The things I learn ...
Rambling about the art of making little magical moments.
My, what a wonderful start we have this year, right? I mean, let's skip the poop and cut to the point, shall we. Oofta.
First off: Let me lay down some ground rules for us as a group: we have a desire to communicate rationally, respectfully, intelligently, and with inquisitive questions. Without a doubt, all of our intensions must be to assist, lift, and catch—if we must—those in need. After all, the goal within this tribe is to better one another; and, perhaps by default, we will better ourselves.
If I seem to be, or I may possibly be, an undesirable type of human for you; and, if those in my tribe are also the type of humans you wish NOT TO associate with, then I bid you a life path of knowledge and love.
Please and thank you have a wonderful day. Ty the Art Guy.
Now, about this new year's essay looking back at last year. It was a busy end of year for me. It was a better year than most for me, despite the global chaos. Locally and internally, it was a better year than most. Happy to say so, and I wouldn't be able to say so without the help and assistance—and the overall love for those of you whom have turned out to be more than good friends. You are remarkable people, and several of you I will always consider family. There are those out there that have invitations to visit anytime—you know who you are. Whom you are, whatever.... family. Thank you. Bless y'all more.
Speaking of family. There is nothing like the moment in life when a new life becomes part of your family. Boyfriend. Girlfriend. Step parents, perhaps. The relationships with the people that become more than friends, they become family. Friends that become more than friends. Either way you become more than friend—it's the same result in the end. These friends influence us. Encourage us. Motivate us. And they can destroy us in equally opposite ways. They still may become family in the end of your life path.
It's a remarkable feeling isn't it? To hit that micro moment of something new, something better, in a relationship? I think this type of emotion may be one of my favorites. And on my recent road trip of caricatures with ESPN; I had one of those moments. That moment when you connect with a cousin, that happens to be empathically your sister, or perhaps daughter. The kid sister from a side of your family lost for decades. Then with a wisp of a thought; the moment happens. You connect, and meet this kid sister, kid cousin from a side of the family you never knew existed. Wham, right?
This kid cousin. This moment or moments of connectedness with this young feisty, singer-songwriter traveling Texas troubadour whom has a obsession with Merle Haggard is as close to a kindred spirit I have encountered in a very long time. Her name is Kayla Ray. I like her, I like her music and her creative work too. I think y’all will too. [ insert her website ] This Young lady is gonna change the world, folks. She's currently recording her sophomore album. She’s on Kickstarter. If your interested, I can provide the information to hear her music and perhaps support her on her creative journey.
This side of the family was removed from my life when I was just a little tot. I remember a few dream-like memories of this time, these people, and this place that connects Kayla and I. Her dad was one of my cousins. That side of the family is, by nature a very rural, farmers, living of the land independent and proud people. My grandmother was Chickasaw. There seems to be a long line of abuse to women in this side of the family. My mom being one of the victims of abuse from her father, decided to remove this side of the family from my life. It’s an interesting tale, but there’s no time for that at this time.
Her dad was my cousin, as I was saying. I remember hm with one very funny memory of him shooting me with a 410 single shot shotgun. Mind you, we were kids. I’m certain this happens to everyone as a kid, right? NO? Oh well then….
In the middle of nowhere central Texas it’s not uncommon to go down to one of the pasture ponds and shoot frogs. Bull frogs. Big bull frogs. You shoot enough you can have a nice frog leg dinner. As I remember it, one of the family gatherings the Dads took the kids down the dirt road and across another dirt road to a pasture pond. There we all picked our spot making a circle around the pond. Now the idea is that when a frog pops up near the shore in front of you, you stood up and aimed at the frog being mindful to shoot at a downward angle, so that;
1) you’d shoot the frog,
2) that you shot into the water and not shoot across the water.
Then after the frog was shot, the little kids, like I was would run down with our little nets and scoop up the frogs. Country family fun.
My cousin a little older than me, was being allowed to shoot a little single shot 410. An old gun that had been handed down. He was sitting across the pond with his dad. Oh he was so eager and proud and excited to be allowed to shoot a real gun. He was just about to jump out of his own skin. A frog popped up in front of him and he got so excited he shot from his sitting position. It was actually more of a sitting down on the ground with his legs crossed position. The way he was angled when he shot was not down into the water, it was more of skipping rocks across the water angle. The bird shot from that little single shot 410 hit the water and skipped across the pond, dusting me and my dad.
Dad and I got dusted by his little 410 bird shot skipping across the ricocheted pond. The ground around us just puffed up a little. My dad saw it coming and kinda layed over me. He got most of little pellets in his back. Just under the skin. I had a dozen in my left arm, you could actually see the little lead pellets under my skin. Not very deep at all. I remember my grandmother picking the pellets out of our skin with some rubbing alcohol and tweezers. Ah the good times.
Yes, it was wonderful to reconnect with Kayla Ray and to share that story of her dad shooting me when we were kids. She’s very active playing the “Chitin Circuit” of small to midsize venues all over Texas and and surrounding states. I hope some of y'all get to see her and here her play.
Last night I had the best gig. The client’ was wonderful, witty, intelligent and just a joy to work with. It’s a nice sense of synchronicity when such gigs go so well, like the energy in the room was costumed designed to make everyone enjoy and experience the evening as a collective body of one goal. “To change the world”. Then at the end of the gig, as I’m packing up I get a phone call. It was one of those phone calls that before you answer it, you know its not going be good. I mentally brace myself for as much of a barrier over my self being as I can before I answer the phone. It was not enough preparation for the bad news I received. I’m not if I could have ever braced myself for this level of bad news.
Ronnie Wallace is dead. Died last night, his ailing heart, which was just in for a tune up had finally pootered out.
Ronnie was the genius ninja master of wielding ironies into razor sharp sarcasm that would nearly kill the subject of his writings and bring the reader of such works to tears and belly aches from extreme fits of laughter. With no surprise his death was no different. One of his most recent posts was this:
January 13 at 4:37am · Arlington, TX ·
"The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated!"
My surgery was a total success and I'm overjoyed to report that I've Got Rhythm!
And I Feel GREAT!
Thanks for your support.
Ciao fer now.
[end copied post]
Ronnie, is the man that single handedly steered my teen unfocused life towards my life long adventure of “Drawing Smiles.” At this current time I can’t seem to write about all the moments of friendship and mentorship I have of Ronnie. I just cry and tears fall onto my keyboard. Perhaps some other time. Their are countless posts flooding Facebook about Ronnie from remarkable people that he influenced to be better human beings. Hopefully, at some point, I’ll be able to post some wonderful stories of my own about Ronnie.
He ws my mentor during my teen years as a young artist. He was the Big Brother this only child never had. He was a father figure to our little gang of merry pranksters at Six Flags Over Texas, Nothing like Ken Kesey’s Merry Prankster, (but we had our on catalogue of artists adventures back in the 70’s And Ronnie, along with his then wife Bennie led us all to becoming better artists, better writers, better scholars, better human beings.
Since last night,, I have had a near consistent wave of bouts of uncontrollable crying. I mean hard cries too, like a Jewish menopause-like wailing uncontrollably. So much of a constant wave pattern of grief that I’m certain that Space/time and the invisible fabric of our universe is in constant motion of wavelengths. This thought anchored me as I sat on the beach last night till three-in-the-morning, watching wave after wave crash into the sand. The sound of those waves muted my soul wrenching cries. The moon placed her shadows on my tears stained face. I then proceeded to wrench my soul of this broken heart pain. I was able to redirect, what a force the pain of sorrow can be outward onto the winds. #GoodMedicine
Enough of that talk for now. What I ask of you, if I’m on deadline with you, please allow me a short pause in time. I’ll be back in mental health to illustrate properly soon. What I would like to ask of everyone else, is when you are celebrating life. Your life, the life of your loved ones, of friends, coworkers, please celebrate the life of whomever this week. Please pause and silently thank Ronnie for influencing so many artists, cartoonists, writers, creative. He alone has filled the world with plenty of genuine human beings. To you Ronnie, I love you. You taught me the fundamental basics of how best I go about changing the world for a better place, a better life for all.
The joyful work of drawing a crowd of smiles.
P.S. To my fellow Ex-Flaggers of the 70’s; Love y’all. Your family. Virtual hugs.
Things I learn at Disney
As y’all know, Ive been drawing smiles at Disney World for the past four years. This has been a life changing event and process for me. As many of you know, Ive been drawing for four decades. [ See the post about Ronnie Wallace. ] I love the art of the quick sketch caricature. It’s an art form like no other, yet very similar to improvisational jazz. Simplifying the complexities of a persons first impression and personality is simply magic. Sure, there are skills to learn and master, but when your drawing in a rhythm and you have that natural groove going with the crowd and event; the four decades of experience drawing smiles like this kick’s in, and your instincts just take over. I imaging runners get the same feeling quite often. – I believe quick sketch caricaturing is a sport. An ArtSport.
In the past four years of this ArtSport at Disney World, I have learned I can draw a smile in any language. Truth. Not only have I learned that I can draw that one special smile that will travel back across the world to their home country, but the crowd watching me, their family and friends and other guests from other places of the world are smiling because of the smile I’m drawing. I have learned to magically make a smile spread to others. It’s infectious. It’s also a lot of fun to perform too.
There are so many common ways to make these infectious smiles on my guests at Disney World. Sometimes its as simple as well placed “hello", or in my habitual case, “Howdy”. I have a hypothesis that the word “Howdy” may very well be an internationally recognized word. Somebody pick that up.
I’ve learned I can do a pre shift drawing for a warm up and a little entertaining with early arrivals. The bonus is if I get the chance to add a little more magic by simply exceeding expectations, but not too much. You can’t give away the farm.
I do this sometimes by going ahead and providing some shadow or color work to a black and white order. Now granted, not everyone wants color, but if I get the idea that its an economic decision to not get color added to the artwork, then I will proceed to give a little away.
Occasionally, Ive been known to draw Blindfolded. This is always a conversation starter and Ice Breaker. This little stunt is a wonderful improvisational starter with guests. It very well leads to the next suggested expectation enhancer.
The most common way I make their encounter with me is that I take added interest in them. Y’all would be surprised at how uncomfortable this makes people sometimes. However, once they get over that sensation of “what? why do you care about me?” feeling, they are open and appreciative to share with you, it gains their respect for you and your art.When this occurs then the fun begins in witty conversational humor. I like to encourage audience participation while I’m drawing. Before you know it, the whole group is a little closer because of the magic I created with a simple smile.
That’s basically the core philosophy of Disney World. As a common belief with every cast member here and most of the guests visiting, everyone knows how to share a smile. Most everyone knows how too make a smile. And the really experienced smile makers have learned how to make a simple smile infectious. Don’t ever under estimate the power of a smile.
I plan to share more on this topic later, so if interested, please sign up for my newsletter. There is no schedule for such a newsletter, but if the interests build, its quite possible it will be more than an annual event.
Meet Mr. Cooper (again)
In the age of "Memes are better than Facts". I’m reviving and reworking the concept of Mr. Cooper. For those unaware of the previous Mr. Cooper Project; subscribe to my blog and I’ll send you some more background on Mr. Cooper.
Attached are the first two slides to help introduce mr. cooper to the internet community. I suggest zooming in on these so that you can read, or attempt to read his “First Essay" and his “prayer Hand” .
The writings from the “Prayer Hand”
"This - is - a - praying - hand - Jeese - spoke - to - all - the - men - in the - world - no - matter - what - races - color- in - our - crew - he- said - i - am - the - way - the - truth - and - i - the - life- no - B - all - come - to - the - father - but - by - me - a - men - thease - are - the - words - of - Jeses - jest - read - nt - from - the - Bible. “
The writings from the “First Essay”
April 19 - 92
"William - Earl - Cooper - A speech - on - December - 4 - 19 - 92 - I - came - down - town - to - fourths - works - public - library - and - started - taking - lessons - learning - how - to - wright - i new - how in - three - day - cent - then - I - wrote - Christmas - speach - New - Years - Speech - Lincon - Birthday - speach - Valentine Speach - Speach - Martin - Luther - King - speach - The - next - speach - I - write - will - be - spring - time - speach - to - me - spring - time - mean - windy - and - rainy - someday - sun - shine - and - hot - the - next thing - is - the - Lord - is - sending - plenty - of - whether - down - here - on - earth - to - make - the - grass - grow - so - people - poor - can - get - a - job - cutting - grass - making - money - amen - the - next - thing - is - good - friday - that - the - day - the - lord - die - and - rose - Sunday - witch - is - Easter - God - Bless - all - of - us - Amen - The Ball - Park - Jobs - started - Friday - that - will - put - the - homeless - men - back - to - work - 1993 - it - will - stop - the - street - walking - amen. "
I'm not at liberty to show or tell you about the current projects and assignments. (copyrights and al)
I will tell you this about CoreClarity, my current illustration project. It’s huge. I mean a huge project. It’s brainy. It’s a perfect project for a guy like me who seems to overthink the simplest of thoughts.
An interesting side effect of dwelling deep into the philosophy and lessons of CoreClarity is that I find myself naturally applying lessons, rules and Core Truths to the people I meet and entertain when I’m drawing smiles. Regardless of drawing smiles at corporate gigs or at Disney World, I’ve found that I instinctively apply CoreClarity principles to the conversions I’m having with people from all over the world. My conversational skills are improving, I seem to find the right strings to pull when engaging positive dialogue with the strangers I meet while drawing smiles. It appears that by improving my conversational skills because I’m instinctively gaining a deeper insight into my quests personality that I’m having a greater impact on our short moment together and thats just a wonderful ability to have. More as this project develops.
Well, that about wraps up my January Newsletter. Blog. Now mind you, Ive left out a plethora of events and activities that I chose not to mention at this time. We all have better ways to spend our time. I chose to leave many topics of interest and conversation aside for the time being. For now, I’ve got my focus on a handful of clients , subjects and purpose. Someday I’ll be able to convey how hard it is for an overactive mind like mine to stay focused and centered in my art. With that in mind, I believe Mr. Cooper will be the getting his own Facebook page or twitter account or some form of social media outlet. Stay tuned. Till next time; don’t watch to much TV. Try to occupy your down time with something creative. Please and thank you. Have a wonderful life.
From Ty Walls:
After four decades drawing smiles I often encounter remarkable people. I've learned to create little special moments for people from all around the world with my simple smile-drawing skills. But sometimes, life creates little magical moments for me. This blog is my attempt to share them with you.