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A fish out of water!

“How did it get there?” someone asks, “why did it leave water?”

A few minutes later the fish out of water is still there.

“It probably can flip its way back into the water but it stays there.”

A few minutes later, an eternity in fish minutes, It stops moving.

It died different!

It died different!

from the play Fish, Shotguns and Empty Barrels.
by Manuel V. Derida, 1945

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Satan wept and wept.
Death’s scythe through his beloved earth mercilessly swept.

His black crystalline tears tore through the scorched earth upon which he knelt.
All the monsters, hydras, ghouls, djinn and demons, in his realm his anguish felt.

“I have no part in this! Do you hear me? I have no part in this! You have created monsters of your own!” his vociferous voice echoed.

No answer was returned.

Silence prevailed as Death gleefully cut through men, women, and children … young and old.

Satan wept and wept.

Were they tears of joy or sadness?
None dared ask!

When Satan Wept Humanity
by Manuel V. Derida, 1989

Good day all. I wish to thank those of you who still read my words; the words that are not echoing within the corners of this blog as much. It has been a strange year, and in the past few weeks it has become stranger.

The world is burning and one cannot but try to find some sanity through work.

When I have more words to add here you will be the first to know.

For more of Manuel V. Derida’s writings please visit Thoughts from within a Sardine Can Facebook page http://on.fb.me/1mAwzgM

Art: Satan by Mike V. Derderian, pencil and ink on paper, 2014.

 

I haven’t written a movie review, or a blog post for that matter, in ages.

So here is a short one!

It would be great to do a comparative study of Kasabian’s Empire (2006) and The Charge of the Light Brigade by Tony Richardson (1968).

 

Empire’s color, light and texture is so reminiscent of the 1960s cinematography and the grainy texture that can be attributed to the manner by which a film stock is developed.

Both films, the music video and the motion picture, also present a case study of the lives of generals and soldiers in that era, in 1854, and of course the overall futility of war – I am thinking from an existential view point rather than a moral one.

Evil must be fought, however, sometimes those who give the orders are no less evil than the ones they are fighting.

Here is trailer for The Charge of the Light Brigade.

 

Guess this is my way of saying I really love Kasabian, their music and their approach to shooting music videos.

Honorable mention: Vlad The Impaler.

 

I apologize for not posting regularly but I’ve been going through a lot in terms of work and career changes.

I also been listening to more music part of my life as a radio Disc Jockey and news presenter at Radio Jordan’s 96.3 FM, The English Service.

My shows are on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays between 9:15 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Hope you are doing well in this crazy beautiful world that is plagued by blood thirsty idiots.

Good day all …

Mike V. Derderian

Writer & Illustrator

http://www.facebook.com/SardineArt

May 2014

“It never rains but it pours!”

So they say …

But I know … better!

Life in the past few months threw some rather interesting challenges in my face.

I am not going to talk about these challenges as this is not a rant blog. However, I am going to talk about my latest project Rock Arabical, part of my work as an illustrator.

My background in radio, love of music and my work as a Disc Jockey, I’ve been working at Radio Jordan 96.3 FM since 2003, were the main reasons that I started this design series.

I am not a type designer but I am a t-shirt designer. I now have over 20 t-shirt designs and merchandise with Mlabbas, a t-shirt company based in Amman, Jordan.

Rock Arabica is a typography and logo design series through which I turned renowned rock band logos into Arabic ones.

The best part about producing these rock band logos was the challenge I faced in maintaining the spirit of the original design by using the geometry and angles of the original logos. 

My project on Behance:

https://www.behance.net/gallery/Rock-Arabica-Vol-I-by-Sardine/14251713

The designs that you are about to see were all created using Adobe Illustrator CS5 (the construct of the type) and finished with Adobe Photoshop CS5 (the distress layer).

Remember: Never go full distress on a design as it is an overkill!

Hope you love them enough to buy the t-shirt ;-})

Mike V. Derderian,
Writer, Illustrator & Designer,
Sardine

Iron Maiden Arabic by Mike V. Derderian

Led Zeppelin Arabic Full by Mike V. Derderian

Pink Floyd Arabic by Mike V. Derderian

Nirvana Arabica by Mike V. Derderian

Def Leppard Arabic by Mike V. Derderian

Savatage Arabic by Mike V. Derderian

Opeth Arabic by Mike V. Derderian

Black Sabbath Arabic by Mike V. Derderia

The Doors Arabic by Mike V. Derderian

AC DC Arabic by Mike V. Derderian

Metallica Arabic by Mike V. Derderian

Queen Arabic by Mike V. Derderian


Charon for Daily Spitpaint by Sardine

The Ferryman’s Sovereign

By Manuel V. Derida, 1950

Reach not to your pocket for I want a sovereign and no more,

With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Don’t need your name for a sovereign is the price of my Oar,

With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Many a men and women have tried to cross this path before,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

They cried and wailed, “Oh, Ferryman take us to safety’s shore”
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Away from my boat or you shall taste my oar’s sway…away,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Weep not and curse not what you have in life always yearned for,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Favoring the yearning of the flesh you’ve neglected that of the soul,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Man laments and bemoans the blows of fate only when he is forlorn,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Alas, neither I, and nor you, know what the gods for us have in store,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Without a sovereign and no more in this place you’ll toil evermore,
With a breath so old announced the Ferryman.

Art by Sardine a.k.a Mike V. Derderian (2014). 

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By Mike V. Derderian

“Ahla we sahla.”

“How are you Sami?”

“Fine. Zaman 3anak. What about you?”

“All is well. Drawing more and more.”

“Have a seat.”

“Thanks mano!”

“So what do you want to drink? How about ginger with lemon? It is quite good!”

This is how Sami Nazer, the owner of WIDE:SCREEN, and my friend greets me every time I pay him a visit. I try not to visit him a lot. Why? I always end up buying a comic book from his impressive and ever growing collection.

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You think this shelf is impressive. Wait until you see what the other shelves hold.

I have been meaning to write this blog post about Sami from a long time. Sami is an amazing friend. Let me give you a short background check about Sami – or at least a background check of what I know best about Sami.

Here we go:

One, he graduated from the American University of Beirut (A.U.B) with a degree in Graphic Design.

Two, he founded WIDE:SCREEN a couple of years ago.

Three, he is extremely cool under pressure.

Four, he is awesome.

Five, he knows his books and films.

Six, he gives great pieces of advice. Pieces of advice that I now listen to; or try to.

Seven, he is into photography.

Eight, he is a year younger from the founders of Samandal, a brilliant artsy comic book anthology that gets published in Lebanon. They went with him to the A.U.B.

9, he is a mean designer.

I met Sami four years ago. I met him when I walked into his place in hopes of selling advertising space for WAW Al Balad during my tenure as Managing Editor. It was sometime around 2009.

Launching WAW Al Balad, and producing it from scratch was an amazing experience – plus having an office in Al Balad Theatre was awesome. I produced four issues before moving on.

Now, back to my dear friend Sami. Sami did not place advertisements of his establishment in WAW Al Balad. Instead he came to the three day Marilyn Monroe screening I held at Al Balad Theatre.

Since I got to know him more Sami printed event posters for me, part of a project I was working on – a project that I am still working on it between jobs; made sure I had my fix of comic books; and remained a good friend, who I like to visit every now and then.

Of course going to his place in Swefieh opposite Al Wakalat Street is not just about buying comics. I really enjoy the conversations we have about design, illustrations, comics, his time at the A.U.B, and my background as an English literature student among many things.

How can you not like a man who gifted you Andy Riley’s The Book of Bunny Suicides when he paid your home a visit? To hell with plants; bottles of wine – I meant grape juice; and sweets. Bring me books.

So the answer is no you can’t. Then again maybe he was sending me some hidden messages.

“Here is a book to give you some ideas Mike!” No, he didn’t say that!

By the way Sami, if you are reading this, I really enjoyed it. Hopefully I will be able to produce something as good. Note to self: Take a bromance photograph with Sami the next time you visit him and post it at the end of this blog post.

At WIDE:SCREEN, and thanks to Sami, I finally got to meet Tank Girl, created by Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin.

Tank Girl started kicking the world’s ass back in 1988. I was nine years old. Back then I was reading Mickey, Majed, Tarazan, Superman, Batman, Tin Tin , Tin Tin (the magazine), Lucky Luke and The Magic Carpet anthologies (a collection of translated Franco-Belg comics).

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Tank Girl is kick ass and totally un-pc. She would  most probably hate 2013. Then again she wasn’t that much into the 90s either.

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I bought all four Tank Girl collections in chronological order. I bought a part every time I finished one.  

I now have the complete re-released anthology. I still have one book to buy. Actually a couple of books come to think of it.

These photographs were taken when Ibraheem Alawamleh and I paid Sami a visit.

I called Sami and told him that Ibraheem and I wanted to pass by for coffee. By the way Ibraheem happens to be a very talented cartoonist. He does crazy cartoon mash-ups with very slick lines.

Once we got there Sami ordered coffee for us and we started talking about comics. As our coffee arrived, a man and a woman entered the place and Sami had to look after them.

Ibraheem and I spent the following minutes going through the titles that Sami had just brought in. Nothing beats talking to another cartoonist about the art of cartooning and good comic books.

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Chew, written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, is one of the awesome titles that you can find at Sami’s place. The idea of a detective solving crimes by munching on dea … you know what? Get the book and read it. I never inserted spoilers in my movie reviews and I am not going to start now ;-}) 

The best part about going to WIDE:SCREEN is how Sami allows you to go through the titles he has at ease.Whenever I found myself facing a last copy that was neatly wrapped, Sami without hesitation would tell me to tear through the wrapper.

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If you get to visit Sami make sure you pick up The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite, written by Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance), and illustrated by Gabriel Bá. It is one of those comics that you have to read.  

The moment you enter WIDE:SCREEN you will find yourself leafing through titles from different comic book imprints. You will find yourself turning into the same eight year old, who stood facing a kiosk in Down Town Amman, where hard and soft cover comic books were hung on a laundry line to entice potential buyers.

At Sami’s place you will find Japanese, French, British and American comics. A Japanese comic book of course is referred to as Manga.

Nothing beats reading a well-written and a beautifully illustrated French comic book. If it weren’t for Sami’s place I would have never read the beautifully layered The Professor’s Daughter by Joann Sfar and Emmanuel Guibert; or the surreal You Are There by Jean-claude Forest and Jacques Tardi. My love of French comics dates back to the first time I read Hergé’s Tin Tin, at my cousin’s place. You should try some!

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I am not that into Manga. I cannot say that I have read enough to say I love it or hate, but you can give me Osamu Tezuka, Yoshihiro Tatsomi, Shirow Masmune and Hideshi Hino comics any time of the day. You know what forget that first sentence. I fuckin love it!  

So there we were , three guys  who are into comics, art books and cinema, sharing our thoughts; and here I am sharing with you a friend I so much cherish; a friend who can spend hours talking to you about art, comics, illustration, design and film.

Note to self: Don’t forget the bromance photograph with Sami.
Photographs by Mike V. Derderian (Sardine). 

Tank Girl Cover Art by Jamie Hewlett

So my last Brick in the Head post was in August 28. Almost two months and a half ago – wow I can do math!

I apologize for not blogging as much as I should but I have been going through a new phase in my career: The freelance artist/illustrator/writer and translator phase.

It is a lifestyle that has a different pace than that of a full-time job. May I add a lot of discipline.

At the moment I finishing a 20 page short comic that I was commissioned to do. Will share the details on that one soon. I also have an art project ahead. So in a way I am gaining more momentum as a comic artist.

So I am up illustrating and I felt like sharing the following blog post about the process of making a giant robot suit by the one and only Stan Winston School of Character Arts [press on the magical sentence to enter an amazing world of movie magic].

The video that comes in seven parts is beyond inspiring :-})

“Jump in, create art, create characters. Create robots. Create whatever it is that makes your heart sing. Start today. What are you waiting for?” Matt Winston, son ofvisual effects legend Sam Winston, summarizes creativity, the creative process and art in a nutshell.

So if you have the time watch the building process. They are seven amazing videos.

In  addition to inspiring me watching this video also made me sad because a lot of people out there – evil minded people – don’t create; they just kill and destroy everything that our humanity stands for: Creativity and love of life.

So from this Homo sapien I wish you all a good evening  … good evening all … good evening my world!

P.S: Expect more blog posts sometime soon ;-})