Gates & Fences

making movies. my way.
the process is quite involved really.

i take a picture of something that moves or intrigues me.

i use different cameras. digital. holga. lomo colorsplash. lomo fisheye. vintage box cameras. 35mm.

sometimes i use the picture as is. but that is rare.

sometimes i scan the picture in.

if i want to create video from stills i pull the stills into MAX/MSP with jitter and mix them and record it.

sometimes i combine the mixed videos with other stills and videos. there's no end to this process, it lasts until i get the visual satisfaction i am looking for. watching MAX mix the video sometimes creates new possibilities. and this process sometimes spins out of control.

sometimes i print the altered still out of MAX.

sometimes i use different printers to print the stills. laser. inkjet. various substrates.

the prints are cut up and repositioned in my collage art. my favorite part of this journey.

the collage gets scanned into the computer.

i go into photoshop and use the pen tool to crop out portions of the collage to use in animation.

sometimes i use the MAX movies as a background to the Flash animation.

sometimes i use the original still as a background.

sometimes i use the collage as a background.

sometimes i scan in other material for the background.

the parts and pieces come alive in flash. this can consume many hours, depending on how focused i am.

the flash animations are exported to .mov format.

sometimes i crop and regroup these movies in quicktime.

the .mov's are imported into imovie.

the movies are sequenced.

the music is added.

i study the movie.

sometimes i have to go back and rework the flash animation to fit the music better.

sometimes there are little things that disturb me like subtle white edges that don't meet, or parts that don't quite work right. these get the final tweak. this can get tedious.

the movie is exported from imovie and ready to be combined with other movies for my dvd.

i can't sleep at night because i get such a thrill from the finished product.

i wake up and post the movie on my blog to share with you.

Sky Swirler

Sky Swirler
Originally uploaded by misphit
Still doing exercises with these smaller canvases. I can't bite into anything too heavy, since I am steadily working on the show at this point.
Currently, it's movies that have me going crazy. I am animating some of the pieces with Flash, combining them with movies that were treated in MAX/MSP and then putting the clips together in iMovie. Lots of computer work, not enough studio art work!


Beneath a pale blue sky

Beneath a pale blue sky
Originally uploaded by misphit
Beneath a pale blue sky, I did indeed sit, a few times, for a few hours total, in my yard under 100+ year old locusts. The heat has been insane, and it effects the thistle that is now seeding in the field. The seeds cut loose on the wind, and then they float upwards with the flow of hot air, and float away to meadows unknown. I was fascinated.
So how odd is it that upstairs in the studio, i had already picked out these 4 photos--of the very same field-pix taken last year at this time-- plus the girl to work with. It seemed totally autobiographical! The coincidence interested me. I was toying with a journal entry and what I would say about this week. Words came to mind and I couldn't remove them from my mind. I was freakishly compelled to use words in my work! AAaCK! I usually avoid words like the plague. I would rather you came to your own conclusions about what I was trying to say, instead of infusing you with my thoughts. After all, it's a visual medium! But it kept nagging at me to put them in there so I did.
Obviously, I don't letter things too often! The bottom words went on first, and I was amazed they almost balanced each other. (can you believe both sentences have the exact same amount of characters!??) Everything was cool till I had to try to center the top line. I did that the next morning, and I wasn't warmed up and it bummed me out that it wasn't more...uh....perfect. In fact, it's kinda lopsided and not kerned properly AT All. Too late. It's pen and ink, and the way the acrylic kind of blends into the top of the photos was planned, so I wasn't going to cover it or repaint.
I kind of like the imperfect nature of the letters. If I blur my eyes and look at this piece, the letters look like another language.
Not sure I will use words again too soon. But for now, I am intrigued with it for some reason. It kills me how a simple thing like adding words throws me completely off.

p.s. note to self: you are working on symmetrical pieces WAY too often. Lets break this habit.


Pink Cabinet

Pink Cabinet
Originally uploaded by misphit
I love working on birch plywood!
I did 2 sample pieces that were small and would need no support. I need to prepare a few larger pieces and use it again. I also have been using canvas lately, but I don't like it nearly as much as the wood.
On these smaller pieces, I am trying to remove all fluff and leave just my subject. It seems kind of stark and plain for my kind of work... he he he


Cut & Paste in Stockholm

Here's the scoop on an upcoming exhibition to be held in Stockholm in September. This is another reason why I want to go to Scandinavia! (the other reason would be that I have relatives in Norway) If you are in the region, this show would be worth the time.

The type is kind of tiny on this .jpg. Information is repeated here for you:
Cut & Paste
17.9 - 10/10 - 2009
Kammakargatan 52, Stockholm
exhibition homepage: www.cutandpaste.in


Avoiding A Book About Death

Matthew Rose has this great call for art going on, for A Book About Death. It's coming to a close soon, and finally I settled down and came up with my entry.
I had all these grandiose ideas when he first posted the call. I thought about my own experiences about death...those family members of mine who have recently died, including my mother. It was overwhelming. The power of the subject. I had a hard time approaching the work.
Matthew and I skyped and brainstormed all these wondrous ideas and cool ways to deal with this project. I dreamed about setting up a booth at our local grocery store, sitting with 500 blank cards, and asking people to write a small thought on the card regarding the Death Subject. But if was avoiding thinking about death, I assumed most others also would be. I loved the idea of getting 500 schoolchildren to draw me some death. Not sure where I would find a quick 500 students since Canajoharie only has 3797 residents--I doubt there are 500 kids in the school! I thought of Iraq and how easy it would be to dedicate a card for each of 500 totally unnecessary and bogus war deaths. I would have to leave many out, or do several series of cards for fairness, so this wasn't working for me.

He Giveth His Beloved Sleep
(a favorite gravestone slogan of mine)

I realized that these modes of operation were just another way for me to avoid thinking about death. With deadlines for my show looming, I already am overwhelmed. But I really liked the way A Book About Death was pushing my limit--I know that sounds silly that I liked being uncomfortable, but usually this means a growth opportunity--a chance for me to learn something. So this weekend I engaged it.
I had done a journal a few years ago that was themed around cemetaries. My bestest pal Travis and I had spent so many lunches in various local cemetaries, experimental photographing, seeking Mason gravestones, graverubbing..., and I had used some of these pieces in collage work.

left: pic of fence from the cemetary behind the historical Indian Castle Church (off rte 5s, outside Little Falls)
right: Travis in creepy Halloween mask beside the quiet ravine that comprises some of Canajoharie cemetary

I spend 3 hours looking for that journal. I was going to cheat and use a page from the journal instead of coming up with a new piece. My wonderful organizational skills (or lack thereof) totally prevented this from happening. Still cheating, I knew I also had a favorite piece of mine that I did in my own private journal that would probably work. I even scanned it in, preparing to make the post card entry from it.

private journal entry: 2004

Again, I caught myself in the act of cheating and proceeded beat my own ass. That was it. I sat down at the table and found some clips that I have been saving for a long time. The girl with the netted hat, she has been passed over at least 500 times. Her time had come. Along with some black and white double exposed Holga photographs that Trav and I took years ago. After all that buildup, I'm not sure the end product was "all that". The entire time I composed the piece, my mind wondered to distant Lithuanian and Norwegian relatives that paved the way bravely for me to exist.
However, it's what went on in my own head that interests me. For me it's the journey that matters. The continuous brain games that go on while I avoid things. The personal acknowledgment of my weaknesses. The triumph of thinking it all through. It's this I share with you. Like a mini-performance art.

my final entry


Collage on Wood - Boy and Caterpillar

This freakin piece of wood!
I had my honey pie Chris cut me up a few samples of birch plywood. Hochbaum was using birch plywood as his base, and I liked the idea of a firmer substrate. (the 140 lb paper isn't working for me and I am too cheap to purchase the 300 lb!) This particular piece of wood has been sitting in gessoland forever it seems. It took 3 good coats of gesso to get a nice smooth surface to work on, and after sanding the last coat, I decided it was time to try it out.
I love working on wood! The grain does pick up my paint, however, since I like to use acrylics watery and loose like watercolors. This effect came in handy for the distant trees, tho...

I wanted to show how this piece came into being. I had taken these 2 photos of a really gnarly willow and at first the actual laser print of the photo was going to be used as the background.

However, this would completely cover the beautifully sanded and gessoed wood I just spent all that time preparing! Oi! NO WAY I was going to waste that work and gesso... no way. Seriously! So I ended up painting an acrylic background. This was so satisfying as I have been craving to paint landscapes en plein air lately.
Finally I got to use the set of Derwent colored pencils my father bought me for Christmas, as I lightly penciled in the far background trees.
I hated to cover up the pen and ink with collage. In fact, as soon as I painted the piece, I didn't want to cover anything at all. Yet, when it was a laser photograph in the planning stages, I was hell bent on it. I guess I had an investment in the time it took to pen and ink and somehow this altered my perception when it came to put this together. All in all, it's pretty busy.

I did have moth wings on the boy, even real ones I have collected from, dare I say it, spider webs and other dark and miserable places. But the wing thing is pretty cliché and rather overdone. I would think you might want to imagine the tree branches as his wings as he will probably adorn them and take flight!!!

___A place to find all kinds of information about collage.