Jonathan and Duncan (& Tintin!) Here I'd like to introduce (formally) into the story two of my best counselors & confidants aboout my paintings. Fittingly they are also my two band-mates for the last thirty odd years, which makes them the most important creative partners in my life's work : Jonathan and Duncan.

In a furiously condensed synopsis : Jonathan is my brother. And Duncan I met when we were 10. We were close friends through Middle School, and then in High School, Jonathan and Duncan and I began to play music together.

In 1981 when I was at Evergreen, Jonathan and Duncan were at the University of Washington. We never stopped playing, even though I was living several hours away – and so it was our habit to discuss at length everything. Music. Women. Relationships. Life.

And when I began to go to Cornish, in the fall of 1987 ART was added to that list. Over the last 25+ years they have been the smartest, and shrewdest counselors that a painter could want, and I'm supremely grateful for their friendships and time.

To begin with Jonathan studied photography, and Duncan studied painting before I did, or knew that I'd be a painter. So we were all very visual oriented . And the three of us have always on the same page when it came to art, and as friends do with anything we delighted in arguing the finer points, (to quote Ian Fleming) and laughing together about art when it goes wrong.

It helps that they are two of the funniest people I've ever met – so some of the magnificent and hilarious things that they have said I will include because they are worth sharing.

But there is another curious character involved, who doesn't really exist- and for someone who isn't, he sure did have a a key role. Tintin.

Tintin, for anybody that doesn't know is the fictional Belgian Comic Book character - from the 1940s & 50s : a young reporter with a little white dog, who found himself in some marvelous & dangerous adventures.

Of course anybody that knows Tintin will agree that the word comic or cartoon couldn't possibly lives up to the magnificent nature of the books.

George Remy (aka Herge) who invented Tintin was a technical illustrator, so everything in the picture was perfect- not overdone, just right. Over the years we have marveled at Herge's ability to draw something with great economy of line- and nail the image. Waves for example-

And when there was a car chase, the cars were clearly specific models, if there was a pirate Ship attacking a frigate, everything, down to the rigging was absolutely spot on.

Tintin was like a yardstick for us, certainly for me. Because everything the Tintin did – all the adventures he was involved in an tight spots that he managed to get out of set the bar very high for kicking ass and I felt I was up to the job. Tintin could chase the bad guys in a borrowed Jaguars when he didn;t have a key, and inched along high ledges, and snuck into the grounds of evil rich men ducking behind the bushes with a 45 automatic: precisely the sort of person that I imagine myself to be.



Jonathan & Duncan in 1988

So... REWIND to 1974. It is the first day of sixth grade. I am eleven. I have been sent to a new school in Seattle, where I knew absolutely nobody. I was standing by a window when a boy I'd never seen before walked up to me and said "hey – whatcha got there?"

Under my arm was a Tintin book. (which belonged to my little brother) This boy asked if he could borrow the book – and I lent it to him. When I got home I was in trouble, because it was not my book to lend. I promised up & down that I'd get it back, which I did. The boy was Duncan, and of course I could not possibly have imagined, for example- that I would be best man at his wedding, years later.

Years later I was sort of struck by a number of curious parallels to Tintin, and his creator. For example, The cover of the band's first record was a cartoon which I had drawn. We call it the man and the dog – and there really isn't any name other than that. Tintin and snowy are a boy and a dog.

And my name: Siege was a nickname originally from Jonathan.

Just the first syllable of CJ: = "siege" phonetically, and at some point in 1982 or so I realized that I could spell it like the word siege. So I started signing my cartoons.

Herge, t he creator of Tintin - really named George Remi - used the same device- I hadn't realized that for years, but in Belgium and France you say your initials backwards from what Americans are used to. His initials, said in that tradition are not GR, they are RG. And when you say RG in French (air-zhay) you get "herge".

And so it's funny after the untold hours poring over the books that it would have worked out that way.

I should interview Duncan and Jonathan for the sake of this article, and see what struck them about Tintin and the books.
IMAGE OF MY CARTOON SELF, and note about why it is a signature of sorts
further chapters, not in order
1 Common artist pitfalls -
2 my signature man - one line etc etc



© 2013 SIEGE