Fantasy Art

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The March of the Penguin Robots!

As you know it's the March of Robots this month. But if you've known me for a very long time you'll know that it used to be the March of Penguins which had nothing at all to do with the nature documentary of the same name and everything to do with Frozen Food.

For eleven years of my sordid career I worked for Albertson's Grocery as a sign painter. That was intended to be a part time local job but I turned into the unofficial art department for the entire southwest division. First as an employee and later as an independent contractor. In addition to this I did freelance artwork for all of the other distributors and chains. If you went grocery shopping in Arizona in the 90's you saw my art many times.

As you also know March is National Frozen Food Month, which, in the grocery business, was a really big deal sponsored by the National Frozen Food Association who's mascot was the penguin. So every March I painted more than a hundred penguins engaged in all kinds of activities. Scuba penguins, space penguins, polar explorers, race car drivers. I made armored penguins defending a full scale castle wall around the frozen food aisle. I made a Spanish Plaza de Fria, and an Indiana Penguin heisting the Golden Penguin Idol from the temple of the lost penguin.

( One of the most glowing moments of my art career and one which gave me an insufferably big head, was when Ralph McQuarrie ( he's the conceptual designer responsible for the entire look of Star Wars) looked at my portfolio and expressed genuine amazement with my art. Especially about how I did so many pieces, so large in such a short time and cut the archways freehand but still got them even etc. He said "I could never do that." I was sure he was just being polite, but we met ran into his assistant later at the convention and he told us that Ralph had continued to talk about me for hours. Honestly I my head got so big I couldn't get it through the door for days.)

Anyways I told you all of that just to say that just to say this. If it's March I have to draw a penguin, it's imperative, it's out of my control, I simply have no choice.

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