Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Early Years

  • 1968-1970: Born in (West) Germany in 1968, my father a Staff Sergeant in the US Army.  '68 is arguably the height of the Vietnam conflict.  Anti-American sentiment abroad is common.  My parents pack me around Europe in a baby carrier and return home to the San Francisco Bay Area of California after my dad musters out in 1969.  We move from San Carlos into a house in San Jose (I'm told that may folks paid $22,500.00).  My little brother, Matt, is born in August 1970.  I wish I could remember Europe, but my conscious memory really begins here.

  • 1970-1972: Matt overdoses on iron supplements in April 1972 and dies at age 19 months, just shy of my 4th birthday.  My family is devastated.  Perhaps not so strangely, between the loss of Matt and molestation at the hands of my dad's mother, my memories of this time are hyper-aware.  My television diet consists of Sesame Street, Mister Rogers Neighborhood, The Electric Company, Villa Allegre, Captain Kangaroo - normal kids' stuff of the era.  Star Trek is in syndication and I often watch it with my dad, along with Monday Night Football and Saturday morning cartoons, the bulwark of which is Bugs Bunny (and all the classic Warner Brothers shorts).  I also recall seeing my first anime: Adventures of Pinocchio, and Prince Planet, as well as Kimba the White LionSuper Chicken and Spider-Man are also in my consciousness, and the cornerstone of my toy arsenal is Action Jackson.

    As a side note, 1972 is apparently a big year for me in the art world.  I am constantly drawing.  On any surface.  With anything that will spread ink, wax or graphite.  Some of it (like a mini graphic novel about Snoopy saving a deep sea diver, which my dad copied and distributed around his office at work) is pretty mainstream, while some is incredibly bloody battlefield imagery of wounded and dying soldiers.  I think we can safely say the news footage from Vietnam has an effect on the consciousness of this young artist.

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