2012.September.29, 1:07am
Filed under: 2012.SEPTEMBER, SCRAPS

Somewhere down the line I’m going to want to increase the size of my pedestrian drawings, and it’ll be messy. I drew this one with India ink on butcher paper that was laid out on the lawn. Problem was I used both hands and had shut the front door, but I think I got in without leaving a trail. The result reminds me of some of the early scroll drawings of Huang Chih-yang, a Taiwanese artist I interviewed a few years ago. Read the interview in the Taipei Times here.

2012.September.13, 2:42am
Filed under: 2012.SEPTEMBER, SCRAPS

I’ve been experimenting with different surfaces and tools for my Pedestrian Series. The above drawings are both on cold-pressed watercolor paper, which holds up to a lot more than the Arches Cover paper I used for a recent commission, 489 Scooters. The top drawing was made with my now-usual Sakura Pigma pens, and the bottom with India ink and a tortillon (a rolled-up paper smudging tool).

2012.September.11, 5:55pm
Filed under: 2012.SEPTEMBER, SCRAPS

These drawings of pedestrians are kind of a spin-off from my Scooter Series. As you might expect, there aren’t nearly as many scooters here in California as there were in Taiwan, where I used to live. I posted some early attempts at pedestrians (here and here), but I’ve refined my style since then. I’ve done these drawings from park benches, inside my girlfriend’s car, or just sitting on the curb.  That works well for these small pieces, but I’d like to work larger, so starting Friday I’m going to be drawing from inside the window of a gallery in downtown Berkeley. Check back soon for updates.

2012.September.6, 4:31am
Filed under: 2012.SEPTEMBER, SCRAPS, Uncategorized

I’ve gone back and forth on the Chinese name chops for my scooter drawings, and now they’re back. I’d worried that it might seem a little hokey or make the allusion to Chinese calligraphy too obvious, but in the end I decided the bit of red amid all that black and white looks so good that it was worth it. Unfortunately I lost my chops in the move from Taiwan, but a friend of mine sent a couple new ones along and here they are. (Thank you Mr. Wheeler.)

When I compared the new image with the old, I realized my old chops printed my Chinese nickname backwards — “Bu-a” (布阿) instead of “A-bu” (阿布). It wasn’t really backwards as vertical Chinese text usually reads right to left, but with just the two characters you can’t tell whether you’re reading two single-character columns vertically or one two-character row horizontally. I like it better the new way. No doubt this will horrify the first Chinese person who notices, and I’ll be informed that I’ve ruined all the scooter drawings before/since I started using the new chops.

2012.August.27, 5:25am
Filed under: 2012.AUGUST, SCRAPS

Two more artist biographies I read recently, John James Audubon: The Making of an American by Richard Rhodes and From a High Place: A Life of Arshile Gorky by Matthew Spender (the husband of Gorky’s daughter). As you see above, the Audubon book seems to be bound with a low-tack adhesive similar to the glue used for Post-it notes. The Gorky book is nicely stitched.

Although neither book is written particularly well, at least Rhodes refrains from asking the reader questions. Spender can’t resist: “Neither in behavior nor in conversation had this kind of machismo ever been part of his life. And what on earth could Jeanne, or anyone else, have done to attenuate it?” Spender even gets so excited he uses exclamation points: “David Burliuk, so Gorky told Mougouch with a laugh, had once come back with a painting the next day in order to have it signed!” Egads.

Despite these setbacks, I enjoyed both books. Audubon’s hard work and tireless self-promotion is inspiring, and Gorky’s stubborn refusal to tell anything resembling the truth is almost hilarious, though I guess it would be funnier if he hadn’t ended so miserably. (In the last few years of his life Gorky learned he had cancer, had his anus removed, found out his wife was cheating on him with the more successful artist Matta, and hanged himself.)

And just finished Gerhard Richter: A Life in Painting by Dietmar Elger a few minutes ago. In a previous post I lamented the fact that there aren’t a lot of good biographies of contemporary artists. Here’s one. It’s low on gossip but is a fine introduction to Richter’s work.

2012.August.19, 1:25am
Filed under: 2012.AUGUST, IN PROGRESS


I completed this three-column scooter drawing a couple weeks ago. The Post-Its are dual purpose: They keep my hand from smearing the next column over (Sakura Pigma Graphic pens like to smear), and they keep me from getting overly enthusiastic and adding a scooter where I hadn’t planned on one. This drawing is kind of a warm-up for a larger piece I’m going to start as soon as I can find a 36X48″ piece of paper that isn’t wrinkled, rumpled or rippled.

2012.August.7, 5:13am
Filed under: 2012.AUGUST, IN PROGRESS


Here’s part of my newest experimental series, Art Portraits. This one didn’t turn out great, but I like the Garfunkels and the middle Blakey. Problem is that the famous Arts all seem to be from an earlier generation. That won’t stop me. Expect to see more Art work soon, if only so that I can think of more silly ways to describe them as “Art.”

2012.July.17, 3:40am
Filed under: 2012.JULY, GICKERS

Just finished the Martin Kippenberger biography written by his younger sister, great stuff. Can’t think of any other bios of really contemporary artists like this. Usually they’re from an art historical angle, but this one’s nice and personal, with lots of stories from friends and acquaintances. I guess the turnaround on this one was accelerated as MK was only 44 when he died.

It’s obvious at times that, as MK’s sister, the author doesn’t describe in full detail what a difficult and hurtful person he could be, but she does state that he was difficult and the anecdotes she includes give you an idea even if they don’t plumb the depths. And whether you like his art or not, there’s no topping MK for titles:

  • After getting stomped by a group of punk rockers, MK advertised a show with a hospital picture of his badly swollen, bandaged and bruised face. The show title: “Dialogue with the Youth”
  • MK had a serious drinking problem. Another title: “Cirrhosis of the Liver Is No Excuse for Bad Art”
  • “The Magical Misery Tour”
  • Show title: “Through Puberty to Success”
  • Series of self-portraits: “Martin, In the Corner, You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself”



Just finished a new scooter drawing here in California, thanks to high-quality vehicle pictures I imported from Taipei.  I used pens from the Sakura Pigma series. The Micron 08 worked well throughout, but the larger, bullet-shaped nibs on the Graphic 1 broke apart quickly and I went through three of them. For the last scooter drawing this size I used Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pens, but the “B” (bold I guess) nib came apart just like the Sakura nibs did this time. Still searching for the perfect nib on an “archival” pen.

2012.June.24, 5:38pm
Filed under: 2012.JUNE, SCRAPS

Here’s another pedestrian drawing, this time from the Safeway parking lot on Solano. Still a bit stiff, methinks. The picture on the bottom shows drawings from Friday (left) and Thursday.