Friday, December 24, 2010

What if Salvador Dali were Santa...

That was the thought that sparked this piece. I based the writing on Dali's wacky essays and the images riff off his amazing paintings. As promised in a previous post, here's the whole thing (note- click any of the images to enlarge). If you want an actual hard copy of this tale, it appears in Dan Taylor's "Pork Belly Holiday Special 2010". Dan did a fine job assembling a wide and weird variety of art from the nice to the decidedly nasty. My pal Ralf Schulze got the back cover with a one page bit that will guarantee him a place on the naughty list. Thanks' to Dan for including Santa Dali in that mix. You can decide if it's naughty or nice.

Merry Ho-Ho!


page one

page two

page three

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hiking Goal for 2010 - History

I set a hiking goal every year to keep motivated and stay in shape. This year's goal was 650 miles. It fell today after an eight mile hike I did from my house to the Lesner Bridge and back. That walk brought my total to 651 miles. Any miles I add between now and the end of the year will be pure gravy. I think I'll up my goal in 2011 to 700 miles. All the local miles add up to a more pleasant experience when I finally do find myself out in the woods or on the side of a mountain.

I'm always looking for new hikes, new adventures, new challenges. This year I pushed myself on a three day, high altitude trek in the Maroon Bells region of Colorado on a trail called the "Four Passes Loop". My Uncle Gunnard set the trip up, and he and I put the packs on and stomp down those fantastic, sometimes difficult 28 miles. Here are the photos.

So what does 2011 and beyond hold? Here's my current wish list of hikes (it is ever evolving):

10)- Ben Nevis, Scotland- Highest mountain in the UK. I've walked right by this mountain when I've hiked The West Highland Way. It's time to take it.

9)- The Wicklow Way, Ireland - 127 kilometer trail through some of the most beautiful scenery in Ireland or anywhere.

8)- Camino de Santiago, Spain - 460 miles across Spain.

7)- Hadrian's Wall, Britain - This trail follows the wall built by the Romans around A.D. 122. The 84 mile route runs coast-to-coast.

6)- The Great Glen Way, Scotland - 79 miles of walking from Fort William to Inverness along the shores of Loch Ness. What's not to like?

5)- Vienna to Prague - 250 miles of newly established trails through the old country.

4)- Grand Canyon, USA - 25 tough, but amazing miles.

3)- Catalan Pyrenees, Spain/France - There are a number of routes, all of them great.

2)- Atlas Mountains, Morocco - This would be some high adventure and a good reason to put some boots down on African soil.

1)- Mt. Fuji, Japan - The ultimate dream.

The order of this list is not particularly meant to represent any importance, other then Fuji, which is number one. I hope to take a couple of these off the list in the coming year.


Saturday, November 06, 2010

It's been a long time...

...and so, I finally got my holiday-themed piece, "Santa Dali" done for Dan Taylor's mini-comix "Pork Chop". I can't recall the last time I put ink to bristol board and crafted a little comix nugget, must be close, too damn close, to twenty years. It felt good to make marks like that, to play with ideas and words. The final piece is closer to an illustrated ramble than a true, traditional panel and speech balloon comic, but still laid down nicely. One thing I enjoyed was re-engaging with the physical act of art making. It is a renewal of spirit for me and connects me to the world in ways this old laptop and the intertubes never will. Is this the beginning of a new chapter in my life as a underground comix artist? We shall see. In the meantime, there's a little taste of my efforts. I'll post the final three-page story as soon as the printed edition hits the streets.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Dali Doodle

Another surrealist, this time the godfather of them all, Salvador Dali. I've always appreciated Dali's style, his ability to extend his brand through the decades. He was doing the personality as pop-art cultural icon thing a long time before Andy W. was even thinking about art. Dali was way-out there, but had the power of weirdness and high, natural talent on his side, so laid his particular flavor of gravity down and the world flowed around him.

I did this drawing as he needed to be part of my little sketchbook of surrealist, but also because I'm working on a short holiday-themed comix piece for a pub out of Austin, Texas called "Pork Chop". Let's just say that Mr. Dali figures prominently in the storyline...


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another view of Oscar

Here's a better shot of the sketch of Oscar Dominguez sketch. I used a better camera with a bigger lens, so a lot more detail is there.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

I'm not dead yet...

Wow, where has the year gone? So, I've been lazy about posting. Acknowledge-move on.

Here is my latest sketch of a surrealist. This time, Oscar Dominguez, whom I know nothing.

I picked him because he had a great face, reminded me of Ernie Kovacs (he deserves a post all of his own), or at least a particular character that Ernie used to do.

I had to fight through my usual resistance to do this little drawing. The critic gets rolling right away keeping a running tally of all the "errors", "this is wrong",or "that doesn't work". The best advice I've heard for dealing with that evil little voice is to ignore it as you would a crazy person, and just keep working. I find that the "errors" are where all the life is in a piece of art work, where the humanity creeps in or as Leonard Cohen said, "The cracks let the light in". Amen.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Luis Buñuel

I've been doing a series of little drawings of surrealist copying photos from an old book I have on surrealism. Here's my take on Luis Buñuel, artist and filmmaker. The photo I worked from makes him look like a giant, massive and looming. I love the blown out old photos of these wacky guys. They always look crazy as lizards on a hot road and have odd shaped heads and look like they would always have something interesting to say. I especially like the group shots where everyone looks wild and drunk and ready to shake the world by it's throat. They were probably all insufferable pains-in-the-ass, but even so the fantasy of a troupe of artist against the world together, making art, talking art, all still noble believers in the possibility; the certainty that the world would bend to the heavy gravity of their mind's creation. Is that still possible in this post-modern world? Sometimes I still feel it's so and those are good nights indeed.

My favorite Buñuel quote:

"Thank God I'm an atheist."


Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Magnificent MANBORG!

I recent found this very cool trailer through a great film blog called Quiet Earth. "MANBORG" looks like all the best bits of the cheesiest 80s' Sci-Fi flicks all rolled up and ready for a Saturday night. I want to see more!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

While waiting for the Ocracoke ferry...

...we found this confirmed ex-bird on the beach. It's been awhile since I've found anything dead on a beach and had a camera with me. I love the way the feathers fan out, sticking up in the air and the stark white of the bones and skull bleached by the sun.


Friday, April 30, 2010

The hard part begins...

I have been tracking down folks and publications whom either contributed to my old comix "Reluctant Sadist" (remember the book project I'm working on) or reviewed it to get permission to reprint their work. It's been a fun and enlightening bit of detective work. Everyone has been very supportive and cooperative so far and that has been encouraging me to get more done. My biggest enemy right now is negative inertia. It's too easy to let the job, socializing and household duties eat up all of my time (not to mention the TV and the intertubes). Getting all the material cleared is a huge step. Now the hard bit begins. I have to actually start writing something. To jump start that creaky chunk of grey matter, I have dug out the old journals from that time period and have been reading through them trying to get back to that time and place. Sifting through the petty gripes and endless blathering to find a live wire that reconnect me to the heat. Help me understand why I was doing what I was doing and why I stopped. Examining each issue again is setting off smoke bombs and bottle rockets, flashes of memory and insight and I know once I get the hand moving the words will lay down.

I added a link on the sidebar to the right to Brad Foster's web site Jabberwocky Graphix. Brad contributed a cool one page piece to the fifth issue of RS and has agreed to let me reprint in the book. Thank you Brad.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ralf Schulze Blog

I discovered recently that a good, old friend of mine, Ralf Schulze, has a blog about his art called Aardvark Farms. Ralf and I met through the underground world of self-published comix. He was a New York guy hammering out his weird, purposefully offensive punk art (check "Wah Tem Eye" left) back then and our mutual desire to shock the rubes made us instant friends. Twenty years on, we are both reasonably responsible adults now with families and jobs and such, but both still hold on to that sharp, rusty blade, carving out our strange visions, but man, it is much harder to shock people now or even get them to notice. Lots of competition for eyeballs and the underground is no longer so under, nor dangerous, or exotic. Just another page to surf through...


Thursday, April 01, 2010


I have actually been moving in what could be mistaken for a forward direction on my "Reluctant Sadist" book project. "Reluctant Sadist" was an underground, self-published comic that I did back in the late 1980s'. I printed seven issues before I got distracted by sculpting, but that's a story that'll be saved for the book. All the artwork has been scanned, plus loads of stuff that I did for other comix and even a nice chunk of scribbles and sketches. It's been a lot of fun to dig back through the piles and look at all that old stuff. I've finally made my pack-rat tendencies pay-off, as I have plenty of material for the book, including old reviews from "Factsheet Five" and "Small Press Comics Explosion". Next up will be getting folks who contributed to my old comic to sign release forms, so I can use their stuff. Then the hard part, I have to start writing.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Night Vision

"Night Vision" was my second student film made as a final project for Film Making 102 at TCC Virginia Beach. This time we had to edit and have sound. This was back in the late 1980s, so editing meant physically cutting the film and using either tape or cement splices to join the new pieces. If you made a mistake, you were screwed, especially if you were working on your only copy of the film as all the students doing this project were. There was no "undo", no easy to make digital back-up. You rolled the film back and forth in the moviola and thought very carefully about the artistic choice you were about to make because there might not be any going back. Of course it was easier to think back then because there wasn't the consistent interruptions of Facebook or e-mail or cell phones, etc. The sound was accomplished by laying down all the music and dialogue to cassette tape and playing it back while projecting the film. It was closer to performance art, then cinema.

The original story of "Night Vision" was taken from an underground comic book that I published for awhile called "Reluctant Sadist". I had a ready made story already storyboarded so that gave me a big head start for this project. I also had an advantage in my then room friend and long time friend Colin Martin as he was (still is) a gifted musician and willing to take a run at acting, so I also had a star and music composer in house. Colin played "Sam" the nightmare-suffering lead and I took on the role of "Speed", his less-than-helpful, hyperactive roommate donning the hair farm. We shot all the interiors in our apartment with the black & and white dream sequences shot in and around the abandoned waterfront warehouses (long since torn down for luxury condominiums) in downtown Norfolk, Virginia. I couldn't afford the time or money for black white film, so I hit upon the idea of shooting the dream sequences on video, then filming them off the TV screen. This also allowed me to play with the brightness and contrast to give the footage a more dream-like quality. The final touch was looping the dialogue and Colin's fantastic music. As I recall, the student audience responded very well and the teacher was thrilled. Ah, glory days....


Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Last Piece

I recently dug out some old film and video projects I did way back in the 1980s and transferred them to the digital realm. This first one, "The Last Piece" was a final project for a filmmaking 101 class I took at Tidewater Community College. Originally it was an in-camera edit and I got an A, mostly because you could actually tell what was going on. A lot of folks' films were very dark and out-of-focus. One was even completely black, but that student had dropped out, so we all speculated that maybe he was making a statement. I eventually transferred mine to video and added the soundtrack by playing "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" soundtrack and voicing all the dialogue and sound effects. I also tightened up the editing just a bit and fixed one axis crossing mistake.
I had some good help getting this thing done. My sister Shyla ran camera and my good friend John Verhulst played one the pizza duelists. I was the other. Sadly, John passed on last year much too early at the young age of 45. As far as I know, this is the only film (or video) shot of him. He was quite a wild man in his day and looked good with a gun belt on even if it was a toy. Here's to you my friend. You are missed and remembered. OK HW