Gladman’s “Bombshell” is really just a bomb

book cover - bombshell
This book, John Gladman‘s Bombshell: The Pin-Up Art of John Gladman, came in the mail yesterday. I was supposed to be doing a piece on it for another publication, but that fell through, and having seen the book, I’m kind of glad it did. I get what the photographer is trying to do: he edits his photos in such a way as to make them look like vintage Vargas or Elvgren pinups.

However, he flat-out fails most of the time. The images Vargas and Elvgren produced were stunningly rich with depth, and the focus was on the women themselves. Gladman’s photgraphy renders many of the women two-dimensional, and when he utilizes digital backgrounds, the quality of photography on the women is ruined by the chintziness of what surrounds them, be it pixelated waves or cheap magazine cover mock-ups.
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Celebrity Art Party with Sean Thornton

Celebrity Art Party is a semi-occurring feature, wherein the artists we enjoy interpret their favorite song. This installment features Sean Thornton, from whom my wife and I bought a print from at C2E2 several years ago (the VERY excellent Latveria tourism print), and whose art I’ve been a fan of ever since.

Check out his take on this epically proggy track from the Decemberists.

Sean Thornton - The Decemberists 'The Crane Wife' WEB

Song title: “The Crane Wife (1, 2 and 3)”

Artist: The Decemberists

Version of song (live, album, remix, etc.): The Crane Wife album
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Celebrity Art Party with Travis Falligant

Celebrity Art Party is a semi-occurring feature, wherein the artists we enjoy interpret their favorite song. This installment features Travis Falligant, whom we’ve become a big fan of on Instagram, mainly because of his excellent style and subject matter that ranges from horror movies to The Golden Girls.

You probably saw his “Scooby-Doo Lost Mysteries” all over the web last summer. If we could afford it, we’d buy everything Fallgant put up in his shop. As it is, we had him talk about his favorite song for Celebrity Art Party, and it’s a heartfelt tale of a first crush.

Travis Falligant - Foreigner 'I Want to Know What Love Is' web

Song title: I Want To Know What Love Is

Artist: Foreigner

Version of song (live, album, remix, etc.): Agent Provocateur album
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Celebrity Art Party with Amy Abshier Reyes

Celebrity Art Party is a semi-occurring feature, wherein the artists we enjoy interpret their favorite song. This installment features Amy Abshier-Reyes, whom we’d never met before being introduced at a Spoon show a few months back, but quickly discovered her to be a fantastic and interesting person. Abshier-Reyes’ work is a collection of haunting portraits, and her piece for Celebrity Art Party is no different.

Amy Abshier-Reyes - Joy Division 'Ceremony' web

Song title: “Ceremony”

Artist: Joy Division/New Order

Version of song (live, album, remix, etc.): I really love the New Order 12″ version, originally released in 1981 on Factory Records.
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Celebrity Art Party with Jon Hunter

Celebrity Art Party is a semi-occurring feature, wherein the artists we enjoy interpret their favorite song. This installment features one of our favorite artists, and a long-ago former co-worker of mine, Jon Hunter. Hunter’s long been a supporter of the punk scene, be it around the Kansas City and Lawrence areas, or in Madison, where he now resides. He’s also the first artist to explain the process behind his piece, so check that out at the end.

Jon Hunter - The Lawrence Arms 'The Ramblin' Boys of Pleasure' WEB

Song title: “The Ramblin’ Boys of Pleasure”

Artist: The Lawrence Arms

Version of song (live, album, remix, etc.): from The Greatest Story Ever Told (2003)
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Celebrity Art Party with Jim Mahfood

Celebrity Art Party is a semi-occurring feature, wherein the artists we enjoy interpret their favorite song. This installment features one of our favorite artists, Jim Mahfood (aka Food One), who will descend upon Lawrence this weekend for a variety of activities surrounding The Free State Festival. Mahfood’s work has paired him with everyone from Colt 45 to Ziggy Marley. Given his deep involvement with music, we’re proud to have him for this series.

Jim Mahfood - Beastie Boys 'B-Boy Bouillabaisse' web

Artist: Beastie Boys

Song: “B-Boy Bouillabaisse”

Version of song (live, album, remix, etc.): Paul’s Boutique LP
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Celebrity Art Party with Doug Cole

Celebrity Art Party is a semi-occurring feature, wherein the artists we enjoy interpret their favorite song. This installment features Doug Cole. Cole is singer and guitarist for Kansas City’s own Death Valley Wolfriders, as well as the writer and artist for the comic Mortimer & The Dethwulfs, which appears monthly in American Roots Magazine, as well as in comic book form at Wolfrider gigs. A musician who writes a comic about a band — of course we are happy to have him for this (very) occasional series.

Doug Cole - KISS 'Detroit Rock City' web

Song title: “Detroit Rock City”

Artist: KISS

Version of song (live, album, remix, etc.): Regular album version from Destroyer
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“VHS Video Cover Art” both a nostalgic trip & celebration of under-appreciated artists

vhs - cover art
I’m not the biggest fan of Tom ‘The Dude Designs’ Hodge‘s work on posters – the bubbly, neon ’80s stuff has always felt far too busy to me. He’s basically the antithesis to Drew Struzan. Struzan’s work is clean, uncluttered, and offers up just enough to stir your interest, whereas I’ve always felt that Hodge’s art tries to fit the entire plot to the movie within a one-sheet’s 27×40 dimensions.

That said: the work from which Hodge draws his inspiration shows that the artist has deep taste. His new book for Schiffer Publishing, VHS Video Cover Art, is a treasure trove of astounding and astonishing VHS cover art from the ’80s and early ’90s. These painted covers are what drew so many of us into the stranger sections of the video store as kids. As so many documentarians have pointed out, VHS covers needed something to make them stand out, and those covers were a prime way of maximizing their appeal on the video store shelf.
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Celebrity Art Party with Krysztof Nemeth

Celebrity Art Party is a semi-occurring feature, wherein the artists we enjoy interpret their favorite song. This installment features Krysztof Nemeth. Anyone else think it’s weird that both installments of Celebrity Art Party have been by people in bands? I find that odd. Anyhow, Nemeth is guitarist for the noir rockers the Latenight Callers, as well as a very excellent pinup artist in his own right, so it was natural that he was one of the people we reached out to for this (very) occasional series.

Krysztof Nemeth - The Cure 'A Forest' web

Song title: “A Forest”
Artist: The Cure
Version of song (live, album, remix, etc.): Regular album version from Seventeen Seconds
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Celebrity Art Party with Rob Gillaspie

Celebrity Art Party is a semi-occurring feature, wherein the artists we enjoy interpret their favorite song. The first-ever installment features the one and only Rob Gillaspie, aka Scary Manilow. Gillaspie has fronted innumerable Lawrence bands: the Donkey Show, the Spook Lights, Pale Hearts, and Witch Jail, amongst others. He’s also a writer, director, actor, and artist. He’s a cat with many interests and many talents, which is why we were really curious as to what he’d select to interpret for Celebrity Art Party.
Rob Gillaspie - Roy Orbison 'Crying' web
Song title: “Crying”
Artist: Roy Orbison
Version of song (live, album, remix, etc.): Any version, but there’s a live clip of him performing it in ’67, not long after his wife Claudette was killed, that ESPECIALLY brings on the titular waterworks.
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