Crazy Saturday, Part Deux- Electric Boogaloo: The Ballad of Martin F*ckin' Emond
(Woo Hoo! All Blacks just won! 35-17!)
So, after the Paslestinian protest parade lost interest in your humble narrator, I took a different route through downtown back up to 'K' street, (I call it 'K' street because I can't pronounce the real name- as a matter of fact, no one in Auckland can, hence, it's known simply as 'K' street), to pick up some stuff for my peeps back home.
One place I've been dying to go is Illicit Tattoos on K street... Illicit is much more than a simple tattoo parlor, it was ground zero for an explosion of creativity by an amazing NZ artist named Martin Emond. I first became aware of his work years ago- as a matter of fact, (if memory serves), Skymarshall Gossett turned me on to his stuff after HIS first trip down here to NZ.
I immediately flipped for his art.
Emonds' work is totally and completely original: dark, scary, funny and uncompromising. He was one of those cats whose style you could recognize immediately because it's so singularly unique... and you ask any illustrator, that is a rare thing indeed. He did a ton of brilliant tattoo, t-shirt and character designs, some comics work for DC, posters, prints, mannequins- it just goes on and on. His is, arguably, most well known, (in the states, at least), for his own comic book-magnum opus called "White Trash", an amazing, Hunter S, Thompson-like story of Axl Rose and Elvis hooking up for a violent tour of America.
You may have noticed that I said "he 'was' one of those cats..." unfortunately, it wasn't a typo. Tragically, Martin killed himself in 2004. I found out from his website, where I would go regularly to check for new posts to his gallery. It really got to me- not just because I was a big fan, but because everything I'd ever read about him painted him as a truly sweet, humble, giving and vital guy. It made me sad to think of someone that blessed being so tormented that he felt he had to take his own life.
It also reminded me of a very dear friend I had years ago who did very much the same thing...
It's hard to find Martin's work in The States, but fortunately for me, Illicit- the shop that housed his studio and still sells a lot of his work and desgins- was only blocks from my hotel and I was determined to make the trip. Finding the shop was one of the big geeky highlights of my stay here in the Land of Auck.
The shop was cooler than hell. I did some shopping and checked out the prints and posters on the walls, etc and so on. As I was leaving a salesgirl came up and told me that if I was into Martin's work, I could go downstairs and look around... they had opened a 'shrine' of his stuff just a day or two before .
The walls leading downstairs are covered with his work and then there's a big glass case with all sorts of odds and ends from his studio in it. It was really something to see... 12,000 miles and I got to see all that cool stuff I had been only ever been able to see online. I attached some pics if you're interested.
Martin F*ckin' Emond