Monday, December 12, 2016

Do You Remember the Winter of '81?

Here's an envelope collage the Devin made for a letter he sent me. It's cold outside in these days of approaching Trumpreich and I keep on thinking about what Devin would have made of the election of Donald Trump. It is something beyond the wildest parody. Here is a relic of a tasty hot tomato soup lunch and wondering if we remember a winter that would have been five or six years ago when Devin sent that letter. I don't think I can recall much of what the winter was like five years ago. It was probably cold in parts.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The 'Vert Want Louise Brooks

In honor of Louise Brooks' 110th birthday, today, November 14, here is one by Devin where the 'Vert is walking up behind silent movie star Louise Brooks. The 'Vert looks a little more benign than usual here, and Louise Brooks looks like she can handle him anyway.
The election of Donald Trump as president last week is something that Devin would have taken with his usual scathing satire and intelligence. Trump is a figure almost beyond satire but Devin's ability to take such figures to task in his drawings and writing really would have been something to see and hear.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Devin Envelope Art

Back in the 1980's, before there was email or any other electronic forms of communication, when we all began going in different directions (and then sometimes the same directions), we kept in touch with the U.S. Postal Service. We wrote letters to each other and those letters included words and drawings and things that we would cut out and things that we would collect, so every few weeks we would all get a little bit of each other in an envelope in our mailbox and that was always such an indescribable moment. You could see and feel that person in that paper, in those marks, in the gum that had to be licked to seal the envelope. It was like that person was whispering to you from far away, and you could almost feel their breath on your hair it was so close and so intimate. Try doing that with email.
This is the envelope of a letter I received from Devin after he moved to Minneapolis and when I was still in Bozeman. His triangle glasses artist character is laughing and I was probably giggling when I opened it up because inside would be some magical bit of Devin that had floated all the way from the metropolis to my basement apartment in the Bozone and it was all for me to read and look at and read and look at and puzzle over again and again. And then it ended it up in a box in my basement thirty years for me to rediscover, damp and discolored, a couple months ago. And then the magic, that bit of Devin, that voice and that breath, could once again giggle like a boat on the water, and I'd feel it and almost see and hear it.

Monday, October 17, 2016

If you don't give me all your money, I'm going to set off this nuclear device

There was a lot of anxiety about nuclear war and nuclear winter and the possibility that someone, maybe Ronald Reagan, was going to hold us all hostage with the US nuclear arsenal back in the 1980's, when Devin drew this cartoon. Devin's terrorist here might have a legitimate nuclear device, or it might be a part that he stole from a car wash. It doesn't seem to be much of a threat, but the background images, nameless shapes of nations, garbage cans, a strange large ventilation device, all see fairly threatening. But the person in the comic with hands in his pockets, still doesn't seem all that frightened. He's already see it all. Or maybe he's reaching his hands in his pockets to pull out that money.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Adam and Eve

Here's another one that Devin made for the MSU student newspaper The Exponent, but was probably never used. That serpent was dishing up something that was maybe a little more radical than the typical college newspaper because in those days we were doing some parody issues and including things like Devin's comix. Adam and Eve don't know what is about to hit them.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Even John Doesn't Know What It Is

Here I am looking quite confused at something that Devin has put in my way. Confusion is central in Devin's work, and this glob of lines and shading and squiggles that might be Death moving a chair or might be a maze that confused itself into surrender is certainly a significant object of confusion.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dead Pigs Always Have an Inferiority Complex

This is from a letter that I got from Devin and time has thinned the paper so the specter of the 'Vert from the other side has shown through this strange comic of a dead pig able to say that it has an inferiority complex and an octopus with a new beehive-like hairdo. The face of the 'Vert seems to be rising out of the hairdo nearly reaching to the dead pig as if it were all planned that way.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Big Lips

Here's a back to school special. Just a little celebration of Big Lips! This was a piece of clip-art that Devin made for the Exponent "All Lips Issue," a parody issue that we made when the editor and new editor were away at a conference back in 1985, I think. The all lips issue was, of course, inspired and master-minded by Devin.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Phillis and Howard drink beer in outer space

There is something cross like about the stars in this outer space epic where Phillis and Howard drink beer non-chalantly in zero gravity. Mundane activities in non-traditional settings, that is one of the hallmarks of Devin's work. And maybe growing up in the space age made it all seem to possible.

Monday, August 8, 2016

I'm Going to Call the Editor

While we are on crucifixion comics, here's another one, from the Bozeman years. It was drawn on a note that a friend had written to me in pencil, which was on the back of a schedule of films, which explains the other faint text on it. It is like if there was even a semi-empty piece of paper, Devin had to draw a comic on it.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Comfy Crucy

This is one that really needs no comment. It was in a letter Devin sent to me and there was some water damage so you can see the other side of the paper in some spots. "Crucifixion doesn't have to be a bummer any more." I especially like the reading lamp.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Now Where is that F***ing Minneapolis?

Being that last week's cartoon featured Bozeman, this one features another of Devin's homes. Here, God is ready to strike Minneapolis, home of Devin and Leftist Lips Press, with a lightning bolt. I don't know too much about this zine, "That Which You Have Never Imagined Has Already Eaten Half Your Brain," but it seems to be a collaboration between Devin and another artist. Here's the cover of Issue #1, which may have been the only issue.
At least this zine was made. Devin and I briefly worked on a zine about the Crazy Bastard Party together, and I know we collaborated on several pages, but all I have been able to find were a few pages that I made myself.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Meanwhile Back in Bozeman, Montana...

Devin's triangle sunglasses artist character has snapped his fingers and landed back in Bozeman, Montana, where the locals hang out on the street corner and talk or catch spiders on their tongues. This is another one that Devin made into a postcard and most likely sold at Cactus Records on Main Street in Bozeman. It's even signed and dated by him. This was made somewhere around the time when he started moving back and forth between Montana and Minneapolis. Bozeman was maybe looking a little strange after being away for a few weeks.

Monday, July 11, 2016

It's Weird

Here's another comic about art. In it, Devin's artist alter-ego character, a recurring character in his cartoons, is getting some feedback on his latest artist creation from an audience of critics who are actually much stranger than they really think they are. The audience may be even crazier than the crazy art that the crazy artist has created, which is definitely a dilemma that artists who flirt with the weird, like Devin did, must alway face: what if your conservative audience of critics is really stranger than the strange art that you are trying to make to blow their minds?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Jesse Helms Safe Art Museum

Devin was always political and not afraid to blast those who were using their power in crazy ways. Here is is mocking Senator Jesse Helms, who in 1989 blasted public funding of art because of the work of Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Another Christian

Here's a lament from a lion who has been fed too many Christians. This one is from Minneapolis, late 80's or early 90's.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Did I Turn the Oven Off?

This one is from a zine Devin made with somebody else, and I'm not sure who that other person was. The crucifixion part of the image was Devin's. It's one he drew at least a couple times - the first time I saw it was years before this one was drawn. Devin, our friend Jeff and I were at Stromboli's Pizza in Bozeman drinking a pitcher of beer and drawing cartoons. Devin drew Jesus on the cross wondering if he had turned the oven off and we all laughed very hard and long. We were drawing many cartoons that night and realized we were pretty hungry. We asked the staff at the pizza place if we could trade our cartoons for a pizza and they agreed, so we drew them the "Starving Cartoonists Seal of Approval" while they made the pizza. So who knows what happened to those cartoons we exchanged for a pizza that night. But Devin used this idea again for this zine. It's a DVS classic. About a year ago today I attended Devin's memorial in Bozeman. It's been a long year and a short year.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Firsts of the Psycho Revolution

This one was in a letter that Greg Carr sent me when I was living in Madison, Wisconsin and he and Devin were trying to convince me to move to Minneapolis. JAM was my Beat Brother nickname, as DVS was Devin's. Here I am beating my chest in a fairly realistic drawing for Devin but where I beat my chest the drawing turns into Devin's straight lines and maze patterns. It was a call for me to join the revolution in Minneapolis, to shake off the realistic lines around me and turn into something more abstract. Maybe, I think, I don't know exactly. Anyway, a couple months later I had moved to Minneapolis, so the drawing and the letters worked.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Bud Man

Drinking and Devin. Devin and drinking. Devin did a lot of drinking when I knew him. Anybody around him did some drinking when they were around him. Drinking made things funny. Drinking made you see through the strangeness of everything. You could drink too much, and that made things kind of uncomfortable. Uncomfortable like eyes popping out and brains turning into lines. Alcohol could turn you into a Picasso version of yourself.
I can't remember exactly the circumstances behind this one. Devin put my name at the bottom like it's kind of a plaque. Does that mean that he meant me to be the Bud Man? After all, there weren't too many choices back then. Or was it some kind of dedication? I don't remember. But I do like this person, drinking through his bird mouth and directly into his brain, or through a second mouth, and how his body turns into a maze. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Line Fingers

This is one from a page of Devin's doodles. I am a big fan of his line fingers, which are kind of like bird feet. This is some kind of spider person with a beard, I think, but you might think it is something else.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The 'Vert Catches Sight of Sweet Little Old Lady w/ Purse

Here's another cartoon with Devin's character, the 'Vert. Here he is "catching sight" with his cross-eyes of a strange-headed lady, who is sweet and has a purse. Nothing has happened yet, but the 'Vert's five line fingers are outstretched as if headed to that purse strap. It's definitely the dark side of Devin's art, but nothing has happened yet and nothing might happen, and that old lady is called sweet, but she also looks a little bit like an alien, so who knows how this situation might turn out? The 'Vert, in Devin's comic universe, often ended up with the short stick. That little old lady doesn't look like a pushover, and the 'Vert is as smiling and as confused and as naive as ever.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The 'Vert meets someone who is weirder than he is

Here's another 'Vert comic from Devin in honor of Bob Dylan's 75th birthday. Who knows what Bob Dylan might think of The 'Vert and the other strange creatures of Devin's brain, but Devin was a huge Bob Dylan fan. I remember spending hours listening to Dylan with Devin and being so amazed at that guy's creativity, and hoping to channel some of the strangeness of albums like "Blonde on Blonde," which Devin told me was his favorite, in our own strange drawings.

Friday, May 20, 2016

My Friend the Trees

Devin Sexson passed away a year ago today. Here is a video I made last year about what our friendship meant to me.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Even Works on 'Verts!!!

The 'Vert was a character Devin often drew back when I knew him in the late 80's and early 90's. The 'Vert was both pervert and persecuted. He was this evil figure that also was treated with some kind of sympathy. Here he is shown to be almost insect-like, a human so subhuman that you can spray him away with insecticide. The 'Vert was both some kind of alter-ego for Devin and also somebody that Devin hated. Mostly the 'Vert made Devin and everybody around him laugh. I was taking French at the time and always wanted to pronounce his name like you say the color green in French. I had this big green sweatshirt that I called the Vert Shirt.

Monday, May 9, 2016

DVS 1984

Here is Devin in 1984 in my apartment in the basement of the Evergreen Building after or in the midst of some art-making.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Every time Marvin cut it down it would grow back again

Devin's world was a place full of strange things over which you really had no control. I can appreciate that the thing is trying to grow on a very inhospitable driveway and probably preventing Marvin from taking his car out on that joyride.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Devin's Face Taped to the Wall

This piece is, of course, incomplete. That post office quality packing tape did once secure Devin's face to the wall, if for only for a few moments. I think this is a leftover of the Beatnik party that I held in my Evergreen Building apartment in 1985. Later in that party, Devin ceremonially burned the White House, at least the one made out of cardboard that I had taped together from the back of a cereal box.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Exponent Ad 2

Here's another ad that Devin drew for the Exponent. It kind of looks like I drew the background and Devin drew the characters in the foreground, but I don't really remember how this came together.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

John Find Himself Lost in Outer Space

Devin Sexson cast his comics of the 80's with his friends and enemies. The enemies were mostly various flavors of Ronald Reagans. I'm thrilled that I made a few appearances in his cartoons, hopefully cast as a friend. He got my baggy pants, unruly hair and glasses down pat. I still feel this way some days.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Jesus Just Finds it Impossible to Comprehend This Thing

Jesus might have been having trouble comprehending this thing, but Devin Sexson could comprehend it enough to actually draw it. Devin could comprehend things that were incomprehensible, or that weren't even actual things that you could comprehend. His sense of humor and his sense of the world was based on the comprehensibility of such mystery. Even the most sublime and spiritual parts of life could be a little silly, and Devin could see that, and could draw it. And the mystery he drew, the mystery that baffled Jesus and every other spiritual master, turns out to be just waves, spots, crosses, eyes and flowers. It's all in how they are put together.
And of course what we all find incomprehensible is why Devin isn't around this planet for his 51st birthday. Happy Birthday, Devin!