Look for the Helpers

This morning while running in the rain my wandering mind rearranged some commonly quoted wisdom into one cohesive rhyme:

Two men looking through prison bars, one sees mud and one sees stars. We don’t see the world as it is, but as we are. So focus on the healing not on the scar.

Remixing Anais Nin, Dale Carnegie and Fred Rogers

Contributing to the Art of Rap


Last year I illustrated and designed a book cover for a collection of rap interviews called “Words” by Brian Kayser [+]. There are some proper photos of that in the design portfolio [+] of this site. Brian is working on a second volume now and in the meantime I’m illustrating artists for his other interviews to be published to a couple of rap news websites, hiphopgame.com and wegoinin.net

I spent many years working on art to support music projects. I contributed illustration and design to rap magazines in the days before twitter and soundcloud. I love being involved with these projects. It’s true to that era of media, creative culture and connecting to collaborate with people out of a mutual love of the art.

Resolutions, Backslides and Breakthroughs

After 2 consecutive years of keeping and building on my new year’s resolutions, this year I hit some speed bumps.

Despite the wobbles of plateau’d training in 2016, I just registered for my third consecutive Richmond Half Marathon and in 2017 I’m going to complete a full marathon. That’s the one thing. I’ll keep practicing meditation. I’m going to unlock more of my creative intuition and bring it further into action in my life — through art, design, writing.

But the new “one big thing” is training for and completing a marathon in 2017, my 40th year. I’ve already proven most of the benchmarks and have already begun on the road to achievement as a practice and a way of life. Small goals make big goals happen.

So now, I’m simply stating the big goal intentionally to anyone that reads this.

Sometimes that’s the hard part.

Here I go.

Low Resolution

High Resolution is over rated. A little bit of grain is warm. Something that looks good in analog and feels comfortable on the eyes. There’s something to be said for that.

In 2016 I’ve committed to doing at least one ink drawing every week. That’s an easy goal. A low resolution. Persistence and consistency matter more than ambition with these things.

2 years ago, 2014, my resolution was to work out once a week without fail. I did it all year. Easy. I didn’t even define “work out.” Just committed to an hour of effort a week. Last year I upped it to attempt 500 running miles with a minimum of 365. I almost hit 400 by years’ end. But if I had set out to do that in 2014 the thought of it might have worn me out.

Accomplishing big goals is about committing to do something do-able, first. Not sure where I’ll take this drawing commitment but so far I’m hitting about 5 a week. I’m already feeling them get more involved…feeling more inspiration around choosing what to draw. Feel free to follow this experimental resolution on instagram to see where it goes [+].

Dickinson’s Hope

These days, Ben Sayers is an emergency room doctor by profession. He made this great set of compositions with his turntables when he was in school circa 2001. Most of the narrative in the tracks revolved around science and chemistry but it segued to the mind, imagination and spirit — connecting an array of brilliant threads.

We were both big fans of Rob Swift and Prince Paul. You can hear that influence in most of the tracks. Humor woven into really imaginative soundscapes and rhythm.

I recently came across the Emily Dickinson poem “Hope.” It took me a minute to pinpoint how I knew the words. I remembered it from his project. So I asked him to let me upload the whole set to YouTube as a playlist.

The Facebook Buddha

A page posts an image referencing something.
A bunch of followers agree!
Another follower disagrees and litigiously shows that he has read books on the matter.
Others disagree with him pointing out perceived folly.
Others try to exemplify their own loftiness.
Others criticise his judgments.
Others criticise criticism.
He comments to disagree.
All are scratching an itch.
None are satisfied.

Blue Moon

“But he learned more from the river than Vasudeva could teach him. He learned from it continually. Above all, he learned from it how to listen with a still heart, with a waiting open soul, without passion, without desire, without judgment, without opinions.”

– Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

This image is a composite made of 3 separate photos taken last Friday in the Northern Neck during the Blue Moon.

Home On The River

As referenced in my previous post, the river means “home” to me. To that point, I have a connected appreciation to the osprey that live on the water. They play, hunt and raise families on the water. It provides everything to them. After 35 years of trips to the Northern Neck, I’ve only recently started paddling the creek near our house. Being on the water in a quiet boat allows me to feel even closer to these animals.

Never the Same

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” This idea is at the root of why I love to take sunrise shots of the river. On one hand, I get better at understanding my lens and my light all the time. On the other hand, even if I didn’t, the shot would be different every single time. The sunrise moment on this strip of land in front of this channel to the bay is my existential pinpoint of home. I coined my own mantra for this intersection of place and time. “The river takes me home.”

Preem Toon

Illustrated Primo

Working on a book cover for a hip hop journalist. He’s compiling his rap mag interviews from a time before twitter. This illustration of GangStarr / DITC chairman of the boards, DJ Premier, nods to a time still a bit further back; the hey day of sugar cereal and Saturday morning cartoons. I imagine Premo as a guest ally on Scooby Doo a la The Globe Trotters, Captain Caveman or Phyllis Diller. And for some reason that makes total sense.