Wednesday, March 30, 2011

1981 Nashville Bus Station

After spending the summer in Provincetown doing caricatures. I was excited at the possibility of living in NYC and breaking into comic and or illustration business. After several months renting a small room in the back of Gary Hallgren's studio, one of my molars decided to implode. Now if haven't experienced this kind of pain, count yourself lucky. I needed a root canal, which is very expensive. At the time my budget was such that I had to decide each day whether I was going to have a sandwich, or a pint of hagen daz, because three dollars a day was what I had to deal with. This diet might also be the reason I needed a root canal.
A made a call back to Texas to see if I could get a small loan from my mom and step parent. All the while feeling like the side of my head was about to explode. They said they'd discuss and call me back. My step dad, not being the trusting sort didn't feel comfortable sending six hundred dollars off to NYC that "Who knows, maybe he has become a junkie, we don't know what he's up to in the wild and wooly city." So it was decided that they would send me just enough money for a bus ticket back to Texas.
I waited around for a day and a half for the money to clear through Western Union. All the while feeling like my head was being cleaved in two by gremlins sharing a dull axe.
I got my money, bought a bottle of whiskey for pain relief and climbed aboard a Trailways bus for the 96 hour trip back to Texas.

During a six hour lay over in Nashville, I was approached by a dirty haired girl with lithium starved eyes. She sat down next to me looked deep into my tortured soul, and asked "Can I sing to you?" She proceeded to sing me a song a cappella, to the quivering lump of pain that was me. Followed by another, and another, and another. I wish I could tell you that she had an angelic voice, that lifted me up and out of my misery. But alas, I cannot. Winos and Hobos were giving me sympathetic glances. Counting themselves lucky that she had found me rather than them. When the scratchy voice over the loud speakers called my bus to Dallas, no one was ever so happy as I to climb onto a stinking pissed stained bus.

36 more hours would find me in the sweet relief of a dentists chair.




Three months and three root canals later (I don't recommend going to dental schools for dental work. They are root canal happy) my step father who had told me I could stay at their place while I had my work done, came into my room and told me that I needed to take a job and start paying rent. That he felt I needed to learn responsibility. At this point I had been living on my own in New Orleans,taking care of myself since I was seventeen. I nodded and smiled as he left the room. I packed my back pack, and the next morning started hitchhiking toward the world of animation in the great state of California. I had three dollars cash, and a check for two hundred dollars that I'd earned for illustrating a book on Party Magic.

24 comments:

Steven M. said...

Cool story!

talkingtj said...

great story-is california the only place to go to if you want a career in animation?

Roberto Severino said...

I love it when you tell all these cool anecdotes about breaking into the animation industry. You must have had the most exciting life ever to remember something that happened close to 30 years ago!

Speaking of animation, I have a question for you. I've asked Eddie a similar question, but since I wanna be ready to kick some ass in the animation industry when I grow up, what are your thoughts about art college? Do you think it's really necessary to do if I want to become a storyboard artist in the field? I've heard about some high-profile animation artists and character designers that didn't even go to an art college, and yet they've managed to survive in animation really well.

I apologize if this question is too much of a burden on your part, but I'm being very honest.

Damiano D said...

Haha, I love that story! It reminds me of mine. I grew up in Australia and hated it. So I saved up all my money, bought a one way ticket to Canada (a country I never visited beforehand) and left. Never looking back. This only happened just over a year ago and I can happily say that I am taking care of myself just fine, for the first time in my life. It's all changed my life.

J. W. Cornelius said...

Huh huh... caricatures.

Vincent Waller said...

Robert, I don't think art school is necessary to gain entrance into the business. i certainly crawled through an unlocked window. But I think school is a very good leg up. Of course you only get as much out of school as you are willing to put into it.
On a lot of the shows I've worked, (including this one) many of the crew went to the same schools. Even attending the same classes. Networking wise it seems to be a good thing.

Kenny P. said...

I can't wait 'til you publish your illustrated autobiography. I'm going to buy one.

mw said...

Hey Vincent, what a story..that does sound like Dad..i wasnt around back then, but i dont think that little back room was much of a place for an aspiring artist.Leaving there was the best thing you could have done..Glad to see how successful you have become...take care..Molly

Stephen Brady said...

Very good!

B2K said...

Now see, I feel your pain on this one literally, not only did I just have a root canal done that I was not feeling any pain before hand and am now suffering the worst pain from it geting infected, I also have a step father who believes I should pay rent and learn responsibility when he begged me to move back in to help him out. LOL, life is just that funny. Cool animations, I will be following your blog.

Kold_Kadavr_flatliner said...

God bless you, dude.

Sneha said...

as descriptive as your images...enjoyed it....

- just a passerby.

Sneha said...

as descriptive as your images...enjoyed it....

- just a passerby.

Froukje BSA said...

just checking

dinastarr said...

I absolutely love the artwork!

ABW said...

Awesome story...wish I had your ambition and recklessness...

Swift said...

I.T. Cool blog, love the ilustrations, and I totally sympathize with the woes of the root-canal, as well as the situations which occasion them.

@talkingtj:

"great story-is california the only place to go to if you want a career in animation?"
There's always Japan and Korea!

Swift said...

I.T. Cool blog, love the ilustrations, and I totally sympathize with the woes of the root-canal, as well as the situations which occasion them.

@talkingtj:

"great story-is california the only place to go to if you want a career in animation?"
There's always Japan and Korea!

Swift said...

I.T. Cool blog, love the ilustrations, and I totally sympathize with the woes of the root-canal, as well as the situations which occasion them.

@talkingtj:

"great story-is california the only place to go to if you want a career in animation?"
There's always Japan and Korea!

Swift said...

I.T. Cool blog, love the ilustrations, and I totally sympathize with the woes of the root-canal, as well as the situations which occasion them.

@talkingtj:

"great story-is california the only place to go to if you want a career in animation?"
There's always Japan and Korea!

Mom_Soldier_Nerd said...

This story is awesome. I wish I could draw! I also wish I could travel spontaneously but for now I can only travl if the army says I can or if they say I have to. Any other circumstance would be considered AWOL. Thanks for the inspiration though :)

Rocketrahul said...

All great people have humble beginnings....hats off to you.

squirrelly said...

That is awesome! You came to the right state.

Talisunep said...

Adventurous story!