Saturday 3 December 2022

My Toes version one.

 This is the images from my story about my toes. As usual, as I think about it it expands. It started with 8 frames, to which I had to add a ninth since the outcome was unexpected. I designed the font (I'll post about that later) and I put them in a book form. I do intend to get that printed, I'm currently getting in some prices (Yet another future post) and then I'll decide on the final format.

But for now here's version one:

Thursday 17 November 2022

"Story of me"

 The story of me - a working title - is just that, a personal story told in pictures, short written bits and artefacts. There's bits missing that the reader/viewer will have to fill in for themselves, I don't want to put everything out there as there will be things that involve other people who could get upset.

The work consists a frame, which I have a sketchbook image of elsewhere in this blog and a number of resin incased items. Some items are too big to encapsulate or just won't work too well. Those ill ned to make a case for or just put in photos and drawings. But it seems a nice resting place for all the bits I've kept for years.

Here's the working diagram of the frame - which is 100% bound to change in dimensions, placings and number of spaces:

The white box is for the book/words to go into. As a guide, a red box is about 50mm square. The diagram was just to get a feel for the shape and number of boxes. You can see the first mock up of the frame in wood here

What are you going to do next? - Zac Bradley

Question I got asked in a tutorial this week and also when I met a friend who I hadn't seen for some while yesterday. Tricky one that. I don't know. I just know I don't want to be retired as such. I've looked over the edge and it looks a bit boring. Possibly nice for a short while but boring. 

In theory, had I graduated this summer last then I would be at a cross-roads anyway. Summer was dreadful, I considered for a long time not returning to University, I didn't get a good mark last semester and there was a shadow over if the SLE would 'loan' the fees. 

On the Proposal for this year I put illustrator. It's closer to home than perhaps what I would have liked, but I like drawing and doing things for people, and I like seeing my stuff in print. So with that in mind I am trying to reinvent myself both continuing as a graphic designer and producing illustration. CAP, I think, allows me to do that.

To that end I am looking again the processes of running  business, getting in work, establishing oneself as a brand, (not something I'm that comfortable with, I'm a bit 19th century there) building a website and pushing myself in various forms of social media.

I'm also on the lookout and reading books.

One I have found helpful is this one:

Although it's aimed at younger people that doesn't mean it's not relevant other than when they talk about 20-30 years time. I doubt if I will be doing anything when I get to a 100! But the advice is relevant, there's some insights that I haven't thought about and since I have freelanced for a number of years, things that I know to be true. It's not expensive, I might buy a copy - I have the library copy right now and Mrs Spicer will tell you we have more than enough books.

Tuesday 15 November 2022

Tutorial with Zac Bradley

 Today's tutorial and review of work gave some useful insights. I have learned to clear the table and not try to put everything on it. I'm also trying to talk less and listen more, Georgiana who sits opposite me finds my non-stop chatter amusing and I suspect irritating.

This is Georgiana, obviously, 

Zac and I talked about "The story of me" product. Zac seemed to find this the thing that interested him most, and we talked at length about encasing things in resin, costs of resin and the format of the book to go with it.

In particular we chewed over if the book should have photos, drawings or a mixture. How many things should go on a page. Zac is very interested in the resin encapsulation, and suggested making the shape of the encapsulation echo the object inside. It's a nice idea, but one I suspect would cost too much and take too long. 

The moulds would have to be custom built. Probably it would almost be worth paying someone to do this as at the moment it's beyond my capabilities, 

On reflection, I think the mixture would be best for the book. drawings, photographs and other illustrations done with a variety of media. I shall experiment over the next week. Photos first as that's easiest and also writing the stories of these items.

Hopeful Futures - a creative tech conference 10 -11 November


Hopefully Futures a two day conference resulting from a five year programme to investigate the future of creative tech. This was the culmination, the final report back and showcase. It was an intriguing two days examining and reflecting on where we are and where we are going.

The conference was held over two venues: Bath Spa University - Locksbrook campus and the Watershed media centre, Bristol. I suspect this was to satisfy the sponsors, although to be honest I would have preferred just the one venue, as no doubt would have the exhibitors who had to haul their equipment between the two locations. At least in Bath, parking for the campus is relatively easy. While I'm mentioning set up, lunch was served at both locations, great, but only veggie vegan food. I don't mind veggie, we have it at home all the time, but I do object to vegan fake meat.

Small press

The highlight for me was seeing the small press/digital zines on display. I spent some time talking to various people involved in these activities. Having been involved in small press/underground press since a very early age, it was interesting to reflect on the changes and also on progression over the years. I started when letterpress was just ending being the 'usual' method of producing print. I have been through the litho and Letraset years;  and been at the vanguard of the transition to digital. 

Shelby Studios were running an interactive magazine project at the conference. One of the conference questions was "XXXXXXXXX". We were given a drawing of a window and asked what we thought would be outside. I'm not that optimistic. Here's my drawing:

Shelby have produced a printed zine. Short run I understand, 100 copies, sells for £5.00. Interesting contents. Printed digital.I brought a copy.

Also got handed a blank piece of cardboard in the size and shape of a smartphone. Was told to write my thoughts about a mobile phone. A sore point at the moment, I have an inexpensive, but working perfectly Motorola phone, but it's not getting any updates and the battery is pretty bad. Goes for about 5-6 hours. Of course, the battery is non-replaceable by me and getting a new one fitted is a third-party mine field. These things should be repairable. Of course, if they are then the water resistance goes down. So it will get replaced.

Virtual Reality

My other detailed conversations was with people promoting and using VR/Metaverse. They were all enthusiastic and shiny-eyed about the possibilities of VR. I'm afraid I differ. I have been interested in stereoscopic imagery since I first encountered a victorian 3D viewer. Here's the remains of one I had as a child, somewhere I have some of the pictures... 

Back to VR. I see parallels between 3D and VR, although I acknowledge the technical sophistication of VR make it more immersive (a 2022 buzz word). However, I also think that like stereoscopy as a mass media technology it will all decline. 

In the cinema there have been repeated waves of 3D. From red and green* 3D in 1930s, polarised light in the 50s (The Mask, Creature) , waves of 3D in 70s (Stewardesses, Jaws 3D) and then the emergence of RealD and digital cinema which have solved many of the issues surrounding film based stereoscopic systems. 

Except one.

The headwear/glasses. 

Bottom line, people don't like wearing headsets, spectacles, holding up cardboard masks and so on. For some it's OK for a viewing of a special movie, but for others it's headache inducing. It's also not very comfortable for a long time. VR headsets are expensive as well. One thing suggested at the conference was that meetings could move from Zoom/Meet/Teams/etc to a VR system. Personally, I don't think that  many people in a meeting like a 'normal' business meeting, especially those who struggle with technology anyway, will want to create an avatar and then hold a meeting in a virtual environment. I also think that the tech will quickly date. 

History is dotted with stuff that didn't catch on, or only for a short while, outside of gaming I suspect VR will be the same.

*Red and green give a much better image than red and cyan in my opinion. I won't bore you with the technical reasons - but get in contact if you want.

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Tutorial Monday7th November: mysterious machines


This is the frame for "Me Story" - not the actual name, but a working title. I haven't made enough bits or done them correctly, but it will do for now.

This is one of the things that I showed N. Kidd in our tutorial today. I think it's safe to say that she wasn't as impressed as I was with the product or the project. This is always a bit worrying, especially when a previous tutorial with a different tutor has been very positive. 

But it gives you food for thought and after all that's the point of these sessions. Also I was very tired for this session so I'm not sure if I articulated what I was hoping to do as clearly as I could have done. Still Natasha gave me some interesting stuff to reflect on: "What was/is the story?", "How will people encounter this - where will it be situated - who is my audience?", "How will people encounter the story (and why should they care?)?", "Is it fact or fiction?". All of these are valid and indeed pertinent questions to ask. The biggest one, and one that I can't think my way out of at the moment is "Why should they care?". I don't know. Quite possibly it's self indulgent, but then a lot of art is.

The second major area in the critical was looking at my A.I. generated images of arcade machines. Almost every tutor has got excited about the picture of the machine below:

Generated a few weeks ago by Dawn AI, this image is mysterious as there's no obvious function. I'm trying to recall the text I used to generate it, but I fear it's lost forever. Natasha challenged me to come up with an operation and make it. Her parting words:

"You're a tinkerer really"

My Mum used to call be a a tinker. I like that.

Tutorial 8th November

Surprised myself when this photo was first opened. I had forgot that it's on my diary with its multicolour* 'Do sheet' (something I remember from Dixons days). 

This is a Lasercut panel for a coin acceptor. I have used the official product sheet to design the hole and the screw positions. Sadly it doesn't work as there is a very small screw that stops the coin acceptor mechanism being put in. Hence the little pencilled bit.

In the tutorial we discussed this coinbox at length. My impression was that, like an earlier tutorial, the person I'm talking to gets a bit excited about some of the machines - or their potential. I tried to insist that this is a prototype, it's just to get a feel for the mechanisms and to learn to program it. When I've done that, then I'll think about how to deploy it. Nevertheless, there were some intriguing suggestions and some real links with Natasha's tutorial yesterday. (See next post.)

As this was a new tutor, we also discussed things like 'Why are you here?" and my history. I guess that comes with being a bit older. It's a long story, but I try to keep it as short as possible. I don't always succeed...

He's interested in the Machine though. Thinks they offer some possibilities, makes some suggestions that I have heard before: "Simplify" "Show movement" "Less is more". These I should pay attention to, although the temptation is always to make things more complex and detailed. Perhaps I should take some older stuff in?

He also hesitantly asked if "arcade" was a good descriptor, I think imagining I would be upset/disturbed at that. Quite the opposite!

One final note: I did a quick survey today. Out of all the people I asked, none had any coins. That's going to make coin-op tricky!

*Each day is allocated a colour in turn. When I've completed something I colour it in. After a time I can see days that have been productive and days that are not. I can also see things that are being left out. Usually they need breaking down to smaller tasks - or just crossing out. Sounds efficient. Don't be fooled. If I had 'procrastination' and 'indecision' on the list, then I could colour in loads.