monkeys, mice and dwarfs.

Posted April 8, 2010 by jagminbros
Categories: Uncategorized

Christopher: When I was a young boy, I thought for sure that I would do one of two things when I grew up. I was determined to get a job as a veterinarian in Africa, or work an animator at Walt Disney Studios. It was all about working with animals for me at that time. If I could help them medically, or animate them… I was in. If I could do both, even better.

In my wonderful African tree house, I would take thorns out of lion’s paws, or bandage up an elephant’s truck after he stuck his nose in a bee’s nest. At night, I could use these animals as models to make short animated films. All I needed were bandages, a stethoscope, animation cels and paint. Did I mention that I would have have monkey assistants? Sometimes it is a good thing that dreams do not come true.

Yesterday, as I was flipping channels on television, I came across the movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I hadn’t seen it since I was a boy, and it gave me a little thrill. It made me remember why I wanted to be an animator. The movie still full of energy, was clever, and stood the test of time. Every animated movie (including Avatar) or television show that came after owes a debt of gratitude to the crew who worked on this movie.

I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the small details. The animators drew from actual life, and sketched rabbits, and other animals to really get the mechanics and anatomy of how an animal works. They used the technique of rotoscoping to trace and draw over film to understand movement.There was such care from these artists to really understand the little details to bring a perfect combination of reality with fantasy for a true new art form.

Anyone my age knows that the animated choices available to us kids back in the day were slim. Mary Poppins and The Incredible Mr. Limpet were two movies that I remember fondly, but were rare. We also did not have 100 cable choices, let alone The Cartoon Network. I am so thrilled so see the brilliant and wonderful animation out there today, but we were not so lucky back in the day of dinosaurs.

So, my brothers and sisters, and I waited anxiously for Sunday evenings to watch the Wonderful World of Disney as it was the best hour on television for us. This weekly show had a range of entertainment for families. It was the Discovery, Hallmark, and Movie Channel all mixed into a one hour show. It was the Nickelodeon of it’s day. Disney showed a lot of animal documentaries, western heroic biographies, some sentimental heartwarming stories about a boy or girl and their pet, and the occasional good Disney movie. But, every so often, the show had a cartoon movie, or shorts with Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse. When they aired these, it was like Christmas for me!

These little snippets of Disney animation would have to keep me happy until the next time our family would head out the movies (for that rare and treasured treat) to see The Lady and the Tramp or The Sword In The Stone. These 1960-era movies were not as brilliantly drawn as Snow White, Pinocchio Fantasia, but who cared! I was now hooked, and there was no going back. I was greedy and I wanted more. Seeing The Jungle Book at a drive in movie with my family made me want that veterinarian practice even more. Now, I would have to move to India… but, no matter… anything was possible back then.

Obviously, I never lived out those childhood fantasies. Once in awhile, I still think about that life in the wilds of an exotic country, and still consider getting a monkey or two to pack plates for me (or to paint for me). But, seriously, I know that those movies of my youth inspired me to love art… it helped me to be curious about other kind of artists… that led me here to this path that I am on now. So, thank you Walt Disney for your vision.

Until next time.
—Christopher
The Design Brothers

The perfect Sunday coffee

Posted March 30, 2010 by jagminbros
Categories: Uncategorized

I’m not a a big coffee drinker. Sometimes, I find myself apologizing to people for not wanting to share a cup over a meeting. In some circles, I have to defend my decision not to have a cup after a nice dinner, as it seems that most Americans love their coffee.

I’d rather start my day with oatmeal, a bowl of fruit and some juice. To be truly honest, I think that waffles and bacon would be a better choice. Don’t forget the fruit and whipped cream! My drink of choice… orange juice.

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Grandma Jurek and Christopher waiting for that morning cup of Joe.
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However, Sunday mornings are different. I save that morning for a cup of coffee, some toast, and the New York Times. The smell in the kitchen takes me back to childhood… back to our grandmother Jurek’s house on Sunday after church. She always had a percolator brewing, sugar out and ready, with some soft butter nearby.

It is hard to believe that, as children, we were allowed to drink all this caffeine, along with the three heaping spoonfuls of sugar and condensed milk. Today, on Sunday, I am transported back in time for a few hours.

The reason for the snotty attitude about coffee is that the coffee has to be perfect,, and I am a snob. That is why I don’t like to order it out at a restaurant, as it will never be right. The milk has to be steamed, and the quantity of sugar (not so much as when I was a kid) are necessary. Fake creamers are not an option. I agree. Too many rules.

I had the fortune of getting it right on Sunday. The color of the coffee, and also the toast, is a rare occurence. So, when I achieved that perfect mocha brown color… I had to show everyone (see above). For all of you designers out there, the coffee is PMS 723 while the toast should be PMS 153. Perfection. Delicious.

I hope you find that perfection once  in awhile, as I always say, it is those little things that bring joy to life.

Until next time.
— Christopher

Creativity insight

Posted March 18, 2010 by jagminbros
Categories: Uncategorized

Sometimes inspiration comes, and sometimes it doesn’t. Here is a little look into my creative thought process for today (and most days).

Until next time.
— Christopher
The Design Brothers

Clean Plate Club

Posted March 12, 2010 by jagminbros
Categories: Uncategorized

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My designs on recycled plates These are some samples of my
three designs on a variety of found orphaned plates. I am happy to report that they all have found new homes.
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About a year ago, I introduced a line of designs that I combine with recycled plates. I find used dinner pieces and add artwork to the artwork on the plate for a unique combination. So these days, I spend a lot of my Saturday mornings cruising flea markets, thrift shops and garage sales for interesting plates to use. I look for those unloved plates that need a second life. Then, I take them home, clean them up, and give them an updated look with three new designs of mine. These new pieces are all one of a kind, and I try to find a store around the country that will sell them to a nice family. The plates that I find have more time left, and shouldn’t end up in another landfill.


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I’ve had this plate for 15 years or so Before I even knew that I started my dinnerware collection, I found this at a Salem, Massachusetts flea market.
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I can tell you that there are thousands and thousands of pieces out there that are still pretty good-looking. With all of these plates waiting to be used, what is the neeed for paper plates?

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One of my new favorites I found this awesome Cee-Bee Laboratories and McGean-Rohco, Inc plate last week! Who knew a laboratory could be so boringly beautiful.
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There are some plates that I find however, that are too good to be recycled, and are perfect just the way they are. So, I now have a little problem with collecting too many of these beauties and keeping them for myself. It is really starting to be a bad habit, as my home collection is growing. Here are photos of ones that I found and can’t let go.


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Dinner with the presidents Kentucky State College put together a plate of it’s presidents. When I have dinner with these guys, I feel very important!
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Simple and fresh Here is a closeup of a simple little design of pine cones. I just like how elegant it is.
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Books and dinner The design crams a little literary history down while I have dinner. I love reading while I eat.
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…………………………………………………………………………………………………. Little treasures I can’t really put new artwork on these finds as they are too small, but I couldn’t help myself… so, I added them to my collection.
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New items
I have started painting on some of the plates that I find in order to make something completely new. I am still working out little problems with the materials, but I am having a blast.

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Go out and sponsor an orphaned plate, vase, or something headed for the trash heap. Giving an old piece a second life will make you feel better, and give the trash man a break!

Until next time
—Christopher
The Design Brothers

Little inspirations

Posted March 5, 2010 by jagminbros
Categories: Uncategorized

I can get inspired by the craziest things. A spark of inspiration can hit me at the weirdest moment. Walking the other day, I saw an odd crack in the sidewalk that I pass by all of the time. When I got home, the way that the crack looked made me think of some sea life, and I started drawing jellyfish.

Last week, I found some packing strips that I ripped off a box I just purchased. Since then, I have been trying to figure out how to make a sculpture out of them. A trip to the Home Depot the other day, had me salivating for tools that I wouldn’t know how to use. I am hoping that these inspirational moments help me plan for some upcoming projects that I am planning right now.

As I came home today, I noticed that wildflowers that are just shooting up in my yard. I haven’t been able to notice them before because of the numerous weeds that are overpowering my yard. This winter, Phoenix has gotten more than it’s share of rain, and the desert is starting to bloom in a spectacular way. I can hardly wait to get out and hike a bit before the fleeting wildflowers are gone by May (or before if it gets too hot, too fast) to see more.

I know that spring is not everywhere yet, but it goes by so fast, and so I hope you don’t let it pass you by like it almost did for me. The little things that we pass each day might be calling you with inspiration, so I hope you listen.

Sometimes seeing those little things that I see everyday, wake me up to new ideas I seem to find them in the oddest places…

Until next time
—Christopher
The Design Brothers

The streets of New York

Posted February 23, 2010 by jagminbros
Categories: Uncategorized

While in New York, I discovered that the streets of New York are, as the old adage goes, indeed, paved with gold. It just took some finding. I’ve drawn my archeology discoveries for you, so you can see for yourself. Happy gold digging.

Until next time.
—Christopher
The Design Brothers

Wake up!

Posted February 19, 2010 by jagminbros
Categories: Uncategorized

Working from my home studio has it’s perks. Most of my work is done on the computer, with a sketch pad, and the phone, and there are not many reasons to leave the house on some days. Most of the people that I work with are out of town, and so while I don’t mind dressing nicely, I have to tell you that I love to be comfortable. I often wear shorts with a sweater, and stay inside. When the time comes for a break, I can take that much needed shower of the day.

I don’t want to rub it in to you 9-5 workers, but I am lucky that my daily shower becomes more of a luxury than a chore to get out the door. I love a nice warm shower, and it is a nice way to refresh and gives me one of my favorite times to get creative. I guess it is my think tank. After the shower, I try to take a bit of time for myself to do a crossword puzzle, or read. It really is a nice way to break up my day, and get back to work, hopefully with a more creative spark.

Now I want to give you more of my secrets. I wanted to talk about something that men don’t generally talk about… except for metrosexuals, and Esquire Magazine… grooming products. I have never sat with my friends and talk about these kind of things, and I think it should change. Men don’t talk product, or maybe I just don’t hang around with the right people. Either way that is too bad. Knowing what other men use in the bathroom would have saved me lots of money over the years, along with a lot of stinky products ending up in landfills. Some of the items I use everyday took me years to find, and can’t imagine changing them now. So, with that said, maybe I can help some hapless man by telling you what I like.

I am not a big fan of soaps, (or candles, or cologne, for that matter) that have a scent. It is really hard to find soaps, after shave balm, deodorant, hair products, etc for men that have a fragrance. I like to keep it simple. I’m an unscented Ivory guy, and think it does the trick. In addition, in keeping with the scentless theme, I can’t imagine living without Aveeno Ultra Calming Shave Gel followed by Lab Series Razor Burn Relief. If you only knew how long it took me to find these great products! I’ve been settling instead for alcohol-based items, menthol, eucalyptus, or “cool” scents for a potpourri effect. I have also tried so many other products out there that were great, but too expensive, and not really worth the price.

For my short, short hair, not much is needed. It is dry, so conditioner is all I ever use, and have gotten to like an humectant to clean my hair, and also use dab to style it all. Easy. Although it usually has a coconut scent, I haven’t found the scent-free version yet, and there are a lot of various products. So, let me know if there is one out there!

Although I am a bit of a snob about scented products that seem to just mask natural body smells, there are times where a product makes me so happy with a clean, refreshing, and natural smell. And, who doesn’t like to start their day off with a little luxury? Dr. Bronner Peppermint Soap does that job for me. The natural peppermint smell and tingle really makes me happy. It makes me feel really good and clean. It may be in my imagination, but I think that the tingle wakes me up, while smell makes me smarter! It feels that good.

Shaving in the shower seems to help my face, and I haven’t had a nick in a few months. I highly recommend this, but be careful of water usage… time can add up in the shower! After resisting changing my perfectly good razor, I tried the Gillette Fusion, and am now a believer. It is pretty darn good, and can’t imagine life without the trimmer blade. Please accept my apologies for sounding like an ad for these products.

For me, it is those little things that make me happy, and getting the day off with a little luxury is very nice. I would love to hear about your everyday luxuries and rituals if you want to pass on your secrets!

Until next time
—Christopher

The Design Brothers


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