Collaboration with Michael Jacobson. Below is the image Michael sent to me…
This is a collaboration with Michael Sikkema, author of Die Die Dinosaur, published by Blazevox. Michael provided the source material, a photograph of branches.
I am very susceptible to branches, which can be used as characters or narrative structures. Michael is also the source of the title, which is a work of genius. (I would like to state that ghost peppers are way too hot for me to eat, but I admire the legendary aesthetic of very hot peppers. Like dark chocolate, they are true magic.)
The above image is a reproduction of an artifact know as the Copy of the Tezaris Map, named after Konstantinos Tezaris, who made a drawing of a map from Azza-Jono. The Azza-Jono map and the Tezaris drawing are lost or unavailable, their locations are the subject of several unverifiable theories. The following is the text of an undated letter from Edmund Streller to Paul Calhern. It has been generally accepted that the Copy of the Tezaris Map was the document included with this letter, but there is now some questioning of this assumption.
Jack Toomey has kindly informed me about your accident. I must say his list of your injuries was quite dramatic and I hope he was indulging in hyperbole, as he is wont to do. Effie and Celia join their wishes and prayers to mine for your speedy recovery, and even Nicholas came out from under his earphones to express his sympathy. Effie and I hope very much that you and Birgit will be able to join us for our usual Solstice bacchanal. Effie has the whole week planned, but she is ready to modify any and all events to suit your convalescence. If by that time you have left off convalescing and are perfectly recovered, I urge you to summon any small skill you have for the arts of hypochondria. Nothing makes Effie happier than fussing over the afflicted. My smokehouse manager told me yesterday that he expects at least one of the steg hams to be ready for the Solstice. I know your doubts about genetically anachronistic meats, but please seize this delicious (and kosher!) opportunity to have those doubts delightfully assauged. Please inform Birgit to prepare for one whole day of pickling nectarine chutney and plum salsa. Effie’s goal is to make a supply that will last at least six months for a family of four, taking into consideration that our family of four consumes nectarine chutney and plum salsa at a level that is significantly higher than average. Birgit may file a complaint, but it will be to no avail. The only way to avoid this day of labor is for Birgit to reveal her secret recipe for the seasoning mix.
Along with the news of your accident, Jack finally sent me the artifact he promised to show us, way back when, at that memorable luncheon in Houston. It is not the original Tezaris drawing, as he had claimed, although Jack now says he never claimed he had the original drawing. He insists that this is a Xerox copy made by Konstantinos Tezaris himself, of his drawing of the map. It is impossible to verify that kind of provenance, but I find I do not care. So unlike me! I am afraid my habitual cautiousness has been swamped by my excitement over the map itself. There are so many details that are not in the Ashmolean reconstruction! The Ashmolean map, with its splendid silver ink on purple paper, looks rather empty in comparison to this humble black and white document.
You and I have long reserved doubts about the Ashmolean’s choices for their interpretation. It has been proven that Konstantinos Tezaris was in control of the map’s stewardship when he was at the Antikenmuseum, and his notes mention nothing about the color of the paper. Purple paper in the style of Medieval illuminated manuscripts is an extreme characteristic well-worth noting. The lack of such a notation is unbelievable. In reference to the ink, Tezaris was very specific about the arsenic content of one of the inks used in the printed parts of the map. He also wrote that later additions were made by two people, with squid ink. No silver ink appears anywhere on the map! Of course, the Ashmolean has chosen to ignore Tevaris. The controversial photographs that accompanied his paper on Azzite funereal rites is held very much against him, to an unfair degree. Did I mention to you that I met Otto Krafft-Schuman two months ago? He was a mentor of sorts to Tevaris. They were quite close. He still gets choked up about Tevaris, even though it has been years since the death. He is at least 90 years old, but he is very clear-minded and remarkably mobile in his wheelchair. (He could give you lessons, with your two broken legs.) He is a wise man and has no illusions about the general unevenness of Tevaris’ body of scholarship, but he says Tevaris is absolutely sound on the matter of the map.
I am sorry that I will not see you at the UOMP convention in Lucerne next month. Jack Toomey will be there but he does not get my jokes the way you do. You know how I hate explaining the punchline to obtuse people.
Effie sends you kisses. We hope to see you at the Solstice. Get well soon.
This is one of my contributions to the Azza-Jono collaboration at Ello. The whole Azza-Jono project is collected here for your reading pleasure: https://tablo.io/t-van-santana/tales-from-azza-jono
When my sisters and brother visit the family homestead, one of our favorite walks is Oso Flaco Lake. The walk has three parts: the lagoon, the dunes, the beach. The dunes are covered with a scrubby habitat all the way to the beach. You walk through a landscape densely packed with an array of textures that is fascinating even when the plants are not in bloom.
The silver lupin was in bloom this past weekend, the perfect embodiment of its name, with pale flowers and gray green foliage. When they die, the plants leave behind intricate mounds of twisted branches, in every shade of silver and gray. My sister, Nancy Tarczynski, took some photographs of the silver lupin corpses:
She knew I would want to use this amazing source of pattern and line in my work.
© 2017 lcmt
I am very grateful to Phil and Tom for giving me permission to use pieces of their work.
This photograph was posted on Facebook by Phil Openshaw. The interface between positve and negative spaces grabbed my attention. I immediately began to see graphic possibilities for those shapes, even though the photo is not a particular favorite of mine. The image does not really do justice to the breadth of Phil’s wonderful talent. You should check out his site for his photography, and his fantastic asemic art.
The drawing below was made by Tom Magee and posted on his blog at Ello.
When I was making this comic, I reached a point where I had dynamic spaces divided between black and white and red, yet there was no story. When I make abstract comics and asemic writing there is always a story. It can be a fragment of a story, like a scrap of a lost manuscript, or a quotation from an imaginary book. Maybe it is barely a glimpse, like something seen through a window, or like one frozen frame of film. I try not to worry that I have only a small piece of the story, because I have always known that the viewer, the reader, brings the larger narrative to the work. Asemic writing has helped me fully understand that truth. But I did not have even a piece of a story until I saw Tom Magee’s drawing on Ello. The two floating entities in his drawing almost yelled at me, like little bratty monsters. They knew they were the catalysts for a GLP narrative, and they demanded their space in it.
Abstract/asemic comics for the city of Azza-Jono. Tales of Azza-Jono can be found on Tablo. The city is the center of a WIP collaboration of writers and artists (mostly writers) who meet on Ello (my Ello handle is echo-of-newt).
When I started reading my first tale of Azza-Jono, I was reminded of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. As I read further into the Tablo site, the stories felt more reminiscent of the early issues of Interzone I stole from my brother. Or like a few short stories from Omni magazine that drilled themselves into my bones, so that I carry them with me always, even though I have forgotten their titles and authors.
For the last week or more I have been feeling figuratively swamped (but not literally, we are still rain-free and drought-stricken) in several areas of my life, and I feel I have neglected my responsibilities here. This is a “Catch you all up” effort to show off some things I have made. These are all poster designs. I was not planning to make any of these images into posters when I started them, usually my posters start as possible GLP comics. If you haven’t guessed already, you should realize that Geranium Lake Properties comics are a wellspring and a hotbed of creativity for me.
The working title for this first one was “Quarter” but the universe insists that I call it “Fingersticks outside the carnival trailer”.
This second poster, along with the third one (below), helped me work my way out of a dispirited mood. I try to find other words than “depression” for my reoccurring malaise–this time I called it “the doldrums”. The title for the second poster is “Chrysanthemum Arrangements”. The third is “Mary, Queen of Mars”:
“This could be your name, no. 159” is my new, not-very-asemic signature, representing my intitials L C M T:
A number of people need to take responsibility for this last poster, title: “Koborlqyn Monstrance”. (Koborlqyn is a made-up name, you don’t need to google it, unless you want to find things to do in Kooralbyn, Australia.) Wikipedia, as usual, has to be blamed for quite a lot of the guilt, but John C. Nash is definitely a conspirator. Lee Skinner is a co-conspirator for showing off his cool tattoo on Facebook, which led me to read about the Ars Goetia and the Lesser Key of Solomon at Wikipedia. Another co-conspirator is the nefarious Jeremy Burnich, aka Your Daily Bread, who sent me a 3D-printed bread loaf (scroll down for the extraordinarily bad tutorial and tap the huge images with your cursor to make them smaller).
More collaborations with Volodymyr Bilyk. The first one I call “Bison”, the second is “Bogun” (in which you can see a word written with Tony Burhouse’s Asemicism font, so this is a also collaboration with Tony).
Apropos of nothing else except I have been listening to this a lot lately, as an antidote to…well, all that junk I encounter in a normal human life. It is a very beautiful, very soothing album by Andrew Heath: The Silent Cartographer. The title grabbed my attention firmly, and I only got halfway through this ecstatic review before I clicked the link to listen.
Volodymyr Bilyk sent me more figures and I couldn’t resist making a gif out one of them.
“Bismuth has long been considered the element with the highest atomic mass that is stable. However, in 2003 it was discovered to be weakly radioactive: its only primordial isotope, bismuth-209, decays via alpha decay with a half life more than a billion times the estimated age of the universe.” From Wikipedia, sourced to Dumé, Belle (23 April 2003). “Bismuth breaks half-life record for alpha decay”. Physicsworld.
We call it a collaboration, but all I did was give Phil Openshaw (who is a photographer interested in glitch art and asemic writng) some of my asemic letter forms in black and white. What he did with them is astounding: GO TAKE A LOOK!
When you come back, you can re-visit one of our previous collaborations, “Under the Thickety Dune“, in which I used one of his photographs for a GLP comic.