Sunday, September 23, 2012

I think I just want to... disappear people. Leave nothing but the traces.

Of course then the debate becomes whether I want them to essentially walk up and leave, float away, evaporate, keel over dead, be arrested, eaten by wolves, abducted by aliens or whatever.

Now, in the semi-recent events surrounding Harold Camping's rapture-end-is-nigh spiel, there were quite a few people doing things that looked like this:

Honestly though, while it was rather funny at the time I don't currently find it all that interesting. Aliens aren't much better. I feel a more subtle approach might be best - as if perhaps someone were taken forcefully from a room, but not in a graphically violent way. Tipped over chairs, spilled cups, open doors. Leaving the impression that someone was taken, or had to leave in quite a hurry and creating a host of questions in the viewer.


I have some images of my latest series! These aren't the final documentation photos, and some of the colors may be a touch off, but they are decent for the most part and I can't resist sharing. I debated it for awhile, but finally caved. Do keep in mind they look much better in person. I know, I know, people say that all the time, but there are a lot of sculptural details in the wax (hand carving and layering) that simply don't show up in these photos.

Visability - Mounted photos, ink on rice paper, wax 17.5x11.5

The process is... interesting to say the least. I printed the images off and then mounted them on hardboard/masonite, requesting the guy at the hardware store (Derek) to, essentially, cut the board on the inseam so that my photos would not potentially have problems covering the full space, which turned out to be a solid move.

I knew I didn't want a clean cut on the rice paper, since the look falls into the grunge aesthetic. The solution to that was simple enough - a clean brush dipped in water and traced around the figures allowed me to tear the paper in various ways without risking the images. I thought of the idea when I remembered a line of water as the easiest way to break off segments from the roll (if you didn't care about it being smooth, that is).

I found out through experimentation that if I rushed things and applied any wax coating before the rice paste had completely dried after applying the ink drawings to the photo that instead of enhancing the paper's ethereal qualities it instead actually made it more opaque (rice paste is a traditional tool used for mounting ink drawings done on rice paper, or for various kinds of collage work - very handy stuff. The ink is indelible after drying, as opposed to, say, watercolor). Having to work over the course of days killed me, as I am not known for being patient.

After heating the wax in a crock-pot until liquid, I applied it using a very thin fan brush, creating a light layer to start with over the entirety of the paper parts. I then built it up by adding more wax in sections and creating textures with drips, brush-strokes, and splatters.

When the wax had cooled (which takes no time at all), I used a tool that resembled a hair stick (which resemble chopsticks or skewers) and carved into the wax which always remains relatively soft, creating accents, detail, and figural relief. I could have worked deeper, but I wanted enough thinness to let the ink show through without the wax obscuring. If I do something like this again, I might also use woodcut stamps to add design work into the piece.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


New Merch!

All of these are available for sale, and all have a limited supply (the pins especially) so let me know if you are interested in the comments or through an email. Or whatever. I am not picky.

Now back to work for me. Time to finish some art!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sleep is a talent I never had, anyway

I actually am doing rather well for how little sleep I got last night. I stayed up all night making ink drawings on rice paper to use for my current project. Which is largely photo based. Go figure.

Anyway, in a gross misuse of technology I was using my Cintiq monitor as a lightboard of sorts. It worked surprisingly well, and the ink was rendered harmless by a coating of saran wrap. Felt or similar fabric is generally more preferable as a working surface for ink on rice paper, as it readily soaks up the excess, but one does what they must. The rice paper was too thick for highly detailed transfers, so I mostly just marked down the more key elements and shadows, filling in the details using those reference points. It worked well enough and it certainly didn't hurt that I was going for a relatively wet and grungy feel to begin with.

I really wish I had, at some point, taken pictures of the endeavor. The thought did occur to me at times, but I was always too preoccupied with making the images. And also hoisting a monitor sideways on my lap (inconvenient when I accidentally clicked the side buttons every now and then).

This is really the reason I stayed up so late, the preoccupation that is. I was totally in the zone, and was thoroughly convinced that I was wide awake and it was simply the best idea to see it through as I was producing work that I was happy with. This lasted until I was done, when I was immediately assaulted by a wave of exhaustion and was staring down only a couple hours of time for sleeping.

So it goes.

I end with a teaser about the project I mentioned above. That photo surely must be the penultimate achievement of my artistic career, don't you think?

Monday, September 17, 2012

"My Favorite Artistic Advice"

I was trying to help out an aspiring yet struggling artist today when I recalled a stellar video that it took me ages to dig up from the internet again. So, since I put in all the work I will share it here as well.

It really is quite good.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Consent, Assignment and Release

This is transcribed loosely (with none of the specific details) from the cards I hand out at work. This covers, in fine print, the back of the card:


By consenting to [] representatives photographing my image and/or the image of a minor (each, an “Image”), I am (1) representing that I am at least eighteen years of age and, if applicable, the parent and/or legal guardian of the minor being photographed, (2) consenting to the Image(s) appearing and/or used in any medium currently existing and hereafter developed, including, without limitation, on the associated [] website located at [] (the “Website”), without any compensation to me or the minor or any heirs or successors, (3) assigning to [] and it’s parents and affiliates all worldwide right, title and interest in or to such Image(s), and (4) releasing in perpetuity [all involved peoples] or [any entity which now, or in the future, controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with [previous peoples] and subsidiaries and affiliated entities thereof] from any claim of right in respect of such Image(s), including, but not limited to, claims of false endorsement or rights of publicity or privacy.

If you wish to have your Image removed from the Website or have any other questions, please contact us at []

I find this particularly interesting because I severely doubt it is any way legally binding. It is a seemingly pompous gesture. For the record, when we actually want to use a family's image for promotional we always have them sign a model release.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tick Tock

I am trying to find volunteers to sit for me; people with disorders, disabilities, or other such conditions that are not readily apparent. I have been having okay luck with it. It's not been a desert, but it is less than I would like. 

How many people do I even need? I haven't even decided myself. I had one friend volunteer, but he won't be available until much later, and by then I will need to switch gears again. The idea is terrifying in itself. I am not sure I will have enough time. I usually don't feel so panicked until much later in the semester. I hope my own disorders don't start acting up.

I have also been working on a project revolving around "persona", one I had been contemplating for the past months - I had just not made the final connections until now. The persona is that of a peppy, friendly, entirely over-enthusiastic photographer of souvenirs. That is, the persona I have subconsciously crafted to do my summer job at the stadium. An entirely different kind of photographer than I am in the "real world". So what would happen if the two actually met? What if I tried to get people to take souvenir photos at say... Walmart? The gas station?

I could give them cards, very much like the ones I have at my job - complete with legalese - giving them a website where they could pick up their photos. I would of course make said website. I could make silly borders for the photos - like these were places people actually visited as tourists. Big bold letters saying "McDonalds! 9-06-2006". I would try to convince the people to do silly things, perhaps. See what I could get away with. And when people asked to take photos of me (as the always do) I would say of course, by all means, send them to the email on the website.

Yes, yes, I think I am liking this idea much better.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Chinese Ink and Modern Applications

So I believe I mentioned learning how to do some Chinese and Indian ink work and painting. I finally got off my lazy bum and documented some of the results. As always, click to expand.

Some rather poor bamboo. I have better ones somewhere, mostly in piles of messy sketches and in my notebook. These two get the form wrong, and I was still learning to handle the ink.

Orchid leaves, blowing in a spring wind. I also learned to do the blossoms, but again I seem to have misplaced them or used them for blotters.

A bit of a mix here. Traditional chrysanthemum styles and a skull from my sketchbook. I've put this one up before, but I believe this is a better copy. Maybe.

A variety of ways to paint a plum blossom branch. These were some of my favorite things to paint, the old gnarled gentlemen.

A painting based off of a traditional Chinese story, using a combination of Chinese and Indian idioms, as my my teachers referred to the patterns or practiced ways of making a form. The lake and various highlights are done in a silver guache. The piece has gotten a bit wrinkled in the painting/mounting/painting, so I am going to attempt some techniques I've researched usually used for flattening out watercolors. I will document the process when I do and post the results here. I'm hoping for the best.

Some shots of the reflective surface. This includes the water, blossoms, and accents on the clouds.

And this ridiculous collage. An exercise that I am still divided about. I like parts of it, whenever I dig down into it... but the overall... eh...

Marina Bychkova

This is a ball jointed porcelain doll crafted by artist Marina Bychkova. They are hand made, and hand painted, with fully articulated ball joints set with springs and soft leather.

I believe that these pieces are unquestionably art; though porcelain dolls are usually dismissed as craft, something never found in a modern art gallery. More akin to... Faberge eggs, perhaps. Personally I have always had a certain fascination with ball jointed dolls and doll making, and also in making molds and duplicates. The former I have no experience with personally, solely the latter. I would love to try my hand in it, but it seems a serious practice that would take me years before I saw results that I found satisfying.

So, if you like do leave me some comments about your opinion on craft and art - and about Marina Bychkova's work.