October 4, 2007
Had lunch today with artist Mark McDowell and photographer Jay Dusard. I met Jay in Prescott many years ago, and my good friend Charlie Waters bought me a set of Jay's classic prints, including, "Julie Hagen, Wagstaff Land & Cattle Co.," Wyoming, 1981, which hangs prominently in my studio. Jay's a classic Western photographer and we want to feature him on the cover of True West magazine. He's the guy who is going to shoot Monk Maxwell (the cowboy I met in the only cafe in Alma, New Mexico back in June).
We ate at Houston's which has the irritating house rule that you can't wear your hat in the dining room (and their name is Houston's!). Lucky for them their food is great. As the hostess walked us to our seats, I held my custom Optimo hat over my head and said loudly, "I'm not in a gang. Don't worry, I'm not in a gang." Had the Mexican soup and a Caesar salad (Mark bought).
Mark is an accomplished artist himself. His pencil drawings sell for $20,000. Saw his latest, a huge color job with clouds and a toy car and trailer. He loves to produce custom, limited-edition books and he showed me 1930s examples that foreshadowed graphic novels by at least two decades. A custom edition of Alice In Wonderland really excited me, because it's the prototype for a limited edition version of The Top Secret Project. Really thrilling. According to Mark, the motto is—if you don't show white space on a page you don't have enough money (the perfect anti-example is comic books with every square inch covered with art, balloons and stuff). Yes, the formula is oodles of white space and tasty, Spartan design. This is the ticket, for me.
"Your mention of locations brought to mind a great book by David Rothel called An Ambush of Ghosts. It is a heavily illustrated tour of old western movie locations the author made in the nineties with photos from films matched to some areas as they now appear. There is great information on what areas were used for all kinds of places from the Khyber pass to the planet Mongo in the Flash Gordons. Brought to mind Mr. Dan Buck's comment on 3:10 to Yuma, it may not be the real place but it is close enough. An old Hollywood saying was 'A rock is a rock, a tree is a tree, shoot it in Griffith Park'."
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