Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I wonder

I took the poem by Claes Oldenburg, "I am for an art...", and created my own art maifesto. I twisted it a bit and made it into a poem about what I want from the art I have created and will create in the future.

My Creations:

I want to create art that doesn't know it's art.

I want to create art that moves people that means something.
I want to create art that means nothing, that has no deep meaning.
I want to create art that people hate, that frustrates people.
I want to create art that makes people think.
I want to create art that makes people cry and feel.
I want to create art that no one understands.
I want to create art that entertains and serves as an escape.
I want to create art that has a point.
I want to create art that my children will be able to understand, to play with, to have fun with.
I want to create art for myself, for friends, for family, for strangers, for animals, for no one.
I want to create art that will be in the grandest theaters across the country.
I want to create art that will be in the one dollar theaters in small towns.
I want to create art that will be successful.
I want to create art that will fail.
I want to create art that brings hope, that makes people believe.
I want to create art that is controversial.
I want to create art that combines all forms of art.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Two Videos from Tokyoplastic:

Drum Machine - First one I ever saw (drumming starts about 2 mins in but the intro is cool)

Music Box - My personal favorite

Today I rediscovered two artists who I first remember seeing when I was sixteen at the Virgin Mobile Music Festival in Maryland. Their work came up on the screen between bands about halfway through the day. The two artists, Sam Lanyon Jones and Drew Cope collaborate together to make short films and other graphic work including commercials and prints. These two were raised by Amish foster parents and were horr
ified of television and computers until they discovered Internet porn. After leaving home and traveling they reunited in 2002 to found Tokyoplastic. Tokyoplastic was originally a 15 second claymation nano-series but is now a worldwide recognized website if you follow the Internet underground.

They’re work has come out of their underground laboratory in London, England and are recognized as vector scientists. They have won numerous awards and worked with companies including from Microsoft, Dreamworks SKG, Guy Ritchie, Toyota, etc. In 2006, their first short film called “The Drum Machine” was created. Shortly thereafter they created two more films called “Music Box” and “Opera Guy”. A while after that “The Little Fella”, a groundbreaking short video was created. These two continue to expand their company and website and push forward the boundaries of flash animation and visuals on the Internet. Toykoplastic has expanded into the market by creating Japanese inspired Geisha character, which is used in "Drum Machine” and is the icon of their work. These figures sold out immediately so they decided to make more based off of other characters in their work including Opera Guy, Awia, and Koguma.

When I first saw “Drum Machine” at Virgin Festival I was amazed and intrigued by it. They were able to meld music and animation together in a new way I had never seen before. I assumed (wrongly) that it was Japanese because of the Geisha characters. I asked around who had created the short video and my best friend told me that it was a group named Tokyoplastic. I looked them up and even their website tricked because some parts are in Japanese and the Japanese influence continues throughout the site. It’s extremely hard to navigate the first time you visit but after a while you learn how to find what you want. Every part of the site is interactive and it’s a form of audio-visual art I would have never thought of. Every film or short piece they do is extremely original, surreal, and creative and immediately captures my attention. A good amount of the work comes off as strange and unusual and sometimes dark and creepy but even the creepy things are fascinating. The level of craftsmanship with the animation is unparalleled and loving created. I love telling new people about them because I want to gauge their reactions whether they be negative or positive. These two vector scientists have created a whole new realm of flash video and animation yet they have no intention of making themselves well known. You really have to search to find them when you see their work in a commercial or one of their short films that’s not from their main site.

Here is there site for anyone who's interested in more of their work: Tokyoplastic

Things that go bump in the night

I gathered these four pieces together because they all deal with nightmares. Two nights ago I had my first nightmare since I was a child. I had a number of them in a row, each time went back to sleep I was in a new one. Now usually I don’t sleep because I’m an insomniac and when I do I only get four to five hours tops before my body wakes itself up. On Monday I was getting about six to seven hours of sleep, which is a very rare occasion. And I find it intriguing that the night I get a somewhat normal amount of sleep I also have three terrifying nightmares. One of these felt very much like a nightmare I would have had as a child, filled with abstract and bright monsters chasing after me. This one was over fairly quickly and I shrugged it off as more of a strange dream then a nightmare although it did thoroughly creep me out. My second nightmare was much more realistic and tapped into my fear of heights. I was standing on a crane for some reason with the wind blowing. I tried to make it back to the body of the crane but I fell and instead of dying I hit water but it was an ocean and it was a rough one at that. I couldn’t stay afloat and started drowning, waking up right before I died. The third nightmare I had was the most vivid and horrifying to me. I won’t go into to much detail but it dealt with robbers and people breaking into my house. I was terrified and was trying to get to my family. After a while I woke up from this nightmare covered in sweat. I looked around to find my roommate so I could make sure I was awake. But when I looked around my roommate was nowhere to be found and I see a masked figure standing in my doorway with a gun. Then I woke up again, for real and found everything in order. I didn’t go back to sleep for a while and the next night I was a bit afraid to fall asleep because of this streak of nightmares.

These paintings all deal with the realm of dreams and more specifically nightmares. The first and most famous of these is The Nightmare (1781) by Henry Fuseli. The sleeping woman lays in anguish as the nightmare plagues her sleep and comes to view in the background of the painting. The horse and incubus are two very common symbols associated with nightmares and look on as she lies in this prime pose to have such dreams. Fuseli uses chiaroscuro to create a very strong contrast between the lights and darks in the painting and the coloring is very rich and vivid. All of the other nightmare paintings draw from this one. They aren’t as realistic but they portray similar emotions. The painting of the same name by John Fitzgerald pays homage to Fuseli, changing a few details but remaining true to the painting. His is much bluer and actually plays out the nightmare in the background instead of implying it. But the woman lies in the same pose and she’s surrounded by her nightmare in the same way. Robert Lee’s Twisted face reminds me of the way I feel during the nightmare. The eyes are wide with fear, the mouth screams a silent scream all while being distorted and turned upside down. This nightmare painting has more of a surreal interpretation then the previous two and leaves almost everything to the imagination. Even so, Lee still pin points the fear of the dreamer and makes it the forefront of his work. The last nightmare work I chose is Joshua Hoffine’s Nightmare, a photograph that I think we can all relate to. A small child clutches desperately to her teddy bear as giant monstrous hands reach out from under the bed. She stays hunched toward the back of the bed hoping the hands won’t notice her and be content with the blocks on the floor. I love the play with shadows in this piece, especially the little girl’s and under the bed. The shadow under the bed is pitch black and then completely light, no transition between the two. The blocks make me curious, I’m not exactly sure what their purpose is. Maybe they were knocked over by the hands or maybe the little girl just didn’t clean them up before she got into bed. The fact that all the lights are on makes me think she’s probably afraid of the day and maybe that’s why only the hands of the monster are exposed and not the rest of it. All of these nightmare pieces grasp onto the same emotions of fear, horror, and the unknown. Combining these things can lead to a number of images and ideas just as dreams can.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


This photograph no longer exists in one piece due to an irrational decision on my part but I can still recall it quite vividly. The photograph was taken at my Grandparent’s house when I was about four years old. It’s quite simple, consisting only of my Grandpa and I. He sits in a large reclining chair in his living room in Stanton, Virginia. I sit happily on his knee looking up at him with a big grin on my face unaware of the camera only a few feet away from us while he smiles directly into the camera, a glare barely catching the bottom part of his glasses. The left edge of the photo shows half of an old lamp and wooden table with the two of us framed close to center and the right side of the photo fades into darkness.

The photographer is none other then my mother who never misses a moment to take a photo. This photograph means a lot to me because my Grandpa and I were very close. I remember being upon his knee many times. He used to give me his ice cream and call me “pug”. I love this photograph because I can see the happiness in both of our faces, mine full of wonder, and his full of content. I also love it because I am unconcerned with the camera that captures this purely innocent moment in time. I used to carry this photo around with me most of the time, kind of like a good luck charm. Naturally the photo is worn and rather beat up due to being folded and unfolded time after time. But now it sits in a safe place taped back together as best I could manage. I ripped the photo after my Grandpa’s funeral when I was seventeen. He was the first immediate family member of mine to die that I remember and it was my first funeral. I remember getting mad at myself for not being able to cry when my father told me the news. I was shocked, I’m not even sure if I responded to him. I didn’t cry until the two days when I went to his funeral in Virginia and saw the open casket. After I went back home I took the photo out of my back pocket and tore it out of anger and sorrow. I didn’t get to say goodbye and even worse, my mother didn’t, his own daughter. I don’t think the pain losing someone you love ever goes away but with time the pain dulls and you learn to move on.

I’m not sure whether I would have wanted to see him or not though. Over the two years leading up to his death, Alzheimer’s slowly took a hold of him and he could barely remember whom I was. I remember the first time he didn’t know my name; it broke my heart. If I would have been there and he didn’t remember me I don’t think I could have handled it. Minutes after destroying the photo I broke into tears and frantically searched for tape to fix my hasty mistake. Ever since then I have not been able to take the photo anywhere for fear of losing it for good.

When I look at the photo I can smell a Virginia summer’s night and picture me asleep next to my Grandpa on the swinging porch chair while he smokes and looks out into the dark. I wonder if he was ever looking for anything in particular or if he was simply looking. He had a great since of humor; he often told me jokes and would always talk about being a hooligan in his youth. The house seems so empty now when we visit my Grandmother and I know it takes a toll on her. I can’t fathom being married to someone for 56 years and then losing them. My mother grew up in that house and my brother and I have shared good memories there as well. I feel like I go back in time when I visit her in Stanton.

My Grandpa always smoked for as long as I can remember and he had no health complications due to smoking. This always amazed me because on the opposite hand smoking killed my dad’s mom. He also had dentures because he liked candy to much as a kid and boy did ever love it when he was old. He had trouble walking in the last of his years which sadly left him in his recliner most of the time but every now and again we would go to the park to feed the ducks or listen to the band in the summer evening. He loved to go on drives and get out of the house. My mom said he used to love to fish as well, he taught me how to fly fish when I was about ten but I wasn’t any good at it. Almost all of my memories with him are good ones and I am thankful for that.

This photo doesn’t help me know my Grandpa or tell me anything about him or make me remember him better. It does something more then that. It starts a chain reaction of vivid memories and smells that play like a dream in my mind. This photo helps me remember my Grandpa the way I want to remember him before he couldn’t remember me. Before he started deteriorating and having to watch helplessly, unable to do anything about it. He was a kind and gentle man. He never brought any harm to anything be it plant, animal, or human. He provided for his family and was the best husband/dad/grandfather he could be. In a way I think it’s silly that I place so much importance upon this tiny piece of ripped paper but at the same time I am glad I do because it reminds me the moment actually happened. Without it I’m sure I would remember my Grandpa the same way as I do now but it’s the only thing I have of him left in the world.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ghouls of the Night

Dear Potato Family,

Every day you work the fields with your bare hands, even the women and children. Your bodies are tired and tattered, your faces are worn from years of hard manual labor just to put food on the table in the evenings. Each day it's the same, more and more potatoes but you don't mind. Your house is modest but enough for the family to be comfortable and provide for the elders. A cousey yet haunting place to liveYour eyes are distant and cold, black as coal and impossible to read. Maybe you imagine yourself somewhere else or perhaps you are simply grateful to have any food at all. The utensils in your hands are held softly, delicately as to not hurt your raw hands which have been digging all day long. The dirt and musk fills the atmosphere around the table. Ghoulish hands reach out from the dark for a cup of tea or some potatoes. You sit basking in the dull light of a single candle above the table, barely allowing you to see. Taking this moment to pause and relfect is well deserved. The family has worked hard today and provided well for themselves and tomorrow will be the same. Your wooden faces all relfect this fact and you accept it as your way of living, an honest living.

Goodnight potato eaters.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Tale of Love and Woe

I haven't found anything recently that really made me think or respond in any sort of way so I decided to pick an item from foundmagazine. I searched on their site for a good while and found a couple of things that sparked my interest but eventually I found an object that caught my attention and made me stop in my mental footsteps so to speak. The object is a ripped up picture that a woman found in front of an angel statue in a cemetery in Cleveland. She took the picture and put the pieces back together forming this:

To me the photo looks to have been of a bride and groom from quite a long time ago. But why was it ripped up and tossed in front of the angel? Did one of the people in this photo commit this act? If so I wonder if it was out of love and grief or out of hate. Or could the person who ripped the photo be an offsrping of the two visting the parents grave? I want to know the back story of this photo, who are these people? When was it taken?

With all unanswerable questions aside, the phot itself intigues me. The man is looking up and away from the camera and instead of being next to his bride he stands behind her. The woman on the otherhand gazes directly into the camera and appears proud and composed with part of herself in front of her husband. I adore the worn and old feeling of this photo. I feel that before it met the fate of being in pieces the photo was very loved and cared for.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Time is Now

There are two artists who I would use to define the times we are in right now here in 2009. The first being a filmmaker who I admire greatly and think as one of the most influential living filmmakers; Mr. Martin Scorsese. When I see his films I can really connect to them and I get the feeling that he really knows what the audience wants and what they’re interested in. He has a formula, knows it works, and uses it to his advantage. He has created such classics as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Casino, Goodfellas, and The Departed. He continues to take risks and excite and capture his audience in new and innovative ways. His risks for the most part are rewarded and show young; rising filmmakers such as myself that doing what you want and believing in yourself can get your movie picked up. I feel that Mr. Scorsese also goes above and beyond being a filmmaker. He is very in touch with his American-Italian roots and shows that influence in some of his films as well as outside the film industry.

Another artist that I feel captures what I would call modern is none other than Marcel Duchamp. I remember learning about him in class and the Mona Lisa with the Mustache made me literally fall out of my chair laughing. He was able to take something that people regard so highly, have fun with it, and still have people love it. He took a huge risk because he could have been shunned out of the art world instead. He also took a urinal, signed it, and called it “Fountain”. Duchamp fascinates me because he challenged the rules set before him as to what “art” is. I feel like many artists are trying to do that same thing now and I feel Duchamp was extremely successful. He was experimental, daring, and didn’t care much for convention in art or anything really. He was a driving force in surrealism in France and influenced multiple artists in the future.

Both of these artists take risks and delve into what many others were to cautious or uncaring to try. One is a filmmaker who constantly comes up with new material and new ways to stun audiences that have seen his work before. I think the only way someone could describe one of his films as being "Classic Scorcese" would be because of how crazy and cutting edge they always are. Not because they are similar. Duchamp also took chances and pushed the edges of convention. He had no patiance for rules and worrying about what art should be, he just created.