Earlier this year I art directed Top Chef Masters, a Top Chef spinoff for Bravo. It was intense, last minute madness and seven days a week. So, if you know me at all you'll be able to see my influence in a lot of the design this season. (black was prominent) Julie, Josh, Shane, Angela and I really raised the bar on what they were doing over there. As a matter of fact some people actually said we raised the bar, and when a producer says that to you it means they are never calling you again. I think. I never really knew that until my director friend Danny Boyle told me over dinner. "Raising the bar", he said "on a show that wants to save money means you spent too much of it". I am paraphrasing.  The art department actually saved them a ton of money. Check out these lighting fixtures we came up with

Everyone seems to love my before and after sketches. These sketches are good examples of some last minute needs that come up in production and why you need a strong art department to pull it off. I have a killer group of people I work with all the time to make sure there are never headaches for producers in the art department. We just get it done, fast. We keep it within the budget and always raise the bar. The sketches below are drawn up last minute, sometimes we have weeks to prep and design sets, but last minute is the rule most of the time. These are last minute. 2009 so far has been a strange year. We have been working a lot but the game has changed a bit. This downturn in the economy has seen network after network outsource their shows to third party producers. To save some cash they

I think this was the last episode of Mind Of Mencia before it went off the air. As usual we have a day and no money. I remember going in to Nikki Kessler's office (she held the purse strings) and begging for some cash to pull this one off. Why not, it was out last episode and if the script is asking for the front porch of an old black man down south, and it has to roll out during act 3 in front of the audience, there is only one way to go...and that is all the way. Actually now that I look at the script it tells me nothing. This lack of information from the writers room never stopped the art department before. Set decorator Bianca Ferro and I put out heads together and and came up with an idea that could come together quickly and give lighting, the director, the

I found some drawings I did probably 23 years ago when I was obsessed with teaching myself how to draw. I was really into the detail of trying to copy a photograph down to the pore, the hair and eyelash. How would I keep myself interested in a drawing that would take a few days to complete? My solution to fight attention deficit disorder was to draw babes- especially rock star babes or movie star babes! Comparing my drawing to a picture and trying to make it perfect was a way to know if I was doing it right. I spent thousands of hours as a kid going through pads, illustration board and paper my dad brought home from work drawing rock star babes. Of course as I got older, and eventually went to art school in New York, I got away from copying someone else's photograph to draw a portrait because

Click the screen grab to check out Justine's new awesome website. The wife is doing so well that maybe I can retire. What do you think, should I retire?  

What is this again? Dirty Close-Up what? Let me explain. My first encounter with the people that work behind the scenes in the entertainment business was almost twenty years ago, and to this day I still think that their stories and experiences are usually more interesting than the PR spin that any actor would reveal. On most shoots I hear the most insane stories about Hollywood in the location scout van, or at the craft service table and I always wanted to give these below the line types a place to share a few. The Dirty Close-Up interview is just that. I am starting them as written interviews and will be posting video interviews soon, both give a behind the scenes look at the personalities and quirky individuality that make up a call sheet on any film or television shoot. Oh yeah, in film slang a “dirty close-up” is a close

When the art department had to do a parody set of 'Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader' I was tempted to call my friend Barry Poznick, who created and Executive Produces the show, to get a tour of the stage and steal some ideas. Instead I chose to just watch the show and do the sketch below. Again, we (Bianca, Josh and Shane) pulled this one together in a day and had to set it up and strike it in front of the studio audience while Robert Morton looked at his watch.

See ya, Snoop and company. To say it was off the shizzle would be the understatement of the decade.

My marathon work schedule soldiers on. I haven't had a day off since I was in New York at the end of January for Lisa Loeb's wedding. It has been 7 days a week and 16 hours a day ever since. Just ask my friends and wife, they barely remember me. I am so thankful for my other family, my art department peeps. They inspire me and keep me going every day. I am humbled by their greatness.