I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Post 66: A Nina drawing and a post about impromptu caricatures of Japanese celebs...et al.

Needed to get a drawing done. There it is. A rather dense schedule ahead of me that isn't helped by the unexpected or the inefficient work habits affliction, you all know how that is. Yesterday the ever generous and explosive Ricky Nierva went out of his way to help me with some of his contacts about a Japan trip. And then, as luck would have it, Tom Sarris (Manager of International Publicity Marketing) was around looking to enlist Ricky in drawing caricatures for two visiting Japanese celebs. Ricky demures, since this is nerve wracking on camera sketching, and Teddy Newton is still not back from his trip to L.A. for the Incredibles premier. But back to the subject of my Japan trip, Kumiko Hidaka, of Cosmo Public Relations, who's handling the above mentioned celebs visiting Pixar is a good person to meet about the trip and could help immensely.

I get a rousing intro from Ricky to Kumiko and she, Tom and I talk about my trip. I mention my self-publishing venture and I offer to show them. After walking into my dishevelled office they notice the nina posters (thanks, Charles) and all the other art about. I love having the work get good response and this was a successful showing. Cut to Tom inviting me to do the caricatures with Ricky that afternoon (all this happened just yesterday, really). I say okay but I'm not sure how I'll do, I've never drawn anything on camera before, much less drawing celebs' caricatures. We have a longstanding factoid about caricatures: pretty ladies don't like them. Caricatures by definition are unflattering.

Anyway, I end up doing the drawing on camera, the girls were cute and very energetic--and I can't understand a word they were saying (Kumiko was translating off camera but I was too confused to talk or respond with any coherence) but it certainly was good for my ego that they loved the dusty pencil and pastel drawings I did of them. Whew! Ricky was standing off camera cheering me on along with animation's Love Lounge architect, Andrew Gordon--who snapped a photo.

Tom tells me that I did good and that they loved the drawings. The piece will air in Japan some day and I'll get a copy of said clip. I shudder to think how much I just drew and sat there like a lump, smiling and looking rather lost. All in all it was a good, new experience. My thanks to all.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Working for a living: More ironic in other places.

Dead tired? I probably don't know the half of it. If you scroll down that page you'll see more pictures of men in business suits who seem to have just fallen asleep (likely they were drunk, too) on their way home from work on sidewalks, in front of malls or stores, curled over their briefcases, bottled tea silently holding vigil as the rest of the workday pedestrians stroll past their limp bodies, leaving them the simple peace that must be the only way they can have any rest.

I know, a second post about Japan in a row? A fixation, Ronnie San? Well, you could say that. I have been planning to visit Japan for years now but have not been able to make it real because of, well...work. I have been going through many worries of late with family being sick and deadlines looming and other pressures. I know, "Mwaaaahhh! Oh, poor working man who draws cartoons! His life has pressures, mwaaah! Sniff!" I get it. I can deal with my day at work. I'm glad I'm not any one of these poor shlubs who have no choice but to get on the subway and hope to catch some guilt-free shut-eye on the way home.

The Masamania.com author was apparently a former porn director (his simple logic about sex--the everday kind that results in you and me, as well as the filmed kind--is amusing and straightforward) wants to talk about what no one wants to talk about in his country. That should give you a clue that there are posts in the archives that are worksafe-not.

This page is made up of photos I actually take in twon. .I hope I can show and tell you the real, true Japan that cannot be seen in other mas media. I am living in Tokyo, Japan. I was born in Japan, grown up in Japan, study English in Japan. This is the reason I can speak Engrish. Some people complain that my updating and email response is slow. And other people conplain that my englsih is poor.

Via Metafilter

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Art immitating life or vice versa?

Suicide Club (Jisatsu circle) 2002. A mystery/thriller/gorefest/musical motion picture directed by Sono Shion. Summary on Amazon.com: A wave of unexplainable suicides sweeps across Tokyo after 54 smiling high school girls join hands and throw themselves from a subway platform into an oncoming train. Are the jumpers part of a cult? What is the connection to the website that chronicles suicides...before they happen? And, what is the connection to the Japanese all-girl pop group "Desert?" Suicide Club is a stylish, bizarre thriller that examines pop culture and disaffected youth.

CBS World News October 12, 2004: Nine bodies were found in two parked cars Tuesday with charcoal stoves at their feet and the windows sealed from inside in what is believed to be Japan's largest group suicide pact. More

Another dispatch reporting from Tokyo here.

A 24-year-old man who died in western Tsu city on March 5 last year said in his note: "We don't know the reason why we want to die. We've got together to die peacefully."

A collection of DVDs for a Net group suicide are available on the Internet for ¥3112 ($38).

One website includes a poem by a person named R. Ueki which encourages group suicide:

Now, let's commit a pure group suicide.

You, meagre young people. There is no point for you to stick to your life.

Suicide is the only thing you can choose.

It's the last glorious seal you will be able to leave behind.

Japan's suicide rates are among the highest in the world. According to the National Police Agency, 34,427 people committed suicide in Japan in 2003.

Officials have blamed a decade-long economic slump for an increasing number of people killing themselves.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Jaime Hernandez interview

Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing fame interviews one of my all time favorite comic book creators, Jaime Hernandez (link here for the GNR post) on the publication of the collected Maggie and Hopey stories. Created over 15 years from 1981 to 1996 in the pages of the legendary comic book series Love & Rockets, this giant book (over 700 pages) spans the evolution of an important voice in independent comics and one of the most respected.

Do you keep a notebook when you come up with ideas for stories?

Sometimes I have to, but a lot of it's stored in my head, so if I get pelted by a brick and lose it all then it's gone! I've been, at times, lying up in the middle of the night and I'd think, "Hey, I'm going to do a story about that," and then it's gone. But sometimes when I'm doing a story I go, "Haven't I seen this before? Am I repeating myself?" And I'll go back to older issues, and go, "I never did this." So it must have been something I tracked from the back of my head.

I met Jaime Hernandez for the first time this past San Diego Con and yet it felt like I had known him for longer. I had bought my first Love and Rockets collection at the Forbidden Planet on Ventura Blvd., probably late 1989. I was hooked even before I got halfway through it. How can this man do this to me, what one reviewer had spot on diagnosed, making me "...fall in love with ink on paper?" I would be at the edge of my existence when reading about Maggie's choices and left turns, a quivering puddle gasping for air and haunted for years after. This guy can tell stories! And what's more, them stories got balls!

I continued to be a fan through my Batman: The Animated Series stay (there were many of us who were L&R zombies. Glen Murakami had a fixation to beat all and could draw the most convincing Jaime-like girls in his sketchbooks), and I even drew Hopey as a passenger on the back of a bus that The Penguin was taking on his way to a legit life after prison in a storyboard for "Birds of a Feather." I'm not sure now whether anyone caught that. I saw Jaime Hernandez once in a small convention around that time, wearing all black, though he looked quite the approachable author I chickened out. I was sure I was going to babble some incoherent nonsense, it was best that I avoided that.

Well, I nearly did just that this year as my brother Louie announced that he was eyeing a particular original by Jaime. "What?" I didn't even know he was going to be here. "Where?" My brother says that he's just two aisles away from me on the same side as our booth. That was it. I bounded out of there with a copy of PB2 to hand to him. Once in front of him I blathered something to the effect that I've been a big fan for years and I forget what else--it wasn't very impressive. After buying an outstanding drawing of Penny Century I give him my book, "I'd like you to have a copy of my book," striking the appropriate I'm not worthy nod.

"I know you," he says.

I must have heard that wrong. It almost sounded like he said he knows me. "I know your friends from Warner Bros. And I bought a comic book you did, an Aliens book." Whoa! Hey, he does know me! I demured in all shades of, well, copper and brown I could and proceeded to sweat profusely. I can't remember what else I said but I know I must have thanked him over and over again and bothered him for an email address that I may write him. He wrote me his email! In that Jaime Herandez dialogue script of his. Awesome! Geeking out to the heavens about then.

So, there. My lone meeting with Maggie's creator. It was well worth the years of finding the right opportunity. I'm afraid to write him now, fearing that I had waited too long and that he might view it as an intrusion--or worse, wonder what he was thinking when he gave me his email. I'm sure he wouldn't mind. But I'm more certain I'm going to again chicken out. But maybe next year?


Friday, October 08, 2004

"What Barry says"

What Barry Says won in the Best Animation category of the Brooklyn International film festival. Created by Simon Robson, a commercial designer and animator.

An un-apologetic criticism of US foreign policy and The Project for the New American Century. Animation follows the dialogue, giving visual poignancy and weight to Barry's words. The propoganda-esque style of the motion graphics further re-inforces the message. Is this a conspiracy theory? Far from it.

Via Boing Boing.

Knife Party

Brooklyn Film Festival

UPDATE. The server I linked to above may have exceeded its bandwidth. Try again here.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Gallery One, Down

It was a good turnout for our first gallery at Meltdown, thank you to all who came by to see us. We were so happy to see so many familiar faces and quite a few converts in there as well. The collection of images Enrico and I eventually framed for the show were going to be familiar to those who've bought Fragments but somehow it was elevated to a different level of appreciation, now that it's displayed so. Even for us, actually. All of the drawings seemed better than all the years I've kept them in musty folders.

I actually had left two collage boxes of drawings accidentally (even pleaded the case to my son that he should fly them down the very day of the opening--no go). They were the best representation for the idea of the show, I was so disappointed in myself for not having the presence of mind to mind these two left on the small sitting chair in the living room. Sigh. Best laid plans...

Before the show even opened a silent sale had happened and one of the original illustrations from the book was sold (that bodes well for the rest of the show we hope) then the books and prints made good sales as well. Felicity had made the experience so stress free and, being an old hand at this, her calm kept us on schedule and anxiety free. Couldn't have done it without her help.

Visit Enrico's journal to see his collection of photos of the event. This gallery is going to be up till the end of the month.

A special thanks to my wife, Tess, for helping me through a tough week. Check out the photo of the brothers del Carmen together with our number one fans--in that photo from the left, Luisa, Rick, Tess, Me, Julie and Louie.