MY YEAR IN REVIEW: Looking back on 2012

I have a lot to be grateful and humble about. In May, I celebrated my 25th anniversary as a staff illustrator at one of the most prestigious news dailies in the world, The Wall Street Journal at a time when publishing industry has suffered a great decline. Also, as hard as many illustrators have it these days, I was consistently busy with freelance work throughout the year.

Drawings appeared in The Wall Street Journal and Man's Journal

I have been a telecommuter since the 9/11 disaster forced my company out of the WFC building in NYC, but I championed it in May after a move to my new home in Florida. By also establishing an illustration studio in my summer cottage overseas, I am now well on my way of becoming a global citizen of my dreams, something I will hopefully be writing about in next year's review!

Speaking of our overseas cottage, it has been the highlight of our lives since it was built and I'm glad it's becoming a favorite summer stop for our friends and relatives from all over the world. What can beat a remote Adriatic island and its crystal clear, cool water in dry, Mediterranean heat? Self sustained, off the grid, solar powered, rain water collecting, built from stone found on the land itself, with skies untouched by city lights, a perfect stargazing show every night, surrounded by an olive orchard which provides the purest and tastiest olive oil imaginable ... yes, I can go on forever.

KorĨula Island, Croatia
But, the biggest highlight of 2012 was being part of something wonderful called CoRK in Jacksonville, Florida.

CoRK Arts District in Jacksonville, Florida
 After 25 years fine tuning our careers in music and art, we decided to stretch our wings beyond New York City, the place we were lucky to experience at the time when culture and creativity spewed out of the underground scenes and onto its gritty streets in the 80's and 90's. We have decided today's Disney New York City flooded with commercial tourist traps, doesn't need us anymore. As much as it'll always be home, the NYC we grew to love has moved to Brooklyn, so for that matter ... we could pick any other place.

So, Jacksonville it is. A city with beautiful weather year round and a strange mix of southern and northern cultures, mostly suburban but with a sizzling urban center. We found ourselves in the hipster part of town, the only walkable neighborhood with a lively street life, all essential to our lifestyle.

Riverside in Jacksonville, Florida
 Early on, we realized that, while the local art community was surprisingly large and talented, it lacked a cohesive center. And then, like a reincarnation of the early DUMBO arts center of yesteryear, comes a visionary not unlike Wynwood's Tony Goldman, creating the opportunity we immediately recognized as our own grass roots art movement.

Our studio at CoRK, Photos by Jensen Hande
Becoming one of the first tenants, we eagerly shared our excitement of working, creating and sharing ideas in close proximity. Being surrounded by artists of all walks of life and all ages, we're more than elated to be influenced and influence at the same time.
We are painters, illustrators, muralists, film makers, potters, glass artists, photographers, sculptors, and so on. George has a wonderful, large fine art print studio, and I finally have a place to venture into fine art myself. Rapidly expanding to adjacent 5 buildings, CoRK arts district is transforming the neighborhood and the city in general faster than anybody expected.

My illustration art at "Paint Paper Stencil" group show at CoRK in June 2012

Jax Laridae, Tommy Armageddon and George Cornwell and Morrison Pierce collab, "Paint Paper Stencil" show

PorgG05, Darger Girls

Say C-O-R-K!

My felons wheat paste street art at CoRK

Chip Southworth, Liz Gibson, Rikki Southworth, George Cornwell and me, Photo by Jeff Whipple

Tom Pennington, Shaum Thurston and George Cornwell

Chip Southworth, Jack Twachtman, Olivia Leigh and Corey Colb
The most valuable aspect of the past year were the many great friends we made and to whom we became close. We never felt as much as a community as we do now. The love and support was especially felt in the last weeks after George's mother's passing, which was the saddest and lowest part of the past year, one in which we're still grappling.

 Honorable mentions of the year:

- becoming art fair addicts
- becoming landlords
- doing more street art
- doing more traveling
- doing the band again

At Armory art fair in NY and Art Basel Miami Beach