Tim and Jeremy are both waiters at a restaurant in downtown New York City. During slow times at work, to stave off boredom when it is slow, the two young men draw pictures. These pictures are made using ink and what is called the "Triple Dupe Pad," a book of paper used to place orders in the kitchen. The drawings usually take about a week to make, all the while also being used by fellow employees to take orders; this sometimes leads to other collaborators or in a couple cases, to the loss of the work. The drawings are then scanned and colored in Photoshop where they come to life in stunning technicolor! The subject matter varies from piece to piece, as they are made over a long course of time and under various moods and states of mind. They all retain a playfulness that serves as a coping mechanism after spending a night catering to the endless needs of hungry patrons.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

#59 "2-5-5-4-7-4-6" in Color!!! July 10, 2013

(Click on the Image to Make it LARGER!)

Pick up your phone and call the number that is also the title of this piece. Area code +1 (212).
The phone will ring in a restaurant on 13th Street, in between 6th and 7th Avenues in New York City. Depending on the hour, someone might answer the phone, although if it's too early in the morning, it will ring for a very long time, or until you get bored of listening to the constant ringing of the phone in your earpiece/hands-free device. Yes, this is the phone number to the place where Tim and I work, and where we create these art pieces. We draw each of them at the restaurant and only at the restaurant. We don't color them there, since our only source of color is to use the natural colors in the food, such as beets, bitters, and blue #2, or to use the various crayons that we keep in the tea drawer for our younger guests who like to color on the table cloths (I have kept some of those masterworks and will post them here someday). I have contemplated coloring one or some or all of them at the restaurant with said hues, but I continue to bring them home and color them in on Photoshop instead. I like the way that the drawings change. They start off so randomly, so arbitrary, and usually so dirty. They have been lying around a restaurant, being used by servers, bartenders, busboys, and food runners to put in orders, jot down notes, reservations, and phone numbers. During that time, Tim and I are drawing on them, and then they get stuffed into a drawer to live with the rest of the triple dupe pads that have run out of order forms, but have unfinished T&J drawings on them. There, the dupe pads could live for a couple days up to a couple years. That's right, years. I think there are a couple drawings in there now that have been living in the drawer for multiple years. These drawings just won't be finished. I am sure as drawings they want to be finished, but neither Tim nor I can find the inspiration or content to finish them, and so they wait for motivation to find us, so that we can finish them. They must feel left out, because some of these drawings come together in the matter of a couple days. We'll start one of the drawings and it'll just fly through the "system" and be done before you know it, while it's comrades sit in the drawer waiting to be finished for years. Next time you come into the restaurant, ask us to see the unfinished drawings. It's pretty neat to see them in their original environment.
This drawing is not one of those fast ones. If I remember correctly, this one took quite a while to finish. The reason I know this is from the woman depicted on the left-hand side of the drawing holding the #2 sign with the massive growths on the other arm. This is one of my first sketches of a character from my children's book, Jenny Balloons. This is literally one of the first sketches of that character, who would eventually change significantly. In this drawing, she is definitely a woman, whereas in the book, she starts as a baby and only ages to about 16, I believe. However, I drew this drawing of the girl who actually inspired the whole story in the first place. The story goes like this: I was leaving the restaurant late one Sunday night sometime in 2011. I was having one of those nights where nothing was going right and I was annoyed with everything. I get down to the subway and there is a woman dressed head to toe in balloons. She looks like she wants someone to talk to, and I know it's going to be me. I am not in the mood to talk after a long, busy night behind the bar, so I avoid eye contact and walk to the other end of the platform. Well, don't you know, the train arrives and I get on the last car in the last door, and who do I see coming towards me? The girl in the balloon dress. She comes up to me and sits down right there on the floor of the subway and starts talking to me. I knew it! I end up talking with her the entire time back to Brooklyn. She turned out to be a really interesting person. I should have known that anyone dressed in a full gown made entirely out of balloons and adorned with a balloon hat would be interesting. It turns out her name is Katie Balloons and she is an incredibly talented balloon artist. She makes dresses, does sculpture, parties, all with balloons! She gave me a couple of balloons and we said our goodbyes, and I went home much happier than I had been before. The next day I woke up and immediately wrote the first draft of what would become "Jenny Balloons." I drew a rough draft of what the dress looked like that day, and then drew the one you see above later that week. I wouldn't start illustrating Jenny Balloons for another 8 months, as I was working on other books for Mibblio and we were originally going to go with a female illustrator for Jenny. Once I started illustrating that book, I was busy with it for the rest of the year, which is why 2012 is essentially a black hole of T&J drawings. I wouldn't get back to coloring this drawing for about a year and a half after it was originally drawn. By that time, I had spent so much time illustrating all those balloon dresses and outfits found in the children's book, that coloring this one was a breeze. It goes to show you that some things take time to be realized. And sometimes, the final product is worth the wait!
Is the phone still ringing?

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