Piper is a Cover Girl!

If you’re local to the San Diego area, you may have seen this week’s reader with a rather odd cover photo. A beautiful and majestic fuzzy-butted silkie hen that my regular readers have come to love and admire. Alongside some random mustachioed schlubb that as no business being on the front of anything.

Photo by Matthew Suárez

as to the former, you are quite welcome. For the latter, my humble apologies, it will all be over in a week’s time so hang in there. If you plan on using it as a liner to your birdcage, or are getting creative with a Sharpie, I’d love to see photos! If you are not one of my local readers, you can see the story on The San Diego Reader’s website.I won’t attempt to re-writing the article here as it is already done by a far better writer than I, but it talks about the neighborhood community garden that I helped set up and all the amazing work they’re doing for the community. Something I’m so proud to have been a part of.

Although I am historically hell-bent on being a giant goofball, there are a few things that I’m serious about. Quality of food is one of them. In this article I talk a lot about this “fast food” society we’re living in and how destructive food deserts are to communities and the health of its populace.

This attention from The San Diego Reader is such a welcome shot in the arm for communities like mine that are surrounded by so many awful food choices. I truly hope that this resonates with everyone so that together we can fight these patterns and continue to find ways to keep our family happy and healthy no matter your income. That’s been my driving force in the last five years of writing Mind Your Dirt. To show that you don’t need to spend money to bring back a natural balance to your surroundings and the food on your table. Mostly because I’m broke as hell and necessity is the mother of invention.

Our community garden not only provides fresh and healthy free produce, it also teaches anyone who visits how to bring these techniques into your home gardens. Between Mind Your Dirt and the Ocean View Growing Grounds (as well as all community gardens), we will always be here to help you keep your family healthy and loaded with nutrients.

So a huge big Thank You to The San Diego Reader, Barbarella Fokos (writer), and Matthew Suárez (photographer) for taking the time to help this noble cause! To everyone else, get busy with that Sharpie! 

I’ll See You on the Dark Side of The Moon Pt I: 2017 Total Solar Eclipse in Alta, Wyoming

Part One: The Eclipse

As I stood in the lovely pastoral fields with their golden amber crops gracefully blowing in the wind I could feel a cooler breeze rolling down the foothills of the Grand Tetons. About waist high, this coolness began to increase out of the West. My senses began to come into a sharper focus than I’ve ever experienced before. Something inside the core of me was alerting me to something amiss in the once warm summer afternoon.

The birds and critters had similar ill vibes as they too began to look or fly around wildly trying to figure out what was wrong with their internal clocks. While the moon began its cosmic cock-blockage, all well-filtered eyes were turned skyward. All except for our president. His eyes gazed heavenward sans eye protection.

Steampunk nerd and friends.
The perfect private viewing situation!
Justin transfixed

Continue reading “I’ll See You on the Dark Side of The Moon Pt I: 2017 Total Solar Eclipse in Alta, Wyoming”

My Secret Life as a Political Cartoonist Part I

Note: Some of these images are not appropriate for younger viewers or Republicans. Viewer discretion is advised.


There are many things you can say about the Bush Jr. years in this country. Especially in light of the current political state of affairs. Despite my personal political beliefs, one thing I can say is that George W. Bush is clearly two things.

my-life-as-a-political-cartooonist_george-bush-self-portraitFirstly, he’s one hell of a painter. I never thought I’d ever have anything nice to say about that man, but we are in the world of Trump now, so perhaps it’s time for healing. But damn, that mans paintings, particularly his self-portraits, actually impress the shit out of me.

The second thing about Bush, is he always gave me fuel for some wicked fun political cartoons! In fact, before his second term, every time I tried to draw John Kerry it always ended up looking like Herman Munster. The selfish and childish part of me was grateful when Bush got a second term because I had that shit-weasel down pat when it came to cartooning.

In light of the nature of this particular post, and it’s uncharacteristic deviation from all things urban farming, you will see some political cartoons that you may not agree with or you may find offensive. It is my recommendation that you get over this quickly because it’s coming in full force and there’s little you can do about it.

Apart from me writing this to allow you a deeper glimpse into all that is me, I also would enjoy having these images back on The Interwebs for posterity purposes. My old website as me as an artist is no longer up and all my paintings, drawings a photographs are now lost in The Matrix. So, let’s begin our journey of sharing by slapping these bad boys back online.


I began my cartooning career back in 2001. I was working at The Photo Factory in downtown San Diego and was having a bit of a existential crisis. You see, I went to college so I could be an artist. I ended up moving towards a photography degree as it seemed more economically viable than sculpture, painting or drawing. Although I love them all equally.

Around 2001 I was growing very weary of printing other peoples shitty photographs of trite and poorly exposed “tasteful” nudes. I reached out to the editor of The Espresso after seeing a tiny ad in the paper looking for an illustrator. We met in a coffee shop (of all places) and I brought some drawings of mine for him to look at.

I then told him of my crisis and said that I NEED to create again and he would be saving lives by allowing me an outlet to do so because I was about to lose my mind. Either he was impressed by my portfolio, or interested in preserving lives. Either way, he hit me with a project right away. A giant 11″ x 17″ full front page illustration for a feature article about Americas dependence on foreign oil and how it was indirectly funding terrorism. I mean this was above and below the fold here people. I’m talking bigly here. So here was my very first published illo.

my-life-as-a-political-cartooonist_the-gas-junkyIt took way longer than I had hoped and I was still coming into my own style of drawing under pressure. The old mayor of San Diego, Maureen F. O’Connor I believe, seemed to dig it though and requested a signed copy.  I think it was her and not the republican mayor after her. Regardless, it seemed I was off on the right path and all my homicidal existential angst began to melt away.

This started a nice five year side-career working with a few different publications. The Espresso based in Southern California, The Fahrenheit, a now defunct independent music and culture newspaper out of San Diego and The Beast out of Buffalo New York. Between my full time day job and three publications I was a happy busy lad.

Typically, I’d get a call in the early evening for an assignment and would have only several hours to have a completed giant drawing inked and ready for print. All those all-nighters were fuel for my aching soul and I loved every stressful moment of it!

Especially the artistic and uncensored freedom that illustrating The Beast gave me. Just gander at this gem from an article titled Bush Mayhem: Policies of a Moron

This is also the place where you’ll want the kids to be out of the room. Last warning, no more censorship from here on out. It should also be noted that not all of these reflect my political opinions. Although many do. If one really upsets you then it wasn’t my idea, I was only following orders.

Continue reading “My Secret Life as a Political Cartoonist Part I”