Monday, November 30, 2009

C. J. Guzman : Root Branch Profile #5

I love C. J. not only because once in a while, he puppysits our little terror (I mean... terrier) or because he's mysterious (what does the C and J stand for??) or even because he's genius color master and artist (see above), but because he's just such a nice guy. Now that I've thoroughly embarrassed him, let's see what C. J. has to say about himself.



"Conquest is made of the ashes of one's enemies."

Seeks to replace Megatron as leader. Ruthless, coldblooded, cruel… considers himself the most sophisticated and handsome of the Decepticons. Believes Decepticons should rely more on guile and speed rather than brute force to defeat Autobots. Fastest flyer of group, can reach Mach 2.8 and an altitude of 52 miles. Shoots cluster bombs and null-rays which disrupts flow of electricity. Very good at what he does, but sometimes overrates himself.

Um... ok. C. J. forgets to add that he has legions of fangirls and boys due to his brilliant backgrounds and color work on the Nancy Drew (girl detective) graphic novel series. He is also a veteran of the video game industry and has worked with Maverix for many years on projects for National Geographic and Scion, among others. C. J. is also on the team for the animated short-film-in-progress, Oasis.

・When did you first start to draw/create and what inspired you to do it?

I started the minute my baby hands could hold a writing tool.

・What is your favorite color and why?

Hmmm ... I really don't have one. I like bright and happy colors tho.

・What kind of music (or other aural environments) do you listen to when you work and why?

When I'm in crunch mode I will have "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" movie playing in an endless loop till my project is done.

When working on personal stuff I listen to Phantasy Star online episode 1 and 2 soundtrack..... it's quite choice!

He's a funny one, this Mr. Carlos Jose Guzman.

DICE TSUTSUMI: Root Branch Profile #4

Dear faithful readers, my apologies for settling into a deep Thanksharing food sleep and neglecting this blog. To make up for my laziness, we shall have 2 (yes TWO) profiles per day this week.

To start off, we have a special treat for you. I first saw Dice Tsutsumi's work at a Maverix auction and was blown away by his amazing use of color and his unique, 3-d, modern yet old school style (this is the amateur art purveyor talking). Dice was also the brain train behind the hugely successful Totoro Forest Project, an art auction and exhibition that raised almost $200,000 for the Totoro Forest Foundation! Totoro and the Cat Bus can now live in peace, free from urban sprawl and us pesky humans. The image above is his contribution to the Totoro exhibit, while a work in progress.


Born and raised in Tokyo, Dice moved to NY in ‘93. After graduating from School of Visual Arts in 98, he started his career as a staff illustrator for Lucas Learning Ltd. in San Fransisco. Two years later, Dice moved back to NY to work for Blue Sky Studios as a visual development/color key artist on their blockbuster film projects such as Ice Age, Robots and upcoming Horton Hears A Who. After his long adventurous 7 year run at Blue Sky Studios, he has recently accepted the new challenge to join as an art director at Pixar Animation Studios.

Dice has actively been pursuing his illustration career outside of animation as well. His graphic novel, Noche y Dia is a part of critically acclaimed anthology Out of Picture. He is currently working on this second graphic novel, Dream of Kyosuke for Out of Picture issue #2. He also has been involved with a few potential children’s book projects.

Meanwhile, Dice continues to create his plein air oil paintings that have been featured in numerous gallery exhibitions. His oil paintings are expected to be featured in this 3 man show next June with Soosa Kim and Lou Romano.

Dice currently lives in San Francisco.

Impressive, no? Here are Dice's answers to our 3 questions:

・When did you first start to draw/create and what inspired you to do it?

I only took a drawing class because I couldn't speak English when I first came to the States but then my old classmates complimented my work which lead me to innocently believe I was good.

・What is your favorite color and why?

I don't know~~

・What kind of music (or other aural environments) do you listen to when you work and why?

It really depends. I love all sorts of music but I tend to focus better when I listen to Jazz.

Can't wait to see Dice's contribution to the Root Branch Exhibit!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

SERGIO PAEZ: Root Branch Profile #3

While most folks are brining turkeys, stuffing turduckens, and prepping tofurkeys today, we present for your reading pleasure, our 3rd profile of the Root Branch Winter Exhibit, Mr. Sergio Paez. Most people who've met his acquaintance, particularly at this year's ComiCon, know that Sergio is the ultimate hustler. And we mean that as a giant compliment. The man has skillz! He is also a talented artist and storyboard extraordinaire who hosts an online community for storytelling and sequential art, and teaches a storyboard series at Maverix Studios. Can we add that Sergio is a committed libertarian (check out his painting of Ron Paul above... perhaps Rep. Paul will use it for his next presidential campaign, a la Shepard Fairey & Prez Obama).

Sergio is a San Francisco artist specializing in storyboards, animation, and visual development for TV, Feature film, and games. His animation credits in the United States and Europe include projects for Lucasfilm, Pixar, Sony, and Sega. As an independent filmmaker Sergio's work has been shown at the Los Angeles International Film Festival, the North Hampton Film Festival, and Microcinefest in Baltimore. Most recently Sergio's work was featured in "The Art of Darkwatch" published by Design Studio Press.

・When did you first start to draw/create and what inspired you to do it?

I was probably about 3 years old playing with crayons and copying my brother's drawings. I still remember dividing my paper into squares and coloring in the shapes with different crayons. Not much has changed since then. Except now the shapes get more complicated and our egos fill the squares instead of simple color.

・What is your favorite color and why?

Blue. because it can make you feel blue. But if you look deeper it might be bluegreen or blueviolet. Then you're not blue at all. Your more in the clouds flying around or playing in the water with the fishes. If you turn that blue upside down you might get orange. I love orange juice.

・What kind of music (or other aural environments) do you listen to when you work and why?

None. Don't you know what Milt Kahl said about playing music while you work? Shut that hippie music off and concentrate on making some art. The only Nirvana you should hear is the sound of your soul reaching heaven when you focus your chi and CREATE!

Haha! I think we must now request some extra hippie music for the Root Branch show in Sergio's honor.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ED BELL: Root Branch Profile #2

Up next is one of the core members of the Maverix family, the one and only, award-winning director and creative soul, Mr. Ed Bell. He contributed the gorgeous, dreamlike image on the Root Branch Exhibit promotional materials. Ed is also the creator of the Oasis short film project-in-progress. Check out some Oasis work here and here. If you are very rich and want to fund an unusual, provocative, and beautiful film, please contact Maverix.

Ed Bell is a filmmaker, director, animation artist, and modern day griot. A native of South Central Los Angeles, he went to California Institute of the Arts for their film and video program. Since that time he has been involved in bringing art to life in various forms. His directing and artistic credits include both film and commercials for clients such as HBO, Warner Brothers, Disney Features, Nike, Sony, and BBC Television. He is an affiliated commercial director with Special Agent Productions, and is currently collaborating on a graphic novel with comedic horror writer, Michael Boatman. You can see more of Ed's work here.

... A.K.A. Ed is a rock star. Here are his free flow answers to our 3 questions.

・When did you first start to draw/create and what inspired you to do it?

I can't remember, but imagine I have always enjoyed the pencil and paper somehow. It's always been important to be making things with my hands. drawing, sculpting, carpentry, set building and photography. If I could have grown up to be D'angelo or Andre 3000, I'd be doing it the way they do, but I learned early on to stick with images and ideas. One day, I'll be good enough to express that "soul" through things I create.

・What is your favorite color and why?

Okay, speaking just for the moment, my favorite color is rust red. It's my son's hue. The perfect color!

・What kind of music (or other aural environments) do you listen to when you work and why?

The art going into this exhibit was created in a musical cocoon of mixes by our usual crew: CASAMENA, DEDAN, Cecil, dj Hanif... as well as Chebi Saba and some Prince.

...This man has very good taste y'all! Check out Ed's blog to peruse more of his beautiful artwork.

Monday, November 23, 2009

PATRICK AWA: Root Branch Profile #1

Inaugurating the Maverix Root Branch Exhibit artist profiles is the L.A. based, consistent Maverix auction top bid-getter, and ever awesome Patrick Awa. And speaking of Maverix auctions, the image above was one of his past contributions, and I'd love to buy, steal, and/or borrow it from the lucky bidder, whoever you are.


Born in Santa Monica, California, Patrick grew up in Tokyo and began his career working for a Japanese CGI production studio where he rose through the ranks to direct various commercials and short films. He moved to California in 2001 and has worked as a character/concept designer for major movies such as "Valiant" (Walt Disney Pictures) and "9" (Focus Features), as well as the upcoming "Guardians of Ga'Hoole" (Warner Bros). Patrick is currently designing characters for the CGI feature "Gatchaman" for Imagi.

We asked Patrick the same 3 questions posed to all the artists contributing to this exhibit. Here are his answers.

・When did you first start to draw/create and what inspired you to do it?

I don't remember, but I was just one of those average infants with crayolas making mess on mom's favorite kitchen wall. I think usually kids will steadily find other interesting things to do like playing baseball or jumping on skateboards as they get older, and only a few uncelebrated ones are still left behind with stubby crayolas. That's me.

・What is your favorite color and why?

I like all colors, but I think I specially like "black" because there is something very certain and deliberate about it amongst all other seamless spectrum. "Black" is a dictator.

・What kind of music (or other aural environments) do you listen to when you work and why?

I don't know exactly why, but I cannot listen to any music when I am drawing lines. But I turn my iPod (or whatever around me could provide music) on soon as it turns into painting/coloring phase. It's funny how they could (or could not) relate to each other.

Tune in tomorrow for Profile #2. Who shall it be... ??!

Trivia: There are 17 days left before the December 10th Roots Branch show. There are 17 contributing artists. Maverix is located at 1717 17th Street, and the phone number is 415.522.1717... and none of these "coincidences" were orchestrated by humans. Fortuitous or creepy? You decide.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Its that time of year again!! Time to get the community together for an evening of Art Music Food an d Friends. And hopefully some shopping! :)

Stay tuned, we will be updating the blog with Artists bios, interviews and sneak peeks at some of the Art to be premiered at the "Root Branch" Winter Art Exhibit.