Page 1


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Issue 103,Vol. 40, Winter 2013 Copyright Š 2013 by Eastwind Studios - All Rights Reserved. All images copyright 2013 by respective artists, writers and photographers to cover the entire issue. Burr Jerger 1917 - 1982

Stu Weiner 1915 - 1985

Uncle Jam Quarterly is published whenever we get enough people in one room to do it, usually once every quarter by Eastwind Studios. Any similarity to any other publication, living or dead, is purely the fault of the other publication. Single issues are available by mail for $10 postage paid in the USA. Subscriptions are $20 for 4 issues in the USA. Order through our website or send a check to Eastwind Studios, P. O. Box 750, San Bernardino, California 92402, USA. For ad inquiries please contact or call (909) 867-5605., Please support our advertisers who made this publication possible. Phil Yeh~Publisher Linda Adams Yeh~Co-Publisher & Editor Linda Amick Puetz~Art Director Tom Luth & Lieve Jerger~Assistant Art Directors Peggy Corum, Debra Bemben, Patti McIntosh~Copy Editors Edmond Gauthier~Archivist Lim Cheng Tju~Asian Bureau Chief, Casey Webb & Joey Souza~Oregon Office, Michael Carvaines~Film Editor Sarah Carvaines, MPH, RD~ Health Editor PJ Grimes~Music & Health Editor Beth Winokur~Facebook/Blog Editor CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS & WRITERS Rod Underhill, Beth Winokur, Theresa VanOrnum, John Mottern, Todd S. Jenkins, Lim Cheng Tju, Ken L. Jones, Terri Elders, John Weeks, Michael Carvaines, Rory Murray, Roberta Gregory, Miel, Nick Cataldo, Jon J. Murakami, MB Roberts, Batton Lash, Al Davison, Tom Luth, Donna P. Crilly CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Lim Cheng Tju, Lieve Jerger, Tom Luth, Linda Adams, Bruce Guthrie, David Folkman, Greg Preston, Allen Freeman Rory Murray, Walt Farmer

Quarterly, Volume 40, #103, Winter 2013

Forty Years After by Phil Yeh

I am not a big fan of looking backwards in life. I seldom look at the art that I have created in the past and almost never go back and look at the actual pages of the many books, magazines and newspapers that we have created. I prefer to look at the future and keep busy with lots of new projects, but since this is our 40th anniversary (we are a month late which by our standards is right on time!), I Continued on page 22

Editor Janet Valentine circa 1977 in front of our Cobblestone Gallery in Long Beach, California

Like The Living Mural on Facebook or 'friend' Phil Yeh Artist available online at

COVER ART JAZZ GUITARIST by Eric Bowman Copyright 2013


Alfredo Alcala, Phil and Heidi MacDonald at a 1994 book signing for Secret Teachings of a Comic Book Master.

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

Phil Yeh typing away in the early days.


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

A Conversation with Eric Bowman Conducted by Phil Yeh

Eric Bowman was born and raised in Southern California where he began drawing as a child, encouraged by his father who oil painted as a hobby. Being immersed in the pop culture of the time, it was only natural for him to become an illustrator -- airbrushing surfboards and drawing comic books straight out of high school. Over the years Eric has created work for such clients as Time-Life Entertainment, Nike, Nabisco, Kellogg’s, Hallmark, Coppertone, GTE and the Kentucky Derby, to name just a few. His original oils can also be found on the covers of numerous books, music CD’s and popular periodicals, including The Saturday Evening Post, the LA Weekly and TIME magazine. His original oil paintings reside in many private and corporate collections, including the offices of Major League Baseball, the NBA and the United States Postal Service. Eric’s illustrations have also been featured in many juried illustration shows & publications, winning numerous awards, including Gold Medals from the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles and the Dallas Society of Illustrators and Gold & Silver awards from the Spectrum Annuals. After illustrating everything from billboards to postage stamps, Eric now creates fine art oil paintings showing in some of the nation’s most prestigious galleries, winning awards in national juried exhibitions and collected around the world, including England, Australia, Canada and Mexico. Eric lives with his wife, Debbie and daughter, Lily in the Pacific Northwest. You can see some of his most recent work at www.ericbowman. com Eric is represented by: Bonner David Galleries in Scottsdale, AZ Howard/Mandville Gallery in Kirkland, WA Brian Marki Fine Art in Portland, OR www. Uncle Jam: This is our 40th anniversary issue of Uncle Jam and we are very excited to introduce our readers to your work. Could you briefly tell us the story of how you read our interview with Rick Griffin in 1976? Eric Bowman: I was with a friend, skateboarding through Laguna Beach one Saturday, specifically on a mission to find Rick Griffin art. We walked into Fahrenheit 451 bookstore on Pacific Coast Highway and looked around; found a couple of cool Frazetta covers on magazines and maybe an underground comic or two behind the counter. But as we were walking out, I spied the latest issue of Cobblestone Magazine on a rack by the door. The cover immediately caught my


Baby Please Don’t Go eye and I knew it was a Griffin! Luckily it was about a year to complete and has been an free and we each grabbed a copy. I spent that awesome place to work in for 10 years now! night in my bedroom reading and re-reading the interview with Rick; it was a real plethora UJ: How did your art career develop from your of information and full of missing links to his school days in California? Can you briefly take background...what a find! our readers through your career? How you managed your career so that you can paint full UJ: When we visited your studio in March of time. 2013, you were working on big paintings in your EB: I never went to college (other than a magnificent studio outside of Portland. Can you semester of JC) or any art school. I started out tell us how you came into this great space? working at a silk screen T-shirt shop when I was EB: My wife and I had been looking for 3 years 19, and then a short stint airbrushing surfboards to find property that had an out-building (or for a couple of manufacturers in Orange County. detached garage) that I could use as a studio; so I always drew. At one point I thought I would I could be “home” without being in the house. be a comic book artist and actually drew some We got a call one morning from our realtor that strips for a local motorcycle magazine and had a this home had come on the market and that comic book published by Slave Labor Graphics we’d better get down there quick because it was in 1988, called Cylinderhead. This was after going to go fast (this was summer 2002). The I worked for a friend’s dad who owned a toy house sits on a half acre and had a 2000 sq. ft. marketing company. Because I had a knack all-wood Quonset hut building behind it. It was for drawing, I was placed in the art department built in 1952 for the original owner’s antique where I learned how to paste-up type, do layouts car collection. A builder friend of mine helped for ads and packaging (with a triangle and a me turn it into a dream studio, complete with T-square!) and other basic production stuff. library, wood shop, office loft, and bathroom One of the older guys there had been a designer and storage rooms. It has a 20 ft ceiling at the with Mattel Toys and showed me how to make center and 15 ft north light windows. It took Bowman continued on page 14

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

Static multihued wheel floating upon complementary colors


Interview conducted by Phil Yeh Uncle Jam: Do you believe that opposites attract? Suzanne Williams: Wow! We’re starting right off aren’t we? Yeah, that’s a good question. Not necessarily. I think sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. UJ: Obviously you liked cars before Bob, or how did that work? SW: We both actually were already into cars and we both were aspiring artists; which at that time was really unusual-for artists to be into cars. We both came predisposed to those two things. Of course since Bob is more recognized and more verbal and has done so many interviews, a lot of people presume that he influenced me in the car thing, but we were already both that way and I think those two things are what made us connect. UJ: How did you meet actually? SW: We met in art class at Los Angeles City College. UJ: What year was that? SW: Sometime just before the Viet Nam War. UJ: Did you start working at Roth Studios before Bob did or at the same time? SW: No, he was already working there for probably a year, maybe two years. I was going to Art Center College. When I quit Art Center, I did some freelance work, and then I started working for Roth. I worked mainly on Choppers Magazine when he started that, but I had done some work on one of his catalogs and I did some of the decals. I did a lot of lettering because we didn’t have computers and somebody had to do that by hand. I did hand


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

Hexagonal Catercorner Parallelograms

lettering; both comic book lettering and I did camera ready, which was incredibly precise, precision lettering. So when I worked at Roth Studios I did a lot of lettering there, also. During that time instant type started coming out, which was pretty cool because you could do part of it with instant type and part of it you would do by hand if you had to enlarge it. UJ: I was also working in publications at that time, before computers; so when you explain to young people today what we did in making separations, their eyes glaze over. SW: To say nothing of paste up. I always did paste up with rubber cement. UJ: We used wax. SW: Wax came out a little later, but I never switched to it because I just got used to the rubber cement. UJ: It’s like we’re dinosaurs. SW: Yes, and no. I think it’s a good skill to still have, even now. It’s not as easily applicable. I still go back and do things manually. The only downside about computers is you don’t get the same visual on the screen as you do on paper. Everything looks fabulous on a computer screen because you’ve got the backlighting and the intense black & white, the intense colors. But that isn’t how the end product is gonna come out. Nor do you get a feel for the shape and spacing as well. UJ: A lot of artists today just draw on tablets, on the computer. So they don’t even understand. Like painting for instance, the concept is alien to them. I don’t think it’s good because there’s Williams continued on page 10 HexagonalConvergence


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

The Art of Landscaping with Bernie Mases

Uncle Jam: Do you prefer Bernie? Bernie Mases: Oh yeah. Most Bernies are Bernard. It’s a hard name to grow into when you’re 6 years old, but eventually you grow out of it and become Bernie. In kindergarten we had to spell our names. Being dyslexic, Bernard was hard to spell.

UJ: So when you were young, you knew you had a problem with spelling? BM: Oh yeah. I think maybe dyslexia helps you be creative. I got into horticulture in the 10th grade. We had a horticulture class. My plot was always a little more innovative than the rest of the more intellectual kids. They would actually get jealous and throw rocks when I was working in my plot, which was about 10’ by 12’. I thought I might be doing well with this type of work and I took the class again the next year. When I got out of school I worked for Presidio Nursery and I liked it. I wanted to become a landscape architect, but after six months of getting prepped to go to Cal Poly or where ever I was going to go, I decided “You know I like working with my hands. I enjoy being outdoors. I don’t want to be in a cage in an office.” I’ve worked with a lot of landscape architects over the years and some of them have done some dumb things, because they are never out in the field. They don’t understand maintenance and things like that. Working with plants, I used to go back and forth. “Why are you putting that there?” “Let’s change this.” Sometimes we’d take the whole plan and discard it once it was approved by the city, and do our own thing; because it was totally ridiculous. They would want you to do something that was time consuming and it would just bring the price way up. I got a name by being creative and people would say “This is my budget; this is what I have to work with.” I can remember coming to this lot before my house was built. I was looking at the bank and was excited because it wasn’t all flat. Whatever I did on this bank would be more projected visually. You can see everything, where if you were looking at a flat lot right now, you’d have to go out and look at it. I knew it would also be very physical to bring all this rock up. A lot of my neighbors thought I was crazy. “Rock on a bank? Isn’t it going to come down?” I thought if I stayed away from putting the plastic down, the rock would set into the soil and become a foundation so it would hold. You wouldn’t have the rocks rolling down. It worked fine and I ended up doing it on a lot of other jobs. This landscape has been here for 13 years. I haven’t had any erosion problems at all. I was sitting here in a chair one day and thought “I don’t want the bank look. I want to create a flow here, so when you’re looking at this landscape, you just don’t see a bank with


a bunch of plants on it.” Originally the bank was straight and I thought by cutting the bank back, going into the bank and creating a free form pattern and taking the dirt and creating 3 or 4 mounds, you would get more of a flow. The second thing I thought was that it would be very difficult to do maintenance on this bank if I had high maintenance plants. I was over in Arizona and I noticed a lot of mesquite. They have small leaves and are semi-deciduous trees. They drop right into the landscape and you don’t have to pick up anything, so you have no maintenance. Plus it’s a very uncommon tree here, so I decided to go with the mesquite. I was laying this thing in my mind. I didn’t even really sketch it. You have to start with your focal plants. The mesquites are the focal plants. Then you have your accent plants, the smaller ones, and then you fill that in with something really unique to just set the whole picture off. It’s like art.

UJ: So it was your years of experience at the nursery, or what you did before that, that led you to know that this plant would grow here? BM: Exactly. Knowing the heights of plants is very important. An abstract landscape to me is a landscape that is not very well planned. It’s a hodgepodge, a chef’s salad. You have to figure out how wide and tall the plants get and once you get the trees in, then you can work from there; because you’ve got to measure distances. In art you paint it and the plant never grows, it stays the same size. You’ve got to understand that in a landscape, every plant has its place. You have to plan for the future and as it grows it gets even more beautiful. The first year my yard was in, we were just looking at a bunch of stickey plants. Every year this canvas of art has matured and grown.

and saying “What is this?” Mexican grass palm really relaxes you. If you’ve had a rough day you come out and watch this thing kind of move. It’s very relaxing. It’s like looking at a fish pond. UJ: So this landscaping would really be good for California. We should replace lawns with this look because California has a water crisis and we have a lot of lawns and a lot of wasted water. I think this is the future. BM: Yeah, this is the lowest maintenance. A lot of people go with native plants, too. That is completely different from the agaves and yuccas. With a lot of your native plant material you have more maintenance because you have a lot of foliage. You have a lot of color. You have to make sure the watering works. Native plants need water until the roots get established. If this was a native landscape, I’d have to have my guys in here constantly pruning. I’m 60 years old now and didn’t want to have to deal with that; that’s why I went with the agaves. UJ: When you started out working at the nursery, how did you then eventually get into your own business? BM: What happened was Presidio Nursery, which was probably one of the only nurseries you could go to at the time in San Diego, went out of business because of the economy at the time. They kept the nursery part and closed the landscape part, so I was out of a job. My foreman and I started doing our own thing. This was 1977. There was no competition at the time. We literally walked door to door. Mira Mesa was the hot spot at the time and they were doing a lot of development there. We’d have a package deal for people. You could spend anywhere from $350 to $650 for a front yard. We could do some of these jobs in one day. We would get the top soil truck to back up with 20 yards of topsoil; we’d grade it out, and then do the sprinklers in one day. We’d have a package if you wanted to do the front and back yard, it would be $12001400. These were postage stamp tract lots. The foreman at the time was a very creative designer. He would come up with stuff that would blow me away early on. We became partners. At first he would do a lot of the designing, I did sales; so by working with him over the years, I learned how to organize these jobs. There is a lot of organizing in landscaping. You have to get the drainage right, the levels right, make sure all your slabs are level. You have to make sure all the plant material is irrigated properly.

UJ: How big were the trees on your property 13 years ago? BM: Everything was 5 gallon size, so the trees were about 6 feet tall. I have some pictures of the early landscape. I thought having deciduous trees in the winter months when you need a little more warmth on the patio; you’d have less growth and the sun would come through, which works perfect. These trees keep this area cool even on hot days. I had to think maintenance and I wanted to do something really original. In my 40 years of landscaping I’ve had to plant a lot of the same stuff, because after you design something, people have a tendency to say “I want these plants because my neighbor’s looks good.” This landscaping was new because I wasn’t into the agaves. I had never used them before and thought it would be totally unique. UJ: How did you learn all this? Thirteen years ago we didn’t have a water crisis BM: Just with experience, just doing it. When so a lot of people would look at this and not I was going for the architectural path, I thought think much of it. Nowadays they’re pointing Art of Landscaping continued on page 18

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

Williams continued from page 7 nothing original. They don’t have any original art; they just have what’s on the screen. SW: Part of me really agrees with that. I like the physical product. I like books. I like artwork that just stands alone and is done by hand by somebody with paint, pencils, or crayon, or whatever they want to use. But I also understand if that isn’t what you were introduced to, you don’t have that same feel. There are a lot of artists who don’t have a connection with a physical original; and they don’t need that because they didn’t start that way. UJ: The thing that’s interesting about it is, like with cars, you have a hands-on feeling when you’re fixing up a car. You have to get in there and really do it. I think with a lot of these people, they’re doing it on the screen; they’re building cars on the screen with 3D animation, especially. SW: I think having a physical ability to do something without an electronic media to help you out is a good skill to have. I think you see it happen periodically: computers are down, the grid is down and everybody just closes shop and goes home until it comes back up. That’s fine. That works for them; but I think it will be good that some of us, as you say dinosaurs, will be around to be able to help people through those problems and do some work or do something when that happens. I’ve been seeing that people I talk to—my age, younger, older, just people in general, are starting to talk about coming back to real books, which is kind of interesting. UJ: We see the same thing in music. A lot of music collectors are saying “Hey, vinyl is the way to go.” Now a lot of young people are getting into it. I’m hopeful that real books, real records, real life makes a resurgence. I think this computer thing, for all the good the computer has, is a blip. I just believe it. The reason we started Uncle Jam again in 2009, is because my youngest son said “Dad, print is dead.” Then he explained to me that they are reading online, they’re not reading real magazines. I said “Wow, print is dead. That’s perfect; I’ll start Uncle Jam again.” It’s been hard, I’m not gonna lie; but four years later, we’re still alive. We’re still coming out. Talking to Bob about Juxtapoz; it was an idea that was a good idea, but then it became so much of the same. We can’t explore just big-eyed kids and Tikis. There has to be more to art. SW: As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t come across art you don’t like, you’re not searching enough. One way of saying it is that if you go to a group art show and there’s nothing there you don’t like, it’s not broad enough. The show would be too limited if you walked in and just liked everything. I mean that, too, happens a lot; because it’s geared towards a specific type of artist or style of art and then you’re gonna like


most of it. You have to explore enough to come across things—artwork, music, anything—that you don’t like, or you have no way of judging what you do like. That is another pitfall I think, of the digital age, the computer age. All the wonderful gadgets that younger people have and use now, and actually are really dependent on, because they pick the music they want because they already like it and listen to it. They talk to people too easily by texting, Facebook, and email and everything, so they always end up with people that they know. Half the people only have a cell phone, so you can never call somebody at their home when they live with someone else; accidentally speak to the other person who picks up the phone and develop a friendship with them. It’s always specific, so you never have an opportunity to just broaden out. When I walk, I never play music or do anything that gives me input. I take a walk and just hear what’s going on in the neighborhood and just kind of feel like I’m part of the bigger world. Otherwise you don’t hear the cars, you don’t hear the dogs barking, you don’t hear somebody perhaps saying good morning. I listen to the radio and it programs what’s coming in. I like that because I come across music I either do or don’t like; but I wouldn’t have chosen it, so I find that more expanding. UJ: I always go into a real bookstore as opposed to buying a book online; because when you go into a real bookstore, especially an old bookstore, and you’re searching for something…let’s say you want pirates, but then you come across something else, like penguins and you say “What’s this?” You would never have found that book on penguins if you weren’t in a real bookstore. That’s my case for real bookstores. SW: Same thing with the library that has books on a shelf. But people who read eBooks and go online for all their information say they bump into things as well. I don’t personally think you can bump into things as easily as you do when you look at a shelf full of books and for some reason that red cover caught your eye. Or somebody shoved a book in the wrong place and you find it. Or you open it up and there will be an article that somebody cut out and put in the book, or a photograph. I find it a shame that they don’t get inspired to go to a bookstore or a library. But like I keep saying, you only have so much time in your life. If you’re using computers, it does simplify things for you but it’s somebody else’s synopsis of what’s going on in the world. I got very interested in Easter Island and I started collecting really old books that go back to the teens. I read all the books. It’s fascinating because you’ll read a book and it tells what they found and their theory about what they found. Then you read the next book. It’s got a different theory, and then you’ll read a book that was

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

written 10 or 15 years later, still a very old book, but they didn’t do any research at all. They just quoted the first book. Theories have changed between the first book and the second book, so the third book is giving misinformation in reality of what really is. It’s really an interesting process to read history on that level. UJ: Did you ever go to Easter Island? SW: Twice. UJ: What did you find when you went there? SW: It’s a pretty remarkable place. We went there the first time in 1988, with a group of people to spread the ashes of an artist named Stanislav Szukalski at what’s called the Sculptor’s Quarry where there are incomplete sculptures carved in the stone in a volcanic quarry. He was a sculptor and he had this whole theory which you have to read. It’s a really interesting, yet odd, offbeat theory, of how the whole world was formed. There was a deluge at some point and then everything rose up again out of Easter Island. It isn’t necessarily the case, but that was his theory which all made sense in the way he perceived things. A group of us had always wanted to go to Easter Island, so this was a reason for us to go. UJ: Did you know him personally? SW: Yes, he was an amazing man. So Easter Island was very different that time. Then we went at the 2000 Millennium and it had changed considerably. The first time we went there you could walk on anything, do anything, and there was no real television. They had a television station there, but it would get tapes flown in from Chile, who owns it. Movies or news broadcasts would get flown in on the flights that came in; which was 2 a week or sometimes 3 a week in the high season, and then they would play it on the television station. There were no real roads, there were like two taxis you could rent and a couple of cars and some motor scooters on the island. There were horses. There were several hotels and then in 2000, there were 100 taxis, and this is a really small place. It’s only 9 miles by 9 miles roughly. There was a control factor in what you could access. There were ropes blocking off paths and things. The attitude of the people had changed. They were a bit more resentful of tourists. There has been a runway there since the 60’s. I think it was in the early 60’s that America built a long runway where a jet could land; because it was going to be the ditch spot for our satellites, our manned space program. After it was built it began to slowly change the dynamic, because you could get in by plane as opposed to cargo ship or boat. The cargo ship would come once a year; depending on weather, maybe twice a year. Anyway, now in 2000 they had a computer shop where you could use a computer and they actually had a little restaurant row of about 8 or 9 restaurants.

The first time we went it was just in the few hotels, or in the pensions, where people would stay in a house. There was one restaurant, kind of, that was called The Snack Bar. They just served sandwiches and beer. It changed a lot. UJ: Were you able to use this at all in your work? SW: I don’t think I use anything directly in my work. I just find certain things inspire me, keep me motivated because I’m inspired. I really like art that’s realism, but I don’t work that way. I like mechanical things and I like science. A favorite artist of mine is Thomas Hart Benton. I don’t work at all like him. I like a whole myriad of things, so it’s just inspiring to see things that you like. It kind of keeps the motivation factor in your brain going. I don’t really think there’s anything direct, except maybe the science and the math since I do very geometric abstract, very controlled things. I calculate out the shapes I do. UJ: You’re painting all these lines, right? SW: When I do that, I paint with a brush with oil paint. I don’t use straight edges, I don’t use French curves. I don’t use any mechanical devices when I’m painting. I just do it all by hand. It’s all hand edged. I don’t overlap anything, so when I’m doing an edge like a color to a color, I paint that edge perfectly in the one color then I come back and paint that edge perfectly in the other color; because if you overlap, your color changes. I want sharp colors and I don’t want calligraphy. But I do use my tools when I do my drawings and studies. I am enamored with them and I like to make it real precise. When I transfer things on the canvas, if I want a straight line, I’ll use a ruler, so I get it right in the first place; but when I go to the paint stage, I don’t. I don’t use an airbrush either. I have tried an airbrush. I just like what it looks like when you hand blend colors with a brush and I don’t like cutting all the friskets and things you have to do with an airbrush. UJ: I think sometimes when people look at art they don’t understand the process. I don’t do woodcuts, but I really appreciate woodcuts and when I see big woodcuts in galleries, I see people look for a split second and walk on to the next thing. I want to grab them sometimes and say “Look at this.” But I know they’re not really interested in art anyway. In fact I don’t even know why some people go to museums or galleries. They don’t seem to have any interest in art but they’re at the gallery or the museum just walking through. Five minutes and they’re done and go outside to sit on a bench. SW: That’s true, I agree with you, except it also has a positive side that they are at least attempting to expose themselves to art. I’m surprised sometimes at how much some people can take in, in a short time. I’m a slow thinker so it takes me a long time to absorb anything or


to figure anything out and to bring information back; but I’m surprised that I will see somebody do a quick scan of something and then I’ll ask them, or I won’t even ask them, and in another conversation another day they tell me what they saw and I’m amazed at how much they perceived, when I stood there for 20 minutes and I don’t remember that much about it. So I’ve stopped judging the quickness of people scanning things and just the fact that they’re there trying to expose themselves to something is a good thing. Sometimes some people have a different take on art. Some people just can’t stop and look at something. They need it to just be a fast thing. Just like some people cannot look at art that has a lot of elements in it. For whatever reason, they can’t. They need to see something that’s a quick read. That’s why we have so many different kinds of art. It’s the same thing with the artists who do art. My metabolism allows me to sit there hour, after hour, after hour, and just noodle away; but some people just physically can’t even sit still, or their mind can’t focus, so they do quick art. UJ: When you do a painting, say a couple feet in size, how long on average does it take? SW: It depends. In the 70’s I did two paintings that are very detailed and have more than one coat of paint on each color. Each of those two paintings took me a year at the easel. Easel time alone, over a couple year time frame, or three year time frame, because I wanted to do something that detailed. But then it occurred to me it’s hard to mass art shows if you’re gonna take that long to do something, so I started trying to do things that take me a shorter time. Over the years I developed into a style that I only do one coat of paint. That makes it a little harder, because I can’t make a mistake. I can’t cover it up, so I have to be real careful when I paint so that it’s the way I want it. I do pencil sketches and then color sketches and then copy them meticulously, because I can’t fix a mistake. If I make a mistake, I won’t abandon a painting, I have to alter it. It’s a good thing and a bad thing. It’s bad in that I wanted it to be this other way, but it’s good in that I have to work hard to make it work again, so that’s a good exercise. Those kind of paintings take me anywhere from three months to nine months, even if they’re small. This is total time for sketches and painting. When I’m finished, they’re really simple looking. It doesn’t even remotely look like it took that long, but I want to make them look as precise and perfect as I can. It’s all about time. UJ: When you’re doing these paintings, are you thinking about prints? In other words does it ever enter your mind how much money you get for this, a year of your life? SW: No, not really. That isn’t at all the point of why I do it. I think there are two schools. One type of artist is clearly hoping to make money

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

from what they do, which is fine with me. It’s quite commendable if you go that route. Either they luck into people liking their style, or they have to think about what people might want; which doesn’t really interest me. I started doing art because I’m like the other kind of school of artist, in terms of how artists work or feel. I really don’t like people particularly and I don’t like the workplace, because I don’t like having to be with other people and dealing with them on their problems and their level. I’m not criticizing them, I just find it a hard thing to do and so I stopped working that way and I freelanced for a long time. I always find it’s just really hard to satisfy people. I did business cards and letterheads back in the day before everybody could do that on the computer. I would always give them 3 or 4 sketches to choose from; because that’s the way you do it. You have to give them a choice and then I’d go “I need one more, but I’m burned out,” and I’d do a filler just to take space, and that’s what they would always pick. Then you get married to helping them produce the cards and the letterhead and you’re just not into it anymore because it isn’t the one you worked really hard on. As time went by, I started drawing because free-lance was just something I didn’t want to do anymore. Then I taught myself how to oil paint so I could just be alone and do exactly what I want by myself and I don’t have to sit and do nothing. I don’t mean I would sit and do nothing, I just mean I wouldn’t accomplish anything that I was proud of. UJ: I was the same way. I free-lanced from 1970 to 1985 and then I said “I’m done.” I had some clients who were like “No we’re gonna pay you so much money to do a drawing,” and I said “No, I’m done, this is it. This is 15 years.” I free-lanced for everybody. You wanted art and called me and I would do it, but I got sick and tired of people making changes. The classic story is, I brought a horse painting into an art director and he says “We don’t want a horse anymore, can you make it a dog?” He asked for a horse and now he wants a dog, or a duck. SW: When you work for somebody else, what you’re really doing is, you’re listening to what they think they want, you’re giving them that and that’s really just the first step for them to see what they don’t want and start to figure out what they do want and you are their tool. You have to accept that and if you can’t do that anymore, you just have to stop. When I was in school, I had it in my mind to go to college, but I didn’t do well in school and that was because I didn’t read well, so I didn’t test well. I was not given the opportunity to take college preparatory classes in high school. That was very common at the time. As a sidebar, there’s something to be said for that, because a lot of people went to trade schools, which gave them skills. We don’t do that anymore. When I graduated high school I still thought

I wanted to go to college and so I tried to get counseling as to what you needed to do to get into college. At that time, you had to get into a college more or less, in order to even get counseling about what you needed to take. You had to have some level of preparatory classes to get counseling on what to do next to get accepted. I was not given the opportunity to take math classes in high school, so I went to Santa Monica City College and started with Algebra and went all the way through Physics. I love math. I kept trying to take languages, of which I’m very bad at, including English. I kept failing language, which brings your grade average down. I took French One, got an F; French One again, got a D. I took French Two, got an F, French Two again, got a D. It became clear that I wasn’t really gonna get accepted into a university. I was already interested in art, so I decided to take art classes. I switched from Santa Monica City College to Los Angeles City College, which had a really good art program at the time. I took a lot of art classes and did well. I took night classes at USC in architecture and I went to Chouinard one semester, in extension classes. So I took all these classes at Los Angeles City College. I took drafting, I took shop, and I took all these classes that had skills, which is what I was interested in. Every time I switched, I’d have to take the English test. Every time I switched, I’d fail and then I’d have to take that English class again. I must have taken it four or five times. UJ: Did you want to become an architect at one time? SW: Yes and no. I was thinking also of industrial design. I went to all these schools and started realizing the best thing for me was just to go and take the classes that I was most interested in that I felt could give me the skills I needed. This is a concept that is hard to believe, I know, but I’m really kind of proud of it. When I was in school, you had to dress properly. The proper dress for females was dresses or skirts, and guys had to wear slacks and a decent shirt. When I was going to Los Angeles City College, I was taking drafting and shop classes. I approached my teachers and asked if I could please wear pants to these classes, because it was more convenient. The teachers said wearing pants was fine, so I did. Then I approached my ceramics teacher who said it was fine. I approached my painting teacher. She was the only one that wouldn’t allow it, so I would have to change to go to her class. What makes me feel so proud is, I was the first girl there to wear pants to class and then just slowly it started happening and more females were allowed to dress in a more comfortable way. I never wore dresses or skirts except to go to school. I always wore pants. My mom used to always tease about how I just always favored pants. I kind of opened it up for a lot of people. Now I look and I see what


people are allowed to wear to school and it’s so remarkably different. After City College and all these other schools, I decided I wanted to study transportation art, so I applied to Art Center College, at the old school. It was nothing like the new school at all; it was much smaller. It was on 3rd street in Los Angeles. Art Center was a really interesting experience for me. I was the only female in all my classes. This, to me, was a non-issue even though one teacher who didn’t think I should be there made it difficult for me. But it also had a positive side. I didn’t have to struggle as hard as all the other students in class to get noticed. UJ: Transportation art is designing cars? SW: Yeah, pretty much. I applied there: it was hard to get into, so I expected to hear from them at a later time, but it was close to when the semester was starting and they actually rang me up and said I was accepted. I was already married when I was accepted there. It was the hardest school I had ever been to in my whole life. I learned a lot, but the pace was just too hard for me. It was a wonderful way of doing it. You would go to one class a day, so you didn’t have to move around, and the teachers there had no real interest in what you were thinking or exploring. They were teaching you what they knew, their skills, their way of thinking; which I thought was fabulous, because that’s why I would go to school. I didn’t want to go to a liberal art school where you explore and they talk to you about it. It was kind of tough because they were also training you to be out in the real world, which is a really hard real world. It was just too much homework, too much work, too much everything. When I started they had just switched to the three semesters a year system and they were slowly starting to raise their tuition, which wasn’t cheap in the first place. I went semester after semester trying to catch it as it just went up a little bit pricewise and then at almost the end of the 4th semester, it just beat me down. It made me ill. I hadn’t been able to get a student loan for that semester anyway, so it was just incurring debts and too much work. While I was there, I switched a couple of times and got a lot of experience in several different fields: in automotive, industrial design, and packaging. There were some incredibly skilled teachers there. After that I free-lanced awhile and then worked for Roth awhile. While I was doing that, I was teaching myself to oil paint. UJ: You finally decided to oil paint? How has that progressed? SW: I just keep plugging away until I kind of get close to what I hope I’ll achieve. I’ve certainly not mastered anything yet, but sometimes I get really close to what I’m trying to do. Other times, to me they’re failures. I don’t present them as failures, because I’ve achieved a certain amount in them. At that point they’re reasonable

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

accomplishments. They’re just not what I was hoping for. It was giving me the experience to make the next step maybe another time. UJ: Were you selling? SW: I’ve been lucky enough to sell most of my pieces, but I’m not very prolific. I don’t know if that has any effect on it or not. I don’t have that many shows because I’m not that prolific. I occasionally show in a group show. I’ve never allowed myself to be categorized in any way whatsoever, so I’ve probably missed some good opportunities, but it was my choice. Little things, like when I worked for Roth and I worked on Choppers Magazine, I wouldn’t allow my name to be on the masthead because Bob’s name was on the masthead and I didn’t want it to seem like he got me the job. I had changed my name to his name because it was such a great nebulous name. Another sidebar, I would advise every female alive to never change their name, because you can’t be a separate person. You’re always lumped in with the person who has the same name as you, and Bob has become more successful and justly so. He works much harder and certainly deserves it. His work is incredible, but it’s always Robert and Suzanne Williams or Robert’s wife Suzanne. If I had not changed my name, I would be referenced as a separate person, because people wouldn’t always know. I’ve always regretted that, but then part of me doesn’t because Williams is such an anonymous name. I love it, but I would never change my name if I had the choice to do it again. I was speaking of missed opportunities. I never allow myself to be in a show with only abstract artists, or only women artists. Once or twice I was in a show that was a theme, because I already had something of that theme, or the theme was something that appealed to me. But, the female thing just is very disturbing to me. I missed incredible opportunities, but artists who are male don’t get called “male artists”, they’re artists. If you’re female, you’re called a female artist. I don’t want to perpetrate that because I’d rather fail in the big pool than be categorized in the small pool. It is just something I don’t want to do. In fact that’s why I sign my name S. Williams, because unless you search further you wouldn’t know if it’s male or female. UJ: Well, like cartoonists. Dale Messick’s name was Dalia. In those days there were no female cartoonists. If they were, they were using their initials. I think it’s a very sensitive point for a lot of people even today. We still tend to separate male and female. SW: To say nothing of Black, and Latino, and Asian. I have nothing against female artists banding together and doing female shows if that’s their calling. If they want to deal with the social aspects of it and have that in their art, that’s fine with me; it’s just not my calling and

so I don’t go there. The only thing I was ever in that was all female was this book that a friend of mine, Sherri Cullison did. She wanted to do it only on female artists. It was quite an honor, because she contacted me many times and kept saying “You’ve been around as one of the earliest female artists who had a certain level of skill and success and I would really like to have you in the book.” She showed some of the art of each artist and she wrote a little piece on each person. I kept saying “No, I don’t want to be classified that way,” and we came to this agreement where she finally said “What if I write that in the book so you can express that, will you be in it?” I agreed. Part of me is still sorry I did; there I am in a book of all female artists where I just said I never wanted to and wouldn’t do and sacrificed so much on many other levels not to be part of. But a part of me is kind of glad because it was a good piece and she wrote how I felt.

wondering, how have you handled this over the years? Do you care, does it bother you? SW: What, that he paints females, or the feminist thing? UJ: The criticism that I’ve heard; because I think it’s important that people really understand why an artist chooses to do something. SW: Well to me it’s just a non-issue. He does

UJ: Art is totally in the perception of the audience. What is art? I don’t know. SW: It’s useless really. It’s a useless commodity, as far as survival. Although some can argue it isn’t; that you need that broader sense in order to survive a little better.

UJ: What are you working on now? SW: Actually I’m taking a tiny little break. Sometimes life has too many other things for you to do for a little while. I’m doing other things that need to be done and then I’ll get back to it. UJ: Do you see your art going in a different direction? SW: I really can’t see it going in a different direction at all, because I’m stuck into liking the mathematical aspect of what I do and the precision aspect of what I do. When I’m working on it, I just become slow and quiet. I disassociate from everything else, which is a good thing. Then I’m just working on what I’m trying to accomplish in skills and visuals. People often wonder how Bob and I are together, since he’s so into Realism and I’m not at all; but we both are trying to achieve a certain skill level, so I think that probably is something that keeps us together. Plus we’re not fighting for the same territory artistically. It’s come to my perception over the years that it’s pretty funny how he has a lot of trouble being accepted because his art is saying way too much for a lot of people. I have a lot of trouble being accepted because my whole goal is to say nothing. It’s a rejection for both of us for totally opposite reasons. It’s quite interesting to think of it that way. UJ: Bob is famous for putting voluptuous women in his pictures. In our interview with Bob (UJ 102) he was commenting that, to him, this is a statement. He likes women, so why not put them in pictures. I really respect Bob for his honesty. He’s one of the most honest artists I’ve known. I was thinking about all these different people who were criticizing this and I was


look right. I think because females had a hard time for so long, they’ve just gone a little too far and I, for one, just want to plug away doing what I do, where I do it. It will either get accepted or not, and I don’t want to fight on the level of “look at me, look at me” and think people are rejecting me because I am a female. They might be rejecting me because they don’t like my art. They might be rejecting me because the skill level isn’t what they wanted. I think there are things in life other than fighting that battle all the time and thinking anything negative that ever happens is because you’re being discriminated against. You just have to realize maybe somebody just doesn’t like your art.

Suzanne Williams what he does. He does it fabulously, he does it imaginatively. The fact that he’s imaginative is the thing I like about his art. He’s not really referencing anything. It’s all about imagination and that’s what I prefer in art. I don’t favor social issues in art and all that, but that doesn’t mean it’s not OK. It’s just not what I favor, so to me, it’s just all imaginative. All these things are elements to tell the story he’s telling. As far as the Feminist issue, you know, I understand where they’re coming from, totally, but I think over the years it’s gotten a little rigid, where it’s become almost as strict as religion, which I also don’t favor. The offense level is too easy to happen, there are too many rules, because it’s too easy to be offended and you need to have a little bit more of a sense of humor in general about life. I think feminists also forget that. I’ve had my set of rejections for a multi-level of reasons; be it religion, or female, or whatever, but I think Feminists want so badly to become equal that they’re trying to become more than equal and they don’t realize that males have also a set of dynamics that they get persecuted for, because they’re a male. Everybody has a level of discrimination no matter what it is, so even if you just have a big nose, or if you don’t dress right, you try and present your art and you don’t

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

UJ: Recently Putin, (the leader of Russia), banished a painting depicting him as being gay. He’s very anti-gay, so they took the painting from the gallery that had the painting. Art can make a very powerful statement and it shows in that example that art has real power whether it’s good or bad. I think that this is why art is very important. I was looking at this book on Ed Hardy. Tattooing is huge now. I would argue that tattoo artists are almost the new gallery. Because we know so many people that have tattoos. SW: People who have tattoos are art collectors and the skill level of tattoo artists is phenomenal. You’re just wearing your art instead of hanging it. UJ: I think my argument is that art is necessary, whatever kind of art it is. It used to be in the olden times, a thousand years ago; only the church could really afford the great artists, so they had religious art. SW: And it’s quite beautiful and incredibly skilled in the buildings, the architecture, the paintings, the stained glass and everything. UJ: So to me, if I don’t like a certain kind of art, that’s fine, that’s personal taste. Looking at these books on your shelf, you have Norman Rockwell next to Dante’s Inferno. As a comic book artist originally, people said “Why don’t you do real art?” I am doing real art. SW: It also depends on where you live. In France, comic book art is accepted on the same level as fine art, which it is, and it should be. I agree with you, all art is basically equal. It’s Williams continued on page 24

Bowman continued from page 5 comprehensive sketches with Magic Markers. This came in handy when I later moved to Portland and got into freelancing storyboards. There really was no clear path to where I am now, but when I moved to Portland I fell into a commercial illustration studio where my education really began. This was in 1987 when I was 26. I looked over the shoulders of seasoned professionals and learned a lot! After 3 years there, I shared a studio downtown with a couple of illustrators freelancing in the Portland market. Eventually, I moved out on my own and began to advertise nationally, with a New York-based agent (or “rep”) to represent me in the market and bring in jobs. This was my life for many years until I began to get interested in painting in the fine art market. Again, this proved to be an unmarked path with a huge learning curve, but I’ve been doing it now for about 8 years with several galleries showing my work. I still take commercial illustration jobs here and there to make ends meet, but painting my own ideas is what satisfies me most; especially when they sell!

(ironing, sewing, etc.) with a large Russian woman model that has been very popular. UJ: Do you do shows all over the world or do you just send the work to galleries? Or a combination of shows and gallery sales? EB: I do a few plein air competitions on the West Coast and one on the East Coast each year. Last year I won the top prize of “Artists Choice” at Sonoma Plein Air in California,

UJ: What is your work routine? EB: I was told by a painter friend many years ago to work from life whenever possible, so I paint “en plein air” (outdoors in the field) doing landscapes, and also from live figure models in the studio. I also work from photos and my own sketches. A typical day of painting is broken up by marketing via web site, blog, Facebook, etc. and email/ phone calls with clients, galleries and artist friends. Also, being self-employed means wearing a lot of non-paying hats that bite into production time; runs to the art supply store, bank, post office, Fed Ex, library, galleries, etc. It makes for long days at times! UJ: Is music a big part of your life? EB: I wish someone would have made me learn music when I was a kid. Now all my time goes into art, but music has always been an influence. I grew up with R&R, but now listen to a variety of sounds including Jazz Samba, old acoustic blues, and classical music. I often listen to my iPod while painting out of doors. UJ: Can you please tell us about some of your themes in recent years? EB: Blues and Jazz have been at the forefront, but I enjoy painting the female figure too. Lately I have been doing a series of domestic scenes


The Switch Witch and took Second Place at Plein Air Easton in Maryland. I also send work to my galleries in Seattle and Scottsdale, where I will have a solo figure show next January. This September, I had a solo landscape show entitled “Summerland” in a gallery here in Portland. UJ: When we visited your studio, you had a nice collection of notebooks and books for inspiration. Can you please tell us about some of the most important artists in your life?

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

EB: Well, Rick Griffin was the first (along with Frazetta) when I was a teenager but nowadays I’d have to list Dean Cornwell, Frank Brangwyn, Sorolla, the early California Impressionists, the Taos 10, Canadian 7, and a long list of dead illustrators and living fine artists like Daniel Pinkham and Steve Huston, just to name a few. The list is always getting longer of course, but these guys are at the foundation. UJ: Do you think that art is under-appreciated by the majority of Americans today as compared with when you were younger, or in the past? EB: Definitely. Perhaps no less than when I was younger, but certainly more than before TV and the Internet came along. Today’s society has been conditioned by (grown up with, really) several popular mediums that move, talk and respond to the point where traditional mediums like painting get overlooked. I have, however, seen a backlash in the digital world where people (artists mostly) are turning back to traditional media for a more human, hands-on connection to creating. Hopefully, this will spill over to a need in the general public. Bottom line is people have to be educated to what good and real art is and what it isn’t. There are a lot of things vying for people’s attention out there. UJ: There have been some amazing prices at auction for comic book art recently which leads me to believe that the line between “fine art” and “illustration art” is becoming less clear. What are your thoughts on this subject? EB: Comic book art is “illustration” in my mind, and having worked professionally in both fields there is a definite line between it and Fine Art, although I think each is just as valuable as the other. Comic art has endured a harsh stigma of “lesser value”, much like the pulps did in the days of “slick” magazines. Today comics enjoy a higher level of sophistication because of their fond link to the baby boomer generation and our appetite for entertainment. When I first began attending the San Diego Comic Con many years ago, it was primarily about the comic industry.

Now it’s a wide crossover of pop media including movies, gaming, Anime, etc. It’s all art with a range of value determined by the eye of the beholder, so while I agree that the lines have blurred on what “art” is, there are still many differently labeled genres to be recognized for their contributions in art. UJ: We interviewed Robert Williams, the co-founder of Juxtapoz Magazine in our last issue and he talked about what he sees happening to art in the future. What do you predict? EB: I think it will continue to evolve. The desire for expression and need for beauty will always remain as long as right-brained people exist. There have always been “movements” in art and that will continue too. I believe that God is the first creative being there ever was, and that his creation is what man references in all that man creates, whether it be fantasy or reality. When creativity dies the human spirit dies, so man will continue to create. As to what and how, who knows, one thing is for sure with 7 billion people on this planet and the bridging of a global community, there ought to be plenty of interesting styles and mediums yet to come to an ever-widening audience. And hopefully there will still be room to appreciate painters like me! UJ: We hear that George Lucas is opening up a museum to show his collection of illustration art. Have you heard about this and what are your thoughts? EB: I know he has quite a collection, so that would be cool. I turned down a project for him once. He was putting a book together of various artists’ interpretations of his Star Wars characters; but the problem was he wanted all rights to the art after publication, and this was an unacceptable work-for-hire situation (something that is very bad for ‘creatives’). Regardless of his business practices though, I think if you own a lot of nice, golden age illustrations you ought to share them with the public before it’s forgotten. UJ: Please tell us what you are planning in the coming years? EB: I plan (hope) to keep on painting. It’s a learning process that really searches the soul, much more than illustration (commercial art) ever did for me. I do it for myself first as an exploration into what I am and what I am interested in and not to sell, promote or exploit someone else’s agenda. I have been blessed to make a full time living as an artist for over 30 years now, and I would like that to continue on. I still have a mortgage, and a daughter to put through college. My wife works hard taking care of us, and I work hard providing for them doing what I love. I think that’s the key. If you do what you love and are passionate about it, doors open. I may not get rich, but then that’s not why I went down this path to begin with. 


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

Phil Ortiz, Eric Bowman, & Phil Yeh

Tofu Scramble Ranchera by Louie Pérez

• 2 green onions • 1 block of firm tofu • ½ tsp ground turmeric • 1 small can chunky salsa (I use Herdez Salsa Casera) • Salt (to taste) • Black pepper (to taste)  Fully chop onions—chive and all. Drain liquid from package and crumble tofu (not too crumbly!) into a medium-sized, non-stick skillet (or add a little olive oil to the old one your grandma left you) in ¼ cup warm water. Dissolve turmeric and add to heated tofu; mix until tofu is well-covered and eggy-yeller. Add salsa, green onion, salt, and pepper. Simmer under medium heat until liquid evaporates (not dry). Serving suggestion: Roll up in flour tortillas with grated soy cheese for a great backpack breakfast burrito (I love remembering I packed one...they’re good cold and there’s nothing that can spoil.). Or leave out the salsa and add sliced veggie hot dogs for a delicious trailer park weenie and eggs. Try some right out of the fridge on sour dough bread with a little Veganaise for “egg” salad sandwiches. After awhile, you’ll find yourself getting creative by adding olives, green beans, mushrooms, action figures—anything you would put into scrambled eggs—and guess what? Your dairyeating friends will never know the difference (hey, hey!).    Louie: “No animals were injured in the making of this dish—so love ‘em and leave ‘em alone!”  

More than three decades have passed since Los Lobos released their debut album, Just Another Band from East L.A. Since then they’ve repeatedly disproven that title—Los Lobos isn’t “just another” anything, but rather a band that has consistently evolved artistically while never losing sight of their humble roots. Perez, the band’s drummer, once called their powerhouse mix of rock, Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B, blues and traditional Spanish and Mexican music “the soundtrack of the barrio.” Three decades, two more Grammys, a worldwide smash single (“La Bamba”) and thousands of rollicking performances across the globe later, Los Lobos is surviving quite well -- and still jamming with the same raw intensity as they had when they began in that garage in 1973. The band chronicles a key moment of their expansive journey on Disconnected In New York City, a dynamic live album that marks the band’s 40th anniversary. ©PJ Grimes. All rights reserved. Louie’s recipe is featured in The Backstage Gourmet Cookbook: Favorite Vegetarian Recipes from the World of Music by PJ Grimes and Steve Hoffman. Tune into The Backstage Gourmet Radio Show with PJ Grimes every Monday, 1-2 p.m. PT, live on, where we’re always stirring up great talk, great music, and great green cuisine. Web site: Email: 

About Los Lobos

Multi Grammy Award winners Los Lobos (Spanish for “The Wolves”) was formed in 1974 by David Hidalgo, Conrad Lozano, Louie Pérez, and Cesar Rosas. “We all came from the same high school. We were friends before we were ever a band. I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve been around as long as we have,” says Louie. Louie learned guitar at twelve, then joined the band as a guitarist, but later switched to drums when the group decided they needed a drummer. Originally, the foursome from Garfield High School in East Los Angeles started out as a rock band, but soon chose a more traditional Mexican acoustic style. By adopting music from Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B, blues as well as the traditional Mexican songs from their roots, Los Lobos developed one of the most distinct and original sounds to come about in decades.


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

Staying Healthy Through the Holidays

The holidays are right around the corner and so is cold and flu season. Itʼs time for the department stores and malls and the emergency rooms to start filling to capacity as we battle for bargains and battle seasonal illness. We are warned to get our flu shots which are made readily and widely available. Many of us comply but get sick anyway. Is there a reason these two situations always seem to coincide? Is it inevitable that so many of us become ill simply because itʼs “that time of year”? We have a health care system we rely on to keep us healthy, which should be thought of instead as a disease management system. It has nothing to do with our health and wellbeing. Our doctors are not trained in wellness and we should not hold the expectation that they can or will do anything to keep us well. Our western medical professionals are educated in ways to assist us once we have become sick. Our wellness is up to each of us and there is no better time to address this issue than now, the pre-holiday cold and flu season, which is already well underway. I’ve been an acupuncturist for 26 years. People come to me with all sorts of health issues. The most prevalent thing I see at this time of year is a feeling of low energy and depression. Every day I hear, “I just want to curl up and take a nap. I don’t have the energy to get it all done. I feel so depressed.” There is nothing wrong in most cases. We are simply out of harmony with the rhythm of the natural world. Everything in the natural world responds to the shortening days and the diminishing available light. Foliage


dies back, many species prepare for hibernation. Everything begins to slow down, to shift and change in accordance with the coming winter. This is the natural conclusion of another cycle of growth and activity. Itʼs time to slow down. This time of year is meant as a time to draw inward for reflection and renewal. If we don’t live in accordance with this natural energetic cycle, if we work against it, we suffer the consequences. The pre-holiday sales have already started. We’re hammered with advertising telling us to get a jump start on our holiday shopping. Our calendars are filling with dates for parties and trips to visit families and friends. Plans are being made. The gift buying, decorating, baking, entertaining; so many things to be done, so much to think about and to fit into our already packed schedules. The stress builds. The pace begins to speed up, our activity level revs up to frenzied proportions and reaches a crescendo of overindulgence by December 31st, in time for us to greet a new year exhausted from too many late nights, too much food and drink, and most likely several pounds heavier. Along the way we get sick. No time for rest and self-care, we must ‘do’ the holidays. At precisely the time of year when we should be slowing down and pulling inward to restore ourselves, we speed up and get busier than ever. Our bodies have no choice but to try and put a stop to the insanity by sending us straight to bed with chills and fever, hacking coughs and body aches. Here in Southern California we are most susceptible, because we have no awareness of the natural seasons, we don’t have much of a winter. The tendency to keep going full speed ahead is not deterred by ice and snow. But what our bodies respond to at the deepest level is the shift in available light. As the days shorten we naturally slow down. In our driven behavior we force the body to act against its natural rhythm; and illness is the logical outcome. We must be more aware, more conscious of our needs, more present to what we require for good health and disease prevention. We must slow down and become present to the messages coming from our own internal wisdom which is intrinsically linked to the natural world. We all know what to do if we pay even minimum attention. Here are some suggestions to get us through the holiday season in good health and good cheer: Less is more: Make this your holiday motto. Indulge in less impulsive eating and drinking which burdens the body and makes us more susceptible to illness. Keep it simple: Go for simplicity in your gift giving. Remember this season is not about “stuff and things”. Itʼs about being together, giving thanks and appreciation from a heart level, and being present to one another. Pay attention: Take moments here and there to notice how you are feeling so you don’t get too far out of a healthy rhythm. Exhausted? Rest. Calendar too packed? Decide what is not necessary and whittle it back a bit. Nourish yourself properly: Too many sweet treats? Pay attention to how sugar is sending you into a tailspin and go for protein to ground and re-center you. Don’t skip meals and then overindulge while in social settings. Get more sleep: The days are shorter and the nights are longer. Sleep a little more and you will have more energy during the day to be present to what is important. More time spent in restorative sleep will allow you to get away with a few late nights and parties without blowing out your immune system. Self-care and awareness is the way to stay healthy in any season. The best part is, when others see what you do to be well, they give themselves permission to do the same. The result is a higher level of health and happiness and more time to spend together in gratitude and good cheer. This is the ultimate gift to yourself and your loved ones.  Wishing You Healthy Holidays, Theresa Van Ornum, L. Ac. Redlands Acupuncture (909)793-9573

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

Landscaping continued from page 9 it was kind of rinky dink. Some of the stuff that they did in the class I thought “I don’t really need this and I don’t really want to be inside.” I loved working outside. I think it’s in each person. Some artists are mediocre; there are other artists that really strive to do good work: something you’ll always remember. I wanted to do something that can be enjoyed years from now. Long after I’m gone, this will be enjoyed by somebody else. Who knows, even 100 years from now it will still be here. It’s almost impossible to kill the kind of landscape I have done in my yard. You would have to not like landscaping at all and turn the water off completely. Even if you did that, it wouldn’t look as good, but it would live. I go back to jobs that I did 30 years ago and I am amazed that they are exactly the same, but everything is matured. It’s so beautiful.

brokers. It can be quite expensive for big trees. Palm trees anywhere from $6,000 to $7,000 for a big Canary Island Palm. Those are the big palms with magnificent trunks that you see in front of estates. It’s funny because they are actually a weed. They have literally taken over the canyons, because they are very invasive and non-native. They have taken over the oak trees in the canyons; but they are worth a lot of money when you put them in the right setting.

UJ: How many homes do you guess you’ve done? BM: At least 250 homes. I designed pools and waterfalls. We used to do a lot of what is called hard scape. Then we would do the soft scape around the hard scape. UJ: So you can make a good living from the planting? BM: Oh yeah, I was busy for years. When somebody called me and wanted my services, I would go over and meet with them. I would try to get ideas from them of what they wanted. A lot of people didn’t have any ideas. They would say “We have this amount of money and we don’t want a pool.” Then I would work up ideas for them. As the jobs progressed, people would come home from work and be amazed. Sometimes we would have a flat lot when they left for work in the morning and when they got home there would be 45 or 50 yards of top soil all mounded and sculptured in their front yard. It would take off from there and then you would go get the plants. Sometimes getting together with the customers on the plants would be something I would like to stay away from because it was very time consuming going to the nursery with the husband and wife, showing them acres of plants. I would usually take them to a retail nursery because everything is labeled and is a smaller nursery. You could get a feel for the plants they like. Some people wanted 36” boxes or 48” boxes. We’d crane them in. They wanted big, now. Commercial clients want to make the building look filled in, so you’d have to start with big stuff. You’d have to go locate it. A lot of times you can use plant


Bernie Mases “painting” his landscape

UJ: You mentioned you received an award? BM: I’ve been in a couple of magazines. I came up with this unique idea. It’s outdated now. It was railroad ties put on end with clay pipes in between. I created a screen for this guy’s front yard in La Jolla about 25 years ago. I look at it now and I don’t like the railroad tie look anymore, but at the time everybody used railroad ties. He was so impressed by it that he called Sunset Magazine. I thought it was a joke, but one day I was over at my partner’s house. He got Sunset Magazine and I saw a picture of me kneeling down by the wall. They never notified me. Then I got some pool awards. I was sitting in spas and noticed that females get hot right away and want to get out. They just stand there and talk while everybody else is enjoying the spa. I

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

didn’t want a whole pool, so I designed a slide that went down to a cooling off pool that was no bigger than the actual spa; so everybody could still converse, either in the spa or the cooling off pool. Then I had a waterfall, so when the water circulated and you sat in the spa, you could get under the waterfall. The waterfall would go over where you could slide into the cooling off pool. I made it look like a lagoon with palm trees and plants around it. I got the award for originality. UJ: Sergio Aragones is a cartoonist for MAD Magazine. When you’re a cartoonist, you’re thinking of ideas all the time, even if you’re not drawing. Sergio and I both go in the garden because what better place to think? People outside think, there’s a guy, he’s supposed to be inside his studio at a drawing table. No; you’re thinking of your best ideas when you’re outside. I’m trying to get across to all artists-musicians, anyone, to just take time to get back to nature. Bernie, I know you have a big love of music. So you think about George Harrison, just mentioning one musician. What about George did you learn? BM: I learned first of all being with the Beatles was not fulfilling for him after a while. As a matter of fact he said the first time he dropped LSD, he stood there in a room one night and said “What is this all about? What is all this screaming all about? What is all this chaotic, being together with these three personalities?” He bought an estate with 35 acres in England and started gardening. He said it took a while, but he became more fulfilled by working in his yard than he ever did working with the Beatles. He got to a point where he didn’t want to do interviews anymore, he didn’t want to play; he just wanted to live his life. When he left that 35 acres and went outside, he said to himself, “What am I doing here?” He wanted to go back in (to his property). You can imagine living like that and having people reaching for you and trying to get a piece of your hair and your clothing. After seven years he was totally burned out. He said he was closest to God in the garden. UJ: You see all the lizards, butterflies, hummingbirds, and birds. It’s amazing. BM: The lizards here like to come down to the wall. Last week my friend and I were playing this new CD of Hiromi, who is an unbelievable Japanese keyboardist. One by one, the lizards came down on the wall and he took a picture Landscaping continued on page 28

Interview with Breaking Bad Writers’ Assistant Gordon Smith By Michael Carvaines

Uncle Jam would like to welcome Michael Carvaines as our new Film Editor. Michael Carvaines is a writer, director, and producer who lives in Los Angeles. He writes the movie blog Spectacle and Truth, and can be reached at, or via Twitter: @MicarPro

The keeper of the secrets on Breaking Bad is now free to speak. Gordon Smith started as a production assistant three years ago and was soon promoted to the executive assistant of show creator Vince Gilligan, and writers’ assistant. If you’ve watched the DVD extras, you’ve seen him in the writers’ room; he’s the bearded dude with the laptop. After the series finale, we discussed the show’s creative process, its themes and Walter White’s legacy. We met over a cup of tea without Stevia.   Michael Carvaines: Prior to joining the show did you watch it, and what was your initial impression?  Gordon Smith: I don’t have cable, but I watched the first season on DVD. I loved it. I was hooked after the third episode when Walt kills Krazy-8.  That may be my favorite episode. That just seems to me the point where Walt makes his first cold-blooded decision. Walt constantly has to make the decision to stay in or get out, and everything is pointing to him to get out. But he still stays in. From that point on I was hooked. MC: So you joined the team and started researching crystal meth? GS: Pretty much. I’ve done a lot of random research on how to make meth. During Season 3 when we had to build the super meth lab, I researched designs and schematics for what they look like. I pulled a bunch of photographs from online and gave them to the writers. Thankfully, we had support from the DEA and our production design team. We rely on our consultants for their expertise, like Dr. Donna Nelson, who helped with a lot of technical chemistry. We reached out to poison experts, law enforcement, lots of people. I once had to research if it’s legal to burn money. We also had a pitch that came up about the IRS, and my mom happens to be a tax


attorney with experience with the IRS, so she helped out. She was happy to help. MC: What were some of the show’s inspirations and references? GS: The writers were very inspired by The Godfather, The French Connection, White Heat, and of course westerns, The Searchers, Once Upon A Time in the West, all of Sergio Leone. We saw the show as a modern western, and the location in Albuquerque was crucial. In terms of structure, we were influenced by Casino and Goodfellas, and the Godfather movies— those great crime dramas were fantastic inspiration. Visually, early on, the kind of loose handheld look of The French Connection was a touchstone. As the show went on, that look evolved. As Walt changes, you can see that the filmmaking style changes. The shaky, hand-held style of the early seasons gives way to a more classic style:  more dollies, locked-off shots, more steadicam, more push-ins. Directors would pitch shots to Vince, such as a dolly-in, and usually these shots suggested themselves from the script. And they were appropriate to the part of the journey the story was in. If the shot fit the mood, we did it. In the end, Vince is a very visual filmmaker, and had specific ideas, so he knew whether each director’s suggestion would fit or not.  For example, Scott Winant pitched the shot of Walt at the end of episode 4.11 where he’s under the house and the camera rises up off his laughing face. Vince liked the idea, and the crew went over and above to make it happen—the grips had to jury-rig a setup that approximated a technocrane, which we couldn’t afford. MC: Breaking Bad had a very timeless feel. The show could have taken place anytime in the past 20 years, or even a pre-apocalyptic future. How do you write that? GS: We were careful to keep the story focused on Walt and his chronology. We focused on the pure drama and the structure, which makes it more of a classic tragedy. We kept politics out of things, which I think helped keep it timeless. Current events can make things very dated, which I think helped keep it a more universal story. Much of it came from the production side. Our production design team would keep calendars and documents with dates on them to a minimum. We used music that came from all eras. Sometimes things snuck in: a couple new cars, things like that. And sometimes our post team caught things that had to be painted out. It was a very conscious, very purposeful decision. It always seems to be springtime in Albuquerque: not too hot, not too

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

cold. But we shot a lot during winter and had to keep the snow, ice, actors’ breath, all that coldweather stuff out. SPOILER ALERT: We discuss the series finale below. MC: The show touches on several great American themes:  greed, second chances, secret lives, and legacies. For me, this was most represented by Walt’s barrel of money. Which theme resonated most for you? GS: To me the theme was “Do you want what you think you want?”  Walt thinks he wants money. In the beginning he sets a goal. By the end of the series he’s blown past that. Some people take the show to have some kind of political message, but I feel like there’s more of a moral lesson. If you’re setting out money to be the end-all be-all, that may not be the way to success or happiness. The journey Walt has ends with that mixing drum in the meth lab; his greatest bond is with that horrible thing - a chemical vat, this thing that’s how he sent poison into the world. That’s the one thing with which he had the truest bond. And that’s the horror, here. I think the show has a moral center and a judgment about that which comes from Vince’s deep sense of morality. MC: How long did you know about the ending? GS: Not long. It wasn’t planned from the beginning. There were some vague notions. We started the discussion by asking ‘Is Walt going to die?’ But we didn’t take that for granted. We had to talk through it. We asked, is there a world where he ends up in witness protection? Is there a world where he ends up in prison?  We ran through those options. We kept coming back to the idea that Walt probably had to die. But again, that was not something that was set. MC: When were you having these conversations? GS: At the beginning of the last season. And all along as it approached. We kept checking in. Is this where we want to go? We had that discussion every three episodes, at least. We built this show brick by brick. Every step along the line, we asked if we’re on solid ground. Can we keep going? Do we need to change something? Once we knew we were ending, once we knew this was it, we starting asking about the specifics. We had to figure out: when is Hank going to die? What’s that confrontation going to be?  What happens to Walt’s family?  Is Walt going to leave?  Is Jesse going to prison? One pitch idea that kept Breaking Bad continued on page 37

Book Reviews by Phil Yeh

The Art of Alex Nino

Published by Auad Publishing I have known Alex Nino a long time. He drew a logo for this publication in 1976, which we still use today on my editorial page. I have never been shy about telling people who ask me about my influences that Nino is one of my very favorite artists. I did not try and copy his style. It’s absolutely impossible to copy Nino’s work. Instead, I learned from him that to be original as an artist, any kind of artist, you had to develop your own way of doing things. I had a chance to interview Nino at the second annual San Diego Comic Fest in October 2013. This is a smaller convention that actually celebrates the writers and artists who create the work, unlike the


much bigger San Diego Comic Con which has become a mass of fans who mostly love films, TV shows, video games and licensed products made from the works of writers and artists. Sadly, most of these people have very little interest in who created the actual work. But some argue that with over 100,000 people there, you can still do okay as an artist. San Diego Comic Con has attracted more movie and TV stars every year which has made it very unfriendly to the average person who doesn’t like long lines. Hollywood now runs the show and many artists just hope for their big break by showing their work there. But as a creator, I much more prefer a smaller crowd of more serious types of fans who actually appreciate good art and writing. Our Comic Fest audience for my talk with Nino was good, and since we had booked the cover for this 40th edition of Uncle Jam many months ago, I thought I would run a review of this book now. Then in our spring 2014 issue, we’ll have an Alex Nino cover and lead interview.

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

Manuel Auad is the publisher of The Art of Alex Nino. He has been a friend of Nino’s for many decades and did a wonderful job on selecting what work to include. There is brilliant black and white work that should excite anyone with even a slight interest in drawing. There is some color comic book illustration as well and Nino’s dynamic recent oil paintings are represented all in full color. This book is perfect gift for anyone who aspires to become an artist or just a great book to enjoy as a fan of great art. The story of a 6 year old boy drawing in the sand with a twig completely captures the joy of art in the introduction of his life at the beginning of the book. Nino came from humble beginnings in the Philippines, where he was born in 1940, to gain international acclaim in the seventies. He worked in Filipino Comics at the start of his career and came to the attention of DC comics in the early 70s for a style that completely dazzled the American publishing world. Nino was given an

Inkpot Award in 1976 at the San Diego Comic Con. The Inkpot Award is our comic book equivalent of an Oscar. A great big book of his art called Satan’s Tears was published in 1977, but Nino did not see a penny from this project. He went to work in animation in the mideighties working for Marvel Productions and Disney Studios. Nino’s style can be seen in the animated films Mulan, The Emperor’s New Groove, Atlantis and Treasure Planet. Jim Steranko, one of the most innovative comic book illustrators and writers, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. had this to say about Nino: “The Filipino Invasion of the early 1970s visually transformed American comics with an infusion of high quality craftsmanship and unbridled energy. Alex Nino emerged as one of the spearhead figures of the movement, towering above it with extraordinary output and, more importantly, a virtuosity of equal parts integrity, ingenuity, and imagination. His aesthetic statement --- ranging from the ultra real to the profoundly surreal---is a provocative challenge to all those who embrace imagery and the narrative arts.” Book Reviews continued on page 30


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

Editorial continued from page 3 will try and give you an idea of how we started this publication over 40 years ago. This is from my memory, so if you were there and have different memories, please write us! In the fall of 1972, I started at Cal State University Long Beach. I was 17, about to turn 18 on October 7, so I knew I had to get my professional career in high gear. I went into the school paper (The Daily Forty-Niner) and told the editor, a nice guy called Ernie Torres, that I had a daily comic strip. He was excited and told me to bring a week’s worth of cartoons in the next day. I lied. I did not have a comic strip. Kids, learn from me, when you say to someone that you have a comic strip, make sure that you have one. Do not lie. That evening, I stayed up all night and drew 4 strips (thankfully, the paper only came out 4 days a week). The next morning, I came in and showed them to Ernie and some other people in the journalism office. They liked it and thus Cazco in College was born. Cazco was very loosely based on yours truly. I made him half-Tibetan and half-Irish instead of halfChinese and half-Scot and Welsh. I made Cazco about a foreign exchange student from Tibet who comes to Long Beach. It was an instant success and I had visions of making money from drawing comic strips in daily newspapers and being world famous, which is something every young artist should dream about. The fall semester flew by and as 1973 got under way, there was a change in editors. The new woman did not like my comic strip and thought I should draw editorial cartoons, which was kind of crazy since CSULB had some brilliant editorial cartoonists at the time (Bill Schorr and Darryle Purcell to name just two at the time, and Steve Greenberg came a little later). I was pretty miffed about losing my comic strip so Mark Eliot and I, along with a group of friends, started thinking about starting our own humor paper on campus. We had been big fans of The National Lampoon and thought a humor paper was just perfect. Needless to say, we didn’t have any money, but that has never stopped us. Mark and I used to argue a lot about names for our various ventures. We had started a small magazine back in Los Alamitos High School called Cement. Mark had suggested calling the magazine Cheese and I said “That’s a dumb name; it would be like calling a magazine Cement.” I think we were standing on the sidewalk in front of my parent’s house in Seal Beach. This time I had a better idea for picking a name. In front of a lot of people in the journalism department at CSULB, I said I would just close my eyes and pick any word at random from the university magazine and that would be the name. My finger landed on an ad for a record store which was selling an album by the group Ten Years After called Uncle Jam. I still haven’t heard the song. Editor Don DeContreras made


Phil & his son Robin in the Cobblestone Gallery, Long Beach c1981 up a better story for the name’s origin years later. We posted some fliers around the campus asking people to join a new free paper. A few people actually showed up, notably cartoonist Roberta Gregory and writer Gregg Rickman. Roberta showed us her wonderful animal cartoons and naturally we picked one of a dead dolphin with a sad lion and ox for our first issue dated November 5, 1973 with the headline, Uncle Jam, Humor Illustrated. Roberta has become best known for her animated series Life’s A Bitch on Oprah Winfrey’s Oxygen network and Gregg did the last interviews with science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, which we ran in this publication. We also turned the material into three books. By 1974, we actually had a 90 minute weekly Uncle Jam Radio Show at Cal State University Long Beach, with Tim Keenan as our engineer. We were busy thinking of ways to make this publication bigger by 1975. We wanted to take it off campus into the real world. Most of the staff thought we should change the name, so in January 1975 Cobblestone was born, with Uncle Jam as a quarterly section devoted to comics, science fiction and fantasy. In November 1975, Helen Arterburn, the kind older editor of the Marina News (where I did part time layout) handed me a single-spaced, long press release written by Jerry Siegel, the co-creator of Superman. Helen thought that I should follow up on this story. So Associate Editor Randy Kosht and I drove up to interview Jerry Siegel in his Los Angeles apartment. He was in his early 60s by then and very bitter about the whole Superman fight for justice for himself and Joe Shuster, the original artist. He had mailed out hundreds of press releases hoping that someone in the media would pick

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

up the story of how these two teenagers from Cleveland had been ripped off by the big company. But no one called. We were a small monthly paper, but I knew that a lot of artists, writers and journalists read us. We ran the story on November 20th of 1975 and on November 25, The Los Angeles Times covered Siegel and Shuster’s plight. Major areas of the media began to pick up the story within the week. Among the many people Siegel and Shuster talked to were: Tom Snyder of The Tomorrow Show; The New York Times; The Today Show; ABC, NBC, CBS, and Rolling Stone Magazine. Warner Brothers, who owns DC Comics, worked out a settlement with the creators; nothing even close to what Superman has earned over the years. As the decades have passed, I am forever speaking to creative people about owning their creations. We also increased our distribution area all the way down the coast to San Diego from Los Angeles. I had attended the first San Diego Comic Con in 1970, where I met Ray Bradbury and Jack Kirby. There were about 300 fans at that first con. We wanted to expand the market for comics and science fiction and we used Cobblestone and later Uncle Jam to mainstream these fields. We got to know Shel Dorf, the founder of the San Diego Comic Con and some of the group of teens who started it with him. In the 14th issue of Cobblestone in 1976, we had some poetry from Ray Bradbury. Soon, we had many well-known people from all fields talking with us. Issue 14 had our first full color cover. It was some really intense beautiful full color, hand-cut by Tom Luth. Full color on newsprint was normally done by hand-cutting screens, and the process took many hours compared to today’s layouts done on computer. There is no easy way to explain just how much work went into production before the modern computer age. Google “magazine layout circa 1975” if you’d like to learn more. By the summer of 1976, we had our own office in the back of our own art gallery in Long Beach. The Cobblestone Gallery was soon joined by two other stores in Belmont Shore and Belmont Heights. 1976 saw my first graphic album called Cazco with a cover price of $1.50. I had given up dreams of syndicating a comic strip and wanted to write longer stories. We were based in Long Beach, which was a hotbed of creativity in the 1970s. My friend Richard Kyle owned an amazing bookstore downtown; which sold comic books, fantasy, mystery and science fiction. All kinds of established writers and artists frequented the shop and many aspiring artists and writers came in to learn from the conversations in the store. Unlike most bookstores I have visited, Richard wasn’t shy about expressing his opinions. In 1964, in the Comics Amateur Press Association’s newsletter, Richard coined the term graphic Editorial continued on page 34

Drawing From Life…Helga Luensmann-Wilson Uncle Jam: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and when you started to create art? Helga Luensmann-Wilson: Talking about my background, first my father comes into my mind, because he told me lots of fairy tales and painted the devil for me at my request. He played a lot of classic dramas for kids with an old-fashioned puppet theatre. The puppets were moved with the help of spokes from a bicycle. He promoted the history of military uniforms and recreated the battle of Waterloo with tin figures he made and painted himself. He died in World War II when I was four years old. My mother had to raise my brother and me alone. She was a teacher at a gymnasium in Hannover. My mother insisted on me taking my teacher’s exam before going to art school, and that I did. After that exam, I studied graphic arts in Cologne, concentrating on etchings (aquatints mainly). When I was seven years old I wanted to become a poet and wrote wild stories while it was raining. At the age of fifteen I began to write poetry and drew cartoons until my art teacher, Ernst Wolfhagen, gave me a piece of wood to carve and make prints with. He was a great artist in that category, and encouraged me to do more, so I did. I kept up with it until I met the artist Emil Kritzky, who taught me more. In 1967 I left art school to teach elementary school kids, but was quite unhappy in this. In 1968 I got married to a student from Trinidad /Tobago. I moved to London and worked as an accountant. I then moved to Rome, then to Castel Gandolfo´, then back to Germany, next to Barbados, back to Germany, to Tobago, back to Germany, to St Lucia, to Guyana, to St Vincent, to Atlanta, Georgia, and in 1999 back to Germany, where I am still, having my studio in Göttingen. I started to do art work again in 1992, after years of only writing poetry,


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

because in the meantime I had to raise three kids and fight the daily life. UJ: Your work has an intensity to it. When you make these pieces, are you thinking about a past experience? HW: My pieces have to do with the past as well as with the present, and with vivid dreams. Some, but not all of them, are mainly influenced by my Caribbean experience. UJ: I am particularly interested in your process for creating the work. Can you briefly describe it? HW: Mostly the ideas appear in my head, bothering me for a long time, sometimes. I start with sketches. At last I take a piece of paper, draw two diagonals and place a red point in the center. A Caribbean painter in Guyana taught me this. Then I am convinced that I can’t do my theme at all, that I am handicapped. I start anyway. I feel as if someone is guiding me; there’s a dialog developing. UJ: Have you shown your work outside of Germany? What has been the reaction from the public? HW: I have shown my work in Guyana. I got an interview in the Stabroek News and a quite positive review in the same paper. UJ: What is your philosophy about art? HW: That’s quite a hard question for me to answer. The world we live in would be even more unbearable if art, music or writing didn’t exist. UJ: Do you believe that everyone should draw and paint? HW: Everybody who wants to do art should be creative, without thinking about fame and money.

Williams continued from page 13 all out there to look at, just like social art, but social art just isn’t something that I care to do. It’s not that I don’t appreciate it, I think it’s limiting. Just like I would think Photorealism is limiting. I think it’s fabulous art, fabulous skill, the product is wonderful to look at but I’m more interested in what comes out of someone’s imagination, but that’s just me. UJ: It’s like looking at Chuck Close’s paintings. Actually if you look at Chuck Close, he’s not painting realistically. He’s painting abstract and he’s making a realistic image; whereas Photorealism to me is like “Wow, that’s really great skill.” I understand it’s a great skill to paint, but I’ve been arguing for 40 years that comic art is as worthy as my painting, my watercolors. SW: You’re certainly not going to get an argument from me about that. Some of the best artwork has been comic book art. Look at the EC comics. Let alone the Underground, when they all started coming out. I totally agree with you, but it’s hard to convince people who are limited in their thinking. Especially it’s hard to convince the fine art world to accept too much, because they’re trying to keep their place that they’ve worked so hard to establish. From their point of view, they can’t let just everything and anything in. They will lose their footing and their power. UJ: I think when I go to museums sometimes and I see what I consider just terrible and I think somebody is allowing this in the museum. Why? That same person would make a case “Oh, comic or illustrative art is terrible,” Ultimately art is someone’s opinion. I think of the Emperor’s new clothes. A lot of times I’m thinking “Really, this is somebody’s work?” SW: Well, you know, when you start thinking about that type of art, it also needs a dialog to go with it to explain to you the purpose and why it was painted and why it’s there, and many whys. That gives art critics and writers something to write about. It’s just a different world and to me, you can’t expect to try to become part of somebody else’s world if they don’t want you to. It’s kind of like my opinion of the antique car world and hot rods. They’re both cars and they have a lot in common, but when I go to an antique car show, I’m really happy to see just them. I don’t need to have hot rods there too. There are a lot of hot rod car guys who think they need to break into all the car meets and show their hot rods. I get their point, they want to go to lots of different events and they like the antique cars and they want to merge it. There’s something to be said for keeping things separate. Trying to totally break into the fine art world with comic books if they don’t want it there is not always the best-case


scenario. You can create your own separate thing, which sometimes might turn out better and might be more interesting than trying to change and take over this other area. Sometimes just leave something the way it is and it’s OK to be separate. Non-acceptance sometimes is a blessing. Like my art. It’s not accepted that well. It’s not that popular. It sells; it’s not quick selling usually, but those aren’t my aspirations. I’m happy when it sells. To me the main point of doing my painting is for me to express what I think I want to see. Then if something sells, it’s actually the culmination of the process; so the ones that don’t sell have never completed their cycle. You don’t always connect. If you connect with someone and they’re willing to buy it, the whole process has reached the end point, which is to me an important thing. That doesn’t always happen and that’s fine. For me I don’t need or search out a success level that major. My goal is to leave enough of a mark where a hundred years from now, it will still be around. There are a lot of people who aren’t like that. That is not what Bob is feeling. He feels he would rather have success now. I don’t mind a certain amount of anonymity. It’s kind of like being reincarnated and living on, if they remember you in 100 years, and I’d rather have that.

Some people take a harder path, some take an easier one. It really doesn’t matter in the end. Think back on yourself when you were younger and starting. It was hard to influence me to do anything. If somebody tried to get me to go one way, I would just do the opposite because I didn’t want to be told what to do. You can only put it out there and hope somebody is inspired by it or possibly affected by it in a way that it changes the course of their life, or their direction, in a way that was helpful to them. If not, you have to often go through all the downsides and criticism and faltering in order to know the right way. If we didn’t have bad things happen we wouldn’t know what good things were. You always need the balance. I’m not often thinking in terms of trying to influence people. I just hope that they kind of react like I do to things that are inspiring and motivating.

UJ: I agree. My favorite painter is Van Gogh. The more I learned about him the more I really loved his spirit. He put that into his work and you know he didn’t really sell in his lifetime, but who cares? I went from being a young artist and wanting to make money to not caring about money at all. I was thinking ten years ago, it doesn’t really matter if anybody knows my work, that’s not why I do the work. I do the work because I have to do it. SW: As an artist everybody’s always gonna tell you what they think you should paint, some people take suggestions and it works great for them and some people don’t want to. I don’t fault anybody that doesn’t have my opinion, or doesn’t work the way I work, or think they need to achieve what I’m trying to achieve in the way I’m trying to do it. I just don’t want people to pressure me into doing what they think I should do. That’s all.

UJ: It’s mindboggling to me that with all the Google and all this stuff, there are a lot of people who don’t seem to know anything. Just the simplest reference, they have no idea. SW: I think we’re coming to a time when people and especially younger people just starting their life, have everything presented to them that they need to know; and there’s a reference place or a place where they can go to find out everything if they want to. So you don’t really need to have the same level of historic reference like we all grew up with; which I agree, I think that’s not such a good idea. I think it’s better to have a little of it in your brain. But when I was studying mathematics, I hit physics and you were allowed to use a table of references without having to calculate everything. It strikes me that this is what the world is like now to people who are growing up. They know if you Google something you can find anything out. You might think they know nothing, but they know a lot. They know how to work all those gadgets they grew up with. They’re completely literate in all that. They have that reference point of being able to understand and figure out so many things. Me being me, I think they’re missing a lot. Maybe they’re not, though, from their point of view and their world. Maybe they’re on the right course for what’s the course for them.

UJ: I think that’s really important for the young artists that I meet, they’re searching for their own way and I think a lot of young people make a mistake. They think “This guy’s commercial, this style is commercial; I better do the same skulls or tikis.” SW: That’s not a mistake, because that is the path that they need to take to get to either changing what they do, or staying with that, or quitting art totally. Everyone has to take their own path and you can only influence people so much and that’s a good thing, that people have in mind what they think their paths should be.

UJ: It remains to be seen. SW: Yes, it does, and I think it’s good that there are a whole bunch of us out there that are sticking to our old skills. Not that we’re phobic about the new skills, but I spent too long developing these skills and I just want to fulfill my ambition in the skills I’ve developed. That’s OK with me. I don’t have to be the new hot thing happening. There are others like that and when it all crashes, we’ll be around to help them along; and if it doesn’t crash, that’s alright too. We’ll live in a parallel universe. 

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

An Interview with Bob Fingerman

John Kerschbaum, to name but a few. And that’s just domestic talent (and yeah, I’m including Canada as domestic). UJ: What would you say to a young artist or a young writer who is just getting into this field? BF: No idea. I’d have to see his or her work. There is plenty of stuff out there that succeeds, that I would have written off as rubbish. In contrast there’s stuff I like that hovers just above obscure. I’m not much for dispensing advice. I can give encouragement or maybe advice on developing skills and a good work ethic, but as to pursuing it professionally, f--- if I know. I’m still making it up as I go and I’ve been at it for three decades as a pro. UJ: Everyone always assumes that when we make graphic novels, film is in our dreams. Are there plans for a film or a TV show based on Maximum Minimum Wage? BF: Only in my mind, but I’ve wanted it to be a series since its inception. It’s tailor-made to translate to episodic television, or these days, streaming. UJ: Would you like to see your book live-action or animated? BF: See previous. Absolutely. Not animated, though. Why bother? It’s a real world type thing.

Uncle Jam: I got a copy of your graphic novel, Maximum Minimum Wage at the Book Expo America in New York City last May. I sat down and read it from cover to cover over the next few days and I was really impressed. The reviewers all seemed to love your book, too. What’s the real story? Are you living in a mansion now? Bob Fingerman: Har-de-har-har. I realize you’re being extremely, almost exceedingly, facetious; but the minimum wage was actually more than I was getting when I was doing the comic back in the ’90s. If good reviews equaled fortunes I’d be doing okay. But not mansion okay. But I’m not complaining. UJ: It’s very rare to have a writer and an artist of such high level of talent in the field of graphic novels. One person who both draws and writes really well is almost unheard of these days. Who influenced you? BF: That’s very kind of you, but I don’t think it’s true, actually. There are plenty of good writer/ artists. Dan Clowes, Peter Bagge, the Bros. Hernandez, Mike Mignola, Pat McEown, Dave Cooper,


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

UJ: You mentioned in the preface of Maximum Minimum Wage that some of your favorite comedians liked your comic book series. It has always seemed to me that graphic novels should be considered as entertaining as anything we see on TV or film, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in the USA. Any thoughts on expanding the market here in this country? BF: That is the million dollar question. Comics – or graphic novels – have made inroads into the mainstream, so it is happening. But it’s also a rarefied form of entertainment competing with more and more other new media. I think comics like the ones I do ultimately might do better in the future than superhero and action comics because they’re character-driven. Video games seem poised to eventually supplant the action genre. UJ: You manage to capture the details of every situation so well, especially American comic book conventions. Having been to more than a few comic conventions in the states, I have found a large portion of the audience here only semi-literate. What has your experience been? BF: Well, comic cons have gotten so big I wouldn’t generalize that way. And when I’m dealing with my fans they all seem bright and articulate. But the large cons, like New York

and San Diego, are driven by licensed media and movies and video games and so on, not really comics. They’re comic cons in name. Kind of like comic books are called “comic,” even though the vast majority aren’t funny. It’s a name those events are stuck with, like me being stuck with Fingerman. It’s too late to change to something better. But let’s not forget, there are thousands of members of the various fandoms that are really smart and creative. UJ: Have you done any mainstream bookstore appearances or book shows? BF: Just the BEA. Booking signings at Barnes & Noble isn’t easy. I haven’t cracked that one. UJ: Have you been to any conventions abroad? BF: Not yet. I’d love to attend the Angoulême Festival someday. I’m excited to say that Humanoïdes is going to be publishing some of my books in France next year, so that would motivate me to finally go; so maybe 2015. UJ: Has your book been translated into other languages? BF: Between my comics and novels, I’ve been translated into Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese and now French. France has been the market I’ve most desired, so selling to Humanoïdes is a big deal to me. They originated Metal Hurlant, so to be published by them is awesome. I think that’s all, for now. Hoping to finally get translated into Dutch, next. They have a great comics scene. UJ: Can you give us a brief background of your career? BF: Brief? How brief? Like I said: three decades thus far. Okay, brief: started with Harvey Kurtzman, back when I was still attending SVA in ’83. Worked for him. Then, around the same time, got a book deal with Albin Michel in France, but that didn’t really pan out. Worked for Cracked for about three years. Did a lot of editorial illustration, mainly for the Village Voice. Did some stories for Heavy Metal. They don’t hold up too well, but I was thrilled to be working for that magazine, as it completely changed my life at 13 by introducing me to the best artists in the world: Moebius, Corben, Bilal, Margerin, Caza, Tardi, et al. It opened my eyes up, big time, to the potential of comics for adults and as an art form. Did lots of adult comics for men’s magazines, which was easy work. Segued to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for a spell, then finally started doing my own creator-owned stuff for outfits like Dark Horse and Fantagraphics Books. I’ve worked for Marvel and DC, too, so it’s nice to have had a toe in the mainstream as well as the more idiosyncratic stuff I do. UJ: Your artwork is very detailed with a unique white line on black that makes it really stand out. It actually looks great in black and white. What are your methods for creating these comic book pages? BF: Back then I did it all by hand, using white acrylic ink with a crow quill pen. Now it’s a hybrid of traditional and digital. But I’m loath to share all my techniques. I spent too long coming up with them on my own. UJ: Assuming that the art is not on a computer; do you sell your originals? BF: If the price is right, yeah. UJ: Robert Crumb has been showing his originals from his Genesis graphic novel in museums. Do you think that some artists might expand their audience by showing in museums or galleries? BF: Of course they would, but the museums have to want to do that. Some do. Clowes has shown that way; so have Ben Katchor and Art Spiegelman. I’m sure there are others. But like I said, you have to be asked. I just had my first show this summer at the MoCCA Gallery at the Society of Illustrators. That felt very legitimate and it was lovely and flattering to have been asked. A real milestone. UJ: What are you working on now? BF: Back to work, after a nearly 15-year hiatus, on Minimum Wage, now published by Image starting in January 2014 (as a monthly, in 6-issue story arcs, with breathers between arcs to get the next batch going). Speaking of which, gotta get back to work. Thanks. Bye! 


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

A Passion Honored; A Treasure Recovered The Story of Rhoda’s Ocean By John Mottern

Betty Abbott Sheinis was only a few weeks away from her death at age 84 when we met her. Anet James and I, owners of a local art gallery, were immediately enchanted by her warm personality and peaceful spirit. She had been an artist all her life and on this March morning we were all looking at a beautifully illustrated watercolor which she had painted 30 years before. It was the cover artwork for a stunning children’s book depicting forest animals sipping tea in a lush forest setting. It was a book that came very close to being lost forever. We had discovered this book illustration under a pile of laundry in a storage room on the second floor of Betty’s home only a few moments before being introduced to her. It was clearly an important work, a project dear to her heart, produced with incredible skill. The mystery was, “Why had it not been published and where were the missing pages for the book?” “Is this my painting?” she asked, when we showed her the book cover. Her ten years of increased dementia was sadly stealing her ability to recognize and remember her own beautiful works of art. She graciously accepted our praise with an authentic humility. “She was a real lady.” a co-worker from a local library said about her friend. Betty had been a volunteer there for years and had a reputation for having a “…gentle and kind personality.” Since Betty had no memory of producing the painting there was little chance of her telling us the location of the missing pages. This was going to be a treasure hunt and at the same time a unique opportunity to learn more about this inspiring woman’s creative life. We were also given an insight into her sixty-year love affair with her husband, Arnold; her loyal friend and fellow artist. The story of Rhoda’s Ocean begins as many children’s books do with just the facts, clear and to the point. “Wilma Woodchuck and Rhoda Rabbit have always been best friends. Wilma is very neat and Rhoda is not.” Arnold had invited us to the couple’s home in Natick, Massachusetts to see his artwork. As


Betty Abbott Sheinis as a young woman gallery owners, we often visit an artist’s studio to consider their work for exhibition. This particular home was packed with hundreds of pieces of artwork. There were stacks of art piled three and four feet high in the basement, many closets were filled to capacity and virtually every room in the house had the walls covered from floor to ceiling with drawings, paintings and photographs. About half of the art we were viewing was Betty’s work; beautifully crafted

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

watercolors depicting landscapes, city scenes and the ocean. “It was kind of shocking to see the original art for the book cover, peering out from underneath a pile of folded laundry. At first glance we thought it might be an original Beatrice Potter or Tasha Tudor illustration for an unknown book” said Anet James, the publisher of the book. “Oh, that’s Betty’s book” Arnold said when we asked what it was. He had no idea where the rest of the illustrations were or if they even still existed. “Betty kept everything, so they must be here somewhere.” he said. It was clear he wasn’t confident that they would be found. Several weeks after Betty’s death, Arnold woke up in the middle of the night remembering that she had a secret hiding place for her favorite paintings. Beneath her grandfather’s antique bed he found all the original paintings for the book stored safely in an old portfolio. They were in perfect condition. He also found the manuscript for the story printed in a small mock-up she created for potential publishers to review the book. Betty grew up in the Great Smokey Mountains of rural Tennessee, where she was the only daughter of five children. At the age of 19 she received a full scholarship to Cooper Union and bravely moved on her own to New York City to attend the prestigious art school. After graduation, she went on to work as an illustrator for a top advertising agency, The Washington Post, and other newspapers; winning several major awards for illustration during her career. She had met Arnold in the late ‘40’s at Cooper Union, where he was also an art student. Arnold often shares the story of how they met. “I asked her to have a cup of coffee at the local Automat. That was a strong cup of coffee because we were together for sixty years.” Arnold reminisced about this memory with a twinkle in his eye. They went on to be married in 1952 and raised three sons in the same house in Natick, Massachusetts where they had moved in 1970.

They have seven grandchildren, to which the book is dedicated. “I remember her working on the book but I never really paid much attention to it. Betty was always doing artwork even while she was cooking or playing with the boys.” Arnold said. “We would travel and paint together all the time. She liked the mountains and I enjoyed painting by the ocean. I feel like she’s still with me.” he added, holding back the emotion of his loss. At her funeral Arnold gave a moving eulogy, ending with “She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, companion and friend. She was the only woman I ever loved romantically. Goodnight sweetheart, till we meet tomorrow.” I asked Arnold if the characters in the book reminded him of anyone. “I think I was Wilma and she was Rhoda. I liked things to be a little neater than she did.” he replied. “In the story, Wilma Woodchuck and Rhoda Rabbit are best friends even though they are very different. Practical Wilma believes in

neatness, while Rhoda is a dreamer who forgets her shoes and wonders what an ocean looks like. Rhoda’s Ocean celebrates creativity, friendship, and the rewards of being yourself. These messages encourage a positive pursuit of ideas and the value of imagination. I think these are core elements of Betty’s character.” said James. “Rhoda’s Ocean is a classically styled children’s book that celebrates the power of believing in your own dreams while encouraging the pursuit of creative thinking and the value of friendships no matter how different those friends may be from each other. This lovingly illustrated book and the flow of the story speaks to common experiences of creative people of all ages. It also does not preach to children but simply tells a tale with a great message of faith in self.” she added. “I think this will become a classic.” Arnold lives alone now and paints every day in his basement studio. He also works out in the weight room at the new senior center in town and often stops by the Library. During his weekly

visits to the gallery to check on the book’s progress he tells us how much Betty would have loved seeing it finally published. She would have been thrilled. She was a wonderful artist …I miss her very much.” Rhoda’s Ocean was published in October 2012 by Gallery 55 of Natick, Massachusetts and is available on the website www.rhodasocean. com, on Amazon, and in many independent bookstores. Gallery 55 has also donated 30 copies of the book to the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. People in the Gallery’s community, located just west of Boston, have been adding messages and signatures to many of those books. There are a variety of inscriptions offering words of encouragement and support to the Newtown school and community. Contact info: John Mottern (508) 740-0260 

Rhoda dreaming of flying longer Landscaping continued from page 18 and put it on Facebook. The lizards wouldn’t leave. The closest to heaven I’m ever gonna get is when I’m sitting out here listening to my favorite music and looking at what I did in the yard. Just like any other artist, there are things I might redo, just like you in a painting. Maybe I’ll change the color here and over here in the corner I’m gonna add a little bit. It’s been a slow process. UJ: Simon Rodia, who was my favorite sculptor, made the Watts Towers. He started in 1921 and he finished in the 50’s.This one Italian immigrant started by himself; one guy, no cranes, no scaffolding. He built these towers in Watts using bits of glass and pottery. He worked during the day as a tile maker and he would bring scraps home. The Watts Towers were always so magical when I was young and I didn’t know why at the time. Now I realize they have his energy. I think all artists eventually come to the realization you want to make


something magnificent. Like your yard; you’ve made a monument. BM: It’s a reflection of me. It’s progressive, it’s unique. When you can create something and are able to look at it and enjoy it; I think you don’t have to be educated, it’s your talent that nobody else has. UJ: Everything in the corporate world is so much the same. We want to make every WalMart the same. Every McDonald’s looks like the other McDonald’s. They serve the same food. Everything’s the same. Some people say to me, “We love going to McDonald’s because we know what we’re gonna get.” That is the corporate mentality. All around the world you see the corporate mentality on top of everything. The thing that I’m trying to suggest with Uncle Jam is “OK, we know the corporate world exists: corporate music, corporate art, corporate food; and if we all follow this path we’re all gonna be the same. If you’re in Rome, if you’re in Cleveland; it doesn’t matter. You’re gonna live

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

in the house with a corporate design. Windows, TV, everything, is going to be the same. I don’t think this is good. The corporations would argue with me. I’m thinking that we need individuality. We need to express ourselves. So maybe I don’t like hamburgers, maybe I don’t like this kind of music, maybe I don’t like this color. We need to have not only ideas, but we need to have real freedom. BM: Wouldn’t it be a more interesting world if we went that route with everything? I think too, we talk about generations, like our children, our grandchildren, being able to enjoy our art. Not for ego, but just for originality; maybe somebody else will decide they want to do what I did and continue the art. It doesn’t always happen but maybe it will rub off and they can continue. My ideal retirement would be to retire, but to do beautiful landscapes for friends. Something I can go visit, something that I can see fill in over time; living art and a truly great design that unveils itself as it matures. 

The China Study Cookbook by LeAnne Campbell, PHD Review by Linda Yeh

Many studies have shown that whole food, plant based diets can protect against many of the diseases plaguing our society today, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. As we read these reports in books and magazine articles, it is easy to say we should switch to a healthier diet; but when we actually try to put that into practice, it is easier said than done. Sometimes the problem is getting your family to try unfamiliar and “exotic” foods and sometimes it is hard to find the time to try new and time-consuming recipes. Leanne Campbell is the daughter of The China Study co-author Dr. T. Colin Campbell. She has written a cookbook based on the research in Dr. Campbell’s book, to really make it easy to incorporate those ideas into a healthier lifestyle. When you read the title of Campbell’s book, it can be mistaken as an Asian cookbook. This is not the case. This cookbook uses familiar and readily available Western foods. With recipes like Favorite Chili with Pasta, Vegetable Lasagna, Dominican Beans, Mixed Fruit Cobbler, and Vegan Pumpkin Pie, there is something for everyone. We have tried many recipes in the cookbook in the last few months. It has all been delicious. My husband is trying very hard to have a healthier diet and to cut down his meat consumption, but sometimes he is a little worried about what vegetarian meal I’ll make next. He has liked everything I have cooked from this book. Whether you are committed to a complete plant based diet, or just want to eat that way part of the time, this is a great book to have. Campbell has included a lot of tips in the book about nutrition, transitioning to a plant based diet and substituting ingredients. She has listed the preparation time and the cooking time of each recipe to make planning easy. They are all very quick and easy to make, even after a long day of work. The beautiful photos throughout the book also help to make this a very attractive addition to your cookbook collection. For more information visit

Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition By T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Howard Jacobson, PhD A Review by Beth Winokur

Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition is T. Colin Campbell’s followup to his best-selling book, The China Study. Whole addresses criticism that followed The China Study and delves deeper into the science of nutrition to explain how it benefits our bodies and environment. The book also discusses key players and influences on health and nutrition: our medical systems, food industries, pharmaceutical corporations, government policies, and social awareness. Campbell’s mission statement is: Consume plant-based foods in forms as close to their natural state as possible (“whole” “foods”). Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, raw nuts, and seeds, beans and legumes, and whole grains. Avoid heavily processed foods and animal products. Stay away from added salt, oil, and sugar. Aim to get 80 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, 10 percent from fat, and 10 percent from protein. (pg. 7) Seems pretty straight forward, right? He offers plenty of data to support this statement, but somehow those 66 words have not just rattled the apple-cart, they knocked the whole thing over and created a slew of controversy, and – for those that believe in that statement – a “real revolution.” Those that oppose Campbell’s argument for a whole foods plant-based diet (WFPBD) have a stake in maintaining the status quo – that is, an animal-based diet. I view those adversaries as being a two-headed hydra: one head as the corporate food industries, and the other as pharmaceutical corporations. As Campbell puts it, Human health, happiness, and overall well-being cannot and will not be fully advanced by a corrupted free-market model manipulated by its most powerful participants. Instead of holistic nutrition, the free-market engine gives us marketable fragments: supplements and nutraceuticals. When we get sick from lack of proper nutrition, the market engine obliges us with reductionist solutions: patented drugs and expensive surgeries. And through it all, the research community marches to the beat set by industry, masquerading as noble seekers of truth while churning out new ways to make money at the expense of our well-being. (pg. 216-7) Whole, while a heavy read (to say the least), is informative and offers a solution to our health problems. The side effects of those solutions will help the environment, save money, and produce enough


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

This Is a Book

By Paul Tice Review by Rory Murray If you read Uncle Jam, that is nice Because you’ve “powered down” your device. Now if you have the span, I hope that you’ll scan This Is A Book by Paul Tice. A book is a tactile pleasure. The gift of a book is a treasure! There are no obligations. A sweet salutation To enjoy at a person’s own leisure. You won’t see a real book “crash”. Old technology lands in the trash. With books, you won’t squint. Words look better in print. To assume otherwise is just brash. Making paper for books out of trees Is nicer for Ecology. Because people would die if their water supply Was polluted by dead batteries! You can’t loan a book, if you’re proud To a friend if that book’s in a “cloud”. You don’t own it yourself. Like a book on a shelf Your agreement says that’s not allowed. Paul Tice has some keen observations. Knowing books can last for generations. It’s more research than “blog”. A historical log. Sharing wisdom, not dumbing down nations. Used books often increase in value. You can’t say your eBook will. Can you? When it’s obsolete, you may feel the heat To buy a much newer one. Shall you?  food to feed everyone. The solution, according to Campbell, must start at an individual level. Our country’s health problems are repairable – just like our bodies. The solution requires knowledge, a change in our personal eating habits, and sharing the information with others. We don’t have to watch our loved ones suffer, or worse, die from disease, pharmaceutical side effects, or “medical errors” (the third leading cause of death in America). We need to fix our diets; replace them with WFPBD, and create a new hydra with one head being the health of the individual and the other the well-being of humans and our environment.

Book Reviews by Phil Yeh

Legends of the Blues 100 Portraits

Written & Illustrated by William Stout Published by Abrams Comics Arts 2013 “Seasoned fans of the blues or of comics art or R. Crumb---the always elusive, ever-eclectic artist extraordinaire---likely know that the missing musicians above do appear in the series of old-time-blues and jug-band-folk figures painted by Crumb three decades ago, seen first on trading cards, then eventually as part of the Abrams book titled R. Crumb’s Heroes of Blues, Jazz & Country. When popular demand for other blues figures warranted a second, more extensive series to include women, later musicians, and the post-war Chicago blues scene in particular, Crumb was happy to pass the torch to his younger compadre, the equally eclectic Bill Stout.” Ed Leimbecher’s introduction to Stout’s collection captures both his career as an artist and his passion for music. Leimbecher first met Stout at an E.C. Comics Convention in New York City in 1972. I met Stout at about the same time at the San Diego Comic-Con, having been introduced by Scott Shaw! who was one of the early cartoonists to contribute to Uncle Jam. We were all young then and how we would make our way in this field of art was very much an open question. We all had artist mentors who played a role in our careers. Looking back from more than 4 decades perspective, I would say that whatever passions we had as kids really helped shape our artistic and life choices. Stout’s passion for dinosaurs led him to illustrate books about these creatures and also create permanent murals for San Diego’s Natural History Museum. I discovered that many scientists knew William Stout’s work when I was visiting with some paleontologists at the Cleveland Natural History Museum for my own five month art show in 2006. I spent the sixties growing up in a neighborhood in Los Angeles just outside of Watts. My exposure to music was very different than my suburban friends growing up in white neighborhoods. My Chinese father had a passion for Beijing Opera, an acquired taste that never reached me. My Chicago suburban mother loved classical music and both of my parents loved western opera. My friends in Los Angeles loved all kinds of music, with Motown providing the soundtrack to my wonder years during that often turbulent decade.


The rapid-fire events of JFK’s assassination in November 1963, of Malcolm X in February 1965, the Watts riots later that summer, then the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in April and Robert F. Kennedy in June of 1968, awoke even the most apathetic American of my generation. Most Americans discovered The Beatles in 1964 when they debuted on The Ed Sullivan Show. I discovered Bob Dylan and Donovan in the summer of 1965 when I bought my first singles at the age of 10. I loved their lyrics and started to think more about writing along with drawing at that point in my life. I wanted to use my art to try and change the world. We are definitely shaped by our environment and events. Meanwhile in another part of Los Angeles, William Stout was growing up a few years ahead of me. Stout was born in 1949 and he described his own musical discoveries in Legends of the Blues. “My first scrapes with the blues came in the same bass-ackwards fashion that they did for most white baby boomers: not from its rich African American origins but through the British Invasion of the 1960s. Groups like Manfred Mann, the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, Them, and the Animals took our own homegrown American music and dished it right back to us with British flair. Most of us were ignorant of the American sources of their music. It wasn’t long, however, before those same groups led grateful legions of us down that righteous path from the blues in its secondhand form to the Real Thing.” Stout’s extensive knowledge and love of these original artists made him a natural to do these hundred portraits in this book. All the artists covered in this volume were born before 1930 and represent an important understanding about how American music has developed in the 20th century. The format of Legends of the Blues is absolutely perfect for a Facebook attention span generation. Stout captures the biographical highlights on the left hand page in a clear easy to read style and offers us an illustrated full color portrait on the right. You get a real sense from these biographical highlights of the struggles that most of these artists endured. They were playing the blues because they were feeling it themselves in their own lives. Alberta Hunter’s story is amazing. She was born in 1895 and sang until she died in New York City in 1984. Another singer, Helen Humes, started

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

out singing the Blues but evolved into a singer of popular songs. Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee first recorded together in 1940. They toured extensively and ended their partnership in the mid-70s when they would not appear on the same stage together. Perhaps we can trace rap back to Louis Jordan, the jump blues innovator. Stout suggests that Jordan’s Saturday Night Fish Fry (1950) may be a contender for the first rock & roll record because of the word “rocking” in the chorus. Perhaps the most influential blues guitarist was Robert Johnson who was born in 1911 and died at 27 in 1938. It was Robert Johnson who influenced Eric Clapton of the Yardbirds in the 1960s. Stout selected some tracks by various Blues performers in Legends of the Blues on a bonus CD included courtesy of Shout! Factory. Among others on this CD are Robert Nighthawk, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Bukka White and Big Joe Williams. This total package makes this book a great gift for any age. If you truly want to develop and create anything at all, you must have an understanding of history. This is true in all the arts but also with all fields like science, politics, transportation, education, and medicine. I would recommend this book to anyone who really wants to learn about American music and our history in the 20th century.

March Book One

By John Lewis & Andrew Aydin Adapted as a graphic novel by Nate Powell Published by Top Shelf Productions 2013 In 1957 a 16 page comic book was published by the Fellowship of Reconciliation called Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story. This was years before comic books became graphic novels printed on nice paper and nice binding and years before the comic book in the United States had any kind of respect at all. In 1958 John Lewis and other young student activists drew inspiration from the story told in this cheap comic book format that was selling for 10 cents. The important thing about this comic book was the message, and that was told brilliantly in words and pictures. It documented the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 and taught the basic principles of Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolence campaign against the British that

began in India in 1919. To stand up against an armed enemy with no weapon of any kind takes real courage. To face angry dogs, fire hoses, and guns for your beliefs takes unbelievable courage and discipline, but Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others who were with him did it time and again throughout the 50s and 60s in the deep south of the United States of America. This brilliant graphic novel opens with the scene of “Bloody Sunday” which took place on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 1965. Led by Hosea Williams of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and John Lewis, Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, 600 civil rights demonstrators, marching from Selma to Montgomery, were confronted by Alabama state troopers, sheriff’s deputies and posse men armed with tear gas, bullwhips, and Billy clubs. John Lewis suffered a skull fracture that Sunday, just one of 58 people treated for injuries at the local hospital. What I think is really compelling in the scene on the bridge is the conversation before the police attack. Powell’s expressions on the faces are perfect. It takes an experienced graphic novelist to bring so much emotion to these characters without resorting to cliché. It’s no wonder that Powell won some major awards in the field of graphic novels. March Book One weaves in and out of important times effortlessly, taking the reader back to Lewis’ childhood in rural Alabama including his historic first meeting with a young Rev. King, Jr. Millions of people currently face injustice and oppression on this planet. Perhaps, this book can inspire new nonviolent campaigns to make the changes needed for a better world. March will be a three book trilogy, one that should be translated throughout the world.

Follow Your Art Roberta’s Comic Trips By Roberta Gregory

Since this is the 40th anniversary issue, we are talking about many of our old friends and old times. Roberta Gregory and I met back in California State University Long Beach in 1973. My partner Mark Eliot and I really developed an eye for good cartooning back at Los Alamitos. Although we argued over who was better, we both loved comparing various styles and techniques. When Gregory showed us her cartoons that first time we met, Mark and I both agreed that she would have the cover of the first issue of Uncle Jam, November 5, 1973. What I love about drawing comics is the immediacy of this form. You put down your thoughts and almost instantly, you can get it out to the public. It’s kind of like Facebook or Twitter or the like, only in the case of comics, you have a chance to create something that can become actual art. I will let the academics argue what is “actual art” or not. I just know that from the time I first saw Gregory’s cartoons, her art spoke to me. Gregory is perhaps best known for her creation, Bitchy Bitch, but what I really love are these personal stories of going places in Follow Your Art. They can be a simple 5 day trip to the nearby state of Oregon with writer and editor Bruce Taylor or an exotic adventure overseas often as a guest of various countries! One of the rewards from having a long career in comics is having all these comic book conventions invite you as a guest. These cons cover your travel, your hotel


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

and food, which is about the only way that most creative people without a megabuck movie deal can afford to travel. Gregory often has traveled with fellow cartoonist Donna Barr, the creator of The Desert Peach. Both Gregory and Barr have created entirely original series with original characters. Follow Your Art often details things that anyone on a budget would like to know, like how much things cost! If you can imagine a friend writing about their travels, what they ate, what they saw, etc. with little drawings going along with their text, you have this book in a nutshell. Creating your own stories and books is a great way to see the world! I know from my own experience, it really helps to have friends. Often, these friends invite you to stay at their place or to dinner, which is always helpful when you are an artist or writer. Sit down by the fire with this book and let Gregory take you on a journey in words and pictures. Check out Gregory’s other work at 

Our Life in the Arts Beth Winokur is the author of Sunshine in Darkness, Sam and Claire’s Imagination House, and the children’s series The Adventures of Abby and Sofia. Beth also writes short stories and poetry, and paints on both canvas and hundred-foot stucco walls. She likes to read, play her ukulele, and, when no one else is around, sing.

Lastly, the artist should always strive for originality. That is, to create art that expresses and reflects her own inner vision. We get visitors from all over the world; and the thing that I hear time and again is how different this mural is from others, how original, how detailed. I’ve thought about this a lot, done some research on it and discussed it with the other artists; and the thing that I’ve discovered is that originality is something that seems to be one of the mostloved qualities of art. Yet it’s almost never found in commercial and mass-produced “art.” Artists work hard on their craft and some feel that in order to “succeed” or “make it” they have to

It’s an honor to be profiled in Uncle Jam. I’m a big fan and have gained a lot from reading this magazine. I love Uncle Jam’s eclectic history and insight into literature and the arts. For the past year, I have been working with Phil Yeh, Rory Murray, and Jan Windhausen on the mural in San Bernardino at the site of the original McDonald’s. I feel so lucky to have found such a wonderful group of artists, and to have found them in my community. I enjoy working on this mural for a variety of reasons. I’ve learned so much from being around other artists, especially technique. Because of my lack of a formal education in art, I’ve often felt shy about sharing my own work. But I really believe that working alongside these talented artists has given me a rich, organic education and a realistic understanding of how to succeed in my own artistic Miles, Beth, Moonlily, & Woody endeavors and as an artist in the larger world. My experiences at the mural have done emulate what’s already unoriginal because that’s something that I never would have thought what sells. This has led me to cherish originality possible – given me a love for my city, San in the work of others and strive for it in my own. Bernardino. This city has its problems – San Bernardino has been my home for the past crime, corruption, pollution, poverty, and an twelve years. I moved here from Chino, where undercurrent of thinly veiled hostility among I grew up. When I first got to San Bernardino, its citizens (probably because the hardworking I was happy to be able to afford a house…did people who live here have been repeatedly I mention my husband is a composer? Which let down by their leaders). But my time at the means money is sparse. We didn’t understand, mural has allowed me to interact with neighbors until we had already moved in, that this area had that I would not have otherwise met. I have so little in the way of venues for artists. It was found that once San Bernardino residents let anemic. their guard down, they are a friendly, caring Twelve years later we are still looking for people who want to see their city prosper. So, new outlets. However, we now have a whole while I do believe it’s good to bang your head army of scouts: all three of our children are against the wall until your art mirrors the vision now involved in the arts in one way or another inside your own head; I have also come to (we had hoped to spare them from following in believe in community and the power of sharing our footsteps). We have found wonderful little information. After all, why risk a head injury pockets hidden in the surrounding areas as well if someone has already received their lump as watched some new venues develop and grow. and can tell about it? Why not learn from their I tease about my children going into the arts, knowledge and experience? I’ll save my lumps but really, I’m proud. Not that I would have for when I come across new, and hopefully been disappointed if they hadn’t, but I’m glad untraveled, paths. they did. My husband Robert and I believe


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

that children ought to be exposed to the best of humanity. I think the fact that my children haven’t seen the latest “fill-in-the-blank” show has only benefited them. They have benefited immensely from having listened to Vivaldi, read Tom Sawyer, and for having seen a real Van Gogh; from being emerged in the best culture has to offer. We take our kids to whatever we have going on. Robert’s concerts, my readings and showcases; we support each other, period. And I think because of this our children have learned the benefits of hard work, perseverance and family support. Kids imitate what they see. I once heard that if you want a child to be a reader then they need to see you reading. I think that sentiment is true in more ways than one. I can see the results, the truth of that statement, in what my children are doing today. For instance, my eldest son, Woody (17) writes for his school newspaper, plays a variety of instruments and this summer he was chosen as a student ambassador for the San Bernardino Tachikawa Sister City program, where he got to spend a month in Japan. After college, he wants to be a journalist. My middle son Miles (15) is also a musician. He played with Cajon High School when he was still in middle school and will soon be joining the Redlands Community Orchestra. He’s on the Mock Trial team at school and wants to either work for or own Apple – he hasn’t decided which yet. My youngest child, Moonlily (10) loves to write stories. She writes like an old woman running out of time. Moonlily recently won first place in the district PTA Reflections Art/Literature competition. This year she participated in NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s Program and hopes to publish the resulting book in 2014. She plays violin and will run you down when she’s catching for her baseball team. Sometimes when other parents complain about how their kids don’t want to do anything but play video games and watch TV, I think (and sometimes say), “Tell them no. Enroll them in band or baseball, soccer or speech – anything!” I think kids should try everything; not just the arts, but sports too. But then I hear the same excuse “We’re just too busy” and I sometimes say, (but mostly think), “Yeah, but we can always find time for what’s important to us.” I’m a strong believer that you have to model the sort of behavior you want from your children, and society. Gandhi had it right–be the change that you wish to see in the world. Our Life continued on page 37

Connecting at the Cobblestone By Terri Elders

“There was a definite process by which one made people into friends, and it involved talking to them and listening to them for hours at a time.” –Rebecca West I’d never felt so totally alone. I wasn’t stranded at one of the Poles, nor on a Pacific atoll. No, I lived in a densely populated area, Los Angeles County. Still I felt like the Ancient Mariner surrounded by plenty of water, but with nary a drop to drink. People crowded my life. People everywhere, but nary an ear to listen…nor a heart to open. My husband rarely had a minute to spare. He worked a 10-hour, four-day week. We had different days off. He devoted his spare time to 12step work with recovering patients at the hospital where he’d found sobriety. I’d always be welcome to accompany him, but I’d wearied of hearing about sad struggles, no matter how courageous they might be. I heard enough harrowing tales at work. After earning an MSW at UCLA, I was employed as a psychiatric social worker at Los Angeles County’s residential center for abused and neglected children who awaited placement. Because of our mutual concerns about the children’s welfare, my colleagues and I mostly exchanged practical suggestions and words of encouragement. Our clients’ issues were so critical that taking time to discuss the new Indiana Jones flick or the latest Eagles recording would have seemed frivolous. Beyond greeting neighbors in the lobby of our condominium, I didn’t socialize with others in the building. Most were elderly retirees living on limited incomes, who mainly seemed concerned with condo rules and regulations. Even my son, who’d always been good for a chat about Shakespeare or a meteor shower, was a college junior, working nights as a copy boy at the local daily. Where we’d once chuckled together at the televised antics of Mary Richards or Mary Hartman, we now dropped hurried notes for one another on the kitchen counter. One afternoon when I stopped by for a bouquet at my favorite florist, I picked up a copy of


Phil Yeh and Terri Elders in 2012

Uncle Jam. A sprightly tabloid, the free paper carried articles about authors and artists, travel and the environment, all illustrated with wildly innovative drawings, many by its publisher, graphic artist Phil Yeh, who owned the Cobblestone Gallery. I hadn’t seen this paper before, but when I’d finished reading it I wondered if the publisher would be interested in anything I could contribute. A writer since childhood and a former journalism teacher, I hadn’t been writing lately. Maybe if I started to write again, I’d feel less alone. I stopped by the Cobblestone Gallery to inquire. I might as well have been Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. That’s how much my world changed. “What would you like to write about?” Phil asked. “Health, psychology, social issues, travel, literature?” “Great,” he said. “You’ll be our social welfare editor.” Phil assigned titles to anyone willing to help with the paper. One fellow who’d ducked in from an adjacent bus stop to escape a rainstorm became the letters editor. Uncle Jam didn’t have deadlines or assigned word lengths, or even regular publication dates.

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

Instead, it appeared at irregular intervals. “We publish whenever we have enough people in one room to do it,” Phil claimed. “Why are you hanging out with those guys?” my son asked. “They’re closer to my age than to yours.” Two decades difference might have seemed an insurmountable divide to my son at that time, since he hadn’t yet inched very far into his twenties. But in my forties I no longer considered age as a determinant in making friends. I needed some, and age didn’t matter one whit. One such new friend was a musician, Chris Statler, who’d been writing movie reviews. He and I teamed to cover a Grand Prix wet T-shirt contest on the Queen Mary. We wrote about what it’s like to float in a sensory deprivation tank, and why listening to the Beatles tribute band, Rain, differed from hearing the Fab Four themselves. I sought new adventures, to ensure I’d have something to write about before the next issue went to press, whenever that might be. I enrolled in a series of aerobic dancing classes, and ventured forth on a Phillip Marlowe tour of downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica, sponsored by a San Fernando Valley mystery bookstore. I wrote about both. I interviewed the late Aldous Huxley’s spouse, Laura, about her Project Caress. I attended novelist Carolyn See’s literary conferences at Loyola Marymount where I interviewed such writers as Herbert Gold, A. Scott Berg and Alice Adams. I wrote about New Year’s Eve in Times Square, seeing in the ‘80s. I covered my first trip to England, where I encountered the ghost of Dr. Samuel Johnson. And I started to hang out with Julie Ahlers, the paper’s ad manager. We bonded nearly instantly. I hadn’t had such a close girlfriend since high school. Julie and I would phone one another daily or meet for a glass of wine at the Paradise Cafe. We had so much to confide. We would sit and stare at one another, breathing heavily, until one or the other said, “OK, you go first!” Julie’s confidences involved adventures selling advertisements, tangled romantic attachments, Cobblestone continued on page 37

Phil Yeh interviewing Gary Owens in 1977

Roberta Gregory , Phred Borrego, and Phil Yeh in the Cobblestone gallery circa 1977 Editorial continued from page 22 novel to describe a comic book that would be just like a novel; a beginning, middle and end in one volume. These graphic novels would be printed on better paper and if possible, be in hardcover. Most importantly, they would carry a much higher price than 12 cents, which was the cost of a comic book then. If we wanted to get respect for our art form in the United States, we would have to put out a better product. Richard and his partner Dennis Wheary published a hardcover collection of George Metzger’s comic strip Beyond Time and Again in 1976. This was one of the first books to use the term graphic novel. In 1977, Roberta Gregory, Tom Luth, Phred Borrego, and I, along with others, created Jam as a graphic album. About the same time, I published Even Cazco Gets the Blues as a modern graphic novel telling one story in one 80 page oversized book. Inspired by Richard, I would champion the graphic novel in Uncle Jam and Cobblestone and in my speaking events around the world. In our December 1976 issue of Cobblestone, we did an exclusive interview with legendary artist Rick Griffin. Rick agreed to do a special cover and hand-cut his own separations! He even went down to our printers and watched as the papers were being printed to make sure that


Ed Gauthier and R. C. Williams circa 1984

everything was perfectly registered. By 1977, Cobblestone became a newsstand magazine covering comics, fantasy and science fiction. We interviewed actress Marian Mack who worked with Buster Keaton, and film maker Ray Harryhausen. Leonard Nimoy and Ray Bradbury contributed poetry as we continued to grow our readership. In the winter of 1977, we interviewed Harlan Ellison, George Lucas, and Eleanor Norris Keaton, widow of Buster Keaton, in Cobblestone. But my heart wasn’t into publishing a magazine with a cover price. I really loved creating something that could be read for free. So by 1978, Uncle Jam was back as a free newspaper, the world’s best, as we humbly stated on the cover. By now, we covered most of the coast from San Francisco to San Diego through a lot of public libraries, bookstores and museums. We continued Uncle Jam throughout the 80s, until I had a chance to interview Wally “Famous” Amos in 1985. We did not talk about cookies, but instead about a more serious literacy crisis in the United States. Wally told me that there were 27 million adults who could not read or write in 1985. I could not believe what I was hearing and decided on the spot to form an organization to do what I could to promote reading. We formed Cartoonists Across

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

America in 1985 and the first cartoonist to call us with a really heartfelt endorsement was Charles M. Schulz, creator of Peanuts. The then Vice-President’s wife Barbara Bush also endorsed our idea of touring the country and creating murals to call attention to this issue of literacy. We even painted a mural with my reading dinosaurs on the mall in Washington D.C. while President Reagan spoke to a crowd of 100,000 people. When Barbara Bush became The First Lady, we painted a mural with her in The Library of Congress and she later honored us in The White House. By 1990, we painted a mural in Budapest at the first International Hungarian Cartoon Festival with artists from more than 40 nations attending. The Hungarian government asked me to design a postage stamp for the United Nations International Year of Literacy featuring my reading dinosaurs. We added ‘& The World’ to our ‘Cartoonists Across America’ title and no longer had the time to publish Uncle Jam. I met American comic book artist Rick Veitch in Budapest and he urged me to come up to Northampton, Massachusetts and meet Kevin Eastman, co-creator of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Kevin was extremely generous and offered to cover the first printing of my book, Theo the

Dinosaur. No strings attached. He understood the importance of literacy and using comics to get across the message. I asked First Lady Barbara Bush to write a foreword-this wasn’t about politics, I am a liberal; but literacy is not an issue that is left or right. Everyone on this planet should have the chance to be able to read. I also asked Nigel Seale, the chairperson of Earth Day International to write an introduction, because aside from literacy, my dinosaurs also have a slogan, “Recycle. Avoid Extinction.” When the book was published in 1991, we introduced it with a book signing at The National Archives in Washington, D.C. The reading dinosaurs soon appeared on posters from The International Reading Association, Levi Strauss, Panasonic and many other companies and organizations. ABC-TV even put up thousands of billboards around the United States. We also produced t-shirts in many languages with these colorful characters. The American Library Association carried the shirts in their catalog for a few years. In the meantime,

our band of cartoonists was still appearing in community centers, shopping malls, schools and libraries to paint portable murals and support local literacy groups. After the initial band of artists, which consisted of Leigh Rubin (Rubes), RC Williams, and Wally Davis, among others, it pretty much was just RC Williams and I for a few years. We did get many other artists & writers to join in when we appeared around the country, most notably Richard Dinges, MB Roberts, Geoff Bevington, Klaus Leven, and a whole lot of Hawaiian cartoonists, led by Dave Thorne and Jon J.Murakami when we were in Hawaii. I even roped my three sons into helping me when they were young. In 1993, I published a wordless graphic novel called The Winged Tiger with wordless, drawn introductions by Jean Giraud, aka Moebius, and Wendy Pini. That same year we got Jones Express to bring a 54 foot semi-truck into the Philadelphia Convention Center and did a huge mural promoting literacy! Mark Bode and Larry Welz were instrumental in finishing this huge

canvas in 3 days, along with celebrity Mr. T. and a whole lot of guest artists. In 1994, we had Jones Express drive the truck to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. to have local schoolchildren add some of their energy. That’s one of the main reasons we paint these murals with so many children and adults. This is one of the best ways to get across a message and years later, we constantly run into people who remember painting with us in their school or library. A few years later, I decided to start a series of The Winged Tiger Comics that would have guest artists from every field telling my rabbit character, Patrick, how they got their ideas. Some of the guests included: George Lucas, Sergio Aragones, Lynn Johnston, Lat, Henry Winkler, Jason Scott Lee, Rina Piccolo, Los Lobos, Rolf Heimann, Felicia Bond, Bob Burden, Jane Yolen, Alfredo Alcala, Jose Quintero, Stan Lynde, Moebius, Morrie Turner, Phil Ortiz, George Gladir, Kevin Eastman and many more. We have given away hundreds of

(Some of our Cobblestone staff in November 1976. Seated left to right)-Darlene Guildner, Suzanne Holland, Phil Yeh, Karen Duprey, Greg Evans, Don DeContreras. (Standing left to right)-Mary Barry, Diane Wohlert, Randy Kosht, Mark Eliot, Brent Dickerson, Calvin Ogawa & Lynn Payne Ricketts. Tom Luth, our main art director may have taken this shot because he's not in it! Neither is Gregg Rickman who was a real force in launching our publishing business. Within a year, Janet Valentine was the editor and the name Uncle Jam was back on our masthead. Terri Elders, Julie Ahlers, and Alfredo Alcala were among the hard working people who joined us in the last years of the 70s. Roman Meyer was a college student from Switzerland who made some incredible photographs for us. One shot that we used as a cover actually won first place a The Los Angeles Times contest! Dennis Niedbala came on board in the 80s and brought his incredible sales skills and cosmic creativity to this enterprise. Dennis & I published a little book on meditation called "Frank the Unicorn & Syd Ha Sitbird on The Brooklyn Bridge" in 1986.


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

thousands of these books at my speaking events and school assemblies. The whole idea is to reinforce the message of how important reading is in developing ideas. I will release the 15th issue of the Winged Tiger in 2014 with more notable guest stars from around the world. In 1999, I was honored by the Los Angeles County Library Foundation along with Edward James Olmos and Dr. Fred Kort for our work in literacy. Steve Allen hosted the event at Sony Studios and my entire family came out. Wally Amos flew out from Hawaii to present me the award. I had wanted to quit touring in 2000, but decided that maybe I would just keep painting murals for a few more decades. We have painted more than 1800 murals in 49 states and 15 other countries to date. They have been painted on buses, trucks, vans, billboards, walls, portable foam core, and just about anything you can imagine. Best of all, we have done many of these murals with thousands of folks from age 4 to 104 pitching in to help. The critical thing about these public events is attracting media coverage to get the message out. We have had hundreds of newspaper, magazine and TV reports over the years. The whole idea is to raise awareness to the tremendous problem of illiteracy and aliteracy. In 2010, Geoff Bevington and I did a banner for a national adult education conference in Chicago. I asked an old friend, Peter Waite, the director of ProLiteracy, how many adults could not read in the 21st century. He replied, “60 million American adults now lack the basic skills of reading and writing.” The worse problem is that an estimated 100 million adults in this country who can read, do not read any books at all. They text and they may twitter but they are not READING books. People who are not informed cannot vote about the issues with any reasonable intelligence. Many Americans simply do not vote at all. On a global level, the level of literacy varies from country to country; but the problem is not getting better. In general, it is getting worse. I believe that the arts can play a major role in solving this problem. I also believe that diet plays a role and that is why after all these years in limbo, we brought back

Lieve Jerger came from Belgium in 1974 with her husband Burr Jerger, an American photojournalist and film maker. She met Phil Yeh a few years after arriving in Long Beach, California and they became fast friends. Lieve invented a modern application of Flemish bobbin lace using copper wire. Her greatest creation was a life size copper lace carriage that she hopes to complete soon. In 1998, these two artists collaborated on a fairy tale book called The Winged Tiger & The Lace Princess. A second expanded edition of this book will be released in 2014.


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

Burr Jerger joined Uncle Jam in the later part of the 70s. He had an amazing life as a photojournalist both in the United States and Europe. Jerger had come from Chicago and had seemed to come across everyone in his travels from JFK to Sophia Loren. In 1973, he made a controversial anti-war film called General Massacre in Belgium. It was banned in many countries and has not been shown in the US. Uncle Jam was the first American publication to print Jerger’s report on the US atomic bomb testing that resulted in many deaths in this country. Burr was the first UJ staffer to pass away in 1982. Uncle Jam in 2009, covering health, books, the arts and travel, as a FREE magazine. Our first choice for our first interview was my old friend Ray Bradbury. Linda Adams and I went to Ray’s house and recorded his passionate thoughts about books and libraries. His book, Fahrenheit 451 presented a future where the government burns books. Sadly, in the 21st century, many Americans are ignoring them. My recent marriage to Linda has made me a grandfather to five grandchildren. I am more passionate about the need to promote literacy, creativity and the arts than ever before. I will turn 60 in 2014 and I hope that our new mural project in San Bernardino can be the model for communities around the world. We have spent almost two years on this project (see related article in this issue) painting some highlights of San Bernardino’s history on one side of this building that sits on the historic site of the world’s first McDonald’s restaurant. On the north side of the building, we are painting landmarks of the entire county of San Bernardino. Visitors from around the world come to this site, so we are taking the opportunity to promote a healthy way of eating to the future generations! We do hope to do a few of these detailed murals around the world in the future. A whole lot of people have contributed to these projects over the last 40 years, and I cannot begin to name them all. But without your talents and energy through these years, Uncle Jam and Cartoonists Across America & The World would not have survived. I thank you with all of my heart. Uncle Jam is back to help further articulate our vision. Forty years after. Editorial photos continued on page 44

Our Life continued from page 32 Every day, my children see me writing. They see their dad composing and can hear him practicing his instrument. I don’t have to tell them to read a book or write a story or that it’s time to practice their instrument. They just do it - because they want to - because video games and TV, while fun in moderation, are boring to them. And I can say this with no qualms, because I’ve witnessed each one of the adults-in-training become well-acquainted with their imagination. And imagination, like a true friend, never goes out of style and is always willing to play. My husband and I struggled, like most everyone I know, to build this life. And I’m not talking monetary success or even success in our careers, yet! (I am optimistic). We still live well below the poverty line. Robert still has his pieces performed for free and plays more free gigs a year than paid ones. But we’ve managed to succeed in making our lives for us, for what matters to us. And that’s our family, our art, and most recently, our community. Everything else is secondary. We find joy in our work and in supporting one another.

The mural has taught me that this really is a culturally rich area – you just have to know where to look. I find that I’m constantly running into writers, musicians, illustrators, painters, graphic-designers, etc. And yes, I do have a theory that explains why there are so many musicians, writers, and artists here in San Bernardino. There is some precedent to back up this theory. It’s pretty straight-forward and is indicative of how our society values the arts: According to the 2012 census, San Bernardino has a poverty rate of over 31% – it’s affordable to live here. There are other places in SoCal that were once run down, with the majority of their citizens also below the poverty line; Venice Beach and Long Beach, to name just a couple. Those cities were resurrected by artists and hardworking people that wanted to live in a better place. I believe that the city of San Bernardino will be the next place saved by artists and I think I’m lucky to live in a community that has, in one way or another, allowed me to build a life around what I love: painting and writing. Hunter S. Thompson said, “A man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function

at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES. In doing this, he is fulfilling a need (giving himself identity by functioning in a set pattern toward a set goal). He avoids frustrating his potential (choosing a path which puts no limit on his self-development), and he avoids the terror of seeing his goal wilt or lose its charm as he draws closer to it (rather than bending himself to meet the demands of that which he seeks, he has bent his goal to conform to his own abilities and desires). In short, he has not dedicated his life to reaching a pre-defined goal, but he has rather chosen a way of life he KNOWS he will enjoy. The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important. And it seems almost ridiculous to say that a man MUST function in a pattern of his own choosing; for to let another man define your own goals is to give up one of the most meaningful aspects of life — the definitive act of will which makes a man an individual.” So, I’ll continue to write, paint, learn, and share, and support the artists in my home and in my community. 

Cobblestone continued from page 33

Breaking Bad continued from page 19

and family problems typical of a young woman seeking independence. Mine centered on my growing awareness that my marriage was on the verge of collapse. Eventually I did divorce, but my Cobblestone friends helped me through the transition, with open ears, open arms and open hearts. We created, and we chattered. We waited until midnight at the gallery for a truck to deliver the latest issue, and then headed for Mom’s to celebrate with a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. We’d stage afterhours parties in the back of the gallery, where noted Conan the Barbarian cartoonist Alfredo Alcala would do pencil drawings of all the girls on paper plates. Greeting card artist Flavia would drop in from time to time, and we’d volunteer suggestions for cards we’d like her to attempt. But we also worked…and worked into the midnight hours, as well. I remember waiting with Janet Valentine for Greg Rickman’s voluminous latest installment on his series of interviews with Philip K. Dick. Rickman would rush in the door at 9:30 the night before the paper was due to go to print. Janet Valentine and I would hunch over the copy, editing until the wee small hours. In 1987 I joined the Peace Corps and was gone for a decade. Most of the Cobblestone gang eventually drifted away from Long Beach, but still kept in intermittent touch. Each time I visit Southern California, for instance, I get together with Chris at a used book store he’s managed for decades. We talk about the old days and what we’re writing now. Several years ago I had to go to Virginia for a conference. Julie, who lived not far from Williamsburg, drove over to meet me for dinner, and we revisited “you go first.” Julie, married and then divorced, children grown, was about to remarry. I’d remarried and then became a widow. Through all the changes we remain connected by heartstrings. Even now I carry a plastic unicorn key ring she gave me for my birthday in l987, right before I went overseas with the Peace Corps. Not long ago, Phil resurrected Uncle Jam as a glossy full-color quarterly. I rejoined the crowd, contributing such pieces as how I prepared to attend the University of Cambridge International Summer School, my conversation with Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn, and, for a celebratory 100th issue, why I love to sip cider in Somerset. Thirty plus years down the line, we’re all reconnected on Facebook. Recently Phil posted a message on my wall to let me know that the next Uncle Jam would be devoted to the new science fiction subgenre, steampunk. Would I write about its roots in Victorian literature? Sure. So I revisited H. G. Wells, full steam ahead. Maybe Chris would be interested in collaborating again soon. Everything old is new again. Just as that Ancient Mariner found “goodly company” with a wedding guest, I found it with the Cobblestone crowd. It’s still Wonderland. We create, chatter and…connect. We’re forever friends. 

coming back involved Walt breaking into prison to get Skyler, or Walt breaking into prison to get Jesse out. Maybe there was a universe in which those would’ve worked, but it didn’t feel like they would be satisfying, or right for the character or journey that we wanted to see.  MC: Now that it’s all over, what do we as writers and filmmakers take away from Breaking Bad? GS: I don’t know, what do you take away?


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

MC: I’ve always been a big proponent of classic structure and classic themes. This reinforces it and proves the importance of sticking to something when you do it right.  GS: What I take away is different from what the public would take away, probably. These people have been my family, you know? As far as people working in film and TV, there are a lot of lessons for the business, in terms of audience building and sticking to your vision. The show hit at the right time, sure, but for a while all we had was critic support and the belief in us from AMC and Sony. They supported the show even when the audience wasn’t there. In another era it might have died. But the studio and the network stuck it out, and then Netflix streaming came along and allowed people to catch up quickly and easily and it all worked at the right time. I mean, it didn’t just have to do with changing business models. Other shows that came out at exactly the same time didn’t have the same success. I think you have to have strong material, and really believe in it. Ultimately, the show worked because we trusted what we were doing. We trusted in the material.  Reprinted from Spectacle and Truth: the Filmmaking Blog of Michael Carvaines 

Remembering Robert J. Harper By Phil Yeh

My wife Linda works at the San Bernardino Public Library. One of her duties is to book the programs that the library holds for free to the public. In January 2013, in conjunction with a wonderful display about Abraham Lincoln, she booked an actor named Robert J. Harper. He did a live one man show in which he portrayed the great advocate for emancipation, Frederick Douglass. I was especially excited to see this show, as Douglass was a lifelong hero to me. Born in 1817 in Maryland as Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, son of a white man and a black slave mother, he was considered a slave. He learned to read and write (considered a crime) and escaped in 1838 to Massachusetts, where he changed his name to Frederick Douglass. In 1841, he made a public speech at the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society followed by a brilliant book in 1945, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. The book’s success quickly established him as one of America’s leading speakers and writers against slavery. The night of Harper’s performance I felt that I was watching Douglass himself. The entire audience was transfixed as the actor became his subject. It was a brilliant performance by a man who obviously knew Douglass inside and out. I met Bob Harper after the show and we seemed to have a connection, but I didn’t know why. A month later, it was Black History Month and Linda booked Bob again, but this time he was doing a one man show as a Buffalo Soldier. On July 28, 1866, the United States Congress created four new regiments of the army. They were made up entirely of African-American soldiers commanded by white officers. Bob also wrote a book called The Buffalo Soldier Chronicles: Incident on the Arikaree. I’ll quote from this book about how they came by their name. “After a somewhat inauspicious beginning, the two regiments, the Ninth and the Tenth U.S. Cavalries would become two of the most effective fighting regiments in the history of the U.S. military. Within months after their initial deployment in the field, their Indian adversaries, particularly the Cheyenne and Arapahoe who, being overly impressed with their bravery and zeal for battle and noticing a resemblance between their hair and the hair of the buffalo began calling the men the Buffalo Soldiers.” Again, Bob’s was in character that evening as he took the audience


Robert J. Harper back to the later years of the 19th century and into the mind of a Buffalo Soldier. Our friend, reporter Michael Nolan, interviewed Bob after the performance for The Sun newspaper. In her story, Bob explained why he acts. “After witnessing the tragic living conditions of a drug-addicted black youth in Los Angeles, Harper committed his life to using theater as a way to inspire young and old alike with the rich history of African-American heroes that are often forgotten in our country.” Linda and I saw Bob after that performance at the library. He talked about a recent passion that he had turned into a new show. He wanted to introduce the audience to Lao Tzu and his teachings! I was impressed because I have been a Taoist since age 15, more than 40 years. Bob spoke to us with lots of energy about the Tao Te Ching. The Tao had changed my life and I was interested to hear from Bob how he came

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

to this philosophy. I immediately wanted to see this show, but Linda was a little hesitant. Would anyone come to hear the words of an ancient Chinese philosopher in downtown San Bernardino? I have long believed that if we all could understand that we are really all the same on this earth; we could finally learn to live in peace. We have to be taught constructive ways to resolve conflicts. I said that I would love to create some artwork for a poster promoting this event. On October 1, we attended Bob’s performance of Tao in the Park at the Feldheym Library in San Bernardino. He recited the entire 81 verses of the Tao Te Ching with a passion that only an award winning veteran Shakespearian actor can bring to any performance. While the show was good, it clearly needed some explanations, because although the Tao is deceptively simple, it really needs to be explained. Bob and I met at the library a week or so afterwards to discuss how he could improve the Tao in the Park. He also told me that his horse had passed away after 27 years and that he really appreciated my including a horse on the poster. A couple weeks later, I was surprised to see him pull up at our mural at the historic site of the original McDonald’s on E. Street not far from the central library. He was so excited about seeing our mural in person and told me how happy he was to see this amazing work. Our last words were that we had to get together to improve the Tao in the Park. On December 4, Robert J. Harper left this planet. He was 63. Bob didn’t believe in death and neither do I. He is survived by his wife, Karen Diana Stansel, and his son, Calvin Harper of Columbus, Ohio. I didn’t know Bob for very long, but felt an amazing connection to this man’s spirit. I know that his spirit still is with me. 

The Creativity Continues with the San Bernardino County Mural by Phil Yeh

We began painting the north wall of the museum at the historic site of the world’s first McDonald’s in March 2013. It was to complement the south wall, which showed some of the highlights of the city of San Bernardino. Sandy Fischer Cvar’s incredible portraits made the first 100 foot mural really bring history alive, which was my whole idea for this new direction

another restaurant before they remodeled this one to focus on their best selling items. Opening in 1940, that place sold BBQ food and even had carhops. Maria Bolding was one of those carhops and she came out and rode in a classic car down E Street for the 14th annual Veterans Day Parade held this year on November 9, 2013. I should mention that E Street was part

in my career. Highlights of that first mural were the subject of our piece in Uncle Jam #102, which can be read online at After spending almost all of 2012 on the south wall, with help from Rory Murray, Sandy Cvar, Jan Windhausen, Greta Gregorian, and many others in the hot desert sun of the Inland Empire, I made a decision to paint the entire county of San Bernardino on the north wall last winter. Maybe my brain was fried from the exposure to the sun, but spending two mornings a week at one spot for months gave me a chance to think about what I could really accomplish as an artist here. After all, this was a magnet for tourists from all over the country and around the world, because the world’s first McDonald’s restaurant selling burgers, fries and shakes, came into being on this very spot in 1948. Richard and Maurice McDonald actually had

of Route 66, the legendary mother road that starts in Chicago and goes out to California. I should also add that Maria is a youthful 90 years of age! When I spoke to her on parade day, she was sharp as a tack, remembering what it was like back then. She told me that she needed extra money for clothes and that she was so happy to work for the brothers in the 1940s. I would hope some film maker can videotape Maria’s memories as well as many others who can talk about that time. Route 66 has been fictionalized in Disney’s Cars animated films but the actual story is actually a lot more interesting. The annual Veterans Day Parade also features a car show hosted by the E Street Cruisers car club and the Inland Empire Military Museum. My wife Linda and I rode in the parade for the second year in a row from San Bernardino High School down the street to the museum complex.


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

Another car carried mural artists Beth Winokur, Jan Windhausen and Rory Murray. The Inland Empire Military Museum is run by Mario Montecinos, who invites some outstanding veterans from all wars to be in the parade each year. My friend Jim Valdez, who got me to come to the military museum to paint a MIA/ POW mural in the first place a couple of years ago, is a retired veteran and history buff. The whole day is sponsored by Albert Okura, founder of the Juan Pollo chicken restaurants. Okura bought the property in 1998. The Inland Empire Military Museum is on it, as well as the building that sits on the actual site of the first McDonald’s. Part of the building houses the corporate offices of his chicken empire and the rest holds a collection of McDonald’s memorabilia from all around the world. I have gotten to know Okura over the many months I have spent working on these murals. He is a real fan of cartooning, having collected comic books and MAD magazine in his youth. He especially loves the work of cartoonist Sergio Aragones. When Linda and I were interviewing Aragones earlier this year, I asked him if he would be kind enough to do a drawing for Okura. He is a collector but he also has a real sense of history. I have always loved history, too, and have enjoyed traveling the world learning about interesting people and places. Being fairly new to San Bernardino County, I have enjoyed speaking to all of the folks who really know the history of this town and now, the entire county. Aside from the McDonald brothers, I came to learn that two San Bernardino High School students got their inspiration for their own fast food joints. Neal Baker started Baker’s, a local chain, in the 1950s and his best friend Glen Bell went much bigger with Taco Bell in 1962 in Downey, California. But it was in San Bernardino in 1948, that 23 year old Bell opened his first restaurant, Bell’s

Drive-In. Both were inspired by the success of the McDonald’s brothers as were many others in the area. It was Ray Kroc who finally bought the brothers out in 1962 and went on to create the world’s biggest restaurant chain headquartered near Chicago. There is a lot more history in San Bernardino than I had ever known. Sue Payne, who works in the San Bernardino Library’s California Room, has supplied me with a lot of useful information. It was a clipping about another San Bernardino High School graduate named Chester Carlson that really caught my attention. I reviewed the book on his life, Copies in Seconds, in our last issue and I have to say that of all the biographies I have read over my lifetime, Carlson’s is one of the most inspiring. After his mother died when he was in the 11th grade, Carlson had to work many jobs in order to graduate high school in 1924. There wasn’t any welfare in 1924 and he and his father had to live in an empty chicken coop for awhile! Years later in 1936 Carlson was studying law in New York. He was forced to copy the pages by hand in expensive law books, which got him to thinking about inventing a way to copy pages more easily. Carlson patented his invention of dry copying in 1937, but it took many years of hard work for the Xerox Company to make his invention practical. I have been painting murals since I was a high school student at Los Alamitos High in 1970. My Los Al classmate Sandy Fischer actually worked with me on a mural in Anaheim in 1971, as did other students in our art class. My first studio was in an artist’s cooperative in Anaheim not far from that high school mural. The owner asked Mark Eliot (the co-founder of Uncle Jam) and me to paint a huge mural on the wall of the tire company next door. We were only 17 and the job earned us a lot of publicity. I found that I really enjoyed doing these giant works of art. I moved to Los Angeles from Wayne, New Jersey when I was almost done with the first grade. It was my first grade teacher, Mrs. North, who really inspired me to become an artist. By the time I entered the second grade in LA, I was established as a budding artist and my classmate Patrice Rushen was recognized as a musician. We were young but determined and I urge you all to encourage young people. Rushen’s Grammy nominated song Forget Me Nots was sampled by Will Smith in the theme song for Men in Black. Today she also teaches at her alma mater, the University of Southern California. I grew up not far from The Watts Towers and learned of the amazing man who built that incredible work of art. Sabato “Simon” Rodia started on his masterpiece in 1921 and finished it in 1954. One man without any scaffolding would build his dream for more than 30 years. I was thinking about Rodia in 2012 while we worked on the first part of this mural. I had


transferred from George Washington High in the last semester of the tenth grade to attend Los Alamitos High. My friend Don Yasuda had also moved out to Orange County from Los Angeles. Yasuda loved to draw motorcycles and was building a Harley. He introduced me to Easyriders magazine and the excellent cartooning of Hal Robinson. I went out and bought a motorcycle because of Robinson’s art. I had no idea how to ride it, but after a trip to Phoenix and back, I learned. I was on a Honda 175, the smallest bike you can take on the freeways, but all I could afford at the time. A few years later when we owned our art gallery in Long Beach, a friend remarked to me that my cartooning reminded him of Robinson. I was thrilled that my friend actually knew Robinson! It was now the 80s and when I met Robinson, I learned that he didn’t even ride motorcycles! He liked the story about my ride to Arizona on a Honda 175 and I later appeared in his comic strip for Easyriders. Robinson also drew a fantastic cover for Uncle Jam and we talked of doing something together but unfortunately, he got cancer and passed away very suddenly. I was thinking about Robinson and Yasuda, who passed away recently, as I was thinking about doing a second mural on the north wall. When I went in to talk to Okura about my idea of having the whole county on this mural along with a lot of motorcycles riding west on Route 66, he was very enthusiastic. It happened that three bikers from Germany were there at this exact moment and they were also very supportive about the idea. Until you actually spend time at this historic site of the original McDonald’s, you have no idea of who comes here. Many of these folks actually drive the whole Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica. As I started the new mural, I met a young woman named Beth Winokur, who actually lives in San Bernardino. She told me she also wrote books and painted, so she began to help on the mural. Rory Murray is painting some of the landmarks, including that first McDonald’s that used to sit on this site. Jan Windhausen helped us with the first side and has been great in contributing on this second mural. Other artists have dropped by from time to time and we hope to get Sandy Fischer Cvar back to do a portrait of John Lennon in Calico Ghost Town which is in the desert. Lennon actually visited Calico Ghost town as I discovered going through some books in the San Bernardino Library. While painting, I have had a lot of time to dream about what I would like to see in this city in the future. We are painting many prominent sites from The Watts Towers to The Lincoln Shrine in Redlands on this mural as a guide to visitors and locals alike. Winokur has added some wonderful train cars with fruit & vegetable labels, each displaying a city in San Bernardino County. They are fantasy labels,

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

which allows for some great artwork and the use of imagination. She is a vegetarian, and since the fast food industry got started on this site we thought we might start a new healthier way of eating for future generations. We have learned a lot about diet in the last century and we now understand that eating fast food is not the way to a long and healthy life. Linda and I have 5 grandchildren and I believe that we owe it to these kids to make real changes in the way that we all eat. Loma Linda University Health came in as a sponsor for this north wall. Loma Linda is right next to San Bernardino and they have one of the longest life spans in the world. What’s the secret? Many people in Loma Linda live on a vegan diet. When I began promoting literacy in 1985, we mailed out letters asking for support. The very first cartoonist to call us was Charles Schulz! We had not met at the time and he gave us a really great endorsement. Schulz believed in literacy and his comic strip Peanuts was the perfect combination of words and pictures. Schulz had passed away in 2000 but I figured I would try and reach his widow Jeannie to ask permission to add Snoopy’s brother Spike in Needles. Schulz had lived in this desert town as a kid briefly, and he had Spike live there, too. Jeannie emailed me back with permission so we could debut this part of the mural at the Veteran’s Day parade. I knew that San Bernardino’s mayor had come from the California town of Needles near the Arizona border on Route 66. On the day of the parade, Mayor Pat Morris came by and told a story of his daughter writing to Schulz many years ago. They had wanted to put up a dog house in honor of Spike at their restaurant in Needles. Schulz gave them permission and sent them some original comic strips with Spike in them! I also envision art studios and a recording studio on this site that can really get the creative juices flowing. I have promoted literacy, the arts and creativity all over the world for many years and I think that we can turn the city of San Bernardino around by turning towards the arts as a real economic engine. I also see original restaurants, art galleries, and other creative businesses opening on this stretch of Route 66. You have to start with a vision and then be prepared to do the hard work. In 2005, Okura bought the entire town of Amboy, which sits in the desert on Route 66. Okura would love for us to paint a mural out in Amboy but considering it is in the Mojave Desert, I will have to carefully think about it after we finish this mural at the historic site of the original McDonald’s. The McDonald’s museum is open every day and the Inland Empire Military Museum is open on weekends. Both museums are located at 1398 N E St. in San Bernardino and admission is free. 

Above: Gianna Erotica, Maria Bolding, Phil Yeh, Sadie Di'Abla, Roxy D'Vine, and Rory Murray getting ready for the Veteran’s Day Parade. Left: Jan Windhausen, Carey Davis, Phil Yeh, Beth Winokur, Mayor Pat Morris, and Rory Murray

The first mural on the south side of the building, photo courtesy of Walt Farmer


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

The original McDonald's painted by Rory Murray

Beth Winokur has painted original fruit & vegetable labels for each of the cities in San Bernardino County

Phil Yeh & San Bernardino's Mayor Pat Morris

Like The Living Mural on Facebook or 'friend' Phil Yeh Artist


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

Maria Bolding

Photos by ~ Allen Freeman

Jamie Sacks in front of the mural

Melissa Meador, Jamie Sacks, and Keith Allan at the parade

The 2013 Veteran's Day Parade & Car Show


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

In 1985 Phil Yeh founded Cartoonists Across America & The World to promote literacy, creativity and the arts after interviewing Wally “Famous” Amos in Uncle Jam about the growing problem of illiteracy in the United States. In 1990, they did their first mural in Budapest, Hungary and have been global ever since.

40 years

As of December 2013, the band of artists has painted more than 1800 murals in 49 U.S. States and 15 other countries. 1-Richard Dinges, Phil Yeh, First Lady Barbara Bush, MB Roberts & Louise King in the Library of Congress 1989 2-Yeh paints a bookmobile in front of California’s state capitol 3 & 4-A huge mural at the Bologna Children’s Book Faire 5-Elaine Ng paints in Singapore 6-Trash truck painted in Northampton, Mass. with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ co-creator Kevin Eastman, Mark Bode, Rick Veitch, Scott McCloud, & others 7-RC Williams paints a Chicago billboard 8-Yeh & Winged Tiger in Taiwan 9-Ninja Turtles’ co-creator Eastman & Yeh 10-Cartoonist


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

Like The Living Mural on Facebook or 'friend' Phil Yeh Artist Stephanie Gladden in Germany 11-Yeh & kids in New Jersey 12-Groo creator Sergio Aragones & Tiger in San Diego 13-Dave Thorne, Jon J. Murakami & Alan Low in Hawaii 14-Mural in Germany 15-Recycling truck in Los Angeles 16-54 foot semi-truck painted in Philadelphia & Washington DC 17-San Diego Charger cheerleaders & Gabe Tambio-Yeh in LA 18-Artist Roger Armstrong, Cathy Smith, RC Williams, Yeh, Penny Jones & Luann’s creator Greg Evans in San Diego


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

The “Other” Prog Rock Artists By Rod Underhill

Once upon a time in the United Kingdom, say around the late 1960’s, a new subgenre of rock music appeared. This subgenre, Progressive Rock, developed from psychedelic rock and was an attempt to cloak rock music in greater credibility based upon more “serious” composition and musical sophistication. Whether one loves “prog” or not, in the early 1970’s the better prog acts were pulling in huge bucks for their labels and themselves. King Crimson, Jethro Tull, The Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer each sold millions of albums.

Artist Storm Thorgerson Those albums themselves generally featured a new type of visual art, rather than photographs of the acts themselves. For many, prog rock cover art had become as important as the music itself. In fact, lesser prog acts would sometimes hire a “famous prog cover artist” for their own cover in the hopes that the artist’s cover art would pump sales of their music. For successful acts, such as Yes, the cover art and the LP’s music were one and the same: a combined audio-visual experience that delighted music collectors worldwide. Prog rock cover art often concerned surrealism, fantasy or science fiction visual themes. Tarkus, recorded by ELP, featured a painting by William Neal of an armadillo-cyborg and other fantastic creatures in a war with each other. As time went on, certain artists became associated with prog. Roger Dean became famous for creating novel, fantastic visual worlds that became associated with, and enhanced, the music. His “flying islands” motif provided a sense of wonder and majesty that complimented the music of Yes. Cover artist Paul Whitehead provided nightmarish visuals for Van der Graaf Generator


and Genesis. And who has never heard of Hipgnosis, the London design firm that featured the art of Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell? While Hipgnosis provided art for “standard rock bands” such as Bad Company and Led Zeppelin; Pink Floyd greatly benefited by the cover art produced by the Hipgnosis art house. The immensely influential Thorgerson could not draw and did not consider himself a great photographer. However, he was a premier conceptualist in a division of the art world where novel concepts were at a premium value. And Photoshop was not his tool of choice, either. For Pink Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason, Thorgerson had 700 beds hauled out to a beach, made up with bedding, and duly photographed with models. And when the tide came in, his crew had to remove all the beds and then replace them back onto the beach for a second round of photographs. Hipgnosis closed their doors in 1983, one year after the advent of the music compact disc. I suppose this can be no coincidence, as the popularity of the compact disc doomed album cover art in general. Nowadays, where we mostly purchase “musical air” in the form of MP3 downloads; cover art is essentially modernly meaningless. Strom Thorgerson continued to work on album related art up until he passed away in 2013, but some former cover artists, such as his former partner Aubrey Powell, moved on to creating video related art for their client bands. Meanwhile, Roger Dean and Hipgnosis had a great influence on later visual artists and advertising designers. H.R. Giger was already famous as an artist when ELP hired him to create the cover art for Brain Salad Surgery, but certainly this work helped make him even more famous as an artist. Sometimes even the best artists find themselves having economic or legal issues. Hipgnosis had

Artist Barry Godber

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

a policy to not charge a set fee for their work but rather simply asked the artists to pay “what they thought the art was worth.” This sometimes resulted in at least one rather insulting payment from an artist who didn’t understand the true value of the work at hand. Roger Dean, by the way, was paid “in albums” by Virgin Records and its ‘billionaire to be’ owner, the young Richard Branson. But a much more serious bit of money trouble would come Dean’s way much later on in his career. Roger Dean is currently suing film director James Cameron and 20th Century Fox over

Artist Roger Dean some of the visual designs and concepts of the ultra-successful motion picture, Avatar. Roger Dean always considered himself to be a “landscape” painter. But his landscapes proved to be unique, wondrous, and highly influential. Prog music continues, but as Rick Wakeman recently pointed out in an interview with Prog Magazine, the numbers of albums selling each month is but a fraction of what prog groups sold back in 1973. This probably is also the case for most music in these days of illegal downloads, and, well, crappy modern pop music. For those of us who either lived through the glory days of prog, or are younger and of the mind to investigate such ancient mysteries as the music/art of what was a glorious point of time for both visual and music artists, there is much of great artistic value to discover, or to revisit. Rod Underhill is a music lawyer and a Webby Award winning music industry technologist. He hosts Julian Radio, Classic Rock for the World. Free. 

In 1980, Alfredo Alcala and Phil Yeh collaborated on this work of art. Alcala, whose credits include Batman, Conan, Swamp Thing & Star Wars, inked this original drawing by Yeh, the Godfather of the American graphic novel. The black & white print was an instant success. In 2010, for the 30th anniversary of that historic print, Yeh created an original watercolor painting available at the “D” Gallery framed - $7,500. The “D” Gallery is located in beautiful Lake Arrowhead Village 909-336-0067 Archival museum quality giclée prints are available for $200 each. Limited edition of 100 signed & numbered by Phil Yeh. Price includes shipping in the United States. $250 for International shipping. Mailed safely flat not in a tube. Send check or money order to Eastwind Studios P.O. Box 750, San Bernardino, CA. 92402


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

The Emerald City Unframed 12" x 16" giclĂŠe print. Limited Edition of 200. Signed & numbered by the artist, $200 each. Shipped flat. Yeh's original watercolors are on display at The "D" Gallery in beautiful Lake Arrowhead Village, 2800 Highway 189, Lake Arrowhead, CA 92352 - (909) 336-0067. Prints are available at the gallery or online at Photo Left: Phil Yeh, artist and Daniel Gerken owner/artist


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 40, #103 Winter 2013

Uncle Jam 103  

Magazine about health, books, the arts, and travel. Est. 1973. Publisher Phil Yeh. Eastwind Studios. Current issue #103 features exclusive i...