Category Archives: Art

Art related projects, drawings, portfolio and for hire

After Fall, I will Rise Again!

It’s starting to happen. The clouds are parting and stores are ordering again. And that’s gotten the gears turning in me to produce new Jesus magnets for 2022. 

Charly 2021

You see, the manufacturer in Hong Kong who’s been making my magnets for the last 20 years simply stopped responding to emails. They just disappeared. Granted we haven’t spoken since 2018, and I know a lot of companies have vanished since this whole pandemic fiasco began. But this was serious. It took me years to find these guys. And ftr, there’s still ZERO die-cut magnet manufacturers in the U.S. able to take on Jesus Dressup, and it’s for the exact same reason they wouldn’t 20 years ago – Subject matter. No joke, It’s even gone so far as to have one sales guy agree to the job, accept my deposit, then a week later return it exclaiming, “The owner saw the artwork and said- No way. Please don’t contact us again.”

Lucky for me though, ever since it blew up back in ’04 I’ve been on the receiving end of spam emails from other manufactures wanting to steal my business away. 100% of them from China. So in a moment of clarity a couple months ago I remembered all those emails, searched gmail trash and responded to every single one. Some of which were literally over a decade old. And wouldn’t you know, one responded. So I checked them out through my broker, exchanged samples and art, and now we’re back in business! I’ll have 3 new JDU’s by 2022. I’m very excited.

I’m additionally pleased to say I’ve been drawing a lot. Every single day. Drawing, and hanging my art up around town. Even selling something every once in awhile too. It’s the only thing that’s kept me sane through the last three long, lonely years w/zero social life. Whitehall Michigan is no playground for a middle-aged atheist/artist with a Google search result like mine. Thus all this time not developing relationships with other humans is spent on these lone art classes.

That said, I’m planning my first escape from this town to Chicago in October. I need to get away, visit my brothers’ families, friends, and whoever else I can get to. The yearn is strong. I can’t explain how much so, but I’m thinking most everyone can relate to this by now so I gotta stop whining. I get it. I’ll shut up.

dreadlocked white man

Last but not least, I’ve gotten a handful of updates for a few NYC familiars from the park. Shaggy sent me the photos below of Roman (video), Jeremy & Kevin Carpet, who seem to all be doing fine. And depending on how far your NormalBobSmith memory goes back, this morning I got an email from Noah (video), my cohost for the original version of NoBS Radio I was doing back in 2005 & 06? He’s got a GoFundMe for a new van. I thought those of you who remember would be happy to know he’s okay, but needs a dollar. Also, his Facebook.


August Creativity

People’ve been demanding I draw celebs that’re more famous. For some reason I have a difficult time focusing on the big stars. In most cases they’ve been drawn 1,000 times already. And they’ve already been substantially over exposed, by definition. Someone however suggested that like the Amy Winehouse piece, I continue with the Gone Too Soon theme. That was a good idea. So as I was searching for ideas I was struck by how few drawings there are of Kurt which actually LOOK like him. Way too many seem to’ve been drawn by a love-struck pre-teen fan, to the point where he looks like the guy from Nickleback! And even more who took the easy route with his shades & sweaters. Anyhow, I’ve done my best to fix that.

Sitting in AC to escape the heat & humidity of Michigan has made August a creatively productive month for me. To begin with, if you haven’t read my most recent stories of my teenage Hollywood Runaway Punkrock Adventure, you simply must. It’s a 3 parter that’ll give insight on how this grownup problem-child started down this path. Depending on how much you REALLY want to know about my motivations, my FBB Girlfriend story, and THAT whole longing obsession, well I wrote about those too. I’m really enjoying this storytelling, and look forward to writing more from my past, and my id. I’ve realized again how revealing myself only widens the scope of art I want to make.

Finally, I’m still in the magnetic Jesus Dressup business! I lost a lot of stores in the pandemic. Many just aren’t even answering their phones anymore. But I have however been getting them onto your refrigerators through my store! I was reminded of how long this has been going on when Sophia, who’s been playing with my Jesus Dressup so long, now her kids play it! Here they are “dressing up the weird guy with holes in his hands.” And that’s a direct quote!
That is one OLD set of the Xmas & the Original. And who else even has a Lady Gaga JDU any more??
Warms my heart, as I hope it does yours as well.

My FBB Obsession

Today I turned 52, and tbh I’m feelin’ old & lonely. I’ve been a single, alone man for many, many years now. Anyone who knows me knows my habit of dwelling on it. Perhaps it’s a midlife crisis? Sure. Why not. My brain dwells and dwells and dwells. Always has. Probably what’s kept me single. But over the years I’ve found several different ways to deal with this issue of mine.

Pinky 1998
Pinky 1998

Drawing. Sitting down and focusing my concentration on something I find beautiful has always been the most effective way to distract and refocus this overactive, self-doubting brain of mine. So today (my birthday), in hopes of distracting, I’m gonna tell you about that which I find MOST beautiful, then show you some of my art to prove it.

But before I continue, I hafta acknowledge I’ve struggled on how to write about this. The reality is, I’m just some skinny dude here commenting on women’s bodies. I can clearly see how a blog like this could be taken very wrong. I’m not even convinced I have the right to comment on the topic. I mean, who am I? Who cares what this pencil-neck geek thinks about the bodies of these accomplished  women who know not even of my existence?
I just want to make it absolutely clear the immense respect I have for how much work goes into it. I also understand the amount of criticism and disrespect these women endure. I have no sense of humor about it when jokes are made. They’re as unfunny as they are unoriginal.

Tazzie Colomb 2000
Tazzie Colomb 2000

It’s these truths behind the muscularity that fuel it deep in me. I adore it as an act of rebellion. A blunt rejection of the norm. A confidence I’ve never been able to find in myself to such a degree. It is also envy, to be sure.
It’s the superiority, intimidation, domination and an exaggerated sexualization that lends itself to the imagination. Fact is, I owe any drawing talent I have to this obsession.

I’ve never seen a woman I thought was too muscular. Any level of visible musculature hits me hard. I have no idea where this came from or how it came about in me. It’s just there, and it’s the one sight that makes my heart jump outta my chest every time.

Tessa Boyea 2018
Tessa Boyea 2018

It can be terrifying too. My emotions are so affected by any encounter. It’s both something I search out, yet dread to find. I lose my cool, and afterwards fall into a despair that haunts me for days to follow. It’s just always seemed so completely out of reach. It’s me at my most pathetic. I have many stories. I could recollect every single muscular woman with whom I’ve ever had an encounter, and my failure as a man immediately after.
You get the picture.

Pinky Side Bicep 1997
Pinky Side Bicep 1997

This is Pinky. She’s a character I drew for a website I made in 1997 called Pinky’s Links where I would link up my favorite fbb’s & show off my drawings of them. And it worked! It was my breakthrough in finally finding an avenue to conversing with them online. I drew many of these beautiful women. Some even got their own dressup games!
Christa Bauch Dressup
Dressup Tammy Jones

Pinky 1997
Pinky 1997

My very first memories of seeing female bodybuilders were televised bodybuilding contests in the 80s, and bodybuilding magazines on shelves. When I was 16 I invented a role-playing game called Palace with more than a hundred characters, most of which were muscular women. I had to make myself draw other kinds of “regular looking” characters so the game wouldn’t look quite so pornographic. The one’s on hole punched line paper were drawn in the classroom. Enjoy!

Happy to say my drawing talent improved over time. In the 90s I started my Neptune comic and created Madonna Brando, my boldest celebration of the extreme muscular physique yet! From left to right you can see how she developed as a character over time.

Pinky arms crossed 1997
Pinky arms crossed 1997

And to this day I adore the results of what I can do now digitally. I am simply honored to have a way to celebrate it to such a degree at all. It’s my most favorite subject to draw, ever. Clearly.

Pinky 1997
Pinky 1997

My plan?
Keep drawing.
That’s all I know to do.
Maybe revealing this about myself in such detail will help. I know there are others. It’s about coming out. Showing proper respects to that which inspires me most.
But after all’s said, Ima prolly shutup and just stick to honoring through art again. I have more practice at that.

Bringing Union Sq to Book Nook

Wendell Headly framed behind Book Nook counter
Wendell Headly framed behind Book Nook counter

As many of you may or may not know, I’ve been displaying my art in coffee shops around here in Michigan. Two shops to be exact. Drip Drop Drink in Muskegon, and Book Nook Java Shop in Montague. I highly recommend both!
Now, Book Nook has invited me to hang as much as I want of whatever I want in their sizely establishment, and I’ve fully taken them up on that offer. About 20 pieces there now. I even framed that Wendell Head just in time for spring, as well as a poster size of that Union Square postcard, which is what I have to tell you about.

amazing strangers of union square cartoon drawing
All of the Union Square characters for Matchgame Postcard gathered at park digitized in Adobe Illustrator

Now, I’ve been putting off blowing this particular image up to poster size mainly because I sorta didn’t wanna see all those little drawings blown up. The postcard size smallness of the piece hid mistakes. Or maybe I just didn’t want to go down Memory Lane with these faces closeup just yet. Either way, I wasn’t going to pass up this opportunity to share Union with the people of Montague. It was time to blow this baby up, 2 feet by 3 feet to frame for their wall.

I scaled the art, took it to the printers, and when I picked it up along with some others, I didn’t want to look at this one yet. I stress about these things. It wasn’t until it was framed and in my room that evening I actually sat down in front of it (a little stoned) and just stared at it. And lemme tell you, I was BLOWN AWAY.

I’d forgotten how much work I’d put into each of these tiny little caricatures, and all of their personalities came flooding back. All of these details were lost in that cramped little postcard I gave away. I shocked myself. Everybody looks like they actually look. Period. Roman and his gang, Wendell, Quarter Guy, Peepers, EVERYONE! No joke, it’s the first time I’d ever seen ANY of these this big, and it was cracking me up! There’s nothing else like it.

Union Square Glossary
Union Square Glossary

Long story short, I went back to the drawing board, added a few more characters (there’s over 100 people on it btw), plus a lot of  Easter Eggs for anyone who’s a real AS nerd.
I printed 50, 24″X 36″ posters to sell to whoever wants one. It’s First Print numbered & dated, signed by me, including this really nice looking glossary sheet with everybody’s name and where they are at the park. You can quiz yourself, and then go find them on the Tube! BUY IT HERE

union square nyc,
Union Sq at Book Nook

Not to toot my own horn but it’s really the greatest picture that’s ever going to exist of that corner of New York City at that point in time. If you were waiting for my big tribute to Union Square, this is it. Yet as I write this it’s only hanging in a cute little coffee shop in Montague Michigan… for now!

• AMAZING STRANGERS POSTER comes signed, w/glossary key.