Apr 082011

Last weekend was busy. I somehow managed to exhibit at both the HITOTSU charity auction for Japan and that annual benefit for charity-cases: WONDERCON.

I’d planned a SOLO, full-booth display extravaganza but, at the 11th hour, I recieved a distress call from old con-buddy RAFAEL NAVARRO, who was left high and dry without an exhibit space. So we decided to share. It was a very busy show and for a great sense of what it was like please look at the Fantastic Sketches of Wondercon folks by gesture-drawers extraordinaire,MATT JONES and TERRY SONG, not to mention the lovely COSPLAY VIDEO someone has put on Youtube.

As if a busy comic convention isn’t enough stuff for one weekend, Saturday night saw the showdown of showdowns; yet another MAVERIX AUCTION! This one, named HITOTSU, was a fund-raiser for JAPAN and collected a staggering $30,605! Not bad, considering that the tiny gallery could only hold 50 pieces and that the entire thing was put together in a matter of weeks by some lovely folks at Maverix Studios, Pixar and Superfrog gallery.

Once again a piece by super artist PATRICK AWA went for the highest bid, this time at around $4600. Patrick is the undisputed heavy weight champion of our auctions! Thanks to all who made art, volunteered or brought their wallets and bought our pieces (a personal THANK YOU to whoever it was who bought mine!)

Mar 302011

This colour pencil drawing is my submission to the HITOTSU art Auction being held this Saturday at the SUPERFROG GALLERY, as a fund-raiser for JAPAN.

In trying to do a piece for a show that honours Japan, I started out by thinking of all my favourite Japanese cartoon characters, which is where my love of Japanese culture began (Cartoons is where my love of America began too, incidentally). After a few days of doodling, I ended up with this image; MY version of two Japanese Cartoon icons, at the beginning of a beautiful relationship. If you’re in San Francisco this Saturday, please come to the NEW PEOPLE building in Japantown. The Auction will take place at the TOP floor SUPERFROG GALLERY from 7PM-10PM. It will be a lot of fun and it’s for a GREAT cause!

To get a preview of all the excellent pieces flooding in (from 50 different artists in the animation community) head over to the MAVERIX STUDIOS blog. You can also pre-register for the auction to avoid what will be LONG lines during the paying/pick-up process.

See you all there!

Jan 272008

I want to share with you some of the great artwork that I have come by in the past few weeks. My grimy little dump of an apartment is not worthy of these pieces, or the other great stuff I have bought recently. I don’t even have enough wall space to hang it all… and yet it makes me feel so good to own a growing collection of artwork by my pals…

First up is a great picture that my pal Rhode gave me as a Christmas present before I went home to Australia. It was wrapped in Christmas paper but I didn’t want to carry it on the plane and I didn’t want to wait till the new year to open it, so I sneaked a peek at this AWESOME pic just before leaving on my trip… only to behold the power of YODA and RHODE combined on the one piece of paper! TWO masters for the price of one… it was a powerful omen that this would be the best Christmas ever (and it sure was!) Getting a scan of this pic was pretty tricky because this piece BURNED MY FINGERS when I took it out of the frame. Get me an oven-mitt cuz this pic is HAWT!!

Next up are two magnificent pieces that I won at the last Maverix charity art Auction, that raised $9,500 for the Children’s Creative Media Arts Center of Glide Community Church.

This beautiful piece by Patrick Awa is called DRUM THUNDER GIRL. No scan can do this painting justice. Finished in Gold paint, it dazzles the human eye. I wanted this picture from the first moment I saw some early sketches on Pat’s blog and I battled fiercely at the live auction to win it.

At this particular auction I resolved to spend the money that I had budgeted for TWO auctions, because I had gone home empty-handed the last time, and so I was empowered to be an aggressive bidder at the live-auction…

Behold this whimsically beautiful pic of Rhode’s. I had bid on his artwork at each auction before, and had always been denied when others pushed the prices beyond my budget, but not this time my friends, Oh no! I was determined to possess one of his artworks (not knowing that I would get another for Christmas) and verily, this time it was I who prevailed, winning this great Rhode pic in yet ANOTHER live-auction battle.

Dec 032007

These Star Wars portraits are the original pieces that I did for the latest Maverix Art Auction, held last night. Additionally, I submitted three signed and framed prints from my Dad’s Elephant Book.

Over this past week I rented and watched the original three Star Wars movies, and as I’d already been doodling the characters, I decided to tidy up a few and submit them to the show, when I couldn’t think of any better ideas. The Princess LEIA was won by Mike Murnane, The YODA by Hop Matsuo, and the LUKE by Bosco Ng. I am happy to say that I won some GREAT pieces myself and I will have a full report on the Auction in a few days, when the all numbers are tallied up and the photographs come in… So Stay tuned!

(PS: Check out this post for my version of Han Solo and Chewbacca.)

Nov 252007

Next week, Maverix Studios is hosting yet ANOTHER AUCTION. After raising money for many international charities, this time the Maverix crew decided to help a charitable organization in the Bay Area community, Glide Memorial Church. The proceeds from this particular art auction will support Glide’s Children’s Creative Arts Media Center. Past Maverix Auctions have typically raised $9,000-$12,0000 and it is hoped that a donation of such a size will make a huge difference to a small local charity.

The evening will include food, drink and music and, of course, artwork from local artists will be up for bid in a silent auction, with the evening culminating in a live auction for the most sought after pieces! This is a great opportunity to get an early start on holiday shopping while supporting a wonderful organization working with and for the under served children of our fair city. The theme of the show is INSPIRE: GIFTS THAT GIVE TWICE.

I have a busy week ahead, as I try to tie up a lot of loose-ends before I head off to Australia in December, but I will absolutely make time to do a few art pieces to donate to the cause. Then I hope to pick up some artwork at the show to give to family and friends for Christmas.

Check the MAVERIX BLOG over the next week for updates on donations as they come in. The fun all goes down on Sunday December 2nd from 6PM to 10PM. I hope to see you all there!

Oct 022007

One of my favourite things to do over the past few years has been to participate in the MAVERIX STUDIOS ART AUCTIONS. They have all been held to raise money for worthy causes, and the satisfaction in being part of one is many-fold. First of all, they are a fantastic prompt to make some original artwork that has nothing to do whatsoever with working for “the man”. Secondly, they are great social gatherings and gallery shows where I can see artwork made by my friends. Thirdly, If I get my check-book out and wield it wisely and boldy, I get to take home some of that inspiring artwork at bargain prices. Fourthly, they are wonderful ways to raise money for charity and the knowledge that I am part of that process creates a rosy glow that lasts for weeks. Lastly, because of all of the points raised above and more factors besides, they are one hell of a lot of fun to attend.

Initially, the choice of beneficiary charities for each auction, and the ensuing preparations, were made by Maverix Studios members themselves, but recently Maverix has been approached by friends to host auctions for charities that they have some connection to. Enrico Casarosa instigated the EMERGENCY auction held earlier this year and this most recent auction was initiated by Esther Pearl and Nate Stanton, and then organised by them and Maverix to raise money for the Alzheimers Association. Amazingly, the preparations for this show were done in a mere 4 weeks and yet the auction raised a staggering $13,842.

You just got walked on by Maverix Studios
Maybe as much as $6,000 of that total was raised in the live-auction. A Maverix Studios auction is silent for most of the 3 hours, whereby bidders write down their bids beneath each art piece. However, Maverix reserves the right to pull a few of the most contested pieces off the wall and use them in the live auction BIG BID BATTLE at the end of the night. So, even though you’ve secured the winning bid on paper, you may be obliged to battle it out even further LIVE. As auctioneer MIKE MURNANE hilariously explained to the first such thwarted paper-bidder, “You thought you’d already won this piece but you just got WALKED ON by Maverix Studios.” Thereafter followed a series of cut-throat bid battles.

The drama and hilarity of the BIG BID BATTLES has become one of my favourite parts of these auctions, and a large part of the reason for that fact is the MIGHTY MIKE MURNANE. Mikey is a natural born button pusher and his skills at goading are nowhere put to better use than at these events. He surely gouged another several thou out of the crowd last Saturday. It is also fitting that Mike be the auctioneer at these shows, seeing as how he was the beneficiary of the very first Maverix Auction held in 2004, to raise money for his eye surgery.

Bidding for FULL QUENCH
I had it in mind to finally secure myself a Rhode Montijo original. Even though I had won a Rhode painting at the very first Maverix auction, I soon after gave that painting to Mike as a gift and have been in dire need of replacement Rhode pic ever since. However, this time around, there a was a giddy frenzy of bidding the likes of which I’d not seen before. I bid on a SWEET Rhode piece in the live auction, battling one-on-one with Bosco, each of us topping each other’s bid by $25, until the price was almost $200 more than the paper bid, which had been held by Bosco. Then Ronnie del Carmen blind-sided BOTH of us; he jacked the bidding up by $75 to $500 (which was my secret top price) and secured the pic for himself!

Ronnie’s bold bidding strategy got a huge round of applause, from Bosco and I no less than anyone else, and I think his boldness set the tone for bids to come, because thereafter bidders really pulled out all the stops. Luis battled Vaughn neck and neck for Patrick Awa’s GUITAR WOLF piece and, with the bidding at around the $750 mark, Luis blew the opposition away by bidding $1000, to a HUGE cheer from the assembled crowd.

Brenda Chapman made the room gasp as she bid against a woman called JUDY, taking the bids from $400 all the way up to the dizzy heights of $3,500, for a beautiful painting by Steve Purcell, who sadly wasn’t there in person and therefore missed out on the massive ego-stoke of seeing two women fighting over him so passionately. The crowd loved the theatre of this battle, and Brenda had a huge smile on her face as the victor, even though she wound up paying a few thousand more for a picture she’d already won on paper.

I have to point out here that even these “high” prices are actually bargains for the quality of the work on auction. A mere fraction of what you would pay at a gallery.

Thwarted for a good cause
Last time I walked home with a huge swag of goodies, whereas this time I was beat out on most of the stuff I bid on. I was tipped to be one of the people to pull the bid-sheets off the wall, and in doing so I wasn’t as able to defend my bids on a few pieces elsewhere in the room, and the last 5 minutes are everything in the silent bidding. However, I was able to win a great print by Sho Murase, and I was very happy with the fact that my donated pieces raised a lot more money than any of my submissions to prior auctions.

Plus, even though I was denied in gaining many of the things that I had wanted, I was happy in the knowledge that I was thwarted for a good cause and my bids had at least forced someone else to pay some extra money to charity in order to be the winner. There are no sad faces at the end of a Maverix Studios auction. And if there was any sense of having to lick my wounds, I took that vibe with me to Mitchell’s Ice Cream and instead licked a chocolate dipped Mexican Chocolate Ice cream, served in a chocolate waffle cone.

(thanks to Carlos, Rhode and Ronnie for the photos seen here).

If you like the idea of this kind of auction but don’t live in the Bay Area, then why not organise an art-auction charity fundraiser for the holiday season this year? Scoop up some of the holiday purchasing budget in your community for a good cause, and walk away with some great artwork that you can give to friends and family over the gift giving season!


A chronology of the Maverix Studios Auctions:
#1. AUGUST 19TH, 2004: For the Love of MIKE: $6000 raised for Mike Murnane’s eye surgery.

#2. FEBRUARY 4TH 2005: TSUNAMI RELIEF: $22,955.60 raised for the victims of the Asian Tsunami, with donations given to UNICEF, HABITAT FOR HUMANITY and SAVE THE CHILDREN. Participation by 80 artists who donated 220 pieces sold at the auction night and on a follow-up Ebay auction.


#4. DECEMBER 15TH, 2005. EARTHQUAKE RELIEF: $12,000 raised for the victims of the Earthquake in Pakistan and Kashmir, with donations given to the PAKISTAN RED CRESCENT SOCIETY and DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS.

Over $40,000 was raised in 2005 at 3 auctions, and perhaps due to exhaustion there was an auction hiatus in 2006.


#6. SEPTEMBER 29TH, 2007. $13,842 raised for the ALZHEIMERS SOCIETY.

Sep 302007

These are two new original pieces I did especially for the latest Maverix Studios charity art auction, which was held last night to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. They were done on grey Canson paper with a combination of ink, pencil and gouache. I’ve had these characters in mind for a story in an upcoming ROCKET RABBIT issue, and it was a lot of fun drawing these two guys; a fighter pilot from the KITTY KORPS and a tank commander from the DOGS OF WAR. It was It was down to the wire finishing them too; I just finished them about an hour before the show began. In addition to these two fresh-baked goodies, I also submitted 3 framed and signed prints of some of my favourite illustrations from my dad’s Elephant book.

These two pictures were designed to be hung as an opposing pair, as you see them here, but I also tried to make each one self-contained (and at the auction each piece actually DID go to a separate bidder). I made high resolution scans of each picture before framing, and I am considering working on them further in Photoshop, then making prints of them to sell at future comic-conventions. I already have ideas for some other pictures in a similar vein that could be displayed either individually or, if hung together along with these, as part of a big series of prints that would transform a wall space into an epic and sprawling, high-tech cat-and-dog battle royale. It would be just about the cutest darn war that you ever saw.

As to the auction istelf, it was a lot of fun and I will have a full report later, once all the money is tallied up and the photos are developed. More news as it comes to hand!

May 242007

The Maverix Studios and Sketchcrawl Art Auction raised a mighty $13,000!!!! Not a bad effort for a few hours of honest fun. All the proceeds will go to the charity called EMERGENCY: Life Support for Civilian War Victims. This is another of the three pieces I submitted; a watercolor of Sephilina, which was successfully bid on by Derek. (I am not sure yet who got the other two). Derek also put in the top bid of the night; $900 for Patrick Awa’s magical “Little Dead Riding Hood” watercolour. The next highest bid was for Tadahiro Uesugi’s Watercolour, which was won by Ronnie Del Carmen. He was a very good sport, because his bid was already the winner in the silent auction but then, after live-auction bid-battling, he was obliged to pay another $150, or so, which he did with a big smile on his face (knowing that the extra money is all going to a good cause makes it easier to be philosophical at such times). Rhode Montijo’s Ink drawing was won by Ted Mathot and the Steve Purcell Mermaid was taken home by Anthony Hon.

May 202007

Yet another Maverix Studios art-auction fund-raiser has come and gone and I think this may have been one of their best yet. I certainly had a very good time. You can see here the 5 pieces that I won in the bidding (From top to bottom: Ted Mathot, Ronnie Del Carmen, Mike Murnane, Louis Gonzales, and Bill Presing). I am VERY happy to own each of these, and I certainly wasn’t the only person grinning from ear to ear while clutching recently acquired artwork, at the end of the night.

Despite being on the same day as the famous Bay To Breakers Marathon, the auction was well attended, and there were a great number of quality art donations, which inspired some pretty heated bidding over certain pieces. I have no idea of the amount of money raised (they were still adding it all up when I left) but I predict that it may have been one of the more financially successful Auctions that Maverix has yet held.

Most of the artwork was sold to whoever had written the highest bid on the bid-sheets beneath each piece. However, a few hot-properties were selected for the BIG BID-BATTLE SHOWDOWN at the end of the event; a live auction hilariously adjudicated by Auctioneer extraordinare, the mighty Mike Murnane. Being a natural born button-pusher well qualified Mike for the task of needling a few extra dollars out of bidders who had their sights set on the most contested pieces, which in this case were by Rhode Montijo, Patrick Awa, Tadahiro Uesugi and Steve Purcell.

But these shows aren’t only about the artwork and the fundraising, they are also for having fun, socialising and meeting new people. This time I got to meet someone who I had only known before as his avatar in online forums and through his blog; mr John Hoffman (AKA MonkeyFeather). He had done one of the art pieces that I had targeted, but in that case I was out-gunned by some other lucky bidder.

To make a great night even better, someone suggested going to Mitchell’s Ice Cream in the Mission District. Their tasty, exotically flavoured ice cream is made on the premises and they are open till 11pm. Despite it being a chilly Sunday night, plenty of other people had the same idea, and there was a line out the door (you should see the line at Mitchell’s on a HOT day). I have a pathological dread of waiting in line, but I will make an exception for Mitchell’s, only because Mexican Chocolate ice cream served in a chocolate-dipped, nut-encrusted waffle-cone is just such a civilized way to end the day.

May 172007

Here is one of the pieces that I have been making this week for the latest art-auction being held by the good hearts at MAVERIX STUDIOS. The auction is this Sunday May 20th and I have two more pictures that I am trying to get ready before then.

Maverix Studios have held several such auctions before, and they have raised a lot of money for worthy causes, $47,000 was raised in 2005 alone. This time the proceeds will go to an organization called “EMERGENCY: Life support for civilian war victims”

Most of the art-donors are Bay Area animation-artists, cartoonists, visual-development designers and comic-book artists, so it is a pop-culture, low-brow scene. Not high falootin’ but very fun. Typically the art goes for bargain prices as we know people who can MAKE pictures but we don’t know many people with art-collector sized deep-pockets, so a lot of great original artwork goes for less than $100. The auction is done by sign-up sheets under each artwork so the bidding is not obnoxious, and it is possible to socialise and party during the bidding process.

SOME of the submissions are online in a gallery. After I looked at the marvelous artwork there, I almost threw away what I was painting for the show in a fit of shame and frustration, so I am not looking again until I am done… but if YOU see anything you might like, then come by… and BUY! This Sunday’s show starts early, 5PM with bidding closing at 7.30 PM, so don’t be “fashionably late”.

Maybe see you there?