Graffiti and ground zero

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courtesy CBS

I had seen these murals in New York this past summer. CBS Sunday morning did a story on it. The murals are right outside the World Trade Center in NYC, right at the Oculus.

This CBS piece is a great story on history and art. Here is the link to the video: https://www.cbsnews.com/video/leaving-their-mark-graffiti-artists-decorate-the-wtc-site/

And here is the story with photos: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/decorating-hallowed-ground-with-street-art/ 

What’s interesting is right across the street is Trinity Church, where that land was purchased and deeded in 1696. The first church was built on that location in 1698 and the current church and graveyard are there from 1839 after being rebuilt three times since the 1600s. It’s amazing to take it all in, where you see the 1600s to today in one glance.

This graffiti story is cool because it was commissioned by the 87-year-old owner of the property Larry Silverstein, who purchased the Twin Towers six weeks before they were destroyed. Through is vision and the vision of the artists, the area is alive again.

So from the 1600s until today, the area is ever-evolving and alive.

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NY Daily News; sign of the times

 

The New York Daily News has an editorial about itself called, “Local journalism is sick; don’t misdiagnose the disease.” They explain their current situation where they have been gutted by Tronc, their current owner. They say it’s more than Tronc cutting the staff by more than half, it’s the times, it’s the internet, it’s so much more.

To be honest, I didn’t buy one newspaper the whole time I was in New York this summer and that is saying a lot.  I usually buy The Daily News every single day when I’m in the city, I pick it up with my breakfast, and most days I would buy the Daily News, the NY Post, The NY Times and Newsday, all four daily newspapers, but even if I didn’t buy all four, I would always buy the Daily News. I’m not sure why I did not purchase the papers. I think it all started with my Miami Herald fiasco this past winter and I just got out of the habit. Reading the newspapers is a habit, sort of like having breakfast every morning.

The NY Daily News itself is now down in an office building down near the Staten Island Ferry, they aren’t even in the actual Daily News building on 42nd Street, which has been the case for years.

I took a short video of the Daily News building in November, here it is.

The Daily News Building is a beautiful Art Deco building and the Daily News should be in that building. I wrote about the strike in 1945 and showed an incredible video where it shows millions of newspapers being sold per day as people waited in long lines to plop down a nickle for the Daily News and all of the other New York newspapers at the time – the Mirror, the Journal-American, the Sun, etc. Newspapers were the world back then.

Today the sports department has been gutted. That’s the one thing my father would always mention when I would give him copies of the newspapers that I would bring home with me – the New York Daily News and the New York Post – he would admire the size of their sports section, putting down the puny Miami Herald’s sports section, asking, “Why can’t the Herald be like the New York papers?”

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The ubiquitous camera in the masthead

And the photography department at the Daily News has been gutted, too. No photographers at New York’s Picture Newspaper!!! No photographers! Should they remove that iconic camera logo that has been part of their masthead since day one in 1919?

Look! Up in the sky! Umbrellas!

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Umbrella Sky is now part of Giralda Plaza in Coral Gables. I attended the ribbon cutting on Friday night where there was food, live music and lots of neighbors.

I’ve seen this project online over the years and it’s so cool to have it right in my neighborhood.

The umbrellas will swaying over Geralda Plaza until the end of summer.

Coral Gables is the first city in South Florida and the third city in the U.S. to host the Umbrella Sky art project, an internationally recognized public art display that has taken part in Paris and Lisbon.

“This captivating art project is a great example of our commitment to increase art and cultural experiences in the City Beautiful,” said Coral Gables Mayor Raúl Valdés-Fauli. “Umbrella Sky will undoubtedly drive more people into our downtown, but we hope they stay to dine and shop while here.”

Umbrella Sky is the creation of Portuguese Company, Sextafeira, which means Friday in Portuguese.

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Selling my comics out of the blue

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So I sold some cartoons this week and I didn’t even try. In fact, it all came out of the blue – twice! Being a Gemini, things happen to me in twos and that happened this week.

I’m in New York for a couple of weeks. I received a couple of emails from a couple of different people. Both had seen my cartoon panel, “Tomversation” online, one lady said she was doing a Google search and the other,  I’m not sure, I think she was just going through my work on Huff Post and Medium.

Ironically, they both reached out to me asking to purchase some comics! One lady was a realtor and she was interested in a real estate “House Hunters” comic I did, she wanted to purchase the rights for a newsletter or something. She also asked for more real estate related comics, which I’ll send her once I return home to Miami from New York.

The other lady purchased a bunch of comics for a magazine, I believe. I billed them both through Paypal and I sent them high resolution comics to reprint. They paid right away and that’s that.

Not bad. Here I am on vacation, minding my own business and my comics are selling!

I’m thinking of starting daily publication of “Tomversation” starting in the fall. I think I’ve gotten enough of the run-around from syndicates, newspapers and the rest. I was just told by the head of one syndicate that he didn’t like my work or my drawing style. Yet, this is the guy who runs stick figure and crayon-type drawn comics with no imagination of  any kind. The Universe has better plans for me.

Drawing at the Met

 

I met my cousin Michael at the Metropolitan Museum of Art today in New York. He texted me to tell me he would be there – drawing. He was with a friend and he said they both do that together – draw. You may remember Michael was the one who took me around the Spider-man exhibit that time at the Society of Illustrators.

It sort of reminded me of that time I came upon the school kids drawing at MOMA and I ended up doing a story for the Huff Post about that. In this case, I knew the artists.

I went over and it was nice. They took a break after awhile and we walked around exploring the new exhibits. What’s funny about that was that Michael marked his spot so he could go right back to it to continue his drawing in one of the sculpture courts. But when we went back there was someone in the exact spot – the resident artist! Of all the places in that whole huge museum, they resident artist sat in Michael’s spot! We didn’t say anything, we just went on to look at more exhibits.

We are supposed to go to the David Bowie exhibit this weekend at the Brooklyn Museum, but I canceled to go to The Hamptons instead. Priorities. Guess we can go to Bowie next week.

Great comics I just discovered

I came upon Off the Leash Dog Cartoons by Rupert Fawcett on Facebook.  I love social media for finding new comics. Rupert posts all over the internet, on Facebook alone he has almost 1 million fans! you can see his work at his website here: http://offtheleashdogcartoons.com/

I love how true and close to home the comic is and I love that it’s in black and white. Not enough comics are in black and white these days. Rupert has Off the Leash animations on YouTube, too.

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Another comic that I came upon on Instagram is Meeting Comics by Andrew Neal.  This first comic is so close to home that its sad, but excellent. As of yesterday these poor kids were being taken away from their parents and locked up in cages. As of yesterday that effed-up policy has changed.

I like that Andrew posts the comics as a photo image of the drawn page, also in black and white, and I love where he adds post-it notes to make changes or cover up mistakes. It’s such a common practice with cartoonists, but Andrew just puts it out there in glorious ultra yellow.

You can see his website here: http://www.meetingcomics.com

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Ivortoons by Ivor Healy are mostly puns, but so funny. His work has appeared all over from the Wall Street Journal to Woman’s Weekly. He’s quite clever, I found him on Instagram.

You can see his work here: http://www.ivortoons.com

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He says my style is rushed

I had sent my work to one of the heads of one of the major newspaper syndicates. He gave me a lot of good advice, which I appreciate.  He did say something quite puzzling, he said my work looked rushed – that I drew too fast. These three drawings are samples of my style.

First off, he is right, I do draw fast, I’m not sure how he knew but I guess its his job to know. But is it a bad thing that I draw fast? That’s just my personality, I do things fast. I don’t think it diminishes the drawings. I see so many comic strips that look as if they were drawn fast, I mean people can’t even draw hands for gods sake, but that is the cartoonists’ styles, in fact many of them draw other things that I’ve seen that are totally different than their comic strip style.

Just this morning I was looking at a blog of a cartoonist who draws his comic strip very simply but he had other drawings on his blog, greeting cards, or something like that, which I really enjoyed, they were quite detailed and sort of a fine-line drawing style which is nothing like his comic strip style. And there is a woman cartoonist who does the same thing, when she draws things other than her comic strip, the drawings are quite different, more refined and detailed.

I don’t like to pick on other artist’s styles because art is art. Who am I to judge, which did make me wonder about this comic head who judged my art. I mean, I can understand him judging the comic as a whole, but since when is a cartoonist’s drawing style judged by an editor? There are so many comic strip and comic panel artists in the newspapers and magazines like The New Yorker, who have a very simple, fast style, but the finished work is perfect.