Monday, December 14, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
The practical matters of being a hero or a villain are always fascinating. Think about it. Imagine your Superman and your over your girlfriend’s parents house for the first time. You're of course a bit nervous, and so you have to poo. What do you do? If you drop one in the parents' toilet, you know your indestructible excrement is going to crack through the bowl like an egg on concrete. And yet if you leave the house, that may seem a bit odd. You really can't win. But then again, if you're Superman, maybe you don't care. Maybe you could just say, "Excuse me folks but I must fly to the desert to go to the bathroom so that I don’t break anything of value.” And maybe the parents would be ok with that -- you are Superman after all..
Saturday, December 27, 2008
You may see life as one two-headed monster and want to run. But don't judge too quickly, you may find out that things are better than they seem.
Last week I spoke at The 2008 Art Institute of California - Los Angles Graduation as the commencement speaker. It was a lot of fun. I met a lot of talented students and teachers there.
Often, parents ask me about their kids that are interested about the arts and whether or not this is a good time for them to be pursuing an arts career. My answer is always: If someone is passionate about their art, and will work hard, there has never been a better time in human history to be an artist!
Think about it, for years and years it was only a select few who got to choose what artwork the world would see (Magazine editors, movie executives, etc.) But now those barriers are crumbling and you can create and market your art all-online. Not only can you sell your work, but also you can talk to those people that are buying it! It’s amazing. This combined with a renaissance in virtual worlds and video games, creates an environment ripe with opportunity. So congratulations to all of you graduates. I can't wait to see what you create!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
There is something special that happens on Christmas morning that only happens once a year. Simultaneously everyone pauses for a moment. Now for some that moment is for faith, others it’s for family, and yet other its just because everything is closed and there is no where to go. But take a drive in LA Christmas morning and it becomes clear by the lack of traffic; People are still and with people they love. It’s an amazing thing. When people love collectively you can feel it like a single drop red dye dropped in white liquid. You can feel it swirl everywhere and create an atmosphere that is unique for that moment.
This poem does not reflect any of that. I was thinking about Santa, and it occurred to me that he wouldn’t be Santa without his beard. Think about it. If you saw a skinny guy dressed in green polka-dot spandex and he spontaneously grew a big bushy white beard, he would instantly remind you of Santa. Clearly it is his most defining attribute. I thought it would be fun to turn his beard into a character. In this case, a magical pet.
I hope this blog finds you happy, healthy and full of joy.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,
Friday, December 5, 2008
I have only been bowling about 8 times in my life. Its fun, but its not one of those activities that occurs to me to do out of the blue. But for 95 million people in the world, the art of rolling a ball and knocking down pins, is a regular hobby. Its strange, but understandable. It takes skill, it's social, and people have been doing it for around 2400 years. That's right! Its been around a long time.
Originally, the illustration for this poem was going to created in a 3D application and rendered out with beautiful shadows and reflections. This was because instead of the kids standing in fright, the original image was going to be of the pins attacking in a similar formation. 3D bowling pins with eyes would have been a fun thing to see in a realistic style. However, as I was sketching out ideas, I realized that this didn't really sell the punchline of the poem. Changing the attacking pins to scared kids made me laugh as I drew it and I knew it was the right thing to do..
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Back in the pre-internet age, the big department stores would send out huge meaty picture catalogs. I would awkwardly flip through the gobs of pages and find the treasure map I was looking for: The toy section. There were only about a dozen pages dedicated to toys and games and so I would carefully strategize as to which toy would be the best to request. Most years I wanted G.I.Joe's. Not the old school doll Joe's but the small plastic type that was the rage in the eighties. The kind of Joe that would fall into pieces when you shot them with a pellet gun at that crucial point in the chest where the screw connects the rubber band.
One year was different. While looking through the catalog, I saw a toy of sorts that was different. It eerily looked back at me in the catalog as if it knew what I was thinking. It was a Charlie McCarthy Ventriloquist Dummy. It was the first toy I had that was completely my own. My brothers (being normal) had no interest in it. That summer, I carried Charlie everywhere and practiced. I read every book on ventriloquism the library had. We took a family photo, and I insisted that the dummy be in it. When school started up again that fall, we had to do a school project and give a presentation. I was a very shy kid that largely lived in his mind and drawings. It took a long time for me to build confidence. But once in a while, a showman inside would spring out. This was my chance! I would bring in Charlie and we would make a show of it.
I remember getting in front of the class and cracking my best jokes. Despite my anxiety, my classmates were amused at the novelty. There were no belly laughs, but no complaints or weird faces either. When I finished the presentation I thought about the while experience. I did the ventriloquism thing. I studied, got the dummy and did a show. And now...and now... I came to a realization. I was done with it. Just like that. I wasn't sad about it, or disappointed. I just knew it was time to go back to the woods and light fires, catch newts, and build forts.
There are times when I reflect on life and think that I opportunities I should have seized. I should have taken my piano lessons more seriously. I wish I had focused more in learning to speak Spanish at an early age. But in the case of Charlie McCarthy, I am glad I let that one go.