Sketches of Sound 20: Michael Bartalos

Since April 2010, has hosted a monthly project called “Sketches of Sound,” in which illustrators, most of them comics artists, are invited to draw a sound-related object. I post the drawing as the background of my Twitter account,, and then share a bit of information about the illustrator back on Call it “curating Twitter.”

This, the 20th entry, features bicycle horns drawn by Michael Bartalos. Bartalos works extensively in the graphic arts in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. His design commissions include Swatch watches and postage stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service.

He also produces limited print editions and sculptural assemblages, and has created artist’s book editions with the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, the Maryland Institute College of Art, and the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. 

For his NSF project, Bartalos collected re-usable discarded material from Antarctica to create a sequential sculptural work now in progress titled “The Long View” ( The work intends to raise awareness of resource conservation and eco-preservation practices on the Ice, and by extension, to promote sustainability worldwide. Structurally the artwork references the book form, paying homage to an early instance of polar recycling in which Ernest Shackleton fashioned wooden covers from provision crates to bind Aurora Australis, the first book ever published in Antarctica.

Bartalos is the California Academy of Science’s first Affiliate Artist and the Chair of the Imprint of the San Francisco Center for the Book. His work is online at

He also submitted the following three variations. I may swap in the digital entry on my Twitter page later in the month.

The previous “Sketches of Sound” contributors were, in alphabetical order, Jesse Baggs, Brian Biggs, Leela Corman, Warren Craghead III, Scott Faulkner, Owen Freeman, S.L. Gallant, Scott Gilbert, Brian Hagen, Dylan Horrocks, Megan Kelso, Minty Lewis, Natalia Ludmila, Darko Macan, Caesar Meadows, Justin Orr, Hannes Pasqualini, Thorsten Sideb0ard, and Gustavo Alberto Garcia Vaca. ”Ž

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