Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Thoughts on LOST

The whole thing occurred within the blink of an eye. The final flash - encompassing everything from a recollection of the past, an understanding of the present, and a sad moment aside to deny the reality of the future. It was the final realization that, as with all realizations, shattered the delusion, the superstition, the fantasy. This realization came upon each character at varying points in their journey onward.

It can be described best by the famed quote from Jacob's Ladder: "If you're frightened of dying, and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. If you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the Earth."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

It's Been a While

I figured I'd take this rare opportunity of free time to make a post. I've been pretty happily busy with a few things.

1) I've started a new full time position at an interactive advertising company. That Jack Daniels commercial in my last post was part of what helped me land the gig!

2) I've been a contributing writer of the ASIFA-East on-line magazine.

3) I've been free-lancing as an illustrator and designer for MARACAS, a program developed by Amanda M. Seewald, M. Ed to teach children how to speak Spanish based on the theory of multiple intelligences.

4) The John Dilworth film that I animated and designed two scenes for finally aired at the ASIFA film festival this past March. Congrats to Dilly!

5) I've colored two backgrounds for the Thesis film of the great Chris Ortiz - a former fellow classmate at SVA. The Dusty Film festival is airing soon, I can't wait to see his film!

6) I played bass for Force of Habit, we played 2 shows at Port 41, 1 at Otto's Shrunken head and 1 in Ashbury Park, New Jersey. The band has fallen apart =( but it's inspired me to play bass more. I've been particularly interested in bluesy sounds these days.

7) I'm also in the very beginning stages of creating illustrations for a children's book my older sister is writing.

8) The independent short Rob and I was working on has been pushed to the back burner, but with my new job teaching me Flash, we may re-ignite the production soon.

Anyway, that's all for now.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ode to Coney Island

These are some of the first models I made when I started learning Maya about 2 years ago.

I'm still pretty happy with these models, although this was back before I knew much about texturing so you'll notice a lot of n00b mistakes. It was also before I knew much about rendering, hence the pixel-y screen shots and poor lighting.

To do these, I went to Coney Island, took pictures of the stuff there from every angle, wrote down notes about how many planks were in a bench, how many sides were in the gazebo and then started construction from there.

Although my last name causes many people to believe otherwise, I was born and raised in BROOKLYN and am very proud of it. There's something innately gritty, aggressive, and yet charming about Brooklyn and being from Brooklyn.

Coney Island holds many memories for me: from childhood adventures through the amusement park, to teenage romance on the boardwalk, to drunken wandering on the beach, this grimy, bizarre, slightly dangerous location has been a consistent source of good times.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Couch, How I Love Thee

Here are some screenshots of the model I've been building for the living room for the indie animation film Rob & I are working on:

It was based on these storyboard drawings by Rob:

This scene involves our main character visiting a club which is located "Under-Couch" in "Living Room Lane" - yes, I know, it kind of sounds like "Toy Story." In fact, our whole film kind of mashes up aspects of various Disney greats. Our purpose in intentionally doing so, is in partial parody, partial homage and partial symbolism. But in fear of people ripping us off, I'm not going to explain the plot any further.

What I would like to explain, however, is my process in going from drawing to model.

The intention with the couch is to ensure it looks like both, a hilly environment for the characters (which are animated house hold objects) and a believable couch.

I wanted the arms of the couch to have the same curvature as the arms of the actual couch in my living room. So at first, just to get a sense of the arch, I made this poor-perspective sketch:

Then I needed to break down the proportions: the arms to the base, to the cushion, the cushion to the head board, etc. So I made these sketches to help define it:

Then I started modeling. I started with the arm first and worked from there.

This is the process I often utilize in the creation of most of my models, especially models based off of real life architecture, like benches and gazebos. I will post images of those at a later date. The process of creation with those involved my real life observation, small thumbnail sketches, and written notes.

Interestingly enough, a new freelance gig has got me to thinking about the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. And I think this is why I love Computer Art so much. Computer Art is one part artistic creativity, another part, cold hard fact; and as someone who is as much a Verbal/Linguistic learner as a Visual learner, I work best/feel happiest when I get to utilize both those parts of my brain.

I am able to truly understand form only by breaking down objects into words, then into shapes, then into processes executable in computer programs (i.e. - Maya) :

This is where I differ from most traditional artists, like Rob, or a myriad of my artistic peers - who are better at free hand drawing.

I think the Theory of Multiple Intelligences is worth looking into whether you are a elementary school teacher, or an professor at an art university. Both my junior high and high school understood this theory, and those were the schools I excelled in most and was most passionate about. Not everyone is all logic, not everyone is all visual - in fact, most people are a combination of different intelligences.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Facebook Grafitti

This one was for my older sister, Crystal. She has always been a huge fan of hip hop, r&b and rap. I grew up listening to her taste in music, but as a whole, it didn't really appeal to me at the time. When she was in high school, her then-boyfriend introduced her to Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock and Korn. They combined hip hop/rap flavors with gritty rock music resulting in the genre of "nu metal." Nu metal got a lot of hate from metal elitists who are generally ironically narrow minded anyway. But I loved it, it really represented who I was as a child of the 90s, and a child of the cultural clusterfuck that is Brooklyn.

This one was for my younger sister, Candice. She really likes sharks.

This one was for my friend Ari who is as colorful and majestic as a peacock.

This was for a friend from college named Chris. He and I, I think, immediately bonded on being some of the few kids in SVA actually from NYC. We were both also rough around the edges and generally misunderstood. I drew this piece for him after a discussion on how many rappers and hip hop artists have stage names that begin with "Lil'" I said it would be funny to have a "Lil' Teapot." Rob and I ran with the idea and it is the short film and series we are currently working on.

This was for another kid I met in college, named Anthony. At first I didn't like him, because he never seemed to do his work, used big words excessively, and gave off this air like he was better than everyone else. Eventually, I came to know him better and even hung out with him a few times. I found out his front was just a cover and that inside, he was a pretty interesting fella.

This one was for Rob. It's a line from a Pink Floyd song and it came on while I was working in Fire Island. It brought a tear or two to my eyes and I realized just how much me and Rob were good for each other.

I really like Facebook Graffiti because it limits you to just the paint brush. Unlike Photoshop or Corel, I cannot use other tools in tandem to make the picture pretty, so I am forced to create form with just color. If I could only paint this loose in real life...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Hyperbolic Chamber

One of the most amazing aspects of human beings is our dual nature. We are both animals with primal instincts and intellects with the ability to communicate. It is our capacity for analysis and categorization that creates for conflicted emotions within us. The wolf, for example, feels no guilt over his murder of a rabbit. We, however, have entire organizations dedicated to making us feel bad about eating a hamburger.

I am always fascinated by the human mind and what it is capable of, with an obvious and particular interest in the trance-like state of creation. The tingling I get in the back of my neck as I become immersed in the world of a story I am writing, or the way I snap back into reality to step back and observe the drawing I just created - these are all inexplicable experiences that enrich an otherwise mundane existence.

One of my most amazing and enlightening experiences occurred to me during my 3rd year of college, in a Layout & Design class taught by the great Donald Poynter. As a typical self-absorbed twenty one year old (at the time) I drew only whatever I'd always drawn. Big breasted women, with long, wild hair. Perhaps this was a therapeutic visual, the process by which I examined my own insecurities. Under many of the teachers at SVA, I was forced out of my comfort zone.

I'd never been really interested in drawing landscapes. Nature was foreign to me, as a born and raised Brooklynite. I was however, interested in composition. And though I would not call myself a photographer, per se, I have a habit of keeping a digital camera on hand to take pictures of interesting compositions of the world around me.

The end of semester assignment came, where we had to complete a myriad of landscapes in varying sizes and mediums, and again, like the average twenty one year old, I waited until the last minute to complete the bulk of the work. I turned to pictures I had taken at the Bronx Zoo and Prospect Park for inspiration.

(more on my website:

By 4 or 5 in the morning, I got sick of working in tight lines using pencil. I whipped out some watercolors. At first, I over-thought it and applied a base pencil drawing before using watercolors to "fill in the lines." I employed this technique twice - one came out alright, the other, came out very muddy.

Even more frustrated, I attacked the third watercolor in a different manner. I shut off my brain, I did no base drawing, and I just let my hand do what it wanted. The result was this:

Out of the bunch I created in this assignment, this watercolor was both mine and Poynter's favorite. It was the pure result of muscle memory. Like being in the Hyperbolic Chamber of some Dragon Ball Z episode, my hands worked for nearly 24 hours learning the contours of clouds, the way landmass forms, and the way water reflects. Without any direct reference, this piece is a true representation of something that came out of me, and for that I am forever in debt to Donald Poynter.