Now that my house is back to normal, I want to catch up on the all things I have been doing for the past month.
Shoot #1: Three weeks ago, I traveled to Los Angeles to shoot some commercials for AIDS Day (December 1st). We filmed near Santa Clara in a fantastic location, an entire Mexican village that was built just to be used as a set. It has a half-dozen streets lined with bars and churches and various hovels, all uninhabited and weathered in the hot California sun. I’ve used it as a stand in for West Africa twice now.
The new sherriff in town.
The town doctor.
Filming in our traditional African village. Tortillas on the side.
My limo awaits.
Back in LA, we shot in an abandoned hospital which was still full of equipment and supplies. It was like something from “The Walking Dead,” and filled me with an eerie feeling that resurfaced during last week’s power outage in New York.
This emergency room needs an emergency room.
Spell check. Stat!
I napped in here.
This left me in stitches.
A good subject for a drawing.
The shoot went very smoothly (I’ll post a link to the commercials when they’re done) and then I flew back to New York and immediately went into production for another client, shooting around the city and environs. More on that in my next post…
There’re few things as depressing as a bare fridge. It’s the cliché of the single person you always see in movies: a few moldy Chinese takeout containers, a half-empty jar of mayonnaise, a box of baking soda, a six-pack.
But shopping for one is tricky. These days, I do tend to eat at home and to cook more than I did when I had a teenaged roommate. But I have to be careful not to be too ambitious and to fill my kitchen with stuff I’ll never have time to eat. I hate throwing out stuff that survived past its due date: a head of cauliflower, a half-gallon of milk, some cheddar that’s turning into bleu cheese. Still, I’d rather waste food than face an empty larder.
Whenever I do a drawing in indian and sumi ink, I think of Ben Katchor. For years he did comics in the Daily Forward that had a bleakness and everyday decrepitude that made a big impression in me. His weltschmerz came out in a sigh of grey washes, a shrug of indifferent lines and cramped composition. These days as he branches out to publications with bigger budgets, he uses bright colors but his work still has a lovely unsavoriness to it that smells vaguely of sour milk and unwashed socks.
While copies of A KIss Before You Go are being loaded into warehouses, work continues on my next book, An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration From the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers, the sequel to An Illustrated Life.
I just did the lettering for the cover (you’ll notice on Amazon that they uploaded the art for the cover before including my handlettering — that’ll be fixed soon) and the design for the interior continues. It’ll be a lavish book with work from forty of my favorite artists and will be out at the end of February, next year.
I’ll talk about it more in the months ahead but meanwhile you can see some of the art work from the book on my Pinterest page.
Okay, time to start drawing again. I made this from a photo I took at an outdoor party in the Hamptons. The bird was very impressive and the intensity of his gaze stayed with me long after he was put back in his cage. Horned owls are amazing predators and have been known to pluck out unwitting birdwatchers’ eyes, even here in New York City.
For some reason, this drawing made me think of Brad Holland, an illustrator I’ve loved since I was a teen ager but haven’t referred to in years. I just went and looked at some of his work and, while I don’t think it actually does look like anything he’d do, I sort of see why it brought him to mind.
If you don’t know Holland’s work, check out this nice and too brief video about him:
I did this drawing with my Lamy Safari in one of the new Stillman & Birn hardcover books. I love the paper though there are some issues with the binding and they suggest we wait for the next shipment before using the hardbound ones.
A little macabre, I know.
My approach to glass and ceramics is to pay close attention to highlights and refections. I also wanted to capture the difference in texture between the velvet lining and the glass of the eye. I painted the box with watercolors, using ochre and grey with a little bit of white gouache, then let it dry, and did the eyeball all in gouache. Oh, and I didn’t do any actual drawing, just used two sable brushes, #7 & 4.
Here’s looking at you, kid.