Sunday, July 8, 2007

"The Rockman & I"

Apparently, I made the headlines recently:

(click to enlarge)

I apologize for not continuing with the "Rockman, Shmockman" series, but there would've been endless amounts of mindless & downright dull things to cover. So, I'll cut to the chase & get to the point.

We worked night & day to complete this thing on time for graduation. But during the last two weeks, there was a falling out between ourselves & a few reps from the school board. I don't blame 'em. There's always politics of some kind coming up when discussing donations.

The school wanted us to put the sculpture on a concrete sidewalk on the side of the school, since parents & kids who drive into the parking lot in the back would see it on the way in or out. But upon inspecting the site, my father & I discovered that the spot was unsafe, since the plate the Rockman is welded to was too big to fit & the sidewalk itself was severely slanted & too steep. It would've been an accident waiting to happen. At that point, we decided to place it in a spot where it would be more level & safe from tipping over. The night before graduation, we plopped it on the lawn in front of the main entrance & left.

The next morning, dressed for graduation, I noticed dozens of people crowding around ol' Rocky, admiring it & taking pictures with it. For a while I stood in the background watching people look at it, until a friend of mine congratulated me on it, where everyone overheard him & then crowded around me. I got in on a few pictures, answered a barrage of questions & accepted many compliments & thank-you's from teachers, parents, kids & soon-to-be graduates like myself. My father was in on all the action, too.

After the ceremony, I was interviewed by the Herald (my local paper) & had my picture taken with my creation. You can view some of the pics here at the photographer Kathy Liestner's website.
-Later on that day we took Rocky back to our shop, where he has remained since. We have some high hopes for him finding a permanent home, but for now he's on guard duty at the shop.
-I'm still getting stopped on the street because of him. I'm not really used to this kind of attention. Although it feels great knowing somebody out there likes what I have done & knows of my art, I don't wanna get hooked on it, since it probably won't last too long. My 15 minutes of fame will soon be over.
-At least this project is finally done! Now I can look forward to my NEXT project (Oh boy...)! See ya around!


Anonymous said...

Wow man congratulations. That's awesome how you got in the paper, (did they approach your father about writing the article or was it his idea)You deserve the attention for it, that's a masterful creation you've done. Have you got any prospects as to where it will go? And do you have an actual next project that's in the works? Oh and by the way, this belongs with your other post but who cares, a cartoonist I forgot to mention who is amazing is Lynda Barry. She does an underground comic called Ernie Pooks Comeek. Here's her website. Seriously check her out. And another unrelated thing is that Matt Groening will be on the Daily Show on the Eighteenth. I'm too young to go, but if you go he's the kind of guy who stays after these things and signs autographs. So again congratulations, and this is definitely just the start for you. Have a fun summer and see you next fall.

Your Fan,
David Spector

Michael J. Ruocco said...

Welcome back David!

Actually, there originally was going to be an interview, but that sorta fell through, so my father submitted at the last minute what you ultimately see in the paper. Very touching thing for him to do. Good thing the editor fixed up his many grammar/spelling/punctuation/spacing errors.

I would love to see Matt Groening again & I'd love to go see the Daily Show live (one of my artistic friends from high school got tickets a week or so before school ended...lucky). But unfortunately for me, I've got my road test that day, so that's outta the question. At least I got a DVR, so I can record it on TV. Oh well, someday. Thanks for the heads up, anyway.

& thanks again for commenting!

Michael J. Ruocco said...

Oh, I almost forgot:

Rocky will most likely be sold to the highest bidder, once we decide if, when, where & how we will do so. People are interested in him (or just the character itself), so he'll find a permanent home soon enough.

By the way, for now the "Popeye project" is on-hold, because it would be a very time-consuming, "stop-&-go" project. I only worked on Rocky during weekends, holidays & days-off. I would like to take as much R&R as I can before college starts, so summer is definitely out of the question. As for weekends during the fall, winter & spring months, after a full week of college & hopefully another season or two of cartooning at Hofstra on Saturdays, working on another big Rockman-like piece would be the last thing I'd want to do on my days off.

Instead I'll be fabricating small sculptures to sell over the counter. You know, garden pieces, windvanes, mobiles, etc. I might try to make a few pieces to hang around the shop for kicks & giggles, but other than that I'm just trying to earn some extra dough to keep me afloat for when college comes around.

My father & I were recently thinking about investing a couple thou' for a "PlasmaCam", a computerized metal-cutting machine so we can basically mass-produce small pieces for profit or to turn my cartoon drawings into lifesize metal signs, sculptures, etc. a lot easier, quicker & cheaper than by hand. It's expensive, but it'll eventually pay for itself. We'll see what happens in time.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike,
Out of curiosity, you said the Popeye project is on hold. What is the Popeye project? Also you said you'd like to meet Matt Groening again, you met him a first time? When? I met him once as I think I've told you, he was the nicest guy. Anyway I can't stress visiting Lynda Barry's website enough so here it is again If you do mass produce your work tell me I'll definitely buy. See you at Hofstra.

Your Fan,
David Spector

Michael J. Ruocco said...

Welcome back, Dave!

The Popeye project was going to be my next life-size sculpture. I planned it to be about 5 feet tall & have a train whistle built into his pipe, so if I connected an air hose inside of him, he'd toot his pipe when I wanted to. Later on, I realized it would be too much of a hassle for me to fabricate after all that work I put into Rocky, so I'm putting the idea on a somewhat long hiatus 'til I have the time, energy & strength to do so.

I met Matt Groening once at a comic convention a few years ago. Like you said, he was a real sweet guy, but I didn't have the heart to ask for a drawing or an autograph, or to have my picture taken with him (even if the geek in me begged me to). I'll meet him again someday, there's always a chance. I'll try to go to the San Diego ComicCon next year, maybe I'll meet him once again.

I checked out some of Lynda Barry's work last night. She has a very intersting style. Thanks for giving me the site.

Anonymous said...

That's awesome!!!!!!!!
~A Fan

Denise said...

Hi Mike,
Wow, that Rockman really looks great. It is pretty cool that you got in the paper. A lot of hard work was put into it, and you can tell. I hope you get "Top Dollar" for Ol' Rocky, because you deserve it. I'll be looking forward to your next creation!

Michael J. Ruocco said...

Hey Denise, thanks! I hope you're right about getting top dollar for him. We'll just have to wait & see what comes through the pipeline.