Oh, hello. I didn’t see you there. I was reading my Penguin Classics version of Pride and Prejudice.
You see, the book was about naked women in bowler hats and that’s just what I’m in the mood for today. No? That’s not what it’s about. Shh, don’t tell Jaclyn from Work of Art!
So, last time on the Miles show, Miles was tired, Miles was hamming up how tired he was, Miles showed off his understanding of human frailty by fashioning two gigantic assholes out of concrete. He won, which means he again has immunity for the following week, and Trong went home for his four-computer “fuck you, reality TV” salute.
At home in the Beaverhausen, the other contestants discuss Miles and his two-win sweep so far. Nicole wants to win, but she also understands why Miles took it this time. John, though, is like, “What do I have to do to win? Sleep in the gallery or make an asshole out of concrete…?” I know, right? By the way, I think John is a total cutie. He’s got a sweet smile and the way he talks just a liiiiitle bit too slow is adorable.
Remember how I was all like, “Whoa, China’s hair is short, OMG” last week? I was dying to know if she’d actually done the chop or had somehow pinned up her hair to look like a chop. It was the latter! I know, no one else cares. But I’m impressed with how well that pinning was done. If I’d tried that, it would have been pure disaster.
Anyway, China is standing in the gallery in front of six huge question marks suspended from the ceiling. The contestants are overly gaspy about those question marks when they roll in. Before anything more is said, China has the artists pick a tube of paint each from a box in front of her. I can’t tell if they get the chance to root around and decide on what they want or if it’s a random choice thing, but Miles gets to do it first. He chooses “monster.” He thinks that the challenge will be to incorporate a monster concept into six gigantic Helvetica question marks, and he decides that this task is dreadfully simple. Eyeroll.
Judith goes next, and she chooses “love.” Nao chooses “good versus evil,” as does Ryan. Nicole and Erik both choose “adventure.” Jaime and Mark both end up with “immortal.” Abdi is the other “monster” in the bunch. Peregrine and John are both going to do “time travel.” Jaclyn also gets “love.” Jaclyn’s pissed that she got the same topic as Judith, as she absolutely does NOT want to work with her again.
Bravo gave me even fewer show shots to work with this week. Like, nothing. And Hulu’s flash was shitting my bed. Sorry!!
So, what the heck is this all about? They all walk behind the question marks and…holy shit, it’s artwork for classic books!! OH MY FUCKING GOD!!! I’m sorry, it’s not actually that exciting, I just get carried away. The group giggles excitedly, and Jaime Lynn is particularly clappy. Remember, she’s an illustrator. She should have this in the bag!
Phew, it’s not a group challenge, like Jaclyn feared. Each artist is tasked with designing a new cover for each of the following classic works (to be paired rather obviously with the paint tube topics already chosen): Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, Dracula, Alice in Wonderland, The Time Machine, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. (If you’re good, I’ll share with you a classic essay I wrote in 7th grade about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Don’t worry, it’s short. And it might make you pee your pants.) What’s particularly difficult about this challenge is the short deadline they’re under–they have just the rest of today and one hour tomorrow to finish their work.
China trots out a guest speaker for the group, Kathryn Court, the president and publisher for Penguin Books. Ms. Court explains to the group how Penguin’s been striving to blow your average book shopper’s socks off with cover art. The artists are told to distinguish their piece from everything else in the marketplace. And…that’s about it. Oh yeah, and the winner of tonight’s challenge won’t win immunity–but their piece will be used as cover art for a Penguin publication nationwide! Erik is excited to have the chance to show off his art to his family, his girlfriend, his niece, and his dogs. I don’t even know what that means. But doesn’t he look a little like an old, used up Haley Joel Osment? (Thanks to my bestie, Sue, for pointing that out! Now I can’t NOT see Haley Joel when I look at Erik.)
I see contrived artists…
The artists head out to an art supply store with a budget of $100 each. Ryan regurgitates the label off his paint tube when he tells us that he’s going to focus on the concepts of good versus evil for his piece. Great idea, Ry!
Jacyln pushes away the sandwiches that people are offering to her as she tells us how she’s seen the Pride and Prejudice movie but hasn’t read the book. She talks about it being a love story that’s a little tragic. Um, wait a second. I didn’t read the book NOR did I see the movie (and I wrote a 75-page thesis on chick lit for my master’s!!!), but even I know that tragedy isn’t a big factor in Pride and Prejudice. It’s a funny book about a cranky man and a headstrong woman and some family, right? I think Jaclyn’s thinking of a totally different book. This is going to be fun! Oh, and she thinks men and women will be equally drawn to a silhouette of a woman on the cover a book, so that’s what she’ll do. My lips are set in a grim line on her behalf.
John wants to keep his design simple but vibrant, something you can see from across the room. He’s also, unfortunately, wearing a Canadian tuxedo. But it’s okay, he’s still adorable.
Mark gets right to work on his piece (Dracula) by shooting photos of Ryan standing menacingly in a doorway. Mark is confident about this challenge because he already does pretty commercial art. This should be an easy win for him, then, right? Anyway, he wants to represent Dracula in a young and modern way, hence Ryan’s emo haircut taking center stage.
Miles, of course, just HAS to do things differently. And awkwardly, with maximum overthought. He supposedly feels guilty about designing a cover for a book he’s never read. So he times himself reading one page and does the math to guess how long it’d take him to read the whole thing. The answer is “four hours,” so Miles retreats to his fort to read Frankenstein for a bit. Some of the other artists kinda can’t believe it, but…it’s Miles. What do you expect? *I* expect contrived oddity. And look! I got it!
Jaime is really into this challenge, working on a HUGE watercolor piece on the floor. She washes black and red paints all over in a huge, dreamy landscape and talks about the Christian values that get tweaked when one talks about immortality (her book is Dracula, remember). She’s intense about this challenge, especially since she nearly went home last week.
Nao dresses herself up as an 1800s dude for a self-portrait for her piece. Because that’s what Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is all about–Nao. Right? Didn’t you learn that in 7th grade English class like I did?
Fine, you’ve been good, here’s your prize. Here’s my essay, describing my opinion on the difference between the book and some old black and white movie we had to watch in class. Note that I did NOT read the book as assigned, fell asleep during the movie, and forgot about the assignment until my BFF reminded me of it in homeroom the morning it was due. Hence, this masterpiece, written in HUGE cursive to take up the allotted two pages.
“There are many differences between the Hollywood version and the real book. One that sticks out in my mind is the addition of Dr. Jekyll’s and Mr. Hyde’s “loves.” I don’t think it is very good to change the book because it is a classic and it should hardly be changed at all. I know Hollywood was trying to make it more interesting for the public showings, but it has its own interestingness and charm and I think it should be left alone. In the book, they hardly put any women in at all. I got very confused by this, and I believe it was bad to add major woman characters.”
(I got an F.) (I’m now an editor with an M.A. in English.)
And since we haven’t seen a photo in a while, here’s a little something that showed up on page 1 for an
image search on Jerry Saltz. You’re welcome.
Anyway, this recap isn’t about me, it’s about John and his time machine. More specifically, since his art is usually about working through his own issues or, like, whatever’s going on in his life at the moment, he wants to make a time machine that looks like something he’d want to ride in. He paints pinks and purples and reds and blues on individual scraps of paper or canvas, and then he cuts them into pieces and layers them. I like it! But I don’t see a time machine…
Peregrine’s working on her own Time Machine piece. She’s first prepping a canvas to look like wood, then starts painting little outlines of things all over it, wallpaper-style. She says something about the book being Victorian and her design being Victorian, but I’m not quite following her.
Meanwhile, Abdi is taking off his shirt to photograph himself in hulking monster poses. He’ll use those photographs to help him see a pose for a sculpture he wants to make…which he’ll then photograph for his final piece. I’m intrigued. And I’m also impressed with how well Abdi sees the human form, how he captures posture. I am a great doodler, but I’ve never been able to really draw a lifelike-looking human form. It’s always a stiff posture that doesn’t work. Abdi doesn’t have that problem. I’m also being inspired for my own pieces for my next show (in 2012, don’t get excited).
Jacyln sets up her photo shoot in the bathroom, telling us that she’s actually shy. Star-Twat is shy, huh? Anyway, she sets up in this tiny bathroom, sheet around her waist, bowler hat in one hand, hair down her back. Because that screams Mr. Darcy to you, doesn’t it?
Judith starts in right away with how she’s a fine artist, not a commercial artist, that she doesn’t think and create on command like that, blah blah blah. She really thinks she’s above all of this, but she still deigns to do the challenge anyway. She decides do use her “fingerprint approach” to create floral patterns for the work. (Previously, she’s done more abstract-ish works with dragging her fingers down a canvas. ) (I guess that was so easy to explain that I didn’t need to bother.)
Mark helps Nicole by taking a photo of her draped over a chair. When she thanks him, he snarkily says, “Pressing a button is really hard.” I hate guys like that. Just shut up. At least she thanked you. I’d be more pissed if she didn’t! But I’m an over-thanker.
Erik’s piece is on Alice in Wonderland. It’s fortuitous that he got that book, since it’s the only one of the six that he’s actually read AND he’s got art from it on his arm (one of the drab gray tats in his sleeve). Nao craps on Haley Joel’s portrait of Alice because she looks old, and I decide that Nao’s just jealous that others can create art without having to have a schtick about it.
“I see bitches who are upset that they’re not the center of attention…”
Miles emerges from his reading hole and tells everyone how GOOD Frankenstein is. He kinda can’t shut up about it. He gets right to work on fashioning an electrical fire atop a piece of wood, citing as inspiration a scene in the book where Frankenstein (or his monster? which one?) watches a log get hit by lightning. Miles doesn’t really care about the art–he just wants to play with fire.
“Fire! heh heh FIRE FIRE!”
Simon arrives to see how everyone’s making it work. He says he’s “keen” to know how they’re getting along. Oh, you foppish dandy, you. Simon starts with John. He loves John’s piece so far, but he doesn’t quite see it as a time machine, per se. John agrees, it needs a little somethin’-somethin’ to make it better, but he hasn’t figured it out yet. Simon just smiles and says, “Sank you!” He’s starting to remind me of the Donger.
Peregrine is next, and she’s very quiet and weird as Simon queries her. Does she feel like she’s conveying the spirit of the book? “Mm hmm,” she nods. Will readers be drawn to it instantly? “Hmm.” Will the judges love it? “…I don’t know!” Ugh, moving on.
To Jacyln! Please, Jaclyn, tell us more about the strippers in Pride and Prejudice, and the tragic love drama we all know it to be! Simon asks if she’s read the book, and she’s like, “Oh, I read the synopsis, I’m good.” Miles and Peregrine are caught laughing. The editors are having fun, too, playing funny, clunky clarinet or oboe tones behind Jaclyn as she tries to explain to Simon the font she’ll eventually use. “You know, modern. Like, classic, but modern.” I hope she’s just having a brain fart and isn’t that dumb. Oh, then she tells us about Elizabeth and DARBY in the confessional, and I know it’s a lot less likely that it’s just a brain fart.
Simon visits Mark, who has a crappy Twilighted version of Ryan on his PC. I hate it. Then he shows Simon his second idea, which is a dark forest overlooking Ryan, who’s peeking out from a door. I like it, but ultimately, I feel it’s VERY commercial and probably not in a way that’s actually going to sell books. If that makes any sense at all.
Judith and Simon chat about her ideas, and he’s not into it. He doesn’t think the fingerprints will convey anything cool about P&P, and Judith’s other ideas about the lettering don’t jibe either. He’s just not feelin’ it, dawg. Judith is like, “I don’t care, it’s MY art, and I’ll do what I want.” Ooookay, that means you’ll lose.
(…And in the spirit of art, she wins. In the spirit of this competition reality show, she loses. Right? So, I guess she wins.)
More shots of artists doing art. Jaclyn is preening into a handheld mirror, and I don’t think it’s for a photo shoot. Miles is methodically eating some fruit and some milk. Judith is in his face, explaining to him that she’s intense (no shit) but he is too, and they’re both there, and that’s that. I don’t even try to follow. She reminds me of a cuckoo indexer I used to work with, Joel. I miss that guy sometimes.
“I see wrinkly nutjobs…”
Ryan’s finishing up his piece and, oh ya dummy, he spelled “Jekyll” wrong. (I will now never spell it wrong because of this show. I will always remember that it has two “l”s.) John mocks him because the book was RIGHT THERE. Miles heads off to find a place to start his fire. Since his attempt to kill the power in the building for his art failed, he’s left to simply light his board on fire with Erik’s lighter. Boring.
Now it’s time for all the artists to pick on Judith. Jaclyn thinks her art just plain sucks–that fingerpainting isn’t art. Nicole makes excuses for Judith, basically saying, “She’s old and crazy.” Mark takes offense because Judith is pissing on commercial art, which is what he does. Mark seems to be pissy about everything though, so I won’t read too much into that.
We’re seeing very little of Jaime Lynn’s piece, which makes me sad. Is this some editing trickery, or is it just not compelling enough television? I really want to see more. Nicole’s not getting much play this time around, but that’s okay. She’s just designing a cookie box for her piece. Here, Barnes and Noble customer, your book is in a box with half a Ritz cracker. And it’s only $49.99! Aren’t you thrilled that this book that’s in the public domain and could be published for pennies is costing you so much? But it’s art!
Back at the Beaver House, the women are chillin’ while Judith goes a little crazy. She cuts out the letters of “Pride and Prejudice” and starts playing Text Twist with them. She’s laughing and laughing, but Nao and Nicole are kinda like, “hoooo-KAY.” Judith really has given up, it seems. Her plan is to go nutty with the lettering as her art.
The next day, Abdi’s feeling the heat. He hasn’t really done anything since he decided his photo-cum-sculpture-cum-photo didn’t work out. He opts to create a stencil of a man and spraypaint that as his piece. I guess he’s practicing by spraypainting a bunch of men onto one sheet of paper, but I actually really like THAT. Is it for sale on Bravotv.com?
Judith is plastering her piece with pastel lettering. She’s talking loudly to herself and pissing off Peregrine. Jaclyn is still worrying about her piece, claiming a lack of time as the most major reason it sucks. Yes, the problem is a lack of time.
In the little “We’re back! No, we’re not!” segment this week, Simon tells a brilliant joke about a dog that went to see Dr. Zhivago. His delivery is perfect, and I snort-laughed myself into a ball on my couch. That Simon! What a card!
Time for the gallery show! First we have to meet the judges again. It’s our usual trio of Jerry, Jeanne, and Bill. When China introduces Jeanne as a “gallerist” and Bill as a “gallery owner,” I say, “Panda, this is three weeks in a row now that you’ve pondered the difference between a gallerist and a gallery owner. Look it up for once, dummy!” (I’m a real bitch to myself.) So, in case you were wondering, a gallerist is a fancy new word for “art dealer.” More specifically, a gallerist is known to work with up and coming artists, to groom them for success.
There, The More You Know. Picture a star with a rainbow shooting out of its ass rocketing across my face as I look earnestly at you.
Oh, and the guest judge is Jonathan Santlofer, who is an author and artist. I had to Google him, too (so much work!), and it turns out he writes murder novels but they have something to do with art or something. Any fans on board want to chime in? He actually seems to be an esteemed guy.
Show show show!
Methinks Miles is taking style cues from Katie Holmes, no?
Miles’ piece shows up first, and I have to say that I love it. I haven’t totally understood Miles so far, and I won’t say I do now. But I DO like this piece. I think it captures the spirit of the novel (I haven’t read it) and is visually interesting without being obvious or clunky.
Nicole’s piece is a small black box affixed to a big blue board. On the black box is a white silhouette of a woman falling. Inside the box is half a cracker that says, “Eat me.” The judges like it, think it works as a piece of art but can’t see it as a book cover. I can! Just have the black box with the white woman on it as the cover, then have that cookie on the back cover! Easy! The only thing Nicole needs to fix is her spelling of Lewis Carroll.
“I’m a pretty cool old guy–I’m wearing skinny jeans.” “Oh yeah? Well, I’m wearing SNEAKERS.”
Ah, we finally get to see Jaime’s piece in its entirety. She looks so serious. Unfortunately, what started out looking awesome kinda ended up a blurry mess at the end. The reds and blacks in the watercolor were really cool, but something didn’t work for me with it. So much potential, Jaime. I think she’ll be safe, though. It won’t win, but it won’t send her home. The judges walk away without saying anything at all.
John’s Time Machine piece is next, and it’s really interesting! That big colorful blob was turned into a time machine by adding a teensy little hand-drawn ladder to the side. Like, “Here you go, sir, all aboard!” The typeface John created for the cover was also visually exciting. In all, if I saw that on a table at the bookstore, I might actually pick it up. The judges seem to like it too.
Nao’s piece is glossed over by the judges. They just stand there for a moment, then walk away. It’s just Nao holding up a lava lamp or something. Doesn’t convey good versus evil to me!
Abdi’s Frankenstein cover is next. He spray-painted a silhouette of a dude against a big red splotch, and then he played with spray paint for the author’s name. It’s interesting, and again, I’d like to be caught reading that edition of that book. But I don’t feel it’s a winner.
The judges have a lot to say as they look at Peregrine’s piece. They seem to enjoy picking out all the elements within the wallpaper pattern, like teddy bears and sailboats and such. The judges joke about The Little Mermaid, and I feel bad. Surely, there’s a reason Peregrine put all this crap on here. Again, Google and Wikipedia to the rescue. And actually, she may not be far off with this approach (flowers/crabs/etc. are actually part of the plot!), but the concepts just aren’t conveyed in the right context. Peregrine does not feel confident and knows John’s is much better.
Ryan’s piece is a painting of three men’s faces, each with different expressions. It’s dark and scary. It’s not poorly done, but I’m not sure about the “good” part of the good versus evil concept coming through. And it’s not striking. But I don’t dislike it. I’m sure he’s safe.
Jaclyn’s mess is up next. It’s just a boring, washed out, wispy watercolory painting of nude Jaclyn with that stupid fucking hat. The judges take this time to point out that the book cover designs aren’t doing enough with the titles of the books. Santlofer agrees with Bill who says that the art should always service the book title. (Oh, so hard to hold back on making a blowjob joke! There, now I don’t have to, because it’s already done.) Jaclyn wrote the title teeny tiny at the bottom in her “I don’t know, modern” typeface, spelling “Austen” wrong—with an i.
I like Erik’s piece, though it’s a little sloppy and Alice looks a little scary. He made the cover into a giant playing card, juxtaposing Alice’s face with the Mad Hatter. His typeface is a curly handwriting-ish face that works pretty well with the piece AND with the book. I would actually consider his to be more towards the top, except that the brown doo-doo smeared all over the piece makes it drab.
Next is Judith’s mess. She basically lettered “Pride and Prejudice” backwards in pastels over top the crappy fingerpainting mums she was working on before. To me, it’s pretty obvious what the title is saying, but the judges are either genuinely dumb or they’re hamming it up for the camera as they ponder what “Edirp and Ecidujerp” could possibly mean. IT’S NOT THAT HARD.
Finally, Mark’s Dracula piece. He ended up using that second design he showed Simon, with some tweaks. So it’s emo-Ryan peeking out from a doorway, with blood dripping down the page above him, one drip forming the base of the D in “Dracula.” I think it looks like a crappy young adult novel. I like the blood dripping down to form the D. But when I watched the first time, I thought the blood dripping was actually forming a silhouette of a city skyline above, which was pretty cool—definitely modernizes things a bit. (But it’s not, it’s just drippy blood.) Hell, Mark could have even done it as a castle instead of a city. But overall, eh on that. (Also, the blood and the word “Dracula” are two different reds, which bugs me.)
I don’t know how you do it, but when China calls the artists back for the crit, I count on either hand which side the artists are on—winner on the right hand, losers on the left. China calls John (winner), Judith (loser), Peregrine (loser), Mark (winner—ugh), and Jaclyn (loser). The rest are safe.
John’s crit is first. Saltz likes how the time machine looks like a futuristic head. Bill loves the action and movement in the typeface, while Santlofer loves the widdle-baby ladder. Peregrine nods, she loves John’s piece.
Judith is up next. China immediately busts on the piece by asking what language it’s in. Judith has pretty much given up at this point and she’s like, “Fuck you, it’s Pride and Prejudice backwards, I needed to make it my own, I hate commercial art, nyah.” Santlofer is like, “It’s really not a good thing to make your reader feel stupid.” Judith says, “I’m a fine artist, nyah.” And Saltz is like, “Oh, so you’re special compared to everyone else.” Jeanne lets the backwards lettering go and instead picks apart how drab the pink pastel is. And she’s right, the piece just looks dirty.
Mark’s Dracula is praised for how commercial it is, since the challenge was totally commercial. They think Ryan’s emo-pose in the doorway is erotic. (Ick, not to me!) The judges think it’s a great start to something great, though, and then they move on.
To Jaclyn. Oh, Jaclyn. She thinks it’s great that she got Pride and Prejudice because it contains the stories of “morally ambiguous characters.” WHAT?! There is NO ambiguity to Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy! Their morals are firm and intact! Again, I haven’t read the book, but even I know this is totally wrong. The judges don’t seem to care that she got the spirit of the book wrong, and they instead pick apart the fact that she didn’t make it MORE slutty. Like Saltz says, she backed off. She could have done a nude photograph and done better for the challenge.
Oh, and it’s spelled “Austen.” I cringe when China points this out, because Jacyln immediately says, without any sincerity, “Oh gosh, I’m so embarrassed.” Like a robot might say it. China hammers her on it, and I think it’s precisely because Jaclyn wasn’t sincere. Finally, China asks Judith to critique Jaclyn’s work, and she thinks the paint application wasn’t skilled. Burn.
Finally, Peregrine. Saltz deems her piece as a complete failure, at least as far as book covers are concerned. He thinks it’s interesting and beautiful but has nothing to do with the book. And now that I’ve read a synopsis of the book, I have to think Peregrine is biting her lip a little here to not back-sass Saltz. The flowers are actually an integral part of the story, jerk! (Seriously, read the summary on Wikipedia if you don’t already know what the book’s really about.)
Back in the lounge, while the judges deliberate, the artists discuss the crit. Jaclyn and her Botoxed forehead are crying about how hard they were questioning her. She thinks they were just critiquing her that hard to make her better. Actually, no, they were doing it because you sucked. The other four artists in the room seem to know that, and they just sit back and watch Jaclyn cry.
By the way, I’m a little annoyed that the judges have anything to say about the typography and graphic design these guys did. I really wish the artists had just focused on the art, and then the Penguin design monkeys could do the rest. Then again, I think it was typeface that sealed the winner’s fate, so I guess I shouldn’t complain.
So, who won? JOHN! His Futuristic Pineapple Head with Ladder takes it and will become a Penguin Book for sale across the country! Yahoo! I’ve been thinking about his book cover all week and think I’ll pick up the book this weekend. I think it’s awesome. John’s excited because his dad’s a librarian-historian, and this is just such an honor. I’m teary-eyed for him.
But who goes home? Well, the judges hated that Jaclyn did a middle-school art class figure drawing, and they weren’t a fan of Peregrine’s wallpaper. But they really took to heart the big “fuck you” Judith gave ‘em with Edirp and Ecidujerp, so she’s going home.
Next week, we get to see some shocking pieces, as the artists meet Andres Serrano. (Note, when I Googled him, “Andres Serrano piss Christ” is the first suggestion it gives me as I type.) So, the artists will be challenged to create their own shocking art. I hope Jacyln goes home next week, because she can’t seem to break free from this “shooting naked pictures of herself” theme that is so obvious AND is so obviously not working for her. I LOL at the last clip of the preview, which is China Chow and Andre Serrano watching Nao play with a bag of shit in her lap. “Ah, but I don’t smell anything!” comments Andre. Come back!