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Mermaids & Space Cuties

Fawley_Mermad Navigator_Finished_Shepelavy

So one day I ask my pal, the enormously gifted tattoo artist Steve Fawley, if I could paint me some flash of a mermaid who looks like Jane Russell. Because such a thing may not have exist in the world, it seemed like a fine thing to bring into it. And he says, sure — paint me a space cutie in exchange. So here they are — certainly I’m on the rich side of this deal. What a stunner. Perfectly fetching & a prime example of Steve’s masterly of the traditional form. My cutie was the buildup of a forgotten sketch in tribute to Wally Wood & based on Robert Bonfils cover painting for pulp paperback Nautipuss. Check out Steve’s kung fu here.

Colonel Wilma Deering

Colonel Wilma Deering — off duty, gouache on board, 9 x 6.5

So, on a lark I watched some episodes of the old 1979 series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Man, what a glitter encrusted sci-fi glam delight! Most of the other shlock series of the era have aged poorly, revealing more artless clunk than period charm. Not here. There’s a grin-inducing disco exhuberance to the whole affair — a vision of the future that’s equal parts Saturday morning Sinbad, Star Wars, and the roller skate fantasia Xanadu. In reading up on the show, the oddest thing I came across was a terse but enthusiastic appreciation of the show by esteemed cultural critic and poet Clive James, “Battlestar Galactica (Thames), though glaringly a cheap Star Wars rip-off, looks better on the small screen than in the cinema. The best comic strip science fiction on television at the moment, however, is Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (LWT). The hardware looks good and Wilma Deering looks simply sensational, like Wonder Woman with brains.” Amen, comrade. In commemoration, then, a quick three day sketch of the fetching Erin Grey  as the indefatigable Colonel Wilma Deering, off duty, of course.



Still life

Some recent mannequins… the first and third were side by side in a dealer’s pen in an antiques mall in Coxsackie. It was such an odd assortment, incongruities caroming from object to object. Treacly, homespun tchotchkes mixed with genuine posessions, weathered with age and use, saturated with soggy history. In the middle, cast adrift, two buoys in the Sea of Pizazz, one in the pale, empurpled waves of the 70’s, the other in the sharper currents of the 80’s. But then you notice the clerical sash. And the Grand Ole Opry hat… like I said… caroming incongruities. The second one is installed in a window on Jay Street in Schenectady. The last one haughtily surveys a corner of an antique shop in Burlington, New Jersey.

Additional Inquiries

…and, after several additional inquiries, Officer Welch and I returned to the Magic Garden and questioned Rainbow, princess of the Super-Fairies again. She remained a tight-lipped and difficult witness, repeatedly insisting her glitter wand was ornamental and had no magic properties. (or, holy moly – I really dig my new macro SLR lens…)

Vroom, vroom, ratatat-tat!!!

Some up-close 35mm shots I took recently of some miniature plane dioramas at the The Empire State Aerosciences Museum in Schenectady, New York. I love how painterly and gently surreal they appear. Larger versions here, and here. (And a heartfelt huzzah to the museum itself, a true labor of love that overcomes modest resources to create a genuinely engaging experience.)