How Bodega Cats Came to be: The E True Hollywood Story

Greetings all! As usual it's been way too long since I've done one of these blogposts. I hope your holidays were filled with family, friends, fun and food (the latter most importantly). 2016 was a weird year where I learned just how dumb the world really was but elections, police shootings and dead celebrities aside I've enjoyed the ride. I have learned extremely important lessons that drastically influence the way I approach Illustration. Do what makes you happy and everything else is secondary.

Early character designs for Gunny Washington, a Bodega Cats main character.

 

After you graduate art school (which I did back in good ole 2012) you get pressured on two sides. The non-artistic world wonders what you're going to do with this useless degree and when you're going to pay off those darn student loans and make something of yourself. The artistic world mostly consists of your friends who went to art school but are also (surprise surprise) broke. They ask, " Hey, what are you up to?" Which is code for "Are you getting any jobs man?". These queries are perfectly fine and reasonable but I have to admit they put a lot of pressure on me. I responded by working myself like a madman. I became goal oriented to a fault, setting myself to impossible standards and tearing myself to pieces mentally when I failed. Illustration wasn't fun anymore it became a vehicle to success; basically  just another job. I really hit rock bottom when I started drawing things just because they were trending. Eventually no sleep + being unhappy with art became being unhappy full time. (My bad for getting so dark so early into the blog)

Isabelle Farro, Bodega Cats main character.

 

I was living in my Grandmother's basement, coming up with daily game plans to make money... which is not the best way to combat depression. Illustration is often a lonely endeavor, where questions like, "is this worth it" or "what if I never make it" go unanswered and unaddressed. Furthermore if you're in a traditional job and the clock strikes 5, you're done and you never have to think of your job until it's time to go back, but wart which eats at your soul all day. What was a poor fella to do? Luckily, my best friend came to visit from Savannah and that marked a turning point. He was also trying to get his Illustration career off the ground, and as I gave him advice I realized I never did any of the things I was suggesting. Now I'd like to tell you all that after this conversation I picked myself up by my bootstraps and learned to love art again; riding off into the sunset with my hat pulled low and a pencil tucked behind my ear, but not so. The reality of the situation was that I took some cough, cough* recreational drugs and we just drew all night. I drew things I didn't intend to share on Instagram. I drew things not thinking how many likes I would get, what it would do for my career or how I could send it in a postcard to art directors. I drew for no particular reason except for the fact that it was interesting. At the end of this impromptu creative bender I realized I was subconsciously creating a narrative. 

Bodega Cats sketch

 

Sometimes we focus so much on the details, that we overlook how simple the answer could be. From early childhood the things that always inspired me to draw were narratives like Dragonball Z, drawing fake Yugioh cards with my friends to later falling in love with book covers and French comic books. Imaginative storylines were what got me in the game baby! So without further rambling I'd like to share a brief synopsis of a personal project I've been working on for about 2 years now. A project that has me waking up early everyday and going to bed late every night. I find myself not focused on the successes I've had or will have. In 2017 I'm really happy with just drawing everyday, and drawing Bodega Cats.

 

Isabelle in Oracle Mode.

Bodega Cats is a narrative written and illustrated by yours truly. The main topic of this tale is religion, but you can bet your sweet ass there will be no preaching. The story follows Reggie, Isabelle and Gunny, three homeless individuals brought together by unfortunate circumstances. They find themselves thrust in the middle of a religious war between the various Olympian Religions. The Olympian Religions are various churches that worship a particular Greek God. When a disciple is faithful and deemed worthy in the eyes of their chosen God, a blessing is bestowed. These blessings take the form of the most powerful attributes of Greek Mythology, Ex. A disciple in the church of Zeus worships devoutly and one day gains the power to throw lightning bolts. Stay tuned for Greek mayhem, witty insults and fantastic illustrations (if I do say so myself) and it all takes place in modern day NYC, so expect a few delayed subway trains. 

 

Bodega Cats is tentatively set for release in Summer, 2017. Stand clear for the closing doors.