So, I haven’t checked my web stats for in about a year. It doesn’t really play a large role in how I organize the site, but it’s usually a good indicator of :

a) What parts of the internet are talking about me.

b) Who is stealing my images.

As it turns out, I’m scoring about 2000 hits per day, which is pretty great considering that I don’t promote myself very much. So,  I decided to take a narcissistic journey into what parts of the internet have been talking about me recently.

- A majority of my traffic comes from a LiveJournal account that I barely touch anymore, instead opting for Facebook groups and being very, very quiet.

- A fair amount comes from On My Desk, an artist blog that I was asked to contribute to a few years back which seems to constantly generate interest. My working arrangements have changed – perhaps I should update them.

- Third on the list of traffic generators was a spam blog about incest, who had stolen a painting of mine and linked it directly form my website. Granted, this painting is is a nude (ex)girl(friend) being carried by a robot, but I don’t feel that they’re related in any way, nor is their relationship sexual. How dare you, weird internet thing! This still only amounted to 235 hits.


- I also found this blog, which likes my stuff. The comments, however, tell a different story. I painted the Justice League painting as a commission that I was never paid for and later had to sell for half of the original asking price, as I’m too stupid to get half up front. It’s far more cartoonish that I usually go, but the images were working on a 3″ x 3″ scale. For the record, Hawkgirl’s neck isn’t all wobbly – it’s just partially obscured by a curve of hair.

- This papercraft blog was kind enough to link to me, and A guy from The Netherlands on NicePaperToys took a photo of a Maplebot in the wild, which is awesome.

- SuperPunch linked to me a couple of times. They link to really cool stuff, so I’m honored.

- Also, traffic from another incest website. After careful inspection, I cannot find what’s been linking to or stealing from me. The only thing that I know is that the internet is a very strange place and that I need to pray.

- Apparently, this MySpace girl has been using my art in her profile, somewhere. Also, this dumb kid with excellent taste.

Fame, fortune, you come in mysterious guises.

I taught art for a year at a private school. One of the classes I taught was about comics. The plan was to have everyone in the class create comics, which I’d then compile into a great big comic, print up within the school’s budget, and give it to everyone.

It didn’t turn out that way. At all.

I detail all of this in the comic, as well as why I decided to not go back. But I’ve been working on this on and off for two years now. I’ve never shown anyone any part of this before but a panel or two here and there.

These pages haven’t been edited for stray pencil & ink marks or clarity. Just a quick scan to show you what I’ve secretly been up to for a really long time. No particular order, no particular importance, but I think that they turned out really expressively for a comic where it’s a lot of me talking. It’s a huge challenge to make a talking head comic interesting, but I also kinda wanted to present it how the students probably saw me, too. So, there’s a thematic relevance to my apparent narcissism.


firstyear2firstyear3Ultimately, the comic will run about 40 pages – 20 of them drawn by me, and 20 drawn by students. OR, because of possible legal entanglements (though they signed off on having their comics published in the course description), my hand-made reproductions of their comics.

I am a one-man comic team. Enjoy these, please. There are many more, and I feel that they are good.

I have one or two old, old packs of Polaroid film left, and a trusty Spectra AF camera. They stopped making the film a few years back, and I mourned the loss. There’s something about the sleepy contrast and selectively hard/soft edges of everything captured on Polaroid film that takes it out of time, that makes it weirdly immortal, that keeps it almost precisely how our memory will perceive it twenty years later. It’s analog, like us, and imperfect, like us, and it’s such a human medium that halting the production of Polaroid film feels a little like genocide. Like my romancing of LPs, the quiet, slow science of chemicals fighting between thin sheets of film to give us a small part of what was is beautiful.

This resulted in The Impossible Project.

The passionate response to this has recently provoked Polaroid to start production of Polaroid Instant Film cameras again, in conjunction with the reverse-engineered science that The Impossible Project generated. Polaroid also released a celebratory package of vintage Polaroid equipment in October for $430. Only eight were made. The Polaroid website is still exhausting their supply of remaining film, but at expensive prices. $2 to take one photograph on the Spectra AF is a steep price, but art is not cheap.

I spent one of my last packs of Polaroid film on Coney Island a couple of years back. It was the last summer before THOR was to come in and destroy countless years of history, so I kept what I could, and I kept in the most immortal way I could think of.


They’ve also developed an amazing little film called ‘Fade To Black‘, which only works with a relatively expensive variety of camera. Over the course of 24 hours, your photograph fades into view, and then becomes deeper and darker, until it completely fades into darkness. The process can be stopped, scanned, or slightly rejuvenated by placing the dead photo into the sun ‘for a few weeks’. The PDF manual presented by the website presents some photos that perfectly exemplify why I love them.

Art moves in four dimensions at once, and back and forth through all of them.

120105-06Yes, this is a Metaluna Mutant with nipples. Photo circa 2005.

Back in 2005, I wrote a little article on All Nerd Review about ‘Resin Rosebuds’ – little resin nipples that were designed to… ahem… augment Japanese Dollfies and stuff for those doll-lovers who were especially overzealous. These were made by my aunt’s boyfriend, a talented artist and sculptor who has since passed away. I’m also positive that they were a commentary on the strangeness of modern culture, doll culture, modern sexuality, and probably, Japan.

It’s always a little strange to see the ghost-website of those who have left us. How long will they hang around? Does the indifferent hand of the registrar hover for a moment over the delete button and drop, or move on?

There’s also another website that’s being maintained by family in memoriam for his works.

I met him once, when I was very young. He came on vacation with us to NJ, and put a quick end to my sister and I play fighting with sticks lest we eviscerate each other. And at the end of that vacation, he didn’t hear me knock on the bathroom door as he was getting out of the shower. My aunt wanted to keep his artificial hip, post-cremation. I’m not sure how that worked out, but only now do I draw parallels between this and the screws that I pulled from the fire after they went through my foot.

The internet reveals interesting things about people, alive and dead. Here’s a quote from 1995, as he was apparently an early user of various current events newsgroups.

“the plague will happen sooner or later

as a result of our over population, exploitation, and

destruction of the natural world, whether we like it or

not. it is time to face the facts and make plans to deal

with the crisis when it arrives. all the soothing talk of professionals is pure denial.”

I have two of his works, somewhere around here. I used this one heavily in my bad high school photography, which was all broken clocks, old keys, things wrapped in twine, dead bugs and incredibly poor contrast. This was at the very down of digital photography being available to non-professionals. I’ve always loved this heavy, bronze thing.

In a very ironic way, this photo is perhaps beautiful.


About four or five years ago, I was contacted by a small company from Florida called ‘Dirty Microbe’. They’d seen my work on Threadless and wanted to buy some designs from me, as well as commission a few more using my madcore vector skills. They paid me about $175 bucks for a design that they never used involving sushi in the shape of a fish (which can still be seen on Threadless).

Around this time, I was also chatting with an amazing, strange girl named Psyche. There were botched plans to move to Toledo to live in a spare room that her and her husband (who was also an awesome guy) had, and general weirdness after I spent a week in Ohio one hot summer and drew ghosts and left them in cabinets. The story of how we met and how I drove nine hours to Ohio is partially accounted for here, and it involves a perfect mix of a blue-haired superhero and a dead flea market and a birthday. It’s a story for another day, but while I was in Toledo, I set up my old green iMac on their wooden kitchen table, drank Arizona tea and ate Stella Doro cookies and worked on a design for Dirty Microbe before they woke up every day. (They divorced not long after our own relationship fell apart, which makes it a good thing that I never moved to a broken home in Ohio).

Dirty Microbe wanted me to do a design of a potato for the phrase ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot‘ – something I would never normally touch, but I was experimenting in creative whoredom while trying to find a niche that I still haven’t found. I’ve never shown these images before, but I think that they’re an important testament to the process of working with a creative director, and they’re really actually kinda fun, I think.

At first, they wanted a terrified, flaming potato.


They saw this and despite its inherent awesomeness, they wanted to see a wide range of potato-emotions. And maybe make him steaming instead of flaming. I guess if I were to assign a potato a kind of anthropomorphic personality, it would be a total cliched vision of an old Irish man. That’s what’s going on up above. Oh, and I also had to keep the design limited to four colors because the shirts were being hand-screened in someone’s kitchen. First sign of disaster?


Personally, I thought that the ‘slightly concerned’ potato lacked a certain punch, but the steam was coming together. I also dug the lighting effects that I got using only two colors. But wait – maybe this potato should be hot and happy. ‘Can you make it with anime eyes?’ they asked. At this point, I actually requested that this work be published under the pseudonym of ‘RocketMantis’ (which is the name of my imaginary one-man band), to have it only tangentially associated with my work. If someone dug deep enough, they’d figure out who it was, but I didn’t want to ever be associated with anime. So, I gave them a super-cute iteration, just short of ‘anime’.


Finally, we settled on this design, which isn’t really too offensively cute.

DirtyMicrobe went bankrupt in June of 2007 and disappeared off of the face of the Earth, leaving many customer orders unfulfilled. I’m not sure if they ever paid me for my second design here, but perhaps the general anxiety I feel when I think of them is the fact that I never got the 15% commission on every shirt sold which I was promised (but which the contract conveniently cleared them of responsibility for).

I never moved to Ohio. I was secretly insanely in love with Psyche anyhow, so it was probably for the best. Dark haired, ghostly girls always get the better of me.

I don’t drink. When you have a family with a history of alcohol and substance abuse, the whole scene loses its appeal. Sure, I have a few bottles of mead lying around, and a bottle of absinthe that my sister gave me a few years back which is waiting for the right occasion, and I’ve even made blog posts about microbrewed beers – but generally, I don’t drink.

I guess that this was never more apparent than at this year’s Halloween party. The thing is that I don’t go out to parties much, either – usually due to the fact that there’s nothing around me, I have eyes that won’t allow me to drive long distances after dark without killing myself and everything around me, and the fact that I’ve had a few too many negative experiences being around people who are drunk. The few positive experiences I’ve had were quickly negated by the dreaded ‘next morning’ and the realization that I probably wasn’t nearly as charming as someone’s beer goggles had led them to believe, and I was too gentlemanly to take advantage of the situation.

In addition to wanting to avoid the substance abuse issues that certain parts of my family are prone to, I’ve always been put off by people asking what kind of drugs I use to come up with my imagery – as if nothing creative can be done without somehow altering your mind. As if the human mind isn’t capable of taking apart and reassembling things without assistance. Maybe yours isn’t. I’ve never had a problem.

I used to be adamantly anti-drug, because of the really disastrous ways that the drugs around me messed up my life, even though I wasn’t ever using them. Now, I’m more of the opinion that ‘you can do whatever you want, just keep it away from me’. I’ve seen and lived enough examples of substances influencing behaviors to know that it’s just not something I can trust. In high school, hanging out with the potheads in the woods while they fashioned pipes out of aluminum foil and never, ever became anything worthwhile. Being cheated on by girlfriends. I never really fathomed how this was fun. They never seemed to be having a good time, and they still went back to it. Maybe it was a real physiological need. All I need is raw fish – though the costs of both habits are probably comparable.

In a perfect world, my every waking moment would be dedicated to making things. Nothing pretentious as ‘art’. I’m not a fan of the word ‘art’. I guess that I firmly believe that as a person on this planet, there’s a certain moral obligation to dedicate yourself to a greater cause after you’ve met the basic need to suvive – which is not to say that what I think I do is great, but I’m working towards it – and alcohol cannot possibly be something that helps that cause. There’s a certain amount of infidelity we display towards our ego, towards ourselves, towards our ideals when we’re drinking in excess. Tom Waits notwithstanding.

I just can’t bring myself to believe in this. I can’t bring myself to justify the escapism. If you feel the need to alter your mind to feel creative or to feel better about yourself, you don’t have enough control over your mind. If you need alcohol to have fun, you’re doing it wrong.

Most of the time, when I hear people talk about how art is their body and their soul and blah blah blah rainbow moon crystals, I take a look at their MySpace and get treated to a gallery of amateurish horrors. There’s the obligatory disproportionate nude, or something with anime eyes, and maybe something that looks like a Silver Raven Moonfoxwolfbear book threw up. Not to be an elitist, but if this if your soul, your soul is fucking ugly. Try harder. If this if your life, you’d better make it beautiful. There’s such a rampant, disappointing acceptance of art mediocrity, or artists blatantly copying the hard-fought styles of other artists. Why this is accepted I’ll never know. I have some ideas.

But no matter what your purpose is – spirituality, athleticism, art – it requires dedication. If you don’t have it, don’t get in my way. I don’t have enough time to be in a stupor, or step over you while you’re in yours.

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