Kill the Engine

Decapitated Dog's Head

By Michael Sieben

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I had planned on submitting a travel blog this week about a recent trip I took to Vancouver for an art show, but then I realized that this blog was going to go up on Halloween and I changed my mind. Because there's nothing really scary about Vancouver that I can think of. Well, excluding the Barrier Kult. Nevertheless I decided at the last minute to try and think of something more Halloweeny to write about. Luckily Domy Books was having an opening for their yearly Monster show on Saturday night. Thanks dudes.

I've written about Domy Books in this column before. It's a great art/comics/design/photography bookstore in Austin (and Houston) that also hosts art shows. My buddy Russell Etchen runs the store in Austin and does a really good job of keeping the community excited and engaged. The Monster show is a perfect example. Once a year he puts together this Halloween-themed show and invites butt loads of artists to contribute. It's a super loose, super inclusive, and super fun show. The only criteria for the work is that it be somehow inspired by the word "monster." For some artists this means working outside of their normal mode of operations to come up with something that fits in the show. Luckily for me, all I really draw is monsters so it's super easy for me to participate. But it also makes me feel a little stupid since I have to be honest with myself and face the fact that my work is basically operating on the intellectual level of a nine-year-old boy. Skulls and monsters. Super deep stuff. Good job, me.

This year's show had over 150 pieces in it, so it was kind of a lot to digest in one sitting. I showed up early and took a few photos of pieces that I thought were awesome for one reason or another. I was probably about halfway through my process when my ten-month-old son crapped his diaper and gave my wife and I the eye-rub sign to let us know that it was time to scoop some poop and head home. So if you happen to be one of the 150+ participating artists and your work isn't featured here, just convince yourself that it's because I didn't have time to take a photo of it, not because it was turdy. Here are the photos I shot before wiping poop off of my boy's buns.

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Matt Furie was kind of born for this type of show, too, I suppose. Always killing it.

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Michelle Devereux: "Hooters Elvira." I couldn't decide at first whether I loved this or hated it. I decided that I loved it. I think I just thought I might hate it since I'm married and I'm supposed to say that Hooters is gross and demeaning to women.

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Deth P. Sun is one of my favorite illustrators. His line work is very sure of itself, and his output is staggering.

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Bonnie Brenda Scott: "Fur Skull White." I like this piece but I don't like that it's a reminder that I can't grow a beard. It's hard to be taken seriously as an older skateboarder in this day and age without a beard. It's like not having a flannel and a beanie.

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Abi Daniel: "Day of the Night of the Fawn of the Dead." Pretty sure that's watercolor. Pretty sure that means Abi knows what she's doing. Not a lot of room for error with that medium.

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Rachel Niffenegger: "Blood Shot Brown Noser." Every college art professor I ever had told me I needed to learn how to loosen up. I never learned how. But I totally appreciate people who can just throw it down and see what happens. The small focused areas in this piece pop so much harder with the chaos around it.

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Mel Kadel: "Ghostly." When I first saw this piece I thought, "Oh shit, somebody is biting Mel so hard. Bummer." But then I saw that this was Mel's piece and I forgave that person. Because they didn't exist.

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Josh Row: "Just Tryin' To Get There." This is a screen print on wood. I only mention that because it means that Josh is working harder than a lot of people. Get it Josh.

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Jeremy Burks: "Motherfucking Minotaur." Russell told me this was colored pencil on wood. That seems crazy to me. In a good way. I like this drawing but I don't really like the title. When I see cuss words in art titles it makes me think of leather jackets for some reason.

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Josh Dister: "Stupid Happy." I like when people are able to convincingly make work that looks like it was made by a child or somebody with a head injury. I also just realized (from referencing the show's price list) that this thing is only $20. Hey Russell, put a red dot next to this one. I got 20 on it.

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Jeremy DePrez: "You are Here, They are There." This one needs a little bit of explanation.

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The star represents Domy Books, and the white circles represent the locations of sex offenders who are living in the vicinity. I don't know how large of an area the red circle represents, but no matter what… uh… gross.

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Russell Etchen: "Busted In Austin." This makes way more sense if you've ever seen an issue of Busted. Busted is a weekly paper filled with mugshots of people who have been arrested during the previous week. It's terribly depressing. But it's also kind of fun when you find your friends in it. (Sorry for the terrible photo, Russell.)

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Cecilia Phillips: "Cow Head." If you do it right, you can even draw a decapitated cow's head so that it looks beautiful. Nice work. (I'm not being sarcastic, this is nice.)

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Ryan Rhodes: "Dead Dog." If you do it right, you can even draw a decapitated dog's head… oh wait, I already used that joke.

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Johnny Negron and Jesse Balmer: Untitled. This kind of reminded me of...

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Those marching hammers in The Wall. In a good way. Do high school kids still watch The Wall and try to pretend they know what the hell is going on?

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This is what I submitted for the show. I debated whether or not I should include this in the blog. Obviously I came to the decision that I should include it. Why? Because I'm a sad man searching for acceptance. Duh.

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I took a few photos of the room with people in it so you could get a sense of the scale of the pieces.

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And so you could see what types of jeans people are wearing in Austin right now.

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Also, please note that I was home before 8 o'clock so these photos aren't very representative of the show's attendance rate. I'm pretty sure by 10 PM there were way more drunk people not buying art in the building.

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Movie Review: The Toxic Avenger

The Toxic Avenger is a prequel to The Goonies which explains to the viewer how Sloth got all fucked up in the first place. This movie is considered a cult classic, which basically just means that dudes who have had very little experience having sex think that it's hilarious. Personally I think that this movie is stupid and gross. But I used to secretly watch Gilmore Girls, so I'm definitely not the target audience for this type of crap.

Next Week: More of the same bullshit. But in Canada. Movie Review: Strange Brew

Previously - Americans Are Stupid

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