Ten years ago, I wrote the code and made the very first doodles for Six Foot Giraffe. It was done over two weeks on my college winter break, sitting in my old bedroom of my parents South Florida home.
Just like anyone else, I connect particular songs and albums to particular moments or periods of my time, and that specific period ten years ago connects to Continuum by John Mayer. The album was on loop as I worked through the day and night.
I’m the type that plays a song or album on repeat until I can hardly stand it anymore. The years have tested and proved Continuum to be one of my favorite albums. It was a funny feeling seeing him live a few weeks ago. I guess ten years ago, working in that bedroom and playing those songs on repeat, I wouldn’t have thought I’d hear them live, in California, next to my Fiancé, and later writing about it on Six Foot Giraffe.
Slow Dancing In A Burning Room by John Mayer.
One day my friend Drew told me he wanted to move into a new place with his girlfriend Kelsie. They really hadn’t been dating very long at all, and the new place was a pricey two year lease. There was never a thing not to like about Kelsie, but I still owed it to one of my best friends to warn him he might be rushing into something here. He agreed he was rushing in, but rushing into the right thing, so why wait. I remember thinking it to be pretty bold.
Turns out, they just signed a lifetime lease, and tied the knot. They married near Palm Springs on April Fools, because well, it’s Drew and Kelsie we’re talking about here. It was a beautiful Saturday.
The ceremony and reception took place at the Lautner Compound near Palm Springs. There are only four rooms on the property, and Alexis and I were offered one. Had to be the most stunning room I’ve ever stayed in. It felt so open but at the same time totally private. Couldn’t help but feel pretty cool even just standing in it, and the entire grounds followed suit. Was really a sight.
The bride and groom have a lot of gravity in my life, and it meant a lot to me to stand up with them on their day. It’s the only wedding I’ve ever been in. Another first they’ve given me. They do that a lot. During the ceremony, I remember watching them, and watching Alexis, and wondering to myself, just how in the hell I got here. How did I get so lucky to have this family. It was a weird feeling. Like a wealth of time and memories, all converging to a single point. I don’t know that I’m explaining it right, but I do know I couldn’t stop smiling. Really, my face was starting to hurt a little.
We set their union in stone the best way we know how. By partying. We danced, we drank, and we laughed the night away. I can’t imagine they could’ve wanted anything more. It was a great day and they’re gonna do great things together. I’d wish them all the good things there are to wish on their journey, but they don’t need anything besides each other, and they’ve already got that.
Family Portrait. Alexis, her brother Tony, his Fiancé Olivia, and me (Not pictured: Gnarly). Taken in Downtown LA at Clifton’s.
Tony and Olivia moved here to Los Angeles from Brooklyn, just over a year ago. A few weeks ago though, the circumstances of life ended up pulling them back out to New York.
Sad to see them go, but glad for the time we had. I got to know them while they were here as family, not in-laws. Wouldn’t have been possible any other way.
I didn’t really grow up around my cousins, and my brother is five years older than me, which really doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a difference when you’re kids. And now, I’m a good few thousand miles from any blood relatives. What I’m really getting at here, is it was nice to have some family that you just wanna, you know… hang out with.
Not even going to get into how much we miss
our godson Gnarly.
Drew E. Cohen, the leader of the pack, had a bachelor party and it was one for the books. Twelve of us shared a cabin in North Lake Tahoe. There was poker, a hot tub, alcohol, billiards, a personal chef, monster trucks, karaoke, and eight feet of snow. As alcohol often does, it led to some heart felt speeches and even some tears. Though, none of mine of course.
I designed some t-shirts for the weekend gang, and Michael wrangled getting them printed. The design was just an oversized image of Drew’s face staring dead at you. We wore them the whole time. Some folks in town were asking who the mystery man was on our shirts. Was he that MMA fighter they wondered? Why were we so many of us wearing it? Were we going to see him tonight? They were a hit, and if we’re being honest here, I still wear mine every few weeks.
There were plans to do this that and the other while we were up there, but the weather was so severe, that we couldn’t really wander too far from the cabin. Setting record snowfall for the month of January will tend to have that effect. It was so severe, that we decided to abandon ship and leave the cabin a day early to avoid getting stuck as things worsened.
We made our way back to Sacramento, where most of us flew in and would be flying out of, to continue the party for our last night. Not having Sacramento in the original plan, we scrambled for a minute on what to do. By the grace of God, there was a Monster Truck Jam event going on. It was awesome, and I felt like I was twelve years old again, only I was many inches taller, and fairly intoxicated.
Karaoke followed, but that’s where my account of things start to get a little fuzzy, as I started traveling through space and time. All in all though, it was a great time, with great company, celebrating the next chapter of our great friend’s life. Cheers and godspeed.
The highlight of course, was George winning a bet…
10 years ago on this day I made my first post on Six Foot Giraffe. A doodle of a giraffe standing on a rocket blasting off through the stars. A bit of low-hanging fruit symbolizing the launch of my student portfolio site. I was twenty years old, and had no idea or expectation that my little website and modest doodles would end up largely shaping the course of my life and identity.
The past 10 years of Six Foot Giraffe have largely been a chronicle of my twenties. My achievements, failures, adventures, loves, and losses. It’s all here. Some written out in plain english, and others requiring a bit of reading between the lines. Memories the years might have stolen from me had I never stopped to reflect and share.
It’s also been my main outlet to fulfill my thirst to create. A place to make good art, bad art, and everything in-between. Somewhere to satisfy curiosities. It’s been fun and luminating for me to see how I’ve grown and changed artistically over the years.
What I’ve been doing here over the past 10 years has brought me joy, clarity and on occasion even resonates with others enough to inspire. Looking ahead, I have no doubt that this space will continue to grow and evolve. In to what, I can’t say. I do know that I’m just as in love with making art as I’ve ever been. I know that I’ll never stop.
To those who have supported and encouraged me all along the way, thank you. So much.
Good riddance. It’s been a difficult year, to say the least. Maybe the hardest of my life. Despite it all though, there were still some pretty bright spots that burned in the dark.
Two good friends got engaged. Another two got married. Moved into a new apartment. Visited Ireland, New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Palms Springs, Tahoe, Solvang and St. Petersburg. Got to know my future brother in-law. Went spelunking for the first time. Made some art that I’m proud of. And above all else, I got engaged to the woman I love.
It’s enough to think 2016 would’ve been one of my best. But like I said, It’s been a hard one, and I’m ready for a fresh start.
I recently started playing with a new software tool called Octane Render. Pretty unbelievable what it can allow you to create.
The impact on my career and day to day workflow is hard to quantify. Simply put, something that might’ve taken me an hour to render, might now take only a minute or two, and look much better. I’m in the business of making things look good, as fast as possible, so this is a great thing.
That said, I’m going to try and make it a point to create things in this medium as often as I can for the time being. At least until I feel like I have some control over it. They say practice makes perfect. I say perfect makes money.
Besides, it’s just plain fun for me.
One of my best buds turns 33 today. Figured I’d get a little something started for his headstone, since he’s getting so old and all. I’ve said before he’s like a holiday, and by that I mean he tends to bring everyone together. If you know him, you know this to be true.
Cheers my friend.
Levi and Ashley tied the knot. Yes, what I drew is supposed to be a rope being knotted, not links of sausage.
They exchanged vows on a warm Saturday, in Odessa Florida. It was a beautiful day. Felt really lucky to have witnessed it, and to have helped celebrate it. Was a little concerned my dance moves might get me ejected from the reception, but there was no harm done.
A couple days before the wedding, Alexis and I came to St. Petersburg to spend some time with my parents. Hurricane Matthew had other plans though. They had to hang back and secure their house in South Florida, so we didn’t see them this time. We made the best of it though.
Our friends Mike and Christina stayed in our extra room, and we spent the time with them instead. We walked around town a bit, checked out the Dali Museum, and paid the bars a visit. We stumbled upon a lip-sync karaoke contest. Mike won it. Not officially, but in our hearts we know. The next morning, before we headed up to Odessa for the wedding, we stopped to see Alexis’ Mom, and took her out for an early birthday lunch.
The 24 hours or so that led up to the wedding entailed logging hours in the hot tub, intervening a car accident, and talking politics. The 24 hours or so that followed entailed, sunburn, late night life talks, and literally sprinting through the Dallas Airport to make a connecting flight.
It was a great trip, filled with great people. Congrats guys.
I asked the girl I’ve been crazy about (and driven crazy by) since the day I met her, to marry me. How we got from there to here is a long story. One that I’ll save for another time. But today, I want to tell you about the best day of my life.
A few days earlier we started to plot our weekend, and talked about spending the day together. No friends, no family, just us. The weather was shaping up to be nice, so I suggested we go downtown to layout at Grand Park. I knew this is where I wanted to propose.
There’s been plenty of opportunities to propose in more exotic, adventurous or even stereotypically romantic places, but Los Angeles is where it was meant to be. It’s always been the backdrop to our story. It’s where we found each other. It’s where we fell in love. I also knew how much this city means to her as an individual. She moved around a lot growing up, and Los Angeles is the first place she’s ever called home and truly meant it. I figured what better place to propose than in the heart of LA, in a sprawling park overlooked by one of the city’s most iconic buildings.
I usually have a hard time getting out of bed, but on this particular day you’d have thought I spent a lifetime in the military. I left Alexis in bed and got breakfast started for us straight away. I had some time sensitive plans in place, and I wanted to get ahead of the day. Thank God she still wanted to go to the park.
We got ready, packed a bag and headed over. When we got there, we found a blaring children’s dance festival of some sort taking place. It was loud and it was weird. Not exactly what I expected. Thankfully, it’s a big park and where we were headed was on the opposite end. It was a hot day, really hot, but we found some shade under a tree to lay our blanket across. We sat down and talked a bit while I doodled the iconic LA City Hall building across the park. I gave up after a few minutes and told her I was going to just draw her instead.
I repositioned myself so she couldn’t see what I was drawing. I lifted my eyes from the page every few minutes to examine her features, all the while she was doodling too. After a few minutes, I said I was done. My heart was racing and was hoping she couldn’t hear it in my voice. With a worried face, I warned her not to be mad, since the portrait didn’t really turn out that great, and didn’t quite look like her. When I spun my sketchbook around, she found the words “Will you Marry me?”
Her eyes lit up and moved from the page to me, back to the page and back to me again. As she stared at me with wide watery eyes, I took the ring from my pocket and offered it to her. I told her I loved her, that I always had, and that I wanted to spend the rest of my days with her. We kissed and held each other. After a few beats… I had to remind her she still had to give me an answer. It was a strong yes, and I finally put the ring where it’s always belonged.
Once our nerves settled, I pointed to a man that was hiding out behind some bushes. His name is Archi, and I hired him to photograph the moment. He’d been there the whole time. We all finally made eye contact and laughed. Honestly, I didn’t even know where he was for a while. True mark of a pro. We spent the next half hour or so taking some photos with him. Some in the park, and some across the street in front of the LA City Hall building. It’s was just too beautiful a building to pass up with a professional photographer on hand. As we were walking up to City Hall, I joked to Alexis that I was really just trying to fast track this thing, and get the papers today.
We wrapped up with Archi, and I suggested we go sit down somewhere nearby to grab a drink and call our families to break the news. I think both our nerves and minds were still buzzing, so a drink sounded like a great idea. And let’s not forget, it was still REALLY hot out. There’s a little dive bar called La Cita that our whole group of friends has been making memories at for as long as I’ve known them. Seemed fitting to make it a part of the day.
We got there and headed straight to the back patio to find some margaritas, but instead we found 24 of some of our closest friends, waiting to surprise Alexis and celebrate with us.
This was all part of the plan, and I knew it was coming, but man, even I was stunned when we stepped out on the patio and heard everyone’s roar. She was completely surprised, even more so than when I proposed I’d say! Good job guys. To top it off, we were immediately each handed a margarita and a beer, because that’s what true friends do.
People hopped on planes, some spun their odometers, and some took off work just so they could be there for us. We even had a friend there by complete happenstance. We thought he was still living out of state, but he moved back to LA two weeks prior and just happened to be at the bar. What are the odds?
I always knew that no matter how I chose to propose, I wanted to involve our friends somehow. Alexis draws her energy from those around her, and shines her brightest surrounded by the people she loves. For most of us out here, our friends are the closest thing we have to family for a few thousand miles. They say you can’t choose your family, but it’s just not true. Friends are the family you do get to pick. After about an hour of hugging, shaking hands, drinking, and laughing, the whole gang migrated over to Hollywood for dinner.
The spot was Delancey, a little Italian place, known mainly for their pizza. Alexis and I have been coming here for as long as we’ve dated, and it’s quite literally one of her favorite restaurants. It’s a small place and we were a group of 26, so when I spoke with the manager ahead of time, I was beyond excited that they’d accommodate us. They even opened up a little bit early for us. We ate, drank, laughed some more, and Alexis’ brother Tony gave an impromptu speech from the heart to top it all off.
We closed out after about two hours, and all started walking down a few blocks to Hollywood Forever Cemetery. In the summer time they project films on the side of a huge building that overlooks an open lawn. It’s one of our favorite LA pastimes.
We setup and sprawled across the lawn, chatting and drinking for about an hour before the movie. Thanks to our army of friends, we had lawn chairs, blankets, desserts, 120 beers on ice, and the equivalent of four bottles of wine in the form of two beautiful boxes. Even had a custom “She Said Yes” banner setup, thanks to Christina. I really leaned pretty heavy on some folks to pull this part of the night together, and I have no doubt it would’ve been a mess without all their help.
That night they were screening Sabrina, an old Hollywood classic starring Hepburn and Bogart. Alexis and I have always shared an affection for the music from that era. Under the stars, surrounded by the towering palms and our LA family, I just knew it’d be magic. And it was.
By the time the movie ended, it was already 11pm and had been a long, full day. I knew some people would wanna call it then and there. What I didn’t know is how Alexis would be feeling. Lo and behold, onward she said. Cue the karaoke.
An added surprise was Michelle and Stuart made it out all the way from NYC just in time to meet us for karaoke. They were originally planning on being part of the surprise at La Cita, but got largely delayed at the airport. Glad they still got to party with us a bit.
Now, I know they say time flies when you’re having fun, but man, time really flew by at karaoke. We sang and danced for a couple hours, but I swear to you, it felt like no longer than fifteen minutes to me. Tops. Might have had something to do with drinking for nearly twelve hours. I was told that amidst the dancing, I lost my footing for a moment there, but luckily my fall was broken by John. Sorry and thank you John. Needless to say it was a blast. Our friends Drew and Kelsie were sneaky and incredibly kind to have picked up the entire tab for everybody too.
It was last call by the time we sung our last tune, and the remainder of our party started to part ways. However, no night in LA after 12 hours of drinking is complete without at 2am trip to Denny’s. Thankfully, there was one a few hundred feet away. Afterward, we said goodbye to our last three standing friends, and called it a night ourselves.
And that was that. My only regret is not having asked sooner. Can’t say thank you enough to everyone involved. It was the best day of my life, and Alexis was shining brighter than the diamond on her hand to say the least. And that diamond is pretty damn bright.
Video compliments of Duncan, thanks bud!
Inspired by our move to a new apartment.
There was a time I had no more than two plates, two bowls, a mug, and just a few forks, knifes and spoons. Only a few glasses too, most of which were just old pickles jars. Occasionally had to offer a drink served in measuring cup.
It was a much simpler and much lonelier time. Thankfully, we all grow up.
Dug through some old drives and found some of my student projects. This was for my Adobe Illustrator class. The assignment was to redraw a photographic image using only vectors, while trying to make it as realistic as possible.
Of course I knew the result wasn’t realistic, but it was the best I could do at the time, and I was pretty proud of it. Ten years later, thought it’d be fun to recreate it.
The image on the left was made over the course of about 2-3 weeks. The one on the right was made in a little under two hours. Still not quite photorealistic, but everybody’s gotta start somewhere.
Maybe I’ll give it another go in another ten.
Hell, did that take a long time.
Six Foot Giraffe last saw a major redesign almost 5 years ago. It’s been long overdue to say the least.
I’ve made a lot of work over the years, and now I have tools in place that can help people (and myself) find things they’ve forgotten, or just plain never seen. Posts can have a lot more depth now too. I can write and show more, in higher detail.
A lot has changed and a lot hasn’t. There’s a lot of nuances, and there’s still work to do, but in the meantime, I’m getting back to the art.
Hope you like it.
Doodled this the morning I read about the Orlando shootings. I woke up to a barrage of Facebook notifications from friends who still live there. They all set a confirmed “Safe Status” to let friends and family know they weren’t dead. It’s as real as all this has gotten for me so far. Not just strangers in strange towns this time.
I don’t have a clue about the answers, but it certainly seems like something is terribly wrong.
Celebrated my 30th in Palm Springs, poolside with some cold drinks and the best people. They came a long ways and spent a good bit of money and time to make sure I knew damn well that 30 ain’t so bad.
I made Mike a fun little thing for his 30th, and he returned the gesture with his own fun little thing. I love it. There is nothing the man can’t do.
Brace yourself, this whole rant is going to sound a bit dramatic.
I don’t care what anybody says, going bald sucks. Especially in your early twenties. When I had the realization that I was losing my hair at the fresh age of 24, it was the first time I realized that I wasn’t gonna live forever…
Like I said, this is going to sound a bit dramatic.
Of course no one lives forever, but when you’re that young, you really do feel invincible. At least I know I did. But now I had this constant reminder of my mortality. A reminder that time was passing and that I was getting old. Not to mention the feeling of a waning identity. Thinning, receding, balding. It doesn’t get better, it just get’s worse. It’s chronic.
I fought like hell. Slathered lotions and potions on my head, adjusted my diet, and did enough reading on the topic to probably deserve a certificate of some sort. But by 30, the same haircut I had for the past 6 years had slowly but surely just become a combover. Yikes.
So on my 30th birthday I walked into the barbershop and asked for a buzzcut. Decided if I have to keep going through it, I didn’t want to do it kicking and screaming, trying to hold on to something I already lost. I want to go through it with grace.
Was it for the better? Was it for the worse? Am I being dramatic? Absolutely to all of the above. All I can honestly say is, I don’t feel like I’m hiding something anymore, and that feels really, really good.
At the end of the day it’s only hair, and there are infinitely worse things out there. I’ve got a lot of wins in my life that I hardly deserve, so I’ll take a few losses. Or even a full head of them.
My Uncle Tony, technically my Great Uncle, passed in April. I’d bet anything he’d want to be celebrated, not morned. So I’m gonna try my best here.
No matter what room he was in, his laugh was the loudest thing in it, and he was always laughing. He slept with a few thousand refrigerator magnets under his mattress because he said it helped his back. He was a character to say the least.
When we’d show up to visit, between my brother and I, he’d give one a BB gun, and the other a spear tied to one of our ankles. He’d tell us to go have some fun and catch something. He had a dock out back where the waters eventual led to the Gulf of Mexico. There was always a lot of fishing.
I learned for the first time I could swim without sinking in his pool. The same pool he told my brother and I had the “red dot” technology, so he’d know if we ever peed in it. We were mortified.
He and my dad would take us to watch the greyhounds race at the track. We always had ice cream and Uncle Tony always had a cigar.
He gave me my first magnifying glass and my first pocket knife. Still have the magnifying glass. He gave us a lot of great memories, the kind you never lose.
He died on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. Honestly, I can’t imagine a more fitting way for him to go. He was a man full of life, till the very end.
Godspeed Uncle Tony.
My brother and I on Uncle Tony’s dock.
Oscar the frenchie. First met him when he was no larger than a balled up t-shirt. I can also remember seeing the first signs of gray in his beard. He was my old boss’s dog, but it wasn’t long before he became the studio mascot.
He peed while walking in zig-zags, creating something Jackson Pollock inspired by the time he was done. He dragged his paws when he walked, and I swear sometimes he’d just exhale and roll his eyes at you. Eyes that pointed in two completely different directions. He was a lazy, ridiculous, charming dog, that everyone loved because he made everyone smile.
So long bud, you’re already missed.
This site is a lot of things. One of them is a safety deposit box of sorts. Until the world falls apart and the internet takes it’s last dying breath, I have to believe that anything I put here, is here to stay.
These words made their way to my inbox over four years ago, and I want them kept safe. They meant so much to me.
Inspiring is the best I can ever hope or wish for as an artist. It’s largely why I still share the work. Always thinking someone might find these thoughts and feelings I’ve bottled and sent drifting across the internet, and that it might mean something to someone.
To quote Esme, it’s weird to think about, but totally awesome.
Every morning I read a news digest that gives me the broad strokes of what happened in the world while I was sleeping. Every night I read it again, to learn what happened while I was working.
Mainly, it contains awful things, but it’s still my responsibility to read it everyday.
Sometimes breakthroughs in science, medicine and technology make it in. Articles about real progress. These articles make me happy.
But mainly, I read about people hurting and killing each other, in various scales. Day in and day out. It is troubling, and I can’t imagine it changing.
The best you can do, is harden your heart.
A rare video chat with some of my oldest friends, catching up over beers, across thousands of miles, sitting in Florida, Oregon, New York, Texas, and California.
The occasion was Dan’s 28th birthday, who I first met when I was 11 years old. His finance Dominique set the whole thing up and surprised him when she handed him a laptop with all of our faces on it.
Such a great feeling shooting the breeze with some of my truest friends.
My old name tag from Albertson’s. Seemed fitting for labor day. My good friend Charlie worked there, and got me an interview when I was fifteen maybe sixteen. I was hired as a Courtesy Clerk. You did a lot as a clerk. You were asked to do what needed to be done where there was no one to do it. It was never the same from one day to the next. I spent time helping in almost every department. Cleaned toilets, buffed floors, stocked shelves, cleaned machinery, and froze working in dairy refrigerators. If there was something too heavy to be lifted for a customer or employee, they called the 135 pound kid over to handle it. It was 30 hours a week, the maximum allowed for my age. Full days every Saturday and Sunday and a few 3 to 4 hour days throughout the week after school. It was hard work, and by the end of the day, I felt it.
Mostly, I fetched shopping carts and loaded groceries I bagged into customer’s cars. Often helped load for elderly customers or mothers trying to manage one too many kids. Occasionally there were the able bodied eccentrics, who just liked to talk to strangers. Always got a kick out of reactions as I handled a customer’s eggs. You’d think I was moving an unpredictable stick of dynamite. The few minute walk from the checkout line to the car taught me how to make small talk. Weather was the typical topic. Customers were always curious to know if I was saving up to buy something specific, a car maybe. I always surprised them and got a few laughs when I said “retirement.”
A faulty moral compass kept me from accepting customer tips for a long time. My family, friends, and co-workers eventually convinced me I was insane for it. Think I made five or six dollars an hour. The job taught me the value of those dollars. I vividly remembering sitting at Wendy’s on my lunch break, calculating in my head how much time the food I was eating cost me. I ate every crumb, and soon after started brining my own lunch.
Collecting carts outside was my favorite. I didn’t have to talk to anyone. There was time to think. I taught myself to whistle out there. I always wore a wrist watch but once I learned that time liked to move faster when you didn’t watch it, I kept my eyes away from it. Instead, I liked guessing the time by eyeing how far the building’s shadow was cast across the parking lot.
I have more memories and stories from the job than I can fit here. It was invaluable to me and the most laborious job I’ve ever had, yet I worked every labor day I was there. In a strange way, I do miss it sometimes.
Shot at Sue Bierman Park in San Francisco, looking at the Bay Bridge. Recently there for a short work trip. Haven’t spent much time there before, just a day, years ago for a friends birthday.
I took the longest bus route I could find from the airport to my hotel. Wanted to take in as much of the city as I could. Spent the first day there scouting shoot locations. Essentially an all day walking tour. Spent the second day at the shoots, and that was that.
Fun to see and be part of the process away from my desk for a change.