Sunday, February 26, 2006

Cover your virgin eyes!

This post is for my cutie drinking buddy, Alea, who asked what was under the "CENSORED" bar! Dirty, dirty, dirty!

Like, I TOTALLY can't decide!

I recently created this character for a woman who comissioned me to work on her "tween" t-shirt fashion line. I did the one on the left first, by hand, with ink, and colored it digitally. When I found out she needed the tshirt designs as "vector" art, I opened up Adobe Illustrator and created the one on the right.

Now, this is a reason why I feel schizophrenic: I like both! I can't decide which way I should work in the future. Obviously, I'm using the one on the right for the t-shirt, but what about the rest of my illustration work? Perhaps I should work in both styles, depending on what the project is. Or should I focus on building a portfolio around one or the other?

Help! I could really use some imput. I like how clean and polished the fashionista on the right looks, but I also think my hand drawn version holds something special within it that the computer just can't recreate. What do you think?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Censored by a gay weekly!

Yup. I did this little illo for an article in a gay weekly and it got censored. My art director replaced what was on the tv screen with less "outre" imagery. Tee hee!

I love it. I'm getting censored now! Wheeeeeeee...
luckily, he did a nice job of it, replacing the "frolicsome" movie scenario with a softcore photograph, instead.

(I added the "censored" bar for my own effect...and kinda' like it this way!)

The Bad Idea Bears

I scraped together some money and finally saw "Avenue Q" on Broadway the other night, and I must say, it didn't disappoint. It was the most I've laughed in quite a while. I loved it! The writing was incredibly witty and the production was SO clever. I found the above characters especially endearing. They continually showed up throughout the story, looking all cute and fuzzy and friendly. Only, they NEVER had the protagonist's best interests in mind. On the contrary, they encouraged mindless fun with no thoughts of consequence. How could anyone resist them? I know I couldn't. Even when they were squeaking out suggestions such as, "C'moooonnnnnn, just ONE MORE Long Island Iced Tea!" and, "Here's a noose, hang yooouuuurrrsssseeeeellllffff!", they were completely adorable. Hmmmmm...reminds me of some friends/aquaintances I've had.

I worry that I have FOUR of those little bears following me around. How about you?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Boogie Through the Birthday

Finally, I'm getting around to posting about my birthday shindig!

Considering I spent it in a new city, far from Atlanta friends, it was still a blast. In fact, I found myself surrounded by wonderful new friends. Above is the invitation image we used, concocted by my old high school friend, Zoey, and I. She suggested that a bunch of her Aquarian buddies have a February birthday throwdown at a little bar in the East Village. She pilfered this retro album cover from a link on, and suggested I photoshop the birthday celebratees' heads onto it. This was the outcome. According to this image, I'm surrounded by the hippest and most boogie-licious (boys-girls?) in Manhatten (from L to R: Lisa, Javanica, Zoey, me, Alea, and Alena). Doesn't Zoey look sassy in her fringed skirt and white heels? Isn't Alea gorgeous in a mesh tank and sweats with running shorts worn on top? For those of you who are wondering, that's her cat, Nefer, draped over the word, "Maxi". Someone needs to bring that word back, whatever the hell it means. We had a fun the maxi.

In case you're curious, Harari was a disco/r&b group from Africa (in the 70s/early 80s). I think I fit in perfectly with that not? Thanks to those of you who made it out to help us celebrate. You're true new friends.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Creating Worlds

I'm loving making backgrounds for this new gig I got. I want to live here with the puppets of the show I'm working with...forever, and ever, just coloring shapes and forms, and making patterns. I saw the magnificent Pixar exhibit at the MoMA the other week, and fantasized about creating environments for film and television. Hopefully, I'll get my chance!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

My friend Ouija, and the craziest night of my life...

Okay, okay, what I'm about to spill didn't happen to me recently. It happened a few days after New Year's last year. I was about to experience the wildest night of my life.

I'm posting this story now, because a few friends told me it's time to share...they want to hear what this "infamous" night in my life was all about. Read on and I will tell...

To celebrate New Year's 2005, I flew out to Los Angeles for the FIRST TIME in my life, to visit an old high school friend named Ouija (seriously, that's her birth name). She was quite a superstar at my performing arts high school. Going to school there and being in the drama department was a little bit like going to the high school in Fame, although I certainly wasn't in the spotlight with the drama students. In fact, I avoided the spotlight as much as possible in high school, as I was painfully shy back then. I focused on playing the string bass in the orchestra, and spent my weekends mostly alone and unpopular, drawing and sketching in my bedroom, and joining what few friends I did have for an origami club. In any case, Ouija definitely wasn't the shy type. She commanded quite a bit of attention, especially when she donned a platinum blonde wig and played Marilyn Monroe in our school's tour show. That image seemed to fit her personality perfectly. She lit up a stage.

I came to find out that despite Ouija's popular persona, she was actually going through quite a rough time at home. Her family was having all sorts of difficulty, which I won't go into here, but it was enough to affect her schooling. I was also experiencing all sorts of personal drama at home, from my Dad's new marriages, a shift of custody for me and my brothers, and my burgeoning homosexuality. Somehow, Ouija and I became unlikely friends, on our high school bleachers, during our daily lunch period. We would talk a bit about our "issues". However, at the time, I was unaware as to the seriousness of her home life. She was one of the few people I told in high school that I was gay.

Even though we connected during that brief lunch period, we lost touch over the years after graduation. I was absorbed in my art career. She missed most of Senior year. Life went on, and we traveled down the roads our creative talents led us.

Somehow, due to the newfound connection of the internet, we got back in touch in 2004, right before our 10 year high school reunion. So we decided to go together!

It was great seeing her again, and seeing everyone else from school. High school reunions are usually well attended events where the football players and cheerleaders return to their thrones, if only for a moment, and have a chance to intimidate a room full of people once again. But that wasn't the case for my high school. Like I said, it was a bit more like attending the school in Fame. Instead, everyone seemed to be on equal footing, which was nice for a change. The people who were celebrated were the ones who were successful; the ones who had bettered themselves since high school; the ones who hadn't gotten fat (haha) and moved to the suburbs, and who were living happy lives. I felt respected by peers who in the past would have ignored me.

In the midst of all the rekindling of old friendships, in walks Ouija, looking as fabulous as ever. She had a calm and collected air to her. She had blown in from the West coast at the last minute to attend the reunion. She cooly sized up the room, and she chatted up a few old drama class friends whose life paths had taken less-than-fabulous turns. When we spoke one on one, it was as if no time had passed between us at all. It was refreshing to see she was the same Ouija, only now she had the newfound perspective of someone who had seen a bit of the world, and could more expertly appraise the value of people. She lit up the room with a "realness" that can only be associated with someone who had followed their dreams in life. I was instantly infatuated with her personality again. We had both grown into ourselves nicely, and we were both following our interests and making them real.

You see, she had moved out to LA to pursue a career in acting. She had the look. She had the talent. And I knew she had bumps in her road similar to mine, as far as family went. I sensed the difficulty of her past had helped her become a survivor. I think it made her determined to make her dreams come true. I felt similar things, and I admired her for grabbing life by the balls and chasing the possibility of making it big in Hollywood. She confessed she had always admired my drawing talent, and respected the fact that I was still pursuing my dreams. I have to give her credit for inspiring me to move to a bigger city (New York), to follow my dream.

We kept in touch after the reunion, and caught up with the details of each other's lives. She brought up the idea of me traveling to LA for a visit. She knew I was feeling limited in Atlanta. So at the end of 2004, I planned a week long trip to LA starting New Year's Eve.

Once I arrived out West, Ouija and I greeted each other like long lost friends. It was so exciting to see what her life was all about. She was following her dream! We had a great time ringing in the new year with her friends, and over the next few days, she showed me what West coast living was all about. She living in Venice Beach, and was working freelance doing various commercials and movie projects, sometimes as an extra, and sometimes with a bigger part. It was neat to see her in such a different environment from high school.

Even though my visit was wholly inspiring and led me to contemplate a serious career move, I did experience a night of debauchery I will never forget.

Maybe it was a mid-mid life crisis, or maybe it was the fact that it was a brand new year, but Ouija and I got into a bunch of trouble on my last night in Hollywood. Perhaps together, we're just combustible, like a match and gasoline. Or maybe she's a bad influence on me, or vice-versa. I know she was feeling a bit unhinged at the time due to recent boyfriend drama, but who knew we would end up where we did that last evening of my trip.

My last night in LA was a weeknight, and Ouija and I decided to finally hit West Hollywood, or Boystown, as they say. I was ready to see what the gay bar scene was like, and Ouija desperately needed a break from her unappreciative boyfriend, who was giving her grief during my visit. I considered her such a great catch, and here was a guy who was being a jerk. So we broke away early in the afternoon and headed into West Hollywood.

I believe it was two or three in the afternoon, and we decided to get some drinks. We needed a little break. I could tell she needed to blow off a little steam, and I wanted to savor the last night of my vacation. We stopped at a little Tex-Mex bar and grill and proceeded to order margaritas.

It wasn't long before we had downed several each, and we still ordered more. What is it about a vacation and a new year that makes it seem as if you can hold more liquor? Three rounds were finished, then four...

We started realizing that if we kept up that pace, we wouldn't make it far into the night, so we split. And as embarrassed as I am to admit this, for the first time in my life, I just got up from a restaurant patio, giggled, and left a place of business without paying for what I had ordered. I don't know what came over Ouija and I. Totally buzzed from our drinks, we thought it was HILARIOUS that we were getting away without paying. We were being so stupid. It was if we had reverted back to being in highschool once we were reunited.

I believe that what ended up being our destiny that night was major karma coming back to bite us in the ass for ripping off a few drinks.

We stumbled over to a neighboring gay bar/cafe after our escapade, laughing the whole way. Once there, we continued drinking, which really wasn't wise for six in the evening. We should have taken a break, or eaten something to absorb the alcohol, but we didn't. To make matters worse, at the time, my doctor had prescribed an anti-deppressant for me to curb a bit of anxiety I was carrying around (Hey, it's America). I had only been on it for a couple of months, and I was still getting adjusted to it. My doctor and I had discovered that it eased my OCD tendencies, and lowered my stress levels. I wasn't supposed to be drinking heavily while on it, but...I guess I wasn't taking the warning seriously. I was on vacation! I was being a FOOL.

Well, we got pretty damn wasted. Ouija had a friend who met up with us, but unfortunately for him, by the time he arrived we were completely soused. I cringe at what a horrible first impression I made on him that night. He quickly realized that he was going to have to do a lot of drinking to catch up with Ouija and I. We were shitfaced, and probably terrible conversation company. We were sitting at a little cafe table with our beers, and Ouija made a declaration.

"It's time for SHOTS!!!" The waiter promptly delivered three. I have no idea what they were. Then we had two more each. At this point in the evening, everything gets hazy for me...

When I awoke, I was lying on a hard, cold surface. I had a terrible taste in my mouth. I noticed vomit on my shirt. I was in a small cell in what seemed to be a PRISON. I thought it was a dream. How in the world could "I" be in a PRISON??? This is NOT REALITY. I desperately tried to wake myself from the nightmare, only to realize that, YES, I WAS AWAKE, and very much in A REAL PRISON CELL. How did "I" end up in PRISON??? THIS sort of thing DOESN'T ME! ...but it did. (And now, it's given me such great writing material.) The other thing I thought was, "where IS OUIJA???"

I didn't immediately rise from the hard, cot-like bed that was built into the wall of the cell. There was hardly a mattress; hardly a pillow. They sure don't want you to be comfortable in prison. I scanned the room, and saw there was a utilitarian, industrial-looking toilet built into the other wall, right next to the door. It wasn't even out of view of the guards! The only door to the cell had a small window in it, that revealed only a small square of what was going on in the hallway. Every once in a while, I saw the stern face of a guard float by, as they patrolled the hallway. I was scared shitless. I couldn't believe where I was. I couldn't believe what was happening to me. I wanted to cry. I felt so embarrassed, and so pathetic.

After lying on the cot, trying to cry myself back to sleep, so I could wake up from this nightmare, I finally rolled off, and got on my feet. The smell of my own vomit on my shirt was making me sick, and making me sick of myself. I slowly walked over to the window in the door, and looked both directions down the hallway. A guard finally walked by, and I pathetically tapped on the glass. Amazingly, he stopped and stared at me. I can't imagine what I must have looked like through the little glass window. In my most polite, humble voice I asked, "Excuse me...what did I do?" I knew I was not in a position to be demanding. His look was filled with trained disgust, but I thought I almost saw a small, subtle half-smile crack across his face, as if he was enjoying this as a joke. He forced it away, and the disgust returned. He told me I was so drunk I was unable to walk, to carry myself, to throw-up without it getting all over myself. I felt even more pathetic. It was 6 a.m., and he told me they had placed me and my friend in "holding cells" until we sobered up, and could return to the public.

Thank God, at least I knew it wasn't permanent. There was an end in sight. I just wondered when it would come. And I knew Ouija must be in a similar situation. I returned to the cot, and again, tried to force myself back to sleep. As much as I tried, I was too freaked out to rest. Instead, I thought about the guard. I tried to make light of my situation. I convinced myself it was all an "interesting life experience" that I could turn into a funny story later on. I thought about the guard again. Considering my situation, I don't know how my mind was able to go where it went next, but I passed the time fantasizing about him. He WAS kinda' cute. He mentioned I was in the West Hollywood police department holding cells, so I couldn't help but wonder if this West Hollywood guard outside my cell was a gay officer. I know, I completely INAPPROPRIATE!!! But, I was trying to make light of my situation. It was my only defense mechanism! The guard was a shortish, trim Asian guy, with such a handsome face. I couldn't imagine him out and about on the street chasing down armed criminals. Perhaps he worked as a guard in the holding cells because his straight colleagues felt it was the safest post for him? The half-smile on his face I witnessed earlier only added to the evidence that he was either "new" or not as tough as his exterior sternness let on. A little scenario played in my mind, involving him entering my cell and...well, I'm not going to go there. This isn't Blueboy magazine, but you get the idea. Wouldn't it have made an amazing story if this part came true? We WERE in West Hollywood.

Anyway, 10 a.m. finally rolled around, and the door to my cell opened. A different guard ordered me to get up and follow her down the hallway. She too, had been trained to treat anyone in my situation with complete disgust. I was taken into a small office between the cells, and the front of the station. There was a glass window separating my office with a neighboring office. I saw a guard bring someone into the other office---it was Ouija!!! We got a glimpse of each others face and our eyes jumped out of our heads and met in the middle. We shared the kind of look with one another that only rabbits share with one another when communicating about a predator in the wild. I'll never forget the mixture of embarrassment, shame, fear, and absurd humor etched across her face as we stared at one another. It was so comic!!! Her mascara had run all down her face, and her hair was a mess. I'm sure I looked like hell, too!!! We had both just spent the night in a holding cell!!!

After completing a bit of paperwork, we were scolded about drinking and public drunkenness, which we found out, was our only offense. Humiliating!!!

Apparently, based on the police report, (and based on what we later found out from the gay bar owner), Ouija and I had gotten a bit...unruly in public. Supposedly, Ouija and I were so drunk we made a bit of a scene, with her giving me a lap-dance in the middle of the cafe area of the bar. She dipped and danced all around (a true performer even when drunk) as her friend and the patrons of the gay bar looked on in horror. She and I ended it with a big lip-lock, messy kiss, and then, according to the reports, I passed out on the cafe table, while Ouija bumped and grinded with tables and chairs. Then, the owner of the bar came over and opened one of my eyes. Considering they were dialated (from my medication and alcohol interaction), he "decided" I was on narcotics or something and called the paramedics. When they arrived and proceeded to inspect me, Ouija got a apparently, to the point that someone called the police. I suppose Ouija just didn't want the fun to end, because she made it clear that no one was taking me anywhere, and so, the police cuffed her to get her out of the way. Once the paramedics realized I wasn't dying, I was cuffed as well, and we were both forced into the back of a police car. Of course, I don't remember all of this, but apparently, it happened. To this day I can't believe it! Though, I think we were the victims of an overactive bar owner.

It was all so HUMILIATING! Thank goodness it happened in LA, and I never have to go back there ever again. However, now that I have a bit of distance between this event and my current life, I hope it provides you with a bit of entertainment. It's the only reason I'm offering it up, because otherwise it's embarrassing and seems SOOOOOO unlike me. I guess I should laugh at it all now, although at the time, it certainly wasn't funny. Well...actually, AFTER we were released, Ouija and I did have a good laugh! It was ALL just TOO absurd. I definitely learned my lesson. I will never mix lots of drinking with high doses of that medication again. In fact, since that event, my medication has been reduced to the lowest possible dosage level, just to make sure there's never any kind of interaction like that. I would go off of it completely, but it does help reduce my perfectionism/OCD tendencies. Without it, I can literally paralyse myself with my perfectionism, which isn't very productive.

Ouija and I still share moments from this story with one another when we want to make each other laugh. We'll always have this New Year's story to look back on! It sure shook us up...and I'll never forget the look on her face when we first saw each other upon release. She later told me she shared a holding cell with an Hispanic girl who was on her way to jail. Ouija says she felt so sorry for her because she seemed hopeless. She even told Ouija that she had little kids, and that she missed them, and hoped to get back to them if she ever got out. I guess that gave Ouija something worse to compare her trouble to. I wonder what happened to that poor Hispanic girl who was going to "REAL" jail? I guess we'll never know.

Thankfully, Ouija and I only experienced "prison" for one night. Perhaps we'll live more freely now that we know what that kind of confinement feels like. I know that since then, I've follewed my dreams...moving to New York. Thanks for the experience, Ouija! Here's to following a dream! I hope your dreams come true in Hollywood!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Unrequited Love

I did this illustration for an article about a woman who was married to a man who was obviously gay. The poor woman. What's sad is that she knew he might be gay before going into the deal, but she went through with it anyway. I guess she was lonely, or desperate, or something...

I've been in an unrequited love situation before. It's so painful. loooooong ago (can you tell I just turned 30? haha), in high school, I crushed on a few straight boys in my class. They probably had NO IDEA a male classmate of theirs was crushing so hard on them, but it happened. They moved on, got married, probably had kids, and will never know.

Of course, now I realize there are plenty of men of my persuasion I can crush on! A some of them aren't out of my reach...

Anyhow, can you tell what artwork inspired the girl in my illo?
Picasso's "Weeping Woman" to be exact!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Funny little groups of 4

My buddy Ward from The Ward-O-Matic tagged me in his recent post. He posted a meme, or a "list"–as us blog-retards, such as myself, would call it. It's basically an excuse to record your favorite things in numerical groups. Since I'm tagged, I guess I gotta' reveal my answers...and apparently, this meme is to be answered in groups of 4. Personally, I prefer groups of 3's (especially in decorating), but today it's all about the number 4!

Four jobs I’ve had:

1. Store Sign Designer for Kroger Groceries: I bagged groceries for two weeks, until my manager found out he could pay me the same rate to design signage for products in the store. The result was cartoon drawings of smiley food items with arms and legs saying things like, "EAT ME, I'M A GRANNY SMITH APPLE, I'M DELICIOUS!" I worked alone and unsupervised in a small room with plenty of toxic-fume emitting, industrial markers. I think this detail reveals insight into my chemically altered mind and my career ever since.
2. "Christmas Artist" Specialist for The Becker Group: for two years, I drew reindeer and elves all year long, designed layouts of Santa Reception Areas, and decorated trees and garlands in malls across America...just for Christmas.
3. Broadcast Designer for Primal Screen: My best job ever! I worked at a great studio in Atlanta designing storyboards, logos, and animating comercials for television! It was my longest job ever, and I worked with some of the coolest, creative people...such as Ward, mentioned above.
4. Compositor on a 3-D animated Barbie movie: This was my first job in NYC. I rationalize perpetuating the Barbie brand by saying, "hey, at least the Barbie in this movie isn't built like Pamela Anderson. She's built like your typical flat-chested teen." I'll be happy as long as I never have to see that particular shade of magenta-pink ever, ever again.
Now, I'm unemployed...just kidding, I'm doing various freelance work...

Four movies I can watch over and over:

1. Labyrinth (I rented this, like, fifty times when I was younger)
2. Pee Wee's Big Adventure (it's STILL my favorite Tim Burton movie...because it's the strangest)
3. The Great Muppet Caper (The soundtrack to this always makes me sentimental...I guess I'm just a big kid at heart.)
4. It's a tie between Heavenly Creatures (dark, moody thriller about two girls who fall in love and let their imaginations get them into BIG trouble) or Six Degrees of Separation (a witty, shocking drama set in NYC, about a gay man who attempts to con his way into the New York social elite)

Four places I have lived:

1. Greenville, South Carolina: where I grew up from age one until fourth grade
2. Atlanta, Georgia: both before art school and after art school
3. Baltimore, Maryland: home of John Waters, his films, and where I ended up going for art school
4. New York City!!! (well, I've lived here for three months now)

Four television shows I love to watch:

1. Liquid Television: the first show I remember being completely intoxicated by...I had to tape every single episode
2. Strangers with Candy: possibly THE strangest television show I've ever seen period...I'm amazed it aired
3. Sex and the City: It's just so addictive, and easy to watch over and over
4. Project Runway: You're either IN or you're OUT!

Four places I have been on vacation:

1. Montreal, Canada: surprisingly European, very modern, and very artsy
2. Paris, France: Amazing. I went with my boyfriend in was simply amazing.
3. Los Angeles, California: I got into trouble in West Hollywood...
4. Las Vegas, Nevada: My bro got married!!! It was a blast!!! Completely insane place!!!

Four of my favorite dishes:

1. Pad Thai: yes, I know it's a standard, but it's SOOO GOOOOD when it's prepared right!
2. Grilled Salmon with rice: it's delicious and good for you
3. Pizza and Coca-cola: goes great with a movie
4. Tikka Masala Chicken: My fav Indian dish

Four websites I visit daily:

1. The Perry Bible Fellowship: cuz I like to laugh
2. Ward-O-Matic: because I'm a do right friend.
3. hulaseventy: because I'm a do right friend.
4. Blog of War: because I'm a do right brother.

Four places I would rather be right now:

1. On my way to a fabulous new design job in Soho
2. On a jet to Tokyo to release my new line of toys
3. In a hot tub with Heath Ledger and Jake Gylenhal, discussing how they both happen to be in love with me
4. In a pool of cherry-red Jell-O

Four bloggers I am tagging:

I can't think of four, but if YOU have the free time to answer these questions and want to post them, go for it!