As of Today 21797 Blog Posts

posted on 06.01.09

Mat Brinkman is one of my favorite artists. Definetly my favorite of the fabled Fort Thunder artists from Providence, Rhode Island. He doesn't show that much it seems, and the plethora of drawings he had at his last show here in LA at M+B Gallery was more work of his than I've ever seen in one place.

Do yourself a favor and google 'Fort Thunder' if you're not hip to this super-influential group of artists and musicians. Let me put it this way: If Gary Panter was shot in a rocket to a distant moon, and a thousand years later we found his descendants, long since having created a new world and culture out of whole cloth, what they wrought would look something like the output of the Fort. And Brinkman and his otherworldly imagery from a study hall notebook from the 12th dimension is my favorite of the bunch. His only solo published book that I know of is Teratoid Heights, and I forgot to bring it for him to sign, though I did get to meet him. He's from Texas like me. I also got to meet Dan Nadel, mastermind behind Picturebox Inc., who publish much of the Fort Thunder and related books and whatnot, along with many other super amazing things. I can honestly say that Picturebox probably gets more of my money more than any other book publisher. So there.

I first discovered the work of the Fort years ago in Houston, when The Comics Journal did a huge feature on them in one of their issues (Oct 2003 issue). There in my lonely Houston apartment, at the tail end of my undergrad education, the story and work of this group totally took hold of me as something unlike anything I had ever previously encountered. Here was a group of young artists creating as purely as possible, eschewing labels or categories that could pigeon hole whatever is they chose to make, be it posters, prints, comics, sculptures, performances, or music. My first hand encounter with Brinkman was the cover of Kramers Ergot 4, which was another eye-opener to this strange new world.

Their legacy continues -- Ben Jones, Paper Rad, C.F., as well as the original Fort dwellers continue to produce work, much of it published by Nadel and some others. Do yourself a favor and immerse yourself in this rich body of kookiness and spread the love.

Oh yeah, I met and talked with Winona Ryder at the opening. She was very nice.

These are the highlights of what I got, Fort Thunder-wise, if you feel the need to come over and drink some beer and look at some books. I have a clipboard if you need to check something out.

Wunderground: Providence, 1995 to the Present -- This is the catalogue of a show put on by RISD in 2006 celebrating the history of the Fort, its artists, and current artists that continue in the same spirit.

The Comics Journal #256 -- This issue's feature, from October 2003, explains the whole Fort deal, and has interviews with a few of the artists involved, including Brinkman.

Teratoid Heights -- Nice, weird, chunky book by Brinkman that is pretty representative of his output.

Ninja -- Super huge mega-comic by Brian Chippendale that features some more recent stuff intermixed with childhood drawings. Very cool.

Maggotts -- Also by Chippendale. A labrynthine adventure through some of the most obsessive and insane drawing you'll ever see.

Paper Rodeo -- This is the comics newspaper put out by some of the Fort artists that featured work by the above mentioned cats. I have 3 or 4 issues.

Lightning Bolt, Mindflayer, and Forcefield -- Three bands featuring Brinkman, Chippendale, and others. I have albums of all three. All noisy, calamitous, kookiness. I think Lightning Bolt is the best.

I have some other related stuff by some other related artists, but I'm about to list the better part of my library here. What's above should get you started. Enjoy.

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Gary Panter


Experimental Music
Visual Arts
Avant Comic Art
Installation Art
Graphic Novels



Print Making
Graphic Novels
Avant Comic Art
Gary Panter
Contemporary Art
Visual Arts
Experimental Music