“Poker with Lucy” by Jim Meirose

“Let’s go over and visit Lucy.” Mother collects her playing cards and her bag of pennies.

“Okay Mom,” says Johnny.

Lucy lives two blocks over. At Lucy’s house everyone starts off sober. They sit at the brown card table. Mother produces cards and the bag of pennies. The pennies get distributed.

The first poker hand is dealt by Mother. Johnny wins. He scrapes up the pot.

“Lucky,” says Mother, smiling. Johnny smiles back as he stacks the pennies.

Lucy goes to get highballs for she and Mother. Cigarette smoke snakes from the big green ashtray. As Lucy walks off the carpeted floor, barefoot onto the linoleum, she starts to cough and gag. As she gets the drinks she is gagging and coughing and this continues until she is back on the warmly carpeted floor. Mother and Lucy hold the cigarettes in their mouths as Johnny asks “What’s the matter, Aunt Lucy? Why are you choking?”

“I always gag when I walk barefoot on linoleum,” she says, sitting down.

“So why don’t you put on a pair of socks?”

“Ah, no big deal. It won’t kill me.”

Mother smiles.

Lucy deals the second hand of poker. Pennies lie in piles in front of each of them. They toss pennies in the pot and drink the highballs as they play. The second hand is also won by Johnny.

Lucy is a retired hairdresser. Styrofoam heads in fancy wigs line the windowsill in the living room. The children pedaling by in the summer point and comment about the blank faced well-groomed heads in the window of the bright brick house.

“Look at the heads—“

“Weird!”

Mother and Lucy have another highball each and then switch to vodka and orange juice. Lucy and Mother are getting buzzed. Johnny’s sipping at his Coke. The smoke lies in layers about the three. Johnny deals the third hand, which Lucy wins. As a part time job, Lucy does the hair of corpses down at Bronson’s Funeral Home. It pays enough money to keep her in liquor. She gets the brandy. They are drunk now. Butts litter the ashtray and some of the butts spilled off onto the tabletop. Mother deals the next hand, and wins the game and the pot of pennies. They switch to seven and seven. Bottles are on the table along with glasses and the full ash tray. The fifth hand is dealt by Lucy. Johnny wins the hand. Johnny’s got the most pennies since he has won three hands out of five. Lucy goes to the kitchen gagging and coughing and gets the whiskey, a couple of shot glasses and two forty ounce beers. Johnny drinks Coke. They are drunk now. Lucy talks about old Mom Potter, the best corpse she ever worked on at the funeral home.

“Her hair was so fine, so soft. So easy to do.”

“It was like she’d been alive; I almost found myself making conversation with her as I did her hair.”

They all chuckle. Mother goes to the bathroom as Johnny deals the sixth hand. Mother sways back and woozily sits down. They drink the shots and beers. They are plastered. Lucy wins the hand and they decide to stop playing poker. A cigarette dangles from Lucy’s mouth as she asks if anyone wants coffee. The smoke dances around the tip of the cigarette in time with her words. Lucy goes to get coffee, gagging and choking. Lucy is a widow. Her husband is in a shallow grave dug in the dead of winter. Mother is divorced and Johnny’s going to see his father tomorrow. The two women are plastered; they each have a final cigarette and coffee and chat, until Johnny drains his Coke and pipes up.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Daddy.”

Mother frowns and flashes her eyes at Lucy. Lucy’s mouth is set.

Johnny fingers the empty Coke bottle, before adding:

“It’ll be good.”

“Yeah, it’ll be good,” said Mother, nodding, looking down.  “It’ll be real good.”

Mother rises frowning and boxes up the cards and sweeps the pennies back into the bag. Lucy looks on helplessly, watching Mother’s face—then she rummages in a bag and hands something to Mother.

“Here,” she said—“Here’s a breath mint. It’ll help—“

Mother takes the mint. She wants to say something but has no words. Johnny helps his Mother home toward Father. He at least will be glad to see Father. Father, and another dark night to follow, before the next poker game with Lucy.

 

Jim Meirose’s work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including Collier’s Magazine, the Fiddlehead, Witness, Alaska Quarterly review, and Xavier Review, and has been nominated for several awards. Two collections of his short work have been published and his novels, Claire, Monkey, and Freddie Mason’s Wake are available from Amazon.

“What Ever Happened to Norma Jeane?”

Norma Jeane dreams

 

The mysterious new documentary What Ever Happened to Norma Jeane? is preparing to bring the world the most honest and in-depth look into the life of the woman behind the myths. While the exact release date is being kept under wraps, a few new details have recently emerged. A project done out of love for the woman who charmed the world with her beauty and sense of humor — this film will be taking a closer look at her faith in the power of the mind and prayer that ultimately led to her astonishing rise to success.

An Interview with Scott Schwartz

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Scott Schwartz appeared in The Toy alongside Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason in 1982. The following year he went on to play Flick in A Christmas Story, providing the now infamous scene in which his tongue sticks to a frozen pole. Schwartz also worked in television appearing on a couple episodes of ABC Afterschool Special, the made for TV movie A Time to Live (with Liza Minnelli, Corey Haim, and Jeffrey DeMunn), and an episode of 21 Jump Street among others. After a stint in the adult film industry Scott went on to help create a line of celebrity trading cards known as Americana, going on to write for the sports card magazine Beckett in 2008. He is listed as #85 on Vh-1′s The Greatest: 100 Greatest Child Stars.

Aside from acting from staring your career in acting at the age of 9 what was your childhood like? How did it change most when you became an actor?

My childhood was pretty normal, grew up in Bridgewater, NJ, was attending school at Eisenhower Middle school, playing sports, riding my bike to school, playing with my friends, all normal stuff really. Until the films nothing changed so to speak. I wasn’t able to play “school team” sports as my time was taken up by auditions and commercial jobs.

Previous to getting the movies I did a few shows in NY, one off-Broadway and one Broadway show, Frankenstein at the Palace Theatre. Those were fun experiences and I got the chance to work with some really terrific people like Diane Wiest, Tom Moore, John Glover, John Carradine, and Jill P. Rose.

You have worked alongside your father at his sports and movie memorabilia shop since 1987. Do you think it is fair to say the two of you are close? What would you say is the most important thing you have learned from him over the years?

I haven’t always worked alongside my dad since 1987. I did many other jobs along the way but always helped him when he needed me. I’d say we’ve been close and not close, that’s how fathers-sons go, good times and bad, nothing different than any other Father-Son relationship I’m sure.

I learned a lot about business. I worked with my dad growing up when we lived in NJ and he was a window cleaner, I used to get up at5:30am and work with him from the time I was probably 12 or so, during the summers and school vacations. I learned the value of a dollar, work ethic, how to treat people, how to deal with good and bad situations. Many things we see, hear and comprehend we don’t even realize end up becoming learning tools to use all throughout life.

Is it true he was Elvis’ company clerk in Germany? Did he ever talk about what Elvis was like as a person?

Yes, that is true. My dad Dan was Elvis’ company clerk in Germany, in fact he was on the ship going there, where all those people (mostly women) were screaming and going nutty, my dad was right there on shipboard. My dad talked to Elvis pretty much every day as he had to get his pass to get off the base and my dad was the company clerk, so he’d come in and say “Hello Danny, I gotta get my pass” (in his Elvis voice of course), so my dad would get the pass, get it signed off on and Elvis would be on his way to his home right off the base. Dad says Elvis was just a normal guy, if he saw my dad walking on the other side of the street, he’d always yell “Hey Danny, how you doin?” with a smile.

dad elvis

What was it like to work with director Richard Donnor( The Goonies, Superman, Lethal Weapon) and Jackie Gleason and Richard Pryor on The Toy? Did you learn a lot from that experience?

Too much to write really, it was an amazing experience. Richard Donner is like a osecnd dad to me, Gleason and Pryor were beyond nice and kind to me, shared endless hours of knowledge and guidance, words can’t describe all they have done for me over the past 30+ years, even being gone their words still guide me and the experience gave me untold amounts of abilities behind and in front of a camera.

You also had the chance to work with Liza Minnelli and Corey Haim was that an enjoyable experience? Do you ever miss Corey?

We shot A Time To Live back in ’86, Liza was for the most part a nice woman, playing her son didn’t hurt too much either. Corey from day one was like a little brother to me, of course I miss him. I miss his smile, his laugh, his voice. Corey and I had a special bond and in my heart his memory will always be cherished.

What are your personal feelings on death and such? Do you hope there is more to life than what we know while living? How do you hope to be remembered when your time is up?

I don’t look forward to getting old. Being in my mid 40′s I’ve had to deal with many friends passing away already and it is not pleasant. I deal with it as they are on location and I’m not sure when they’ll get back. If there is more to our existence than breathing and where I am not, I guess when I get here I’ll find out. So far no one’s gone there, come back and shared it so for now I’ll just enjoy the time here each and every day. I’d like to be remembered as someone who made people laugh, someone who cared and tried to help make this wacky world better. Can’t of course help everyone but for those whose lives I’ve touched, I hope they think of me and smile.

Do you have any moments from over the course of your career that stand out most in your mind?

There are many moments, meeting people who I liked, was a fan of mostly, but of course seeing myself on the big screen for the first time in The Toy , that moment definitely stands out.

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Do you ever get tired of people mentioning your role in A Christmas Story? Why do you think that particular film has became such a Holiday classic?

There are thousands of films that have been made over the past 30 years, the fact that this “little movie” has captured people to raise it to “Americana” status is beyond belief. People sometimes can go overboard with how they approach me but for the most part it is just love and an appreciation for the work, people are people we are all a fan of someone. The movie is a cross-generational film, from 6-66 people just love the story and relationship between a child and his father, the rest of the film is just fun.. Leg lamp, Chinese restaurant, tongue stuck to pole, Red Ryder BB gun, it is all fun that no one has to hide from either their grandparents or kids.

You have said that being a child actor is truly a bad job can you elaborate on that? Would you advise children who wish to become actors to maybe wait until they are older? Do you think it places too much stress on a person too early on? Have you ever regretted starting your own career at such an early age?

I don’t think I’ve said being a “child actor’ is a bad job, I’ve said being an “actor” is a bad job. It doesn’t prepare you for things in life that are basic, long hours, constant rejection, endless search for a job to pay your bills. Being a child actor is easy, no bills, no rent/mortgage, no car payment, insurance etc.. parents take care of all that stuff. IF a child actor doesn’t learn anything but being “an actor” he/she is in trouble. Acting if you can get work is awesome, if not, you better learn how to do many other jobs to keep working to pay your bills, learn lighting, writing, directing, producing, everything you can OR if those producers don’t hire you it can and will be a most difficult life ahead. To me being a child actor wasn’t stressful, I always had a home to go to, food on the table, friends to see, I just learned my lines and the rest was easy. I don’t regret starting out when I was 8 years old. Why would I ? I’ve gotten to live the life of Riley basically, sure I missed out on school activities, sports I wanted to play etc but the exchange was a lifetime of experiences that money can’t buy.

Was it somewhat therapeutic to write your biography?

Enormously! When it’s done I want people to say “Wow”, not “oh that poor guy.” Lots of up’s and downs along the ride, it has truly been a rollercoaster. Thinking back, bring up good and bad memories are what life consists of but it’s how we deal with the good times and the bad times that bring us all to where we currently are mentally and how we deal with daily life.

Are there any little known things about you that your fans might be surprised to learn?

Sure, but that’s what the book is for. If I was to share one thing, I actually started “working” when I was about 3+ years old when my mom managed a 7-11 in Sommeville, NJ. Mom would put me on a box and I’ll press the cash register buttons for her, I’d get up with her at 5am and hang out all day with her, some days I’d go to babysitters but lots of days were spent with my mom and the customers.

How have you changed most as an individual since your early days?

I remember that kid, when he was 6-7-8 etc.. but I’m far from that guy. We all change over the years, we all mature, everyone finds what motivates them, mine is work mostly. I enjoy working, getting things done and helping people make a living. Being that I do book several celebrities for shows, autograph signings etc, it’s nice to call friends and tell them they will be going someplace, making a few bucks and being able to put food on the table. I just realized that being an intelligent person and being a “jack of all trades” really helps making life easier.

With Corey & Bernie Haim

With Corey & Bernie Haim

What do you think is key to a life well lived?                                             

Remember how well you have it. What I mean by that is this, we can walk, talk, drive, earn a living, 10 fingers, 10 toes, the absolute basics But for some that isn’t so. Walk inside a pediatrics ward, see kids who have cancer, see people who can’t talk, have MS, ALS etc… I smile every day, sure we all have bad days, but know the sun will come out tomorrow, and tomorrow is another day. No one’s future is known, make it as well as you want to make it. Be happy, if I couldn’t be happy I’d buy a shovel and start digging. We are only here a short time (yes, 80 years is a short time compared to the history of the world), enjoy it all, love your parents, love animals, love all whom you want, to hate is a stupid emotion, unless that person has done you wrong but to hate to just hate is truly stupid.

Do you have a dream project you’d most like to bring into being?

That ship has already sailed, I wanted to do a sequel to The Toy and give a big portion of it to Richard Pryor for his dealing with MS but it wasn’t meant to be. Columbia pictures shot me down with nonsense and lies, I had huge mega stars attached, everyone was willing to do it for basically nothing to help Richard but like I said, it wasn’t meant to be. Now if someone gives me the opportunity to work as an actor, I’ll say Thank You and do the best job I can do for them.

Is there anything you’d like to say before you go?

Life is life, Love is love, if you have someone to love tell them how you feel once a day. Spend a moment each day reflecting on your life and try to learn from each and everything you do. I have learned along the journey of life that you can’t expand your horizons until you expand your mind. Sitting on FB for hours each day or living a life of drama is not what will lead anyone to a prosperous or enjoyable life and it certainly isn’t what others want. Love, live, enjoy, feel blessed for what you have, and never be jealous of what others have. Lastly, Smile, it costs nothing to smile but you smiling at someone may put a smile on someone’s face who isn’t as fortunate as you are or have what you have.

“I Am Sleeping In A Bed Made of Magic, And I Begin To Dream” by James Lee Jobe

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I  am sleeping in a bed made of magic, and I begin to dream. In the dream I am trying to put together a crew to rob a bank. I am looking for certain people, very special criminals, as I believe I can do this robbery without weapons or even the threat of violence. “I need people who can work with love,” I keep saying, “I need love criminals.” Then the dream changes, becoming dark and frightening, and I am unable to speak. I know a rather heavy secret that some people will need to know to stay alive. I want to write out this secret, but there is nothing to write with. Acting out the answer has failed, and now, one by one, these people are dying. In the end I am surrounded by piles of bodies, and I am weeping. Eventually I struggle to my feet and I start trying to find my way out. Night. The magic bed. Oh, how complex this thing called living is, even in sleep.

 

James Lee Jobe has been published in Manzanita, Tule Review, Pearl, and many other periodicals. His poems are also included in The Sacramento Anthology: One Hundred Poems, Jewel of the Valley: A California Anthology, and How to Be This Man: The Walter Pavlich Memorial Anthology. Jobe has authored four chapbooks, most recently What God Said When She Finally Answered Me, from Rattlesnake Press. He lives in Davis, California.

 

 

An Interview with Debra Christofferson

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Debra Christofferson is known for her work on such films as Changeling, Mousehunt, and Wild Wild West to name a few. Over the years she has also appeared on such television shows as Murder One, The Jamie Foxx Show, NYPD Blue, The X Files, Ally McBeal, Dharma & Greg, CSI, Grey’s Anatomy, Bones, NCIS, Southland and American Horror Story. She was also the ever impressive Lila on Carnivale.

Can you tell us a little about your childhood? What are some of your most fond memories from that time?

I was raised in a very small town in the Midwest. It was great growing up in a small town — it was safe, rather insulated, and quite beautiful. One of my favorite memories is that of Sundays when we would visit my Grandma’s farm, and my dad would take the back roads, which were gravel and curvy and hilly. Dad has a beautiful voice, and we’d all sing on the drive. It’s where I learned to harmonize.

Did you have an active imagination early on or was it something you acquired along the way?

I’ve always had quite an active imagination, and also have always loved to read, so that has enhanced my imagination in many ways. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be an actor, and imagination always played a big part in that dream.

When did you first discover your love of acting? What are some of your earliest influences?

There’s an old video of me when I was about a year and a half old and came tearing around a corner to see my dad with the camera. I looked up at him, then down at the floor as though I was looking for my mark (a piece of tape or something on the floor indicating where an actor is supposed to stand to be in the right place for camera), adjusted myself and then looked up at the camera again and smiled. It’s hysterical. I was always stealing focus in family videos and pictures. I’ve never wanted to do anything else but perform.

We only got one television channel in our little town, and fortunately it was CBS which aired The Carol Burnett Show. I loved that woman! I was just a kid, but I wanted to be her, and have my own variety show and get to sing and dance and play all the wonderful, different characters that she played. Still do, in fact! I also loved old movies, especially musicals, and idolized Gene Kelly and Danny Kaye. It’s kind of ironic that although my earliest influences were comedic, and that’s where my heart lies, I’m best known for my dramatic roles.

Wild Wild West

What do you love most about being an actress?

Being able to create. To create a character outside of myself, perhaps totally different, perhaps similar, that Debra then inhabits — living, breathing, thinking differently so as to create a completely new person, hopefully unrecognizable as Debra, and hopefully to move, to inspire, to touch an audience in some way as to make a difference in their lives.

As someone who has worked on television and in film is there one you prefer over the other? How do they differ most?

Actually, I prefer theatre! I love having a live audience for which to perform. There’s nothing like it – they’re right there with you, living and breathing the same air, eagerly awaiting what happens next, which keeps it fresh and gives you energy.

I really enjoy doing features, it’s wonderful to play different characters, and when you get to travel, that adds to the fun of it. However, it’s been my experience that there are better and more roles for women in television, and that’s where I work most.

Are there roles you have played you hold more dear than others?

Yes, I have played roles that are more dear to me than others, for a multitude of reasons. I played Kate in Taming of the Shrew at the California Renaissance Pleasure Faire for several seasons opposite Billy Campbell as Petruchio. That was my first Shakespearean lead and I was very scared when I started. Campbell and I had great chemistry though, and we had such a wonderful time on stage together, it’s probably my favorite stage role I’ve ever done.

I did a short film called Seraglio because I fell in love with the script where an unfulfilled housewife creatively found a way to be fulfilled. I won’t give away the ending, but it was such a lovely experience, and the film was nominated for an Oscar, which was yummy icing on a delicious cake.

There are two television roles I’ve done that are quite close to my heart, Holly Gerges on Murder One, and Geri Turner on NYPD Blue. Holly was the first time I saw a performance and couldn’t see myself in the character. It was a huge turning point for me in terms of confidence in my abilities. I was able to see how I had crafted a character outside of myself, like my dad had crafted a curved wooden staircase. He had done beautiful work, had created this piece of art and could be proud of the work he’d done without being egotistical. I finally saw that I was a craftsman and could do the same thing, be really proud of something I’d created without ego being involved. It was life changing for me. And then Geri came along courtesy (again) of Steven Bochco. I was welcomed into the “family” personally by Dennis Franz and Jimmy Smits, two of the kindest actors I’ve ever met, and spent several episodes with the warmest television family with which I have ever had the pleasure to work.

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What was it like to play Lila on Carnivale?

Let me just say that Lila is dearest to my heart of all. I mean, come on, to play a sexy bearded lady in the 1930’s? Fabulous! I almost didn’t audition for the role. The casting breakdown was not very appealing – it referred to her as a behemoth and fat and used other off-putting adjectives. I told my agent I wasn’t interested in playing a “fat girl” part, which is what I call roles that make fun of being overweight or use that attribute to diminish people. Then I thought about what a friend had just told me about never turning down an audition, but to find a way to make a part my own. So I changed my mind. I decided that if I was going to audition to play the role, I was going to audition the only way I would play the role: sexy and assuredly. So I did. I strode into the room, read a scene between Lodz and Lila (who were merely friends at that point) and there was silence. Then the director, Rodrigo Garcia, asked me to do the scene again, only less sexy. I took a risk and did it exactly the same way. If I was gonna play Lila, this was what they were gonna get. And I did and they did.

Dan Knauf told me later that when I walked into the room he thought to himself, “If she can talk, she’s got the part.” Thanks, Dan!

Lila was so much fun to play. The first season, she was reliant on Lodz for her storylines, but season two she started to come into her own, culminating in her storming Management’s trailer. I loved playing her scheming and fretting and fuming, and was so fortunate to work with amazing actors, writers, directors and crew. Also, the 1930’s is my favorite time period for costumes, and I had a blast “living” in that decade. I even wore some of my own shoes, hats and jewelry during the series.

What did you love most about your time there? What was it like to work on a show that was so well made?

There isn’t really one thing. It was an amazing experience for many reasons, some of which I stated above. I feel very blessed to have been a part of such a unique, captivating, well-crafted series.

Why do you think that particular series seems so timeless?

Good vs. evil is always timeless, and being set in the past gives the audience an arm’s length perspective that helps.

Carnivale (1)

Do you have any interesting stories from the sets that you have accumulated over the course of your career?

Far too many to tell, but I’ll share one favorite. I’m a big fan of The Princess Bride, and of sword fighting, and especially loved the swordplay in that movie. Mandy Patinkin played a Spaniard named Inigo Montoya, a character who repeats the phrase “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die!” throughout the film.

I worked with Mandy on Chicago Hope, playing a character named Gwen Taylor. He, Adam Arkin, Barbara Hershey, my “husband” and I were rehearsing a very intense scene and when it came to my line at the climax of the scene, Mandy rolled over it with a joke. After we finished rehearsing, he went to his set chair to read, head down, intent on his book – kind of unapproachable. I honestly couldn’t help myself, and slowly walked up to him, saying (with Inigo’s accent and fighting stance), “My name is Gwen Taylor. You killed my moment. Prepare to die!” He looked up at me blankly, there was a huge silence all around, then he broke out laughing. He invited me to sit next to him and we talked about The Princess Bride and the sword fighting scenes, which were so marvelous with him fighting ambidextrously, until we were called back to set. He was very personable and kind. At the end of the day my hair stylist, make-up artist and costumer all told me that everyone had held their breath when I’d approached Mandy because that was not the response they expected…but he couldn’t have been sweeter.

Are there any little known things about you that your fans might be surprised to learn?

That I used to sword fight and once wrote a script for a pirate movie.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Who was it?

That would be the advice my dear friend, Dennis Adams, gave me to never say no to a part, but to find a way to make it my own and to make it work for me. Which coincides with something we’ve all probably heard at one time or another: Be yourself. There’s only one you, you are unique in the Universe. Celebrate that uniqueness!

Carnivale 2

What do you think is the key to a life well lived?

Being able to truly celebrate and embrace one’s uniqueness.

What are your own personal feelings on life and death and what comes after?

All we have is now – present moment. Live life to the fullest because no matter what religion you believe in, or don’t believe in, none of us really knows what comes next. How you live your life is ultimately between you and God, or if you don’t believe in a higher power, then between you and your conscience.

What direction would you like to see your career take in the years ahead?

I’d like to expand my career even further. I’d like to do more comedy, more films, and maybe squeeze some musicals in there somewhere, hopefully on Broadway.

Do you have a dream role you’d most like to play or project you’d most like to bring into being?

Regardless of the character, a dream role would be one that challenges me, moves me, entertains me, is entertaining, moving and fun to play. That being said, my dream job would be to do a great three-camera sitcom with a live audience. And let’s throw a little music in!

Do you have any upcoming projects that you are at liberty to speak of?

I worked on a couple of “confidential” projects last summer that I’m waiting for a green light so I can talk about them. Haven’t gotten it yet, though. But I’m very enthusiastic about both.

I have a film coming out next April called 1915 about the Armenian genocide. I play an American actress portraying an Armenian mother. It’s a passion project for its two directors, Garin Hovannisian and Alec Mouhibian, and we’re all very excited to see how it is received.

I’m also working with a couple of friends on a half hour comedy that is quite promising — surprisingly not a three-camera comedy! We’ve gotten some great feedback from people in the Industry, and are currently working on the script. Keep your fingers crossed!

Is there anything you’d like to say before you go?

To any budding artists out there: If there is anything else you want to do, have even the slightest desire or aptitude for, do it. But if there is nothing, absolutely nothing that makes your heart sing, that gets your blood pumping, that feeds your soul like your particular artistic passion does, then do IT. Fully, committedly, 150 percent. Most artists never achieve fame, but they can achieve personal greatness and fulfillment, inspire, and touch many lives along the way. What better reward is there than that?

 

The Art of Gary L. Shipman

10735824_10205160580443404_1398494521_n 10751713_10205160566043044_505897363_n 10744585_10205160574403253_397665101_n 10752096_10205160578403353_1115594282_n   10749489_10205160602603958_271573653_n 10799593_10205160594323751_1737189556_n 10799453_10205160596243799_1351203539_n 10799642_10205160601923941_1118871228_n Gary is a professional artist who is self taught. He was born in 1966 and his work is collected worldwide., some highlights include being nominated for Eisner, Harvey, and Russ Manning Awards for the comic book series Pakkins’ Land. His comic work has been published through Caliber Press, Image Comics, Alias Comic and Zondervan. Gary has also worked on the development of several animated projects. And has been exploring different styles of art for more than 29 years with no formal art training. Gary has been married for 20 years to the love of his life, Rhoda. They have 3 lovely children. Gary is also available to do commission pieces of art, just E-mail him at Pakkins@comcast.net with any questions. You can see more of Gary’s work at: http://garyshipmanart.weebly.com/index.html https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gary-Shipman/106428306044930