Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pheaturing Steven Thomas

Hey there, welcome to another entry of the Phlile. How are you? It's October, and you know what that means, it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Just a reminder that mammogramming your boobs is more important than Instagramming them.  Let's start off with some happy news... George Clooney is no longer a single man. After marrying Amal Alamuddin in Venice, Italy over the weekend, he is now officially married, and will remain such until he ultimately becomes officially divorced. And on Saturday, Chelsea Clinton and her husband Marc Mezvinsky announced the birth of their daughter Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky. The baby's grandparents Bill and Hillary Clinton issued their own statement over the weekend. "We are thrilled to be with our daughter and her husband as they welcome their daughter into the world. Chelsea is well and glowing. Marc is bursting with pride. Charlotte's life is off to a good start." The statement did not address speculations that Hillary Clinton would be running for President in 2016. The GOP demanded the baby appear before Benghazi committee and Donald Trump requested the birth certificate.  It's pretty common knowledge that one of the U.S. Secret Service's most important duties is keeping potentially dangerous people away from the President. Especially those who happen to be carrying deadly weapons. So, you've got to admit it seems a little bit weird that the agents keep forgetting to do that. Shortly after news broke that they allowed a crazy dude with a knife to sprint past them into the White House, we're now finding out that they let an ex-convict... who was carrying a gun... get into an elevator with President Obama. Oh, wait, this just in... Secret Service performs autopsy on ebola victim in an elevator with the President. Wot?!  Hey, girls, after nearly twenty years of waiting, filmgoers will finally get to see Ben Affleck's dark and mysterious sex organ in the upcoming film adaptation of Gillian Flynn's bestselling thriller Gone Girl. "There's some brief... very brie... nudity," Affleck told MTV News. "The penis is in there! It’s IMAX penis! You've gotta pay fifteen bucks to see it in 3D. It looks better in 3D." I thought he was gonna save showing his dick for the new Batman movie.  When Lions Gate released what was supposed to be the final installment of their popular, though polarizing, Twilight fantasy horror series in 2010, they made one fateful mistake: they forgot to chop off the franchise's head, stuff garlic in its mouth and run a stake through its heart. This is a common practice when attempting to kill off a vampire series. However, because of their grave error, media consumers will now be forced to deal with a new series of short films inspired by the bestselling Stephenie Meyer novels. "That's what I love about these vampire girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.”—Matthew McConaughey in Twilight. Haha.  Good news! It would appear as though the financial and critical disappointment of 2012's Battleship has not closed the door on perplexing cinematic adaptations of no-longer popular strategy games. Tetris... that game you played a whole lot a really long time ago is going to be made into "a very big, epic sci-fi movie." Tickets, as of press time, are not yet available through Fandango. Matthew McConaughey has signed on and is going to lose forty pounds to play the long skinny piece.  Alright, Halloween is just around the corner, kids. On the off chance that you didn't already blow your Halloween budget on an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge costume, I think I've got just what you need to be the coolest person at your local apple-bobbing party: a genuine Jasmine Tridevil costume, complete with three even faker-looking breasts. Here is a picture of it.

No, no, no! There's really no need to shower me with your eternal gratitude. I'm not the hero here. The good people at who provide everything you need to make this the breast Halloween ever are the real heroes. And that's not an actual photo of Jasmine Tridevil, believe it or not.  So, people picket over all kinds of things, right? The other day these two guys were picketing, but I don't know what point they were making...

Oh, they were picketing against pornography. I get it.  Do you guys remember that cartoon "He-Man"? I never watched it too often, but I liked that little red martian kinda guy who flew around with He-Man. I don't remember his name, maybe one of you can help me. Anyway, I saw this picture from the cartoon and now I know why I didn't watch it.

There's a company called Dirty Bird Fried Chicken, which I'm not sure is a restaurant or not, but their logo is definitely not right.

That could be a Mindphuck easily.  Okay, I have to admit something... some behind the scenes behind the Phile. I was planning on showing you guys for Breast Cancer Awareness Month some amazing mastectomy tattoos all this month, but after looking at the pictures I kinds cringed and didn't think that was a good idea. So, what do you think, should I show them here, or just leave be? Email me at and let me know. And now, from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Phive Startling Similarities And Differences Bwtween Derek Jeter's Retirement And Rosh Hashanah
5. In a way bigger deal in New York than anywhere else.
4. Has been in the making for the last 5775 years (or at least feels that way).
3. Will lead into a glorious Yankee postseason run.
2. will be completely ignored by Alex Rodriguez.
And the number one startling similarity and difference between Jeter's retirement and Rosh Hashanah is...
1. Is observed on the first and second days of Tishrei.

If you spot the Mindphuck email me at Orko! It just came to me.

That's him! Yeah, I thought he was cool. As you probably know by now on October 14th, 15th and 16th I will be posting the Phile from Long Island, New York. I thought it'll be cool if I had some of my readers from that area take a picture of something typical from Long Island and email it to me and I will pick the best three and post them here on the Phile. Send me the pics to and you might see it posted here. That's fun, right? Hey, it's Thursday, and you know what that means. It's time to talk football with my friends Jeff and Lori in a feature I call...

Me: Hey, kids, welcome to another entry of the Phile for week 5 of the NFL season. How's everything going?

Jeff: It's always good to be back on the Phile. Things are good, how about with you?

Me: Pretty good. So, is there any NFL news this week? I don't think there is... unless you wanna talk about the Giants kicking ass over the Redskins.

Lori: I think Eli Manning just remembered he was supposed to be playing football for the first time in about two years.

Me: Very funny, Lori. Haha.

Jeff: The biggest news is the Raiders fired their head coach late Monday night. Although it shouldn't be a surprise since he has only won 8 games in 3 seasons as the coach. The Raiders have been bad for a long time. The good news for them is they have a bye week so they have time to find a coach. And really at this point, I'm not sure it would help. The Bills have benched their quarterback EJ Manual after losing 2 straight games, despite the fact he had won 2 straight previous to it. But the NFL is a "What have you done for me lately" kind of league, so that's what he gets for his efforts. But so far no one has been arrested for anything this week, so Commissioner Goodell must be happy about that.

Me: There's still talk about the Redskins changing their name, right?

Jeff: There is still talk of the Redskins changing their name. I feel like that is going to be going on until the Redskins change their name. And I wouldn't be surprised if Goodell makes them (if he still is in charge long enough) to try to get some positive NFL stories going.

Lori: Last I heard, a decision had come down that the Redskins couldn't change their name, but considering how quickly the NFL changed their mind about PEDs, non-steroidy drugs, and the whole domestic abuse thing, who knows. I'm all for the change, the Redskins were founded in 1932 and acceptable language 80 plus years ago isn't necessarily acceptable now. It's also the most offensive of the "Native" sports team names; Braves, Chiefs, and Blackhawks all suggest strength and power, whereas Redskins is a derogatory name. To be simplistic, it's the difference between naming your team after Muhammad Ali or naming it The Negroes.

Me: I think they should change their name to the Featherheads. Haha. Okay, so, how did we do last week? Am I still in second place?

Jeff: We had a good week of picks last week. Jason and I both went 2-0 last week and Lori went 1-1. The Steelers and the Eagles both lost. The Giants however won, so with that you have gained a point on me. But yes, you are still in 2nd place with 12 points. I have 16 points right now and Lori has 7 points.

Me: Yeah! Let's do this weeks picks. I say the Saints will beat the Bucs by 13 and the second pick I say the Seahawks will beat the Redskins by 10. What do you two say?

Lori: I pick the Packers by 3 and the Steelers by 5. HA! Got my picks in first!

Jeff: For my picks this week I will say the Bengals over New England by 3 points and San Diego by 7 over the Jets.

Me: Alright, I will see you here next Thursday.

Jeff: See you next week.

Today's guest is the first artist I had on the Phile in almost a year. How is that possible? He's the 27th artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery, and I am a big fan of his work. He was originally supposed to be here in February, but that never happened. So, at last, please welcome to the Phile... Steven Thomas.

Me: Hello, Steven, welcome to the Phile, sir. How are you?

Steven: I'm doing well, thank you.

Me: I first saw your art when I saw your sonic screwdriver ad you designed. I have it here to show...

Me: Are you a big "Doctor Who" fan like I am?

Steven: I can't say that I'm a big Who fan. I watched some of the reruns back in the 80s, but that's as far as it goes. My brother is the one who came up with the idea for the sonic screwdriver design. I trusted him with the text and I ran with the art part of it.

Me: What do you like better, the new show or the Classic show?

Steven: I'd have to answer Classic.

Me: A lot of your art is sci-fi inspired and Star Wars related. Is Star Wars one of your favorite movies of all time?

Steven: For sure. I saw the first one in the theater when I was the tender age of 3 back in 1977. I don't remember much, of course, but I definitely grew up on the movies and everything that came with them (toys, lunchbox, bed sheets, etc.).

Me: A lot of artists I interviewed do Star Wars themed stuff. Why do you think that is, Steven?

Steven: My guess is that a lot of the artists you've interviewed are around the same age as me and have grown up on the movies. It's hard to get past years of influence like that. Also, there is an instant and enormous fan base for your art if you base it on something as popular as Star Wars. I've been fortunate enough to be legit in the designs I've done as they have been licensed through Lucasfilm.

Me: Steven, where are you from?

Steven: Originally from the great white north, although the most southern part of it in Ontario. But now reside in Minnesota.

Me: You were commissioned to do posters for the Minnesota State Fair, am I right? How did you get that gig, and how many posters did you have to do for it?

Steven: The one poster I did for the State Fair was in answer to an open call for entries. There were 80 plus entries which were narrowed down to 5 finalists, from there the artists had to present a finish or close to finished piece to the judges. I was thrilled when mine was chosen as the official commemorative art for the 2011 fair.

Me: I think I have a picture of that here...

Me: Was it easy to come up with ideas for it?

Steven: I had known about the call for entries when I attended the 2010 State Fair, so I had it in mind as I walked around taking pictures. The final poster I did was a mixture of 2-3 photos I had taken.

Me: A lot of your art work reminds looks vintage and similar to old propaganda posters. Are they your most influences?

Steven: Definitely. I'm also influenced by the pulp cover art and retro-futuristic art of the mid 20th century. Not sure why, it just appeals to me.

Me: Some of it reminds me of posters Disney had to advertise their attractions in the theme parks? Do you know what I'm talking about?

Steven: I do know what you are talking about and I love those.

Me: As well as the Minnesota State Fair, you also did some posters for a rugby tournament in England. How did they find you?

Steven: The images for the rugby tournament were done for a marketing firm as sort of advertisements for the tournament and not officially event posters. I believe they found me through a Google image search for "propaganda posters".

Me: Is there any commission you were asked to do but didn't like?

Steven: No comment there. As much as I might not like something, the pay is always nice.

Me: I noticed you drew an ad for Best Buy, Steven. Was this a real ad?

Me: That must've been cool, doing an ad for a huge store like that.

Steven: The Best Buy illustration was done to accompany a story in the newspaper I work at. It only appeared in the newspaper one day and had no official affiliation with Best Buy stores. Still it was a fun style to try.

Me: How long have you been an artist?

Steven: Does working in crayon at the age of two count?

Me: Of course. Do you remember the first thing you ever drew?

Steven: Not exactly, but I do remember making my own holiday cards for the family. One memory is of doing Easter cards. I'm not sure what year it was but I'm sure I was younger than 10.

Me: What's your favorite thing to draw?

Steven: Letters and logos. That sounds pretty boring, but I really like the work of Roger Dean. He did some amazing typography to accompany his art. Just think Yes album cover.

Me: I have to ask you what tools you use.

Steven: Pencil, pen, then scanner, Illustrator and Photoshop. I sometimes use my Wacom tablet. And on rare occasions paint with acrylics.

Me: Your artwork looks like it takes days to put together, am I right?

Steven: You are correct, sir. A lot of it is preparation and doodling a lot of thumbnail sketches. From there it's refining the layout and drawing on the computer. I also spend a lot of time choosing the right font and type treatment. The entire process can take up to 16-20 hours, depending on the amount of detail.

Me: Steven, I like to ask artists if they were to design the Phile logo, what would they do. So, what would you do?

Steven: Actually, I really like your logo. I think it fits well. The only think I might do is crop in on the filing cabinet a bit and have it stick out of the top of the circle.

Me: Very cool. Thanks so much for being here on the Phile. Please come back again. Go ahead and plug your website... you have a Blogspot of your own as well, right?

Steven: Yes, or which is where I update more frequently.

Me: All the best, and take care. Thanks again.

Steven: Thank you!

That about does it for this interview, kids. Thanks to Jeff Trelewicz, Lori Sedlacek and Steven Thomas. The Phile will be back tomorrow with singer Molly Roth who I have to say is gorgeous. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

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