Second Half of 2013

I feel the the second half of 2013 went on until about a couple of weeks ago. The actual second half of 2013 meant a newer, better car, newer, better job and trying to get a newer, better home. The house only happened in the middle of February, when we finally sold our house in Lavaca and our move into our new home and I couldn’t be happier about the all the upgrades.

The process of selling the house was more grueling that I had ever imagined. We were under contract FOUR different times. As we were going the up and down the rollercoaster of “we’re outta here!” to “will we ever get outta here?” there were things that were making our time there…uhh…challenging? Borderline personality neighbor. (OK, part of me wants to write an essay on that toxicity in human form, but I want to keep it positive. I’m positively happy to be away from her….so there.)  Possum home invasion. Bitterly cold winter. But, all’s well that ends well. We love our new home, it’s got a back casita that I’ve set up to be my design lab and music studio. The only sound we hear in the morning is the chirping of birds. Whatever struggle that we went through on the homefront, it’s made us that much more grateful for what we have now. Also the woman who owned this house left a fully stocked wine fridge with vino over twenty years old. May God bless your soul, Josephina. Your spirit is keeping watch over this special house and we’ll do our best to take care of it.

Fall semester was light on the visuals, but deep on the heavy thinking. Corporate Marketing was about as tepid as it gets, but I wound up really getting into my Postmodernism class and working out my brain in a way that I hadn’t in over twenty years. It was a class in which our assignments were essays, so not much to look at, except our last project, where I got to use parts of the essays that I had written throughout the semester and some of my clip art collection.

Creatively, I’ve been writing scripts for an animated show that I’m going to pitch in 2014. It’s been equal parts creativity and mechanics. New show ideas along with actually learning how to write a script. It’s based on the Ernie and Patsy characters I’ve been playing with and uses the family sitcom format. There’s been a dialogue between the mechanics of building sets and a narrative and the ideas that come out of this process. All a complicated way of saying that when I place them in the living room I built from scratch, I start getting ideas of what they are going to do and say. I could fill this post with screen captures of what I’ve been developing, but I’m trying to save it until it’s ready to go… Hopefully by next post I’ll have two (three?) short films. Here’s the rough draft of the opening credits:

MUCH MORE TO COME!!!!

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First Half of 2013

This post is going to divided up personal/grad school/work work.

I was honored to be selected as first place for the West Side category as well as Best of Show for the San Antonio Dept of Culture and Creative Development’s Neighborhood Film Project.

Why all the animation in the past couple of years? It’s not that I think I’m a great animator – I know my stuff is very DIY. It allows me to engage in media in ways that I can’t with painting. I don’t need to reference popular culture from the sidelines. I can, in a very small way, be a part of popular culture. Also, I can distribute online instead and have more exposure.  Why not live action? Fine art has spoiled me to the extent that I want to call the shots and decide what suggestion I use and which I don’t. Because live action requires so many people to complete – actors, producers, assistants, lighting people, sound people –  compromise is necessary and I don’t have the clout to be an auteur. Also, animation is free. Even painting in your garage costs money in materials. (Side note: when I do paint and make a mistake, by first instinct is to hit command-Z. Which is fine, except there is no command-Z in real life…)

School is going great. Two more down this past semester. Here’s a process book I did to document the work for one of the classes.

And these are the spring shows I did the graphics for that opened at the Witte :

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And, of course, the Dinos….

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Once again, thanks to my wife. Without her I could not have done all this. I should give her screenwriting credits for everything I do but doesn’t have the chiflada gene and wants no part of it. And I love her for that too…

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The Second Half of 2012

The second half of 2012 was really busy. Aside from the two animated shorts I had previously posted, I began working towards my Masters in Communication Design this past fall. The twice weekly trips to San Marcos have been tough, but when I’m in class I know that this is the place I need to be for the next stage.

I’m not going to post pics of my homework. However, one of the most surprising and gratifying parts of my classes this fall has been the amount of drawing I’ve been doing. Not observational drawing, which I’ve always been pretty good at, but drawing from imagination for thumbnails and roughs. I never felt better about getting an idea out with images that I have through these classes, even when I was taking those semesters of drawing and painting in college. These are just some thumbnails and roughs that went towards the final product and, since I always find sketchbooks more interesting than finished paintings, I posted a bunch.

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One of my classes was very process-oriented. Our final project was to do an overview of the whole semester, so I turned to my new interest in video.

Because I was fully engaged in school, I had to turn down a lot of other opportunities, both social and professional. One that I couldn’t help but take was Public Art San Antonio’s X Marks the Art. I used cut vinyl to produce this piece about the history of San Antonio. It took a lot of research to tease out some interesting facts and quotes that I thought would look good and be interesting to the tourist as well as the local San Antonian.

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Work at the museum continues, with back-to-back-to-back shows. Here’s some pics for a couple of them.

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I finally made Art News. But as a graphic artist for this ad, which I thought was a good symbol for my new professional direction from fine to graphic. Most of these art magazine ads have their own syntax. Very restrained and not at all like ads in other magazines.

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It was the new year and wanted to do a 2013 movie. Just 30 seconds, I’m hoping it’s one of many.

The end of the year saw the completion of our first year of marriage. It’s been great and I look forward to many more years of love, friendship and laughs with my wife. It was great to take some time off and enjoy each other after both of us being so busy. And the tangerines from the tree in the backyard were plentiful and sweet.

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Don’t Take Her Pills

Abuela does her part.

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Aerobus! The Movie

For a film remake contest I probably would not have entered looking back on it, but at least I got to bring back Sarah Fisch as Yolanda.

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Summer of Meaningful Distractions

This has been the summer of meaningful distractions. I don’t think there was a project that I didn’t at least consider applying for. I know that I won’t get this time when graduate school begins this fall, so I’ve done my best to try new things and challenge myself with things that I probably won’t get the time for in the fall. It’s felt like one chapter closing with another one soon to begin.

Two weekends ago I participated in South Texas Underground Film‘s 72 film project. A short film based on a random drawing of a genre and a loteria card. So I made a coming-of-age movie based on #22 La Bota. I was very proud of the result. I’ll probably collect these shorts I’ve been making and shop them around at some point.

I work on a short film remake project. The deadline was pushed a couple of weeks, so I’ll be refining in a little more. It is a new take on one of my favorite comedies of all time. It will probably be in the next post. Here’s one of the backgrounds I’ve been processing in Photoshop:

I participated in the SA Film Festival, where I screened Ernie Takes the Long Way Through the South Side and I <3 SA through a special presentation of all the finalists of the Texas Monthly Where I’m From contest from last year. A nice mention of the screening in the San Antonio Current.

My sister and her family left to live in California a week after we returned from Mexico, leaving us fairly heartbroken. We miss her so much and hopes that she returns soon.

Later in July, my wife and I spent a week in Mexico. Amazing, awesome, perspective-changing, as always.

Last Mexico trip, I wrote blogs. This trip I made a magazine.

And a short movie.

In July I participated in artslamsa‘s Bring On the Bad Guys event. It was live painting. I’ve never done anything like it before. The crowd was nerdy,  young and very helpful. Nothing like the cynical, suspicious folks of my generation. Still not sure if their good-natured optimism will start the revolution, but that’s just my generation’s cynical, suspicious nature coming out. The theme was bad guys, so I painted a Dr. Doom, Boris and Natasha, Cheetah from Superfriends and three roaches from the old Raid commercials. I had to stop when the sun went down. I thought there would be enough light, but there wasn’t. Luckily I work quickly and even at 80% completion, they looked pretty good. (Though, not in this early photo.)

Thanks to Mary Cantu, I was asked to produce material last June for the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee. It was a cause near to my heart, they were great to work with, I was please with the material and I hope to work with them again soon.

On June 8 the Main Plaza Conservancy‘s Cine Mundo presented a screening downtown of all the finalists for San Antonio Neighborhood Challenge 3.0. I was honored to be selected as Audience Choice winner. Thank you Main Plaza Conservancy.

During the Spurs playoff run Popovich was coming up with catchphrases every game. I made T-shirts out of one. There would have been more if we just made it to the Finals…

It looks like the tangerines will be plentiful when they ripen. Last year they began ripening around the time of my wedding, so I think that tangerine jams, cocktails and maybe some way-out glazes or sauces might be the theme of the anniversary/Christmas party in a few month.

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Springing Along

Busy busy.

On April 21st I was awarded top honors for the Video Jam. (The first of the CAM events that got rescheduled because of rain.)

I was invited to participate in a show in Dallas called Active-8 that featured artists all over Texas. I went up to Dallas on April 28th with my wife. It was great to meet other artists that were thinking along the same lines across the state that would normally never meet each other. I showed some found photos and an iteration of my evolving art video.

Here is the group of artists in the show. All worth Google-ing.

Luminaria finally happened on May 5th. I was situated next to the Magic Theater, where I projected a video in ten parts. I scaled these quick, fun animations for the attention span of the viewers and it was great to see people stick around for the entire cycle. I would be very pleased when a group would pass by and a word or image would capture the attention of one of them and they’d get hooked and make the others stop and they’d get hooked, too. What went over best, though, was the animation based on the illustrations of my personal hero Jose Guadalupe Posada set to the music of Mexican favorite Jose Alfredo Jimenez, specifically El Rey, which is the My Way of Mexico. People were dancing, yelling, making videos of the video.

Some dancing going on here:

I had given a presentation at the first PechaKucha and was glad to design the graphics for this upcoming PechaKucha on the 24th. I put together a few Japanese robot models from kits, so the instruction that I got from those became my inspiration.

I was invited to be a part of show that happened last Saturday, DuChampions of the ReadyMade at LoneStar Studios. Found art? Yes indeedy. I selected a collection of clowns that I had found at a thriftstore about 15 years ago. They were made by middle schoolers, I’d guess in the 70s. Each compelling in their own way.

Also an assortment of small sculptures that were a meditation on a couple of the seven deadly sins channelled through a Pop Surrealism.

And I found out last Friday that I’ve been accepted to grad school at Texas State University. My formal training in my chosen field (really what I feel is my calling) has been limited to just a handful of classes at San Antonio College, so I’m thrilled to being learning more my craft and being around other designers.

Coming up: NOTHING. I’ve been going full blast for the past two years. I’m going to take a break, recharge and enjoy some time with my awesome wife. And watch Spurs games with some other basketball experts. GO SPURS GO.

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