Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jeffrey Jones


Though Jeff's site may or may not be well-designed depending on who you ask, it has a cleanliness and consistency that is of vital importance. And, more importantly, this is the work of Jeffrey Jones.

Jeffrey has been very painful for me to talk about for a very long time. He was a hero, artistically, and now in many highly personal ways, which I have no intention of dealing with here. Though the key element is that Jeffrey had sex-reassignment surgery (and I've never been able to figure out what gender pronoun to use, and Jeff didn't seem to worried about it). The story of our meeting is also interesting, though long, and typical of what it is about him that is so endearing and enduring. That is too long a story to tell here.

Jeffrey is one of our greatest painters, a legend in the comics and fantasy world, and one of the precious few who have escaped the comics gutter to become a real artist and a real person.

He was of monumental importance to my development, moreso to my healing as a self-loathing artist. The short version of the story is that I do not value the opinions of many when it comes to my art, perhaps the opinions of one in a hundred people--it's easy to dazzle people who can't draw, or worse, people who think they can draw but can't--and his opinion I valued above all others, including my own. I had once shown Jeff a piece of mine that I had doubted, even going so far as to point out what about the piece bothered me, he looked at the drawing of the face in question and told me there was nothing wrong with it, and that it was good. At that moment I put away my self-doubts and said to myself, "If it's good enough for Jeff Jones, it's good enough for me." On my worst days as an artist that has become my motto.

Then, Jeff vanished.

Jeff just fucking vanished.

And I miss Jeffrey a lot. Jeff was a good friend, and a great mentor.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The End Is Near!

The semester is winding down, and it has not been a good one. It started out sleepless for weeks, then I found juggling 3 jobs and school, bankruptcy, my wife leaving for Abu Dhabi, and everything to be far too much to deal with. I've had no Xtra energy.

Unfortunately the winding down of the semester is not really providing any relief as I now have to face my return to the real world, and I am NOT ready. Never was. What's out there: A highly competitive job market, low pay, more and more rejection, digging and scraping? "People are scrambling, like dogs for a share," as the Waterboys sang. I ain't a dog and I ain't in any mood to scrape anymore.

Honestly, I see the coming summer as nothing more than an extension of the semester. I was hoping to be portfolio, web-site, and resume ready by now, but I am not even close. I'm probably going to have to spend the summer doing all that plus getting ready for my show. It's no disaster, I just have to create new goals on a new timeline. And add to all this that I will probably be working on finishing my MARA animation.

The thing that is probably most freaking me out is the fact that I will now be dealing with age discrimination. people are fucking idiots, and they get ideas in their heads that are total bullshit and there is no way of dislodging their preconceptions and predecisions. No doubt about it, it's going to be a long hard battle.

To sum up, I've learned to be productive in 5 programs in a year and half, which isn't bad considering that I had started with knowing NOTHING. It's a pretty sizable accomplishment, so I guess I can stop letting the fact that I haven't got the web-design/Dreamweaver stuff down. My brain is currently full. My plate is full.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Winding Down Winding Up Ever Winding

In life I tend to think, "When THIS is over, I'll be OK." Well, there's always another "THIS" out there somewhere, and usually overlapping whatever "THIS" I might be in the middle of muddling through. It's not all bad, many of the "THIS"'s are positive.

For example, the winding down of the semester is really going to be the winding up of my coming show. And I'm winding up to the first paying gig I've had in a very long time, the opening of the Summer market. And then after that I have to get Christine on a plane to Abu Dhabi, and I'll have to move into an apartment. Ever winding.

At this point, I quit waiting for "THIS" to be over and try instead to catch my breath and enjoy the process.

Design-wise, this blog has not dealt much with web-design, but it has occasionally dealt with animation issues. Speaking of which, my new video (a revamped version of my "Hanglide" video) is ever so close to being wrapped up.

And the Mara animation is coming along slowly but what I have sampled in After Effects looks promising. I have been trying to include as many of Frank and Ollie's 12 principles of animation as possible:


The little Mara animation loop is looking great but there are some specifics of timing and staging, as well as editing, that need to be addressed. The plan today is for me to sit down and work out some very specific storyboards. I need to have it all laid out. I'm with Tony Samangy (the teacher of my animation course) when it comes to storyboards for things like this. I am discovering how critical it is when the narrative is literal. But, I still have to admit that when it comes to making psychedelic videos (especially for my own pleasure) I prefer to work in a stream of consciousness chaos. Different methods for different results and projects. I can see myself storyboarding out some parts of even the most experimental psychedelic videos, though. Anyhow, the point here is really that with this Mara piece the storyboards will have to be specific almost from frame to frame. Everything will be important, the first hurdle will be staging the foot-twitching and background pan. The next will be timing out the cuts in the fall sequence, as well as working out her rate of speed, the grounds rate of speed, and when it stops moving, how fast she'll need to be going, and how it will all time out to give the sequence credibility.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Web Progress

Working on my site this weekend revealed some surprising results: I actually understood some of it! This is my second class on web-design, and so far the whole process is still a mystery to me. I have learned 5 programs in the last year and a half, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, and After Effects... plus Powerpoint, but Dreamweaver has remained my Waterloo.

The real problem, probably the root of the problem, is that I have absolute zero tolerance for computer geeks and self-involved and self-indulgent programmers who are so obliviously incapable of communicating and functioning in the real world that they can't even design a system usable by anyone outside of their twisted way of thinking. The whole internet and web-design thing is as senseless as algebra. Rules, rules, rules that don't hake any sense to rational people, and more rules. The shortest distance between two points is not even part of this world. Web-designers and programmers think like Dafy Duck did in that famous scene from "Duck Dodgers" where he outlined that insane route to planet X.

The other problem is that of all the things I have learned, this is the one area I just don't give a shit about, the one area I hope to god I don't have to toil in to make a living.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


March 22nd, my birthday.

They're usually depressing affairs, or usually were, but as of the past few years my birthdays have been marked by adventures and developments, like living and traveling overseas. This birthday had gone by more or less uneventfully until this potential new video client popped up in my messages box on YouTube.

The truth is that the only times my birthdays are depressing are when I concentrate on the social significance of the numbers attached to them. In other words, I seem to be getting older and poorer at the same time... but at least now I can look back and say I have done a lot of remarkable things. That helps take the sting out of the ever increasing numbers.

The lesson here is to focus more on living a life that will leave me content on my deathbed rather than focusing on the way the years seem to slip by. I try and keep up with my life, or as my Carnie buddy used to say... "Move at the speed of life." Each individual dictates their own speed, no matter how much adversity they experience. For me, drastic decisions have had to be made, intensely stressful, but decisions that have led to:

Living in South Korea
Eating dinner with monks in the mountains of South Korea
Performing music all over
Swimming with a dolphin
SCUBA diving
Enjoying girls in the Philippines
Traveling in Thailand
Being an illegal immigrant in Concepcion Chile
Making art
Getting Paul McCartney to talk about me
Doing art for DC Comics, LucasFilm, Dungeons and Dragons
Surviving cancer
Surviving crime
Watching friends die
Letting go
Becoming less selfish
Running away to join the carnival
Going bankrupt and losing our house
Doing things NOW!!!

This is all I have, might be all I get. There's no sense spending the whole time wondering where it all went, I'd rather wonder where I'm going next.

News From the Fireman

I got amazing news today...

First a bit of back story. I'm a big fan of McCartney's obscure and experimental stuff. He's been in this band with Youth (from Killing Joke) and they call themselves The Fireman. I've made a number of videos for McCartney and Fireman songs just for fun, somehow a friend of Youth's discovered my videos and wants me to work with him. This is exciting on a number of levels: It's gonna be a great professional sample for my digital portfolio, the music is gonna be great to work with, and it'll get me that much closer to Youth and McCartney.

You can find this stuff at:



look up Kuba Monk Dusk on YouTube.

The problem is that I'm so damn distracted I won't be able to focus all day.