Trailer: Best Friends Forever

Posted on 8 January 2013 | No responses

Hey guys!

Just wanted to post a quick announcement that IndieWire has a 24 hour exclusive link to the Best Friends Forever film trailer! Here it is!!!

Written by and starring Brea Grant (“Heroes,” “Dexter”) and Vera Miao (“CSI: Miami,” “Brothers & Sisters”), Best Friends Forever premieres at the Slamdance Film Festival this January 19th! Check out the IndieWire article for more deets. And you can check out some of my behind-the-scenes stills from one of the BFF shoot days right on flickr. Plus there’s tons of BFF goodness on the official website,

Rock on, Brea & Vera!!! The trailer looks rad, and I can’t wait to see the movie!

For the record, there’s two things that I just love: ‘road trips’ and ‘the apocalypse’! Oh, and awesome female filmmakers. I guess that’s three things. Anyway, apocalypse = BRANG it!!

Hangin' w/ rad #filmmakers @breagrant and @veramiao. We are totes ready for the apocalypse.

Brea, me and Vera on a promo shoot. We are totes ready for the apocalypse.

Portrait: BlackEm on a Motorcycle, Saltpeter Art Book

Posted on 3 December 2012 | No responses

I wasn’t planning to release this photograph today, but it’s my friend BlackEm‘s birthday! So I figure it’s the perfect time to surprise her.

Em and I met at a Drink & Draw one night at Meltdown Comics this year, and just hit it off as fast friends from the get-go. With our shared nerdy love of comic books, Carl Sagan, astrophysics and Tom Hardy as a young Captain Picard, how could we not? That evening, despite having fancy smart iPhones, we wrote our phone numbers upside down on each other’s hands with smelly marker pens — I’m not sure if it’s because we’re old school like that, or because we were just a little bit intoxicated (it was a DRINK & Draw after all). Probably both.

When I approached her with this photo shoot idea, I said something like, “Hey! Can I take a picture of you wearing something yellow and skimpy, and holding an umbrella? Umm… I’m a legit photographer. It’s for a book…” And she was all, “Yes! How about …on a motorcycle?” SHYEAH!! Haha, I love when portrait subjects are totally IN IT to WIN IT.

Black_Em by Love Ablan for the book Saltpeter by KnifeXlife

Make... it... rain!

This photograph was published in the very limited edition art book Saltpeter by KnifeXlife. Featuring art and photographs inspired by the iconic Morton Salt Girl, these handmade books were available only in Japan at the TOKYO ART BOOK FAIR. Good luck getting your hands on this rare codex! Some of the contributing artists include Plex, Lucky Nakazawa, Tessar Lo, Akirophoto and other very cool peeps. (Check out Akiro‘s awesome Saltpeter photograph of my former intern Amelia, on!)

You can see this photo in the actual book on KnifeXlife’s Tumblr:

A page from Saltpeter by Knifexlife

Pages from the art book Saltpeter by KnifeXlife, photo by Plex

HUGE thank you and love to KnifeXlife for inviting me to participate in this awesome book, I’m incredibly honored and humbled. Domo Arigatou gozaimasu!!! And lots of gratitude and love of course to Megan for kicking ass and being such a good sport about making my vision come to life. Love and thanks also to Dezastr0 and John James for helping out with equipment, location, props and the body paint job. Gee, that must have been such a difficult chore for you fellas… ;) Great shoot, you guys!

Before I forget to mention, Em’s not just a badass motorcyclist who can weather any storm with or without an umbrella. She’s also a rad illustrator currently shacked up in a secret coastal Batcave, finishing her teen graphic novel entitled Will-O-the-Wisp. It hits the comic stands in 2013 and it’s gonna be sweeeet. Keep an eye out for the graphic novel, and for her upcoming appearances at comic conventions. (She’s a hoot on discussion panels.) Here’s her website for the 411.

Black_Em at Drink & Draw

Em at Drink & Draw, Meltdown Comics, Los Angeles

A very happy birthday to you, Em!!! Wishing you dark unicorns, motorcycle rides up the PCH, ominous rain clouds, Radiohead remixes, an abundance of #nerdforeplay, lots of mystery and intrigue, and a murder of crows for now… and for evermore. Phantom Zone Dolphin Squad 4 LIFE! <3

Sculpture: OBOMINAL

Posted on 26 October 2012 | No responses

I haven’t made a plush sculpture in forrrevvvzzz. I think the last one was for BLK/MRKT Gallery or Gallery 1988 maaaybe 3 or 4 years ago. Life’s been a bit life-y since. I’ve been so preoccupied with serious grown-up stuff, that I almost forgot all about making silly things just for fun.

That is, until very recently, when I was inspired by a little girl I’ve never met named Abbey who tells amusing tales of the majestic creature known as “OBOMINAL” (*no relation to Barack). Abbey’s stories involve a lot of circuitous chasing, loud RAWRRRRRRRR!-ing and delightful squealing, according to her aunt who is single-handedly keeping the oral tradition of the yeti legend alive in greater North America. After hearing these vivid retellings of Obominal’s adventures, I decided to use my “MAGIC POWARZ” and the charm-of-making to bring him forth to life in fearsome plush form.


'RAWWRRRRRRRRRrrrrr!!' ~OBOMINAL (Rough translation: 'Fear me, rahhh!')

I dusted off my old abandoned sewing box and that weird tomato cushion, and built Obominal out of a fresh pair of socks, a swatch of blanket, some wee buttons and a handful of jumbo cotton balls and fuzzy pompoms. It took a couple of days to get all his stitches done juuuust right, which is to say not-right-at-all. Then he incubated on my desk under a bare amber bulb for a few more days before finally waking up. He was pretty grumpy at first, but then he is an abominable snowman and being curmudgeonly is kinda their thing, ya know? (Under the right circumstances, he can be a downright jolly fellow — just try tickling his feets.)


The preliminary sketch of OBOMINAL by yours truly

Nomadic by nature, he didn’t stay at my place for very long. Just long enough to tell me a few secrets of the Universe (like adding cayenne pepper to mac & cheese for a little kick), and to pose for my Instagram feed. Then he was off and running! Or ambling with determination, more accurately. Now he’s touring the grand territories of the Pacific Northwest, enjoying the scenic views and organic coffees, and chasing toddlers merrily, RAWRRRRRRRR!-ing to his heart’s content. I hear he’s having a wonderful time. I guess Bugs Bunny was right all along… “Monsters lead such iiiiiiinnnnteresting lives!


The last sighting of Obominal, spotted in Oregon... on an Abbey-Ride

Much thanks to Miss Abbey and her kind aunt for sharing the great legend of Obominal with me, and inspiring me to sew again. I had a lot of fun making him, and I am glad he is off exploring with his new family. May he bring you guys countless smiles and many stacks of timber before the first winter frost.


To see my other plush sculptures, please visit and click on Art & Installations.

You can also see my plush work in the following art books:

Pictoplasma 2: Contemporary Character Design (Die Gestalten Verlag)
i am 8-bit: Art Inspired by Classic Games of the 80s (Chronicle Books)
RMX: Neighborhood (Victionary Press)

And if you love character design as much as I do, check out the Pictoplasma Conference in NYC next week (Nov 2-3) at Parsons The New School for Design. BuffMonster is one of the speakers!

Portrait: Wendy Chin, Sugarpusher

Posted on 23 October 2012 | 1 response

Today’s portrait is of my dear friend, art director and illustrator, Wendy Chin. Some of you may know her as WendyPants or Sugarpusher, though I prefer to call her ‘Mocha Cub’. (She calls me ‘Spicy Chai’ — I don’t remember why we have nicknames that sound like Starbucks menu items…)

Wendy was also in a band, Music For Girls. This is one of her rad songs which makes me happy every time it pops up randomly on shuffle. It could melt a heart of stone. Please have a listen!

Bird Girl, sung by Wendy Pants


Wendy and I first met a long time ago, in a comic book store far, far away… in a galaxy known as Midtown Manhattan. She was the cool, arty cashier with blue hair. I was the film-school weirdo wearing flannel and glasses, buying questionable Manga from the restricted section. While ringing up my embarrassingly absurd comic book selections, she looked up and deadpanned, “We should be friends.” It was like a still moment right out of Daniel Clowes’ Ghost World, hahaha. Needless to say, we’ve been good friends ever since.

We’ve shared countless adventures together through the years, and were roomies in an awesome artists loft by Little Tokyo for a short spell. (I love that there’s a random ‘pimp cane’ leaning against the steel column in that post-party picture.) We even “summered on the Cape” once — you have to say that in a snooty, nasally, hoity-toity accent. Though we met in the Big Apple, these photos were taken at my old studio in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles.


Wendy is back in our mutual hometown of NYC these days, painting the town ‘Rubber Duck Yellow’, I imagine. But she’s actually coming to visit Hollyweird this weekend, yaaaay! Brunch will be had… Mimosas will flow… Lolcats and walrus buckets will be referenced… Quotes from classic Eddie Murphy movies will be exchanged… Cute drawlin’s will be draw-ed… A lovely time will be had by all. I can’t wait.

See ya in a few days, Mocha Cub! I miss yer face.

Promo: Everybody Loves TANK GIRL!

Posted on 24 July 2012 | No responses

OI, chums! Jim Mahfood‘s Everybody Loves TANK GIRL comes out tmrw!!

Check this super RAD promo video of the new comic by Steven A Soria of The Indie Workforce!

Reference photos of Chloe & Penny by moi! (^_^)b

EVERYBODY LOVES TANK GIRL #1 Behind The Scenes Video from the Indie Workforce on Vimeo.

Tank Girl by the always awesome Jim Mahfood!

Gallery: SUNSET STORIES Wrap Party

Posted on 14 July 2012 | No responses

In celebration of tonight’s screening at REDCAT Theater (Disney Hall, Downtown Los Angeles), I uploaded my photos from the SUNSET STORIES movie wrap party. Even the cast & crew haven’t seen these pics yet! Here’s a couple of selects. You can check out the full set at:

[ See more photos on SUNSET STORIES Wrap Party Flickr SET...>> ]

I’m super excited to see everyone later this evening. It’s a great crew and a great movie, and I’m really glad I got a chance to work on this movie with so many RAD, talented people. I love Monique and Sung in this film, and all the other actors and surprise guests. There’s just a wonderful fairy tale aspect to this gritty film that is very endearing to me, and I’m looking forward to seeing it again a second time tonight. (PJ Raval‘s cinematography is so bee-yoo-ti-full!)

Anyway, I hope some of you can make it out to REDCAT (screening starts at 9:30PM)! Holler at me if you do.

p.s. ODD FACT: I have an acting credit in this film. Come and witness me and Sunset Stories gaffer, Michelle Lawler, play very convincing “Tourists” on Hollywood Boulevard. HILARIOUS! “All right Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.” Crikey, I’m kidding about the close-up… this is probably my last on-screen credit ever. I’m fairly certain that I belong behind a camera, not in front of one. …Yup! Oh, and my friend, IGN pin-up model Sara Brinsfield also makes a random cameo during the Hollywood Blvd montage. She is way more normal in front of a camera than I am. …She’s a natural. :)

Sunset Stories - Wrap Party

Sunset Stories - Wrap Party

Sunset Stories - Wrap Party

Sunset Stories - Wrap Party

Sunset Stories - Wrap Party

Sunset Stories - Wrap Party

[ See more photos on SUNSET STORIES Wrap Party Flickr SET...>> ]

Sat, July 14, 9:30PM [ BUY TIX ]

Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater
631 West 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

(Directed by Silas Howard, Ernesto Foronda USA, 2012, 87 mins)

May is transporting bone marrow across L.A. when a chance meeting with her hunky ex (Sung Kang, FAST & FURIOUS) causes her to lose her cargo. Together, they embark on a wacky all-night quest to locate it, encountering a ensemble of queer Angelenos played by Justin Vivian Bond, Nao Bustamante, Michelle Krusiec, and Zosia Mamet (“Girls”). Shot in Silver Lake and Hollywood, SUNSET STORIES is a quirky and stylish love letter to L.A.

Featuring performances by Justin Vivian Bond, Nao Bustamante and Jacolby Satterwhite

Gallery: COMIC CON 2012

Posted on 13 July 2012 | No responses

Here’s a couple of photo selects from Comic Con. And you can see all my pix here: [ COMIC-CON 2012 Flickr Set ]. Take a peek, especially if you’re a Battlestar Galactica Fan. (Frakkin’ toasters!)

Comic-Con is crazy and amazing. It’s like surfing a tidal wave of fantastical awesomeness. As a nerdy gaming fan, I loved seeing sooo many people in cardboard Minecraft heads. (As my friend Laura says, “CREEPERS GONNA CREEP!”)

And my favorite free swag, so far, is a sheer, punk rock t-shirt for Honey Badger that says, “So Nasty“. I’m super excited to wear it! But the Honey Badger… well, frankly, the Honey Badger don’t care. :/

Anyway, San Diaaaaago Comic Con. It’s really fun. Always a great time. So much to see and do. Every year I go, I’m inspired to run home and draw comics. But then I get distracted by all the shiny things and the interesting people in elaborate costumes. (How does Leeloo order at the cafeteria? “Chicken. Good.“)

SDCC 2012 isn’t even over yet, but I’m already excited for next year. Get your tickets early, my friends, because I hope to hang out with all ya frakkin’ skinjobs at Comic Con 2013. SO SAY WE ALL! \(^_^)/

Comic-Con 2012
David selects a healthy place for us to eat.

Comic-Con 2012
Cosplayer and spokesmodel, Jessica Nigri, just being adorable.

Comic-Con 2012
American comic book creator, Alison Bechdel, signing books. (I got the new one!)

Comic-Con 2012
Cylon/Stormtroopers with an anarchist bunny. This makes sense. …Right?

Comic-Con 2012
It’s a bird… It’s a plane… Oh, it’s just Supes.

Comic-Con 2012

Comic-Con 2012
Snorlax, I choose you!

Comic-Con 2012

3 Film Screenings in L.A.! Sunset Stories, Kiss Me and Wildness

Posted on 10 July 2012 | No responses

I’m thrilled to announce that three films I worked on in recent years are screening this month in Los Angeles! One is a fantastical narrative feature, another a gritty short film, and the other is a unique hybrid documentary. This is my favorite part of filmmaking magic — seeing the results of such an intense collaborative experience made with the blood, sweat and tears of dedicated casts and crew members finally projected onto the big screen, where you can get fully immersed in the actual story and emotionally invested in the characters. These bewitching moments inside a dark movie theater remind me that filmmaking is truly a labor of love. (No pun intended with my name.)

All three of these movies are very different and very cool in their own way. It’s definitely worth watching all of them. Here’s a couple of my production stills from each film, so you can get a feel for each one.

So if you’re in the L.A. area and love cinema as much as I do, please come and join me, and the cast & crews of these fine films at the Outfest screenings. It’ll be fun!

I’ll bring the box of Milk Duds and cherry Slurpees. You bring the nachos and bucket of popcorn.

Let’s DO this!




Sat, July 14, 9:30PM [ BUY TIX ]
REDCAT – Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater

(Directed by Silas Howard, Ernesto Foronda USA, 2012, 87 mins)

May is transporting bone marrow across L.A. when a chance meeting with her hunky ex (Sung Kang, FAST & FURIOUS) causes her to lose her cargo. Together, they embark on a wacky all-night quest to locate it, encountering a ensemble of queer Angelenos played by Justin Vivian Bond, Nao Bustamante, Michelle Krusiec, and Zosia Mamet (“Girls”). Shot in Silver Lake and Hollywood, SUNSET STORIES is a quirky and stylish love letter to L.A.

AFTER-PARTY @ HUMAN RESOURCES – Featuring performances by Justin Vivian Bond, Nao Bustamante and Jacolby Satterwhite

[ SEE MORE production stills...>> ]




“This is How We Do It” program
Sunday, July 15, 7:15 p.m. Harmony Gold [ BUY TIX ]
Saturday, July 21, 7:15 p.m. Directors Guild of America [ BUY TIX ]

(Directed by Jules Nurrish. Starring Raúl Castillo, Carolyn Zeller, Hansford Prince, Javier Lezama, Olin Tinatiuh, Shawn Frausto.)

Join the KISS ME cast and crew at our Los Angeles Premiere! Set in the often-clandestine world of Latino boxing in East Los Angeles, Kid Vargas is forced to face up to some devastating truths after he kills his opponent in the ring.

[ SEE MORE production stills...>> ]




Saturday, July 21, 2012, 7:30pm [ BUY TIX ]
Directors Guild of America

(Directed By: Wu Tsang; SCR: Roya Rastegar; USA, 2011, 73 mins)

This exuberant documentary tells the story of Wildness, one of the most unique, electrifying and important queer parties in Los Angeles nightlife history. The film presents the creativity and conflict that arose when a group of queer avant-garde artists of color intersected with a community of transgender immigrant women at historic bar The Silver Platter in MacArthur Park. WILDNESS had its World Premiere at the Museum of Modern Art and was part of the 2012 Whitney Biennial.


[ SEE MORE production stills...>> ]

In Print: LA Weekly

Posted on 15 June 2012 | 1 response

I love taking pictures, simple as that. But I love it even more when those pictures wind up in print. Especially on newsprint, because the New Yorker in me still loves to stay in bed on a lazy morning to read the New York Times Sunday edition.

So now that I’m officially a Los Angeleno, I’m delighted that my photo of Jim Mahfood and Kat has been printed in this week’s LA WEEKLY, in glorious and gritty newsprint. Sweeeet! (I also love that the heading says, “GO >> LA” because those happen to be my initials, haha!)

LA Weekly Ink Stains
Photo courtesy of HiJinx PR

This photo came from a shoot we did for BPM Magazine, so check my previous blog entry to see more pictures from this series. This is the shoot that initially sparked the collab book project and art crew called “Pervert Train” with me and the guys. Pure magic was made that day, and it continues to brew in the creative cauldron today…

Anyway, the LA WEEKLY article about Jim’s new Los Angeles Ink Stains book is pretty rad: “His single-page strips depicted the sun-drenched, debauched and sometimes dead-serious adventures of the artist and his crew — which includes some of the city’s most famous artists and DJs, plus loads of fabulous and gorgeous people you’ve never heard of.” That is the possibly the most eloquent and poetic description of ‘just hanging out’ I’ve ever read. I dig it. :) So… come hang out and cut a rug with me, Jimmy and the crew at the Ink Stains book release prom party tomorrow night! It’s LA WEEKLY‘s Pick of the Week! Nerd City calls it the “the art event of the summer”. It’s TRUE.

Well, I gotta run… I’m on Prom Committee, so I must go help hang some balloons before I get my hurrr did. (By the way, I don’t have a physical copy of this issue of LA Weekly yet, so if you see one on your travels, please pick one up for me.)

Again, if you’re in our neck of the woods, please join us at prom tmrw night and vote for your Prom King and Queen! Plus: Dance battles. Tacos. Booze. Art. Good music. Good people. Good times.

Oh, and to Jim — huge congratulations on the Ink Stains book release and prom party! I LOVE YOU, man!!! <3

Prom Committee
The Prom Committee – Illustration by Jim Mahfood

Event: L.A. Ink Stains Prom & book release party!

Posted on 31 May 2012 | No responses

Hey. You. Let’s go to prom. I’m serious. F’reals.

What it is, you ask? Fast facts to get you up to speed:

• My homie Jim Mahfood is an awesome artist. You may have seen his work in comic books such as Clerks, Grrl Scouts, Spider-Man, Heavy Metal and the upcoming Tank Girl. (Yeah, THAT Tank Girl.)
• For the last couple of years, he’s been making a web comic called L.A. Ink Stains which is an honest autobiography of his crazy fun life
• I make a number of appearances in said comic, along with my friends, as we get swept up in wacky, hilarious adventures with Jim (see panels below)
• Image Comics has compiled all the issues into a sweet ass graphic novel book! DOPE.
• To celebrate the release of this rad book, Jim’s hosting an epic PROM party on June 16th, 2012 at the awesome Titmouse Animation Studio in Hollywood
• Everybody is welcome to come party! As long as you’re over 18. You just gotta cough up some dough for a ticket. Or.. volunteer to get in for free!
• Oh, and if you do come, you gotta wear black & white. That’s the theme. Because life is one big comic book panel after all.

I think this video probably explains it better than I have, and it has some classic dance sequences, so it’s worth the watch:

In order to further entice you to going to prom, I am posting my actual prom picture against my better judgement. You know, the little black dress is alright. But I honestly don’t know what’s worse — the Marge Simpson beehive hairdo, the Audrey Hepburn satin sleeved gloves, or the huge ass Mr. T gold chain. (I pity the fool who makes fun of my gold chain.) What was I thinking??

Love Ivan Prom

And now, here’s panels from Ink Stains Issue #45, where I make a cameo (word up!). In this scene, King Gum, Jim, me and Dezastro are at the amazing PRINCE concert. (I almost always have a camera around my neck in Jim’s comic, which amuses me to no end.)

Ink Stains - Prince Concert Panels
Prince got us all pregnant that night with his baby-making music. TRUE STORY.

And here’s another one that talks about the collaboration project I’m working on with Jim:

Jim Mahfood's Los Angeles Ink Stains #36

Comic panels illustrated by Jim Mahfood

Anyway, Ink Stains is such a fun read even if you don’t know any of us, so do pick up the book. And seriously, come to prom if you can. I know it’s gonna be a night of epic fun, and we’ve got DJ Mahf and DJ Expo on the turntables. And of course, there will be Jim, Jane Dope, King Gum, Bad Andy, Steven Soria, Sandra, Miles, Kat, Dan Z and the whole cast of Ink Stains getting smashed and dancing our asses off to classic hip hop and funksplosion. Let’s party like it’s 2012, people!

You know, I wonder what kind of classic movie prom scene it’s gonna be like… Pretty in Pink? Footloose? Carrie? Dare I say it… Twilight? I personally hope it’s like the scene from She’s All That (or Not Another Teen Movie), cuz I’m a sucker for “impromptu” choreographed synchronized dancing.

Thanks to Jim, Jane Dope and the gang for putting this event together. I’m pretty excited about it, though to be honest, I have NO IDEA what I’m gonna wear to prom. With any luck, maybe I can find another Mr. T gold chain.

All I know is, this party is gonna be LEGENDARY! It’s one for the books. The comic books, that is! So come to prom with the Ink Stains Gang this June 16th, and the prom committee will sign your yearbook!



p.s. Need a prom date? Try this, I hear it’s effective way to ask someone out to prom. That is, if you wanna go to prom with your grandma.

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