Wednesday, April 26, 2006
I wanna be the Donna Reed of Photoshop Backgrounds. I want my animated friends to come home to a hot meal, in an immaculately decorated home. They can sit at the table regaling me with the day's adventures, as I make cookies. I'll smile demurely and say things like, "Oh, you!" and "How about seconds, honey?" and "Can we get an Electrojuicer Deluxe like the Jones' have, pleeeeaaaase dear?"
Back in reality, this is yet another background for the secret show I'm working on.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
We're a couple of misfits, we're a couple of misfits, what's the matter with misfits, that's where we fit in
We're not daffy or dilly, don't go 'round willy nilly, seems to us kind of silly, that we don't fit in
We may be different from the rest, who decides the test of what is really best
We're a couple of misfits, we're a couple of misfits, what's the matter with misfits, that's where we fit in!
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Another illo assignment for the gay weekly my bud works for. It was a fun challenge doing this one. By the way, this little guy's check-list is not autobiographical of the artist (heh heh). After finishing this, I decided the guy reminds me of that perky dentist character from those old Rankin/Bass Christmas specials!
Can you imagine if that little dentist had his own checklist? Ewwwwwwww...
The weather is getting warmer as Spring really sets in. I finally got out and took a little walk in Central Park this past weekend. It was really relaxing. It's funny how here in this city, nature is neatly contained within a squared-off, 843 acre plot in the middle of Manhatten, surrounded by concrete, buildings, and bustling traffic. An oasis in the midst of so much chaos. Since I have so many allergies, this is probably the best scenario for me, because I always got sick on family camping trips growing up in the South. But even though I hated them at the time, I've come appreciate those nature excursions from my childhood. It's important to go out and take advantage of all that lush, organic goodness now and then. Seeing all that green really came in handy for this week's show sketches. So thanks for getting me out of the house, and into the woods every once in a while as I grew up, Dad.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Since I've been reminiscing about Atlanta lately, it only makes sense to do a post devoted to two good - no...GREAT, friends of mine that I dearly miss. I've known them ever since my sophomore year at North Atlanta High School, back in...wow...1996 (or was it 1995?), when I was a shy, budding, young artist and student.
Stephen was our high school's answer to the lack of VISUAL arts at our performing arts magnet school. While the magnet focused primarily on theater, music, and annual tour shows, Stephen ushered in his vast expertise with all areas visual. He is a true Renaissance man, knowledgeable not only in art, but in drawing, painting, photography, art history, literature, and journalism. He was my educational rock. And I can't think of a better person to have filled that role. We became intrigued with each other, and due to occasional rides home from school, etc, I met his equally brilliant wife, Frances Mary.
Frances Mary was also a teacher, but she specialized in teaching the blind and children with disabilities. Between She and Stephen, I was surrounded by an interest in everything visual, and they appreciated anyone with a slightly different point of view. We became instant friends - at least that's how I remember our beginnings. I'm sure there was that period for Stephen and Frances to become accustomed to being friends with a student (or maybe not), but it wasn't long before we were all hanging out after school, on the weekends, attending origami meetings, making things, and going to movies together. It was the best of times. You see, along with Stephen and Frances' interest in art and learning, they also have a fascination with all things UNUSUAL and HILARIOUS. Talented in humor above perhaps all other things, they were the best at being silly, absurd, ridiculous, and SO MUCH FUN!
Ever since I've known them, they have always been there for me, and they were always there to remind me to laugh. That is a gift I don't know how to repay. Words cannot express all the love and respect I have for them. They are phenomenal human beings, and they are missed terribly since I moved to NYC.
Recently, they did come up for a visit, and it reminded me how much I like having them in my life. I had a wonderful time, and I hope their upcoming move brings them closer to me...otherwise I'm going to have to file for the opposite of a restraining order, where they are REQUIRED BY LAW to stay within 500 feet of me at ALL TIMES.
Below, check out the incredible photos Stephen took while he and Frances provided artistic support during the making of my Atlanta Cow Parade cow:
Check out the figurine!
Does the mural on the wall in this shot look familiar?
Friday, April 14, 2006
Today, I want to feature the amazing art of my good friend, Ward Jenkins, of The Ward-O-Matic. I recently came across this photo of the graffiti-art piece he did for me in my old loft apartment back in 2001! I'm so glad I have it documented, since It was impossible to take the work with me! When I left the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts, my roommate and friend, Brandon, stayed behind in the apartment for another year, ensuring the survival of the two dancers, keeping the piece safe from the Loft management, who surely would have it painted over. Unfortunately, now Brandon doesn't live there, either. He moved out and into another apartment last year, and I have no idea what happened to this beloved graffiti. I like to imagine that the management decided not to paint over it, deciding that the piece is pure GENIUS, and realizing that it ADDS to the value of the apartment! That's what I choose to believe...I can't bring myself to think about the alternative.
Who wouldn't want these two gettin' down in their living room?
I love everything about this graffiti. The colors, the composition, the lines, the outlines, and of course the visual VIBRATION that creates the illusion of movement. Ward knew exactly what to do to brighten up this room. The entire image was his idea, and I love how he utilized the corner of the room, and drew the characters on two different planes, dancing in space. I miss this mural terribly. It's a shame I couldn't peel it off the wall somehow, and roll it up to take with me.
Now I live far away in New York, and I look back and realize what great friends surrounded me in Atlanta. While I'm glad I've made the BIG MOVE to the city that never sleeps, I do miss the creative, fun-loving friends I knew in the ATL.
Luckily, I've been able to keep in touch with two of them through their blogs. They've provided me with a window to the city where I lived, and have written so many kind words, keeping in touch. So please, if you get a chance, check out The Ward-O-Matic, and while you're there, visit Hula Seventy as well. Ward's wife, Andrea, has created her own amazing blog. Together, they both celebrate the richness of life, art, and having kids. You'll even find a gallery that features colorful drawings by their very talented daughter, Ava.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Sometimes it's nice to see where an artist works. The items they fill their work space with say so much about them, and often, a collage of inspiration can be found on the walls surrounding an artist's desk.
Here's where I work. I just sit my cartoon self down and get to it, although I am often distracted by endless theme tunes, cartoon visitors, and falling anvils. It's hard to work when your eyeballs are so large that they rub up against one another until they've made the other one sore. Blinking is also difficult, since I have no eyelids to speak of. I'd sure like to wear something besides these white gloves, too...
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Hey gaysters!!! What?? Don't like being called "gaysters"??? Alright...but, since we're living in the days of "way-too-gay", I thought you'd get a few yuks out of being included! Ha ha...isn't that what everyone wants? To be the star of their own personal episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, or Straight Girl, or Straight Thing, or whatever?
Hmmm...well, I can understand. Life shouldn't be about a singular group or movement or pair of jeans. And since I belong to the gay community by definition, I think I'm allowed to bash it now and then, just like how black people can bash the black community and get away with it.
As you can see, my illo above does just that. I did this back in art school (1998), as a reaction to what I was seeing more and more of in the younger gay community. It's sort of Stepford Wives-ish (but this was thought up before the cheesy remake came out). I had thoughts about doing a comic strip based on a world takover by mindless, work-out-a-holic, robotic gay men. Their Earth would be one where original thought was wiped out completely, and a superficial herd mindset was firmly set in place. Your brain would be replaced by a computer chip programmed to care ONLY about appearances, working out, shopping, labels, circuit parties, and hooking up.
Where are the lesbians in this takeover, you might ask? Well, I hadn't figured that part out yet. But, I digress.
The point is, I enjoyed the idea, but in the end, I felt the strip would ultimately come off as a bitter rant. I didn't want to shame the gay community any more than it was shamed by our larger society. Sure, as a group, it has things to work on, but why focus on the negative? Why reveal the negatives and make them obvious to other groups? Ultimately, it was a fun exercise; an idea for use later, when society and the gay community could laugh at themselves. And frankly, only the gay community (and a few sharp observers) would REALLY get the jist of the self-effacing humor in context anyway. Besides, I'm finding that a little gym exercise here and there is quite good for the spirit and the mind, when done in moderation. Therefore, how could I admit enjoying such things when this comic strip would prove me to be hypocritical?
These were all reasons the idea for the strip didn't stick with me, and the biggest reason is next: I didn't want to limit myself to a narrow slice of society. I've seen too many talented people come out of the closet, only to be sucked into a world obsessed with all things GAY. All their art ideas are consumed by it. And that's what they become...a "gay artist", rather than "an artist who happens to be gay." Why, I ask, as humans, would anyone want to be refered to by what or who they have sex with? Now...don't get me wrong, some titles and labels are necessary, but why a title that defines you by a sexual act?
I never want it to be my one and only soapbox issue, or to be something that defines me before anything else.
So, in saying that, I thought I'd share the illo for laughs. I look back on it with a newfound understanding for how I felt at the time, and to my surprise, it still cracks me up, because in some social circles this idea is still VERY relevant (perhaps just add crystal meth to the mix). After my last post, I think it makes for a good follow-up.
Taste the rainbow, people, but don't wrap yourself up and suffocate in it.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Can someone please explain to me what's cute about this? Now, before you stone me with accusations of not being open minded, let me remind you that I've been a card-carrying member of the "gay community" since coming out to my mother (who is also same-sex oriented) at the age of sixteen. So really, seriously...why do some people feel the need to dress like a snowy white, Cher-worshipping version of a member from The Village People? Or attend dance parties with one-color theme titles? Recently, I dodged a big event here in New York called The Black Party. I suppose you go and wear black or leather (surprise!), do incredible amounts of drugs, and sleep with as many random people as possible (I'm guessing). Sound like fun? Good times? Nah...not for me. I'd rather meet a nice boyfriend to eventually take home to Mom and her girlfriend. Hopefully, in the future, there will be a day when the gay community looks back on these "ultra-event parties", and realizes how tacky some of these events really are. Give me a funny, ironic, witty, and self-aware drag queen performing at a local dive bar any day...over these stereotypical drones.
I'd love to hear outside opinions on this topic...
Sunday, April 02, 2006
I was once told my drawings displayed a certain "grotesqueness" that mirrored certain truths. I was immediately flattered that my drawings could exhibit that kind of satire and depth!
I think that's what makes this life so interesting...the fact that along with this world's lush, colorful, ample beauty, comes a darker side that contrasts with all that is lovely. Good doesn't exist without evil, nor does beauty without decay. Let's take a moment and embrace the ugliness, shall we?
I seated ugliness on my knee, and almost immediately grew tired of it. -Salvador dali
Considered physiologically, everything ugly weakens and saddens man. It reminds him of decay, danger, impotence; it actually reduces his strength. The effect of ugliness can be measured with a dynamometer. Whenever anyone feels depressed, he senses the proximity of something “ugly.” His feeling of power, his will to power, his courage, his pride—they decline with ugliness. -Friedrich Nietzsche
I don’t believe in evil, I believe in horror. In nature there is no evil, only an abundance of horror, the plagues and the blights and the ants and the maggots. -Isak Dinesen
I’m tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep. That’s deep enough. What do you want- an adorable pancreas? -Jean Kerr.