I did this Ziggy piece for a Tom Wilson Tribute Show sometime last Summer. Between then and now, Art Institute of Pittsburgh went through some administrative changes, re-organized their show schedule, and, sadly, Tom Wilson, Ziggy's creator, passed on. All the while my Ziggy sat, lonely and forgotten, in a back office at AIP, waiting to pay tribute to a man who'd never see it.
But the Ziggy Show is finally up, and so is my illustration, Super Ziggy. It's a nod to a famous Superman comic book cover and I'll have a work-in-progress for it in a later post. But for now, let's talk about the show.
Ziggy: An Island Of Humor In A Sea Of Trouble runs at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Gallery from March 7th to April 28th and features a nice selection of original Tom Wilson (Senior and Junior) Ziggy gags as well as some fantastic tribute pieces by local artists.
The photograph doesn't do this piece justice, but it's cut paper, highly reflective, and when light hits it the shape casts both a bright silhouette image of Ziggy (and a duckling) as well as an inverse shadow-silhouette. Pretty creative stuff and it captures the essence of Ziggy perfectly.
That's not the case (nor the intent), though, with Mark Bender's expertly rendered Hug Life colored pencil illustration which re-imagines Wison's lovable loser as a tattooed thug. Mark Bender's an amazing illustrator, an instructor at AIP, and a friend. But he's also a bitter, spiteful individual who just couldn't resist driving a rusty wheat thresher over and over a beloved childhood icon for giggles. With great precision and artistic skill he's managed to run roughshod over everything that Ziggy ever stood for and I don't know how he lives with himself. And now we'll see if Mark really reads my blog. : )
There are some other very nice pieces in the show, as well as a start-to-finish display about how newspaper comics get from the artist's brain to your breakfast table. If you happen to be downtown, you should consider stopping in and basking in the glory of the quintessential luckless everyman. -v