Word + Picture: David Hockney

David Hockney’s recent work is really inspiring. Like Bowie he is not ready to let his best years behind him. This 2012 book of him is great: David Hockney: A Bigger Picture


These are two examples from the book of Hockney mixing the word and the picture or making the word be the picture:



Self-Portrait: Green Card Photograph Specifications

Green Card Self-Portrait

This self-portrait is inspired in the strict guidelines of the photographs required for the US immigration visas and green card[1. Here’s an extract of the: Green Card Application Photograph And Head Size Specifications

Your photo is a vital part of your Green Card application.

You must submit two identical color photographs of yourself taken within the last 6 months of the filing of this application. The image must be in the Joint Photographic Experts Group format. The face must be square to the camera with a neutral expression, neither frowning nor smiling, with the mouth closed. To learn more, review the guidelines on how to provide a suitable photo.

Please be advised that Failure to comply with any of the following requirements may result in disqualification.”

]. I remember reading the instructions and obsessing over them when I was first applying for the green card lottery years ago.

The design is based on the actual template that the US government has on their website.

US Immigration Green Card Head Position

I added a few more guides to the original. All my illustrations are heavily based on basic, geometric shapes, so the US guidelines were a perfect fit. At some point I even thought about doing an extreme version of the template with dozens of guides to reproduce the inner geometry of the self-portrait as it can be seen in the wireframe version:

Self-portrait Wireframe

Last night we had a show and this artwork was there, and so was I. Here is this (meta)photo to add to the list of different levels of representation and symbols of symbols.

Portrait With Self-Portrait at Art Show

“The Fall of the House of Usher” is Out for Sale

The illustrated edition of “The Fall of the House of Usher” is officially an ebook that can be downloaded from Amazon here:

The Fall of the House of Usher
—Special Illustrated Edition—

The Fall of the House of Usher, cover design

This edition has the original text by Edgar Allan Poe with 10 color illustrations, plus a bonus portrait of Poe himself. After designing many variations of the cover, the final choice was crow-sourced. Votes went to the blackletter type and the white space and simple layout of this cover.

The language that Poe uses is so full of visual references that upon reading the short story I felt compelled to do some illustrations. I wanted to draw what I was imagining in my head. Eventually I kept highlighting more and more passages of the story. I ended up with 40+ segments I wanted to illustrate. I decided to cut it down to 10 for the book. One day I might illustrate all paragraphs of the story.

This is the very first paragraph of the book that inspired me to start this project:

The Fall of the House of Usher, first paragraph

Download the Kindle ebook:
The Fall of the House of Usher
—Special Illustrated Edition—

David Bowie On Self-Promotion For Artists 

I once asked John Lennon what he thought of what I do. He said, “It’s great, but its just rock and roll with lipstick on.”
—David Bowie

David Bowie was a genius marketer who knew well that a guy sometimes needs to put on some lipstick to get the attention he deserves. This is a list of things he did with intention of capturing his audience interests—and imagination.

David Bowie On Self-Promotion For Artists

  • Created work relevant to the times and events that surrounded him. “Space Oddity” was inspired by Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and it was released a few days ahead of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969.

[“Space Oddity”] was written because of going to see the film 2001, which I found amazing. I was out of my gourd anyway, I was very stoned when I went to see it, several times, and it was really a revelation to me.”
—David Bowie

  • Declared himself gay during an interview with Melody Maker magazine in 1972. He later corrected this fact, although acknowledged that it was a great tool for self-promotion

It’s true—I am a bisexual. But I can’t deny that I’ve used that fact very well. I suppose it’s the best thing that ever happened to me.
—David Bowie

David Bowie - Aladin Sane

  • Created a gay, androgynous persona—Ziggy Stardust—to liberate and reinvent himself

I wanted to imbue Ziggy with real flesh and blood and muscle, and it was imperative that I find Ziggy and be him. The irony of it was that I was not gay. I was physical about it, but frankly it wasn’t enjoyable.
—David Bowie

  • Played a “blowjob guitar solo” with Mick Ronson and distributed photos to newspapers, which got him a great deal of attention

Mick was the perfect foil for the Ziggy character. He was very much a salt-of-the-earth type, the blunt northerner with a defiantly masculine personality, so that what you got was the old-fashioned Yin and Yang thing. As a rock duo, I thought we were every bit as good as Mick and Keith or Axl and Slash. Ziggy and Mick were the personification of that rock n roll dualism.
—David Bowie

David Bowie "blowjob guitar solo” with Mick Ronson

  • Drew inspiration from musicians who made performance an essential part of their act: Little Richard, Vince Taylor, Iggy Pop, Velvet Underground, etc.

Vince Taylor really became one of the building blocks of the Ziggy character. I just thought he was too good to be true, he was of another world, he was something else, and he was definitely part of the blue print of thus strange character that came from nowhere.
—David Bowie

  • Became a staple of pop culture by appearing in movies always playing characters that reinforced his on-stage persona.

I get offered so many bad movies. And they’re all raging queens or transvestites or Martians.
—David Bowie

Overall, Bowie knew to give people what they wanted, be it controversy, sexual liberation, performance, costumes… in one word: Entertainment. He also knew to acknowledge when he had gone too far.

[I]t seemed obvious that the way to make money was give people what they want. So I started giving people what they wanted. And the downside of that is that I think it dried me up as an artist completely. Because I wasn’t used to doing that.
—David Bowie

David Bowie portrait

This last quote really summarizes David Bowie’s views on self-promotion

When you think about it, Adolf Hitler was the first pop star.
—David Bowie

On the Oldest Examples of Graphic Symbols in Paleolithic Cave Paintings

I find the extreme stylization of all prehistoric and primitive art fascinating. The figures found in cave paintings are a remarkable example of iconography and symbolism. I was recently captivated by 32 symbols that have been found in ancient caves all over Europe and TED has a fascinating talk about this topic.

Geometric Paleolithic Cave Paintings

Cave art found by Genevieve von Petzinger


The key to understanding the importance of these geometric paleolithic paintings lies in the repetition of the graphics used. These symbols appear multiple times, repeatedly across large expanses of time and space. This repetition means that the graphics were created by different individuals, and therefore the signs must carry specific meaning. If the images carry meaning, that means they were used as abstract symbols. These early geometric cave paintings were concepts two steps removed from the original (figurative representations being step one) and an example of non-ephemeral communication.

Man is a creature who walks in two worlds and traces upon the walls of his cave the wonders and the nightmare experiences of his spiritual pilgrimage.
—Morris West