Sunday, April 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Lieutenant McGreal

Since I'm poor this year (in bank account, not spirit), I commissioned myself to complete a painting for my Dad's birthday (April 17).

In 1970 , several years after leaving active-duty as a Naval officer, my Dad joined another armed force: The Brigade of the American Revolution , a troupe of men who re-enacted the Revolutionary War in full dress. (Actually , by default, the rest of the family participated as well. I'll write about those years at some point.) So I thought he might like a painting themed around the colonial soldier. I've also been following the John Adams mini-series on HBO, so I guess I was in the mood.

He loved the result. It's an 8" by 14" piece but here's a smaller version:(click on image for larger)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Geek Alert: Development of a Doodle

This week while on a freelance job at McCann Erickson, I had some down time while I waited for my client to give me some ideas to illustrate. Lately I've been doing all my jobs completely digital on my new Cintiq monitor, (no paper -I'm a "green" storyboard artist!) which allows me to paint in Photoshop.

As I was listening to the "Return of the Jedi" soundtrack , I began to get my Geek on. I started out wondering if I could doodle a new stormtrooper idea and just kept going with it.

I think it turned out pretty cool:

Dante's Inferno is in Van Nuys.

I went to a Chuck-E-Cheez once in South Florida, I think over 20 years ago. As far as I can recall, it was a violent assault on all the senses which I learned never to return to. Hundreds of little kids on dangerous sugar highs running and screaming at levels that almost drown out the staccato cries of the video games.

My brain cells have stopped regenerating. Like Orpheus looking back to get a glimpse of Hell, I agreed to accompany my friends and their kids to Chuck- E-Cheez last week.

Nothing has changed. Think twice before changing your dollar for video game tokens. If you don't obtain the crazed temerity of a 7-year old on sucrose , then you'll never get close to playing even a round of skee-ball.

Friday, April 4, 2008

New Sketchbook site

I've decided to start a second blog devoted solely to my travel sketchbook pages as I archive them. Inevitably as they spark my trips down memory lane, they will probably be accompanied by anecdotes that come to mind from said journey.

The name of the blog is : 300,000 miles of Stickfigures

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Snake Eyes and light starch, please.

Today I went to pick up my dry cleaning (several suits I brought from the east coast which lay balled-up in a pile on my closet floor since July- no weddings or funerals this year.)

The middle-aged, bespectacled Korean proprietor took my order stubs and turned to search for the matching receipts. He murmured something and gestured to the far side of the room.

"Oh dah dies."

"Huh?", I replied

I looked over to other side of the room, to an empty counter and figured he was talking to himself.

He looked back over his shoulder to me, this time making sure that dense white kid heard him as he gestured to the far side of the room.

"Oh dah dies, peas."

Only wishing to placate him, I began to slowly slide down the counter to the far side of the room, but unsure why.
When I got to the end I spotted a small craps table:

"Oooh! Roll the dice" I exclaimed.

I picked up the dice and tossed them, not knowing what was a good roll or a bad roll. I'm not a gambler at all.

Once I went to Atlantic City for my friend Jeff''s bachelor party. It was basically me and a bunch of lawyers. I brought $100 to lose for a weekend of..err, fun. After the first hour at a roulette wheel, I was down $60 , so I walked away and never gambled the rest of the weekend. Meanwhile the high-rolling barristers were losing and winning $500 at a time.

A year later when I was in Cambodia shooting "Apsara", I took some of my crew to the Naga , a floating 24-hour casino on a ship docked off Phnom Penh's harbor. I started at the roulette wheel again and suddenly began winning $10 bets. The chain-smoking Chinese gamblers around me sensed a lucky streak and began to place their bets next to my chips. Unfortunately for them, once I reached $70, I figured in the karmic scheme of things I was ahead $10, so I walked away.
(of course one could argue I was already gambling heavily with the tens of thousands in personal savings which I was sinking into my film).

Back at the dry cleaners, the dice landed

"What you get?", he asked.

"Eleven?" I offered. It felt good but I had no idea.

"Ah, very good discount"

"Discount?" I countered, before discovering this sign on the wall next to the table :
Twenty percent off.
Not bad.
Somebody should let the Chinese chain-smoking gamblers where the real action in town is.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Stuff White People Like

I came across a great blog today: Stuff White People Like . If you're white or just a really assimilated immigrant as many of my friends are you'll first laugh at this list, then it'll die down to a weak chuckle as you realize how deadly accurate it is, then you'll laugh again because the odds are that out of the 85 or so entries, chances are you only share less than half. So it's okay. You're not so easily typecast. Or at least you'll tell yourself that.

So far I'm only admitting to entry numbers 84, 83, 71, 70, 69, 58, 53, 47, 35, 24, 25, 19, 7, 52, 55, and 46. The rest I'm in denial about.

Weekly Work of Art

My Dad will dig this artist. Although a CPA by trade, my father has been studying paper folding/cutting/sculpting for about 30 years now. Peter Callesen, a Danish artist, is a master at this. His site is

Some designers at The Refinery, a print design house servicing the movie and tv industry where I've been freelancing, brought this guy to my attention. You can usually bet there's something cool on the web when all the designers are gathered around one monitor, procrastinating and remarking in hushed tones.