Dirty One

I turned 31 today and am celebrating here by looking back to a simpler time. A time filled with comic books, Street Fighter, Mexican candy and...wait that's the same shit I'm still doing! Oh, God. Save me, Spider-Man!


Lazer Tagger

(Click to enlarge)

Laser Tag pistols were so heavy that you could pistol whip your friends with it and it would do more damage than an actual laser. Not only did they feature an authentic heft, but also a sleek design that was far more elegant than any other toy pistol that had come before it. As a child, I felt like the designers respected my intelligence enough to make a laser gun that really looked like something out of Star Wars, as opposed to the bright orange pieces of shit I'd normally beg for at flea markets. I'd bet money that my dad was responsible for one of these bastards showing up under the tree one fateful X-mas. Never having a lot of toys as a child, he was always a sucker for authentic looking war toys.
Not quite as sophisticated as the Lazer Tag arenas that started popping up in the 90's, the original Laser Tag used this bright red sensor that looked like a futuristic stud finder, and "games" consisted of trying to shoot your opponents sensor three times. However, it took all of 2 minutes to figure out that you could easily cover the sensor with one hand while firing away with the other. Still, the guns themselves were completely awesome and were coveted for afternoons sessions of "playing guns". I even remember using one of these black bastards when I entered my Young Guns phase (I was the only hip cowboy sporting a shiny, death ray).

A few weeks back, I had some bad experiences painting the Minions on store bought canvas, leading me to use wood instead. I had a few more canvases lying around, and not wanting to be a 3 time loser, I decided to try using matte medium to collage a few images to one. I used scans from the toy section of an old Sears catalogue. A sharp eye will spot The Ghostbusters, M.U.S.C.L.E, and those old rubber LJN wrestlers; all toys that 7 year old Rip pined over.
The pistol is an example of the direction I'm trying to go in. Even more stencil layers, using subtler colors, to make fore a more photo-realistic image. The shininess of the black allowed me to sorta dip my toe into this technique, and I'm pretty encouraged by the results.


Strength In Numbers

"Fuck...Ivan Drago was in Rocky IV."


"Did I say Rocky III?"

"....fuck it. Sounds harder."

"Yeah, that makes sense."

Before there was From Parts Unknown, there was the Strike Force. Named after an 80's wrestling tag team, The Strike Force was an excuse for Dark Sage and me to drink beer on weekdays, so long as we also wrote and recorded fresh raps on an old Radio Shack mic. There were no expectation of the finished product, which freed us to come up with some of the weirdest and most original work we've ever done. We started distributing tracks on MySpace and it was obvious that each track had been a shitload of fun to do, leading to guests popping up on songs. Our little project started to earn us a decent reputation among our peers, but we never lost sight of what was important: drinking mad beers.
Renato Espinoza would be the first person to tell you he's not an emcee. A renegade Mexican rocker in a platoon of rap nerds, what he lacked in rap prowess, he made up for in drinking ability. So when he popped in to a Strike Force session with a bottle of Seagrams 7 and a full pack of smokes, putting him on the mic seemed like the obvious move.
From the trip-hop sampling era of Dark Sage beats, Strength in Numbers starts off with a breezy Sneaker Pimps loop and a trademark Dark Sage free association rap (takin' more pics than Eddie Brock / runnin' from cops / teach you more shit than your pops). I keep it moving with 16 bars filled with references to Street Fighter II, Gob Bluth, and the aforementioned Ivan Drago flub, sounding thoroughly tranquilized (business as usual). Renato cleans up on the third verse, sounding a little stilted in his delivery, but keeps it together enough to deliver a soulful finale, complete with Seagrams-soaked crooning.

Download Strength in Numbers
(Right-click and choose "Save Link As")