Sunday, December 6, 2009


Sorry for not posting sooner--I was visiting my folks on the east coast.
I almost didn't go to Venice yesterday because it looked like it might rain, but as the guy selling homemade recycled plastic cup Christmas light disco ball thingies next to me so aptly said, 'If you think it's going to rain, it won't.'
Business was pretty slow, though. I wanted to look like I was doing *something*, and came up with this-

It occurred to me that it resembled a paranoid schizophrenic's drawing, like what Louis Wain would draw if he was into dolphins instead of cats. I had a disturbing thought, that maybe one didn't draw this way because one was insane, but one became insane because one drew this way. I searched my mental backlogs for paranoid notions, theories connecting Hebrews to space aliens and whatnot. I was relieved to find no sinister Freemasons or omniscient bankers.
There was a guy dressed up as a tree on stilts walking back and forth, and some people next to me trying to form a human pyramid. I'd sketch them, but if I sketched every freak that wandered into my field of sight, I'd soon run out of paper. I fear I've grown kind of blase about performance artists. On the other hand, there was a redtailed hawk flying back and forth over the strip, practically strafing it. It was being harassed by some ravens. I wondered if anyone else was aware of this drama playing out in the airspace over our heads.
Only sold one drawing yesterday, but it was a picture of Totoro for a couple with a little girl. They had no reason to know I was a Miyazaki fan, so I was pretty thrilled.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I look up from my table and there is a fellow in Yassir Arafat headgear smashing a guitar on the pavement. Little guitar splinters fly everywhere. Another guy starts berating him. Is he the owner of the guitar? Seems a valid conclusion but I can't say for sure. The second guy told the guitar smasher they should go into an alley and sort it out. I didn't see how it ended and will probably never know.

But most of the interactions I've observed have been friendly and civil. People have been telling me I've been selling myself short and that my 'Laid Off by Disney' sign is too pathetic. I politely disagree. I don't want pity, but the sign gets attention. Maybe a time will come when I don't feel the need for it any more, and that will be a lovely day. As for my pricing...I've tried NOT selling myself short in the past. For that, I got absolutely nothing. Anyway, it's hard to put a value on art. In a world that includes scumbags like Thomas Kinkade, I like to think I am giving discerning buyers more for their money.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


A friend lent me a chair! Now we're really in business!
A self-proclaimed rock star insisted on borrowing my dry-erase marker!
Better entry pending. I'm pretty beat.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Positive Thinking

The Main St. Starbucks does NOT change the entry code to their restroom daily. I checked.
Today was also a bust, even with my new improved super deluxe setup--a big sheet for me to sit on, and rocks to weigh the drawings down so they won't blow away. What I REALLY need is a folding chair and table. Hopefully I won't have to steal them.
At least more people came up to shoot the breeze with me this time. Had one exchange that ran something like this-
YOUNG GUY IN SHADES- What did you do for Disney?
ME- I was a storyboard artist in training.
GUY- Wow, that's tough...Did you go to school for that?
ME- Eyup, I went to art school.
GUY- Well...great story! Thanks!
Even though that may not have been the most polite thing to say, I think he was sincere and I felt strangely complimented. I've always wanted to be the subject of a great story.
After a similar exchange, a middle-aged guy commended me on my positive attitude. It was because I said I was happy to be working outside, I think. This was also encouraging. In the job market it seems to be crucial to project a positive attitude even if one isn't really feeling it.
Oh well, week days are pretty dead. Beatles Butcher didn't even show up today. I think I'll take tomorrow off and work on some mini-portfolios with art and contact stuff. I want to drop by the Creative Talent Network Animation Expo in Burbank this weekend, at least for a little while, before I head to Venice again.
At least I sketched this bulldog!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Today was rather a washout. As in, I didn't make a cent. Even the dogs were less interesting. The only standout was a dachshund with wheels instead of legs, and wheelie dachsunds are a bit of a cliche.
People were helpful, though. They pointed out that nobody could see my drawings and that I was too far back from the main drag. Everyone is aware of the guitar player next to me, making hash out of Beatles songs, because they can hear him. The cruel advantages of audio!
Tomorrow I'll make some refinements to my setup. Once again, I tell myself I've lost nothing (except for time and gas money) and gained knowledge. The entry code to the restroom in the Starbucks on Main Street, for instance. I wonder if they change the code daily to foil people in my predicament.

...I guess I'll find out.

Monday, November 16, 2009


My first day selling drawings at Venice Beach. Most of what I know about busking comes from the Tenacious D movie. ("In Venice Beach there was a guy named Kage/When he was busking he was all the rage!!") This is where I learned that you have to get off the street before dark or the droogs will get you.
I'd staked out a spot, put down a pillowcase to sit on and written something suitably pathetic on my dry erase board. I brought my Mickey Mouse cap with 'Moro' embroidered on it, but I couldn't bring myself to put it on. I'm just not ready for that yet. A stylishly dressed young woman went by on a bike and asked me if I had seen two small horses. I hadn't.
I sat there for several hours. A few people came by to share their socio-economic theories, but nobody wanted a drawing. A guy wanted me to draw him a monkey pro bono. I wouldn't. Another guy came by and handed me a small orange.
I tried to maintain my cheerful facade but I was starting to get discouraged. I reminded myself that I had nothing to lose, but that I was gaining Life Experience, something I still lacked as I was going on 30. If nothing else, I had seen more different kinds of dogs in the space of a few hours than I had in my whole life. Standouts included a monstrous neapolitan mastiff with jowls like mudflaps on a tractor trailer and an otherwise attractive mutt with only one ear. Also a thing with a bulldog's body and chihuahua head, resembling some godawful Soviet experiment. I suspect I'll be seeing the same dogs day after day, but I'm not sure I'll get used to the sight of some of 'em.
I was feeling rather shitty when an English dude commissioned four drawings from me, including one of a sparkly pink unicorn.

Weirdest request of the day- a hippopotamus peeking out of a tent.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


...I am going to go down to Venice Beach with a poster board that says 'I was LAID OFF from DISNEY FEATURE ANIMATION. I will DRAW ANY ANIMAL YOU CAN NAME, $5.'
And I am going to blog about it here.