Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cover of Bob Marley book

Many thanks to the inimitable KIMI WEART, designer of this project. Now that I see her job on the cover, I am relaxed and excited about the rest. Nice one Kimi!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

And Just Like That, The Book is Done.

I have finished the book, I AND I Bob Marley. It feels like I just scored a goal during the World Cup. (OK. OK. Of course, my fat ass couldn't even be a lineman at the world cup, thank you very much for pointing it out! Still, I am stoked.) 

I hate it during those lame award shows when people go off thanking their cohorts. Well, I realize at this moment how the success of this book was quite literally dependent on one person. This beautiful, kind, patient, loving, AWESOME sock puppeteer I call my wifey. I am blessed beyond comprehension. She put the kids to bed, made the meals, cleaned the house, did the bills, basically did everything to keep us alive while I was in my cave, painting 18 hours a day for the past few months.  She is too good to be true; Like a dream I have not yet woken from.  Please, God, let me keep dreaming.

This is my tradition of gathering my babies all together for 1 last hug before shipping them all away to the publisher. 
It gives me  chance to notice things I may not have seen when viewing a piece in isolation. And sure enough, in this case I went back to work on five or six of them to further unify the art based on seeing them all together. One cool thing I found when I gathered all the art here was that the
re were several graphic elements that I had subconsciously included in nearly every piece. 
I am holding the cover sketch, which is my last task for the book, aside from pimping the hell out of it when it is released. 

And then I wrap them up and hand them to a guy wearing brown shorts. Well, I FedEx'd it so I suppose Blue shorts. Still. I dont know him. Maybe he is hammered and will forget to lock the back of his truck. One good bump and bye bye Bob Marley book. All this work ending up as road kill? Terrifying for me. But, what ya gonna do? Paint it all over again I suppose. 

Thankfully, I just heard from the world's best editor, Jennifer Fox, that indeed, the art arrived safe and sound. Thank God. I can breathe again. 


What to do now. 

What to do now...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Bob Marley Birthday Festival, Seattle 2009

This artwork I created for my bredren who is promoting the Seattle Bob Marley Birthday Celebration. This is the final art but the design is just a placeholder until the details are locked in. Then I will do a big poster of it with portraits of other artists who will be playing as well. But this central image will be the logo of the festival.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A First Look

I am reading the Bob Marley book tonight for the first time. Excited, nervous. A little worried. I mean. . . a Bob book better be great.
However, I have a good feeling about illustrating this book.

I will try to document the steps to this book more this time.

Ok, I will shut up and read.
And draw on the manuscript, visually brainstorming.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Brand New Surf Art

Here are some new paintings that go with my surf show. If you scroll down a bit you can see my other surf art that this new stuff goes alongside.

The current show is at Sweet Laurettes. We have an opening party planned for May 3 so come check it out if you can!


"One's Trash Another's Treasure"
ink and acrylic on wood

"Reflecting on the Cosmos"
ink and acrylic on birch

"Blessing of the Session"
ink and acrylic on wood

"My Four Lane Freeway"
ink and acrylic on a cabinet door

"Fight for your RIGHT"
ink and acrylic on wood

"Exactly Seventeen Minutes Before It Got Good"
ink and acrylic on birch

"Soar Free"
ink and acrylic on linen

and there is one more that I have not shot yet but it is coming soon...

A lovely Interview

My homie, Holly, an awesome writer and all around saint, did a nice little interview of me on her blog. You can check it out here:


Sunday, March 23, 2008

New way to see this art


Sit back and feel the vibes. This is a video diary of art and is not commercial in any way, so there is wicked music in it. *

And if you never got a chance to see the Chess Rumble video trailer come on over: http://youtube.com/watch?v=qHPpsU7aYHQ

Thank you.



*Sizzla Kalonji - love is divine, Beres Hammond - they gonna talk, Itals - inna this this a time, Midnite - mamma africa, bob marley - jah live

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New York through the brain of Jesse

Greg and I were in NY doing our own book hustlin. We met with lots of folks, had signings and presented to schools and libraries all over the boroughs. It was very successful and I am sure we spread the word on Chess Rumble like nobody could have done. Well, maybe except for Abe (abe, holla!).

And, since I am trapped with it, now so are you. My brain, that is. I can not think linearly about the trip so you dont get any timeline. I was there for 11 days and here are some of those days and nights all shuffled together like they are in my brain. Poor sick brain.

Of course, since I had my camera with me at all times, I took no pictures at all. Luckily there were more normal humans along who threw me a bone.

I got the chance to talk to the illustration class at Parsons. That was fun. Anything involving Pat Cummings is ok by me. She is my queen mom and the queen mom of lots of other pups out there. Her students were attentive and asked great questions. Since I had to go to community colleges and always lusted after Parsons, I was quite thrilled to go there now in this capacity. Ah, the great leveler, time.

I also did a talk at Saint Ann's in Brooklyn Heights. Talk about a cool school. They have an amazing art department and the folks who run it are wonderful.

And then a bunch of stuff happened. Some good, some bad. Well, the bad happened and it was good because it caused me to change my plans that I had been working on for one year. So fate is kind sometimes. After the bad, I had great stuff happen. One of those great things was getting some great interest in some of my stories that I have been writing and illustrating. Another great thing was meeting and signing with my agent, Edward Necarsulmer IV. He is a cool guy. Big respect, Edward.

Above: Greg and I at the Hue Man bookstore in Harlem. This is such a great bookstore. I was very glad to get the chance to do a signing there. Though, due to a scheduling mix up we had slightly fewer people that we had expected, but G and I know how to roll with a punch. One of the highlights of it for me was getting to play a young Lion. He came up before the presentation and I asked him if he wanted to play. He sat down and went to work. A little crowd of my editor, Greg and some other book folks gathered around and put me off my game. :) Ok, they didn't. That would have been my excuse if the kid beat me. Well, he did. But it was a long game right up to the last three or four pieces and the King knew his game well. I had a great time playing him and I know he is one of the lions who will be keeping their heads up and will not fall into the typical pitfalls. More power, little King.

In this section, you will see no pics because of my brain malfunctions. We did several school visits in Brooklyn and those were probably my favorite days. I love Brooklyn and was glad we were able to get into the public schools. The first school we went to was not organized as much as we would have liked them to be but eventually they did get us to the right room and found the projector, etc... Though we only had twelve seconds to set up since there were already a few hundred kids in the room and it was starting to swell (even though we got there with well over an hour to set up), it turned out being a great program. Did I mention we can roll with a punch? The kids loved the presentation and were very receptive to Greg and I when we spoke to them. To top it off, we picked up some wicked patty and peppa at the Jamaican spot across the street, so all was Irie.

Greg and I with the ever lovely and elloquent Elizabeth Bird, of Fuse #8 superstardom. We met for drinks and had a nice time talking. Here is her post about the event. You can cross check and see if anyone is lying. :)

By the way, Ms Bird is very humble about her hyperfame. Though, while I was in the office of Rubin Pfeffer, VP of Simon & Schuster, editors swarmed in and out and EVERY ONE of them knew intimately of Fuse #8 blog. So, Betsy Bird, you are indeed the star we all think you are. Much thanks to her for taking Greg and I under your wing. (purr) (purr)

And then we come to one of the world's coolest editors. Actually she couldn't make it, but we did get to hang out with Jennifer Fox. Ok, I am kidding. Of course, Jennifer IS the coolest editor in the world. She hooked Greg and I up with enough food and drink for us to feel like stars. Actually it turned out quite well and nobody brawled or danced on any tables. (Though I did later, but that was after I saw the other two off to bed.)

(The truth is that I did not dance on any tables that night, but Saturday night I ended up alone in a long ass line wrapping around a building at 2 in the morning. I went to try to get in to the Bob Marley Birthday Bash at B.B.King's and timed it perfectly to wind up in the two hour line. Stubbornness is one of my most endearing qualities and when I had moved twenty feet in an hour I figured I was nearly there. Of course, that was my unrealistically-positive outlook. Another endearing quality. Come to think of it those qualities always land me in bad spots. Whatever. Anyways, when I finally got up in the club(and of course, when you get to the door they charge you twice what it says outside, cause you waited so long you gonna turn around now?)- Anyways, when I did finally get in, the band said, "Ok, for our last song..." hmmm. nice. It was fine cause before the band even finished the stage was bum rushed by the dj's and the club CLUB migrated in. Didn't know that is what I was waiting hours for in the cold NY streets, lined with lots of angry looking cops, but hey, I roll with punches. It is always great to be the only whiteboy up in a club. I have had the pleasure many times all over the world, but never figured I would get the honor in NY of all places. This night was nice because they mixed some dancehall in with the hip hop. "If you from Brooklyn gimme a hey" "HHEEYY" "If you from Staten give me a hey" "HHEEYY" . . . . "if you from Port Townsend give me a hey" (mouse voice:) "hey"
When I finally left I asked some kid on the train what time it was and he told me it was four fifty. huh? Better just stay up since I have lots of important meetings to be fresh for. DOH!)

(and for the copy editors in the house, did you like that run on, never end blurb all within some kind of parenthetic bubble? Yeah, me too)

Sorry I can not remember much else right now. I am sure I will add on to this, but for now, that's it. Can you believe you just dredged yourself through all of that gibberish? Neither can I.

Peace New York. I got mad love for you. I'll be back soon.

Juvie Visit in South Bronx

One of the highlights of my recent trip to New York was the presentations Greg and I did at the Juvenile Detention Center at in Hunt's Point, south Bronx.

Often, when Greg and I were giving presentations about our book, Chess Rumble, I got to preaching a little about the elements of chess and how they relate so beautifully to life.
When we think of ourselves as pawns, we usually mean it in a negative way. But who is the king afraid of? Or who should they be afraid of? The pawns. Yes. Who makes a nation run? Who makes war possible? If it were just kings in a war, there would be no fight because they don't want to die. They don't mind sending pawns to fight and die because they have lots of them. But would any society succeed without the pawns? Of course not. Pawns create the structure upon which a nation can be built. So when you alter that perception of what it is to be a pawn, you are able to think past your economic, social or any other type of barrier.
In chess the pawn can become any other player on the board except the king, providing it makes it all the way across the board. And that's ok, because I don't want to be a king anyway. I want to be a bishop. I want to lead my people out of injustice and into the light.

My favorite quote from a student was "I wouldn't change anything about their presentation. They were just being their selves." I think that is the best review I have ever gotten.

I got to play a few games while I was in the city and I felt blessed that after I preached on the value that chess teaches, I was able to school this student with a four move mate. Fate, always up for a dose of poetic justice, gave me my own schooling. One of the councilors at the detention center set up his own board and proceeded to crush me three times in a row. It was an honor to lose to him because he was a great player. He was able to see into the future and spoil every plan, while at the same time, put me continually on the defensive. Respect, Teacher.


To quote my Greg's blog (yes, because I am lazy):

"The highlights: The new Bronx Library Center, PS 196 in Brooklyn, and Juvie in the Bronx. If you are an author or illustrator in NY or traveling through, here are 2 folks you need to talk to:

Paquita Campoverde of the Brooklyn Public Library. She is actively looking for authors to speak in the Spring and has 53 branches plus schools to fill with visits. And Jessica Fenster-Sparber of the Passages Academy in the Bronx. She works with detained juveniles and has put together a great library filled with one of the best collections of YA/MG for urban teens that I have seen. She too is looking for authors to come visit, and if you can put aside your fears of being behind bars, you'll find kids who are truly effected by your visit and your books. It is a rewarding experience, one that ourselves and Walter Dean and Christopher Myers have done."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A few more pieces from the NEW SHOW

Here is one more painting from the new show. To see more, scroll down through the next three or four entries. (sorry for the poor photo quality, the photographer I am having shoot my art has been unavailable so far. but soon...)

If you are able to stop by the Northwind Arts Alliance Gallery in Port Townsend, please do. I think you will love the show.

The Moment
acrylic and ink on plywood

Friday, January 18, 2008


My new show is up and I am really happy with it. Some of my favorite work ever.

Playground en la Playa
Jesse Joshua Watson
Artist Statement

When I thought of all the different playgrounds I enjoy, it didn't take long for me to come to the realization that the show must be about surfing. To me this really is my ultimate playground.

Surfing is like a dream. There is nothing that feels more real in that instant, but the further away you are from it, the more surreal it becomes. It is a song that was played and now lives forever in the foggy detail of memory. Was I really surfing last week? Did that actually happen? Even the waves themselves are fleeting. The swells travel across the sea, they double up when they hit shallow sea floor and then they peel, break and crash, ending their life mostly unseen and unheard. This is the reason I portrayed the figures in an intentionally dark and vague way, not just because we all wear wetsuits. I wanted them to appear almost as ghosts, because that is all that is left after a wave is ridden.

The wood grain is something I knew I wanted to include. It is a long-standing element of the sport, from the Koa board of the ancient Hawaiians to the new bamboo boards of today. I got most of my surfaces for the show at Waste Not Want Not in Port Angeles and Port Townsend. Whether real wood or laminates or fiberglass, they all had the distinct look of the different eras of surfing.

To my ink line I added acrylic paint. This ended up looking a little like a stained glass window. I added a thick clear coat of varnish to make the artwork feel like a freshly shaped surfboard does. The result is something I am very excited about. I see it as a major turning point in the evolution of my own art.

The entire show is drawn directly from my experiences as a Northwest Surfer. The locations, some of them secret, are my most beloved surfing spots and the narrative is that of my intimate interaction with God through the temple of these moving walls of water spawned from the storms hundreds of miles away. Those of you who partake know exactly what I am talking about. This is my deepest expression of spirituality and I hope you find the opportunity to share in it yourself someday. But for now, here is my visual celebration of surfing.