Monday, March 28, 2011


Thanks for the encouragement.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

5 Signs SXSW Has Arrived

1. It took me twice as long to get to work last night
Nuff' said.

2. I almost saw a fight last night
Positioned at my valet booth, I have a unobstructed view through the window of a bar. Listen: Big, ape-like man is apparently acting surly and misogynistic. Female bartender interjects on female customers behalf, tries to take Apeman's beer away. Apeman refuses. Female bartender sticks her fist in his beer, and tells him to "drink it now". Apeman becomes enraged. Apeman is thrown out of bar by 4 smaller men. Words are had. Apeman kicks a guy in the balls. More threats. Apeman finally comprehends that he's not wanted. Apeman reluctantly sulks away.

3. I was almost in a fight last night
Two women and a man approach me and ask if I would call them a cab. This is generally bad etiquette since valets only have their personal cell phones, so why not use your own? I skirt the issue by telling them I don't have a cell phone, which is the absolute truth. The woman gives me a scowl. "Really?", she says, not as in "Really, you don't have a cell phone?", but more as in "Really, you're going to lie to my face? You ought to to come up with a better excuse because everybody has a cell phone. And you look ridiculous in that day-glow yellow vest with reflective stripes." I try to convince her. I say, "No, REALLY I don't have a cell phone." But really I'm saying "No REALLY I don't have a cell phone, and I know I look ridiculous in this vest but you don't have to be a bitch about it." At this point she makes a sound with her mouth which is hard to describe, but everyone is familiar with. It kinda sounds like "uuhh!". Imagine a trust-fund baby with entitlement issues learning that Starbucks has run out of their chosen coffee. That's the sound she made. They proceed to push rudely past me without even saying farewell. They've essentially called me a no good liar.

Now, I'm pretty laid back guy who generally avoids conflict, so I'm going to blame my next move on Apeman's testosterone laced pheromone which still clung to the air. As they walked away I said, "With an attitude like that, why would we?" (call them a cab). Admittedly, it was bratty thing to say, but at least it was reasoned and somewhat intelligent; moreso than calling them "bitches" or "assholes" or something. The man took a few more steps before deciding that he should probably stand up for his girlfriends. He turns around in the middle of the street and starts doing the whole "You got a problem?!" routine. I can't remember what I said to him next, but it must've been pretty good, because it turned him into an Apeman and caused him to come nearer. Now for the uninitiated: when Man A aggressively approches Man B, Man B cannot back down if he hopes to maintain a shred of pride. I almost said "shred of dignity", but it's mostly about pride, stupid male pride. So although the guy was bigger than me, I didn't back down. It helped having my co-worker, Greg, there. And then: "Comeon! I'll take both of you!!!" I'm starting to like these odds, but trying to resist being transformed into an Apeman. We're also giving him the opportunity to throw the first blow, lest this goes to court. It's probably good nothing happened, though he did call us pussies as he walked away. 

Human behavior is so fascinating.

4. I socialized with other human beings over alcohol last night
Perhaps our confrontation with Apeman Jr. was a bonding experience of sorts; after work Greg offered to introduce me to some good bars and people. At one point found myself walking down east 6th singing harmony for a rousing rendition of "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys.

5. It's stunningly beautiful today
The SXSW people really couldn't pick a better time, the weather is spectacular right now. Warm days, cool nights, and a wonderful breeze blowing through the freshly sprouted leaves.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ugly Old Doodles

I attend a monthly Illustration critique group with some fantastic Austin artists. Last meeting, our fearless leader, Marsha Riti, suggested we bring work which has influenced us and talk about why it's inspired us. It was a great idea. For my part I brought in Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, and a book of illustrations by the amazing William Steig. I told everybody that I enjoy loose drawings with a sort of ugliness. I'm unsure why I like "ugly" drawings. Perhaps because they seem more real? Make you slightly uncomfortable? Or challenge the viewer to search for beauty behind the obvious? Damn, if I had only gone to art school I could come up with an even more pretentious and confusing analysis!!

Anyway, this is a recent doodle from my sketchbook. As strange and perhaps ugly as this old woman is, I love her.

Here are some drawings from William Steig. His loose portraits are downright crude -- and absolutely masterful. Rendering realistic hands are obviously not high on his agenda, but does it matter? With his unchained line these characters feel alive, their personality popping off the page.

I'm slowly learning to tune in to my body as I draw. When working on a drawing I perceive as difficult, my entire body tenses, afraid of making a mistake. Of course nothing good is born of fear.