July 18, 2005

A True Story About my UN-PC Brother

But first, some business...

1) As Mr. Husband pointed out in the comments, in my ongoing battle to keep 9 MILLION comments about CIALIS SOFT TABS off my blog(and by the way, am I the only juvenile-humored delinquent who finds the idea of cialis soft tabs to be hysterical because, um, soft tabs? Doesn't that defeat the WHOLE purpose? ANYWAY...) I managed to BAN the words TEXAS and ONLINE. Oops. If you were having trouble commenting, it should be fixed now.

2) If you 1) have five dollars and 2) don't like it when little children die of cancer and 3) want a chance at winning something pretty dern cool, you should CLICKY CLICKY and go purchase a raffle ticket or two. The prize is a quilt made by NYT bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini, and each block has been autographed by an author. She may have some of your very faves on that quilt -- 61 signed it, including Rebecca Wells, Beverly Cleary (BEEZUS! RAMONA! To this DAY when I see a girlchild with a savage little bob I say, OH SHE HAS RAMONA HAIR. I LOVED those books...), Ray Bradbury, Nicholas Sparks, Jennifer Weiner...etc etc

Okay, so, my brother, as you may recall, makes his living as an artist. He sculpts the greens for gaming miniatures and toys. He's very talented, if I do say so myself, and was actually one of the first gaming sculptors to have his name put on his work because, well, he's just that good, and people want to collect him. This is him at a recent gaming convention, sculpting.


That thing on his head? He never sculpts without it. He calls it his Suffering Hat because he puts it on when he has to work, and he wears a magnifying visor over it because he does incredibly detailed, teeny-weeny tiny work...like this:


That picture is about 4 times the actual size of the piece, so you can see the visor is absolutely necessary. But is the Suffering Hat? I am not the only one to question the validity of the suffering hat...here's an excerpt from a recent interview:

Mag: You’re known for sculpting in a do-rag. Honestly: practical accessory or fashion statement?

Bobby: Highly critical practical accessory! I have an odd shaped head. One click on my optivisor headband is too tight the next one is too loose. The silly do-rag allows me to use my visor without it slipping down onto my nose or giving me a compression headache. Plus I look really cool.

So anyway, to get to the True Story About my Brother, there are some pieces he does he can't have his name on due to contractual whatnots and confidentiality agreements. For example, he sometimes sculpts-well known characters and they use his art to make toys, but I can't show you those and say he did them or even tell you what medium the characters are from. Or I would have to kill you. Or worse, he would lose the gig. And he did some other figures that he could not put out under his own name due to his contracts with other people and BLAH BLAH. BUT. The company wanted to list a sculptor in the catalog, so they called him and asked for a pseudonym. And my brother, who was at home in his suffering hat, half-working and half-watching Discovery Channel, said, "Put them in under the name Johnson Twine." So they did as he asked.

Well, the catalog came out, and a friend of his who collects saw the figures, knew they were Bobby's, and called him and said, "Hey I saw some of your work under the name Johnson Twine...what gives?" And Bobby goes through the whole rights thing and blah blah, and the guy says, "Oh, okay...well how did you come up with that...kinda weird name?"

And my brother says, "Well, when they called, I was watching this documentary about these people who live deep in the wilds of Australia and modern life hasn't touched them, not even with a pinky finger, and they all are naked. I mean, bucky-tailed naked, men and women, no one wears a stitch. Except all the men who have come of age have this little piece of decorative twine tied around their johnsons. That's what I was noticing just as the guy asked for a name...So."

So indeed.

Posted by joshilyn at July 18, 2005 8:58 AM

That's so cool to see some of your brother's work! Last time you mentioned him, I'd meant to ask if he had a website or anything and then I got distracted and forgot.

I tend to be easily distra...hey!...something shiny!

Posted by: DebR at July 18, 2005 11:19 AM

Talented indeed! I loved detailed work like that and have huge respect for people with the skill and patience to pull it off.

Posted by: katie at July 18, 2005 11:19 AM

Oh, and I LOVED the Ramona books too. A while back I was in Portland and found myself on Klickitat Street. It was real! Whoah, was I ever excited.

Posted by: katie at July 18, 2005 11:25 AM

Hilarious story about Johnson Twine. Not only is your brother talented, he's funny too!

Your blog always makes me smile and laugh.

Posted by: Tiff at July 18, 2005 11:55 AM

Unbelievable talent, way kewl.

hmmm, but I am worried, did he notice the twine because he was wearing the visor? hmmmm.

Posted by: Cele at July 18, 2005 12:18 PM

Interesting family you have. The pseudonym word choice is intriguing, as your brother could have come up a variety of combinations: Dick Vine, Johnson Rope, Willie String, etc.

Posted by: Edgy Mama at July 18, 2005 12:39 PM

Oh, Beverly Cleary is da bomb! I loved Ramona, too - I got to revisit all of the books when I taught school a while back, and was still enchanted and entertained. Wasn't there one about a turnip or a rutabaga being dragged to school for show and tell on a rainy day while wearing a new dress?

Posted by: Dara at July 18, 2005 3:33 PM

I've seen that very show with the twine! lol Marvelous work he does! Thanks for sharing!

Posted by: Andi at July 18, 2005 6:22 PM

Joshilyn, I've had the pleasure of knowing your brother for about 15 years now and he is indeed a very talented person. Back when he had a "real" job and his sculpting was just a hobby he did some work for a local hobby shop. The manager there told me that "somewhere on this planet are a lot of people with no talent because Bobby got all of their's."

I enjoy his work as much as I enjoy your's. Keep up the good job.

Posted by: Scott at July 18, 2005 7:38 PM

As always, you made me laugh so loud my cat even thinks I'm bonkers. Perhaps she's on to something....

Posted by: shawna at July 18, 2005 8:06 PM

Bwahahaha "Johnson Twine" :::snicker::::

Thanks for the heads-up on the quilt raffle, must save up my pennies for some entries.....

Posted by: Angel at July 18, 2005 8:11 PM

I love it! Johnson Twine!!!!!! HA!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Robbie at July 18, 2005 9:01 PM

Aaaaahhhhh, computer access. How delightful.

I have heard this story before and it STILL made me laugh in that I-can't-help-snorting way that's soooo attractive!

I'm so glad Maisy is OK. Stay ok, Maisy, you hear me? Good puppy.


Posted by: Amy at July 18, 2005 9:38 PM

Way cool figurine. Artistic talent like that is amazing to me. I wonder if the folks he works for knew the real story about his pseudonym. *laughing* Great (twisted) sense of humor.

Posted by: David at July 19, 2005 10:11 AM

Alright ... my warhammer crazy boyfriend wants to know if your brother has a web site or something... or if there is somewhere to go SEE more of his work.... please do tell!

Posted by: Heather McCutcheon at July 19, 2005 4:16 PM