How I spent my summer vacation part 1: Wings of Gold

Just before I dropped off the face of the Blog-o-sphere (are we still calling it that anymore?), as you may recall, the maiden voyage of the Bröthership was nearly upon us.  We worked well into the night before Artscape 2010, and our labors were well received.

i bought two bottles of Andre that day… one for us, one for the car.

After melting faces in Baltimore with an impromptu flaming-air-guitar performance (now a mainstay for all our performances), we were invited down to DC for the H-Street art festival AND interviewed for an article in (Baltimore’s division of) Style Magazine about that state of opera in Baltimore (four professional opera companies and us… I don’t think the magazine has any editors).

For those of you who weren’t there in person or are not members of That Social Networking Site that everyone with a Face loves, you can poke around the B.R.O.S.’ Flickr page, or watch a few videos of our shenanigans here, here, here, aaaand here.

business as usual

a closer look at Death’s cleaver-bass in the studio.

this is the reason i do these things.

and i can’t include this photo due to copyright stuff, but you should see it.  my buddy chuck is an insane genius.

We spent a good deal of time posting links to this stuff as it was happening, so for those of you who saw all of this already and are bored of it, well… too bad.  I’m proud to say I’m a member of this crew and boast about our accomplishments.  I get a lot more satisfaction saying I make weaponized air-guitars and six-armed monster puppets for a local rock-theater company than saying I wait tables and pour coffee four days a week.

A related story, thought not during the summer;  Every year, in September, the Baltimore City Paper puts out an issue with it’s favorite _______s of the year (restaurants, bands, bars, political figures, laundromats, etc).  We didn’t win anything.  Not a damn thing.  Not even a mention, even after making the front page for Gründle Hämmer (version 1).  Still, we made our presence known.

There’s a section towards the end of the voting ballot (for the reader’s choice half of the awards) that asks why City Paper should invite the voter to the party they throw for the winners.  My write in was “If invited, I will come fully dressed as a minotaur with a beautiful girl on my arm”.  And they bought it.

‘fuck a recession!  fuck an environment!  let’s custom print our invitations on cork coasters!’

CP didn’t print the second half of my answer, but I made good on my promise, and Rachel looked damn good helping me do it.  i even managed to get a tux together that same day for under $30 (Greenmount Ave FTW!!!)

I’m in love.

This winter, the B.R.O.S. will be diving into the foul, foul depths and inner workings of an old Baltimore theater that hasn’t seen the light of day for many years, hopefully in time for our next show, a double feature, in the spring.  Lots of work ahead of us. Lots of seats to repair.  Lots of floors to bleach.  Lots of beer to drink.  Let us rock.


Merry Catsmas, Charlie Brown

Damn, over five months since a post. I think this is a new lazy record for me. Well, it was lazy towards the middle around october. Before that it was busy (august), then bummed out and disappointed (september), then lazy (october), then busy again (the holy horror days). Long story short, our house was broken into at the end of the summer and I saw no point in putting up a post about how great this summer was because in ended in such crap. And you know the rest.

Well, now I’m in NY for a few days with the family and a fair amount of time to try and use wisely. Photo editing and prelim sketching await me, especially now that the east coast is about to get snowed in again.

This, as you can see, is not my parent’s Christmas setup, but the one back at my house in Baltimore. I’ve never had a silver christmas tree before, but thanks to my new rooomate jen, that dream has finally come true (a dream i wasn’t aware i had until she mentioned owning it).

Now that I’ve mentioned all of these things I plan on doing, I suppose i’d best off do it.



Okay so today is turning out to be far, far busier than I expected (remember my phone?  I dropped it and getting the insurance claim to have it replaced too two hours.  yeesh.), so this is going to be a wordless post after the pictures.  but here they are!  process photos of the Baltimore Rock Opera Society (B.R.O.S.) and the BROthership.  After GründleHämmer 2.0 dropped and turned some heads, we were given the opportunity to design and built an art car for Artscape 2010, Baltimore’s enormous art fair.  Despite crushing heatwaves and irksome thunderstorms, the power of true rock and roll has pushed us through and we are nearly finished creating our mobile rock unit.  If you haven’t already, I encourage you to join the Baltimore Rock Opera Society facebook group, where you can see even more photos, and get caught up on all our collective, face-melting righteousness.


If you want to see the monster in its full, completed glory, you’ll have to come down to the midway on Charles Street at some point this weekend!  If not, well, I’ll have lots more pictures after the weekend, I’m sure.

Hope to see you there!



may the force be with shoe

I know I said in my last post I was going to be talking about my plans for Artscape, and I will.  But I just got word that my customer received her order and I’ve GOTTA get these pictures up…

Every so often, a job comes along that feels like it finishes itself.  the planets align, the clouds part, and the angels of freelance smile a brilliant ray of lucky sunshine upon me.  The Star Wars themed shoes Denessa ordered for her son Clay were once such job.

Star Wars!  Hell yeah!

As ubiquitous as Star Wars was (is) while growing up (being alive), for all the times i watched the movies and all the comics i read, i don’t think i ever added any of the characters to my repertoire of doodles.  I really can’t think of a single Star Wars related project I’ve ever done, actually.   Maybe that’s why I blazed through these, any excuse to get down and nerdy.

I asked Denessa to get Clay’s favorite characters.  Among those he listed were Chewbacca…



…and Luke…

I opted to arrange the characters by their respective trilogies; one shoe for the old movies, one for the new ones.

R2D2 is apparently one of Clay’s ultimate favorites.  The rounded stitching along the heel of his Converse’s were perfect for setting for the little droid…

… stuck, as ever, in the middle of a battle.

And finally, a little self-promotion…

… and a little something extra.



Okay I promise that the NEXT post will be about Artscape, and it will definitely go up before the event actually happens.  I’m pretty sure everyone I know here in Baltimore is already aware of this since I can’t shut up about it, but here’s a hint for anyone who reads my nonsense elsewhere…

(it rhymes with ‘fart car’)


“hey yo, why can’t we put like a ‘Wire’ crab down here?

I’ve been telling a lot of people about this crab, but few people have seen it in real life.  Though the job started in May and finished in June, the Harborplace 30th birthday party wasn’t until the first weekend in July.  I imagine that if there was any grand unveiling, it was then.  Shawn James ( the smiling gentleman pictured below) was hired by Harborplace to re-paint the image on their crab sculpture, one of the many that are scattered around the city.  they were originally painted and auctioned off in an effort to raise money for city schools, i believe.  a quick search for any combination of ‘baltimore’, ‘crab’, ‘painted’, ‘art’, ‘sculpture’, and ‘auction’ should give you an idea… they’re like the cows in New York City, or the five year olds in child beauty pageants (OH SNAP GOT ‘EM).  Shawn is the one who hired me for all of the public murals I’ve worked on in Baltimore (Fells Point, the downtown farmers market, and Harlem Park Rec.), so it was fun working alongside him, and on a pretty unique canvas.  At times, though, it felt like one of the weirdest jobs I’ve done.

It’s like a giant vinyl toy!

We started out in a storage space in the parking garage with only one fan that we had to point out so the dust and paint chips wouldn’t get in our lungs.  Here we scraped the old paint off the crab, sanded it, and cleaned it, mostly with hand-held power tools that were overheating and breaking as we used them.  Then we were moved into the mall into a small, all white room with track lighting, directly across from Hooters.  See what I mean about it feeling weird?

Shawn going to work on some hand-painted lettering…

… and dreading building a skyline with blue painters tape.

The room quickly filled up with paint buckets, newspapers, pizza boxes, dead brushes, coffee-turned-mixing cups, re-purposed apples, boxes, bags, extra work clothes, and a few beer bottles.  Shawn printed reference material and i taped the images to a wall where we could grab and replace them like stickers.  We talked about turning over the provided table and sleeping behind it so we could get an early start.  We never did, though.

The legs and curves on the shell were fun to paint on, but sometimes awkward to reach.

We traded on an off, but for the most part I handled the logo-side while Shawn beat out the city-scape of Harborplace.  This was my first time copying a corporate logo rather than creating a new one, and the projector was a nice safety net/time saver.

The fireworks got a lot of attention.

As it started to come together, we started to get a little more attention from people walking around the mall and visiting the harbor.  I had a few  really good exchanges and interactions with groups of kids on their 5th grade or middle school graduation trips, the security guards, and a handful of the people just there to hang out (the title of this post is a quote from one conversation i had with some serious looking dudes who kept addressing me as ‘Money’).  my favorite was the toddler who was unsure if he was really allowed to touch the crab and kept looking to his momma to make sure i wasn’t lying.

There were times, though, where we would be approached silently by tourists who wouldn’t say anything, they’d just watch us work for a moment, maybe take our picture (again, silently), and leave.  I tried to beckon some of these types in, but they shook their heads and mouthed ‘no thank you!’ and quickly left.  I found it bizarre, especially the ones who just wanted a picture but no verbal interaction.

So damn close!

Eventually I stopped taking pictures and just worked through until the end, which is what I usually end up doing on a project.  It came down to the last day but we got it done, and Harborplace was very happy with the results.

The finished front.

The finished back.

I think painting the people in the cityscape was the most fun.  I got to be pretty gestural with them, but tried to make them unique in some way.  The Uni Maryland guy I stuck in the foreground is too freakin’ much.   Shawn and I thought he was hilarious at first, but looking at him now… i dunno, he kinda looks like a goon. 

Like I said, I haven’t seen it in person since we wrapped out of our workspace, but I’m going to be closer to the Inner Harbor next weekend (Artscape!) than I am on a regular basis, so I’ll check and get photos then.

Also, if you’d like to see more progress photos of the crab taken by someone who actually calls himself a photographer, have a look at my buddy Justin’s blog.  He makes us look real damn pretty.

Next: the reason I’m going to be at Artscape all of next weekend


mos definately in full effect

summer is here, all 100-plus degrees of it, and plans are coming together like mad.  I feel like this has been happening a lot over the past (passed?) few years.  Spring comes, my birthday is glorious and spent with people i love, and as soon as it’s over, it’s project time.  I’ve been juggling several, lately, and thankfully they’re all starting to wrap up.

i got a new cellular device at the beginning of june, right around the time of my last post.  rather than the cheapest-oldest-most-basic-free-upgrade option i’ve chosen (happily, of course) for my last two phones, i coughed up a few bucks and got one that allows me to check my email, listen to music, and takes pictures as good as the first digital camera i ever had (which i used to death, thanks momndad).  it’s not a smart phone, and i can’t get any of them crazy apps (not too upset about that, really), but it’s a great little tool/device, and it’s been good for documenting my on-the-go activities of late.

I heard a story on the radio yesterday about our (humans’) relationships with technology and i the internet, and how it’s really important to foster positive ones that can drive you to a -deep- emotional reaction, rather than just a few cynical chuckles.  I thought about that through my daily tasks, yesterday, and was surprised at how much is resonated with me.  My tiny device has allowed me to document my life at any moment, but i’ve been so busy i haven’t shared it with anyone.  Is this selfish?  Should I be constantly updating people i love who are far away, or is it more special when they come every so often, like a letter or a holiday?  Are my contributions to the web positive or necessary ones!?  Will I ever make someone cry like I did when I first watched Christian the Lion?!?  Or laugh like I always do when I see that paper-tearing-baby falling over?!?!
Maybe, maybe not.  But when I was in New York at the end of June, my family missed me and my stories.  That seems like a good enough reason to me.

By the way… these are my folks.  They both retired this year (ended their careers on the same day, in fact), and are officially done being told what to do by anybody but each other.  And the party at the end of June was outstanding… this felt like a bigger deal than graduating college… probably because it is.  College graduation is “congratulations!  Prepare to bust your ass like it’s never been busted before!”  My folks, on the other hand, are celebrating an end to busting ass, because they’ve been doing it for a combined total of 56 years.  now they’re going to do crossword puzzles and host fabulous barbeque’s and clean the house until my dad books that around-the-world trip.

I’m really proud of them.


a double shot of cute…

… which i shall describe to you through photographs and this brilliant and appropriate shade of lavender.


and fairies!

Sonja, over in Baltimore’s nearby neighbor Philly, ordered two pairs of shoes for her two daughters, each with their preferred creature of fantasy.

the shoes are made of a 100% leather-free suede by a company called Soft Star Shoes.  I’d not heard of the company before this order, but they felt great to the touch… I  imagine they’re even better on tiny feet.

the material was a little difficult to work with at first, just like the bowling shoes, but so goes the learning curve i spoke of in the previous entry.  I’m still pretty pleased with them, all it took was a bit of layering and bit more patience.

and this looks okay in the back, here, right?  i think it’s okay…

Sonja says the girls like them and have already worn them enough to get them dirty.  that’s what’s important.

ALSO!  NOW THAT I HAVE SWITCHED TO BLUE AND HAVE YOUR ATTENTION!  A few weeks ago, someone named “pintsofguinness” posted on a link to my blog on Reddit (a site that, as far as i can tell, is a free-for-all-forum), and on May 12th I had 2,785 individual hits on my blog.

None of them ordered shoes.

Still, it’s pretty cool that people have seen my stuff and clicked around my corner of the internet.  You can still read the thread where it was posted, and there was some discussion of the picture i posted of the Grundle and how freaky it is.  that gave me a chuckle.

So here’s to YOU, mr. or mrs. pintsofguinness, whoever and wherever you are.  thank you for telling the internet about me.