Martinez dad’s Barack Obama-approved lunch bag art will blow your mind

In the Jinks house, it is not just what’s in the school lunch bag that counts, but what’s on the bag.

For the past seven years, Martinez artist and father Lynell Jinks has drawn magnificently detailed portraits of actors, musicians and other pop culture icons on the brown paper bags that carry his kids’ clementines and KIND bars to school.

Whatever Zelina and Izaac are into, that’s what he draws. It went from “The Backyardigans” and “Iron Man” to Eleven from “Stranger Things” and Tupac Shakur. The bags — 820 of them, rips and all — return home and are tucked into a box, preserved like a time capsule.

“As a parent you’re trying to find ways to connect with your kids,” says Lynell, who is featured in the new book, “School Lunch: Unpacking Our Shared Stories,” by Lucy Schaeffer. “Whether it is a Post-It note or a hand-drawn bag, they’ll know you care.”

By day, Lynell is the creative director at WWE 2K19, a Novato-based professional wrestling video game company. By night, he draws lunch bag art using markers and colored pencils — lunch bags that go viral on his Instagram, @brownbagbrowndad. Over the years, those bags have facilitated friendships, amused teachers — Zelina’s science teacher joked that she would fail her if she stopped bringing bags — and even caught the eye of former President Barack Obama.

Here’s how it all started, and why the kids, now teenagers, still ask for them.

Lynell Jinks is photographed in his home on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021, in Martinez, Calif. Jinks creates artwork on brown paper lunch bags for his two children. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group) 

Q: How did you start drawing the bags? Do you remember the first one?

A: I did a few before I started drawing them consistently in 2013. When Izaac was in preschool, he was going on a field trip and had to bring a disposable lunch bag instead of his lunch box. I made their lunches, so my wife asked me to label it. Instead of just writing his name I did a quick “Iron Man” drawing and wrote “Izaac Man.” He came home so excited. Friends asked to see more bags.

In 2013, when my daughter was in third grade, she’d come home from school and I’d ask, “Did you make any friends?” She’d say, “No, not really.” So one day I drew a quick Olaf from “Frozen” on her bag. She came home and said everyone thought it was so cool. I asked again, “Are you making friends?” And she said, “Yeah!” From then on, she asked for it. So I started doing bags for each kid. At first I did them every day, but I was staying up until 1 a.m. Now I do them once a week.

Q: What kind of pencils do you use? What’s your process?

A: I use Copic markers and Prisma colored pencils. Because the paper on the brown bag has some teeth to it — it’s a little jagged — …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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