Mexico by john cheng

 Photo by Melissa C.

Photo by Melissa C.

Back in July, I had the opportunity to go on vacation with my wife and some good friends. If I'm completely honest, I build up a lot of anxiety before leaving on a trip like this. The idea that I'll be gone for x amount of time not being able to check emails and respond to clients, knowing that I'll be sitting around without my computer rather than being productive working on a project, or other similar thoughts creep into my head and give me nightmares about missing my Geometry final back in high school (a common anxiety nightmare that I have). 

But in spite of that, once the trip starts, I'm able to unwind and relax like I ought to. I was able to spend quality time with my wife and friends, allow my mind to wander and think about nothing, and drink beer to my hearts content. Now that I'm back, I'm just counting the days until my next vacation.

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Nisei Week - Little Tokyo, Los Angeles by john cheng

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This past weekend I was able to attend the Nisei Week parade for the first time in the past 6-7 years that I've lived here. Why it's taken me so long to attend one? I have no excuse. But thanks Sean W. for inviting me to tag along with you.

With the little that I observed on Sunday, I was slapped pretty hard with a bout of nostalgia remembering the Taiwanese festivals that my parents used to take me to. They were no where near as large as Nisei Week's festivities and there was definitely no parade, but they both exuded the same feeling. A sense of identity and belonging in a country where, even though you were born and raised here, you didn't quite fit in. Not 100% American and not 100% (place ethnicity here) in my case Taiwanese.

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Watching my friend interact with his fellow Japanese-American friends whom he's grown up with attending Nisei Week, Obon, and other festivals really made me yearn for the days where I also had that connection and camaraderie. Why I feel it is currently missing from my life is a whole story on it's own that I'll save for another time. 

At the end of it all I can only say thank you to all of the people who realize the importance of keeping cultural traditions alive for all to witness. Without you, the 2nd generation and on would never have a grasp on where we came from and how far we've come. 

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Disneyland with Good Friends by john cheng

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Sometimes I get so caught up in what I assume my life should be like, such as working toward building a successful business/career, that I forget to enjoy life and the people around me. I forego hanging out with family and friends because I feel I should be working harder. 

Originally I was going to skip out on this Disney trip with my friends to work some more and catch up on much needed rest. But then I reminded myself that at this very moment in time, I'm the youngest that I'll ever be. I may be tired, but I'll just be more tired as time progresses. Why wait to enjoy life when I can enjoy the present?

I was tired the next day, but it was worth every minute.Here's to hanging out with my friends more and not worrying too much over what will happen tomorrow.

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Art Before Commerce by john cheng

I always go back to Calvin and Hobbes as one of the earliest influencers of my journey through the realm of art. I loved it as a child and I still love it as an adult. Thank you Bill Watterson for your wonderful work of art that continues to inspire me. 

Watch this great piece by kaptainkristian, Art Before Commerce.

A look at the comic strip that elevated the medium. Support this channel at https://www.patreon.com/kaptainkristian Follow me at https://twitter.com/kaptainkristian Music: Flamingosis - Football Head ProleteR - April Showers Calvin and Hobbes dance by Adam Brown: https://vimeo.com/78040385
Art is never done as long as it has an audience.

BilletSpin Tops: Navigator by john cheng

I've always loved spinning tops from when I was very young. My first top was a wooden throw top that my dad taught me how to throw. It took a while to get the hang of it, but that memory has stayed with me ever since. Now that I'm older, I still love tops, but my tastes have also gotten older.

In comes the precision metal spinning tops. These suckers might be expensive, but are well worth it. They are tiny pieces of art that you can play with. Yes you could buy another knife to add to your collection of EDC with the amount that you spend, but you can't really play with a knife in the way you could with a top. Plus you can bring it anywhere unlike with a knife. 

That being said, you should check out the Navigator by BilletSpin on Indiegogo. This is the 25th top that they've made and its a beauty of a top. The machine work on this thing is gorgeous. Reminds me of what I imagined the Golden Compass should look like. 

Last bit of information, once this campaign is over, they wont be made again! 


Lifted: No. 1 by john cheng

 Click the image to read the comic.

Click the image to read the comic.

I haven't posted in a very long time, but I felt like sharing what I had worked on towards the end of last year. It had been a long time coming, but I really wanted to try writing a comic where I could pour in all of my random interests and create a world where I could vicariously have fantastical adventures through. 

The process of writing and illustrating it myself was quite a learning experience and I'd like to do more of it in the future and hope that I get better at it too. I was originally going to keep it to myself, but I figured ... why not? You can click the image above to read the comic. I hope you enjoy it!

If you happen to really like the comic and want a physical copy, you can purchase one through blurb.com by clicking the thumbnail of the cover.

Optimist by john cheng

Great video by Eric Friedensohn on how to look at life with a different perspective. There are things in life that you have no control over, and if we take a step back and look at the silver lining of things, we can live life just a bit happier.

On August 1st, 2014 I left everything behind. I ran for my life out of my apartment as it went up in flames, taking everything I owned with it. This shocking event forced me into unknown territory with only the clothes my back. When the fire department let us back inside, I went in to see what I could salvage. Amongst some small items was a rough sketch I was working on earlier in the week, a lettering piece –­ “Optimist". Taking it as a sign, I held fast to this notion of gratefulness and positivity, looking for the silver lining at each turn. As luck would have it, that positivity came right back around to me. In the following weeks, I received an overwhelming amount of support and love from my friends, family and extended community, and was able to get back on my feet. This story serves as an important reminder to keep moving forward, even under the worst of circumstances. A huge thanks goes out to my brother Josh, my parents, Casey, Gary & Marlene Dworkin for helping through it all. I also want to thank John Langdon, Swayspace Letterpress, MKG, and Perk Kafe. An extra special thanks to the team who put this video together. Director- Matt Figler | Producer - Jess Lee | Editor- Cory McCabe | Music- Blueberry by Jesiah Read the full story – www.efdotstudio.com/blog/august1 Purchase letterpress prints here – www.efdotstudio.com/optimist (100% of proceeds go to disaster victims in need of immediate aid)

Frisk x Murakami by john cheng

We basically bring a piece of art into the pockets of normal consumers
— Jan Heeling

The Frisk Company has partnered with Takashi Murakami to create these awesome mini sculptures that freshen your mouth at the same time! Watch the video about the project below!

Final Fantasy VII Remake by john cheng

I guess it's time to save up for a PS4...

Final Fantasy VII Remake -- Official Announce Trailer (HD 1080p Direct Feed) - Get The Cheapest Games & Credit here: - http://www.cdkeys.com/?mw_aref=pixelenemy PIXEL ENEMY PRESENTS Subscribe to Pixel Enemy: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=pixelenemy Like Pixel Enemy on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pixelenemy Follow Pixel Enemy on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pixelenemy Follow Pixel Enemy on Google+: https://plus.google.com/+pixelenemy/posts Visit Pixel Enemy on the web: http://www.pixelenemy.com/

Waiting by john cheng

I've noticed that I can sometimes get impatient when waiting in line for a restaurant or for any other type of queue, but I'm learning to take in these moments and enjoy them as they are.

Even in times like these, just waiting around, I can spend with my wife and be content that we are here together at that very moment. This segment in time has come and passed and will never happen again.

Its the little things in life ...

You Won't Regret That Tattoo by john cheng

A great documentary that explores the memories behind tattoos of an older generation that really challenges the idea that ink is something we'll regret later down the line. Moreover, the film really takes you to a place of intimacy. You get to hear the stories behind some of the tattoos these people have gotten and the film also forces you to think twice before you judge a book by its cover. There is most likely a reason behind that tattoo, why not take the time to hear the story behind it?

'You Wont Regret That Tattoo' is a short documentary that explores the meanings and memories behind the tattoos of an older generation, and challenges the belief that ink is something we will come to regret. FILM CREDITS Director: Angie Bird Producer: Michelle Woodward Executive Producer: Michelle Woodward Executive Producer: Liane Thomas Executive Producer: Dan Ford Cinematographer: Viktor Cahoj Editor: Izzy Ehrlich Set Designer: Simon Francois Art Director: Angie Bird Post Production: Rooster Post Post Production Executive: Melissa Kahn Colour: Alter Ego Colourist: Tricia Hagoriles Producer: Jane Garrah Executive Producer: Greg Edgar Graphic Design and Post Production Facility: Crush Graphic Designer: Stefan Woronko VFX Artist: Kaelem Cahill Post Producer: Emma Wojick Music Supervisors: Marco DiFelice and Amanda Clemens for Silent Joe Post Audio: The Orange Lounge Mixed by: Spencer Sunshine Music Composed by: Jay Merrow and Christine Stoesser

Pocket Top Kits! by john cheng

I've been working on a personal comic of my own for quite some time and it's proven to be quite a challenge. There have been many ups and downs to the entire process of creating a comic from start to finish, but I have learned and am still learning so much.

I'm no where to being done and during my low points while working on this project, one way I've picked myself up is going on a tangent and making something fun that could potentially be a part of the world that I'm creating. One of such projects is the fake ad above. I wanted to make an ad for a fake emporium selling parts for pocket tops that was also drawing in customers by preparing a meet and greet with the Pro Pocket Top Rider Kriss Neff!

Top riding can sound some what self explanatory but if you don't remember the concept, I've had a few posts in the past of one of my characters riding on a top like the one posted here.

Also just to give a bit more background into the development of the poster ad I made, you can see the sketch I did for it below. I wanted to fill up the page as much as I could without getting too cluttered, but that meant that I needed to generate some content that doesn't yet exist in my fictional world. I also wanted to give off a feeling that this fake store/top company was akin to those of a skate shop. Not sure if I succeeded in that regard, but it sure was fun to make.

While pocket top riding is fictional and honestly not at all an original idea (Totoro and Zelda to name two other places I've seen it), Chris Neff is a real person who plays with tops. Check out some of his tutorials!

3A Toys x Bravest Warriors by john cheng

I don't even know where to start. I've been following WO3A for quite some time and hope to own a toy of theirs in the near future. I haven't made a purchase yet mostly because I don't have the funds to buy one of their amazing toys.

It is definitely getting way more difficult especially with the new release of the Bravest Warriors toys. I mean, just look at them! Beautifully made! You can pre-order them at Bambalandstore May 21st, mark your calendars!

Kickstarter | Penxo by john cheng

Recently I've returned to using 2mm mechanical pencils to get a more organic feel in my sketches. I love the sharp point of a 0.5 mm pencil, but it was just too rigid for me.

But me being me, I search near and far for the writing utensil best suited for me. This also means that form and function must be on the same level. In the case of my everyday carry pen, I searched for about 2 years before landing happily on the Karas Kustoms Retrakt with a Parker Pen fine ball point tip refill. The aesthetics of the pen are beautiful and the function of the Parker refill suit my writing and sketching needs perfectly.

I'm undergoing the same process at the moment with my pencil. Currently I'm using a Staedtler 2mm pencil and functionality wise, it works fine. The aesthetics portion however, are just so so in my opinion. But as always, Kickstarter seems to save the day. I discovered the Penxo today and immediately backed the project! It is such a beautiful and simple writing utensil an the perfect mix of beauty and utility. I just hope that when I receive my very own Penxo, it will hold up to it's presumed glory.

Medium: Why You Turn Up by john cheng

This is what I need...

You turn up because of the people around you.

You know, the ones with common interests and sense of ambition.

The ones who want to invent new things and do old things better.

The ones whose distortion of reality present challenges that stretch you.

The ones who give you freedom to do things differently.

The ones you trust not to drop the ball (there are no ball droppers here).

You even turn up for the ones who grate on you (they’re also brilliant).

You turn up because the people around you value what you do.

They believe in you and give you what you need.

Together you create something more than a job.

Don’t settle for anything less.

Paige Smith Urban Geode by john cheng

Artist Paige Smith in Los Angeles crafts paper and resin geode crystals and installs them throughout the city. Sometimes I happen to cross paths with one of these and they always put a smile on my face. Such simple forms that produce beautiful results against an urban landscape.