During my days as a struggling illustrator in New York I did a lot of odd jobs to make ends meet, including drawing caricatures at parties, running a carousel at a street fair, and even a bit of modeling. Never a glamorous GQ cover boy , I was more of a character type, and the high point of my modeling career was probably appearing as ”Randall Schwab, Jr.” in the ”O.C. and Stiggs” special issue of the National Lampoon (O.C. and Stiggs were two slacker teen characters who appeared in the magazine, and Schwab, Jr. was their nerd nemesis, eventually played by Jon Cryer when Robert Altman brought the characters to the screen).
My favorite modeling job, however, has to be this photo illustration from 1991 for a column by Anka Radakovitch in Details about getting fired. The photographer, a very creative Yugoslav named Primoz Kotnik, achieved the effect of me flying out the door by setting the whole composition up sideways- the door was mounted on the floor, the model playing the boss was lying on the floor kicking up into the air, and I was jumping up and down on a concealed trampoline, trying to stay in sync with the papers that were being tossed into the air. Turning the picture sideways should make it clearer.
I did another photo shoot for Primoz later in which I was pushed down 6th Avenue in a bathtub on wheels, like Peter Tork in the opening to The Monkees. Unfortunately, Primoz died not long after that. The story I heard is that he was out on a blind date when the van he was driving was struck by another vehicle. Both Primoz and his date were killed.
There’s a new gallery of spherical paintings coming soon to the portfolio section, but in the meantime here’s a post about the first one I ever did:
Years before I wrote my own book about perspective, I was experimenting with pushing its outer limits. I was inspired by seeing Buckminster Fuller’s dymaxion world globe projected onto the sides of a twenty-sided polyhedron to try the equivalent in perspective- an entire 360° visual field as seen from one point in space drawn onto twenty triangles to form a continuous image. I did a couple of early drawings using this method, including a fold-up ornament sent out as a Christmas card in 1993. Eventually I got tired of the difficulties involved- each of the twenty triangles has its own perspective, and it’s extremely difficult getting objects to line up over the gaps- and I figured out that it would be simpler to draw a continuous image on a spherical surface. I got a wooden ball from a crafts store and drew a 360° perspective grid on it- basically a picture of a cube with ruled lines on it, viewed from inside so that six vanishing points each line up with the center of a face. Here is an example of a ball ruled with perspective lines. Over that I did an acrylic painting of the garden on the roof of our loft building in New York and gave the finished piece to Eve as an anniversary present in 1994. This post shows the picture of the ball- as you can tell from nearby objects, it is quite small, only about one inch square. Continue reading Roof Garden On A Tiny Ball
Last Monday l took the kids for an outing with another family to Oaks Park, the local roller rink I used to skate at back when I was a teenager. l hadn’t been skating in years,and I figured it was about time for the kids to learn- Rebecca is already pretty good on ice skates. My accident happened when I decided to take a break from circling the rink and get a drink. Decelerating as I went from the wood rink to the carpeted outer area, I heard a pop and stumbled- I thought somehow the shoe had broken until an Oaks employee pointed out my broken shin and asked if I wanted someone to call 911(Please disregard any rumors you may have heard that my broken leg resulted from a rinkside run-in with Tonya Harding).. Eve has done research and tells me this injury happens to a lot of guys like me- that is, middle-aged hotdogs with an old man’s brittle bones- though it usually results from something more macho like a football tackle or a motorcycle crash. At least my downfall didn’t happen to cheesy organ music- the rink has switched to nonstop oldies.
l was taken by ambulance to Legacy Emanuel, where I received excellent care, had surgery the next day and got home the day before Thanksgiving. I had hoped to get some comics drawn during my hospital stay but I was on heavy medication and mostly took naps.This was all I could manage:
I have known my friend Geoff for something like forty years. We met at school, were roommates in New York for a while and corresponded when we lived in different cities. Now he lives nearby and comes over every couple of weeks to show me movies. Geoff is a serious film buff whose tastes run to obscure noir and horror, and I believe he sees it as his mission to fill in the gaps in my education. The last film he brought over, The World’s Greatest Sinner, is so obscure it never had a theatrical release, even though it stars and was written and directed by one of my favorite actors, Timothy Carey. A tall, memorably sinister John Turturro type, Carey was usually cast as a secondary thug in obscure crime pictures, but he had small parts in East Of Eden and The Wild One, and larger ones in a couple of classic Stanley Kubrick pictures, The Killing and Paths Of Glory (probably his best performance- one of Carey’s persistent mannerisms was grinding his teeth like a bad Kirk Douglas imitator, but in this one he lays off, possibly because Kirk himself is the star). His distinctive mug almost makes caricature redundant, but here goes:
I just uploaded eight of my Palm Pilot comics to my page at Comics Lifestyle. This is a series of little autobiographical and dream strips I drew between 2004 and 2006 using the Notepad application on a Palm Zire 71. I still have the device, and in fact I am scribbling this paragraph on it in the Memo Pad application, but eventually I quit drawing the strips because the software’s limitations were wearing on me- the 1×3 window limits the number of frames to no more than three. and the combination of the application’s low resolution with the device’s clumsy stylus makes it difficult to get either fine detail or legible lettering.
What the software is best at is stipple, and I did do some decent drawings in it given the limitations. John Weeks was displaying the strips on his site for a while, and a techie friend managed to get them to display on his cell phone, and told me they looked really good there, making me feel very 21st Century. Still, I have never really warmed up to drawing using a computer or any electronic device.
The bulk of my artwork is created on paper using fossil technology like ink and brushes- which I then scan into Photoshop and beam worldwide.