Friday, May 7, 2010

SNES Bluetooth Controller

Anyone else absolutely LOVE the old, now "retro" Nintendo classics? This guy has figured out how to mod an MSI Bluetooth controller into Super Nintendo controller. I need this guy to show me schematics so I can try it for myself.

How awesome would it be to sync this thing up with my phone for a little classic NES emulation between classes, etc.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta - I GOT IT!!!

Remember that totally awesome 16th century book of illuminated manuscripts I was talking about a while back? The most amazing thing happened. A copy showed up on eBay and I got it! How rad is that. Let me tell you... it's friggin' rad.

I can't wait for it to show up in the mail and get my nerdy paws on it.

B&W Photo - Series (artist statement)

Nocturnal, sculptural photography may be the antithesis of the more common western landscape, but the monochromatic time exposed cityscapes are, to the photographer, just as captivating. In the context of busy lives they tend to blend in. During the day boys playing in the downtown grove or a bird perched near a stream seem so commonplace that they are easily overlooked. Busy schedules and task-oriented minds easily overlook the heavy presence of each piece.

After the sun has set and the business doors close each sculpture takes on a new unique quality. Some are lit, creating a feeling of grandeur in isolation, demanding attention amidst the now barren landscape. Others seem out of place. Removed from the context of daily activity there is an awkwardness to its very presence. Those that are unlit slip away in darkness hidden by the impression of diminished worth.

Capturing each piece while the world is sound asleep creates a personal dialog between the sculpture and the photographer. There is now a one-on-one relationship and more thought can be devoted to setting up and capturing the shot. The irony of course is re-capturing a moment in time that has already been captured by the sculpture itself. Regardless there is a serene and calming nature in obtaining the image and, in the photographers opinion, a deeper appreciation for the sculpture itself. The final product is something less commonplace than traditional landscape photography that is equally pleasing to observe.

Artist - Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali (1904-1989) was originally a Cubist but then became the best known example of the surrealism school of painting, being renowned for the vivid and bizarre content of his pictures. The word 'dali-esque' has become associated with surrealism. In addition to his painting skills, which were strongly influenced by the old masters of the Italian renaissance, his creative talents extended to film, sculpture, and photography.

As a surrealist, Dali emphasized the idea of absurdity and the role of the unconscious in his art. His waxed moustache, general eccentricity and self-promotion accorded him wide public recognition and significant commercial success during his lifetime.

Among his best known works of art, are: The Persistence of Memory (1931), Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (1936) and The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory (1954). The Persistence of Memory (La persistencia de la memoria) is probably Dalí's most famous oil painting. The picture introduced his image of the soft melting pocket watch - reality being nothing but the Camembert cheese of space and time - and epitomised the artist's notion of of "softness" and "hardness", which was central to his thinking of the time.

This clock-imagery can be seen as a visual representation of Einstein's theory of Relativity, showing how gravity affects and distorts time.

B&W Photo - Series

For our intro to photography final we had to present 6 photos that held their own weight, yet worked together as a series. I chose to try exploring night photography. I know it's a bit more difficult, but I've always wanted to try it out... here was my perfect opportunity.

What I've posted here are from my digital camera - which I used to set up the shot for my film camera. After I had positioned the shot how I thought I wanted it, I'd just swap cameras out. Kinda cheating I know... but I didn't want to waste time and film. There are too many projects going on at once to screw this one up and have to spend additional hours. Not all the pictures made it into the final series, but I'm still fond of them. Enjoy!

Artist - Peter Paul Ruben

Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was a dynamic seventeenth-century Flemish and European artist. He was THE illustrator of the Catholic faith and divine right of kings. He was also a classical scholar, art-collector and diplomat. As a painter, Rubens is renowned for his Counter-Reformation altarpieces, ceiling-paintings, portraits, landscapes, and especially his history painting with its mythological and allegorical messages. His masterpieces include: Venus at the Mirror, Samson and Delilah, The Massacre Of The Innocents, and The Judgement Of Paris. Other interesting works include: Four Studies of the Head of a Negro.

Rubens often used pupils and assistants to complete a painting. An erudite and cosmopolitan artist, Rubens was born in Germany, settled in Antwerp (now Belgium), had a Spanish wife and became Court Painter to the Spanish Govenors of the Netherlands. He was knighted by both Philip IV, king of Spain, and Charles I, king of England.

Rubens' artworks are commonly divided into three groups: those painted by Rubens himself, those which he helped to paint (typically painting hands and faces), and those he merely supervised. He was assisted by a number of students and apprentices, while he often assigned certain elements of his larger paintings (e.g. animals or still-life groupings) to specialists such as Snyders or Jordaens.

Paintings of Venus admiring herself were not uncommon during the Renaissance and Baroque eras. Rubens' Venus before the Mirror - an improvement on Titian's painting Venus with a Mirror - reinterprets the theme according to the spirit of the Northern Baroque. Rubens' Venus is more human than Titian's. Her figure is fuller, more curvaceous. Her golden hair cascades down her back, and instead of gazing at her own beauty she catches the eye of the viewer.

Artist - Charles Marion Russell

Charles Marion Russell (1864-1926) was such an important and prolific Western artist, his works can be found in over 50 museums (and countless galleries, I'm sure) in the United States and even around the world.

Russell was proficient in several mediums. He painted in oils, gouache (a type of watercolor), and sculpted. You will find that you can view many copies of his popular cast-bronze sculptures in a number of venues, because bronzes are made by pouring molten metal into a mold made from the original piece of artwork. Bronze pieces are usually made in limited quantities at a foundry. The numbered copies of these bronzes are very collectible, with the first editions, usually numbered on the sculpture like a print. Most Western art museums contain at least a few works by this influential artist.

Russell's representational style included cowboys, indians, and landscapes inspired by visits to National Parks, California, Arizona, and Colorado. The color palettes are muted, but realistic, and his paintings and sculptures are dominated by a sense of movement and action. Russell depicted a mythic American West.

Charles Russell's paintings are more valuable than his sculpture, simply because their numbers are fewer. However, his sculpture is probably what he is best known for, again, because it is so prolific.

Project 4 - COMPLETION

14 hours... seriously!? I spent 14 hours on Thursday working on this piece. The good news is that, regardless of no one but Marshall showing up during the day to help out, I think we'll finish on time... or close.

I spent most of the day wiring the 19 individual LED lights, running the wiring behind the base-board and securing the LED's inside the individual boxes at the correct angle to properly illuminate each image. I was faily proud of myself for finding the LED's at an amazing price. Purchased individually from Radio Shack, they were over $2.00 each. I took some advice from Erin and did some shopping at Harbor Freight Tools. I scored a 27-LED light for $3.99. That's approximately $0.15 per LED! I'm loving China right now. All I needed to do was take the light apart, desolder and extract each LED... awesome.

Our biggest problem surfaced when figuring out a way to secure the individual boxes to the base-board. The 1/8" MDF that the boxes are constructed of would be near impossible to get from the back of the base-board with the pneumatic nailer, so we tried a variety of glues. This was by far the most frustrating part of the entire process. After trying a few different glues, waiting for them to dry, then watching the boxes fall off as we lifted the base-board vertical brought a mixture of anger and frustration. We were running out of time. Finally we found a 5 minute epoxy compound in the sculpture studio that did the trick.

Needless to say we didn't finish by class time, but by a superfluous outpouring of grace from Erin our installation date was extended. The rest of the group (with the exception of Allen) showed up to finish painting. Even Jane and Jenae, who weren't part of our group volunteered to paint.

Saturday Marshall and I met up, grabbed a couple of students on campus and moved he sucker to PAW 112. I thought my arms were going to fall off half way across campus. My only motivation to keep going was that so many hours of my life had been sucked away by this project there was no way in hell I was going to drop it now.

It was almost surreal to see it finished and installed. This was a beast of a project, and while there were things about it that I wish would have turned out differently it was, overall, a great experience.

Artist - Albert Bierstadt

Albert Bierstadt (1830 - 1902) was a German/American painter best known for his romantic landscapes. He was very productive and very financially successful during his time. One of his commissioned paintings brought him $25,000 over 150 years ago. A lot of money now, an astronomical sum for a painter in the 19th century, I'm sure!

Bierstadt's popularity was well-justified. His beautiful landscapes (amazing detail!) manipulate light using "luminism". His paintings of beautiful places like Yosemite, Yellowstone, California, etc. often use strong contrasts of light and darkness of chiaroscuro. Though I personally think it fits Bierstadt's work and his European influences... Bierstadt uses this effect to create romance and grandeur in his landscapes. His work fueled the imagination of many Americans who settled in the West, and his paintings helped Easterners to appreciate the lands that later became a part of the U.S. National Park system.

Bierstadt belonged to the Hudson River School of painters, and worked in many mediums, including oils, pastels, watercolors, gouache, charcoal, and inks. His productive output, popularity, and status both now and then have caused his works to appear in over 100 museums across the United States. Bierstadt is one of my personal favorite artists. His paintings of Yosemite are inspirational and kick ass.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Project 4 - UPDATE 2

Next class/studio was spent finishing up the boxes and laying down the grid on the base sheet. Marshall started the process, but had to bail half way through because he was given free tickets to a concert... can't say I blame him.

We finished up the grid and then placed all the boxes in their respective positions to verify the correct fit.

After the box positioning was checked, I ran upstairs to use the photo labs roto-cutter to cut the black poster board into correct sizes for the peeping box backing/image base. We grabbed a can of spray glue and went to town gluing each piece in the correct positions and finished up at about 8:30pm. A lot accomplished during this studio... awesome.

Artist - Jan van Eyck

Artist Jan van Eyck was a Flemish painter and one of the leading artists of the Northern Renaissance. Van Eyck mastered the art of oil painting, which was a new invention at the time. He is considered one of the most talented painters of 15th century Europe and is best known for his highly realistic figure painting, usually on religious subjects (again, Renaissance), and portrait art. His three-quarter pose of face together with his mastery of oils brought a surprising new realism to portraiture, and made him one of the foremost painters of the Northern Renaissance, much in demand by the emerging bourgeoisie and merchant class.

Born in Maaseik, Belgium around 1395, little is known of his early life. It is thought that the painter Hubert van Eyck was his brother. Another younger brother, Lambert van Eyck is mentioned in court documents and it is thought he may have been a painter too.

The Ghent Altarpiece is considered his first masterpiece, followed closely by the Arnolfini Portrait. Van Eyck's ability to manipulate oil paints to produce realistic representations of the natural world is why he became so popular.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Artist - Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987), whose full name is Andrew Warhola, was an American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. After a career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became famous worldwide for his work as a painter, avant-garde filmmaker, record producer, author, and public figure known for his membership in wide range of social circles that included bohemian street people, distinguished intellectuals, Hollywood celebrities and wealthy patrons.

Warhol worked across a wide range of media… painting, photography, drawing, and sculpture. He was regarded as a highly prolific filmmaker. Between 1963 and 1968, he made more than 60 films, plus some 500 short black-and-white "screen test" portraits of Factory visitors. One of his most famous films, Sleep, monitors poet John Giorno sleeping for six hours. The 35-minute film Blow Job is one continuous shot of the face of DeVeren Bookwalter supposedly receiving oral sex from filmmaker Willard Maas, although the camera never tilts down to show it.

The highest price ever paid for a Warhol painting is $100 million for a 1963 canvas titled Eight Elvises. The private transaction was reported in a 2009 article in The Economist, which described Warhol as the "bellwether of the art market." $100 million is a benchmark price that only a handful of other artists have achieved.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Project 4 - UPDATE 1

Marshall and I got an early start by working on Saturday. He and Cory had gone to Home Depot to pick up some MDF and we spent most of Saturday cutting the sheets down to the correct sizes for all 19 boxes.

Tuesday's studio time was VERY productive because we had the whole group together. Marshall focused on finishing up the boxes, Alex and I filled in the finishing nail holes with putty and Alan finished them off by sanding them smooth. A lot of good progress made.

Project 4 (FINAL) - Museum Exhibit

Museum Proposal

Concept: Our exhibit will display a series of situations, habits, addictions, obsessions, etc. that people desire to keep secret and boxed in, yet can never truly hide from the prying eyes/interests of others. If given a few moments, each of us can conjure images in our minds of things we desire to keep left unseen. Most of us would be embarrassed or ashamed to reveal these to friends, family or even complete strangers. The installations will target taboo issues in a series of boxes containing images that are viewable only through a “voyeuresqe” peep hole, some of which contain lenses or other means to alter/change the meaning contained within.

Process: Members from the team will be assigned tasks. Construction of the unit itself will require, at minimum, intermediate craftsmanship skills. Images will need to be collected/created to represent each situation. Each image will be placed in a box representative of an idea that supports the over-all theme. A small slit in the top panel of each box will provide illumination for the eye of the viewer as they examine each through the appropriate peep hole.

Installation: The display will be constructed through a series of boxes at varying levels of height, attached to a large 4’ x 8’ sheet of ply. The final piece will be attached to the museum wall at an appropriate height so that any individual can easily access/view all of the series.

Items Needed:

• 4’ x 8’ sheet of plywood
• Material to construct each box (TBD)
• 20 – 30 images
• Paint & paint supplies
• Assorted lenses to alter perspective/meaning

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Artist - Thomas Ott

Thomas Ott (1966) is a German artist from Zürich. He received training as a graphic artist at the School of Design in Zürich and has been a free-lance comics artist and illustrator since 1987. From 1998-2001 Ott attended film studies at the University of Art and Design in Zürich. He currently lives and works in Zürich and Paris. Ott is also the lead singer of The Playboys.

Ott is another "dark artist", which I seem to be gravitating to as I look through my artists' list. What makes his work unique and totally pimp is that he uses scratchboard. The level of detail and value/shading that he is able to create is phenominal. Most of his scratchboard comics are wordless with images powerful enough to provide the narrative.

"Swiss cartoonist Ott employs neither dialogue nor captions in his stories; words appear rarely, usually as chapter titles or signs in the background. Appropriately, Ott uses the early silent cinema as a motif... In keeping with the silent movie motif, Ott uses black, white and grays, enveloping his realistically drawn characters and settings in an expressionistic mood. The characters initially display understated emotions, and their situations seem familiar. Ott's storytelling moves at a slow but steady pace, making his protagonists' extreme reactions more believable when they, and the readers, are caught in Ott's imaginatively conceived, masterfully executed traps."
– Publishers Weekly