Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I'm currently starting off week 13 (out of 15) so the end draws near for this semester. I've been at the Academy for 1.5 years now (err, minus 2 weeks I guess), and I am beat.

Weekly nights of 1-3 hours of sleep, still getting my ass handed to me by classmates, and just the wear and tear of trying to hold down 3 studio classes and work and start up an Etsy site are really taking their toll on me.

I pay ~$7200 a semester for tuition alone, and I'm pretty sure it's worth it. I checked out CCA's website, and their tuition is $14000 a semester. Whoa. Definitely makes it seem worth it now. Well, I then checked out SF State's program (which has painting/printmaking, but no illustration degree) and their tutition is $1700 a semester. Wtf? Now I'm starting to doubt it.

I think part of the exhaustion comes from the constant commercialness of our school and the mixed messages it sends. We're constantly bombarded with messages on the financial feasibility of our ideas and the business side is used to excuse/promote the same old tired stereotypes and bullshit that our shitty society feeds upon. We're also told to experiment, but of course, those that stick with what they know and what they do best are rewarded. Sigh.

It's hard to find role models in this school.

I'm looking for an artist that cares more about saying something meaningful in their art rather than making money. I'm looking for an artist that subverts the mainstream and tells large corporations to go fuck themselves. Egads. Anyone out there?

I'm currently really hooked on James Jean and Tomer Hanuka. Both pretty high up in the illustration world, JJ is pretty much dominating the scene right now, winning all sorts of awards for his editorials, comic book covers, ads, etc., etc. And as much as I admire his draftsmanship and his awesome illustration powers, the dude does ads for Nike. How much more uncool can you get? Well, maybe if he did ads for Nike and was also shitty at his job. But yeah. At least Tomer does some pretty radical stuff in his illustrations that critique everything from the war in iraq to socialite life to mutant zombie surgeons...well, everyone's gotta have their weird illustration kicks here and there.

But alas. I guess people like Bansky and Shepard Fairy are still holding it out, making a living our of art while giving the Man the finger. I just wish my school was more into that sort of thing.

Any state or CCA students who might happen to read this: is this bullshit the same at your school?

Anyhoo, I would love to collaborate with some environmental/feminist/vegetarian/vegan/super liberal artists, so if you're down to say something positive (or at least critique all the negative) about life, hit me up. Please!

Anyway, E and I started a team blog for our bi-weekly "kami-jar" (E's name) challenges, over at midnightcarriage.blogspot.com. We've been pretty bad at even keeping up to the biweekly schedule with our crazy amounts of hw, but at least the first topic is up. It's more of a breeding ground for future finished illustrations, as I doubt anything finished will go up there, but if you like it rough, midnight carriage is for you.

So I'm going to try and get some sleep before my 8am class tomorrow. Night.

PS- New art should be coming fairly soon. Otherwise check Risk.Etsy.com for art you can buy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Okay all you rockstars, here's a call out to do some awesome work and help me in raising money for a good cause:

So I’m climbing a mountain (Mt. Whitney) as a fundraiser for Bay Area Wilderness Training, a SF-based nonprofit that trains adult youth-workers and provides all the equipment they need to take disadvantaged youth out into the wilderness. I never realized how fortunate I was to grow up taking yearly trips to Tahoe, going fishing and camping, and generally getting outdoors as much as I did.

But many kids have never been outside the city. And by helping me out and contributing a tax-deductible donation, we can help these underprivileged youth experience something they might never get to see otherwise. 90% of every dollar we raise goes directly to the kids, and I’m asking for your help. Here's what your support will create for a young person who needs it:

• $25 buys three fuel canisters to cook warm meals in the backcountry.
• $50 gases up our van and takes 10 kids to a local state park.
• $150 trains a youth worker in Wilderness First Aid to ensure safe backcountry trips for kids. (The trainings are among the most important keys to the program.)
• $500 adds four new, cozy sleeping bags to our library. (Providing a free gear “library” is the other important key to the program.)
• $1,000 gets 17 kids outdoors on unique nature experiences—from day hikes to backpacking trips.

Feel free to think of this as an early birthday/xmas gift!

Anyway, I could write about this stuff forever, but if you have a decent internet connection with sound and 10 minutes, please check out this video about the program here:
(and for those like me, I’d have a box of tissue around to wipe thine eyes).

So I’m asking for you to at least check out this video. If it doesn’t move you to donate, nothing I can say will. 10 minutes of your time! For kids!

My goal is to raise $3500 in the next 3 weeks (holy crap that’s soon!) so any and all help would be totally awesome. From $5-$500 (or more) any amount is needed and very, very, very much appreciated.

And btw, you can always check with your company to see if they do matching donations! Twice the bang for your buck!

Sooo, the link to donate is here:

If you have any other questions, feel free to shoot them my way, and of course, if you want to get involved or learn more about BAWT, you can check them out on the web at www.bawt.org and www.climbingforkids.org

With great thanks and gratitude,

More information:

There have been many studies done about the effects of such experiences on kids. According to the State Environmental Education Round Table, programs with a hands-on, interdisciplinary approach to learning produce young people who:
1) Experience increased engagement and enthusiasm for learning and have greater pride and ownership in their accomplishments.
2) Experience a marked reduction in discipline and classroom management problems.
Also, students who are encouraged to learn outdoors develop an attachment to place and begin to exhibit environmental-stewardship behavior.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Oskar Kitagawa R.I.P.

Yesterday afternoon we had to put down our beloved family dog, Oskar. He was a good dog that protected his family, loved to chase things, and will be sorely missed. He was about 14 years old and I'm just glad he's not suffering any more. I'll never forget you Odog.