Friends of the Studio

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Yuwei Cao, my collaborator on the “Wondrous Tales” projections 2.25.13No Comments

Working with the young performers and techies of Williston Northampton on the Wondrous Tales of Old Japan was a great experience. One of the students I’m particularly grateful to have worked with is Yuwei Cao. I met her as she worked in Williston’s costume shop under the direction of Ilene Goldstein, designer of our show’s amazing costumes. Our director, Charles Raffetto, invited her to paint projections, and I was blown away by her beautiful work. Susanna White, an art teacher at Williston, created a display in the theater’s lobby with Yuwei’s original paintings, as well as a pair of spectacular large-scale surreal works on paper.

Asked to comment on her work for the show, Yuwei wrote:

“I believe that magic always happens in the theatre. I found a lot of surprises, working with this play and the fabulous tech people involved. I think the scenery and the costumes are the muscles of the play’s heart, which beat and bring incredible fresh blood to the play. Most of my background paintings were done with water color. I consider it one of the hardest media to control, and one of the most interesting, because there is so much unknown.”

Yuwei is a 15-year-old from Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. Wisely, she is developing her academic and artistic pursuits at the same time, and hopes to become a banker in the future.


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Wondrous Tales of Old Japan 2.15.13No Comments

The play I’ve been working on opens Monday! I’ve been assisting director Charles Raffetto, transforming American teenagers into heroes, princesses, and ogres for Willliston Northampton school’s production of The Wondrous Tales of Old Japan.

Playwright David Furumoto retells four traditional Japanese stories in The Wondrous Tales, slathering these fairy tales in kabuki styling. Kabuki is a hyper-theatrical form of drama that has been performed in Japan since the 16th century. It has no Western equivalent…you’d need to make a cocktail of Shakespeare, opera, Warner Brothers cartoons, Fred Astaire, and puppetry to even approach it. I was fortunate to study kabuki with Shozo Sato, a gifted master of several Japanese arts, decorated with the Order of the Sacred Treasure,  and I hope I’ve been able to bring a taste of his teachings to our show.

I also created puppets, masks, and projection art for the production (though the best projections were painted by the talented Williston student Yuwei Cao).

My 9 1/2 year old son Ben is making me proud with his acting debut in the show, holding his own with the teenage cast.

If you are in Western Massachusetts, join us—the shows are specifically timed for the kids who have the week off from school. There are six performances, February 18–23, 3:30 pm, at Williston Northampton School.


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Fire at Pratt! 2.15.13No Comments

I’m sad to see images of the beautiful 19th century Main Building at Pratt Institute in flames. It’s wonderful that no one was hurt, but the repairs will be costly and the students’ work that was destroyed is irreplaceable. This Daily News article calls it “suspicious,” but I hope that’s not true.

photo by Emilyann Cummings

photo by Emilyann Cummings

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former student Zoe Norvell’s new site 2.14.13No Comments

A lot of beautiful work here (no surprise) on the new website of my former student Zoe Norvell, currently working at Simon & Schuster. If you’re lucky, she might be available for freelance.

Something Red_2b


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Free Robot Art Lab Workshop 2.12.13No Comments

Our sister blog, Wandermonster, is hosting a free Robot Art Lab Workshop on Saturday, March 9th, at FOE Gallery, a bastion of middle brow epicness in Northampton, Massachusetts.

For the past five years, my son and I have created collaborative comics we call Lunch Posts. With this free art workshop, we’ll bring the parent & kid madness to the masses. We’ll be joined by Colin Panetta and Adam Connor, two wonderful comic artists. Thanks to Jim and Nicole Shea of FOE Gallery, we’ll be running the workshop surrounded by epic robot art, the Rise of the Robots! show.

We hope you’ll join us.

Screen shot 2013-02-12 at 10.36.03 AM

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South Africa’s Magnet Theatre 2.3.13No Comments

I’m not much of a fanboy or groupie, but I feel pretty honored to have been able to create the poster for the US premiere of South African theatre company Magnet‘s Every Year, Every Day, I Am Walking. Three performers—two actor/dancers and a guitarist, who also composed the music for the show—craft an epic journey across a continent and through years. Using multiple languages, a handful of evocative props, and every muscle of their bodies, they tell the story of a mother and girl who flee the burning wreckage of their happy early life to become refugees in the bewildering new world of a South African metropolis.

Live theatre this good has a visceral power that awakens something in an audience that the texture-less perfection of digital media can never reach. Fortunately, we have artists like Magnet to keep physical, theatrical, performance alive. Unfortunately, this week of performances in Western Massachusetts is their only scheduled visit to the States. Hopefully some others in the US will follow the lead of UMass professor Megan Lewis and work to get Magnet to return to America.

THE POWERFUL MAGNET THEATRE DRAMA PRODUCTION OF 'EVERY YEAR, EVERY DAY I AM WALKING'!dt.common.streams.StreamServerEvery Year Every Day I Am Walking73299_10151206720627735_1864378636_n

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Wandermonster free kid art workshop 1.31.13No Comments

We are bringing Wandermonster to the physical world. We’re holding a free workshop of collaborative kid + adult art from 2pm to 5pm on Saturday, February 9th, at the awesome FOE Gallery in Northampton, Massachusetts. We’ll be joined by two talented comic-making friends: Adam Connor, and Colin Panetta. This will be part of FOE’s February show, Rise of the Robots! which opens the night before, Friday, Feburary 8th, from 6pm to 9pm. FOE looms over downtown Northampton like a kaiju over Tokyo, at 114 Main Street. Bring your kid, or borrow one from a friend.

FOE poster


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Carl Gambrell of Projector designs amazing Thai noodle truck 1.28.13No Comments

My good friend Carl Gambrell, of Projector Design Works, designed the identity and truck wrap for the Mamu Thai Noodle Truck, which has released a really fun video to promote their Kickstarter. Check it out, but be warned: it’ll make you hungry for noodles.


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Peter Kruty Editions tour on Printeresting 1.17.13No Comments

Our good friends Sayre Gaydos and Peter Kruty run Peter Kruty Editions, the hardest-workingest letterpress shop this side of 1940, in the wilds of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. There’s a tour of the shop on Printeresting today, which captures the essence of their operation and shows off a few of their presses, work, and collection of wood and metal type. Check it out. They are my go-to people for letterpress, having printed several pieces for me.

peter kruty and sayre gaydos

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