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.