Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Tata Mask Drawing

 A did a new drawing today. It was a cool, rainy day in Riga. Motivation and ambition have been low for me lately. I have lists and lists of things to do; ideas to explore, comix stories to layout; planning for a small press festival, etc, but I haven’t done any drawing in too long. I get cranky and worried if I don’t do some drawing on a regular basis. Maybe the machine will rust, seize up and that will be it! I will only get to do so many drawings. This weird and wild creature came from the Instagram feed of @Artkhade. Of course I was attracted to this mask for it’s intensity and rawness and because it reminded me of horror movies. I love the square eye holes and broad, fierce mouth and all those lovely teeth.

The Dogon people, well one of them, hacked out this Tata mask. I always encourage anyone who enjoys this art to learn more about the original culture and history. A good place to start is the listing on the Artkhade websiteArtkhade is an amazing resource for browsing “ancient arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas” and learning about the market for these incredible objects. This particular Tata mask recently sold at auction for €110,500! It’s difficult for me to correlate the idea of that much money being traded for this piece of art. It really doesn’t make any sense to me. This mask has a reality and power that transcends money. The craft person who created it was motivated by spiritual purpose, but who knows. Maybe it gave some currency and power (one and the same) to the maker within their culture? Isn’t that what many artists have chased through the centuries and still pursue today?

On this rainy day, I was just trying to get my ass moving, so thank you Tata mask and the Dogon people for the inspiration.


Wednesday, January 10, 2024

2023 – Once More Into the Fray…

I have not been a big fan of the 2020’s on a global and historical level. It’s been a bit of a scary shitshow of a decade so far. On a personal level however, it’s been an invigorating period. In 2023 I managed to get closer to the kind of creative life that I prefer to live, but was elusive to me for some years. There had been flashes of projects here and there through the years; the random art exhibition or acting gig, but I was too occupied with the “rat race” to be fully engaged in my creative life until now. Settling into a new life in Riga, Latvia, I have found the time and space I need to circle back around to unfinished creative pursuits. Maybe this is just a bit of a middle-life crisis playing out to re-embrace the comix, movies and art I was obsessed with as a teenager or maybe it’s a proper second (third?, fourth?) chance to once more live that creative life I had in my twenties, whatever it is I am grateful for the opportunity.

So the year that was 2023 and what did I accomplish? First big achievement was designing a new Weaverwerx logo and website, something that had been on my mind for an embarrassingly long time. I have more plans for the logo; animation, stickers, and more. To go with this new virtual space, I also secured a dedicated physical office/studio, something I haven’t had (outside of regular jobs) in a very long time. The coffee shop or kitchen table was no longer cutting it for a workspace. I need to spread my stuff out. It’s working for me.

I finally got back into making comix again after a thirteen year absence. I wrote and drew three new comix stories; “Burls & Gnarls”, “THAT HAT” and “RESPECTO!” and submitted them to various publishers. A British annual anthology called “UGLY MUG” included “RESPECTO!” in their seventh issue, which has also been reviewed and mentioned in a variety of podcasts and blogs. The other stories will be part of the next issue of my own zine “RELUCTANT SADIST”, which was last published in 1989 (no, really), so look for that soon!


I registered with a few of the local casting agencies and picked up my first three paid European acting gigs this year including my first bit of ADR work on the feature film “Limonov: The Ballad of Eddie” and a great role as an 18th century professor for an upcoming episode of the German TV show “Terra X” about Laura Bassi, the the first woman to have a doctorate in science. I also had the lead role in a student film called “The Road” that I have yet to see.


My artistic output last year was focused on drawing, lots of drawing, more than I’ve done in years. I also was hired to paint two murals. The first one was at an annual international art exhibition in Riga called "SurvivalKit" and the second was at the National Library of Latvia (Latvijas Nacionālā bibliotēka), both for the Latvian alternative comics publisher kuš! komikss.


I completed one music video project called “Space and Darkness” in collaboration with my friend Neil Bruce (Light B4 Sound). We have another project in the works, so stay tuned.

One final note, this post’s title is a quote from the film “The Grey” and was written by the director Joe Carnahan. Here’s the full quote that the protagonist played by Liam Neeson uses a mantra to keep going despite a bleak future, “Once more into the fray, into the last good fight I’ll ever know. Live and die on this day, live and die on this day”. That is on the wall next to my desk and will be my mantra for 2024. Never stop fighting for your creative soul.


Tuesday, November 07, 2023

The Last Logo

2023 has been a big year for Weaverwerx; a resurrection of sorts after years of little to no activity. I have taken a workspace in the old Kino Studios in Riga, Latvia and have begun to pursue comix, drawings and film projects again. As part of this new era, I have revamped the Weaverwerx website, which was the perfect opportunity design a new logo. Now embarking on a new logo design may seem like a simple process, but even the "richest" and "smartest" person in the world can fuck it up, resulting in losing years of positive branding, good will and billions of dollars. Luckily I don't have those kinds of pressures on me. I'm just this guy trying to carve out my own tiny niche in the real and virtual world. The only person I need to please is myself, but that is easier said than done. I'm a fickle, difficult to please customer when it comes to my own work and have a special mutant power for overthinking that would give Professor X a headache. Somehow I managed to find my way, creating and discarding a dozen different concepts before landing on one that feels right, so right in fact that it will likely (always leave yourself an out) be the LAST WEAVERWERX LOGO. So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the new look.

Yes, it is a critter, animal, creature of some type and needs a nickname, which I am puzzling out. Any suggestions? I think of artistic ideas as being like creatures roaming around looking for a worthy person to be their portal into our world. These ideas animals can be enormously powerful and lucrative and creative people bring them forth with nothing more than a pencil and blank sheet of paper. This critter here is hungry and lustful and curious. It wants your attention. I wanted this logo to be part watchdog, part chupacabra, part feral cat, and part alien from another world. I want it to guard my back, but also push me when I need it, like everyday. From a design point-of-view, I wanted an image that would stay in folks' minds and not be confused with another thing; not too complex, but not too simple. Maybe even something that will provoke some affection. I also think it'll look damn fine on a t-shirt!

Time to show how the sausage was made. Here are my raw, rough brainstorming sketches as I worked through various possibilities, including some boring, too generic non-character options.

Some of those "shrunken head" and Tiki God-ish designs could wind up making cameo appearances in some future comix stories, so keep your eyes peeled.

The previous Weaverwerx logo was a simple hand-drawn W with scribbly circle around it, which I call the "Hairball Logo". I'm ditching it because it is too generic. It could be used for a hair salon or a bar or sock company, whatever. I like the hand-drawn quality, but that's about it. I only used this one for a couple of years, so it was really just a placeholder.

Before that one, I had been using this dapper chap with the square head and formal suit. This design originated in the late 1990s and was fun, but it looked too much of it's time. I do like the "round peg in the square hole" head and the "W" suit collar. It was also a load of fun to animate, but times have changed, so time to say adieu.

Now that the Logo saga has been been settled, time to get on with creating some actual content or something...

Keep smiling,


Saturday, August 26, 2023

Taking Your Ears on a Little Trip Around the World

photo credit Ieva Weaver
Whoops, I did it again, well in this case, it was no accident but another happy opportunity to play a radio DJ once more. This was my second turn at the web-powered microphone for the Latvian online radio station tirkultura. My first time was back in February of this year, which I related on my other, comix-related blog, The Reluctant Sadist and Other Wanderings in the Comix Underground. Yes, I have two neglected blogs. Always the overachieving underachiever. 

Michael Holland (check out his show on OnoTesla - NTS) once more was my producer and studio engineer as he was for kuš! radio. This was a good thing as I needed his technical expertise and moral support to try and pull off my ambitious upgrade to my first outing. I wanted to go beyond just working through a playlist with a bit of yammer in between the tunes. I wanted to take my listeners for a trip around the world with me on a show that I called, "Wherever You Go, Well That's Where You Are". With that plan in mind, I set to harvesting golden moments I had captured on my various travels and intended to weave those found sounds together with appropriately themed songs. With Micheal in my corner, I knew all I had to do was show up with the bits and pieces and he would put the cables into the right sockets and we'd be off. Now, I did not map out each and every clip as I wanted to build the story on the fly and let our conversation lead us where it may. This loose approach did result in a few technical hiccups, which felt jarring to the point of disaster in the live moment, but on later listens actually adds to the charm and authenticity of the show I think. You be the judge, here's the show:

It was an exhilarating process stitching this crazy, patchwork sonic quilt together in the moment. I was playing mp4 video of travel clips so Micheal and I could watch them together and comment. We agreed ahead of time to let the clips, music and talking overlap to build unexpected sounds and make room for happy accidents and I think that works as much as it doesn't. All that overlapping though meant that the source materials were consumed much more quickly than I expected, so we had to do a little scrambling at the end to fill time. Here's the playlist -

01 - India_Varansai_Religious_Procession (Travel clip)
02 - On the Road Again (Willie Nelson)
03 - Morroco_Desert_Dancing (Travel clip)
04 -  Spread Your Wings (QUEEN)
05 - Bali_Ubud_Furneal_Procession_01 (Travel clip)
06 - I'm a Ramblin' Man (Waylon Jennings)
07 - Japan_Tokyo_Folk_Dancing (Travel clip)
08 - Japan_Yokohoma_Dragon_Dance (Travel clip)
09 - Niamey Jam (Nomad- Bombino)
10 - Vietnam_Ho_Chi_Mihn_Broom_Machine (Travel clip)
11 - Vietnam_Hanoi_Street_Karaoke (Travel clip)
12 - High Plains Drifter (Beastie Boys)
13 - Thailand_Bangkok_Thai_Boxing (Travel clip)
14 - Thailand_Chiangmai_Pop_Singing (Travel clip)
15 - Singapore (Tom Waits)
16 - Hong_Kong_Slyvester - (Sonny Rollins - St. Thomas) (Travel clip)
17 - Bali_Ubud_Shadow_Puppets_02 (Travel clip)
18 - The Crystal Ship (The Doors)
19 - Nepal_Gandaki_Mule_Train_on_the mountain (Travel clip)
20 - Myanmar_Bagan_Ice_Cream_Man_Rap (Travel clip)
21 - Road Trippin' (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
22 - Morroco_Marrakech_Night_Music (Travel clip)
23 - Cambodia_Siem_Reap_BATS (Travel clip)
24 - Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Judy Garland)
25 - India_Varansai_Ganga_River_Night_Ceremony
26 - Lawrence of Arabia (Movie Soundtrack)
27 - Bali_Gainyar_Ceremony (Travel clip)
28 - King of the Road (Roger Miller)
29 - Here At The End of The World (Alex McMurray)
30 - City of New Orleans (Johnny "Doc" Criner)

What do you think? Should I do some more radio shows? 

Keep smiling,