Category Archives: Daily sketches

Line Cooks and Love

We don’t have Saturday off
We don’t have Sunday off
We come home smelly
We don’t make a lot of money
We often looks like we tried to kill ourselves multiple times
When we do come home it’s not until late
We don’t hang out with your friends
We don’t have normal friends
We are obsessed with details
We are come home elated
We come home wasted
We come home disgusted
We have one day off and like to sleep in
We have a particular sense of humor
We can be completely cold
We are crass
We love to talk about food
We argue ad nauseam about how to cook an egg

Despite all of this we have a deep passion. Something that crafts us. A passion that is sparsely rivaled in any other profession. Its that passion carries over into the ones we care about and love. As we age we allow ourselves to slow down to show it.

Why you should hire me. NOW!

I have a BFA. Everyone is saying that an MFA is the new MBA. They are partially correct. I didn’t start out as an art student, mathematics came first. Mathematics have me a way to look at the world in certain terms. It’s what I love about it. Theoretically is you knew all of the variable there isn’t a problem you can’t solve without mathematics. It gave me such certainty, until I started making art. Art was this silly world of feelings and emotions, at least that’s what I thought. I started my BFA the semester I got back from Denmark living as a pig farmer, but we will get to that. In my practice I learned that art is math and math is art (that’s a tautology).

Both art and math are governed by a base of assumptions. Math we have postulates, art we have history. Both grow from the pasts they have inverted and follow a logical progression and iterative process. The most wonderful aspect of both of these areas of study is that they can train the mind in finding solutions in not the most obvious places. That was my education, and I pushed that as hard as I could everyday I was in university.

Art was a way of receiving an assignment. Reading the instructions and limitations and bending them to my will. Most student would ask for clarification on exactly what they needed to do to fulfill the assignment. I would push and reinterpret the “guidelines” to allow me to create something outside of the usual scope of the object being created. One example of this would be a project I had in a fundamental 2d class. We had to use words to create a design. I built a flip book in flash, then wrote a program to export frames. Took each one of the frames to a printer and produced a flip book. No where I. The rules said I couldn’t, but everyone else in class had a static image.

I was a pig farmer in Denmark. In my transition between math and art in university I had the opportunity to live in Denmark for six months as a pig farmer. I had never farmed before in my life. I really hadn’t ever been to a farm either. I had the opportunity and I took it. I arrived in Denmark in July. I settled in to my room on my uncles farm that night. I woke at 5am ready to start working. I learned how to go around and make sure the pigs had water, food, the straw was dry, and they were healthy and happy. I would be working there for the next six months with my uncle and his wife, or so I thought. Roughly three weeks after being there my uncle had informed me that I would be watching the WHOLE farm by myself for ten days while he and his wife would be on a cruise. A much needed break for them.

I was quite taken aback. Knowing that they had ready booked the cruise and I didn’t have any way out of it I accepted the responsibility, and decided I had all the confidence that I would be able to do it. There really wasn’t any other option. Those ten days went fairly well except for the automatic feed system getting jammed, which I had to fix while getting directions over the phone from another farmer.

Soon enough I was working a few days on another farm. A chicken farm. Usually at the beginning of the day I would get fairly vague instructions for the tasks that needed to be done that day and was set off on my own. I learned a lot of skills working on these farms. How to repair machinery, plow a field, mend various other items, back up a tractor with a trailer on it. No matter what the job was I faked the confidence to do it, because I had spent most of my life just figuring out how to do things.

Anyway, if you are a potential employer I have never worked in a true corporate environment. What I do have is the knowledge to figure it out. A previous boss would just say, “handle it, handle it”. This was code for I know you will figure it out just don’t care how the sausage was made (something else I know how to do). I have a breadth of knowledge, and a passion for what I am doing. Hire me already

Thank you potential employers.

P.S. It’s a prerequisite your company cares about making a difference in the world.

The Last Time.

I have never been terribly attached to material things in my adult life, just a few things. My blankey, which used to belong to my uncle until I inherited it at age four and hope to pass on to my child someday. My first watch that I bought in high school for $400 because my father insisted that I get a watch seeing that I was late all the time. The watch didn’t have any numbers so I was late a few more times until I figured out how to read it. The cross stitch with my birthdate and weight my mother made for me when I was born. My first Tonka truck, a big red fire truck with and extending ladder and detachable front.

For me its been the intangible that is hard to let go of, especially the knowledge of the last time. I would like to think I have become more of an optimist in recent years, but I’ve always been a romantic. My outlook on life shaped through the many romantic comedies I choose to watch. Yes Yes, I am admitting that I LOVE romantic comedies. In romantic comedies life is predictable. Someone is in a disillusioned state, starts to achieve, hits an obstacle, overcomes obstacle, a slightly low point follows, then a happy ending. Its never the last time in a romantic comedy, there is eternal hope. One might say that denial is the essence of hope, I disagree.

Hope is something that keeps me going, it assures me that if something is important that it will come around again and an even more important time. I don’t believe that any of us truly backtracks in our lives. I had a very smart professor in college explain life’s timeline to me once. He said that time moves in only one direction, but its our experiences and history that circles around that straight line. Ok thats a little abstract, imagine a straight line. Now imagine a spiral around that line moving forward with the line, kind of like a spirograph. Time moves independent of the spiral, but our lives are on the spiral continually moving in and out of sync, and even overlapping. Using this theory of a life cycle makes me believe that events in life a destined to overlap, the hard part is letting go and allowing the events to overlap.

Life is built by experience, and because of that there is never truly a last time for anything. Each new experience builds on the last. Each new experience has by definition a part of the past. Look at the art world, each new piece has the full weight of every piece of art created before it. It is how we have built this civilization, each old experience giving way to the next. I used to believe that there were last times, but now I don’t. Remember every experience in your life and use it to build new ones.

What if terroists twittered

Lets put down the guns and pick up the tweets

Lets put down the guns and pick up the tweets

Ok I admit, the title is a little misleading, but I was going for shock and awe. But I recently saw Salmon Rushdie speak at Miami University, in Oxfod Ohio. The speech was well composed, full of cracks of conservative cracks and some godless comment, which definatly increased the tension in the room.

He talked about how we measure the cost of safety. Briefly put, the fear of getting hit by a truck shouldnt keep us from crossing the street. Talking about issues ranging from domestic to india, kashmir and pakistan. A few points came to light, the first, the worst of the west is at war with the worst of the east. This is key to understanding in order to moving forward with the “war” on terrorism. Rushdie pointed out that recruits for terrorism are people that feel like their life is hopeless, and they have no voice. When I feel I have no voice, which happens from time to time I look at my twitter stream and ineveibtably find something funny, exciting, engaging. If people in this situation twittered would they become terrorist recruits?

Answer: Maybe, Maybe not. When someone is able to see an influence on the world around them, or in the case of these social networks the world surrounding them, it makes them feel better (at least me). It allows people to interact in a way they would normally with people, just not with the normal people they would meet.

***Disclaimer I just thought the photo would add a little meme and levity to the post***

Why do we need to know how to draw anyways???

Stickman

Why is it if I draw like this...

After a conversation, about the benefits of drawing, with a previous professor at the local coffee shop. I started to think about the current pedagogy of teaching the practice of creating fine art.

If drawing is the basis of art, as I am told, then why don’t you need to be able to draw to be an artist these days. Now some people might disagree with me, but please finish reading until you post a comment.

I think that there are very good lesson learned from drawing such as; understanding the difference between what you see and what you think you see, understanding how/why you make the marks that you make, and refining ideas. In my undergrad experience I had to take six drawing classes and only two of those classes actually taught me the lessons above. The reason is because before drawing 3/4 we did small task based assignments (contour line, inner contour line, perspective). I don’t disagree with learning these things, but I do disagree with the way they were taught. Because they were treated as isolated assignments I just wanted to get them done and over with.

I can conceptualize things like this

I can conceptualize things like this

That was drawing 1/2 and then I ended up in drawing 3/4 the atmosphere changed. The class wasn’t treated as a “class” but more of a workshop. We came in and drew vigorously from life for two hours and then reflected on the drawings, learning and thinking after every step.
I think that it is the process of making – reflecting – acting – making, in which became the invaluable lesson of drawing.

I think that after you realize this process in drawing you can apply it to any other form of art without sitting down and drawing. For me it is most appropriate for an idea to spring into my head – then sit on it – then do some samples – then make it. Because I don’t sit down and do a detailed sketch of exactly what it will look like give me the flexibility to evolve alongside the piece.

At some point “drawing” becomes more of a technical problem instead of a learning dialogue. I think it is time to acknowledge this. By doing so we can substitute what we can learn from most processes what we learn from drawing, therefore turning drawing into a mere technical problem.

A sketchbook for the 21st century.

Keeping a sketch book for me has always been a problem, because of the way I process information. Usually when i learn something I tie it to something else and thereby building a web of experiences, that all correlate an build on each other. The linearity of an old sketch book tends to separate thoughts instead of unifying them. There is no way of keeping a current dynamic log of events and things that you have seen and read. This is why I use a computer to keep ideas together, because i can always search through stuff to find it, spending less time organizing things and more time producing. Especially with what I do, I need a dynamic way of tagging things and keeping a constant flow of ideas.

 

Corporations want everything!!!

What is a corporation?? Well it is this thing that only exists on paper and is greedier than any one person. So the MLB was trying to sue a company that does a fantasy baseball league on the grounds that using the players names and stats is an infringement on MLB trademarks. 

How silly is this? C’mon, as far as I’m concerned these are things that happened not things people own. Corporations are getting greedier and greedier. Especially in the domain of genetic engineering. Monsanto, an prolific perpetrator of patenting living life forms because of what they altered. I just wonder when the day will come when you can claim rights to another human being.

Well the Michigan and flordia delegate are being counted.

If its one thing I’ve learned is that in this country if you bitch and moan enough you will eventually get your way. If Hillary would have been leading in the delegate count I doubt she would have made such a big deal about these delegate votes. As it stands she needs these votes to even be competitive in the run for office.

Another thing is the simple fact that nobody plays by the rules ne more. Its always changing the rules for the benefit of the individual. Its like we are a nation of 5 year olds playing in the back yard. For me, when I step into a situation I understand that there are guidlines set for how to act, respond , and generally conduct myself. I know when I don’t live up to those expectations I shouldn’t deserve better than what I get. In many of my classes in college, there are many times where a teacher will back down from giving out an assignment when the class whines about it, instead of stepping up to the challenge and tackling it head on.  If this decision say nothing else it day that as long as you complain enough you will get your way, because apparently this country has lost what it means to play by the rules.