FREE set of Calamityware Coasters with orders of $75 or more

FREE set of Calamityware Coasters with orders of $75 or more



I grew up with two older brothers and learned plenty of surprising things from their actions. For example, when I was just 6 or 7 years old, my oldest brother, Barry, was approaching his 15th birthday. Mom asked him what kind of birthday cake he would prefer. Barry astonished me by answering, “Pie.”

I was shocked on two levels.

First was the surprise that we lived in a world where one could push the dessert envelop all the way into another category. I thought, “Holy cow! Life is hiding opportunities to jump outside the lines and no one told me!”

The second surprise—there are people in the world, more mature than I, who have already thought about their dessert preferences and who are prepared to declare their preferences in public. And there was no reason to believe that preferences would stop at desserts. Perhaps, as I grew older, I was expected to have opinions about everything. I thought, “Wow. I’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Now, 60 years later, I still don’t have opinions about everything. But I have made progress. For example, I am in favor of margaritas, naps, books with pictures in them, and heated car seats.

It was my memory of my older brother’s bold declaration of support for pie that was on my mind when I started drawing what became the suite of three letterpress prints, Follow Your Passion. Here’s one of the images.


It depicts primates boldly expressing their passion for pie and taking their case to the street for the whole world to see. Another print in the suite shows cake enthusiasts and there’s a third print with a solitary broccoli supporter.

Can you explain why you think these drawings are funny? 

Probably not, but I’ll point out four ideas. 

* We often hear the advice to ‘follow your passion.’ It’s tempting to think that we’re passionate about lofty things like truth, justice, and creativity. But, if we’re honest, we all probably know more people who are passionate about pie, golf, and heated car seats. So, showing a crowd picketing for pie instead of justice is slyly candid.

 * I’m suspicious of anyone who demonstrates for or against something in the streets. It’s not my style and I have my doubts about any bozos with megaphones shouting to try to get the world to bend to their will. We live in an age when too many people have megaphones. I keep listening for a reasoned presentation but all I hear are deceptive slogans and hot air. 

* The notion that pie and cake are in opposition is ridiculous. It’s a false dichotomy. Pie and cake don’t have to exclude each other. You can have both. Maybe having both at the same meal is overdoing it, but it’s not physically impossible. Hallelujah!

* Finally, it seems absurd to me that pie would need anyone’s support. Both pie and cake are on a higher plane. They don’t need the approval of mere mortals.


Why apes? 

In this suite of drawings, the creatures expressing their enthusiasm for pie/cake/broccoli all look pretty ape-like. There’s a reason.

After a life-time of study of myself and my fellow human beings, I’ve become convinced that people are just apes with access to better wardrobes. So it seemed right to show us that way in images which focus on basic appetites.

In addition, drawing dozens of apes was great fun for the artist.


There were some early sketches where I looked at aliens picketing for pie. But that’s a different joke about what it is about planet Earth that draws in distant visitors.


Need more fun in your art collection?
You can learn more about this letterpress print project and become a sponsor on Kickstarter by following this link.

Pittsburgh, July 8, 2019

4 Responses

Linda Oistad

July 28, 2019

Unfortunately, I love pie. Fortunately, I also love broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and tomatoes. And I love gnarly, monstrous creatures, too. Calamityware brings the Blue Willow pattern and monsters together in a delightful way. I am going to have to order more!
Totally agree about too many megaphones, deceptive slogans, and hot air. Tired of being accused of apathy if I don’t join the herds. Striving for a balanced life, trying to read more and to think before speaking or writing.
Living in a hot climate, I find heated car seats make me think I have wet myself.


July 15, 2019

Heated front car seats are wonderful. I turn up the passenger side front to full bore before I pick up the pizza in winter…and put it on that seat. Comes in the house still warm (It’s a long drive) and I get delicious smells all the way back! But I like broccoli too. Put me in the pic with the one monkey. Cake preference? Cake should ONLY be eaten in winter and then it’s spice cake. (Award winning.) Pie preference? Lemon meringue in spring and summer. Pumpkin with a pecan streusel topping in fall and winter. (I’ve won several awards this particular pie.) Don, you really ought to consider drawing and selling prints of some of your imaginative, quirky, wonderful, creatures/aliens.


July 12, 2019

I, as usual, am down at one end of the bell curve, I loathe heated car seats. They always make me queasy (I have no idea why). I do like pie and cake, and 🥦! Like I said, always one end or the other of the bell curve…
Thank you, by the way, for your kind note regarding my Calamityware purchases. I love my Calamityware! The plates – particularly the Volcano and Alien Invasion – the shallow bowl, so ideal for pastas and curries, the teapot! Love it all. Can’t wait for some 14 ounce mugs to join the fray so I can Calamityware all day! Need my BIG cup of coffee to face the mornings where calamitous things happen routinely!
Thank you, Sheila


July 12, 2019

I cannot adequately express my love for my heated car seat. Sounds like I’m in good company. Pie over cake? Yesssss…

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