I got some new markers and was testing them out. No one in particular. A guy at a coffee shop walked by and I tried to exaggerate him from memory.
This started out as exercise with paint. I started to like it and of course spent several hours on it when it was just suppose to be an hour tops!
He wasn’t just any man, he was a man who wore a hat! Never mind that his eyes were so sunk into his skull he was looking through two tunnels at the world outside his hatted head. There was a presence within that he was barely aware. It was a turbulent tornado that tried to breath in and out through every pore as if trying to stretch all of them out simultaneously so as to be able to let itself out all at once unhindered or let more of this darkness in? Was it even dark? He couldn’t say. He didn’t say much. He wasn’t in control of this dark wind inside and yet it didn’t control him, but he was always apologizing for blowing the hats off other people that got too close.
I began the drawing in a bar that was actually playing AC/DC, Aerosmith, and Motorhead. I had drawn Lemmy from Motorhead a few months ago as a warm up at a coffee shop in SoHo before seeing a gallery show at Arcadia Galley. “The Ace of Spades” came on the jute box (are they still called that?) Maybe my hearing is bad and I just always heard the wrong word. Inspired by the energy in the song I began doing a doodle. At first I was thinking “rock pose” kind of a cliche’ Axel Rose from Guns and Roses mixed with Metallica. This was my era of music influence in the mid to late 80’s. I ended up picturing Lemmy though, so the hat and iron cross got in there. I think the long hair was/is a standard. I didn’t use any reference except whatever was floating around in my head.
Got the call at 12 noon-ish on Friday. Turned in the final at 7pm the same day.
What a turbulent time we live in. When I made this illustration, the details were still coming out. At that time the story was, cop shoots unarmed teen. The police department’s response was just one insulting thing after another which infuriated the residents and there was a peaceful march. I think for the purpose was to vent their rage.
Every march I’ve seen whether live or on video, it seems imbalanced. I saw Occupy Wall Street on it’s second day. I thought it’d be over within a week or so. They looked like a bunch of kids on a field trip to NYC that couldn’t get a room in a hotel. The protest was really waning and almost over after two weeks. Then on one of their little marches up to Union Square a white shirt police officer pepper sprayed some young girls who were already pinned up, or “kettled” against a wall with officers containing them with plastic orange fencing. The video showed them just yelling, not trying to resist. I never would have seen the footage if they hadn’t been pepper sprayed. Occupy doubled it’s size each week after that becoming a national story. Two years after Occupy was “cleaned out”, the banks, the Stock Exchange, the NYPD etc. are just relaxing their security presence in the area.
Within a month after the pepper spray the NYPD had pulled out all it’s toys. Surveillance cameras on mobile cherry pickers, cop cars parked everywhere, officers surrounding the parameters of Zuccotti Park. And it kept going with sound cannons, and what looked like armored cars, and helicopters. About 3am or so every night the fire dept or sometimes the cops would pass the park and hit the sirens so the protesters couldn’t sleep. This is just what I observed.
A really interesting thing that happened after the first clash in Ferguson was the powers that be sent a black officer, unarmed, to face the crowd with all their military looking police equipment pulled back. By the end of the day everyone was BBQing. No violence.
I’m no expert on the Constitution, but I do remember something about freedom of assembly. The people still needed to vent again. Instead of letting them, the police showed up again with their guns drawn and tear gas, and of course violence came out again.
I could elaborate for a while but I think the point is there. I put it on the police for escalating things. They need to learn some different responses to crowds. I can only conclude they like things to get out of hand because as a group they are a bunch of violent prone people carrying guns and this will happen again.
I’s always an adventure for me to go through older work and remember my thought processes at the time of making an image. Over all the faces are fairly consistent. The older some of them get the less familiar I am with the me that made it, but it’s usually familiar.
Very busy this summer! I’ve been working on a second book for National Geographic for Kids. In addition, I’ve been creating 13 new paintings for a gallery show at Last Rites Gallery here in NYC. Tricky thing those gallery shows. It isn’t just about creating them, then you have to photograph the large ones (in this case all of them) and then you have to get them all framed some how. With an illustration all I need to do is get it done, scan, and send. This framing thing is a full time job!
This illustration subject was about the Ebola virus hitting America and all the hype or just being safe. This is suppose to represent “average” America. I had to design a bio hazzard suit for a dog. The jokes that went around in the cover meeting were great!