Monday, July 07, 2014

ending artist anxiety

What or who is an artist?

How does art come out of a person that qualifies him or her to be called or classified an artist. Oh, someone else has to recognize your talents and abilities wither fresh out the crib or in retrospect? LOL

Some art is accident, some inspired, some stumbled upon, some well practiced, some the result of training, some out of the knack. Some out of logical assessment, some out of idiot fun. Some art out of the copy urge, can't afford it I'll make it myself. Are you flattered or do you yell "thief"?!?

Are you an artist because you make money from your craft? Are you carrying on a tradition as a member of a guild, being practiced in "the art"? Or do you dabble like myself and find comrades among like minded artisan dabblers?  We fool ourselves saying we are not really artist, ha! We are artist!!

What do you do? Oh, I'm an artist. What kind of art? I, ah, do........................
Did you go to school for that? Then depending on wither you are commercial product or service artist or a fine artist. Where can I see your art?

If I am introduced as an artist, the persons usually responds with a request of a portrait before it is explained what kind of art I do. It is so awkward to have to define a box when you are out the box. It's just conversation, better for the artist to keep some photos on hand, a pictorial business card. Be prepared to show more than tell, a thousand words via a picture is more than you can say.

My summation, if I had to wait for others to confirm I was an artist, I'd never pursue doing it. Now being recognized as an artist in a broader community is a different thing. So, forget your ego thumping, I am an artist because that is the way the energy is flowing. Now work the energy, self practice, schooling, whatever it takes or that opportunity allows to do art. Observe, practice and show ones close to you. Expand your show circle, then ones can see that you are indeed an artist.

I am thankful I have chances to demonstrate my art energies in a larger context. Mural projects, community art center, conversations and critiques by peers like myself and long time pros. You got to get out there to balance the isolation of your creative space. Keep it real, after all you are an artist.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

applied art b4 and afta

I am too embarrassed to show the porch before we touched it, so here is a shot after we removed steps to upstairs and the upper desk.
The bottom pic shows the new deck as it stands now, almost finished. Steps and rails and stain and perhaps a small rain divert over the door. The most masterful work was in trying to get three opinionated guys to work together. Our skills were rough and our experience vague having done other things but not this, we did it. I am happy it is solid and level. This is applied art and if we were little more talented would be a work of art. Fancy caps on the posts, torch holders, spot lamps, cement lions next to the stairs, a outside kitchen, hot tub, who knows how far you can go. So, full of stuff I'll have to go away for a vacation.

I hope the wife doesn't clutter it up with furniture, planters and such. I like the space, especially in the morning. Well let me go cut the grass, I can see it grow pretty good from here.

Friday, June 06, 2014

applied art

As a former electrical draftsman and presently an art dabbler, I usually am putting all my energy into drawings. To draft the product to be built or illustrate an idea so that others can get the drift is the stuff I do routinely. This has changed of late.

The back porch of my home was a kinetic form escalating toward destruction. It was unmaintained, dilapidated and looked untrustworthy. When we tried to knock it apart the porch defied all our efforts. My bud and I had to dismantle it piece by piece. Despite all the caution warnings of concerned friends the structure was not going to collapse and yes the floor was a problem.

Where's the art?

Well I envisioned many decks but had to get practical. More than a picture, I had to dimension it on paper, consult a lumber yard for materials and cost, get permits and recruit a couple of friends to help. So, I got a hand drawn plan, a hand picked team and materials. It was weird commanding friends and orchestrating the materials myself but, It was my deck and that was reality.

Wow, it is really happening. I'm a concept guy not a builder.

My friends said quit analyzing, just do it. I told them what I wanted, we cut the wood for joist, post and hammered the footing hardware in place. In a drawing you could erase a line, change a size, in reality you measure twice, cut once but cut a little large because I and my friends are not pros. As we do it we get confidence. We realized it was not our inexperience but our not having worked together that was  the problem. We didn't really learn to work together until later in the process. The coolest thing was turning an uht-ooh mistake into a positive thing, the scariest was hiding a mistake in plain sight.

We are almost finished now, one of my friends went home, lives in another town. I was crazy to pick friends who didn't know each other. It did however work out and I learned about my friends and me and us together. That was art, the deck is not professional quality but is it supremely functional. I will have to show pictures when done, I promise, after I clean up the yard. I'm cool with it.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

settling into a groove

Being an art dabbler is not the way to go if you want to get something done. You have to spend time in a medium, in my case make the mouse sweat. I try many things and I've settled into a groove of sorts. I like Trimble's SketchUP, it handles 3d like an engineer. Blender 3d is great but too many nuances for me to get a grip on it. The other 3d program I like is Sweet Home 3d. It is pretty cool and even allows you to stretch the rules a little.

Here's a shot of a work in progress. This is imaging my garage as a studio.
The built in rendering package allows you to account for the time of day, 4PM in this pic. The skylight is actually a glass coffee table scaled up. You can select the interior lights to be on or off, shadows and reflection are figured for you. If you are a picky perfectionist Photoshop or GIMP will tweak it more. As far as photo realism goes, this is pretty good but not the top shelf. Sweet Home 3d has 4 render settings, this was the third. Rendering takes time, the higher the setting the longer the process. I have to remind myself this is a representation not a photo of the actual. Perfectionist will go nuts trying to get better results. You'll have to use a bigger gun like Blender 3d.

Sweet Home 3d lets you import a floor plan drawing, scale it, then let you trace the walls over the drawing. Then you can add in doors, windows and furnishings. Folks have figured how to add roofs and 2nd floors. BUT the coolest feature is this: the aerial 3d view and the camera level walk through.

Now my previous post had a tif with the 3d people included with this program, the Caucasians are life like and the Africans are stiff caricatures. Intended or not, it is not fair representation. Better to just darken the skin tone of a white guy and slap on an Afro than clown around. At least it will look like a real human.
Relax, I've had the same experience in a life drawing class in which I was the model. It took the mostly white class 3 tries before they drew what they actually saw. People still don't believe race is subjective, an inner image problem. Mileage may very but for some, still needs work.

I have to add the clutter to make the scene more real. The only thing missing in the catalog of models is crumpled scrap paper. Sweet Home 3d is Java so it will on your PC with Java installed. Oh yeah, it is free, open source cool!

Friday, May 02, 2014

visuallize this, no black angels

I have a rant and maybe it's because I'm looking in the wrong place and I am cheap er broke. Us image makers especially we who use clip-art of people to populate a scene have a shortage of African-American, Black, African, etc; figures to put in these drawings. As I am not skilled in these things it is customary to use public domain or purchase (modest price) these figures.

I use Sweet Home 3d, the Caucasian character types are natural looking but there are one male and one female Afro-American characters. They are caricatures. The male is a morgue figure (stiff lifeless) and the female got huge boobs and looks like a dead hussy.

Clip-art of Afri-American people is scarce and so is 3d models of figures of the same hues. What a beef to have! BUT, suppose you were doing a project for your neighborhood that happens to be heavily populated with black people and other ethnic hues and you want to convey the real. It wouldn't be a hard sell to populate the picture with white folks but it does put a damper on expectations. Images means a lot subjectively.

So, there are a lot of Black artist who are into 3d games, making characters of monsters and super heros, villains, and aliens. Why don't you service an under served and under represented market. How in the heck can you project your images into the future if your likeness isn't in the plans that builds it, humm?

I use SketchUp for 3d work, it has a people populating scheme using 2d images that face front. It is easy to take a picture, cut it out and apply it. I even found a library of Afri-American images to use. I can't tell you how cool to design a spacey home and put black people in there. Man, got to do some full body shot of yours truly..............

Looking at the character market, there are game characters of every hue and description. What I'm talking about is the type used in 3d architectural models. These are usually pre-posed, standing, walking, sitting, etc; you can just pop them in for the effect and you're done. There are packages of Caucasian people, I haven't seen any with African people, business or casual. I'm just saying there are few images of black peoples for design purposes. Don't look at me funny, there are no black angels either, have you seen a black angel? This is deeper than you know.

PS. How deep? There were two European Renaissances, one that dealt with written languages, thus a war in words. Then the arts where the image also became a weapon of that same war. It is too bad words and images were/are used against us black folk but that is the truth. So yeah, we black artist can draw/paint black faces but the need is in the engineering pictorial arts, the clip-art realms not just games and sci-fi. There, I've said it and I'm glad! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

...........not as it seems

The Africans were enslaved so that they could be saved from their pagan religions, into god's kingdom, it is said. The ones doing the enslaving first had the blessing of a pope, the backing of wealthy money barons and entrepreneurs like Chris Columbus to carry it out. The gospel was never preached, nor was grace or mercy extended to the enslaved in the small picture nor the big picture. Christians who are thinking slavery was our ticket to salvation ought to stop. No, examine the facts of history, use reason, then stop. If faith is used to cover over history, then god is a liar, then god is not righteous, cause we were screwed by ones misrepresenting god. God got pimped out, we got screwed. Look at how us Black folk are in total today, we were the most civilized, now we are the most uncivilized. Many of us are waking up. We catch flack because we say the truth.

On the PC front. I installed Ubuntu 14, selected an obsolete video driver and my screen went black. Good thing I had two partitions as I mentioned my last post. I only had to reinstall the system on the system partition. It took many hours because my PC was wireless (slow) because my ethernet cable was damaged. The resulting setup was black screened also. Seems the files that saved the video setting were not saved properly.

Third times a charm. I noted everything that happened, changed the net cable, reformatted the system drive instead of reinstalling over top the old setup (one of the methods to choose). The install went very fast and it chose the correct video driver, again the ethernet cable was damaged the first time. Things settle down when you get a grip on all the parameters. Life is following a recipe, the spice is you tweaking to suit you. If it is a pie recipe and you get a cake, you should go back and read the recipe.

The moral of this story is that humans have tried and tested many things, thus life is a recipe, it shouldn't go wrong if you follow. BUT don't get hooked on sweets, that will throw the motive for cooking out of whack. That is how Africans wound up enslaved, other people hooked on hate, power, money, control, abuse and killing. And stop saying we did it too. Why didn't the rest of you say stop that? instead of ooh, that's cool, we can profit off'ah that.

Just trying to get you to think, use reason but don't say what's the reason. The real answers are not that simple.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

the future is...............

Tomorrow is all about the future but if I think of yesterday I am in the future today, right?

OK, If you want to get a handle on up to date thought about what has happened to Black folk then check out the documentary film "Hidden Colors" by Tariq Nashed. Mind you these are points of view but it gives a good idea of the real inner workings of what has happened to us. Now when I say good idea, I mean it ties together some loose ends, lets the cat out the bag, tears the mask off and opens the door for your own research. You'll discover your mind is not lost after all.

I noticed that many of us ghetto scholars (the term of endearment given to us who are not university trained and have the audacity study for ourselves and come to our own opinions "AND" openly discuss them, by certain black scholars) do cling to what we discover as gospel. We should avoid ego slashing, we are not at war with our own. Instead, adopt a trading card frame of mine, I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours. Put it all on the table cause the names and times have been scrambled to confuse the innocent, us. Is the puzzle piece a sky or a reflection of the sky? You can't tell if you are coveting the piece alone. OK, the covetous, zealous love of information is a disease and a trap. If you can't apply it you must go on a diet. Pace yourself, new stuff discovered by other people is normal. Discernment is a good tool for seekers of knowledge and wisdom.  

As far as PC's are concerned I switched from Mint Linux to Ubuntu 14, why? Because I wanted to get back to original Ubuntu and figure out the Unity desktop. The Unity desktop is awkward if you wince but I found that after using Mint and tweaking it to my liking I had designed a version of Unity only slightly different. Thus I can live with Unity just fine. How did I lick the lack of MS Windows type menu? There is a Gnome menu app that puts a menu button on the system bar, drops down a text menu if I get impatient.

My Linux upgrade/switching secret is: Two disk partitions, one for the system (10-20 gigs) and one for /home directories. This way if you must reformat to fresh install, upgrade, switch, you only have to do it to the system partition. Don't forget to back up settings, email addresses, note network and wireless configs, web bookmarks, etc; because some Linuxes do not save them. Now plug the ethernet wire in so that while the Linux iso image you saved to DVD or flash drive is installing it can go to the net and get updates while installing. This cuts a lot of time. When done check drivers, adjust, tweak, add programs.

Why do I even bother to fuss with Linux? It's free and as easy to use as Macs or MS Windows. The hard part is like going to a discount food store where the same food has different brand names. They may taste a little better or a little worst than the popular brand names but that is all. Most of all, Open Source has done a lot to make programs that handle the popular file formats and operate with the same or similar tools and interfaces as popular brands (did I say free!). Free is good, free is not cheap or evil, or lacking but does require intelligent choice.

There you have it, from ghetto to chateau in the same hood, gotta go, bye.