Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election 2012: The End of the Universe

With the election now just twenty-four hours behind us, a cursory glance at Facebook, Twitter, or national news outlets reveals one thing: because of what happened last night, we are edging closer to the end of the universe.

It's not America that's dying. It's not the destruction of Liberty. The election didn't usher in a dark day for the country; within the next four years, the universe—everything as we know it, as well as everything we don't know and cannot possibly comprehend—will cease to exist.

Before November 8th, 2016, everything will go away. And we won't even know that it's happened. The universe will disappear, and it will take Democrats and Republicans, pundits and laypeople with it. Maybe it will all be one big implosion. Or maybe a fire will ignite from somewhere light years away and blow everything apart.

Whatever it is, by the time we hit November in four years, nothing will be here. And it's apparently all our fault.


Monday, November 5, 2012

SPE Northwest - Eugene, OR

For me, November means dropping everything for a weekend and heading to the Northwest Region of the Society for Photographic Education's annual conference. The various regions in the country hold annual conferences for artists, theorists, educators, and students to present their work and ideas, and there are opportunities to have portfolios reviewed, rub shoulders with the heavy hitters in photography, that sort of thing.

This year, the University of Oregon hosted the conference down in Eugene. Though the trip was a long one, it was well worth it. I presented the images and theories behind the UFCK photo project—which, after discussions with and encouragement from colleagues, I've decided to press on and continue—and the work was met with many positive questions and responses. It was a good feeling, especially in the face of the head cold I was getting over. 

This year's lineup of presenters and panels was the most solid since I started attending SPENW when I moved to Oregon in 2009. Amjad Faur addressed the current state of contemporary Arab photography, and Justyna Badach showcased her Bachelor Portraits series—and what stood out most to me was her process similar to the way in which I worked for the UFCK photos. Ted Hiebert spoke about the psychic photography of Ted Serios, and Hiebert works with his beginning photography students in psychic experimentation in order to address the tension between information and imagination within the medium. 

Southern Oregon University's Erik Palmer (follow him on Twitter! He commands it!) concentrated an entire talk on social networking and social media, and how these new avenues of connecting allow a photographer to reach a large audience much more easily in the past. He stressed that this is an important paradigm shift in how we teach students, and he also might have mentioned that everything we're doing now is probably not ideal, and we should completely overhaul how we teach photography curriculum. 

Mary Goodwin's presentation about Minor White was hilarious, frightening, and uplifting. If I could get just one student to stare at a photograph for a half hour before responding to it, it'd be an accomplishment no matter what the student said. And that's without incorporating anything having to to with Zen Buddhism. 

Other exceptional presentations included, but certainly weren't limited to: Lucas Foglia, "plain communities," and the "Frontcountry"; Allie Mount and her long-distance collaboration with Irish photographer Gary O'Neill; Christine Garceau and the Kodak Girl; and U of O grad student Ian Clark, who showcased five short films from up-and-coming filmmakers. The whole thing was capped by a quirky and moving presentation by Honored Educator Dan Powell, who overwhelmed me with his poignancy and poetic explanations of his photography and the slippage therein. 

The U of O campus was really a sight to see, even in the light rain that fell almost the entire trip. Eugene is kind of a strange little town—as little as a city of 150,000 can be, I suppose—but full of fantastic food and drink. The conference was held together by its volunteers, its presenters, and the U of O itself. Here's hoping that future conferences are as put-together as this one was, because it was certainly a great experience. 

Now go and vote or something, nerds. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Deadline Extended: "Sick and Tired"

In 2007 or 2008, I became a teacher. I had accumulated enough experience through graduate school for them to trust me with a class of my own. I don't remember if I did a decent job or not with that Beginning Photography class, but I do know one thing about teaching that class:

If I set a deadline for students to meet with particular assignments, I stuck to it.

I had been through undergrad and had experienced professors who would extend deadlines for assignments all of the time. In the world of college, I was always under the impression that I was being prepped for "the real world," a world with deadlines, stress, and consequences. When a teacher took liberties with changing the deadlines for assignments (sometimes on the days when assignments were due), it left the students who had completed things on time with a strange taste in their mouth. There was a collective air of "dude, what gives?" in the classroom.

Because of that, I work through complications with students and never change deadlines the day assignments are due.

I bring all of this up because the same thing is happening in "the real world" now. If I were an accountant or lawyer, this would probably be different. But in the world of art and art exhibitions, it seems that extended deadlines are now par for the course.

The most recent deadline change I've experienced is that for Critical Mass 2012. Photolucida's annual juried competition is one of the biggest networking opportunities for exhibiting photographers.

And this year, I feel like I finally have the chops—and the courage—to enter. The past week was a flurry of Photoshop and scanning, of the spot healing brush and image resizing. I finished up my portfolio of ten images (now visible for the first time on my website. Don't be fooled; these are new versions of familiar photographs) and submitted. The deadline for the competition was noon today.

Twenty minutes after I submitted my work, I saw on Facebook that the deadline for Critical Mass had been extended.

It got me thinking. After a quick search of my photo email inbox, I found that since December of last year, I still had emails about extended deadlines from fourteen different competitions. Many of them are repeats from the same organizations. There are probably many others that I never hear about because I am not on particular mailing lists. The exhibitions and competitions with extended deadlines are listed at the end of this blog.

An extended deadline for an exhibition tells me two things:

1. "We haven't received enough entries for this exhibition, so please tell your friends to submit."
2. "Your work was received prior to the original deadline, and it's not good enough to be shown in our gallery."

While #2 is a big stretch in both logic and imagination, and is obviously not true, item #1 is almost a logistical slam dunk 100% of the time. Most arts organizations struggle to make ends meet, and they charge entry fees in order to recoup their costs. (Critical Mass actually has a section on their FAQ page that outlines where the entry fees go towards their overhead and other expenses.)

Submitting work to shows and being rejected shouldn't be taken personally. I'm getting more and more used to it every week. (A rejection letter came to my house today, actually.) Deadline extensions, however, feel like more of a slap in the face because it makes you call the work you put into submitting work on time into question. When you're given more time, you second guess yourself. At least I do.

It doesn't matter to me if a deadline to a show is extended and I'm rejected from the show. It's happened before. Or even if I get in. That's happened to me too, but that's not the issue here. The issue is that, like the professor who changes deadlines in the middle of a semester, making people work on something for a specific date only to extend it at the last minute is an insult to artists everywhere.

Pick a date and stick to it. If it doesn't work out this time, then set your new (extended) deadline accordingly when the call for entries goes up next year.

And to the artists who aren't submitting their work to these shows on time: get a move on. Or get a planner or something. This isn't undergrad.


Onward Compe 2012 - December 2011
Midwest Center for Photography Juried Exhibition - December 2011
SPE Member Show at RayKo Gallery - December 2011
LACDA International Juried Competition - March 2012
Manifest Gallery INPHA 1 - April 2012
PDN Great Outdoors Contest - April 2012
Midwest Center for Photography "Grow" exhibition - April 2012
PDN Faces Contest - May 2012
Midwest Center for Photography "Vacate" exhibition - June 2012
Midwest Center for Photography "Midwest Photo Emerge" - June 2012
LACDA Juried Competition - June 2012
PDN "The Look" competition - June 2012
Manifest Gallery Recent Paintings - July 2012
Critical Mass 2012 - July 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Steph - 8/25/11

"Don't make fun of my email address. I will be around August because where the shit else will I be."

Thus began my communication with Steph,'s resident sassypants and alpha female, one of only two women I would photograph during my east coast trip in August of 2011.

Even though is usually a non-visual place–as in, many people who regularly participate never post photos of themselves–Steph is an exception for one distinct reason: her tattoos. In early 2011 (or late 2010), she had the face of John Goodman tattooed on her right leg. In the run-up to the project, a Michigan tattoo place ran a contest on Facebook to select a winner for $500 towards their next tattoo. Steph's entry was for another tattoo of her next-most adored celebrity: Sam Watterson, or District Attorney Jack McCoy, from NBC's Law and Order, from whom she happens to have named one of her dogs.

"[G]enerally it works best to have someone come in the backyard so I can let [the dogs] out one by one to meet and so I can tell you what to expect from each one of them. They are all cruelty cases, and three of them don't really need the intro, but one of my girls needs  a minute to warm up and my Dachshund cannot be touched. No one is dangerous, they will not bite, but my Dachshund will probably yap the entire time. I know this sounds neurotic, but such is my life."

Thus was my introduction to Steph and her dogs. I arrived with my photo gear, we shook hands, and then she led me to her backyard and proceeded to let each dog out one at a time in order to get accustomed to me. There were six, including the aforementioned Dachshund–who mysteriously didn't have a problem with me–and a much larger dog who was still a young pup and chewed on the legs of my tripod during the entire shoot. 

In my notes for this photo project, I have nothing written down from my visit with Steph. I don't remember what we talked about, except that in talking about the message board itself, she revealed to me on the boards there is a secret section that is only for women. Steph was watching "a murder show" and drinking a Coke. The dogs wandered around during the shoot, and various ones appear in different proofs and final films.  

Steph is a force in the Michigan thread, though she's only met a few people from She insists that she regularly invites people to hang out, but they always bail. Of all the people I met on the trip, she was the subject most similar to their online personality, most notably because of her lack of tact when it comes to addressing anything, whether it's hairstyles, Jersey Shore, dogs, tattoos, or the melange of characters in the Michigan thread. 

When I emailed her to tell her my schedule was more open than I originally intended, because several of the other Michigan folks had busy schedules or just backed out, she bluntly replied:

"Every one in Michigan is a dick except me."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Kern - 8/24/11

Kern is a Spartans fan. So, naturally, when they lost a close conference game a few weeks ago to the Ohio State Buckeyes, I thought of him. He was at the game and tweeted images from his seat. It was a bummer, and I remember thinking that a guy like Kern doesn't deserve to be bummed out.

That's because Kern isn't the kind of guy who'll bum you out. Ever. He's the guy that everyone is friends with. I learned that the instant I stepped into his apartment during the early stages of my whirlwind photo project trip. He offered to help me carry equipment, he offered me something to drink, he introduced me to his roommate, and he asked me what I wanted to watch on TV. (Since it was August, it ended up being the Tigers game.)

Kern knows everyone on the message board. A native Michigander, he attended Michigan State University with no less than four other board members. They're buddies. They go to baseball games, they go to Slow's for barbecue. They hang out. It's what buds do.

Kern boards from his phone. "With Tapatalk [a message board app], there's no need to even board from a computer any more," he told me. He was the first person I had talked to who mentioned boarding entirely from a mobile device. The scope of the social network within - and the Internet in general - changes quite a bit when folks aren't tethered to a computer that's connected to a wall. Kern's jovial and welcoming nature was almost evidence of that; as one of the board members who seemed most plugged-in to the other people on the board, it seems appropriate that his mobile device connects him to the rest of us he can't grab a bite or see a ballgame with.

The Spartans bounced back - defying the "kern curse," so to speak - and won last weekend's Big Ten Tournament en route to a number one seed in the upcoming men's NCAA national tournament. I know Kern will be following them along the way, with his friends, and probably posting what he thinks from his phone the entire time.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Super Tuesday! Wacky Wednesday!

And there it is. Super Tuesday has come and gone. As far as the eye-dropper selecting, paint swatch making, and Adobe program switching is concerned, it was a little slice of heaven. Ten states held primaries yesterday, and, because I've been slacking, I've tacked on Washington to this image, showing 11 glorious swatches from which to select colors for whatever you might need paint, fabric, or tattoo ink.

For the sake of brevity, I'll just list the states and where the colors come from, since we're getting into the bulk of the project, and I've run out of flesh tone source images. Trust me, stranger colors are coming soon, so long as all four candidates continue to stay in the race, as they've promised.

Washington - flesh tones from a photo of each candidate's oldest child
Alaska - flesh tones from New York lead photos from 2/28/12
Georgia - blues from candidates' website logos
Idaho - reds from candidates' website logos
Massachusetts - color samples from photos of each candidates' house's roof
North Dakota - flesh tones (and greys) from photographs of the candidates' parents
Ohio - colors from Time magazine cover images
Oklahoma - New York candidate profile images
Tennessee - candidates' website background color samples
Vermont - blues from each candidate's undergraduate institution's logo
Virginia - flesh tones from candidate wedding photos

As an aside, I was having a hard time with what to do with the colors from the photos of the candidates' weddings. Newt Gingrich has had three, and I couldn't find an image of Santorum getting married no matter how hard I scoured the web. Since only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul were on the ballot in Virginia, the situation sort of just worked itself out.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sing-Along: Laura Gibson in La Grande

It was supposed to all be a big deal. Laura Gibson, a Portland-based musician released a new album. The album's name? La Grande, called so after the town in Oregon of the same name. The local Art Center happened to have connections to Laura and planned to showcase the musician and her band in a unique, CD release event.

I live in La Grande. There are few big deals that happen around here, save for the recent fiasco surrounding the dolt-ish mayor and his anti-gay comments from his Facebook page.

Slurs and pigheadedness aside, The Laura Gibson show, through its initial planning stages, was shaping up to be a big deal. Nay, it was becoming a huge deal. The Art Center has grown in popularity in recent months, with growing childrens' art class enrollments, well-attended gallery events, and the occasional fundraiser. The success of a show like this could make the Art Center into something even bigger.

But on the eve of the concert, doubts lingered. Was it going to be a big deal? The presale tickets numbered in the dozens. As in, one dozen. Laura and her bandmates were posting images of their travels on Twitter leading up to the show. Well-traveled by the time they would arrive in La Grande, any snags could potentially sour a relationship between the musician and town she came to love and eventually name an album after.

The band barely made it over the pass on the way from Pendleton. Sound check took longer than expected. Feedback from the microphones was awful. The opening band, local favorites Correspondence School, had their equipment off to the side of the stage while folks started wandering in. There wasn't enough wine. There weren't wristbands to mark of-age patrons, there weren't enough volunteers to take tickets.

With everything seemingly going wrong, with patrons arriving late, with the show starting late, with the feedback, the, well, everything going the way it was, what happened once Correspondence School took the stage was truly magical.

Outside the Art Center, the snow fell. The town stopped. By eight or so, more people stood to watch Correspondence school than had ever stood in the Art Center at one time. The feedback stopped. The wine showed up. The crowd quieted. All of the setbacks didn't matter in the face of the music.

Laura Gibson and her band took the stage a little after nine and, in a way only an acoustic ensemble can, blew the roof off the place. Her birdlike voice and welcoming banter between songs helped the crowd welcome her as an honorary La Grandian for the night. At times, the crowd grew loud amidst the quiet songs from Gibson and her band, but by the end of the night, one of those rare, transcendent moments happened that people have a hard time recollecting, but never forget.

The snow fell and the set wound down.  Laura pulled the microphone  from its stand and addressed the crowd. "We've got one more song for you," she said. "It's a sing-along song. And there aren't even any words to sing." She sang through the "oh oh oh ohhh" twice for the audience and everyone chimed in for another bar.

And the song started. There was no break, no advice when to sing that part and when to stay silent. It just happened. And with "The Rushing Dark," with everyone singing, the chatter subsiding, the eyes focused on the performers, the collective voices of much of La Grande combined to create this one artistic event that, in my humble opinion, seemed very unlike La Grande. This concert ceased to be that, a concert, and instead transformed into an event.

Laura Gibson, her band, "The Rushing Dark," and the rest of the set that night showed people what can be accomplished through true artistry, understanding, and ambition. She didn't have to name her album after our town. Many–the uninitiated, mostly–would wonder what someone from Portland would even find interesting about our quiet mountain town.

But with this show, we all figured it out. We're special. Our town is special. This music is special, like a gift that only an artist can give to a place, because it's not really a thing. Now, for those of us who were at the Art Center (yet another truly special part of our town), that gift only exists in our minds and in whatever grainy photos or videos might remain in the years to come.

So, thanks to Laura and her band for being sweet and friendly, the Art Center for its ambiance, and thanks to this town for making at least one person, Laura–an outsider, no less–come to realize what we've got. Through that, we were all able to realize it ourselves when that one person came to town to show us what it is that we've all got. And we get it every day.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Three States in One!

Well, the wheels are churning as spring approaches. The GOP Primary Paint Swatch© set grows and grows by the week, and I fall behind on blog posts as I come up with new ideas on what to make in the studio.

There were no major surprises or upsets in the primaries in Maine, Arizona, and Michigan. So this blog post doesn't need to drag on and on or anything.

The colors you're seeing come from images from February 8th (Maine), still images from the Arizona debate on February 22nd (Arizona), and color samples from the candidates' websites' "DONATE" buttons (Michigan). The latter swatch provides nice, GOP-ey red tones to coordinate with the mucky flesh tones of many of the previous swatches.

Have fun coordinating the colors. After a brief stop (and swatch) in Washington state, it's on to Super Tuesday, March 6th, where ten swatches will debut at once.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Aram - 8/23/11

The Continuing Saga of the UFCK Photo Project: the Aram

With four or five or six photo shoots under my belt, the summer months of 2011 were a frenzy of logistical emails and postings. In the beginning of the year, when the project funding was announced, I made plans to travel during the early summer, around the fourth of July.

Then, I bought a house. It was a good step towards normal, adult, decorum, but that ordeal set me back several weeks, and before I knew it, the end of August, Labor Day, and the beginning of my academic year were all staring me in the face and I had to get on the road for the project.

More emails. More planning. More spreadsheets. I used maps and the Internet to try to figure out the best routes to take. I would be shipping my equipment to my parents' house in Michigan, fly out of Boise, pick up and go. By mid-August, I had a crude plan in place to follow a big loop from Michigan through Chicago, down to Tennessee, back up through the DC area to New York before heading home through Philadelphia.

Sorting through the schedules of almost two dozen people was one thing. Stepping off a plane and meeting someone you'd never met before was another. The first person on my list of subjects, and the main focus of the entire project from its inception, was Aram.

Let me tell you a little bit about Aram.

He's a character. A relatively normal character, but a character nonetheless. On he is easily the the site's most recognizable members, both because of his appearance and his personality. His loves include the Beatles, vinyl records, the University of Michigan (and especially its Marching Band), Michigan beer, soul music, playing on a vintage baseball team, his Armenian heritage, and his academic studies, among others.

For whatever reason–most likely because Aram has been around since its inception and the inception of its predecessors, which has resulted in a more extensive reputation than someone just joining the boards–Aram gets picked on. A lot. Oftentimes, it's in good fun, and he takes it in jest. It's schoolyard teasing among friends. Sometimes, though, it's, well, rougher than that. He's opinionated, sure, but his opinions resonate across this online community oftentimes like wildfire. He's different, and I knew that before I even met him in person. He's emotional, which rarely serves one well in an online forum as sarcastic and caustic as can be. But his specific emotions somehow help him stay afloat and keep a level head through all of the derision and nitpicking.

His penchant for oddball comments, photogenic tendencies–which lend themselves quite well to an almost innumerable catalog of animated .gif images–and general demeanor and reputation as this sort of online forum celebrity were what initiated this project in the first place. In my eyes, he was this walking, living, breathing meme, and I had to investigate what it was that made Aram the Aram.

Because I had shipped my photographic equipment to my parents' house, it put the camera out of reach when I landed at Detroit Metro Airport. So I split my photo shoot with Aram into two parts: the first would be a sit-down visit where we talked about anything and everything pertaining to the message board. Then I would return the following day for the photo shoot once I had my gear with me.

This means that I spent the better part of a day traveling from Oregon to Detroit, picked up my luggage and my rental car, and was driving to a stranger's house to sit and chat about who-knows-what. For the first time in my photographic life, I was nervous, and it had nothing to do with standing in front of a classroom of strangers.

I had a notebook, a tape recorder, and a water bottle. No plan, no questions, no getaway plan if Aram turned homicidal and started throwing vintage 45's at me.

Aram answered the door in a Fat Possum Records t-shirt. If that doesn't say anything about what kind of guy Aram is, then this blog post–and maybe the entire photo project–is a giant waste of time.º

My conversation with Aram, and the photo shoot the next day, went almost too well to describe. He was jovial and welcoming and more than willing to talk. He had a hard time believing his life–or online life–was somehow worthy of interest from an artist, let alone photographic documentation. We met for over an hour and a half that first day, and I learned about Aram's fascination with the city of Detroit, how he managed to survive a year-long grad school program in Chicago (and what he was actually studying), and what he was doing back home in his parents' basement.

The following day we continued the conversation while shooting and over lunch. Aram recounted, as best he could remember, his hilarious and eventful night at his first State Champion concert, why he wanted to take a trip to Israel, and what the deal is with his giant beard.

It turns out that Aram is a normal guy like he insists all the time online. The difference between him and many of the other people who post at is that he rarely holds back. He's truthful to his ideals in a way that sets off a lot of people. Hence, the poking fun, the comments.

Aram is probably the person that is most comfortable being himself when he's online. And it's strange, since this whole project started with him and how we're all different–we have to be, right?–online compared to our real lives. For Aram, there isn't really a line between those two worlds for him. He's a bit younger, he's been posting online since he was in high school. (I, for instance,  didn't discover the world of online message boards until I was a junior in college.)

While the story about Aram and our visit could go on and on (and will; see the footnote below), the fact that it was my first stop on a long photographic journey was, in retrospect, one of the best things about the entire project. Everyone who agreed to be photographed was more than cordial and welcoming, sure, but there was something about Aram's demeanorª–and the fact of knowing there are people like him out there–that makes me realize that this project has merit, whether or not the in-depth stories of the characters involved ever get told.

º Aram is by no means an indie music expert, but the fact that he was wearing a Fat Possum Records shirt–celebrating the small record label operating out of Water Valley (Oxford), Mississippi says loads about his personality.

ª He would be the first to comment: tl;dr

Thursday, February 9, 2012

All In: The GOP Primary Race

So the candidates have been squaring off in debate after debate after debate. There were 18 debates before the first GOP primary in Iowa on January 3.

Up until Tuesday night, the paint swatches were simple in that I had video footage from which to sample flesh tones. Everything was operating to the tune of one debate per primary. Tuesday night threw a wrench in the proceedings, in that there were three primaries being held with no debates in between.

I had to scrounge. In this new TRIPLE SWATCH™ from the GOP Primary Paint Swatch Series©, color selections come from Nevada Caucus results images, NY Times results page thumbnail images, and, in the case of Missouri, high school yearbook photos of the candidates.

Because of the increasing paucity of debates, the palettes are increasing and will become more variegated as the race continues. Expect colors from alma maters, house photos, automobile images (if I can ever find a pic of whatever Rick Santorum drives), and more.

Like some of the more stubborn candidates, I've gone all in with this project. In the weeks to come–I can't even think about Super Tuesday right now: 10 primaries in one night on March 6–this project will grow into something I didn't even begin imagine when it all started. I'm optimistic about the results.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Nevada Caucus: Hey Ladies!

The latest Paint Swatch from the 2012 GOP Primary Series© comes from Nevada, that hotbed of scandal and sex and ho-hum election results. (Mitt Romney won again! Yay!)

Because there wasn't a debate between the most recent primary and this one, colors are taken from images of each candidate's wife's skin tone.

The array of colors from the entire process is starting to form an interesting–if not bland–spectrum. Colors deepen or desaturate but the general monochrome is there on nearly every swatch.

Upcoming elections pose the same problem as the Nevada contest; there are no debates scheduled until the candidates meet in Arizona on February 22nd. Until then, new and interesting ways of representing the candidates' fleshy tones will have to be sought. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sunday Art #4

I'm back of the regularly scheduled art schnide with this piece I did for good friend and La Grande-ite Gregory Rawlins. He approached me a few weeks ago to do a poster for his upcoming concert at Union's LG Brewskis pub.

Lots of pen and ink on paper I found in a stack near the west wall of the studio. If you'd like a high quality version for printing, please let me know. I'm sure Greg would love extra hands hanging them around town.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Once Again, Florida Messes Up

After a week in which Newt's campaign seemed to be running on endless energy, with babble about moon colonies and free stuffed animals for everyone in America, Floridians decided to ignore the awesome and choose cyborg-esque Mitt Romney in their GOP Primary election last night.


Things were beginning to get interesting, with debates deteriorating to petty accusations between Mitt and Newt while the seemingly real politicians–Rick Santorum and Ron Paul–stood idly by and watched the circus.

This official Florida GOP™ Primary Paint Swatch© features Newt at his pinkest yet, thanks to the cameras of NBC; colors for this swatch were taken from their coverage of the debate on January 23rd.

In other random news, my good buddy Kieran Johnson has been ramping up his photographic output, and his work hasn't looked better. Check out his blog here. You can follow him on Twitter, too, just like you can follow me, if you like.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Photos from Long Ago

In October of 2011, the Art Center at the Old Library hosted its annual Grande Ronde Artists’ Studio Tour. I found myself in a “booth” at the Art Center itself with fellow artists Susan Murrell and Jaime Gustavson. The crowds were light and I wandered around the Art Center–an old Carnegie Foundation library–with my 4x5 camera and a couple of packages of Fuji Instant film.

I had sort of forgotten about the images until I opened a drawer in the desk and there they were. I had never gotten around to scanning them, so I thought I'd put them on a secret webpage for people to see. You can access that page by clicking here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sunday Art #3 (and a half)

If you don't think that these GOP Primary Paint Swatches are hilarious,* you should check out Newt Gingrich's South Carolina Primary victory speech. He never misses a beat, dropping references to Barack Obama's "left wing friends in San Francisco" and how we're headed towards an "Alinksy/European socialist" regime. Pretty good stuff.

The South Carolina GOP Primary Paint Swatch™colors come from screen captures from last Thursday's Fox News debate in Charleston.

Now Newt's campaign will pick up its jowls and head down to Florida, where they'll try to upset ol' Mittens once more. If he does, it'll certainly make the next few months very interesting.

Also attached, and accompanying this swatch in the Sunday Art category, is a quick sketch of the poster I've started for the upcoming Greg Rawlins concert in Union, Oregon. I've never transposed something from a tiny pen sketch (about 3" high) to a large (11"x17") poster size, so this will be quite the experiment.

* It's totally fine if you don't think they're hilarious. They're not really that funny. I just needed a comparison for Newt's bombastic speech-making.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sunday Art #2

Never fear, my friends: the Sunday Art train keeps a rollin' on. I hadn't forgotten about this drawing I finished earlier this week (and started last week), I just didn't have a scanner within reach to get it uploaded to the web.

I've been on a stratification kick lately when I'm doodling, and I figured to put some more effort into a more polished version of what I've been doing in meetings.

I suppose this qualifies as a regular Saturday blog post, but I might chime in later tonight if the mood strikes.

This week I'll upload some sketches I'm working on for a concert poster. A good friend wants me to draw one up for a local show, so that's the project for the next week or so.

Also, stay tuned for a new paint swatch from the South Carolina GOP primaries, taking place today.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Strangers Pick the Best of 2011

Each December, the users of the online forum submit their votes for the best albums of the previous year. All of the submitted lists are tallied by some dear soul who has the time to assign point values to each record.

My relationship with the UFCK folks has changed quite a bit over the last year. The UFCK Photo Project was a big step for me integrating myself into the community and becoming a regular. In the past, the only claim to fame I had was the occasional animated .gif I would throw together in Photoshop.

I submitted a list of albums this year for the first time. By no means a music expert, I scrolled through iTunes in the hopes I had listened to some new music during 2011. I had. Nothing extensive, to be sure, but there was enough variety that I culled together my favorites from among the critically acclaimed to the less-so.

Several things happened during this year's UFCK top 25 voting. State Champion, a relatively unknown (save for rock band from Louisville, took top prize. I met frontman Ryan Davis during my photo trip, and photographed him for the project, despite his never having been a member of the message board. (Though the band has been fodder for many a fantastic board experience.) Enough nice things cannot be said about him, especially considering I met up with him at his place at 9am, while he and his girlfriend were getting ready to head up to Kings Island for the day.

To access the list of UFCK's top 25 albums of 2011, go here. What you'll find is a mix of eclectic and fantastic music. With each entry on the list you'll also find a custom blurb written by a member of the forum. Sometimes the blurbs are ironic, sometimes they are clever. Other times, they are simply a litany of inside jokes that any outsider (or boarder with fewer than 50,000 posts) would fail to understand. The blurbs are usually more descriptive of the person who wrote them than of the record they're describing.

Take a look and you'll learn about UFCK, some new music, and the lives of people who take their music very, very seriously*.

And you'll also have a chance to download, print, and enjoy your very own State Champion Activity Book. Happy coloring!

* This blog does not endorse Dave's Rawk Blog, its opinions, or any of its absurdity. It is worth experiencing at least once, though.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Keeping the Ball Rolling

It's all but over for the republicans running against Mitt Romney. He cruised to victory in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, and if he's able to secure a win in South Carolina, it will most likely be a Romney/Obama election (plus, you know, the other guys) come November.

At left you'll find the next installment in the GOP Primary Paint Swatch© Series 2012™. The pasty skin tones in this New Hampshire set come from an ABC News photo from the debate last weekend. As with the Iowa swatch, the NH file is 300dpi and ready for printing in order to get that perfect Rick Perry shade for that bookshelf you've been promising you'd build for your children. Or whatever.

Collect them all! Coming up next is the South Carolina edition of the GOP Primary Paint Swatch© Series 2012™.

And remember to click to follow me on Twitter:!/meisenhower

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Art #1

In keeping with my previous post about making art on Sundays–and in the face of much procrastination of working on syllabi and what not for the start of winter term tomorrow–I've finishing something that I thought would fit this category.

This will be an ongoing project in conjunction with the presidential election. For those not in the know, four years ago I was working on my master's thesis, a project that addressed mass media, photography, and journalism through the story of a fictional third party candidate.

Something struck me during the brief stints I spent viewing the Republican debate in New Hampshire last night, and I came up with this. Right now this new "project" is in its infancy, even though it appears that it's Mitt's nomination to lose.

The tones in this swatch were taken from official candidate photographs. Most color samples came from averaging an area of pixels in the forehead of each candidate. Numbers are the votes each candidate received, in tens of thousands.

At 300 dpi, the swatch is ready for printing on any thick card stock. With custom color matching available at places like Lowes and Home Depot, now you can paint your entire den with a good shade of Santorum.

More swatches will follow each official state primary, time permitting. Right now the best concept I have going is to use a group photo from an ABC News story from the New Hampshire debates last night. Maybe I'll have to set up the old tripod in front of the television for the next one.

Because of the project from 2008 (which was actually more like 2007-2009), I thought I had tired of elections and politics. But I think the tight race for the spot on the red side of November's card will actually make me pay some attention, even if it's only to mock the candidates, the media, or politics in general. At least it's got my creative juices flowing, as opposed to Santorum juices.

One Week In (And a Day Late)

With the new year, I've decided to add some regulation to my ever-increasing daily life.

After one week of cavalier behavior, and with the end of vacation, I've devised the following schedule that I hope to stick with as much as possible. The new schedule should increase my productivity as both an educator and artist as much of the regulation involves making stuff or getting stuff in order. Below is the schedule I've concocted, no doubt subject to change.

Saturdays - Blog posting. So consider this yesterday's blog post.*
Sundays - Art making. That basement studio gets lonely most of the time. (This also parallels with my book-a-day project from a few years ago.)
Mondays - Music. Haven't opened the guitar case in ages. (Halloween, to be exact.)
Tuesdays - School. All day. Prep work, meetings, paperwork, you name it.
Wednesdays - Catch-up day; whatever I've missed or let slip the previous days gets made up here.
Thursdays - A free day to relax
Fridays - Cleaning. Studio, house, office, classrooms, cars, laundry, self, etc.

I've also been using Twitter much more. And I'm always hoping more people I know will join the conversation. It's a great way to catch artist calls that pass by CAA, Facebook, and the other usual outlets. Twitter name is meisenhower.

* What a stupid blog post to start the year. Seriously. Please email your complaints to me instead of posting public comments here.