RISD 20 Years ago - (belated) Flashback Friday #4

Due to an early morning wake up and long work day yesterday I just didn't feel like typing anything last night (even my finger tips were sore and tired). I'll get back on track next week.

But for this flashback a simple one.

A few of my friends ( including 2 roommates) in college were architectural majors. I would go cross eyed trying to look at and understand all the drafting they had going on. I would always be grateful my chosen course of study, illustration, did not require texts of technical data to study.

God's little joke, 20 years later, is I fall into work designing sets that requires knowing all that stuff. I was even "let go" on my first day from the volunteer scenery dept. of my high school play when I did not know what a 10 penny nail was (another ironic moment).

Although what I do requires far simpler plans and the tech stuff can be helped using a good carpenter or scenery shop, there have been some long nights in the past trying to figure this stuff out myself.

I wish I took more interest in my room mates work instead of smirking happy I was drawing cute animals.

Reasons to live for another year...

What gives me reason to live another year?

Indiana Jones 4 next summer.
The Soprano's season finale.
My niece Devin's 6th birthday.
Halloween night.
I might just do all I said I would.
The series LOST might make sense...


I may actually save up enough money to buy my fantasy coffee machine.

I saw it in the kitchen while filming at the Century Park Hotel this week.

It stood 6' high.

Look at the size of it's coffee filter...it must of been 16 inches wide...dare I dream?

Family Fun Minutes

This e-mail just arrived from Dave Landsness, producer of the Family Fun segments I posted about here, titled - 3 am googly eyes and pom poms.

The new segments are up and Dave gave a nice "shout out" to those involved...

"Take some time today to check out The FamilyFun Minute, our latest original video series now playing on FamilyFun TV:


In just a minute, each webisode will show you how to transform an everyday item – paper, googly eyes, cereal boxes, clay, egg cartons, pipe cleaners, cardboard tubes, felt & more – into 3 fun craft projects kids will love.

Special thanks to the FF.com editorial/design teams, Screen Door Entertainment, Lee Woodruff, Dave Lowe, Dave Garrison, Deanna Cook & Metro Encoding for helping to take a simple concept and turn it into state-of-the-art video that looks fantastic, leverages the latest technology – shot in High Definition..."

So, as Dave wrote, take some time and check them out. The projects are from the cutting edge in crafts, a little cheesy and painfully cute... but that's not a bad thing to have in a little kid's life for awhile.

I want to give an additional nod to Andri Silanandra, my reliable old co- worker and friend for helping me make all the projects needed (although simple but numerous) in the short turn around time.

RISD 20 Years ago - Flashback Friday #3

Anyone who went to RISD with me can tell you I was a John Belushi fan. No, not just a fan, more like a geek for him.

I had his movie posters hung in my room, 3 out of my 4 halloween years in Providence I dressed as the SNL samurai character, Jake Blues and Wild Bill Kelso from 1941. At every party I would be the first on the dance floor for the song "SHOUT" (come on and shout now) from the toga party scene in Animal House, if I didn't put the song on myself.

I taught myself to cock/raise my eyebrow because ... Belushi could.

Hell, I even hurt myself in freshman year because of him. When a group of us where on our way to a party at nearby Brown University, I changed my mind and started home. Lois Theisen yelled out...

"Would John Belushi go home?"

I spun around and ran back. To catch up and be funny, I tried to jump down a staircase leading to my friends and landed dislocated my knee and giving my tibia a small fracture. I still feel it during long days on my feet today...thanks younger Dave...ya stupid idiot.

Junior year brought the 3rd annual RISD "AIR BAND" competition. It was a brief 80's craze just mouthing the words to songs before, ya know, what Britney, Christina, Janet and of course the Simpson sister does professionally in concert.

Of course the "Blues Brothers" had to make an appearance. It was a momentous event, it combined the first annual, first place winner-Dave LoCasio as Elwood and the past year's third place winners - Pete Whitehead on bass and me as Jake (we had done a Supreme's song as lumberjacks with friend, J.P. Terry as lead singer).

The full band was rounded out with Steve Miller, Mike O'Bierne, George Varga, John Rufo and (I'm sorry, feeble old man brain here) some freshman named Nick (I think, feel really guilty here over not remembering him).

We rehearsed in the basement of the Congdon house (campus housing) watching the Blues Brothers doing Soul Man from the Best of John Belushi on SNL video . We even slipped in the classic dance moves from the movie.

Sondae Ozark taught me how to do Jake's trademark cartwheel, well, she more spotted me than taught. Basically she showed me how and then just kept me from crashing into things as I tried to do one over and over.

The night of the competition, host Lee Wolf ( friend, resident campus stand up and fellow Belushi fan) gave us a great intro as we opened the show. Dave and I with the band playing walked from the back of the audience and did the whole bit pulling the harmonica from the hand cuffed briefcase once getting on stage.

Reality and stage fright hit as we took the stage. But then when I did my cartwheel hitting the last beat of the opening music before we started lip syncing our song, the audience cheered and I got a huge rush. The rest of the performance singing Soul Man was a blur but too much fun. We got second place. I can't remember who the first place winner was.

Dave LoCasio (Elwood) was an experienced skater and could dance. He easily picked up on the Blues Brothers ...left foot - hop, right foot - hop and kick... move from the concert scene in the movie. I just could not get it (or at least in sync with him). I finally nailed it in one of the practices. It was a nice moment, I felt really good about myself. Silly, I know but one of those recessed good feeling memories that you never forget. Pretty sure I screwed it up in the actual performance though.

As far as I know there is no video of the show. I'm glad because our performance was probably painfully lame, dated and amateur (despite foggy rose colored 20 year old memory) . I like the still pictures because if you squint a little... you might actually think we were good.

Ironic memory... being told afterwards I should of put a pillow in my shirt to look more like a fat Jake Blues. I thought the comment was crazy. I had always been fat and thought I was then (thinner than high school, yes, but still felt overweight). I look at these pictures now and wish I looked that thin again.

I know I have a wide picture including the whole band somewhere but I'm still looking for it. I'll update once I find it.

Read fellow 20 year alum and friend, Megan Jeffery's latest RISD Flashback Friday.

Blog makeover.

OK, given up on the blog site makeover until I can give it full attention...I got tired of seeing it unfinished.

So it's back to the old look for now.

Interview Set

When you watch a reality show and see the scene when it's an intimate interview, take a moment to look at the background. Sometimes a lot of time and thought goes into it.

R2 D2 mailboxes

Have you seen those R2 mailboxes popping up around your town? A Star Wars fan has created a map you can add your own sighting and picture as a pin. It's hoped that all the mailbox droids around the country will be found. So go ahead and snap a picture of one in your neighborhood and upload it to the map...here's the link- http://www.frappr.com/r2d2/photo/4684121

I added this picture my brother took of the one outside NBC studios here in Burbank CA.

Yea, it's kinda dorky, but fun and free to do.

RISD 20 Years ago - Flashback Friday

Again a senior year tale from late 1986. I was taking a class called "wrap arounds". Basically it focused on illustrating covers that wrapped around things...books, albums, etc.

One fun assignment was to do an album cover for the next critique and bring the music as well to play. The class would have to pick which cover was to which music or song. To make it more challenging we were encouraged not do any straight musician portraits.

I really procrastinated on this one, I could not decide what to do. Then in a desperate night before fevered effort to have something. I recorded some Aretha, B.B. King and such at 72 r.p.m. (fast speed for those who don't remember turn tables) giving them that silly chipmunk sound.

I presented this the next day...

Well once my turn came and the high pitched, squeaky ...R-E-S-P-E-C-T...played everyone had a laugh and I actually got a great critique.

I've had painful lessons from doing poor last minute work and still to this day get myself into binds, but sometimes, just sometimes, a decent idea and a weird zombie like focus can hit at the zero hour.

The reality of reality TV

A portrait of me.

Very few people have done any cartoons, portraits or caricatures of me. This drawing below by my niece is far and away my favorite. Thats her akida "Bruiser" in the corner.

Magic marker on copy paper, 2007 by Devin Jessica Waddell.

RISD 20 years ago - A flashback friday.

This year is the 20th anniversary of my graduation from RISD ( Rhode Island School of Design). My friend and fellow alum Megan Jeffery has begun a RISD "flashback Friday" series to celebrate the 20th on her blog and I thought I would as well. Any fellow alum who read this blog should too, would make for a fun reading circle.

To start I thought I'd go back to my final semester and one of the most unexpected and proud of projects I did in my 4 years there.

The Assistant Resident Director (forgive me for not remembering his name) came to me one day in the refectory (food hall) at dinner. He said my buddy Pete Whitehead, an R.A. at the time thought I'd be interested in a project he had in mind. He explained that he was surprised there was not more public art around campus being an art school. He thought it would be great to encourage this by having a mural in one the freshman dorm lounges. Of course I said yes.

Here it is...

It was painted in the evenings in 1 or 2 hour late night shifts. The first week was spent repainting the work from the night before, I was never happy with it. Doing this among other homework, I neglected my important senior degree project. When my final review came around I presented photos of the mural explaining this is what had been distracting me from completing it. Thankfully, it was accepted as a valid excuse and noted that "the mural should of been my degree project".

If you look close at the above picture , in the hair along the top of the raised eyebrow, there is the name Monica. She is my baby sister and at the time was showing skill in (and a dedication to) art it as a career. I thought, what if she might go to RISD one day? For fun, I put her name in the mural (like Hirshfield's "Nina") as a little welcome if she ever did and if the mural would still be there. She did not end up going... so that was a big waist of my time (writing this should get me a good birthday present this year out of guilt).

A couple of good memories with this mural...

My friend Sabrina Fadial hanging out keeping me company while I worked and being the hand model for Kong's paw grabbing the brick.

My friend Larry Levato coming by one night to round me up for one of the many spontaneous
senior year parties and excited to witness when I signed it finally being done.

I wonder if it's still there? Anyone know? If so, would love to go and re-paint it...I cringe looking at it, could do so much better now.

The pictures below are friends Lee Lovett and Steve Miller do a Vanna White impression...and yea, me in 1987. 20 years ago.

Pardon our dust.

I'm working on giving my blog a complete visual make over. I tend to play and experiment, so it may look different every time you visit until I settle on what I like or get bored trying. Past links and portfolio pages (plus some new) will return soon. I'll continue to post as I work on it for the 3-4 people who actually read this.

Latest illustration.

Just finished this illustration. It's for an article about a kid's experiences with his Mom, a Red Sox fan and his Dad, a Yankees fan.

Fox Family Channel: The Basement

The bookend to the Fox Family Channel show- Morning Scramble (which I previously posted about here) was The Basement. This was a more pre-teen oriented interstitial show between cartoons in the afternoon. It had 3 hosts and puppet characters. This set, as with the Morning Scramble, was designed by Wayne White. I was the day to day Art Director.

Midway in production I was asked to design a new area on the set to change things up from the often used center stage couch. I came up with a wonky sewer pipe bar idea that would come off a rusty pre existing boiler set piece.

I was a little disappointed that time and money prohibited making the clean elbow joints and askew lines of what I sketched above, but I liked the final piece very much.

The main body was constructed from sono tubes. The flat top was thick plexi, covered in green tinted resin. For an oozing liquid effect it was under lit with chasing lights. The detailing was a loose & freeform process using all sorts of junk ...trash can lids, pvc pipes, plastic bowls and old fixtures. During the build I revised the large "shut off" wheel into a side table. This allowed the hosts to be fully seen and give a good place for puppeteers to hide behind the bar.