Monthly Archives: March 2013

Real Art.

While I haven’t posted any additional pages from my graphic novel project, rest assured that I continue to make progress.  I finished Page 60 this Sunday and should be done through Page 62 next weekend in time to publish Page 63 the weekend after that.  At that point, I’ll be publishing every page through to the end.  The book should be complete some time this Autumn.

In the meantime, in an effort to keep updating this site, here is some other artwork that I’ve done and which you may be interested in.

 

Beretania Bums Trad Meda First Cleaned Up Small

Beretania Bums Pencil

 

Don’t let the brochures fool you: Hawaii is a complete dump.  I know this for a fact, having lived there for a number of years, but they do their best to convey the opposite impression to tourists by confining them to one small part of Oahu, then herding everything unsavory to the rest of it.  Case in point: homeless people.  Homeless people are absolutely everywhere in Hawaii, due to the warm weather and astronomical rents.  Normally, the HPD will just run them out of Kapiolani park every morning about ten minutes before the breakfast buffet opens at the Hyatt, but for the APEC summit in 2011 they pulled out all the stops and ran them all the way to River St. but — crucially — not an inch farther.  So, for about a month there was a very large Hooverville of people in and around Aala park, which I had to ride my bike through every morning to get to work.  It seemed to epitomize the conflict between what my friends on the mainland thought when they found out I was moving to Hawaii and what I actually experienced.   So I drew some pictures.

Twisting in the Dark Parts Small

One of my favorite bands is The Hold Steady.  If you hear the lyric,

We got shiftless in the 50s

holding hands and going steady

twisting into dark parts of the large Midwestern cities

and don’t imagine hollow-cheeked film-noir hipsters in narrow ties and knee-length skirts with runny makeup ducking into some black-bricked firetrap in The Flats, then there is something the matter with you.  Ten points if you know the actual name of this bar.


Exploring Picher, OK

The former town of Picher, OK, has been described as the most toxic Superfund site in the United States.  For almost half a century, this town of about 1,600 people was home to the world’s largest lead mine.  The mining company hollowed out the land under the town, piled the tailings on apparently any empty lot — sometimes just feet from housing — and finally abandoned the whole works, letting the mine galleries flood and causing lead to seep into the groundwater.

Here are some pictures of it.

Gorilla

House & Tailings

The mine waste is in mountainous piles all around the town.  I would recommend visiting on a rainy day.

Saggy House & Tailings

US Property NO

No what?  Sorry, sign’s too faded to read.

Hiroshima

The feds started the process of leveling all of the houses in town, but of course left all of the concrete pads, which gives the whole place a bizarre and frightening Hiroshima look.  The rattling chains and slamming screen doors don’t help.

No Porch

I say started the process, because they apparently got to where they were halfway done with this house and then ran out of money. I would say that about 1/3 of the original buildings are still up, with no apparent effort to tear them down.

Crazy TrailersCrazy Trailers

As is always the case with these sorts of places, there are a few crazies — their initially precarious grip on reality not helped by the lead poisoning — who think that the whole thing is a “gummit plot” to get them off their land, and so refuse to leave. I didn’t approach too closely, because they’re almost certainly cooking meth and had aggressive-looking dogs chained up. You can see how close the mine waste is to the housing, however.

Cable Box

When they knocked down the houses, they left the cable boxes as they’re property of the cable company, which means that the woods that have grown into the abandoned lots are studded with them.

Hydrant and Antenna

Fire hydrants are also, apparently, too much work to remove. It will look even more bizarre in 50 years when the woods are fully grown in.

Antenna

They knocked down the house that was here, but left the pole with the TV antenna and satellite dish.

Hydrant and Chimney

Chimney

They knocked down the house, but not the chimney.

Album Cover

This looks like it should be an Ataris album cover, except I accidentally got my car in the picture.

Floppy House

It’s interesting to see how wooden buildings decay with water damage. The wood warps instead of just coming apart into sticks, which gives you all kinds of crazy shapes.

No Roof

This one seems to have burned, which must have done wonders for the lead dust problem.

Phone & Water Tower 1 Phone & Water Tower 2

 The cable boxes stayed, but AT&T was coming for their payphone.
Neighborhood Watch
Of course they had a neighborhood watch.
Storefronts
Pitcher OK Mining Museum
The extremely ironic Picher Mining Museum. Abandoned.
Thomas
The Thomas residence. I didn’t go into any of the buildings, out of respect and out of desire not to die of tetanus.
Lenoleum
There’s linoleum on some of the concrete pads, still.
Water Tower Baptist Sign
Explore places like this at your own risk.  I wash my hands of any responsibility if you get swallowed up in a sinkhole, shot by hillbillies, or die of mesothelioma in 60 years.  Show some respect by leaving things as you found them, taking only pictures and not breaking any laws that are likely to be enforced.

Andrew Jackson

andrew_jackson

 

Regular updates of 7 Nissan resume at the end of the month with page 62.

In the meantime, here’s a cartoon I drew a couple of years ago but which didn’t make it onto this website.  You can see how the artwork is a little bit cruder than where I’m at now. One Andrew Jackson was President of the United States from 1829-37.  One of the main priorities of his administration was eliminating the Second Bank of the United States, an early central bank, on the grounds that it had amassed too  much financial power in the hands of private interests.  Although his distrust of government-sponsored central banking as such proved unwise over time as even less accountable private banks (led by men like J. P. Morgan) took on the same role, it is interesting to think what he would make of commercial/investment banks becoming “too big to fail” and receiving large cash infusions to keep them, and the economy, stable.

Also, Jackson makes Alex DeLarge look like Fred Rogers.  If he were alive today, he would literally be considered a serial killer, which is why he’s such great comic fodder.

When I was a young man practicing law in Tennessee, there was a big bullying fellow that wanted to pick a quarrel with me, and so trod on my toes. Supposing it accidental, I said nothing. Soon after, he did it again, and I began to suspect his object. In a few minutes he came by a third time, pushing against me violently, and evidently meaning fight. He was a man of immense size, one of the very biggest men I ever saw. As quick as a flash, I snatched a small rail from the top of the fence, and gave him the point of it full in his stomach. Sir, it doubled him up. He fell at my feet, and I stamped on him.

— Andrew Jackson

Debs, of course, was a labor leader and politician in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Like Jackson, he didn’t have all the right answers in retrospect, but I think that it’s interesting to compare the attitudes and assumptions of early industrial labor relations to modern ones.  The type of people who struck against the Pullman Sleeping Car Company in 1894 (led by Debs) over a 25% pay cut would probably be cobblestone-throwingly aghast at the idea of “work for free for a while, and if you’re good, we’ll consider paying you,” which is increasingly the norm in certain industries.

Writing this has virtually guaranteed that I will never get an unpaid internship at a bank.  As intended.