My DIY Heroes 1: Hush
As I have established in the second and third “Tom Boyle’s Name Dropping with Tom Boyle, by Tom Boyle” articles “DIY”, the Do It Yourself Movement puts the focus of artists working around the System to create their own success. Like the Bay Area band Spishak, whose CD “Spishak Eats It”, a self-produced album which I purchased from a homeless man to whom the band had given copies to help out. For the next few weeks, I’ll be highlighting some of my favorite DIY Heroes. This series could go on forever and include people like my father, who built his own house at the age of 60, promoters Babydoll Productions and Barb Rocks, my various self-produced musician friends and so many more. But it took long enough to get this list together. Each of these people I have at least met in person, most are close friends. What’s the name of this column?!
– Photographer, Writer, Graphic Designer, Print Shop Owner / Operator
When I was starting out with my design company, Global Graphics, Hush (as we’ll call him as he was reluctant to talk about his past projects) was my sometimes-reluctant mentor. He had a successful one-man printing company, Emerald Printing, and used it to create projects including cards featuring his then-wife Hedgie’s artwork and “Hush and Hedgie’s Geewillikers Journal”, a zine featuring his writings and Hedgie’s images.
“You do what you have to do. You do what you want to do. You do what you are driven to do. Who else is going to do it?”
Hush rejects the DIY mystique, focusing instead on its co-option by the System. “‘DIY’ is not cool or hip,” he insists. “The expression is a corporate handle to define a market segment they can pitch junk to.” At this point in history, he is right, but I prefer to focus on the original intent, like I see in Hush, who still pours himself into projects like Planet Chicken, which used to feature pictures of chickens, sell mugs and various bric-a-brac with the Planet Chicken logo (above right) and other images, and promote Hush’s design services. Now it features “Cool fun with weather satellite data” and an amusing flash cartoon of a careening chicken in a flying saucer over a yodeling soundtrack… “Odelay hee who?” More recent projects include Another Cup Of Tea, which features Hush’s photography and writing, and a site to accent his Wall Fish collection, wallfish.net.
(“How do you catch a wall fish?” Hush rhetorically asks. “With a net, dingus!”)
“‘DIY’?? I don’t get it,” Hush questions the term’s use entirely. “I know a guy who worked his farm with a tractor that was literally held together with bailing wire, is that ‘DIY’? I know another guy who builds museum grade guitars — incredible works of art — is that ‘DIY’? … I guess every serf of the 9th Century was a DIY-er — they made their own hovel, made their own shoes…” Hush adds with his usual impish wit, “Hey let’s hear it for all of those DIY-ers in the Amazon Rainforest and Australian Outback!” Though he’s being a bit flippant, it’s ironic that he packed-in Emerald Printing and packed everything into an old school bus that he converted to an RV to live in while he built a house off the grid.
Hush is as recalcitrant to be on this list as he was as my mentor. While he attempts to negate the term and concept of DIY, he ends up summarizing the ideal perfectly. “You do what you have to do. You do what you want to do. You do what you are driven to do. Who else is going to do it?”
“DIY” – “Tom Boyle’s Name Dropping with Tom Boyle, by Tom Boyle” articles “DIY“, in which I explain “Do It Yourself”, and “Do It Yourself Help” in which I expound on the theme.
Homeless man – The night I found the homeless guy (I think his name was Richard) with Spishak’s CD, I was on a break from doing Karaoke. He guessed correctly (perhaps having heard my “performance”) that I liked punk rock – and now Spishak is one of my favorite punk bands. I then invited “Richard” in for a drink. We ordered one drink and talked about the Karaoke Kings and Queens. When I went back to order another round, I was told we would have to go. Having been asked to leave with my homeless homies before, we just politely left. But when I went back later, I was told I wasn’t welcome back. That was new.
My father – I’m currently working on a book chronicling his heroic efforts to change state law to keep preditory teachers out of the classroom. He ended up being in Chuck Shepherd’s “The News of the Weird” for his efforts.
Musician friends – Come back for my series “My Rock’n’Roll Lifestyle” featuring photos and reviews of my friends’ bands.
Global Graphics – My livelihood for the better part of the ’90’s. Sold the domain name and bought “The Black Lemon”, a 1989 Honda Prelude that subsequently had to be abandoned when I left Lake Tahoe.
Emerald Printing – There are a surprising number of print shops with this name. While I’m sure they’re good, but for better or worse, there’s only one Hush!
Planet Chicken – Got satellite weather updates?
Another Cup of Tea – The photos were separated into Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, and Our World categories. Hush is a very engaging writer as well.
wallfish.net – Hush has thousands of Wall Fish. He also had hundreds of coconut monkeys, “Ya get ’em for 50 cents and you leave them out in the yard to rot.” Perhaps more impressive is his collection of rare vinyl records. “I got rid of a couple thousand.” Now he only has a paltry 12,000 or so.
Come back for the continuing series for features on Writer, Musician, Record Producer Tavius Dyer, Artist Carina Lomeli, Cartoonist / Rapper Keith Knight, Zine Publishers Kill Zinesters, Comic Book Publishers Hidden Agenda Press and more!
copyright © Tom Boyle