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  • Writer's pictureJay Abel


Updated: Mar 21

Like the typewriter mechanic, the milkman, the paste-up boy or the dog-whipper, I am coming to terms with losing my job forever, an early casualty of the AI revolution.  Making an AI graphic now requires less talent than that required to use a toilet. 

As if that wasn’t good enough, AI is cheap.  

The brainless patchwork of fake realism and exhausted 13th generation Manga / Disney / Marvel cartoons, in poly-barf pastels, are just fine with that vast, emerging online marketplace for graphic art, a market that is utterly and unapologetically unconscious and uncritical. 

Most recently I  took note of another downward trend just when I thought the bottom was cured concrete. The generic drivel that millennials draw by hand is identical to the generic drivel they download from the AI apps. 

The bots used to raid analog, now analog is raiding the bots. 

That  heroic human accomplishment of western art, an identifiable, autographic, visual statement, is now dead as a hammered lightbulb, or might as well be, but the millennials live in consciousness-free, gameboy oblivion. The bots and the kids just recycle each-other's trash to make more trash. BTW, the art kids make an actual living at Home Depot or El Polo Loco…. and they always will, save for the one kid in 10,000 who gets a CG art job with Dreamworks, because his dad is on the board of directors. 

It’s the new glass ceiling of American labor, skilled or otherwise, but I digress. 

When I was kid the utopian dream was that people would be free to scale lofty summits in art while the robots stocked shelves and picked up garbage.  Now the robots make art for free, (albeit lousy art) while the would-be artists stock shelves and pick up garbage. Human beings are casually discarding the very skills that define human beings and will leave the job of creative self-awareness to some feckless robot that doesn't have any. 

Near as I can tell, this is the result of being cheap, dumb and lazy.  

And when the bots are stocking shelves and picking up garbage in the next decade,  humanity will seek its ultimate destiny; watching ESPN behind a coffee table groaning under the weight of junk food, then shooting space zombies on “X-box 16” while wearing a full-sensory A/V headset.  

Are we Borg yet?

Soon after or maybe before, the ICBMs will launch and a rather dull epoch in world  history called “Game Over” will begin.  

OK, I'm in a grouchy mood this evening. Low blood sugar....

And so, an opportunity now presents itself to pimp my latest offering to an indifferent world, my revised edition of BLACKMARKS. 

For the half dozen or so people left in America who do not aspire to digital nowhere, and because fighting a lost cause against an empire of robot commandos is a good way to die, I have published a  an expanded edition of “Blackmarks”, my portfolio of 100% hand-crafted graphic chops, which define my own, and I will venture to say singular graphic world. 

Take that, you despicable digital devils!!! Oh, back for more, eh? Well, I still have one arm left!!! More than a match for you scurvy binary-code bastards!!! I’ll wait 'till a few more ‘o your guys show up to make it a fair fight…

These graphics are the lost and perhaps last dreams and nightmares of an old hippy with brain damage. OK, I did the brown acid, maaaaaaaaan.  The world they inform no longer exists and could leave no mark  except by the miracle of affordable, short run, graphic reproduction, one of a few worthy developments in this century of miracles and wonders.       

Yes, I’m guilty of exploiting photoshop, god help me, but only as a fancy pen and brush set, and because I hate white-out.   

All examples in this book are in blood-raw, black and white chops, the way I like ‘em. I never lost my passion for that particular buzz.  Color has its moments however and at some point I’ll get around to a book of polychrome enchantments.

112 Pages, b/w 0ver 100 reproductions. Find it here -


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