Funny Girl

On this Mother’s Day, I am thinking about the most important women growing up in my own life, my Mother & Grandmother (who both passed away the same year, 2008), but left behind their greatest legacy to me: an incredible sense of humor! In honor of my Mom (above), I watched one of her favorite movies Yentil on her birthday this past April 10th. For this week, in order to honor her for Mother’s Day, I will take on another one of her Streisand favorites Funny Girl. I don’t know anything about the movie, but from a typography standpoint, I love the poster design!

It is because of these important women that in the face of tragedy or anxiety I can still be funny, witty, and throw on a 25¢ mustache to spruce up boring old laundry night. For this amazing gift ladies, I thank you, from the bottom of my ever-comedic heart. And in the words of my Grandmother, “make sure to always have a laugh.” Happy Mother’s Day!!! xo artsparrow

vintage photo, + art © 2012 Andrea Sparacio (artsparrow); Amanda Peet’s home tour © 2008 Domino Magazine; Mustache photo © 2011 Tim Mucci

Inside The Portrait Studio: Chicken With Plums

Last night I attended Marjane Satrapi in Conversation with Francoise Mouly at MoMA, followed by a screening of Marjane’s latest film Poulet aux Prunes (Chicken with Plums). Unlike Persepolis, Chicken with Plums in a mostly non-animated feature-length film, although it blends live action, painted sets, and small bursts of animation like visual poetry.

Similar to Amelie in its magical realism, I was pretty smitten with the artistic style of this movie. So smitten, in fact, that I was able to overlook a few of its flaws (like lengthy montages that could have been shortened). The storyline is dark, but mixed with incredible humor, much like Marjane herself (who I am pretty darn smitten with as well!) She admitted how happy she was to be on the stage of MoMA talking to us, much like any art student at heart. “Growing up, I always heard MoMA this, MoMA that,” she confessed, “and now I get to be part of it, if only for a day.”

Marjane humorously revealed that before becoming an artist she wanted to be a #1. “private eye,” only to discover that it entailed “spying on cheating spouses” more than being Sherlock Holmes, and #2. “head hunter,” which she had mistaken to mean “bounty hunter,” finding out after the interview that she had it incredibly wrong. It was only then that she became #3. an artist. Ta-da!

(above) Francoise Mouly & Marjane Satrapi; (below) directors Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi.

Marjane also confessed that she originally didn’t want to make her first movie Persepolis into a film; the idea had been proposed to her instead. In order to make it difficult for the studio to say yes, she requested obstacles like hand-drawn animation (over CGI because it will “eventually look too dated”), black and white, etc., but they ended up agreeing to all of it without the blink of an eye. Good thing too, because I ♡ Persepolis! Although it’s always interesting to hear behind-the-scenes of any artistic process.

Speaking of which, here is my own artistic process on drawing Nasser-Ali (actor Mathieu Amalric) inspired from the film Chicken with Plums. My sketches (above) Staedtler Non-Photo Pencil, and (below) Copic Multiliner Brush Pen. 

In the end, you’ll wish cigarettes weren’t so bad for you. Movies (especially French ones!) make smoking look totally glamorous with animated smoke clouds; a romantic filler during life’s little pauses.

ink illustrations © 2012 Andrea Sparacio (artsparrow); movie poster © Celluloïd Dreams, press photos © Reuters

MoCCA + Jugs & Capes

I went to MoCCA with the intention of checking out new comics, saying hello to friends and celebrating their hard work. I had forgotten all about my little comic from last year and was pleasantly surprised to run into The Gathering creators! Here’s me dorkin out over it:

I was only able to make the 2:15 panel Memoir (fitting, since most of my own comics are in the first person) w/ Calvin Reid, Mike Dawson, Jennifer Hayden, Peter Kuper and Derf Backderf. “Makers of autobio comics discuss their lives through sequential art.”

Here are a few highlights I found interesting:

PETER KUPER visually displayed his biography with a (hilarious) slideshow of comics and photos; anecdotes over images with things like “missing that sports gene” and ending each sentence with the audience’s uproarious laughter. Through his journalistic background he enjoys making comics “to discuss things not covered by the mainstream” and to deliver stories through art. “The revolution may not be televised, but it will be illustrated!!!”

DERF BACKDERF was reluctant to do a memoir (“so many people have done them”) but growing up with Jeffrey Dahmer, how could he not? His unusual story about this childhood friendship in My Friend Dahmer is definitely on my must-read list! He also discussed having to find relatable things within the story (like school days) as apposed to, ya know, just being friends with a serial killer.

JENNIFER HAYDEN is an artist, writer and cancer survivor. She is a member of Brooklyn webcomics collective ACT-I-VATE where she posts her webcomic UNDERWIRE the fourth Saturday of each month. Hayden’s approaches comics the same way she writes poetry; she doesn’t plot or use a pencil, she inks and writes straight from panel to panel. Amazing!!!!

MIKE DAWSON is originally from England, moved to America, has no discernible accent (that I can tell) and wrote a whole graphic novel restructuring Bohemian Rhapsody; exploring his fixation with the band Queen in Freddy & Me. He is extremely talented, polite & modest in demeanor, and truly enjoys “the strength of the (comics) medium.”

The Graphic Memoir can reproduce the layering of thought and mimic strands of simultaneous life — the bursts of insight and memory that coexist with a humdrum moment like reading in bed with your lover, or arguing in the kitchen with your mother — in ways that pure prose cannot. Things happen at the same time. Associations are made. The past is superimposed on the present. Thought bubbles and squares complicate and illuminate unobtrusively. There’s electricity to the form, to the interaction between pictures and words, between feeling and event.” – Katie Roiphe (from NY Times review of Alison Bechdel’s memoir Are You My Mother?)

After the panel I had my portrait drawn by Will of Thorneater Comics. It was a nice treat to see someone else’s comic impression of me!

I totally LOVE it!!!!!! Thanks so much, Will!

And lastly, a Mocha for MoCCA. What helps any of us burn the midnight oil to work on our art? Good coffee, music, drink & draw socials, pencil shavings everywhere, lots and lots of elbow grease…

The rest of my MoCCA Flickr set.

photos © 2012 Andrea Sparacio (artsparrow); portrait © 2012 Thorneater Comics; MoCCA poster © 2012

Merrill Garbus, tUnE-yArDs & War Paint

I ♡ Merill Garbus’ music & style. In celebration of her latest video My Country, I dug into my portraits and found a few gouache sketches I did of her when Bizness first came out.

Also, I love these kids in her videos! Perhaps I’m nostalgic over my own childhood rebellion; everything from being forced to wear a school uniform to asymmetrical haircuts. Wish I had showed up to Catholic school in war paint:

Help fund this Kickstarter that will establish an instrument “lending library” for students at the SF Rock Project. These kids are so damn cool!!

And speaking of face painting, who’s cooler than Bowie!? (photo from his 1973 Aladdin Sane album).

Guilty pleasure moment: the scene where Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) of 2010’s film The Runaways paints her face and lip-syncs Lady Grinning Soul all badass in red lamé and gold platforms, giving her booing classmates the finger at the school talent show.

Last year I submitted a face painting photo to Merrill’s website/Flickr; proceeds went to The Facepaint-for-Japan fundraising contest. “The winner will receive a hand-painted tUnE-YaRdS cassette-playing boombox with a signed cassette of Whokill inside. I’ll donate a dollar to Japan relief for every face up there…we need more faces!”