Friday, January 28, 2022

My Life as a Village Person on The Walking Dead: World Beyond

Happy Friday! This week's creativity post is about my time on the set of The Walking Dead: World Beyond season two as an extra playing one of the "Village People" in The Perimeter. I worked on and off from February through the beginning of June of 2021, getting about a week's worth of production days and lots of COVID-19 testing appointments, as the production had a rigorist safety protocols to protect the cast and crew, which gave me peace of mind. 

Nicolas Cantu (Elton) reflecting as Herbie and I take a walk...
copyright AMC Productions

I've done a bit of acting in the past, once as an extra on "The Box" (2009) and a couple of independent features, "Cold Readings" (2004) and the lead role as Happy Walter, in "Happy Walter" (2007). I've had one acting class some years ago and really enjoyed it, so have decided look for new opportunities to act. Now being an extra is barely acting as we are literally considered to be "background", moving props filling in space to make things look more natural, but even so, this show was different as they reused many of us to provide some background continuity. I found the gig through Kendall Cooper Casting after some friends saw a local TV news report that they were casting for WDWB, so I submitted my info and was surprised to hear back the same day with an offer to be a "back-up extra", which consisted of getting tested and being ready for production on short notice. After a short time, I was upgraded to an extra and started getting set calls. Anyone who has done this kind of work knows that it's not as glamorous as most people think as there is a lot of waiting around for shots to be lit and rehearsed and often only a few of us would get used in the shot while the others stayed in the holding area. There were a couple of newbie extras who were bored and complained and never came back, I guess it wasn't their cup of tea. For the rest of us, it was wonderful just being on set and getting to learn about production. There were some small moments to interact with the principal actors and found them all to be respectful and encouraging of us background folks. I'm particularly pleased that I'm in a shot with Nicolas Cantu as he and I had a small chat early on in the testing line and after that whenever we crossed paths,  he always gave me a friendly greeting. Another good memory was standing around a campfire at two in the morning trying to keep warm in the sub-freezing February night chatting with Nico Tortorella. One production day begin with Jelani Alladin high-fiving all the background actors and sharing his positive, pumped-up energy. And the last one I'll share was Pollyanna McIntosh greeting us with, "Good morning hard-working background actors!". All kind and generous gestures that were not necessary, but were noticed and made those long production days better. 

In the end, the best takeaway from this experience was meeting and getting to work with so many cool, creative and interesting people, some of whom have become friends. Great to work with Herbie, T.K., Rob, Josh (The Super-PA's), Bernard, Simmie, Barefoot Joe, Catlin, David, Ahmad, Andrew, Patrick, Diana, Rayleen, Brian, and I know I'm forgetting some folks, so all the other extras and crew too!

Here's a short clip of my big moment from episode three! 
(note - short clip, no audio - copyright AMC Productions)

Friday, January 21, 2022

Wé Mask, Me Mask

Happy Friday! A little video experiment this week. There is a popular theory that all art is self-portraiture, which was going through my mind when I finished this week's drawing. Upon comparing my interpretation of this "Wé Mask" from the Côte d’Ivoire region of Africa, I noticed that I had drawn the face longer, stretching the original's roundness into a more naturally proportioned human face. When I looked more closely, I saw my own face. It's my subconscious lurking there under the skin ready to dance!

I found this fierce and beautiful mask on the Instagram feed of "amyasnaegele" and would encourage you to click through the link to read the detailed background information that Amyas Naegele has provided.

I really love the red around the eyes and will draw this mask again, next time larger and in color.

Where I live now, it's cold and there's snow and it is grey, but the days are slowly getting longer. It feels good to drop into art, make marks, play with the images in a video. 

What are you making these days?

Here are the still images...


Friday, January 14, 2022

Tiny Tofu Shop in Old Tokyo


Scattered throughout Tokyo's maze of backstreets are thousands of tiny buildings and I love them all. Weird street food places, cozy pocket bars that seat six or less, shops, offices and homes, many of these shoebox domains fill the space between two huge skyscrapers or run in rows down forgotten alleys. It's easy to imagine what life might be in there. I fantiszie about owning one of these little anonymous bunkers, my own safe house where I could holed up when these got too strange. Of course the irony is if I had one now, I'd not be allowed to visit it due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions.

I've hunted down and photographed more than a few, but this week's drawing is from one Insta-spam from an account called "masktnak".  This is a tofu shop in Old Tokyo. I wonder about who owns it and how long they have been there making tofu and what will happen to the shop after they die. 

Ballpoint pen was my medium of choice once again and I used it in a causal, relaxed style that I'm mostly pleased with. I'd like to try a different kind of pen, maybe draw it more cleanly and larger on another kind of paper. For now, this small drawing of a tiny tofu somewhere in Old Tokyo feels good for me.

How are your creative projects going so far for 2022?


Friday, January 07, 2022

2022 - Let the Games Begin...

Happy 2022! I hope your New Year Eve's activities were fun and satisfying. I had such high hopes for 2021 as many people did, only to see those hopes crushed pretty quickly by the horrific and disgusting events in the US capital on January 6th and then the Delta and Omicron variants keeping the COVID-19 party going, not to mention the extreme weather events and WW III threats. Bah. I haven't read or heard one optimistic outlook for 2022. It seems everyone is holding their breath and keeping their heads down. But you don't come here for my lame world-weary commentary, no I'm guessing you want to see some art. 

Before I talk about this week's offering, let's set the ground rules for this year's Friday postings. I've decided to open it up to any kind of creative expression; drawing, sculpture, photography, short film, animation; whatever I am playing with at the moment. 

This week's post is a doodle I made of the Mohawk Man figure I posted December 10, 2021. Often after I make a drawing, that image stays in my mind for some time, cached in my short-term creative RAM. I find it to be a fun exercise to draw from memory and see how I unintentionally change the image. This version made me think of the main character from Napoleon Dynamite. 

What creative plans do you have for this year? I would love to see what you are working on, so post a link in the comments section.

Don't let the bastards get you down,


Thursday, December 30, 2021

52 Fridays - Number 53 Bonus Week - What's Next...


The "52 Fridays" project was actually a "53 Fridays" project all along. That is quite fitting as 2021 proved to not follow any of my assumptions from even that basic one to where the world would be with COVID-19 (Like many people, I thought it would mostly be a non-problem by this point...) Heading into 2022 I have decided the best policy is to have no assumptions or expectations for the year and just take each day as it comes. Better to remain flexible and patient; adjust as necessary. 

This week's image is another I found on "fernandin_jones" most excellent Instaspam feed. No information there, but likely Africa. As always I will update this post with background information when it becomes available. It is always important to connect the cultures and give proper credit whenever possible. This is my interpretation of someone else's work.

The dark, deep shadows pulled me, but also the sweet smile and kind eyes, which I rendered a bit sadder looking then the original. Putting on a brave face reflects how I feel going into 2022. Keep that grin on, but it's difficult to hide the emotion in my eyes. 

It's been a good run making these fifty-three drawings. I have an idea for presenting them and may put them together as a show. Find a place to exhibit them IRL (In Real Life). Doing these drawings every week has reconnected me with the practice of making art. Now, I am feeling a bit off if I don't sit down at least once week and do some scribbling. I will continue doing some kind of creative work every week, but haven't decided what form that will take.

On this last day of 2021, I am grateful for my health, for the love in my life and the friends I have to share the journey. 

Wishing all of us have a peaceful 2022 filled with good times with friends and a few adventures too!

Never Give Up!


Thursday, December 23, 2021

52 Fridays - Moon Amigo


Here it is drawing number fifty-two in the "52 Fridays" drawing project! But I am not finished as I didn't realize until a few days ago that 2021 actually has fifty-three Fridays, so there will be a bonus drawing I'll post on New Year'a Eve. This has been a good project to motivate and focus my creative energies, so I will continue it into 2022, but it will take a slightly different form. What that will be exactly I haven't determined yet, so stay tuned. 

This "Moon Amigo" as I am calling him, was found in the wonderful collection of "koufengallerie" on Insta-scam . There was no description in the post, but a query yielded just the word "Gello", which my research has not produced any useful information yet.

The craters are what grabbed my attention. Like many people, my teenage years were dominated by pimples, zits, greasy skin and all the abuse that came with that. I was obsessed with remedies that would clear my skin up. Not only was it embarrassing, but it physically hurt. I'm glad those days are long gone. This fellow looks more at peace with his bumpy skin, like some ancient moon god wearing those scars as testament to hard earned wisdom. I also like the rings through the nose, though I could have done a better job of rendering those as they had subtle reflections that are lost, so I may go back in with a white marker and touch it up, or just live with it as a lesson learned.

He also reminded me of the hockey mask wearing serial killer Jason Voorhees of the "Friday the 13th" movie series. But I think this guy would just hang around humming handing out candy and not be creatively killing post-coital teenagers.

Happy Friday and Happy Christmas!