The US Postal Carriers have been full of surprises this week. Another package that I recently received was from an old friend of mine, Charlie McAlister.
I've known Charlie McAlister since I was about 16. He was kind of like the first 'real' artist at my high school. He was making amazing drawings, sculptures, t-shirts, zines and other crazy stuff before anyone else (he even kinda taught fellow classmate Shepard Fairey the basics of screenprinting during art class). He was a year or two older than me and I remember what a big deal it was (to me) when he left our small town to attend the Art Institute of Chicago...I once described Charlie's work to someone; "it's like Howard Finster meets Raymond Pettibone," but I doubt he would agree.
Well, after 20 years, Charlie is still as eccentric as ever. He once made himself a homemade diving suit, using a garden hose to supply oxygen into the diving helmet (which was an old globe!). He's made lots of recordings and released a lot of records and apparently he's something of an underground, ragtime-folksy-bohemian legend in some cities. While he was 'stranded' in LA last year, we hung out a bit. I bought a bunch of his CD's/vinyl (the packaging of which are completely amazing) and zines (also inspiring and hilariously fun) and a few paintings. You can order some of his unique products directly from his site.
My all-time, personal favorite recording of Charlie remains to be Mississippi Luau.