This is the Ward-O-Matic...5 Years Later

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:

Ava: Candy Kitties

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.


  1. wow congrats =), iv only recently started reading but looking forward to another 5? lol
    Good work mate.. makes me feel bad for neglecting my poor blog...mm anyway good work and congrats... get a dog ;)

  2. Wow, I didn't realize you have been blogging that long! I found your blog last year thanks to Eric Shoemaker. Your posts really inspire me - please do keep sharing your work and your favorite artists! I enjoy it a lot. :)

  3. Thanks for posting latest re Rudi Bass on your "While I'm Away" 8.30.05 blog.

    More importantly, congrats on your 5th yr anniversary ll.3.09 and the very enlightening blog you posted!
    Along with a lot of very informative and thoughtful writing, I now fully understand why Rudi Bass' and other older artists' work appear on your site. Sharing them and honoring them at the same time is wonderful. And together with your sensitivy and love of your family, you sound like quite an outstanding person in addition to all your creative talent.
    So glad, also, to get a good idea of YOUR latest work, with a glimpse of the Michael Phelps book, and hope it sells very well with you getting a lot of attention! Rudi says you're a really good illustrator, and he's the professor, so to speak. If you're ever in NYC, and all that -- you know the rest.

  4. Doc, I've been meaning to thank you for your reply on my other blogpost, where I mention Rudi Bass. And thank you for your nice words about my blog! And thank you, Willem & San for your comments as well!

    Doc, I'd love to get in touch with you about Rudi. I'd love to conduct an interview (via email) about his work and what he's been doing since. Glad to see that he's still active! Please get in touch with me at this email: wardomatic [at] comcast [dot] net.

  5. happy 5! though i do miss ava thursday and have wondered what happened, now that i know, totally understand that you want your privacy. anyhoo, enjoyed you & andrea's posts and great art by ava! thanks for sharing.

  6. Happy 5th Ward. I am one of the faceless readers who pop by to see what's new. I was upset to find that someone used a pic of your kids (for whatever the video was about) sheesh some people! Someone's always got to come along and ruin something fun. I for one enjoyed the little peek into your life those pictures let us see. Oh well.
    Ava's drawing is fantastic. She's come along quite a bit since the early stuff. Keep pushing that pencil (marker, chalk, crayon) kiddo!

  7. I can't believe how Ava's art has progressed since I last saw it. Hats off to her! And congratulations on your blogiversary too :-)

  8. 5 years and I've only just found you too. Loved reading this post - you're quite a writer for a visual artist - and appreciate the insight into how you've chosen to share and also protect your family. I have been pulling back on the 'family pic' thing too, which is sometimes hard when they really are my life, but I plan to make my blog more of a resource in the future. I love your work. Here's to the next 5 years!