Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's Moving!

Here's the "Barf Monster" that I made using Processing to code the drawing and then to animate it. Part of me feels like I'm going backwards because my illustration medium is Adobe Illustrator, and I've dabbled in Flash and Adobe After Effects, so it's funny to have spent hours putting this drawing together when I could probably have done it within minutes using the aforementioned programs.

Still, the reason why I'm taking this course is because I want to know "how" things work. Why is it that when I put my stylus onto the tablet that a mark is made on the monitor? Curiosity is an important quality that I want to retain in my studio practice because it makes things go forward. However, the word forward makes me nervous because part of me is working on staying in the present, so flinging my thoughts and intentions too far into the future makes me wonder if I'm being dismissive of where I am right now; if I'm staving off the present to exist in some place that hasn't even formed yet.
This is where fantasies are created.
Or, it maybe it's goal setting?
I've wondered if it could also be equivalent to creative block; trying to do too many things at once, instead of focusing on one task at a time.
This seems almost counter intuitive in the age of multi-tasking, but I'd be lying to you if this never crossed my mind.
One of my favourite episodes of Ira Glass' "This American Life" is the one called "New Beginnings," that features Kevin Kelly who is the former executive editor of "Wired" magazine. He recounts his story as a young photo journalist who gets locked out of the place where he is staying in Jerusalem, and so he decides to sleep on the alleged spot where Jesus was crucified. Without getting too much into the details of it, he has a revelation which inspires him to create a type of experiment in which he is the sole participant. It's not a chemistry experiment where there are liquids, and beakers, and bunsen burners, rather it's more of a psychological one in which he strives to live only in the present for several months.

For most of my adult life, I've struggled to exist in the present.
Maybe it's because I come from a family where being in the present always seemed like a struggle, not because my parents didn't love us, they did very much, but it was trying to create a new beginning in a new place, and then to fight to exist on a level amongst our neighbours who always seemed to have
It's no wonder why Alice crossed over through the looking glass.
Social and economic classes aside, I understand how easily it is to become enamoured, or glamoured in a true-blood sort of way, by the shiny exterior to make you want to hurl yourself into its interior.

* You can see more of what my classmates and I have done in our Intro to Interactive Multimedia class at openprocessing.org. You can view the source code by clicking on the "Source Code" text to the right of the image. By the way, if you click on the animation you can make the water rise and the barf disappear. I know, I know... it's crudely done, but hey, save me the grief, I'm only at the beginning.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


This is from a previous post in the Summer of 2009 when I was invited by FITC (which produces technology and design focused events from Flash to motion and interactive art and design) to give a presentation at one of their conferences in Toronto. I assume I was invited because my art medium is primarily Adobe Illustrator, and some Photoshop, too. I don't claim to be any kind of expert user; admittedly, I learned how to use it through trial and error, allowing my own intentions and curiosities to navigate my decision to employ certain tools that would allow me to render my digital marks. It's very similar to how many of us learn new skills. I'm also fully aware that during those few times when I've given lecture-demos and workshops, that some audience members know much more "technique" than I do, which again, was the reason why I was so surprised to have been included in the roster of speakers within that conference.
Two years later and I'm finally (in a very basic way) learning the language, the code, the math, and the thought and working processes to create images that move, and interact with the user. It's a very abstract way of thinking for me. I was never very strong at math; my brain just never functioned that way.
Let x = my brain
y = math
x + y = cerebral hemorrhage
I have always been drawn more to subjects such as English, Visual Arts, and Music.
I categorized math as this cold and sterile subject.
And so I wonder, then, if I ever really gave myself a chance to be good at it?
Math is starting to become fun.
Fun is probably not an accurate descriptor at this point, but I hope that it will be soon.
Math is fun.
Can I say that?
Math is fun.
Math is fun.
I just spent about 4 to 5 hours this evening, working through my "Processing" homework assignment, as well as going to class afterwards. This evening, I learned how to program colours, and marks using, equations, and algorithms, letters and numbers.
Right now, it's difficult for me to follow along in class because the speed at which the information is passed to us feels very fast.
I wonder if it feels that way to the others who are sitting in front and next to me?
Math is fun.
Math is fun.
Math is fun.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Website (again)
I just finished making my new website. I seriously had to edit it because it was beginning to cause problems for users. It didn't work on iPhones, nor iPads, and I realized that the format was not showcasing my images the way that I wanted for them to be viewed. Although it's still not entirely complete, i.e., my "News" section is pretty slim, and I'm missing images in some other sections, I feel it gives a pretty good breadth of my illustration work.
I kept it pretty simple, using CSS to create a style sheet (courtesy of "CSS for Dummies, how-to book) and Dreamweaver.

Okay, massively full day today.
I'm out.
Enjoy your day!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Day One

My friend and I tried building a go-cart when I was about eight years old. He was a year older than me, if I remember correctly, and a pretty smart guy. I thought this because he talked a lot about things that I didn't know much about, like sex and computers.
He told me that I was born because my parents had sex.
I said that if that's the case, then his parents must have had sex too.
He said that they didn't.

The go-cart we were making was laid out on his driveway and front lawn as pieces of scrap wood, nuts and bolts, some other tools, and some wheels from a skateboard. I sat there and mostly watched my smart friend piece the random parts together. In my mind I imagined a wooden-box-shaped tub-on-wheels, coasting down Shady Hollow Drive like some episode of "The Little Rascals," or a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting, but with me in it.


Today, I said out loud, "I want for it to change my life."
Those are strong words filled with so many expectations.
I've enrolled in three night classes this semester; two are in computing, and the third is in basic sewing techniques. Sometimes when I tell people that I am taking such courses, they ask if I want to become whatever professional person is assigned to that particular specialty.
Do you want to become and animator?
Do you want to become a fashion designer?
None of the above.
I just want to expand as person, learn more, and live a full life.
I think I've been coasting on auto-pilot for some time now. This is not to sound aloof or arrogant, or even ungrateful, but it's the truth.
Why do you want to become an animator?
Why do you want to become a fashion designer?
I told you.
I don't.

Well not entirely, that is.

I've always believed that one's art and craft are extensions of themselves, whether aesthetically or conceptually, and so as a person changes, it makes sense for their work to do so as well. Within the medium that I have been working in (Adobe Illustrator) my work has changed considerably; however, I find that the more time that I spend using this material (because the software is the material and tool that I choose to use) I'm becoming less surprised by what this medium can do for me.

Today I used "code" or "coding" (gosh, I don't even know the proper jargon to use) to create a digital brush from an online open source, I assume that's what it was - a brush tool? - and I also learned how to create a circuit and then program the board to turn an LED light on. I have no idea how this is related to illustration, but I can tell you that the kid inside of me is skipping right now. I feel like a character in Dave Hickey's book "Air Guitar," the kind of person who can talk incessantly about things in their life that they love: like books, and surfing, and music to others. I met one of these people once at a framing shop in Manhattan, who moved to New York City during the early eighties from India. He was the son of Master Printmaker, who learned about this artform from his father. When he moved to New York City as a young adult, he continued to work in this field through some chance encounter with a stranger who also happened to work in a printmaking studio. That's a terrible and anticlimactic short version of the story, but more than anything, I recall the life in his voice, and the excitement in his gestures. That's what it feels like when I'm learning how to code. That's what it feels like when I'm learning how to sew. That's what it feels like when I'm learning how to animate.


We never did complete the go-cart. I think in our heads we imagined it would be done in an afternoon, and maybe it would've been if we had the help of an adult, but it was just the two of us mining through the supplies in front of us that we didn't know how to use, nor how to piece together. Still, it was a good day to have our imaginations fueled and sparked by the possibility of trying something new, trying and failing and then trying again.

* The image above was created using "Processing," a free and open source software that can be found online at http://processing.org