Saturday, May 30, 2009

Commencement Speech for the Class of 2009

Hi Everyone.

I know most people read this blog waiting for new art and sketches. But I hope you won't mind a few more words. 

I'll let this stand here as an Ebenezer to the last four years spent at RISD. Here's the commencement speech I delivered today for my classmates and friends in the class of 2009. It was an amazing day; the kind you don't forget. Anybody reading from RISD: I love you guys. Sincerely. 

Commencement Speech for the Class of 2009:

Thank you all so much for the incredible privilege it is to speak today.


There are two RISDs

That's something that I‘m sure some of those gathered here may not be aware of, but I think it's incredibly important to mention that truth today.

On one hand we are a rigorous and prestigious academic institution,

alma mater to many influential alumni, boasting a very impressive museum and a list of programs and credentials longer than your attention span.


On the other hand, our mascot's a penis.


I'm sorry, parents, if you weren't aware of this fact. His name is Scrotie, and he's not on any of the brochures.

Our hockey team's called the Nads, our campus plays host to a yearly invasion of students in monster-suits disturbing the peace, and every spring a growing number of students drench themselves in fake blood and march down Thayer street as a zombie horde.


We are smelly, under-slept art students who dance in the streets, work until morning, and shower only as soon as soon as the next portfolio review rolls onto campus.


Now, my purpose is not for a moment to put down the academic side of this school. We owe so much to the dignity and legitimacy of what RISD represents.


Here's what I mean to say: that the graffiti on the walls is as much a part of RISD as the paint that covers it back up.


If you’ve ever had the fortune of meeting someone you fall in love with, isn't it curious how you never fall in love with their list of credentials? You love them for all their quirks and idiosyncrasies, for when they are noble and when they are silly. Warts and all.


So I am here to tell you that RISD has warts and that I love them.

I love them so much, I would stand up in front of all of you to say so.

And I would be completely remiss if I stood up here and glossed over the beating heart of what this class has made of it.

It would be a disservice to all the long nights each and every student has spent laboring to attain this day.


It is a day full of much reflecting on what has been gained from our four years spent here.

So parents, I hope you won't feel scandalized to know that the most of what you've been paying for was so that we could meet each other.

I may walk out of here with loans to pay till I've got children of my own to send to college, but I will pay my part gladly knowing that the experience of being here and the friends I have made are worth the work and the cost.


And I’ve just attended my loan exit meeting, so I know what I’m talking about.


I can't imagine RISD without my friends and the people who have made this campus what it is. To me, the legacy of this place will be its people. I will walk away today knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is the face of a friend I will remember before I recall the diploma in my hand.


I will remember the professors willing enough to stay behind the extra hours, long after pay and duty demanded, to keep teaching the students that were still hungry to learn.

I will remember the friends who stuck around when the night was wearing on and all that was needed was a friendly hug and a word of encouragement to keep going.

I will remember the alumni of this institution that have cared enough for the future of the undergraduates to pass on a portfolio and put in a good word.

I will remember every way in which the people here have gone above and beyond to help, love, and assist.

What's so shocking is not that we have one of the highest freshman workloads in the United States, it's that some of those freshman still find the time to come along after class has ended during finals and pass out food and coffee to exhausted classmates.


If you have come to this place looking just for a grade and a pretty piece of paper, then I'm not sure you're at the right graduation ceremony. I can't imagine that anyone has endured freshman foundations, countless all-nighters, and work-parties just to boost their GPA. The RISD experience is more than the sum of its parts, and its parts are amazing, so that's saying a lot.

And who could know that more than we do? If a painting weren’t worth more than the canvas it’s painted on, who could stomach the RISD store bills?

RISD is more than the halls of its dormitories, the rigorous academic workload, and the picture-lined walls of its museum, and that means everything.

This diploma signifies more than the money spent on gouache, countless shirts rendered unwearable by charcoal, and sleep that never seemed to happen.

And it's that little bit more that's worth all the other bits combined.

It's the mad energy of this place that comes from the love and passion of those who pour themselves into this school. It's beautiful and I am proud to have been a part of it.


For my part, I can say un-ironically: it's been an absolute privilege to be here.


RISD has been the first place I have ever felt so completely accepted for who I am.

I am not sure there's another place like it out there in the real world.

I certainly aim to either find out, or make one of my own.

I will never forget the people I've met here or the lessons I've learned, and I am truly grateful for the blessing it has been to attend.

I hope, while I have been here I have given back something to the community in some meaningful way.

I congratulate all of you, my friends and our families gathered here and everyone who helped to bring the class of 2009 to this last day. Sleep or no sleep: we've made it. I have been honored to sing, dance, cry, joke, and make art with you. Let's not stop.


May God bless you all as richly as I have been blessed just to know you.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Some Words About Leaving

It's interesting, I've just been reflecting. In previous years it's been true and it's all true again: when the seniors get ready to leave, they check out early. They loose touch and disappear into their rooms and studios and only come back out when the senior week rolls around. (There are exceptions)
But I pretty much did exactly that. Well, not all the way, but I'm emerging out on the other end and realizing that a lot of very good, very important friends have shuffled off campus one by one without a very proper goodbye. At least not from me.

It's also really tempting to want to say something meaningful at a time like this; when the year is closing it seems about time for someone to get up, clink a glass, and give a toast to bring the house down. The trouble is when you have the desire to say something meaningful, without having anything meaningful to say. Then you just wind up sounding like an idiot. 

I'm just feeling like I could use the space here on this blog to set down a little marker and really give the end of RISD all it's due. Even if it is just a dumb blog entry that few RISD students may ever read. 
All that said: I don't know quite what to say. Which leaves me in the unenviable position of  sounding like an idiot. And I'll be giving the commencement speech on Saturday, so what do I need another soapbox for? 

So here it is for now: it's done. It meant the world to me and it's over, and now I can only hope the next phase and place is as good as this one. I can have confidence wherever it is, I won't be moving further from the presence of God and his blessings. This has been one of the greatest I've ever experienced, though. 
I'm nervous about the future and where to head from here; it's a whole lot sooner that I thought it could be. I hope the best for everyone reading this whose graduating, or staying behind and watching a crop of friends leave: may God bless you guys. I mean that sincerely. 

It may be a little bit before I have new work to post, but I'll be keeping this blog up as I move forward! 
Very soon my first ever published work will hit the web right here:

And eventually the other comic I've been working on will be published as part of an anthology...I'll keep y'all posted! I've got a summer full of continuing video-game design at MIT with some of my favorite people in the world, and we'll be trying to keep eachother doing work for fun as well.  Hopefully the games we worked on this semester will be up soon, and I'll link over to those!

I'm looking into real-person jobs doing real-person art and some really exciting things have been looking likely! All-o-y'all: make sure, even if I get a "real job", that I don't get complacent and stop doing work for fun and for the love of it! If I start dropping off, yell at me! 

I need to stop blogging and get back to packing. Just had to type something in! 
I updated my blog background, which probably means more updates to the "look" of this blog are on the way!  Don't freak out!

My youtube recommendation for the week: a beautiful senior thesis project from an animator at Ringling:

Much love,


Thursday, May 14, 2009


I just walked out of my final studio class at RISD.
I'm still in shell shock...I didn't even realize it was my last until the end.
The show is tonight :D :D :D
Life is weird.

UPDATE: Show is done! It was amazing! Thanks to everyone who came and packed the place full of love! I've also recently been informed that I'll be the student speaker for our commencement on the 30th! yikes! I'm really excited and nervous. This next week is going to be an odd one, no doubt. Still looking into job stuff: if you want to hire me, soon would be good! I'm having to make decisions really, like, nowish!


Saturday, May 9, 2009


The last illustration senior show of 2009, featuring the work of Nicholas Kole, Lia Marcoux, Fabiola Garza, Alex Lee, Lisa Cunha, Brandon Cebenka, and Kirsten England will open on:

Thursday, May 14th!
at 6:00pm
in the Illustration Studies Building

It's going to be awesome! Those whom this announcement will actually effect probably already know, but I'm launching an all-out web-campaign so I had to hit this up too :)
For the rest of y'all: Posters! (we're waiting on two last ones. B & Lisa...if you read this: send me the finished posters and I'll post em!)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I Think I Just Peed a Little.

For context, read text:


I just had to geek out about this. I am especially cowed to see whose presence I am in :D 
 This will be my debut comic gig. I'll be posting more closer to the release, but watch this spot, and the actual DH page for my little two-pager coming soon! 

No other major art updates at this time. Just that my senior show will be on this coming Thursday (may 14th!) and that immediately afterwards I'll be interviewing with 38 studios on the 15th! (Good friend, Fabiola, is interviewing today...good luck, Fabi!)


Baby's second Zbrush! Well, really this is the first actually serious piece. The first was just whatever doodle came out of playing with the move and snakehook tools. I pulled this old character design and used it to base a model off of! It was fun...I'm really enjoying Zbrush. Dunno if I'm much good at it, but hopefully the 3d experience, however basic, will pay off somehow. Still, it's really making a little toy. I feel the same way when I'm making's just these little digital assets that feel like collectables. Anyways, i think it was a good self-imposed exercise. Thanks Lucas for the how-to's! 

More work soon!

Happy Day!