Artbucks Coffee

Inna art
Portrait of Inna digitized in Adobe Illustrator

My ex messaged me last month saying, I keep waiting for your annual ‘winter sucks and I’m lonely in this cruel city’ message, but none has come. Are you happier this year? I hope so.
Well, I’m now officially in winter’s pattern. Wake up – Coffee – Starbucks – More coffee – Art – Go home – Finish art project – Sleep.

That’s it kids. That’s my life come winter. I mean, I know that’s not 100% the case, but Jesus Christ, it’s a difficult pattern for me to shake. Good news is though, I’ve been producing what I consider to be some of my best pieces. I’m proud of these portraits that’ve been coming out of me. Yesterday I finished this Inna Portrait (above), and I swear I went to sleep gazing at it (A selfishness I’ve allowed myself since I was a teen), and imagining myself waking up to 10,000+ Likes, an Inbox filled with emails congratulating on what a spectacular job I’ve done, and knocking on my door demanding sex. None of that happened of course, but it doesn’t slow down the desperate need I’ve got to draw. So instead I just send those emails to myself, and pound on my own door. There it is, as the ex requested.

Shaggy looked at me sketching Inna last week and said “What’s your obsession with Inna? How many times have you drawn her?” And I realize that posting this one the day before Valentine’s Day may seem like love, but it’s not. I mean, I do love Inna like a friend, but I am not harboring a deep seeded crush on the girl. I do think she’s an ideal subject. Her style is something that deserves to be drawn again and again. So Shaggy, including the little cartoons of her I’ve put on the Matchgame Postcard, the answer to that question is now officially 5.

Soo Catwoman art
Soo Catwoman digitized in Adobe Illustrator

I know I keep repeating myself with subjects. Inna for instance. Yolandi, of course. Also, Soo Catwoman. But for whatever reason I just have to draw these people again and again. Their aesthetics just please me so. And if Im sitting and drawing, I’m doing something good. In fact, I’m at my best. And that’s reason enough.

All of this too I hope will encourage inquiries about hiring my artistic talents. Yes, I am available for work. Now more than ever. After the holidays things slow down, and they usually don’t pick up again until Spring. So if you know of any jobs that pay for this level of drawing & Adobe Illustrator skills, please contact me. I’m really good! And worth every penny.

anglerfish art
Anglerfish digitized in Adobe Illustrator

Presently though I’m working through the disappointment looming on the horizon of not being able to afford printing Batman Jesus Dressup magnets. I thought I’d have enough after the holidays, but the holidays are over, and I’m coming up short. I’m hoping these next couple months I can get the necessary work and sales to solve it, but at the moment they must be put on hold. Do stories like this encourage sales & paying gigs to appear in my mailbox? I suppose this is exactly how I’ll find that out.

Latest art & photos with videos attached –

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

Morgan Forgives Me

Something I never expected to happen occurred this last week. Morgan forgave the injustice she felt I’d done to her a couple years back.

What happened was, when I first saw Morgan back in 2010 or so, I knew I wanted more. More Morgan. I was dying to draw her (as it’s no secret I’ve got a soft spot for punker girls) and add her to the postcard. I admittedly was also dying to nose my camera into her life some. I still hadn’t even introduced myself when I was handing out the 2011 postcard with her on it.

morgan cartoon
Morgan drawing from the 2011 Union Square Matchgame postcard

I forget who it was that showed it to her, but I do remember seeing her precious reaction. I wish I’d been filming because it got the cutest smile out of her. A smile that read of flattery with just a touch of embarrassment. From that point on she started hanging out and letting me film her. And there was always something to film when she was around.

She has so many standout videos. Her and the gang singing “Brown Sugar.” That’s a classic. Her swooping in and rescuing us from the creep who wouldn’t leave. That was an absolutely priceless moment for me. And once, as we were walking back to Union from St Marks, after she’d almost beat a man with a chain she told me, “I need someone to film my life. Someone’s gotta be documenting the shit I go through.” That’s when she invited me to film her – Whatever/Whenever. I asked her, “If shit’s looking dangerous, and you look pissed at me, should I still be filming?” (something I’d witnessed before). She couldn’t guarantee my safety, even from her, but the answer was the same – “Yes. Film it.” And that’s how it began. I never wanted to break that trust.

Unfortunately she didn’t completely understand what she was getting herself into, and on one particular weekend when she introduced me & YouTube to her new beau Devan, it crossed the limits of what she thought she could handle seeing of herself. The video blew up too, and she was getting recognized, and having even to deal with fans from the site. After all of this, I started to see less and less of her, until finally I’d heard she wanted the video gone. She didn’t want to be filmed any more.

I completely respected that. I would even put my camera away if I saw her after that.

I’m never that surprised when someone from the streets finally sees their video, hates it and regrets ever letting me in. In this case though, it was different. When I’d heard it hurt her I was really sorry. So I’m glad we’re friends again.

Accomplished January

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo art
Lisbeth (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) digitized in Adobe Illustrator

Today is the day I was scheduled to fly back to the city after an entire month here in the midwest. That is until “The Storm Of The Century” hit and brought everything in New York to a screeching halt.
No open businesses.
No vehicles on the streets.
No food delivery! And certainly no airports. So I’m adding a few more days to this visit.

My initial goals for January were to learn WordPress, build the site you’re looking at now with that knowledge, and do art. Lots of art. All of these things I swept through painlessly, and I want to share with you these accomplishments now.

Lisbeth

I’m not sure how I went so long without ever drawing Lisbeth , but the other evening when I sat down to do so, the sketch took me about 20 minutes. Then it was completely digitized (above) before I called it a night. Tell me this though – How is it that I draw what I consider to be this striking black & white portrait, post it on Facebook, and it gets just 2 Likes? Has she already been forgotten? Was the remake despised that unanimously? What the hell happened? Anyhow, no matter what people think, this piece is one of several proud accomplishments of January.

Danni Daniels

TS Danni Daniels art
Porn Star Danni Daniels digitized in Adobe Illustrator for dressup game

One of the most exciting things that occurred this month happened as the result of a simple pen & ink portrait I drew of this infamous porn star & performance artist. I was dumbfounded when she made it her profile pic on Facebook. Then it turns out she loved it so much that we’re now working on an entire dressup game to go with it! It’s turning into the most outrageous game I’ve ever worked on. And if you don’t know who Danni Daniels is, Grace Jones referred to her as “the white me.” I will surely keep you up to date on this unprecedented project.

The Sauce

Cute muscular girl in fuzzy white cat costume art
The Sauce (close up) Digitized in Adobe Illustrator

I don’t remember how or when I first stumbled across “The Sauce” on Facebook, but when I did I knew I had to draw her. She’s real life Pippi Longstocking all grown up living out her dreams in the Burning Man universe. I’m just stunned by her. Something I don’t think I was able to keep any kind of a secret in this piece.

The Old & the New

The other accomplishment of the month was learning WordPress with the assistance of the Lynda.com tutorials, and building my new site. Yes, I’ve finally dragged myself out of the dark ages of the web.

The old site at normalbobsmith.com shall remain in tact, but I do not plan to post new content there ever again. For 15 years I’ve been maintaining that URL. Can you believe it? Perhaps I’ll turn it into a complete archive of the site’s history? It could include a tribute to the different elaborate front pages I’ve had over the last decade and a half. Maybe adding back the long lost Super Chic pages and the Unholy Army adventures? A complete archive of everything I’ve done there since Sept 2000. That could be really fun.

From now on though, everything’s going to be here. I’ll be adding the Amazing Strangers section next month, a new art portfolio, and lots more. If you’re finding yourself snowed in with nothing to do, check out the “Select Month” & “Select Category” tabs in the left sidebar. I plan to update those areas with some of the best content from the past, as well as some never before seen blogs I’ve recently run across. You see, back in ’08 I actually went and saved all of my MySpace blogs before they erased everything. How many of you thought that far ahead? I’ve already started incorporating them into the backlog. And while you’re at it, take a look at the new store, and the Mohammed dressup games brought center stage for all the obvious reasons.  It’s safe to say I’m really looking forward to seeing where this new site leads.

Roman’s Public Apology

man with funny sign
Roman Shusterman

I received  an email from Joey Boots yesterday. Roman is in a psych ward, and he wants me to call him there. He thought maybe it’d help to talk to me about whatever it is he’s got going on. He also wanted to make a public apology.

I’d heard Roman wasn’t doing well in August. He’d stopped showing up at the Square, so I started asking people he knew what was up. I was getting mixed details about his whereabouts and wellbeing. Some were saying he was doing terrible, wanting all his videos removed and in a hospital losing his mind, while others said he was all good again and planning to return to the park.

If you don’t know who Roman Shusterman is, he’s the guy who went viral writing his strange but funny sexual declarations on signs and giving detailed speeches about them at the park. He first started his exhibitionist style demonstrations in 2010 when the Free Hugs phenomenon hit the square. He hung around those Free Hugs kids carrying a FREE MASSAGES sign. And it worked!

Those soon turned into “Free Massages + Foot Worship.” Girls who took him up on his massages would then be asked if they’d mind a foot worship session as well. Much to all our surprise that worked too.

Creepy guy kissing bottom of woman's foot in public
Roman foot worships woman while crowd watches

Then there was his “Peace through Face-sitting” campaign, getting girls to sit on his face for world peace. The Fart Smelling Movement, in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, and on and on and on. Roman is responsible for some of the most shocking and hilarious events I’ve ever witnessed. When asked what’s the most outrageous event I’ve ever seen at Union Square Park, I always give a detailed account of the afternoon Roman Shusterman took a lady “Out To Eat” in front of everybody there on the steps. It’s safe to say I have always adored what he brings to the Square.

man with funny sex sign waving
Roman Shusterman smiling & waving

I put word out that I wanted to talk to him. I wanted him to know I genuinely cared for his well-being, and if there was any way I could help I would. I thought Roman needed to be told there’s nothing wrong with what he’s done, if that’s what he was regretting. He’s not hurt anyone. In fact he’s made a lot of people laugh. It’s comedy. Shocking at times, yes. But comedy none the less.

When I got Roman’s number to call, I realized I honestly cared for the guy. He wanted me to come visit him at the hospital, but I am away from NYC this month, so the phone call would have to do. I was happy to do it. I was anxious to do it! I wanted to talk to him myself and get the full story. I also wanted to ease his worry about whatever it is he thought he needed to apologize for. So this afternoon I called him.

The phone was answered by another patient in the ward who had to go find Roman, shouting his name to a room.

He spoke to me on the pay phone there used by everyone. It was clear he wasn’t his usual self. I started right off telling him he didn’t have anything he needed to apologize for.

“I want to apologize for anything I may have said or done that made light of the Elliot Rodger’s tragedy. I don’t feel that way and I deeply regret disrupting that event. I really want to get that out there.”

The top thing on his list was he wanted to make a public apology for any comments he made about being in solidarity with Elliot Rodger. At some point last year he’d attempted to disrupt one of the protests that followed the shootings & suicide. There were a group of protestors there with signs stating that Elliot’s views on women were common among men, and Roman hassled them with his usual “I deserve hot girls” routine. It’s a sentiment similar to Elliot’s. Roman told me he deeply regrets doing this, and making light of the event in any way.

At one point, when we he was telling me about the voices in his head he’s dealing with, the phone disconnected. His time was up and I had to call him back. He explained to me he thought the phone disconnecting was a sign he probably shouldn’t be talking about the voices.

It was clear to me after our 15 minute conversation, he’s pretty medicated and having to deal with a lot of troubling thoughts, paranoia and regret, and these are all weighing on him immensely. He also regrets not having planned better for his future.

Not to diminish what he’s going through, but I also reminded him that in the dead of winter feeling depressed, secluded and hopeless in New York is something a lot of us deal with. Winter can be a nightmare in this, the loneliest city.

Presently Roman’s in a cycle of taking medication and trying to heal. He wants to get back to the Square and regrets letting these events scare him away from it.
He and I have planned to get lunch when I return in February.

One month later…

2015 Resolutions

Sasha Janegs Union Square NYC
Sasha poses Hunter S. Thompson style at the Square

I’ve made a New Years resolution that I plan to actually come through on this year! That resolution is to learn the essential knowledge necessary to update the site. To make this happen I’ve gotten a Lynda.com membership so that I can teach myself WordPress to a greater extent, and other valuable skills so I can stop looking so goddamned dated online! Lynda Weinman’s book on Dreamweaver is what I used to first learn that program back in 2000 to build JesusDressup.com! I’m hoping to bring everything that’s at normalbobsmith.com either to here, or archiving what’s no longer being updated. It’s time. I know this. So I’m thinking. parts like Super Chics, hate mail,  Sheeples, etc (which have all fallen to the wayside) will be archived, while Amazing Strangers, Jesus Dress Up, the store, etc (which keep expanding) will take center stage. Simplify!

TrueStoryASA vs Joey Boots & Normal Bob

Joey Boots from 2014 Matchgame Postcard
Joey Boots drawing from the Union Square Matchgame postcard

So what else is new? Well, one thing that’s happening is TrueStoryASA keeps striking & deleting videos of mine that they appear in! And about a week or so ago they threatened getting lawyers on me if I continue to oppose their strikes.

“our next step would have to be legal action from our end”

You can read more about this on Reddit. This might be a good place to also tell you that I’ve opened a Reddit account and I’ve been really impressed with the traffic results it’s bringing in. I plan on posting updates there, as well as things like favorite videos & photos from years ago, related news, and whatever else. It’s also the ideal place to ask any questions you may have about anything related to the site.

Amazing Strangers & Reddit

creepy photographer with boy's underwear
A stranger who was taking pictures of me while holding his camera with a pair of boy’s underwear

Amazing Strangers 2015 Year In Review has been posted which means there’s little else going on at the Square now that winter has stomped its brutally cold foot down there. That doesn’t mean though that there’ll be no more videos until spring. Shaggy and I frequently meet up at Starbucks this time of year, so you can bet if something’s going down there I’ll try to record it. And there’s been some funny shit I’ve caught happen there before!

And btw, if you’ve been wanting to get more interactive with the videos and the site in general, Reddit’s the place to do that at. I check it frequently and am more than happy to respond to questions and/or encourage posts that have to do with my site, Union Square, or whatever else you might have to say about what’s been going on here.

For now that’s about it. It’s about 6 degrees where I’m at right now, so I’m chillin’ out in front of my online tutorial learnin’ stuff.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Holidays

BDSM Jesus Dressup magnets
BDSM Jesus Dressup fridge magnets ($15) include Betty Page wig, Leather Daddy, Nurse & Horsetail Buttplug

I just received word that the cargo ship carrying my BDSM Jesus Dressup magnets has completed its journey across the Pacific Ocean, docked safely at the coast in City Of Industry, California, and its contents are now being loaded onto a truck to begin the long track across these United States to New Jersey, and then NYC. That means they will be here by Monday or Tuesday, so this is your last opportunity to purchase aforementioned magnets at the preorder, discount price of just $9. On the day that that truck arrives at my front step honking its horn, and I am lugging those 20 pound boxes up my staircase, that’s the same day put them back at their normal price of $15 each. There’s already been a few handfuls of these preorders made whose envelopes are postmarked and ready to fly out the door, so consider yourself fairly warned. Now’s the time to buy if BDSM Jesus has been on your or your dom’s wish list. I’m really looking forward to a thriving holiday season with these li’l demons back in stock.

Also, I have about 60 sets of the Star Wars Jesus Dressups left (just under two boxes – 40 per box). The same goes for the Jesus Christ Superstar sets (3 boxes) and the Original Jesus Dressups (2 boxes). Once these run out, that’s it. Especially the latter two, I have no plans in the near or distant future of producing again. There’s too many other versions I want to spend my time and money making, like Batman Jesus! 2015, I hope.

Purple haired Sketchgirl Nat
Sketchgirl Nat looking alien in her new goggles and purple hair

It’s October, and another unique year at the square is coming to a close. There’s been no shortage of Amazing Stranger drama there this year. So much so that I’ve had to take several weeks off just to regroup before throwing myself back into it! But now that I’ve got my head back together again, I’m wishing there were maybe a couple more months of that mayhem left before winter sets in. I’ve been pacifying myself by going through hundreds, probably thousands, of photos I’ve taken over the last decade and uploading my favorites to Reddit with dates & details. Most of these images have never before been published, so if you’re into the Union Square/NYC experience, these images will most likely fill that empty spot Humans Of New York can not. Which is also my point.

I’m sick of being an obscure reference. I have confidence enough in the content I’m churning out to have it seen by more than just a couple thousand views on Youtube! Some people are telling me I need to monotize my account (which I believe includes opening them up to bothersom ads), which in turn gets them into the YouTube promotion rotation. Others are demanding I get on Instagram (but I still only have a flip-phone) or the dozen other places there are for me to post my junk. I am happy to say though that the folks over at No Your City have made it clear they’re there for me. And more than a few different Amazing Strangers projects have been discussed, including the Union Square documentary of Union Square.

What else, what else? The production of a Jesus Dressup app is presently a mystery to me. I will let you know when I find out more.
I’m completely available for art projects. For Christ’s sake, hit me up!

 

Artist, Atheist, Anthropologist