Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm A Model. You Know What I Mean?

This isn't really "breaking news" but I want to share something I am pretty proud of; my appearance in a Marvel comic book! I don't mean my artwork (not yet anyway, but there is hope). No, I mean me.

Last year my good friend Timothy Green II asked me to model for him as he was working on a one off issue of Ender's Game called Recruiting Valentine. I played the bitter school teacher. We get to see what I would look like with Spike-esque blonde hair. Those who've ever gone dancing with me know I'm all too familiar with jumpsuits. Cracking good job, Timothy!

More of Timothy's work can be seen on his blog.


A few years ago I was missing the good times I had drawing costumed models in art school so I started my own "alternative drawing studio" called Pompsicle (like a frozen fashion show. Still not sure if that makes sense). Local artists can pay a small cover to come draw from love models in crazy costumes, cool street clothes, etc. Everyone from fashion models to roller derby girls to furries have modeled for Pompsicle sessions.

I've had the pleasure of meeting a lot of cool people who want to dress up and pose for artists. Occasionally things come up and a model backs out at the last minute or they just don't show up. Which means I've ended up modeling for all kinds of cool, young artists!

This one is done by Afton Kern. She's about the most talented young artist I've met in a long time. I'm not sure if this one has a title so I'm calling it Portrait of Ben Walker with Primate Heads. More of her work can be seen on her Facebook profile here.

Something I learned early on: If you are a guy who may need to model for artists: own a suit...and a cool little hat and you can pull off dozens of characters. Here is a sketch by another talented artist and photographer, Matt Verdolivo. More of his work at

Thanks for reading!

Your Pal,


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Where in the World is Winchester's Bicycle?

Today I received the following email. I thought this question and my response would be worth sharing.


I bought this shirt from you at last year's comic-con, San Diego. I

have gotten questions and compliments on it where ever I've been.

It's my favorite shirt. What's the story with this guy?

My buddy's wedding in NY

London - you can just see him poking out of my sweatshirt -

Athens Greece

Thank You Dean!

I think Winchester's bicycle has become a lot of people's favorite shirt; myself included. Somehow I happened upon a mysterious and iconic image.

So what is the story with this guy? Well this image is called Winchester's Bicycle. It started out as part of my first gallery show in late 2006. All of my pieces were an homage to the dedication and ingenuity of the men who built flying machines in the early days of the race for flight. Every painting depicted people successfully flying in their machines. My flying machines were directly influenced by real (failed) attempts. I used a lot of artistic license with the design of these machines, especially with Winchester's.

Just for the record, this was nearly two years before I had ever heard the word "steampunk".

A lot of the pieces from this series seem to resonate with people. I think it's because I was trying to say something about our hopes and dreams, and our love of freedom. The paintings are set in the past but they all show optimism for the future.

So back to the T-shirt. I'm glad you enjoy it so much! It's cool to see Mr. Winchester sort of fly around the world. I don't know if you were hoping to hear a more fleshed out story about Mr. Winchester and his bicycle, but that's what I love about my T-shirt designs; They aren't an ad for a movie or a comic book or mixed martial arts. They are just fun and open to interpretation.

Thanks again for your interest!



Before I sign off, here are a couple more guys who love Winchester.

Actor and geek culture virtuoso, Wil Wheaton wore a Winchester shirt for his appearance on VH1's The Great Debate.

Artist and friend, Matt 136 modeling a Winchester

I will be printing more Winchester shirts for Comic-con 2010. This week I will have to decide whether to reprint in "classic black and white" or do a new color combination for him. If you have a suggestion or preference by all means let me know!

Thanks for reading.

Your pal,

Ben Walker