I am standing knee deep in piles and piles of papers , scraps, and index cards with drawings and doodles and notes and jokes. They have been accumulating over the past few years and I have developed a bad habit of stuffing them in boxes and bags and tucking them away in corners, closets, and shelves. In a sense they all sort of non-exist in the sense that I am not doing anything with the sketches and writings and such, but at the same time are super annoyingly present in our not so huge apartment. So, I have given myself a challenge. My mission: Scan and Shred it all and put the paper strings of things in a clear bag and drop it in the recycling bin outside of our building, thusly freeing myself (and Amanda)of the crazy town filing system I have been employing for far too long. I just hope the little flatbed is up for the task.
The featured drawing in this post was found in a plastic grocery bag amongst a bunch of other random papers, a box of replacement bicycle tubes, some scrabble tiles, A Skip-Bo card, a lidless tube of Cerulean Blue Hue, old medical bills, an action figure of a black hand Luke Skywalker in his Jedi Outfit, and a shiny quarter machine sticker depicting a scuffle between Jasmine and Jafar from Disney's Alladin (it is labled "Jafir and Jasmine" so naturally I have to keep it forever, as one day it will be valuable.)
So, I am back working on Tanked. I have nearly all of my scenes animated in Flash, and I am working in Premiere to piece everything together. After that, I will record sound. But before I get to that, I have been hitting a few snags. I think I kinda lucked out on the first episode as far as technical hang ups, and now I am getting them in spades. I do not really even know what "in spade" means, I even looked it up and got no real answer. I had a similar thing happen when I was asking my google search what it may be that I was doing wrong, and what I needed to do to make it right with this project. You see, I make all these in flash , export them to Quicktime, and then import them in to Premiere(and then back out again as a Quicktime or something You Tubeable.) Each transition came up with some sort of problem. All of the images I use for Part Two have been either created in Illustrator, or live trace tooled from Photoshop to .Ai. The intent with doing it in this way was so that the final product would have a better picture quality. In doing so I got the "bigger is better" notion as far as file size went and made the Flash document properties to reflect a larger screen size, not realizing that consistency was key when exporting them as Quicktime. I kept getting parts in my videos where bits of images would break up(like the image above). I thought it was just part of the process, and I would just try again and get the same results. When I figured out the sizes had to be the same, I changed the Quicktime settings to my randomly assigned numbers I made up for the Flash documents. The result seemingly worked, as a Quicktime file. However, Premiere is a little bit more sophisticated and wants everything all orderly. Apparently there is some sort of standard for these things, and I am finding out the hard way. 720px by 480px 29.97fps seems simple enough, but applying these parameters to several files that I thought were completed is going to be a bit of a chore, especially on a few with complicated bits of animation.But I have to admit, I do love it.
....unfortunately, portfolio updates to my web page still may be some time. It's not for lack of trying, mind you. I've got all the pieces put together in Dreamweaver, scrolling index bars and all! I have not, however, made payments to my hosting site so there's a bit of a hold as far as additions to my dot com. Soon, I hope, soon.
Ooh dream weaver I believe you can get me through the night Ooh dream weaver I believe we can reach the morning light Dream weaver Dream weaver Dream weaver
....that song get's in my head every freaking time I open the program.
I have reached the inky black line portion of two of the three panels.
It is a good feeling as the deadline draws near. I had quite a lovely time in the studio yesterday. Amanda decided to stay at home to work on her embroidery while I painted, so I cleared off her table and reconfigured my work space to accommodate working on the two panels without having to relocated myself. Amanda has engaged herself in a huge undertaking, hand embroidering a Family-Tree of Bill Cosby.
Featured here is the first version of the patriarch himself. Yes, the first version. She recently did another because as she got in to it and produced more and more likenesses in the lineage she wanted the background color to be different, to reflect a denotation of of relationship based on the degrees of separation. She has the colors of floss wound round plastic pieces tacked to the wall in her studio which creates a lovely gradient. Yesterday she finished a face made headway on the final portrait during our shared-space studio day. I have a feeling someone will be in Chelsea for awhile tonight with stitching and linking her completed set of images.
And here, is where I will be. I put two of my tables together in an L-Shape, a strip of glass that I found discarded on a the curb to use for mixing sits between the two paintings which makes it very easy to flow from one to the other. The photo was taken from my computer on the small high table where Amanda sat yesterday and where I will be working on the third panel that is part of this series. It still resides inside my computer as a collection of drawings scanned and positioned in a large Photoshop file waiting to be printed out one page at a time and and taped together to it's full 2ft by 4ft size and then transferred on to an panel that I had gessoed, what seems like, quite some time.
The two characters featured in this narrative are ones a few people may recognize. The mulleted man in the purple shirt is Zeke.This particular painting resides in the collection of Ben Pederson, whose videos you should most definitely check out. The bespectacled man in the hat is known as Elias. I am thinking of getting my Etsy account back up to make images available for purchase again.
Here's another sketch that I did for the the narrative paintings I am currently working on. Layers of paint are being applied to some of the 2ft by 4ft panels and I am tweaking the arrangements of another using photoshop to re-size and place the pieces within the larger frame. As I mentioned before, I work from home and I continually have to balance myself with the home and studio. Amanda and I spent the greater part of Saturday intensely cleaning the entire apartment. I crawled under tables with a the brush attachment of mt dirt devil in hand, sucking up the dust clumps from the Masonite. I sat on the hardwood floor of the studio section of our apartment and fed page by page of bills and other documents until the motor of the shredder whined and grind. The fish tank got fresh water with a new arrangemnt, and Fishy McFisherson swims with more of a swish to it's tail than before. The challenge is, maintaining. Little bits at a time so as not to get buried under it all again. Little breaks during working to make less work later. I find keeping this little section at the corner of our kitchen counter cleared and the stove top whipped down sets a tone for the overall. Our kitchen is uber small and just a few dishes by size comparison seem daunting, but once it gets going, it goes rather fast. Now, if only we could figure out what to do with all of our shoes, between the two of, we have a lot of shoes.
I have recently been working on generating several images to be part of a series of large narrative panels. We carried quartered pieces of masonite several blocks home from the big 'ol corporate hardware store near the Gowanus. The lumber yard just down the block from us has been sporting a for rent sign for some time. Two trips in one week to the location, for unrelated reason. I bought a hoe for a bridal shower earlier in the week. On this trip, I won 5 bucks from my lady sayin' that the alley we were walking towards did in fact come up along side the back of the store. The substrates weren't exactly cut straight, so we pulled the collapsible metal sawhorses out from under the yellow couch and retrieved the skill saw from the op of the closet. It has been a long time since I work with masonite, I forgot how much sawdust is produced. I swept the clumps of brown while Amanda readjusted the guide. Amanda recently took to studioing where she works in Chelsea, so the room we once shared together is all mine. I still have the tendency to take over the apartment when work mode is in full force. The kitchen table was covered with plastic wrap for some time for gesso application. The sawhorses came in handy for another station. I have squares of blue insulation foam with drawings tacked that lean against the bookcase and side table in the living room, and a a large mock-up drawing hangs with magnets on the back of our front door waiting to be transferred after a few more coats of titanium white. Amanda brought home to me a half gallon jug. I am lucky to have such an wonderful girl in my life. The place is a mess, but the pieces are coming along nicely.
So, the thing about these flash movies....they take a long time. I had a bit of a set back with the whole looking for/acceptance of loss/(eventual)replacement of my drawing tablet pen.
Back when I was getting paintings ready for the Fringe show I had this wacky notion that I would, in addition to a salon full of paintings, complete the second installment of my animated series Tanked. You see, a nice friend of mine agreed to lend me her projector on the night of the opening so I could show some of the little videos I have done (link to videos.) I really, really wanted to throw something new into the fold. But, I was sort of at a loss as far as that there digital drawing pen thingy went. So there I was, a day or so before the show and I actually thought I had a stroke of luck by finding a replacement pen at a store in the city, but as it turned out, the guy behind the technical services counter sold me the wrong model. (I guess in hindsight the stroke of luck was the lady who I found in the same place the next time I stopped by, who refunded me fully even thought the package had been opened)
All hindsighty again, perhaps it was a good thing that I was without access to my tool for my animations, as then maybe I was able to concentrated more on the the task at hand (which was to complete the paintings that needed to be done, which was a little bit more immediate as it was, as I mentioned before, a few days until the opening.)
Funny thing about the here and now, I am posting this as a little update to what I am working on/testimonial of eventual completion ...kinda like what I did with the scan of the unfinished painting of the library cart of books in a previous entry. That painting to this day remains unaltered since it's scanning.
Here's hoping that posting of works in progress is not some sort of a jinxy mcjinxerson or combination of potential slackatude. Mind you, it's not going to be anytime soon, but TANKED part two: Search and Rescue? will be done sometime soon(ish.) I said it in a blog, so it has to be true.
Oh, but in follow up to a another posting of an in progress, I did in fact complete one that i shared in preparation. This here is on of the paintings that did get finished in time for the Fringe Show. Seperate as it may not seem for the whole "Search and Rescue" animation I am working on, it was part of the series "things that I miss." This painting is now owned by another lovely friend of mine who so kindly blogged about the show for The Bric Wall I really appreciated the shout out, and I think my gratitude may have something to do with the amount of linkage in this here posting. Well that, and I do love me some html. Which reminds me, I have to add my portfolio to my webpage. One thing at a time.
I went to the Mermaid Parade for the first time this year. Now, I have lived in this city for several years and have always had great interest in attending, but for one reason or another even with the previous few years’ threat of extinction, it hasn’t happened until now. Earlier in the week emails had circulated amongst our friends trying to coordinate travel. A few were headed down on their own so we touched base with a couple who we had mentioned the plans to the night before. Confusion over the similar sounding names of a subway station (Atlantic/Pacific) and a neighborhood bar (Pacific Standard) garnered a gin and tonic and ride in the back of a friends company car. Amanda and I sat cross-legged like kids in the back of station wagon, as there were no seats in the vehicle that bore the name of a competing company of one of my jobs. If ever a time for over site, this was one, it isn’t often that we get to casually travel by car without a fare rate. We hit traffic by the water where the Verrazano towered and crossed further down the road and above our heads. It was a little past two, and our friends had already arrived, but I refrained from letting it get the best of me. Anyway, the view, company, and soundtrack kept us going as we finished at a crawl for the last five miles We finally got off the highway and miraculously came across an exiting vehicle at Mermaid and 17th super close to the festivities. Amanda hopped out to reserve as our friend backed in. A lucky happenstance, probably appreciated the most by our drivers wife who is several months with child. The four of us headed up to the boardwalk, peeking at a pair exposed while polishing off a bag of cotton candy before we hit the planks. We found out friends situated near the end of the line and settled in to watch the parade pass us by. I couldn’t help but notice the large number of BP/Oil Spill themes. Faces smeared with black makeup and slick stained fins were sad reminders of our current situation in an otherwise festive setting. Right now as I am writing, I have the day off to get some work done in the studio. I took a break from my work on some studies for a project I am participating in later in August to make some lunch. It’s been a busy week and the kitchen was sparse, but there were some scallions, cucumbers, and Green Goddess in the fridge and a can of tuna in the pantry. Remember that whole Chicken of the Sea/Jessica Simpson thing a few years back? People really ate that up at her expense. However, this year at the parade people weren’t laughing while they held signs bearing the tuna companies logo and mermaidy mascot paired with anti-BP sentiment. I flipped the can in my hand over to look at the expiration date, as it had been on the shelf for quite sometime. With all things considered didn’t seem like so much of a bad thing. In doing so, I got the idea that there are a lot of things that you could figuratively flip over and see a “Best Before Date” of sorts. Obviously, the Gulf of Mexico was “Best Before 4/20/10” the opening credits to most movies and television shows (as well ad about billion other things) were “Best Before 09/11/01” and Lik-m-aid Fun Dip so much better before the color changing blue raspberry/green apple business got added to the triple pack in the late 90’s. The saliva triggered staining flavor still accompanies the far superior and more covertly consumed grape and cherry. Don’t even get me started on the 2 to 3 ratio of stick to dip absurdity. I’m sure I’m not the only one that this upsets. I take my candy consumption very seriously. This one time, I popped my peas and carrots color combo of skittles in my mouth expecting a limey orange goodness only to return the candy all slimy and slightly chewed back in to my hand for examination. You may or may not know this, but for a brief time lime was replaced green apple. This completely threw off favorite flavor combinations concocted and consumed for years. The alteration was short lived, the crap apple craziness stopped, and I’d like to think I had a part in that. After I got over the shock of what was happening in my mouth, I scoured the source for some sense of what had happened. There was no notice other than the text change from lime to green apple to give warning. I wasted no time in calling the customer service number that I found on the reverse side of the packaging, resolutely lodged my concern, and the original integrity of the red bag was restored. Well, a few months later, all signs pointed to back to lime. Now, I’m not claiming full responsibility for the companies retraction of infraction, I am sure there tens of hundreds who did the same. But the important thing is, a difference was made. The Moral? Let your voices be heard and let things stay at their best for evermore! Doot-doot doot-dah- doot. (that’d be the sound of the end of my public service message if I made it such.
I dog-eared after the reading THE END, when it wasn’t. I still had 16 pages left. I probably could have finished, I thought, as I sat in the train noticing that it took longer than I estimated it would. I debated cracking it back open while I swayed staring aimlessly as the train tunneled from the point of entry from the bridge until the Atlantic-Pacific stop. Ah, well. Why rush? Let it all digest, I guess. Actually, it was little nagging. I really had anticipated finishing, even threw a couple of Buffy comics in my expandable file folder just in case. (The accordion style safekeeping was for work papers, just thought I should mention.) But alas, I got through Julie’s Julia project, down to the duck de-bone, but there was a bit more to go. I preemptively thought about how nicely this book would look on top of Olive Kitteridge, the first book I had finished with my new-found transit time. It has been a long time that I was afforded significant subway time, and I have been relishing in it lately as I shuttle from place to place, making house calls doing estimates for a moving company that I work for. I have found myself eying the spines of the books in our apartments and mentally making a plan of attack. Fictions, Memoirs, Plays, Short Story collections and more seem to edge themselves off the shelves. A couple rereads tempt me (I read John Irving way to young, I think I can appreciate some parts of Garp with a little bit of experience below my belt.) However, I have so many new things to sink my teeth into. I am not a particularly fast reader. The first time I read Wicked it took months, granted this was in college when I had school work, there was no musical to accompany, and it had slid down the back of my loft and hid behind my roommates bed. I always feel a sense of accomplishment finishing a book. It’s funny in some ways, being proud of doing something you love. But in some respects it takes work to make that time. Sometime literally, when the work you do gives you a commute and some sit down time. So with that said, I am sharing with you an in progress piece that I am working on in the “things I miss” series I have mentioned a few times in the last few entries. I used to work at a Border’s bookstore in Canton, Ohio. There was always a library cart that sat near the information desk where books were placed and shelved back to where they belonged in a continuous flow throughout the day and finished off at night. It was a great job, with great people. The painting and this book (and the paperwork for the jobs today) are just a few things that I hope to complete soon.
I am getting ready to to another painting, very appropriate to my current situation. This is the sketch that I scanned to re-size to fit it's destination. This new series that I am working on focuses on uses images to represent objects, events, people, and times that I miss. I have a few hours in between jobs today and I am spending them at home finishing up a few more of these paintings as well as hoping to catch the UPS delivery for it's third and final attempt at delivery. The alternative if missed is a long, long subway ride to the end of the line to pick it up at the warehouse, that is if the don't send it back to the original distributor. The package contains two hex chains and locks for our bicycles(which are both taking up space in our apartment.) Last year Amanda's bicycle was stolen, so we replaced it and I was given a great thre speed by a friend. We shared a lock if we rode together, and kept one chained out front and the other upstairs when not in use. Recently, my bike chain was stolen. Just the chain. At first I wasn't sure if I should feel insulted or not. But the way I figure, they were able snip the lock with some something heavy duty, and then pull the chain from around the pole and off the bike. However, I bet they were slowed down by the cable that I run through my front wheel(it looked like they tried to cut it, but but it was still looped around the wheel.) Still, they made off with an expensive chain and destroyed the not so cheap lock. Our birthdays are just a few days apart so my mom asked what we would want. I was leaning towards pony, but being able to ride our bicycles again seems more practical.
...and also with you. This is a scan of a drawing I did while babysitting some kids that just today I was super excited to share the Star Wars Day play on words awesomeness. I think the littlest one(year and half) mistook my clothing choice to be a representation a "disturbing lack of faith"(guess he prefers hokey religions and ancient weaponry) or something when he puked on my Han Solo shirt. He seemed alright after my costume change when he also later got to play it like Yoda when I debuted the piggy-back style Bjorn carry on the walked to his older brothers' after school pickup.
It was humid as all heck today. I found the pieces of the oscillating fan, assembled the thing and sent it spinning to circulate the stale air. The process of pulling air from the front window and pushing it the length of the apartment and out again through the open windows in the back displaced loose papers and scattered them across the floor. Papers stuck with pins to the wall flipped and curled and softly sounded while they flittered with the breeze it made. I scooped up a few studies and tapped the stack on the table to straighten the pile of printouts and drawings. On the other side of the room placed on a brown paper covered table, several substrates are being prepared with paint applied in thin layer, smoothed after it dried and layered again until it's ready to add my image. I have finished a few pieces and am now working on the next batch that will be displayed at the end of the month at Fringe Salon in the Lower East Side. Over to the left is a drawing I did in preparation for one of the paintings in this series. Makes me miss the smell of the water and the refreshing sensation of splashing around. I'm 'bout do for a good jump in a lake, I suppose. Not sure there's much in the way of swimming holes in these part.
A while back I scribbled this in one of my notebooks. It's been shuffled around with piles of paper during random cleanings and re-organizations, I've found it on the floor when it was blown off the table from the wind of a window left open. It somehow seems to resurface every now and again. I scanned it after a finding with the intention of "doing something with it later." It's been in my computer now for quite some time. The little bit up top says "chickens step in their own shit." It's a weird little somethin' or other, and I've been meaning to more frequently add the randomness. So, there you go.
I have written the story part two: search and rescue? and have been working on generating some more images, I've even gotten as far as getting few scenes started in Flash.
Below is a before and after of the initial scan of the pen drawing and then the colored illustrator file of one of the characters(scuba guy) that will make an appearance in the second installment.
If you haven't seen the first, click on the link in the highlight text above. I am hoping for a much better final product with the second, using illustrator files instead of photoshop will make for better image quality, and I'm hoping to borrow a friend's recording device so as to avoid that swirly sound of my overworked computer that my internal microphone inevitably picks up