Monthly Archives: May 2011

Cartoon Wars. Vote today.

At the suggestion of a close friends, I watched a couple of episodes of South Park titled “Cartoon Wars”. Fans of South Park might know this two-parter as the one where the creators threatened to show Muhammad and the one that made fun of Family Guy. It’s the latter element that drove me in. I am not much of South Park fan, not for any particular reason, it’s just never really crossed my radar, but my friend recommended it because of it’s mockery of Family Guy.

Family Guy used to be a really good show, but since is resurrection from beyond the grave, and maybe even before that, the show got incredibly bad. Falling prey to terrible writing and unattached, bizarre, jokes, it’s became something of a joke itself. Yet it thrives. Several of my family members love the show and quote it often. This seems to be the way of the world. For everyone like me, who hates the show, there are a hundred others who love it and watch it regularly.

Even within the world of South Park the cast was divided with those who love it and those who don’t, including Fox’s own Bart Simpson. The reason this episode seemed so prevalent and fitting was a recent survey happening by Entertainment Weekly. The survey asks what is the 25 greatest animated shows of all time?

I voted for The Simpsons, though that wasn’t easy. Many of my favorite animated shows were up there including Batman: The Animated Series, Futurama, Robot Chicken (animated? maybe, still love it.), Scooby-Doo, and Animaniacs. But for me, when it came to what has most influenced the world of animation, it’s the Simpsons. Because without the Simpsons, I don’t think we’d have a Family Guy to make fun of or a South Park to do it.

So whether you agree with me or not, doesn’t matter. Go vote. Lets see what wins.

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Time Traveler.

You may have noticed, or not, that I’ve been missing from the web the last few days. No posts, few statuses, no chats. I’ve been MIA. Well, where I have been is embarking on a secret project of high importance. I’ve been time traveling. Now, I know that I’ve been watching a lot of Doctor Who lately and the idea of time travel is rarely far from my brain but this time it’s true. I’ve been peeking into the past looking around.

It all started two weeks ago when my brother, the other Travis, and I started watching our old home movies. It was amazing. The things I saw. I saw both large things and small things that I had all but forgotten. Shoes, that I used to wear all the time. The way my mom kept her basement. My sister’s hair color. So many things of such big and little importance, all lost. All these things lost to my mind forever. Until now. I started scanning stuff to keep it alive. Photos, art, pictures of old toys. Getting everything I can on the computer so I can remember it.

It seems fitting that here on my blog which title talks all about the mind of Travis that we should reveal some of these lost artifacts of the younger, healthier, and goobier-looking Travis. So over the next few weeks I am going to reveal different parts of my life. Some will be pictures of a young Travis, some will be videos, some will be recordings of me made on my LDS mission in Baltimore, singing about a Dolphin Princess. So to start off, today we are going to look at some old drawings.

This is the Beat Down Bunny. A realistic piece created with the most sincere attempt of destroying Easter for kids. I also wrote it don't smoke incase my mom ever saw it, she wouldn't think I was like the bunny.

Now the thing about me as an artist (in the drawing sense) is: I am terrible. I know what your comments (if any) will say. “No you’re not” or “Better than I could do” but I am not great and even being better than you does not make me good. In my last few years I’ve come to accept my role as a not so good drawer. My brother Miles, is a hundred times better than me. I mean, sure, I’ve had some really good drawings in my day but they are not coming consistently and almost always they suffer from some ailment. Be it a funny looking arm or a head that is not proportional to the body. Now of course, there was robo-date or brown paper bag, both original pieces and both very good, but that’s two of hundreds of doodles and sketches.

"A superhero named Chimp. When his parents were kidnapped, he chose to seek revenge and make sure this never happened to anyone in Salt Lake again." I am serious, that's what I wrote somewhere. Basically he's a really $h!tty batman.

Now with the exception of Chimp and some other characters, I found that concept wise, I do much better. Even Beat Down Bunny offering a fluffy beat down is kind of original. So while many things may look like garbage at least they were unique if not kinda cool in concept. I guess that’s why I work really well in advertising. I can come up with cool ideas and then let someone else to make them look really awesome. “When life gives you lemons, squander them until lemons are worth money and then sell them to the highest bidder. Then use the profits to buy what you need.”

So without further ado, a Travis Meidell art show:

What's funny about this is the title is the New Cat, Pig and Dog show. In going through my stacks of drawings, I had not seen an "old" show. Then I flipped this page over and there was this really crappy drawing of the same animals and it said "The Cat Pig and Dog show. Meaning, I rebooted the show after one doodle.

Invisible boy was a story I made up about a kid who for whatever reason was invisible except for his eyes and mouth. But that was not the weird part. No what was weird is Invisible Boy's best friend who was both a clown and apparently terrified of barbers. Look at the clown's nose, I think I modeled it after my own future nose.

Here we have another story of someone totally afraid of the barber. I think in scanning these old drawings I've found that either 1: I had a secret fear of the barber or 2: I felt being afraid of the barber was ripe social commentary that I felt needed to be explored in humor. It also looks like the barber more than messed up his hair. He either left a pie back there or took a chunk out of his skull.

This one is a weird one, that you may see again in another post. The other Travis, my younger brother Trevor and I made a series (one I think) of films titled: Untitled. That is what we called them. Untitled was about two boys being stalked by their younger brother in a ski mask. There was more death in this one film than in several Halloweens or Screams. We killed every character. Every time. I'd love to put a clip of the movie up but I haven't uploaded them yet. But for now enjoy this sequel poster titled "The last scene". Check out those awesome portraits of Travis and I. Fancy stuff.

You might say this is my first real ad. Pretty impressive right? You know you'd buy one of those helmets. I love how it say's "Plus shipping" on it.

Just wanted something with color to brighten things up.

I think what started as a portrait of Jim Morrison from the Doors turned into a creepy kid real quickly.

This is something I did last year and unlike most drawings here isn't complete crap.

Now, I told you that I wasn't very good artist and that's true, but I am a pretty alright doodler. This was done a few years ago. It's called "Hank in symbolism". It's influence comes from my brother-in-law Hank playing on his phone during church. As you can see "Monster-Hank" hangs onto the Iron Rod (which in Mormonism is the word of God) but is slipping because little tiny iPhone bats are knocking his hands. What does he fall into? Outer darkness of course! (Mormon Hell)

Exit Man! No one escapes the scene of the crime quicker than Exit Man! Not sure if he is the hero or a villain. Also not sure if that little fork and broccoli are prisoners of his? Also not sure what pre-clunky goo is? Not sure of a lot of things.

Weirdly enough, this is one of my favorite things I've ever done. Don't ask me why, but I love it.

I have no clue what is happening in this drawing. Don't even ask. But I think, that is young Michael Jackson with a reflection of Brian WIlson from the Beach Boys. The rest is nonsense.

Self portrait done in 9th grade, I am guessing, because I am not wearing glasses.

Here is another self-portrait I did. Who knows is this the inner me?

Yellow Submarine. Aside from doing hundreds of portraits of Batman, I also did a ton of rock music related art.

See! I think I did okay on Buddy Holly but by Elvis I was tired and sadly by Jimi Hendrix I just didn't care anymore.

The important part of this image isn't the crappy projector (though it is quite crappy) it's the stick figures at the bottom. Crazy clown and (especially) running devil became increasing popular in my doodles. They turned up everywhere, I eventually even had a name plate made up that said "The Running Devil" on it. I have no idea what they represent or where I even got the idea but they were everywhere. Including on EVERY. SINGLE. burned CD I made.

Final one:

Our final one today is a doodle of a pirate and some other stuff. I just liked that he had some color.

Hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane. Maybe tomorrow I’ll take one of my drawings and write a really cool story to it. Yeah! That’ll be cool! Then you’ll love me? Right? Right?

Sentimental value

Holy crap. One of my biggest flaws in life or perhaps one of my biggest strengths is that I care about everything anyone ever gave me. I’ll post more on this tomorrow but suffice it to say that I went through old mission letters today and attempted to throw some away. It was so difficult, because I felt so bad. People I haven’t spoken to in years yet I still couldn’t throw out their letters. Ridiculous. When do you stop caring and just start dumping stuff?

Teen Rebel

Many of you (and I mean MANY) have been asking if I will be able to survive if my kid is all into sports and/or camping. Maybe this article will help you understand my position. 

I wouldn’t say that I was a rebellious child. For the most part, other than buying a budda statue to make my Mom think I was joining a different church I didn’t do too much that wasn’t approved by my parents. But there was one area, where my father and I seemed to disagree. A similar disagreement would occur with my step-father a few years later. This disagreement was ‘what kind of kid I should be’. My dad wanted me to be an outdoorsman. He wanted me out tying fishing knots and galloping on the back of horses and wrestling cougars. Every present he bought me was something outdoorsy, like a moose statue. All the shirts he got me for school had deer on them (this being the time before it was cool to have wildlife on your shirt). Later, my step-father would want me to be a sports kid. When I met him, he helped me pick a team that I would follow with devoted love. He signed me up for baseball and a variety of other sports. The gifts I received from him were football jerseys and crotch guards.

Now my lack of caring about sports or outdoors is what made me something of a rebel. My parents would take me to yellowstone and I would read Far Side comics as we drove through it. I just didn’t seem to care about what they wanted me to care about. But with each father, there is one moment when you can see that they realized that all was lost for me and they gave up. The particular story that comes to mind is when I went to boy’s camp. I was 11 and while there my Dad gave me a few dollars to spend at the “trading post”. I wandered the post looking for something to purchase but nothing seemed all that appealing. Rope to ties knots, weird merit badges that you could apparently buy, small pocket knifes (from which I had been band because I accidently cut myself once). There was nothing worth having, until I found this dark corner of the shop. It was like the trading post guy had wanted to keep it a secret. It was all dark and dusty. It was there I found these:

Now at the time, I had no idea the movie was complete garbage so this seemed quite right.

Premium trading cards! Hit Movie! Randomly packed holograms! I, of course, bought them without a moment’s hesitation. The trading post owner was happy to get them off his hands because they seemed so out of place and I was happy to have found something worthy of my interests.

I proudly brought them home and showed them to my father. It was here, in this moment that he gave up. He started out mad and then he just stopped and shook his head. He had lost. All the attempts to bring me to his interests to make me his true son, the one in which would represent him to upcoming generations were failed and he was left with a nerd. A similar situation would occur with my step-dad years later, though, that is a story for another day.

Now, I have a kid coming, a boy. Before he is born he already has a full Batcave set, a Batman t-shirt, a star wars onesie. Already, I am attempting to shape my kid in my image, someone to represent me after I am dead. I now know how my father(s) feel. I know what it’s like to want to share you’re interests with someone so close to you and I wish I would’ve tried a bit more. But I was rebellious. I was a teenager. Now someday, I am going to send my kid to comic-con with twenty bucks in his wallet and he’s going to come back with some pocket knife or sports memorabilia he found in the back covered in dust. I will look at him and shake my head. But I will take it because he is a teen rebel, which is just like his Dad.

BANE!

The first official image from the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises is online! It’s Bane! Early this morning a website for the DKR went live at thedarkknightrise.com It was nothing but a black screen with some creepy chanting. But some smart folks got in to the sound file and found a twitter hashtag #thefirerises. When you tweeted the hashtag images slowly began to appear at this address. The images that appeared were the faces of those who tweeted the hashtag. Eventually the image above was formed. This was similar to how Joker was revealed for the last movie.

Bane and Catwoman are the villains of the new movie and while I doubt we’ll see Catwoman anytime soon (Harvey Two-face wasn’t seen until on screen), it’s great to get a peek at Bane. Surely, he will be a tough foe to beat.

The BIGGEST graduation gift ever!

700+ Pages! That's nuts yo!

Graduation is a time to move on in a life. It is a symbol of the accompishment of years of hard work. It is a time to say goodbye to friends and mentors and go out into the world. It is a time for PRESENTS. The gift from my wife from my wife was the biggest present you could imagine, literally (not literally). I’ve been telling her about this book for months and the whole time she had it hidden away in my closet. This could not have been an easy task as this book weighs 15 pounds and is gigantic. It is a history of DC comics and I love it. It starts in the “stone age” (basically before superheroes i.e. the 20’s) and moves to the digital age, which is today. Sadly, I can’t take it to Chicago and will have to leave it here. I have to read it in bed because my arms get so tired holding it. Did I mention it has 700+ pages. Beast is heavy, yo.

So besides just escaping prison, I received this awesome present. Nice!

So thick they could put full pictures on the side!

Batman: The Dark Age. Awesome.

It even has toys! My kids will be sad that they can never touch this book!

Hi-res Full size pictures. Unbelievable!

Overall, one of the coolest gifts I could ever ask for. I love my wife.

Nerd at a crossroad.

I am at a crossroad. You see, I am not a gamer. I’ve never professed to be. People assume, that I am. This I feel is some form of “ist”. Not sure what kind of ist, it’s not racist or sexist but it’s something, nerdist? Anyway, because of my glasses and curly hair people feel like I am meant to be a gamer. My good friend, Trevor from Little America must have felt this way because he wanted to introduce me to some games. I fought it but he found a weakness. That weakness being my love of Science-fiction, specifically when it’s dabbles in horror.

Trevor told me about a couple of games call Dead Space and bio-shock. Now I’ve loved Science fiction in every form, from movie to TV to comic to short story to long story but never in games. I did a little research and I ended up borrowing Dead Space and played it this afternoon. It was really… hard and I had it on easy. The problem is I really like the story, I want to experience it myself and not through the cold screen of Wikipedia. So what should I do, do I allow myself to become a monster of my own making, spending hours playing video games just to enjoy a good science fiction story or should I be content reading the stories on wikipedia? Only time will tell, but for now, I read *ahem* sorry, watch *ahem* sorry, PLAY Dead Space.

Oh gosh, I am such a nerd.

Awesome Video

Chad Johnson just shared this awesome video with me and now, I share it to you! Enjoy it.

Monster Mash Video

This is a video that I had to make for my Visual Communications final. It took around 450 pictures and several hours. I gave it a grainy grey look intentionally because I wanted it to feel like the old Universal Classic Monster Movies, which was the theme of my final. Enjoy!

Monster Mash from Travis Meidell on Vimeo.

Graduated from Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters

So I’ve graduated and I received many gifts from people, which I did not realize would happen but have been very pleased with this surprise. Amongst all my gifts, I wanted to share a couple that were especially cool. From my parents, more specifically Kerry, I got the chance to choose two comics from his own collection. Kerry collected comics back in the day when people would actually read them and draw on them and throw them away but for some reason he saved most of his. Now a lot of the collection is in bad condition but it is still fun to sift through them and look for the gems. Everyone kept making fun of me because I loved the smell of them. I kept sticking my nose into an issue and just breathing it in.  That old dusty paper just brings back memories. So I choose the two you see above. Both are in surprisingly good condition and both have iconic first appearances. Nice work me, and thanks Kerry!