Highland Park artist fills calendar with drawings & humor

"Arrested Poets Levitate" | Gordon Henderson

By Lea Lion

When artist Gordon Henderson first assembled 12 of his pen-and-ink drawings into a calendar for his girlfriend in 1985, it was ugly, he said. “It was in a big yellow notebook binder,” he recalled. “I didn’t know anything about binding so I cut holes in the original drawings and put them in the binder with this hole-puncher that I had famously lifted from Woolworths.”

"March of the Pretend Penguins" | Gordon Henderson

Perhaps not surprisingly, his girlfriend promptly “lost” the calendar.

Fast forward 26 years and the Highland Park resident, who goes by the name pen name Nib Geebles, expects this year’s installment of his annual calendar to debut August 1. The upcoming calendar, “The Dogs Deserve Our Compliments Calendar,” will showcase Henderson’s signature line drawings that mix one part humor with one part social commentary.

“The philosophy behind it is that art and art making should be sort of part of everyday life. I guess that was why I wanted to do it in the first place,” Henderson said. “It’s a utilitarian thing – it has a function, it’s there, you use it – but it is also an art calendar.”

The 2011 edition, for example, the “The Eggs Over Easy Calendar” featured what Henderson described as “a Humpty Dumpty-esque egg man” on the cover. The egg man was getting hit over the head with a likeness of himself. The idea, Henderson said, was persevering through troubling times.

"Drinking With The Tiger" | Gordon Henderson

This year’s calendar includes images such as “March of the Pretend Penguins” which depicts a gaggle of humans in penguin suits; “Arrested Poets Levitate” (think bespectacled beatniks floating among uniformed police officers) and “Drinking with the Tiger,” which shows several people, well, doing just that.

You may be wondering, who is Nib Geebles? According to Henderson, the college-era nickname grew out of the same fanzine culture that sparked the calendar.

“Everybody has an alias,” he recalled. “When I started the calendar, I realized that there were all of these outlets where you could meet people all over the world who were self-publishing, they would do punk fanzines. I never did a fanzine, per se, but the calendar kinda fit in with that kind of culture – fringe culture.”

Gordon Henderson | Photo by John Rabe

While Henderson is rarely called Nib Geebles these days, he has not lost the significance of the name.

“You want real life to be more like what your fantasy of it was,” he said. “We lived in alternate realities.”

Of course, even in an alternate reality, you might need to know what day it is.

The 2012 calendar will be available at www.nibgeebles.com, Skylight Books in Los Feliz and Space Arts Center in South Pasadena.

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  1. Mother of a Peach

    Not only do these calendars have thought provoking and often hilarious art, but the days on the calendar also have little quips and other funny bits interspersed through out. I endorse this product.

  2. I’ve been getting this calendar every year since the first edition came out so longs ago, and it’s been a great source of weirdness and wonderfulness. For example, on September 8th there’s a note to “start training for the lethargy olympics,” and I intend to start in earnest that very morning!

  3. Nib Geebles is one of my very favorite artists. His calendars have always freaked me out- and I’m not an easy freak. Dearest darling Nibs- my fantasy is that someday you and your lovelies will visit me in Berlin or Mexico. I promise to give fodder to your intelligent mind. Congratulations on finally receiving credit due for your calendar of weirdness. kisses from Berlin- mp

  4. I’m a fan!!!
    His calendar was an inspiration for us (Colombia).

  5. Genius!!!!!!! No question. I have bought a calandar from “Nib” every year since 1991. I have always said it’s brilliant. Unfortunately most people only see, “ha ha ha”. But i was always knocked out. There’s depth, darkness, humor, dreamy nightmare euphoria! And it’s all so perfectly balanced from piece to piece in that infinite space where unusual dreams and reality intersect. It’s in his body. It just comes out of his hand. He bypasses the mind. Perfect instincts. He is there, in the zone, the place all artists long to be and stay. I can see nib moving into larger mediums in the future. Fuck this shit theiy’re hanging in museums. This guy deserves a show in a large format space. It would blow the worlds mind. Wake up all you serious art critics!! Your missing the boat!!! Nib is brilliant!

    Chad crumm
    Sound engineer, producer, musician, chef
    New Orleans

  6. Someday there will be an aircraft carrier or submarine with the name ” USS Geebles” . I Have given many a Nib calender to unsuspecting friends and family – the one’s who get it ( a small proportion ) well they know… the others most of them just avoid eye contact thereafter.

    ethan summers
    art vagrant

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