Thanks to the Durrells and Anthony Bourdain, I have wanderlust

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The Durrells – in Corfu

I’m feeling wanderlust. I was watching the Durrells in Corfu the other night and I really would love to live like them. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a PBS show, it’s a true story about a mother and her four children who move from England to Greece in the 1930s after the father passes away. The kids are about 11 to 22 years of age.

The surroundings and town are so beautiful. They live in a big old house at the water’s edge, surrounded by the sea and beautiful mountains and they are ensconced with the locals who become their friends.

Each of the kids has his own thing going on from the youngest one loving and collecting animals to the oldest being a writer who is trying to be a world traveler. It’s excellent.

Right after the Durrell’s I turned to Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown and it was about West Texas, which according to this episode is completely different than I thought. The people are very accepting, they love their Mexican neighbors across the river, they speak Spanish, out of respect, as one man put it, they eat Spanish food and there is a large Mexican influence, they know that their land was once Mexican land, and oh yea –  they don’t want a border wall. This is one of the best episodes I’ve ever seen. It may be posted here on the Parts Unknown website by now, worth a look.

I am at the point in my life where I feel like selling all my possessions and just traveling and cartooning along the way, incorporating the locations in my work. When I think of the southwest, I think of George Herriman who had a very big connection to that area, as you can see in Krazy Kat.

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Tiny Doors Atlanta

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Tiny door in a tree trunk. Photos courtesy Tiny Doors Atlanta

I saw this story on tv about Tiny Doors Atlanta. It’s an art project where artist Karen Anderson creates and installs tiny doors throughout the city. It’s free art in public spaces, free tiny art.

People love them and interact with them. The doors are 7 inches tall and they are placed in strategic places throughout Atlanta. They’re placed anywhere, as part of trees, walls, houses, just about anywhere.

The interesting part is that only one of the doors opens at this time. The goal is to create a sense of wonderment and imagination, but the doors don’t open.

All the door locations are in public areas and free to visit. One of my favorites is built into a tree trunk.

I’ve been a promoter of the little free library project for awhile and now love the tiny door concept.

The website is here: https://tinydoorsatl.com/
The Instagram page with over 100,000 followers is here: https://www.instagram.com/tinydoorsatl/

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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.

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.