Feb 28 2010

Life On Mars #14

It’s a god-awful small affair
To the girl with the mousy hair
But her mummy is yelling, “No!”
And her daddy has told her to go
But her friend is nowhere to be seen
Now she walks through her sunken dream
To the seat with the clearest view
And she’s hooked to the silver screen
But the film is a saddening bore
For she’s lived it ten times or more
She could spit in the eyes of fools
As they ask her to focus on

Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man! Look at those cavemen go
It’s the freakiest show
Take a look at the lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man! Wonder if he’ll ever know
He’s in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?

It’s on America’s tortured brow
That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow
Now the workers have struck for fame
Because Lennon’s on sale again
See the mice in their million hordes
From Ibeza to the Norfolk Broads
Rule Britannia is out of bounds
To my mother, my dog, and clowns
But the film is a saddening bore
Because I wrote it ten times or more
It’s about to be writ again
As I ask you to focus on

Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man! Look at those cavemen go
It’s the freakiest show
Take a look at the lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man! Wonder if he’ll ever know
He’s in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?

This is my take on David Bowie’s Life On Mars, which was apparently a parody of Frank Sinatra’s My Way, which was the English translation of a French song Comme d’habitude, by Paul Anka…

The song strongly resembles Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” – it has identical chords – and with good reason. Back in 1968 Bowie had written English lyrics for a French song called “Comme, D’Habitude”, calling his version “Even A Fool Learns To Love”. It was never released, but soon afterwards Canadian songwriter Paul Anka heard the original version, bought the rights and rewrote it as “My Way”. Bowie recorded “Life On Mars?” as a Sinatra parody in anger at having missed out on a fortune, although the Hunky Dory liner notes state that the song was merely “inspired by Frankie”.
Otherwise it couldn’t be much more different from “My Way”. A slew of surreal images – “Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow” etc – are combined with Bowie’s operatic delivery, string arrangements by Mick Ronson and piano thrills from Rick Wakeman to ensure this is one of the oddest hit singles ever.

I’m Casey Kasem, and you’re listening to American Top 40.
Another all digital piece.

Photo credits:
GirlJohn Marcotte
MouseCarlos Paes
RocketCliff Howard
EnginesMike Gieson
TextureNaama y.m.
LeninPaal Gladso
“Helter Skelter” - Joanna Atkinson
Movie Projector - Jascha Hoste

Feb 22 2010

China Doll #13

A pistol shot at 5 o’clock
The bells of heaven ring
“Tell me what you done it for”
“No I won’t tell you a thing

“Yesterday I begged you
before I hit the ground -
all I leave behind me
is only what I found

“If you can abide it
let the hurdy-gurdy play -
Stranger ones have come by here
before they flew away

“I will not condemn you
nor yet would I deny”
“I would ask the same of you
but failing will not die

“Take up your china doll
it’s only fractured -
and just a little nervous
from the fall”

This is my take on China Doll, by the Grateful Dead. It’s definitely one of my favorite Grateful Dead songs. Some have said it’s a song about suicide, others a Biblical referenced song. That’s the great thing about music – everyone can find their own meaning. The same goes with art.

Photo credits:
DollUli Bartels
Doll - John Marcotte
ClockJana Kollárová
TextureKriss Szkurlatowski

Feb 21 2010

Illustration Friday – Propagate (Levon #12)

Levon wears his war wound like a crown
He calls his child Jesus
‘Cause he likes the name
And he sends him to the finest school in town

Levon, Levon likes his money
He makes a lot they say
Spend his days counting
In a garage by the motorway

He was born a pauper to a pawn on a Christmas day
When the New York Times said God is dead
And the war’s begun
Alvin Tostig has a son today

And he shall be Levon
And he shall be a good man
And he shall be Levon
In tradition with the family plan
And he shall be Levon
And he shall be a good man
He shall be Levon

Levon sells cartoon balloons in town
His family business thrives
Jesus blows up balloons all day
Sits on the porch swing watching them fly

And Jesus, he wants to go to Venus
Leaving Levon far behind
Take a balloon and go sailing
While Levon, Levon slowly dies

The theme of Illustration Friday this week is Propagate. I looked up the definition of propagate, and two of them seem to fit the song Levon by Elton John….”to pass along to offspring” and “to travel through space or a material”

One of my favorite Elton John songs.

Photo credits:
BoyDaniel Jarr
ManMateusz Stachowski
BackgroundThomas Brauchle
BackgroundThomas Brauchle
Texture - Andrew C.
BalloonsAmber Wallace
BackgroundAbdulkadir G. Murteza

Feb 21 2010

Seek danger – by Karol Gajda

Another fantastic post by Karol Gajda I thought I needed to share.

Seek Danger (An Open Letter To A Friend)


Stop listening to everybody around you.

Stop following aimlessly.

Stop making excuses.

Start going after what you want.

Make decisions.

Don’t apologize for those decisions.

Some decisions you make will be wrong.

You will fail.

Some decisions you make will be spot on.

You will succeed.

Some decisions you make will just be.

That’s OK too.

You know what you want. Your friends and family know what they want for you.

There is a monumental difference between the two.

It’s the difference between being happy and just being.

You can’t please everybody.

Don’t try.

Most people won’t agree with you.


Agreement is safe.

Acceptance is safe.

Doing what you’ve been doing is safe.

Seek danger.

Feb 20 2010

It’s been awhile…

I’ve been away for the last few days in Chicago for work, so I haven’t had time to work on any new projects. (I did take some photos for possible future projects) It seems like an eternity since I’ve done anything, but it’s only been a little over a week. I am still ahead of my goal. Sometimes life gets in the way.

I’ve been trying to build up enough pieces in order to start putting them onto Etsy and Redbubble. I think I might have a good start. I’ve been doing some research on printers – I need to get a good printer and some archival paper in order to make my own prints. Any suggestions on printers are welcome!

Feb 12 2010

Death Of A Martian #11

Bear paws and rascal power
Watching us in your garage
Big girl you ate the neighbor
The nova is over
Wake up and play
Make room for Clara’s bare feet
The love of a Martian

Tick tock and waiting for the meteor
This clock is opening another door

Lots of love just keep it comin’
Making something out of nothin’
These are the best that I
I don’t know how to say
Losin’ what I love today
These are the best that I
Lots of love just keep it comin’
Making something out of nothin’
These are the best that I
I don’t know what to say
Look at what I lost today
These are the things that I

Blood flowers in the kitchen
Signing off and winding down
The Martian ends her mission
The nova is over
She caught the ball
By the mission bell
Chase lizards bark at donkeys
The love of a Martian

Let’s bow our heads
And let the trumpets blow
Our girl is gone
God bless her little soul

She’s got sword in case tho this is not her lord in case the one who can’t afford to face her image is restored to grace. Disappeared. No trace. Musky tears. Suitcase. The down turn brave little burncub bearcareless turnip snare rampages pitch color pages….down and out but not in Vegas. Disembarks and disengages. No loft. Sweet pink canary cages plummet pop dewskin fortitude for the sniffing black noses that snort and allude to dangling trinkets that mimic the dirt cough go drink its. It’s for you. Blue battered naval town slip kisses delivered by duck muscles and bottlenosed grifters arrive in time to catch the late show. It’s a beehive barrel race. A shehive stare and chase wasted feature who tried and failed to reach her. Embossed beneath a box in the closet that’s lost. The kind that you find when you mind your own mysteries. Shiv sister to the quickness before it blisters into the newmorning milk blanket. Your ilk is funny to the turnstyle touch bunny who’s bouquet set a course for bloom without decay. Get you broom and sweep the echoes of yesternights fallen freckles….away…

This song is Death Of A Martian, by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The song is about the death of one of the band member’s (Flea) dogs. It means other things to me…Some pieces are best left to the imagination of the viewer, so that’s where I’ll leave this one. Hope you like!

Photo credits:
DogMaciek Lolek
“Tatooine” - pier maria cundari
MusicMateusz Stachowski
SunsetStuart Haiz
FieldFred Fokkelman

Feb 10 2010

Illustration Friday – Muddy (#10)

This week’s Illustration Friday topic is Muddy. To me nothing is muddier than a catfish. I grew up near the Mississippi River in Illinois, and there were always rumors of giant catfish that lived below the dams. Supposedly they were as big as Volkswagen Beetles, growing huge on whatever food spilled over the dam. If you’ve ever seen videos or photos of guys (or girls) “noodling” for catfish, it’s one of the freakiest things ever.

Noodling is fishing for catfish using only bare hands, practiced primarily in the southern United States.
Although the concept of catching fish with only the use of the arm in the water is simple enough, the process of noodling is more complicated. The choice of catfish as the prey is not arbitrary, but comes from the circumstances of their habitat. Flathead catfish live in holes or under brush in rivers and lakes and thus are easy to capture due to the static nature of their dwelling. To begin, a noodler goes underwater to depths ranging from only a few feet to up to twenty feet and places his hand inside a discovered catfish hole. If all goes as planned, the catfish will swim forward and latch onto the fisherman’s hand, usually as a defensive maneuver, in order to try to escape the hole. If the fish is particularly large, the noodler can hook the hand around its gills.

Most noodlers have spotters who help them bring the catfish in, either to shore or to their boat. When a catfish bites onto a noodler, it holds on for quite a while.

With some of the biggest fish caught weighing in at up to 50-60 pounds, very few noodlers are strong enough to attempt noodling by themselves. Although carrying the fish after they have been subdued is not difficult, trying to secure a fish and remove it from one’s hand at the same time can be a challenge.

Giant catfish (pretty much any catfish) give me the creeps. Plus, if you’ve ever been jabbed by one of their barbs…ouch.

Another all digital piece.

Photo credits:
CatfishSara T
Fish Texturekgreggain
TextureOnur Aksoy

Feb 9 2010

Paint It Black #9

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

I see a line of cars and they’re all painted black
With flowers and my love both never to come back
I see people turn their heads and quickly look away
Like a new born baby it just happens ev’ry day

I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door and it has been painted black
Maybe then I’ll fade away and not have to face the facts
It’s not easy facin’ up when your whole world is black

No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue
I could not foresee this thing happening to you

If I look hard enough into the settin’ sun
My love will laugh with me before the mornin’ comes

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

Hmm, hmm, hmm,…

I wanna see it painted, painted black
Black as night, black as coal
I wanna see the sun blotted out from the sky
I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted black

One of the best Rolling Stones songs, in my opinion. Such a dark song. This one is another all digital piece.

Photo credits:
GuyDavid Garzon
BackgroundMiguel Saavedra
TextureNick Winchester
TextureDavid Ritter
TextureAndrew C.

Feb 9 2010

Enjoy the process

Every now and then I run across something that I feel I need to share. My latest thing is blogs, and here is a great blog entry from Karol Gajda, who runs a fantastic, very funny and informative blog called Ridiculously Extraordinary.

To me, this concept of “Enjoying the Process” is critical. “Too often we are so preoccupied with the destination, we forget the journey.”

One of my goals with this blog is to hopefully inspire you to take on that dream that you might have always had, and not wait around and make excuses like I did…life is short.

“Do or do not – there is no try.” - Yoda.

But hey, enough of my yakkin’… let’s boogie!

Enjoy The Process, by Karol Gajda

“Never try, either do it or don’t waste your time.” – Phil Anselmo

I’ve haven’t talked too much about failure and trying until you succeed before, but it’s an important topic. Look at any successful person and they’ve probably failed more than they’ve succeeded.

One of the keys to that success is consistently going after it again after failing. Successful people have learned to enjoy the process of doing.
If we don’t enjoy the process of doing something the end result won’t make it worth it. And the end result we’re expecting may never actually materialize.

Total Honesty

Before starting your quest for Ridiculously Extraordinary Success you have to be completely honest with yourself. Assuming you will succeed in whatever it is you’re striving towards, is the end result really what you’re looking for?

In Other Words, Is It All Worth It?

Sometimes we get on a path towards something and then realize it’s not really what we want. That may be hours, weeks, months, or even years into the process.

There is no sense in forcing yourself to get what you don’t want. In situations like that, it’s perfectly OK to quit.

A simple example, based on a conversation I had with someone who said they always finish every book they start: if I start reading a book and I’m not enjoying it within ~50 pages I put it down and never pick it back up. There are too many good books to read to waste my time on books I don’t enjoy.

Another example: one of my favorite comedians is Demetri Martin. In one of his comedy bits he tells the story of being in law school and then quitting to become a comic. In doing so, he gave up a future higher than average salary for an almost guaranteed life of relative poverty in an instant.

Now as a successful comic he probably makes more than he’d ever make in law. More importantly, Demetri quit something he didn’t enjoy to do something he did enjoy, no matter the outcome.

He quit something he had been working towards for many years because he realized the end result wasn’t what he wanted.

Don’t think it’s ever too late to quit something that isn’t completely you.

How To Enjoy The ProcessAssuming you care about the end result, how exactly do you enjoy the process?

After all, the process may be dull. The process may be frustrating. The process may sometimes even be boring.

If you’re on the right path, you don’t need help enjoying the process.

Because if you’re on the right path, you absolutely love the process, don’t you?

Feb 4 2010

Horse Latitudes #8

When the still sea conspires an armor
And her sullen and aborted
Currents breed tiny monsters
True sailing is dead
Awkward instant
And the first animal is jettisoned
Legs furiously pumping
Their stiff green gallop
And heads bob up
In mute nostril agony
Carefully refined
And sealed over

This is one of those songs (more of a poem) that I’ve always found haunting. It’s Horse Latitudes, by The Doors. I used to play The Doors over and over – they are definitely one of my top bands of all time.

Wikipedia says this about the Horse Latitudes:
Horse latitudes or Subtropical High are subtropic latitudes between 30 and 35 degrees both north and south. This region, under a ridge of high pressure called the subtropical high, is an area which receives little precipitation and has variable winds mixed with calm.

One theory, of sufficient popularity as to be an example of so-called folk etymology, is that the term horse latitudes originates from when Spanish sailing vessels transported horses to the West Indies. Ships would often become becalmed in mid-ocean in this latitude, thus severely prolonging the voyage; the resulting water shortages would make it necessary for crews to throw their horses overboard.

“Horse Latitudes” is the fifth song from The Doors second album, Strange Days. The song is a spoken word piece by Jim Morrison with the band providing frightening noises as a backdrop. Morrison screams the lyrics, telling of a ship at sea forced to jettison the onboard horses to lighten their load. The words are taken from one of the first poems Jim Morrison ever wrote, inspired by a book cover he saw at a local bookstore as a child.

Keyboardist Ray Manzarek mentions in his book Light My Fire he never believed Morrison wrote “Horse Latitudes” at such a young age, claiming the words were “too mature”.

This song often segued into Moonlight Drive, or vice versa, which follows it on the album.

This is another all digital piece. One of my biggest fears – drowning.

Photo credits:
HorseSergio Catala
HorseT.W. Vogel
WaterQuentin Houyoux
Big bubbleOktaviani Marvikasari