Category Archives: atlanta

It’s Official: the Slug has been stolen

Yes, it’s true, I’m sad to say. The Slug was stolen from WonderRoot Gallery on Friday, December 4. According to the staff, they were getting ready to hang for the ASIFA Animation Benefit Show…he was there at 10am, and at 4pm they noticed he was gone. I’m pretty sad, as I wanted him to meet everyone and perhaps do a little PR for me – he was supposed to hang for the duration of the show, the month of December.
I came Friday for the opening night and noticed my Nut piece was hanging, but the Slug wasn’t. I inquired, they said they’d look into it. Several days later, no leads. No slime trails. He’s a slug, right, can’t get that far, which is why he must’ve been slug-napped. Ok, had to throw that in to cheer myself up.
I know it’s not a Boccioni sculpture, or even art in some people’s eyes, but you just shouldn’t steal. On the plus side, it’s motivated me to make more…if people will steal it, maybe some moral people will pay a little money.
So sadly, there will be no slime for Christmas. If you have any leads, please let me know. I had a business card taped to the back, and my name signed as well.

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Filed under animation, atlanta

Nuts! Now in foam

ASIFA Atlanta recently had a call for cartoon/animation inspired art for a benefit show, so I entered the slug and this piece below. It’s from an illustration/branding project I had long ago at Portfolio Center, and I thought instead of just having a vector art printed or even a painting, why not use Fun Foam.

So, I had the bizarre idea to cut this thing out of foam to give it a bit of dimension and compliment its quirkiness. However, there’s much more strategy when working in layers of foam than you’d think (complicated by the limited size of foam sheets). Not to mention, clean cuts are not an easy thing, especially when layering four nut shapes on top of one another.

Anyway, I had a bunch of new sketches from this series I wanted to try out, but alas ran out of time. Enjoy, even if it looks a little flat from this view.

Nuts! Foam, 34″x 18″

Layers of foam

Squirrel detail, 5 layers of foam in some spots

The 3d feel is hard to photograph, can kinda see on an angle.

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Filed under animation, atlanta, Portfolio Center, Squirrels

Creative is in the name

Working from home/cafe can start to get to one after a while, but at least the interwebs provide some sort of distraction.

I noticed, while going through a regular gamut of sites today, that the word “creative” is a predominant theme. Well, I am looking at thing related to art and design, but golly it seems to be a bit overused in the ol’ URLs. Don’t worry, you won’t see me promoting CreativeSquirrel.com anytime soon…ok, so I just looked and it’s taken anyway.

First stop we go to Creative Hotlist to see if there are ever any new additions in Atlanta employment opportunities (rarely) and skim over New York positions to read and dream about positions (gotten some interviews off this, but no bites). While I’m browsing for gigs and hitting the C button, I check out Coroflot (even worse for ATL) and Craigslist (usually rotten egg opportunities for ATL, good for NY freelance) as well. And I’ve just found Creative Circle, which looks good for NY, but doesn’t cater to ATL. Creative Heads has one post for Atlanta, but it’s a motion gig, so that’s cool. And then there’s the Creative Group recruiting folks, but moving on…

Gig hunting takes me also to Motionographer, which then reminds me to look up some After Effects tricks….which leads me off to CreativeCow. A nice place for feedback and tutorials, and free. I still use Lynda.com, but it’s a good place to turn for random inspiration and I can put their tutorials on an ipod and watch em when I’m stuck in line at the post office (ew).

What to do this weekend? I stopped reading Creative Loafing in college, but I go back to the website every so often…got some inspiration, got some broken links, and even got a place I wanna check out tonight. Independent opinionated Atlanta newspaper, I’m still happy you are here through the ages.

It seems there’s much more “creative”ly named stuff out there, but that’s all on my mind for now. Ok, one more, which requires hitting the A button instead: AtlCreatives.com . I haven’t gone here much, but I probably should. I see their stickers around town, and anything with a sticker tells me I should be going there.

This guy just looks creative.

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Brush in hand

I’ve been wanting to paint lately, but I feel a twang of guilt each time I get close to the canvas.

The fact that I have downtime is new to me. I’m not used to having this time for creative exploration, and since I don’t know how long it will last, I want to use it wisely. Or it may go on forever.

So, should I be spending this time learning new skills or refining current ones? By these, I mean sitting in front of a screen. This fall, I got a really nasty note from a big client regarding my programming skills for a Flash project. I never promised to have any, but alas I was called “uncommitted” among other things. I was urged to learn Action Script until my mind exploded. That, with my creativity, would get me writing tickets anywhere (stated as a compliment). I never set out to be a coding master, but no one wants just a creative – at least when it comes to bottom level Interactive (i.e., recent grads trying to get the most basic of jobs).

When I was in the Interactive program at PC, we were constantly told to focus on the concept, design, functionality, usability, etc…find the limitations and benefits of technology, but someone else will handle what goes on behind the curtain. Well, right now people want both, and it’s a big game of catch up.  So, when it comes to sitting in front of a canvas or a screen, I hear that angry voice yelling “YOU ARE UNCOMMITTED!” and it’s back to sleepy AS3 tutorials….with my creative energy scratching at the back of my brain, ever so distracting.

For me, a painting is a big commitment. I can spend weeks, months on one. I’ve already spent hours sketching and digitally composing. I want to take a projector and sketch my work on the canvas, for the sake of time, but I feel guilty doing that as well. Am I not missing out on beautiful mistakes that could take me in a new direction? Both art and design are about exploration, and my end is not concrete (the beauty of personal work). Yet technology fuels faster production. which can lead to more time spent on other things – like mastering dreaded AS3.

The ideal is a balance between the two, where upon I just might find myself stressed about both and tinkering with After Effects projects instead.

 

Last painting, completed fall ’06 before I started Portfolio Center. Oil on Canvas, 30×40 (no black bars)

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Filed under animation, atlanta, design, flash, interactive, Portfolio Center, portfoliocenter

I hate the wall.

Here’s a little clip of “the wall” I made last quarter…

I hate hanging the wall. Of all the things at Portfolio Center, this is the most dreadful, horrible activity. I’d rather complete another cut paper poster in 21 shades of gray while having teeth pulled. I’m not sure why I hate it so much, but I dread that first weekend of each quarter. Is it the chaos? Uncertainty of escape? Team activities gone bad? Disorganized mess everywhere?

To those outside of PC, “hanging the wall” refers to putting up all the selected student work from the previous quarter. It’s a big exhibition of what the PC elite think are the best pieces and it changes every quarter. Students are broken down into teams for certain areas and put up everything and build boxes, shelves and everything else required. The madness beings with a tear down crew at 7, and continues into infinity. Once your group finished, you are encouraged to help out others…though it is very tempting to sneak away and enjoy the afternoon. Otherwise, you might not see daylight for a long time. Sadly, there isn’t yet a digital wall (website gallery), so animation/web projects never see an outside audience (like mine). Boo, hiss.

It’s also a good time to get a true critique on your work. Your work may be chosen, and people around you might not see your name tag on it (which has likely fallen off anyway by now), and thus give their true verbal feelings on it. It’s a skin toughener, well, for me anyway. My five quarters seems to produce “mediocre” results, but better to hear it now from students then next year from potential employers.

I have so much I need to learn and accomplish this year to get anywhere, it’s exhausting.

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Design Experience: Headless Eels

The following is a short essay for my Design Experience class regarding good and bad experiences.

In a city dominated by Publix and Kroger, I enjoy visiting farmer’s markets for their diverse selection of goods, lower prices, and overall multicultural atmosphere. While I usually do my shopping at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market, I occasionally hit other places for more random goods.
At another Atlanta area farmer’s market, my husband and I happened to be looking for fresh seafood. My husband spotted a tank full of live eels and immediately became intrigued. I shuddered at the thought of buying something living and killing it, and would likely be a vegetarian if more motivated. My husband, however, though it would be a unique experience to buy a fresh eel and learn how to cook it. I wasn’t enthused, but let him decide. Before I knew it, he was picking out his eel of choice and holding a pathetic bag with a poor little guy floating in it. I refused to watch the eel suffer yet did not want to have to take its life when we arrived home. Thus, my husband asked a worker for ideas, and was sent over to the fish gutting section. At this point I walked away to avoid the site, disgusted by this experience. When my husband found me later hiding in a canned beverage isle, he held at his side a smaller bag with a headless eel inside. I was not happy, but hoped it was the quickest and least painful way to go.
For the rest of the day, each time the refrigerator door was opened I was greeted by the presence of a headless eel. Though I was disturbed that we had taken the life of the poor thing, I tried to comfort myself by thinking that it was glad to be out of that horrible tank. Nonetheless, no more eels.
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Design Experience: USCIS

The following is a short essay for my Design Experience class regarding good and bad experiences.

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The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service (formally the INS)

I feel it’s a preconceived notion that when a foreigner marries an American, a gift basket complete with green card, working documents and a social security card arrives at that foreigner’s front door. In reality, this is not the case, and for those who process their papers through the Atlanta branch, the opposite is true.  Instead it is a long and confusing process that at times seems set for new immigrants to fail.
I was living in Russia with my husband, a citizen of said country, when we decided to move things over to the U.S.  We completed all necessary papers for the appropriate visa (K3, for foreigners wed to U.S. Citizens outside the U.S.).  Upon getting notice that our papers had been received, a document was sent stating that everything would be processed in 30-999 days.  Alas, after waiting six months and talking to a lawyer, meeting with the U.S. consulate and providing every train ticket or email between and documenting every financial asset to prove we could support each other – in September 2003, my husband was finally granted the proper visa to enter the U.S.

After entering the U.S., however, my husband hardly felt welcome.  His visa did not merit him a social security card or permission to work, and the DMV would not issue him a license until further paperwork explained that his visa was valid.  After four months of laborious paperwork, a driver’s license was obtained, but still no work permit.  Multiple trips were made to the local USCIS office, but as always no one knew where the papers were.  After six months, I demanded answers and planted myself before a rude immigration official.  I wanted an explanation as to why the USCIS could not locate the work papers, after the computer showed that they had been completed, but could not find them, and could not issue new a new work permit.  When the immigration official ran out of excuses, he called security and two large men soon appeared at my side, the stench of Fulton Street quickly meeting my nose.  Meanwhile, though our papers were still missing, we received the green card for an applicant of a similar name and were forced to clear up this mistake.  After eight months, summer 2004, the work permit was finally found and sent to my husband and he could begin to look for a job.

That was not the end of the troubles, as my husband’s visa was soon to expire and the Atlanta USCIS office was backlogged again.  This time we awaited his permanent resident card (green card), but again were told to wait.  My husband’s visa expired, and though he was legally in the U.S., he remained without status, unable to leave or reenter the U.S.  In December 2005 we were finally called in for the green card interview, but were declined –my husband’s fingerprints had “expired.”  We quickly got them retaken and in 2006, nearly 3 years later, he received his permanent resident/green card.

In fall 2008, it is possible to apply for citizenship, and we are placing bets as to how many years this will take.

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Filed under atlanta, pig, Portfolio Center, Russia, travel