New Brushes, Lipstick 66

Man, glad I picked up some Gamsol. Whatever ghetto belnd of linseed oil and copal I used to glaze this sucker left a very strange finish. Not bad, but I don’t think a whole painting in it would work. Also, new brushes rawk.

lipstick66

new-brushes

Categories: paint Tags:  

Shots From Last Week’s Photo Walkabout

In continuing build to get more of y’all out to this week’s walkabout, here’re some shots I took out at last week’s with DJ Jared.

Again, this week’s is Thursday, downtown Indianapolis. No cost, just show up and be cool. We’re meeting at West and New York, be there before 9pm.

Now, the pictures!

Categories: photo Tags: ,  

Photo Walkabout Treks the Canal, Goes Vampire

walkaboutNick and I will once again be representing Grimey Studios and Roberts Imaging in the field as we invite everyone out for a free night of shooting, advice, and community. This time we’ll be hitting the White River Canal, downtown Indianapolis. Grab a camera, grab a friend (or two), tell a student, and meet us out there. For added fun, it’s a late shoot. We’ll be meeting at 9:00PM so we can try and catch the canal at night, with everything lit up in gorgeous and unusual colors.

This is a great photographic experience for shooters of all experience levels. For those of you just getting going you’ll have the challenge of shooting a night scene and get some experience with IS and tripods, and for you seasoned vets it never hurts to push yourself to find interest in what’s presented to you.

You can check out some shots from last week’s shoot at the Roberts Raw blog.

Nick and I also maintain a Flickr group through Roberts for anyone who shows up to any photo walkabout to post shots to, and you can find that here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/nick-and-dereks-walkabout/

As always, these photo walkabouts are free, just show up. We hope to see you there.

The Venetian Gentleman and How We Interpret Expressions

Portrait of a Venetian Gentleman

Portrait of a Venetian Gentleman

In case you were beginning to doubt my assertions that this is a fine art blog, here we go: I finally had a chance to finish Tyler Green’s wonderful four-part series on the attribution of the painting Portrait of a Venetian Gentleman, and his relation of National Gallery of Art curator David Alan Brown’s thoughts about the mixed attributions of Titian and Giorgione, and his decisions about who actually painted it, his thoughts on the fallacies of relying too much on assertions purely ebcause they’re based in science, and of our propensity for adding perceived pscyhology to the table.

The whole thing was quite interesting, and I won’t steal any of Tyler’s eloquence by trying to sum it up, but I will point you to the four posts here, here, here, and here.

Oh, and I’ll point out this quote from curator Brown, which I quite like:

“It’s not a sterile debate about who did a painting that’s 500-years-old,” Brown said. “It’s about how we look at paintings and how we read them and the kind of evidence we look for when we want to make statements about them and the difference in reading this evidence whether it’s a facial expression or the evidence of x-rays. It’s kind of our attempt to understand the signals or the messages that were put into this picture 500 years ago. It’s fraught with complications and difficulties — and yet there are strong human motivations behind it.

Categories: the arts and artists  

Trailer-Trash Collins: The Lazy Sunday Version.

tt-collins-sunday-edition

Categories: grimey studios  

Swindle Magazine Interviews Banksy

BANKSY’s work embodies everything I like about art and nothing I dislike about it. His art is accessible rather than elitist, since he does it on the street; it has a powerful political message that’s conveyed with a sense of humor, which certainly makes the bitter pill easier to swallow; it’s pleasing to look at, because it’s technically very strong but not overly complex and intimidating; and he pulls it off in such a way that its presence in its context communicates not only his message but his dedication to effecting the change he promotes in that message, whether he’s defying Israeli hegemony by painting the separation wall in Palestine or bypassing the elitist review board of a museum by hanging his work himself.

Banksy's Infamous Hack of Paris Hilton's Album (image via <a href=

Banksy's Infamous Hack of Paris Hilton's Album (image via Holland, 2002)

That quote, by Shepard Fairey from the Swindle article/interview on/with Banksy (which I hadn’t seen until now, despite being several issues abck for them), essentially captures what I feel about Banksy too. Banksy, for those of you not in the know, is by now quite then infamous figure in the art world. A legendary street artist (ie, vandal), Banksy has been both terrorizing British police and enriching British culture for some time now with frequently very insightful and amusing bits of graffiti art, as well as political stunts, sneaking art into museums, and in general apparently having more fun while my making a statement than anyone legally should be allowed to.

And, while I won’t go so far as to condone his illegal actions, in Banksy there lies a brazen spirit of guerilla art that I can only hope Grimey Studios can someday imitate, albeit from behind a desk and the actions of a new wave of art youth and not on the streets with the upset bobbies. The point still stands, Banksy breaks many of the stiff conventions of Art with the capital A, and he makes it work for him.

Banksy, whose approach to art echoes  the Guerilla Girls or an irate Andres Serrano and visually seems to tie in more with Andy Warhol and Basquiat (on the formal level, on the practical level he is of course inspired by the frequently more innovative graffiti styles, and apparently directly by Massive Attack founder 3D), makes some nice comments in the rather well-done interview, which I highly recommend reading while it’s still up here.

Fail to do so, and you stand to miss out on quotes like this one:

I have no interest in ever coming out. I figure there are enough self-opinionated assholes trying to get their ugly little faces in front of you as it is. You ask a lot of kids today what they want to be when they grow up, and they say, “I want to be famous.” You ask them for what reason and they don’t know or care. I think Andy Warhol got it wrong: in the future, so many people are going to become famous that one day everybody will end up being anonymous for 15 minutes.

Famous? maybe not, but boy, he has no problems with infamy, does he?

Categories: the arts and artists  

I Need To Buy Supplies First Week of Classes More Often

Click to See Larger

Click to See Larger

So, in a stroke of sheer luck, the check I had been holding for a client who commissioned a painting could be deposited today, so I went to see if there were any specials at Ye Olde Hobby Lobby. Boy were there ever. Paints were 30% off. Brushes 50% off. After exhausting myself there I went to the Art Mart for canvas (I’ve always preferred buying by the yard to bulk, it’s an economics thing. I don’t have the kind of money to front on canvas.) They had Gamblin mediums 20% off and Winton 200mL tubes 70% off. So, my final score for the day was:

  • 2 yards canvas (x 62″)
  • 24 brushes (variety packs, synthetic hog and white taklon)
  • 200mL Cad Red Hue
  • 200mL Cad Yellow Hue
  • 16 oz Gamblin Galkyd (boy, haven’t used that since I was a first year)
  • 75mL Titantium White (punkass students had snapped up all the 200mLs)
  • 75mL Pthalo
  • 37mL Dioxazine Purple
  • 37mL Yellow Ochre
  • 37mL Alizarin Crimson

The list price for all that loot: $120.57 (after tax)

What did I pay?  $80.96 (again, after tax)

The lesson? Buy my art supplies the first week of a new year at campus every year. Oh yes.

Categories: paint  

5 Things I Wish I’d Learned About Web Design Sooner, part 3

Continued as part of a series:
part 1
part 2

So, in the last two installments I’ve talked about CSS, via overflow tricks and the 960 framework. Now, for the next several installments of things I wish I’d figured out sooner I need to shift gears to a different notion:

Javascript is not actually the devil.

Ever since I’ve been doing web design, javascript has been there, and the cool kids (or at least the want-to-be-cool kids) were using it to do javascript-y things, and it has always been frowned upon. And, to be fair, I remember a time when going to a page with heavy javascript made things run slow and the all-too-familiar caution signs of one of the all-too-easy to get js errors littered the status bars.

So, I was a good boy, and I focused mostly on pure HTML/CSS (and I’ve been begrudgingly having to start addressing the future of XHTML), but I stayed largely out of DHTML and JS. Then, recently, I discovered jQuery (or, How I Learned to Stop Hating and Love the JS).

jQuery, for anyone who hasn’t experienced it, is a Javascript library that standardizes a lot of the code and makes writing pretty powerful UI functions about as painless as you could ask. I discovered that a lot of what we consider to be Web 2.0– Google Maps, draggable boxes, AJAX, the WordPress admin backend– all of that is made possible through javascript libraries, and jQuery seems to be among the best. Thanks to it’s lightweight footprint it doesn’t weigh down a site anymore than a stylesheet (and is in fact lighter than most stylesheets I use), but despite that provides an astounding amount of UI-gooey power. And, it has a really nice structure for plugins, letting all sorts of things be patched in quickly and stably.

Thanks to coming to love jQuery, I suddenly have almost instantaneous and easy support for everything from advanced form skinning, form validation, auto-complete, auto-tab, tabbed interfaces, Flash-less sliders, instant galleries (Sparkle’s main gallery runs off a single unordered list and 2 jQuery plugins), AJAX history, AJAX content, color pickers, file uploaders, etc, etc..

So yeah, what this point comes down to is that if you’re like I was a month ago, and you’re still mistrustful of JS, you should reconsider that. The power of what jQuery can unleash upon your design with a minimal amount of work from you is astounding. And, it works on iPhones, try that with Flash.

Categories: web design Tags:  

5 Things I Wish I’d Learned About Web Design Sooner, part 2

The 960 Grid System CSS Framework

The 960 Grid System CSS Framework

Continuing my series of things I wish I’d known about web design sooner. Last time I talked about CSS overflows. Today I’m going to talk about another CSS idea, this time CSS frameworks.

As mentioned last time, I hadn’t really expected web design to be my final career, and as it quite solidly is (all of my paying freelance gigs and my dayjob are now web design), I’ve been dumping a lot of time into learning tricks I didn’t realize were available to me. Along those lines, the 960 CSS Framework is definitely something I wish I’d encountered as it came out, sooner is always better with timesavers like this.

Using a stable, premade framework tested on all A-grade browsers to position elements on a grid system (ah, good old grid system, Professor Satory would’ve approved of this back in my college days). With minimal markup and even less work I can build sites with blocks built horizontally on a 12- or 16- grid system build around a 960px width– which is not far from the 990px safe-width I had settled on myself.

As other sources have pointed out, a framework won’t always be the answer, but for the times it is it can save a lot of frustration working with CSS divs, floats, clearing, and the utter lack of standards-compliancy amongst standards-compliant browsers.

Categories: web design  

The Future of Arts Journalism

Now here’s a blog post with pedigree. I found it through Conscientious (of course), and Jörg found it through his own sources (his post alone has two opinions on this, and the source, that man is a blogging icon).

Anyway, I’m not much of a journalist, as my every opinionated stance might have already suggested, but I work in two fields (online design and photography) where that business comes up often enough to never be far from my radar, and I have to agree with Mr. Tyler Green that the NSAJ set things up for failure. Like it or not, I don’t think a subscription or even advertising model will work anymore. I’m lucky I’m in a commercial field, there’s some fringe profit left even for a casual freelancer and day-job wage-slave like me, but if Grimey wasn’t pushing commodities but services, we’d have a harder sell, I think.

The internet is where journalism simply must thrive, but the internet has a very different set of rules brought on by global connectivity, meme trending, and a solid foundation these days (and an ever expanding foundation, at that) on freesourced and open-sourced software. The online generation isn’t used to information costing. How you reconcile that with a need to eat, yeesh, that’s a horrifying conundrum I’m glad I’m not staring down.