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.