Thursday, October 28, 2010

Deadlines, Alex Beeching, and My Love Affair With Constellations

The Bison Constellation by Alex Beeching]

I have a thing for stars the way Homer has a thing for beer. Meaning it's more than a thing, it's a sort of love affair. Every time I step outside at nighttime, the first thing I do is look to the sky in the hopes of a clear night and plenty of twinkling, holes to heaven. I'm planning a painting involving a hesh little kid looking to the stars, with wonderment in his eyes. It may end up being part of my "The Beatnicks, The Bastards and The Saints" project in fact. Boy is that lingering. (Someone give me a deadline so I'll get painting with a fury again!)

Anyways, I found these magical posters on, a great site for finding affordable art and prints. They're by a Scottish artist/illustrator named Alex Beeching. I may have to treat myself to a little birthday present and snatch one of these posters for the only remaining empty wall in my room. Yes, I have saved one wall in my room that I will leave blank until I am hit with the perfect decor for it over time. It will be my labor of love, but it will end up so much better than stressing to decorate the whole thing at once. 

There are still prints left of most of these on 20x200 if you too want your own indoor constellation. Then you don't have to pretend that airplanes are shooting stars when you really need a wish. Bad joke, but good song. 

The Bear Constellation

 The Constellation of The Elephant

Silver Horse

Momento Vitae

- Amy
Listening to: Well I'm really still listening to Jarrod Gorbel's "I'll Do Better," but that would be boring to relist it. So I'll give you another one on my current playlist - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's "Love Burns." I love these guys.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jarrod Gorbel Goes Solo, The Glory of Shameless Weirdos, and Home Videos

Today's Inspiration: Jarrod Gorbel

Not just the musician, but the weirdo. You might know him better as the front man of NY indie rock band The Honorary Title. But what you should also get to know is the eccentric, rambling jokester behind the brooding, wailing artist. He's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Except a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde who's sides are both equally magnificent despite being complete atitheses.

On the one hand you have the talented musician. This side is exemplified in Gorbel's new series of homemade music videos put together by him and his talented filmmaker/musician friends (including the likes of Jack Antonoff, Nicole Atkins, and Yoed Nir). Each opens on Jarrod Gorbel in a different location of his native New York City (churches, taxi cabs, rooftops, and quickie marts to name a few), Then the video cuts to Jarrod and his accompaniment performing a stripped down acoustic version of one of the ten songs from his new solo album "Devil's Got A New Friend" in that location. Each is wonderfully spur of the moment, personal and honest in it's own way. Boy can that kid wail. Here's one of my favorites. Check them all out here.

Then on the other hand you've got the idiosyncratic loon who stars in his own homemade skits. Weird? Yes. Hilarious? Oh yes. Gorbel again calls on the talents of his friends, utilizing the skills of filmmaker Brian Lerner. How Lerner manages to stay sober whilst Jarrod is ranting and raving is beyond me. The videos almost always descent into potty humor or perversity by the end; but that's the beauty of Jarrod Gorbel: his childlike shamelessness to be exactly who he is, oddities, foibles and all. Here are two of my favorite old skits. You can check them all out on Jarrod's Youtube channel

Jarrod will actual be in LA tomorrow night at the Fonda's Music Box playing with fun (made up of members of The Format) and Steel Train. If you can make it out, you won't regret it. When he's performing live you get to see both personalities in action simultaneously. 

- Amy
Listening to: Jarrod Gorbel's "Weight"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jack White, Loretta Lynn, and Snogging

Today's Inspiration: "Portland, Oregon" by Jack White and Loretta Lynn

I love that Jack White and Loretta Lynn have been teaming up. This song is especially catchy. I'm sure Jack White is crowing pretty loud that he got to kiss Loretta in the video, too. You just gotta love that Tim Burton hair and those beady little eyes of his.

- Amy

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Selvedge Yard, Great Bloggers, and That Bygone Golden Era

Inspiration of the Day: The Selvedge Yard Blog

[Some of what you'll find at The Selvedge Yard]

"In my head there's all these classic cars and outlaw cowboy bands, I always kinda sorta wished I was someone else." These Gaslight Anthem lyrics ring loud and true in this heart of mine. That "someone else" for me is Jon Patrick, the mastermind behind my favorite blog The Selvedge Yard, an online ode to the golden age of the yester-year.

Life as a blogger can be rough. I know first hand. And I don't mean for those once-every-three-months sporadic bloggers. I'm talking about the dedicated bloggers who somehow manage to put out intriguing posts meshing useful information with humorous personal anecdotes and witty commentary every single day. This is the kind of blogger I aspire to be. Jon Patrick is one of these blogging geniuses. Every day I head over to The Selvedge Yard and every day I am greeted with another post, stocked full of pictures and overflowing like a fountain of vintage knowledge. Vintage tattoos, classic cars and bikes, films, music, men's style, icons, artists, photographers, architects, intellectuals, outlaws, cowboys, vixens, models, sports stars... all things great about that time not so long ago.    

Just take a look at the last 6 posts:
1. Even Cowboys Get The Blues: Vintage Phots of Dudes in Denim
2. Relive Drag Racing’s Top Rivalry 11/10: The Snake vs. The Mongoose
3. James “Hunt The Shunt”: The 1970’s High-Flyin Lothario of Formula 1
4. An Afternoon with…: Photographer Michael Mundy
5. Photography of Bob Magill: Epic Images of American Motorcycling
6. Robert Mitchum, Pt. 1: A Love/Hate Relationship With Hollywood

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  James Dean, Johnny Cash, Ralph Lauren, Jayne Mansfield, Bob Marley, The Bristol Tattoo Club, The Clash, Dennis Hopper, Jack Kerouac - all these guys and more can be found at The Selvedge Yard.  I always felt like I was born in the wrong era. I rock Marilyn Monroe eyeliner every day, have an iPod and CD collection full to the brim and overflowing with everything from The Rat Pack to Johnny Cash to Led Zeppelin, and am constantly taking notes from icon/vixens Audrey Hepburn, Anita Pallenberg, and Bridget Bardot. It's all a part of my feeble attempt to live out my life in the style and class of those bygone eras. They say you can't live in the past, but I say you can. And The Selvedge Yard helps me do just that.

- Amy
On my iPod: Led Zeppelin's "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Humphrey Bogart, a Study in 'However's, and The Walk of Love

Today’s inspiration: Humphrey Bogart.

Bogart is a study in ‘however’s. An embodiment of cool, this actor was all man, yet still effortlessly charming and vulnerable. He was a bad student and got expelled from Phillips Academy in Massachusetts, but nonetheless ended up an extremely well read man who could quote Plato and Shakespeare and ran in the circle of philosophers and writers. He worked for years on Broadway and in the film industry to little success or recognition, not getting his first big break till he was 37 (The Petrified Forest), yet after that he had one of the most successful careers in the history of film. He weathered three tumultuous marriages which took a heavy toll on him, however found lasting happiness in his fourth marriage to his costar from To Have And Have Not, Lauren Bacall. He was famous for his role as Rick Blaine who let the girl go at the end of Casablanca, but in real life he never would have let the woman he loved go. (Bacall said he once phoned her from right here in Newport Beach telling her he wanted to see her and that he’d walk all the way from Newport to LA if he had to. She got in her car and started heading south on PCH only to find him walking on the side of the highway with a flower in his lapel. It's over a 50 mile trek from Newport to LA. If that isn’t romantic, what is?)  

Why that nasally growling voice or those droopy hound dog eyes are so endearing, I can’t explain. It’s all a part of the glory, the mystique, and the unexplainable allure that was Humphrey Bogart.

- Amy

Listening to: "As Time Goes By" 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New York Magazine, Talent Osmosis, and David Bowie

Today's Inspiration: These amazing logos for the different online sections of New York Magazine. A fine publication with enviously good design. I'd work there for free if some of their talent would rub off on me!

- Amy
Listening to: David Bowie's "Suffragette City"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tammy Wynette Surviving Hurricane George, Tweaking Out on Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and Sketches

I had to go into work tonight to put in a few hours so that we can make our press deadline for the magazine. After one caffeine infused pumpkin spice latte, four hours straight at my computer screen designing like crazy, and one jammin' Justin Bieber pandora station (I know, I know... it was a low point. I needed something peppy to keep my eyelids open and the Bieber did the trick, OK?), I arrived home more jittery and tweaked out than a meth head. So I thought it would be a good time to break out the old sketchbook and get to work on a new sketch. I haven't sketched anything since I illustrated Jon Lovitz for an interview I did with him for the magazine. I was long overdue to get these stubby fingers of mine back in action.

I've been really into Tammy Wynette recently. She's the epitome of what a woman should be. Strong but vulnerable, beautiful, talented, and a survivor. She survived Hurricane George. (George Jones that is.) A survivor. I was trolling the Goodwill vinyl section and found her album "Womanhood" for $1.50. Best $1.50 I've ever spent. It's been spinning non-stop on my record player. The title track is so classic country. It starts out with distorted guitars straight out of a Johnny Cash song and goes into a ballad about a girl dealing with the struggles of being a foxy young thing with men throwing themselves at her. The main verse goes, "I am a Christian Lord, but I'm a woman too..." So badass country. So I grabbed the record, the cover of which is an arresting picture of the bombshell blond in a sleeveless sequined number (not too different from the one I have) and got sketching. The above photos are as far as I got.

It's now 2:43 and I'll be waking up in about 4 hours. Guhhhhh. I'll leave you with this video of Miss Tammy Wynette. It's her classic, "Stand By Your Man."

Listening to: Tammy Wynette's "50 Words or Less"

[I want one of those glittery Christmas trees.]

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Being Big in Japan, Screenprinting, and Caravaggio

These are a set of screenprints I did of my sister Jen. She's big in Japan. But ever before she modeled in a co-project between Newport Beach's Almond Surfboards and Ron Herman Japan, I immortalized Jen's face on paper in this series. The underpanting on each is different, so each one is unique. Screenprinting is so much fun, because it's instant satisfaction. One swish of your paint filled squeegee over the screen and you've got an instant masterpiece on your paper.

[ Underpainting is a copy of a portion of the sky in Albrecht Altdorfer's The Battle of Issus, 1529. See Below.]

My favorite one is the one where Jen looks like mother Mary with the red background and halo. Kind of creepy isn't it? Everyone always asks if they can have this one, but the lucky owner is Ryan Creamer now, so you'll have to take it up with him. I've always had a thing for halos. I have a folder saved on my computer full of different halos from different art periods. I love using them in my work, thus "The Beatniks, The Bastards, and The Saints" project. I like how Caravaggio did his - simple, delicate, thin, gold ovals hovering above the subject's head.

[ Madonna di Loreto ]

 [ St. Jerome ]

[ The Inspiration of St. Matthew ]

- Amy
Listening to: Best Coast's "Something In The Way"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Lakers 3-peat, The 3 Stooges in Miami, and Trevor Ariza 2.0

[I read the news today: My twin sister Jen (left) and I celebrating the morning after the Lakers won the NBA Championship last season.]

Basketball season is hereeeee!!! Who else is pumped?! Kobe (cue "Nothing Comes Close To You"), Pau, Ron-Ron, Fisher, Odie "the long arm of the law", Go-Go-Gadget-legs Shannon, and some frsh new faces. Matt Barnes, Theo Ratliff, Steve Black, Derrick Caracter - and the one I'm really excited about - the new Trevor Ariza look alike.

 I never quite recovered from Ariza's departure. What a handsome thief he was. Hopefully Ariza 2.0 (Christian name Devin Ebanks) proves his rookie self to be worth while. Lakers 3-peat here we come! I just hope I can make it through the whole season without suffering from chronic eye-roll syndrome for all the talk there's going to be about the Three Musketeers of Miami. Gagggg.

[ And there's a lot more where this came from.]

Listening to: Bright Eyes' "Hot Knives"

Monday, October 11, 2010

Deer Tick, Backstage Break-ins at HOB Anaheim and Sleazy Rags

Today's inspiration: Deer Tick.

I've been listening to War Elephant all day and all this last weekend. Which was a great weekend. It included but was not limited to:

• Watching way too many Columbo re-runs
• Getting a free meal from my pops. I've turned into a real miser now that I'm saving to get a new car at the end of the month.
• Reuniting with my dear old friend Danny Nicoletto from my Nashville days who is out on tour with Anberlin for his family company Land of 1000 Hills Coffee. (A great cause. Check it out.)

{ Me, Matt, and Danny. }

• Getting to take him and his Phillie-bred friend Matt to the beach. Matt was a Pacific Ocean virgin.
• Getting semi-snuck into the Anaheim HOB Anberlin/Crash Kings/Civil Twilight show thanks to Danny's Houdini skills.
• Slinging merch with Danny and Matt.
• Discovering Civil Twilight - a trio of South Africans who relocated to Nashville and who put on a pretty epic live show that included dark, moody, effects laden sounds and haunting vocals. (They even have a song where they use the Jimmy Page violin-bow-on-guitar effect.
• Hearing two epic covers. (Civil Twilight covering Massive Attack's "Teardrop" and Crash Kings covering Black Sabbath's "War Pigs")
• Meeting some interesting new friends on the tour.

• Spending all of Sunday at Pirate's Cove, basking in the sun with cheetos and sleezy rags - The Enquirer and The Sun included. Did you know Prince Charles was gay?
• A BBQ with family and friends.

All in all a successful weekend.

Happy Monday. (An oxymoron, I know.)
- Amy
Listening to: Deer Tick's "Baltimore Blues No. 1"

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Royal Tennenbaums, Living Life Like a Movie, and Dawes

Inspiration of The Day: Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums.

I love this movie; especially this scene. The golden lighting; the abstract, whimsical era Wes Anderson creates for the backdrop;  the endearing Luke Wilson in those '70s aviators with that scruffy beard; the melancholy Gwyneth Paltrow in that wooly fur coat with her blond bob and thick black liner; Alec Baldwin's low, gravely voice narrating the scene before us; then the cut to slow motion and the long pregnant pause followed by the unassuming entrance of folksy guitar picking as Nico's cover of Jackson Browne's "These Days" begins to play. If only our everyday moments were this charming, right? I think I might start carrying around my iPod speakers so that I can play the soundtrack to my life as it happens.

- Amy
Listening to: Dawes' "Peace In The Valley"
Check out this live version. They really jam at the end. I love the illustrations on the cover of this album, North Hills, too.

[Click to enlarge.]

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Talking with Merle Haggard, Singing Till Your Dizzy and Office Meltdowns

[Merle Haggard and legendary western suit maker Nudie Cohn, circa 1970's. © Jeff Albertson/CORBIS]

"Singing is the number one therapy. If you can get somewhere and holler for an hour and a half, you'll feel good."

Merle Haggard said this to me and I believe it. I'm that girl you see driving down the highway with her mouth wide open, belting out whatever it is I'm listening to, while you look on laughing and thanking your lucky stars that I'm in my car and not your car. You know the one. They've always got that diva scowl on. The one that says, "these lyrics are the soundtrack to my life." Sometimes they're even doing the steering wheel drums. I can't do those. No sense of inner rhythm. Despite being one of these people, nothing makes my day more than when I see another Freeway Liberace, singing at the top of their lungs as if they forgot their windows were see through; whether they're completely rockin' out, getting their bass groove on, or ready to internally combust from trying to hit those unearthly notes in their favorite Mariah love ballad. I salute these men and women. Their lives are probably 50% less stressful than the guy in the lane next to them who isn't screaming his favorite Billy Idol song. They're also probably 50% less likely to go postal on the rest of their office when their Swingline stapler gets jammed. Did we learn nothing from our high school yearbook notes? "Sing like no one's listening, love like you've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching." [Author's Note: Did you know that Mark Twain is the originator of this quote? Who said Mark Twain wasn't relevant to real life.] 

[Click to enlarge.]

Here's the interview I did with the legend himself, Merle Haggard. It was fun designing the layout. My inspiration for the header was old "Wanted" posters and Country Playbills like the ones Hatch Show Print used to put out. The thing that struck me most about Merle was that he truly is the voice of the blue collar man. It's like he has no idea he's an American icon. First priority on his mind is how soon he can go fishing. That's what I love about doing these interviews - being reminded that these people who seem so unreachable and so high above the rest of us peons are just regular everyday human beings when it comes down to it. 

- Amy
Listening to: The Walkmen's "Stranded"

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ringo Starr, Walruses, and Fur Fetishes

Here's another "love doodle" I drew for our entertainment writers, Jill and Gary of This month they covered Ringo Starr and The All Starr Band at Humphrey's by the Bay. Apparently it was an amazing show. Who would expect anything else? Check out the show review here

While googling old Beatles music videos and scenes from A Hard Day's Night and HELP! I found my Halloween costume for this year. How fun would it be to get a group to dress up as the Walrus and his posse from the "I Am The Walrus" video (check it out below)? The eggmen would be really easy. The only real big ticket item would be the Walrus suit. I bet we could find one on ebay. Who's with me?! 

In other news: I'm on a fur kick. Before you go digging around your garage for your old bucket of red paint, you should know that it's faux. It started with a vest, then it moved onto a purse (OK, this one isn't faux, but it IS vintage - so that makes it only HALF as wrong), and now I've got my sights set on a jacket. I know, it sounds a little overboard. But look at it!

[Kimichi Blue Lady Bird Faux Fur Coat. Possible early birthday present to myself?]

It's almost like Pheasant feathers or something. I promise I wouldn't wear it with green pleated khakis. I don't know about that. The best part? It's only $148! Which is $148 more than I have since I'm trying to buy a new (new-used that is) car at the end of the month. It still doesn't beat the deal I got on my vintage purse. I got it on ebay for $35! It didn't have a chain, so I picked one up at Michael's for $3, harnessed my inner pre-schooler, and got crafty. 15 minutes, a few cuts and blisters and $38 dollars later, and Amy's Got Fur on the Boulevard (to the tune of "Fred's Got Slacks on The Boulevard").

[My new-old vintage fox chain purse.]

 - Amy
Listening to Tim McGraw's "I Need You"

Monday, October 4, 2010

Doodles, Steven Tyler, and Flying Pianists

As you guys know, I work for The OC Gazette Magazine. Every month we get our printed magazines in from Freedom Printing in Anaheim, and every month our Entertainment columnists Jill and Gary (of drive by to pick up a box or two. Jill and Gary are so much fun to work with so we always leave them "love doodles" on their magazine boxes concerning whatever show they've recently covered. It's like a love note, but better, because a picture is worth a thousand words. Here's my doodle from last month. They covered Aerosmith. I tried to over exaggerate Steven Tyler's mouth, but it looks pretty true to life doesn't it? 

Here's a cool video of Aerosmith doing one of my favorite's, "Dream On," live. I love how they lower the pianist from the cieling. Do you think he had to wait, suspended there, the whole show until they played this song? How much to you want to bet this was probably the encore. Poor guy.

- Amy
Listening to: Ray Lamontagne's "New York City's Killing Me"

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Inspiration of The Day: Jessica Singh

[Jessica Singh's "Sierra"]

Today's inspiration? Jessica Singh. The finders fee on Jessica goes to this great blog called I Love Illustration

I love anything with Native American elements and ethereal, whimsical damsels. Now imagine both of those elements on an ACID TRIP. That's Jessica Singh's illustrations. Sounds amazing right? It is. It reminds me a lot of Charmaine Olivia's work, another great artist.

Here are some beautiful pieces from Jessica. It was hard to narrow it down to just these. Seriously... go to her site. 

- Amy
Listening to: My good friends from back home, Eric Wilson & The Empty Hearts, "The One I'll Always Love"

The Universe Of (Milk and Ember)

The Undertaker

You Stung Me

The Mouth's Cradle


The High Priestess


The Hermit

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