This is a slice in time, for the 1989 holiday card, of an Illustrator drawing I was working on at that time. I really don't recall if this card was actually printed in quantity and sent out or not.
During the fall of 1989 I was working on a project which would allow the DuPont Forecast, an early dye-sublimation printer with a Adobe Postscript RIP, to work with a Macintosh. It seems like this would have made a good "test" print, so I may have sent these out.
I do know that creating this image in Illustrator seriously taxed the then-current hardware... as in many - many - minutes to draw the preview to the screen. This was in the days when drawing in Illustrator was done in "artwork" mode and one had to invoke a static "preview" mode to see what pretty colors and shapes one had actually created with all of those simple, black, vector lines.
The foundational elements of this image are deeply rooted in the late 1960's, when LAX (LA's airport) was in the process of condemning all of the homes in our neighborhood.
My friend Dave had spray painted a rather profound statement on the garden wall of a condemned house. Within a few weeks, a photo of his "LSD: fly now, pay later" graffiti found it's way into a LA Times' Sunday magazine article. The graffiti is not visible in this, xmas-version, of the image. Dave's mom and mine were friends who hung out together when they were pregnant. Dave's mom died when he was very young. Dave and I would not get to know each other for another fourteen years.
The kids in our neighborhood rode the bus to the junior high school. One of our bus drivers, Mr. Farren, would stop the bus near the Wolf's house at the top of thrill hill on the clear winter days after a storm to make sure we all saw the snow-capped San Gabriel mountains. He would tell us all to take a good look because, with the number of people and cars rapidly increasing, it might very well be the last time we'd get to see that spectacular view.
I spent Easter vacation 1970 on Oahu. Our car was broken into at Makaha, and I surfed "big" Sunset for the first time. With back-to-school looming, I was on the phone to my mom to see if I could stay a few extra days. There was an uneasy tone to her voice as she answered that I should stay. She then told me that Dave had been in a fight with his dad and, afterward, had gone into his room and shot himself.
Even though Dave and I only knew each other (and the connections which we shared) for three short years, I think of him every time I put on my red Sperry Top Siders.
I graduated from Westchester high school in 1971. My parents accepted LA's offer for our house. Both of my sisters went to Europe. KPPC, the Pasadena FM radio station which exposed my friends and me to political satire and the wide range of music beyond white-bread top-10-ten drivel, started broadcasting that same drivel. My folks moved to Washington State and, after spending one final fall as a young Southern California surfer, so did I.
Today the streets and sidewalks on which the foundations of our lives are built remain. Our houses and lawns are long gone. The palm trees I helped to plant when I was a kid (and used to jump over) are still there, standing over 15 feet tall. The sand dunes, as well as many of the creatures who thrived on them before our neighborhood was established in 1929, have reclaimed a small, precious, slice of their domain.
Compared with the era in which we were riding the bus as kids, there are at least twice as many people and three times the cars in LA. Even with all the ridiculous growth, the snow capped mountains can still be seen. Even though the air is still toxic, the toxins are less visually obstructive. Mr. Farren was right. I know of the world well beyond LA, and when I wear my red Sperry's, I can still see my friend Dave, dancing as he did, with one hand waving free...