Wednesday, January 28, 2009

S.A.D. 15: Sunrise Lovely

Just working away in The Bunker, today, listening to M.I.A., Aesop Rock, Atmosphere, and an NPR interview with Michael K. Williams (Omar, on The Wire). That, and wishing I had time to go see the four-and-a-half hour Che Guevara movie.

Funny thing today... all my sketches keep coming out as mod spacegirls or vampish nudes. So I went with a vampish nude for today's piece.

-Bunker, out.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

S.A.D. 14: Running Scared

I did this one (and a couple more) sitting on the couch with my lady, last night. We'd just gotten back from seeing "Slumdog Millionaire." It was, good, but way overrated. It's like a shinier, more commercially viable "City Of God."

And, all night long, I had fitful, bizarre dreams of India.

-Bunker, out.

Monday, January 26, 2009

S.A.D. 13: Call To Arms!

From Saturday night, again... the substances just kept coming, once we got back to The Bunker. And I kept on drawing. As far as I can tell, this one is of a dinosaur-business-man, being challenged to combat by a barbarian-frog-man.

What a weekend....
-Bunker, surprisingly awake, but out nonetheless.

S.A.D. 12: Rokket Man

Also, from the live music at the coffee shop... ROKKET MAN!

-Bunker, out.

S.A.D. 11: Basquiat

On Saturday night, we joined friends for a little live music at Cafe International, a sweet family-owned spot in The Lower Haight. While there, pouring beer on top of the wine I'd already consumed, I rocked-out on this Jean Michel Basquiat portrait, off the top of my head.

-Bunker, out.

Friday, January 23, 2009

S.A.D. 10: Another Gun Girl

Another piece that sprung from my mental meanderings, after listening to "Foley Room" by Amon Tobin.

Readers and subscribers, what are you guys listening to, these days?

-Curious Bunker, out.

S.A.D. 09: It's Cold Out In Eskimo Town

I was up, last night, listening to some Amon Tobin and laying out pages for my "wind-up" comic story. That got my mind grinding and, when I sat down to sketch, this is what came out. I've been drawing a lot of Eskimos, lately. Hmm....

-Bunker, out.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

S.A.D 08: Wind Up Dolls & Boxer Mugs

Howdy, all. Here go some sketches from late Wednesday, into early Thursday.

On the ol' boob-tube playlist:
- Lost: Season Five Premiere
- The War: Part Six "The Ghost Front"

The two wind-up doll drawings are practice for a comic short I'm doing for the upcoming "Side B" anthology from Poseur Ink. It's an autobio piece about one of my stranger girl-crush encounters. I'm making all the characters in the story wind-up dolls, to protect the innocent.

The inked up page is filled with a bunch of random boxer faces that I was noodling out. I'm getting a little antsy to work on some of the boxer paintings I started at the end of 2008. I guess I'm trying to keep the painting urge at bay with some loose sketching of battered, beastly mugs.

- Bunker, almost ready for bed, and out!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration Day Photos!

Yesterday, my special ladyfriend, our dog Yoshimi, and I walked to Civic Center Park, across from San Francisco's City Hall. About two thirds of the way there, the Hall's bright blue and gold-trimmed dome popped out from behind the other buildings. It was like an architectural siren, calling one and all to come watch history in the making.

By the time we reached it, the tree-lined green of the Park was covered with spectators of every race, creed, and color. And we were all there to watch the Inauguration of our 44th President, via projection screen. Now, I'm not going to bore you with all sorts of reflective babble. To be honest, I don't think I can type anything here that hasn't been typed on a billion other blogs around the world.

But I will tell you that, watching the Inauguration Ceremony out there with all those people was amazing. The crowd was so diverse, from race to age. The feeling from everybody there was so positive. And seeing that scene repeated in cities & towns across the United States was like this continued unfolding of feelings that I think we (as a country) had forgotten for awhile there. Maybe it was the veil of shit that Bush/Cheney shrouded us in to keep the wealthy rich, and the terrorists terrorized. And, now that it's been lifted, we can all start seeing each other as friends, neighbors, and countrymen, again. Maybe that's it.

And it's not like things have been magically corrected, overnight. On my walk home, I passed plenty of homeless people sleeping under carts and in doorways, all too real reminders that we've got a lot more stops to hit before Utopia. But notwithstanding poverty, wars, and crisis, I think a juggernaut movement has been stirred in the hearts of this country. Now I just pray that, as we get further away from the history we made and deeper into the future, we don't lose sight of what's been done, and what we've yet to accomplish.

Oops! Guess I got reflective anyway, huh? Oh well, enjoy this cute pic of my two favorite ladies. Does that puppy love democracy or what?!

-Bunker, out.

S.A.D 08: The Death of Ignorance!

Sorry this sketch is late. It was done, last night, at Nickie's (a bar near The Bunker). Some friends met my lady and I there, for Inaugural Celebration drinks. The other kids were downing "Obamapolitans," but I stuck with my Racer 5 IPA. Two pints of that stuff will do ya right!

But I got home, ate a late dinner, and realized I was way too faded to operate a scanner. Much less, type out full sentences. So here's my eigth Sketch-A-Day piece.

I'm working towards a big solo show, this August, called "We Can Be Heroes." The exhibit will be about elevating the mundane to new heights... it's "genre" work, but for our modern times, and with a healthy dose of fantasy. I think one of the things we've forgotten, socially, is how to imagine... how to crack open reality and dream outside of it. So I want this show to do that -- to crack open reality.

One of the characters I'll expose in some of the pieces, is Ignorance. More specifically, he represents African-American ignorance. This guy is a constant plague of my fellow black people.
I first sketched him last year. Basically, he's an ink-black, lanky, nude man in a crooked Ku Klux Klan hood. When he puts his mojo on his victims... well, I think I'll save that creepiness for another post.

For now, the sketch at hand is of his demise. I imagined him being struck down by a spear of light, harnessed by people trying to stamp him out. I guess the glut of Inauguration love inspired this one. Yesterday was the first time I'd ever even thought to illustrating Ignorance being destroyed. There's also some "Christ Stamping Out Evil," inspiration in there too. I've seen that depicted in a few classical paintings (*There's a really good one at the Columbus Art Museum near CCAD*). I'm sure that will play into my final composition for the piece.

-Bunker, out.

Monday, January 19, 2009

S.A.D. 07: "Down Periscope"

I hope you all had a great Martin Luther King Junior day, and got some time to reflect.

I'd say more, but I'm still whooped from yesterday. And I've gotta get up early tomorrow... gonna go watch the Obama Inauguration projected on a big, outdoor screen at San Francisco's Civic Center Park. Holy history in the making, Batman!

-Sleepy (yet titillated) Bunker, out

Sunday, January 18, 2009

S.A.D. 06: Breakfast Sketching

Yesterday was packed! After all that beach stuff, we went to our friend Maria's birthday party. Incredible time... a dj in the living room, full-blown karaoke setup in the kitchen, a photo booth in the bathroom, and a cooler full of ice-cold jungle juice. Truly outrageous.

But yeah... so we ended up getting home around 3am. Then we had to get up at 7am to drive some friends to the airport. Of course, we couldn't get back to sleep afterwards. So by 8:30am, we ended up at Kate's Kitchen. It's a hot little restaurant in our neighborhood with delicious scrambles, bottomless cups of strong coffee, and friendly mom & pop-style service. You know it's a chill spot when you walk up to find your waitresses smoking a little morning herb before the early rush hits. Simply put, the place is everything a hungover stomach could ever want or need.

Today's sketch was from a brief doodling session I eeked out while waiting for our meal. Those are real coffee stains, people. I've been anticipating seeing the "Che: Part One," so I'm assuming that's where the whole "Viva La Revolucion" came from. I wanted to rock some more of these muligans, but our order was up in no time. Not that I'm complaining....

-Bunker, out

Saturday, January 17, 2009

S.A.D. 05: Vamos A La Playa!

It's been freakishly warm here for most of January. And the sexy weather trend kept right on today. So the ladies and I packed up shop, and spent the afternoon at Ocean Beach. That's where I did some summer-inspired sketching.

Sorry to all my East Coast Meaties, for getting this in after your midnight. I'll make it up to you tomorrow.

High fives and Happy Meals!
-Bunker, out.

Friday, January 16, 2009

R.I.P. Andrew Wyeth...

In case you didn't know, Andrew Wyeth passed away, today. The man was a fantastic American illustrator. If you aren't familiar with his work -- or that his son Jamie, and father N.C. -- I recommend it.

Pourin' out a little liquor for a legend,
-Bunker, out

Drawing for French Commission Collage

My friend, Mat (, lives in Lille, France, and commissioned me to create a piece on a blank skateboard deck. So I did this drawing on a large piece of sketch paper. It's, I suppose, my imagined fantasy of a French girl. She's smoking, of course.

Anyway, I'm gonna tear this up, then collage it down onto the deck. Afterwards, I'll paint into it a bit, but keep her portion of the skateboard mostly black & white. Her part of the image is very urban while, on the remainder of the deck, I've drawn a tropical scene of palm trees and rolling mountains. That's where I'll use the bulk of my color and painting chops.

Look for more pics as the piece comes along, ya'll.

-Bunker, iggety-oot!

S.A.D. 04: "What's Goin On?"

I did this while playing some vinyl I liberated from my parents' collection. On the playlist:

Marvin Gaye "Marvin Gaye Live!"
Stevie Wonder "Innervisions"

The music got me to thinking about how, when I'm over here drinking my coffee, somebody "over there" is getting blown to bejesus. Their whole world is being bombed and their families are being terrorized by military powers bigger than a nightmare. And, sadly, part of every dollar I spend is going towards stuff like that.

Of course, it's not all doom and gloom. Just trying to keep myself aware.

Thanks for the tunes, Mom and Dad!
-Bunker, out

Thursday, January 15, 2009

S.A.D. 03: "Round We Go."

I just sat by our window seat, this morning, listening to music and noodling out this diddy. The playlist included:

Curtis Mayfield "Curtis Live!"
Digable Planets "Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)"
Mos Def "The New Danger"

"A lovely woman in motion... her hair was as dark as the night."
-Bunker, out.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

S.A.D. 03: I Wish They All Could Be California Grrls!

California seriously has some of the most exotic, diverse, and strange women I've ever known or seen in my travels across this Great Union. That thought struck me this morning, and was immediately followed by a mental image of a girl in stunna-shades wearing the Cali bear's hide as a cloak. Toss in a star, and you've got the California Republic flag (see photo below).

I think this might be the beginning of a series of "California Grrl" pieces. Like I said, suuuch a diverse selection of women, from style to lifestyle, attitude to ethnicity. It's incredible.

Or maybe I'm just drunk on all this summery weather we're having here. Whoo, Lordy.

-Bunker, out.

ps-- I drew this using some cool pencils my friends got me during their honeymoon in Japan, from the Studio Ghibli (
Miyazaki) museum in Mitaka. Thanks, Scott and Angie. Or I mean, ahem, arigato.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Diabloville/Sketch(es) of The Day 02

Here goes my second submission for the "Sketch-A-Day Challenge." And it to be character doodles for a solo comic project I'm working on, called "Diabloville."

I've been developing "Diabloville" for about 4 years, now. After finishing "Everybody's DEAD" for IDW last year, I decided it was time to dig my heals in and finally make this book. It's my first long-form comics endeavor on my own. So I'm extremely excited to work on something big that I'm shaping completely by myself (of course, that's not counting the critiques and fine advice of friends and respected colleagues).

Simply put, "Diabloville" is an anachronistic-Mexican-Western-horror/love story. That's how I've been summing it up to people over the past few months. It combines lots of themes that I enjoy in film, comics, and music (the idea for the concept was sparked by a Calexico album). And, hopefully, I'll be able to give it a real cinematic feel, since I've gathered heaps of inspiration from Guillermo Del Toro, Akira Kurasawa, and Sergio Leone. I'm just a sucker for samurai, cowboys, war stories, and creepiness!

These sketches here are of two main characters... our hero and heroine, so to speak. I've been going back and forth on their designs -- getting their looks just right, finding the proper style for the book -- for awhile now. Especially with the leading lady. But last night, I stayed up late watching "Pineapple Express" and "Ninja Scroll," and drew the bejesus out of 'em. Just turnin' it out, ya know? And I have to thank the Gods of Late-Night Sketching for striking me with their cosmic lightening, because I feel like I've finally found these characters AND the look I want for the entire story.

Hallelujah and hambones!
-Bunker, out.

ps-- My goal is to have finalized character art and some pages done in time for Wondercon, at the end of February. So I'll keep dropping tidbits and updates on the blog, for sure.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sketch-A-Day Challenge 2009

This past Sunday, fellow illustrator and CCAD graduate, Thom Glick, invited me to join this "Sketch-A-Day Challenge" that he and some colleagues are doing. I'm like, "Well, hell yes." What can I say? I'm just a sucker for an excuse to draw more often.

The rules are simple. Each day this year, I'll be producing a new drawing -- be it sketch or drawing, color or black and white -- and posting it here. Easy peezy, lemon squeezy.

The other people involved include one of my favorite college professors, and some other talented folks. I'll be linking to their blogs on here, so you'll be able to check out their daily contributions, as well. Holla!

My Sketch for today is this logo I did for my special ladyfriend's Brewskeeball team, Skee-Ra: Princess of Power. Betta recognize.

-Bunker, out.

Beastie Boys Piece SOLD!

Sweet jungle juice! From all the accounts I've heard, the Beastie Boys Tribute Show at Gallery 1988: LA has been a fantastic success. Some good friends & family down in Los Angeles made it to last week's opening reception. They told me the place was packed, the vibe was friendly, and the art was PHENOMENAL. If you live in the area, I highly recommend you check it out before the show closes.

For me, the cherry tomato atop the awesomeness salad is, it turns out my piece -- "Heartbreak In The Summer Of Hello Nasty" -- sold during the reception. WOOT! Above is one last photo I took of her (framed-up), before she was shipped off to the gallery. Sniff, sniff -- Thanks to whoever picked this puppy up. I hope you'll give her a good home.

Happy Monday!
-Bunker, out.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

California Teachers Association Comics

A few months ago, I started doing a monthly comic for The Educator, a trade magazine put out by The California Teachers Association. Each episode of the strip is based around one of the many woes that are constantly torpedoing the teaching industry all across the state -- everything from budget cuts to expanding class sizes.

It's a pretty fun gig. I don't write the concepts or gag lines, but the editors I'm working with are great and give me all the visual freedom a guy could ask for. Also, I've got a few friends out here who are teachers, so the comic's topics usually hit pretty close to home.

Anyway, if you aren't a teacher in California and you don't live with one, then you'll probably never see an actual copy of The Educator. So I thought I'd start making them available online. Enjoy!

"See you later - I'm up in the nosebleeds."

"In my day,'cutting classes' was known as something very different."

"I miss the days when they would ask for a pony."

-Bunker, out.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

"The Wrestler" Goes Beyond The Mat: a movie review by Dave Crosland

If you're a child of the 80's, like me, then you probably have a special place in your heart for wrestling. No, I'm not talking about the overly erotic sport the Greeks handed down, where sweaty men roll around on a gym floor like oiled-up snakes in heat. I'm talking about wrestling... Randy "Macho Man" Savage, Andre The Giant, and Hulk Hogan. Big men beating the crap out of each other with elbows and folding chairs. WRESTLING.

So it's no wonder I was terribly excited to see the latest Darren Aronofsky film, "The Wrestler." The movie gives us an hour and 45 minute glimpse at the twilight days of a superstar of wrestling, with the spandex, pill-popping, regrets and all. Mickey Rourke plays the titular role of Randy "The Ram" Robinson, once a shimmering champion of the 4-cornered circle who now -- 20 years after the peak of his career -- is working the indie/semi-pro wrestling circuits to make ends meet. Randy's still regarded as a legend, by fans and fellow grapplers alike. But from the film's start, you know that The Ram's star has faded. He's older and slower. He's barely able to pay rent on a beat-down trailer home. He works part time at a grocery store. And the only highlights in his life (other than wrasslin') are pulls on bottles of cheap beer, and regular trips to a local strip club.

But don't get me wrong. While Randy's tale teeters on the edge of depression, it always manages to cling to the light, tethered there by the pure joy he finds in doing what he does. The man simply loves being in the ring. And, for the most part, life's ills roll off of him, like water off a duck's back.

For all the forces threatening the sanctity of his one true passion, none is more sobering than a heart attack Randy suffers after an especially brutal "hardcore" match. Afterwards, when he wakes up battered and confused in a hospital bed, The Ram's doctor insists he give his heart a break from the booze, drugs, and strenuous activity. And he puts the nail in the coffin when he mentions that wrestling would simply be "... a bad idea."

And so Randy is stuck between accepting life outside the ropes, or sticking with the path he knows, even if it kills him.

Among the myriad of characters that circle The Ram's world, the most pivotal satellites are an aging stripper (Cassidy) and his estranged daughter (Stephanie), played by Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood, respectively. Tomei pulls off a wonderfully naughty and touching performance, as her character grows closer to Randy. The two seem perfect for each other... both past their prime and stuck in a hair-metal-80's time capsule. You don't get a super-thorough understanding of Cassidy. At times, she feels downright thin. But there's always the hint that there's more to her story. It's like the plot looks over the door into her world, but never quite passes through it.

The same is true of Wood's role as Stephanie. Yet, even though she orbits Randy from a further distance, the daughter's chapter in "The Wrestler" felt more complete than that of the would-be love interest in Cassidy. Years of abandonment have given way to a rage that seems to fuel Stephanie's side of the relationship with her father. But she never completely hardens, and we're able to see the little girl in her, still longing for daddy's acceptance. Wood brings the theatrical thunder, too, riding an emotional rollercoaster that runs from hope to hatred, guarded to vulnerable. And she does it with incredible believability, further proving herself as a serious young actress with range to spare.

That being said, the supporting cast remains just that. The movie never tumbles down a Hollywood path and lets itself stray into a love story, or a story of fatherly redemption. The plot is driven, unwaveringly, by the wrestler. Everything revolves around The Ram. And Mickey Rourke brings him to life with bone-grinding honesty. The painful winces, tears, and simple happiness that flash across his puffy, misshapen face convey incredible depth in a lead character who could easily be a joke, but comes off as anything but. The greasy blonde locks and violent passions hollar, "Wrestler!" but Rourke's stride and matter-of-factness hush the spectacle, showing us less of the monster and more of the man.

Director Darren Aronofsky spares us most of his signature, frantic camera tricks, and tells the story with a calmer display of filmmaking. I was especially enamored with the long shots, following characters in and out of scenes. He takes time detailing the mundane rituals of life that we all can relate to. I found myself laughing at parts, not because they were funny, but because they felt real. Like Rourke, Aronofsky has taken something that could have been a comical bouillabaisse and whipped it into a dramatic masterpiece.

"The Wrestler" is a storybook minus the storybook ending. It's the tale of a gentle giant living out of his own time. And although there's a tragic tint to it, you're never fully dragged to the bottom by the anchors of woe that lurk in this movie's waters. Because Randy "The Ram" carries that weight, and brings it all the way to the end of the film. He does it out of hope, determination, and blind stubborness. And he does it all to the roar of his beloved fans.

On a Transformers Scale of "Brawn" to "Unicron," this movie gets an Omega Supreme. Most definitely worth your $15, or whatever the ridiculous ticket prices are in your area.

-Bunker, out.