“Hello August,” said the Elephant.

Elephant - Nat. Geo. 3

“Hello August,” said the Elephant.

August could not reply, for August was nothing tangible with which the Elephant could communicate.  But the Elephant knew she was in the presence of August – in the presence of the waning African winter.  She had survived another minute – another hour – another day – another month.  She’d survived another season, and after many moons, another year.  She dragged her trunk across blades of grass wetted by the brief morning rain, and her feet sank, just a bit further, into the ground.

As she pressed on, her great ivory tusks parted the grasses before her – and her feet left a telling trail in her wake.  The sun rose on the first day of August and as it did, the morning’s droplets vanished – into either dirt or air.  Cooler than summer but still warm by standards, August remained able to hug the Elephant, teasing spring warmth while filling her trunk with its wintry fragrance.  The Elephant grazed as she waded through grass, then she crossed a river and took a nap.

This particular nap was one from which the Elephant never awoke.  Murder came in her sleep, and thievery came after death.  Stripped of her ivory, in the Serengeti her body stayed – and to the Elephant, August said, “Goodbye.”

-Bobby James

“Hello August,” said the Elephant, (c) 2014


Welcome to August, my birth month!

The above poem, “Hello August,” said the Elephant, was crafted to be a tragically beautiful conservation piece.  Last year, for my birthday, my only wish was to raise money for the conservation of elephants (and big cats).  I created a painting and asked readers to save the picture and use it as their social media image for a day – my birthday (August 12).  This year, I’m asking you to share my poem.  By spreading the message, it is my hope that attention becomes action – so that one day, I may craft an ending where the Elephant lives.

As I march toward August 12th, and the year I’m dubbing “the great 28,” I find my wish to be the same – to do what I can to make a difference.  That’s why this year I’m asking you all to join me again!  In lieu of birthday cards or gifts, I’m asking you to make a donation to one of the following conservation organizations in my honor – then send an e-mail to me letting me know (please) – bobby.james.myers@gmail.com :

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

“The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust embraces all measures that compliment the conservation, preservation and protection of wildlife. These include anti-poaching, safe guarding the natural environment, enhancing community awareness, addressing animal welfare issues, providing veterinary assistance to animals in need, rescuing and hand rearing elephant and rhino orphans, along with other species that can ultimately enjoy a quality of life in wild terms when grown.” (from website)

Save The Elephants / Wildlife Conservation Network

“[Save The Elephants] Our mission: to secure a future for elephants and to sustain the beauty and ecological integrity of the places they live; to promote man’s delight in their intelligence and the diversity of their world, and to develop a tolerant relationship between the two species.” (from website)

Cause an Uproar

“Populations of lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, jaguars, and other top felines are declining at an alarming rate. They are victims of habitat loss and degradation as well as conflicts with humans. In response, National Geographic, with filmmakers, conservationists, and Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert, launched the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports on-the-ground conservation and education projects combined with our Cause an Uproar global public-awareness campaign.

Cause an Uproar and join us in working to ensure that our future is not without these majestic creatures.” (from website)

Last year, we raised $175 for the conservation of the world’s elephants and big cats.  This year, I’m hoping to match – or exceed that amount.  In addition to funds raised on my birthday I’m declaring that 25% of my earnings on Sunday, August 10 will be donated to Cause an Uproar – as a memorial for my Grandma Sarah (who would have been 77 this year) and to commemorate World Lion Day!

Join me.  Let’s do some good together and if you need anymore convincing, see the gallery below.  Thank you.

 

New Art | The Faces of Elephants

It’s been just about a month since I’ve shared any new art with you – that’s because I’ve been busy working on various other projects (ex. Boug & S’More: A Swamp Tale [novel] and a poetic sexual odyssey), which you could note by following me on twitter or Instagram (@TheBobbyJames).

Yesterday I managed to create two pieces – the first remains untitled, so I’m leaving that up to you:

Title TBD

Title TBD

Title TBD. Watercolor, (c) 2014. Bobby James.

This is my first foray into freehand painting with watercolor.  I used various brushes to create the image, then used my fingers to add strokes of yellow.  To finish the piece, I mixed in some additional water to splatter paint for the final effect.  Pretty simple, really.  I woke up, had a vision and knew I wanted to experiment with a medium I’ve never really used before.

I love this piece – but I cannot seem to find the right title.  I’d been toying with calling it “Elephants in the Wind,” but I figured, why not let someone else decide?  So leave your suggestion in the comments section below – or on social media using the hashtag #NameTheElephants and I’ll use the title I love best! :)

Next, I present:

The Faces of Elephants

The Faces of ElephantsThis piece began as a doodle while I was having coffee with my friend Pete.  Earlier this year, Pete and I decided to have what we call “art dates.” These “dates” are used to not only be social, but to share creative ideas while an organic, creative process occurs in public – the people at Starbucks love us (I think), well, I know they like the art at least.

Pete sketches forms and figures mostly and I let my mind wander into an abstract place (Breath of Life and The Spring of Life were created this same way [see below]).  During our outing, I drew the top left swirl in the image.  From there, the rest of The Faces of Elephants was born.  You’ll notice there is a great deal of symbolism.  Are the trunks phallic in nature?  Are the tusks suggestive of bondage?  Are people consuming the elephants or are elephants existing harmoniously?  These are some of the thoughts I hope this piece inspires.

What else do The Faces of Elephants say to you?  What do you see? I’m curious to know your response.  I can tell this abstraction is influenced by the sexual odyssey I’m composing.  Can you?

To view more of my art, CLICK HERE


Here are the two pieces referenced above:  Breath of Life and The Spring of Life.

The Bobby James Awards: A Comment and Update

As you may or may not be aware, The Bobby James Awards date back to 2002, when I decided to create a year-end list for the “Best of WWE.”

Since that time, I’ve expanded my year-end rankings to include movies, television, music and TNA Impact Wrestling.  This post, however, is about the film categories and history – which are listed as having began in 2007.  For several years though, I’ve been haunted (for lack of a better term) by the fact that some of the movies and performances I most admire and treasure haven’t had the opportunity to be honored or recognized – by me.  Yet, in conversations related to all things movies, I find myself constantly referencing some of these titles, actors, characters, scores, etc. and find one (Brokeback Mountain) among my all-time favorite movies.

This post serves to provide notice that I’m dating the “Film” categories back to 2005.  All “award” recipients will have an asterisk placed by their name (for 2005, 2006), and below the category, this note shall be referenced.

View the Updated Film Awards History Here

A Media Comment: Animated Feature ≠ “Kid’s Movie”

"Hiccup" from DreamWorks' How To Train Your Dragon 2

“Hiccup” from DreamWorks’ How To Train Your Dragon 2

Have you seen DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2 yet? If not, do so – it’s a fantastic animated feature that, in a roundabout way, is the basis for this post.  While I was surfing Facebook, I saw Moviepilot Animation’s article:  So Let’s Talk About How To Train Your Dragon’s Gay Character.  Upon completing the article, I read through a few of the responses, but the top rated response said:

“He is not gay…my god its. A kids movie..people are such idiots trying to make something out of nothing…get a hobby!”

While those of you who know me may think this will focus on the emergence of openly gay characters in animated movies, it won’t.  Trust me, I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a research article analyzing gay characters in animated movies.  That project looks more like a go every day.  Instead, I’m going to comment on why ANIMATED FEATURE does not equal KID’S MOVIE.

This is something that’s bothered me immensely over the years, leaving me curious to know:  Why do so many people say animated movies are just for kids? Is it the bright and bold color, the catchy musical numbers (ahem, Frozen - I know, I should just “Let It Go”), or is it simply because it’s animated? A cartoon.  I can’t figure it out.

Now, if you’re like me, you love animated features – and you like to go to the theater while schools are in session, so that you may enjoy them without all the chatterbox-children around.  But doesn’t it just so happen that kids are almost always on break when the animated features flood the box office? It does. Then, you go to the theater not thinking much of it and surprise! A million kids.  The kids aren’t the problem though, it’s their chaperoning adult(s), right?

I generally make it a point to see every animated feature that comes out.  I’ve loved them since I was a child – and since the emergence of Pixar, the ante’s been upped!  Many more animated features are sophisticated and contain social commentaries (ex. openly gay characters emerging in animated features), subtle humor and storylines for adults.  The [mostly] breathtaking animation is still there, but that’s for the enjoyment of everyone right? So I can’t figure out why when I walk into a theater full of kids I’m shot a dirty look from time to time.  Am I not allowed to see an animated feature in theaters if I don’t have children?  Because I’m seeing the movie alone, am I weird? …or worse, a suspected pedophile?

On countless occasions, I’ve had friends tell me they wanted to see whatever the newest animated feature was, but they can’t go alone because “it’d be weird.” Why is it weird? Why can grown men or women not go see an animated movie alone? Who says and what authority do they have? Then I think, it all comes back to this idea that animated features are “Kids’ Movies.”

Newsflash: They’re not.

Animated features, like all other Hollywood productions are rated in accordance with the MPAA.  Generally, these movies are rated G or PG (you can explore all that who, how, etc. here), but that alone doesn’t mean the movie is strictly for kids. When I envision kid-centric entertainment, I think of programming like Baby Einstein, or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, just to list some obvious (TV) examples.

Carl and Ellie from Disney-Pixar's Up

Carl and Ellie from Disney-Pixar’s Up

Have you seen the Shrek or Ice Age franchises? I don’t think I need to elaborate on all of that adult humor.  What about more subtle movies like Disney-Pixar’s Up?  The entire Carl-Ellie relationship is adult-oriented, as is the “Married Life” montage.  Sure, it’s brightly colored and full of wondrous imagination and imagery, but Up‘s core (its heart) appeals to both children and adults.  My point is, these animated features are made for the enjoyment of everyone.

By design, animated features resonate with each of us differently.  They could inspire a child to become an animator.  They are proponents of imagination (children may want to be ruling princesses or explorers imagining great adventures of their own).  In the same way kids are inspired, adults may find humor, they may reminisce of days gone by, or they may be inspired themselves.  An adult may write that book or screenplay they always wanted to write, or to take the adventure they’d always imagined (I went to New Orleans in 2012 because of The Princess and the Frog), or just to laugh and love as much as the animated feature suggests.  Through the lens of adulthood we “see” and take away more from animated features, we understand their souls and not just the pretty pictures.

Now please, don’t think my last statement discredits a child’s ability to understand a movie (or any piece of media or art).  I’m the last person that would do that.  In fact, in my own endeavors, I find myself fighting for the kids, saying they deserve complexity, subtlety and perfection in the media they may consume.  What I am saying, is that adults have a greater understanding (sometimes) and that just because it’s animated doesn’t mean it’s not for them too.

Call it a Family Movie or better yet, just call it what it is – an animated feature or an animated movie – but unless it’s directly stated to be so, don’t call it a “Kid’s Movie.”  Recognize they’re made for the enjoyment of everyone – take away the weirdness and the odd looks.  Give everyone the chance to be inspired, just because you’re grown doesn’t mean you don’t need it.   Go watch any one of your childhood favorites now, and as Beauty and The Beast suggests:

“There may be something there that wasn’t there before.”

I’d like to know, is there a movie you feel bridges the gap between childhood and adulthood?  What are some of your favorite animated moments or quotes?  How about your favorite animated characters and why? What themes do you see in animated features that appeal to adults?  Let’s talk in the comments section!

New Art: Nina, Mya and Queen Isis

Last week, there was a bit of a clown craze.  This week, I’m tackling sexy.  The three pieces I present here, Mya, Nina, and Queen Isis, all began with an idea for hair.

Nina was first in this group.  On my wall there’s a Marilyn Monroe poster.  I looked at that to draw inspiration, but didn’t want to simply duplicate something in existence – so I exaggerated some features (eyes, lips) to create a lusty Russian-esque woman.  I’m satisfied to present:

Nina

(c) 2014, Bobby James

Nina

Nina. (c) 2014. Bobby James. Pencil/Marker

Next, I wanted to create a desirable, perhaps exotic American girl.  That’s Mya.  She’s got flowing black hair, a dark tan complexion and an innocent face.  She’s that diamond you may find in small-town, Midwestern or Southern America.  Here’s:

Mya

(c) 2014, Bobby James

Mya

Mya. (c) 2014. Bobby James. Pencil/Marker.

Finally, the most recent creation (6/15) is Queen Isis.  Knowing I wanted to create a strong black female with a ‘fro, for whatever reason, I kept thinking of Beyoncé’s character “Foxy Cleopatra” from whatever Austin Powers movie that was.  I knew I wanted Queen Isis to command attention and to fill the page.  She’s strong, she’s beautiful, she’s powerful and she’s … ready to disco?  I’m really satisfied with the final result, I think the “Queen” turned out exactly how I’d envisioned her – with beauty, power, attitude, and bold color! All hail:

Queen Isis

(c) 2014, Bobby James

Queen Isis. (c) 2014. Bobby James. Marker/Pencil.

Queen Isis. (c) 2014. Bobby James. Marker/Pencil.

There they are, the latest additions to my 2014 art collection:  View more of My Art here and use the comments section to express your likes/dislikes about the work.  Thanks for looking!

New Art: Enter the Circus!

I’m on a clown craze lately! I’m beginning to think I’m designing creepy clowns to overcome my fear of them?  I have to prepare for the upcoming Freakshow season of American Horror Story, after all.

That said, there are a few pieces to introduce to the new (organically so) collection!

First I’ll begin with Burlesque.  Recently I was told that my art – and all of the skinny subjects – were perpetuating stereotypes and reinforcing current ideas of body image.  I considered this thought.  Was there a point?  Perhaps.  Or perhaps the images I present are what is necessary for the piece as I’ve envisioned it.  Either way, I created Burlesque with a woman named ShowMe Charlotte (Charlotte Sumtimes, etc.) in mind.  She was the first burlesque performer I’d ever seen, and I loved how completely comfortable and beautiful she is.  She’s also seductive and knows how to own her stage.  Currently in the mindset for clowns, though, I gave this image a twist and created a very colorful, curvaceous burlesque woman, the first of her kind – I present:

View More of My Art Here

Burlesque

(c) 2014, Bobby James

Burlesque. (c) 2014. Bobby James

Burlesque. (c) 2014. Bobby James

The next piece, Sin & Lust is intended to not only be homoerotic (you can thank National LGBT Pride Month for the current excess of homoerotic art being produced), but to be an idealized vision of a dark, twisted circus act.  The two, as you can see are co-stars and suggestively lovers (as intended by the similar tattoos).  Sin & Lust are intertwined – linked together by fate and the circus.  (note:  I really, really want to find a way to have this circus-themed underwear produced! Anyone know how to sew? Haha).  Here are:

Sin & Lust

(c) 2014, Bobby James.

Sin & Lust (c) 2014. Bobby James.

Sin & Lust (c) 2014. Bobby James.

Thirdly, I present The Recruitment.  For this piece, I have a white man and black woman (the circus power couple) recruiting a new clown to the circus.  Her offer is a balloon, his offer is her.  Controversial?  Maybe, maybe not – that depends on your reaction.  Will he or won’t he accept the offers and join this group? Is the circus all he’s being recruited for? Here I decided to play a bit more with hair – and the concept of hats and wigs.  The black male clown features a wig I created separately and applied to the picture later.  I present:

The Recruitment

(c) 2014, Bobby James.

The Recruitment (c) 2014. Bobby James.

The Recruitment (c) 2014. Bobby James.

Finally, I give you Circus FreakCircus Freak is intended to be dark and unsettling.  He’s peering over his shoulder – he’s coming for you.  For this image, I wanted to try my hand at circus lettering, which I worked in as a tattoo prominently featured between the clown’s shoulders.  Here is:

Circus Freak

(c) 2014, Bobby James.

Circus Freak (c) 2014. Bobby James.

Circus Freak (c) 2014. Bobby James.

I hope you’ve enjoyed all the pieces.  Feedback is not only always welcomed, but encouraged.  What do these images make you think? I’m dying to know!

New Art: Spray!

Guess what?  I drew an ELEPHANT!

That should come as no surprise.  The true surprise of Spray! though is that upon finishing the outline, I hated this piece – but, instead of scrapping the piece altogether, I had an instinct to make it work.  I added a squiggle here and there, some contrasting lines and boom!  I created a new elephant that I am both proud of and that I love.  Here is:

 

Spray!

(c) 2014, Bobby James.

View More of My Art Here

Spray (c) 2014. Bobby James.

Spray (c) 2014. Bobby James.

New Art: In the Garden

I spent the last couple days working on a new piece titled In the Garden.  After receiving some feedback that people would like to see my work feature more women, I decided to deliver.  In the Garden is a piece I hope translates to represent serenity and beauty.  After sketching the image, I took a break to decide the color scheme, which was ultimately determined by what came next – the flowers.  I decided the flowers could serve dual purpose, to remove the totality of nudity and to add to the peaceful nature and beauty of the image.  What’s best is that I allowed the color selection for the flowers be an organic, but complimentary decision – and they subsequently dictated the rest of the image.

I love the finished product.  I hope you do too.  I present:

In the Garden

(c) 2014, Bobby James.

001

In the Garden, (c) 2014. Bobby James.

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day! I present: “The Life of Flowers”

If you’re like me, you go to Hallmark and various other places looking for that one Mother’s Day card that represents your mom.  Then, you go in search of the perfect complimentary gift, whether that be a bouquet of flowers, a trinket for her garden, or something else.  Either way, the woman you’re honoring today is your mother – so the gift and the sentiment have to be just right.  Then again, if you’re like me, sometimes it just never comes together – and you’re left scratching your head…

…but if you’re like me, you’re artistic and recognize the possibilities of imagination. That’s how I now present to you:  The Life of Flowers.

Dedicated to my Mom (and all the moms in my family)! Love you Mom!

The Life of Flowers

by Bobby James, (c) 2014

004

 

#BodyBobby Update: Becoming the “Cardio King”

Body BobbyIt’s been way too long since the last BodyBobby update! I’ve got some news!

Following my semi-successful “Olympic Challenge,” I decided it was time to make some major dietary adjustments (I’ve started counting calories again, using the My Fitness Pal app) and to start taking off the weight.  I’m focused and determined.  I won’t be content simply returning to the 2012 version of myself, I’m going to push through and finally become “the ideal” version of myself!

I quit the old gym and signed with Club Fitness on March 26.  That Wednesday morning, I weighed in at 230 pounds (if you recall, I finished my “Olympic Challenge” at 226 pounds on February 24 – so, I gained 4 pounds in that month!). Naturally, this made me unhappy and I decided – enough is enough.  It was time to put my faith in myself and trust in the knowledge I’ve acquired over the years.

I’ll keep this brief:  Since March 26, I’ve lost a total of 15 pounds! My current weight (as of May 7) is 215! Cardio and calorie counting have never felt so good.  I tell myself frequently “I’m worth it,” put on some slutty pop music, and look to the other bodies around me in the gym for inspiration.  Go time is here.  Both my journey and transformation are underway! See you all at the finish line!

Oh yes! I forgot to mention, in the last 6 weeks, I’ve done 1,365 minutes of cardiovascular exercise! That’s 22.75 hours! I shall call myself the “Cardio King” and “Slayer of Calories!”  …and my weight-loss average is 2.5 pounds/week (even with a mini-vacation full of bad eating mixed in!).