Sunday, June 26, 2016

"Great Guy, Great Lunch, Great Book, Great Autograph!"

My long time aviation artist buddy, Mike Machat.
I met my aviation buddy, Mike Machat at the 94th Aero Squadron restaurant overlooking the Van Nuys airport. Every time I return to SoCal, I make an appointment to have lunch with Mike. He and I grew up making plastic models as kids and one of our major influences in our adult art career was Jack Leynnwood, who created model box top art for Revell and Aurora. So, even if we never had anything else to talk about having Jack in our lives is a topic we never tire of. 

Mike and I met on the board of the Society of Illustrators in Los Angeles and found aviation as a passion that we both shared. We spent many years painting for the U.S. Air Force Art Program and the American Society of Aviation Artists. We both worked at aerospace plants in LA and both had to split before the whole industry caved in on itself. The big difference between he and I is that he's a pilot and I am not, and he continued making a living as an aviation artist and I went the route of creating presentation art for the ad world.

This year, Mike published his third hard cover book entitled," The Art of Mike Machat" Painting Aviation Legends." In the book, he writes about the varied processes of creating historical art for the aviation industry working directly with the pilots that made so many contributions to flight. One year ago, he asked me to read a couple of pages to give him my opinion of the concept. I was flattered then that he wanted my perspective on the concept, and yesterday, was more flattered to receive my own autographed copy.

He signed it, "For Ben Bensen, Fellow Air Force Artist, Jack Leynnwood fan, and friend. With admiration, Mike Machat."

Thanks, Mike!

Copyright 2016/ Ben Bensen III

Monday, June 13, 2016

"Cockadoddlely- Did!"

The village of Folsom, LA has its own post office. At one time, the U.S. Postal Service was gonna close down the office to save money, but the locals spoke up and complained much to the surprise of Gary, our postmaster.

I think he lobbied hard to any ear that was within stamp licking distance.

But the little brick building ensconced in the corner of town is a country office and sometimes, we forget that. Returning from our trip to Michigan to pick up our mail and in between my conversation about the Air Force and Gary's veteran status, came a strange muffled groan. At first, I thought I was hearing things, but it grew from a faint hum to a cackled whimper. Gary didn't seem at all phased, so I blew it off, assuming that it was what I had for breakfast that was making sounds unfamiliar to any Post office.

Gary went back to pick up our mail and while he was gone, I leaned over the counter to see where the sounds were coming from. The groan sounded like a raspy complaint emanating from an enclosure of sorts. It seemed to gain momentum the closer I got until I hear that distinctive early morning wakeup tune.

"Eurt-eur-eurt; eur, EURRRR!"

It's a rooster, I thought. What the hell is a rooster doing in the post office? What? Is today, bring your pet to work day?

Gary returns to answer," Yeh, occasionally this one farmer who raises prize winning roosters will ship a few hens with his rooster."

"He doesn't sound too happy about his travel accommodations to me," I said.

"I'm told the eggs from this farmer sell for sixty bucks an egg!"

"No way, I said, that's wild, and a rather expensive breakfast, dont'cha think?

"Oh no, Mr. Ben," these are prize winning birds!"

Walking out of the door with an armful of mail, I asked,"Then, what comes first? The chicken or the prize winning egg?"

Copyright 2016/ Ben BensenIII