The blog of Richard Thompson, caricaturist, creator of "Cul de Sac," and winner of the 2011 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year.

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Pinhead Ballet

From about 1980-1990 there were several portfolio pieces I worked and reworked, as I was 1. anxious to show my best possible stuff to the fantastical and somewhat imaginary audience of art directors, all of whom were hypercritical geniuses, and 2. put it off as long as I could. Among the pieces, which also include a cartoon slapstick version of Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun (don't ask) and illustrations for Voltaire's Candide, was a thing I called the Pinhead Ballet.


It began as most tthings do- a random little sketch, on a page of the same.

I recognized the sketch's potential and imagined it as one in a series, probably the last one. It was even titled "the Tragic Outcome" or something.. The trouble was none of the other sketches were as nasty as the first.

That one went through all kinds of stylistic permutations. Finally, in about 1990 I tried it as a painting, 

A really ugly painting, like you'd find in an elderly relative's scary basement; painted by unknown hands and it hasn't aged well either. When it was finished I put a 2-step varnish on that would give it a fake  cracquelleur (fun stuff), put it in a frame and hung it on the wall.  Then Caitlin Mcgurk took it off the wall, out of the frame and put it in a case in Columbus, Ohio.


Mike Peterson said...

That Caitlin McGurk! How many people has she done that to?

Meanwhile, I want to see the Candide pics. A little fan service, please!

Unknown said...

Yes, Candide pics!

cartoonydan said...

I let my gaze fall on that Pinhead for several sessions over the two days I was in Columbus. Thanks for revealing the two step varnish process. I imagine the first one was laid down and maybe next day the second one added and then possibly baked in the oven. Am I close?

richardcthompson said...

It's even easier than that! I think it's really a craft or faux finishing product. The idea is water-based over oil-based. But it's made so the oil-based sticks to the water-based. There are a lot of brands but the concept's the same.