Monday, February 28, 2011

Graff '93

An attempt to chronicle the history of graffiti art. No easy task considering you'd have about 5 dozen or so influential people who end up being left out.
This was a time when I was getting used to using Design Markers for my work, as well as taking on big format stuff.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Universal Zulu Nation

Around the mid 1970's, the gang situation in New York City was pretty out of hand. For some folks who'd had enough, alternatives were formed to counter the gangs influence. Kevin Donovan, after seeing Michael Caine movie about the Zulu uprising, decided to form the Universal Zulu Nation, an organization based on merits derived from art and achievments rather than violence and muscle. Taking ideas from '5 Percent Nation' and various belief systems, it served as one of the first 'straight edge' youth groups to pop up. This group coincided with the development of Hip Hop in the late 1970's and would eventually grow to encompass and promote the new culture with some of the early members as a who's who of Hip Hop pioneers.

Kevin would change his name to Afrika Bambaataa, and go on to be one the pioneers of the musical form by popularizing the 'break' element of DJing. One of the first live DJ records released was Bambaataa's classic 'Death Mix' which was recorded on crappy quality tape at a high school in New York. His early group. Soul Sonic Force would release Planet Rock, and basically found the 'electro break' style.

Bambaataa would go on to spread his musical movement around the globe, including a small club in Santa Cruz. in 1984, Bambaataa DJ'd this new break style for us, and my junior high school brain couldn't believe what I was seeing. We all wanted to be members of the Zulu Nation, and went as far as submitting applications to be part of it. A few friends of mine became bonified members and to this day still have their coveted 'Zulu Beads'.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quote Of The Day

"I passionately hate the idea of being with it; I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time."

- Orson Welles

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

World Famous Supreme Team!

One of my first tastes of Hip Hop was from the Buffalo Gals LP by Malcolm McLaren (in particular the music video!!). I got the LP a while later, and in between some of the eclectic songs on the record, were radio edits from The World Famous Supreme Team. They were an actual radio act from WHBI in New Jersey. It was the first time I'd heard a radio show like that, much less one that played breaks.

The WMFU website has a clip of their first anniversary show back in 1983. They'd go on the tour with Malcolm McLaren soon after and make a couple of records with him. I was also surprised to hear how involved they were with 5 Percent Nation, which would go on to become a staple of Hip Hop years later.

C Devine and Just Allah are still around, and it looks as though they've focused more on being a comedy act, and are now based in Atlanta. I'll always know them as the World Famous, and their classic radio show.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I've been looking and thumbing through lots of illustration here and there. Some of which was done by my old friend and colleague Joel Loya. I've mentioned him on here before and cited him as a huge influence, but, when I was 16 or so, Joel had produced a strip by the name of 'Boing'.

The story was a post apocalyptic yarn involving gangs of youth. One group, were skinheads (the good kind, not the right wing idiots), whose mode of transportation were gigantic 'hippity hops' battling out over the evil greaser gangs of a nondescript city. The comic appeared in various zines Joel and I were involved with. I think the entire saga got about 16-20 pages before it became defunct.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ban The Klan

Image complements of Illustrator extrodinaire Olly Moss:

Monday, February 14, 2011


On the subject of influences, none is greater to me than Georges Remi, also known as Herge. Considered by many to be one of the 'grandfathers' of modern comic art. His weekly serials involving a reporter named Tin Tin started in 1929 in a French magazine called Le Petit Vignette. Over the years Tin Tin's journeys would span the globe, and eventually be published in 24 separate volumes.

His style of illustration was known as the 'Clean Line' method. He would insert simple characters into heavily detailed backgrounds, and would use exhaustive research to get these setting right. If the stories took place in South America, he would research the cusine and the plant life for the backgrounds. Sometimes even taking field trips to these places for first hand account.

One of his stories 'Destination Moon', written in the early 1950's, famously involved a nuclear powered rocket, and Herge, step by step, illustrated the process of creating nuclear fission in a reactor.

His personal life is fascinating as well, being that he lived under Nazi occupation, and actually kept the adventures published under their rule. A great book written about his works is Tin Tin : The Complete Companion.

When I traveled through the Netherlands, I stopped at a shop called Lambiek, which is probably the best comic book shop in Amsterdam. They pretty much have all things Herge. So, I ended up picking up a copy of the long lost volume called 'Alpha Art'.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wacky Packages Original Art

This series of gag stickers were released by Topps on the Baseball off-season, which was postedearlier here.

  Researching some original artwork on Ebay turned these pieces up below. The actual painting/illustrations that went on these cards has always amazed me, but, it looks like some of these are going for upwards of $1,500- 2,000!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Let Me Talk To You (2001)

In May of 2001, right on the heels of finishing up the 'Biz Markie' video. I'd promised Kurt that's I'd put together a follow up video for his Masters Of Illusion LP. In keeping with the 'wrestling mask' theme of the record (a costume he would don on stage), we figured on some sort of a 'love caper' involving mexican wrestlers. The whole story would culminate on a final showdown.

Much like the 'We All Over' video, we'd create this for web purposes. Especially at the time, making 'Flash' videos was popular, as you could also embed games, hidden items and features into the streaming video. It was something that not a lot of developers were taking advantage of. And most music video directors were sticking with straight NTSC videos, hoping for that one in a million shot on MTV.

The time frame we had for this was 4 weeks. The We' All Over video had 8 weeks of production time, and that ended up being the hardest I'd ever worked on a single project. The advantage here was having the precedence of making a couple of these by now as well as having left my full time job. Aside from the animation, I'd wanted to put a simple Flash game in there as well, to coincide with the 'wrestling' theme (the YouTube version obviously doesn't have this). After 4 weeks or so, the video was delivered, and had a good run on the Web as well as broadcast versions on MTV2.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Pretty mind blowing design, animation, you name it, consistently produced by these guys from Paris:

Friday, February 4, 2011


A couple of marker pieces done about 12 years ago at the "NHS School of Art & Design". Mostly involving characters from a comic I was writing at the time. (low-res).

This one actually has rub-on letters (my pre-home computer days).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Gap Logo

It looks like the fallout over the controversial 'Gap Logo Change' has finally landed. The brand manager has been let go. The whole thing ended up making  huge stink a couple of months ago, and it reminded me how personal people as a whole take any sort of tinkering with familiar brands.

I imagine if 40 years ago, when TWA changed their logo, no one would have minded too much, and still bought their plane tickets. The Gap debacle was a pure showing of online 'rage' that can mount over something trivial as well as the growing importance we place on those familiar things and ideas in our lives, even a clothing store.

It sucks to be the face of bad PR like Marka Hansen ended up being, but I'm sure it's not the last time someone will take the fall for a ill conceived rebranding.