Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Guns and Teachers *Mature Language*

As a personal time stamp, this post is about the Newtown, CT shootings.

I don't remember his name and I don't plan to, because if I did, he fucking got what he wanted. And fuck him.

Ok, so maybe teachers should be armed, right? 

The mother of the Newtown killer was a teacher trained with a gun, yet she wasn't able to avoid being murdered. We don't know the whole story, yes. Still, the end result was 20 murdered children. Would they still be alive if she didn't own a weapon? Wouldn't the likelihood of school mass murders excel if guns were permitted on school grounds? If someone snaps, would pointing a gun calm them down? What if they didn't stop? Should we teach teachers how to educate children, then teach teachers the moral implications of when and if they should take someone's life?

Train them, sure. But what about those unfortunate moments when trained police officers have shot unarmed people? I've taken a gun training course. They train the safety of shooting. They don't train correct judgement or bad fucking luck.

So if teachers are trained to holy hell and they're allowed to carry a concealed weapon, whoever started a school massacre may be stopped, but they'd still shoot SOMEONE. After killing 6 people—including a kid—with one Glock, Jared Loughner was physically subdued by a number of people. They got the gun away from Loughner and pointed it at him. Someone came out of Safeway with a concealed weapon and pointed his gun too, but not at Loughner—at the guy who got it away from him. He didn't shoot him, thank God. Good fucking luck prevailed that time. But he still had a moment of bad judgement. It just didn't last long enough to turn into bad luck. Forcing and training teachers to wear guns will not prevent murders or clear our conscience of the wrong that has happened. It'll create more opportunities for bad luck. 

Should we have the right to own guns when we are obviously not privileged as a species? Right to bear unlimited/any type of arms? 


Limit it. Limit the shit out of it. One gun and/or hunting rifle per person. Then if you want one, earn it as a stable and sensible human being. And if you DO earn it, police the fuck out of that person—you should be watched. Wanting to own something made ONLY for killing is tantamount to wanting to own a fighter jet or a flame thrower. Oh, and fireworks are banned in my state. 

If your gun is stolen, you should go to jail depending on the precautions you took to store your human killing machine. If it was in a top-of-the line safe which they had to lift out, then fine—100 hours of community service. If they stole it from your desk drawer, then a couple months in a minimum security prison. Not fair? Fuck you. You want to own a killing machine, EARN IT. Earn the privilege to own something that can kill a human being. You want it, earn it.

I understand the sportsmanship of it, the thrill of holding something that could kill you—I own a motorcycle. Still, does a person need an assault rifle? In fact, what the hell is the mother of the baby killer doing with a Sig Sauer .223 semi-automatic rifle? I don't ride around on the world's fastest motorcycle. And there are speed limits. What's the limit on the type of gun or how many bullets one person can own? 

Ok, so you want a gun. You passed the strenuous mental examination and are trained in gun safety. You don't mind being watched forever. You have a gun vault to put it in. You've earned it. That'll be $10,000 for one handgun, $70,000 for a rifle. Yeah, it's that or a Porsche. Hey, it should cost a shit load for a killing machine.

What's so wrong with having guns sell for the price of a car? People will find ways to make what they want. 3D printing has allowed for the opportunity to print working firearms. But when it comes to over-the-counter guns, why should everyone suffer because someone doesn't want to? Will not being able to own a gun kill you?

"Violence begets violence"Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."Jesus

"I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice." Abraham Lincoln

Note: You notice all who I have quoted above has been martyred. If my life is a wasted one, I pray you do not quote me. And let's hope, for my sake, that happens. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Jake Shimabukuro

There are certain local artists that I've been waiting on to do a portrait for TGIF. Certain factors have to line up to get an event or person on the cover. I got lucky in this case because Jake Shimabukuro is one of my favorite local musician. I was a fan of his first band, "Pure Heart," and being able to do this TGIF cover on his upcoming "Jake Shimabukuro and Friends" concert was a big honor.

Here's a detail:
And here's the final cover:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Myriad Joe

I love doing ambigrams. I also love the font, Myriad Pro. Why not combine the two? So I did with my name. It's a constant battle with myself and my ego. Conceded.

EDIT: Guess I should put my last name up here too. Different styled ambigram.

Friday, November 09, 2012


Anyone else look at a "w" and think "vampire teeth"?

The Nutcracker

Hawaii Ballet's "The Nutcracker" has a really great logo they've been using for a few years now. Designed by Wall-to-Wall Studios, it features a brilliant double image (, which is something I love doing. This was most evident in my TGIF cover for Phantom of the Opera, pictured below.

For "The Nutcracker" cover, I tried the same approach. I don't think it was as strong as the Phantom cover, but I think it was decent enough for a blog post.

Here's the final version with text. It feels more complete with a font on there:

I really think Wall-to-Wall Studios designs are far more superior. Sadly, I only had an hour or two to work on this decent cover. Trying for better next time.

Monday, October 08, 2012

2012-2013 Ilima Awards Cover

The ‘Ilima Awards is a yearly restaurant guide printed by the Star-Advertiser. I had a very clear idea on how I wanted this year's cover to look like. I was very surprised at how accommodating some chefs were at providing elements for the cover, though most of the food we bought and brought in. Photos were shot by the fantastic Craig Kojima with design and photo manipulation by me. It turned out much better than I expected it would.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Melissa Etheridge

This cover really helped me establish how I wanted to treat these portraits. Simple color(s) contrasting with the detail of the subject. I think I'll be experimenting with that more.

Click on the photos see a larger version. Here's a detail.

Here's the cover. For the story, visit

Friday, May 18, 2012

Smokey Robinson

Normally, it takes a day for me to hate a piece of art I've done. Everything you see on this blog I pretty much look down on. This piece makes me happy. Maybe it's the scarf done in a different style? I think mainly it's because I changed my process in making this one. I did this all in grey tone then colored it.As always click the images to see in full. Here's a detail of the face.

The eyes were really fun to do! Hell, everything was fun to do. And below is the full TGIF cover.
Visit for the full story.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Paula Jack and John

Jack Johnson. He's one of my favorite musicians. I met him once and got to tell him how much I loved his music. What a nice guy! So when the opportunity came up to do a TGIF cover for his interisland tour, I had to paint him. Then I decided to paint Paula Fuga and John Cruz too. Man, was that an overshoot. It took me 10 hours to complete this piece.

Here's a detail:

And the full cover:

Monday, April 02, 2012

Titanic Illustration

I've never posted a layout package. A special occasion here because I was comically twirling my 19th Century, Irish mustache with such pride ("Mwahahaaa, oh clever me") as I designed the centerpiece for Sunday's Today section. Here's the original illustration below:

It really shows how text and the illustration are sometimes nothing without the other.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fallen Shadow

Last year at Kawaii Kon 2011, I sold at auction a tribute art piece of the video game classic, "Shadow of the Colossus," which I mention here and here. Proceeds went to relief efforts for the Japan tsunami. A year later, I saw it fitting to create a thematic follow-up entitled "Fallen Shadow."

I think it's fitting to create the aftermath—a hollow victory—of the battle depicted in the first.

Here's a detail:

This is Daniel. He was the lucky bidder to win this and last year's auction piece. I'm glad that the owner of the first was able to get the follow-up. Congrats Daniel and thank you! Proceeds go to the Red Cross for the Japan tsunami relief.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Sherlock" Valentine

If I paint something besides a cover for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, it's usually on something I love. I think "Sherlock" is one of the best shows you can get into. Trust me, by the first three episodes, you'll get into it. Geeky art for the win.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond is performing in Honolulu later this week. This was the TGIF cover I produced for last week Friday.

Here's a detail:

And here's the original cover:

For the full story and more content, visit

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Man Can Dream …

Did I influence this? I really hope I did! Ohhh, to have an impact on society would be wondrous.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Bill Maher

This is probably the most well thought out cover I've done so far. I had a plan and I didn't stray away from it. That's amazing and new to me. Most of the time, I'm just pulling ideas out of my ass on the spot.

Here's a detail:

And here's the final cover:

There were a few problems in printing (wrong information and elements unexpectedly dropping off), so what you're seeing here, only a few thousand were made. The other two hundred thousand or so had a typo on the event's location. There are a few other prints with no logos and substitute fonts. As Rick Perry would say, "oops." Eh, it's Bill Maher. I had to add a little politics.