Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Creation station

"Graphic design" I made yesterday for a friends meditation seminars

I had my first full week of "work" recently - I got a temporary job running the bar/concession stand at the Philadelphia Theater Company's production of RACE by David Mamet. It's only for the running of the show, three weeks, but I get an hourly wage plus tips... and some of that this weekend coincided with my other job for money, doing product demos for a natural foods company called Brads Raw Foods. Since I've been so busy making real money, I haven't had time to paint in about a week... looking forward to doing some of that today before I go bartend tonight for their opening night. It's supposed to be an amazing play - haven't seen it yet, but a few friends were in town this weekend and caught it, and they love Mamet anyway, but said it was great.

The image above was something I threw together yesterday for a friend of mine who is starting up meditation seminars here and in New York City - I'm working on the marketing end for Philly, even though we won't be holding any events here until at least March/April. They needed an image, and since I tend to include similar ethereal imagery anyway in my work I offered to make a graphic for their facebook events and other media outlets. I had promised such an early deadline in the morning yesterday, that I ended up revising it a couple more times as the day went on. The image above is *I think* the final one. It's basically a couple drawings I fused together in photoshop, along with some pieces of an old painting, and about a million layered images of clouds/skies I had already on my computer from long ago.

Since the type of "graphic design" work I do is so painterly, I often feel kind of pigeonholed into this specific, graphic genre that is more like graphic art than design. It all stems from a class I had while in college that highly encouraged melding drawing and paintings with computer work, and ever since then it's one of the ways I prefer to work digitally. It would only work better if I had a scanner. (Note: wish list addition: scanner!) It seems to work for some things, though, and I'm pretty proud of my work yesterday. If I don't get my stuff out there like this, how is anyone supposed to know I make it?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

m@d ph0t0$h0p $k!!77$

I don't know how well you can see this example, but I've spent the past few hours today practicing re-learning photo retouching. Nothing fancy, just old school Photoshop (mind you, I began learning this program as a freshman in high school... in 1997, v4.0...) and it seems like for the most part I can still do it. Anyway, it's still fun to realize that no matter how crappy a picture is of me, I can probably make it look better if I invest a few hours sitting at my computer. Red spots, bags under my eyes, imperfect skin tone... buh-bye!

For a few seconds back then I thought I might major in graphic design in college, but an internship that almost raped my soul (and for the amount they were paying me versus the work I was doing, it may as well have been) quickly convinced me otherwise. At least I learned enough of those skills back then to have it help me out now, although I am admittedly behind the times in areas of technology these days. (My dad doesn't understand why, after this 10-15 year dated training, I cannot design - and program - myself a primo website for my portfolio.)

Hey, at least I can digitally "airbrush" pictures of myself. What more do we really need? (If you need actual graphic design work, try the assholes on Craigslist! Flyer design for $35 spells Q.U.A.L.I.T.Y.!)

Thanks for reading, and I hope all of you can understand and appreciate sarcasm and satire. Otherwise, please find another blog to amuse you, there are plenty. <3 <3 <3

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Geometry and Gallery walls

Started gridding out a painting for commission. The shape you see is a derivative of the flower of life - called the fruit of life - and is said to be "the blueprint of the universe, containing the basis for the design of every atom, molecular structure, life form and everything in existence." It's the base shape for creating a Metatron's Cube - I won't be taking it quite that far. It will eventually be the underlying shape for a merkaba, which is the name for two oppositely oriented and interpenetrating tetrahedrons. (Also called the "Star Tetrahedron", which resembles the Star of David.) On a side note, I think "interpenetrating" is a fantastic word.

So, I've been starting this painting as of late, painstakingly preparing the surface (gesso, sanding, gesso, sanding, acrylic, sanding...) and trying to figure out what other elements I'll be including. Luckily, my patrons for this particular piece of work are pretty enthusiastic about letting me do my thing. I did come up with a few sketches to show them before I started, but of course whatever this becomes will probably look much different than what I started with. I'll keep posting images of it's progress as it comes.

When I posted the picture above on my facebook art page, someone commented with a video link that I should watch. I haven't watched the entire thing yet, but it looks like it's right up my alley. Hunting the Hidden Dimension - from NOVA/PBS, about fractals - "Mysteriously beautiful fractals are deepening our understanding of nature." I will no doubt watch the full thing later tonight.

And, as promised - and I will have better pictures of this eventually - here are a few shots of my work from my show back in November. I handed someone my crappy camera at the actual event, but due to some confusing settings (and me being too busy schmoozing to fix it), most of those pictures are blue and blurry. This isn't everything, but these are the two main walls to the left and right when you walk in. It was wonderful to see all my work in the same place. There will be more solo shows to come, this I promise.

"When we tug on a single thing in nature, we find it attached to everything else." -John Muir

Monday, January 10, 2011

Unsolved Mysteries

I'm in the middle of a bunch of different things, so I haven't had a lot of time to take pictures of stuff in progress. The image to the left is a more abstract piece that I haven't been paying too much individual attention to, but have been slowly adding things to for months now. And I want it to be more than just a pretty picture, so I keep debating internally what it's really about and changing my mind. Sometimes my work can have a very specific meaning that I know before I even start, sometimes I just know I want to express or illustrate a moment or feeling. And, every once in awhile, it's just "I feel like painting an angler fish," so then I do and we're done. It might be a cute little illustration, but nothing deeper. That kind of stuff should be "practice", and in my personal rating system has less value than something I spend a lot of time putting thought and intention into.

Anyway, I think the piece above might be about aliens. In case you aren't one of my best friends, you may not be aware how freakishly afraid of them I am. It's sort of a joke, but with real parts to it - I was definitely traumatized by watching tons of episodes of "X-Files" and "Unsolved Mysteries" as a kid. Back then, it was a thrill and a rush to scare yourself. I willingly terrorized myself with scary movies and books and television shows of all subject matters for years, until then I grew up and realized the only thing I was still terrified of was aliens.

There's a little more to it than just that, but something about the idea of them, how the underground media portrays them... yes, okay, a lot of it is ridiculous, but some of it is just plain eerie. For example; sculptures from the ancient Sumerians that look just like rockets, and multiple variations of figures wearing what looks like helmets and modern day space suits. There are tons of classic paintings, a lot of them biblical, that depict strange flying objects in the background. Drawings and cave paintings and whatever else from all over the world. What else could they be? Coincidence?

Thank god I live in Philadelphia, a big city with lots of LIGHTS and PEOPLE - (everyone knows that aliens only abduct you if you live in like, Alaska, or somewhere else in the middle of nowhere) so for the moment I feel pretty safe. No big headed, bug-eyed, telepathically communicating aliens here, no sir. Just us humans, and cats, and probably some bugs. That's enough about all this, I'm scaring myself. :)

I'll be back later this week with pictures and some sketches and other stuff I've been working on.