Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The things your not told about riding a bike.

My day job (as most of you know) is working for a commercial printer in the suburbs of the East Bay. There I scan transparencies, smooth out blotchy skin and remove blemishes from the faces of paid models in brochures and flyers. Not very rewarding, however it beats my last job working in the business office of my art school.

I have spent the last five years exclusively around art people, while in school and then working at the school. Now I am thrust back into the other 95% of humanity and to them I am an outsider.

Now I don’t mean this in the typical High school way, they are all very gracious. Yet, there are a few things I do that make them look at me a little cockeyed.

For example I ride a bike. I am originally from Los Angeles where one has to have a car. When I moved to Oakland for school I realized that here you don’t need to have a car so badly. I have done really well to get by on busses, the Bart and my bike. There is even a type of hipster here that has built their subculture around bikes (which I am not one off… to them I am just a nerd, but nonetheless a peer in two wheeled mobility).

However the further inland you go in the East Bay the rules begin to change on you, and a bike rider is no longer viewed as an upstanding possibly even cool member of society, but as just some poor bastard without a car.

" My new ride."

Recently my office was in hysterics because one of the Customer Service Reps (a 24 year old whom we’ll call Maura) bought a new car, a candy red Audi A3. Maura was rightfully excited and everyone left his or her stations to go drool over it. All of course except me… because I don’t really care about cars. This isn’t even defiance against cars, just a reluctance to care. At my work every one talks about nice cars they’ll never buy, houses they hope to own, gadgets, and the richest people in the world. Then I usually pipe up with something like “ Don’t you hate having honey on your hands.”

But I’d be lying if I said that this made me turn my critical third eye (the one right above my other two hidden by my Beatle’esque bangs) onto myself . Especially since my bike riding to work days are numbered as I am going to be buying a car while in LA Next Weekend.. Here are some noteworthy reflections from my tenure as a two wheeler:

Observation the First:
1. Wind: The wind is the bicyclist’s natural enemy, it will push at you and make steering a pain in the ass. It also causes falling leaves and twigs to get in your eyes. If you are not vigilant it will knock you down and steal your wallet and your pride.

Observation the Second and so forth:
2. Cold knuckles: Not only is the Bay Area cold at 6:30 am in the morning the wind that whips at a bike rider is even colder. The result: knuckles that freeze into ice cubes. I could safely say that I know what the victims of Mr. Freeze are going through.

3. Sweat: After a long bike ride when I run up the apartment stairs and peel my jacket off, I am as slippery as a newborn dolphin. This complicates your attire for going to work, as new dress shirts can get the dreaded armpit shadow that vain metrosexuals (like me) fear more than love handles. Therefore where everyone else at work looks cute in their non-sweaty clothes, you are red faced and panting in paint-splattered jeans.

4. Bart trains: Have you ever felt the harsh eyes of loathing upon you from a crowd of people? No, then enter an early morning Bart train crowded with bleary-eyed people with your trusty two-wheeled steed. When you do this everyone will gawk at you with that same “ what an inconsiderate prick” look on their faces. This is how Frankenstein’s monster felt when looking at the angry townsfolk. It is not uncommon for you to be ushered of the train by the torches and pitchforks Bart riders keep in their briefcases.

"The calm before the storm"

5. Hookers: I ride past them everyday. Take a little jaunt down Macarthur blvd. At about 6:25 am and you get a good long look at all the goods. What I learned: Well to do white men will take a hooker to Carl’s Jr. pre or post the exchange of a aforementioned goods. It’s right down the street from the Skank Hotel, and Western Bacon Cheese Burgers are only a dollar! Who could ask for better!

6. Pot holes: they suck, especially when you are drunk and it is 2:30 in the morning. You should have gone home hours ago but your friends party was just too much fun and you hate crashing at someone’s’ house (because then you have to sleep with your socks on and that just can’t happen.). This is even more complicated when some asshole has stolen your bike seat and you in your drunken confusion can’t imagine why you would buy a bike without a seat.

" Hamburger Hooker and the Sleepin' Socks"

7. Exhaust Fumes: Just because you don’t own a car that doesn’t mean you don’t get to enjoy them. I am now a connoisseur of exhaust and I can safely say that Sports Cars provide the taster with the most flavorful bouquet, and long lasting burning after taste.

8. Coffee: No matter how hermetically sealed your thermos is, coffee has it’s own agenda. That agenda is to leak on your bag filled with comic books and sketchbooks. It’ll happen kids don’t ride with coffee unless you enjoy smelling like an espresso machine and wrinkly pages of Batman.

I’m sure there are more but that is all for now. Keep living the dream Bay Area!


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Working for the Weekend

It has been a productive weekend on the sketchin’ side of life. Today I dropped off some work for the second annual “Overhung” show at Boontling Gallery. Last year they covered the gallery Salon style from floor to ceiling with work. Although it is a small gallery it has a big presence and with the walls stuffed full of art it is an amazing sight to see.

If you are available this coming Friday night you should check it out ( Boontling is @ 4224 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland) . To give you a scope of the show when I got there at 1:00 pm today they already had 145 pieces to display. One of the owners/curators Derek said that they wanted at least one hundred more.

Below is my primary contribution to the show along with a few other smaller works.

I have set up a little progression of sorts just to spotlight how this painting came about.

A while back my friend Toby lent me a Wacom tablet to experiment with, after numerous conversations where he tried to convince me of the benefits of digital painting. I am not a big fan of digital painting although I am not computer illiterate in such matters. At my day job I spend all day on Photoshop, the last thing I want to do when I paint is look at a Mac.
Recently though I have been experimenting with coloring ink drawings using Photoshop and Painter to some surprisingly pleasing results. Although what I am about to show here is how I have found it most useful, in helping me decide which colors will best suit my current painting.


In wanting a brand spanking new piece for Overhung I took a sketch from my first post and reworked it onto good watercolor paper.

After scanning the inked drawing I used photoshop to loosely paint local color and give me a sense of the color scheme and mood I wanted to work with.

I whipped out the Watercolor said goodbye to my Saturday and hello to a fun painting.

See you Friday!


Thursday, February 23, 2006

First there was nothing, then....


A New Era in the Mythology of the extraordinary life of Vincent Perea!

The Story so Far:
Before Art School I used to sketch a whole bunch. Whether I was in class or on public transit, I had a lot of time to devote to filling page after page of journals. When I moved away to art school this got more complicated and after a while I noticed I was spending more time on painting sketchbook pages than on my actual artwork. Eventually I would phase out most sketching unless it pertained to finished illustrations.

It’s funny but the pressure to build a good-looking sketchbook page was greater than most of my other work. So long story short I stopped keeping a regular sketchbook.

In October 2005 I got a new job that requires a long commute with around 40 minutes of down time on the Bart train. After two months of simply reading during this time I noticed that I started working less, producing less work, thus I was unhappy.

During the summer months I had been posting funny little blogs on Myspace to the amusement of my friends. However with the new job this too dropped off because of the lack of downtime to surf the web at my new job.

So in December I bought another sketchbook, and jumped right back into my old habits. Now I am happier and producing more work. I can experiment again and try out new ideas before I go to paint, and the commuting time is just enough to be productive.

To keep this ball rolling I am starting this blog so I have a way to:

a. Show newer work to the people, while my website is being redesigned and configured.

b. Have a venue ready for my rambling thoughts and drawings, forcing me to keep on truckin…as it were.

Some note worthy inspirations to this endeavor are:

a. John K of Ren and Stimpy fame started one of these and will regularly update his site with amazing caricature of Celebrities.

b. John Hodgeman’s book “ The Areas of My Expertise” A hilarious almanac of made up trivia that is cleverly and meticulously written. A lycanthropic table of the phases of the moon, a chapter devoted to the history of the disappearance of the Hobo. 100% brilliant.

So here is a recap of some of my recent sketches. I generally rough sketch a drawing in the first forty minutes, then on the way home I tighten it up. Later that week at home I will ink the drawing, and then the next few rides I’ll shade it in. or start something else.

Lately I have been very influenced by Photos from the early part of the 1900s, in particular erotica photos from that time. Which explains most of these.

(My living Room: The Nintendo and VHS suggest that I live in the year 1985.)

(For an upcoming painting that I'll post when I'm done, that is my mom and I )

Keep Living the Dream!