You may wish this video were longer…
…that’s a teaser video I tweened together for fun, practice, and the promotion of the event I describe below…
Last Thursday I showed 8 new pieces on wood at The Last Bookstore during the Downtown LA Art Walk. Ryan Hurtgen, an amazing musician and writer, invited me to show my art there during his Sci-fi Loves Prog event because I had helped him with the beginning stages of finagling a way into the venue…and because he’s a friend who likes my art. The previous sentence is speculative. Mark Nichols, the musical machine, opened the night with an elaborate, interactive performance. After that, an impressive panel of authors, Suhail Rafidi, David Gill, Marc Weingarten, and Erik Davis, discussed science fiction writing. And, finally, Ryan dramatically closed the evening with his band, Perfect Beings,
I was particularly interested in showing my art alongside Perfect Beings because recently I’ve been playing with pi to create manipulated photos that are actually quite reminiscent of the Perfect Beings album cover:
The top image is the Perfect Being’s album cover and the image beneath that is “There’s a Light” which is Lorna Art. I’ll get into my process in a sec, but first I need to gush about the brilliance of Perfect Beings and the allure of The Last Bookstore.
Perfect Beings is a five piece band that sounds like a million piece band. [Listen to the whole album on YouTube.] Seriously, they have like five keyboards on stage. So much gear. So many pedals. And they use them right. They use them effectively, artistically. The album is a musical interpretation of the book TJ & Tosc by Suhail Rafidi. Their performance is dramatic. Costume changes are involved. At one point during the show, Ryan set two wine glasses on a stool at the front of the stage. One glass was full of wine, one of water. In one motion he drank the entire water glass then seamlessly returned to his keyboard and microphone. The water chugging alone wasn’t necessarily that impressive, I bet homeboy was thirsty, it was the theatricality of it. For the rest of the set I kept wondering if he was going to return to the glasses and do the same with the wine.
The Last Bookstore is aptly named. If there were only one bookstore left, I’d be okay if it were this one. Their books are numerous and affordable. The second story has a stacks-labyrinth of $1 used book that includes book art…like books that use their pages as wings and fly overhead. There are also about 10 mini art galleries/studios upstairs. That night, the venue’s air was thick with art enthusiasm and body heat. T’was hot in there.
Tiny Planets is an app that takes an artist’s photo and twirls its vanishing point into the center. I’m still a bit baffled by the process. It took me much trial and error and serendipity to get some good art out of it. The app gives suggestions about best practices but only in brief flashes while an image is loading. I’ve used the app enough now, and increased my image resolution, so I’ve had time to see all of the tips.
Lorna Art: Here are a few images from my tiny planets collection
A mixture of a great Long Beach sunset and an eerie black and white Tiny Planet landscape from a Palm Springs photo (the Palm Springs image is presented alone a few down. Can you spot which one it is?)
“Plenty of waves, already”
This is from the San Gabriel River Bike Path in Seal Beach/Los Alamitos. The river be crazy.
This one is also from the San Gabriel River Bike Path. These wiry and weedy tentacles of industry inspired me to get my bike fixed so I could ride to them and spend more time with them (and take pictures of them). Sometimes, when I’m driving, the views are so beautiful and yet so fucking temporal. I find this frustrating because I cannot safely capture the skies, the clouds, the angles.
I like the contrast this piece presents in the context of my Tiny Planets collection (which is full of blue skies and blue waters). I go through so much photo editing, and back tracking, and re-editing that I need to trust myself and my decision to make this particular photo’s manipulation with gray scale. I really like this one. The gray scale also lends itself to a rorschach interpretation. “Don’t fall in”
My mum actually suggested I cut this one from the series when I asked her to help me focus the sequence. She said that she couldn’t tell what this one was, so it was less appealing. I get that. This one is another one of my favorites because of that exact reason. I love the mystery: there are potential representations of both something organic and something mechanistically contrived. The image is one that no finger can be put on. I’ll leave it at that because of that.
“There’s a light”
In the vain of the previous image/description, I’m going to refrain from explanation. It’s up to you.
The process with these images started with a great Lorna photo. [I don’t write this to toot my own horn, I write it because I take a lot of unusable Lorna photos, and deciding on the keepers is part of the process.] Per usual, I edited my photos in Camera Plus, tediously…then sent them to Tiny Planets. I’ve found that my best results from Tiny Planets are usually from panoramic photos that have a similar left-point/right-point horizon line and silhouette. I then sent the images to Photoshop and duplicated them and added symmetry. at least
Just like with the Fragment App, I wonder if either I’ve played with this tool to its potential, or I’m just starting to discover what I can do with it. The latter is always a safe bet.
Post Process: I feel like this has been sort of a clinical post. After WordPress featured me as one of the 10 Illustrators to Follow (on Tuesday!), I’m almost paralyzingly aware of my audience. Shit! People are actually looking at my art and reading my thoughts! This self deprecating awareness isn’t new for me, though.
I’m going to get back to my autobio comics because that’s the most natural way for me to both share my thoughts and present art.
I just finished Julia Wertz‘ Fart Party. This is her first big publication, but I’d already read her increasingly successfully subsequently publications. I dig her POV and style and voice and everything. Ima try and incorporate Lorna Art into an autobio setting.