Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Honesty is the best policy and confession is good for the soul. To be honest, 2013 has been a pretty rotten year for art (so far). I've been creatively blocked for months. Sure, I sit in my studio and dabble. A little here, a little there. It may amount to a few decent pieces before it's all said and done. But, for someone who has been as prolific as I have since 2004 when I started this collage madness, it's been a pretty frustrating few months. The last couple of weeks I have experienced a small surge of passion again. I'm hoping that will snowball into a furious time of art-making. Forgive the rambling mess this is going to be. I don't have the words to make sense of all this. I'm just tired. To the best of my ability, I'm going to try and put all those things that make me tired behind me. I want art-making to be fun again. I feel like somewhere along the way I lost myself. I feel like I've been making art for other people. In the end, I've gotta get back to making art for me. I need to recapture the passion, the joy that I've experienced in the past. I'm not sure how I'm going to accomplish this but I know it needs to happen. If I can't make it happen, I'm not sure I can continue. I can't tell you how many times I've thought of just canceling all my shows, clearing out the studio and just stopping. It got to the point where art was making me feel bad instead of good. That has to way or another. So, this is my confession. It's been a rotten year but it can be salvaged. I just have to figure it out.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Addams Family Musical

I thought I would jot a brief review of the Addams Family musical that we saw at the 5th Ave. Theatre on Sunday. Sarah and I were both disappointed in the show. We felt that they missed the boat in capturing the spirit of the Addams Family. I'll address my concerns via bullet points. Spoiler Alert!
- The story was weak. Very shallow.
- The music was fine but, in the end, not memorable.
- Uncle Fester was wasted as a narrator. He had a brief storyline connected to him about being in love with the moon. Stupid.
- Morticia was more like Lily Munster with her cleavage cut to her belly button. The actress was too buxom for Morticia. She was also too animated, not morose enough. When she hiked up her skirt to tango, it didn't feel right. Morticia has always danced just fine in her too tight at the ankles skirt. I can imagine that Bebe Neuwirth probably fit the part physically better than this actress did.
- Grandmama was fine. It bothered me that they kept referring to her as grandma.
- Wednesday wasn't morose enough. In the story she is struggling w/ her dark nature vs. being in love. The dark nature wasn't showcased strongly enough.
- Pugsley was fine. He never has been a strong character anyway.
- Lurch had a couple of fun moments but I felt like they missed some opportunities with him. How about a harpsichord number just for him?
- Gomez stayed pretty true to character. I feel like he was the closest to spirit of the Addams Family. I wish he had been a stronger singer. Uncle Fester's pipes outshined Gomez by leaps and bounds.
- The set was lackluster. The graveyard/gate set was fine but I was really looking forward to when they got to the house. I was so disappointed. The house set was boring. No fun props.
- Thing showed up for one bit. Blink and it was over. Thing is a huge part of the Addams Family and he was hardly in it. The set could have had many fun ways for him to show up but they just didn't do it.
- The ancestor ghost chorus was fine but I think their costumes/characters could have been kookier. The closest they came was having a criminal in the mix. All the Addams ancestors were fiends. They should have looked the part.
- Cousin It had a brief bit. It was cute but he could have been used more as well.
So, all in all, a disappointing show considering the high expectations I had for it. As a big fan of the original cartoons, the 60's show and the movies, I can't recommend this show. It just felt like they didn't live up to the true spirit of the Addams Family. What a shame.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Turning 50

Yesterday was my 50th birthday. I don't feel my head anyway. Sometimes my body feels it and more. But I'm still pretty young at heart for a curmudgeon of epic proportions. Here's a rundown of the day's activities.
I took the day off of work. We slept in, went to lunch at Five Guys and then hit a couple new (to us) antique stores downtown. They were meh. We then drove north, stopped at Shake 'n Go for a chocolate malt and headed to another antique mall we like in Edmonds. Score! I found 2 more ornaments (Hulk and Batman on the Batcycle) for the Marty Tree. I also bought a stack of old comic books. We left there and raced over to Richmond Beach for the sunset. Beautiful!
We went home to rest up a bit. Watched an episode of Castle and then got ready for the party.
The big 50 party was held at the Rickshaw Restaurant and Lounge. We reserved the big room on the side. About 50 people showed up! Amazing and overwhelming! We had a great time. I got some incredible gifts. I have some very generous friends. The cake was amazing, too. My friend Heather went over and above.
At 9pm the karaoke started and we had a blast! I was serenaded by an Ape singing Bill Withers, a rendition of "All That Jazz", "Crazy", "I'm A Believer", "Your Own Personal Jesus" and many more. I dueted to "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart" and "I Got You, Babe" and "Rainbow Connection." I headbanged to "Bohemian Rhapsody" and I killed on "White Room." Seriously, I can't remember the last time I had that much fun. I think everybody had a great time. It was a spectacular night. Makes me wish I could turn 50 more often.
I learned a lot last night as well. I learned that I have many friends here in the PNW and that they think I'm a pretty okay guy. I get down on myself quite a lot and it was a great pick me up to be celebrated in that way. Whenever I get down I'm going to try and push my mind back to that party or all the other good times I've spent with friends.
I also learned (although I already knew it) that I have an awesome wife. She threw the party for me and did a great job! Even though she doesn't karaoke, she let me have a good time and celebrated with me. I take her for granted a lot but I'm nothing without her. I love you, baby!
Click the header to go to FB to see the album of photos from the night. They're fun!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


 I'm back to recording my books read. I'm starting w/ only what I've read so far in 2012 so I can keep up with the year. My goal is to read at least 1 book a week. I'm a bit of a slow reader.

A Fine Dark Line by Joe R. Lansdale
A pretty good southern gothic coming-of-age tale about a boy who investigates a decades old murder. Not as good as his The Bottoms but worth a read.

All Earth, Thrown to the Sky by Joe R. Lansdale
Another southern gothic story. It's a genre I like. This story centers on 3 orphans trying to escape the Dustbowl and a couple of gangsters. I enjoyed it for what it was. 

Gilliam on Gilliam by Terry Gilliam
A biography/interview with one of my favorite directors. Although his work of late has been lacking, I count Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Time Bandits and The Fisher King as some of my favorite films. This book is an insight into his early career. It bogs down a bit in places but an interesting read nonetheless.

The Thirteen Hallows by Michael Scott
I read a couple of other books by Scott (Vampires of Hollywood, The Alchemyst) and liked them so I thought I'd give this new one a try. It's not as good as the others. The story stayed fairly shallow. By the end of the book it felt like not enough had happened to get the story to the end.

Ape House by Sara Gruen
An inconsistently good story about some Bonobo apes who are kidnapped and used as fodder for a reality show. The human characters stories jumped around a lot. It seemed scattershot. The main story of the apes triumphed over those flaws and I really liked it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gilliam on Gilliam

I'm reading a Terry Gilliam biography/interview. I'm only on page 69 but I'm enjoying it very much. I've admired him since watching his animations on Monty Python and am a big fan of some of his films. (Time Bandits, The Fisher King, Brazil) Here are a few quotes I've gleaned from the book so far. I'm sure I'll share more as I get into the book. I've really resonated with a lot of what he's said so far.

On becoming successful as an artist: 
"I think most artists are driven by a feeling of frustration, and so for the first part of your career you're railing against the establishment because you don't belong. Then, if you become successful, you're in a tricky situation: do you continue railing even though you're living in a nice house with a nice family and everything? I mean, what have I got to complain about? Not a thing, so what am I railing about? Yet I'm still angry and still frustrated. So what am I looking for? Trying to clear the shit away to find out what the truth is and what reality is."

On being part of the church when he was younger:
"But in the end I couldn't stand the fact that nobody felt able to laugh at God. Hold on a minute, I said, what kind of God is this that can't take my feeble jokes? It was the sanctimoniousness and, ultimately, the narrowmindedness of the people who were protecting this deity that I never thought needed any protection. Their God was a much smaller God than I was thinking of - less powerful - and he needed them to protect him."

On being normal:
"When I was a kid, I always thought everyone else was so interesting, but I was just incredibly normal. It used to drive me crazy. I felt I had to suffer if I was ever going to be an artist. Maybe it was the religious side again, feeling you had to go through a lot of pain and strip away the outside to lay bare the soul. Anyway, other people seemed to have it, but I was just nice, good company."

On collage:

"Cutting out images was such a freeing experience. Before, I'd had to draw everything and I'd get so precious about my own work. Now I could cut out other people's things and chop and change them. Why should I spend time learning to draw like Albrecht Durer when I could just cut out his best stuff and make it do what I wanted?"

Saturday, August 27, 2011


I am terrible about posting my books of late. Here's what I've been reading.

Essential Tomb of Dracula Vol. 1 by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan - I found volumes 2 and 3 while on vacation so I ordered volume 1 from Amazon. Loved these as a kid and they hold up pretty well. The run was best when Wolfman and Colan were on the book.

Go Go Girls of the Apocalypse by Victor Gischler - Very quirky yet straightforward apocalypse tale. A fun and quick read. I'm going to check out more of his work. \

The Five by Robert R. McCammon - Anyone who really knows me knows I love McCammon but this book didn't do it for me. Sorry Robert.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - I really liked this story. In tv pitch language it's X-Men crossed with Alice in Wonderland....sorta. The old photos used thru the book really enhance the story.

Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia - I wanted to like this more than I did. It had everything I like...elite forces fighting monsters. What's not to like, right? It was too long and, while the characters are likable, they are only about an inch deep.

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson - Liked it but didn't love it. I have a feeling the Spielberg movie will iron out the parts I didn't like and make it more accessible.

Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live By Tom Shales - A behind-the-scenes tell all from the cast and crew of SNL. An interesting read.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I've been lax keeping up with books I've read. That ends now.

Speaks the Nightbird by Robert R. McCammon - I like McCammon. 2 of his books (Boy's Life, Swan Song) are in my top 25 for sure. A couple are real stinkers (They Thirst, Stinger) and quite a few I haven't read yet. I finally got around to this one and I liked it...but...I felt like it was too long. I feel like it could have been edited down a bit more. That being said, I liked it and I'll eventually pick up the further adventures of Matthew Corbett. I'm really looking forward to his new book The Five and since our library doesn't seem to be getting it I may have to buy it.

Tarzan: The Joe Kubert Years Vol. 1 - Kubert is a great artist. Visually, this book is great. He shouldn't write. Many artists make the mistake of thinking they can write as well as they draw. That is not the case.

Everyone Loves You When You're Dead by Neil Strauss - I only made it halfway thru this. I had heard it was interviews with celebs and music personalities like you'd never read before. I disagree.

The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To by D. C. Pierson - This book started strong, got a bit muddy and then finished okay but it grabbed me from the first paragraph which is this:
"A thousand cartoons and TV shows and teen movies would lead you to believe that when you're drawing something at your desk in school, a pretty girls is going to say "What are you drawing?" and you'll tell her and she'll go "That's neat" and your artistry will reveal to her the secret sensitivity in your soul and she'll leave her football-player boyfriend for you. These cartoons and TV shows and teen movies are wrong."

Monday, May 09, 2011

Fasting Facebook

So, I took a week off from Facebook. I did it for an upcoming show called "The Unplugged Challenge" that will be at ArtsWest starting in late June. All the artists involved were to take a week off the internet, tv, social media, etc. for a full week and use that time to make art related to the experience. I don't watch tv except for DVDs and I don't have a cell phone so I'm pretty unplugged compared to most. Since the rules stipulated that we could use the internet for work purposes (my art is my work) I chose to specifically stay off Facebook and to keep surfing to a minimum. I won't say it wasn't difficult. It had it's moments. I rely on Facebook for a lot of things. It keeps up with my events and birthdays. I use it to promote my art. But I also use it to waste time. Did I make art? Sure. I put the finishing touches on 4 pieces today and I had finished one piece have 5 pieces for the show. I may have a couple more in me but I'm not sure. The experience is over so the art may be as well.
Did I learn anything? Sure. I think I won't spend as much time on FB as I used to. To be honest, I've had a pretty healthy attitude towards unpluggedness (a word?) for a few years now. In 1997 I got off cable tv and have stayed off. 400 channels and nothing on. Such a time waster. In 1999 I experienced a fire that destroyed my apartment and most of my stuff. I spent weeks staying with friends. When I finally moved back in to another apartment I had gotten out of the habit of watching tv. Before that, I would spend the entire time once I got off work until I went to bed in front of the tv. Not healthy. So, that habit stayed for a while. Then a few years ago my wife and I decided not to watch network tv anymore. We wait for shows we like to come out on DVD. We control our viewing and no commercials. I am way more productive now than I was 12 years ago. I look back and lament over all the time I wasted. I wish I could go back and change things but I can't. Bummer.
So...anywho...good experience which resulted in some new art. Can't wait to see what people think of the new pieces. I'll include one here so you can see what I mean.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Artist Ego

I had a very unfortunate encounter yesterday. I went to a gallery to pick up art and as I was leaving a very nice person complimented me on my art. Another artist was nearby and they quickly jumped into the conversation when I mentioned that my website is She barely glanced at my work and then launched into a lecture/explanation of her work that I didn't really want to hear. I was brushed aside so that she could explain that she sometimes does religious art and blah, blah, blah. Once she got to a stopping point, I quickly excused myself and got out of there. It left a bad taste in my mouth. I had been thinking about answering another call at that gallery but now I am leaning towards not.
I know what the artist ego is like. I am one. I believe in myself and my work but I don't want to come across as an arrogant a-hole. I certainly don't want to be guilty of brushing another artist aside so I can toot my own horn. I am actually not very good at marketing myself. I really need to be better at it. But I think I can stop way short of acting like this person. You have my permission to talk to me if I act like that.
And besides, I really didn't think much of her work. Is that bad to say?
Hee hee.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Skip the Small Talk

Very few people (at least by my observation) take the time to have conversations anymore. We live in a small talk world; a chit-chatty, shallow pool of meaningless jabber. I hate small talk. I am terrible at it and I refuse to engage in it. In meeting new people, I'll shake a hand and offer a fair, "How do you do?" but beyond that, I usually just clam up. Part of that is because, like I said before, I am not good at the small talk. The other reason is I am a pretty shy guy. I tip the scales pretty heavily on the side of extrovert. So, in new situations with new people I am hardly the life of the party. In fact, I usually come across as aloof, distant and seemingly above everyone else. This is hardly the case. I am, in truth, scared to death, unsure of myself and ready to retreat swiftly back into the comfort of my hidey hole. I have tried to overcome this in the past but I've never truly conquered it. It usually takes a long time for me to feel safe enough with someone to begin being myself in their presence. (which is difficult because I don't really know who I am anymore) Some people barrel thru my walls and plant a flag stating, "I'm here whether you like it or not!" Others tip-toe around the edges looking for a crack. I can't really say what the best approach is. I only have one suggestion.
Skip the small talk.
Yep. If you really want me to step out of my shell and interact you must put aside the chit-chat and engage me in conversation. Real talk. Swim beyond the shallows and go deep. I'm game. Really. Oh, and another thing you can do is not take yourself (or me) too seriously. I love to kid around and have fun. I find that most people I've met in recent years don't know how to have fun. Frankly I don't know how they survive life. I used to be known as a very funny person but my jokes and sarcasm fall on mostly deaf and humorless ears these days. I suppose that's why my art is so full of humor. It's the only way I have to get it out.
I wish these thoughts were more organized but, alas, this is what you get. I swore to myself that I would blog more. That requires a freedom to write without organizing and editing. So, that's what I'm doing.

Monday, April 11, 2011


I was talking to my mom a little bit ago and she reminded me that 32 years ago today we buried my Nana. (The picture is of Nana and my mom) Naturally this got me thinking about my Nana and what a wonderful person she was. She was the greatest grandmother anyone could ever want to have. I have no doubt that I am an artist today because of her influence. She was pretty creative herself. She used sit in her chair and do Tri-Chem (tracing patterns with colored paint in tubes) on pillowcases and other stuff. She made Christmas wreaths out of the plastic rings that hold beer cans together. (My Papa drank a lot of beer so these were plentiful) And she always had stuff around for me to be creative with. Sketch pads, pens, pencils, blocks, army men, toy dinosaurs, etc.
She also nurtured my creativity in other ways. She let me watch monster movies on TV. Every day during the week they had The Big Show at 3pm on one of the local stations and every once in a while they would show old monster movies. I loved 'em! She also let me watch all the crazy comedy shows I liked like Gilligan's Island, The Lucy Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, etc. Her biggest sacrifice was to take me to movies to see stuff I know she had no interest in at all. She once took me to see Battle for the Planet of the Apes because she knew I wanted to see it. That's an awesome Nana!
She did tons of other stuff, too. Way too much to mention here. I just wanted to say that Nana's on my mind today. She was the best.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Art Update

Since last night was Greenwood's Artwalk I figure this is as good a time as any to do an art update. Here goes.

- Shows continue to line up. I am booked pretty much thru July. I am also working on some images for some mail art projects.

- Last night, I talked to my new friend Matt Harrison about his documentary Citizen Heroes: The Rise of the Rain City Superhero Movement. Matt and his crew showed up at Tasty for the March superhero-themed show to film Phoenix Jones. I was wearing my Super Jesus costume so they ended up filming me in front of the stained glass window on the Lutheran church across the street. Matt showed me some of the footage last night and said he was very pleased with how it came out. He said he's pretty certain I'll make it in the film. How cool would that be? Whether I make it in or not, I'm still looking forward to seeing the film when it's finished.

- Speaking of Super Jesus, I'm probably going to wear the costume again for a possible opening in May. It will be a Jesus-centric show featuring my Christ collages. More details to come.

- My work is going to be included in a book that will be published in 2012. It's called Modern Vintage Illustration. That's really all I know at this point. I'm also trying to nail down a photo shoot of our studio for a future book about artists and their studios and I've sent images and info to an artist friend for a magazine article he's working on. More great publicity when all these things hit the streets.

Not much else to tell. My art making has slowed a bit of late but it's been more about shifting gears than not having time. I feel like my art might want to move in a different direction but I'm still feeling that situation out. Also in the works is a future revamp of the studio to make more space. Sarah and I are also going to revamp the apartment a bit w/ some new furniture. All of this will probably happen around the same time. So, as you can see, things are still busy and happening. Sales aren't what I'd like them to be but that's the nature of the business and the economy. More later as there's more to share.


I just spent a few minutes backtracking on my blog, reading what I was up to in April in past years. Very interesting to go back and see where you were at that point in life. Unfortunately my blogging has fallen off in the past year or so. I really should get back to it for the sheer "journal" or "diary" aspect of it. I stay so busy with art and such that I don't ever think about writing anymore. I'll endeavor to write more in the future especially recording important events because I know I'll really enjoy looking back on them in the future.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Ghost of a Chance by Simon R. Green - I love Green's Nightside series but this new series starts badly for me. Slow pace + uninteresting characters = bad. I may give it one more book since I didn't like the first Nightside book but love the rest of the series.

The Gates by John Connolly - This book was fun and even though the story was only an inch deep, it was well-written.

Essential Marvel Team-Up: Volume 3 - Enjoyed re-reading some of my faves from childhood especially the stories drawn by John Byrne.

Essential Werewolf by Night: Volumes 1 & 2 - Again, re-reading stuff I loved as a kid. This one doesn't hold up as well.

Essential Fantastic Four: Volumes 1, 2 & 3 - I bought these at Comicon because they were dirt cheap and collect the classic stories by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Fun stuff.

Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language by David Crystal - I only made it halfway thru this. It was interesting but very, very dry. I was hoping it would inspire some new collages didn't.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Emerald City Comicon 2011

Sarah and I attended the Seattle Comicon on Friday and Sunday. I had to work on Saturday. Unfortunately, the best costumes are on Saturday so we missed some of the fun. We had a good time nonetheless. Here are the highlights.

- I met one of my art heroes, Sergio Aragones, of Mad Magazine fame. I've been a fan of his work since I was a kid. I bought a book from him which he signed. He also signed some of my Mad paperbacks that I've had since the 70's.

- I had my picture taken with Phoenix Jones, the Guardian of Seattle. He and his buddies, the Rain City Superhero Squad, patrol the streets of Seattle and try to help out.

- We attended 3 panels. Bruce Boxleitner (Tron, Babylon 5) was quite funny. John Noble (Fringe, Lord of the Rings) was very polite, courteous and had many wonderful stories to tell. Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek: TNG) was hilarious! His Patrick Stewart impression is amazing. At one point, folks in the audience prodded him to call Big Bang Theory and ask to be on the show. He said he wouldn't because you should be asked not called and beg to be on. I yelled out for him to call and pretend he's Patrick. That sparked a hilarious bit where he pretended to call the show as Patrick Stewart. Very funny.

- I got comics signed by Sergio Aragones, Mike Mignola (Hellboy), Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series), Humberto Ramos (Crimson, Impulse), and Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon). Most were nice. Some were very dismissive. I've got to say, if you can't have a good attitude with the fans then don't attend.

- Ran into our friend Ivy as she was about to be fitted for vampire fangs. We saw her later with her new fangs. They look fantastic. I may get a pair next year.

- A very talented young man named Seth was dressed as Tennant's Doctor Who. He made his own costume which impressed Sarah greatly.

- I took advantage of the great sales and bought a bunch of trade paperbacks. I'll have to take more money next year. I could have spent double what I took.

Well, that's all I can think of right now. It was great fun and I can't wait 'til next year. I hope I can go on Saturday in 2012. It'll be the 10th Anniversary for the con. Should be spectacular. In the meantime, go here enjoy my photos on Facebook.