Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hofstra Hayday: Pictures of Poster Painting Punks Pushing Pencils & Playing Pranks on Poor Old Me

Here at Hagedorn Hall on the beautiful Hofstra University campus every Saturday morning, a new generation of artists, animators, cartoonists & designers come to learn, draw, hone their skills & interact with people who are interested in the same things they are.

Kids & young adults, ranging from about 5 to 18 years of age, come to do all kinds of fun, cartoon related projects, like making their own comic strips, comic book covers, paper sculptures, big painted posters & a plethora of other great activities.

Frank Giella, the head of the Cartooning department for the Saturaday classes, is a very talented cartoonist & art history teacher. He worked on the Mary Worth comic strip, & his father, Joe Giella, is a well known & noted DC artist, drew & inked such classic comics as Batman, The Green Lantern & many others.

For the last day of classes for the semester, the final project was to draw & paint their own big cartoon poster. They could draw their favorite characters like:

Link from the Legend of Zelda games...

...Mickey Mouse...


...Michaelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles...

& Fuzzy Lumpkins from The Powerpuff Girls...

...or create their own characters, like this honey-hungry bear...

... a Mexican Gaucho...

...a Super Chicken...

...& even an action-filled battle between super reptiles...

...or even unique ideas like a Coke bottle...

... or a poster of their favorite band!
Even the teacher gets into the act!

Detailed, ain't it?

Next door, another art & cartooning class takes place: Cartoon Sculpture! Here, kids get to make their own clay figures & relief sculptures of their favorite cartoons.

There are plenty of other cartoon classes, too! Classes including: Beginner Cartooning, Intermediate Cartooning, Advanced Cartooning, Cartoon Sculpture, Video Game Development & more!

Currently, I'm a teacher's assistant here. Hopefully, I'll try to re-apply for the fall.

Right now, classes are dismissed for the summer, but classes will start up again in the fall. If you live within driving range of Garden City, New York & wish to become part of one or more of these fun classes, register by calling Hofstra's Continuing Education # or by registering on the Saturday classes website at

Thanks for checking out today's post.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Big Ol' Yard of Junk: Home Sweet Home

What can you see in these two pictures? Find anything unusual? Bet you do!

-Just by looking at the front, you wonder "What the hell is this place?! A bright sunny yellow wrecking ball sitting in the garden? A prescription sign? A barrel? A thingy from a boat? What gives!?"

-Well, just behind this gate lies a land of awe, amazement, wonder & inspiration (& loads of junk). I spent most of my life here. The Rockman was born here. My WDCC sculptures are kept here. I draw here, work here, sleep here & relax here all at the same time. This is Freeport Auto Parts & Wrecking (FAW for short), my father's business, & my second home.

-On the other side of the first gate is a gallery of license plates. One from every state & even a few foreign ones (Thailand, Germany, China, etc.)

-Signs galore! & this is only a few. We got literally dozens upon dozens of signs. New ones come in every week. In fact, a Quizzno's sign just came in the other day.

-Talk about being driven up the walls!

-Whattaya know? Random crap hanging around! An old Pepsi machine, a 1-Hour photo sign, an old Coke machine, a payphone, a hook, a pulley, a rooster & dozens of road signs.

-Hey, it's a lot better than looking at bare tractor trailers & containers. This place used to look like an abandoned boat yard years ago, but thanks to friends, dumpers & the miracle that is eBay, it now looks like either the Sunset Strip in Las Vegas or a poorly decorated Christmas set-up.

-In fact, these containers contain (get it?) thousands of car parts, all neatly organized & tagged for selling. From starter motors & AC compressors to windshield wiper fluid bottles & gas tanks. Everything under the sun can be found here, automotive or not.

-A better view of the first two containers. The bottom container is filled with batteries. Inside the top container you can see milk crates upon milk crates, each filled to the brim with car switches, knobs, handles, levers & buttons.

-Here's an interesting piece of work. There's nothing worse than a nuclear sub disobeying traffic laws.

-Don't worry, that torpedo is a DUD, clean empty. Well, not entirely. Instead of being filled with high explosive, there is now a family of birds nesting inside there, with newly-born baby chicks inside.

-OK, check out this piece of work. It's like playing 'I Spy'. You know what... before we continue on with of the tour, let's play 'I Spy', shall we? Can you see what I see? What can you find? A toilet? An old-fashioned washing machine? A traffic light? A wind vane? A gas pump?
-How'd you do?
-I bet none of those items I listed caught your eye first, right? What got your attention here? The huge Jeweler's sign/clock? The giant stuffed Santa Claus? Maybe it was the BAR sign? Could've been the basketball hoop (we've got the best team in 4 counties). Or it might've been that giant yellow ice cream cone.
-My favorite piece in this pic happens to be that mangled JFK airport sign. A few years ago, that sign stood on a corner, right behind a runway. One day, that sign was ripped apart by the massive thrust from the engines of a 747 that got a little too close. Cool, huh? I'm glad it finally made it's home here instead of the scrap heap. It fit's in pretty well here, I think.
-Here's a better view of the container in the last pic. A huge "Hershey's" ice cream shoppe sign... some Evinrude outboard motors... Santa Claus... again... sitting on the crapper... hanging there...
-Now in this picture, forget about Santa & check out that nifty bar sign with a few "less than mint" sport trophies standing on top.
-A piece of my grandpa's old boat...
-The great thing about this place is just seeing the looks on people's faces when they see this place. They're like Alice stepping into Wonderland. They look completely lost. They don't know whether they're coming or going around here. It's hilarious!
-Funny story... once we had this guy come in getting his car worked on in the shop & he saw a sign that said "E & N Coffee Shop" hanging up down the yard. He said to our mechanic "I'll be right back, I'm just gonna go get myself a cup a' coffee.", then walks down the lane towards the sign, & stops with a "Hey, what the...!" look on his face, looking for that coffee shop. Just standing there... lost... with no coffee in sight. Poor misguided people... they put on such a great show!

-Now here's the inside of our little establishment. It's like 'I Spy' all over again. Old baby buggies, bicycles, a stuffed marlin, a high chair, a beauty salon sign, a stretcher for medics out in war, pieces of a piano... & this is just the view when you look into the shop. Above the door there's NY lotto signs, spotlights, chandeliers, rusty old instruments (musical or otherwise), an accordion, plus enough signs, props, doodads, & doohickeys to fill a landfill.

-I mean, where else are you going to find a clown head, a sombrero, a mock Statue of Liberty, sleds, scooters, an airplane, a store mannequin & a gumball machine sitting inside a giant Easter basket? Where?

-& that's only a small section of the place. There's still another 2/3's of property. But most of it are car parts, scrap metal, cars, a body shop, forklifts, a trailer & the payloader (the big machine that turns cars into metal pancakes). It's like my dad's own little Disneyland. He's always expanding, building, working on new projects.... looking ahead, never backwards.
-So as we leave FAW as the sun sets in the west, we look back & see the silhouette of that old ice cream cone in the distance, we can say...

"What in the hell did I just see!?"
'til next time!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hunches & Bunches of Oats- I mean "New Stuff"!

Over the past few weeks, a whole bunch of new stuff has happened. So instead of posting a bunch of individual posts, I'll include them all in one big post. It's kinda like Grindhouse, but without any sexy gun-legged chicks, zombies or explosions.


First off, I nearly finished my big poster for Hofstra. Like I said before, I hate coloring things (especially with paint), but I finished it whether I liked it or not. So here it is:
I later colored the mouths & the lines/dents in the HoverCan in Sharpie. Randy's colors are pretty close to how I envision him. I wish that I went over his chest feathers with airbrush instead of just globbing it on.

I decided not to do a background because of three reasons:

A) I didn't know what color to use

B) I was too lazy to paint all that area

& C) No time

Speaking of Hofstra posters, here are a few fantastic posters from years past:

Sometime this week, I'll post plenty of pics of great posters done by some absolutely talented kids from the last class.

I just added a few more WDCC's to my collection:

I finally completed my "Donald's Better Self" set. I bought "Regular Donald" & the title card at the Gifted Images & "Angel Donald" off eBay. It's a great set, but it takes up a lot of room. Next chance I get, I'll rearrange my cabinet.

The Tinkerbell piece is actually a Mother's Day gift for my mom. Although she's not fond of Peter Pan, she loves Tink. Once she laid eyes on it, I new that she wanted it, so I bought it for her. She really deserves it. Now all she needs is a cabinet to put it in.

Mickey on the right is from the cartoon "The Dognapper". I thought it looked pretty cool with the motorcycle & all. Besides the "Mickey/Donald Through the Years" pieces, I don't have any black & white sculptures in my collection. It stands out a lot.

Now here's a really awesome piece. It's a Fantasia Harmony Kingdom box. It has a plethora of characters on it, from little Hop Low the mushroom at the bottom to the colossal Chernabog on top. It's a limited piece, there's only 500 of 'em in existence. It's worth it, though.

I also got a Fantasia title card to go with my set.

Along with Tinkerbell, this piece was also a Mom gift. She, along with my aunt, loved those mice in Cinderella. In fact, my aunt named her Jack Russell Terrier "Gus" after him.

Here's a cute Minnie piece. I thought since I had Mickey, Donald, Goofy & Pluto, why not add Minnie to go with them. So I did.

Here's a cute little piece. I always thought trains were cool, especially old steam locomotives. I guess the love of trains runs in animation blood. I always thought about having my own little train like Casey Jr. here to ride around in around my backyard like Ward Kimball or Ollie Johnston, or at least a small scale one like Walt Disney had. It's a real shame that Ward's Grizzly Flats Railroad was dismantaled. I always wanted to check it out. He was really devoted to his trains.

Same with Ollie, but over the years he's just become to frail to handle his train. He's got palsy in his hands so severe he had to stop drawing years ago. My friend Mia got a Christmas card from him a year or so ago & she couldn't even recognize what he wrote. Could you imagine doing something you love for over 80+ years of your life & having to give that up because your too old & sick? It's a real shame. That & the fact he lost his best friend Frank & his beloved wife within months of eachother. He just had a huge garage sale last week, selling all of his classic train & Disney memorabilia, movie props, books, furniture & his animation drawings. He's moving to Oregon to live with his family, leaving his lovely ranch-style home that he's lived in for decades behind. God bless Ollie for being so strong through all of this.

This sculpture has a special place in my heart.

I always wanted to get this piece for my grandfather, who loved Donald Duck & was a dedicated firefighter for over 50 years. Unfortunately, I never could afford the piece by the time his birthday came around each year. When I finally could afford it for him as a Christmas gift, it was too late. He died this past October.

I finally bought it out of respect for him. I really don't consider it as my sculpture. It's really his in my heart.
-Like I said far above, I'll post more pics & posts this week. Including:
-"Freeport Auto Parts & Wrecking: My Second Home"
-"Hofstra Hayday: Pictures of Poster Painting Punks Pushing Pencils & Playing Pranks on Poor Old Me"
-For the Birds: "The Molting Part II"
-"Rockman, Shmockman"
Stay Tuned!