Cascade

The word of the day is cascade.

The way I visualize a cascade is like marbles on a shear cliff face with small ledges spaced evenly apart.  On each of those steps is a glass ball made of possibility as one rolls off it’s ledge it falls and strikes another ledge and another ball, knocking it off so it rolls off it’s ledge and falls…

…and so on.

That is what the last three weeks have been like with one new event happening in my life and that triggering another. The cause does not IMMEDIATELY precede the effect, but the effect is obvious at the time of the collision it is a forgone conclusion.  This happened = This is the result.

It all started when my former employers decided to get rid of me by cutting back my hours, like someone who wants to get rid of a fish does so by drilling a small hole in its tank.  When it became obvious that this was happening (meaning when the third person I knew told me that my former employers had TOLD them they were doing it) I found a cold resolve in me that had been missing,

Several friends told me that I should ask god for help.  My entire life the idea of formalized prayer and ritual were artifacts of a system that uses the blessing of a diety to control people.  At the same time I have never been comfortable with the idea that we understood everything and everything is only a matter of chance. So rather then praying I talk to either the universe as a whole or to my personal connection, Louie.

So I hadn’t been in touch with Louie for awhile so I guess it took awhile for him/her to pick up my voicemails but then I started to feel the motions.

It started with an 8AM set call in South San Francisco and currently is manifesting as me sorting through stack of paper to find the pink slip for a car I have used as both transportation and as a Cenotaph…and I sense it is not over yet.

So I hope your day is filled with happy cascades like I have been enjoying…if it hasn’t I will put a good word in for you with Louie.

Ja ne!

Morning After

When has a terrorist been so damn adorable?

Hey there, did you miss me oh my invisible pals?  Yeah, I know…

So sorry I haven’t been around but July has been a busy month.  On a mundane level there have been dramatic tribulations at the day jobbe (isn’t that what day jobbes are for?) and the heat here in Sonoma County has been pretty intense.  Somedays it reminded me of why I left Sacramento…just a bit though.

Mostly though I have been working with Jesse Bloch over at Crissy Field Media on an animated segment for the KSAN documentary.  I have already done some work for the film but this time Jesse wanted a completed piece to cut in for the submission to the Mill Valley Film Festival.  He also had specific parameters that he wanted in terms of look and feel.  In the past the work I have done has been, well, like my nature ANAL RETENTIVE. Jesse wanted something looser, more like an animatic with jarring cuts and loose line work.

At time the latter bit was like chewing on aluminum foil.  I now realize that I am the Adrian Monk of garage animators.

At the same time I had certain things I wanted to play with. Ever since the election of…that THING…I have done a pretty good job of hiding from the work on CRUNCHYROLL, which is an anime site on the net.  With aid of an old pal from when I was working at NAMCO I have explored aspects of anime that I had never seen.  In the past it was all tech and mech and Miyazaki.  Now I started looking at the broader picture, everything from Rom Coms to Surreal fantasy.  In the latter I found something that has inspired me, Shows like MONOGATARI and FLCL made me look at animation in ways I have not looked at it in a very long time.  Animation not as product but as art.

In addition as I scanned the works of all the studios I also began to appreciate the visual language, elegant at times, decending into tropes at others.

Hell I hadn’t even known what a TROPE was in this sense, that is how out of touch I was.

In a world where “cultural appropriation” is often taken up as a battle hymn ,with internet villagers picking up virtual torches and pitchforks. I began to toy with the idea of adapting some of this language into my work.  As I did this work became play and I found myself doing long hours and not really caring. As my old pal, Ken Macklin, used to say I “went into the STATE”. To us “the State” was that place an artist goes to when the world around her/him closes in a grey mist and all that is left is you and what you are working on. It is a STATE where you create.

So I cannot post what I did just now, except over on PATREON (yes, that is a shameless plug), until after the Festival.  I will post some of the new stuff I will be doing going forward though as I have some ideas about what I want to do next.  I want to add a third dimension to a similar work while making the audience think it is still 2D.  This is something that has fascinated me for years but I got caught up in supplying clients rather than doing my own work.

Yeah, I’ve had enough of that…

Mechanical horsehead in my bed…

Actually no it wasn’t, I mean business was slow but Sonoma County seems to have emptied out for the holiday like a tube minty-fresh crest but that doesn’t mean that please surprises cannot occur.

Ken and Buck, grinning like foolsIn my case my old chum, Ken Macklin, stopped past the shot on a sleepy morning to say hi and chat between customers. Ken and I have been out of touch for sometime until he dropped past this selfsame shop a couple of months ago so it wasn’t earth shattering to see his smiling puss but it was pleasent nonetheless.

Ken and I were “kids” (in our twenties) together in the early stages of our art careers. As part of a herd of incredibly talented artists (them, not me) we traveled up and down the West Coast doing Science Fiction convention and Comic Convention art shows.  We would get one room and pack it full of sleeping bags, hang our stuff up in the con art shows then cluster in an ever so bohemian fashion discussing what was new coming out of Japan (we had direct ties then that no one else had and Anime/Manga had yet to take hold in this country yet), whether JC Lyndeker could beat Dean Cornwell at Texas hold ’em (he totally could) and drinking what ever beer landed in front of us.

Now Ken is Grey and I shave my head so I am not but you know what, when we talk we might as well be at “WTFCON 42” in some unknown burg.  It was great. At this meeting I had my daily sketchbook so I drug it our for Ken to peruse, reviving an old ritual that most artists will recognize.  As he leafed through it’s pages he stopped one particular drawing, one I have noticed other stopping on.

Concept art for Millard Fillmore Master of Steam.
Simple thumbnail concept of “This Horse” head from Millard Fillmore

It’s not a bad drawing but I think of it in stand artist terminology-“…more of the same old shit”. Ken smiled and made said he had always found more in my mech illustrations then in my organic stuff.  Not the first time I have heard that, by any stretch of the imagination, but it cast a bright light on decisions I had made in the past. See here is where I made another (stupid) conscious decision at the height of my career.  For years I had done mechanical art for games and illutrations and I found it boring, the old “Stanley Kubrick Been-There-Done-that” argument.  Ken’s kind comments just  threw more light on something I have been thinking.

If I want to get my career going again shouldn’t I be doing stuff I do well, effortlessly rather then trying to branch out in new directions where I am not so strong?

The answer seems kind of obvious, don’t it?

To Do list for July 1

Today it is time to turn away from the studio, and my real life, and venture off into hippie land to sell art supplies.  When Jackie Stewart was leaving to go race in a Gran Prix he used to tell his kids that he was:

“…off to earn pennies.”

I have always thought this was a good description of what it is to have a “Day Jobbe”.  I spent so many years working in my career field that it has been a bit of a stretch to get back into the habit of going somewhere to do something you don’t really care about for people who you hardly know so you can pay for food and stuff.  It is the way of thing though and away I go.

If I have any energy when I get home I will do some zBrush as R8 shows a lot of promise.

So I guess that is what you can hold me to this morning…