Category Archives: Personal

Vienna

I Will Follow 14x14

I’ve had a song repeating itself in my head for the past few months and like most people I really don’t even know the words to it but it still keeps on playing.  When I pick up a pencil to sketch I start singing one line from the chorus before I begin. I don’t do it on purpose and before today I didn’t even realize that I was doing it . Today I grabbed a sheet of paper and a pencil and my 2yr old ran up and sang, “Venna for youuuuuu.” I truly didn’t understand what she meant but a minute or so after, and right before I put the pencil to the paper from my lips came the singing words, ” Vienna waits for you.” I finally took notice of  something I’ve been doing a lot. Hell it’s something I’ve been doing enough that my kid is equating me drawing with “Vienna”. The line of lyrics are from a song called Vienna by Billy Joel. I first heard the song in a movie my wife loves called 13 going on 30. She’s watched it a million times in front of me while I worked and every time that scene makes my ears perk up like a protective dog. That song just hit me when I first heard it, but why the fuck is it playing in my head all the time when even though I downloaded it ( which I don’t think its ever played on my iPod) I don’t really even know the lyrics to the song that well but it’s been on my brain for months. Here’s the lyrics below:
Slow down, you crazy child
You’re so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you’re so smart, then tell me
Why are you still so afraid?

Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about?
You’d better cool it off before you burn it out
You’ve got so much to do
And only so many hours in a day

But you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want or you can just get old
You’re gonna kick off before you even
Get halfway through
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you

Slow down, you’re doing fine
You can’t be everything you want to be
Before your time
Although it’s so romantic on the borderline tonight
Tonight,
Too bad but it’s the life you lead
You’re so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you’re wrong, you know
You can’t always see when you’re right. you’re right

You’ve got your passion, you’ve got your pride
But don’t you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

Slow down, you crazy child
And take the phone off the hook and disappear for awhile
It’s all right, you can afford to lose a day or two
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?
And you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want or you can just get old
You’re gonna kick off before you even get half through
Why don’t you realize, Vienna waits for you
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

I’ve recently been receiving a bunch of emails from collectors, galleries and people looking for commissions all of which are kind of asking, ” Where’s the new work? “. I’m making new  work. I’m just not making it as fast as I used to. I still get up everyday take a shower, get dressed, cook breakfast for my kid, go for a walk, then go work on something in the studio. The difference is I’m not just pumping out piece after piece, and the major difference is I’m enjoying taking my time. I might have 30 plus paintings just sitting around that I haven’t shown anyone and I certainly could use the money from those that are interested but I find myself for the first time in my career to not be rushing things. A successful artist and close friend of mine recently told me to that I needed to get those paintings out because people are interested, and that I have “an open window” that other artist sometimes never get, and that window will close someday.  I understand this is true and that my window is closing but I no longer feel like rushing. I’ve been rushing through this whole experience of being an artist and I want to truly enjoy the process of art making, good or bad. I don’t want to stay up late at night working on the second piece of the day, I want to enjoy my family and my craft. I don’t want it to, but if that window should close on me. Then let it close. Vienna waits for me.

 

Stay At Home Mom’s Are Awesome. Single Mom’s Are The Shit.

My goal with revamping my old website to “just a blog” was that I would be able to post new images of work or discuss new things in my life faster than I had been able to before when I had to deal with writing code and other crap for my website. I have not being doing well.  I’m not a slacker. Really I’m not, but i have been slacking at adding to my blog. I know, I know, there are a ton of bloggers that say the same thing and you might be one of them, but the truth is… I get busy.  This blog is supposed to be about being both a full time artist and a full time stay at home father and if I was still just an artist I would have the time to add shit to this blog daily, “Oh, look at my new drawing. Oh look at my new painting. Look , I painted a face. Oh look at me I painted a pair of my wife’s heels. Oh wow! I just painted a bird.”  I don’t want to discount what I do for a living because being able to paint paintings that people purchase is truly a blessing but since becoming a full time parent I’ve learned how tough it can be do get things done. Things as simple as watching your DVR’ed series finale of Breaking Bad.

Me:    Inside my own head I say, ” Ok. I’ve invested years into this show let’s see how this beauty ends.”

Daughter:  ” I want to climb on him.”

Me:   “Hey wait.” ( pauses TV show) ” Go play with your legos. Go play with your tiger. Go play with anything else.”  Awesome it worked. She goes to play with her legos.

Daughter:    “Houuse, Houuse.” ( She returns minutes later with a stack of Legos bunched together in a shape no one could ever possibly live in).

Me:    ” Huh, Whaaa? What? Oh, house. Ok  cool. What?”  ( Pause’s the show.) “That’s really nice.  Which one is your room?” ( Child looks at me unresponsive and I restart my show).

Daughter:    ” I want to climb on him”.

Me:    “Ugggghhh”.  ( In parent speak ‘Ugggghhh’ means “What The Fuck Do You Want Now!”) So I stop my Breaking Bad Series Finale and will start it again later when she’s asleep.

My daughter is only about to turn two so since she’s been in my life I’ve had a ton of opportunities to do the things I wanted. Of course as she gets older it’s getting harder now to get things done. By getting things done I mean painting. Painting takes time. Ok, actually it does, and it doesn’t. I’ve made a pretty good living painting fast. Sometimes doing paintings in 30 mins or less like a Dominos Pizza and selling them. I don’t want to do that right now. I want to spend some real time working on my stuff. My daughter and my “new life” have different ideas. Whether it’s changing diapers, cooking meals, cleaning the house or countless other things, they’re eating up my painting time. I’m trying to work out new painting schedules all the time but like my daughter, they change daily.

Work is work. Whether from home or outside of home.  Most people have a job to do in order to earn money to provide for themselves or for their families. My wife goes to work every weekday to earn that buck as do millions of others. I get the pleasure to stay at home to work on my art but now I mostly have the pleasure to stay at home and watch my kid grow from day to day. Sure most of my days I don’t get to paint daily as I once did but I’ve decided that’s a fair trade. For six years I painted daily and watched my sales and reputation grow and it was really great. Now I don’t paint daily and my rep has taken a big hit but the tradeoff is that I get to experience my child’s growth right before my eyes all aware that most parents nowadays don’t get that same chance.  I get to play with my daughter all day, take walks and  tons of other cool things that a bunch of parents miss out on.

This blog post is not a complaint about not being able to paint as much as I once did in any way, it’s actually the opposite. I’m lucky that I’m here at home watching my kid. There are a ton of parents that wish they could be in my place. My wife being one of them. I can’t imagine doing all the household shit that I have to do while going to a job everyday.  I’m not saying I’m even good at any of it. Shit, most of the time the house is a mess and my child never gets out of her pajamas. It’s a juggling act that I try to work on daily, but for those women that go to a job and have to come home to do this without a partner, God bless you. Sure stay at home mom’s (or fathers) work hard too, but single mothers are the shit.

Ok. Here’s my last painting for those that come to see the art.

Hello Stranger 16x20in

Till The End

studio tall

Today is June 6, 2013. Seven years ago today is the last day in which I got up in the morning to head to a job. I was working for the San Diego Unified School District driving a truck delivering school lunches. It wasn’t a tough job and the hours and pay were pretty good and I only did it for one school year. Before that job there were always others like working at a book store, installation crew at a museum, a teacher’s supply store and the produce section at a grocery store which I learned how to pick out the best melons at that job. So today being my anniversary of deciding to go full time at the art gig reminds me of my very first paying job ever. The very first thing anyone ever paid me for was when I was 14 and the Foodmaker corporation ( now known as Jack In The Box ) paid me for illustrations.  You know when you get a job and if the business is large enough the boss usually gives you a training manual of some king with little drawings showing you how not to or how to properly do different task? That was me. Well not everywhere but at least in the 90’s through the mid 2000’s and you worked at a Jack In The Box restaurant while you were speedily flipping the edges of the pages of the manual never planning to read it, you were flipping past my hours of hard work. I was 14yrs old and they paid me $25.00 an hr. I did a bunch of drawings over a few weeks and It was a one time thing but I got paid way more than any of my friends did in whole year delivering newspapers.

So today I celebrate my 7 years as a full time artist. I’d like to say that something exciting happened today but that would just be a lie. Nothing exciting happens when you do art. You sit at home and draw pictures while all of your friends and family go to work so really there’s nobody to hang out with. Just you. Now I have a kid and we play around most of the day and actually that’s a ton of fun but it does get in the way of why I’m at home in the first place. I have to make a daily choice of, “Do I start a painting or do I play with this little girl tugging at me”? Lately I’ve been deciding to play. I have to adapt frequently to an ever changing schedule since she was born and I’m now revising this one so I can get more work done. So I didn’t have a party and no cigars and shots at the bar but I did do a dumb little sketch which I turned into the bare bones of what will be my next painting all while my daughter took an afternoon nap. The studio sat empty today and I worked at the dinner table so maybe I just won’t be working straight through a painting from start to finish in one day anymore and that’s ok as long as I can continue to work at home for another year. God willing I hope I continue this life till the end.

studio side

 

The little sketch idea for the next piece
The little sketch idea for the next piece
My daughter pretending to paint with the final drawing.
My daughter pretending to paint with the final drawing.

 

 

Matching Soles

shoesJust a little over a year ago I was in the Vans store looking for some shoes when I saw a pair of little Hello Kitty slip-ons that I thought would be great for my daughter. The only problem was she was only 4 months old or so and they didn’t have any that would fit her for another few months. Oh well, no big deal and plus the shoes would look better if she was walking around and my daughter was not even close to that. So then I thought, “I’ll buy them for when she’s walking”. The problem with that idea is as a first time parent I had no idea when that was. I knew it was somewhere between that exact moment and 25 years old. I asked the girl wiping the shelf next to me but she was just as puzzled as I was. I walked outside and saw a mom with kids and I asked her and she said, “Oh honey it depends, about a year old. Sometimes earlier and sometimes later.” She then began to tell me the most un-initeresting stories about each of her 3 kids learning to walk. She was polite to me so I listened politely to her stories. I went back in the store got a size for my daughter then asked, “Sorry, do you have these in my size?” A bit puzzled the cute and waify clerk told me she’d check for me.

My daughter is now a year and a half old and has been walking for quite a while now. For the past few months I would try her shoes on her and they would just slip right off. Too small. Time and time again, too small. Today though was different. Today we had our Cinderella moment. Today that tiny little shoe fit. Excitedly I grabbed my pair and put them on and walked out to show my daughter that we matched. She looked at my shoes, down at her shoes and then back at my shoes. She was quite pleased and so was I. Maybe I might look silly wearing a pair of Hello Kitty shoes and especially a pair matching the small girl standing at my side but who cares. My daughter isn’t always going to be excited to see me wearing the same thing or even something slightly similar to her’s but for now she is. Until the time she becomes embarrassed of me I will do a countless amount of dumb things to make her smile. So if you see an adult male walking around town with a black t-shirt, pair of shorts, hat and a pair of Hello Kitty slip-on’s it’s probably me.

tryon lookup laying side by side

Back In The Swing

hand painting

So my last post was about how even though I have incurred an injury to my hand I’m going to forge ahead and start painting again. Wow! Soooo not an easy process and takes a lot of ice to bring down the swelling. It hurts a lot to paint. In fact it hurts a lot to tie my shoes, change diapers, do laundry, dress my child, prepare meals, vacuum ; Wait a second. This sentence is starting to sound like a complaint from a 1950’s well to do stay at home mother which sometimes dabbles in a fun but freeing art class at the local rec center. “Waaah Waaaah you’re such a big baby. Some people have real problems”, many people emailed me. The only reason I keep mentioning my hand is because to me it is a real problem. After all, I do draw and paint for a living. So what some may see as my stupid problem to most is a very big problem to me. I pay bills and help feed my family with this paw of mine.  Ok, Ok, you get it by now my hand hurts, so I’ll get on with it.

Well I last showed you two panels that I got ready to do some drawing / painting on and I did. I’m so happy. Happy doesn’t accurately describe it, it’s more of a feeling of elation. I felt free. Not so much free from the pain or free from the injury because it’s obviously still there but finishing something really frees you up. I finished three pieces with my hand all taped up, a way that I’ve never painted before but I believe I still produced what it is that I do. There’s lots of talk about surgery on my hand but I’m trying not to pay any attention to that. It may sound silly to most people and I understand, but as long as I can remember holding a pencil or pen and just drawing stupid things day to day has always gotten me by. Whether I was happy or sad I drew pictures. For the past year and an half staying at home learning to to raise a daughter, I put my thoughts and feelings into my drawings and paintings. It empties my mind and somehow at the same time fills my soul. So for now I fight on to remedy this problem through simple stretching and icing and I hope If one day it does come down to surgery, I hope the surgeon is brilliant and has had a good nights sleep. I may be 36 years old now, but when I’m drawing and painting I’m forever 10.

almost done

Trying To Get Back In The Swing

So thanks to everyone that has wished me well on the recovery of my hand. On Tuesday I went to the orthopedist and we discussed all the blah blah of how my hand is and to really get a good look at my range of movement etc. This is how my range of movement is going at this time. My pinky and ring finger and thumb awesome. Middle finger and index can bend but not even close to all the way to make a fist or anything. Being a right handed artist for a living and injuring my only talented hand is not cool. The real crappy thing is that the two fingers that are still painful to move after injuring them over a month ago are the two fingers (along with the thumb) that I hold a pencil and brush with. These fingers are my buddies and together we make a great team but they don’t seem to want to be a team anymore. I feel like they’re trying to break up the band. If they don’t want to be a part of this team anymore I don’t care. I signed these fingers of mine to a long contract and I intend for them to stick it out. So with my hand in a brace I I’m going to try to push on. I laid out two new panels and prepped them all up ready to painted. My hand was clearly objecting to this idea with every stroke of the paintbrush but after I explained to them that this is not just something I want to do but something I need to do, they understood. They still whined and bitched but they were good sports and happy to get a good icing down after. I haven’t told them yet that in the next day or two I’m going to be using them a lot to draw and paint stuff on these panels. Oh man, are they going to be mad.

IMG_5176