Friday, February 25, 2022

This Should be a Dove


I'm feeling overwhelmed by the news of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It's a disgusting, unnecessary, illegal and immoral act that seems like it should be impossible here in the 21st century; aren't we past world wars? But here we are and all because of one asshole who is not smart enough to think of creative ways to contribute to the common good, instead he has to fuck it up for all us. The people most negatively affected besides the Ukrainians are the Russian people who will have to suffer the consequences of this nightmare for generations to come.

So, what does that have to do with today's drawing? I almost didn't do anything today because, frankly, I feel really depressed about the state of the world. The center does not hold and all of that seems to be the way of the future. Why bother making a drawing or anything else? But I got something done, thanks to a bit of encouragement from Ieva. I feel guilty because I should have drawn something related to the war, drawn attention to some image or hopeful idea, but I wasn't feeling that. I needed a break from the doom scrolling of images of destroyed buildings, scared people huddling in subways, blasted tanks and satellite photos of damaged airfields. I went for the safety and comfort of African masks and pulled this one from the IG account of feereafricanart. Ironically enough, many of these masks were designed for rituals to confront danger, ward off evil spirits or send curses to bring misery to an enemy. I don't know what this Dan mask was original used for, but let's send it out to inflect sharp pains through Putin's colon and send him running for the nearest bathroom and a long, painful explosive shit that leaves him and limping. Fuck that asshole.

All we are saying is give peace a chance...


Friday, February 18, 2022


This week's entry is a postcard I made for my friend, Micheal Wingfield (WingDing), mailed in December 2021. He and I have been collaborating and sharing DADA art for decades. These cards are collaged from whatever is on hand; catalogs, stickers, old postcards, cereal boxes, train tickets, a head gasket from a 68' Buick, a piece of tread from a Sherman tank, seabed sludge gathered from the bottom of the Mariana Trench, Abraham Lincoln's toenail cuttings, a Brontosaur sneeze, fifteen coins pickpocketed from blind nuns, a feather from the wing of a flying monkey, the color of the sunset viewed from a balcony overlooking the Chesapeake Bay as seen through a glass of white wine, trimmings from Groucho's mustache, all of the natives killed by King Kong when he went on his rampage, 2,312 grains of sand collected from the secret beach, Tom Waits' nose, Charles Bukowski's asshole, Jack Kerouac's lost sense of humor and destroyed liver, only perfect autumn leaves, disused Cracker Jack prizes patiently waiting on the shelf, the blood of a lamb, three guys named Mo-ham-med (a new set of stooges), the sound of an old man slipping and falling on the ice one full moon night, the smell of a baby's burp, all the missing jigsaw puzzle pieces, vodka, gin, rum, Mother's Milk, and tape, tape,  tape, tape, tape, tape, epat, apte, a, p, e, t, a, p, e...........a ....................p .....................t......... ................................t.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................OK HW

Friday, February 11, 2022

Holo Man

Greetings and welcome to another Friday art post. This week is an India ink painting/drawing done with black and white ink applied with brush and pen, a technique I haven't done in a long time. I really love the subtle shades of grey this method allows. It's easy for me to fall into layering washes and diving into the intense blacks, then coming back with the heavy white ink (more like paint) to pick out details. I chose this mask specifically to play with this process.

This is a helmet mask made by the Holo tribe from Angola that I found on the Instagram account racine_premiere. Read more about the Holo people on this African Art website. 

The white areas around the eyes and mouth were the first element that attracted my eye and compelled me to draw this. The sharp teeth and shape of the mouth, which I detailed with a very fine-tipped pen, was another feature I admired. Finally, the crown with cross-hatched strong X's along the top was another detail that was a pleasure to draw.

And what art or creative action did you take this week? 


Friday, February 04, 2022

Keep a Diamond in Your Mind


From the Tom Waits' song "Get Behind the Mule".

Never let the weeds get higher
Than the garden
Always keep a sapphire in your mind
Always keep a diamond in your mind

These are days that make me think of this song, because this song is a reminder that very often it is hard work to live a life. For some people they never get a break and never know comfort or love or security. These last couple of years it feels like we are all sliding in that direction, being pulled into the virus horror show and seas are rising and the wind is picking up. Or maybe it's just how I'm feeling because I finally caught COVID-19. I was fully vaccinated and boosted, but even so a breakthrough can and does happen, especially if you take your mask off in a bar and talk to many (6-8) maskless strangers over the course of a night. There was one tiny voice of warning providing a commentary track throughout the night, "This is not a good idea. You really need to put a mask on. You do know the pandemic is still raging?", etc., but it didn't matter. I'm as weary as most everyone else is of this new, shitty COVID-19 lifestyle and just decided to take one night off from thinking about it and that's how I got it. It has been an inconvenience, but only because I was vaccinated and boosted, otherwise I'd likely be in a hospital right now with a tube down my throat or worse. 

So here's my first, and hopefully last, COVID-19 drawing, actually done will the virus was in my system. It's an Ibibio Mask on found on "feereafricanart" once more on Instagram (I need to find some new sources as I hate to fuel Zuckerberg's fortune) I choose this mask because I love the top-heavy shape and Frankenstein-like head bolts. Also the overall look of the face, the wide, full lips and arched, dark eye sockets. It's maybe not my best drawing, but it made me happy to make it while I tend to my runny nose. 

"Keep a Diamond in Your Mind". What do you think that means? For me it means you focus on the positive, on that hard, brilliant piece of you that understands no matter how dark the world gets, you still have something to give. Something I have to give is my art. I make it for myself, but share it because I hope someone else will enjoy it, maybe be inspired to learn more about African Art or find a few minutes to cultivate their own creative life as others have inspired me to do. As I feel my body fighting back against the virus, it also makes me realize that I need to do more, make more art, focus on my creative life, finish the many half-completed projects because time is running out. 

What will you do with the time you have left?


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...