As I get closer to finishing my Eyes & Mouths drawing I want to start doing more art to reflect what's currently happening with the Black Lives Matter movement. At the beginning of the Covid shelter-in-place order I found it really difficult to create anything new. I worked on inking old sketches and finishing projects already in progress. Eventually I started feeling "creative" again by drawing on small cards, before inking my larger pieces, to warm up. Over the last week and a half I've been preoccupied by the George Floyd/police brutality protests happening in my city and around the US but now I want to get creative and show my support.
This morning I and a bunch of volunteers helped paint a boarded up window in downtown San Jose. It was organized by the arts non-profit Local Color. I didn't do much besides fill ins. Local artist & sign painter, Ben Henderson did the lettering. It was fun being out there working with everyone and hanging with friends.
I laid some ink down on my Eyes & Mouths piece today. I want to remember what's happening now with the Black Lives Matter movement so I changed one of the pupils from an egg shape (I think I drew it around Easter) to a rising black fist. There are other icons on here, like a tooth for when I got a root canal and a roll of toilet paper (pictured below) for when it was sold out at stores due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
I took the day off from protesting, watching police brutality videos and constantly checking the news. I wanted to work on Eyes & Mouths after a few days off. I looked to see what I had to ink next, lots of straight lines & almost perfect circles, then practiced on a separate card. I was super rusty and wasn't feeling good about my lines. After a while I decided not to work on the main piece but to keep drawing on the cards. The only thing I drew that I kinda liked was my Cells pattern with little pupils all looking towards the center. Simple but good practice. Tomorrow I'll try again and hopefully finish the piece.
I decided to go last minute to the NAACP "die-in" at San Jose city hall today. I designed a BLACK LIVES MATTER graphic and rushed to transfer it onto an old canvas I recently painted black. I only had time to draw the outlines before I hit the road. There was a ton of people outside city hall when I arrived and a bunch more kept coming. I couldn't hear what was being said over the PA but when it was time to do the die-in, most people took a knee or sat down. I don't think there was enough room for everyone to lay down flat. While everyone was down it was really quiet. I took a video and you mostly hear the sound of the crosswalk signal and the construction across the street. It didn't last long, maybe 5-10 minutes? I thought we were gonna lay down for two hours. Afterwards I met with my cousin and her husband who just arrived then we were off on a march heading towards 1st street and taking a right. I didn't know the march was on the agenda or where we were going. I found out we were heading to the police station right before we arrived. I was nervous since I arrived downtown but now I was a little scared. I've been arrested twice (story for another day) and I don't even like driving near there. When we got close we could see police on the overpass ahead. The crowd turned down another street and soon we were there. We took a knee, chanted, and as a group said Happy Birthday for Breonna Taylor, outside the police station. We weren't there long. The crowd turned around and we headed back the way we came. When we got back to Santa Clara street my cousin & her husband went home and I went to Pizza Flora to grab a beer. I finished it then walked back to city hall. On the way there I saw a guy wearing one of my black & blue SAN JOSE t-shirts. I saw him again later outside of city hall, he said he had to wear it out today and I told him he made my day.
In the two videos below, the top one was during the "die-in" at city hall, the bottom one is everyone taking a knee outside the San Jose police station. Everything was peaceful the whole time I was there and I really hope it statyed that way.
There's not much for me to report on. I stayed in yesterday and today, cleaned, did some errands and worked out. All things I've put off the last few days. Tomorrow (Friday) there is an NAACP-hosted "Die-In" outide of San Jose City Hall from 4-6PM which I might attend.
A die-in, according to the Wikipedia article, "is a form of protest in which participants simulate being dead... protesters simply lie down on the ground and pretend to be dead, sometimes covering themselves with signs or banners. The point of a die-in is to disrupt the flow of people on a street or sidewalk to grab the attention of passersby."
Friday's die-in is to raise awareness & protest the murder of Breonna Taylor who was shot to death by Louisville police who entered her apartment in plain clothes with a "no-knock warrant" on March 13, 2020. The police were looking for a drug dealer who they didn't realize was already in custody. There was gunfire between Breonna's boyfriend Kenneth Walker and the police. The police shot Breonna 8 times and killed her. Afterwards, her boyfriend Kenneth was charged with attempted murder but the charges were later dropped. Breonna's birthday was June 5th, she would have turned 27 on Friday.
From the WCCO CBS Minnesota article:
I hope they get what's coming to them and soon. I fear that if there are any not-guilty verdicts we'll see bigger & bloodier riots than the L.A./Rodney King verdict in 1992
I don't know if this is true, I could be totally wrong, but it feels like the protests in San Jose have become less violent. This afternoon I went to downtown to attend a press conference held by the San Jose/Silicon Valley NAACP & local community organizations outside of City Hall. It was to address the killing of George Floyd, police brutality, racism, and to get people (us) to go out and make a difference. There were quite a few speakers, all with important messages, but the one that stuck with me the most was the lady who read out a long list of names of black people who were unjustly murdered. She asked the everyone to say "Say Their Name" after she read each one from her phone. I was getting choked up repeating,listening and watching her scroll thru pages on her phone. There are way too many names on that list. It's ridiculous. After the conference I stayed around for a little while before going back home. Tonight, after being off social media for a couple hours I logged back on and saw video of protesters getting tear gassed by police in Seattle. Fucking brutal.
This morning I saw a post on Instagram to meet up at city hall and help clean up downtown San Jose. I grabbed my work gloves, rubber gloves, mask, hat and couple large garbage bags headed out after lunch. This was my first time going downtown since the protesting started and I was a little nervous driving in. When I drove by Santa Clara Street, between 4th & 6th, I expected it to look like warzone but it didn't. It was clean. It didn't look like anything out of the ordinary happened there. After parking a block away I DM'd the person who originally made the post, because I didn't see anyone cleaning, or any groups besides protesters (holding up signs or fists,) so I decided to walk around till I heard back. I hung out were the protesters were for a little bit before cruising down Santa Clara street and making a left on 1st street. I snapped some pics along the way: protest signs on storefronts, graffiti over murals (which bummed me out,) artwork on the windows at Local Color & the boards covering up Good Karma Cafe, and the peaceful protesters in front of city hall and the food & drinks that were provided to them (that made me happy.) On my way out I drove past the protesters, fist up and out the window, trying to honk my horn to the "No Justice, No Peace" chant. I sounded like shit. Later on, I finally heard back from the clean up guy. I guess they were told to leave by police once the protesters arrived.
I couldn't get myself to draw today. Besides reading news all day, all I did was post a message on Instagram to anyone going out protesting or demonstrating. Basically asking them to please be safe and not make things worse. Things have gotten crazier. San Jose is one of the many cities now under a citywide curfew. The curfew is in effect from 8:30 PM to 5:00 AM, starting tonight, for the next 7 days, or until further notice.
With all the chaos that's been happening in my city, and around the US, I've just been trying to focus my energy on finishing this piece. That's not to say that I haven't put thought into current events. (George Floyd's murder protests) What I'm reading and seeing online has been weighing down on me, stirring up all sorts of feelings and I've been processing that while working on this drawing these past couple days.
Friday started off great. I met up with my buddy, Jon, at Lake Cunningham and we went on a (socially-distant) walk around the park. After one lap Jon split and I stayed to do one more then ran into another friend, Adam, who was getting off work at the park. He drove up to show me he was rocking my San Jose shirt. That made my day! I didn't realize I was wearing my San Jose shirt till afterwards. On the way out of the park I snapped a picture of this awesome hand-drawn found-dog flyer posted near the entrance. When I got home I showered, ate lunch, did some crossword puzzles, and started drawing. It was an awesome day up until that point. Soon after, I heard about protesters downtown and on the 101 holding up traffic. They were protesting in response to the murder of George Floyd by Minnesota police. Soon I was seeing friends videos on Instagram of people smashing car windows, police firing tear gas & rubber bullets, crowds throwing objects at the police, a trash bin on fire in the middle of the street, a car running over people, people looting a Starbucks, a cop getting knocked out. This shit is crazy and there are protests/demonstrations/riots happening in multiple cities across the US. I wonder if this is going to continue through the weekend and what will happen in its wake.
It finally cooled down enough for a couple hours, before the sun went down, for me to draw a few more eyes & mouths. Since I took a couple days off I did some extra warming-up.
I can deal with the heat but the last couple days I haven't been able to work on my Eyes & Mouths piece because my goddamn arms get all sweaty and I would ruin the paper while drawing on it. It feel like I've been thrown all sorts of curveballs since I've been working on these larger pieces. Now I need to figure out a solution or wait till the temperature drops.
About a week & half ago I asked people on Instagram to send me song requests so I can record a mix. I got a whopping 3 requests. They were, "Big Pimpin', Lookout Weekend and El Sonidito" (the beep beep beep song.) Today I set up the rig and recorded a 5-minute mix using 5 songs.
I'm taking requests again for the next mix.
More byproducts from working on the Eyes & Mouths drawing. I draw these to warm-up and test the different pens before inking the main piece. It's a great exercise and fun to get loose with these before getting super focused inking the big one.
A few days ago I started using a fresh Copic marker and today as I was warming-up I saw a little thread hanging from the tip. I pulled it, thinking it was lint, and it turned out to be the nib itself. It was damaged and I made it worse by yanking it. I was pissed off at myself. I tried cutting with an X-acto knife what I had pulled but I couldn't get it back to normal. Afterwards I didn't want to use the marker anymore and I didn't have any extras. I thought I wasn't gonna be able to work on my piece for a few days till I got new markers delivered. When I went on Michaels.com I saw that the store closest to me had black Copics in stock, and was doing curbside pickup, and had a coupon for 20% off the order. I ordered a couple Copic markers and a Pentel brush pen and they were ready to pick up in less than 30 minutes. I lost a couple hours, total, trying to fix it and picking up a replacement it but it was better than losing a few days waiting on a delivery. I don't know if Michaels stores have been doing the curbside pickup the whole time during the pandemic, or if they just started doing it, but it saved my ass today. And this is not an ad or endorsement, shopping at Michaels is usually pretty disappointing.
I inked a few more eyes and a mouth today and drew a spider preparing to eat a fly after witnessing it in real life. True story, bro...
Everyday before inking my latest 3 pieces (bottom pics.) I've been warming up by drawing on these 4"x5.5" cards or the backs of old envelopes (not pictured)
Pardon the shitty quality of my iPhone 6 camera. I'll be upgrading soon :)
Just went thru emails, updated my calendar, made a couple phone calls, worked out at home, walked for a few miles, and rented Jojo Rabbit. Tomorrow I go back to work on this sumumabitch.
Today I worked on Eyes & Mouths for a few hours after taking 4 days off. I spent the first hour warming up by drawing on the back of an envelope and a couple cards before putting ink down on the actual piece. I must have still been rusty because still I fucked up a few lines.
It's been a few weeks since I'd drawn on the iPad so today I picked it up and did a few "quick" doodles. The timelapse videos were exported from Adobe Fresco and sped up in iMovie.