Happy Spring!!

I finished the below cartoon back in February and meant to post it it in March....is it really May already?? I wanted to do a spring-is-rainy/reading-inside-when-it's-rainy-is-the-best-thing-ever theme. I'm no animal behavior expert, but based on all the hundreds of children's books I've ever read, hanging out and reading in a cozy little mushroom house (whilst wearing dapper little scarves) is something that hedgehogs and chipmunks totally do, right?

Good things worth reading

Art-related news worth sharing that I came across in the past month or so:

What if Trump Really Does End Money for the Arts? Btw, I think Doggie Hamlet ("a dance project set in a Vermont field with dogs and sheep") sounds like one of the more brilliant and wonderful art projects I've ever heard of. I DON'T WANT TO LIVE IN WORLD WHERE WE CAN'T HAVE THINGS LIKE DOGGY HAMLET.

MoMa Shelves Western Canon Works, Replaces With Art From Banned Countries

Teen Recreates Van Gogh Painting On Her Leg Instead Of Self-Harming

This Simple Comic Perfectly Explains Privilege, And Everyone Must Read It

Children’s Book Author Mary Engelbreit Made a Great Poster for People to Take to the Women’s March I love this! Mary Engelbreit's work (though it can be a little schmaltzy) has inspired me since I was very young. I love that she's completely open and unapologetic about supporting progressive causes.


Art under Trump

It's been a looong time since I've posted anything (not that I haven't been super busy with my artwork-I have!), but I thought it fitting today to share a couple of things Trump-related, in solidarity with the millions throughout the world protesting his inauguration.

Stassa Edwards wrote this piece right after Trump's election, and it's been on my radar to share ever since. She sites art critic Jerry Saltz and writer Joyce Carol Oates, who both seem to think that Trump's dictatorship is going to be just wonderful for artists everywhere. Their view, one that's been heard a lot, is that tumultuous times in history inspire great art. Both obviously speak from a privileged and narrow vantage point, however.

When things are rough economically and civil rights are in jeopardy, this is exactly what hinders marginalized groups and diverse voices from creating and showcasing their artwork. Sure, you may get some interesting and good protest art (likely from the most privileged subset of artists), but here's the thing: I’d much rather live in a thriving country with a good economy that takes care of all of its people--a place where this type of art doesn't even have a need to be created in the first place (other than as a more abstract/historical commentary without any connection to reality). In any case, great art does not have to be political, and it's every artist's choice whether they want to express themselves politically through their work or not. 

The best response to this Trump-will-lead-to-great-art nonsense, is, of course, from an artist--brilliant political cartoonist Matt Lubchansky

Mackinac Island

I just finished this color-pencil drawing of Mackinac Island (the island in Michigan on Lake Huron where they don't allow cars, just bikes and horses). It's based on a photograph that two friends of mine wanted me to depict, along with two other Michigan scenes (the first one being my "Road in Michigan" drawing, the third one I'll be finishing over Thanksgiving week). 

Happy Halloween

In commemoration of my favorite holiday, here a few Halloween cartoons--one by Zach Weinersmith (whose permission to share his work is very appreciated) and one by me.

Zach's comic:

Halloween comic.jpg

I came across Zach's comic last Halloween, and loved it. The way in which languages continuously change and evolve fascinates me, but what's equally interesting is how resistant we can be to this change. It seems that many people who are otherwise very open and welcoming to cultural change and progress in other areas seem to like to hold tight to the "rules" of grammar-which are themselves really quite arbitrary, and dictated, like most things, by society's power structures (Mona Chalabi made an interesting video about this recently). 

And here's my cartoon:

Have a fun Halloween, all.

xox Janine

An Art Exhibit for Dogs (!!!!!!)

Designer Dominic Wilcox has created the best show ever in the history of art with a London exhibit that's just for dogs. Just look at how happy and excited all the dogs are, awwwwww.

The exhibit was commissioned by UK insurance company More Th>n as part of their #PlayMore campaign, aimed at encouraging people to devote more time to playing with their pets. The exhibit's website also lists "lots of ideas of fun games and activities you can play with your dogs and cats" even if you missed the show. Because More Th>n is a British company, play ideas for dogs include "Splash at the seaside", and my favorite "Survey your land from a castle: Dogs love to find new territory to explore. So why not take them back in time to a historic castle where they can conquer new land." Yes, of course, why not?

Their play ideas for cats are just as adorable, and just as British (one of their ideas is to "Play football with your cat by gently throwing them a small, soft ball and allowing them to catch it. You’ll soon find out how good a goalkeeper they are!"). I'm digressing a little from the art exhibit, but this whole thing is so cute, I'm dying. 

Of course, it's all part of a marketing campaign for pet insurance, but I think it's worth noting that More Th>n also does a lot to help animals in need by supporting the UK's Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). So, perhaps, some of the extra media buzz/profit generated by the campaign will lead to more awareness/money for animals beyond those whose people can afford to buy them insurance (or take them to art exhibits, for that matter).

To sum this up: I think Dominic can just retire now, as he's obviously reached the pinnacle of artistic greatness with this exhibit. Unless....he decides to do a show for cats, which I totally call happening next.....



Save the Date Design

This weekend I finished a save-the-date design for my friends Christina and Kainen. I met Christina when we were both in the Peace Corps in Ukraine. The symbol on top is Christina and Kainen's logo: a combination of X (Christina's nickname) and K, which looks like the Cyrillic letter Ж. Ж is used in Ukrainian and Russian to create the "jzha" sound (and also happens to be the first letter of my name in Russian/Ukrainian, so, I'm a fan).

Words of Wisdom

I think Eileen Kinsella's recent article in artnet, 18 Female Artists Give Advice To Women Starting Out In The Art Worldis worth reading, no matter your gender, or whether or not you're an artist. If you enjoy art in some capacity in your life—whether through art shows, museums, or illustrations—it's important to be aware of the fact that the art world is far from equal when it comes to gender. As Käthe Kollwitz of the activist group the Guerrilla Girls has pointed out "If everyone doesn't stand up for a different art world and try to create a different one, 50 years from now, museums will not have a true picture of what was going on in culture....They'll have a picture of what was going on in power."  

You can read a bit more about gender inequality in the art world here, and from Curator Helen Molesworth here