Better Off Dead 30th Anniversary Live Read: Recap

Sketchfest 2015! The Better Off Dead Live Read was amazing! My brother Jimmy and I got set up in the lobby of the Marine Memorial Hotel and immediately ran into Savage Steve Holland. Rad. 

Here he is with my rendition of "Ricky's portrait." Dan Schneider didn't make it to the live read but Steve Agee was awesome as Ricky!  

Diane Franklin (Monique) signed photos and books next to us after the show so I was able to attain my ultimate goal: Get a picture of Diane holding the Ricky portrait! I got to try on her jacket. Those lapels!!! My life is complete. 

The Live Read was a lot of fun. Lots of fresh laughs. I have not read many (any) scripts so it was cool to hear all the descriptive tidbits and scenes that didn't make the final cut. I was surprised to hear how locked down all those visual gags were before shooting. I guess I pictured film-makers figuring things out as they go. I learn things!

Anyway, I did my best to sketch everyone in the cast during the Live Read. I wish I could have gotten to everyone. It's tough drawing in the dark. Or incredibly easy. That is, if you don't need the drawing to look like anything. 

Savage Steve Holland

Diane Franklin

Jon Heder

Kevin Pollak

Paul F. Tomkins

Curtis Armstrong

Kim Darby

Amanda Wyss

Here's Ricky's portrait. Diane Franklin held it as a prop during the live read. That was cool! Right now you can get your own copy as well as the other Better Off Dead art prints at my web store: BenWalker.BigCartel.com

Grab them while they are still available and cheap!

 

Gigantic News!

I am very excited to announce the release of Gigantic Brewing Company's  new seasonal beer, Catch 23, featuring my label design! 


I put a lot of work into this illustration, but the hardest thing may have been trying to not think about the other artists Gigantic has worked with, Holy Crap! Art Director Rob Reger (Emily the Strange fame) has brought on some of the best artists in the business for previous labels: Tim Biskup, AJ Fosik, Martin Ontiveros, Shannon Wheeler, and Robert Bowen, to name a few. 


This brew is called Catch 23 and it was up to me to interpret this name. So I went with this 3-way fight between a bear, eagle and shark. Real Mutual of Omaha shit! Thanks again to Rob Reger and everyone at Gigantic Brewing Company!

 

  I love the look of (Ben's) work. I find it all very engaging. Ben came  up with the BEST interpretation of the name possible. I smile every  time I see that label. Basically, it rules. -Van Havig, Gigantic Brewing Co.

 

I love the look of (Ben's) work. I find it all very engaging. Ben came 
up with the BEST interpretation of the name possible. I smile every 
time I see that label. Basically, it rules.

-Van Havig, Gigantic Brewing Co.

Fruit Flies in Neck Ties

Bugs wearing clothes that rhyme with their name. There's got to be a better name but for now they are called Bug Duds.

By the way, BenWalkerArt.com has been oddly devoid of the cartoons and sketches I have been making lately. It's like my site hasn't caught on to the fact that It's not about gallery artwork so much anymore. I have added a new blog page, Cartoons / Sketches devoted to just...cartoons and sketches, like this one!

On Fruit Flies and Neckties

Neckwear has been a part of fashion for thousands of years. The necktie as we now know it became a staple of men's fashion during the 1920s thanks to innovations in the way ties are cut and sewn. A necktie can be tied in over a dozen different styles. 

Man has come up with even more ways to get rid of fruit flies. Some techniques are more stylish than others. For instance, you can make traps by putting apple cider vinegar in a cup and a paper cone placed on top. But the most stylish way to chase away fruit flies is by placing sticks of cedar wood in your kitchen. Nothing says you are classy as hell like cedar. The moment fruit flies smell that cedar they lower their little, annoying heads in shame and leave your (now) perfect home. 

FUTURE-BEN IN THE YEAR 2015

It's New Year's Eve! This blog was originally posted on GrownAssGeek.com last year. I think it's worth reposting, if only to remind myself to keep improving and shooting for my goals.

Future Ben: How To Make Friends with a Better Version of Yourself

"January," as recently expressed by a girl walking past me on Haight Street, "is a time for self-reflection....especially when it's a New Moon and you're a Capricorn."  I am pretty sure the second half of that sentence doesn't mean anything, but I agree with the January part. So in the spirit of self-reflection I want to introduce you to someone who tries to stay out of the spotlight but has really made a huge difference in my life these last few years.

Please say hello to my good friend, Future-Ben. 

The first time I can recall meeting Future-Ben was Halloween, 2010. I had recently come out of a 13 year marriage and was living alone for the first time in...well ever. This time in my life was like one long New Years Day, a time when it was necessary to focus on who I want to be and what I want to do with my life. For the first time, I was realizing that these choices are mine alone to make. Any feelings of sadness or loneliness were mostly wiped away by a sense of giddy hopefulness that can only come from hitting rock-bottom and witnessing yourself bounce skyward. 

My new Bay Area friends had invited me out for Halloween. The plan was to take their 11 year-old trick-or-treating in the Oakland Hills, then we adults would hit up a spooky art show opening in San Francisco's Mission district. I didn't have a "costume." I just wanted to look good. I had one suit that a friend had given to me when I was Best Man in his wedding. That worked. I had a short beard for the first time ever (facial hair was previously forbidden) so I shaved it into an old-timey chops and mustache configuration and slicked back my hair. Who was this character? I didn't know. He was just some dapper guy who's ballsy and weird enough to rock some ridiculous facial hair. I was dressed like a guy who's far more confident and attractive than I was. 

As the night went on I felt a strange comfort and confidence in this character. I realized, "I want to be this guy all the time. Why can't I? I'm a single dude in the San Francisco Bay area. I can be whoever I want!" This wasn't any sort of fanciful character. I had merely dressed as the fearless, charming man I wanted to present to The World every day, Future-Ben.

Future-Ben became a character my friends and I joked about a lot during this time. It was great because Future-Ben was a reflection of all my goals and potential during a time when Present-Ben was a lonely-but-hopeful dude sleeping on a borrowed pool floaty. We all can benefit from having an inner friend who is the best version of ourselves, someone we can look up to and work towards becoming over time. Somehow when you start looking like a person who has his shit together, you find yourself acting like, then slowly becoming a person who has his shit together. A Halloween outfit, a suit you found at Goodwill, even some decent socks that didn't come in a 12-pack, these things can be a spark that lights a fire under your ass to become a better man. 

I just do my best impression of Future-Ben every day. When something I want to do seems to difficult, and I'm tempted to do a half-assed job I think, "What would the version of me who has his shit together do?" That makes it easier to see what I need to do, difficult or not. Then I do my best to make that happen. The person I am today is more like Future-Ben of 2010 than the still timid guy who dressed up for one night then slept alone on the floor of a box-filled apartment. But Future-Ben keeps evolving ahead of me, so I still have a long way to go.

A Life of Better Off Dead

Better Off Dead (1985) written and directed by Savage Steve Holland and starring John Cusack, David Ogden Siers, Kim Darby, Diane Franklin and Curtis Armstrong. I have my favorite movies. There are films I've seen over and over. But nothing comes close to B.O.D! In my family it's still a Christmas tradition. 

I won't get into trying to explain why this movie means so much to me. It's not fully explain-able. I guess it just clicked with my sense of humor at a time when I was still wondering what it's like to have new romances and adventures as a goofy suburban kid. 

So imagine my excitement when I saw that this year's Sketchfest includes a Better Off Dead 30 Year anniversary Live Read!

Right Off!....On! 

Language Lessons. This piece is featured in Gallery 1988's book, Crazy 4 Cult: Cult Movie Art 2

Language Lessons. This piece is featured in Gallery 1988's book, Crazy 4 Cult: Cult Movie Art 2

If you have kept up with my artwork, you already know about my obsession with Better Off Dead. Two of the pieces I've done for Gallery 1988, Crazy 4 Cult shows are B.O.D. inspired. Language Lessons was part of my series of Weirdoes in Love which also featured Harold & Maude, Pee Wee Herman & Dottie, and Sailor & Lula from Wild at Heart.

Painting, It's Got Raisins In It involved a lot of tricky, wet-into-wet print transfers in order to get the rain-soaked recipe onto the illustration board. I'm very happy with the results. This one hangs proudly in our kitchen.

This 30th Anniversary Live Read is coming up faster than a paper boy, owed his two dollars. If I can figure out a way to get involved and help with some new merchandise, I will. 

-Ben

It's Got Raisins In It, from Gallery 1988, Crazy 4 Cult, 2008

It's Got Raisins In It, from Gallery 1988, Crazy 4 Cult, 2008