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Lou Anders
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 06:46 am:   

Hi all,
Just a quick post to say that the website for Argosy's sister magazine, International Studio, is now up.
http://www.internationalstudio.net/
International Studio, of which yours truly is as Associate Editor, is a delux format art magazine that blends classic and contemporary art from a wide variety of mediums, and probably of special interest to genre and comic fans.
Check it out!
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 11:23 am:   

And hey, the fairy on the cover is totally Minnie Driver. Yeah babee.
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Theodora Goss
Posted on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 03:46 pm:   

Hi Lou!

I don't know if this is the place to ask, but in both the first issue of International Studio and on the Coppervale site I've seen references to a philosophy, or way of thinking, or something, that James Owen calls the Romantic Underground. I'm interested in whether anyone has written about this in more detail. The term is fascinating, and I would love to know more. I have an idea as to what a Romantic Underground might be, and would love to know if it matches what you (plural) mean by it. If there's an essay somewhere and I've missed it, my apologies and please point me in the right direction!
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Lou Anders
Posted on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 05:35 pm:   

Hi Theodora,
we actually did a panel at ArmadilloCon in Austin titled The Romantic Underground, but this is definitely a James question. Let me see if I can get him to respond here.
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Theodora Goss
Posted on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 01:32 pm:   

Thanks, Lou! At his convenience. It sounds like a panel I would have been very interested in. Do you know who was on it? Best, Dora
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James A. Owen
Posted on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 02:11 pm:   

I'll be popping on later to provide an answer to Theodora's question - it's too fun an answer to give it short shrift, and besides, it's an interesting coincidence that Theodora Goss is the one who asked the question.

More later -

James
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James A. Owen
Posted on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 12:39 pm:   

To Theodora Goss and all other interested parties:

The Romantic Underground is a philosophy. It's not a 'movement', although there is a group of people loosely affiliated with the RU's stated ideals, primarily through some affiliation with Coppervale as a whole.

The only formal identfiable Romantic Underground is through the projects produced at Coppervale; thus, people will drift in and out of its sphere of association. However, there can be projects produced elsewhere that can be considered 'Romantic Underground' without having any connection whatsoever to Coppervale.

It was in realizing this latter point that I began to define the boundaries of what was and wasn't RU.

It was, in some ways, like Ray Bradbury's game of 'What belongs to Whom':

(Uncle Ray is most definitely of The Romantic Underground. So was Walt Disney. Steve Jobs is sometimes, as is Tim Burton. Orson Welles was, although some people think he left after his early successes. He didn't. He was RU to his death.)

I had looked at other artistic movements and groupings, and in a way wanted to establish a similar aesthetic: The Pre-Raphaelites; the short-lived four-artist Studio of my personal artistic heroes, Barry Windsor-Smith, Bernie Wrightson, Jeffrey Jones, and Mike Kaluta; the 'New Romantics', Eric Kimball, Robert Gould, and Windsor-Smith; The Inklings. My friend Paul Chadwick was part of a group in art school that consisted of Thomas Kinkade, James Gurney, Tim Burton, and John Laesseter. That's a hell of a group.

All these inspired what I wanted to pursue as a philosophy, to better establish a broader tone in which to present my own work to the world.

I finally found something closer than any other example in my own family. Francis Davis Millet was my Grandfather's cousin (called Uncle Frank by this side of the family). Frank was a war correspondent as a teenager in Europe, writing for a London paper. He translated Tolstoy. He went to art school in Brussels. He was close friends and roommates with John Singer Sargent. He was married in the US, and his best man was Mark Twain. He was one of the principal designers of the 1893 Columbian Exposition, and with that same group, went on to found the American Academy of Art in Rome. He was on his way back to America to settle his affairs to become the first director of the Academy when he, and his best friend, and aide to President Cleveland, died on the Titanic.

Uncle Frank lived his life like a comet in flight. He absorbed the old while embracing the new. He'd have approved of my adding computer color to a line drawing made with a crowquill; he'd have loved a high-tech studio built in an old church in Arizona; and he'd have been right beside me in trying to create magazines whose stated intention is to revolutionize every field in which they're launched.

That's the best answer I can give right now. That's what The Romantic Underground means to me.

Oh, and just so you know, there is a running file at Coppervale, a 'need to be aware' file of people places and events that I consider to resonate with The RU. After seeing the website several months ago, I added the name 'Theodora Goss' to the list.

James
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Theodora Goss
Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 08:45 pm:   

James,

Many thanks for the explanation. I've been reading Tom Shippey's latest book on Tolkien, in which he considers why the Inklings were essentially rejected by the modernists (both critics and writers). What I take from his explanation is that they were also presenting a response to modernity, but a response that was in some sense opposite to what writers like Joyce and Eliot were presenting. Rather than expressing the ugliness and unreality of modern life, of which they were entirely aware, they were trying to find an alterantive, a way to reconnect with what they considered beautiful and real.

I mention this because it seems to me, as someone who studies literature and consequently reads a fair amount of criticism, that postmodernism, which has its roots in the modernism that rejected the Inklings and others of their ilk, is just about played out. It seems tired. And I've been wondering, for a while now, what will replace it. The Romantic Underground sounds like the beginning, or part, of a countermovement, or perhaps more simply and accurately "what will come next." All the better that it seems rooted in an alternative modernism that was written out of the textbooks. It sounds both exciting and very much needed.

Sorry for the long comment. I hope you'll write about this further, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the philosophy manifests itself in the Coppervale publications. Plus I think Uncle Frank sounds fabulous!

(How nice to be in a file somewhere, like being a spy!)

Best wishes,
Dora
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Richard Parks
Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 09:30 am:   

"Romantic Underground." I like it. Maybe it should be a movement after all; "Interstitial" and "New Weird" just aren't working for me.

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