#29 Success & Nothing Less

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Download to print special size for Balboa students’ notebooks: 8.5 x 11 inches

AmperArt #29, Success & Nothing Less, was inspired by Balboa Elementary School, for it is their motto, and it’s where I learned my abc’s, in Glendale, California. (It’s also where I learned the difference betweens it’s and its.)

The typestyle is Aachen, same as used on their school signage. The ampersand is derived from the Z in the team’s name, Blazers. The colors used in this edition are, of course, the school colors.
The phrase was made famous by Snoop Dogg on the show Entourage where he said, “Success and nothing less, man!”

One of my favorite quotes about success is by Jack Canfield: “If you love your work, if you enjoy it, you’re already a success.” I guess I’m a success then, for I love creating AmperArt and all my other graphic design.

That and many other quotes on success can be found here. And there’s a Facebook page called SuccessAndNothingLess.

The Leona L. DeSimone Award

I have always been grateful that I went to three tremendous public schools, all in the Glendale, California Unified School District: Balboa Elementary, Toll Jr. High and Herbert Hoover High School. I even went to Glendale Junior College but didn’t learn much there as I was already more focused on running a graphics business.

It was at Balboa School, during 4th Grade, that I lost my father to emphysema. I was the oldest of four, with a sister and two brothers. Our mother struggled, I mean really struggled, to clothe and feed us, holding down a job at a lunch counter in a vitamin store. Somehow she always had time for us kids and made sure we were to school on time, and helped us with our homework. All the while putting up with tantrums from me, the spoiled firstborn.

I’ll never forget seeing Mom cry when money was short, counting pennies to feed us, going without dinner herself. Or walking five miles to work in the blazing heat when the buses went on strike.

We didn’t have much money but I don’t think there was a family in Glendale any richer than ours with love.

Several years ago my sister Roslyn set up an annual scholarship at Balboa Elementary, in our mother’s name, for a deserving student (especially if their family was in similar circumstances that ours was in), and each year one of us siblings presents the award.

I was honored to present the scholarship at the end of the 2012 school year to a special student who was also raised by a single mother, and who came to school early and stayed late to work on the computers, since the family could not afford their own.

Upon arriving at the school for the presentation, I discovered the school motto is “Success & Nothing Less” so of course that would be an upcoming AmperArt piece.

This year’s Leona L. DeSimone Scholarship recipient is a shining example of one who aspires to achieve the very meaning of her school’s motto, “Success & Nothing Less.”

Production notes:
Original size: 20 x 30 inches
Program: Illustrator
Font: Aachen
Ampersand: hand-drawn, based on school team lettering

If you’re an ampersand fan subscribe to AmperArt here to receive future AmperArt editions. They’re always fun & fabulous & free. Subscribers also receive special bonuses.



#68 Knife Fork & Spoon

68 Knife Fork & Spoon

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This edition should be titled “Larry & Susie” because what these people stand for is far more significant and inspiring than a little piece of artwork with an ampersand in it. But since Larry’s treasure to me inspired this work, I did make it as special as I could (and learned a couple new Photoshop effects in the process).

 Before I proceed with their stories, here’s an invitation to attend Susie’s “Use Me & Abuse Me” party between Wednesday, October 24, 2014 and until all the guests have left or are passed out, which is several days later, where she invites you to shamelessly plug your own website or blog. Go there right now and join in the fun, but don’t forget to come back here. If you miss this party, subscribe to her blog and you’ll get an invitation to the next one.

Mention your own blog or website at Susie’s
“Use Me & Abuse Me” party:

Like I said, this edition is about  two very special people, both of whom I admire greatly for their courage, faith, and inspiration; both of whom I met online somehow; and both of whom I’ve never met in person…but I feel like they’re my next door neighbors.


I’ll start with Larry, because he’s the inspiration for this AmperArt piece. A few years ago my brother Andy gave me very designer-style Mickey Mouse coffee mug, which I love and use every single day (unless I need just a tiny jolt, then I grab my smaller coffee mug from The Original Pantry, oldest restaurant in Los Angeles–just so you know, I purchased the mug; had to, as I examined a case of 60 to find the perfect printing). I thought it would be cool to have a Mickey Mouse coffee spoon, not thinking I’d actually find one. Well, I did, on ebay, from this guy named Larry who I knew was going to send me a spectactular piece after a couple conversations with him. He really wanted me to be happy! And when it arrived–happy I was! For a moment my kitchen was the happiest place on earth! Not only is it the classic “old” Mickey, the spoon is a real teaspoon size, perfect for a cup o’ joe, it’s in excellent conditon, and states the copyright is owned by that revered name of old, “Walt Disney Productions.”

So Larry really made me very, very happy with that spectacular, collectible masterpiece that I stir my coffee with every single day, no matter which mug I use.


Larry also subscribed to AmperArt, and always leaves a nice comment.

We began communicating, and what an inspiration this man is.

What a battle Larry has gone through, having contracted an entire body worth’s of cancer from serving our country for over 20 years–in the proximity of Agent Orange. He’s told me horror stories that are out of a sci-fi movie, but unfortunately he really lived them. He’s been in and out of the hospital dozens of  times for cancer treatment, each time pulling something else out or treating this or radiating that. I was shocked to find out that this poor guy was only the same age as me, when the description of his health has him sounding 80 years old.

But don’t let him hear you or me call him “poor guy,” because just like Susie, Larry lives life to the fullest. He’s a fighter, a believer, and says he wouldn’t trade his life in for anything. He says he’s been in some awesome places, thanks to the service, that people only dream about. And if you enjoy my AmperArt, you can thank Larry: he says each one brings him so much joy, there’s no way I can stop doing them. That sure makes me feel good, too.

Larry is in and out of the hospital almost constantly. And although today he said things are looking positive and he’s feeling better (he says he hopes it’s not a dream), I urge you to please pray for this gentleman. He has been an inspiration to me, and I’m sure to everyone who knows him. I’m sure he’d love to hear from you: Ljvsfc@aol.com



Susie Lindau is a self-professed wild child, and she has her readers in stitches with each and every story on her highly entertaining blog.

Then last year she endured a double mastectomy, and without missing a beat she laughed and joked throughout the entire ordeal, educating, enlightening and  inspiring others with unbelievable spirit. That overwith, Susie continues to write about all her incredible adventures that are daring, amazing, and even silly. But always fun. And wild. There’s even a photo of her double implants on her website. Check that out.

If you haven’t already, join the party at susielindau.com. Oh, and about the midnight curfew…not so, Susie’s guests party into the wee hours and even for days afterwards.

These are two very special people, and I could write a lot more about each of them. But I have a party to crash…


Production notes:
Original size: 10×15 inches
Program: Photoshop
Font: Goudy Oldstyle bold
Lace pattern: obsidiandawn.com (many exquisite Photoshop patterns and excellent instructions on how to install them)
Antique silver cutlery: 123rf.com / photo by martinak
Special thanks to Mike McHugh at creativesweettv.com for tutorial on bending spoons with the Photoshop Puppet Warp tool.
No dinnerware was harmed in the making of this art.


#71 Ring & Ring


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Amper Fans meet Apple Fans

Today’s the day everyone’s been waiting for (unless you’re an Android or Windows fan—ha ha Windows fan sounds kinda funny, doesn’t it)…



No, that’s not an iPhone. It’s my cracked, scuffed, worn, tortured, broken Blackberry Curve 6310 that I’ve had for 8 or 9 years.  Think I’m ready for a new phone?

Believe it or not, it still works. (It has to, it’s the only phone I’ve got.) I’ll tell you more about this Badassberry—the phone that won’t quit—in my “chaz sez” column below. It’s been a workhorse, but I am so ready for a brand new iPhone—and finally the iPhone 6 has the one feature I’ve been holding out for, a larger screen. (I’ve also been crossing my fingers it will come in grey or black, and sure enough it does.)

Remember before answering machines (remember answering machines, which were before voicemail?) the phone used to ring & ring & ring & ring & ring, sometimes 10 or 20 times? Really annoying if you had an idea who was calling and you didn’t want to speak to them.

Well, the iPhone 6 has been announced, but we’ll have to wait & wait & wait & wait & wait until it’s acutally available. I’ve waited 9 years for a new phone so I guess I can wait a few months longer.

phone colors adIf you’re wondering what all the colors are in this AmperArt piece, “Ring & Ring,” those are the colors telephones came in while I was a kid in the 1950s and 60s. Up until then they came in any color, as Mr. Ford would say of the Model T, as long as it was black. The new, modern colors were exciting, instantly modernizing and adding a touch of glamour to any living room, bedroom or kitchen. This ad announces all the new phone colors.


princess-phone-pink-rotarySMShortly after the new colors, along came the Princess phone (that was in my mom’s or sister’s bedroom, of course, although I don’t recall if it was pink or turquoise).




black pushbutton phone

But the most revolutionary concept, that which changed the world of telephony, was the push-button phone. That allowed all sorts of wonderful new applications, including automated customer service department selections that usually disconnected the call. (I always just press 0 for a live operator, although that usually disconnects the call as well or recycles back to the main menu). Then cordless phones were the next big thing.

single-brickAfter that, of course, cellular phones were all the rage, and anyone who owned one was an instant celebrity. For decades they were first novelties, then accessories, and today they have replaced the home phone for several households. For many solo entrepreneurs such as myself, the cell phone is our main business phone, along with Skype.

I know, I know…this AmperArt release coincides with the iPhone 6 release and it was planned that way, so why haven’t I even mentioned the Shiny New Toy? Because you’ll be hearing enough about it on the on the news, on the Internet, at Starbucks, and from your geek colleagues. You might even be at an Apple store placing your order right now.

Ah, the simpler days when all the instructions for using your new phone were printed on a single sheet of paper…

dial telephone instructions


listen up!Why do I still have a Blackberry Curve where I can’t read half the screen; the earpiece doesn’t work so I have to use it only on speaker; the trackball fell out once and until I found it weeks later (right under my chair) I had to do everything with the keypad, which meant no scrolling (now it’s taped in place); and I have to pull the battery out to charge it because the usb jack is all screwed up? Oh yeah, and it’s held together with duct tape?

Because it still works—and I’ve been waiting for an iPhone that has all the features I want, including a nice big screen. Oh yeah, and the price. Other bills came first. The new iPhone 6 Plus is exactly what I want, and the old Beastberry probably won’t hold out much longer.

Which means I’m going to get the iPhone 6 Plus for sure (and all its 128g), so I better get back to work right now to afford it.

Original size: 20×30 inches
Program: Illustrator
Font: What font? This is hand-lettered, just like ads were created back in the 1960’s (unless you could find a decent script in Fototype).
Colors: Sampled from period telephone ads and adjusted according to memory
Ad: classicrotaryphones.com
Princess phone: playingintheworldgame.files.wordpress.com
Black pushbutton phone: unmeshpatil.blogspot.com/
Brick: bodyshapestyle.com
Instructions: teachingliteracy.tumblr.com


#64 Ketchup & Mustard

64 Ketchup & Mustard

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Do you say Ketchup & Mustard or Mustard & Ketchup?

Either way, it’s what most people squirt on their Hamburgers & Hot Dogs (yes, another AmperArt title—or is it Hot Dogs & Hamburgers?) during Labor Day weekend, which to many sadly signals the end of summer. (Actually, summer ends on September 21, so we still have a few weeks of “official summer sun” left.)

I wanted to use the more popular phrase, so I Googled both. K&M brought up more than M&K, but to substantiate the results I tried a few other searches and came up with…

1. A marketing company

There’s a marketing company called Ketchup+Mustard” but not one called the opposite. By the way, the plus sign is actually an uber-abbreviated ampersand—see the demonstration here. The company can be found at ketchup-and-mustard.com.

2. A cafe

Another discovery where “mustard” gets second billing adds a little spice (er, condiment) to this story is where the first word isn’t “ketchup” but rather “catsup.” It’s Corey’s Catsup & Mustard Burger Bar, Manchester, Connecticut (website). What’s that spelling all about? My friend and fellow artist Marty Katon says it’s “catsup” in Michigan, too. (For incredible wildlife and still life oil paintings—including ripe tomatoes—and a wonderful story about the artist, visit katonart.com).

marty katon stilllife

Still life by Marty Katon, www.katonart.com.

I recall seeing “catsup” here and there as we grew up in Southern California, but still pronounced it “ketchup.” According to Wikipedia, “catsup” is a failed attempt to Anglicize “ketchup,” but remains the prominent term in some southern US states. It has also been spelled “catchup.” You can see the spelling “catsup” on an old Heinz bottle here; look at the upper right image.

There’s a fun article about ketchup vs. catsup, along with a mid-century ad featuring Hunt’s Catsup, on this blogfoodiggity.com Then search “ketchup” on the site and you’ll find several other fun articles. Or just look through the whole website and have a good chuckle.

3. A bottle of both

ketch-must-mixThe hands-down decision for naming this piece of art Ketchup & Mustard, not Mustard & Ketchup, is attributed to a product that combines both in one bottle. It’s called  Ketchup & Mustard, invented by a college student. Read about Raymond Joyner’s product here.

Then I found another invention that mixes ketchup & mustard together, made by Kramerica Industries. Wait a minute—that’s Kramer of Seinfeld! It’s a just-for-fun poster which you can see at seinfood.com.

It’s settled: “Ketchup & Mustard” is more common, so that’s what I’ve titled this piece.

Of course, if you only like one or the other—or if you prefer Jack’s Secret Sauce on your hamburger—this research is totally irrelevant.

What does 57 stand for?

heinz-ketchup-old-bottleThe iconic “57 Varieties” slogan (it’s in the little pickle on the label) was born in 1896 after Henry Heinz saw a billboard in New York advertising “21 Styles of Shoes.” He was inspired by the use of numbers and even though there were more than 60 varieties at the time, he chose the number 57.

For more history about Heinz, including when ketchup was called catsup—look at the bottle in the upper right—here’s an interesting timeline.

Mustard, mustard & more mustard

So far, we’ve talked only about ketchup. There are of course several variations of ketchup flavors (and colors, including green, pink & teal to appeal to the kids–all discontinued in 2006), but the variety of ketchup doesn’t begin to compare to all the different types & flavors & consistencies (& prices) of  mustard

There is no other place to discover how many mustard varieties exist than at the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin. Begin by visiting this list of 5000 mustards on the website. Ironically, the only brand I didn’t see was that staple of the hot dog, French’s classic yellow. Several French mustards, but no French’s.

Why did founder Barry Levenson open a mustard museum? As he explains, you can blame it all on the Boston Red Sox. In the wee hours of October 28, 1986, after his favorite baseball team had just lost the World Series, Barry was wandering an all-night supermarket looking for the meaning of life. As he passed the mustards, he heard a voice: If you collect us, they will come. He did and they have.

This site and museum is for the true mustard connoisseur (I’m just an amateur but I really do love my stone-ground mustards and fresh ground pepper). The link above takes you just to the huge mustard list; this takes you to the home page: mustardmuseum.com

The museum even sponsors a National Mustard Day on the first Saturday in August. It has raised thousands of dollars for local charity. There’s a mustard newsletter you can subscribe to, also.

I want to visit the National Mustard Museum to see all the mustards and mustard jars…and to hear Barry play the accordion!

In case you’re wondering, as I was, whether there’s a ketchup museum, there is, sort of: heinzhistorycenter.org

hotdogflashdriveIs this cute or what? It’s a thumb drive, and you might be able to find one online.

listen up!

To me, ketchup should be in a glass bottle that requires a bout of pounding and patience. That’s part of the ritual.

Same goes for mustard: needs to be a glass jar, if for nostalgia alone. Besides, I think the mustard was thicker. I miss that squatty French’s mustard jar with the acorn shape. If you have one, hold onto it. They don’t exist at all on the Web, except for one I found that was empty: emptyfrenchmustjar

Standing the new plastic bottles upside down with the labels right side up just looks odd. But I have to admit it’s convenient when I’m in a hurry. I’m sure my sister loves the easy squirt bottles—she likes ketchup on everything, including a fine steak! Just today she taught me if you tap on the little pickle on the label the ketchup flows right out. That’s good to know, but where to you find a tall, glass ketchup bottle today, Sis?

Tip: I’m not a ketchup hound—not the way I like mustard and pepper—but I do appreciate a quality ketchup. Recently I tried “Simply Heinz” premium ketchup, which is just that—simple ingredients with no preservatives. It does taste better.

Original size: 20×30 inches
Program: Illustrator
Font: Gill Sans
Ampersand: Copperplate Gothic, modified to resemble the typography on Heinz labels
Colors: Red & yellow sampled from actual ketchup & mustard specimens; green border sampled from a Heinz label border
Still life: Marty Katon, www.katonart.com
Ketchup & mustard in one bottle: lazyray.moonfruit.com
Ketchup bottle: Heinz.com
Thumb drive: hotdogprofits.com
Empty mustard bottle: unknown


#66 Plain & Simple

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Everything about this release is plain & simple. Just like it says.

Not even the usual long-winded article. A thoughtful gesture for those of you who skip reading the story but feel guilty afterwards.

There’s no “chaz sez” column, either.  And you know how much I love standing on my soapbox. (I would expound on the virtues of professional, world-class design—in plain & simple terms, of course.)