Today marks FIVE years I've been writing The Ward-O-Matic, if you can believe it. Wow. Five years! I can't believe it. So much has transpired since November 3rd, 2004 when I published my very first post. I look back on some of my old posts and wonder, who is this guy? Like flipping through an old diary or thumbing through an old sketchbook, I read some of these words and look at some of these old drawings and try to imagine what was going through my head at the time. It's like I'm reading someone else's blog—it doesn't really feel like me.
2004: I was an animation director at Primal Screen in Atlanta and was getting caught up with all these new animation blogs that were popping up like wildfire at the time. I was so inspired by what I was reading and viewing that I felt like I had enough of a voice to enter the fray. Having enough to say has been an issue at times, but that's okay. I'd just let my drawings speak for me. Or just scan in some dusty pages from a long forgotten children's book. Sharing some of my collection has really kept this blog going for me. Whenever I'd feel like wrapping it up here, all I had to do was sift through some old pamphlets or cookbooks in a box found in the back corner of the attic and I'd want to share it with you immediately. Like a giddy kid on Christmas morning, that's me in a nutshell with this blog. Especially if it was something that I knew hadn't been seen before. The lost, the forgotten, the diamonds in the rough—having a place like The Ward-O-Matic to share all these and more with faceless usernames behind computer screens has been a great joy for me. I think it shows through my writing when I talk about these neglected items. Even if you couldn't get behind my interests, if anything, I'd hope that you'd join me in finding out who these forgotten and anonymous illustrators from the past were. It pained me to open up some form of beautifully decorated ephemera from the midcentury era and never see any credit given to the artist. The gall! I'd think, of the careless employers and/or clients who mindlessly printed up page after page of gorgeous and vibrant illustrations, without giving one hoot about putting a credit line on the back page or something. Just writing about it irks me still. But hey! That's what I love about this "Web 2.0" or whatever-you-want-to-call it: filling up internet space with information and knowledge about these long-lost artists, so that some day, either they or their family members will by chance do a search for the artist and find out that yes, someone else out there cares about their work and want to know all about the who, what, why & how of them.
While I've been up front and center with certain things here on the blog, I've pulled back on others. I don't talk about the family or post photos of the kids as much anymore, for instance. The same goes for Ava Thursday, you might've noticed. The reason being is more complicated than what I can muster to write, or perhaps it's a simple fact of wanting to maintain (or regain) a little bit of privacy for myself and my family here. With the photos, that's easy. While I'd love to share with you guys all the fun and silly things that the kids do through photos, all it took was one idiot to snag one of my photos of Ezra off my Flickr and use it without permission for a video on YouTube, and that was it. I immediately privated a good deal of my photos of my kids, and to this day am wary of sharing any new photos I take of them. The situation shook me to the core at the time (YouTube was able to remove the video, thank goodness), and made me take a second look at just how much I'm sharing with complete strangers. Had a fellow reader of my blog not found the video by chance, who knows just how far the offender would've taken it? And there would've been no way of me knowing about it, too. All I have to say it this: be careful with what you share, especially when it comes to photos of your kids. Be smart about it.
With Ava Thursday, it was completely different. Even though I'd been thoroughly enjoying picking out a fun little drawing by my daughter and sharing it with you all on a weekly basis, I found it harder and harder with each passing week to justify why I was doing it. Of course, I was the proud dad, more than willing to share with anyone anything that my little girl would create. I thought it was cool to see Ava develop artistically throughout the months. However, at one point it seemed like the drawings weren't really "ours" anymore. By sharing with others my little girl's artwork on a constant basis, the specialness of each drawing seemed lost. Basically, Andrea and I wanted these wonderful Ava drawings for ourselves. These things were precious, made with extraordinary little hands that we loved, and I'm sorry, we kinda wanted to keep them in the family. Being her parents, we were entitled to be a little selfish. Simple as that.
Of course with all that said, Ava wants to show you one of her latest drawings. She drew this on Sunday, obviously during that glorious post-Halloween glow. Click on image to see larger:
She's into cats right now. She really really really really wants a cat. After Babycat's passing last year (did I ever mention that here?), the kids have been pining for a new cat. We'll see.
Okay, back to the issue at hand: five years. It's five years of The Ward-O-Matic and hopefully I've made it interesting for you. I know it's definitely been interesting for me.