24 December 2009

it ends as i began...

Befitting this series should end with the first card I did- Santa skankin' to the holiday beat. Ah, I was a young buck back then. Happily this piece isn't as excruciating as it could be, given its twenty year vintage. I hope y'all have enjoyed these holiday greetings & perhaps you've even ended up sendin' off a couple to friends & family, or at the very least, one or two have made you smile, or maybe even warmed a cockle or two...
Cue up Fishbone's "It's a Wonderful Life (Gonna Have a Good Time) in one, two &...

23 December 2009

santa gets detained...

More righteous indignation, this time from '01, casting Santa as the perfect detainee, showing all good folk that Bush's oh-so-Constitution-usurping policies would not only ruin our country as a whole but Christmas as well~

20 December 2009

seasonal equality...

Late 90's, trying to impress a pretty girl (who would later become my lovely bride) with my clumsy attempts at animal rights, worker's solidarity, et al.~

18 December 2009

for those who agree with our goals...

Here's one from '04 right after Kerry's heartbreaking loss to Bush.
Santa's list reflects a nation divided indeed~

16 December 2009

santa's got a brand new climate...

Doctored e-mails or not, Santa knows the truth about global warming~

some of the images will be in red as I am scanning from the actual cards in the instances where I no longer have the original works.

15 December 2009

season's greetings in which we can believe...

This was last year's card which got some play around the inter-webs, again no comment really necessary~

again feel free to share at will...

13 December 2009

12 days o' x-mas...

Okay, in all honesty, I am deliberating at this point whether to continue to boadcast these "very secret monster things" to the worldwide web. Now that "Design For Obama" has hit the stands, I'm not feeling it as much as I did. Perhaps that will change in the new year. But whilst I dither, I give you, my dear readers, a lil' present~
For the past twenty some odd years (& some have been very odd indeed!), I have created holiday cards for friends & family to celebrate the season. Although I waiver between atheism & agnosticism, my belief in this most wonderful time of the year & the spirit of giving & sharing therein has never been stronger.
My holiday scribblings started with a skankin' Santa, rockin' to the holiday groove (replete with "Fishbone" tattoo), & have continued unabated up until this year's oh-so-topical health care entreaty. The cards have ranged from personal to political to downright ridiculous (I will spare you "Zombie Claus"!), & during the next twelve days, I will share with you some of my favorites (complete with whatever necessary context) starting with this year's ink-stained holiday greeting.
Please feel free to save, send, print, & otherwise share in any way you'd like in the spirit of the season as it were...

Comments are appreciated & well within the nature of the season, don'tcha' think?

09 November 2009

the one where Nonny dies so I can go to the "Design For Obama" book signing

This website's very raison d'être has finally become reality~

"Design For Obama", collecting the best of the DesignForObama website & featuring two of my pieces, has finally been published & I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the book release party last week. I celebrated the momentous occasion with my lovely bride & about 300 other folks at the Taschen store in NYC. The tastemakers at the shindig included, but were not limited to, DFO founder Aaron Perry-Zucker, New York Times & School of Visual Arts design guru Steven Heller & always-Mookie-to-me Spike Lee. It was a blast & a half, no doubt, no diggity.
But I wouldn't have been able to go if not for my wonderful Nonny.
I had plans to fly into Chicago for the long weekend to see my dear old friend Neil & his family when I got the invite to the book signing & although I so wanted to go, I just couldn't justify the $600 fee for the ticket change, so it looked like I just wasn't going to get the chance to have my book signed by Mars Blackmon.
But Nonny would have none of that.
My Nonny, my mom's mom, was a very wonderful woman- kind & funny & biting as well- & as my mom would say, she simply made everything better. She was simple & yet in that simplicity she contained wonders & wisdom beyond compare & without peer. (I'm also breaking one of her cardinal rules by referring to Nonny as "she" (Who's "she"?!, Nonny would rebuke us); the other was never saying "shut up"... Both very good maxims by the way.)
Nonny had made it clear that she wanted to make it to 90 & then that was enough. Well, on Friday 16 October, she turned 90, & then she fell on the following Wednesday. She was always a women who knew what she wanted, & I find it to be no coincidence the timing of her death. She allowed us a little time in the hospital to pay our respects, & then she quietly passed on 2 November, further allowing me the opportunity to change my flight with no consequence. Airlines are known for their sympathy for the bereaved. In her passing, she also saved my uncle from an abysmal trip to see his partner's family & my brother to come home from California for a much-needed respite, & she did so in a fashion that allowed us all to say goodbye in a timely & loving way, especially my mother, who got to spend some very special time with her in the last few weeks. It is so essentially Nonny that she orchestrated all of this at the end of her life to, as always, make things better for all of us who were being left behind.
The book signing fell between her funeral, which was a simple graveside remembrance (wherein my 9 year old son informed us all very casually for the first time that he is Buddhist), & my mom's open house (or as we dubbed it, the "non-shiva"), so it was with a mixture of sadness & excitement that mi esposa hermosa & I ventured into the city.
Far from the event I expected (a gathering of the artists whose work is in the book & their mothers), the book release party was a fantastic party & celebration of both the book's publication & the one year anniversary of Obama's momentous election. 300 people turned out, only about 25 or so of them being artists published in the book itself, although they came from very disparate locales: Canada, Mexico, Indonesia, Dominican Republic & even Connecticut. "Design For Obama" is literally & figuratively a work of art in & of itself; Taschen really did an exquisite job on the printing, the coloring, the paper-stock, the layout, et al. The heft of the book is only surpassed by its beauty. The book quickly sold out as folks got their copies signed by Spike, Aaron & Mr. Heller, & also a bunch of them requesting my signature as well! I have to say, it's unlike my generation to be un-ironic but that felt very good indeed. My wife, being the model for the better of the two pieces, also reluctantly signed her "work" as well.
The night was extraordinary & simply would not have happened without Nonny. As "she" told me once in her succinct manner after some girl had broken my heart & I showed up at her doorstep craving sympathy, "Sometimes these things happen." This perfect little dose of reality was followed by a strong but short hug & that was enough.
Well, Nonny, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to make the scene @ Taschen last week.

Sometimes those things happen too...

15 October 2009

for the blogger who has everything...

Hey kids-
This angst funnyman's gonna' be 40 next week (egads!), so if you wanna' get yer favorite blogger a lil' somethin'-somethin' for all these years (okay- months) of entertaining you folks, you could simply fulfill my lifelong dream~

Seriously, how freakin' cool is this Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co., "online purveyors of high quality crimefighting merchandise"?!

It is indeed a real store in Brooklyn that does indeed sell supplies to Superheroes (& yes, it does screen out any & all super-villians); It is also the brainchild of the uber-talented Dave Eggers & all proceeds from heroic goods go to support 826, the wonderful community writing center for youth.
I especially dig the Vapor Blaster just so's you know...

starfish (sans coffee)

The "Circus" continues~

12 October 2009

proletkult poetry circus

Back in the day, I was asked to do a series of illos for a performance art collective known as the "Proletkult Poetry Circus". I did small black & white pieces for their readings & such. It was interesting because of the constraints involved (size & placement) coupled with the choice of subject matter (total artistic freedom therein).
Some of the pieces were successful; some were not. I think this week I'll share some of the successful ones as is my wont. Enjoy~

10 October 2009

captain america (as represented by robt seda-schreiber) v. stephen colbert

This morning, Stephen Colbert, host of "The Colbert Report" & right-wing alter ego of Stephen Colbert, will be served with a legal document called a writ of replevin.
A writ of replevin is a prejudgment process ordering the seizure or attachment of alleged illegally taken or wrongfully withheld property to be held by a designated official, under order and supervision of the court. This type of writ is commonly used to take property from an individual wrongfully in possession of it and return it to its rightful owner.
In 2007, upon the supposed "death" of Captain America, his shield was given to Mr. Colbert by Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief, Joe Quesada.
As I am sure comes as no surprise to anyone, Captain America, aka Steve Rogers, has returned (“reborn” if you will) from his supposed death. More to the point, reports of his death were greatly exaggerated in the first place. It was under this false pretense that Mr. Colbert was “bequeathed” said shield, so it would follow that the good Captain’s shield be returned to him post-haste. I bring this legal action in his name, with the help of my brilliant & beautiful lawyer-wife.
Now being a poor schoolteacher myself, I am willing to negotiate with Mr. Colbert. I would think he would like to keep Captain America’s shield in his so-called “Eagle’s Nest” & I am willing to discuss terms by which he could do so.
I truly hope that we will be able to reach an amicable & fair agreement & we can settle this before it becomes an ugly & embarrassing courtroom spectacle.
I will let you, my dear readers, know of any & all progress as it occurs.
For now, here is a copy of the aforementioned writ of replevin for your perusal:
click to embiggen

17 September 2009

monkey in a jar

When I first began "very secret monster things", I wasn't sure of the exact direction this great & beautiful unwieldy beast would take. I knew I would post some muzik, given my predilection thereof; some comix, because they're "not just for kids anymore!"; &, of course, lots of art, my own as well as others who inspire me to create said art. Now that I'm getting my sea-legs as it were, I see more clearly my path. The music is fun & I like to share some stuff you kids may not have (mash-ups, remixes, covers, etc.), but I think I'm going to start concentrating more on the art, especially my own~ some old, some new, but hopefully, never boring.
Let's start with a vintage piece that I still like for some odd reason...

14 September 2009

it's okay if only five folks read this blog if one of 'em is this guy...

When I post (like when I draw), I do so in a vacuum, in my studio, alone~ surrounded by my toys, my drawing table & my spinner rack of comix. I never know what the response will be to any given piece of work I produce, if it will be successful, or indeed if anybody will see/read it at all.
This blog has been fun thus far, still finding my way, finding my voice as it were. Sometimes I despair at the seemingly low number of folks who visit this dark crevice of the inter-webs; not that I don't cherish those who do. All the comments & e-mails I've received have been truly wonderful & have kept me sane, focused & indeed inspired.
But the following deserves special recognition~

"Very cool stuff!
I like what you did with the
wolves--the final version definitely works. I also like the self-portrait, with your (very well-drawn, btw) hands, projecting towards the reader.
But what I like MOST--is the way that you write!
You have a very direct, unpretentious, endearing--and ultimately, very cool--way of expressing yourself in words! Much FUN to read!
I'm only sorry that it took me this long to check out your blog, and find that out.
All the best to you--and thanks again, for the very nice compliments about my work. (But you're no chopped liver yourself, y'know!)
Take care-

That's Trevor Von Eeden.
Of whom I wrote here.
Whose craft, imagination & talent, both when I was growing up & to this day, imbues me with huge amounts of knowledge & pleasure ~ with his beautiful line-work, thought-provoking layouts, & totally original & utterly wonderful style.
Here's something I scanned from an old Batman annual I have on my spinner~
It's just Batman flicking on a light switch, but it shows that when Trevor Von Eeden drew anything, it wasn't ever just anything at all...

'nuff said.

11 September 2009

08 September 2009

the greenest hair

More "Fallin' Asleep" for y'all...
Remember: only dogs see in black & white; color-blindness is a misnomer, it should really be called "color-confused".

07 September 2009

fallin' asleep

Back to work, back to bloggin'...
Whilst in college (Rutgers '92), I really came into my own as an artist. I had transferred from School of Visual Arts in Manhattan & found a real home for my work on the pages of the three major college papers there. I first slung ink at the Rutgers Review with the cult hit "Skullboy" until they censored my work once too often (a story for another time, kids). Fortunately, Ian Jacobs & Heather Alevras (to both of whom I am eternally grateful) wooed me away to "The Medium", the ugly step-child of the school's papers, with the promise of a full page for my doodles &, more importantly, a lot more respect for my work. It was there I really found my proverbial niche. At the same time, due to my ever-increasing & even more inexplicable rising popularity, I was offered some space at the "Targum", the school's stalwart, staid & somewhat stilted paper of record, wherein I tested the boundaries of good taste with a strip called "Creative Juices" (this work I will share as well in the near future).
But it was at the aforementioned "Medium" that I gave my ink-stained heart & soul with the magnum opus called "Fallin' Asleep".
I was allowed full artistic freedom to create this work which allowed me to clear my head of all the insanity & inanity that kept me up all through the the night, at first revolving at around sexual proclivities (my own & others as well) & thankfully evolving into something a little more~ some political, social & environmental musings; some emotional & psychological explorations; some small answers to big questions; & lots & lots of drawings of me naked.
This week, I will share some of my favorites from the approximately 83 some-odd (& some were very odd indeed!) strips that encompassed "Fallin' Asleep" in all its inky glory some almost twenty years past.
This first piece is a good example of the navel-gazing in which I often indulged, one of the very things for which I believe college was created.
I was so much older then...

27 August 2009

wolves on the walls...

Been painting the mural for my son's school that I wrote about last week, thought you kids might like to see it~
Would love to hear (read) yer thoughts...

23 August 2009

19 August 2009

crying wolf

It's become tradition in my family that when my son starts a new school, we paint a mural on the wall of said school, both to help him get acclimated to his new surroundings & to thank the school for the part it will play in his life & further education.
It began at his preschool wherein my lovely bride & I painted a huge underwater scene over winter beak despite the fact that we were both stricken with some horrible illness that I am sure mutated into what is now called the swine flu. Nonetheless we had a great deal of fun painting (my lawyer wife especially showing great heretofore unknown prowess with a paintbrush) & knowing that our son Jack would be that much more comfortable entering his new surroundings.
When he started kindergarten, he requested we do the same & we did, painting a huge piece in an archway of his new school with the happy approval of his new principal.
Now he is entering, for lack of a better term, an "upper elementary" school, & again we are starting the process of "beautifying" his new surroundings. This process has been a little different that the previous two in that I submitted a sketch for approval beforehand & received some constructive criticism on some changes they wanted to see implemented.
I thought you, my small but dear readership, might be interested in this process so I am including all three drawings for your perusal.
The first sketch was a collaboration between Jack & myself, incorporating his new school's mascot, the wolf, portrayed as members of a band, in homage to his favorite group, Gorillaz.
Here's my first sketch~
This drawing was met with great enthusiasm from his new school, but it was felt that the wolves were perhaps too human-looking & perhaps didn't read clearly enough as wolves. I agreed as when I was doing the sketch, I was unsure whether to go full-wolf as it were or perhaps more human. I erred on the side of anthropomorphism & was happy to makes the musicians more lupine~
That sketch was then deemed to have more of a "middle school" aesthetic & it was requested that the wolves be a little more cartoony. I at first was disappointed & thought about politely demurring (I think the 4th & 5th graders were being underestimated & would enjoy these wolves, with their somewhat fierce & rockin' demeanor), but quickly remembered for whom & for what reason I was doing this, & happily acquiesced to my patrons' wishes~

This sketch was approved wholeheartedly by all involved & we start painting this weekend.
(I will post pics of the painted mural upon its completion.)
I am not unhappy with the final drawing, I think I stayed away from too much of a Disney-esque vibe & still kept enough of my own artistic sensibilities (& I especially like the new afro!), but I am still partial to the second sketch & feel that is the most successful drawing of the three. But given the mural's location, I understand that perhaps the compromise was necessary &, in the end, will produce the best work for its intended audience.
But, in the end, whatever the artist in me may think, the father in me is pretty damn happy to be able to once again be there for my boy...
I'd truly love to hear (read) your thoughts on the three sketches & perhaps you'd like to share a similar instance when you made an artistic compromise & your feelings about finding such a medium, whether it was a happy one or perhaps not so much.

17 August 2009

Some of its parts

A mash-up is a curious thing. As I've stated before, most of them are pretty bad, whether ill-conceived from the start, or simply a case of a good idea (e.g., interesting tracks that would seem to fit) not assembled with the right skill, panache, &/or funk. Finding a really great boot is a rarity indeed; I think the mathematical equation (call this the "very secret monster things mash theorem", if you will) is about 37:1, as in I sift through 37 painful Frankenstein's monsters before I find one made by a true Dr. Funkenstein. I do this work not just for me but for you, my dear readers...
Even more rarely, though, a great DJ will take tracks that ya' don't dig & create a wholly new piece that rocks yer world. The always-reliable DJ Clivester pulls this seemingly-impossible task off more often than not.
Here's a great example~ A mash-up containing a buncha' songs that don't tickle my fancy at all, interspersed with one track I dig the most (guess which one), creating a stitched together masterwork that makes you want to scream from your castle against the thunder & lightning
as the square villagers approach, with their torches & pitchforks (& appalling lack of funk), "It's alive! It's alive!"
contains fleshy parts from the following~
Moby - Extreme Ways
Chemical Brothers - Galvanize
Katy Perry - U R So Gay
Beenie Man - Dancehall Queen
Beyonce - Single Ladies

13 August 2009

sticky fingaz

"Spider-Man, Spider-Man does whatever a spider can..."
We all know the tune, not a day goes by wherein it doesn't swing through my head, & with Spidey revvin' up to make his big Broadway debut next year, I thought I'd post some sticky tracks, some good, some bad, all at least interesting to say the least. Uncle Ben certainly wasn't talking about these musicians when he imparted his better-than-your-average fortune cookie wisdom~ "With great power comes great responsibility".
First up we have the ubiquitous 60's cartoon theme, which swings almost as much as our web-headed friend his own self & then we turn it up to 11 to let The Ramones rock it out with their version.
Next Freddie McCoy vibes us out with his jazzy samba-riffic tune that had Spidey on the album cover but had seemingly little ease to do with the wall-crawler. But still a nice mellow tune nonetheless.
From across the pond comes an odd "mastermix" from MC Spy-D & "friends" which has some BBC Spider-Man cartoon dialogue interspersed with some pretty generic beats; Appropriate does basically the same with the 60's theme, mashing it up with some electronica- This track was featured in some video game or some such I believe.
Italian Spider-Man? Ridiculous, repulsive, offensive, you so don't want to laugh, but you will (& aren't those things the very foundations of the Internet itself) & the song will end up on your iPod, I guarantee it...
Finally because I couldn't find one song good/bad enough to feature, I leave you with a triumvirate from the mid-70's classic, "Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Superhero".
Until we hear what Bono & The Edge are cookin' up, this is what the music world has offered up thus far in celebration of Peter Parker & his sticky alter-ego.
(& I do want to share this as well~ whilst doing the research for this post (read: Googling "Spider-Man"), I learned something I wish I could unlearn: There is a pretty perverse & very un-gallant sex act known as the "Spider-Man" & I beg you not to find out for yourselves. Don't do it! I beg of you!)
As one of the great literary figures of our times sez~
"'Nuff said, true believer!"

12 August 2009

kiss or kill, round tres

This round of "kiss or kill" allows you kids to pick or pan this ultra-new & shiny track from Cornershop's forthcoming album, "Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast". It's certainly rocks hard, but is it sitar-iffic?!
What say you? Leave your votes in the comment section & decide Tjinder & the boys' fate......