Tuesday, May 16, 2017

"I Was A Little Bit Nuts, I Admit It!"

Frames drawn for storyboards at 3"x4"...
We used to do storyboards at this size. Most of the 3"x4" frames were pretty sketchy with minimal color. I guess I was just a bit crazy! Clients did seem to like em, though. This is one in a series of fifteen marker frames for a client Security Pacific Bank for the art director Jeff Weekley at DMB&B Advertising.

I am posting one of fifteen everyday on my Facebook account's cover sheet. https://www.facebook.com/Gumboben

Here's a few more minis... 

Copyright 2017/ Ben Bensen III

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

"That Old Matchbox Hole In My Clothes"...

Just saying...

Happy Dappy Humpty Dump Day, y'all. Here in 'da Bayou, it's gonna be a beautiful day... weather wise. 
"I'm just sittin' here watching that old matchbox hole in my clothes, I ain't got no matches but I sure gotta a long way to go!"
So true.
And, it is all in the details, or so it seems. Because of my wife's new dietary concerns, I'm gonna try a frittata "quiche" without a pie crust. It will be more like an egg custard thingy. I think I'm gonna have to find a recipe and STICK to it... I never do, though. We'll see.
On another detailed note, the color house that took pro pictures of my Pierce Arrow poster called yesterday as we were lounging around in the sun at Giddy Up. Because I felt a bit guilty for spending more time creating the poster than I should have, I felt I needed to get the digital copy to the designer for printing, ASAP, but I really didn't expect it to be ready for pickup so soon. When they'd call, I would have an expeditious plan prepared.
I had a little over three hours to drive into New Orleans pick up the painting and the cd, make one copy for myself on the laptop and dupe another copy to send to another partner, throw them into some cd mailers which were already pre-addressed and deliver them to the NOLA post office.
It was gonna work out perfectly, but I forgot to bring extra blank cd's because the covers didn't fit the mailer. So, I brought two of those poorly designed plastic cases with me but not the blank cd's that they come in. When I got the original cd, I ran into the car, opened up my laptop to copy them, but also forgot that this laptop doesn't have an internal dvd drive in it.
"I can't believe it. The entire world is conspiring against me... Including Donald Trump!"
I returned to the color house desk and beg them to make me a copy. Waiting for about twenty minutes, now had me under the clock. The last pick up for mail ended at 4:30 pm. Now, it was screw the other partner, for now. He'll get his cd later. I need a copy of the original cd for myself.
I threw the one cd into the mailer and took off for the post office. I made the deadline, but all the while the desk clerk at the color house's comments kept ringing in my ear...
"You know, you could've just used a Dropbox!"
First "Doh!" cup o' CDM...

Copyright 2017/ Ben Bensen III

Saturday, February 4, 2017

"Mom, Can I Borrow A Shoebox?"

Making a Mardi Gras float...
I remember when my son had to create a mission in fourth or fifth grade as part of learning about the history of California. Naturally, all the parents competed with each other to create the best mission diorama for some elementary school open house. For sure, it was a fun family project, but I can't say I was not creatively involved.

I don't have any recollection about doing this in Catholic school, but the first four years of my education was at a public school and every year around "Carnival Time" (That's what we called it in back then!) we'd create Mardi Gras floats out of shoe boxes. Mom would sacrifice one of her boxes to staple the top of the box vertically to the bottom container that held the shoes. Lots of glue, tempera paint, colored crepe paper, usually the Mardi Gras colors of green, purple and gold, and old beads from last year's booty, help create the beginning of some sort of concept.

Even as a kid, I never was enamored with all that fake royalty, glitter, masks and such, but okay, the top of the box had to have revelers to help make a concise float concept. One year, the solution was to taking my plastic, olive drab soldiers, and paint them in the colors of Mardi Gras. I used mostly the soldiers who were throwing hand grenades, ( you remember that pose!) and have them throwing something into the adoring crowd. Another year, Trigger, Bullet, farm animals and a roping Roy Rogers graced the top of my float. I tried to glue my Nelly Belle jeep to the deck of the float, but it never would stay atop of the deck and would just roll off the float.

One year, I designed the float with those colored plastic, (Wasn't everything plastic back then?) four engined airplanes which I believe I received from the throws of the prior year. I used cotton balls to create the clouds which "floated" in front of a painted blue vertical background. Back then, we kids were seriously into the environment recycling all kinds of junk to enhance our special entry. We'd glue Life Savers, doilies, pins, MandM's, moss, sticks and stones, colored buttons stolen from granny's button jar, and Scrabble chips to misspell Marty Graw!

I wonder if any New Orleans mother ever got their shoe boxes back on Ash Wednesday or ever even wanted them back!

Copyright 2017/ Ben Bensen III

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The only record left of Santa Viking's existence.

Good Christmas Eve Saturday, y'all.
I am happy to report that I survived my ordeal yesterday with Mother Nature. I was afraid I would do something stupid and wreck Christmas, but, after about six hours of yard work, I am pleasantly surprised. 
Speaking about Christmas, this is my Santa Viking pic from yesteryear. When our family had young kids to celebrate Christmas, we'd ship our gifts to them from SoCal. My two brothers started a bogus Christmas company call "Dudenheimer Productions". Tee, Brian and I would look with much anticipation for all the zany silliness my brothers could conjure up.
It was always a fun time under the tree!
In retaliation, I started sending our gifts from "Santa Viking" who'd ravage and pillage and plunder... and blunder his way into the hearts of many a little Bensen! Many Polaroids later, this is the only record of Santa Viking's existence.
Enjoy... I think!
In case I forget, let me wish you all a wonderful Christmas. My Facebook and Google friends are the best...

Copyright 2016/Ben Bensen III

Monday, December 12, 2016

"Come All Ye Faithful..."

Holy Trinity Cathedral
"When we get there, I don't think we need to stay too long," my wife said. I thought to myself well what's the big deal. It's kinda rude just to show your face and then, run!

"Okay, whatever," I acquiesced.

When we arrived at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in New Orleans, which I later found out was first Greek Orthodox Church in North or South America, the parking lot was almost full.

About two Saturdays ago, I moseyed over for a cup of coffee and some abuse from the gang at Gus's restaurant, but there was no one or cars to be found as is usual. There was an envelope taped to the locked door of the restaurant. I wasn't sealed so I decided to open it up and see what was the reason for everyone's Saturday no show.

Written on a torn, half sheet of yellow ledger paper by a local landscape gardener, Steve Smith, was his condolences to the owner, Gus Michailakis. The first thing that crossed my mind was that Gus had complications from his inner ear surgery and passed away. 

I was not the only friend who shared that concern.

Sketchy information from close friends who spoke to witnesses said that on Friday night, with little or no warning, the eldest son, George, left the kitchen where he was working and went into the men's bathroom to end it all. George was the eldest son with a history of mental illness. One shot was all that was heard. 

Naturally, chaos ensued. The restaurant wasn't crowded at that time, but patrons poured out of the door into the parking lot. The local police showed as did the ambulance. Out of respect for the family, none of the patrons asked and little information was divulged. At this point, one week later, the details of his death don't seem so important.

Waiting our turn to see George in repose, I noticed in front of me, the neighborhood friend Therese and I ran into as we walked to the church. She stood in front of the casket with tears in her eyes. I looked around to see how precious friendships really are and what a simple neighborhood eatery means to a community. If only George could have understood the important part of his being alive and the out pouring of love that was shown at the crowded church.

I turned my head back towards the casket to notice that, our friend, Debra, touched George's hand which was surrounded by a crystal rosary. Her doing so reminded me of seeing our son in his casket and touching his hand. A hand, though still rather childlike, was a talented hand. Little hands that we had to hold so he wouldn't scratch himself from the many food allergies that plagued him most of his life. Soft hands that could easily grasped a double play ball or tap an errand throw of a football back into his arms. Talented hands that could build and paint model aircraft as well as create marker and charcoal and pastel art. 

The same hands that later would nervously pat me on the head as he passed by never knowing quite how I would receive it, were now cold and gray. It has always stuck with me. As our turn came up to pay our respects, I could tell Therese was beginning to have a hard time coping, for George was Brian and Brian was now, George. But when she met Pam Michailakis, in the receiving line, both mothers hugged and fell into desperate tears. I really don't know what was said or commiserated. I'll never know what it means to share one mother's heartbreak with another mother, but I could tell Tee was already exhausted.

We sat in a pew for a moment or two trying to regain some composure, then we walked back to the car. Starting it up, I slipped a Christmas cd into the player. The first song to play was,"Oh Come All Ye Faithful... It was then that I realized the "twenty minutes" was probably more than enough!

Copyright 2016/ Ben Bensen III

Saturday, December 10, 2016

"The Courthouse Wedding Sketch.. A FollowUp!"

The happy framer, couple and artist!
This is just a follow up to the preceding blog story: http://graphicgumbo3.blogspot.com/2016/12/a-sketch-artist-court-room-and-wedding.html  

We, the framer, the couple and me, finally were able to meet at Pineapple Gallery in Mandeville, yesterday. 

For some reason, unbeknownst to me, I was really concerned that they wouldn't love it. Maybe, it had to do with only having a few minutes to complete it! I sometimes wonder what the hell is wrong with me! 

But, they both were ecstatic about the framing as well as the artwork. Whew!

Copyright 2016/Ben Bensen III

Monday, December 5, 2016

"A Sketch Artist, A Court Room And... A Wedding!"

Really a cool concept...
I received my courtroom/ wedding sketch nicely framed by the Pineapple Gallery when I visited Carol Hallock and Tanya Firmin Dischler's art show. I am hoping to set up a photo thing with the wedded couple, me, the Hamilton's, and, of course, the artwork, but coordinating everyone for these photo sessions most times just isn't logistically possible.

Well, it all started about a month ago. A young couple arrived at my booth at the Three Rivers Art Festival  and ask if I had any experience as a courtroom reporter. When I told them that I did and could send them samples of my work, they immediately recruited me to illustrate their wedding like a reporter would, as a keepsake. After explaining that they didn't want to lose control of their wedding to either side of the family, they decided since the groom was a budding divorce lawyer, that taking their vows and exchanging the rings in front of a judge in the local court house would be a pretty novel idea.

I did too, but I had no idea what was expected of me on their wedding day. To a certain degree, I should have taken more control of the proceedings. I was not aware of exactly where the judge and the couple had to be to make the best use of the scene. Unbeknownst to me, traditionally the bride is to stand or kneel on the left side of the groom. Had I known that ahead of time I would've place myself on the other side of the judge's stand. I wanted to position myself where I could get the bride's face and gown and leave the groom, who was visually easier to draw sporting a straw hat and a well groomed beard, in profile. 

I should have explained my concern and asked for their patience in order to transport my easel and supplies to the other side of the judge's stand, but I just didn't want to impose myself upon the couple in that way. I am positive that they wouldn't have had a problem with my request even though they seemed a bit nervous about the whole idea and now, just wanted to get it done.

The ceremony was to start at 2pm, but the couple was twenty minutes late. While waiting for their arrival, I spent some time conversing with the judge.

"Sir, I asked, just how long does the vows and ring exchange usually take before you announce a couple man and wife?"

"Oh, probably not more than two minutes or so," he blithely commented.

"Two minutes? You're kidding?" I asked. "Man, I'm a pretty good artist, but I can't draw that fast!"

"Well, maybe we can pose for you, a bit!"

If the vows took five minutes, I'd have been surprised. When the ceremony was over, the couple turned to me and asked to see what I had completed. I showed them what I had and begged for a few minutes more. The three granted my request. As I continued to struggle within that time frame on what I considered a botched drawing, many of those in the wedding party including the guards came behind me looking over my shoulder complimenting my every move. I seemed to feel better about the sketch with every passing minute.    

Although I had him sketched to my satisfaction, it didn't take long for the groom to get fidgety... about ten minutes. I hastily laid in some tone with the side of my Prismacolor pencil and declared the sketch complete and as the party raced toward the door, the groom turned back towards me and said,"It looks great!" "Can you get it framed for us?"

Copyright 2016/Ben Bensen III