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.”
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.
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.”
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.