We have a genius artist in our midst in Seattle, beloved internationally, who started in graphic novels but whose paintings have been avidly collected, his imagery made into hot-selling Japanese toys, and those art-work has been animated. Jim Woodring was a co-recipient of the highly lauded United States Artist Fellowship (2006, with collaborator Bill Frisell) and then in 2008 became an Artist Trust recipient for Washington State Artists. He also had exhibitions in Australia and France last year. And he benefits Seattle by having called it home for a very long time, for many different reasons, but mostly because his work kicks ass.
Beyond that, Woodring has been a source of encouragement and inspiration to a couple of entire generations of younger cartoonists, painters, illustrators, and “outsider” artists who admire his ability to create impeccably rendered artwork that pulls you in and hammers open a third eye to your subconscious. He hosts a local artists group (Friends of the Nib) that has been helping other artists get up to snuff on their craftsmanship autonomously, and giving them camaraderie in the midst of a world plagued by bad computer graphics and terrible commercial “art.”
The mighty Mr. Woodring will be at the Fantagraphics store in Georgetown this Saturday, May 22 at 7 PM to show a very special slide presentation from his latest work of book-collected brilliance, Weathercraft. It’s Woodring’s first graphic novel in many years (he has been getting acclaim in the fine arts since Jim, his autobiographical comics, which are among the very best of their type, and the surrealistic Frank, also outstanding), and the Fantagraphics store will probably be packed for this show. Even with SIFF and many music shows going on this weekend, this will pull a lot of people in.
VICE Magazine recently raved about Weathercraft (“the art is beautiful, and you’re totally consumed by the world he’s created and you exist inside it while you’re reading it”). Woodring has published several collections through Fantagraphics before this new one, so there should be plenty of beautiful, bizarre, and brain-frying selections to purchase after you see the one-of-a-kind visual dialogue he plans to have with his fans, old and new.