Art in the Italian market deli…

bob is art...art is bob

does the wall a piece is on determine if it is art?  for that matter, does the building the wall is in add weight to the determination?

so, something funny happened this weekend.  in reality, something happens nearly every minute around here…not necessarily funny ha ha all the time, sometimes funny in a i-just-took-a-gulp-of-rancid-orange-juice-and-didn’t-know-it sort of way.

frank drew a picture of someone.  i know, you’re totally shocked, right?  stay with me.  after he drew the picture, he gave the picture to the person he drew IN the picture.  in this case, it was a neat cartoonish caricature of a local merchant we frequently do business with.  once the merchant saw the unexpected gift, his face lit up…the staff around him lit up…everyone who hadn’t been smiling smiled— because of a piece of art.

yeah, i said it.  a piece of art.

the merchant said he would get the piece framed and hang it right behind his deli counter— on a wall near his meat slicer.

after all the thanks were exchanged and we left, frank said something that made me like him a little bit more than i did before.  he said, “my work hanging on that man’s wall means more to me than if it were hanging in any museum or gallery.  more people would probably see that in one day than a month in a museum.”

now, call it arrogance…call it sarcasm… call it whatever… he meant that.  i think because he knew that people would appreciate his work, would be entertained by his work and would feel better because they saw his work…while patiently waiting for their pound of hard salami.  everyone could understand it.  that’s not to say that the same piece wouldn’t get the same response if it were in a gallery, but it probably wouldn’t.

i suppose a cut out cartoon on a refrigerator or bulletin board satisfies frank much more than being in a gallery.  i can respect that.  it’s not that one means more than the other, it’s all about comfort…ease of inclusion.

great, now i have a craving for salami.

Internal conflict between need and want

life wants

I thought this might be a good time to talk about an oldie, but a classic to me.  I say oldie, this image was posted by Frank on July 28, 2012.  We worked on this one together… I think there was about as much of him in this one as there was of me.  We often talk about the difference between need and want.  Usually, the conversation goes something like this:

“Frank, I need this.”
“Will you cease to exist without it?”
“No?”
“Then, you don’t need it, you want it.”

I usually end up calling him a bad name under my breath and I walk away.

I think many of he items listed in the illustration are things that would cause a cease to existence.  On the other tail, the things listed are what keep us getting up in the morning or in a cold sweat late at night.  We all want a do-over, we all want guidance, we all want to know if what we did was right.  Thing is, if what we did was confirmed to be right, it would have to be compared to something that was wrong, right?

Basically, this illustrations is this: whining about why you shouldn’t waste too much time whining.  The more time you waste whining, the less time you have to try and figure it all out.

Th only “wrong” thing on this list is the bit about the duct tape.  It has been scientifically proved that duct tape can in fact fix everything.  If you don’t want to take my word, or the word of a gaggle of scientists’ words for it… go out right now and break something.

Oh, wait. Make sure you have some duct tape first.  Once you have the duct tape, break something… I’m pretty sure that whatever you did, as long as it was legal, can be fixed with duct tape.

But what do I know, I’m just a squirrel.

What is SQUIRRELOSOPHY?

squirrelosophy lifeThere comes a point in a creator/creation relationship where the line  blurs.  It could be a really bad thing…but maybe not.

In the Bob the Squirrel comic strip, I have literally mined my daily existence for material.  Long time readers are well aware of my willingness to put everything, good, bad or embarrassing right in the strip.  10 years of ups and downs…almost 4000 comic strips…

But I wanted to do something more.  Bob wanted to do something more.  He has a unique perspective on being in the world.  How could you not have a unique perspective being only 13 inches tall (on tippy-toes)?  HOw many opportunities does one get to hear the musings of a squirrel?

In April 2012, I started drawing an extra panel of bob and posting on bobthesquirrel.com.  I had all these other ideas for things Bob could say that just wouldn’t fit in the daily strip context.  I didn’t think anything of it, really…they were just fun to do.  But then something happened… the ideas started flooding into my brain.  Sometimes, faster than I could even write them down or draw them.  It’s one of those situations dudes like me pray to be in.  Inspiration overload.

There were days where I would post three or even four panels.  No sooner were they drawn, they were posted.  The production level was addicting…and it showed no signs of slowing down.  Readers seems to dig the little extra Bob in their day.

So, what else could I do?  I was in danger of having the one-off panels taking over the strip.  I was concentrating more on the panels than on the strip that got me there.  There had to be a division.  A clear cut difference between the strip and Squirrelosophy… a name that seemed appropriate.  Once the name was determined, I decided to put my one college semester as a philosophy major to good use.  In addition to shareable images of your favorite sarcastic squirrel, you’ll get a little running commentary about the image… and maybe a few life lessons and assignments.

Bob of course, is way smarter than me.  You’ll see.

Is it more work?  Yes.  Is it more of an investment?  Yes.  Is it a labor of love?  Yes.  Will you like it?  I don’t know…but Bob and I are having fun finding out.

give up and giving down…

trying and results

if at first you don’t succeed, give up and don’t worry about it.  you know why?  neither do i.

what’s the point of trying when you automatically think that you’ll not make it?  wouldn’t it be easier to just chill and watch every other fly on the wall fall off onto the sticky paper?  i’m not saying there are a lot of flies where i live, i’m just saying.

don’t you think that would get old after a while?  giving up before you try?  i’m out on the street slugging it out every day.  well, that’s not really true either, but being an inspiration to a cartoonist isn’t exactly an easy gig either.  you want to see a guy try and fail, you need to hang out with him.  he’ll tell you a thing or ten about failing and giving up.  i think he only gave up once.  i think what kept him from doing it again was that he got really bored.  even if you try, fail and give up… at least it keeps you busy.

then we can talk about luck.  luck is a big factor.  luck can take a dumb thing and make it popular. luck can make a bad play a game changer.  luck can change the world and rewrite history.  the one thing luck can’t do is be predictable.  you can’t depend on luck… at all… no matter how many horseshoes you have in your pocket.

what is “normal”?

bob the squirrel's normal squirrelosophy

i really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really dislike, oh, i’ll just say it… HATE the word “normal”.  there’s just something about it that makes my fur crawl…literally crawl.  i have pictures, i’ve seen it crawl.

normal means that there has to be something that is not usual.  by and large, it’s supposed to apply to something that is universal over a wide area.   if we were to accept that there was no normal, i think we’d all be somewhat better off for it.

i understand that the concept of normal must exist.  without it, products could not be advertised…nothing ideal could or would be sold.  if there were no normal wouldn’t be any promise out there of something “better”.

what do i know?  i’m just a “normal” talking squirrel.  that is my concept of that word.  it’s not universal… only to me.  wanting to banish the word  isn’t exactly normal to someone else.  probably a good indication that i will not win.

although, we could replace the word normal with the prefix “finefor”—like “fineforyou” or “fineforme”…all it needs is a pronoun to work. squirrelosophy is more apt to embrace this word rather than that other word.

maybe i just need an extremely long squirrel nap.

the unbearable lightness of being a nutcracker

bob the nutcracker

you ever get to that point where you realize that no matter what you do from that day on, that’s all you’ll be?  the day i realized i was what is so wonderfully illustrated was an interesting day.  i’m not going to go so far as to say this realization was what made me embrace a squirrelosophy of life, but it didn’t hurt.

i also realized that even though i might not be completely happy with my station in life, someone out there might be jealous that i can do what i do.

i mean, that’s cool.  although, once they realize that rolling around with this tail isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, they’ll be moping like me hanging out in some tree.  been there, done that.

i’ve cracked a lot of nuts in a lot of trees.

the beginning of squirrelosophy

SQUIRRELOSOPHY? What is that?  A new makeup?

When someone sets out to write a book about life, they have to ask themselves a big question: what do I know that no one else knows?  I mean someone has to know what I know, right?  I’m just a squirrel but I may know more than you think.

So, with a ton of help from my faithful sidekick Frank Page,  I’ve created SQUIRRELOSOPHY.  I will be posting from time to time about what I think about life…because that what I do…they may be in the form of images or text or both.  Am I going to make your life better? Read on, bookmark this, subscribe and find out.

As much as I like to hide it, the fact of the matter is: I am a squirrel. Do I always follow my own advice? Absolutely not. I am hypocrite… if there were such a thing, I’d be a lifetime member of hypocrite society.

Will squirrelosophy be taught one day in our many institutions of higher learning?  I don’t know.  It’s cool to think that it could.

So, this is the beginning.  If you have any thoughts about what I could think about, find my perspective on, email us.