Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An Empassioned Plea for Yes on 26-118

I'm not a native Oregonian; I moved to Portland in March of 2000. I didn't know the city very well back then - I only moved here because there were a lot of comics artists that I liked that lived here - but from the moment that this became my hometown, I wanted to learn about the city. I've always believed that knowing a city is like knowing a person: you need to know something about their history to really know them at all. Bearing that in mind, I set out to learning about Oregon and Portland. I consumed texts by O'Donnell and Thomas, Eugene Snyder, Karl Klooster, and Kimbark McColl. Eventually, I started making my own historic works about Portland: "City of Roses". I couldn't have produced my pieces without the work of those historians before me, but none of us could have done it without the Oregon Historical Society.

I don't know if you've been to the Oregon Historical Society in recent years. They have a showcase exhibit called "Oregon, My Oregon". Every time I visit it, it brings tears to my eyes. Real, honest tears (my wife can attest to this). It starts with the entry to the exhibit, where at face, you are confronted with the state seal as a four foot tall woodcut. The banner at the bottom of our seal reads "The Union". It is a stark reminder that our state's existence was one of the last gambles before the Civil War - we began as a compromise: if we were a whites only state (as we began; a shameful idea now), then maybe we could preserve the union of the North and the South. It was tried, it didn't work out well. I guess I'm a softy, because I always weep at those ideals. My emotions aren't helped by immediate proximity to Julius Meier's (of Meier & Frank) top hat, or Governor Tom McCall's (the state's last, great Republican - yes, they existed) cowboy boots.

If 26-118 fails, all of this is moth-balled, or worse yet, liquidated. Disposed of.

"My Oregon, Oregon" has more artifacts than what I've described. They have a model of the Columbia Rediviva, the ship that is the namesake of the Columbia River. Fair enough. But they also have actual artifacts from the Columbia Rediviva. A trunk that was on the ship that gave birth to our area. The same exhibit displays a bootie that was worn by John McLoughlin, "the father of Oregon", as a baby. Can you imagine that? You can see it. At least for now.

If this measure fails, we're going to lose all of that. The state's finances are busted. They took funding away from our history before we dived into our recession. It makes sense; how can you fund a historical society when you can't fund an educational system? So it falls to us in Multnomah county to be the stewards of our state's great and amazing history.

Will it cost us? Yes, it will. The burden in this measure is placed upon homeowners, which I will freely admit, I am not one. The price? The cost if you own a house valued at 240,000 dollars, will be one dollar a month. Can you afford that? I bet you can. One dollar a month. If the measure goes through, they are promising you free admission to the museum as a trade. Can you afford that extra one dollar a month on your taxes? I bet you can.

Vote for this measure. Make it happen. If you pass it, I'll make it worth your while. You own a house and you tell me that you voted for this? I'll research your house. If you own a house valued over 500 thousand and you promote this? I'll give you an illustration of your house. Please vote Yes on 26-118. Your neighbors are doing it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stanley McChrystal says the darndest things.

After sketching Donald Sutherland for a bit, I flipped through the copy of Time I was reading and found this picture of General Stanley McChrystal, the guy who lost his job for thinking Bud Light Lime is the best beer ever or something, and thought it would be a fun profile to draw. McChrystal probably never said exactly that, but I think that "x rules, y drools!" is a really funny thing for someone to say; it was probably made up as a phrase sometime around 1983. I'm pretty sure that some Tea Party types will see this and not realize I'm making a joke and this will turn into some meme among right-wingers that have figured out how to use the series of tubes called the Internet.

Donald Sutherland with a Beard

This is for all of you Donald Sutherland lovers, I guess. I was drawing him from an advertisement for some dumb-looking teevee movie or mini-series, and I only realized it was him after I'd been working on this for about 15 minutes. I've been trying to work on improving my ability to draw eyes, which is why I chose to work off of this photo. I'm giving myself a C+ on this one.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Joseph Gale

Joseph Gale was an early American pioneer and fur trapper who was born in 1807 and died in 1881. If you want to learn more about him, you can read the Wikipedia article here. I'm guessing that this photo of him was taken in the late 1860s or early 1870s. Anyway, he's a minor character in a project I've been working on for several years, and today I decided I should probably draw some pictures of him.

A lot of the people in the 19th century that I find interesting were old when photography started to come into play, so you can never really tell what they looked like when they were younger, since all of the existent photos of them are when they are old. With that in mind, here's my regression of Joseph Gale:

A couple of things I've got to admit: 1) I drew these a few hours after seeing his photo and I did them without reference in front of me, so I'll probably have to go back and re-visit my drawings, and 2) yes, he's wearing a coon skin cap in place of his actual hair, I believe.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

It's Techno Thursday!

If you're a regular reader of the Portland Mercury, you're probably familiar with the newest comic in the back section: Techno Tuesday. This comic replaced Jesse Reklaw's weekly dream comic, Slow Wave, and that other one that felt like a bit of a knock-off of Perry Bible Fellowship (Thingpart). A lot of people, including myself, are not a fan of Techno Tuesday. I came up with this idea a week ago and made it today, thinking that I might send it in to the Mercury as a Letter to the Editor:

To be fair to Andy Rementer, the guy that makes this comic, I think he's a pretty good illustrator. I'm not a huge fan of his style, which is a bit of a mix between Robert Crumb and Ron Rege Jr., but he's definitely talented. I just think he's a bad gag writer. Oh, also: he doesn't really make his comics on the computer (I learned that today), but it was funnier to me to have it that way.