01. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
Oh boy, this is a list:
Went to a traditional Indian wedding.
Sat next to Stan Hansen at the NWHOF banquet.
Painted live at E3 for 2K.
Had my art included in the WWE 2K17 NXT Edition.
Voted for a woman to be president.
Auctioned my Nick Bockwinkel painting at the CAC banquet, bringing in several thousand dollars for the organization.
Became the second-longest running show on WWE’s YouTube channel.
Painted a story for the WWE comic and did future covers for the series.
Had someone pass out when they met me at a show.
Spoke at some schools for their career days.
Ran a weekly email newsletter.
Saw Louis C.K. in concert.
02. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more?
I honestly can’t remember what I resolved to do last year.
03. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My friends Jamie and Andy welcomed Hazel into their family.
Suzanne and Adam welcomed Finley.
Nikki and Steve welcomed Leo.
Tricia and Tony welcomed Audrey.
Haley and Matt welcomed Libby.
Don’t drink the water around me!
04. Did anyone close to you die?
My friends Jamie and Jeremy’s mother Karen passed away. She was always wonderful to me and raised two strong children. Jamie’s father’s mother passed away as well.
05. What countries did you visit?
The US of A. Besides my native Missouri and Kansas, I made it to Iowa, Illinois, California, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Texas, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.
06. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
The ability to do even more for those less fortunate than myself.
07. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
October 11, the release date of WWE 2K17. My social media became flooded with people putting up pictures of their copies, showing the Shinsuke Nakamura print I did for it. People from all around the world, starting in Australia and then following its way across the globe. So cool.
08. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Painting an 8′ x 10′ mural for 2K at the E3 event. I had a relatively short period of time to do a large painting in front of a huge audience with attention from millions of people watching online. No pressure! At one point I was painting in front of a crowd the same size as Lil Wayne had at the next exhibit over. The event was a ton of straight-up hard work, but I’m so proud of what I was able to accomplish there.
09. What was your biggest failure?
A couple opportunities were missed, but that’s just part of life. I grew distant from people I was close to, but that’s part of life, too. I don’t know, I can’t think of anything, but that has more to do with focusing on positives, I feel.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
11. What was the best thing you bought?
An original painting by David Mack.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My cats Monkey and Korma. They amaze every day.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
All of those who participated in and condoned hate crimes, and those whose words and actions emboldened such heinous events.
Also, people who knowingly hurt those that they know care about them. That’s one I’ll never be able to wrap my head around. And if you think that this is about you, then maybe you should reexamine your actions and see if they’re worth holding onto.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, food, travel, art supplies, books.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Waking up and having another day to conquer.
16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
“We the People…” by A Tribe Called Quest showed up and knocked me out.
A very close runner up is Jidenna’s ‘Chief Don’t Run’. Powerful as hell.
I put a lot more effort into listening to new music this year. I felt like the last few years I fell into my own echo chamber and kept listening to the same music over and over. I try so hard to experience new books, art, movies and television but had fallen short on music. I started fixing that.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
ii. thinner or fatter?
About the same. Ugh.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
The right thing. Taking care of my body. Telling people I love them. Updating the blog of this site.
There, that’s my resolution for 2017: To blog regularly.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Attempting to rationalize irrational people.
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
With people I love. Traveling.
22. Did you fall in love in 2016?
Stayed in love.
23. How many one-night stands?
None. I’m married, yo.
24. What was your favorite TV program?
DAMN, this was a good year for TV. Marco Polo, Game of Thrones, Westworld, Silicon Valley, The Crown, Baskets, Luke Cage, Stranger Things…
I’m going to have to give it to Louis C.K.’s ‘Horace and Pete’. The most impactful, powerful and emotional experience I’ve had with a show in my life. It’s like a Tennessee Williams passion play made today with one of if not the most important creative voices in the world driving it. Unbelievable performances from Louis, Steve Buscemi, Alan Alda, Jessica Lange, Aidy Bryant and a transformative shot across the bow of the acting profession from Laurie Metcalf.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don’t hate. That’s a sign of weakness. More people need to realize that.
26. What was the best book you read?
Comic book/graphic novel? ‘March’ volume 3. It lives up to all of the hype and is deserving of all of the awards it has received. If you don’t like what’s happening in your community, in your state, in your country, or in the world? Read this and the prior two volumes.
Runners-up include ‘Hip Hop Family Tree’ by Ed Piskor, ‘The Woods’ by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas, ‘Paper Girls’ by Brian K Vaughn and Cliff Chiang, ‘Wrinkles’ by Paco Roca, and ‘Ruins’ by Peter Kuper.
Book Book? I honestly didn’t enjoy any novel I attempted to read this year. I don’t care for that and need to spend more time on figuring out why.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The aforementioned Jidenna. Came across his work via the Luke Cage show and instantly dug what I heard.
28. What did you want and get?
To be in a place that I can make a good living off of doing what I love, and then use both the work and my income to help others.
29. What was your favorite film of this year?
I had the most fun with X-Men: Apocalypse. The mass ingenuity involved with especially the Quicksilver scenes were visionary filmmaking.
The BEST movie I watched this year I think was Whiplash. A powerful examination of the lengths a driven creative will go to not just succeed, but to be the very best.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Had an excellent lunch with my parents and wife on the Independence square, just a truly good time together. For dinner the wife and I went to our favorite Indian restaurant. Happy belly day!
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
The election, how it was covered, and how people carried themselves around it. We can be better and need to strive to do so.
And because I voted for the Democratic candidate, don’t think that I’m some despondent liberal. If anything I’m a free-thinking centrist. What I want to see are candidates who endeavor to offer the best solutions, not to divide us from our fellow citizens.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Clothes mostly speckled with paint. A little more hip attire when doing appearances. I bought a lot of shirts this year.
34. What kept you sane?
Katy and the cats. Painting. Reading comic books. Beer.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Every person who stood up for others, who risked their lives, careers, and relationships to push for a higher ideal.
Every single person who stood with Standing Rock.
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
I really can’t stand that one candidate ran on hate and the other on fear, and depending on which you supported you could argue which was which. Don’t let them do that to us anymore. We’re better than this and we need to act like it.
37. Who did you miss?
You. We should have spent more time together, and made our time together matter more.
38. Who was the best new person you met?
Galen. I sat next to him at the counter one morning at the diner I go to in the mornings. He’s an older black gentleman and civil servant and we got to talking later in the week of the election about the state of the country and where we’ve come as a people. He grew up in a rough part of town without many opportunities, but worked hard at a job that is largely looked down on. Doing that, he put his kids in a better position than he had, and one now has a doctorate and the other a PHD. His grandchildren now have options available to them he never could have dreamed of for himself.
The way I was raised, the America I grew up in, that sure sounds like the dream right there.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Never think you know what’s going to happen. Prepare to be wrong and don’t think your world view is the only one. There are over 7 billion people on the face of the Earth and odds are that you aren’t the one who knows it all.