Photo courtesy Jim Lujan Photographic Services, Ltd.
Over this past weekend, starting Friday April 23, I celebrated my birthday with a zest and vigor reserved for kid's birthday parties!
WHY NOT!? What's not to appreciate about life, and ourselves, as we get older? Some people don't try to acknowledge their own birthdays. I'm not saying you have to run around the neighborhood screaming "It's my birthday!" at the top of your lungs, but don't bury it in a fatalistic fit of denial. Getting older is just a natural step.
I'm glad, considering what can happen to any of us at any moment of our lives, to have been able to mark another year on this big, blue marble. As you can read from my blog, I have had a tremendous amount of fun and fulfillment in the past year, much of it stemming from being an artist. And like everyone else, I have to face the same things common to us all. Living issues, health concerns, family dynamics, relationships, struggles, setbacks, dreams and accomplishments. But unless you really learn to deal with it all, and learn from them all, how can you appreciate the great things you experience?
On Friday, I went with some friends to the Getty Villa, located on the coast in Malibu. They had an exhibit called 'AZTEC PANTHEON', featuring art from pre-Colombian Mexico. As my comic book EL MUERTO deals with Aztec mythology, I had read many books on the subject, but to see some truly amazing examples in person was quite an inspiring event. The exhibit runs till July 5, and I wholeheartedly recommend a visit. The Getty Villa is itself a beautiful treasure to behold, and if you go during perfect weather like I did, you'll double the enjoyment.
A sketch I drew while standing before this statue of the goddess 'Cihuacoatl'
Later that evening, I went with my friend Irma to see THE LOSERS. The film was extremely fun, not too heavy on taking itself serious, for sure! Two of it's charismatic actors, Chris Evans (The Human Torch & now Captain America) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Comedian from THE WATCHMEN), really made the film that much more enjoyable.
Saturday evening my good friend Jim Lujan (Ghettomation filmmaker) took me out for some classic burgers at Bob's Big Boy and some comic shop hopping! Our bar hopping days are way behind us now (if we even ever had them!), but we managed to make it to HOUSE OF SECRETS in Burbank, MELTDOWN COMICS in Los Angeles and GEEKS in Whittier. Picked up an eclectic stack of books myself, including Gilbert Hernandez's new THE TROUBLEMAKERS, Dave Sim's JUDENHASS and Bosch Fawstin's TABLE FOR ONE.
But the big catch for that day was this fabulous piece of art made for me by Jim:
He included a bunch of my characters from my current sketchbook, THE COMIC POP SKETCHBOOK. I was completely flabbergasted by this gift. Jim's often given me some really nice drawings, and this one has to top them all! It's always a great feeling as a cartoonist when someone draws one of your characters, but to see this whole family of Hernandez cartoon offspring was mind-boggling! A truly priceless gift, for sure. Thanks again, Jim. You're a true keeper!
Sunday found me at Trump National Golf Club in Palos Verde. Nope, I wasn't there to golf, but me and my friend Ted Seko (cartoonist extraoridnaire) went for a hike along the rocky coast at Trump National. The view of the Pacific Ocean is always stunning, and the talks Ted and I had about life and art were as monumental as the majestic cliffs we were walking across. Nothing like surveying your life right there where the mighty, expansive ocean is gently crashing into the rocky coastline. A dinner afterwards at an Asian seafood buffet led to talk about new artistic opportunities, and some geek speak on favorite comics and manga.
A pretty solid weekend, for sure. In between had some lunch with my parents and older sister, and a visit by my older brother. Family and friend, Life and Art, food and comics. A great birthday weekend, for sure. And I made sure to make it so. It makes getting older a real pleasure.