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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Where did you sleep last night?

Tater Tot,
Be careful.
Don’t go into Those Woods alone.
Those Woods are filled with creepy crawly things.
Those Woods are dangerous.

"Awww, I’m not afraid of Those Woods.
Those creepy crawly things are my buds."

But Those Woods are dangerous.
People disappear in Those Woods.
There are Gangsta Monkeys in Those Woods.
And creepy funky wizards.

"Aww, I’m not afraid of Those Woods.
I’m a Gangsta Monkey myself.
And I jump rope with creepy funky wizards.
I’m going to Those Woods.
And I will roast marshmellows with Those Creeps.
It’s my birthday."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Eye for an… well, actually, an eye for who knows what?

Here is a page of basically finished inks from my upcoming Severed Limbs.
In which, Fred continues his unprecedented, save for Job, so, his precedented streak of being maimed by God and Nature.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sacrificial Offerings

In the abysmal labyrinthine corridors of some fantasy nouveau-ancient temple-city.
I stumbled onto this poster. And it shocked me.
I was hurled into a double-funhouse-mirror infinite regress of the mind.
I had been here before.
The horror I felt for this poor creature could not be reigned in. I fell into paroxysm.
A fit.
I reached, but grasped nothing.
I was only able to take away information.
But I will use this information.
I will get to the bottom of this.

According to the information I retained, and my subsequent interpretation, there is an art show happening, incomprehensibly of my own work.

Here are the details:
Sacrificial Offerings:
Tasty morsels torn from the still beating heart of Joshua Ray Stephens
Opening: 22Sep12 7-10pm
At: Octane 1009 Marietta St Atlanta GA 30318

I will be there to unmask the impostor masquerading as yours truly! Join me if it pleases you.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dream Machine: The Conflagration

This here is just a sketch from recent sketches. I am in the incipient stages of birthing an epic comic adventure. The working title is “The Conflagration” and you will be hearing a lot about it for the next ten years or so on this blog. I am considering producing it in serialized form, because it will be so long, and then collecting it all as a re-edited and massive tome when it is finally all done.

I still have to finish “Severed Limbs” which is close, but on hiatus since Emperor Augustus Ray Stephens has arrived. In the meantime I am sketching a lot and fleshing out (roughly) ideas and notions and concepts and story lines and characterology and stories, etc.

A couple quotes I read today and chuckled over:
“No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.” —Jane Wagner

“The aim of a joke is not to degrade the human being but to remind him that he is already degraded.” —George Orwell

Friday, September 7, 2012

Wild ride

Rushing headlong through an inter-dimensional portal. Is it as fun as it looks?
That’s for Deacon Dunblane to know and you to find out.

This is a piece I started in 2010? Somewhere around there.
An upcoming show at Octane in Atlanta prompted me to finally finish it.
I’ll be posting details about that in a few days.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Conflagratory sketches

Here are some sketches. In the planning stages of a very long epic narrative. Working title is “The Conflagration.” I figure it will be done in about twenty years or so.

Just some sketches.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Old new New Yorker piece

Well, after a months long accidental hiatus, in which I had a few weeks of technical issues with uploading images, and then a few weeks of travel, and an eternity taking care of a new baby I am finally back to blog all about it.

You will probably never see it now, but I had a piece in the 02Jul12 issue of the New Yorker.

This was an interesting piece process wise. It is the first non-fiction piece I have had to edit. It was to accompany a blurb about the Dragball of the Harlem Renaissance. The first version had an awesome rainbow gradient background. One of the editors, for reasons undisclosed to me, put the kibosh on that and asked for it to be changed.

I can only draw one conclusion as to the reason: the covert, but ongoing, war against awesomeness that our nation is perpetrating.

Here they are. You can compare:

Monday, May 21, 2012

The art game

I have a piece coming up in the 04-11Jun12 issue of the New Yorker. Apparently it is a special sci-fi double issue, so that should be awkward and fun.

Alighiero Boetti has a retrospective coming up at the MoMA and this piece is to accompany a write-up.
Seeing that this was upcoming got me thinking about the art game and the mass manipulation of consumers disguised as or presenting itself as the “Art World.” It’s really not much different than the “design world” or the “PR World” or the “Advertising World.” It is a game in which the object is for the Lords of Capital to manipulate the target audience to want whatever the Lords of Capital have to sell. And therefore droves of middle-men, also known as designers, marketing gurus, journalists, curators, PR agents, copywriters, etc., are employed to facilitate this shell game.

It made me think of this from the philosopher and artist Kenneth Smith:

 “When a specific collector has covertly managed to corner the market on a given not-yet-arrived artist's major works, that's the time when a major museum-retrospective is due, formally and officially and "impartially" consolidating his reputation for all to see. The "public" apparatus of the museum validates the "private" collector's parking ticket. Then, at the close of the poker game, the collector shows his hand of cards and tells the other players, "Read 'em and weep."  And another multibillion dollar fortune is made, just on the side and incidentally. Because just as Adam Smith noted in his decades-ago book on the phenomenon of SUPERMONEY produced when a startup-company has its first public offering of stock, art is this same kind of escalator-game, multiplying initial investments by magnitudes inconceivable to the sweat-blinded, hard-working public. ”

Though I am aware Boetti is not exactly a “not-yet-arrived” artist I have no doubt this exhibition could be traced back to the sound of money being deposited into some wealthy “patron” of the arts’ Swiss bank account.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Hey internets! I will have a table at the Fluke! festival in Athens, GA on Saturday 21Apr12. If you are in the area come check it out. It takes place at the 40 Watt in downtown from 11am-6pm and it only costs a measly two smackeroos.

Fluke!, for those of you who do not know, is an independent comics festival, which the amazing Robert L Newsome and Patrick L Dean have been organizing for over a decade. This will be my first one and I am quite excited.

So come on out.

In other news here are two self-portraits so you can remember what I look like.

The first is a little auto-bio piece I did for the good people of Tokyo who apparently wanted to know who it was who did that big drawing in that little bar. We did this to put up beside it so they would KNOW. Hence the Japanese texts at the bottom.

And the second is a self-portrait after a vicious tennis melee I had with my racket. My opponent hit a deep shot. I thought it was going out. I then pulled a classic rookie tennis move. I stood there watching. When it hit the line I was out of position. I jumped back and tried to get my racket up. Instead I hit myself in the eye socket.

It was awesome.

Now I have a sutured eye socket. Soon I will have a permanent villain scar. To top it off I lost 5-7, 6-7.

Monday, April 16, 2012


The title of this newest piece seems quite appropriate. I feel as if I have been on the outskirts of everything for some time now.

For those of you who don’t know my beautiful wife, Mary, and I had a baby boy on 29Jan12. His name is Augustus Ray Stephens and he is something else entirely. We are, needless to say, extremely preoccupied and generally exhausted lately. Add in Augie Ray and many other ingredients and you have a recipe for a long hiatus between blog posts.

Well, I have been intending to post this one for over a week, so sorry if it is too late to grab a copy. I have a piece in last week’s New Yorker, cover date 16Apr12. The piece is for a Russian film called “Outskirts.” It is from the early sound era of the movies.

Hopefully I will post some pics of Augie soon. And I also have a back log of things to post up from the work I have been doing for Southern Comfort: Japan.

Wish me luck!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Out of this world

I spent the holiday season working on a campaign for Southern Comfort, Japan. They are trying to introduce Mardi Gras in Japan. My friend, Takuya, hired me to do all the illustration work. It turned into one of the strangest ad campaigns I have ever seen, and I am super excited about it. When all the products are finished and I receive photographs I will post a lengthier exegesis.

But, while finishing it up, brand manager Haruyo Naka convinced someone to hire me as a kind of representative artist for the year. This entails doing a mural kind of piece that Southern Comfort will use to promote their brand in Japan.

Anyway, last week I finished it up and this is what it looks like.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Who will love me?

I have a new illustration coming up in the New Yorker. This will be my second fiction piece and full page illustration. It is scheduled to appear in the 31Jan12 issue. That comes out tomorrow.

The title of the story is “Someone” written by Alice McDermott. The story is one of jilted love set in 1930s Brooklyn, back when it was truly the world’s melting pot, and not the new Manhattan.

Anyway, check it out.