A really good friend of mine got me a Model of my 1965 Plymouth for my birthday--Actually not really a model, but apparently they used to be promotional at the dealership (promotional!) I can't tell you how stoked I was to get it...
Its been a while since i've blogged--the truth is, I think the whole social networking crap is getting out of hand. That's not exactly why I haven't been; I've been hard at work putting out Ink Posioning as an actual physical zine. Having said that, I know that alot of people use their computer as the door to the rest of the world... So, I've decided to start putting out the comic Ink Poisoning online (!) I am going to post parts every week very soon...so that those of you that are glued to your screens can read it too. And then when it's done, you can pick up the tactile, silkscreened copy of the zine. Which is much more exciting, in my view.
But, I got some things to tie up first, so you'll just probably just see me ranting for a minute or so. Btw, I've been watching some amazing movies put out by Something Weird Video. What? you don't know what that is?! Lucky for you I posted the trailer, eh?
I fu*kin' HATE Bukowski. Thats right, I said it. Oh I know he's gods gift to the common man. The drunken, lonely man who sleeps with faceless women and fights for his dream to come true. The loser who wallows in his own pathetic being and celebrates his issues and flaws. And there is no doubt at all that the man could write. But you know what--? Fu*k him. Last time I gave him another chance, I ended throwing the book across the room. Its hard for me to empathize with someone that hail a hero, when in truth was too yellowbellied to stand up to his own flaws and do something about them instead of falling back into them over and over and over and... Yeah, I know, "You dont get the man, Plex" "He's so much deeper than that, Plex!". No thanks, I pass.
Save one. A friend that I was having a debate with introduced me to this poem he had written, and it is one of my favorite things ever written. Ever. It is inspiration for any and everything you do in life. It is the reason I am really taking a real, hard push for these little funny inkblots Im calling comics.
New webpage up, new store, new Inkpoisoning 4 zine out now. Silkscreened on newsprint with a CMYblackline cover. Comes with a new mixcd, or just listen to it here. Im gonna throw so much stuff at people, they are going to puke with nausea. But it'll be worth it. roll the dice
if you’re going to try, go all the way. otherwise, don’t even start.
if you’re going to try, go all the way. this could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs and maybe your mind.
go all the way. it could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days. it could mean freezing on a park bench. it could mean jail, it could mean derision, mockery, isolation. isolation is the gift, all the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. and you’ll do it despite rejection and the worst odds and it will be better than anything else you can imagine.
if you’re going to try, go all the way. there is no other feeling like that. you will be alone with the gods and the nights will flame with fire.
do it, do it, do it. do it.
all the way all the way.
you will ride life straight to perfect laughter, its the only good fight there is.
Ah, back on the grind again--and I do mean GRIND! Now that I'm back from Japan and have things settled down (hahaha, what a joke!) I'm pushing like a mad man. So here's a new mixtape for ya--I've decided to just post it in the blog for now, instead of having people jump through hoops to download it, but if you DO want it, email me and I'll send ya the higher quality file . Again, this one is of the "Urban" flavor of sorts, but I promise all you hillbillies out there that a sweet-twanging one is on its way...! To tell you the truth, the only reason I made this mix is so I can put the 1st song on something. Nas slips from time to time, but imma go on record and say that this song is my favorite song by him, period. His cadence and delivery is more stream-of-consciousness than i've ever heard it. Its my anthem as of late, and right now, I definitely need some truth to shine right now... I also will be putting my new zine out in various places around LA if they can stock it (Skylight, SHeadquarters, Meltdown) so if you don't see it there, walk up and ask them why don't they have it? Hopefully they will... Have a great weekend y'all!
Finally! Something going on 'round these parts... Here's a simple yet new mixtape for you all: Blamo Mixtape #3. My sincerest "bad" about not being around these parts as of late; I've been really putting the petal to the metal, and working on a whole slew of stuff--which may or may not be done by the year 3000, but dammit I'm on it! The thing is, I am not very goodabout blogging about "what I ate for breakfast/what shoes are the dopest/what size shit I gave the toilet bowl", but for those that have been following this blog, my apologies--im back among the living...at least in terms of online. At least...I should be *smile* This one is decidedly "Urban" (code word for Black, or Modern Negro Music, whatever you'd like to call it. ) For those of you that wanted to get your "hillypsychobilly" on don't fear! I got something in store for you as well...as always you can listen to it embedded in the video below, or download it HERE. Also, If you're in the LA area be sure to check out this VIDEO for the Codak/Kofie show @ Ronin Gallery tonight (Friday the 5th). It's gonna be amaaaaazing, son!
Saturday morning I woke up, made a thermos of coffee and headed out to Gasoline Gallery for their 4th Annual California Screaming Art and Hot Rod show. The weather was simply perfect, and some of the coolest cars (and a few bikes) I've seen in a great while were on display for your drooling pleasure. The art was incredible. Better than a LOT of stuff I have seen being shown in "Lowbrow 'Pop' Galleries" over in the more, uh, "prestigious" one's around my way. Now, before everyone gets their panties inna bunch about what I mean, lets get one thing straight--I'm bias to a fault. I admit it with no shame. And whereas it IS a character issue that I'm working on, there is only so far that it'll go...so I'll say right here and now that I personally feel a lot of the artist in the show hands down had a hellova stronger technique and skill than the average "pop" artist. There wasn't a whole lotta "flash" to the work, admittedly, but that's really what did it for me. The majority of it was kind of a "you-get-what-you-see" aesthetic. Which might be a little too forward for the average art viewer, but to me was refreshing. You can't get too deep painting a hood of a car...well, I take that back. You can, but 9 times outta 10, your artwork is lost on everyone that views it. The other thing that really struck me was how CHEAP everything was--in price, not pieces. There were works that would have been going 3 times as much in LA hanging, easy. I asked The Pizz "WTF?!" and he (who had one of the two biggest pieces there) politely explained 'tis the curse of the "Lowbrow" market. Most of the people that actually appreciate this stuff rarely can actually afford to buy it. Which is a crying shame, because there some really talented artist that will probably starve to death because they decided not to paint cute "happy-star-faces". Hopefully that will not be me. Mantra of every "rising" artist...eh? *sigh* Was extremely lucky to hang out with Masato from COOLS in Little Tokyo, Yukalin (drummer for the Villainz) , and also the guys from Pin Up Garage Magazine, Nash from Burnout magazine not to mention Highway Trash, and of course The Pizz and Willie Pinstripe. All in all it was a fantastic and truly inspiring day. How often do I say that?? (Yeah, Yeah, I know--mixtape. it's coming, it's coming... )
What goes through my line of sight when I enter the studio: Why I have been so absent as of late, and things are taking so g'damn long (no, I wouldn't sit through the entire thing either) What I do for fun: Best sticker I've seen in Lil' Tokyo recently: Productive or die, right?
(Heads up: this post is not completely work safe--I know how embarassing SEX might be to everyone...but please. If you are reading this post, chances are you are here because your parents bumped uglies. (Keyop and Jesus, my apologies. God, if you got that joke, please email me--because it means you just ascended Geek level #6...)
Everyone that sees my work always make the similarity to Archie comics...and rightfully so. I definitely wanted to channel Dan Decarlo's style in some fashion. I don't want to be Decarlo though; there are a few other great comic artist that influenced me, though admittedly most of them are from an era past. And I will definitely get to them in the future, to be sure. But the main reason I decided to draw the way I do is definitely intentional...even though older manga storytelling is what greatly influenced me when I was younger, I want what I do to be particularly American. An older, more mature, yet timeless America. And nothing screamed more American than Archie. But I also want to reflect the America that I live in too--one that isn't just inhabited by WASP's. So I guess I wanted my work to be a spin on that style... minorities, gays, the working class: they get a voice too. Maybe not the one that they want to have, but they would get one. Ooooohhh...subversive! How deep!
Of course, I wasn't the only one that thought of this: Larry Welz created Cherry Poptart in 1984, and he and his wife (god bless her) started self publishing it to contribute to the underground comix community. He wanted to have fun--sexy, awesome fun--and he did it as an homage of the style that he grew up and loved, . Obviously he got a lot of flack from Archie Comics, but fuck 'em if they can't take a joke. Or don't have sex. Now, anyone that knows me knows that this was like a double whammy to me--Sex, or better put eroticism, is what I live and die for. I stumble upon Cherry about a decade ago, and I was hooked. It wasn't the art so much, or even the sex--it was the wholehearted lightheartedness of it. Welz realized sometimes jokes aren't funny when they're too long to tell, or orgies aren't much fun when you painstakingly plan every detail. Sometimes it's gotta just...happen.
Say WHAAAT! Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that I present to you Food One Mix Vol. One by none other than Jim Mahfood himself. In case you've been living under a rock, he's the guy that did stuff like, you know...illustrated Kevin Smith's Clerks comics, several Spider-Man books for Marvel, ad campaigns for Colt 45, the murals in the Sarah Silverman Program as well as a plethora of other amazingness. Here's Jim: "This is the first volume of my mixtape series. I made a huge series of these, with 7 or 8 volumes in it, and gave them out to friends and family. I made this first one about 4 years ago, so it's a bit old, but screw it, I still stand behind the selections. Kick back, dig, and get your funk on, fool. Love- Food One." I've followed his work for years, and I am super stoked to host a mix by him on Knifexlife *sniffle sniffle* You should definitely check out his blog by clicking his name at the top--his stuff is sick. As always you can download the entire mp3 mix file here, or you can listen to it in this post by playing the video below... UPDATED: Sorry for the delay folks, but the old link wasn't letting people direct to the download--I fixed the link to mediafire, so it should be all good!
With sincerest apologies to the cover design department at Atlantic, here is "This Is Their Music: Mixtape #2". This tape touches on jazz fusion, some of the most beautiful music ever created. As much fun as I had putting this tape together, it presented me with a ton of difficulties...mainly: did I want to make a tape that was an introduction to fusion? The answer I figured out was no--that would be great in a purest sort of sense, but that wasn't exciting to me. Did I want to keep just in the "jazz" realm, or did I want it to branch out--and if it did, how far did it need to go? I decided that ultimately I wasn't going to worry about representing "true" aspects because that not only make it exhausting, but it would end up being 6hrs long (which, when I started, it was!) Finally I decided to just represent the different ways that jazz fusion has been interpreted, and jazz interjected into other types of music. Or, more simply, shit I like.
This is by no means suppose to be a definitive sampler--in fact, a lot of the main contributers to the movement aren't even represented on this tape: no Miles, no Coleman, no Hancock. Wayne Shorter is though. So is Hiromi Uehara. And Chicago--yes, that Chicago before they got all sappy. There's a method to this madness, so understand when it seems to change direction, it's on purpose. I could have gone on and on and on, and probably will in the future. But the future is here. It's now. You can download the clearer mp3 version here, or listen to the embedded version below...
This is suppose to be a blog about my comics, not a soapbox. I'm in the midst of alot of different works that have to be finished by Friday, and I will be more than happy to share them...just give me a sec. I'll be posting some inked pages pretty soon, leaking some background info on the stories, the whole nine. I'm not too good at all of this bloggin' stuff, but I'm getting there...
It's also March, which means I owe you a mixtape--I'm working on the cover for that, and it should be done this week. No, it's not the epic one that Tess and I are working on--that'll come soon enough. But this one is just as dear to my heart as that one will be... in some ways even more. ..
It'll be based on Jazz--Jazz Fusion, more specifically. What's jazz fusion, you say? Basically, in the late '60's, jazz musicians started to explore even farther different forms and improvisations, while at the same time rock musicians started to do the same thing. So they started to make bands together, used alot of, uh, inspirational tools, and made the most eclectic, beautiful music ever to come from this planet. Though, it does depend on how you like your jazz/rock/insanity--my girl thinks it sounds like chaos. I'll go into that when I post it up, but seriously folks--you have no idea what affect this had on me at a young age. Or maybe you do...
Oh, why the Kanye West stab, you say? This is why: I am so SICK of hearing his name spoken in a godlike reverence when it comes to being "unique", "progressive" and--fuck!--"innovative"! Are you people serious? Or are you, like, confusing definitions? You see, I am actually okay with everyone calling him "great", "terrific" and even "genius", though it makes me queasy. Because that's more of a matter of "taste"; like, let's say someone came to you and said: "Pizza Hut is the best tasting pizza on earth!!" Sure, okay, they have tastebuds of a caveman, but its still a lot more feasible than them saying:"Pizza Hut is the most genius, innovative pizza creators ever to make pizza in the history of pizza!!" Then, you have no choice but to shoot them point blank in the skull, because that is ridiculous. c'MON--PROGRESSIVE?! HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MINDS???!!!?!
It's been quite a week. I have a ton of stuff to get to--namely, getting a piece together for a show next week at Ronin Gallery in Echo Park, working on finalizing some pencils so I can finally start inking, and trying to get some new stickers made. All of the momentum I had though, was completely roadblocked for an entire 48hrs. as I did an rush screenpress job for a friend of mine. Spare you the details, but lets just say that because of it being so intensive, and not to mention a few things that needed correcting on my end, I ended up working in the studio 20hr. straight on it until sunrise, and then had an adverse reaction to the plastisol fumes I constantly had been burning and inhaling and ended up in bed for the entire day. Which made me come to the conclusion that: a) unless its a light job or plenty of time, I will never do something that involved again, no matter what the money is. Its not worth my sanity and b) I am seriously, seriously considering not using plastisol anymore. I might be a crybaby when it comes to toxic stuff, but man--I can still taste the oily coating on my tongue 2 days later. To be sure, this is no fault of anyone's but myself; I wanted the job, and appreciated being given work...but next time i'm going to weigh things a little better when it's "money" vs. "health" and "own stuff I need to get done". Lesson learned. I think... The one good thing that emerged out of being bedridden, though, was that I got to catch up on "research"--namely: The Dick Van Dyke show started in late 1961 and ended in Mid June of '66. A situational comedy, it was exceptional in a lot of ways--not only being one of the few shows around to have non lily white people on it from time to time (Star Trek and I Spy came later on, and believe me, Im going to talk about them too, eventually) but for the fact that it portrayed a "young" (Dyke was like a decade Moore's senior) married couple that actually had , well, a more realistic married life. Well, no--split beds weren't realistic, but come on man, its 1961. Yes, couples in the suburbs were already swinging and wife swapping, but not on tv. There are two things that really get me about the show though, and why I chalk up watching them as "research". The first thing is, and this is something that is understated by people, and also something that I couldn't appreciate before I started making comics, is the physical comedy of Dick Van Dyke. He was funny not only because of the way he handled himself in different situations, but it was the way he moved. Start at about 6:50 in the video to the dream sequence and you'll see what I mean (plus, you get to see Mary Tyler Moore dressed like a playboy bunny. Please, stop frontin'--she was tight!)
Rest in peace Chris Farley, 'cause he was amazing too--but my man Dyke was ridiculous. The second thing is how they dressed. Or more specifically, how MTM dressed on the series. The thing is, that although I try my best not to particularly "date" when any of my comics take place, the one thing that I lean on is the fashion of the 60's, which, other than the twenties, is when I thought we were best dressed. I hate the 60's hair, but everything else was perfect--from skirt length (*whistle*) to how everything actually fit on a person. Moore wasn't the first woman to wear pants on tv (I think that honor goes to Lucile Ball?) but she definitely was the one that made Capri pants as popular as they were. And although her character was a tiny bit naggy of a wife, she made the show even sweeter to watch.
How was everyone's Valentine's Day? Hope it went well...
Oh, mine? It went great! Moving along then...
I am really, really particular about the comics I read. It's not that im a snob about what I read, but more the fact that I need the book to resonate something deep within me. The art can't be amazing, but the story crap. Or vice versa. It doesn't have to be epic, just something that makes it real for me. Adding to the fact that most of the stuff that inspires me is either a) not from America or b) is from America but was done 40 years or older, my list is pretty damn specific.
Ebine Yamaji is a female Japanese Manga-ka (comic artist) that is known for her lesbian themed stories that touch on how fragile all of us really are. To be honest, the first thing that drew me to her work wasn't the subject matter--which, to be sure is great--but her use of wide panels and very minimal detail in them. It can be argued that minimalism is just inherent to the manga style, which is true; it really makes no since to draw what is not needed-- but Yamaji-sensei seems to have a real grasp on putting juuust enough to make it work.
Plus, in my opinion, she happens to be one of the best manga artist who actually depict people of color well. And by well, I mean normal. Gay and normal. Wait--can I say "people of color?!"