A Lisbon building detail sketched in late 1982, so I was 19 here. I remember this as being done on some weird sort of paper, clearly not meant for drawing — it may have been some sort of print stock sample — but which worked pretty well with the Caran d’Ache pencils I carried everywhere.
I have shown here before a drawing I did of Jaime Isidoro, but here’s a photo I took of him in 1983 with a point-and-shoot camera. He was an art dealer in the city of Porto, and when I was drifting around town at age 19 he was far more generous and supportive than I probably deserved.
Around 2005, Scott Stowell’s Open studio was busy creating video segments for the 7-screen-units in the lobby of the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame. I supplied a bunch of textural photos (buildings, fishnet stockings, that sort of stuff), the most entertaining being this sequence of satin closeups that illustrated the climax of the Jelly Roll Morton segment.
Of course I read it in a Portuguese translation, in the mid-seventies, but here’s my first photography technique book: an opus by Hans-Reinhard Schatter originally titled "BLV Juniorwissen / Fotografieren," releadsed in Germany in 1971. As time went by I acquired additional insights, but once in a while some of Schatter’s dogmas still pop into my mind as I am shooting.
I used to have a standing gig with the Portuguese Consumers Protection Agency that kept me afloat through most of the eighties. For this 1987 flier, something about allergy medicines, I took the occasion to draw a fella I knew who was particularly prone to such misfortunes.
At the end of the eighties I moved to Chicago, Illinois. Amy and I were living down the road from a decrepit tannery overlooking the Chicago River, here sketched in 1990. Gone, of course. The whole neighborhood, once an industrial wasteland, is now a hotbed of posh retail. But as of this writing, a concrete platform stands where this factory once was. At least the ghost smells are gone.
Circa 1993 I was art-directing a chicago alternative weekly called NewCity, which operated on a shoestring and could not afford full-color covers: only black and two spot colors, selected from the samples above. I had fun producing catchy graphics out of a limited palette. If you play your combinations right, the options can be streched. What was less fun was to call Chris Ware every Friday to announce him which colors were being planned. He was running an early version of the Jimmy Corrigan comics on the center pages, thus piggybacking on the cover’s color plates; but of course some color combinations made his job a bit harder. (He redid them all in full color for the book, of course.) Once in a while he twisted my arm, but invariably pulled an impressive range out of combinations such as purple and brown.
OK, it doesn’t get any more vintage than this: a drawing I did in 1976, aged 12 or 13. Patterns hand-drawn with a 0.35mm Rotring pen. I was clearly into, well, whatever menacing tribe this fella seems to belong to. (Exotic TV shows influence, I would say). This work of art found its way into a frame in my parents’ living room, where it remained for quite a while. I later found out some nutcase once paid a visit, examined my drawing, and declared it to be the creation of a disturbed mind. It’s been almost forty years, but if you think I still need help, by all means give me a call.
I had a rocky start with the Hipstamatic app for the iPhone. It was initially devised to make one’s photographs look as bad as possible, as if they came out of a toy camera, and that didn’t help. Then I decided to buy every “lens/film” combo available in their store (at 99¢ a pop, it wasn’t that steep a deal), then went to a rooftop with my friend Welchie, and spent hours trying hundreds of possible variations. A day or two later I had settled down on a few favorite settings. This was in 2012, and I’ve been using those settings ever since. As of the time of this writing, as you may imagine.
I barely did any work of note during the short time I spent at art school. But here’s one of the drawings (yes, that’s me at age 18) created in the 1982 spring break for a project I presented at the class of professor Lagoa Henriques.