Thursday, February 14, 2013

Boy Meets Hero - 20 years of Love and Art

In 4 years of JezzLoads, you've never seen a Valentine's Day post. I personally feel Valentine's Day has to be the most redundant of holidays. People who are in love know they're in love and don't need a holiday to remind them. And if they did, they have birthdays, anniversaries, Thanksgiving, Christmas - come to think of it; most holidays are designated as a time to remind loved ones you love them. Valentine's Day appears to be a big commerical ploy to get everyone to spend money and is used too often as a means to make single people feel bad about being single. 

That said and out of my system, this Valentine's Day serves as the perfect occasion to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the boys behind Boy Meets Hero

The creators of Boy Meets Hero, Chayne Avery and Russell Garcia, both recently celebrated their 40th birthdays and next month will be celebrating their 20th Anniversary.

I have to say, I have a hard time imagining being with anyone for 20 years, but seeing these two guys interact with each other certainly inspires me to try. 
I have the privilege of hanging out with these guys regularly. They are a team; both romantically and professionally. They're not one of those annoying TV couples that finish each other's sentences or always bicker. Instead, they interact like best friends - an interaction that is more romantic than any of the hollywood interpretations I've ever seen. 
I had to know, how do they make it work?! Here's what the two had to say when I questioned them separately...


How did you meet?:

RUSS: "Chayne and I attended the same university where we were both Art majors. We sort of knew each other when we were freshmen just from having the same classes and roaming the same parts of campus. It wasn’t until our sophomore year that I took a real notice of him... and I thought he was stuck up, lol. We’d pass each other in the halls and he wouldn’t really acknowledge me so I’d think 'What a jerk!' 
It wasn’t until later in the first semester, before Christmas break, that suddenly Chayne started chatting me up before class. We would geek out about Star Trek: The Next Generation mostly. So then I thought 'Wow! I finally found a cool guy I can be friends with!'Then after the break, actually the very first day of class, we were walking back to our respective dorms from a drawing class and we paused at a corner still talking, but clearly each of us stretching out the goodbye, hoping for an invitation for more hang out time. So after an awkward silence I invited Chayne to come check out my room (I didn’t have a roommate at the time, luckily). So he did and we listened to music and talked more geek talk. Each of us didn’t want our time together to end. It wasn’t romantic yet but there was definitely a spark. So I gathered up some courage and asked if maybe he’d wanna go see Aladdin with me at the local theater. He said yes and the rest is history."
CHAYNE: "We met in college. We both took basically the same art classes. I used to sneak glances at him in class and one day I decided to go talk to him. We hit it off right away since we both liked Star Trek: The Next Generation and Seinfeld. Russ asked me to go see Disney's Aladdin and that was our first 'date'."

How long did you date before you were "officially" a couple?
RUSS: "We saw each other A LOT over the next couple of months. Just hanging out after class, watching Trek, lunches, Pizza Hut/Movie Thursdays and many, many late nights. I’d say we were 'officially' a couple on the Pizza Hut/Movie night that we playfully wrestled for the VCR remote and ended up making-out on my bed."
CHAYNE: "I'd say it was around three months. At the time we weren't out yet, so we thought we were just 'hanging out.' Then on March 17th 1993, we shared our first kiss and made love. It's that date that we consider our anniversary and was when we became an official couple."

How and When did you know you were in love with your partner?

RUSS: "It was a week before we sealed the deal, so to speak. At that point we were still just friends, each of us attracted to the other but unsure of our feelings or how to proceed. We spent a lot of time together but that was all. So anyway, Chayne worked on the weekends in Roswell at a video game arcade in the mall and I would spend that time on my own back at school. I remember distinctly a Saturday afternoon, standing at my art desk in my dorm room, dreamily thinking of Chayne and the thought hit me like a ton of bricks... 'Am I actually in love with him? Wow, I think I’m in love with Chayne.' The thought alone was intoxicating and it was a week later that we became a couple."
CHAYNE: "It was well before we actually had sex. I realized I couldn't stop thinking about him and wanted to be with him as much as possible. I remember thinking to myself 'Wow, I think I love Russell!' "

How do you keep your love fresh?

RUSS: "Luckily it’s 'freshness' has just sort of been self sustaining over the years. I’m not sure what works exactly but lots of communication and honesty definitely help."
CHAYNE: "By having fun as a couple. We always do things that we enjoy when we have free time together." 

What has been the most challenging thing to accept about your partner during your time together?

RUSS: "I think the most challenging thing to accept is how Chayne views finances. He’s sort of a 'live for the moment' kind of person and I’m more of a 'no, no, no, we must save and plan for the future!' Thats probably been the single biggest cause of arguments over the years."
CHAYNE: "I suppose it was early on in our relationship when Russell wanted to keep our relationship hidden from people and I wanted to be “out and proud.” We certainly struggled plenty of times over that. Eventually he reached a point where he felt more comfortable letting other people know we're gay."

What is the easiest thing to love about your partner?

RUSS: "His childlike good nature... innocent and accepting, kind and generous."
CHAYNE: "Russell is very kind hearted and the sweetest person I know! Plus he's soooo cute!"

What famous love story would you describe your relationship to be most like?

RUSS: "Any relationship fraught with deep friendship, loyalty and simmering passion: Butch and Sundance, Oscar and Felix, Eric and Bill... You know, the classics."
CHAYNE: "I'm not very familiar with a lot of famous love stories. I guess from my experience, Id' say we're like Han & Leia from Star Wars. Russ says 'I love you' and I respond with 'I know!' "

The longer we're with someone, the more we change, evolve, or even merge. What would you say has changed the most about you since being with your partner?

RUSS: "Honestly the line between Russ and Chayne is so blurred at this point we are just now 'Chayruss.' "
CHAYNE: "I can't really think of anything. I'm still the same sweet, adorable guy I've always been! And the most modest... "

When is the last time you guys did something for the First time?

RUSS: "We do a lot of small things together for the first time all the time, but the last first something we did together was a few years ago when we started spending the Holidays with each other’s families instead of us each going our separate ways. I think that was really the beginning of each of our families seeing us as a couple and not just 'special friends' or 'roommates'."
CHAYNE: "That's a tough one... I think it might have been in 2008 when we went to Las Vegas for the first time to see the Star Trek Experience for the first time for the last time because it was closing after that summer. "


When artist get together, there can be a clash of egos.
Have you ever had a clash of artistic egos?

RUSS: "Yes, yes aaaaaaannnd.... yes. "
CHAYNE: " Oh, yes! It happens quite a lot with us."

How do you resolve them and find balance?
RUSS: "We resolved it simply by continuing to work together. Every project we tackle has within it an argument waiting to happen but working together over twenty years has taught us when to push and when to back off. Although I have to admit I sometimes tend to push one teeny tiny teensy weensy step too far and then it’s KABOOM!!! ARMAGEDDON!!!"
CHAYNE: "Well, first we argue and things get heated. Then after we've settled down, we re-examine the issue and diplomatically find the resolution that works for us both. But man, it's not easy!!! "

You guys make BEAUTIFUL work together! How do you do it? What's your process in creating art together?
RUSS: "First of all thank you! Our process is fairly simple really. Chayne and I will discuss the project then he will work out a sketch and then final drawing. We used to do the finals in ink but we now have a process of taking Chayne’s detailed pencil illustrations and using a digital process to get them to appear as sharp as if they were actually inked. Then I take the now digital illustration and color the hell out of it!" 
CHAYNE: "Why, thank you! We both utilize our strengths. I do the initial rendering using my skills with the pencil. Then Russ will give the image life with his vibrant coloring skills in Photoshop."

What's the easiest part in working together?
RUSS: "We each have our strengths that we play to. Chayne knows how to handle a pencil and an art board and I’m no slouch at the digital stuff. We compliment each other and that’s what makes it so easy."
CHAYNE: " We both sorta gel with our styles. We both appreciate color so we like our art to really pop. We never go dark and gritty, our style is light and colorful. "

What's the most challenging part in working together?
RUSS: "The most challenging part in working together is getting criticism and then really considering it without getting bruised feelings. Creative people are notorious for having sensitive egos and we’re no exception. We’ve had some knock down, drag out fights over our art but we always manage to find a compromise... especially because I’m usually right, LOL. (Crap, is Chayne gonna read this?)" 
CHAYNE: "Making sure my drawings will be easy for Russell to color in Photoshop. I have to keep in mind how certain shapes can be selected with the magic wand tool. Over the years we've pretty much mastered how to work together." 


Fan art by yours truly for the love birds
Are you monogamous?
RUSS: "Interesting question so I did some research on the word “monogamy” and found this definition that applies:           Monogamy: refers to two partners living together, having sex with each other, and cooperating in acquiring basic resources such as shelter, food, and money
So I think the answer is a definite, yes!" 
CHAYNE: "My gracious, what kind of questionnaire is this! Why yes, of course we are! You made me clutch my pearls! "

How do you keep the sex hot?

RUSS: "We keep a small space heater in the bedroom."
CHAYNE: " Our sex is usually pretty hot because we're still very much into each other."

How often do you have sex?

RUSS: "We’ve been together for 20 years... how often do you think? LOL."
CHAYNE: " Mostly on the weekend. Come Friday evening, our neighbors know to shut their windows!!! "

What is your sexiest memory of your partner?

RUSS: "March 17th, 1993."
CHAYNE: " Back when we we in college we took nude photos of each other! I remember how hot Rusty looked in those pics! When we were apart during the summer breaks, I'd sneak a peak those sexy pictures of him! " 

One final question: What advice would you give anyone in a new relationship?

RUSS: "Oh good, this my chance to go all fortune cookie! Let’s see...
  • Give in to the experience of new love. (in bed) 
  • Be open and honest and open-minded too. (in bed)
  • Don’t be too quick to dismiss the relationship over small stuff... no one is perfect. (in bed) "

CHAYNE: " Be conscientious of your partner's feelings. Be as understanding as you can. We all make mistakes, so be forgiving. Most of all, love each other for who they are. "

There you have it folks, the secrets to 20 years of geeky bliss.
Anybody else out there wanting to go back to school to hit up that college crush? 

Thank you, Russell and Chayne, for an awesome interview. I appreciate your good sportsmanship with how nosey I got. Believe it or not, I was doing my best to be as respectful to your privacy as possible, but it wouldn't be a JezzLoad interview if I didn't ask about the goods.

Their official anniversary is March 17th, but stop by their fan page and show them some Valentine's Day love. 

Happy Valentine's Day, Folks


  1. These guys are so sweet. I have worked with them many times. They are so down to Earth and good hearted. It was nice to be able to learn so much more about them. :D