Subway movies

New York artists bring a new experience to the subways

I live in a subway-less city, San Diego. We have an above ground trolley that is nice and easy to ride and sometimes even has great landscapes to watch. But it isn’t the same experience as staring out a window at the dark, pock-marked walls of a subway system.

I travel regularly to Paris and find myself staring out the metro windows, watching the blur of wires, pillars, cracks of light, and yes, the reflections of other riders. I’ve often thought it would be great to somehow create a moving visual experience for the riders. I tried to figure out how images could be placed on the walls to mimic the crude movies of early cinema.

Artists in New York have added a new twist to subway graffiti. Parasite (.mov movie) is a portable computer/projector that attaches to the outside of a train. It projects movies onto the walls as the train travels through the tunnel. This is exactly what I was visualizing and bravo to the artists for bringing it to life.

post-post-names

When I started this blog, I wanted a hook. A catch. Something that made it more…me. I wanted a theme, an idea, a meme to play off of. Post-next was born.

I love post-x movements. Post-modern art and post-modern architecture. Post-punk music that has evolved into post-rock. Post-this, post-that. “The thoughts that come afterwards” was the thought of the day.

I planned on naming the posts with this post-something quirkiness. Alas, it began getting a bit forced. I started wondering if this was really such a great idea after all.

The deal was sealed, the saying goes, with a post-reading analysis of a post by D. Keith Robinson on writing effectively for the web.

Use clear, descriptive titles. I don’t know how many times I’ve skipped an entry because I couldn’t tell what it was about from the title.

Don’t you just hate it when something makes sense? So, I’m abandoning the post-blah names for more appropriate titles and will look for new ways to reflect my postal ambitions. I’m going to leave the old posts with their post-names. Although, perhaps they should now be considered pre-post-post-names.

Is it time for a pre-revival? Bring on the pre-raphaelites, the pre-press, the pre-historic, and pre-scription for a bit of sanity.

post-new design

For many artists, the process of creating a new piece is as fulfilling as hanging the finished work on a wall. Over the years, I’ve built many web sites for myself, but rarely took the time to enjoy the process. Several years ago, I made my last grand statement with the site that is currently at www.sdco-op.com/drake. This table-based site was built in Net Objects Fusion and was pretty decent for its time.

I’ve moved on from the wysiwyg world of Net Objects Fusion and into the dazzling limelight of CSS, XHTML, and the whole standards-based design.

This is a place to pretend I’m the pixel-pushing equivalent of Norm Abrams.

I’ve been building and rebuilding this site for the past year and a half. It is my workshop. I’ve tried this and that from him and her and pushed and prodded and tweaked and thwacked. But I never took the time to really look at the design.

I’ve been planning this redesign for months. I don’t have pages of sketches, reams of notes, and empty pens to show for the work. Rather, it has been a mental struggle to find a direction. I wanted a site that was accessible and easy to read. Yet, I also wanted it to look like something I would design.

I’m a photographer, not a graphic artist.

In school, we’d scoff at the “graphic” artist students. Us fine-art students did it for the love of craft, not for the big job working under some tyrannical art director. Sure, the guy that created Ray Gun magazine came from the graphic arts department of my alma mater, SDSU. But, he took a photo class! That gave him his cool genes. Or so I was told and believed.

This isn’t meant to make fun of either side, although I have enjoyed teasing the graphic artists. Rather, to illustrate the origins of my frustration. I want to get my hands dirty in ink and chemicals. I want to create something that has texture and is tactile. I don’t get excited about creating drop shadows. Coming up with a design concept is difficult for me. I draw boxes, throw in some gradients, and then do the computer equivalent of tearing the sheet out of a sketch pad and throwing it in the bin.

Over and over and over

One of the bishops stares through a hole at Joan of Arc

Then it clicked. I absolutely love La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc by Carl Theodor Dreyer, starring Maria Falconetti. This movie sends chills down my spine. The photography is simply brilliant. I knew my new design would be an homage to M. Dreyer et Mlle Falconetti.

This film includes the texture and distress that I find so appealing. Using the scraplets idea of Andy Clarke, I began collecting images that would inspire this design. I studied the title slides, authentic posters, and more for design directions.

There are inspirations from Joe Clark, Andy Budd, Jeffrey Zeldman, Seriocomic, Superior Pixels, And All That Malarkey, Patrick Lauke, Douglas Bowman, and so many more. Thank you for your inspiration, it’s been rewarding.

Let the games begin.
I’ve been working on the side navigation javaScript to make it more cross-browser compatible. It’s going to be a bit off kilter for the next day or so as I tweak it.

post-coffee and friends

A lazy afternoon in Paris

I must have graduated to sigm cum laude of the geek world.

I’m in Paris.
It’s a beautiful day.
I’m sitting in a coffee shop, Coffee and Friends, writing in my blog.

There’s an art market down below, a gathering of starving artists pitching their creations to those who walk by. There’s a reason why many of them are starving. It’s really sad to see the horrible state of contemporary art in Paris. Walking down the aisles, you will see derivatives of everyone and very few original pieces. Those that are original are just bad!

There seems to be a belief in Paris that anything that consists of paint or pencil on paper is worth selling. Sketches are like waffles and children. You should throw away the first one or two. Those are just for warming up. Ok, the first waffle can be eaten, it just may not look pretty.

But in Paris, these somehow end up on sale in markets. And for god sakes, do something with a nude woman and you’ve got a gold mine. I walked by one stand of photographs with close-up shots of women’s parts. There was an enormous, glossy, full color, saturated, shallow-depth-of-field monstrosity of pubic hair. Now, I’m not prude, give me Andres Serano, Sally Mann, or Robert Mapplethorpe, but garbage is garbage. It takes more effort, not less, to create an interesting nude photograph.

French chicken photo by Ben Gamth?

After walking around, I did find a few stands that were interesting. There was a set of very nice charcoal still-lifes and the photographs of Ben Gamth? I can’t read his signature very well, so forgive my destruction of the name. I purchased a small print of a chicken at his friend’s house near Normandy. His use of cross-processing, full-frame negatives, and odd perspectives were right up my alley.

Maybe I should shut up and actually exhibit my work again. Put up or shut up, they say. Feel the wrath of tourists walking by and saying “uggh, red pubic hair, again?!!?”