Category Archives: News

Bringing Union Sq to Book Nook

Wendell behind the counter at Book Nook
Wendell behind the counter at Book Nook

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.

$50
$50




 

 

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I’m Still Here!

Jesus Dressup crownhanger logoI’ve gotten enough inquiries lately about whether or not I still sell the Jesus magnets, or how I’m doin, or when I’ll be back at Union Square that I should probably give an update no matter how uneventful. Compared to everyone else this year, I’m fine out here in the middle of nowhere-Michigan away from all the rest of the world’s drama. And no offense, but not being in the city has its benefits too. So yes, I do indeed still have magnets for sale!
I have 6 different versions of Jesus Dressup available:
1. Original JDU
2. Halloween JDU
3. Final Justice JDU
4. BDSM JDU
5. Star Wars JDU
6. Batman JDU
You can get All 6 for $66!
I
 have all kinds of different stuff for sale besides those, so it’s worth taking a tour of my store to see what I’m talkin about.

Timbo Boot Pulley Demo 2020
Timbo Boot Pulley Demo 2020

I’ve just been drawing. Practicing my pen & ink skills atm. I drew this beautiful picture just the other day, for example. So don’t be worrying about me. I don’t presently have any plans to go to NYC, or anywhere for that matter. By spring maybe I’ll have something different to say regarding all that. But between you and me, 2020 has done quite a number on the business and the stores I do business with across the U.S. I’ve only had TWO stores order magnets for their shelves this year! Only 2. So I really really hope that 2021 has better news waiting for us all in this dept as well.

So again, I’m here, I got magnets, and I’m feeling generous, including little extras in people’s orders. Try me! I appreciate your business and audience to how little I’ve got to show here lately. Thank you for all that.

Saving the Past

crucifieddevilv2The combination of Becka’s art exhibit detailing the last 30 years of my work, and all the free time this isolation in lockdown has forced upon us all, I’ve been re-inspired to archive more of my own history on the internet.

First and foremost, I want to give many thank-you’s to my new friend in Kazakhstan, Aleksei Yu who has a commendable obsession with my dressup games. He singlehandedly scoured the internet & WayBack.com to gather all of the lost and forgotten dressups I’ve constructed over the last 20 years. These were for a wide assortment of clients, most of them having long since disappeared from the web, thus taking their custom games down with them. Archived Dressups imageThen he fixed the coding so they work again, organized them by year, and surprised me through email with the full archive for future generations to study and enjoy. It’s simply unbelievable to me. So many of these I’d forgotten about. Over 60 games!
His actions have subsequently inspired me to piece together several other dressups I started, but for one reason or another never completed, like Danni Daniels Dressup! BTW, NSFW!

These too have been included in Becka Jean’s exhibition. In fact each section of her exhibit has been updated with more art, so it’s worth a revisit if you were into it your first time through.

Jesus Dressup crownhanger logoThe Jesus Dressup section of my store has also been updated so it’s friendlier to the eye. Things have really slowed down around here, so if you’ve been considering buying these magnets but just haven’t gotten around to it, your purchases won’t be under appreciated. The Halloween sets are on sale for just $10! Only a few more boxes of those left before they’re gone for good.
On this topic of archiving the past, at the bottom of this page I’ve put together this informative gallery of Jesus Dressup magnets produced in order by year. 13 different versions over the last 20 years! It’s worth the scroll through, if only to refresh your memory.

normalbobsmith.com2009And since we’re going soooooo far down Memory Lane, I’ve also added links in the right side menu here to 3 different versions of my original site as it evolved over the decades. A glimpse back to an internet long gone. If you’re like me and enjoy nostalgia surfing, these are a fun browse too.

This, my friends, is how I’ve been occupying myself here in the middle of nowhere on lockdown, in hopes that it can occupy y’all as well.

Pray for Satan Exhibit

Crucified Normal BobWhere I’m living now, taking care of the old-folks in Conservative-Baptist-Land I couldn’t feel farther from an audience. It was an extremely good run there. Making my dreams come true whilst getting away with purging all that creativity out of my gut and onto the streets. I mean, looking back, it astounds me the total girth of what I put out, while simultaneously paying NYC rents. But “looking back” seemed to be the extent of all that remained. Now I’m 50, and the rules say, my time has passed.

When Rebecca got in touch with me last year she suggested maybe I do indeed deserve to be noticed? Still?
In fact, she was going to write her final thesis on me and this body of work. Now here we are, a year later sharing all of this again with a new audience. I could not be more happy or fulfilled as an artist by this acknowledgement.

prayforsatan_normalbob

The “Normal Bob/Pray For Satan” exhibit brought to you by Becka Jean Marsh is a collection of favorites from 4 bodies of my work over the last 30 years.

1. Creatures Of Neptune 1993 to 1998
2. Jesus Dressup 2000 to present
3. Amazing Strangers 2006 to 2018
4. Portraits 1990 to present

This is the first time ever I’ve put out on display my entire Neptune collection. Ev-verrr.

The Puzzling Paralyzed Moose
The Puzzling Paralyzed Moose

In addition, it’s the first time I myself have ever put them in storied order to read as they were meant to be read! It wasn’t until clearly seeing them this way I realized it’s the illustrated emptiness I felt from a vanishing faith. It’s what I feared was on the other side. My prelude to atheism. It was quite the epiphany.

Little sloppy, but it still fits
Little sloppy, but it still fits

I still have no idea where I’m headed from here, but whatever happens I’m happy to still be of some consequence. Thanks Becka. Hopefully we can still make a real gallery exhibit happen in NYC one day in the future.

Her entire thesis can be viewed here, and it’s an incredible account of my life and how everything went down for me and my art. I just could not be more flattered and inspired by the words she’s written. Thank you Rebecca.

And look at that. The tux still fits!