Archive for December, 2009


December 18, 2009

Below are a few other miniature cut-outs that I’ve produced in the past. Incidentally, all of these, including the Temptations diorama, will be on display at the Scott Eder Gallery in New York City, among other 2-D work, in January for the HOTWIRE #3 show. I’ll have more details about that soon.

cut-out miniatures from Abandoned Cars

Above: Good Cop/Bad Cop; Below: “BUST”, which was inspired by an incident I witnessed from my apartment window when I was in my mid-twenties. Although I originally designed and drew these characters over ten years ago, I still like their energy, and think, once the Temptations diorama is finished, I’ll redraw them and design a backdrop.

I have several cut-out designs from around the time I produced the scene above: Others include two drinking buddies fighting in a back alley, Frank Sinatra, an old man (Retiree) working at a Union 76, a growling dog, on and on. In fact, two of those earlier designs – “Man Practicing Tai-Chi” and “Crazy Dude” – were revamped and included in the “American Standard Minature Cut-Out Collectible Series” of Abandoned Cars. Originally, the idea was to produce these as life-size lawn ornaments. I didn’t occur to me to make them as miniatures until relatively recently. Nevertheless, the designs for them have accumulated over the years. Although I like them as miniatures, I still want to see them all some day as life-size depictions, even the dioramas. I don’t see why they can’t exist as both. Below is a more recent one, about six years old: A bum I saw sleeping outside a bodega near where I lived in Crown Heights, Brooklyn:

Here’s a woman with her child I saw on an Upper West Side (around 105th St.) street corner:

Below is a busker named Ken, who I met in Geneva and was one of my buddy Jesse’s friends:

Here’s a young Chuck Berry. This is one of the miniature cut-outs from Abandoned Cars. You can still see the old Chuck Berry perform at a bar called Blueberry Hill (roughly once a month) very near where I live now in St Louis:

Chuck Berry above; Rocker Chick below

These are also fun to group together, as well as stand on their own:



December 14, 2009

…and now for the crowd surrounding the Temptations. Here’s the first free-standing dancer, with attachable arm, in 3-D:

And here she is in 2-D:

And below is something I stumbled upon while searching for reference. I include it in case you ever get the desire to finally learn how to do the Twist correctly. Incidentally, my father won a Twist Championship in 1961 0r 1962. Now in his 60’s, he never passes on the opportunity to show everyone that he’s still the champ. Sadly, I inherited none of his talent for dancing, which may explain in some small part why I spend my time making dioramas like this one.


December 12, 2009


December 9, 2009

Below are some pictures of progress on my diorama of the Temptations, now that I’ve completed the bandstand. Since the entire piece, when broken down into its individual parts, has to fit onto pages in FOLKTALES, the trick has been to keep everything properly proportioned to meet the restrictions of a 7X9.5 page. As confounding as that task has been, I’m finding the challenge to be extremely satisifying. More satisfying, though, is the eeriness created by the diorama. I’m not sure that translates into the pictures as evidently as it does in real life, but the happy, pastel colors and the general joyfulness of the scene has a ghostly quality to it. One of the things that attracts me to pop music of the 50’s and early/mid 60’s is its concentration on harmony and slick pop song lyrics that are fairly simplistic rather than emphasizing depth and profound meaning. Doo-Wop music has the same allure for me: I think of it as a tonic, but that simplicity and bubble-gum joy ocassionally leaves me baffled that there was ever really a time when things were so simple and optimistic. That’s what makes it ghostly: That loss of innocence that was never really there to begin with – no more than Norman Rockwell’s deptictions of America were a complete document of the generation from which he came. That ghost, you might say, is largely what keeps me searching through the complicated and nuanced layers of the American myth. Or maybe it’s just my imagination running away with me. Anyway, now to complete the backdrop and enthusiastic fans. Take a look:


December 8, 2009

Below are the back covers for the paperback version of Abandoned Cars:

Below is the influence for these back covers – a reprint of an old Mr. Monster’s True Crime advertisement from the 1950’s:


December 8, 2009

This was one of those great freelance jobs that comes along once in awhile. Jason contacted me directly, after reading Abandoned Cars, and asked if I’d be interested in illustrating and designing his new upcoming CD. Jason’s a great Canadian singer/songwriter who’s music would be considered American Roots music, I guess – by that I mean it’s very steeped in traditional country music, without any of the psuedo-country elements that seem to fall under the category of “contemporary country music”. Jason and I also share a similar interest in exploring the Great American Mythological Drama, each in our own way. The best way to describe it is to give you a sample of Jason’s songs: go to his website at or check out his last album on Itunes or at

This was the first time a client specifically asked that I use a character from one of my graphic stories: In this case, the freight hopper (i.e.:Me, at the age of twenty-four) in the SPIRIT trilogy. After getting to know his music, I quickly became a fan, and the rest of the project went well enough to establish the makings of a friendship between us. I highly encourage you to check out Jason’s new album, “A Thousand Miles Since Yesterday”. It’s very solid.