Monday, July 07, 2014

ending artist anxiety

What or who is an artist?

How does art come out of a person that qualifies him or her to be called or classified an artist. Oh, someone else has to recognize your talents and abilities wither fresh out the crib or in retrospect? LOL

Some art is accident, some inspired, some stumbled upon, some well practiced, some the result of training, some out of the knack. Some out of logical assessment, some out of idiot fun. Some art out of the copy urge, can't afford it I'll make it myself. Are you flattered or do you yell "thief"?!?

Are you an artist because you make money from your craft? Are you carrying on a tradition as a member of a guild, being practiced in "the art"? Or do you dabble like myself and find comrades among like minded artisan dabblers?  We fool ourselves saying we are not really artist, ha! We are artist!!

What do you do? Oh, I'm an artist. What kind of art? I, ah, do........................
Did you go to school for that? Then depending on wither you are commercial product or service artist or a fine artist. Where can I see your art?

If I am introduced as an artist, the persons usually responds with a request of a portrait before it is explained what kind of art I do. It is so awkward to have to define a box when you are out the box. It's just conversation, better for the artist to keep some photos on hand, a pictorial business card. Be prepared to show more than tell, a thousand words via a picture is more than you can say.

My summation, if I had to wait for others to confirm I was an artist, I'd never pursue doing it. Now being recognized as an artist in a broader community is a different thing. So, forget your ego thumping, I am an artist because that is the way the energy is flowing. Now work the energy, self practice, schooling, whatever it takes or that opportunity allows to do art. Observe, practice and show ones close to you. Expand your show circle, then ones can see that you are indeed an artist.

I am thankful I have chances to demonstrate my art energies in a larger context. Mural projects, community art center, conversations and critiques by peers like myself and long time pros. You got to get out there to balance the isolation of your creative space. Keep it real, after all you are an artist.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

applied art b4 and afta

I am too embarrassed to show the porch before we touched it, so here is a shot after we removed steps to upstairs and the upper desk.
The bottom pic shows the new deck as it stands now, almost finished. Steps and rails and stain and perhaps a small rain divert over the door. The most masterful work was in trying to get three opinionated guys to work together. Our skills were rough and our experience vague having done other things but not this, we did it. I am happy it is solid and level. This is applied art and if we were little more talented would be a work of art. Fancy caps on the posts, torch holders, spot lamps, cement lions next to the stairs, a outside kitchen, hot tub, who knows how far you can go. So, full of stuff I'll have to go away for a vacation.

I hope the wife doesn't clutter it up with furniture, planters and such. I like the space, especially in the morning. Well let me go cut the grass, I can see it grow pretty good from here.

Friday, June 06, 2014

applied art

As a former electrical draftsman and presently an art dabbler, I usually am putting all my energy into drawings. To draft the product to be built or illustrate an idea so that others can get the drift is the stuff I do routinely. This has changed of late.

The back porch of my home was a kinetic form escalating toward destruction. It was unmaintained, dilapidated and looked untrustworthy. When we tried to knock it apart the porch defied all our efforts. My bud and I had to dismantle it piece by piece. Despite all the caution warnings of concerned friends the structure was not going to collapse and yes the floor was a problem.

Where's the art?

Well I envisioned many decks but had to get practical. More than a picture, I had to dimension it on paper, consult a lumber yard for materials and cost, get permits and recruit a couple of friends to help. So, I got a hand drawn plan, a hand picked team and materials. It was weird commanding friends and orchestrating the materials myself but, It was my deck and that was reality.

Wow, it is really happening. I'm a concept guy not a builder.

My friends said quit analyzing, just do it. I told them what I wanted, we cut the wood for joist, post and hammered the footing hardware in place. In a drawing you could erase a line, change a size, in reality you measure twice, cut once but cut a little large because I and my friends are not pros. As we do it we get confidence. We realized it was not our inexperience but our not having worked together that was  the problem. We didn't really learn to work together until later in the process. The coolest thing was turning an uht-ooh mistake into a positive thing, the scariest was hiding a mistake in plain sight.

We are almost finished now, one of my friends went home, lives in another town. I was crazy to pick friends who didn't know each other. It did however work out and I learned about my friends and me and us together. That was art, the deck is not professional quality but is it supremely functional. I will have to show pictures when done, I promise, after I clean up the yard. I'm cool with it.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

settling into a groove

Being an art dabbler is not the way to go if you want to get something done. You have to spend time in a medium, in my case make the mouse sweat. I try many things and I've settled into a groove of sorts. I like Trimble's SketchUP, it handles 3d like an engineer. Blender 3d is great but too many nuances for me to get a grip on it. The other 3d program I like is Sweet Home 3d. It is pretty cool and even allows you to stretch the rules a little.

Here's a shot of a work in progress. This is imaging my garage as a studio.
The built in rendering package allows you to account for the time of day, 4PM in this pic. The skylight is actually a glass coffee table scaled up. You can select the interior lights to be on or off, shadows and reflection are figured for you. If you are a picky perfectionist Photoshop or GIMP will tweak it more. As far as photo realism goes, this is pretty good but not the top shelf. Sweet Home 3d has 4 render settings, this was the third. Rendering takes time, the higher the setting the longer the process. I have to remind myself this is a representation not a photo of the actual. Perfectionist will go nuts trying to get better results. You'll have to use a bigger gun like Blender 3d.

Sweet Home 3d lets you import a floor plan drawing, scale it, then let you trace the walls over the drawing. Then you can add in doors, windows and furnishings. Folks have figured how to add roofs and 2nd floors. BUT the coolest feature is this: the aerial 3d view and the camera level walk through.

Now my previous post had a tif with the 3d people included with this program, the Caucasians are life like and the Africans are stiff caricatures. Intended or not, it is not fair representation. Better to just darken the skin tone of a white guy and slap on an Afro than clown around. At least it will look like a real human.
Relax, I've had the same experience in a life drawing class in which I was the model. It took the mostly white class 3 tries before they drew what they actually saw. People still don't believe race is subjective, an inner image problem. Mileage may very but for some, still needs work.

I have to add the clutter to make the scene more real. The only thing missing in the catalog of models is crumpled scrap paper. Sweet Home 3d is Java so it will on your PC with Java installed. Oh yeah, it is free, open source cool!

Friday, May 02, 2014

visuallize this, no black angels

I have a rant and maybe it's because I'm looking in the wrong place and I am cheap er broke. Us image makers especially we who use clip-art of people to populate a scene have a shortage of African-American, Black, African, etc; figures to put in these drawings. As I am not skilled in these things it is customary to use public domain or purchase (modest price) these figures.

I use Sweet Home 3d, the Caucasian character types are natural looking but there are one male and one female Afro-American characters. They are caricatures. The male is a morgue figure (stiff lifeless) and the female got huge boobs and looks like a dead hussy.

Clip-art of Afri-American people is scarce and so is 3d models of figures of the same hues. What a beef to have! BUT, suppose you were doing a project for your neighborhood that happens to be heavily populated with black people and other ethnic hues and you want to convey the real. It wouldn't be a hard sell to populate the picture with white folks but it does put a damper on expectations. Images means a lot subjectively.

So, there are a lot of Black artist who are into 3d games, making characters of monsters and super heros, villains, and aliens. Why don't you service an under served and under represented market. How in the heck can you project your images into the future if your likeness isn't in the plans that builds it, humm?

I use SketchUp for 3d work, it has a people populating scheme using 2d images that face front. It is easy to take a picture, cut it out and apply it. I even found a library of Afri-American images to use. I can't tell you how cool to design a spacey home and put black people in there. Man, got to do some full body shot of yours truly..............

Looking at the character market, there are game characters of every hue and description. What I'm talking about is the type used in 3d architectural models. These are usually pre-posed, standing, walking, sitting, etc; you can just pop them in for the effect and you're done. There are packages of Caucasian people, I haven't seen any with African people, business or casual. I'm just saying there are few images of black peoples for design purposes. Don't look at me funny, there are no black angels either, have you seen a black angel? This is deeper than you know.

PS. How deep? There were two European Renaissances, one that dealt with written languages, thus a war in words. Then the arts where the image also became a weapon of that same war. It is too bad words and images were/are used against us black folk but that is the truth. So yeah, we black artist can draw/paint black faces but the need is in the engineering pictorial arts, the clip-art realms not just games and sci-fi. There, I've said it and I'm glad! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

...........not as it seems

The Africans were enslaved so that they could be saved from their pagan religions, into god's kingdom, it is said. The ones doing the enslaving first had the blessing of a pope, the backing of wealthy money barons and entrepreneurs like Chris Columbus to carry it out. The gospel was never preached, nor was grace or mercy extended to the enslaved in the small picture nor the big picture. Christians who are thinking slavery was our ticket to salvation ought to stop. No, examine the facts of history, use reason, then stop. If faith is used to cover over history, then god is a liar, then god is not righteous, cause we were screwed by ones misrepresenting god. God got pimped out, we got screwed. Look at how us Black folk are in total today, we were the most civilized, now we are the most uncivilized. Many of us are waking up. We catch flack because we say the truth.

On the PC front. I installed Ubuntu 14, selected an obsolete video driver and my screen went black. Good thing I had two partitions as I mentioned my last post. I only had to reinstall the system on the system partition. It took many hours because my PC was wireless (slow) because my ethernet cable was damaged. The resulting setup was black screened also. Seems the files that saved the video setting were not saved properly.

Third times a charm. I noted everything that happened, changed the net cable, reformatted the system drive instead of reinstalling over top the old setup (one of the methods to choose). The install went very fast and it chose the correct video driver, again the ethernet cable was damaged the first time. Things settle down when you get a grip on all the parameters. Life is following a recipe, the spice is you tweaking to suit you. If it is a pie recipe and you get a cake, you should go back and read the recipe.

The moral of this story is that humans have tried and tested many things, thus life is a recipe, it shouldn't go wrong if you follow. BUT don't get hooked on sweets, that will throw the motive for cooking out of whack. That is how Africans wound up enslaved, other people hooked on hate, power, money, control, abuse and killing. And stop saying we did it too. Why didn't the rest of you say stop that? instead of ooh, that's cool, we can profit off'ah that.

Just trying to get you to think, use reason but don't say what's the reason. The real answers are not that simple.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

the future is...............

Tomorrow is all about the future but if I think of yesterday I am in the future today, right?

OK, If you want to get a handle on up to date thought about what has happened to Black folk then check out the documentary film "Hidden Colors" by Tariq Nashed. Mind you these are points of view but it gives a good idea of the real inner workings of what has happened to us. Now when I say good idea, I mean it ties together some loose ends, lets the cat out the bag, tears the mask off and opens the door for your own research. You'll discover your mind is not lost after all.

I noticed that many of us ghetto scholars (the term of endearment given to us who are not university trained and have the audacity study for ourselves and come to our own opinions "AND" openly discuss them, by certain black scholars) do cling to what we discover as gospel. We should avoid ego slashing, we are not at war with our own. Instead, adopt a trading card frame of mine, I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours. Put it all on the table cause the names and times have been scrambled to confuse the innocent, us. Is the puzzle piece a sky or a reflection of the sky? You can't tell if you are coveting the piece alone. OK, the covetous, zealous love of information is a disease and a trap. If you can't apply it you must go on a diet. Pace yourself, new stuff discovered by other people is normal. Discernment is a good tool for seekers of knowledge and wisdom.  

As far as PC's are concerned I switched from Mint Linux to Ubuntu 14, why? Because I wanted to get back to original Ubuntu and figure out the Unity desktop. The Unity desktop is awkward if you wince but I found that after using Mint and tweaking it to my liking I had designed a version of Unity only slightly different. Thus I can live with Unity just fine. How did I lick the lack of MS Windows type menu? There is a Gnome menu app that puts a menu button on the system bar, drops down a text menu if I get impatient.

My Linux upgrade/switching secret is: Two disk partitions, one for the system (10-20 gigs) and one for /home directories. This way if you must reformat to fresh install, upgrade, switch, you only have to do it to the system partition. Don't forget to back up settings, email addresses, note network and wireless configs, web bookmarks, etc; because some Linuxes do not save them. Now plug the ethernet wire in so that while the Linux iso image you saved to DVD or flash drive is installing it can go to the net and get updates while installing. This cuts a lot of time. When done check drivers, adjust, tweak, add programs.

Why do I even bother to fuss with Linux? It's free and as easy to use as Macs or MS Windows. The hard part is like going to a discount food store where the same food has different brand names. They may taste a little better or a little worst than the popular brand names but that is all. Most of all, Open Source has done a lot to make programs that handle the popular file formats and operate with the same or similar tools and interfaces as popular brands (did I say free!). Free is good, free is not cheap or evil, or lacking but does require intelligent choice.

There you have it, from ghetto to chateau in the same hood, gotta go, bye. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

afrofuturism is part of us

The future starts young and if life's labyrinth doesn't kill the vision you might still have that urge to design it. I discovered a red velvet bag in the attic of an old house my family rented. It was filled with Tinker Toys. Later the Erector Set was so much fun. We had a tarp to cover the dinning roon table so to not disturb the puzzle in progress. My dad's basement work bench was where we made yo-yos, kites and bikes from swapped parts. Model cars and slot cars out the box had to be "customized". Many of us learned to be makers.

My folks bought me huge drawing paper and pencils. I didn't know what to draw. Unlike my cousins who rolled butcher paper down the hall and drew battle scenes and airplane dog fights, tanks. In high school I ran into dudes drawing cars and superheroes. Me, I drew houses. Modern houses with huge expanses of windows, overhanging forms and.........silverware, plates. I drew things I saw everyday, lamps, sofas. What if I designed a room for this future house.

So far I've seen fashions and personal accessories in the Afrofuture muse, face makeup, hairdos and hats, attitudes and guises and disguises. Afrofuturism is not easy to define cause it is so expansive and back in the corner of our mind at the same time. When you nail it down it becomes trendy, sort of like Mid-century Modern design. Who didn't want the Jetsons to be real and transform our home and car to the future. Every new car we got had to be closer to that future. The stuff of dreams. We are more than in the future compared to when we were kids, we just can't see it.

I didn't hit on music this time because music drives culture and is the signature of culture. It is the sonic construct allows you to move in your memories and in your emotions, between contexts. Music re-enforces cultural feelings, created an "air" or is a cultural container. Soul music, the polka, country western, jazz, classical. But it is not material culture, like architecture. Architecture doesn't change like car styles, which is why Afrofuturism is more transitory, mystical, ethereal, a muse.

How do you transform the present world into that dream place that draws us. Is it a mental thing? Like when the music changes key and your soul swells with euphoria for a moment? A piece of artwork is so compelling it changes your perspective in thinking or your appreciation? Maybe Afrofuturism is like that. I'm promoting Afrofuturism because we've all had the regular "futurism" and it didn't really picture us Black folk in it. So this is futurism from our perspective. I think it an interesting dynamic because it is not new to us. We have been waiting for the sweet by and by for centuries, wondering what it look like.  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

afrofuturism shouldn't be a trend

You know things come and things go and come and go. Somethings have short cycles, some long. Clothes in your closet may one day be back in style, can't say the same thing for my waist line. Trends, fashions, we have been bombarded with over the last 50 years has driven us mad. I think it has been a grooming experience by the commercial marketplace to make us dissatisfied as soon as we have acquired a product to want the next iteration. How we hunger for this is ever maddening. When will we get to the future?

You ask the question, now how do you see yourself in that future? Do you ride the present fashion or take a rebellious tangent or a particular spin-off or are stuck in the time that seems right? There is the interior yearning and the outer reality happening at the same. I believe economics and material culture may have the major say in this. I believe this is why what I've seen of Afrofuturism on the internet is limited to literature, video media, games, clothes, personal accessories and lots and lots of music. Why? It is very hard to change the world, easier to change your appearence, even easier to change your mind.

I am not surprised that a more futuristic material culture has not developed. Seems there is a chicken-n-egg equation going on. Black folk work hard, get money, engage in social/family values and boom the out of this world vision gets neutralized to a down to earth reality. Heck why invent when you can buy off the shelf. Dag man I sure wish I could find stuff designed a little more modern where I can afford it. I marvel at so many big screen TVs in homes. The entertainment on them takes over your visualizing mechanism, soon you can't imagine missing the next game, game show, talk show, etc. I said you can't imagine, that is the point. Why imagine when the machine will do it for you?

I appreciate the ability to record or download content for my own use. It is a hassle but it is so cool. You might get anxiety for not watching mass media TV, but you won't be as subject to the subtle mass brainwashing. Oh, we are not being brainwashed, hey remember fashions and trends. The new spring fashions you must have to be cool in your circles. The wants and needs are often sparked in you via the TV to keep commerce cruising. How is your holiday shopping by the way?

What does the future look like anyway? That's the point and the answer is I don't know, I haven't designed it yet! Black folks do need to look at themselves in a better light. For instance what and how do we eat? Raising food, eating food, the implements, the family and social. Now futurize that! See a lot more progress than just jam'n in tinfoil at a laser show. What our kitchen look like, our home, our hood, our city, our country????????? Not just the appearance knowledge of it, reality.

Monday, March 24, 2014

afro talk future unfolded

Of course I dabble in many things. One thing I noticed among the Afrofuturist is the importance of costume. Does clothes make the man or ma'am? Yes, because every book is judged by the cover, regardless, the contents require a second deeper judgement. The first judgement requires intuition, the 2nd, careful examination. Now is the cover a cover or the inner come out?

My last post said to invent a character for yourself. Actually the thing is we are already living day to day in a constructed persona. One that has been taught to us via school, media and surrounding environment. Who are we really?

The costume, the mask, the gadgets allow the inner persona to slip past and come out and exercise in the open. I'm nuts, then how about you sports fans who wear sports clothes everywhere because you love the game, hmmm? No excuses now, you are caught in the very act. How about you Gothic folks, dark eyed and such. Business people, ha? Criminals disguise so that their real nature can function openly, then back to their marginally acceptable self. The power of uniforms. What do you wear for the future?

Now we come to the most repressed people in the world, those waiting for the future to come. Some only see a apocalyptic return to middle age concepts and you have to realize, they return to their roots. They control the media, that is where they are from, those are the concepts they return to. When it comes to Afrofutures, we have been cut off from our history. But with this modern age we are recovering pieces and are making the similar jump to light-speed. Oh my, the universe looks quite different from this perspective.

Examine if you will each genre of art you are familiar with and trace the flow of influences and the peoples who administered them, the times, the ones involved. Sure people have crossed over, blended, but those are not the main vein. They put a mask on a mask to mask the mask that's masking the mask. Take off the masks of others put on one of your own. Such madness is necessary to bend the world we live in, to change the perspective, to get a different light. For me I ask can I improve it on many levels? Still finding my mask, the one with eyes that see differently and a perspective I can live with. Ah, comfort in my own skin.

I said I think about my ancestors a lot, my wife was offended because ancestor worship is not a Christian thing to do. Then she said she missed her parents and grandma. I said nothing back, just laughed at her. I had said the same thing only the connotation of the words I used messed her up. We live with a lot of word war. Wrong neighborhood, I always say to her.

From all these considerations, my art is changing. You might see something to change your perspective, job is done.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

more afrofuturism discovery

Not everybody gets a high tech education or are immersted in the full range of history and culture. BUT, if you look at all your experiences I bet you can see a pattern that will propel you into the future. The real question is always by what means.

I did work as an electrical drafter at a NASA facility. While not a designer or engineer, to work with them and be in an active outer space company does expansive things to your imagination. Physically, the material culture of space is painfully practical because the environment is hostile to the comparably fragile human life. Just like at home in the hood. I think where I've lived was never as bad as the ghettos seen on TV. I think that is a mind whack to keep us from actuating our potential.

Change your perspective, that is the afrofuturism movement. The best of our history, people and cultural heritage is at our disposal to be utilized to springboard past the old stigmas, stereotypes, and paths designed for us. Plus we  will be able to examine present values and arbitrate between all the scales of values we hold today. We have  the stability of our history as a base, the adjustable future projection and the flexible present. I like sci-fi as a context or motif because it can be mundane or spiritual or  high tech or otherworldly and not have to be apocalyptic,  god I hate apocalyptic. Some media tracts constantly send mind messages of our demise. The best way to design your own reality is to turn down or off the present media. Use it sparingly, wisely. That takes care of images, next is language. The common language needs to change and still provide a bridge to what we use now.

Now design a literary character for yourself, an alter ego, merge it with your self, then weed out negative old traits, practice. Oh yeah, you can't do this by yourself. We need interaction, wherevever afrofuturist converge. I recommend Lorain Ohio because the city is small and managable and poor. The influx of new thinking and new speaking will initiate a fundamental change in the chemistry of the city. People come and go all the time, Lorain is always a space port and a culture portal, it is the minds that are asleep. Need glue and do people, risk people, catalyst people.

Squatter artist have come, good artists but no vision of community with the community that's here. They come with their art products and don't find a market, move on, heart and mind. We have to fix the future of the city while fixing our own selves. I think afrofuturism adds the leverage to do change, consider positive alternatives, because the lens, the persprctive is changed.

just discovered afrofuturism, been there all along

Don't know where it all started, you make choices and find your self off planet.

Always was a tinkerer, had to have stuff to mess with. Folks bought me art supplies, didn't know what to draw. Listened to all kinds of music, read comic books, hotrod mags and my brother's under the bed mags. Got really turned onto jazz in college under the tutelage of pot. When I moved past the vaporware, jazz was still there.

I liked Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, the whole spiritual jazz scene. I thought Miles Davis was into voodoo or sorcery and Wayne Shorter a tour guide to very cool places. Now there was Eddie Harris and his electric sax. His use of the Echoplex, chorusing and multi-octives was otherworldly. I imagined myself as the Silver Surfer, riding a board through space, playing a sax. I really had the cosmic urge. He growled, chirpped, whistled,  playing the horn and the electronic labyrinth. He was always funky in space, though he was trying to be funky on earth. He doesn't get mentioned like Sun Ra or George Clinton in the Afrofuturism, I am guessing because Eddie is identified with pop-jazz and didn't have a theatrical persona. I thought his comedy sucked. I would have wrapped myself in tinfoil and shot sparks from a Tesla coil. Eddie Harris was multilayered,  exploring multiple avenues of jazz. He could do blues, ballads, pop and Coltrane with or without the electronics. So Eddie Harris is high on my Afrofuturism meter.

I also don't have a theatrical persona so to speak but, I think one is forming. I think it would be a great asset to have an alter ego with the ability to use a different criteria to live by. Yeah, psychological problems and possibilities abound but often negative casualties are quoted. What if both the ego and the alter ego were not a divergent split but a selectable parallel unity of mind, based on context? It would possible to switch to the more positive tract once all your connections understand your resolve and the folly of linking you with a tragic past. I think Afrofuturism allows for this. Good bad or ugly, we can work this Black thing out via our own minds. The channel is open.

Monday, March 17, 2014

attention all afrofuturist from UGR Station 100

Attention all afrofuturist I request a convergence to station 100. Station 100 is a jump off point on the underground railroad. It is a culturally repressed place at present, an economic bleak hole at present. Heavy hardwares were made here in the past, terra-formers, land and sea transports, a volcanic metal processor still operates here.

The residue of humans here are out of tune, their horizonal assessment transponders have been damaged, vertical alignment regulators are over compensating also, so they lean. Even the schools are teaching how to live with trans-visional impairment. Art here is pointless, leads to nowhere, says nothing important. Over attention to individuals who while skilled and talented do not express a collective vision beyond the commonplace and very little afro-art.

We have asked the artist to come out of the shadows, they are reluctant, citing economic isolation. I know the real problem is vibrational, there is lots of negative buzzing.

I purpose that the afrofuturist would come and recalibrate and resync, then raise the vibes. Many young people read the chronicles, they think we are old school in our efforts, only the afrofuture embraces us all in the altered context that propels us into..................what ever we create.

We have colleges but the bros & sistos won't get out the gated community and come to the outposts. Something about intellectual peers, what the heck is the difference between the yellow submarine and deep space nine.

We have a corridor, many vacant spaces, a few active spots. We are 737 Gallery, Lorain Art Council's Art Center. A community org working to get the arts going here to transform the town. I am interested in Afrofuturism, been listening to John Coltrane and Sun Ra for a time. My own work is small digital art and multimedia. It is primitive, folk afrofuturism if I say so, I dabble. I want to transform living spaces, put afrofuturistic stuff in homes where they live.

The stakes and risks here are very high, you need to be an alter-native to live here. Look past what you see, be afrofuturistic. Transform reality here, please.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

the show digital

The first of many I hope, at the Gallery 737 of the Lorain Arts Council, a digital art show. My big guess is folks who do digital graphics usually don't think of displaying their work in a gallery. They will do work for publications and for the video media but printed and framed, naaaaah!

Me, I like to think some might like to display their talents to a different venue, after all, an art gallery show can be themed, like sci-fi, afro-futurist, etc.

I have teamed with a photographer, why, because his students can expand their knowledge of digital photo post-processing. Photography is pretty much a digital art but, it is used in the traditional way. The question to ask is how far will they go in experimentation with filters and manipulation?  I hope they break some rules.

The most encouraging thing is a 7 year old artist is submitting her digital work to our show. Now hold your elevated horses, we are an open community arts space, our aim is to promote and encourage all the arts from newbie or young to pro and old. By the way, this young one has produced more art works than myself. She deserves a shot at displaying. I am sure if we gather at the reception, there will be tips and inspiration to help her grow.

The two things all digital artist have in common, the video display and the printer. We only have one video monitor but we do have a projector. I will have to explore some stuff later, right now I have a video slide show. I should have called for animation work also. Printers are usually desktop, but larger commercial printers via a service can be used. If the picture is good quality, composition, story, color, etc, then possibly is good enough to sell, if that is what you want.
Well that's the news for now, have to put a poster together.

Monday, March 03, 2014

sliding with stylus

As you know of late I have been thoughly caught by digital tablets and the ability of tablet software to do powerful stuff. I'm speaking of tablets as a creative tool. Look down the road and you can see the wood framed slate and  chunk of charcoal or chalk, oops, the other direction. You can see the same tablet being used for teaching children elementry concepts, being used for advance math and 3D graphics.

How is that possible? The software. You only got so much hardware (a little more than one chip) and so much software. Yet the software is stretching what that hardware can display. I lug around my big laptop because of the graphics it can do. I carry the tablet for the same reason. There are Android softwares that do 3D graphics for design work, very easy to use and way, way cheaper. They don't meet the standards of professional programs yet but they are nibbling at the hems of functionality.

Now, I don't want to give a review because that would hinder the surprise effect when you discover things for yourself. So consider this a stumble upon, ooh man, check this out, kind of thing. The first is cadTouch, for computer aided dedign. Drawing a chair or house or thing is possible. The next is Water Color Pencil, it is an drawer's artbox, if the interface suits you. The tools are fine, you supply the skills. The last is INKredible. This is an iPad app gone Android. It has got to be the note app to end all note apps. I like it nuff said, but let me say I like it a lot. Check them out for yourselves, remove them if there not for you.

You may not be able to save in some apps but don't forget screenshots and exporting via email to self (same as saving except file format may be different). Now go get it n play wid it!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

dress in drag and do the hula, not

I saw one too many black men in movies
paid to dress and act in drag, so I wrote this piece:

The proclamation of emasculation
signed by the image maker's cartel
show your feminine side
since you don't have a slit in the front
show your back side
cause you are not fit for the war no more
cause you hang your drawers
below your back and
you crack your face to say
I'm still a man.
who's to say,
some like tough love
it's not the look of love in your eyes
they are looking at anyway
manhoodies neatly folded
thrown to the curve
visible men, everyday men, 
show their tail bones in the street 
because the men of renown 
are so easily shown in dresses
it's funny, it's cute,
it will be the highlight of your career
everybody will remember you in a dress

so and so is funny looking like a honey
he makes a lot of money
that must be the look of success
to wear a dress and be bitch'n

I wanted to kill you when you smeared
shoe polish on your face
and made my likeness to dance
as if I were a puppet
your hand up my spine
now you treat my women like as your interest
and groan to see me in her clothes
and doing her things
snapping gum and fingers
and fussing with my mangled appearance

I hate myself and now my women too
I put on a girl garb, a girl face and vent
and use my male stupidity
I'm a better bitch than that bitch.
you get rid of me and her in me
keep her cause she is not her any more

It's like an old joke
you pull our pants down
give us a wedggie
we all laugh

it's the image seen by all
It's the image seen by all
the successful, the strong, the powerful male actor
the ones who's image represents us in media
wearing dresses, pretending to be bitches
what you are telling us we are
what we are to you
what you want us to be..........
discredited! disrespected! on display!
but it's meant to be funny.

400 years plus and you are still trying to
enslave us by any means necessary
wearing a dress is dissing our manhood
it is not funny
cause I know the joke
the punch line is the image.
the image that is seen by all.

It's just entertainment, right? No! Images convey powerful messages. I've been apologised to by many whites who assumed I was like the images of black folks they saw and internalized in the media. I have to remind them the black actors who did those things were paid to do them and do not represent us who are not following the script.

What was meant by the revolution will not be televised is that the images of us shown on TV will not match us in reality, unless we ourselves buy into those images. You can not continue to deal with us via the fantasy images on TV comedy, movies or news. That's just the truth of it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

black to the future, future, future

In the ranks of the inspired, there is always a mob approach, that is playing to the crowd and the crowd likes to party. I guess it all depends what it is folks are following or as they say trends have trails. Pathways to the future sense spurt out from pop culture. From my observation deck there is this thing called Afro-futurism. Hip-hop is partly in that mode, Electronic music for sure. I think that all started with George Clinton/Parliment/Fumkadelics. You who are in it know all about that because the dance party plane is what is popularized and pushed. Me, I've been pushed into a deeper orbit, jazz.

You know there is stuff that is not heartbeat music. Starting with Sun Ra who was a predecessor of George Clinton, took his mothership in a different direction, deep space. Actually I latched onto Sun Ra late, my vibe was John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Eddie Harris and Wayne Shorter. For me they stretched the boundaries of melodic music into new forms of sound. In particular Eddie Harris like Sun Ra used electronics to open up new worlds. He later diverted off into funk which was for me a downer. Coltrane and Sanders seemed a spiritual path as myth and spiritual awareness were big in my life. Wayne Shorter was the illustrator, his musical pictures are compelling. Then Shorter horned Weather Report. I never, ever, been on a strange fascinating landscape like that in my life. I started to realize just how formative sound can be.

After these edgy guys I rediscovered Sun Ra. I think you have to get used to music being out of sync, colliding, expanding, etc. Thelonious Monk hit those minor cords and I would wince, he played spaces too. Sun Ra played some hokey stuff but then some other worldly stuff of prolific dimensions, variety and depth. The scary thing is you have to listen more than once. Each time you immerse, you come out different. Musical immersion changes your vibe, take my word. You become imprinted with sound sequences you want to hear, explore, embrace. The sounds change your vibe and that effects your thinking, ways of looking. The ideas associated with those sound why most do not stray from popular music, ooh that's weird, strange, I don't want to be that unique, I want to be like everybody else.

OK I've just explained quantum sound science and what the heck did you think music was all about, lol!!! There is in fact junk for all your senses that can render you a numbskull, you have to pick out the good stuff, filter the rest. This is what science is all about. And you thought sci-fi is about fiction!? fiction!? fiction??   

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Black History Month an open window

Black History Month is kind of like a public open window for what I try to do everyday. Black history is so vast that there is more that is forgotten than what is revealed. Now this wouldn't have been a problem but back when Europe was starting to write text books and the opinions of certain scholars dominated the new learning environment, it was expressed that nothing ever came out of Africa, Africa didn't contribute anything worthy of record in history and in fact have not progressed much beyond the primal. They were important, educated, and sought after people who said these things. It started a trend to discount and degrade Africa without further consideration. The result is sort of like the movie "The Avatar". A people considered savages, primitives, etc are sitting on a cash of resources and they don't understand the wealth they are sitting on. So we should exploit them, then remove them. People were enslaved and colonized, resources plundered, generations of their children mis-educated and disadvantaged.

Come to today many of us get bits and pieces of history. We start to put the pieces together to see what happen to us over the hundreds of years. Of course we are the latest rendition of them that struggled. Add in so-called race mixing and travel it is hard to call us a cohesive group dubbed the descendents of the enslaved. But for all we went through there is still disparity, directed injustice, mistreatment via law and attitude triggered by sight and embeded in the psyche of the descendents of ones who did us harm via the institution they created.

It is a big internal to do, a mental wrangling for all of us. This mess is managed by images in media because a picture is worth a thousand words. Not much needs to be said, just show a picture. Black folk scramble to see images of themselves in a positive light. In the US the only pics of Africa has been of poverty and malnourished children, not one of modern cities with banks and business centers and communities of well built homes. One day I will have to go and see for myself.

Now here is what I am involved with:
And it is at 737 Broadway Ave, Lorain, Ohio 44052. We are trying hard to appreciate who we are and what we've become. We don't want others to explain us, we tell our own stories, sing our own songs, show the works of our own hands. You get the gist of us, that is all anyone is entitled to. "If you don't know us by now, you will never really know us, oooh oooh oooh!" Ahh sing it baby! It is not just the past but the future too. Yeah we got black astronauts today but we've had Sun Ra since the 40's. We can get Sirius about..................come and see.

Friday, January 24, 2014


I see you. Hey I've been pressed to give every picture some kind of title. After a while you resort to #5 sunny day. I have been pressed also to define just what is digital art. OK, now any art done on or with the aid of a computer can be digital art. The lines between disciplines can blur real easy. Like photography, dark rooms and chemicals are for the craftsman artist, the rest use Photoshop. Popular photography, the photography with webcams, iPhones, small digital cameras and other gadgets used by not so serious picture takers is very hot. We all got cams, but taking the artistic picture requires some effort or at least some awareness.

What I have discovered is that artistic pictures do not need top shelf equipment unless you want to. What am I bantering about? The little picture above was taken with my webcam on my tablet. This along with apps with artistic filters. The secret is that photographers usually have a fetish for realism. They may use the filters to enhance a picture but stay away from whole hog usage. This is great for me, I have no such fetish, filters are a cool way to make a nothing photo say something more. Like a picture in a book to assist the story being told, it doesn't take away the imagination, setting the mood or mooding the setting.

The tablet apps are quick and easy. The same effects on the computer via paint/photo programs are complicated with levers and switches. Be sure to write down your settings, you'll never remember what you did.

There was a prof at Cleveland Institute of Art, who said in their school bulletin the computer was the tool to bring together many media. This is true. Now add to this a printer output or a video display screen and you have digital art. We could go further but that's enough for now. The tablet in it's simple way does a lot to let digital art happen. Which brings up another point. Sometimes simple things force the creative juices to flow through trial/discovery, accidents, etc. Come on it's a mind game, this is why composition is so important. Composition will make you look to read the picture. Reading you will see the story. Old school no, the basics yes.