Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Reconnaissance Party New Print Release

Built by Cadillac, the M5A1 Stuart light tank was neither heavily armed or armored. The the M5A1 Stuart was known for it's exceptional speed and maneuverability. These qualities made the M5A1 Stuart very well suited for armored reconnaissance missions. Our print illustrates the M5A1 in the markings of the 2nd Armored, 82nd Recon. Having served in Africa, Sicily and Europe the 2nd Armored saw extensive action throughout World War II. It is no wonder the unit was known as "Hell on Wheels".
This print and many other art works are available through our website: If you have any questions or want more information regarding customizing this print please contact us at:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

10 Cent Sodas and Moon Pies

After High School graduation I went to college. It would have been a good opportunity for me to become educated towards a lifelong career; the only problem is I had no idea what I wanted to do. Despite this, I enrolled in Purdue University with an aeronautical engineering major.

Purdue is a huge place. At the time I attended there were 36,000 students on campus and it wasn’t long before I was making friends. I met Ryan my freshman year. He initially was in a class with one of my roommates and lived in the same apartment building that we did. Ryan used to stop by once in a while and we would listen to records and talk about hot rods.

Ryan was a business major but he did not present what I would call the standard image of a businessman. He was a big guy standing about 6’3” and weighed maybe 200 lbs. He wore his hair long and curled like the heavy metal rockers popular in the eighties and always wore prescription glasses that had dark tinted lenses.

Ryan’s favorite band was Van Halen and his real aspiration in life was to become a heavy metal drummer. He had a 23 piece drum kit at his home in Indianapolis and he could play it well. The business major was his backup plan in case the drumming didn’t pan out.

Ryan knew cars inside and out. On campus he drove an old Monte Carlo but at his home in Indianapolis he had a 1976 Camaro which he had built from the ground up. The engine made over 600 HP.

He used to tell me, “Mark, allot of guys can build an engine but not everyone can build one that will last. Allot of engines you see will eventually be leaking oil and get all grimy. Not my engine. You can eat off it – no lie. My engine is built to run forever and you can drive it on the road.”

I went home with Ryan one weekend. I saw that engine and took a ride in that Camaro. He was not lying. It was a rocket on wheels and it was immaculate.

Sophomore year I moved to an apartment closer to the heart of campus. It was a nicer building which provided each tenant their own bedroom. We were also able to get cable TV. Ryan started coming by almost every day in between his classes. He would settle on the couch for an hour or two and watch a new show called MTV. Sometimes Ryan and I would go pick up a six pack of beer and hang out down by an old railroad bridge spanning the Wabash River.

As a college student money was always tight so we learned to appreciate the small things. One evening Ryan popped in and asked if I would like to take a ride over to the Saveway market. They had cans of soda on sale for 10 cents. That sounded good to me so off we went.

We arrived at the store and we walked in looking like a couple of thugs. Ryan was very intimidating with his physique, long hair and dark glasses. We walked around through the store a bit and stopped at the magazine rack. We spent about a half hour there looking at hot rod magazines and talking cars. Eventually we got our sodas for 10 cents and we each got a Moon Pie to go with them. We paid for our snacks and went out to the car.

We sat in the parking lot for a bit eating our Moon Pies, drinking 10 cent sodas and talking. As we sat I noticed a police car go by. A minute later there was another unit driving through the lot. I mentioned to Ryan there sure were allot of police out that night.

When we finished eating Ryan started the car and we began to leave the parking lot. We had gone about 20 feet when a car drove right in front of Ryan and cut him off. It was close enough he had to jam on the brakes to avoid hitting the car. The next thing we knew we were surrounded by several squad cars and a few unmarked units including the one that had cut us off. The police had exited their vehicles with guns drawn and pointed in our direction! We heard a voice on the loud speaker instruct us to exit the vehicle slowly and to keep our hands where they could see them! When you are staring down the barrel of a dozen loaded pistols you tend to do as instructed - we slowly got out. In the next instant we were apprehended, handcuffed and searched.

I heard Ryan say, “Officers, there is a firearm in the glove box in the car. I do have a permit to carry it.”

This was news to me! Now I’m starting to think how well do I know Ryan? What the hell is going on here? One of the officers recovered the gun and they did a check on our identification.

We asked why were we stopped but nobody would give us an answer. We were interrogated. Who are you? – Students. Where are you from? – We live on campus. What are you doing here? – Buying cheap sodas. It went on like this for about 15 minutes.

They checked Ryan’s gun permit and asked him why he was carrying a firearm. His response was, “Not to be disrespectful sir but that is my own business and I am not required to tell you that information.”

Again we asked why we had been stopped and finally we were told we fit the description of some guys that robbed the store on the other side of town a couple of nights previous. The manager on duty had got nervous with us hanging around in the place and called the police.

Well, we were obviously not the guys that robbed the store across town so we were let go. I asked Ryan why he carried a gun and he said he needed the protection and told me a story about an ex-girlfriend with some questionable associates. I got the impression it must have been quite serious as the State of Indiana did not casually hand out licenses to carry a gun.

The next year I took some time off of college. I never saw Ryan again. I still keep my eyes and ears open to see if he will turn up playing in a heavy metal band one day but I think more than likely he has put his major to good use.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Defender of the Reich

During WWII the Allied forces mounted a strategic bombing campaign to cripple Germany and her ability to make war. By 1944 the Allied bombing campaig was relentless. Despite ever worsening odds, brave men of the Luftwaffe took to the skies in defense of their homeland. This new print release depicts an Fw 190A-8 in the markings of "Black 8" of JG 3 flown by Willi Maximowitz.

This print and many other art works are available through our website: If you have any questions or want more information regarding customizing this print please contact us at:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Los Angeles Class

After 30 years of service, the Los Angeles Class fast attack submarine is still a mainstay of America's fast attack submarine fleet. My depiction is one of the earlier boats with the diving planes on the sail. Later improved boats in the class had the forward diving planes on the hull. The scene shows the sub passing over the drop-off of the continental shelf and headed for deep water. Our option to customize this print for any Los Angeles Class boat in the fleet will make this print a unique depiction of your favorite boat.

This print and many other art works are available through our website: If you have any questions or want more information regarding customizing this print please contact us at:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Remember The Wahoo

When the United States initially entered World War II, it was far from a forgone conclusion it would win the war. The early years were a time of learning and innovation for the US. America had to learn how to best take the fight to the Japanese.

After the devastating raid on Pearl Harbor, most of the strength of the Pacific Fleet had been decimated however, the submarine force survived unscathed. US submarines were soon out patrolling hostile waters in search of Japanese shipping. Early results were lack luster however captains learned to be more aggressive in their tactics and things soon began to change.

This new submarine warfare was largely led by the Wahoo’s second captain, Dudley “Mush” Morton. Under Morton’s leadership, the Wahoo soon became the leading submarine in terms of shipping tonnage sunk. Americans followed news of the submarine with great interest and the exploits of the Wahoo became legendary. The legend was forever cemented in US lore when, on her seventh patrol, the Wahoo failed to return home.

The loss of the Wahoo remained a mystery until 2006 when she was finally located in La Perouse Strait, on the ocean bottom, laying in about 213 feet of water. Japanese records indicated a submarine was attacked in the area with bombs from aircraft as well as depth charges from destroyers. Divers examining the wreck were able to determine it was most likely a bomb from one of the airplanes that tore a hole into the Wahoo and sunk her.

Eighty men including “Mush” Morton lay at the bottom of the ocean, forever entombed in the ship they made so legendary. They made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us who enjoy freedom in this world. The Wahoo and her crew remain on “Eternal Patrol” and this painting is my small tribute.

This print and many other art works are available through our website: If you have any questions please contact us at:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Unarmed and Unafraid" Print Release

Originally designated A3J then renamed A-5, the Vigilante started out as a mach 2, nuclear capable bomber for the US Navy. When ICBM submarines took over the nuclear role the Vigilante became an airplane without a mission. It was soon realized however that it was the perfect platform for a dedicated reconnaissance aircraft and the RA-5C was born.

Used extensively in Vietnam, the Vigilante performed vital reconnaissance missions. These missions usually consisted of a high speed flight over the target area prior to attack and another run after attack. The initial run was usually not too eventful however the second run after the attack was another story. The enemy was usually expecting the second pass and was ready with antiaicraft fire and surface to air missiles.

The Vigilante was usually accompanied by an F-4 Phantom II flying cover however the Vigi would routinely outrun her escort as she flew with a "clean" cofiguration and the Phantom was usually carrying drag indusing underwing stores. Additionally, the Vigilante carried more fuel so she could maintain mach 2 speeds for a lengthier period of time.

My depiction of the RA-5C Vigilante features the airplane making a high speed recon pass. The airplane wears the markings of RVAH-11 as they appeared during the unit's Southeast Asia cruise aboard the USS Constellation in 1971.

This print and many other art works are available through our website: If you have any questions please contact us at:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

21st Street Tower and My Dad

Back in his younger days, before I was born, my father had aspirations of being a railroader. He started his short lived (by choice) railroad career in 1960 with the Pennsylvania Railroad. He worked as a tower man but that job lasted only a few months when he was let go in a round of lay-offs being the low man on the totem pole.

In 1961 my dad went to work for a small railroad on the southwest side of Chicago known as the “Chicago and Western Indiana” or “C&WI” for short . The railroad was the owner of Dearborn Station so much of the railroad traffic arriving in Chicago from the east, south and west utilized or intersected the C&WI tracks.

These intersections, known as “interlockings” or “junctions”, were controlled by one or more men stationed in a tower which overlooked the junction. They controlled the flow of traffic through the junctions by operating mechanical levers or electric switches in the tower which lined up the tracks in order to route a train through the area. It was a very important and high stress job as any mistakes could cause collision between two trains resulting in fatalities. Mistakes could also cause major back ups and congestion which meant big delays and heavy expense if a train was routed incorrectly. In short, there was no slack or any tolerance for mistakes in such a job.

There were 13 towers on the C&WI and a tower man had to know them all. Some of the junctions had relatively few lines which crossed so they were easier to operate. There were however two towers which were extremely complex to operate. The first is the famous “State Line” tower which was North America’s largest interlocking controlled by strong-arm mechanical levers. Traffic through this junction was very heavy and this job was a real challenge however there were two men who worked this tower so you had someone to cover your back and equally shoulder the load.

The lesser known tower but, among railroad men, no less legendary was the 21st Street Interlocking. This tower controlled all the traffic in and out of Dearborn Station. Here is a link to a website which describes 21st Street in depth with photographs and a track plan . Here is an additional link which shows an interior picture of the tower with the control levers .

Quoting from the first website, “In all the world there may never have been a junction to rival 21st Street in its prime. It had at one time 26 diamonds, and well over 150 trains a day rumbled through it. On page 83 of his book, Track Planning for Realistic Operation, John Armstrong marvels at a photo of the plant: "Seven curved crossings on each track! Crossings right through turnouts! ... They're all here at 21st St. Junction in Chicago."

“Passenger trains comprised more than 75% of the traffic through here, and the roster was staggering. Here's a very small sample: The Super Chief, The Broadway Limited, the Wabash's Bluebird to St.Louis, the C&EI's Dixie Flagler bound for Florida, the Monon's Thoroughbred to Louisville, the GT's Toronto-bound International, the Erie's Lake Cities for Hoboken/New York, the IC's Iowa-bound Land O' Corn and GM&O's Midnight Special to St.Louis. It's not surprising that 21st Street was sometimes described as ‘The Crossroads of the Midwest.’"

The really incredible thing about this junction is it was a one man job! Even more incredible to me is my dad did that job! I have heard his stories before but I was especially enthralled this past week when he shared his experiences with me once again about working this tower.

My dad hired on with the C&WI and right away one of the supervisors had it in for him. He was not too impressed with any hot shot coming from the Pennsylvania Railroad and thought my dad would generally look down on their little railroad although this was not the case. To really put the heat on he decided it would be a neat rick to put my dad on 21st Street as his first job. Some of the other veterans of the line mentioned to the supervisor this was a bit cruel but he said, “It will make him or break him.” To make matters worse he also directed, “And put him with Floyd.”

Floyd was an old timer with the C&WI. He was THE MAN when it came to 21st Street. He knew all there was to know about working that junction and didn’t have the inclination or the time to put up with any nonsense from railroader wannabes. So, on his first day out, my dad went to work with Floyd.

Floyd told my dad to just sit his ass in the chair in the corner and read the newspaper. He wasn’t interested in wasting his time on training another kid who would not be able to cut it and quit under the pressure. This went on for a week or two. My dad was always respectful and occasionally they exchanged a few words and they discovered they knew some of the same people. This led to Floyd deciding to teach the kid the ropes, “I’m going to show you how to do this job right. You write down everything I say in that book of yours.” And he did.

After one week my dad went on a weekend trip with my mother and studied all the notes he had made. There were 79 control levers to know. There were 2300 moves per day to be done. The combinations could boggle the mind.

Back at work on Monday Floyd gave dad a little test. “OK you got the Superchief comin’ in on track such and such. You’ve got a 100 car drag on this other track. Look in that note book of your s and show me the line up.” My dad proceeded to do the moves by memory. A little impressed Floyd throws another problem at him; again dad does it from memory. Now Floyd is really impressed at this young man. He says, “OK kid. You have shown me you really have a desire to do this job. I’m going to show you how to really run this thing. I’m going to show you moves nobody knows. I’m going to teach you everything I know.” For the whole week Floyd was true to his word and my dad soaked it up like a sponge.

Now 21st Street was a real bitch of a job. The railroad would give a guy all the time he needed to get it down. The minimum time it took to learn it was usually a few months. After ten days Floyd called up the MAN and told him to come up and test my dad. The guy came up and Floyd said, “Just do what I taught ya’ and you’ll be fine.” With that he started to go downstairs to get some coffee. At this the MAN went into a panic, “Floyd, you can’t leave the tower! No way this kid is ready!” Floyd: “He’s ready. Just test him.” Of course we know dad passed the test. The MAN signed off and dad was certified to run 21st Street.

In the interest of trying to keep it as short as possible I will stop here. I plan to add more tales of dad working the towers in following entries.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Art Theft Running Rampant

Maybe it's a sign of the economic times but it has happened to me too. This guy is selling my work on an auction site without my authorization. I had copyright notices on all my work but he just photoshopped them out.

I've managed to report him to the site owners so I'll have to see how long it takes to remove the stuff. I'd like to get on there and give him my opinion about what he's doing but membership is only open to New Zealanders and Australians. I suppose I could make up an Australian address and create a bogus registration for the sole purpose of confronting the guy but I don't feel comfortable representing myself under false pretenses. I think it would only hurt my credibility with my copyright claim.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Amazing Aviation Art

A collection of aviation art images from the studios of Mark Karvon. To view these paintings and more in larger size and in more detail, please be our guest at

This morphing sequence is also available as a screensaver through our website

Artwork by Mark Karvon, Music by Arthur Loves Plastic

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring Sale and New Military Art

Spring is just around the corner and we are pleased to announce our Spring Fever Sale. For a limited time, Save 15% on our giclee prints at:

We have new additions to our World War II as well as Modern Aviation subjects.

We are also pleased to expand our new military collection of prints with two new print offerings, “Merkava Mk III BAZ” and "Challenger II". We will be adding new additions to our military line throughout 2009!

In addition to our Spring Sale we are also excited about our new "Warbird" and "Iron Horse" collections of apparel and merchandise at Karvon Graphics. Stop by and see what we have to offer.

Mark Karvon
Fine Art by Mark Karvon
T-shirts: Karvon Graphics

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Only Thing We have To Fear Is Fear Itself

Taken from a Wall Street Journal article by Bradley R. Schiller. The article in it's entirety may be read here: [link]

"....our current economic woes don't come close to those of the 1930s. At worst, a comparison to the 1981-82 recession might be appropriate. Consider the job losses that Mr. Obama always cites. In the last year, the U.S. economy shed 3.4 million jobs. That's a grim statistic for sure, but represents just 2.2% of the labor force. From November 1981 to October 1982, 2.4 million jobs were lost -- fewer in number than today, but the labor force was smaller. So 1981-82 job losses totaled 2.2% of the labor force, the same as now.

Job losses in the Great Depression were of an entirely different magnitude. In 1930, the economy shed 4.8% of the labor force. In 1931, 6.5%. And then in 1932, another 7.1%. Jobs were being lost at double or triple the rate of 2008-09 or 1981-82.

This was reflected in unemployment rates. The latest survey pegs U.S. unemployment at 7.6%. That's more than three percentage points below the 1982 peak (10.8%) and not even a third of the peak in 1932 (25.2%). You simply can't equate 7.6% unemployment with the Great Depression.Other economic statistics also dispel any analogy between today's economic woes and the Great Depression.

Real gross domestic product (GDP) rose in 2008, despite a bad fourth quarter. The Congressional Budget Office projects a GDP decline of 2% in 2009. That's comparable to 1982, when GDP contracted by 1.9%. It is nothing like 1930, when GDP fell by 9%, or 1931, when GDP contracted by another 8%, or 1932, when it fell yet another 13%.

Auto production last year declined by roughly 25%. That looks good compared to 1932, when production shriveled by 90%. The failure of a couple of dozen banks in 2008 just doesn't compare to over 10,000 bank failures in 1933, or even the 3,000-plus bank (Savings & Loan) failures in 1987-88. Stockholders can take some solace from the fact that the recent stock market debacle doesn't come close to the 90% devaluation of the early 1930s."

So I wish our "great" leaders would stop trying to push their bloated agenda and pet projects by trying to scare the hell out of everyone by drumming up the Great Depression. Get down to actually doing something that can get this economy humming again.