snakes and ladders

This is an old-time sort of style illustration that Darcy from Top Shelf MF commissioned me to do. The original reference was a snakes and ladders board from England which had a Railroad theme - two children are playing hobo, riding railcarts, falling from tracks and getting misdirected and mugged as they proceed up and down the game board. It's an awefully mature theme for a kid's game, as it seems like an attainable sort of fantasy situation that the children are in; but I guess kids grew up fast during the age of iron and coal.

The theme for this board is 'Always a Raw Deal' - The ladders to all the good things; making out with the girl on the train, relaxing after a long day's work, and cashing in that winning lottery ticket, are broken. Only the bad things; house burning down, getting fired from work, getting mugged, can happen. It's a sad state of affairs for the players in this game.


Fecal Face Group Showpiece, and a word on 'friends'

This is a rather large piece I've painted for a group show (Fecal Face's annual show) at 111 Mina gallery in San Francisco (located at 111 Mina st). The show opens August 2nd. There are 40 artists, and It'll probably be a shit show - like a drunken stumbling people-out-the door party - the show is not actually going to be shit; I think it's going to be very good.

Not having been back to the West coast for a few years now, I have entered into a handful of new friendships with people whom I've yet to meet, or even talk on the phone with, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I think it's fantastic to have friends in as many places as possible - it is a testament to the positives of our current age of communication. But can the friends we've made through the sinews of cyberspace find their way into our hearts without us actually experiencing their presence? The answer is 'yes, obviously. This happens all the time". But does that make it right? No, not in my opinion. There is no good word to describe the people we know and like, but, as a result of geography and circumstance, we have yet to impirically shake hands, exchange glances and generate impressions with. Perhaps there is nothing wrong with calling these people friends, as it is a sign that we trust their character based on what we know of them through virtual arteries. 'Friend' is a term of endearment assigned to the majority of people we have met (virtually or in the flesh) and carried on an amiable dialogue with, be it a brief exchange of wit, a discussion of purpose, or whatever. But it seems an unsettling paradox to be a person with many friends who is often left feeling alone. And this is the case among many of the patrons of the virtual web of friendship - we are walkie-talkie people who get satisfaction from the commitment to responsd more than the content of the response, and we spend far too much time in a void (any time spent in a void is unfavorable). Perhaps we should further increase the graduation of adjectives given to friends - middle friends, small friends, old friends, new friends, good friends, best friend(s), close friends, far friends, bar friends (indeed, the socialite may experience the aformentioned paradox more often than the internet conversationalist), family friends, half-friends etc, so that we can get a handle on having so many friends. Let's use our language a little better and pay respect to the levels of community that surround us and the people that make up our relational circles, so that we can best understand why having friends and having fun don't correlate as strongly as they used to.

How does this relate to the piece I have just posted? I guess the only thing the objects in the still life have in common is that they were available for me to paint, and I felt like painting them, as they either posed a challenge or tickled my fancy, and now they are brought together and forced to support one another, while nothing is actually supporting the whole lot, and that is what friendship's all about - life support, often at random.


SHalf a kate Deck - Creature

Here is my half of a skatboard deck Niall mcClelland and I just finshed for Creature skateboards. It is the zombie giant John Bonham come back from the dead. A leviathan in his reincarnated state, Bonham is seen here rotting and being torn apart from the inside by small men that comprise his necrotic matter. Bonham is not one to be hindered by his dire deconstructive state, and continues his develish drumming despite the distractions. Niall drew Keith Moon, as a medeival skeleton warrior hellbent on pounding the heavens out of the sky with his rhythmic onslaught. Whew!

Paranoia Poster

This is a strange one, and you will see it in the Graves zine section of our Fighting website, which will be updated shortly. I think it's supposed to feel old, and a little unnerving, although the rhetorical tongue-in-cheek quality of the text gives the photograph more of a modern, college poster fair sort of flair (if you can call that sort of thing 'flair'). And I guess that's what satisfied me about this piece - that it could act very well as a large glossy poster in a dorm room next to a che poster, a vintage beer add and some other freshman wallpaper that completes the stereotype. This is an altered image, by the way - the shadow man was digitally added to the very dim shot of the hallway in my old apartment. I felt a presence, though, while looking at this photograph of my hall after I'd taken it, if that's any consolation.