Sunday, December 6, 2009
far deeper than a single set of lungs can draw
oh, how we draw! filling parallel lines
from opposing points [of view] with
sharp breaths of perspective.
the gentle wedge, sinking
between then and now
where then is they
and we are
Thursday, October 29, 2009
(I wrote this on 10.22.09 and forgot about it)
Just two days ago I applied the the Graphic Design bacholor of fine art's program at Cal State Long Beach. For anyone who knows the art education field, they know that the CSULB program is very intensive (most rate it on par only to Art Center in terms of West Coast art schools) and very difficult to get into. Which is why, when I came out of high school and went into junior college, the "big goal" was to transfer into CSULB and give this program a go. At that point, as a fresh high school graduate, I had about two years of practical design experience under my belt doing clothing design with Timi Bumatay at our clothing startup, junkapparel, (as well as working with a host of people at article.1 that taught me the basic ins-and-outs of clothing embellishment and production) and getting the chance to work with Blake Kimmel in several clothing design collaborations as well as being there when abstractmall launched. It was a great education, and I learned a lot about design and production values along the way from lots of fantastic people. I thought I was, at the very least, a capable designer that could make it into a graphic design program at a state university easy-peasy. What I didn't know was this – I knew ab-so-lute-ly dick. And I still do, for that matter.
My book has evolved a lot since I transferred into Long Beach last fall. Before, I was designing whatever looked cool with no real thought or reflection about concept or top-to-bottom applications and solutions. But after talking to the design faculty, looking at the work that was being produced by the seniors in the design program, and just straight-up looking closer (and more frequently) at good design from good designers, by the spring of 09, while my taste and aesthetic approach were still as they were before (albeit constantly evolving and refining, as they always are), my ideas on concept and "design as a solution" were turned on their heads and spun around a bit. My understanding of those two things had, in just one semester, been greatly refined and reframed.
And now I look back on my book from nearly two and a half years ago, the one that I was so proud of (and still am – your pieces are like your kids, you're always proud of them even if they don't hit a home run at the little league game), and groan at the lack of follow-through and even basic concepting. A lot of growing has been going on.
And the "big goal"? It took a while, and a lot of work and revision mired in self-doubt and -criticism, but I made it.
And with portfolio review finally over, after all the all-nighters and printing fuck-ups and hair-pulling, I'm getting the chance for the first time in months to sit back and think and reflect on my processes and concepts as opposed to always being just "GO GO GO" in a frenzied, by-the-seat-of-your-pants way of design. I started thinking to the beginning of the semester (such a long time ago) and how I was completely just teetering on the edge in terms of what I thought of my work and my portfolio choices. I remember seeing this on Scott Hansen's blog a month back and it, along with some really choice kick-in-the-ass advice from Mike Whitlow, really stuck with me through my portfolio process, and really kept me going:
"The first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good — it’s not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not quite that good. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, your taste is still killer and your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you — you can tell that it’s still sort of crappy. A lot of people never get past that phase and a lot of people at that point quit.
And the thing I would just like say to you with all my heart is that most everybody I know who does interesting creative work, they went through a phase of years where they had really good taste and they could tell what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. We knew that it didn’t have the special thing that we wanted it to have and the thing is — everybody goes through that. And for you to go through it, if you’re going through it right now, if you’re just getting out of that phase or if you’re just starting off and you’re entering into that phase, you’ve got to know it’s totally normal and the most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work."
(watch the video at Scott's blog)
And in another two years, I'm sure I'll cringe a bit at this book that I'm so proud of at this moment. But now, the "big goal" is old news. The new "big goal" is to do some great things with this fantastic team of talented designers. I'm excited to see what we can put together.
Friday, October 17, 2008
going to CSULB for graphic design. two design classes: visual communications with leonard konopelski, typography with tor hovind. metalsmithing with susanna spiers, and some random engineering class (which i'm procrastinating on, right now...). living in long beach, it's legit.
attaching some in progress works:
that's all for now. see you when i see you.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
So I actually came through on a promise for once – the new photo site is finished and live. The portfolio section took the longest to get up and running but I'm happy with it. I'm still looking through stuff (10,500 pictures takes a while to sift through), so the photos currently online are subject to change.
Friday, July 6, 2007
So I've been trying to get out and do more shooting this summer, and I didn't really realize how much I've done until I finally sat down tonight and began sifting through the past 2 months worth of material. I'm currently in the process of recompiling my portfolio and getting a new photo website put together, so now was a good time as any to start looking through all my stuff and get a rough idea of what would be good.
So here's a sampler. I'm still working out the finer points on some, others have already had the full post-production treatment.
"As an artist, I find myself constantly reinventing the wheel – trying out new techniques, constantly going outside my comfort zone in terms of ability, and really striving for bigger and better things all the time.
Art is also a release for me in many ways. It takes all my energies, be they positive or negative, and transposes them into some kind of form of artistic expression. It essentially keeps me sane. But in that relationship, there's a kind of give-and-take – I constantly find myself unable to produce good work unless there is some kind of driving force behind it. That is to say, I am wholly unable to just sit down and have at it. There needs to be some kind of catalyst, be it emotional, theological, philosophical, religious (not so much, but it happens). I hate to sound pretentious, but there needs to be some kind of meaning behind it and not just be art for art's sake.
You listen to Beethoven or Mozart or Salieri and then read some of the tidbits that they were have known to say and you see that for these men, music was a religious experience – they felt as if they were the conduit for the voice of God, that God was speaking to mankind through their music. And that's what kept those men going, that was the driving force behind their art. Not to imply that I feel that God is the driving force behind my art (I'm 1) not the religious type, and 2) perhaps more selfishly, I like to take credit for my work), but an element of that kind of divine artistic spark is there.
With photography, I feel that the subject is that divine spark; they are the driving force behind my art. It is their energy that I ultimately feed off of, that I turn around and make my own. It is their exuberance, their happiness, sadness, that I try to coax to the surface even if just for a second. But in that second, in that glimpse, that glimmer of humanity, of raw energy, I feel that I am exposing the very nature of what we are as individuals, as humans."
Saturday, June 30, 2007
So last night Timi and I popped into the Apple Store at South Coast Plaza (bonus trivia: South Coast was the 4th Apple Store ever opened) to have a peek at the iPhone. A peek turned into a tour, a tour turned into an investigation, and before I knew it, it had been monopolizing one of the 9 or 10 floor models for over an hour. It's literally that good.
-The screen is gorgeous. The LCD is rated at 160PPI (pixels per inch). For a reference, your average laptop/desktop monitor screens are either 72 or 96PPI. This screen is a stunner - text is super crisp, videos and photos are beautiful and bright.
-The OS is super responsive. It was able to handle multiple things at the same time, and believe me, I taxed it; opening multiple internet windows, playing music, setting up a Bluetooth connection, sending emails and texts, all at the same time. Most of the time it performed beautifully (see why only "most of the time" in the Cons). The UI has a lot of little flair animations here and there (like when you send something to the trash, or create a new tab in the web browser) that really add to the polish and don't manage to be too in-your-face.
-Battery life looks like it might very well hold up just fine in real world situations. In the hour that I used it, what with running all of those tasks concurrently, the battery was still around 92-95%.
-The phone features are great. Timi and I initiated a conference call with 4 lines and each one came through clear - the phone didn't even flinch at adding that many lines. Looking at all the calls you have on hold and switching back and forth is really as easy as the demos indicate.
-EDGE. It's old, it's slow, pages take ages to render, YouTube is a gamble at times. For full-on internet use, I would stick to Wi-Fi. Personally, I'm gonna wait around until there's 3G support. AT&T has a 3G network in Orange County, so the network is already there. Now all that I need is the device to utilize it. I give it maybe 12-15 months before Apple rolls out a next-gen device.
-No Flash support. So much for the "real internet." Hopefully we'll see something in the future with a software update or something.
-The OS can lag. While most of the time it's a joy to use, there are times when it can stick. For instance, if too much is going on in the background and you rotate the screen to view it in landscape mode, it can lag anywhere from 10 to 15 seconds before the screen catches up and turns with you. Also, sometimes if you open up a new tab in the web browser and go off to do other things and assume it'll load the page in the background, you're going to come back only to find that a blank screen – you need to actually wait in the web app for the page to fully load. Minus one on the multitasking side of things.
-The keyboard is lacking. The software isn't necessarily as "smart" as touted by Apple. It only corrected my mistakes a couple times, and the remainder of the time it just kept the misspelling intact ("junk" kept as "jink"...I guess junk isn't a very common word as per the iPhone's dictionary). I suppose with practice (i.e. owning the thing) you'd get a lot better with it. This is, incidentally enough, not a phone that you're going to want to text with while driving, although I know that within the coming weeks we're gonna see some bozo get in an accident while trying to send email/messages while behind the wheel.
-Default ringtones aren't anything to write home about. Apparently, there might be a way to add your own songs as ringtones in the future as per some goodies found in the iTunes 7.3 update, but concrete info on that has yet to surface. Until then, no personalized ringtones for your contacts and no using songs for ringtones. Kind of a bummer.
I wouldn't let the cons hold anyone else back though (although they may be holding me back). There's no denying that this is definitely a watershed moment for Apple and that this device will see some serious market innovation within the US mobile sphere in relation to other manufacturers. It's not so much the hardware or any one feature that really makes is a remarkable device, but all of the features combined into such a nice little package that makes it so appealing, and I think sales in the next few months will echo that sentiment.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I've patronized Adam's site a few times in the past 6 months or so, but I never really looked around enough – I more or less popped in, downloaded what I wanted/needed and went on my way. While getting a Firefox icon tonight (if you're ever in need of a good CS3 icon pack, definitely hit this guy's site up), I finally took the time to look around and find out more of what he was all about.
According to this interview, he started out in design when he was about 12 and just kind of kept at it. By the looks of his site, he's really honed in on his technique and style. I really think it's one of those things that tough to do – to kind of figure out what "look" works best for you and kind of sticking with it as a general theme, but not overdoing it too much. I particularly like the subtle elements he has going on - the CSS transparencies, tasteful use of reflections, rounded corners.
Great design, seems like an awesome guy. I highly recommend taking a look.