Archive for the ‘Art’ Category


Posted: January 18, 2013 in Art, Observations, Opinions, The Future


Welcome to 2013! According to Stanley Kubrick we’re twelve years past the future. We could’ve all been in space by now. The only thing stopping us is us. Although maybe we’d better start small, with the simpler questions. Are you keeping any of your resolutions so far?


“Resolution” is a good word. It’s got a few different meanings. At the start of the year — although less so by the day, it being January 17th already — resolution indicates a kind of fortified resolve, as in: These are the aspects of living which I insist on doing differently or better in the new year.

Resolution can mean determination: If you’re resolved, you’re certain of something. If a situation is resolved, that means it’s been settled. In political terms, a resolution is an official statement put into action. And in reference to images, such as on televisions or computer screens, resolution means clarity.

Sometimes clarity can be found by watching people you respect, and listening to what they have to say. This happened to me recently while reading the Vanity Fair Comedy Issue, where the great comedian Louis CK was interviewed.

Louis CK   Louis CK

For some random cosmic reason, or maybe just out of pure coincidence, I’ve been aware of Louis CK for years and have periodically lucked into vantage points to observe the arc of his career. My best comedy-expert buddy introduced me to Louis’ short films over a decade ago, the films he made around the time he was working behind the scenes writing for Conan O’Brien and Chris Rock.

When I first moved to LA, in 2001, I ended up at a screening on the Paramount lot of POOTIE TANG, the feature film Louis directed. It was an obviously-unfinished workprint and it’s safe to say that the crowd I was with didn’t get it. It must suck for filmmakers to sit through preview screenings, but it sucks only a little less to have to sit and listen to the dumb comments of humorless audience members. The movie has since gained a cult following but it can’t have been an easy experience at the time.

Around that time, maybe 2002, I befriended a guy who hosted a comedy night at a bar in Santa Monica. I went several times, during which time I decided beyond a doubt that stand-up comedians are to be respected. That’s a hard job. I got to watch plenty of them up close through those comedy nights. One of them was Louis CK! This was the first time I got to see his brilliant “Why?” routine. I have rarely laughed so hard.

The next time I saw the “Why?” routine, it was in 2006, as the opening scene of Louis’ HBO series Lucky Louie. This show was fucking great but it only lasted one season.

Thanks to that same comedy-connoisseur friend, I have seen Louis do stand-up live several times over the years. In the last few, those tickets have become harder and harder to get as his popularity has exploded. You’ve all seen his FX series, right? It’s wonderful, a true victory for individualism and uncompromised comic vision. The most recent time I saw Louis do stand-up, it was a week before he hosted Saturday Night Live on November 3rd. Once again, I was among the privileged who got to see a routine or two earlier, in the working stages. His SNL monologue was an abbreviated variation of the material he did at that show a week before (both versions were hysterical).

Louis CK

The point I’m trying to express is the admiration I have for such a hardworking and thoughtful artist. It’s humbling. And it’s instructive.

All of which brings me back to that Vanity Fair interview. It’s their Proust Questionnaire, an exercise meant to reveal the personality of its subjects. The following is one of the questions, and Louis’ response:


Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could draw. I can’t make a thing in my mind go on paper. I draw like a child. Like a heavily beaten and molested child. Who can’t draw.


As a creative person who has struggled to find his way, reading something like that is incredibly illuminating. Louis CK can’t draw. Someone of so many obvious talents, who I respect so much — even he has limits that bother him. And I’m sitting here, lucky once again. I can draw! I can’t get up on stage and change the world with uncommonly perceptive and bluntly eloquent comedy like he can, but I can draw.

Believe me, that’s not ego inflation. I’m not comparing myself to anyone, or suggesting I have anything coming to me, or anything like that. This is about the inspiration I get from others, and about using it for self-motivation. There are plenty of wonderful artists who can draw far more beautifully than I ever will. But still, I can draw. I have talents that other people wish they could have, even some of the most famous and successful creative people in the world. I should appreciate that more. I should utilize that more.

So that’s my resolution, and my clarity. To use my talents, all of them. To find what I can do that other people can’t, to find what I can bring to the world that the world might need or want. I happen to believe that my writing and my personal perspective are among those virtues. My drawing ability is another.

What’s yours? Let’s all figure it out and get to work in 2013!


Here’s a bunch of stuff I did over the past couple weeks.  There’s not much, but you’ll like this first item, which features some heavy-duty opinionating on my part:

TRAFFIC CONTROL: The Movies Of 2011.

The rest is my selected commentary on recent movie news, screenings, trailers, and DVD releases.

Your 2011 Academy Award Nominations.


Too Good To Be True: Clint May Direct Beyoncé.


STREET ART: Banksy Conducts Oscar Campaign In LA.

NOW ON DVD: Monsters.

NOW ON DVD: Let Me In.

TRAILER: The Tree Of Life.

TRAILER: Bridesmaids.


If you have to click on just one link here, I highly recommend The Tree Of Life one. The trailer is amazing and I tried to give a brief appreciation of a great American filmmaker.

Lost Art.

Posted: March 25, 2010 in Art, Movies

I just picked up the new issue of Juxtapoz and was very excited to see that it contains a partial gallery of The Lost Art Of Inglourious Basterds, an exhibit from last month which I wrote about in one of my internet columns.  This was a series of pieces by modern artists envisioning alternative movie posters for Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.  Forgive the facile turn of phrase, but the results were pretty glorious..

Alice In Wonderland.

Posted: March 7, 2010 in Art, Drawings


Just saw Tim Burton’s take on Lewis Carroll’s classic story Alice In Wonderland.  There was plenty to recommend it, but it sure diverged drastically from the early imagery by Sir John Tenniel (the original illustrator of the stories.)  The following is a drawing I did for my grandfather’s incredible book of poetry, To Every Truth Its Season.  It’s a pretty solid imitation of the original Tenniel drawing, if I do say so myself.  Compare the two and see what you think!

Sir John:

Your Jon:

I love this magazine!

Posted: January 17, 2010 in Art


Juxtapoz is becoming one of my very favorite magazines.  I really like how they spotlight so many different and unusual styles of modern art.  Especially as I have been rediscovering my more artistic side over the last couple of years, it’s really exciting to find new influences and ideas.  I love going to the museums to see the classic stuff, but it’s inspiring to see the newer trends and concepts that are being created right now.


The above piece is by Josh Keyes, an artist profiled in the magazine.  I hadn’t heard of him before today, and I haven’t even cracked the cover yet, but I love this painting.  I’m obsessed with great white sharks, so it already had my eye.  It kept my eye with its combination of unlikely elements.  At first I felt bad for those hummingbirds, but then I started to get suspicious of what they’re doing there.  And that’s nothing compared to the fact that the shark is breaching from under a concrete street!  Casually terrifying.  Great image.