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DASH SHAW, left, was introduced and interviewed briefly – by CHIP KIDD, the graphic design artist – who is also the editor-in-chief of PANTHEON BOOKS – which just published Mr. Shaw’s new hard cover book – ‘BodyWorld’.
the book signing took place at the STRAND BOOKSTORE – last night, Tuesday, April 14, 2010.

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Dash spoke entertainingly of his early experiences, in and out of school – but esp about being in school briefly in Japan, and working as a nude model for university art school drawing classes in Richmond, Virginia – to his more recent comings and goings through the SVA program here in NYC. On the technical side of things – he touched on how he generates his work, his stories have close connections to his real life world, and how he works, for immediacy, feedback and animation on the web – to his strongly expressed feeling that: hard copy books – will only become more and more beautiful – unique objects – to handle and behold – as opposed to becoming irrelevant & phased-out.

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case at hand: his book !! – ‘BodyWorld’ is actually – top bound . . . like some sketch books,

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– so it opens up – and works pretty much – as a kind of vertical hard cover flip book.

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for a comic or graphic novel – it includes a large degree of art world visual ‘content’ cross-over – and, in fact – apart from naming GARY PANTER and DAVID MAZZUCCHELLI as two of his biggest comic world influences – he also made a strong point of referencing painter DAVID SALLE – whose image layering, and wide graphic nuancing, as well as abstract fields – can be easily picked out – esp once mentioned.

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the graphics per se, text fonts and lay-out – were very high-tech, futuristic and – pretty much – far out.

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the color palette was also very striking – from the reflective chrome-like detailing on the cover, the bright ‘label’ orange digital lettering on the page sides – to the actual story board narrations.

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the drawing of the characters, and the page compositions – easily straddled both the comic, and the art worlds.

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he spoke about ‘evolving’ comic style – as in, how he had come to appreciate most – those contemporary comic book artists who have ‘evolving’ graphic style. there was a funny, brief exchange between himself and moderator Chip Kidd – when pressed to elaborate a little further . . . Mr. Kidd seemed at first stunned, when Dash Shaw pulled GARY PANTER’S name seemingly out of the air in this context. but as everyone took 2 mins to internalize and contemplate the issue – you could almost see the mental light bulbs going off – across the room – as in, exactly so. get it.

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art meets illustration . . .

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of course CHIP KIDD himself, is a truly ‘seminal’ figure in the worlds of graphic design and comic book culture – or as they often call ’em now = graphic novels, and two of his books were on hand as well.

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after the introductory – Dash moved on to project, narrate, and explain some of the background – behind a chapter of the book.

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like he said: his school experience in Japan – and his time in Richmond – as a drawing class nude model – seemed to have laid the seeds for much of the action !!

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then, in what became immediately apparent – as a huge one-time treat – he projected a brief animated project.

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it was made very simply – just some colored sharpies on plain white 8 x 10 copy paper . . .

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that started off pretty simple and then went – far out !!

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the animation – was the simplest you can generate by computer, just basically numbering the pages – essentially to screen – in a rapid order. that’s how they moved – they were ‘animated’ – in the truest sense of the word – by the visual logic of the sharpie drawing.

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DAVID MAZZUCCHELLI’S ‘HAIR NUDE’. ha ha came to mind !!
but whereas DAVID MAZZUCCELLI is so dark and twisted. socially and emotionally powerful. even scarring. think the Joker – DASH SHAW’S work is more compelling in a future shock highly mentally projected far out – alternative story-telling universe – new world kind of way.

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still part of the brief, but b-r-i-l-l-i-a-n-t !! kind of thrilling really – animation – DASH SHAW: ‘The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D.’ The story seems to bounce off his nude drawing model days and goes off into deep end contemplation of humans losing their individuality as they evolve into entities that “intoxicate” each others thoughts with a rampant dominant form of social telepathy !!

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truly, for me – the drawing line – was just as fascinating as the story line . . .

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after the projection – Dash Shaw was animated himself !! he had scored with the small but very happy audience. everyone there knew – you had caught a very special moment.

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CHIP KIDD was wonderfully laid back, too. just watching the roll and flow. of his not easily defined young author/artist.

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and then, let the book signing – begin !!

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he had brought along – a nice array of colored markers.

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Dash signs Kate's book

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