LJ, it's been awhile. I've decided I've pretty much moved past feeling the need to blog much anymore. For awhile (and especially the first few years when I moved to Cali) it was more about documenting and preserving the feeling of new things/ experiences - now I have found different and sometimes more effective ways of remembering. (That and I know that you probably won't be around much longer, Live Journal.)
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I closed on buying my house one year ago today, and it is still an ongoing project. As I type this workmen are bumping around in my attic installing a central A/C (and heating) system- just in time too! How the previous owners endured years without it is beyond me; I will not melt in the heat and freeze my ass off again like I did last year. I've been spending a bit more money than I'd like to fixing up this house, but at least it's mine, and a good investment, and I feel lucky in my job security (and a recent raise) that allows me to do this.
June has been a very productive month, and I'm hoping to finally finish a painting and a big writing project in the next week(s). For the first time in a long time, every month that has been passing I'm feeling more and more like I am completing long term goals.
I've been trying to seriously get back into photography this year, partly after an encouraging meeting with the Editor Of Photography of a Bay Area photography magazine (MoHoly Ground) who stated she saw some potential in some of my work. (Possibility of getting some photography published in a 2012 issue)...
Spent some money on a new lens/ new cameras and equipment. Let's see if some of the photoshoots I've been planning later this Summer actually pan out...
Prop I made for one of the upcoming shoots ("Guarded Heart")
Got a paid gig shooting a wedding last month, my first time doing so and I was relieved that everyone liked everything I shot. Also, got some good shots from a 1940's themed fashion show/ Fundraiser for the California Historical Society last month. Also, it was a pleasure shooting with Nettie again in her annual visit to SF.
Been too busy for any Graphic Design contract work lately; no big art lately just small drawings, mostly coming out of recent Dr. Sketchy's events.
Dr. Sketchy's: Talia
More art coming up as I finish. (Any continuation of this blog will probably focus more on posting images of art I've completed rather than my written introspections/ ramblings...)
I am looking forward to the promise of this new year: it is truly is a blank canvas for me with a new setting, new routines, and some unknowns. Although I have been occasionally frustrated by some inconveniences these past months, I am remaining patient for some details, including a big payday, to work out. By this Spring things will return to (a different kind of) normal.
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Things at work have also been better than they have in months- years actually. It took a whole lot of work to get to this point where the stress level (and AR percentages) are frequently low. Even though I have a bit more responsibility on my plate since the Fall, I've actually been able to take things as they come and dug myself out of the hole of being swamped all the time.
I am thankful to be afforded so much extra time last month, which I used to take care of a bit old unfinished business, but mostly used to work on my art. I finished the latest (and final?) entry in the "Containment Couture" series (I started the line drawing on this one in the computer way back in April and never had time to finish it). I also had time to create an entry into Warner Brothers' contest to design the cover to the official upcoming "Inception" prequel comic book...
I also had the chance to start painting again after almost 8 months- two new paintings in the works. It was such a good change of pace after only doing digital work for so long; I've quite missed the feel of the brushes, paint and canvases.
I'm looking forward to setting up a silkscreen printmaking station in the Spring in the corner of the extra room in my house which I've converted into an art studio- I've got about a dozen ideas for upcoming prints now...
Although it's not quite over yet, it is safe to say that 2010 has been a pretty rough year for me, one that has tested my limits but proven that all things worth having or accomplishing are worth waiting and sacrificing for. I have so many things to be thankful for, especially in recent months in which so many things have finally fallen into place. Although the improvements to my new house will strain my funds for a few more months, it is still a proud accomplishment, most recently in hosting a Thanksgiving week with the 'rents.
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And then there is the release of one of the bigger illustration side jobs I've been fortunate to work on recently. I have realized the goal of designing the album artwork for a new band's recent major release. The band is Dylan McDonald and the Avians, their first release is entitled Out From The Door, and the album art is by yours truly:
It can now be downloaded on iTunes:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/out-from-the-door/id402105817 and is planned to release in CD and vinyl formats later in the New year.
It has been a cool experience collaborating with Dylan McDonald for some months, most recently revising details of the album artwork as the release date approached. The album cover reflects the lyrics of the song "Out From The Door", and the back features comic book style portraits of the band members. I'm excited to be involved in what I'm sure will be a successful album, which has many great tracks reminiscent of 1970's rock. (My personal favorites being "the Trip" and "Send Me Back To Earth".)
Now, I've got to go catch the latest episode of The Walking Dead, which has surprised me by being a very good show, and even better than the comic it is based on.
Live Journal, it's been awhile. July was a knock-down, drag-out emotional roller coaster ride of a month that really tested my limits of how many issues I can take on and deal with at once in my life. I don't think I can handle another month like that for a long time- but man I did accomplish (and withstand) a whole lot at the end of it all. August didn't let me recover as much as I wanted to. Shifted priorities made me stay busy, but I managed to take things at a non-stressful pace and tried to get things acclimated back to normal, or rather a new kind of normal. Nowadays I'm so ready for the end of September and the beginning of October, cooler weather and the total closure of one door so that another may open. I just need to get past this week and upcoming weekend (which should be fun), then I feel I can actually relax for a bit. I'm really ready to go from painting interior room walls back to painting on canvases, looking forward to working big out of an actual art studio space; one big room just for making art.
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I'm still trying to wean myself off of downtown San Francisco life, ( I don't see as much of her as I used to.Collapse )
I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of my photos from the old 'Vixens photoshoot was featured in an August entry in Diana Mini Love, a London photography blog.
I wish I could've been in Texas this past weekend to see the awesome performance Of LSW's tribute to 9/11 concert, whuch I did the poster art for:
Digital illustration rendering is a combination of the different views of Ground Zero throughout the years. The "Reflecting Absence" memorial is primarily visible, while the skyward spotlights that shone during the site cleanup are fainter, and the World Trade Center towers appear ghostly faint.
I was also fortunate to have the time one weekend to check out the Birth of Impressionism exhibit at the De Young Museum; featuring many famous impressionist works on loan form the Musée d'Orse in Paris before it left in September. And I also finally saw the new Academy of Arts and Sciences museum too; awesome architecture and a very cool aquarium.
I am quite glad to be almost done with a very large endeavor that has had me truly stressed me out, taken up most of my weekends (and some of my money) for the past three months, and has forced me to make some big decisions. It's been almost like a second job. Now that everything is finalizing with this, more work now lies ahead for at least another month before I can be all done and settled. I wish I could fast-forward to August, skip over the rest of the hard stuff. Then I'd relax for a bit then maybe I'll have time again to work on whatever art or other things I want to get finished.
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I have been finishing up some other things lately; other stuff that has kept me in a good mood:
-Finally resolving a very old issue at work that had been hanging over my head for so long it's hard to remember what it was like not to have it bothering back of my mind. It's good not to worry anymore about the one thing that it seemed there would never be closure on.
-These past few weeks I've been taking in some new San Francisco experiences, checking out places I I hadn't gone to before- and yet there is still more to that I have not yet seen and done in this City. I've also been going out to eat at alot of restaurants I haven't tried yet, often places I've walked by numerous times downtown thinking, "I'll have to try that place out someday". If I'm eating alone, I've been happy to catchup on my unread Juxtapoz magazines and also the very well written The Walking Dead comics series (this would make a good TV series.).
-It was good having Chi here to make Memorial Day week(end) more eventful and fun.
-I just completed about a month a half of classes and training through the San Francisco Fire Department to become an officially certified N.E.R.T (Neighborhood Emergency Response Team) to aid in rescue efforts after the next Big Earthquake (or other disaster). A whole lot of interesting and informative stuff was covered, as well as some realistically scary facts and scenarios. I learned alot from this and met a few cool new people too. ("I guess I'll see you guys again after the Big One?") I'm glad I went, but I am also now glad it's over.
-And I FINALLY finished this painting, a visual mash-up of fast food logos:
Mega Corp Logo I
Acrylic on Canvas, 18" x 24" May 2010
Making all of the lines and symmetry as perfect as possible took me way longer than I thought it would. I was thinking doing it as a silkscreen print would have been so much faster and easier (future project?), although painting it on canvas does make it quite pop-artish.
While I was looking up images and info on fast food logos I found it interesting that the majority of fast food logos are predominately red and yellow. I was reading how research tests have found that these two colors are associated with eating, subconsciously triggering hunger and inducing excitment. In contrast colors like blue, purple or black can suppress appetites as they are colors associated with spoiled or toxic foods. Meatpacking plants and sometimes grocery stores will often add coloring the meat to make it seem more red and appealing in the supermarket deli shelves.
I was also thinking it would be interesting if when big corporations merged, they merged their logos too instead of making up whole new branding and logos. I think it would be a good way that one could tell how powerful (/ruthless?) the companies became as the logo got more complex, but also a challenge to visually combine the logos and still make it look graphically good. I think I'll be revisting this idea again soon, maybe with companies that actually have merged to see if a good logo combination could've been created...
Geez, it's been some hot days lately in downtown SF, I hope it not one of those really hot summers.
I burned the candle at both ends at the beginning of April. Got alot done, but stressed myself out too. Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew and forget everyday life will usually get in the way of your plans; the first two weeks of April were filled with compromises; I hate that. I'm taking it kinda easy lately, with the exception of something big I've been investing some research, time and money into. I'm crossing my fingers that something good works out with it, and if not at least I've learned about the process for next time...
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-It seems once a month now a co-worker's position has to be replaced at our office. Thankfully, most have been moving on to other (better) positions, but it's been messing with the general dynamic and routine we keeping spending weeks trying to settle into again. Otherwise, I can't complain, things are doing OK in cubicle-land.
-This year's SF Wondercon was another entertaining (crowded) time. Went to some great movie panels; it was a cool surprise to see director Christopher Nolan speak, but I think the best speaker was Kevin Smith: so raw, funny and entertaining- yet between the raunch he would throw out these intelligent observations about life, experience and age.
-Casey and I tried to go ride the zipline at the Embarcadero before it left but didn't get there early enough. Oh well, breakfast at the pier instead may have been better.
-Also, here's two of the better images from another photoshoot with Nettie a few weeks ago. I was excited we were able to pull off the levitation idea. (and Nettie's a big Nabakov fan.)
I hope all this rain is over now that April has past...
Things are fairly strees-free in these recent weeks. Things in daytime corporate cubicle-land are going quite smoothly overall lately too. During my downtime/weekends these past few weeks I have also been staying busy finishing up some art projects:
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Another entry in the "Containment Couture" series, portrait of Nettie (pastel & conte on paper), S.W. Tattoo design, and a pair of stylized wings (for use in an upcoming project?...) I'm only starting about three more projects up for the time being: in the past I start too many things at once and it bugs me to leave art unfinished for long periods of time.
And I have decided to look at the bright side about some recent disappointing news I got concerning a group art related project I was (until recently) involved with, due to an error on the organizer's part. The positive side of it all was gaining valuable contacts at the museum- also, still getting paid for the work I had already done will be nice.
Some nice days this weekend, for walking around downtown getting errands done today, or taking lunch with a friend yesterday and seeing some of the St. Patrick's Day parade. It is a welcome change after all of the recent fickle weather of cold and rain.
I Recently finished reading William Gibson’s Virtual Light, which I loved for it’s intricately imagined gritty future noir of LA and San Francscio. One of the coolest settings of his future SF was the new subculture of the Bay Bridge, which had been shut down after an earthquake and and been completely overtaken by the homeless and lower class and turned into a shanty town that ran the length of the bridge.
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So, it was coincidentally cool to see a recent article from the SF Chronicle on Design fantisies for the oboslete Bay Bridge span. (And also a similar article referencing Virtual Light over on io9.)
Interesting and exciting ideas, though highly unlikely to ever become reality as the bridge is already structurally weakened. (Lets also hope that Gibson’s other mention of Golden Gate park being bought out and renamed “Skywalker Park”, which only admits the rich will also never happen.)
I am now currently reading Confederacy Of Dunces, which is an highly entertaining and funny read. All of the eccentric characters are written with such richness and detail, the funniest one being the main character, Ignatius Riley. (Thanks for the recommendation, Nettie.)
It’s the season for film festivals here in SF, and I always make it out to see a film or two at these things. “The Asphalt Jungle” was quite good at this year’s Noir City -they don’t make ‘em like they used to. I wish this past week had not of been so crazy (and rainy) so that I could’ve checked out some more.
Up next is the Indie Fest; so many movies so little time.
I am surprised how quickly January has already passed by, but that’s ok as am I looking forward to several things that will be happening in February. I’ve been trying to finish up several little artworks, but have had some distractions so far this month. I’ve been getting so many new ideas for art recently; I feel fortunate for such a creative surge, but it is so frustrating knowing it will be months from now until time allows me to tackle any of these new images.
I can’t believe it is 2010 - every year seems to pass by quicker than the one that proceeded it. As a kid this year seemed like some distant fantasy, yet here I am living it, though not quite as futuristic as I imagined it would be (yet futuristic in it’s own differently digital way). Sad that so many things have come to pass this year: co-workers that got laid-off, friends that have moved away, SF locales and venues that have closed. But now it seems the worst is over and I’m interested to see what the coming year, and decade, bring in exponential (technological) strides.
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I know 2009 was rough for alot of people, and it was not without some hardships for me as well, but this year has been one of my best years overall, and definitely one of the best for me here in California, where I’ve been glad to spend the majority of my two thousands. I met (and exceeded) just about all the goals I set for myself this year for ( my 2009Collapse )
I had a very good Christmas this year spending time with the ‘rents and showing them around town. Besides showing the out-of-towners the usual SF tourist locales, the highlights included seeing The 39 Steps at the the Curan; a quite entertaining, funny, and manic performance. The JCM had a very good and informative exhibit on Maurice Sendak. And dining at The Carnelian Room (at the top floor of the B of A building) on one of their last nights at the before it closed for good on 12/31/09.
Recent art stuffs:
-Digital illustration done for the Lakeshore Symphonic Winds Christmas concert flyer:
-The promotional photo I shot of the Twilight Vixen Revue is in this week’s issue of The San Francisco Bay Guardian (page 17), as well as today’s Examiner (page 23), promoting their History Of Dance show; best of luck to them this Friday.
-My sketches also got some exposure on the December Dr. Sketchy's Blog (and in the new blog banner.) and also won a contest to be included in the official Dr. Sketchy’s promo material for 2010.
I wish everyone the best for 2010- It can only get better from here...
Recently got a bunch of packages coming in from Amazon after a spending spree last payday. It's been keeping me very entertained, but also very distracted. Wasted too much time this weekend instead of tackling my projects. I got quite alot done in the few days I recently took off of work two weeks ago, but only about half of what I had planned to accomplish. There just never is enough time, is there?
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I'm looking forward to finalizing three projects right around the end of December, and the extra cash I'll finally be getting from said projects.
Ugh, at work and at home, things are going to be full-tilt busy without letting up until New Year's. (I'm looking forward to having guests come and stay a few days this year for Christmas, but getting my place ready for when they come is going to add to the holiday stress.) Stressful weeks at work coming up, especially with me having to help cover for a co-worker out on leave for 2 months. At least time flies by when I'm busy. After a recent streamlining of procedures I'd found myself with less work to do, and it seemed to make the days just drag on so slowly.
Some recent random coolness (with links) worth mentioning:
-The folks over at the travel website Wingbus are using one of my photos I took in Macau on one of their webpages on The Grand Waldo
-The DVD release party for Nara Denning's Neurotique was quite cool, watching neo-silent films with live bands providing the soundtracks. (Go Audra-bot!)
-Some awesome paintings by Yumiko Kayukawa at the Wild, Wild East opening night.
-I also had a blast at the Star Wars-themed dance party at this month's Villainy.
Here's some recently completed digital art, part of the "Containment Couture" series: Some ideas of Haute Couture type hazmat suits I had (and first sketched) waiting at DFW airport right after the swine flu first broke out back in May. The ideas came to me as I was watching people walking around in fashionable face masks. I finally had the time to flesh out the concepts in detail- also partly an excuse to experiment with Photoshop effects:
I won't have the free time to finish the next few of these until things get way less busy, like, in two months...
I’ve been neglecting this blog for some months, but not for lack of things to say, quite the opposite, in fact. Too busy to blog. I won’t attempt to recount months of activity in a few sentences, that would take a twitter expert. (However, I will mention the recent fun trip I had seeing Matt and Taylor visiting in Corona and Pasadena this past weekend.) But I will say, despite occasional difficulties these months have brought, I feel so fortunate, happy, and blessed. Opportunity just keeps knocking at my door. I feel like years of hard work are finally beginning to pay off, or at least keep me stable in these unstable times. Things at work have gotten so much better, streamlined and almost-stress free; months in the making. The only thing I dislike these days about my job is the time it takes up, time I often wish could be used in more creative ways. I’ve got so many things going on outside of work I sometimes find it hard to concentrate on the corporate stuff. So much to do, so little time.
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After I wrap up my 2 current graphic design projects, I have decided to finish some my own art first before taking on any more contract work (I may even take time off work to do so.) With the exception of something I’m truly excited about: I was recently selected along with a few other artists to participate in a project through an art Museum in LA. More details to come as completion will be in December; exposure on their website will be a prestigious way to round out what has been a very eventful and fortunate year for me...
The past several weeks have been incredibly busy, full of ups and downs, but overall I am very content these days. The recent bad news was losing my car, after some dumb lady wrecked into it while it was parked on the street, totalling it. Luckily, I wasn’t in it at the time, and her insurance paid a nice settlement. The anger has subsided, but the little inconveniences remain; I still haven’t decided if I’m going to get a new car just yet... (I was pretty bummed out when I cleaned my belongings out of it and walked away from the repair shop, it seems almost silly to get so emotional over a machine.)
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Besides that, I feel that life is so rich lately, with so many new experiences, and the chance to meet and collaborate with new people. My artistic/ illustration side projects haven’t been this creative and and lucrative in a long while. After a CD album art project, it looks like I’ve got a painting comission next. I also completed some illustrations for an iPhone App which should go live next month. (Speaking of which, it took a few months for me to get used to my iPhone, but now I love it. The app Shazaam is the best $2 I ever spent, so sweet.)
And, out of the many pics I took from a recent photo collaboration with the beautiful and bohemian Nettie Harris, I think this is my favorite image:
I have been using the time on my daily work commute to get some reading done; I can finally start crossing some books I’ve been wanting to read off the quite lengthy list.
William Gibson’s Neuromancer is a very interesting read.
Many of the elements included in the plot (the internet, hackers, virtual reality, AI, genetic engineering) are no longer science fiction today. It must have seemed like mind blowing ideas when he wrote it back in ‘84, it’s still a visionary, complex and eerie story.
I am about halfway through Zadie Smith's White_Teeth which is enjoyable between the serious themes it explores, and also very well written.
I feel so relieved that June is finally here. At work June 1 was the final deadline for those of us that hadn’t been laid off to move into a new big conglomerate office in Oakland, (the second such move for us SF folks). For quite some time I was often unsure if I would make the final cut, and making it to the final move often seemed like a distant intangible thing to me. Many co-workers assured me my track record was good enough (and I noticed that those that mocked my strong work ethic in the past, as if it were uncool are no longer employed), though a few of the layoffs had nothing to do with performance. For the past three months I’ve felt like I had to put alot of things on hold, due to not knowing if I would have a job by this time. For three months I feel like I’ve been rolling with the punches and jumping through hoops and holding my breath as rounds of layoffs and many last minute changes have been thrust on us. I feel I can now breath a sigh of relief for the time being, and I’m thankful to still be making a steady paycheck in these difficult times.
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Still, I feel bummed out about the exchange of trading working in San Francisco to working in Oakland. Geez, I’m going to miss working in downtown SF, amongst all of the ambiance, sights, restaurants, and history of SoMa and the Financial District. (Oh, I mean the Barbary Coast district, not Financial District; the names of some of the SF districts are officially changing.)
Now, I’m ready to get on with things, and concentrate on finishing some lingering contract/side projects.
It’s been such turbulent times these months, ups and downs; the economy, the stupid swine flu and such. I was happy to go to Dallas to see the family and my mom’s retirement. I recently helped celebrate the wedding of some old friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. I was saddened to hear of the death of my God-mother.
Another recent change of pace was having lived with a roommate for the past couple months. It was fun to share so much downtime with a friend. It also made me realize how very set in my ways I had become, having an apartment to myself for so long, and it reiterated to me that not all of the habits I’ve fallen into are good or efficient. (My procrastination is also amplified when there is someone else to pass the time with.) I also discovered that for some reason I often feel uncomfortable making art when someone else is around; once I get started it’s ok, but starting is the hard part.
Here’s some recent art; life drawing of Dottie from 111 Minna last week: