Friday, March 27, 2009

Another sketchbook done

Although this particular sketchbook took me more than my self imposed two day schedule, I finally finished it. If it wasn't for a rush job that came across my desk for a steady client, I probably would've pounded this book down in that prescribed time frame. Now it's time to recover for a day or two and start up another book soon.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sketchbook latest

Day two of sketching. Just for kicks.

George Kell passes away

I don't think there's a Detroit kid my generation that played any form of sandlot baseball/ softball that didn't do a George Kell impersonation of some kind. Many of us knew him only as a Tigers' television broadcaster but prior to that, he was one of the most potent third basemen in all of Major League Baseball. His records were many and his acceptance in the Hall of Fame only reinforces those accomplishments. He passed away in his hometown of Swifton, Arkansas at the age of 86 and yet I can still his voice ring out with some wonderful anecdote about the game that he played and was passionate about.

Terry Brown visits CCS

Terry Brown, the director emeritus of the New York Society of Illustrators was kind enough to join some of our students in a lively discussion on many things Illustration. He talked about the history of American Illustration (he taught one of the premier History of Illustration courses), its evolution, its future, copyrights, the influence of technology, market shifts, and hopefully inspired some of our troops to be the next wave of impactful artists.

Terry also gave our students a personal guided tour of the current Norman Rockwell exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts as well as personally regaling us in some outrageous stories about the Society the night before.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Just for kicks

Every now & then and a lot of times for friends I'll poke fun of them for some obscure little thing or foible in their lives. And from time to time I come up with some things that even surprise me or make me chuckle. Granted years from now I'll look back and have lost all context as to why it was funny, but for the mean time- this was one of those goofy ten minute drawings that just keeps staring back at me and makes me chuckle.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

If only friend Jay Shuster would've kept his beard for just a bit longer (and if he was about two feet shorter), he would've been the ideal leprechaun for this holiday.

Another look at the Chin Tiki

Yeah, I know I posted a longer winded Chin Tiki article about the fall of the place below but also wanted to preserve the Google Map street level image of the place that was taken several years back. How simply spartan and idyllic it looked in the Detroit sun.

Also mad thanks to John Monaghan of the Detroit Free Press too. Great article on the place being demolished and sending over 3000+ hits to the merry blog here.

Sketchbook happy

My very first all digital sketch.
Not a single tree was sacrificed in its creation.

The usual sketchy madness.

For the last few month or so, I've been going gonzo in my sketchbooks. I can nearly finish a 128 page sketchbook in less than a week. Granted some of them are clunkers and then some of them are little gems for me to explore a little bit more. Even with my work and teaching schedule I've always managed a few precious hours to myself to add something to these little sketchbooks. I'm not sure where they're gonna go just yet but it's been very liberating.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The fall of the last great Detroit Tiki Temple

For several generations in this area, the Chin Tiki restaurant on 2121 Cass Avenue was the place for people to go celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, proms and other occasions of note. Marvin Chin opened it in an era when Polynesian/ Chinese food was relatively new to American palettes. The building itself was two stories of waterfalls, mysterious caverns, coves, tapa cloth covered walls and filled with relics, many made by Oceanic Arts in Whittier, California which is still in business today. The Chin Tiki opened in 1966 and stayed in business until 1980.

On March 6th, 2009, what was once the grandeur of the Chin Tiki came down. It had sat idle for years with Marvin & his son still coming by from time to time tinkering on the place. Many tiki enthusiasts had hoped that this haven would somehow be reborn and its significance be saved. When Marvin passed away in 2006, so did the dream of its re-opening.

The fences went up and the heavy equipment moved in during 2007 after the Ilitch Holdings Company came in and bought up the land for what is to be rumored a new stadium for the Ilitchs' Detroit Red Wings hockey team.

What was the front entrance to a magic tiki temple for so many people is now destroyed.

Visitors were often greeted with costumed hostesses distributing leis.

The second floor housed a huge dance floor that had nightly Polynesian acts.

For many, the Chin Tiki was a place to escape the daily grind. It was a destination.

As we look back at the City and its progress we're left to mourn what was once one of the premier dining destinations and a cultural icon for the area.

Gone are the days that adults can justifiably leave their children at home with the sitter, go partake of potent potables, dine in exotic fare, see scantily clad women and be flung off to an exotic locale... if even for one night. Along with the Mauna Loa, the Tropics, and a Trader Vic's, this building and all of the wonderful tiki memories that it housed is now a distant memory.