Friday, July 29, 2011

Scrap Paper

At  The Globe tonight, a lovely young woman in a long, petal pink dress was reading Richard Dawkins. Couldn't see the title. She had a pile of books spread out across one of JoEllen's dinette tables. Very much wanted to tell her about the bus and give her a card.  It just doesn't pay to be shy sometimes.

For you, pale reader, a Dawkins quote from our notepad: 
"It feels good and true to know as little as I do about the true nature of the world. At least what little I do know, I can truly believe."

Later, we navigated a packed house at The Bricks to pick up a copy of Tony Patino's book The Road, a compendium of punk-rock memories from the touring circuit. A Tampa native now hailing from Kentucky, Patino appeared in Ybor tonight for an unusual book-signing and concert.

" ... A first-ever collection of real accounts detailing life on the Rock & Roll trail."  One signed copy, please!

The stories are down and dirty, short and wild excerpts from the likes of Superchunk, Bad Religion and Gwar. Creative Loafing's Julie Garisto further explores the writer and his work in this article.

Tomorrow, we journey to Full Sail University in Winter Park to experience the Sketchbook Tour 2011 before it rolls back to NYC. This exciting project, put together by the good people at Art House Co-op, is "like a concert tour, but with sketchbooks." 

Wonderful. Expect a full report.
Artists and writers, sign up by Oct. 31, 2011 to participate in the 2012 Sketchbook Tour.

On Sunday, we clear-coat the bus. No rest for the wicked this weekend.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Work, Day 11

Take this 30 seconds of airbrushing, multiply by about 6 blue-soaked hours, and it soon becomes clear how no fiscal or verbal show of gratitude can ever begin to express thanks to Joe Griffith, the bus painter and artist without whom our project would be impossible:

And yes, that is a dent over the wheel well. It adds character, don't you know?
We are swiftly nearing the end of exterior work and gearing up to install fixtures. This bird will have wings in no time. We cannot wait to take flight.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Work, Day 10

At last, after patiently sanding, scraping, taping, wiping, filling and caulking ...
today was a blue day.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Required Reading (no. 2)

Wonderful to see an exhibition like this one at the Tampa Museum of Art:

Syntax: Text and Symbols for a New Generation: Selections from the Hadley Martin Fisher Collection (above, Sean Landers' In the Garden of Gesthemane). 

TMA describes the show as examining the "current generation of artists' interest in text, symbolism and means of information transference." Those are all things we love. On display through September 25. 

Go, explore, translate and share.

Rumors, Unsubstantiated

By which we mean the bus is still white. A rather lovely shade of white, we don't mind saying.

Tune in again Saturday for momentous occasions, true blue. Not the least of them: a visit from Dean the Wonder Mechanic, who's taking a look under our hood. Oh mercy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Work, In Progress

Stay tuned tomorrow for exciting top-secret photos of the Bluebird Bus. Rumor going around: the bus might actually be blue.

Preparing to wax nostalgic: "Aw, remember back when the bus was yellow? And Joe sanded it and we all tasted powdered school bus?"

Our assistant Jenna demonstrates the proper application of safety gear:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Required Reading (no. 1)

by Charles Bukowski

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
in there.

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
you want to blow my book sales in

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody's asleep.
I say, I know that you're there,
so don't be
then I put him back,
but he's singing a little
in there, I haven't quite let him
and we sleep together like
with our
secret pact
and it's nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don't
weep, do

Sunday, July 17, 2011


A primed white ghost, ready for next phases:

Transformation can be a slow process, and for every step forward there is a diversion. Don't talk to me about the engine, just keep stepping. Around the windshield, another layer to scrape off. Silicone caulk today, revealing rust beneath. To be re-caulked and ready for touch-ups by Tuesday. And then, the first trim stripe goes down and I know it will look brilliant blue.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Special Thanks (no. 1)

I want to share a small bit of this colorful and inspiring 20-page art book by Joe Griffith of Experimental Skeleton, created as part of our Bluebird logo study:

Kym O'Donnell contributed photographs and more. Two talented folks, they have both been extremely supportive of the bus project, for which I am grateful. The book appeared in my mailbox shortly after we began brainstorming. It's filled with sketches, transparencies, spray paint and tape.

The worms design idea (above, right) never fails to bring me a smile. I particularly enjoy how they travel the full course of the digestive system.

These two-page spreads didn't fit on my scanner very well. It's hard to do the book justice here. I certainly plan to display it when the time comes.

Joe is instrumental in the Bluebird Books bus painting and build-out process. I chose the colors, but Joe ordered the paint. We spent about nine hours scraping industrial-strength reflective tape off the vehicle. Joe is power-sanding it and getting ready to lay down a primer coat. But first, we finish taping off the windows and trim. With any good paint job, preparation is key. Tomorrow will be a serious work day.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


This is the story of a dream.
A dream ... about stories. Or rather, a dream about books.

When I was six years old I used to make my own books. Mostly they were Halloween stories, because I really liked Halloween. Being that I was only six, my plot lines were not too advanced. "A ghost and a witch and a skeleton were friends, and they hiked up to a haunted mansion," and so on. Nor were the books very well-made objects: construction paper covers, lined paper folded to make the guts, finished with a few staples along the spine. But I got the greatest enjoyment from making these tiny volumes, re-reading them, flipping through their rough-bound pages. The book as an object held me fascinated.

These were the first stirrings of my love affair with tomes, and my first grasp at the simple and powerful mechanism of printing. You put some ideas down on paper, you fold the paper into a book and it becomes portable, a little carrying-case for thought. Even when blank, the notebook has a fresh feeling, the magic of possibility, with all those pages waiting to hold characters, drawings, secrets.

Later comics, and then zines, drew my teenage interest. Zine makers clearly capture the passion to share an idea, be it instructional screen printing or political rant. The authors use their time and hands to craft hundreds of volumes, each detailed one a small piece of art. They are carried out to local bookstores or coffee shops and into the hands of others, who absorb their contents.

I realized young that I wanted to be a part of that whole process, and still do. I have read voraciously, written all variety of stories for newspapers and magazines and blogs (and for myself), played with words in rhyming notebook rambles never intended for reading. I have shipped and collected books, stacked them tall along my wall, taped their pages into paper chains strung across my studio. The love affair continues.

In 2011, now 35 years old, I am founding Bluebird Books.
It is part vintage bookstore and part mobile art house. It is locomotive and emotive. A place to learn about bookmaking. A passion for words and ideas, illustrations and the book-as-art, put on four big bus wheels and headed your way. Stay tuned.