Getting Graphic: Israeli Comic Book Artist Gets the Eisner

Exit Wounds Graphic Novel by Rutu Modan

Oy, so I didn’t make it a Sunday update this week but all in good time. Because essentially, the biggest news to hit the art-and-design-o-sphere comes this week from Comic Con: Israeli comic book artist and illustrator Rutu Modan was just awarded an Eisner Award for Best New Graphic Novel in 2008 for her work, Exit Wounds.

Set in modern-day Tel Aviv, A young man, Koby Franco, receives an urgent phone call from a female soldier. Learning that his estranged father may have been a victim of a suicide bombing in Hadera, Koby reluctantly joins the soldier in searching for clues. His death would certainly explain his empty apartment and disconnected phone line. As Koby tries to unravel the mystery of his father’s death, he finds himself not only piecing together the last few months of his father’s life, but his entire identity. With thin, precise lines and luscious watercolors, Modan creates a portrait of modern Israel, a place where sudden death mingles with the slow dissolution of family ties.

I’m not so sure that today’s Israel can be so easily categorized as a place where family ties are not strong. In fact, I believe quite the opposite is true. And you’ll find Israel’s biggest ‘celebrities’ eating Friday night dinner with their families before going out to the ‘hottest’ clubs. (I put that all in quotes because it’s all so (ir)relevant, celebrity, fame, stardom, etc…) But don’t let that detract from interest in or attention for the work. For sure, it’s a prestigious award that was bestowed on one of Israel’s decorated and renowned illustrators. So if anyone gets their hands on a copy and has a chance to read it, let us know what you think of the theme.

And in the meantime, we can all agree that the images, as they relate to the topics of terror and death, are indeed breathtaking. There’s something of an older aesthetic or vintage look in the work, as if it draws upon the historical element of Tel Aviv despite its newness of subject and view. Whether it’s by the coloring of the page, the people captured in the street scenes, or the simplicity of the fonts used as conversations. Check out a 5 page excerpt from the novel here.



Tuesday News Roundup: Israeli Artists and Designers Making Headlines

Third Generation Hitler by Nir Avigad

A Sunday roundup on Tuesday!? Well it’s never too late to get up-to-date with the headlines. And I bet the image above made you go hmmm? Which is what many Bezalel Graduate of Graphic Arts, like Nir Avigad, aspire to achieve. So check out the links below from the weekly roundup of Israeli artists and designers in the news.

~ Rebecca over at The Big Felafel has put together a bang-up resource called “Where to Study Graphic Design in Israel”. Links, information and even Rebecca’s personal experiences. It’s ‘Everything you needed to know about graphic design in Israel but were afraid to ask’

~ Though I didn’t see Nir Avigad’s end-of-year graphic work when I visited the Bezalel Graduate show opening last Thursday, he is making all sorts of waves with his graphic take on Hitler. Yes, who knew Hitler was so iconic. An icon of evil if you will. (Take that, Dr. Evil). For obviously reasons, you can imagine why this has struck a chord with many. However, check out Avigad’s flickr page to see his 150 works on the subject. I have to admit, some of these made my chuckle. And I’d love to hear what you thought: Is it art (small cap)? Art (big cap)? or some sort of blasphemy?

~ FTV, the best eye candy channel ever, features their picks from the Shenkar College Of Design Annual Graduate’s Fashion Show, 2008. Nice to see that Shenkar fashion grads are getting the attention they so deserve from the international fashion community.

~ Ha’aretz features a really interesting interview with Druze artist Fahed Halabi, from the village of Majdal Shams on the Golan Heights, where he talks aboutbeing suspended between worlds of identity: Arab, Druze and Israeli.

Above, “Third Generation Hiter” by Nir Avigad. Copyright of the artist.



Sunday News Roundup: Israeli Artists and Designers Making Headlines

Jerusalem-based artist and advocate Mike Darnell

Well, Jerusalem-based artist and advocate Mike Darnell’s a great place to start with Designist Dream’s new-weekly feature: the Sunday news roundup. So start your week by kicking back with a tasty cup of coffee, a cool summer breeze and some hot-off-the-press links to Israeli artists and designers making headlines across the globe.

~ Israeli jeweler and artist Esther Knobel wins the prestigious Andrea M. Bronfman Prize for the Arts (the Andy), for her series The Mind in the Hand. More about her work and life at ISRAEL21C.

~ Israeli-born architect David Fisher talks to the Jerusalem Post about his ambitious and gravity-defying Dynamic Tower set to spin over Dubai by 2010.

~ For the Hebrew-reading set, check out Iton Itzuv (“Design Magazine”) a new online Hebrew design magazine featuring everything from fashion and interior design to industrial design and architecture. They’re so trendy that their guide section critiques restaurants across Israel according to taste first, food second – ie. design taste.

And when you’re done reading and starting to look for things to do, keep up-to date with the latest events by checking Mike Darnell’s new (English!) art calendar on his homepage.