Categories
Dioramas

Procyon Lotor

A copy of “Latin Names Explained” was in the decommissioning box at work, so brought it home and let it guide me to this scene. I had just finished this diorama when my daughter sent me photos of a raccoon looking for food (also where I work). What great timing!

Categories
ART

Found and Chosen

I had an artist reception at the Hamilton Gallery today for my solo show Found and Chosen. I received a creativity grant from the Maryland State Arts Council to produce a recording which coincides with this exhibit.

This show features animation, a record release, a webpage, a Plasticland installation, and about 16 framed works.

As a coping mechanism for the collective anxiety we felt during the pandemic, I took long walks through my neighborhood in Baltimore City, and later, other cities. It was a form of meditation. This developed into a practice of mindfulness. I was able to quiet my thoughts and generally slow down. I noticed and found delight in objects and sounds that I previously might have overlooked. Found and Chosen is a collection of materials gathered during this time.

The Atlas of Found Objects

Some of the interesting objects that I found, I bought home. Most were just photographed with my phone. I made this 6′ x 3′ banner showing some of my favorites.

Each image has the location where I found them under the photo.

The Minotaur and the Four Horsemen

The Minotaur is an icon adopted by the Surrealists, and monsters figured prominently in their works between the world wars as they stood against fascists and Hitler. I found it interested that one of the January 6th attackers resembled a very skinny minotaur.

22.5” x 16” Wood, glass, acrylic paint, wax pencil. 2022

This painting is the product of my new animation, which has a working title of The Art of War.

The images below are also from this animation, only I worked with discarded prints from the government repository.

I’m not sure when the full animation will be complete, but all these pieces seemed to fit squarely within the context of this exhibit, and I wanted to get part of this out into the world.

Yellow Cravistans Nos. 1-3

One day, while walking Goose, we found one of these yellow cravistans in the grass. The following day, we found another. Same with the day after that. I brought them home and mounted them like the trophies they are.

Other Found Objects

I’ve included some letters, which you can read about elsewhere, and other treasures, some of which are used in The Lunatics animation.

Plasticland

CDs and Tapes

While supplies last, people can visit the gallery and take a CD/Cassette. I’ve talked about this elsewhere, and in great detail on the Found and Chosen page I’ve linked from the liner notes.

Categories
Animation

Higher Ed

I just finished another short.

Everything in this came from a library. The cutouts and text are from 1960’s copies of College & University Business journal advertisements. I like the subliminal, did-that-just-say-something feel of this, especially as it progresses. Put a bunch of random elements together and see what surfaces.

I captured the audio with my phone – everything came from the library except the piano, which is in my garage. Maybe I’ll do another edit where I swap the piano for library sounds.

Categories
Music

Sound as a Muse

I’ve been processing sound files to create a foundation for animation. I’m building on last year’s work around incongruent foley and non-diagetic sound. I’m starting with sound, and then seeing what animation shows up for me based on what I’m hearing.

This post is about some of the devices I’m using to accomplish this. I find inspiration in them, and maybe you will, too.

Years ago, I accumulated and compiled a lot of “found sounds” with a portable mini-disc set up. I used to carry one around, along with a pair of Shure SM-58 microphones, and record stuff. This is before iPhones. The sound on the Mini-Disc is really great, but it’s impossible for me to get the source files off of the proprietary hardware, other than through the headphone jacks. That’s pretty shitballs, but, whatever. I’ve never been much more than a lofi fellow, anyway.

Mini-disc players

In addition to the many hours of weird stuff from the mini-discs, I dug up some old cassette players.

Now, Lookit this beaut! It has four stereo outputs, which means I can use it to send a signal to four different processors/amps/whatever. I call it the Bell & Howler.

Bell & Howell tape deck

Additionally, I’ve enjoyed using Red Panda’s Particle to add a little English to the tapes. You can hear this in the video below.

Emerson Walkman and Red Panda Particle pedal

I’m also a big fan of Red Panda’s Tensor, which is like a tape loop machine with a hyperdrive.

Mini-tape deck

My buddy Jack Livingston was in Colorado in the late 1970’s, and he attended a series of workshops hosted by Beatnik poet, Allen Ginsberg. We share a love for Beat culture and writing, and Jack loaned me some recordings from those sessions. I’m going to use some of this in an upcoming, literary inspired animation.

Allen Ginsberg Tapes

Thrift stores are FULL of odd old tapes, there’s no shortage of material to be found on them. These are great for making short loops.

Disassembled tape cassette
Short tape loop

Finally, I use my iPhone to capture stuff all the time. Using handful of devices in this article, there are endless possibilities for making compelling audio tracks and foley.

I’ll explore how the sounds themselves can inform the visuals for animation in an upcoming post.

Categories
Animation

Chapter One WIP

I stumbled on these old books at work. They’ve been removed from circulation, and I found this whole scene to be inspiring. I took a few – they called out to be repurposed. Objects like Altoids tins and spoons sometimes do that to me.

The audio for this piece is a collection of clips I’ve accumulated from field recordings, old tapes and found sound (literally sounds that I found somewhere and edited).

I hear each different section as though it’s a visual background to a comic panel, and that’s where the inspiration for the animation comes from.

The audio below will likely change and evolve, especially around the rhythm component. But here’s the working draft so far: