The Basketball Diaries Part I: The Hometown Free Agent.

“Too bad you can’t practice getting taller, boys” Daffy Duck, from the movie Space Jam (1996)

The 2012 preseason NBA games are in its ending phase with just a few games left before this season’s official start. As for coming attractions old teammates will meet each other on opposite teams. Knowing not what hand they are delt, old players so called free agents are gambling with their careers at the NBA draft shuffle. Most recently, the league’s 6.11 ft tall superman Dwight Howard, who become an icon while taking Orlando Magic on for a escalating rollercoaster ride from 2004 to 2012, much to his hometown’s despair Dwight suddenly found himself traded off to Los Angeles Lakers after becoming a free agent.

“I have spoken to Dwight Howard already and we are locked and loaded to bring back the title” Kobe Bryant, August 2012

During my time as a basketballplayer for the local team (1997 – 2006) there were three players who covered most of my basketball posters and magazines,  Allen Iverson (Philadelphia 76ers) Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers) and Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls). Kobe is still going strong being the poster boy for Lakers, so since both Jordan and Iverson don’t play any longer in the National Basketball Association (NBA)  I will therefore focus on these two players in this post.

“Is this the end? God only knows” Slam Magazine, August 1998

Let’s first look at MJ with his well portioned physic, not being skinny nor buff but well defined not drawing attention to itself, his bald shiny head which carresses his mastermind, and the dark skin tone that makes him look like he is carved out of something more withstanding than skin and bones… Iverson by comparison is more like a thug, at least he could actually pass for one with his vivid tattoos  scattered beard, bandana, and the quick feet that made him the impossible player to guard. Snatching balls and moving quickly like a cunning fox in the chicken farm. Iverson was more than ten years younger and ten centimeters lower in height than MJ, but during the three years they competed with each other Iverson became known for the ‘guy who crossovered Michael Jordan’. Crossover is gameplay term for the move where you make a quick left, and then an even quicker right as you’re dribbling an opponent, making the opponent confused while executing the move.

“I’m retired 99.9%. Of course, there always is that .1%.”
Michael Jordan, February 18, 1999

MJ and AI where almost two sides of the same coin. MJ or ‘his airness’ as he was called became a living legend turning basketball into poetry in the 90s. During the peak of his reign, MJ claimed in total six NBA Championships. Given his impressive results with an scoring average of about 30 points a game MJ never became a free agent prior his retirement, actually second retirement in 1998, the first was from 93-95 due to his sudden eager to pursuae a proffesional baseball career honoring his late fathers favorite sport. MJ was one in a million, or trillion for that matter, so he couldn’t have been a free agant when he could go in and out of  NBA’s backdoor whenever he pleased. And he came back post-retirement at the age of 41 for a couple of seasons with Washington Wizards as almost an act of charity, donating his salary to the families of the 9/11 victims.

“I was bruised and battered, I couldn’t tell what I felt.
I was unrecognizable to myself.
I saw my reflection in a window, I didn’t know my own face.
Oh brother are you gonna leave me wastin’ away
On the Streets of Philadelphia”. The Streets of Philadelphia, a song by Bruce Springsteen

Allen Iverson on the other hand came from these streets of Philadelphia, where he allegedly struck an older woman in the head with a chair on an unfortunalte evening early 93′. Minutes prior to this allegedly act of rampage, Iverson and his homie’s were having a ball’ dodging pins at the Circle Lanes bowling alley in Hamton, not pleased with the crowded atmosphere a gang of white collage boys picked a fight where this older woman got caught in the crossfire. Despite  the lack of evidence Iverson refused the charges claiming that he left the place before the vicious act happened. Iverson’s 15-year sentence was reduced to four months, with Iverson proven innocent, collage was his next battle to win. After two seasons with skyhigh results playing basketball for the Georgetown University’s team, Philadelphia 76ers picked him first in the overall selection in the 96′ draft.  Then Iverson became also one of NBA’s most historic players and scorers, second only to MJ in terms of points in the playoffs with an average of about 28 point, despite his impressive shooting Iverson had a rather unhappy ending in the latter part of his ten years in 76ers, when their legendary coach Larry Brown had to step down due to poor results in the 2003 playoffs. 76ers never was the same again and when Iversons contract siezed in 2006, Iverson naturally became a free agent joining the to-be-superstar Carmelo Anthony in Denver Nuggets. I could probably dedicate a blog or two to the myth, the athelete and the rolemodel Michael Jordan, and that goes for Allen Iverson as well, but many others have already done that, escpecially two documentaries: “No Crossover: The Trail of Allen Iverson” and “Ultimate Jordan” which is highly recomendable even if you’ve never heard of these players.

Growing up in south Norway soccer was the dominating sport. Kids played it in the streets, in recess and a lot during gym class…it was sort of mandatory for kids to play soccer, and it was expected of them to either join or die for the city’s two rival teams. Being twins made me and my brother wanting to go our own way rather than go with the flow, therefore another sport could give us something more to define ourselves. The second most popular sport was track n’ field. So knowing that the local track team used basketball as a sort of warm-up exercice, me and my brother signed on immidiately. We were curious about basketball from an early age, while growing up right outside Oslo we used to watch older kids play it in recess during our first year in pre-school. Here the older kids had funny looking clothes and huge shoes that you actually could pump air into…this was fascinating… And as we moved to south Norway our idea of basketball was also taken along for the ride.  Being around eight years old track n’ field gave us a unique insight in how both body and mind cooperated togehter without having a round ball doing it for you. The track community felt exciting and open whereas you could ‘major‘ in whatever field that suited your specialities best. Mine was long-distance running, my brother’s was short distance running. Being members around a year we felt a void building up inside us, running track seemed to indiviualistic and when the movie Space Jam came out in february 1997 starring no other than MJ himself, we could no longer do track for its 15 minutes of basketball. To our suprise others felt it too, so on one shiney day in spring 97′ an ad was placed in the local newspaper by a female basketball enthusiast proclaiming herself as a basketball coach  Here gameplay FUN was underlined as the foremost factor and purpose of the game. Joining the newly started basketball team a sense of liberation came over us here we could apply our skills from track n’ field to the new sport, where both legs and arms had to communicate bringing the ball to the basket, and this made the playing experience stand out compared to soccer, where the soccer court was many times bigger and wider than the basketball court. The sport of soccer therfore seemed kind of dragged out viewing it, and playing it. I remember playing soccer during elementary school running in vain back-and-forth trying to keep up with the tempo of the ball which appered to be a living organism, going long and short distances on it’s own free will…Basketball however had a more puzzle to it, almost like chess game where each of the five players on each team have to strategically block out and skip steps to get across the board and to the basket. The anarchistic dramatic-structure of a basketball game appealed to us as well, whereas our team could be 15-even-20 points under, then something would click and we would win by maybe six points, rather then having a game of soccer where two hours of gameplay would pass by without any teams scoring. I know that these comparisons seemed single minded but being quite young in a fairly single minded sport environment, basketball in its purest form was the liberation.

I try to put the ball in the basket for my team. I’m just confident in my ability to play ball.” – Allen Iverson, Jan. 15, 2002 after dropping 58 points on the Houston Rockets.

To put this in perspective I would like to divide my nine years in the local b-ball team into three-by-three year eras, leading up to my comeback, where I was a sort of a free agent. The first three years (1997-2000) was the “fun” years where our female coach taught us more about personal ball control than gameplay strategies.  The second three yeas was the golden years (2000-2003) where  our skills and mindset were honed carefully by an austrailian male coach who brought a sort of proffesional seriousness over it all. Most memorable was the 2002 so called ‘Pirate’s Cup’ Championship which got its name from south Norway’s proffesional basketball team Pirates, where we made our mark losing by just a  few points playing against an older team from Denmark, whick ranked us number four in the overall stats…in reality this was our hoop dreams’ for filled.  We couldn’t be happier given the league’s older and taller players. The last period was the downward spiral years or somewhat like the depression era’ (2003-2006), here we got two new coaches one male greek-canadian painter, and one female austrailian exchange student guiding us from light through darkness. Allthough there never was a dull moment on practice, our stuggles weren’t the new coaches, it was everything ells like recruiting new players, and then the problem having them to adapt to our speed and mindset made us loose more games than winning them. So many aspiring players came and went only few maintained, but we kept on fighting until it got the better of us. And the end came when we had to do more ‘walk-overs’ not having enough players on the team while competing in a turnament, than we could afford. Being leftovers from a broken team, we soon got the oppertunity to join the senior players who where anywhere fra five to fifteen years older than us. Despite the high competativeness of the older players, us youngbloods’ were the last ones to be picked during gameplay, so being benched a lot made this feeling of ‘liberation’ seemed more like ‘captivation’ in the sense of not having the ability to enjoy the freedom of the game at our terms. The result made us simply quit what we still considered the world’s greatest sport.

“I’m too old for this shit” Roger Murtaugh played by Danny Glover, in the movie Lethal Weapon (1987)

Now, back to the free agency connection….As I grew past my teenage years and into adulthood, a certain thist grew in me and the other old roadworn players from the neighbourhood, so each summer post high-school we would gather on our old elementary school playing b-ball wearing our old oversized b-ball throwbacks displaying our favorite b-ball players and teams, exchanging old b-ball stories from the times when we were kings. And as time went by, sometime in the middle of our collage years, some of us got out of our ‘basketball retirement’ and got invited to pratice with the current team of our hometown. Walking through the old court house hall, the smell of the structure of the building, and the sound of dusins of basketball bouncin’ gave us a notion that time had stood still for the four-five years period being out prior to this night. The old rusty one ton-weighing baskets where still being used, where two players had to push them into position, and then use a huge tool to spring it to its  about three meter height. Here the coach was still our favorite greek-canadian painter who on this two-days-before-Christmas eve introduced us to the team where most of the players were five to seven years younger than us. During the warm-up as I was puttin’ on my old nikes a basketball came tumbling right past me, like som animal marking his territory I suddenly robbed the ball away from the approching youngster’ who was eyeing it, then I threw a long three-pointer from down-town and there it went right through the net. With a smurk on my face and a head held high, I glanced towards the young player who reluctantly avoided my eyes, and I felt ‘damn, old habbits surly die hard‘. But eventually this youngster would have the last laugh, it was almost like we were the old seniors now back in 06’, who moved slow and took things way too seriously…so we ended up loosing against the youngsters, despite our pride and prejudice we still felt that we got some of the magic left…and this lead to me being the only one returning for one season almost like a free agent, old, experienced, but kinda slow given my years away from the sport. As a free agent I decided that I would wait playing in the turnament, just continue dusting off my old skills, and most importantly switching teams. I joined the seniors who were more and less like myself both aged and experienced. During my six month stretch with the seniors it was like I was re-living a childish dream and I had never been happier on the court, with the great diversity in both teammates and practice exercices ….it was hoop dreams‘ all over again.

“You have to think about one shot. One shot is what it’s all about.” Michael played by Robert De Niro in the moive The Deer Hunter (1978)

Marking the end of my post retierment comeback was again the notorious summer Pirate’s Cup Championship. All though I wasn’t in the starring five this was the event I had trained for all season, where were we ended up dominating and winning four out of five games, whereas we got cheated off by some dirtbags who managed the controlpanel during our last game where the game clock “malfunctioned” and seven minutes of gameplay “disappeared” making the other team form east Norway winning the game. All though the last game left a bad taste in my teammates mouths, I felt that I had certainly kept up with the paice, and contributed with quite a few assists, some good defense play, and my ONE penalty shot which I made…For me this  ONE SHOT was enough and though I miss playing today other obligations, priorities, and changes in my life have made me retire 99.9% from the world basketball, but I still have my air Jordan shoes on the top shelf, and I haven’t worn them since I last wore them on this last dramatic game of the Pirate’s Cup on June sixth 2011…but of course as time will tell there always is that .1%.

“Thats All Folks” The Looney Tunes Show

Have a slamin’ weekend!

Salute, JohnH

Posted in Great Athletes, The Sketchbook | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ace’s High

“I can’t even read notes. But I can teach someone how to make a guitar smoke.” Ace Frehley

After foolin’ around with guitar tablature trying to find something joyful to play…I went to my vinyl collection for guidence and here I stumbled upon two Kiss records from classic rock’s golden age, Alive and Alive II. Then I put on the first Alive record from 75′ and suddenly this quiet friday afternoon was interrupted by this roaring rockin’ sound from Ace Frehley’s barking Les Paul. I felt an burning sensation starting in my ears and spreading itself down to my legs. My right leg started to feel the beat making it move up an down while my head automatically repeated the same gesture. I was spellbound. and the song was Deuce. Ace Frehley was one of Kiss’s original members. He played on fourteen Kiss records including live albums, spaning his about ten year carrer in kiss before deciding to go solo, despite that Kiss applied his signature make-up on all of the  later replacement guitarist. What struck me about Ace was musically his naughty way of getting away with short, simple and neat guitar solos, like on their disco hit I was made for lovin’ you baby, he cuts it of after laying ten notes or so, it lasts like under ten seconds, and this is Ace probably going like “All Kiss songs are under four minutes so imagine the amount songs I have to memories during a two-three hour show, I might as well make the best out of it“. Lazy or not, I consider Ace a magician as much as an musician, hypnotising us by his trickery. Take the song Detroit Rock City, where he doesn’t really have a solo, only two guitars playing almost the same notes at the same time. But you’ll end up having the riff and chorus repeating in your head for the rest of the day…By using pyrotechnics  make-up and costumes with comic-book characteristics, this contributed to make the band mythical and lager-than-life in the sense of representation. Ace the human being was not the focus point, his character was. Ace’s character was called the spaceman, Bass player Gene Simmons was called the Demon, vocalist Paul Stanley was called Starchild and drummer Peter Criss was called Catman. This is displayed in on the pictures below.

I must admit I got goosebumps from the vintage sound of the vinyl’s themselves feels like their handmade, carved out of wood just like the feeling of playing a well made well carved el-guitar. Having went to a few concerts myself, especially in my high-school years I now suddenly got a memory flashing back to the time where Deuce was part of my homework after school, leading towards another creative period switching pencils with drumsticks.

I started playing drums at the behest from two-or-three of my friends after doing a phoney music video in a school project late autumn 2003. We “played” a coversong of a norwegian country song (D.D.E – E6) it sounded crappy but our chemistry was superb. Prior to this I hadn’t even touched a drumstick…but late at night during the shoot I got an epiphany, a prophecy that told me this could be you’re new hobby, cos’ my friends at the time were the first computer gaming generation. And they were addicted, I got addicted for a while as well but not obsessive as others were. I guess that growing up as a twin, I found a more spiritual connection and joy by being a part of a team, doing teamwork rather than being that of a competitive type where everyone and everything is a competition…and there are many people like that, you know…but be that as it may, becoming a band member seemed to fall in a natural place for me.

So, Just after Christmas 2004 the band was born. And my contribution to it’s baptism was me gettin’ my first real drum kit. Ordered from the internet, the boxes were so huge that my father had to pick them up from the postal office with a borrowed pick-up wagon saying while entering our driveway “Where are we going to have room for all this?” I replied “Room? I haven’t even got the cymbal-stands yet“. It was an American brand, a Pearl Forum drum kit with one snare, one bass drum and three toms in all wine red finish. I was so happy like as if I had bought a 1966 Ford Mustang. We placed the drums in the basement living room, which I used as my bedroom as well. It was not like assembling a model car or IKEA furniture, no glue, no spikes no hammers and most importantly no small parts that got away just as you opened the plastic bins they were in. So, Assembling the drums didn’t take long, but tuning did. At first I was trying to get my drumkit to sound like Kiss’s Peter Criss’s drumkit, spending hours rotating the tuning nub without no resemblance I gave up, discovering later that there where a lot of factors that made the snare sound like a snare.  Then it was time for a test-drive. At this moment before I was to kick and hit the shit out of the drum kit, upstairs my parents were resting dinner’ as we call it in Norway…relaxing, reading a magazine, drinking coffee or tea, and talking on the phone with either of my grandparents. As my mother describes “It was like an earthquake, picture frames, paintings and books were falling on the floor, I wanted litterally to hide in the bathtub like what youre supposed to do when an earthquake hits” I turned to my husband and asked him “What the did he buy?” while he replied “what, that?” trying to grasp what either my mother was saying in the living room or what my grandfather was saying on the phone.
So thereby laws, restrictions and regulations were laid down. I could only play the drums right after school and before my father came home from work, so therefore my school-homework had to be pushed back in line. To learn rythm wasn’t a walk in the park, its basically a result of different forced robotic-gestures you force upon your limbs in a pattern that makes it sound like music. It least it was for me cos’ I never went to a tutor, so I would say things aloud to my arm while struggling with the drums “stay there, come on, don’t stop…don’t die on me now!“. .

Writing about rock n’ roll It seems fitting that I write about my first real concert experience behind the drums whereas me and my band stole the center of attention for what was supposed to be a very serious happening. Prior to this event, my relationship to rock music was like one I had with a distant relatives, I knew the names, and faces but not what defined their inner beings. That was to change during this evening.

“Running, scrambling, flying. Rolling, turning, diving, going in again. Run, live to fly, fly to live, do or die” Aces High by Iron Maiden.

It was march 2004, the 10th grade at the time was moving towards its closing destination. With all seats filled our classroom was like a huge 747 plane before take off, watching the instruction guide of what-to-do and what-not-to-do if a disaster was to occur. . . disaster as in failing and nobody wanted that to happen, everybody wanted to graduate. So to soften the journey, during weekend my band called Risky Business (which I think came from the notion of what we were feeling at the time, very contemporary indeed) was slowly synchronizing from being a four different organisms into one homogetic entity. Our band was a four piece band, with Willy on lead vocals and rythm guitar, Jacob on lead guitar, me on drums and Gonzalo on vocals and later bass guitar.
With march ending an opportunity rose to the occasion. The event was a 2nd world war tribute show honouring this war veteran Mr. Bjorklund who was the tenth grade’s guide during our trip visiting the concentration camps in Poland and Germany six months prior to this evening.

We were very fortunate to allways have had a rehearsal room while the band existed. At first we were placed under our lead guitarist Jakob’s parent’s house, which is this huge mansion near the sea, it was also used as small kindergarden during weekdays, but after his parent were getting headaches after dinner, instead of desert, we found ourselves limited to both sound level and time. Then Jacob’s mother came with a lucrative solution, while already having one floor in the mansion as space for the kindergarden, huge demands lead to an expansion of business, so to our great satisfaction (and Jacob’s parent’s) they built a new kindergarden floor on top of the garage which is placed ten meters from the main house. Here we were alowed to conquer the new building of the kindergarden during weekends just in the moment the kindergarden nanny left work, and my oh my if we weren’t there waving her goodbye each and every weekend during that time. Sometimes we even helped her to wrap it up, clapping our hands in a rude manner like she was our own kid placed in the kindergarden. I was a bit puzzeled by this at first but by asking Jacob about it, he simply replied “My mother owns this place, what are they gonna do?” Then I thought “Damn I got something to learn form this fella“.

As woodwork and bricks were laid as a foundation of our new found home, our band was also under construction. But we had a problem, we didn’t have a bass player, so we borrowed another local band’s bass player who was also a close friend at the time Chris. Chris have had success with his own band called Third Invention, who had won a local competition and was honored to play for a national young tallent exhibition in Trondheim just a month or two in the coming. Third Invention was then a three-piece metal band who’s sound and image was inspired by New Wave of British Heavy Metal, a musical style and movement from the late 70s ealry 80s (NWOBH) which speeded up classic rock the next level, with its distinguist operatic vocalisation and intricate guitarsolos. Our band on the other hand were far from that stage both musically and techincally, but we wanted to play and felt a certain urge to express ourself, and as Chris pointed out “But how and what?“.

We had about two weeks to prepare a segment, which ment two weekends of band practice. Having broken a couple of drumsticks over a few kiss songs recently, my initial idea was to go further beyond sound and into glitter. So, during the first session while scratching our heads, I uttered “How about dressing up as soliders marching in using pop-guns to salute our fallen heroes, and then we can play a chuck berry version of the national anthem…” The response was somewhat confused. so Jacob, being the lead guitarist laid it straight “Okey, the show as we probably know, will consist of something in relation to Norway’s participation in the second world war, yes? Like boring speeches qouting post-war authors, aloud homework readings where only those who got an A were allowed to speak, which is like all of the girls from our class…other musical numbers like a sad clarinete solo that will reflect the seriousness of the event, and evoke memories form the previous trip…how can we give them some totally different?“. Logically each of every one of us have had some time to think this over, so different ideas where brought to the table turning down mine, then it sparked. “We could play different modern rock songs with war-esque themes like life and death as our segment”. So as we laid the puzzle down none of my kiss songs made it. “How disappointed Ace Frehley would be” I thought. Knowing that the duration of the show was a full evening, we figured that at least four or five songs would make it …By choosing the songs we first looked at the lyrics, and the first up was Civil War by Guns N’ Roses.

“I don’t need your civil war. It feeds the rich while it buries the poor. Your power hungry sellin’ soldiers in a human grocery store ain’t that fresh!”

We said “yes both hip and serious, add to basket!“. The next song was Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door by Bob Dylan

“Mama put my guns in the ground. I can’t shoot them anymore. That cold black cloud is comin’ down. Feels like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door”

Again, we were like “yes, metaphorical and cleansing…add to basket“. Our third song was more of a pickle…Now we wanted to make the atmosphere more lighter, so since Willy was a huge CCR fan he therefore uttered “Green River!!!“. Then we put on the record and heard the catchy opening riff while vocalist John Fogerty sung

“Well, take me back down where cool water flow, yeah. Let me remember things I love. Stoppin’ at the log where catfish bite, Walkin’ along the river road at night, Barefoot girls dancin’ in the moonlight”.

We nodded to each other “Yes, its like he describes south Norway…add to basket“.

As the week went by closing in on the event, there was this collectively consensus that we were strongly in need of a final act. Being heavy intoxicated by Kiss, Ace Frehley came to my mind. On one night just before the event. Chris and the rest of our band were gathered in the new band room on top of the garage. It was raining hard, the rain seemed coming straight at you wich made you taste it when you were breathing. The afternoon was coloured in blue mist and as I skipped up the slippery steps towards the entrance, I could see the orange dimed lights glowing in the lower parts of the windows. As I entered I was greeted by a scent of glue or paint which I thought gave evidence the buildings current state, but actually kept on being there the rest of the years to come. The hallway, kitchen and living room was all in an open room with limited amount of furniture, or basically no furniture at all. The gang was gathered near one of the borrowed lamps mapping out the blueprint of our segment using the floor as tabel. “Lets be dramatic” One said, “Lets be eccentric” another one said, “No, lets be national romantic” I said. This got their attention  and as I tucked away my wet jacket I explained “Lets use something very Norwegian to salute a Norwegian hero…lets take something form our folklore and rock it up a notch or two“. Chris laughed but agreed upon the fact that something original would be more bold and fun than your average local hymn. Dring that afternoon with just an electric guitar we managed  to adapt (or destroy) a classic Norwegian lullaby called “Fola, fola, Blakken”  and make it into an epic tale based on the Mr. Bjorklund’s struggles. In the lullaby Blakken is an old horse, which is basically hungry and tired of a hard day’s work at the farm, then it finds comfort resting the rest of the evening, knowing that his owner and the owners son loves him.
Whereas in our version Blakken goes finally against his vicious owner who beats him on a daily basis, and flees the horrifying farm where he was once held prisoner. Musically, we made a slow ballad build up to a heavy metal release, using echo on the microphones and rapidly switching between clean and distorted guitar sounds…then without much time to rehearse, the night was suddenly there.

Knowing that this was an event of peace and reflection. I brought along a printed peace sign which I placed right above the center of the stage in the old gymnastics hall. The hall consisted of walls of old worn wood painted in lime green, and the stage was placed “in” the wall coloured blood red, as making it the center of attention. And the aroma of the hall made it clear that it had seen better days. The soundcheck went as clockwork and as the night came falling down, we felt a mix between nervous tension and childish joy while resting in the womens locker room, whereas the mens locker room was used as the main entrance.

As the placed got packed Mr. Bjorklund suddenly entered the room, nodding to his peers before him the place was mute silent on awe and respect. He had certainly made an impression with his notorious life story of love, hate, and betrayal. After being snitched upon by nazi-sympathisers while doing anti-nazi work in south Norway, Bjorklund was sent with a one-way-ticket to south Berlin. Mr. Bjorklund had experienced an in comprehensive amount of physical and physiological strain while being a captive in the nazi concentration camp Sachenhausen. In this concentration camp which is placed just south of Berlin, Mr. Bjorklund was walking day and night in circles on different groundwork testing the perseverance of both shoe soles and himself. Having his upper body resting on his long thin spine structure Mr. Bjorklund would bare the reminiscence of a scarecrow but a nice one, like a stiff version of the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz. Not having his hair made out of heigh but of silver hair, Mr. Bjorklund face featured unresting lite blue eyes which made you upon first viewing see a mind both reflecting the stained memories of the past, and a warmth that embraced life as it unfolded in front of him. His eyes mirrored his wardrobe with both bleak and desaturated color palette, which were mostly out of beige and variations of grey, like as he was wanting not to draw attention to himself, rather being left abut his business despite the fact that he was the center of both the trip and this event.

As the event began the two hosts named Nina and Camilla spoke kind words regarding the evening and what we were to expect of it, and yes as Jacob predicted there would be reading, solos and quotations…and us. but not in that order, not at all… after a ten minute long home video of the trip with Titanic’s instrumental theme song as score, I found ourselves surprised that some people wept but most importantly we were next in line! Like a sports team, we gathered around each other making a pyramid with our hands “This is our first gig, lets go out and kick ass!” said Willy trying to ease the nerves, and then we went out up on stage one after another, while the audience of teachers, parents, and fellow classmates were cheering. My drumkit was in the right corner of the stage, and since the other guys needed some time to plugg in their guitars, I gazed out on the sea of about two hundred plus people while I was thinking to myself “From Grimstad, the hottest band in the world Risky Business” just the way Kiss used to start their show. As an introduction Jacob began playin’ Don’t Cry by Guns N’ Roses, Willy was the last one to enter stage and to everyones surprise brought along a long blond wig which quickly turned the atmosphere form being tragedy to comedy…then tuning the guitars to a more serious tone. Civil war was the first song, then the hosts tried to enter the stage, and we not having given a specific timeframe on our performance act, kept on rockin through Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door and then Green River… I could see that they were frustrated  even with raised voices in tandem, they couldn’t get through our sound barrier…no, this was our moment! Having practised day and nights, on pillow and paper boxes, and now having the whole band standing infront of me I felt that I could put my mind at ease and relax, move my focus on something ells, like eavesdropping on the audience. The audience were placed along long tables facing towards each other, with the youngest people nearest the stage and the oldest in the back. By having this distance to Mr. Bjorklund it was hard seeing if he enjoyed it or not. He was like a grey meatball in a colourful stew. He wasn’t so visible but you could definitely smell him. As I reckoned he was certainly not standing up making rock-on signs with his fists. His frameless glasses made him look even more ghostly denying my eyes to greet his, it felt like I was looking at a spiritual presence of some sort.  Not knowing what to make up of this our final song was now around the corner…and you can our grand finale on the clip below, I haven’t taken the time to subtitle it, but I gather you can understand what’s going on. As mentioned Jacob is the lead guitarist, Gonzalo on lead vocals, Willy on rhythm guitar and vocals, and Chris on bass and both lead and background vocals. Enjoy!

As we went off stage, the show was quite over due…but we didn’t care cos’ at that moment we felt an immense feeling of happiness, true bliss at the achievement of playing, and entertaining the audience. As my pulse went down a notch or two I thought to myself “Thanks, Ace!”.

Salute, JohnH

Posted in Great Musicians, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sleepless in Mardi Gras . . .

“Get your motor runin’ head out on the highway. Lookin’ for adventure and whatever comes our way”                                    Born To Be Wild – Steppenwolf

On a personal level adventures haven’t come my way lately, and neither have I had any motors runin’, quite the opposite actually, with little work and energy coming my way these days, day and night somehow seems to merge all together, and at it’s own tempo. In other words, I’ve been having trouble with my sleeping-rhythm lately…and this certainly messes with your mind, at least mine. Take for example this incident that occurred the other day. It was dark inside and outside, so dark, so black as if it was a moonless night. I couldn’t sleep I felt claustrophobic so I fled from the bedroom and parked my behind in the living room sofa. Here I skipped through the DVD collection, aiming at a movie filled with escapism so could forget my current diagnosis. So what to watch? I was thinkin’ or kind of talking to myself: “Brazil by Terry Gilliam?…maybe but no, too chaotic, Crimes and Misdemeanours by Woody Allen?…catchy but no way, too talky’…How about a horror film? Good Idea John, How about Childs Play by Tom Holland?…well, funny but seen it not long ago…I got it, a road movie would hit the spot! Y Mama Tu Bien or Broken Flowers? oh man, too sexy and too cool for me at this moment. Now what?”.  I got up and started digging  among the more classical films and here I found the perfect cinematic ride for the night and this was a film I had not seen for a while, a film full of skid marks, shifting landscapes, vivid visions, life, death, exploration, and adventure. Without hesitation I went with Easy Rider, and I asked myself could this be my medicine or could this be a drug?

These words quoted above were once uttered by John Kay the vocalist of one of hard rock’s earliest pioneers Steppenwolf, and they have now become every real biker’s true gospel. Real bikers like the two main characters of the american road-movie classic Easy Rider. On the surface the story is about two hippy-bikers who travel all across the north American continent in search of themselves, and what the country has to offer. Under the surface, Easy Rider deals with the subject matter of freedom beyond cultural and spiritual boundaries whitch also mirrors  Steppenwolf’s both lyrical and musical expression. Therefore it doesn’t seem far fetched that director Dennis Hopper ultimately put  Steppenwolf on the movie’s soundtrack with songs like The Pusher and Born To Be Wild. Given the enormous box-office success Easy Rider had during its release back in the summer of ’69, the band, the song and the movie are now inseparable and synonymous with the American biker culture.

During my re-watch of Easy Rider on DVD the other night, I found myself extraordinary alive and craving for some real motor runin’ highway adventure. During sometime in the last chapter of the film I was so deeply hooked on the film that I literally wanted to become a real biker right there and then. Quickly I got on my midnight blue denim jeans, my sheep-skin biker leather jacket, and to put the cherry-on-top I pulled on my Stetson American-made Cowboy Boots. I opened up the window and slowly closed my eyes while I sat down in the sofa. Here I felt the wind in my hair, the tightness and smell of the leather jacket, the comfort in sitting down, spreading both arms and legs, resting and relaxing like I was somewhere on the road near New Orleans. Beneath me I could hear the sound of the motorcycle motor roaring with its pistons firing away while quenching its thirst with gasoline. It didn’t feel as if these sounds came from the DVD, they came from my own cruiser. This was basically like watching film in 3D in your own living room, only much better, no glasses, no audience noises, no subtitles necessary, no BS. 
Suddenly at the sound of an explosion I opened my eyes and the illusion was gone…then reality clicked in after the end credits went by, so I quickly figured out that nothing could possibly enhance this experience, only a real ride could, and at that moment, I had neither a biker-license nor a bike for my disposal. I closed the windowpane and gazed out. The realms outside were filled with a huge ocean, scattered islands, bulky roads and a bunch of coloured wooden houses, this was not the America I was just visiting few moments before the abrupt awakening. With a disappointed sigh I sat down in the sofa, while zipping down my sheep-skin biker leather jacket I grabed the DVD-controller and skiped back a scene. While re-watching the last scene in Easy Rider now with my eyes open, I came to the conclusion that this film surly had stood the test of time with its unpredictable-ness, like specially in terms of its post-modernistic storytelling. Whereas the outer journey is really the characters inner journey in search of their true ‘self’ and we identify with them despite their liberal and anti-establishment values which they represent.
After losing my train of though I felt a sudden clarity that drawing myself as an older biker would be the easiest way to express this dreaming state of mind in which road, dust, leather, chrome, wind, wheels and myself could be united once again.

As a starting point I began sketching the bike. The bike is more inspired by a chopper than a traditional motorcycle. I got my lovely girlfriend to pencil-paint the drawing and she did a splendid job I must add. I didn’t want to caricature-ize the drawing by drawing it out the proportions but rather keep it plain and simple. In the facial area i was a bit inspired by Discovery’s American Chopper TV-series, and especially Paul Sr. who owns Orange County Choppers. I imagined how some of his looks could easily pass for an robust old biker. The blue denim jeans, a darker version of both jacket and boots are in place as if time has made its mark on them. While drawing it came to my mind that the Stars n’ Stripes, the American Flag as we know it was very much displayed in both The American Chopper Series and in Easy Rider. For example on Wyatt’s leather jacket backside a huge American flag is to be seen, as well as a paint job on his bike tank. In the The American Chopper series tattoos, t-shirts, wallpaper and bikes are decorated with it. I smell a contradiction here. Yes, there is a contradiction by how the flag is represented. First of all, Americans are very protective and strict about the flag itself; you can flagg it, display and salute it too, but it shall not touch the ground, nor made mockery out of. On the other hand its the most merchandised flag in the world.

In these circumstances, a certain painting from a long, long time ago came to my mind. The American abstract expressionistic artist named Jasper Johns made a painting called White Flag in 1955White Flag as shown in the picture above it shows the American Flag totally drained for its color and therefore one can ask what kind of flag is this? But hold on, it is a painting its not made out of cloth like a real flag. Like Time Magazine’s late art critic Robert Hughes underlines in his book American Visions: The Epic history of Art in America, that White Flag rose questions about representation in art itself. He wasn’t the first one to do so, like Rene Magritte’s old brainteaser about representation, a picture of a pipe with the tagline (this is not real pipe its a picture) , but Johns was the first one to bring the context to attention in America. Without taking a political standpoint with his painting, Jasper Johns claimed that he got the idea of the painting by simply having dreamt it one night. In the mid fifties The Cold War between Cuba and U.S.A was at its peak and Jasper Johns painting shows a passive muteness and confusion to what is patriotism in America.

A parallel can be drawn to Easy Rider’s opening scene where Wyatt is basically hiding his dope money after a successfully drug trade, through a plastic hose inside the tank of his bike, where the tank is as mention painted in the fashion of the American Flag. Dennis Hopper is taking the symbolism even further as if there is something dirty behind the American Dream.  According to TASCHEN’s incredible book called Dennis Hopper: Photographs 1961 – 1967Jasper Johns met first with Dennis Hopper at an art gallery in L.A as early as 1960, and as clearly as this book vividly displays that Dennis Hopper had a passion for art and its masters.

 And that the 60’s being a decade in change and turmoil, its was clear to a certain extent obvious that both Hopper and Johns critical view on their home country were to be channelised through their art. The Picture below is a photo of Irving Blum and Jasper Johns, taken by Hopper in 1964.

I lived out the fantasy of ‘Billy’ for years after that, this sort of roughhouse guy who keeps moving along despite everything, you know. I’m always trying to make sense of the mayhem around me“. Dennis Hopper (1936 – 2010).

Anyways, Easy Rider is highly recomendable. I’ve watched it many times over the years, and I even put it on a couple of times just for the music itself. The soundtrack features the cream-de-la-cream from the Woodstock generation like Richie Havens, Blue Cheer, The Band, The Moody Blues, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience to mention a few. The stellar cinematography by the late Hungarian master László Kovács A.S.C makes you want to travel wherever Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper) goes. The psychedelic editing rythmes by Donn Cambern A.C.E makes you feel as if your under the influence and taking the trip with them. Jack Nicholson who also is starring in the film makes a hilarious role as the wise drunken lawyer named Geroge Hanson. With that being said I’ll end this post with a quote from the film.

“You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can’t understand what’s gone wrong with it”. George Hanson

Drive safely and have a nice weekend!
Salute, JohnH      

Posted in Great Actors and Actresses, Great Directors, Uncategorized, Visual inspiration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lloyd the Bartender

That’s swell. l like you, Lloyd. l always liked you. You were always the best of them. Best goddamn bartender from Timbuktu to Portland, Maine or Portland, Oregon, for that matter” Jack Torrance, The Shining

This drawing was inspired by the american actor Joe Turkels brilliant performance as Lloyd the Bartender in Stanley Kubrick’s exquisite adaption of Stephen King’s 1978 horror book The Shining. I haven’t read the book but I vividly recall my first viewing experience of the feature film version. It was early 2003, I was fifteen years old and it was early nighttime this mid-weekday when I was randomly switching through the TV channels around nine-thirty when I suddenly came upon this image on the TV screen:

As this opening title flys swiftly over the north american landscape I found myself sucked into the story or without knowing what I was about to see I felt that I had to see where this rocket-like turbo speed moving image would end up. And it did end up gazing at the Family Torrance’s family car with them of course in it. The opening title sequence was so perfected in terms of movement watching this endless landscape enter and exit the frame without any cameraframe shaking and so forth. I felt basically that I was watching some type of vortex which could resemble and old school windows 98 screensaver that kept on dragging you into the screen. I was spellbound or hypnotised by someone, and that someone was the one and only Stanley Kubrick  whom I didn’t fairly know at that time, but whom I clearly as I grew older could define as one of Cinemas greatest storytellers!

Growing up those early teenage years the environment outside the small town where I grew up was rather peaceful and quiet place. My neighbourhood was the rather typical middle class religious south norwegian community were everybody knew everybody, with high moral and protectiveness and no theft, no vandalism just the occasionally drunkenness or night noise by those much older teenagers – it was kinda like the fictional town of the film Pleasantville so to speak. Therefore we in our earliest stage of adulthood found excitement beyond the law by watching movies with heavy ratings – like Rated 18 or Rated R witch is like from 17 years and older, and we would recommend, discuss and critique these movies during recess at school the day after we saw them. This was of course a secret society with loyal members. These were mostly american action, sci-fi and horror flicks, where some of them now are notably considered classics. I will reveal more of these movies and tell more tales from this time on this blog in times to come.
I’ve heard the title before, some friend of mine had told me as well as the other kids on the block at school that there was this intense, erie and bloody film called The Shining starring the guy who played America’s President in Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks, referring to Jack Nicholson. “This film is like nothing you’ve ever seen man, the setting is a old evil hotel that bleeds human blood, it has two little killer twins, naked old ugly women, a psycho-sick kid who has voices in his head and rides a tiny motorcycle, and an weird axe killer and a scary labyrinth which kills people“!  And all this came to my mind as I saw the title. Both overwhelmed and a bit nervous I thought positively “This could literally turn into a hell of a night“. Despite the graphic horror I might encounter viewing this film I knew that there was one huge obstacle in the way.

Anyway, just prior to this subliminal discovery, my father had gone into the dining den  after watching the weather forecast and I had been sitting in the sofa next to him just finishing reading Washington Irving’s short story Rip Van Winkle. Rip Van Winkle was apart of Irving’s highly regarded short stories among with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Devil and Tom Walker also written in the first part of the 1800. These stories was given to me by my grandfather as a Christmas present a couple month before, and that moment I was hooked on this american author with his satirical, ironic and ominous folklore tales.

As I turned up the volume on the opening sequence I heard the sound of paper being folded fast and even faster footsteps heading my way. It was my father and he had recognised the haunting music by Hector Berlioz titled Symphonie Fantastique. My father asked me a question he already knew the answer to “Its the Shining, right?” (or as he called it Ondskapens Hotel a.ka The Hotel of Evil, which is the norwegian translated title)  “Oh…is it?” I mumbled without removing my eyes from the screen, assuming that this opening sequence could go for any ordinary PG-13 movie. My father cleared his throat with a loud noise and continued “This is an R rated film…“. I replied nervously while turning towards him making a lazy gesture with my hands and shoulders in a fashion like does-it-matter “really… this old film?“. My father paused while he rested his hands on his hips, he scratched his forehead while he looked at his watch. At this moment I was literally turning up the volume even higher and cursing inside of my head, thinking “Damn it, now I know for sure I’m not much of an actor when I can’t evenso close, now I probably have to lie awake on my room and listen to my father watching the movie” Which I did sometimes when I couldn’t sleep. My father isn’t a particular movie enthusiast…But thrillers of any sort, or especially detective thrillers is he particular fond of. Like on every friday during my pre-high school years he would eagerly watch an australian secret agent series called Stingers (1998 – 2004) which lasted over eight seasons…and I’ll bet he saw them all! So expecting to be turned down for a Tuesday night with Torrance’s, he cleared his throat one more time and sat down next to me. As I was basically thinking “Thank God, yes,yes,yes…Can’t wait to tell my friends tomorrow what I am being now ALLOWED to watch“. With a satisfied smirk around my face I turned the volume even further up while I was now making myself comfortable by slowly leaning back my back towards the sofa seat when I suddenly lost the TV-controller to my father quick hand.  He turned down the volume a bit before the controller was placed firmly on his left thigh which was the thigh that was furthest away from me. And as the first hour of the movie went on it stayed there…untouched, until the second part of the movie started…

Around the time where the main character Jack Torrance writes the same sentence over-and-over-and-over again on his typing machine. The controller moved from his thigh and up in his left hand, without as much as looking at me. And then when Jack grabs his axe and goes out on a murderous rampage to get his wife Wendy, my father then turns from being the audience to becoming the film editor. Switching on something called the text-TV which makes your screen turn black when it doesn’t have signal. You can still here the sound but you only see the black screen with the TV-station logo on it.
From that point as the film went on and as protective as my father is, he quickly turned on the black text-TV every time something unsuitable-for-children-under-18 came up which happens rather a lot when the film was in its last chapters. And my oh my had my father honed his skills as a quick drawer. For instance the scene where Jack Torrance goes into the room where the beautiful woman is bathing CUT to: Text-TV…audio-of-scream-evil-laughter-intense-orchestral-music! Cut to little Danny Torrance riding his cute little bicycle if I recall it correctly.

So my viewing experience of The Shining was somewhat limited, but as my imagination ran pretty wild at that time it had the opposite effect, my whole impression was absolute mesmerising! And I’m sure that having read Rip Van Winkle just minutes before watching the film, helped enhance the experience.
Cos’ Rip Van Winkle is frankly about this inactive character who as has a perfect but a rather demanding wife Dame Van Winkle, and a young daughter. The short story is kinda a morality-tale which has bizarre consequences for Rip. Its about this lazy man named Rip who one day during the fall in the mid-1800 escapes the everyday house chores and takes a walk up in the mountains. Here he suddenly hears his name being called as well as flute music in the air. Before he knows it he stumbles upon a man who is dressed in old clothes dragging a keg of brewery. Rip helps the man into a secret passage where there are nine other old fashioned men with long beards and long flutes. Without asking who or what, the tired Rip opens a keg and starts drinking. Then he falls asleep, and when he wakes up his beard is all grown long and white and his body has grown old as well. He soon discovers that his wife is dead, the war of the American Revolution has passed by and King George is no longer in charge but George Washington is. His now twenty years older daughter takes care of him and he learns that the old bearded men where actually ghosts. The war-ridden male settlers in town envy Rip wishing that they too had slept through the war.

In The Shining however, we meet an active protagonist-turned-antagonist Jack Torrance who’s job next to writing his new book is to be the superior housekeeper of a huge abandoned old hotel. He brings his son and wife along for the ride. Gradually something snaps in Jacks mind, but what? This ambiguity makes the film great, it must be the-shining-effect or was that Danny’s gift? I won’t go to deep in this tiny compression. Jack as well as Rip is also sick of his wife Wendy’s nagging but here he differs from Rip, Jack does something actively after the hotel has gotten the better of him he wants to kill her and later his own son. My quick conclusion and point to make was that the viewing experience was somewhat helped by the contrast of first reading and imagine a lazy but friendly inactive character, then viewing and imagine a much more complex and trubbled active character. Back to the question, why the bartender drawing?

On one day during the hot summer of 2003 I evoked a certain bartender which I thought could make a neat little drawing. This bartender made quite an impression on me months before while watching The Shining. His name was Lloyd. And I thought without a shadow of a doubt that Lloyd’s face, posture and gestures seemed to be the what the perfect bartender should be like: Short to the point and always shoulder to cry on. At that time I hadn’t seen Joe Turkel the actor before. He was in his mid fifties when he did this role and I thought at the time that he was probalby casted because of his age fitting as an experienced servant behind the bar. His impressive facial features as the images show below, great lines in the lower part of the face his cheeks, and around his mouth. Expressive pitch-black eyes, the slick hair and pointy almost devilish ears and smile. I would underline the fact that the lack of color of his eyebrows was the first thing that caught my attention and that was my staring point I seldom start with anything ells than the eye area when I draw. His presence with the nice wine red tux with its italian-mafia-like opened-button slickness were also appealing features whereas he easily could pass for mafia boss. Knowing that Joe Turkel grew up in Brooklyn, NY one could think that a heavy fast talking New York accent could damage the role but here the actor succeeds in talking calm, cool and collected. In my drawing I felt I wanted portray Lloyd as maybe 10 or 15 years older than how he is seen in the film. So the drawing is a questi-mate of Lloyd anno 1995, old, bald, buttoned-up but with that same great back posture as if he would stand infront of a bar all though I haven’t drawn one in this drawing. Here are some behind-the-scenes photos from TASCHEN’s fantastic book called The Kubrick Archives:
Joe Turkel
as Lloyd the Bartender during a take while shooting The Shining.

Joe Turkel, Stanley Kubrick and Jack Nicholson in between takes.

Joe Turkel is focusing while Stanley Kubrick is staging a point-of-view shotStanley Kubrick and Jack Nicholson is closing in on the monitor, watching the rushes, while Joe Turkel has brought along his glasses for the occasion.

TASCHENs The Kubrick Archives. A great book expanding over 500 pages and over 7 decades made in cooperation with Jan Harlan, Christiane Kubrick, and The Stanley Kubrick Estate. Edited by Alison Castle, 2008

By the way Joe Turkel and Stanley Kubrick worked together already back in 1957 on one of cinemas greatest anti-war movies: The Paths of Glory starring Kirk Douglas. Whereas Stanley Kubrick’s then future wife Christiane Kubrick is to be seen and heard singing in the end of the picture.  
Joe Turkel
is probably most recognised as Dr. Eldon Tyrell the innovated scientist and CEO of the Tyrell Cooperation in the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott, starring Harrison Ford. Both films are highly Recommended!

Good morning and salute, JohnH

Posted in Great Actors and Actresses, Visual inspiration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sumo San!

“True beauty is something that attacks, overpowers, robs, and finally destroys.”
― Yukio Mishima

This quote is by the late and mythical japanese author Mishima, might very well fit the description of the sumo-wrestling sport. I guess what defines a true Sumo wrestling champion is how he attacks and overpowers the opponent, robs them for their throne position and finally destroys world records.

This sketch was made during a slow and long bus trip through Belgium to Holland during a high-school trip in early 2007. As I was bored and sleepless the night before in a hotel in Brussels. I turned on the TV and watched a captivating match between two Sumo-wrestler…and my God it was entertaining. Especially watching the instant replay of the massive Sumo bodies in giant like proportions grinding against each other as the sparks were flying!

For more info on the art of sumo wrestling and instant replay, look here what National Geographic says about it!

Salute, JohnH

Posted in Great Athletes, The Sketchbook, Visual inspiration | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome to Useyourillustration!

You have to do something about your drawings man, they’re way to weird to be locked away somewhere (…) You got to use your illustrations!” My girlfriend told me this not long ago, and this is how I got the idea to start a blog displaying my new and old sketches. I’ve recently been dusting off a big chunk of them, and I will be posting them as well as posting a lot of my somewhat weird inspiration sources.

I’ve been drawing since I was four or five years old, and over the years my style have evolved to a caricatureish and  rather slick interpretation of the world around me. So why is that so? I remember sometime during high-school a friend of mine asked me to draw a natural portrait of my friend’s girlfriend, and as I struggled through the night I couldn’t pull it off ‘cos as I discovered I didn’t have and still don’t have the skills to draw with charcoal or soft pencils in a natural fashion. And teenagers as well as children don’t have so many distinguished lines and wrinkles in their faces…but older people do. My friend’s girlfriend was also a teenager at the time so she didn’t have any clear lines as I recall to go at except her eyes. “I can’t do it…you can ask me in maybe ten or fifteen years” I replied, as I could see my friend’s discreet disappointment. So the drawing made her look older and not so delicate as a happy birthday card which was the purpose of the drawing. Despite my pleasure in grasping a creative challenge or two, knowing what I could do or not do helped me to define my own style rather than trying to be someone ells. A memorable quote said by Deep Purple’s legendary drummer Ian Paice at the Modern Drummer Magazine Festival 2005 comes to my mind “you should never try to be a number-two-somebody, you can only be a number-one-yourself“.

So, what you are about to see is a bunch of sketches and drawings fra about 2002 to this present year. And I’m hoping that this blog will make me produce a current ratio of about 3-5 drawings a week. Be that as it may, some of these sketches have taken me one minute to make and some of them have taken 5 hours to make…At the sound of the duelling snares to be heard in the link below, I  just want to say enjoy the illustrations and be free to comment, ask and critique as much as you like!

Salute, JohnH

Posted in useyourillustraion | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment