jumble of sketchbooks and publications that I contributed work to way back when. It was helpful to create a timeline of all the art/illustration events starting from my first "professional" (getting paid) illustration job when I was fifteen, a spot illo for my high school English teacher, on through the 1980s and 1990s, up to the present day. One of the many things I rediscovered through this personal anthropology trip was the illustrations I did for a Magician's newsletter called "BackStage". Technically it was my second pro job, but really my first "real-world" experience having something published. Here's a sneak preview of my memories of that time that will be in my forth-coming "Reluctant Sadist" book...

Chuck Windley
"My senior year was an easy one as I found my grades and credits allowed me to arrange a shorten school day, getting out at lunchtime. I filled my afternoons with part-time work at a theatrical magic store in Norfolk, Va. called “Magic and More” owned by the worldly and mysterious, Charles Windley. Chuck Windley was a real magician and entertainer who was a touchstone to magic’s glamorous past. He had come up through the ranks of carneys and knew all the cons and tricks of the trade, traveling the world with his magic act and rubbing elbows with some of the greats. Chuck always was ready with a humorous story and loved to talk about “the biz”. He published a monthly newsletter called “Backstage” and upon learning of my artistic talents, enlisted me to illustrate some articles helping me build my portfolio and self-confidence."

I contributed illustrations to eight issues of "BackStage" from 1982-1983 while I was employed at Magic & More. I am still in touch with Chuck Windley, he's semi-retired now, living in Williamsburg, Va. I've heard him mention that he may reprint the "BackStage" newsletters as a collected volume. In the meantime, enjoy this glimpse at issue #21 from September 1983.