One more debt needs to be repaid. Around 78-79 I lived with my brother and Steve Garris in El Cajon Ca. Steve was the one who inspired me to make the Latex Starbarian Doll.
He had a friend who would come over and make Latex masks. I naturally, as always, decided to do something different with the technique. I took plastic tank wheels and other things and imbedded them in the clay before making the plaster mold into which the latex was poured before baking. I also learned how to create spaceship models from plastic discards. I loved using old (plastic) BIC shavers for columns and other things. Interestingly, on the (more recent) T.V. show Reading Rainbow, LeVar Burton interviewed the special effects man for Star Trek who displayed a plastic shuttle built for servicing the Enterprise. It’s thrusters were BIC shavers! Steve did 2 more things for me. He coined the name “Starbarian” and gave me permission to use it. He also introduced me to his brother Phil.
Phil Garris is most famous for the Grateful Dead album cover Blues For Allah and Kingfish, the self-titled album by the rock band of the same name that included Bob Weir. When he came down to work in our studio he brought a life-sized sword along, the one that appears on TOTO’s first album cover(which he had been commissioned to do). He also brought a coffee table book on Maxfield Parrish.
He showed me how he color-Xeroxed an arch that he admired from the book and began painting over that. I played with the sword and watched with fascination as he painted the famous TOTO cover in my living room.
This was another important lesson that opened my eyes to new ways of working. If you look closely at my own Bowie story, (done shortly thereafter), you can see that I included a BAR CODE and a Xeroxed clipping from the San Diego Union newspaper.
The Garris brothers were instrumental in helping me develop from a 2 dimensional Pen and Ink guy to someone who loved to combine anything and everything into my work. This was probably the first time that I included something machine produced in my drawings.