Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gallery 1988's "Is This Thing On? 2" Art Show

There's something inherently relaxing about coming home from work or school (depending on your age...and whether you're working and / or going to school), turning on the telly, and imbibing the meta-shenanigans of Community, partaking in the public access-tinged weirdness of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, or listening to Bad Hair Day and belting out the words to "Amish Paradise." Comedy is something many, many, many people around the world appreciate, but it's an undeniably personal and subjective pleasure. It's with this perspective in mind that I'd like to share with you my favorite prints from Gallery 1988's second annual "Is This Thing On" show. Note: As of this writing all of the prints below are still available for purchase.

"Eat It" Art Print
Alex Pardee
16" x 20" - Numbered
$35 - Limited to 200

It's a neck-and-neck race between "Eat It" and "Amish Paradise," but I think "Eat It" may be my favorite song in Yankovic's discography and, correspondingly, Alex Pardee's identically titled print was one of my favorite posters in this year's show. As is often the case with Alex's work, the design has been meticulously constructed and is at once incredibly amusing ("Hah! Weird Al's head is a donut!"), while also being incredibly disturbing ("Oh my god! Weird Al's DNA has been spliced with that of a donut!") as he incorporates a little bit of that old Cronenbergian body horror...with hilarious consequences. Sorry, I've always wanted to write that last bit and finally saw my chance. Pardee's "Eat It" art print is currently available through Gallery 1988's online storefront for $35. The print measures 16" x 20" and is limited to an edition of 200. To learn more about Alex Pardee, be sure to visit his Eye Suck Ink website, Zerofriends store, and follow him on Twitter @alexpardee.

"Mr. Show" Art Print
Darin Shock (State of Shock Studios)
18" x 24" - Signed and Numbered
$40 - Limited to 75

I'm kind of shocked this is still available. I guess Mr. Show has a smaller fan-base than a lot of other comedies or comedians, but still! Darin did an amazing job here recreating so many of the memorable moments from the series, including Taint Magazine (seriously, you need to watch the "It's Insane, This Guy's Taint" sketch right now), Ronnie Dobs, Dickie Crickets, hell, even Gurgles the Bong (of Drugachusetts fame) makes an appearance! Mr. Shock managed to fill every available millimeter of this poster with show references, in-jokes, and sketch premises so strange they never should have worked, but they do, and it's a beautiful thing to behold. And for someone who's been a fan of Darin's work for a while now, I can honestly say this is his best stuff yet. I'm really impressed! Here's Darin on his process and inspiration (taken from the State of Shock Studios blog):
"I got out my DVDs and a sketchbook and spent hours / days / months trying to narrow down what I would depict in this design. There's a balance between what should be on the poster and what works better visually. Some classic characters simply weren't visually interesting (Dream of a Lifetime, Thrilling Miracles, etc.). It took a long time for me to commit to the design and composition. There were many things I had to unfortunately omit which deserved to be there (Cockring Warehouse, Bob the Streaker, Pre-Taped Call In Show, etc.). I knew I wanted (what I consider to be) every main cast member depicted once. I also tried to balance the number of Bobs vs. Daves. I wanted to incorporate some important objects from the show into the design as well. There weren't as many that worked well within the composition as I had hoped, so I had to throw in a few I didn't consider to be as important (Value Monkey, Kiddie Massage Cream, etc). You always want posters like this to be a certain "greatest hits" sort of tribute but sometimes things don't work out, plus sometimes you get selfish. Sarah Silverman wasn't a main cast member and some people may not agree, but one of my favorite lines from the show was Fran in Indomitable Spirit saying "I'm Fran and I'm a woman". Absolutely classic--had to be in there. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I could have easily done a series of these. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to do this one and I could go on all day...but I'll stop. A show of this magnitude deserves a poster of significance...I hope I did it some justice!"
I'd say he certainly did the show justice, wouldn't you? Darin Shock's "Mr. Show" art print is available through Gallery 1988 for $40. The print measures 18" x 24" and is limited to an edition of 75. To learn more about State of Shock Studios, head over to and be sure to visit the State of Shock Studios Facebook page.

"The Exploding Kind" Art Print
Clinton Reno
17" x 22" - Signed and Numbered
$40 - Limited to 53

I'm sure I've written this before, but for anyone who doesn't already know this, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is my all-time favorite film, meaning I'll pretty much buy anything even tangentially related to the movie. And it goes without saying that Peter Seller's performance, or more accurately performances, is one of the main reasons Dr. Strangelove is such a timeless, enjoyable, hilarious, and frightening experience. While that's reason enough for me to purchase this print, I'm sure others may need a bit more convincing, so here I go. What's better than one iconic film character? Why, two of course. Artist Clinton Reno, someone I wasn't really familiar with beyond his single Silver Screen Society contribution, has seen fit to not only render Seller's incomparable Dr. Strangelove, but to also include Seller's bumbling Inspector Clouseau. Yep, two great characters on one beautiful black and white print. What more could you want? Reno has also added a nice nod to both films / characters with a nice bit of wordplay in the background. It's a really fun poster in the classiest of ways. Clinton Reno's "The Exploding Kind" artwork is currently available from Gallery 1988 for $40. The poster is limited to an edition of 53 and measures 17" x 22". To find out more about Clinton Reno, I'd recommend visiting and following him on Twitter @mr_reno.

"Another One Rides the Bus" Art Print
Joshua Budich
12" x 24" - Numbered
$35 - Limited to 200

I'll post just about anything Joshua Budich does - I love the guy's work. His art tends to be on the more realistic side of things, and his prints are always loaded to the brim with characters. Case in point: Budich's "Another One Rides the Bus" is bursting with detail, while also offering us a nice "best of" look at the many roles (and costumes) Weird Al has donned throughout his career. In that way, "Another One Rides the Bus" is a totally appropriate follow-up to Reno's Peter Sellers-centric "The Exploding Kind," don't you think? There's a lot of history here, but I think my favorite part of Joshua's poster might be the epilepsy-inducing pants Weird Al is wearing while jamming on his accordion, which I believe were modeled after the pants Weird Al wore on Tom Snyder's The Tomorrow Show during his first televised appearance playing, you guessed it, "Another One Rides the Bus." Budich's "Another One Rides the Bus" art print is available through Gallery 1988 for $35. The print measures 12" x 24" and is limited to an edition of 200. For more info on the very talented Joshua Budich, head over to and follow him on Twitter at @jbudich.

"Where's My Chippy?" Art Print
Graham Erwin
18" x 24" - Numbered
$40 - Limited to 50

Finally, we come to perhaps the strangest comedic duo in existence, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. Graham Erwin's precise portrait captures the awkward, abnormal, homo-erotic undertones that run rampant through Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Graham's print includes shrimp and white wine, astronomical bodies, hot dogs, cell phones, and of course Chippy! In other words, all the things needed for a fun night with the Beaver Boys. This is one of those prints that really only a small contingent of folks will enjoy, but for fans of Tim and Eric this will be seen and understood as the masterpiece it is (and, well it should be). Graham Erwin's "Where's My Chippy?" art print is currently available through Gallery 1988's website for $40. The poster is limited to an edition of 50 and measures 18" x 24". You can visit, his Etsy store and follow him on Twitter @GrahamErwin to learn more about the artist.

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