Book Review

Friday, June 10th, 2016

Have You Had Your Dose Of Character Today? 

The Calvin & Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book, by Bill Watterson (Andrews & McMeel, 1995)

Calvin & Hobbes. The mere mention of this treasured comic strip brings a smile to the face of all who know it. The hilarious misadventures of Calvin and his tiger Hobbes rang true to many of us in our younger years, and they are just as moving when revisited now. The life lessons and reflections in this comic are strikingly relatable. Do you ever think about Bill Watterson, the man behind Calvin & Hobbes, and wonder at his understanding of human nature and life in the modern world?

As it turns out, Bill Watterson is a remarkably private man, noteworthy for an artist whose work is beloved by millions. He has rarely granted interviews and – rather famously – never allowed companies to license his work, other than two calendars produced in 1988-1990 and a rare textbook called Teaching With Calvin & Hobbes. (That’s right; if you own one of those bumper stickers or T shirts with Calvin & Hobbes on it, it was made without his permission!). So we are left to glean what we can from his occasional forays into the public eye.

One of the best sources I have found for insight into Mr. Watterson’s mind have been the essays and paragraphs he contributes to the anthology The Calvin & Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book (Andrews and McMeel, 1995). Here he talks at length about the shrinking space for comics in the newspapers, his reasons for avoiding licensing, and his battle with publishing syndicates to bring the classic Sunday strip back to its former size and glory. Bonuses include insight into his characters’ origins (did you know Hobbes was named after a 17th-century philosopher with low expectations for human nature?) and the mysterious rules of Calvinball (hint: there’s only one).

But perhaps the biggest thing that becomes clear after reading this anthology is that Calvin & Hobbes was no fluke. It was not the work of someone who got lucky and stumbled on a sweet spot that resonated with audiences everywhere. Calvin & Hobbes was a direct reflection of its creator: a man who stood steadfast by his values, in a world where it rarely  made financial sense to do so. He believed in his work so strongly that he refused to present it any other way. These strong convictions about art, life and friendship made their way into the strip and into our collective subconscious in a remarkable, unforgettable way. And maybe that’s why it’s so satisfying to read this anthology. We get the chance to peer into Watterson’s mind, and he waves back.

Brian Leahy Profile Pic

Brian Leahy

 

Stacked Up

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

“Stacked Up”, acrylic on reclaimed wood, 19.5″ diameter.

Acrylic on reclaimed wood. Copyright Brian Leahy, 2015

Copyright Brian Leahy, 2015

Boxed Up

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

“Boxed Up”, acrylic on reclaimed wood, 19.5″ diameter.

Acrylic on reclaimed wood. Copyright Brian Leahy, 2015

Copyright Brian Leahy, 2015

SNAKE CITY

Friday, April 10th, 2015

4.9.15 – Drawing with pen

Snake City

BEFORE NOON

Friday, April 10th, 2015

4.8.15 :: Morning coffee and #coloredpencil #drawing – “World Of My Own Design”

World Of My Own Design

SHOW POSTER FOR W SUMMON

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Just wrapped up work on a new show poster for W Summon’s show this Friday the 13th @ No Name, 1325 Broadway, Boulder CO.

Printed shadow for a tarot card effect

Printed shadow on white poster background for a tarot card effect

thisisalsomybandshhh

NEW PAINTING ALERT

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

It’s done! The official debut of “Don’t Be Afraid Of Starting Over”. 4 x 6′ acrylic on wood. Hanging now @ Twig Salon, 1831 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302, through March 2015. (Click for closer view)

Don't Be Afraid Of Starting Over painting

Left side of painting

Closeup, left side of painting

Closeup of houses, center of painting

Closeup of houses, center of painting

Closeup, right side of painting

Closeup, right side of painting

u know wut it issss ;) Signature on painting

U know wut it issss😉 Signature on painting

This painting gets its name from one of my favorite Foster The People songs, “Pseudologia Fantastica”. (And for anyone who might be confused out there, it was referred to in earlier posts as “Refused To Settle”. But the ‘Don’t Be Afraid of Starting Over’ tagline was always on the back, and in the end I felt like it summed up the idea of the painting better)

Backside of painting, before hanging

Backside of painting, before hanging

2014-12-19 08.43.31

Salon hair chair thingies for scale

2014 has been one of the best years of my life so far. Looking forward to 2015. Happy New Year everyone!

December 2014

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

It’s been a great month here at BrianLeahyArt. I had the amazing chance to travel to Art Basel in Miami this year. It was…wow. An international art event, for starters. Incredible variety of incredible work everywhere. Famous people all over. 80 degree sunny weather in December didn’t hurt either. I had never been to Miami before, much less to a city packed with so much culture and art for one of the biggest events in the international art world. It’s hard to describe it all, but there were more shows, galleries, special events, and notable artists in one place than you could possibly see in the time it ran. My favorite part of the trip was Wynwood Walls, a self-contained concrete garden of huge walls painted by some of the best known street artists (Swoon, How & Nosm, Shepard Fairey, Cryptik…the list goes on). The art was not limited to the Wynwood complex itself- it seemed like every possible wall in the next 5 block radius was painted, and it was pretty much all amazing quality work. Plus more art was still going up as we stood there. We watched artists all over the place, painting through the afternoon into the evening. Let’s just say it was an incredibly inspiring moment.

One of the biggest things that occurred to me was that these artists were beyond prolific. They worked hard and they worked fast, often on a huge scale, and they traveled the planet doing this, as often as they could. I realized, I WANT TO DO THAT. Having *finally* completed “Don’t Be Afraid Of Starting Over”, a 4 x 6′ painting on wood that took me approximately 6 months, this trip happened at the perfect time. I got to thinking…really the only reason this painting took so long is because I actually didn’t work on it all that frequently. I would sporadically take 2-3 hour stabs at it, but I seemed to be held back by the fear of messing something up, or by the uncertainty of which part to paint next. If I learned anything from the trip to Miami, it was that I should be more concerned with just DOING, rather than waiting for the perfect moment of inspiration or whatever. It’s time to crank up my output, and just gain experience by doing.

With that thought in mind I’ve started a sketchbook routine. Here’s some sketches from December.

Constellation // Guardian 1

Constellation // Guardian 1

Constellation // Guardian 2

Constellation // Guardian 2

2014-12-15 23.48.36-1

Animal Expressions 1

Animal Expressions 1

Animal Expressions 2

Lol Tree

Lol Tree T Shirt

Strange caterpillar // skeleton creature

Strange caterpillar // skeleton creature, afraid of what he might become

Show @ Boulder Creek Market

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

A fresh batch of 8 stretched canvas prints is now hanging at Boulder Creek Market, 1801 13th Street #120, Boulder, CO 80302.

Left: "Focus 1" Right: "Got Everything I Gave"

Left: “Focus 1” Right: “Got Everything I Gave”

Left: "Alive in '85" Right: "Aspen By The Creek"

Left: “Alive in ’85” Right: “Aspen By The Creek”

About to go up! Left: "Chinacat Generator" Middle front: "Victory Day" Right: "Question Mark In Your Fortune"

About to go up! Left: “Chinacat Generator” Middle front: “Victory Day” Right: “Question Mark In Your Fortune”

Brianleahyart sometimes arrives by skateboard box cart…

HAPPY HOLIDAYZ

HAPPY HOLIDAYZ

PROGRESS ON ‘REFUSE TO SETTLE’

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

EVENIN’, YALL

Acrylic on wood, 4 x 6'

Acrylic on wood, 4 x 6′

ITS FRIDAY PEOPLE

WOOT!

2014-09-02 17.03.08