Thursday, December 25, 2008

What T-mas Means to Me

Everyone knows T-mas as a strong-selling greeting card, but did you know it is also a semi-real holiday? It was invented by my sister Dana in 2004, and appreciates a dedicated following. Here are some tips and suggestions, from my family to yours, on how to have that perfect T-mas:

1) T-mas can be celebrated on any day of the year, but a few rules apply. No one can speak ill of one's mother, and if any mother is disrespected, T-mas must be cancelled and held on another date (remember, when you put down one mother, you're putting down mothers all over the world).

2) The construction of wooden 'fools' dates back to the Middle Ages, but that practice, of building a large fool in the town square and lighting it ablaze at twilight, can be brought into the home using craft or popsicle sticks and any variety of classroom art supplies.

3) Perhaps the most important activity of T-mas is the Pity List. Make a list of all the individuals from the past year whom you have reason to pity. Don't share your list with anyone. Instead, cast it into the fireplace, and if the ashes are carried up through the flume and caught by a north-blowing wind, then perhaps a certain someone will hear your wishes, and take it upon himself to pity those fools...

How is T-mas celebrated in your house? Perhaps next year we can add to these traditions, together.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I made a new painting, "The Darkness and the Light:"

If you're thinking, "Hey, that would make a swell greeting card to send my friends and family," well then you sir or ma'am are in luck.

A neat trick for creating darkness and night is to paint full-value/daylight, let that dry, then cover it with a layer of sticky black and use a rag to rub out the highlights and midtones. You get lots of little subtle transitions, but unfortunately a lot of that doesn't always show up in a digital file. Perhaps you will just have to see the painting in person at my solo show in Los Angeles August 11, 2009.

I've added a bunch of other products to the site, too. The full listing (I think) is: Noam Chomsky posters, Cone Dog posters, restock on SVU Valentines, lil' Devitomon prints, Zugzwanged! prints, Bob Ross surf dog prints, Teshh!! prints, X-Files prints, and some cheaper/smaller prints of things that used to be only big (Jen Sisko, King of the Cage, Two Warriors, Jabba, a mini Bajor set), and a few bigger things that used to come only small (Norton by Bird, giant Crimefighters).

A lot of these are standard frame sizes, like 11" x 14", meaning if you bought one you wouldn't need to then spend a bunch on a custom frame job. In general, I tried to add items that are more affordable but still smack of value. Is that the way to go? I always want to hear input about what kinds of things are missing from the store, what could be better, etc.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Mr. McCoy, is it true you've been asked to join the Obama administration?"

--actual, clearly overdubbed line in tonight's rad "Law & Order."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Soul-Thought Twin

"In today’s world, in today’s media climate designed to foster the fear our leaders like us to feel because it makes us easier to push around; in a world where limp, wimpy men are forced to talk tough and act ‘badass’ even though we all know they’re shitting it inside; in a world where the measure of our moral strength has come to lie in the extremity of the images we’re able to look at and stomach; in a world, I’m reliably told, that’s going to the dogs, the real mischief, the real punk rock rebellion, is a snarling, ‘fuck you’ positivity and optimism."

I appreciate the writings of Grant Morrison, if I have not already made that clear.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Bird O'Lanterns

From Rachel Sanford:

Andrea Jones (carver) and Samuel J. Struckhoff (photo-taker):

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

So Wizard!

I got a little mention in Wizard, the Guide to Comics #206:

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Magazine of Gary Burghoff

I have an illustration in the newest (and, wtf, possibly last ever) print issue of RADAR, for an article on the de-volution of the leading man, from Cary Grant to Seth Rogen. I feel a little bad, since the point is that Seth Rogen is a big fat slob, but I saw him in real life a few weeks ago and he is actually quite trim and svelte.

Here is Rock Hudson, and you can see the other portraits by finding a RADAR with Shannon Doherty on the cover and turning to page 42:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I love you, Grizz. I love you, Dot Com.

They put the 30 Rock third season premiere online right here a week before it'll be on TV. Watch the other episodes they have too, because it is a very good and hilarious program. It's sort of like Arrested Development, but 20% less plot-dense and 10% more sitcomy. And for some reason it makes me really wish I'd moved to New York.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


"The arts are more dangerous [than other professions] because they require sensitivity to a large extent," he said. "If you go too far you can pay a price -- you can be too sensitive to live in this world."

Not to belittle his point which he belittled through hyperbole, but the illustration should be a bunch of artists leaving earth on a spaceship. Punch it, Jasper Johns!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

November 7th, Philadelphia

One of the gallery founders is Jon Halperin, friend, generous benefactor to contemporary art, and owner of an enormous John Tesh. Delivering the painting to his home was like stepping into the tomb of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh who'd chosen to be buried in an issue of Juxtapoz.

So I'm betting it'll be a lasting space with a lot of strong shows. I think for this first one I'll be sending them Spidey.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Ask him, if he is not a hobo, why does he have a bindle?"

Continuing on the theme of comic-related things that are good and you should read, here is Snake 'n Bacon's Cartoon Cabaret by Michael Kupperman. My copy was a b-day gift from my sister years ago, and now it's been passed around and dog-eared to the point of exhaustion. It's been a big influence on me in the field of semi-literate absurdist art, being that it is the most literate and most absurd.

It's a collection of his work ranging from one-panel comic book takeoffs:

To recurring strips following the well-spoken title characters ("Hssssss." "Wipe me with a paper towel to remove excess grease."), Roger Daltry's sex blimp, Twain and Einstein at the planet's core, and a belligerent Pablo Picasso threatening to break adversaries "into the leetle cubes!":

He's released newer material as Tales Designed to Thrizzle from Fantagraphics, but Snake 'n Bacon is the true perfect nugget of unstoppable hilarity.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


The concluding issue of All-Star Superman, issue #12, is finally out in stores. If you have no idea what I'm talking about or haven't read issues 1-11, don't buy it. Instead, order the first collection (issues 1 -6) right now, and pre-order the second (7-12). All-Star Superman is not really a retelling, not really a re-imagining, it is simply the best and most powerful version of the myth. If you are a human being drawing breath on this planet, you will like it.

Grant Morrison keeps every preposterous idea from Superman's silly history, ditches any irony or nostalgia, folds it back in a way that it becomes awesome, and plunks it into a larger story fueled on pathos, genuine humor, and hope. This is the thing that comes after Post Modernism.

Some for instances-- there's no longer a ridiculous giant key to the Fortress of Solitude:

Or how about Zibarro, the bizarro Bizarro?:

Morrison also has the best and most sci-fi-ingly elegant answer ever for the question "How come we don't see Superman stopping Hitler/9-11/some other real world problem?" Which I don't think I can succinctly explain, let alone spoil, here.

The art is also, um, the best. Frank Quitely gets flak for drawing purse-lipped mush-faces, but his layouts and sense of space make up for it just a little. If I have a child, I am painting this on the nursery wall:

Perhaps you read something in the news today that made you feel ill about humanity. Well, All-Star Superman is something clever and good that might make you feel okay.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Go Slugs!

My friend and fellow alum of the prestigious UCSC painting school John Olsen has a show of paintings in downtown Los Angeles right now. Here is his painting blog and here is the show info.

He also co-updates with our co-friend Jeff a blog about good art that they like. I figure you'll double-appreciate that link if you're anything like me--a surly and isolated artist who likes other art but doesn't follow anything that's going on.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Twelve more to go!

Law & Order Season 6 is being released on DVD December 2nd. I believe this includes the episode where Briscoe and Curtis drive around with a comically oversize TV aerial to triangulate a cell phone signal. And also "Aftershock," the bizarro installment where no crimes are solved and main characters are given histories and arcs.

For me, mid- to- late nineties "Law & Order" is the show at its creative zenith, with the absolute nadir being the the Arthur Branch years. Now it seems like it could be entering a new golden age: I like Batman's pop well enough, but Alana de la Garza is their secret acting weapon and the strongest ADA character ever. I also wish we'd had 1,000 episodes of the Lupo/Green team (two cool dudes out solving crimes, one of them owns a dog), although Hilarious Fatso from Transformers seems to be an okay replacement.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Free Art

Tomorrow night I'll be helping out at this event at my favorite LA comic store, Golden Apple. Sloshed out of my mind on my usual half a beer, I will be vulnerable to sketching you a free Batman or Ninja Turtle head.

It used to be (and largely still is, although this is changing) that comic artists, and commercial artists in general, worked under freelance work-for-hire contracts with no health or retirement benefits. Which meant you could design half the X-Men team and still end up near-penniless and crippled by medical debt in your later years. The HERO initiative exists to help out artists in that type of situation, and that's who the event is raising money for.

"Crazy-eyed G4 girl"

I haven't watched this, as I'd like to continue to operate under the assumption I sound exactly like Lance Henriksen.

Norton the Hero

An authentic marine biologist I know corrected me about something inane I wrote a few posts back:

"From your Blog: "No one (I'm pretty sure) will ever live or die by anything Edward Norton says or does."
Well if by "no one" you are referring to people, your comment may be true. But if you generalize to marine life, Ed Norton has done a lot for our scaled and slimy friends. He narrated a documentary called Strange Days that was produced for one person. It was shown to Arnold Schwarzenegger the week before Fish and Game voted on the marine protected areas. It worked, the appropriate back door shenanigans were pulled to set up the preserves. Hooray!"

Is there anything he can't do?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I am the Night

Over here at my real website is my newest painting, "I am the Night." It debuted in the real world last Friday at Crazy 4 Cult in Los Angeles. I suppose I should have blogged beforehand to tell people about the opening, but I was pretty crushingly exhausted from trying to get it done in time, and also I'd just be telling you, "Hey, go wait in a huge-ass line for two hours." Here's a good recap of the opening, and the show is up till September 12th, so you still have a chance to check it out if you're in the area.

The inspiration behind the painting was Halloween 1986 when I went as Metroplex. You could tell who I was because the costume had a picture of Metroplex on the chest and said, "Metroplex." My first impulse was to paint a child's Lennie Briscoe costume, but I've played the Lennie card perhaps too often. Who, I asked my soul, is the grossest and least appropriate subject for a mass-produced child's Ben Cooper costume? And Soul replied, "Philip Seymour Hoffman."

I started by looking through old family photos for shots like these to use as reference:

While sketching it out, I considered adding other kids too:

I decided against that because 1) I did not want to look at that crayon kid's face all the time, and 2) I decided I wanted more of a lonely/creepy vibe, and the extra kids cluttered it up and made it more of a "Which of these things is not like the other" piece.

I hope you enjoyed this peek behind the making of this important masterwork. I also hope you will take a look at my other updates, which include some wacky new shirts.

Two Words

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I've been asked a couple times in the past week whether I'd be making any Obama/McCain art (okay, two people have asked me). I guess if I started now I could totally have some kickin' election paintings ready by mid-November, early December. Which is exactly why I think politics is a pretty bad subject for art--it's too of-the-moment and easily dated, and yet, completely weighty and consequential. One of those guys is going to end up improving life for certain people while making things worse for some other amount of people, and any image of that person will carry whatever reverence or hatred or love a viewer brings in his or her heart. I'd rather paint people of absolutely no consequence; it makes it a lot easier to create content around the subject, rather than have the subject dictate the content. No one (I'm pretty sure) will ever live or die by anything Edward Norton says or does.

Somewhere, at some point, I read a really good description of what makes art bad or good (at least I think I did, since I can no longer place the source; I want to say it was Joseph Campbell quoting someone else). It concerned 'fast' and 'slow' art (I might even be wrong about these terms, since I don't get anything Googling fast+art+Campbell). Fast art moves you towards something, it wants you to make a judgment on its subject matter, to take action, to want or need or possess something. It's advertising, it's pornography, it's the art you made when you were in high school and angry. Slow art exists for the aesthetic experience. There can be content and meaning and message, but while you're looking at/hearing/watching it, that should be the only thing you ever want to do. I guess what I'm saying is, that slow art is the kind I'd like to make.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Earlier this week I took a break from my sleep/eat/paint paradigm to catch a comedy show with a few of my pals. For five dollars I got to see Sarah Silverman, Janeane Garofalo (tiny!), and Bob Odenkirk try out new material they'd obviously written on bits of paper backstage. All the acts who weren't the host were pretty good, and the real standout (to me) was a guy named Arj Barker. Nothing on his site is quite as funny as his set that night, but if he breezes through your lonesome town, give him a shot. He's in the style of Mitch Hedberg without being a Mitch Hedberg clone.*

*I saw the real Mitch Hedberg in Scranton, PA a few months before he died. So I should clarify that I mean he's like the earlier, able-to-stand-upright version of Mitch Hedberg.

Monday, July 21, 2008

This is what happens

when you let your pal hang onto your sketchbook as you visit the National Museum:

Friday, July 11, 2008

Heads up, Canadians!

I have an interview in the newest (Summer 08) issue of your Naked Eye magazine, available in stores now and possibly on their website at some point.

Continuing on the theme of Canada, my half-Canadian best buddy has some pieces in "Crazians," opening tonight at the World of Wonder gallery in Hollywood. So I'm going to check that out, and perhaps you will too now that I've told you about it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Those updates of which I spoke

Here's the first:

He's my entry in "Nonpareil," a toy & sculpture show in Nederland, CO opening July 4th. I had a friend who works on "Robot Chicken" cast a few duplicate heads for me, for when I want to make Ninja Fury Lennie Briscoe, Lava Explorer Lennie Briscoe, etc. Maybe I will try sanding down his nose a bit next time (I was just amazed I sculpted something human, let alone vaguely Lennie-like).

Monday, June 30, 2008

Technological Innovation

Christmas 1997 I asked for a modem, which I had heard was a machine that brought rumors about Star Wars into the home. "A modem? Whaddaya need that for?" my dad asked. "I've read about them, and really, I don't thing we need that." Our family had never been on the frontier of progress--our first computer had been an Atari ST purchased off a family selling everything to become truckers--but I was pretty sure he was incorrect.

So now, here is my blog, a good four or five years after I should have started one. I can't say how often this will get updated, but it'll probably be more often than the real website. And now you'll have something else in those months between paintings. I won't bother listing updates to this page on, but I'll post here when I've updated the main site. I think this thing has an RSS feed, so that's one more way to know when there's new art and whatnot.