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Monthly Archives: April 2008

Maybe I’m trying to compensate for the lack of variety in my professional assignments right now. Maybe it’s because without provokation, it seems like I don’t draw anymore. Whatever the reason, I’m saying yes to creative collaboration this year.

So I was really pumped to hear from Danny O’Neil, an old friend and college roommate whose passions, while quite different from mine, are so strident and hilarious that you can’t help but share them. Sounds like he’s been hit up for change one time too many by Seattle street youth, some of whom you can’t help but suspect are homeless by choice rather than necessity. Here in Minnesota where no one would choose to live outdoors, this sounds incredibly callous. But Out West, you have to wonder where all these kids are coming from.

Dan thought a provokative T-shirt might send would-be panhandlers a message, so I riffed on his idea with a caricature that, while crude, reflects a fair amount of personal experience with this Seattle subculture. Right or wrong, after they hit you up with “money for beer for my dog,” it’s hard to muster much compassion.

So here’s the concept, soon to be inked for a run of 100:

Update (May 28th): Graphics are drawn; awaiting feedback.

Seizing on a moment of spring-like weather, I biked Minnehaha Parkway down to Chicago Avenue Wednesday night. Paranoid Park was playing at the Parkway Theater, a lovably disheveled teen-run operation that fit the movie’s ambiance perfectly. Before I get to the movie, a little on the theater experience: The film was loaded backwards at first, a mistake that took ten minutes to correct, though they kept us in pitch darkness while we waited (blinded moviegoers had to be talked into their seats). Once it came on (and I am truly amazed by this), the movie played for nearly ten minutes before anyone realized that we weren’t hearing the soundtrack but rather the playlist from Pepito’s Restuarant next door. My only excuse is that those ten minutes depict a lot of skateboarding and a solitary walk on the beach—no apparent dialogue—and the music fit it all well enough. Oh, and they serve beer there now.

Paranoid Park is Gus Van Sant’s third film in what feels like a series on the psychology of the alienated and misunderstood, and I found it much more affecting than Last Days or Elephant. It’s about a city kid in Portland who, on his second visit to an alluringly dangerous under-the-freeway skatepark, becomes party to an awful event.

It reminded me of how irresistible forbidden people and places are when you’re young and how fortunate most of us are to never have to pay for the risks we take. At some moments, it had the “this could happen to you” feeling of an after-school special. But the only moral Van Sant left me with is that there’s no benefit to doing the right thing, if there even is a right thing.

Andrew Neher and I worked together a few years back, mostly on tedious brochure and logo assignments. But he’s also engaged Sarah and me in more satisfying ventures (directly and indirectly), including Bird x Bird and RFD (“request for drawing”) projects he posts on his website Greatmiddlewest (here’s a past example).

Now of Chicago, Andrew is apparently digging the cycling life. For his latest drawing invitational, I pulled out the tracing paper and came up with this.

Come to think of it, this is my second foray into bike art this year, the first being a headline for a colleague’s Art Crank poster.