Category Archives: portfoliocenter

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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Return

No, I couldn’t let you be, dear blog. I tried writing an anonymous blog, but what fun was that? I’ll be back for business. No, probably not very frequently, but I’m here, I’m open. It’s been a very rough 11 months without you, but I don’t blame you.

What else is new? A pile of crazy and bizarre things have happened, with little specks of goodness in between.

  • I have graduated from Portfolio Center
  • I made it into CMYK’s Aspiring Artist’s edition
  • I was awarded a scholarship from one of the most amazing firms, Leo Burnett
  • I have worked on a variety of different projects with different clients, some wonderful, some causing health problems
  • I’ve gotten to talk to some very big people and firms and received positive, constructive and very negative feedback

It is rough out there, I fall a lot, but I carry a spatula and keep getting back up.

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The Jewish-Japanese sex and cookbook and how to raise wolves

I think one of the things that surprises the left-brained universe about my gruelling work schedule at Portfolio Center is the amount of research I have to do.  I guess when some think of grad school in an artsy setting, it’s just about gathering around the table and making cool pictures.  Well, on so many different levels it is different than that…However, it is similar to other grad schools in the fact that we have to do a lot of research.  A lot lot lot.  The first day as a PC student, you are required to go get a library card.  Library?  Musty old books that you can’t hit control+F to find what yer lookin for?  Yep.  Old school research, where the pages have real sources and often realiable facts.  These long forgotten buildings suddenly have a new purpose for me, as research papers and proposals require more ligetimate sources than Wikipedia.  And yes, in that artsy school that teaches us to design purty stuff, we have to research, we have to write long papers, and we have to compose proposals and briefs…all with strong facts to back them up.

So, while browsing online to see what the local Buckhead location has currently on its shelves, I found a most unusual title.  I’m actually in a writing class this quarter (I act as the designer and am paired with a copywriter), and from what I’ve picked up in the short time so far, this title is not working.  I believe I was looking up books on Judaism when this jem appeared.  If you’re read it, let me know how it turned out…

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Spring is chirping

Birds have been chirping 24/7 here, which establishes Spring is officially here and soon to be on its way out.  I never liked spring very much, but now I think it’s actually a nice time, as the weather has been cooler than I remember.  I think it just gets a bad rap because summer follows right behind it…and I’m no fan of the uber-humid and scorching Atlanta summers.

But I don’t mean that the birds are chirping 24/7 as in everyday – no, I mean every hour.  Well, I mostly notice it in the middle of the night while working on an endless supply of projects.  As my design mind stars cranking at late hours and I sometimes relapse with insomnia, this means between 1-4.  Sometimes it really annoys me, as if they’re telling me the night has already ended, and if I want to get any sleep, I’d better stop working and get to bed.  You already wasted how much time?  You’re only that far along?  Other times they’re not so bad – it seems a little less isolating to know someone else is awake, at least until the 5:30 rounds of garbage trucks start up.

So, here’s to enjoying spring before it melts away into the hellish months known as summer.  As for the noisy birdies in the middle of the night, I hope you guys are getting your work done too.

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Mediocre

Mediocrity – is that even a word? But more importantly, how does one beat it? It seems to be a theme for me right now, whereas 4th quarter I had a teacher trying to teach me “sophistication.” The “s” word didn’t stick too well, but at least it was pointed out as something I was lacking. Maybe it did sink in, but I just felt it doesn’t represent me that well. Me, sophisticated? beh.
So I feel lately like I’m treading water, staying afloat but not taking things to a new level. I try, I want to, I really really want to, but somewhere between concept and execution I fail. It becomes mediocre, could’ve been better, maybe even great.
Sometimes I just want to accept mediocrity; it’s like that idea of loving my body for what it is. But then the realization that a rotund bodice is not only ugly, but also very unhealthy, begins to push me to think acceptance is not the right answer. Same with design. I could be content that I’ve fallen between the cracks; afterall, it’s better known as an average designer than a bad designer. Maybe there is a contented, peaceful life out there for the mediocre, if they just accept their mediocrity. Perhaps, but then there’s something in me that want to buck acceptance and would rather be depressed over not being anything than accept being mediocre.

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The Aftermath

As my 4th quarter closes and I’m left with the huge mess to clean, I have to say this has been my most demanding aside from 1st quarter (which was from another lifetime, dimension and planet, so doesn’t count). Also, I think the mess was just as big if not bigger, except that this quarter didn’t require the extra bathroom being turned into a Super 77 lab. Instead my mess led to staining several spots on in the parking lot and leaving a trail of alien blood through the basement – will post about that tomorrow when I take pics.

Anyway, I’m a little lost this weekend with this thing called “free time” on my hands. I’ve been working in 5th gear since Thanksgiving – before that I was still working hard as well, but more the concepting and research – the past several weeks have been an intense process of hands-on building, editing, and learning how on earth to make those concepts come alive. Lots of frustration, a terrible cold, and bloody hands (working with hog wire had me looking a bit unstable lately).

So, three critiques later, here I am…yes, THREE…very satisfied by each one, though you would never have guessed if you had seen me hours/days/weeks ahead of them. And thank you Office Depot on Piedmont Road…you saved my ass when Kinkos gave a cold shoulder.

And now, the aftermath – how to wisely use these precious 2 weeks when not working and enjoying holidays and people I’ve blown off lately (sorry)…and of course, cleaning so next quarter I’ll have room to make a mess all over again…

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The living room and kitchen…the paper mache/paper dying/ironing/sculpting/general assembly room

room2.jpg

Pig’s office, the paper cutting and laser printing room…actually somewhat neat in this picture, paper covered couch and desk not seen.

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My office…the printing/throwing stuff around/anything else room. Clean spot on floor is where I sat when I put the workhorse Canon on the floor to print all my war-torn dyed papers for Full Metal Jacket. That Canon kicked my Epson’s ass! (the Epson never recovered from 1st quarter tho the Samsung laser completely died) Very impressed, and happy to soon be adding a Pixma 9000 to the family.

Anyway, I’ve sense got most of the living room and Pig’s office cleared, as the debri and clay shavings from my dremmel tool were making it impossible to breath. Maybe I’ll even get motivated to put up some Christmas/Novy Goad lights soon. Keep you posted.

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