31 August 2009

Illustration 3: 100 Circles

Our first assignment in Illo3 was to draw 100 circles and make them into individual drawings. I only did 53. I think these three are my favorites:

...And here are the rest. As always, click to enlarge.

Illustrated Story: Comic 01

This is my first character of the semester, Benny. She's a morbidly obese waitress in a truckstop diner off Exit 42 in Arkansas. All of her thinner (yet uglier) sisters got married off and never finished high school, but she never found a mate, so she graduated and now works at the Eat-N-Go and reads books at home. She's secretly very intelligent but ashamed of it because she doesn't think men like that. She wears sweet ass cateye glasses she stole from her grandmother's house when she died but has never worn them in front of anyone. She was raised traditional Southern Baptist but is beginning to question the role and validity of religion through her evening reading. She's like a dainty, thin woman trapped in a huge bulging body--small hands and feet, delicate features, very pretty in the face, very graceful, eats like a bird, it's almost as if she's accidentally fat.

[ click to embiggen ]

& here's the first comic of the semester. I'm not sure how clear it is, but not bad for a few hours of work, methinks.

[ click to embiggen ]

30 August 2009

Top Five All Time Pet Peeves

1. When people give me advice on beating some sickness while I'm ill.
I have an auto-immune disorder. Basically, when I get a virus or an infection, my immune system literally attacks my white blood cells instead of the intruding organisms, so I continue to get sicker, and sicker, and sicker, until I have the time and money to hit up a doctor and get badass antibiotics, which work about half the time.. Nothing drives me more insane as when I am pushing myself to the absolute limit, walking around school with muffled ears, coughing up shit, with a snotrag permanently plastered to my face, and having someone go "OH ARE YOU SICK? YOU SHOULD DRINK ORANGE JUICE. CLEARS IT RIGHT UP" or "OH TAKE TWO SUDAFED, THAT SHIT WORKS DUDE" or "SNORT SALT WATER AND EAT SHARK MEAT, MY GRANNY SWEARS BY IT". Dude, fuck you guys. Do you think I'd still be a mucus monster after three fucking weeks if goddamn orange juice helped? You think I'm just outside rolling around in cold mud, starving myself?

2. Rich kids with no sense of the value of things, like their cars, homes, or expensive educations.
My roommate Ryan Steed recently renovated an enormous seven bedroom, five bathroom house in the richer area of Midtown. TWO rich little college girls are living there, with their respective daddies splitting the THREE THOUSAND DOLLAR PER MONTH RENT. They have only been there for three months, and have already put holes in the drywall, broken three toilets, and put huge holes through their fancy little screened-in island porch out back. Likewise, the kids I hate at school the most are not the ones who take up the Sleeze-N-Slime couches all damned day to talk about anime, or the kids who bum cigarettes but don't inhale-- No, it's the kids who come to class DRUNK, and HIGH, the ones who can't refuse a beer on a schoolnight and are always ready to spend daddy's money on Adderall to make up for the past week of idiocy the night before a huge project is due. I'm not even talking about the freshmen who are abusing their newfound freedom; these idiots somehow make it to upperclassmen status, but still can't say no to going out the night before their final exam, and THEN! AND THEN! BItch about how they made a C! Or blame it on a professor's 'trick questions'.

3. Idle bitching or complaining that doesn't contribute or lead to the execution or pursuit of a solution.
It drives me crazy that kids at art school consistently bitch about how they don't like this policy, or how this rule is unfair, or how security did this and they don't think it's right, yet, they never take any of the right steps towards FIXING the issue at hand. As the editor of the Black & White, the school's newspaper, I have had ONE singular goal in all my writings: to force my peers into realizing that they DO have a choice, and a voice. To remind them that this is not high school; you are not being forced to go to school anymore. You CHOSE to go to the school, and you are paying thousands and thousands of dollars a year to do so. Thus, if something isn't up to snuff, you have EVERY right to complain, or ask why. You, essentially, are a customer paying for the service of an education. Something as simple as relinquishing the limit on Art History courses, or having your cafeteria account funds roll over to the next semester, or having a particularly unfair professor's teaching methods examined by the administration, or proposing a reevaluation of a security policy-- These are all insanely easy things to investigate. IT takes a letter, e-mail, or visit to the right member of administration, a logical argument, a few students who back you up, and determination to not be ignored or brushed off. Standing in Smoker's Alley bitching about it over a Camel Light and then going back to class five minutes later literally incites no change whatsoever.

4. People that play videogames while they are supposed to be entertaining guests
This really gets on my nerves. I'm not much of a video game person in the first place, but I really loathe it when a person has people over, I'm talking like five people, and then starts a video game with one other person. Now, to be fair, we used to have Rozelle meetings at a friend's apartment, and afterwards, we'd all take turns playing Super Smash Bros. BUT, that was four-player game, and we all switched out every match, or every fifteen minutes or so, so nobody was ever stuck watching everyone else play for more than that amount of time. I don't think there is anything ruder than two people playing a serious, serial two-player video game for hours on end, with five other people in the room that can't even have side conversations because the game is so loud. I know some people don't mind watching video games, or actually enjoy it, but I just don't believe in putting a video game in a room where you are not entirely positive that everyone present WANTS to watch you play. I.E. IF I'M IN THE ROOM, DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT.

5. Vegans, hippies, ravers, alcoholics, stoners, & hipsters that give art students & artists a bad stereotype.
I've written about this before, when I posted my extremely long and unforgiving diatribe against Sanssouci [read it here], but I absolutely loathe these idiots that do ecstasy, throw house parties where everyone dances to hipster bullshit shirtless until the wee hours, lecture people about eating animal products but happily use silver gelatin processes to develop their trendy black & white photography, wear glasses with no lenses, have orgies because free love is sooo natural, or any of that other crap that HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH MAKING ART. I don't believe in that "everyone can be an artist" bullshit, because it gives idiots like this an excuse to lump themselves into a category with people that truly love to draw or paint or make music, just because they take polaroids or make collages from National Geographics while tripping LSD.

29 August 2009

Bad Design

So, by force, I'm taking Design Systems I this semester. Over the weekend, we're supposed to find some examples of bad design to think about. I'm not required to bring anything into class but I thought I'd post a blog of the few examples I thought of off the top of my head tonight.

1) Sunkist's logo redesign.

I don't know what was wrong with the old logo. I realize companies like to redesign their identity from time to time to reinvent their public image or increase attention in advertising, but I liked the old logo. It was simple and summery; it said orange soda to me. The new logo says jam band. And it's hideous.

2. Comcast's website.

This is the worst designed website I have ever seen. I absolutely loathe it. Things are not organized into an easily navigable order. You literally have to hunt through several pages to find the section you need. Even the FAQs are disorganized. I can see they're attempting to go for some 1950's schemed theme, but I hate it. The banners aren't even saved at a decent resolution! I hate the site more than I hate the company.

3. Baskin Robbins' redesigned logo.

Okay, to be fair, I actually kind of like this logo, just because it combines the name of the company and the 31 for the 31 flavors BR offers. I also really like when logos have a full name version, and a smaller image. I just.. don't like this odd, angular approach to the letters. It's supposed to be all funky and fun, but I think it usually comes off kindof amateur or tacky.

I'm sure I'll think of more, but those are the few I saw today on my trek downtown.

20 August 2009


I have been thinking extensively lately on the concept of "home". I think that everyone around my age has, is, or will go through that weird transition point when you realize that your parents' house is no longer what you would consider your home, yet simultaneously, there isn't really a whole replacement yet. As per my roommmate, Ryan Steed, & I's many deep backporch discussions, lit by a citronella candle and smoking Camel Lights like they government is going to bust in and steal them, "home" is one of the ideas that we often revisit, as if we'll find what we're looking for if we just talk it out one more time. What do you consider home? Is home the house you grew up in? Is home where you store your shit, and sleep, and get dressed in the morning? Is home, like I've heard it described, the "place where you complain the most & are loved the most"? More importantly, is home a physical location to you? Is it a house, or a building? Or is it a feeling? This post will not be extroidinarily insightful, as this is still something I am pondering, and plan on discussing more with whomever is willing in the future. I think I have come to some sort of definite answer to the question, for the time being.

To me, home is where I'm comfortable.

I think it breaks down into several aspects to me, and at one point, before I turned 18, all of those aspects were present in one location. Now, having lived on my own for three years, at six different addresses, with fifteen different roommates, they are scattered. To me, my home is where I put my shit. Not just my cereal and my blue jeans and DVDs, but everything else, actually. Anywhere I have ever moved in, I have always covered the walls in photographs & postcards, and the windowsills in trinkets before I put my clothes in a dresser. It's funny, but the things that I have around me in my bedroom that really transform that space into my space are things I wouldn't pack to go on a trip, because they're not utilitarian whatsoever, except that they make me feel at home. Polaroids of my best friends, cards from art shows from roadtrips, souvenirs from jobs and parties and family; those are the things I need to have around. Also, secondarily, and along the lines of comfortable physical space, I need sanctioned boundaries where I am allowed to be me. In my new house, I have a about thirty square feet of space that is just for me to paint, and draw, and blog, and leave plates with crumbs on. That is one of the most important things to me. A sense of freedom within an enclosed environment. Perhaps spatial relationships also feed into my desire for comfort. Our living room is massive, but even if I had had the option, I still would have picked to cram all of my inks & paints into that corner rather than sprawl everywhere.

I think the biggest second aspect to the comfort of home is the people. Steed & I have similar views on our childhood homes. He doesn't have a bedroom at home, nor do I at my mother's (& although I do have one at my father's, I oddly enough usually sleep in the guest room), and beside that, the physicaly edifices don't hold the real value, as they are not the setting in which we lived our entire lives, but only a portion, whereas our roommate Katie has lived her entire life in the same house, where she still has her same bedroom. This is where we differ, and perhaps may have been the spark to our first discussions. Katie can go home and stay for consecutive weeks comfortably, while neither Steed or I could hang on to sanity for more than a few days. Not to say I don't enjoy my dad's company; on the contrary for sure, my father is one of my closest friends. Part of my heart, if that's the cornball expression I'm going to choose to employ, is at that house on Concord Green Cove in Cordova, TN, because it is comfortable. Because it is predictable, and safe. Because my dad will always do that shrill voice & eyebrow raise when I sit on the couch with my keys still attached to my belt loop. Because there is always V8 and garlic pickles in the fridge, and fifteen boxes of half-empty spaghetti in the cabinet. Because there is always a huge pile of mail engulfing the counter for me to look through. Because there is always a cop drama recorded on the DVR, just waiting for us to take our seats on the leather couches with bottles of Ozarka and blankets and watch them until the wee hours of the morning.

In a way, though, I consider where I'm closest to my sleeping brother's room to be home, because of the many times I would go into his room before I slept to find him slumped over on his bed, sitting indian style, fast asleep with his nose in the corners of a book, and I'd lay him back, and turn out the light, so he wouldn't get in trouble for reading late in the morning.

I'd also consider wherever my cats, Truman or Bill (R.I.P.) are around to come beg for attention to be home. Or where my grandmother has set out those godawful pilgrim salt & pepper shakers for Thanksgiving. It's a distinct piece of familiarity.

It's odd. When you're young, and nearing adulthood, you can't wait to get out of your parents' house. You can't wait to get your own apartment and make your own home with your own rules. Then one day, you have it, and you realize that painting the walls, and buying furniture, and stocking the fridge do not a home make. It's like we spend 18 years trying to get out of that comfort zone, and we'll end up spending the rest of our lives finding and cultivating our own.

Me? Stuff is a big part of that for me. I have always been a "stuff" person. I collect a lot of things that are useless, but I love to have them around. I think I'm a lot like my Mimi in that respect. I think when I'm in my fifties, I'll have some huge house that is much too big for me, and therefore always messy, and it will be just filled to the brim with stuff. Paintings and photographs and old wind up toys and broken jewelry and sculptures and lumpy furniture and fifty hand crocheted rugs from my mother. And that is one of the most comforting thoughts I can think of.

So while I picked my current roommates very methodically, in an attempt to create a sense of home by living with what I consider to be a second family, I also have covered every surface in the house with my knick-knacks, yet still have boxes of clothes sitting in the foyeur a month after move-in. But that's just me.

17 August 2009

Objectified by Gary Hustwit

You may have heard of a film that came out last year called Helvetica, a documentary on the creation, evolution, and eventual ubiquity of Helvetica, the font. If you haven't, it's definitely worth 80 minutes even to someone not in the design art field, if only just to be blown away by the impressive list of logos and everyday signage that uses Helvetica. [For more info, check out: helveticafilm.com] The film's creator, Gary Hustwit, is currently knee deep in a trilogy of design documentaries; the second of which is the new film, Objectified, which explores the connection between ourselves, manufactured objects, and by extension, the designers who think them up. Check out objectifiedfilm.com for more goodies, like a free (& badass) tote bag with the purchase of Objectified on DVD. Also, if you're in Memphis/Nashville area, it's showing in Nashville at the Belcourt Theatre from September 11-17th, 2009. Check out: belcourt.org for event info.

13 August 2009

Kate Beaton

Kate Beaton is an illustrator / comics artist whose blog I've been following for close to a year now. She's got a real clean, whimsical style and a work ethic that I'm damn envious of. Like most comics artists, she writes autobiographical strips from time to time with anecdotes from her life, like owning a finicky cat, working an office job, and dealing with a family who doesn't always understand her. The real unique thing is that she's got a degree in history, and writes mostly about historical figures and the real stories behind the misconceptions, but with contemporary slang and good comedic timing. She posts pretty frequently, so bookmark her livejournal and check back every few days; you can find it here: Hark, A Vagrant!. She's also just published a book of her favorite historical cartoons that you can buy here: Never Learn Anything From History.

11 August 2009

Free Software Surfin'

So, with my laptop back from the guys at Securas, LLC with a new harddrive and nothing salvaged from the old one, I've been going download crazy with the insane amount of available space. Recently, I downloaded MailPlane. It's a desktop gmail client, it's like having your gmail inbox on your desktop all the time. I like it, but between the six e-mail addresses I check daily, only half of them are gmail accounts. I probably won't keep it, but it is much more attractive than Apple Mail or Outlook.

Second, my roommate gave me the hint on DeskShade, and I'm definitely keeping this one. It's an program that more or less pulls a shade on your desktop that looks exactly the same as your wallpaper, which effectively only hides your icons, making it nice and tidy instantly. It's like when mom told you to clean your room but you shoved everything under the bed instead. There's also a feature to lock your screen with a password, and should any nosey roommates or siblings attempt to guess your password, it will log all of their attempts.

Lastly, is Adium. I've had Adium for a quite a while, but after redownloading, I went ahead and spent the extra twenty minutes fully customizing the preferences. This is definitely one my favorite free programs that I've ever downloaded. It's a chat program that merges your AIM, Facebook, Myspace, Bonjour, Mac, Jabber, MSN, or ICQ accounts into one buddy list. And like AIM 6.0, you can merge all of your chat windows into one window with tabs. I'm a big fan of it; very convenient when you need to contact someone quickly and only have their FB or Myspace account.

GM Volt

You may have seen these ads on tv recently, which have been frustratingly vague. Well, today's the 11th, so it's out. GM has just introduced it's Volt, a rechargeable electric car that gets 230 mpg in the city. It runs off of a battery for the first forty miles, then a small combustible engine kicks in for the next 300. The Volt gets more than four times it's biggest competition, the Toyota Prius. Check out the MSNBC article covering the press conference: msnbc.com/gmvolt.

08 August 2009

TRON Legacy

The trailer for TRON: Legacy is out & I am stoked. It's going to be a sequel that picks up right where the original left off twenty-six years ago, and yes, The Dude himself will be returning. Other than that, the graphics look amazing. The film is scheduled for 2010 release. Watch the trailer here: youtube.com/tronlegacy.

Also, in my interwebbings, I stumbled upon a website called Flynn Lives, in reference to Kevin Flynn's (Jeff Bridge's character in the original TRON) sudden disappearance. You can check out that insanity here: flynnlives.com.

06 August 2009

Project Sketchbook

Project Sketchbook is a mail-art project created by the Rozelle Artists Guild and sponsored by Memphis College of Art. Over this past summer, they have distributed over 100 4x5inch, 12 page, handmade sketchbooks to artists & writers in Memphis and abroad. The finished sketchbooks will be on display at an exhibition on Friday, August 28th, 2009 at 511 S. Main from 6-9PM. The best pages will be compiled into a book. If you're interested in having a sketchbook mailed to you, contact RAG at rozellehouse@gmail.com. The deadline for finished sketchbooks is August 14th, 2009. You can check out more info. about Rozelle Artists Guild & Project Sketchbook at rozelleartistsguild.org.

04 August 2009

Memphis Flyer's Best Of Reader's Poll 2009

Yep, it's already that time again! Seems like just yesterday I was sitting at the Kwik Check counter with a half-eaten Turk seeping through its butcher paper, laboring over my choices for the Best Of in a brand new issue of the Memphis Flyer... the smell of freshly inked newsprint and lamb meat floating in the air...

Anyway, you can cast your votes for the best restaurants, bars, stores, galleries, bands, venues, and even the best success & failure of 2009 online. It'll only take you a few minutes and it's a nice way of showing your appreciation for the well-run small businesses in town. If I'm any influence on your vote, I'd go for Kwik Chek on Best Deli, Otherlands for Best Coffee Shop, Studio on the Square for Best Theatre, P&H for Best Hole In the Wall, Bosco's for Best Brunch, Camy's for Best Pizza, and of course, Black Lodge Video for Best Local Video Rental.

Follow the link! Best Of Memphis Reader's Poll 2009

01 August 2009

Seth Rogen: Adam Sandler v2.0

As not only a self-respecting female but also a person who tends to value her intellect, I'm usually not a fan of slapstick stoner humor. While I will reluctantly admit that I did own a VHS copy of Dude, Where's My Car? back in the day, I've usually prided myself on my sophisticated, intelligent, and diverse collection of favorite films. So, when the trailers for Knocked Up starting playing between every other Subway commercial, I was sure that I was not going to spend the then ticket price of $8.50 to see it, and should I happen to be duped into watching it, I would not enjoy it. But I was proved wrong. That was 2007 when Seth Rogen scored his first starring role, and in two short years, his name is a household word. How on earth did this pudgy, goofy kid from Canada almost immediately skyrocket to the forefront of American cinema, literally redefining comedy as we know it? Seth has dominated the box office, with a starring role in six movies in eighteen months, and not a flop yet! When does this guy sleep? I honestly think a big portion of his success is a similar formula to that of his mentor, Adam Sandler, which can really be broken down into three basic principals. 1) Like Sandler, Rogen plays basically the same character in every movie: working class, goofy-looking, out of shape, averagely intelligent, and oddly enough, Jewish. Their characters are probably pretty close to their actual personas, assuming that both actors are actually likeable people in reality, which is probably true based on the interviews I've watched. This creates a reliable character structure that fans can depend on and relate to. 2. Also like Sandler, Rogen has a consistent group of actors he works with in every movie. I think this is a really important aspect of the formula because Rogen has already found co-stars he's comfortable working with and has a good rapport with, and who are comedically on a slightly lower scale of success than him, so they complement his style while also making him look better in comparison. 3. While Rogen's movies often include characters that embody the more fucked up people we encounter, his character is never one them. Therefore, Rogen's humor is in large part his responses to these characters, or just brings out the humor in talking about weird situations in the way we imagine we would. Only way more entertaining.

In any case, all of this comes to mind with the recent release of Funny People, which looks to be the long-awaited pairing of two comedic geniuses in one film. From what I've heard about the film's plot (and believe me, I've tried to avoid as much information as possible), it looks as though Funny People will be the metaphoric handing down of the torch. Sandler broke formula rule #2 with Don't Mess With the Zohan, a total flop at the box office. I'm seeing Funny People tomorrow with my dad. Expect a review!