Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Meg White

(b. Dec. 10, 1974) Definitely the better half of The White Stripes and certainly its namesake, Meg is a powerhouse drummer and maintains a silent cool. I mean, Jack took HER surname when they married. After their marriage ended, they went on to become one of the most popular bands of the past decade. Since the breakup of the band a few years ago, Jack's been busy with a whole bunch of interesting projects and Meg remarried into Rock & Roll Royalty - Jackson Smith (son of Patti and Fred "Sonic").

If she every wanted to be the drummer in my band, I would be totally into that.

Meg White (mid-play):

Stitched Portraits: Margaret Hamilton

(b. Dec. 9, 1902) There were many exceptional people born on this date, but Margaret was exceptional among them. Before becoming an actress she was a dedicated schoolteacher with no patience for tomfoolery. Through acting she could afford to raise her son and throughout her life she fought for the strength of public education and advocated for animals.

Of course she is most well known as the frightening Almira Gulch (The Wicked Witch of the West). Later in her life she went on Mister Rogers' show to let the children know that it was just makeup. It's just makeup. Remember that.

Margaret Hamilton (as The Wicked Witch):

Stitched Portraits: Nicki Minaj

(b. Dec. 8, 1982) Celebrating her 30th birthday on the same day as Wind & Ghosts (an experimental music duo of which I am a part), she had me at first listen. Check her creep, here.

Nicki Minaj (Pretty, normal):

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Little Richard

(b. Dec. 5, 1932) Little Richard turned 80 yesterday! GREAT GOSH ALMIGHTY!!!

And for all the crazy sounds he's given us, all those crazy songs, and all those crazy ideas - the least I could do was stitch him on his birthday while watching Pee-Wee's Christmas Special (where he is featured, briefly, on ice skates).

Little Richard (oooEEEE!):

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Sarah Silverman

(b. Dec. 1, 1970) For her political ads, Jesus is Magic, and the biting satirical commentary that is her stand-up (including a brilliant bit in the documentary, The Aristocrats), Sarah Silverman is one of my favorite comedians. She's like a glittering shit.

Sarah Silverman (and coy smile):

Stitched Portraits: Shirley Chisholm

(b. Nov. 30, 1924) The first African American to run for President of the United States (and female too). At the time, 1972, she had campaign portraits with her picture that just read, "Outrageous!"

Fittingly, last Friday was the same day that I saw John Waters' Christmas Show at Lupo's. Recently he has talked about voting for Chisholm twice in the '72 election. That is right, he felt that she needed the votes so badly that he was willing to commit voter fraud to give them to her. I love that story and I love her - a trailblazer and a voice for the poor.

Shirley Chisholm (strong and proud):

Stitched Portraits: Viola Smith

(b. Nov. 29, 1912) One of the first female drummers, she played for a swing band - The Coquettes - in the 30s and 40s. She was excellent and killed it behind her kit. Later, she became a spokesperson for Zildjian. Still playing, Viola turned 100 last Thursday and I must thank a Powersful friend for the tip.

Viola Smith (at 100):

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Tomi Ungerer

(b. Nov. 28, 1931)

Children's books, anti-war posters, and erotic art.

Tomi Ungerer was an enigma on American culture of the sixties and seventies. There was a distrust from the public of a man who simultaneously wrote and illustrated children's and erotic books -  never mind the posters he created in protest of the Vietnam war (The image of the Statue of Liberty being shoved into a mouth was one of the more tame) For this trichotomy of a human being hailing from the Alsace region of France, life in the U.S. became trying in the early seventies. His books were frequently banned and purposefully not given to children. He eventually fled to a farm in Canada and lived for many years off of the land, farming and eating the livestock. He wrote a wonderful book about this time called, Far Out Isn't Far Enough, and a documentary of the same name was released this year. His style is unmistakable, his humor is rich, and he is one of my greatest heroes.

Tomi Ungerer (Classic pose):

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Christina Applegate

(b. Nov. 25, 1971) Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead is one of the best of its kind. And it was Christina's role in this film as a teenager pretending to be a grownup pretending to be a fashion designer that served as one of my inspirations. Plus, if I was a cute blonde I would totally date the hot dog vendor in a bowtie.

Of course, most of my peers will know her as Kelly Bundy, the ditzy bombshell from Married With Children. I was not allowed to watch this show as a kid (but I did anyway).

Christina Applegate (incredulous glare from DTMTBB):

Stitched Portraits: Candy Darling

(b. Nov. 24, 1944) A Warhol Superstar. A Transsexual. And Beautiful.

Candy Darling (with candy):

Monday, November 26, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Miley Cyrus

(b. Nov. 23, 1992) "Hannah Montana is Miley Cyrus," said my wife to me one night while we were watching a film that had nothing to do with either of these persons. She was feigning a waking state and probably had that bit of news somewhere in the subconscious (teaching at a middle school does things to your brain...). The timing of this statement has always caused us pause for giggles and aided in the decision to choose young Miley as the subject for this Black Friday portrait. That, and the public shaming she gave to Urban Outfitters president, Richard Hayne, for his monetary support of Rick Santorum. I liked that. It was pretty cool.

Miley Cyrus ('Milin):

Stitched Portraits: Claiborne Pell

(b. Nov. 22, 1918) On Thanksgiving I wanted to stitch someone I was truly thankful for and Pell grants helped me pay for school. So on a personal level, I am thankful for his work to make them possible. But I'm even more thankful for the reason that the grants were created. They were made available to prisoners to give education where it was needed most. He also helped to establish the NEA and NEH, advocated for mass transportation, and yes - he was a Rhode Island Senator for six terms. Rhody Represent.

Claiborne Pell (looking forward):

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Savion Glover

(b. Nov. 19, 1973) More than anything else, I always knew I wanted to be an entertainer. Dancing was a part of it that came naturally. And it made me feel really cool (whether or not this was felt by others is debatable). But I've also always enjoyed eating food - a lot. This, mixed with a relatively slow metabolism and an interest in sewing/drawing/crafting gave me pause when considering a career in dance (Fat man in a tutu?). That being said, I incorporate my dance skills into every day life now, even if my daughter doesn't like it ("Daddy stop dancing").

And those early years of adolescence, with the dance in me? Savion Glover was there - sharing tap moves on Sesame Street and performing in his own Broadway show. And HE looked cool doing it! Now, Savion dedicates his life to educating others. Maybe I'll take tap dancing lessons with him some day...

Savion Glover (stoic):

Monday, November 19, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Jeff Buckley

(b. Nov. 17, 1966) Made Grace. A listening of which can purge pain for me, always. My wife shares this ability too. Jeff Buckley was a preordained portrait choice. (And I'm pretty sure I already know who gets to have this one...)

Sadly, before he made a follow-up, he drowned while swimming in Wolf River Harbor.

Jeff Buckley (album pose):

Friday, November 16, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Ol' Dirty Bastard

(b. Nov. 15, 1968) Russell Tyrone Jones went by the name Ol' Dirty Bastard - a moniker given to him by his fellow Wu-Tang member, Method Man (he said there was "no father to his style"). And if he wasn't part of such a prominent rap group, ODB would have been an obscure outsider artist. Listening to him is a test of earful patience and this has always been the reason why he is my favorite Wu.

There is also his blatant disregard for authority, characterized most egregiously in the MTV profile where he picks up his welfare check with his family, in a limo (you know, at the same time he had a platinum album out). The absurdity of an act like this is one that polarized him, but it spoke to some deep issues that we continue to discuss today. Because really, we talk about welfare as free money gifts from the government. "THEY didn't EARN that!" is a common epithet (That, and "I'M a HARD worker"). To this I say: Let people do whatever they want with their welfare checks - it's only going to have the same effect that wasting money has on anyone. And the lives we lead based on our actions - We all earn that.

Ol' Dirty (Grill, prominently displayed):

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Kurt Vonnegut

(b. Nov. 11, 1922) I'm sure many young people have called Vonnegut their favorite author of all time, and they would be making a good choice. He was definitely mine. Growing up in a waspy suburb, Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five and Cat's Cradle told me of greater social issues far beyond the comfort of soccer and school dances. His columns that he wrote for In These Times helped to get me through college as well. As a writer he always managed to be both sophmorically funny and bitingly satirical.

Kurt Vonnegut (classic pose):

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Hedy Lamarr

(b. Nov. 9, 1913) Quite possibly the most striking star of MGM's Golden age was also a progressive genius. Hedy Lamarr. Known for her sexually charged and liberating role in the film Ecstasy (1933), she went on to star in many Hollywood films. At the same time she was working with the avant-garde composer, George Antheil, on a system of frequency-hopping as a means of secret communication. We now refer to this technology as "cell phones" and have Lamarr to thank.

A renaissance woman, Hedy Lamarr:

Stitched Portraits: Dorothy Day

(b. November 8, 1897) A Catholic Anarchist who has been up for sainthood since 1983. She established The Catholic Worker (which still sells for a penny). She was a fighter for social justice. She considered Lenin and Marx to be secular saints. She celebrated Castro for his social reforms.

Once she began her mission in the thirties to fight for the rights of the underprivileged, nothing would sway her conviction.

Dorothy Day (always a piercing stare):

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Eugene V. Debs

Happy Election Day, America!

Yesterday, was the birthday of Eugene V. Debs (b. Nov. 5, 1855). On the eve of an historic election, I could not have had a better choice. Who is Debs, you ask? Well, early in his political career, he formed the American Railway Union and went to jail after leading a strike to quell the pay cuts facing the workers. While imprisoned he read Karl Marx and once released, created the Socialist Democratic Party, running for President a number of times - the last from a prison cell (Convict No. 9653 For President ran in 1920 and actually took 3.2% of the popular vote - nearly a million votes). Passionate about his cause, he lived to serve it, even spending out the last of his days in a sanitarium.

He famously quipped, "Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."

Eugene V. Debs (looking up):

Monday, November 5, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Walter Cronkite

"The most trusted man in America" (b. Nov. 4, 1916)

He famously delivered some of the most important news of our time throughout his career as a news anchor. After retirement he sought for political campaign finance reform by arguing that candidates should be given free televised airtime as they do in all European Democracies.

On this eve before election, give Walter Cronkite a birthday present, and remember to go vote tomorrow.

That's the way it is:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Jandek

Jandek is allegedly the pseudonym of Sterling R. Smith who was reportedly born on October 26, 1945.  That's about all anyone can say with certainty about the man behind the long-running outsider art project that has been consistently releasing some of the most challenging and hauntingly personal blues music for over 30 years, all without the aid of traditional distribution or promotion.  His example inspired a fierce devotion in my friend, Charles, whose enthusiasm turned out to be infectious and has shaped much of the aesthetic behind our own band, Wind & Ghosts.

Jandek released his/their/its debut album, Ready For The House ,in 1978 through a P.O. box in Houston, Texas.  In the decades since, literally dozens of full-length records have followed.  Through it all, Smith has refused all but two interviews and has balked at being linked by name to the project.  However, as he seems to have come out of his shell a bit in recent years (even playing a number of sporadic live shows beginning in 2004), perhaps a little commemorative portrait wouldn't be entirely unwelcome.

Jandek, the man the myth, as he (supposedly) appears on the cover of The Living End (1989, Corwood Industries #0756):

For a complete catalogue and ordering information, visit www.corwoodindustries.com or write to Corwood Industries yourself at  P.O. Box 15375, Houston TX 77220.  More information is available on Seth Tisue's excellent fan site (www.tisue.net/jandek) as well the 2004 documentary film, Jandek On Corwood.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Erminio Pinque

With most of these portraits I've been stitching personal heroes - all of whom I only dream to know or have said a casual hello. But Erminio is a close, personal friend and mentor. His performance group, Big Nazo, employs a cast of larger-than-human puppet characters. They show up at parties, parades, church bazaars, weddings, fireworks displays, concerts, festivals, banks, and even play in a band -  putting on shows all over the World.

As a person, Erminio is one of the greatest humanitarians that I know. I've seen him spend countless hours working with kids of all ages - giving them the skills they need to be self-expressive in positive ways. For his time, he never asks for more than he needs. And he runs his business virtually alone - able to be all functions. If you stop by the Nazo Lab (where everything is made - including creatures as big as 20 feet tall) you will be greeted warmly by him and even given a brief tour. And if you're really lucky, perhaps you'll see an impromptu performance that dissects the nature of man in puppet in World and World in puppet in man.

Erminio Pinque (with intensity):

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Spike Jonze

The music videos for 'Buddy Holly' and 'Sabotage' were two of the coolest ever (when I was a really cool High Schooler). And the name of the director? Spike? Man, such a cool name. Oh, and then Being John Malkovich? I had never seen anything like that before and I saw it so many times.

But it wasn't until Spike made the film version of Where the Wild Things Are that I truly fell for his work. It is a classic, way ahead of its time. In twenty years we will talk about it like we talk about The Wizard of Oz. And no other movie before it captured the inner turmoil of children as much.

Spike Jonze (w/ moustache, casual smile):

Monday, October 22, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Mary Blair

(b. Oct 21, 1911) Mary Blair made some of the sweetest, most colorful pictures of all time. I Can Fly *might* be one of the best Little Golden books ever and Walt Disney's visions just would not have been the same without her concept art. I think about her illustrations every time I add color to one of my drawings.

Mary Blair (striking):

Stitched Portraits: Charles Ives

"Stand up and face the full force of a dissonance like a man."

A precursor to modern experimental music, Ives (b. Oct 20, 1874) began his dissonant descent in the early part of the twentieth century, New England. His work mostly went unrecognized in his lifetime as he spent most of his working career as an insurance salesman. The use of polytones and polyrhythms in his compositions were strange in 1907 but became part of our musical lexicon over the course of the century.

John Cage writes about Ives with a respect and an admonishment. Although both composers worked in the realm of cacophonous noise, Cage's was born from indeterminacy, while Ives' were concrete images - memories of specific times. In his blog, Richard H Brown Jr. speaks of the dichotomy between Cage and Ives and likens them to their literary counterparts, Emerson and Thoreau.

Charles Ives (strength and stoicism):

Stitched Portraits: Divine

Really, all of last week was kind of leading up to the birthday of Harris Glenn Milstead (b. Oct 19, 1945). He was John Waters' darling, Divine - Glenn's most important character and alter-ego. She was special and lit up a screen. Her performances in Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Polyester, and Hairspray are enigmatic, sweet and so rewatchable.

Glenn could play male roles just as well too. In Female Trouble he has sex with himself. In Hairspray he was the evil station manager. He was good at layers - truly a divine actor and an original who paved the way for gay people and proved that you can love your body no matter the size.

"Eat Shit!"

Divine (in Pink Flamingos):

Stitched Portraits: Klaus Kinski

Last Thursday, October 18, Klaus Kinski would have celebrated his 86th birthday. I celebrated it by watching Werner Herzog's Nosferatu and beginning Kinski's book, All I Need is Love.

Here, a portrait (with burning dark eyes):

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Erin McKeown

There was this one night in Providence, years ago (over a decade), when my cousin and I were early for a show at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel. I don't remember what band we were going to see, but I do remember our visit to a local art space, AS220, to kill some time. We walked into the beginning of this guitar player's performance and we were awestruck. Her skill with the instrument was commanding, but in a "who gives a shit how good I play?" kind of a way, the songs were sweet and completely memorable, and she was this just this little thing, completely owning the stage and our attention. She only had tapes at that performance and I kick myself for not getting one (my cousin did...)

Yesterday was her B-day.
I celebrated with a portrait.

Erin McKeown (Mick YONE):

Stitched Portraits: Paul Simon

On Saturday it was Paul Simon's 71st birthday. My family and I listened to Simon & Garfunkel and my 2-year old daughter danced to her favorite song, their version of Peggy-O.

Paul Simon (who taught me about Afro-Caribbean beats):

Friday, October 12, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Eleanor Roosevelt

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams"

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people"

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't."

- Eleanor Roosevelt (narrowed eyes):


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Thelonious Monk

I thought that it would be a birthday portrait of Ed Wood yesterday, but upon an in-depth listen and read into his life, Thelonious Monk gained a new fan (Thanks you Charles Crowley). This quote from Wikipedia immediately grabbed me:

"His compositions and improvisations are full of dissonant harmonies and angular melodic twists, and are consistent with Monk's unorthodox approach to the piano, which combined a highly percussive attack with abrupt, dramatic use of silences and hesitations."

Thelonious Monk (distant glance):

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Harvey Pekar + PJ Harvey

A tale of two Harveys

Pekar (b. Oct. 8, 1939) was a friend of R. Crumb through their shared love of Jazz music and place  (Cleveland, Ohio). Seeing his friend's work in underground comics, he was compelled to write serialized renditions of a working man's tales called American Splendor. His life story was made into a film of the same name in 2003 and in 2010, he passed away at the age of 70 - a man who brazenly shared his misgivings and didn't ask much for it.

PJ (b. Oct.9, 1969) is an English musician who plays music, seemingly, to make you feel uncomfortable. This is what I like about her. Throughout her career she has been both MTV accessible and almost outsider distant. She plays everything, moves around like a snake, and describes herself as "extremely quiet." Steve Albini said she ate nothing but Potatoes during their work together. I'd suggest White Chalk for any first listeners.

Their portraits:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Desmond Tutu

First of all, you cannot deny that name. The images it conjures are worth the look up alone. But other that his anti-apartheid stance, I knew little of this man. What I found solidified the need to honor him on his birthday. He is a firm proponent for human rights even and especially when he is relatively alone - from his statements on Israel and Palestine to his vocal criticism of Mugabe for the atrocious treatment of Zimbabweans. On the latter, I am appalled that this has not been challenged further by the International community. We all know that Mugabe has caused much suffering and needs to be stopped. I applaud Tutu for his efforts

A former Archbishop who has won countless awards for his humanitarianism, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, Desmond Tutu (in robes):

Stitched Portraits: Glenn Branca

He came to New York in the late seventies for the theater and he decided to just plain kill it in a punk band called Theoretical Girls (amongst many other projects). His style veered on the experimental and he gave guitar playing a punch in the face. Consistently he has been a force for the Avant-Garde, even acting as a mentor to Sonic Youth in the earlier part of their existence. Over the past decade he has composed music for his 100 guitar ensemble (Heroes such as Annie Clark spent a stint). I can't believe it's taken this long for us to have met, but I feel our kinship. It's real. And drawing him felt natural.

Glenn Branca (string focus):

Friday, October 5, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Susan Sarandon

What is there to say about someone who is excellent in everything and somehow manages to look fabulous at every age and in every image? Dammit Janet!

Susan Sarandon (and the smolder):

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Carl von Ossietzky

With the first Presidential debate of 2012 happening yesterday I thought that a Nobel Peace Prize winning Nazi dissenter would be an appropriate choice for a Birthday Portrait. Born on Oct. 3, 1889, Carl von Ossietzky was amongst the few Germans to stand up against Nazi Party.

A journalist and a pacifist, he warned against the danger of militarism and in 1931, was arrested for high treason after publishing proof of Germany's neglect of the Treaty of Versailles. A couple of years later (1933) the Nazis arrested and put him into Spandau Prison for speaking out against them. And in 1935 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize but was barred by the Government to receive and told that if he were to accept he would relinquish his German citizenship. He accepted and promised to "encourage understanding between peoples."

Marked a criminal to this day,
Carl von Ossietzky:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Shel Silverstein

Hello people between the ages of 4 and 64. This man changed your life and reminded you that you are still children. He did it with his run-on, lyrical poetry where he waited for you to get through it with closed breath until you reached
the end
and blasted big laughter out of every pore.
He did it with line drawings that bore
no color - just mouths and heads and heads coming out of heads and heads playing guitars made out of a head
(and teeth.)
He did it with stories like "a Boy Named Sue" sung joyfully by singers like Johnny Cash and himself too. His voice, like a witch, screeched loud and with whimsy. I thank God and the Devil for this lovely little demon.

Mr. Shel Silverstein (b. Sept. 25):

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Jim Henson

I'm a day late with this one, but with good reason.

His is one of those birthdays that everyone applauds because his life was so much about celebration. Henson's impact will continue to be felt in the creative community and beyond because his name is a sign of comic and puppet quality. I felt that his portrait would have been too lonely without his friends. So here he is, with a handful of them:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Mickey Rooney

Yesterday was Mickey Rooney's 92nd birthday, but more significantly - his appearance in 2011's The Muppets marked his 10th decade of film acting.

As I had such a wealth of career to choose from, picking a reference image was expansive. He's been famous his whole life. I decided to go with a recent image so I could draw the lines and the liver spots, and of course, his trademark teeth. Upon stitching the portrait I couldn't help but think I drew him to look like Mao Zedong. Which immediately became funny to me when I said it out loud:

Mickey Mao.

(See for yourself, here):

Stitched Portraits: Nelson

Matthew and Gunnar Nelson actually didn't seem like people to me when I was growing up. They were strange blonded creatures that shared a stage and danced around with their instruments in music videos like this one. To me, they came packaged together and I promised to make them part of this collection as the first twinset because they had that long straight hair and those long straight faces (And actually, they're the second pair of twins. The Kuchars were the first. I guess that's for the best, as I never had any particular affinity for their music. It was their look that stunned me.)

So I rushed their portrait last week as I was working on a different project. But I liked how it turned out - more loose than I've been recently with these... And Gunnar's crooked eye just seemed perfect.

Nelson (80s forever):

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Grayson Hall

Dark Shadows, as I've stated before, was a great show from the late sixties that my wife and I happened to find in the later part of the last decade - Forty years after the fact. Although it was certainly a soap opera, it featured some of the greatest, albeit under mentioned, actors of all time.

Grayson Hall was memorable as Dr. Julia Hoffman due to her unending fascination/crush on Barnabas Collins, her medallion, her experiments, her stares and glares, and overall intense delivery. She was nominated for an Academy Award due to her role in John Huston's The Night of the Iguana and often played in Jean Genet avant-garde theater. I wish we had been friends.

Grayson Hall (and cheekbones):

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Kevin Clash

The man behind Elmo also serves as the Creative Director of Sesame Street and learned his chops alongside Jim Henson and Frank Oz. He was discovered by Kermit Love, who coached him on the intricacies of puppeteering. Prior to that, as a teenager he made nearly hundreds of his own puppets and used them for his own performances. This kind of discipline for a craft came from his profound passion and curiosity for construction.

Clash has stated that the creation of Elmo came from one simple place -  LOVE. Elmo stands for love and because of that he is one of the most beloved characters of all time. I had the chance to meet Elmo and made red fur pants and a red fur bowtie for the event. I swear it was better than meeting even the biggest of rock stars. Elmo is a giant. A little furry red GIANT. And Clash is his wrangler, giving over his entire person for the character. I've seen it and it is magical.

Kevin Clash (and Elmo):

Monday, September 17, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Mickey Rourke

There is one movie star that reminds me of my father. Mickey Rourke is exactly that man. I've also enjoyed him in every movie I've ever seen him (including Spun).

Aside from his ridiculous fashion sense (I call it 'Johnny Depp meets Robert Downey Jr. and they share a trailer park home and go ridin' every day'), his gruff delivery (even when he was young and strapping, he had it), his career as a boxer (twice in his life, the second leading to his really bad plastic surgery) - he is also a profound lover of his little dogs. He has chihuahua mixed breeds and he loves them like the closest family. He even thanked one in his Golden Globe acceptance speech.

Mickey Rourke and Loki, a chihuahua/terrier:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Roald Dahl

I think we all owe a piece of our childhood to Mr. Dahl. His dedication to truth in his fantastic stories allows us all connect to them. Naturally, these stories have translated to some of the cutest films I've ever seen, i.e. Matilda, The Witches, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox...

During his lifetime he left a legacy behind, simply by keeping dedicated to the daily task of going to his writing shed, four hours a day, no matter what. His example was one of the driving factors behind this current stitched portrait project. Yesterday was his birthday and is now commonly known as "Roald Dahl Day" (September 13th). I celebrate him proudly.

Roald Dahl, a hero to the dreamers:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Stitched Portraits: H.D.

Hilda Doolittle was born on September 10th, 1886.
I came to know her in the period in my life between college and real-life. With a steady diet of the avant-garde, which included philosophers, poets, musicians, and painters - I came to H.D. through Ezra Pound. The heaviness of his Cantos led me to place it down and pick up End to Torment. Her imagery, profound and hurting, spoke to me and I fell in love.

H.D. (stone):

Monday, September 10, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Patsy Cline

My Grandmother simultaneously introduced and reminded me of Patsy Cline.

There is no singer that could deliver heartbreak as gracefully as she did.
And then my Grams certainly knew heartbreak.

Patsy Cline (Beautiful and Defiant):

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Stitched Portraits: John Cage

'One summer day, Merce Cunningham and I took eight children to Bear Mountain Park. The paths through the zoo were crowded. Some of the children ran ahead, while others fell behind. Every now and then we stopped, gathered all the children together, and counted them to make sure none had been lost. Since it was very hot and the children were getting difficult, we decided to buy them ice cream cones. This was done in shifts. While I stayed with some, Merce Cunningham took other, got them cones, and brought them back. I took the ones with cones. He took those without. Eventually all the children were supplied with ice cream. However, they got it all over their faces. So we went to a water fountain where people were lined up to get a drink, put the children in line, tried to keep them there, and waited our turn. Finally, I knelt beside the fountain. Merce Cunningham turned it on. Then I proceeded one by one to wash the children's faces. While I was doing this, a man behind us in line said rather loudly, "There's a washroom over there." I looked up at him quickly and said, "Where? And how did you know I was interested in mushrooms?"'

- John Cage (from Indeterminacy, 1958; reprinted in Silence, 1961)
(Below, joyful):


All three
Together for a truly

And, separately

A calmer

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Syd Hoff

The first book that I could ever read was Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff.

Hoff (the man) would have been 100 years old yesterday. He was known for his New Yorker cartoons and his easy to read books but also hosted a television show. An inspiring man...

Syd Hoff (with Danny's Dinosaur):

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Stitched Portraits: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

I sometimes think that I could have done a full year of film directors...

Jeunet, along with Marc Caro, made one of my favorite films of all time with Delicatessen. A few years later, Jeunet focused his energy into one of the greatest films of all time - Amélie. I love him for that.

And I love him for his inventive quirkiness, his heart-wrenching ability to tell a story, and the use of Dominique Pinon in every single film...

Jean-Pierre Jeunet ("What'd YOU do?")