Nerdstuffs


I woke up on Friday and decided that I had nothing to lose. In any context. This also encapsulates the idea that anything I have is worth losing for a greater good, provided that this greater good provided a solid life experience. And the thing I’m losing isn’t Batman.

Like anyone looking for adventure and danger, I went on Craigslist.

CL has been a quiet theme in my life since February. We have a tenuous relationship at best. It often disappoints me, but drags me back in with promises of work, women and old video games – but we spend a lot of time apart. I’ve met a few awesome people from CL, one of them being one of my best friends in the world. Earlier in the week, I was poking around the Hudson Valley people ads and responded to one I liked, and made a friend. I’ve also found a job there. Have always come up empty on vintage video games.

So, when I saw an ad for 40 oldschool NES games, plus a system, two zappers, controllers and all of the wires for $150, I was kinda willing to travel as far as I needed to go. After getting a list of the games and the price was dropped to $110, I determined that the whole collection would fill in a few gaps in my collection of 200-ish games, and I didn’t know where Port Jervis was, but it sounded like a fair after-work destination. Of course, if you’re going to make a deal on Craigslist and meet in a parking lot in a town you’ve never been to before, you want to bring someone to at least witness your murder and get a license plate number.

I don’t have a lot of local friends ’cause I live in an area which caters to wealthy families and not 20-something art guys, so I called upon my new friend to adventure with me. I can’t find the ad, but I’m fairly sure it was seeking adventure. My kind of adventure isn’t so much skydiving and foreign travel as it is long car rides into weird parts of New York to see what’s going down.

I also have come to believe is very quickly disrupting the gap between who someone is online and who they are in real life. For some people, there might be no gap whatsoever, but there are plenty of people who consciously or subconsciously use this space to create the person they want to be, no matter how distanced it is from their actual meat-selves. Leaping facefirst into disappointment or a genuine connection is really, really important before too many illusions construct themselves. I’ve made that mistake a few too many times.

So, everything was organized and awesome. Weirdly ambiguous and circuitous Google Maps directions and $110 in hand, we met and set off for Port Wherever. All I knew was that it was over the Hudson, due west of me, and right on the edge of NJ. Great music the whole 80-minute drive with an awesome person in surprisingly calm rush hour traffic in beautiful weather. Somehow, this combination of four things make me feel like life is really happening.

We met the guy in a parking lot about 15 minutes late, due to a weirdly unlabeled road – a small, young guy covered in tattoos and piercings. As we talked he said that he was selling his Nintendo (obviously well-cared for, as most of the games still included instruction manuals) because he was turning his sun porch into a nursery for his forthcoming baby. I could have wept. It takes a real man to give up his Nintendo to take care of a baby that well. I know a few too many people who have just thrown a crib in the bathroom and hoped for the best. Well, not exactly – but effectively that.

Easy drive home, stop at a diner, a few minutes of Harley Davidson pinball, and it was pretty much the perfect day. Finding little bits of ‘life is okay’ in the rest of this stuff is pretty great.

Nothing to lose.

I’m trying to do something important every day. Or at least something that can potentially build towards the life that I really want – contacting publications, applying for better jobs, finishing projects. Anything that I can call a landmark, in any small way. I’m keeping a record of these things in Google’s calendar function.

Today, shots from the studio-ette, which may or may not be mine for much longer.

star_wars_galaxy_5_sketch

These are the Star Wars Galaxy Series 5 trading cards that I’m being asked to destroy with my art-things. I’ve been doing sketches of the sketches I want to do, and I think that I’ll go with my first inclination – nothing too cute, but definitely something kinda geometric, and a shot of color, and a series of intricate lines… you’ll see. They’ll all see. This whole thing is surreal to me. Star Wars. Me. Official merchandise.

The other thing I’m working on is a piece for the Droplet Series 2 release show in Bristol, in the UK – another show that I was invited to participate in, rather than had to beg to be in.

droplet_series_two_WIP

I’ve got the blank Droplets, and I’ve got the sculpted face. I tore the hands off of a bunch of old wrestling figures that my estranged father sent me a few years back – his own weird way of saying ‘hello’, I guess. We didn’t maintain contact, once again, and I never thought I’d have any use for a mess of weird, dirty old wrestling toys, but my tendency to hang onto everything and extract every possible use from it has paid off. These are far sturdier than any hands that I could sculpt, which is an absolute necessity after having so many toys break in the mail this past year.

I wanted to include some tendrils and stuff, but again, I’ve had to adjust my style to suit traveling across an ocean. I plan on assembling it all (perhaps with a bunch of arrowheads sticking out of it also), painting it up all coppery and verdigris, and accentuating the human (and inhuman) details with fleshtones. I guess I have a recurring theme of sticking old man faces onto things when I send them off to toy shows. This one is markedly more cartoonish.

I’m kinda happy with what I’m seeing in my mind with all of this.

I’ve sent out 20 postcards and two or three e-mails to publications who might want to hire an artist. There’s an exciting Threadless contest for $10,000 this month, as well as a New Yorker Contest to interpret Eustace Tilley, and yet another ‘self portrait’ contest that entitles with winner to 6 months of free rent in an amazing building in Williamsburgh – which is exactly what I need to get my art on for serious.

It’s 2AM, and my hands just get tired and shaky when it gets this late, so no more art for me, but the ideas are coming together, and it’s going to be an incredibly busy month for art. Wish me luck.

ghost2

As someone who has had his hands in resin and experimented with toy materials from rubber to MDF to anything else I can find, I’m struck by the strange gracefulness of DC Universe Classics’ Wave 8 Gentleman Ghost figure. Every so often, the formal properties of a comic book toy transcend the state of ‘toyness’.

The character was created in 1947 by Robert Kanigher, and primarily was designed to harass Hawkman and Hawkgirl (because his spirit cannot die until their spirits do, and unfortunately for him, they are perpetually reincarnated), so plenty of credit goes to him and Joe Kubert for creating a character that was basically a translucent tuxedo with a monocle. Where the real beauty comes in is seeing this as a figural representation in solid, flat white, and fading into translucent, ghostly areas at the cape’s edges and lower legs. The finer details like the stitching around the lapels really cements this as artful. A pure white pistol is a very neat touch, as is the solid white cane.

Whether or not you care about comics, or Gentleman Ghost is kinda aesthetically astounding.

(Many aspects of this body were later reused for The Joker.)

Part of my efforts to clear up the space around me and create a tranquil area to create in is selling old things on eBay that don’t mean much to me anymore, and as a result, I’ve sent out about 15 to 20 pounds of STUFF daily and raked in roughly $1000 over the past month. Don’t think of robbing me because it’s all gone directly into reducing debt. Seriously, it’s so bad that if you rob me, you’ll end up owing Toyota money. Because my debt shifts the natural order of things like a black hole and it will envelop you and you will scream but the air will get sucked right out of your lungs into an unknowable abyss.

But part of this effort to clear space is compacting things. If something can fit into an existing box that’s already been set aside for it in a similar theme, it’ll be torn from its packaging and collected in the box. This is related to the criteria with which I purchase things, also. At this point, anything that consumes space is forbidden.

Last night, I tore into my old C3 figures. If you’re unfamiliar, they were the precursor to Art Asylum / Diamond Toys’ DC Minimates line. Art Asylum could not yet secure a license to produce Minimates as stand-alone figures, by DC Comics / Time Warner / Jesus Christ DID grant them the license to produce Minimates alongside Lego-like construction sets. The laws governing licenses are complex. One company might exclusively secure the rights to produce a Spider-Man action figure with multiple points of articulation, and another might be able to secure the license to produce a very similar figure as, say, a Christmas ornament – as long as it’s sold as a different product. At least my years of attending Toy Fair has told me this much.

So, I decided to free up some shelf / floor space by popping these open. Of course, I’ve always been reluctant to sell these because my tiny Justice League needed a Martian Manhunter to helm it, and before the Minimates line collapsed (after about 60 really great little figures), another Manhunter was never produced. Because I have a strange urge to complete superhero teams like a meganerd.

I catalogued them on Collectors’ Quest.

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