Monday, October 15, 2012

Pheaturing Timothy Lim

Hello, everybody, welcome to another entry of the Phile. How are you?  You kids like the Kardashian's? Kim Kardashian said in a new interview that her next wedding will be on a private island with no TV cameras. Which raises a lot of questions, like, “If a Kardashian does something but there are no cameras, did it actually happen?”   The other night, a woman on QVC fainted on the air, but her co-host kept talking as if nothing had happened. One person was unconscious while the other one just kept talking... kind of like the presidential debate.  People close to the campaign are saying that Mitt Romney’s son, Tagg, is now one of his chief advisers. That’s right, when Mitt asked him to join the team, he put his arm on his son’s shoulder and said “Tagg, you’re it!”  A new survey found that atheists are the fastest-growing religious group in the U.S. And if you find that hard to believe... well, you’re probably one of them.  Two ATMs in New York were shut down for dispensing counterfeit money. People were suspicious after one guy kept asking, “Hey, can you break a 23?”  The Obamas’ dog, Bo, turned 4 years old. He spent the day the way he always does... digging holes, chasing squirrels, and coaching Obama for the debates. The Obama campaign is planning to open up its 120th field office in Ohio. Even Starbucks is like, “That’s too many locations, man.”  Six months after getting engaged on national TV, Ben and Courtney from “The Bachelor” revealed that they have broken up. Other “Bachelor” contestants were shocked. They were like, “You guys stayed together for six months?”  So,  in the last few entries I have been talking about Bob the Builder, wondering what happened to that little guy. One thing for sure though, wherever he is, he has the Jihad on his side.

Thank God I never insulted old Bob.  In yesterday's entry I told you that recently a sex tape surfaced of the Hulkster pinning a very enthusiastic female Hulkamaniac. Well, sadly, only snippets of the tape have been made available so far... but the Phile has some some additional, unseen scenes, like this one.

Red Bull recently announced that in addition to their original flavor, they’d soon be introducing cranberry, lime and blueberry versions. But those are not the only flavors coming out. Check out these other flavors.

Have you kids seen the new poster that NFL has out out? It's the funniest thing I ever saw.

Okay, no the funniest, but pretty damn close. Why would the NFL out out such a poster?  Alright, so, in a few weeks it is Halloween and even though we don't celebrate Halloween, I thought I would do you readers a good service and give you some costume ideas on what to dress up as this year. Everyone has already seen an iPhone costume, but these two iPhone fanboys have brought the idea to a whole different level. Using LCD TV's and car batteries they managed to create two brilliant (85 pounds heavy) iPhone costumes that will definitely make a killing. They had already approached the idea 2 years ago with a much less convincing version but it seems like this year they really mastered it.

Okay, and now for some sad news.

Arlen Specter
Feb 12, 1930 - Oct 14, 2012
Regardless of who gets elected, ol' Arlen's going to be flip-flopping in his grave.

On the Phile I like to pheature different people, either friends or readers, to come on for different reasons. One of the most popular is a man who is a singer, surfer, patriot, and renaissance man. Pleasde welcome back to the Phile, our friend Laird Jim in a pheature called...

Good morning humans... Time to kickstart Monday. Ugggggh... Cases of mistaken identity always make me laugh. I was just out walking for a bit and was stopped by a rather attractive woman strolling in the opposite direction. She says, "Wow, you look great... I have't seen you since that Foo Fighters show in Seattle." Only one problem... I've never been to Seattle.

Remember last year when you didn't go see Warrior, that movie where Joel Edgerton was the high school teacher who resumed his former life as a mixed martial arts brawler in order to save his home from foreclosure, only to realize that he had to fight Tom Hardy, his own estranged brother? Well, now there's this new movie where Kevin James is a high school teacher who used to wrestle in the 9th grade and he becomes a kicking-and-punching bag in that sporting arena so he can raise money to save his school's orchestra from budget cuts. It's like the Disney Channel sitcom version of that other movie, for people who like their mixed martial arts violence to be not so ouchy or hurty.  And that's not such a bad deal. James's primary function in the world is to be the kind, decent guy you root for, a stand-in for all Regular Joe's and beleaguered schlubs. You don't want to witness him getting knocked around too much because you don't want to get knocked around too much yourself. If he makes a grand gesture and saves something important for someone else at a not unreasonable amount of personal sacrifice, you can imagine yourself doing the same thing and basking in that big shared payoff. And when Salma Hayek looks at him with that face that says, "YOU CAN GET IT," then that means she... or her real-time equivalent... is eager for your romance as well.  All it really takes to get on board for a movie like this is walking into the theater. It meets you where you are. And if you're also willing to accept The Dumb, then so much the better for everyone. The Dumb is that thing where brutal UFC bouts result in minor cuts and scrapes, PG-trickles of fake blood. The Dumb is 15-minutes-ago Christian Nu-Metal anthems in 2012 and sometimes-"Glee"-cast-member Charice adorably belting out a Neil Diamond song at the big match. The Dumb is comedy fire hoses of vomit as the punchline to an earlier scene where James eats rancid applesauce. The Dumb is mean people turning nice and disaffected teens becoming engaged with learning because the power of James' innate stand-up-bro-ness and inspirational biology lessons compel them. The Dumb is butt-crack humor and MMA fighter Krzysztof Soszynski as a fictional person named Ken Dietrich (who moves like a CGI dragon but whose name is changed for... what reason exactly? Ego protection from a KJ knockout?). The Dumb is other real MMA guy Bas Rutten engaged in something called Disco Street Fighting. Never heard of it? Me neither. But it's in this movie. And it doesn't matter. Because it's all as mildly funny as possible and as sweet as it can be. I know, I know, fighting isn't supposed to be sweet. Just go with it. From 1 to 10, this movie gets a 6. 

Recently Jann Wenner's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the new inductees. Well, the Phile has a Rock and Roll Hall of Phame as well, with the help of unHOF. So far in our Hall Phame we have had Savoy Brown, J. Geils Band and Status Quo. Well, please welcome to the Phile, aconteur, entreprenour, Jah Paul Jo in a past life and co-owner of Berdan Records... Joseph J. Ramsey.

Today's Induction: Sparks.
As UK rock inched ever so closer to what would become the 1977 Punk Explosion, this band tied together concept, look and music better than nearly anyone. Sparks were two California guys that were flailing in their homeland, decided to pull up stakes (and were arrested by the Parks Department - apologies to Vivian Stanshall) and relocate to England. The two brothers, Ron and Russell Mael, put together a great band and released the groundbreaking "Kimono My House" on Island Records in 1974. Muff Winwood produced because the Mael's first choice, Roy Wood of The Move, was unavailable.  Their new sound was decidedly more UK heavy pop/glam in the mold of Bowie and Roxy Music. Ron Mael, he of the decidedly so-unhip-it-was-hip "Hitler Mustache," was the main songwriter and he came up with some real doozies. Wikipedia: "Lyrically, the songs remained unusual and humorous. The great number of words filled with pop-culture references, puns, and peculiar sexual content sung often in falsetto by Russell Mael marked Sparks apart from other groups."  I remember being very impressed with the whole of the album... artwork, image and music. The band, Martin Gordon on bass, guitarist Adrian Fisher and Norman "Dinky" Diamond on drums were top notch. "Kimono My House" went to #4 on the UK album charts and the single, "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us" made #2 in the UK Singles Chart. This was the beginning of Sparks' Island years that resulted in three extraordinarily good records in the mid seventies.  Live, the band were always VERY entertaining. I saw them shortly after the release of "Propoganda" and thoroughly enjoyed their set. Russell looked not unlike many of the pretty-boy singers of that era (although he DID sing nearly everything in falsetto!) but Ron... he would sit and stare and not move all that much. Dressed in forties looking outfits and sporting an intensely unfashionable Hitler mustache, he looked like a human embodiment of an R. Crumb cartoon. Yeah, they were fun to watch.  I was at another concert in the mid seventies... somebody like The Kinks or Roxy Music at The Santa Monica Civic, when the two Mael brothers arrived to see the show. With the lobby lights on, all eyes watched them as they made their way down the aisle to find their seats. When the stunned crowd realized who they were and that they were there as part of the audience, spontaneous applause broke out. The brothers did not acknowledge but it was a very cool moment.  In later years, the group would reinvent itself many times, most notably as an electronic pop duo with the help of Giorgio Moroder (!), but for me, those Island records are the bomb. It's no small complement that Sparks are held up as major influences by the likes of Morrissey, Kurt Cobain, Arcade Fire, Sonic Youth, Ramones, Duran Duran, Björk, Depeche Mode, New Order, Def Leppard, Faith No More, The Pixies and They Might Be Giants amongst many others.  The brothers continue... doing gigs as recently as June 2012.

Good job as always, Joseph. I always liked Sparks, and one of my favorite songs they did was "Cool Places" with Jane Wieldlin from the Go-Go's. When I saw the Go-Go's live recently they did a version of "Cool Places" with Belinda singing Russell's part. By the way, I should see if anybody from Sparks is available to be on the Phile. 

Today's pheatured guest is a fantastic artist who has his own company called Ninjaink. He has had work published internationally in Playstation Magazine, Dreamwave, and Image Comics. Please welcome to the Phile... Timothy Lim.

Me: Hello, Tim, welcome to the Phile, man, how are you?

Timothy: Just grand. Thanks, man.

Me: Alright, you have a company called Ninjaink, right? Where did that name come from?

Timothy: It's not technically a company, but it's what we call our online handle and team name. I got the name "ninja" from a comedian named The Chinaman, who would always call out before his performance, "where mah ninjas at?!" "Ninja," of course, poking at another derogatory word that starts with the letter "n." It became a term of endearment. And since I had to throw in some word dealing with art, "ink" completes the name.

Me: There's other artists involved with Team Ninjaink as well, am I right? Who are the other artists?

Timothy: I am actually the sole artist. We operate as a think-tank because I'm not creative enough to come up with all this stuff on my own. They're all friends of mine... Robert Simpson, Jean Luc Pham, and Mark Pellegrini.

Me: Tim, where are you from?

Timothy: Little Rock, Arkansas.

Me: How long have you been an artist?

Timothy: I've been drawing all my life, but I think I hit something in high school. That's when I actually started to get published.

Me: You had quite a few pieces of art published, what was the first thing you had published?

Timothy: I had two pieces published simultaneously, and sadly they're both lost to the ages... one was in PSM (Playstation Magazine) and the other one was in the Resident Evil magazine, published by Wildstorm. I used to play a lot of video games in high school, probably more than now and before.

Me: Your work has all different styles, which is cool. Which style is your favorite and which style is the hardest to do?

Timothy: My favorite style, personally, is vintage. I think the control of line is something lost nowadays, and the uniformity of the art of the 1930's - 1960's showed a great deal of knowledge of form and weight. Probably the hardest to do is a painterly style... I love the art of Ashley Wood, but his stuff is incredibly hard to emulate.

Me: Some of your art work is inspired by Mucha, which was one of my parents' favorite artists. The Avengers design you did is really cool, I want that as a poster.

Me: Did you study Mucha in school?

Timothy: Believe it or not, I never took formal art classes. I took one extracurricular course in grade school and one semester in college (which was basic drawing), but I'm largely self-taught. I stumbled upon Mucha while at a Barnes and Noble: it was a bargain book, and I knew the art but couldn't put a name to the work.

Me: Oh, and for the Phile readers that don't know who Mucha was, can you tell them?

Timothy: Mucha was the quintessential art nouveau artist. He's considered a cultural hero for the Czech Republic and achieved a level of fame in his own life due to his commercial success and his work with Sarah Bernhardt. Megan Lara, an excellent illustrator who you've seen the work of, can probably be resoundingly credited to bringing his influence into the realm of pop culture.

Me: I first discovered your art when I saw your "Peace In Space" design. Man, how long does it take to do that Mucha style, Tim?

Timothy: Egads... it's pretty rough. One art nouveau piece takes about 16 to 20 hours of working time, excluding bathroom breaks and the like. It's usually a two day process.

Me: Who else is your favorite artist and inspiration, Tim?

Timothy: Joe Madureira is my favorite artist of all time, simply because I learned so much from studying his line and anatomy work. But in no particular order, I like Ashley Wood, Stefano Caselli, Patrick Nagel, Gil Elvgren, Yoji Shinkawa, Adam Hughes, Drew Struzan, and Erik Larsen. I'm also a huge fan of holy cards, pin-up, religious motifs, noir, and vintage.

Me: I noticed there's a lot of super hero theme stuff you do. I am a big Marvel fan, so I have to ask you DC or Marvel?

Timothy: Definitely Marvel. DC's characters are very mythical and archetypical but that makes it difficult, in my opinion, to mess with them a lot without making people mad. Marvel is more of a blank slate where anything goes, so it makes for more interesting reading.

Me: As well as super hero, you have done a lot of Transformers stuff. You also did a Transformers newsletter before the first movie came out, right? Who approached you to do this, how did they chose you and what exactly did you have to do for it?

Timothy: It was a contest: I submitted my work, "Arrival" and they asked me to do a few more up to the time the first movie came out.

Me: That's so good. I have to congratulate you as well for winning Comic2Film's Best Illustrator of 2005 award. What did you win, and what was the piece you won for?

Timothy: I won... fame, I guess. :-) I didn't really win it for a particular piece, just as a whole. Same with the 2007 nomination.

 Me: Are there any other awards you won, Tim?

Timothy: I've won two sponsored contests by Super Punch, one by Ain't It Cool News, and one by World's Best Comics. There's probably more, but those are the ones that are sticking out at the moment.

Me: Some of your work has been published in books... one book about Street Fighter and one about Mega Man, am I right? What were these books?

Timothy: Those are the Tribute art books published by Capcom and Udon. They're available at your local bookstore, for sure... the art is incredible!

Me: Alright, let's talk about "It's A Good Life", that's a comic strip you write and draw, right?

Timothy: Correct. Mark Pellegrini writes the strips and I draw.

Me: What is the inspiration behind this, and what is "It's A Good Life" about?

Timothy: The inspiration is definitely Calvin and Hobbes, but it's about how a lot of things that men do in this world are really no different than how things were when we were kids. I guess you could say it's about man-children. It's self-deprecating humor, but we try to poke fun at a lot of things that we find mundane and silly.

Me: It's very Calvin and Hobbeish, Tim. In fact, you do some Calvin and Hobbes art, right?

Timothy: I do homages... other than the Super Punch contest, I don't think I've touched the subject directly.

Me: I interviewed another artist named Stephen Harris who most of his work is based on Calvin and Hobbes. Do you know him?

Timothy: Not personally, but I've seen his work on RedBubble and Shirtoid.

Me: Why do you think those characters are so popular with artists?

Timothy: I think we all grew up with Calvin and Hobbes, and there's so much to appreciate. Not only were the strips funny, but Watterson showed off such a versatile style by using the imagination component of Calvin's world to showcase that range. That makes the style immediately recognizable to a lot of people.

 Me: Alright, I have to ask, if you were gonna design a logo for the Phile, what would it look like?

Timothy: I don't know why, but I thought of a Philly cheesesteak...

Me: Now I am hungry. Timothy, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Go ahead and plug your website and everything and please come back on the Phile sometime, so I can show off more of your art. Take care and thanks again. Keep up the good work.

Timothy: Thanks! You can view our full portfolio at Ninjaink. Be sure to also visit our RedBubble store or take the time to like us on Facebook. We truly appreciate the support!

There, that about does it for this entry. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim, Joseph J. Ramsey and of course Timothy Lim. The Phile will be back on Wednesday with the guys from Reasons Be. Then I'll be on vacation, but the Phile will be back on Sunday, October 28th with the guys from The Chocolate Robots. Then on Monday it's Becky Stark, from the band Lavender Diamond. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let alligators and snakes bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Oh, remember... don't let breast cancer steal second base.

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