love


I’m emerging from an intensely busy couple of weeks, wrapping up the Star Wars cards and the piece for the UK show (which, incidentally, will also feature THE Nick Park and much of the Aardman Animation staff). While I often say that I’d like to drown in artwork forever, and need to do nothing else, it’s become apparent that I can’t do any one thing for too long or else I get uncomfortable and frustrated. Maybe that explains why I vacillate between swirling colored pencil characters to digitally created, precise diagrams of things, and to intricate drawings in pen and ink. Maybe it’s because of self-doubt and a fear that I’m waking too far down any one path, but I think that the need to shift at the completion of each project is a necessity to keep it fresh.

I haven’t painted a robot in many months, subsequently.

I’m not sure how to dream larger than Star Wars, but I’ve concluded that the real dream is to do enough of this professional stuff to eventually do whatever I want and get paid for it – as much as I love the motivation to impress a client, rather than just express myself.

In this vein, my second Devilbox prototypes arrived.

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The wooden guy in the center has been slightly restructured to accommodate a few glue points which I imagine could give out over time, making the structure more solid in general. The ‘+’ eye is just one option of a few that I had cut, but I liked it in this instance. The two removable panels were also slightly resized so that they more loosely fit into their cradles. I’m still proud of conquering the ‘square peg / round hole’ dilemma to establish articulation of the head.

As the acrylic sheets were also 6.0mm thick, I decided to test cut a version in black plastic, but I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. I’ve assembled it with Krazy Glue, and learned that I’m not great at working carefully with Krazy Glue. It’s pretty much all over the lower body (as well as a good deal of my skin), but by the time I got to the head, I remembered some of my old model kit techniques and dotted a tiny bit on the inside of the adjoining sides and allowed it to flow into the joints and melt them together. I still think that it needs a bit of spicing up with a bit of a gold spray, perhaps.

I also roughed up my old Spacemen that the USPS destroyed and made them less breakable, and put them up for sale. Now, I’ve decided to take a few days to clean up the unholy mess that my room became while I cast aside all earthly, human concerns.

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Speaking of earthly concerns, I’ve been forced to think a lot about the whole idea of ‘love’ lately. I’m in that weird place between one really bad relationship and the next horrific downward spiral of lust that’s flickering on the horizon, and I’m seeing weird love simulacrums flutter all around me and crash into each other, and while I’ve always known what I want, it’s common knowledge that I tend to attract ‘the crazies’. I’ve painted an effigy of an ex-girlfriend or two in preparation for an imaginary art show I plan on calling ‘Crazy Bitches I Stuck It In : You’re Next’, along this theme.

I want someone who will live in the insular, warm, weird world of The Magnetic Fields’ ‘Distant Plastic Trees’ with me.

My last girlfriend romanticized her role in my life to the point where it could never be organically romantic. She wanted to be, and I’m paraphrasing here, ‘the person who is described as the love of your life when they write your biography’. She wrote a song about a painting I did, and I found it atop a stack of 5-chord songs that she’d written about other boys she’d undoubtedly said the same things to.

I find the ability to be obviously passionate or excited about something, anything, very attractive, and it’s a quality that many people lack.

“Why do we keep shrieking when we mean soft things? We should be whispering all the time.”

Simplicity. It’s all about simplicity. That rare type of beauty which is not destructive. And hoping that I have not let some mysterious ‘love of my life’ walk on by. I’ve had dreams about girls who I have never met – casual encounters with these strange fabrications of unconscious perfection, and I awake lonelier than I ever thought possible, and completely certain that this exact person is out there, somewhere, and has dreamed of me also, and that I will never, ever find them.

love


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.

dropit

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?

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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’.

dropit3

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.