Yerman Is Going On Tour!

A few months ago, my buds in Priory (2013 Life is Beautiful alum) asked me to paint their lead guitar; a custom Telecaster. I was over the moon excited to work on this bad boy and after some long hours, it’s finally done! Brandon Rush will be bringing this on tour with him so be on the lookout for Yerman when Priory plays a town near you!

I used mostly acrylics with this one, but also utilized some glow in the dark ink so it’ll shine bright like a diamond on stage.

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#PLASTICSMILES :: What is it?

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If you follow me on any social media network, I’m sure you’ve seen me post about #PLASTICSMILES. After a few people asking what this project is, it’s time to unveil a few images and speak about what the project is and how it came about.

A few months ago I did a talk with The Moth sponsored by The Clinton Foundation & Jed Foundation. I was flown out to New York and took part in a two day workshop series that helped individuals craft their stories. I was joined by Jay Stolar, Starshell, Karina Pasian and many others that have been affected by depression. It was an amazing time of self-discovery and healing and by the end of the program, we had all shared a journey that couldn’t be replicated. It was absolutely amazing and once the footage is sent over, I’ll be sure to share.

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The day after the Moth talk, I was walking in the frigid New York streets and found respite in a Halloween shop while waiting for an Uber. While traversing the many wares, I found a mask in the basement that had been long forgotten. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to do a photoshoot with it; it was calling my name. As you can see in the picture above, it’s an oversized head of a mustachio-ed man with blue eyes and a head full of hair; a very generic man’s mask that could easily identify as anyone. A very ambiguous representation that allows the wearer to portray emotions through arm movements and body language. I immediately fell in love with what I could do with this adornment.

A few weeks later I was talking to my cousin, David Sivesind, and we planned a trip for him to come visit and shoot my band, MOONBOOTS‘, show at The Beauty Bar. Now, David is a prolific film photographer, his work primarily focuses on portraits shot in black and white, but he’s a true master at his craft. We discussed shooting all day Saturday with no real aim in mind, just get landscapes around Vegas mostly. Within the first hour of his arrival, the wheels were already in motion and I stopped dead in my tracks as I stared at the mask and the project came to life. I told him my idea and (luckily) he got it right away.

For the next two days, we focused on shooting pictures day and night. We were up until 5am trying to portray the isolation and loneliness that occurs when one goes through depression; the crippling sense of nothingness. The film carries the energy so well by adding darker tones and adding a graininess and blur that one with severe depression experiences.

I couldn’t be happier or more excited about this project and I’m so eager to share the images below. They turned out amazing there is so much happening behind the scenes. Full details on gallery, opening reception and more will be revealed in the coming weeks. I hope you can join us as we bring you PLASTIC SMILES.

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My cousin Samantha just sent me the following message and it fully encapsulates what this project is so I’m putting it in quotes as though it’s a review because I love it so much:


I love the new project and think it’s awesome David is working with you. Depression is a weird thing. You can look fine but no one really know how you feel. We all wear masks and I think actually using one will have much impact. Good luck Cuz and I’m super proud of you.


New Mural Up In Downtown Vegas!

Here he is!

The completed mural located on Stewart and 4th in Downtown Las Vegas across from The Grand Hotel!


Quick note to let ya’ll know that there’s a new Yerman mural up in Downtown Vegas! It’s located on 4th and Stewart right across the street from The Grand Hotel and painted on old City Hall building which is now the HQ. This is the first time Yerman has been seen smiling and it’s safe to say that those shoes must be pretty comfy! The mural depicts how I felt when I started working at Zappos, it helped me overcome my bout with depression from my grandfather’s passing, it was truly a new chapter in my life and I’m more than honored to paint this on the wall to symbolize this.


This mural had a completely different process than any other big piece I’ve done. I enlisted local artist Miguel Hernandez to do the galaxy background as he’s one of my favorite local artists and just completely kicks ass with landscapes! As you can see, he completely killed it! After he finished his piece, I layed down the foundation for Yerman. Take a look at the process pictures below to see how this mural came along.

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The completed piece measures about 8 feet tall and can be found in the heart of DTLV on the road to the 95 so it’s the last thing you see before leaving Downtown. If you’d like to say hi, he’s located on 4th and Stewart. :)

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Designercon 2014!

YermanThis past weekend Pasadena was flooded with avid toy collectors as Designercon celebrated another year! I was lucky enough to exhibit for my first solo showing (last year I exhibited with The 80s Kids) and what a whirlwind weekend it was! If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s basically a tradeshow for unique, weird and random things of every variety. Most vendors bring vinyl toys, custom and pre-molded, but you can find so many different varieties of creative trinkets. Along with these oddities, you can also meet with some of the world’s biggest artists. During the first day of set up, I walked in to the bathroom with the legendary Frank Kozik which was surreal to say the least!


Las Vegas artists came to the show in a very big way! With the exception of a few (Ninjabot was tucked away in a corner unfortunately) we made up a row which we affectionally called The Vegas Strip. In attendance was Juan Muniz, Mr Biggs, Lil Art Bodega, Das Frank, Snipt!, Dan45, Dillon Boy and Happy Panda Toys (all pictured above) with Jeanette Hall, Vision and Paco Alvarez attending to complete the Vegas domination. It was a blast hanging with friends and meeting new ones from the city of sin.


During the con, Juan Muniz and I spoke on a panel at the main stage moderated by Las Vegas arts commissioner/ Arts Curator Paco Alvarez. The panel was called “Depression in the Arts: A Character Study” and it was a discussion on how our work is influenced by depression and isolation. If you’d like to read a little about what I spoke about, you can read my last entry about Yerman that I wrote for Suicide Prevention Day (click here for that.)


It felt really good to speak out about what influences my work while sharing the stage with two friends but what really inspired me the most was seeing Juan unload a weight that he’s been holding onto for a long time; he shared with the crowd exactly what influenced Felipe the Bunny and it was a bomb drop. There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd after Juan shared his story and it was an amazing experience. Once the video goes live on Designercon’s website, I will share a link on my blog. Fellow Zappos muralist, Jeanette Hall, sketched this amazing piece while watching from the audience and I absolutely adore it. She has such a way of capturing moments.

Over the weekend I was visited by a few dudes that I haven’t seen in a long time. Blake from Workaholics stopped by the booth and took home a pink Depressed Monsters shirt. JJ Villard, creator of King Star King on adultswim. also stopped by and took home a black shirt along with a comic my brother and I wrote together.  I haven’t seen Blake since Comic Con last year where we hung at the Comedy Central party with Ders and Adam. It was good seeing him again especially after last year when he hung out with Steve at our booth. JJ made this year’s Comic Con a blast after Shahab, Jacob and I hung out with him and he took us around San Diego and adultswim parties. Hopefully they like the new shirts!


Thanks for reading and more updates to come very soon! :)




National Suicide Prevention Day: The Story of Yerman


I woke up this morning in a weird mood and I couldn’t figure out why. Life is great right now, like really ridiculous great right now, but still, I could not for the life of me shake this weird feeling. Outside, the birds were chirping and the sun was shining but all I wanted was to crawl back into my bed burrito. I haven’t felt this way in a while, this sense of emptiness that causes me to shut down and feel all alone in a crowded room, but it’s something that used to feel so commonplace in my life and the rearing of its head is definitely not welcome, nor is it easy to figure out. I sat on the edge of my bed and tried to figure out where these feelings were coming from and was instantly brought back to the darkest time in my life; a time I didn’t think I would survive, let alone birth a character you’re all familiar with now, Yerman.

In early 2012 my world was destroyed. My grandfather was struck with cancer that ultimately took his life, I surrounded myself with excessive partying and friends that didn’t care about me and I ultimately stopped recognizing myself in the mirror. I had become a shell of who I once was and at one point locked myself in my house for two weeks, creating a cocoon of isolation that I could protect myself in from the outside world. During this time I experienced feelings of self-imposed isolation, anger toward the world and honestly not thinking I would make it out of this alive. At one point, after a week and a half of not leaving my house, I started hanging dryer sheets on open windows as a sort of cleansing protocol. It wasn’t until a friend came over and pointed them out that I realized just how odd it was. Not realizing how much damage I was doing to my psyche and not fully coming to terms with my grandfather’s death, I resorted to drawing characters that reflected my mood.



I started drawing self portraits (see above) of what I thought I looked like or isolated monsters with somber faces and putting them on instagram and twitter to help myself cope with the outside world before coming out of my lonely nest of a house. During this time, I started using the #depressedmonsters hashtag and talking openly about depression with others who had these feelings. For me, social media became a way for me to speak openly and honestly about a problem that isn’t always quite so easy to talk about with friends or family because most don’t understand depression or worse, they try to compare theirs to yours and that’s not fair; just because you went through a sad time doesn’t mean you understand another’s sadness. I found that I just need to talk about what I was going through free from judgement and let it all out, it helped me to cope with my reality without knowing it. Also during this time I started really coming into my own art style and experimenting with new mediums I hadn’t touched before which allowed me to really express myself in new ways. I remember one day I was aimlessly going through storage boxes and found an old painting I found at a thrift store. I took the picture out and behind the picture was gold leaf paper. I spent the day throwing paint at it and drawing a character on it. By the end of the day I realized it had extremities about myself calling myself names and the glass had broken in the franticness. That glass breaking was my breaking point, that’s when I mentally decided I need to change something because I was on a path of destruction. I still have that painting today and it still reminds me just how bad that time period was.

After the glass incident, I started leaving my house again. Nothing crazy, I’d mostly drive to the local coffee shop, Grouchy Johns, and put headphones on and pretend to myself I was assimilating even though I was basically blending into a crowd. The self portraits I was drawing started turning more gruesome and self deprecating, they were reflecting the monster I thought I was becoming. The more I tried to get back to normal, the more I realized nothing was changing and the worse I was missing my grandfather. I continued to surround myself with crowds of people and started to move to different locations, slowly I began to open up more and more. One day I woke up and sat at my drafting table and started drawing another self portrait as it had become and indicator of how I was feeling for the day and this little guy came sprawling out.


I sat back and stared at this little guy and realized he was everything I felt inside from his somber look to his fuzzy exterior, he was me. This is the day that Yerman was born and every day since has been a natural progression of feeling better and better. He truly saved me from myself.

Depression is a huge problem in this country and there’s no clear cut answer as to how to fix it. For some, it’s a mental health issue, for others it’s caused by death, life events or any number of triggers. There’s no easy way to deal with it and it’s life consuming, oftentimes isolating one from living a normal life. If you or someone you know is going through this, please speak to someone or find a healthy outlet to deal with these emotions because they’re not going to go away. I realized through all of this that my journey would be one that spans years as I didn’t deal with my grandfather’s death until a year later and I’m still having a hard time. If you need someone to talk to, Suicide Prevention Hotline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. They’re specially trained individuals who can help you come to terms with what’s making you sad. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a hotline, please DM me on twitter at @vegasryan, I’m not a professional but I know how it feels to be sad.


Written as a part of Suicide Awareness Day 2014