Tag Archives: Portfolio Center

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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Fire, lost and found

I probably won’t be writing much in the next couple of months…I had to do an hourly breakdown of what it will take to finish my grad projects and keep up with my classes – 860 hours…in 61 days.  I get 10 hours a day to eat, sleep, and socialize.  Hopefully I overstimated, but so far things are taking me longer.  Right now, venting will make me sad, so I just have to keep moving forward.

Alas, PC is always a crazy place…here’s a sample of what you can get in your email on any given day.  I was acutally sitting in a classroom for a group meeting when this was sent out.  I guess email is replacing fire alarms, and PC is replacing Craigslist for finding homes for cats and other lost items…

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End of quarter gray cloud festival

Ah, the PC experience. I’ll be a guest blogger on the subject soon, but I just haven’t had a chance to put something together with the end of the quarter coming.  But if you’re dying for a piece of raw, honest PC life, I’m willing to dish today.  Maybe even vent a little too.

Needless to say, I haven’t been able to get to bed before 4am all this week.  It’s the last week of classes, though next week being studio week usually means little difference – I still spend just as much time in meetings and make up classes as any other week…I’m just supposed to finish all my projects meanwhile.
Despite getting little sleep from Wednesday night to Thursday morning, I did have a nice evening after class, getting in a good 40 minutes of badminton time…I can’t let my slovenly body completely atrophy before I graduate.  My goal that night was to get out a massive amount of revisions for a class that I’ve been working on for the past couple of days.  I thought it wouldn’t take me too long to prepare them, but the sun was rising before I got to see my mattress.  The birds started chirping at 3am, the first garbage truck arrived at 5:30, and the sound of pipes busy with morning showers started at 6:30.  I know, I’m lucky, I got to sleep a few hours, I could’ve had nothing…but since I’ve aged 30 years in the past 18 months, my body handles this sort of thing worse with each passing week.  So, I did get some peaceful rest time until 9:30 when I was awakened to discuss some bank stuff with Pig, and then slowly getting my ass ready for the 30 minute hike to work.  But my giant amount of revisions was sent off for review and I felt pretty good about it…and most of all, relief of getting it packed in a PDF and sent before I left for the day.

I checked my email at work in the afternoon, and got response back from the files I had sent in the morning.  I felt something like that giant 16 ton weight from Monty Python’s Flying Circus crash on me as I read the feedback.  All caps was used at in part of it to emphasize the amount of fixin’ needed.  However, it was noted that there was so much wrong with it that it was too much to write in an email and would have to wait for class Monday.  But rework it meanwhile.

So. That is a little piece of the PC experience.  I keep asking if it’s worth it.  Is it worth the stress I put on myself, my health, my family?  I see other people getting oportunities, but I could be one of the unmentionables that just falls between the cracks.  Well, I don’t just fall, I’m sure it’s my own bloody fault.  I can’t get a grip on one particular aspect and end up reverting in my process, and I don’t do the shmooze and social thing very well.  And a lack of sleep makes that gray cloud just a bit gloomier.  I suppose if I never rise to anything at least I can be satisfied that at least I made it through six quarters of the program – hopefully all eight at the end of the year.

And so now I will sleep.  It’s almost 3, and that’s before 4, so I’m very happy and just a tiny bit guilty.  Hopefully I will wake up tomorrow and write cheery optimistic posts, but not likely…I have a lot of work to do, and there are enough of those posts by other classmates out there anyway.  You can tune in here to hear struggle, attempts, failures, and some weird determination that drives me with the simple hope that maybe all this trouble will be worth it somewhere down the road.

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January brings a 5th quarter

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The new quarter started and the holidays seemed long forgotten, but leftover kharcho and hachipurri are nice to have around when the cold emptiness of this time of year can settle in. Well, not cold, it’s been around 70 here lately (though we had a few days in the 30s last week).

It’s always a bit hard to start back in after several weeks off – it takes a while after critique week to adjust to sleeping normally and not having constant pressure applied – I seriously felt like I was suffering Moscow jet lag the first week, falling asleep at 11pm and waking at 4am. Now I’m getting used to a schedule of night classes, which is very weird as I am alone most of the daytime hours. I do have a class and a seminar 2 mornings a week, but 4 nights I’m in class (taking extra this quarter). So, motivating myself in the quietness, especially in the morning, is quite difficult. I’m not very inspiried in the morning…I become active at night, and feel most productive then, but now that time is spent in partially class, and when I come home, some of that spent with Pig before he goes to barn.

My instructors do seem surprisingly enthusiastic this quarter, perhaps a more advanced level is more exciting to them. Last quarter I was worried that the Media Architecture was loosing steam, but I sense a lot more spirit this quarter and that this really might just go somewhere. I am dreading the more technical aspects of Actionscript 3.0, but alas I wanted to learn that for Flash II. Motion II should also be enjoyable if our school gets up to date on its software. I must say that After Effects is the most enjoyable program I’ve learned while at PC, and I’m am very excited about the combination of this program’s capabilities and my imagination. I also have Design Experience, which is more theory than technical – something I haven’t had yet for my MA experience, and felt was lacking last quarter…I’m looking forward to see where this is going, and meanwhile I’ll be posting some of my assignments here for class.

I also have a logos class taught by Stefan Kjartansson of Armchair Media. When I got my schedule I wasn’t excited about another logos class, but Stefan’s reputation quickly spread that this wasn’t a class to be dropped. I was so relieved that the first class wasn’t draw-100-logos-and-then-I’ll-tell-you-what-sucks-and-have-you-draw-another-100. If we end up doing that later I won’t mind, but I just needed a break from that formula from day one. It’s such a breath of fresh air to get a little insight on what makes a logo work, playing first with shapes, and taking a different approach to logo related exercises – all from a different, professional perspective. And I was glad to see that Stefan seemed like a fun quirky guy, as I feared that an ego might accompany his prestigious reputation. Anyway, I’ll be posting some of those assignments here too.

I am nervous about PC staple, Message and Content, as I feel the foundation I set for my projects in these early weeks will really set the tone for the rest of the quarter. Mapping a journey and/or narrative – it sounds wonderfully interesting, but I feel a little lost as to where to start! I love maps, collect them often, and am obsessed with journeys…So, I suppose I feel some pressure to get this right…

So while the pressure of a heavy workload hasn’t built yet, I feel much in choosing the right start for my projects. It’s ideas and steps that will determine if these projects are worthy of being reworked, improved and put into my portfolio. After this, only two more quarters of real classes…I really need to start putting out some decent work…

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Eat your heart out, Sylvia

So today was a certain company’s employee appreciation day at Zoo Atlanta. I couldn’t help myself there when roaming around the gift shop thinking how they should have designed their bags, posters, and products. Ahem, what civilization is represented on this bag, and where’s my reuse?! (for those confused, that’s a Portfolio Center thing, going back to my first quarter with the infamous Sylvia) I did pay close attention to the different sections of the zoo and their graphic styles….I even saw a nuton! (ok, never really was sure how to spell that) Anyway, nothing was quite as extreme as Sylvia would have wanted, but design probably isn’t at the forefront of their budget.

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Where’s the AOF?

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Kangaroo with extra set of legs…ok, so the little guy just decided to dive head first in…it was cold out!

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