December 22, 2009

the view from bernal hill. gouache, 2009. the result of a home cooked meal,
a long conversation, whisky and the best company a person could ask for.

i honestly thought i'd be able to get to this sooner than december twenty second, but here we are. the year has been a marathon, the last three months a sprint: work has been heavy, friends have been inviting, trips have been taken, projects conceived and completed. the sad thing is how little of all this i've been able to share; let me offer a few things now:

there's been terribly little drawing beyond days and nights at pixar. our film is kind of kick ass though, and so is my crew and so is our work. it's been an inspiring encouraging experience, where drawings ideas and even songs end up on the big screen. it'll be a few years before it all comes out, but i'm excited to see the fruits of our labour in a theatre.

hong kong, briefly, was incredible. the most non-western western city i've ever seen; bladerunner. i visited family and ate and talked about eating and walked around looking at food stuffs for the better part of two weeks—a most satisfying adventure. from intimate bowls of congee to the city's premiere power restaurant, through wet markets and dry markets and supermarkets, harvey nics and the wilds of central's back alleys, endless expanses of casino in macau, and endless expanses of ocean cliff trail on lamma island, this was definitely a trip to remember.

i turned 30. quite the event, if i may say: a depression era party staged in a depression era house. a month of recipe research, test cooking, and graphic design. i had a screenprinted poster and recipe cards made to compliment the meal and commemorate the event. brains were stewed, fish pickled, corn chowdered, tripe stuffed, and calve's feet halved and jellied; bread was baked from cans, ice cream and butter were served fresh, sodas were made from organic materials. a fire pit braced us from the cold december air, and in the morning we sat on the porch and drank tea. bring on 31.

a visit to the french laundry. it is a miracle. everyone on earth should get to do this once in their life. i had first read about chef thomas keller years before moving to the west coast, and his philosophies on craft and leadership have helped guide my life and career. in anxious anticipation, i waited years for the right moment to go, and i feel i couldn't have chosen a more perfect time. the experience far exceeded anything i could ever have imagined; it is without a doubt one of the most remarkable experiences of art and craft i have ever had the privilege of sharing. there was the day i got my job at pixar, the first time i ever saw new york, and this incredible evening.

these are the big motions, the ones i can elaborate on, and even then i feel a little shy. there have been other things too: thanksgiving survived, books proposed, posters designed, beaches sojourned, lectures attended, hands shaken, long walks taken and the like. but how much can i write? let me wish you happy holidays and promise to come back in 2010 with some drawings to share, hm? until next time.



  1. Welcome back, and more success for the new year.

  2. Happy Christmas! and all the best for 2010!!

  3. nick, Ive never posted on your blog before but I've been a long time reader. Thanks for keeping us up to date with your art and inspirations. It is so great to see how varied and beautiful your influences are.
    Happy Holidays, look forward to reading more in 2010!

  4. Daniel Chong9:29 AM

    Gah! You went to the french Laundry! You're gonna make renee jealous....

    happy new year!

  5. Merry Christmas & have a great New Year! Your blog is one of my favorites -- so understated, profound, personal, and fluid. A real joy.

  6. Days and Nights drawing at Pixar?
    That wouldn't be so bad if they actually paid overtime.
    Don't be afraid to leave the compound and see what else is out there. You would be amazed what you can do when you suddenly have nights to yourself and are paid when you work more than 50 hours in the week.

  7. nice... bring on 2010.