Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Queer Portraits in History: An Interview w/ Illustrator Michele Rosenthal

At the beginning of 2014, illustrator Michele Rosenthal launched a fascinating project - Queer Portraits in History. The premise is simple. On a regular basis, Michele illustrates an important gay figure active before the 21st century and gives a paragraph or two about their careers. The result is incredible. Michele's labor of love is turning out to be the  most comprehensive, entertaining look into LGBT history available on the internet. She does a great job featuring names that everyone recognizes like Andy Warhol and Rock Hudson, but an even better job featuring people that may have been forgotten or unknown to a younger generation such as artist Tamara De Lempicka or director Nicholas Ray.

Aside from the Queer Portraits project, Michele is an author and freelance illustrator with a client list full of big time websites, magazines, universities, and more. You should check out her exceptionally charming children's book for the iPad The Trouble With Falling Asleep.  The digital interface allows the book to be interactive,  so the reader can change the way the characters look or even rewrite their own version of the events in the plot line. It's pretty brilliant.

Michele's online bio was fairly concise. She only took credit for being a dance party instigator and winner of the 5th grade Math Olympiad. So, of course, I had to ask for a bit more background:
I said I wanted to be an illustrator in second grade, and although it wasn't a straight line from then to now, I think second-grade-me would be pleased. I grew up in suburban Pennsylvania, studied illustration at Syracuse University, then moved to New York City and spent a few years designing Hello Kitty watches. I started freelancing in 2010, and I plan on never going back to an office. I also plan on never leaving New York.
After reading the interview below, if you would like to discover more about Michele Rosenthal on your own, I suggest her Website, Blog, Twitter, and Dribble. And, be sure to visit Queer Portraits in History frequently to see her new additions!

KEITH HARING 1958–1990



Q: What was your eureka moment for undertaking the Queer Portraits in History project?

Michele: It was an idea that had been percolating for a long time before I actually started it. I'm always motivated to draw the things that are meaningful to me, and I had done portraits of some of these people in the past, though not as a series. Then one day, I was telling yet another friend about this potential project I wanted to start, and decided that it was time to stop talking and start doing.

Q:  I love that you not only illustrate the people you feature, but you also do a great job summarizing their careers. Was is the most mind-blowing discovery you made while researching one of your subjects?
Michele: I still can't get over the fact that Josephine Baker had a pet cheetah.

Leslie Gore
Q: I had no idea Leslie Gore was gay until I read about it on your site. Were you aware of the sexuality of everyone you have featured ahead of time or have you had to look folks up?
Michele: Most of these people came from a ready-made mental list that I'm always adding to. And then a musically-inclined friend clued me in on Wendy Carlos, Cole Porter, and Leonard Bernstein, who were all fun discoveries.

Q:  You do a really great job interacting with your readers and publishing some of their questions. What is the strangest request someone has made thus far?
Michele: Most of the requests I've gotten have been pretty great, actually. I've learned a lot from them. I guess the one I found most amusing was the suggestion to draw Ellen Page—a cool person, certainly, but not quite "historical."

Q: You seem to have illustrated a roughly equal amount of extroverted, flamboyant celebrities vs. celebrities who played it safe and kept quiet about their homosexuality. Which are more interesting, the introverts or the rabble rousers?
Michele: That's an interesting way to divide them. I would say the flamboyant characters interest me a little more, because it was an incredible feat in the 20th century to have a thriving career and be so aggressively out. I'm fascinated by how they managed it. But I'm also amazed by those who knew their private lives could cause scandal, yet didn't let that curtail their ambitions. And more than anything I think it's important to see the full range of people's experiences.

Q:  Have you heard from any of the celebrities still alive regarding your wonderful illustration of them?
Michele: Every time I post an illustration of someone living, I panic just a little about what their reaction might be. But so far I haven't heard from any of them.


Q: While creeping around your website, I came across a series of retro-future background images you made for Funny or Die's digital magazine. Just out of curiosity, why is there a barrel full of severed limbs in a bucket in the doctor's office?
Michele: Ah, yes, I did post those images completely without context. The article is about a possible future in which everything regresses to old technology, and doctors go back to solving problems more "holistically" with amputations. It was a fun assignment.

Q: What illustrators/artists are you currently following?
Michele: Ugh, I hate naming five people and knowing I've forgotten 50. Paul Blow, Jack Hughes, Kali Ciesemier, James Boast, Angie Wang, Mitch Blunt, Melinda Beck, Meg Hunt, and Andrew Lyons are just a tiny fraction of the contemporary illustrators I greatly admire.



Q: I totally adore your piece Changes:Timeline of David Bowies. What is your favorite Bowie era?
Michele: How could I possibly choose?! I'll have to pick one that's not even in my illustration, like maybe the David-Bowie-doing-a-Christmas-duet-with-Bing-Crosby era. Incidentally, "Which Bowie am I thinking of?" makes for a great car game.

Q:  Michele, I hate to question your judgement...is But I'm A Cheerleader really your favorite lesbian themed movie?
Michele: Um, yes, of course it is. I bet you can't name a single one that's better.

MARLENE DIETRICH 1901-1992

ROCK HUDSON 1925–1985

ANTHONY PERKINS 1932-1992

ANDY WARHOL 1928-1987

JOSEPHINE BAKER 1906–1975

GEORGE TAKEI 1937–

DIVINE 1945–1988

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Exclusive Podcast: Treklenburg Episode #41

Hosts Michael Earle and Molly Jay hilariously talk all things Star Trek.
This week,Mike and Molly discuss their Top 5 Worst Star Trek relationships! The examination of IO9s 100 Best Star Trek episodes continues. And, Molly works her way through two more episodes of the dreaded Enterprise!

Original broadcasts of Treklenburg are Monday nights at 8pm EST on www.pmcradio.org.



How to Subscribe!
iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/trekl…ings/id797015608
RSS Feed: www.podcastrevolution.com/viewpodcast.php?pid=3578


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Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Morning Dance Party: Zombie Love Song!

Zombie Love Song is more of a slow jam, but you will love every second! Performed by Your Favorite Martian. Try not to sing this all day.


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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mega Monster Melee: The Genius Creations of Aaron Klopp

I am so glad that Halloween is almost here. Not only because I love absolutely everything about the holiday, but also because I get to feature monsters, zombies, and ghouls without anyone calling me a creeper. And right now, few illustrators are making more entertaining monsters than North Carolina's Aaron Klopp. Aaron has been working on a project called Mega Monster Melee which will ultimately be released as trading cards. The front of the cards will feature wonderful images of two creatures locked in mortal combat or perhaps a monster fighting giant insects or destroying a city. The back side will tell the story and feature hilarious titles such as "Tentacled Horror Craves Humans."  From what I have seen of them, they are pretty eff''n great.

When not working his full time job as a graphic designer or making monsters, Aaron finds time to contribute to art shows across the country. Recently, his work was featured in the official Popeye 85th Anniversary Tribute Show in L.A., The Hellboy 20th Anniversary Art Show, and he had a terrific Anti-Hedgehog Battle Mecha piece at the 8 Bit and Beyond: 2 show in Brooklyn.

Here's Aaron's bio:
Ever since I was a kid, I've always felt it was in my blood to create. My drawings started out as doodles featuring my own characters traveling through time and battling Frankenstein, or Godzilla fighting off the Hulk. I still find that raw enthusiasm in my illustration and graphic design work today. Be it print or web, illustration, design, or comic book, I find nothing more satisfying than being able to craft something new and intriguing when I get the chance.
After graduating in 2005 with a Bachelor's Degree in Visual Communication Design from Winthrop University, I've been in the Charlotte, NC area ever since working as a Graphic Designer by day and Illustrator by night.
Another wonderful project to definitely check out is Aaron's short comic The Nightmare-A-Thon. He drew it for Strange Kid Comics Magazine No.2. It's so great, it also got picked up by Juxtapoz. Also, Aaron's alphabet tribute to the band The Melvins is pretty amazing, too. Check out the letter B.

If you would like to go explore more about Aaron Klopp on your own, I suggest starting with his Website, Tumblr, and Twitter! After those, you can mosey on over to his Dribble, Behance, and Flickr pages.











From Nightmare-A-Thon

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Monsterpappa: The Insanely Incredible Pumpkin Sculptures of Andy Bergholtz

With Halloween right around the corner, it's time to pay tribute to one of the great sculptors of our time, Andy Bergholtz. Over the last 15 years or so, Andy has sculpted for McFarlane Toys, Diamond Select Toys, and DC Comics, just to name a few. He currently works at Sideshow Collectibles where he designs and creates high end collectible statues based on pop culture icons, collaborating with Marvel Comics, Disney, Lucasfilm, Warner Bros, Hasbro and many others.

But, for the last several years, when Fall rolls around, Andy has found himself focusing on creating astounding pumpkin carvings along side his partners at Villafane Studios. His work has stood out so much that this year he was invited to teach a one day class at the Stan Winston School of Character Arts. Additionally, he holds numerous sold out pumpkin carving workshops around the country.

Bergholtz has a fairly interesting self-written bio:

Not much is known about the childhood of Andrew Paul Theodore Bergholtz, but legend indicates that he was raised by a family of timber wolves in the Carpathian Mountains until the age of 13. Near the end of the 19th century, Andy was taken in by a blind hermit monk and was taught to study the world around him using senses other than that of sight.
It's said that this unique tutelage resulted in a heightened, almost super-human sense of touch within the young boy, who naturally developed a passion for creating things with his hands. At 18, Andy joined a group of traveling gypsies and honed his skills by offering hand-carved charms and talismans to the villagers he met on his journeys through eastern Europe.
Although his exact whereabouts are currently unknown, it's believed that Bergholtz eventually settled somewhere in the southern Province of the Californias, resuming his hermit ways and raising a family of his own. Discoveries of new works by the mysterious craftsman are reported in increasing numbers to this day, although the authenticity of such artifacts has not yet been confirmed.

An alternate version of his bio suggests that Andy was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, spent his early life cultivating his skills as an illustrator, and continued honing this craft as a student at Kansas City Art Institute. I am not really sure which to believe.

In addition to Bergholtz's full time job at Sideshow Collectibles and work with Villafane Studios, he also owns the Monsterpappa Workshop. He uses Monsterpappa to sell a few exclusive monster sculpture kits that fans can buy, assemble, sand, and paint themselves. Or, for a few dollars more, one can purchase a full assembled and painted monster from the master himself.

If you want to learn more, visit Andy's Monsterpappa website, Facebook page, or Twitter! Also, check out this amazing interview on Gourmet.com!











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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Exclusive Podcast: Treklenburg Episode #40

Hosts Michael Earle and Molly Jay hilariously talk all things Star Trek.
This week, Mike and Molly do a character study on DS9 favorite Vic Fontaine! The examination of IO9s 100 Best Star Trek episodes continues. And, Molly works her way through two more episodes of Enterprise!

Original broadcasts of Treklenburg are Monday nights at 8pm EST on www.pmcradio.org.


How to Subscribe!
iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/trekl…ings/id797015608
RSS Feed: www.podcastrevolution.com/viewpodcast.php?pid=3578


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