My honey is a part of a new reality blog thing!
It’s like ‘Survivor’ but for blog entries – people WILL be voted off of the blog island.
Then come back!!!
The longer he stays, the more he gets to write and share his art – and the the better his chances of being seen as the amazing artist he is.
Which, you can see HERE
If you comment in favor of James D. Foster – I would be forever grateful. Be sure to SCROLL down until you see his name and his 4 paragraphs about Life.
Also, the man behind the curtain, is The Public Blogger (See Here) who gives artists of all genres an opportunity to show their stuff, which, I find amazing.
SO VOTE PEOPLE! This is new, and fun and innovative! And of course, I don’t want my honey to have to put out his torch.
I struggled with my laundry basket today – it’s bedding day.
I wondered when I waddled in, swaying back and forth from the weight of my laundry, if I really have lost too much weight.
Through the door and to the machine to load money onto the laundromat card.
There was a man behind me – mumbling about keys. I turned and smiled – not sure if he meant to be in line. I could still hear him mumbling while I filled two washing machines. I named him ‘man in the blue t-shirt’ and wondered about his life.
I am constantly curious.
As I looked to my right, from my machines – I noticed a sight that piqued my curiosity even more.
On the floor – was an open, empty suitcase.
Leaning against one of the machines was a small girl holding a blanket close to her and sucking her thumb.
She reminded me of a small deer – or bird. Nervously shifting and ready to take off at the slightest sign of danger.
My heart sighed.
I named her ‘little pink girl’ and my imagination was already writing her story. Why was she so thin and delicate? Were she and her guardian living out of that suitcase somewhere? Were they hiding from someone?
Of course, the very real possibility exists that she is simply on holiday. I do live in a resort area.
But I’m always wondering.
Her guardian came back to her side and was kind. My heart relaxed a little.
Little pink girl made eye contact with me and I smiled.
When I pulled my comforter out of my basket, like an impossibly large handkerchief from a magician’s hat, we shared a smile.
I imagined her thinking it was the color of hard candies.
I wanted to photograph her in that moment … leaning there – cautiously looking at her surroundings with her big, beautiful eyes. Sucking her thumb beside that suitcase.
Some moments can’t be captured.
But they can be shared.
I am a proud comic book fan. (Okay, I’m a total nerd)
I am a member of The Mystic Order of Arachnid Vigilance (AKA: The Tick fan club) True story. Here I am with the Cypher Matic Decoder Wheel!
I am also a fan of artists, of finding out what inspires them. And I am in complete awe of natural talent.
So, it’s only fitting that I asked my long-lost/recently found talented friend if I could interview him. Because he has natural talent in the art department.
I’ll start with sharing what he labeled as his ‘nerdy’ stuff. *Cough* bullshit *Cough*
Now a little gratuitous moment – we played around with a short story I wrote, and these were some characters that were going to appear in the comic version.
The main character – and I cannot for the life of me remember his name?? Arnold?? Anyway, the bananas had disappeared, but he’s holding one.
And I have to assume this guy was the antagonist – that, or Jim got fixated on bananas – notice the one on his lapel.
Yeah, Jim. Such ‘nerdy’ stuff. Early works – and amazing. Just amazing. Then he really found his stride.
Let’s chat with Jim shall we?
Me: So, you’ve handed your mom your first drawing as a child – it goes on the fridge?
Jim: Yep. That’s remembering pretty far back. But, I drew like any other kid in those days. Family members with pig feet; houses with smoking twirls from crayola chimneys; cavemen riding around saber tooth brontosaurus. I drew like any average kid back then.
Me: That was my next question (talented AND psychic) when do you first recall drawing something, looking at it – and realizing. Oh … that’s GOOD
Jim: 1981. I was bedridden with pneumonia for two weeks when I was 13. My Father had bought me this amazing book on the art of the ‘Dark Crystal.’ Somehow it all just came together, and I realized I was way better at drawing than I had thought. Plus, I was 13, I’m sure what ever hormones I was dealing with didn’t hurt either.
Me: So would you say that being exposed to a certain genre of art made something ‘click’ in your head? Like ‘Ah, there’s this other amazing way to have smoke curling out of a chimney’ The hormones I’m sure didn’t hurt, did drawing become an outlet for frustrations and expressing yourself at that time?
Jim: Like any kid dealing with all of that craziness . . . you gotta have an outlet, an escape. I had whole worlds living in my head, but never could quite express them in any meaningful way. So, that’s when I got my first sketchbook, pen and quill, and started to draw whatever influenced that escape.
Me: I love that you had whole worlds living in your head – only a few are able to translate them into something they can effectively share with others … what was the response of ‘others’ once you found your groove?
Jim: It helped that my first art teacher saw something in what I was doing, and at that age, someone seeing potential in what you’re doing is a tremendous push. All the other kids saw it too. But, it no way put an end to getting pushed around. I always had some kid bug the heck out of me, to draw some girl they had a crush on naked. Pretty much, I was just a kid who drew better than most of the other kids. But, it never won me any popularity contests.
Actually, I have to correct myself. I won ‘Most Artistic’ my Senior year. It did actually win me a popularity contest.
Me: You must realize now as an adult, that ‘pushing around’ stemmed from envy right?
Jim: The girls always liked it. So that always helped. And they always had me drawing something for them. I played two years of high school football, and two years a pole vaulting and track. So sports was not really my problem. I suppose any kid at that age is envious of everybody else. I think it just helped me more or less break out my shyness. It was kinda my ice breaker.
Me: Other than grades K-12, did you have any formal instruction with regards to art, or are you self-taught?
Jim: Mrs. Spann was my first art teacher in High School. She was an incredible influence my first year. Sadly she had a heart attack, and had to retire. The next three years were all subs. So Mrs. Spann was the only formal training I had. In Jr. College I took a painting course and hated it. So that pretty much sums up all my art schooling.
Me: Natural talent. That’s huge Jim. Seriously. Okay – fast forward. When were you drawn to comics? (No pun intended)
Jim: Actually I always wanted to be a writer, Lol. So it just kinda made sense one day. Frank Miller’s ‘The Dark Knight Returns,’ was a big eye-opener when I was 18. The art was great, but the story blew me out of the water. Up to that point, I had always figured that comics were just kid stuff.
Me: They’re definitely not kid stuff – and they’re a lot of work! And, you do it all, Concept, writing – then you’re the penciller, inker, colorist, letterer AND editor. What are your tools of choice?
Jim: A good pencil, a good pen, and blank piece of paper. That’s pretty much it. I love Photoshop, but it always feels like I’m cheating. But, it works, so I go with it.
Me: What kind of pen? Doesn’t look like any ink that’s come out of any of my pens lol
Jim: I used to use Rapidographs. But, i find that they’re too scratchy, and a pain to keep clean. Anything that has a smooth feel to it, and you can just throw away and not feel bad about it.
Me: Then I guess the key is to be wicked talented – not so much the tool. What medium do you use for the coloring process? You mentioned photo shop – I have no clue how that works, but I know you’ve colored by hand too
Jim: Photoshop, that’s it. I really need to get away from that too. Nobody wants to buy stuff you’ve Photoshopped. They want something real and original to hang on their walls. I’ve always wanted to check out silk-screening. Printing your own posters and all. But, for a long time it’s just been on the computer.
Me: Digital inking/coloring. I guess that’s a good thing – if you had spent a lot of time doing it by hand, then screwing up a section – starting over would have to be frustrating as hell. Ever do that? Finish a frame and not like the lettering or something and have to start over?
Jim: More times than not. That’s why I love the computer. It saved me a lot of good pieces. If I had actually gone to art college, maybe I would have a better grasp at doing it all by hand. Raw talent will only get you so far.
Me: Speaking of ‘starting over’ – you lost 6 years worth of art and sketch books in a fire. I can’t imagine how that must have felt.
Jim: Felt like hell. What the fire didn’t get, the fire hose did.
Me: I’m so sorry. So much work. Almost like losing years worth of diaries and photos …
Jim: That was right around the time the whole ‘Capzowski’ storyline really began to seed in my head. That was my first attempt at doing real comic pages. 11 x 14 bristol board. It was a real pain trying to figure out what I was doing. There’s more that goes into a page then one tends to think. Like 6-8 separate drawings that all have to flow and mesh like some weird dance on a page. I got about twenty something pages worth out of that year. Left them all on the drawing table. Got home the next day, it was all gone.
Jim: When I stop asking questions at to what they like and hate and what not. That’s something I love to capture when i draw each of these character. I don’t need thought bubbles to explain their ego’s and personalities. You can look at them and see their thought process. That’s my favorite thing about art. Not just drawing cool characters, but drawing what you can’t see. But, it’s there none the less. Like drawing gravity. It’s invisible, but in the manner that you illustrate an individual, you can feel their body weight. That’s what I get a kick out of art. Drawing the invisible.
Me: One character that has a misleading look would be Francis … he’s so menacing, yet Sissy is the heavy?
Me: I love the feel of Neo Pompeii – I might even be convinced to move my Tick comic books over to make room for the first Capzowski issue. Okay, so the big question – I know your life is in transition – but, let’s say the your Art Fairy Godmother floats down from wherever they float down from … what would be your art related wish?
Jim: Lol. To write a novel.
Me: A graphic novel?
Jim: A novel first. Then a graphic novel. A combo piece let’s say. One would feed into the other.
What a weekend so far.
There has been someone on my mind for years. A friend that left such an impression on me, that after life took us in different directions – I found myself thinking of him a lot.
Wondering what ever happened to him. Laughing at silly things we did. Smiling at the memories of us trying to put a comic book together based on a short story I wrote in college. Sighing at the night he was there for me – during a very difficult time in my life.
I missed my friend.
I have searched through the years – internet searches, inquiries to mutual friends – nothing. I searched Facebook and could not find him.
I have art he drew for me – poems he wrote for me.
One poem in particular played a huge role in an intense conversation I had with my son about a year ago.
I won’t go into details.
Suffice it to say, I wanted to reconnect. I wanted to find out how he was. Was he happy? Was he still drawing? Was he married with children?
I found a mutual friend on Facebook, who I’ve also looked for over the years, and lo and behold – he was friends with the person I was looking for.
I couldn’t have been happier. Sent friend request and waited.
He accepted my friend request. (Isn’t that funny? Your ‘real life’ friends have to approve your request for friendship.)
I got to speak to him via the internet today.
I type fast – very fast. And bombarded him with ‘OMG’s’ and a million questions.
Of course one of the questions was if I could share some of his art with you here. I won’t know until we talk again. But, trust me when I say, if I DO get to share it – your socks will be blown off.
I was shocked to see a couple of his photos on his page were of drawings he did of characters from my short story ‘Purple Haze’.
No. Not the song.
I maintain to this day that I hadn’t heard the Hendrix title when I wrote that story.
My dad had been to New York, I begged him to get me something, anything from Bloomingdale’s.
He came back with a see-through phone with pink neon inside. With my lights out at night, my bedroom was awash in purple light. THAT is where the name to my story came from.
Anyway, I was so inspired by our chat, that I decided to go to my mom’s house, over the river (yes, really. No woods to go through though.) and finally retrieve my box containing memories and my writing from college.
Got it home and with nervous excitement, I opened what felt like a time capsule.
Oh SO many things in there! Photos, letters, autographed books, the scripts and press kits from Hannibal and Silence of the Lambs. Yearbooks and primary school work books. Nic’s ‘first year’ calendar. A love letter from someone – I have no idea who?!
And, my creative writing folder.
I took it out gently, as if I were holding the holy grail. In my head, golden light bathed the room and intense ‘ta-da’ chord came out of nowhere (you know what I mean, that angelic-climactic sound.)
I opened the folder.
Purple Haze part 2. Okay …
Some works by fellow creative writing classmates.
Hand written short stories.
No Purple Haze part 1.
It has to be somewhere. I’ll have to search through more boxes – I have lots and lots of ‘memory boxes’. No, I’m not a hoarder – I’m sentimental. I keep every note, every card, every picture.
If it’s meant to turn up, it will. Like my friend, after 20 years of searching.
And I will share one picture with you – because it says ‘To Amanda’ on it and I think that means I’m allowed to?
(I really need to google that whole ‘what can I post on my blog without permission’ thing one day.)