Archives of Blah

Personal or off-topic rantings and ravings.

Just so I have something to post really. What have I been doing?

Films:

Full Metal Jacket: Never seen it before, and it seems to suffer the same unfortunate fate as many Kubrick films. Everyone else has been doing loads of the same ever since, so it’s no longer fresh. Feels like it was made yesterday though, despite being over 20 years old.

The Day The Earth Stood Still (Remake): Haven’t seen the original but plan on doing so. I’ve heard a lot of crap about this remake, but enjoyed it on its own merits: a little over dramatic with touches of poor CG, but surprisingly intelligent for a blockbuster sci-fi.

Agora: Excellent, incredible film, marred only by a (seemingly unavoidable) cumbersome structure. It’s so wonderful to see this sort of budget go on a film that’s so staunchly un-hollywood and uncompromising. Not wonderful to see that practically nowhere is screening it… obviously a film about a famously intelligent and progressive woman doesn’t sell. Watch it.

Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to respond to my earlier post asking for opinions on my work! Apologies if there’s anyone I haven’t replied to personally yet, I’ve been trying to carefully digest every comment and give it the proper time to address before I reply.
I had hoped that doing this would help me see weaknesses in my work objectively, and it really did, to an extent that I didn’t expect at all! The fact that enough people replied, and that many of the comments echoed each other in some way allowed me to piece together how other people see my work in a way that I’ve never done before, and what ended up being uncovered was not just weaknesses in working method, but a flaw in my entire attitude to artwork.

What it seems to come down to is something that many people touched on, and Paul Fryer perhaps said best… I don’t have enough BEND. My characters aren’t alive enough, my figure drawing isn’t vital enough. In all my striving to be accurate, something along the way had become mechanistic, and I’d forgotten that the essence of storytelling (which is what I do just as much as drawing) is drama, exaggeration, distortion, that little bit extra that creates something more-real-than-real and makes up for the fact that art is only representative.

When it comes to artwork, my mind works overtime. What I like, what I don’t like, what I think other artist’s strengths and shortcomings are, etc etc. Since I think that there’s no such thing as perfection, even the artists I admire most are treated this way in my head at least some of the time. I find it comforting to notice mistakes in even the best artwork, it makes aiming for the quality of those I admire less daunting. I try to use the lessons I learn analysing other people’s work to help my own development, but analysing my work is always the hardest part. It’s nigh on impossible to see it in a truly objective manner, and my jaw always drops a little when it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a piece of my artwork, and I see what it “really” looks like.

So, assuming that other artists think the same way as me, there must be plenty of people with opinions on my artwork, most likely including people I know. Given that no-one ever knows how someone else will react to criticism, I’m guessing that there may be opinions about my work that have been held back in case I’m sensitive or just out of politeness. But, I really don’t mind. I’m thick skinned when it comes to criticism as long as it’s constructive, and I’d seriously welcome it as a way to improve.

So, I hereby open up the floodgates in my direction! What do you think of my artwork… I mean, really – warts and all?

Is there a niggling something you wish I’d address, a particular trait my style has that you find aesthetically displeasing, an obvious flaw in my method or something that lets down the finished quality of my work? Your opinions are invaluable to me as an artist seeking to improve.

I’d rather not hear responses like “no, I think your work is just fine”, since I guess it might seem like I’m fishing for compliments in an obscure manner, but right now I’m seriously looking for uncomfortable truths instead of ego boosters…

EDIT: P.S. Since I know some readers might only be familiar with Freakangels, if you’d like images to look at before you write a crit, please check out my gallery, which has a range of different stuff in. I necessarily need to make a number of short-cuts whilst working on Freakangels, so can’t often squeeze my best quality out of it.

I forgot to blog about this a while back when I found it! I think I’ve mentioned before that Satoshi Kon is one of my favourite animators, and this is a lovely little short that I didn’t know existed until I stumbled across it on Youtube. Enjoy ^_^

I’ve been wishing recently that I could contribute to SETI in some more meaningful way (see my earlier post), so when I heard about SETIcon, I decided that I’d go out on a limb, and donate a poster design to them.

I produced the image below, and to my delight, they accepted it, and are going to use it for promotion. Many thanks to Barbara from the Are We Alone? podcast production team for replying so extensively to my feedback and giving me the confidence to send this image on!

Last night, Kate and I were attending the award ceremony for The Arts Foundation‘s yearly fellowships! She’d already been picked as a shortlister among three other artists from a score or so of nominees, but we had no idea whatsoever who would win. Other shortlisters were Bill Bragg, Karrie Fransman and James McKay, all of whom have fantastic and totally different work. It must have been a nightmare to choose!

However, as the award was about to be announced, a little technical glitch made Kate’s name pop up on the screen, and there was a collective intake of breath from the packed-in audience (most of whom had to stand) and before I’d finished thinking “huh? what does that mean, is she…?” the award had been announced properly and Kate had truly won!

I still don’t think it’s sunk in completely, I’d become so used to thinking about that night in terms of its potential outcomes that I’m still thinking about its potential outcomes after it’s finished! I’m seriously excited to watch Kate’s project, Fish & Chocolate develop further, and now the fellowship will give her even more freedom to do what she wants with it. I read the 1st draft a few weeks ago, and it’s already something special, so watch this space!

The snow, which really only fell once, about 5 or 6 days ago is still on the ground! I don’t think I’ve ever seen snow stick around for so long (or start off so deep). Thanks to this (and Kate taking the time to read the manual) I’ve been getting more into my camera, which although old has a ton of functionality.
Here’s a time lapse video I took with it, looking out over the car park in our apartment block, along with a few photos of the nearby park covered in snow :)

Just before visiting my parents’ house at Christmas, I was lying a little restless thinking about all sorts of useless crap, when I started contemplating a way to fix the non-existent focusing mechanism on my gallileoscope. After a few moments, it hit me, LEGO! It was kinda weird how vividly I could still picture all the hundreds of different lego pieces I’ve got stored in a big blue box in my parents’ attic, so much so that I came up with a plan on the spot, and brought back the bits I needed after visitng over Christmas.
Before getting back to work I managed to set aside some time to put the plan into action, and with a bit of Green Stuff (epoxy modelling putty), superglue, a dremel, paperclips and the salvaged lego bits, I put this together!

It’s a bit ugly, but it does the job! *well pleased* :)

Back to work after a break, and a new year soon to come!
My goals:

  • Find more time for personal work, including sketching and location drawing.
  • Finish and publish My Untitled Project (edit: working title is now “Signal”)
  • Keep a keen eye on how much I procrastinate, and get into an efficient rhythm.
  • Focus on achieving a total amount of work each day, rather than for weekly deadlines.
  • Cut down time on the internet & disable my connection while working.
  • Spend less time on conventions and self-promotion and more time on friends and family!
  • Save for taxes each time I’m paid (sigh)

:) Hopefully it’ll be a good and productive year.