Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Final hours at LAX

I checked in early for my flight from LA to Tokyo so I have a couple extra hours to show you some of my sketches. There aren't really words to explain how much my three months in the USA and Canada have opened my eyes to the world of creativity and travel. I whole heartedly recommend any young creative person to see the world before they start any sort of serious work. It completely changes your perspective and you definitely adopt a more positive and excited outlook on the world. This totally reflects in the work you produce also.

I bought a new sketchbook in Brooklyn, New York. Definitely my kind of town. The food's incredible, the people inspired and location is sublime.

I spent several hours on the Subway, an essential New York experience. These trips made me think a lot about the future for the Melburbia series, it was great to see so many diverse and expressive characters all around me. There was one trip I took to Manhattan and the carriage was packed. Nevertheless, there was one young woman reciting her poem at one end and a barbershop quartet on the other. An overload of delightful proportions

It was great to find quiet spots in such a busy city. The above sketch was done in MoMA, I sat in this spot for a good hour or so. This fountain exhibit was so calming, the room was filled with Turkish rugs and lit so dimly. I think I have some future home ideas.

A lot of the time was spent in my own head. If I didn't feel up to drawing what was around me, I drew what was in my mind. You definitely find out a lot about yourself when you spend that much time drawing. I'm not sure what exactly sure what I found out from these drawings but I'll let you know when I do.

I drew the above piece when I dropped and lost my credit card in Times Square. I like to think I'm a smart traveler but when you do something like lose a piece of plastic, it gets to you. Visa were super helpful with the replacement card but the whole ordeal is definitely more trouble than it's worth.

The above mantra was said to me by the happiest man I've ever met. This was the last thing he said to me before I left San Diego in July. I can't think of anything truer. You can't wait for happiness to come to you, it's a state of mind that only you can achieve whenever you want it. So go grab it.

I'll be in Japan next time you hear from me, I'm so excited :)

All the best,


Thursday, September 27, 2012


 I initially got in touch with Wally (Gotye) via a Twitter conversation about Bruce Mutard, one of Australia's best Graphic Novelists. I explained that I was working on 'Melburbia' and he was kind enough to show his interest in seeing it. We also established that we'd be in New York at the same time. Wally raised my offer of a beer and a quick catchup to an invitation to his show at Radio City Music Hall and a meetup afterward. A very generous offer that I was more than happy to oblige.

As thanks for his invitation, I created this poster of Wally and a visual timeline of his career over the past five or so years. I started this one in Toronto, a beautiful place for getting some uninterrupted work done. The Toronto International Film Festival was on so the paparazzi were following Rachel McAdams instead of me for once which was refreshing.

I continued the poster in Buffalo, upstate New York at my great Aunt and Uncle's house. After traveling for two and a half months, I really grew an appreciation for home cooked meals, my own room and freshly cleaned clothes. I had to leave before I got too used to it :P But I am incredibly grateful for their hospitality. They hadn't seen me since I was three years old but they treated me like a son. This environment gave me the chance to finish the poster.

The venue, performance and visuals were astounding. Gotye's show was completely sold out and for good reason. His support acts Jonti and Missy Higgins warmed the crowd up with their own brands of music. I'm not the biggest patriot but it was great to see Australian musicians bringing that kind of crowd overseas.

Wally switched instruments and stage positions like a Cheshire cat, you'd need to spot him after each lights out. Though we knew he was the main man, his entire ensemble had a great collaborative vibe. There wasn't really a sense of lead singer and band.

The animations and visuals, however, were an enormous highlight. Once again, Gotye utilized mostly Australian artists and designers in their production. Each one was more obscure and hypnotic than the last. I highly recommend watching some of them on the Gotye Youtube Page though it really is only a taste of experiencing it live at one of the most electrifying theaters in the world.

We finally met face to face after the show where I gave him the poster and spoke a little bit about the important things in life. Stuff like Tim and Eric, my blog and how my name could be confused for a Meta piece of Meat. For someone who's on top of the world, he's pretty grounded. From what I gathered, he's loved the ride but he's looking forward to chilling out for a bit and getting some new stuff out there in his own time.

Wally and Chris, thank you so much for inviting me to come along, the show was genuinely great and I look forward to seeing what's next.



Friday, September 7, 2012

Queen's Slipper Vegas Campaign

One thing I love about my job is that I can do it absolutely anywhere with a power outlet and a wifi connection. This is probably my largest and most fun client project so far. I started the sketch stage in Melbourne and continued the project in on Pacific Beach in San Diego and finished it, appropriately in my hotel room in Las Vegas. Today, I write to you while sitting in a French style courtyard in old town Montreal

I was commissioned to create four Vegas stereotypes with a boy and girl counterpart. They were 'There Hopeless Romantic', 'The Secret Weapon', 'The Bad Influence' and 'The Loose Cannon'. The characters were used in the 'Queen's Slipper' Take Me To Vegas campaign. The objective was to invite participants to tag four of their friends as a Vegas stereotype. The winner and their three friends would win the trip over there.

The characters are mostly inspired by my own friends. I think this way is more realistic and makes the characters more relevant to those who interact with them. It also made me think of your expectations of Vegas...

Versus the reality...

I love how the posters are so similar. The top one is a direct stride whereas the other is more of a drunken stumble.

So, below we have the eight character sketches, the first ones are the Hopeless Romantics. These two are the most likely to get hitched in a Vegas Chapel with an Elvis Presley Celebrant. Both believe in true love at first sight and are the most naive of the bunch

Then we have the loose cannons. These guys are teh heavy drinkers, late night party animals, and most likely to wake up the next morning in a jacuzzi next to Kim Kardashian. The feedback for this one was to loose the double ended dildo in the guy's hand and make the girl's boobs a little less obvious. I was asked for larger than life characters :P

The Secret Weapons are your tech experts, fitted with microphones, computer programs that record the roulette odds and are the most charismatic of the bunch. The male character completely changed in the last stage, he's a little more in control now. And we scrapped the girl's cigarette.

The Bad Influence is the friend who will cheat, grab, lie and steal their way to fortune but in the cleverest ways possible. If you need money, drugs, condos, this is your go to buddy. They'll make anything sound like a great idea. In terms of character design, these two were pretty spot on so we stuck with them.

After approval, I went ahead and rendered these guys and I'm pretty pleased with the results.

And below you can see the application on the Queen's Slipper Facebook Page. If you'd like a free trip to Vegas, I'd say this is your opportunity. So get tagging

Huge thanks to OgilvyOne and Queen's Slipper Playing Cards for having me on board with this one. We should have a poker night when I get back guys :) In the meantime, happy tagging.



Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I landed in USA only thirty days ago and I've already experienced a glorious sensory overload. After a lifetime of exposure to American pop culture, I assumed I had it worked out on the first day. How wrong I was. America is a Cabaret show filled with charismatic emcees, haunting clowns and beautiful dancers. 

LA's Venice Boulevard stayed true to its affectionate nickname, La La Land. Surfer dudes held large cardboard signs reading 'Need Money for Penis Reduction' while old wizards offered 'Shitty Advice for a Buck'. I spent a short two hours carpooling down to incredible San Diego with a friendly Mexican guy and his girlfriend on their way to Tijuana. He could not speak more highly on San Diego Zoo, so I obliged him and went (see below).

This is where I opened up my sketchbook, kindly gifted to me by my amazing friends and colleagues at Forethought Research.

Since then, I've had it on me the entire time. The most rewarding thing about traveling alone is the amount of time you can spend in your own head. You often miss out on that in the grind of daily life. Though I've always loved drawing, I've underestimated how relaxing and meditative it can be until this year. Artists of any medium are on a constant search for a particular style to define themselves in an otherwise crowded creative world. I've found that once I genuinely let go of trying to find a style, I tapped into some really exciting and unexpected results. Many of which I'm still surprised I created.

Most of these drawings were created in public. It's surprising how much interest you generate from the people around you. I spotted a Mexican photography group taking photos of me while drawing the Botanical Building at Balboa Park (above). This triggered a conversation and exchange of our works. As a result, I have a place to stay in Mexico if I decide to head down :) If my work can generate that kind of joy and amusement, I'm more than happy to keep creating. 

One major lesson I've learnt so far is to enjoy surprises, they happen for a reason. I was generously invited on a road trip with two beautiful Danish girls from San Diego to San Francisco. We stopped in Las Vegas for a couple nights and I was astonished at how much money that town wanted me to have. I accepted Vegas' kind offer. When leaving however, the girls made a rookie mistake of giving me the map. Unlike most men, I am awful at reading maps. Two hours into our drive I noticed a sign for Salt Lake City in Utah... We were meant to head North for Lake Tahoe in Nevada. We ended up in a sleepy town named 'Mesquite'. The man at the visitor centre told us that we missed our exit a while ago and would need to travel diagonally across the Nevada desert to get back on track. I'd have to say it was the best mistake I've ever made. I've never been so overwhelmed by landscapes before. Hence the above drawing done in the back seat of our Volkswagen Golf.

I leave San Fran for Portland in two days. I've spent the past three days at Outside Lands Music Festival. Spending all that time up the front row for Foo Fighters, Regina Spektor, Alabama Shakes, Niel Young and Fitz and the Tantrums to name a few, does require a bit of reflection time. I'm guessing my next post will include a response to some of that plus more drawings from observation. I still have 60 days here, let's make them count :)