I'd never met Mason McCarty. So when I first drove up in front of his apartment, the address I'd been given wasn't visible among the nearby properties.
I was in far western Cupertino, the other side of Highway 85, in an area of small flats. A young man standing on the street approached me.
"Are you looking for 1816?" he said? "Yeah," I replied. He smiled. "I'm Mason."
Mason McCarty is the kind of young man that you love to meet. He's articulate, thoughtful, considerate, extremely talented...and he happens to be , now on a regular basis.
How does he describe himself? "Off the wall," he says. "I know some would consider me a little more sarcastic than anything, but, that's just who I am. I like to make those twists and turns."
There's nothing special about the apartment he shares with his wife of four years; at best, they have 480 square feet that contain three rooms. But wealth, and a big house, is not something McCarty currently aspires to.
"I'm not here to do it to become rich and famous," he says. "I don't need to be rich. Comfortable, yes, but not rich. What's the point of being rich when they call you a starving artist?"
McCarty grew up in Cupertino. He attended school at Lincoln, Kennedy, Monta Vista, and finally De Anza. "I was used to seeing people with different backgrounds," he says. "Actually, in high school, my friends and I were referred to as the U.N., because everybody was from somewhere else. We had people from Indonesia, India, Hungary, Germany, China, England, Mexico. Nobody was the same. We all came from different places."
He has seen the dramatic changes Cupertino has gone through. "I remember when Seven Springs was being built, where Rainbow Drive is," he says. "I remember when (Hwy) 85 was finally completed, what was it, 1995? And how Saratoga held that up for what was it, 20 years?"
in April, 2011 referred to Cupertino's growth rate.
Being from an Irish-Silician household, McCarty's yearly Thanksgiving was not necessarily graced with a Butterball turkey, green bean casserole and stuffing. "We'd have the typical Thanksgiving dinner, with raviolis."
He has been drawing since his early years of life.
"I was one of those that everybody knew had art skills," he says. "In classes, if there was anything to do with art or an art project, they'd come to me for help. Some people offered to pay me to do it, and I'd say 'It's okay. Just give me something nice out of your lunch.'"
For income, he splits his time between a family run construction business and work at Pier One, where he's a salesman. It's in his spare time that he likes to draw, to do anything creative. "Especially when things are chaotic out there," he explains.
He's been contributing cartoons and sketches to Patch for more than a year.
"I tried the political stuff, and it just didn't pan out the way I wanted it to," says McCarty.
was never published on Patch: "The suggestion that the Queen was...with...James Bond was the first thing that came to my mind when I watched the opening ceremonies. I thought 'Oh Boy, I'm going to get a lot of flak for that one.'"
Mason McCarty's goals with his art are fairly simple. "Just to get a cheap laugh out of everybody. Just cheap, 5 second, base-reaction laughs."
The artist remains faithful to the town in which he grew up. "If I didn't like it here, I'd be somewhere else," he says. "The (ethnic) traditions are a lot different than mine, which make it a lot more interesting. It gives me a chance to do something different."
McCarty has his own website. His work is currently being published twice a week on the . He's always looking for new ideas, and welcomes your thoughts.