Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Book Illustration News

An illustration I donated has been published in a new book.

A Stephen Schwartz song illustrated

March 13, 2008 – This new book, an adaptation of Stephen Schwartz’s eloquent and affecting song, “The Hardest Part of Love” from the widely popular staged musical CHILDREN OF EDEN and his RELUCTANT PILGRIM CD, will pull at the heartstrings of all parents and elate Stephen Schwartz fans with its beautiful, sophisticated pictures and enclosed CD featuring the songwriter himself.

Ms. Angela Pletcher Stillson from Nappanee, Indiana, conceptualized the project having become familiar with Schwartz’s work when THE BAKER’S WIFE was produced at Amish Acres Round Barn Theatre in 1997 and guest-directed by his son, Scott Schwartz. She describes, “I set out to entwine music, art, and literature in a unique and provoking fashion that is both contemporary and enduring.” In appreciation of the arts, she recruited 18 creative souls from Alaska to Hong Kong (including Schwartz’s daughter) to illustrate the 32 glossy pages. They achieved a one-of-a-kind medley of stylized pictures leading to a hard cover collector’s volume to treasure and reflect upon.

Mr. Schwartz’s (www.stephenschwartz.com) most recent musical, WICKED, opened in the fall of 2003 and is currently running on Broadway breaking its own record for the highest grossing week in history. Winner of fifteen major awards including the Grammy Award and three Tony Awards, productions of WICKED have also broken records in London’s West End, Chicago, and Toronto. He is also known for his songs for the musicals GODSPELL, PIPPIN, THE MAGIC SHOW, THE BAKER’S WIFE, WORKING (which he also adapted and directed), CHILDREN OF EDEN, and for the Disney animated features POCAHONTAS and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME(in collaboration with Alan Menken), and the DreamWorks animated feature THE PRINCE OF EGYPT. For children, he has written a one-act musical, CAPTAIN LOUIE, a picture book, THE PERFECT PEACH, GEPPETTO & SON and most recently the Disney movie ENCHANTED. He has released two CDs entitled UNCHARTED TERRITORY and RELUCTANT PILGRIM, which includes his version of “The Hardest Part of Love.” Mr. Schwartz is the recipient of three Academy Awards, four Grammy Awards, and four Drama Desk Awards.

The included artists’ biographies highlight: Karen Beitar, Dee Birkey, Jessica Flores, Hannah Graber, Tim Hooker, Ann Lynn, Birdie Rossow McElroy, James McNeill Mesple, Nicole Moore, Shirley Natoli, Ramiro Rodriguez, Jessica Schwartz (Mr. Schwartz’s daughter), Doug Smith, Jeff Stillson, Laura Ury, Todd Volkmer, Rachelle Lee Witter, and Laura Zato-Clemons.

Support for this project comes from The Fetzer Institute (www.fetzer.org) whose mission is to foster awareness of the power of love and forgiveness in the emerging global community.”

A gift for special occasions including graduations, weddings, births, baptisms, and all holidays, the book is available through Mr. Schwartz’s website www.stephenschwartz.com, Amish Acres Round Barn Theatre, The Nappanee Center, specialty shops including Art & Soul (Winona Lake, IN), Pages & Ivy (Nappanee, IN), and by contacting angiestillson@mchsi.com or (574) 773-3722.

Friday, March 7, 2008

"Touch Down" for Caduceus.org

“Touch Down”
2007, chiaroscuro wood block relief print
4” x 3”
limited edition of 5 prints
5 variable colors

My friend Maynard James Keenan has chosen to use the image of my print “Touch Down” as a t-shirt design for his vineyard, Caduceus. The shirts are available at his Puscifer.com web-store (look under “Drones Limited Run”). The prints from which the image is taken are available for sale from my website: RamiroRodriguez.com.

The image is from one of those oddball doodles created during some staff meeting. The image didn’t seem to have a place in any series until I decided to do the small color relief prints just for those types to get a home. It’s a pretty simple idea, playing on a mishmash of two mythic Greek characters Hermes and Achilles. You can see where my head is really at during a staff meeting when my idea of a joke is: A god coming in for a landing on earth and pricking himself on a tack.

"Fire" part II

In 1995 I ended up framing a bunch of my new prints as gifts for my family’s Christmas. That year my good friend, MJK, stopped in for his yearly visit and dose of my Mom’s homemade tamales. He happened to select “Fire” as the print he liked best and went home with it. A short time later I got a call from him asking if I could re-do the image as a tondo for use as a Tool t-shirt image.

I worked the new image out using photocopies of the original print as a base to build out from. No sense in reinventing the wheel. Once I had the main image filled out to a circular composition it still needed something to contain it. The solution was a ouroboros in the style of the Olmec earth dragon. I inked out a copy and was ready to send it along when the call came from M to add a logo in the same black and white style for the front of the shirt as well. I ended up using an overhead view of the boat as a mandorla or vesica piscis shape to contain the TOOL lettering. The “Os” are formed by ripples in the water.

I believe the images ended up being printed on green and dark brown t’s and sweatshirts. I don’t think they’re produced anymore. I still see one every now and then at Tool shows and it makes me smile.

As with a few of my other images, “Fire” was later reinterpreted into the painting “Bloom (Isis)”. But that’s another story…

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Bright Eye of God

Walked into work this morning (yes, I can walk in). My vehicle decided that electricity was just not something it was going to handle anymore so it is at the shop being coaxed into compliance. I can be pissed or see it as an opportunity... I can use the exercise anyway.

I was privileged to watch a most glorious sunrise while enjoying some tunes on my headphones and the occasional caw of my crow buddies. The morning was very warm and I hoped I wouldn't get caught in the rain that was forecast (I wasn't). During the walk I suddenly became aware of how much gravity was pulling on my body. I don't know if it was the backpack I was wearing or something else. I felt like a deep sea diver with lead boots. I thought of that Laurie Anderson bit where she says when we walk we are really falling and catching ourselves with each step.

Funny, but the last time I had to walk into work I was reading a lot of Jim Harrison and my thoughts became more poetic with every step. Recently I have taken to rereading some of JH's books that I own along with his newest collection of poems. JH is probably my favorite fiction writer. He writes a lot about walking in the wilderness, among other things, but his stories have a very zen-ny feel to them. I'll take the coincidence as a sign to get out more.

Spent the weekend finishing up printing some of the little prints' editions. I still have that big canvas staring me down. Soon.

Thanks to Teresa for being a great patron. Your recent print purchase will help put the serpentine belt back on my vehicle among other things.