Point of Exquisite Suspension

Thoughts & life experiences of a Chicago area graphic artist

27 January 2020

The Hat

Illustration by O. Douglas Jennings. © 2020

"Why are you wearing THAT?!", exclaimed Augusten, half smirking but sincerely somewhat bemused, after exchanging greetings as we both stood in the entry way of his house. I had just dropped off my daughter to baby sit his 4 year-old twins. He was referring to my baseball cap which sported the company logo of a place Augusten and I both worked a few years ago and where we had met. Augusten was employed there as an engineer while I labored in the marketing department as a graphic artist. That's where we met and, because we live close to one another, we would car-pool.

"I'm wearing it because I designed the logo. It's the racing car version. Remember?"

"Oh. I guess it's ok then", he demurred. But added, "After what they did to us, I wouldn't want anything to do with that place."

Augusten Burton, his wife Penny and their two adorable kids have remained friends with me and my family for a few years now. Mainly because my daughter, Melody, has been the baby sitter for their kids, Ian and Gwen since they were infants. Penny is a life coach and Augusten works as an engineer for a different manufacturer since we were both layed off from the company where we both worked a little over 3 years ago.  The Burton's were an Uber-couple. In their 30s, tall, blond and attractive, they compete in Triathelons around the country as a hobby. But they are as friendly and down-to-earth as anyone. We rarely get to hang out that much these days but they are great fun.

Augusten's comment about my hat, is “touchy” connection to our past place of employment I had forgotten about. For Augusten that day, it brought back the memories of the hard termination we both had from working there. Augusten had it worse because his supervisor gave him no warning. At least my manager was nice enough to give me a heads up about the slate of layoffs and even let me use the office computer to look for other jobs. But Augusten was let go just as Penny was about to give birth to the twins. I don't know how they were able to piece together some insurance coverage for all the hospital bills at the time but I remember it was traumatic for them.

Nevertheless, I retained some pleasant memories from the three years I had worked there. I enjoyed the design projects I was assigned. And I made a lot of friends there.

But now the racing logo hat that I had helped design is one of my only reminders. It's become my favorite "mowing hat". My wife has me keep it in the laundry room. "It gets too stinky from your sweat. So you'll need to wash it regularly", she exhorts.

I just have to remember NOT to wear again if I'm going to visit Augusten.

Silver-Age Comic Retconned for Trump Era

I do not know what comic book or exact period from which this comic page originated, but the characters and, expecially, the visuals resonated with me in this dark age of the Trump Presidency. I think it's the style of hair and eyebrows of the main character "Kramer".

Do you see why?

 So... I retconned it and added my own lettering to make it even MORE fit today's headlines!

 Maybe it's a bit over-the-top. But I'll consider this to be today's #365daychallenge entry.

22 January 2020

Cosmic Comic

This is a more finished version of my #365challenge #365artchallenge post for (20/365): A slapdash comic demo for my Intro to Graphic class. It’s to show a quick sample  of a four-panel comic sequence created on the iPad that could be converted to a mini-booklet format. One of my students told me, “I like how the alien said his words wrong!”
The booklet format/layout would be as shown below: 
This version would be printed, one-sided, and then folded to make a simple 4-page mini-comic book.

20 January 2020

Classic Gag Comic Trope: Guy on Psychotherapy Couch

"The only thing that keeps my abject self-loathing at bay is my snark-laden apathy."
I've been doing a #365challenge #365artchallenge for 2020. The above comic is 19 out of 365. I tried my hand at a "New-Yorker-style", single-panel #comic

For the same caption, I considered art of a guy talking to a friend at a bar or a guy on a desert island talking to a coconut upon which he scrawled a face.

 © O. Douglas Jennings

10 January 2020


I made art of my favorite Pokemon for today's 10/365 #365challenge #365artchallenge #digital art created with Adobe Photoshop for desktop computer. It's my prep for the 1st ever Pokemon Cartooning class offered by my Art School starting tomorrow!

Making Climate Change Strategies More Than a Pipe Dream!

Naomi Klien Interview with Video and text.

[Transcription of Interview below]

One of the biggest problems with Trump is that everybody looks good compared to him. You know if Trudeau is what a climate champion looks like in 2020, we're in big trouble.

Trudeau ways, "I'm a climate champion! This is the most important issue in the world! --but we're going to buy ourselves a $3 billion or $4 billion pipeline to bring one of the highest carbon forms of oil in the world."

Why wouldn't they invest that money in solar and wind? And that [policy blindness] is what climate change does. We are seeing that in Australia.

I have absolutely no doubt that the right-wing government of Scott Morrison is going to use that in order to further harden their already brutal, anti-immigrant, xenophobic, racist policies.

And we're seeing strong-men figures, like Modi, Duarte and Trump using the same kind of us vs. them ideology in order to justify creating these hierarchies of humanity within their countries and on their borders. You're going to be vulnerable to somebody coming along and saying, "Here's the solution; Here's who you should blame. It's that immigrant over there. It's anybody but you. And I'm going to take care of you. And I'm going to take care of people like us."

All that kind of messaging is effective when people are frightened; when people are losing homes, and don't know what the future looks like.

What it's going to take is a Green New Deal. I think it's incredibly important that there be a democratically articulated plan for how to respond to this crisis that puts social justice, economic justice, racial justice, gender justice at the center. and we can't wait for politicians to do that for us.

I think if the U.S. were to dramatically raise the bar, if there were an administration that clearly understood the scale of the crisis, [and] that said we are going to make this a civilizational mission. We are going to show we can create millions of good unionized jobs in the process --if there was a government like that in the United States it would force the European Union to dramatically up its game. It would take the excuses away from India and China. it would be a true catalyst. And it would empower social movements in every country in the world who are already demanding that their governments take action in the face of this crisis. It would be an absolute game changer.


07 January 2020

Downtown -- A song that always cheers me up!

From the moment I heard Petula Clark sing this song on the TV when I was 4 or 5 years old, I loved it!

Downtown  - Lyrics

When you're alone and life is making you lonely
You can always go downtown.
When you've got worries all the noise and the hurry
Seems to help I know downtown.
Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?
The lights are much brighter there
you can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares
so go downtown
Things will be great when you're downtown
No finer place for sure downtown
Everything's waiting for you.

Don't hang around and let your problems surround you
There are movie shows downtown.
Maybe you know some little places to go to
where they never close downtown.
Just listen to the rhythm of a gentle bossa nova
You'll be dancing with 'em too before the night is over
happy again.
The lights are much brighter there
you can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares
so go - downtown
Where all the lights are bright downtown
waiting for you tonight downtown
you're gonna be alright now

And you may find somebody kind to help and understand you
Someone who is just like you and needs a gentle hand to
guide them along.
So maybe I'll see you there
we can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares
so go downtown
Things will be great when you're downtown
don't wait a minute more downtown
Everything is waiting for you

03 January 2020

Earth Thoughts (Critical Mass)

Pondering the plight of the planet in "Mind-Space-Time".  © 2020, O. Douglas Jennings. All Rights Reserved.

Watch this brilliant animation in which humans trade places with animals impacting climate change:

 The Turning Point from Steve Cutts on Vimeo.