color theory

by brandon as Uncategorized — brandon Thu 30 Mar 2006 12:10 am

Weird. I’m usually very conscious about the palettes I use. But three of the last four pictures here have primary palettes, which is something I hardly ever do. Usually I go complementary with intensity variations*, and sometimes I’ll go split-complementary or analogous or off-axis binary, but I don’t usually touch primary schemes. It’s from my background in children’s illustration: every. bloody. kid’s. illustrator. uses primary color schemes for primary-age kids and it’s so cliche and stupid. But, huh.

* checking on the internet I’m finding color wheels rendered with an RGB color base; I always think of colors in RYB painter’s primaries, from my oil-painting days… interesting. I know about this, I just never think about it.

illustration friday: monster

by brandon as illustration friday — brandon Wed 29 Mar 2006 11:04 pm

This one’s a two-parter. This first one goes out to all my cubicle-dwelling brothers and sisters. Cousins. Clansmates. Vague acquaintances. People I don’t know at all and am happier for it. Yeah, I don’t miss office politics:

someone's got a case of the mondays

Someone’s got a case of the Mondays!

And then I got to thinking about serious monsters. I didn’t have nightmares as a kid, not really. But I read a lot. One thing I read, and I think I was 8 or 9 at the time, was an article in Discover magazine about night terrors. The thought of it – of being enraptured in unmoving terror by a visage in the corner of your room – this scared the crap out of me! I lost sleep. That’s right, I didn’t lose sleep because there were monsters I was afraid of in my room, I lost sleep because I was afraid that I would think there were scary monsters in my room.

You know, now that I look back on it, that English major was pretty much inevitable.

The goat-form is a bit of an embellishment, but I mostly remember what I thought a night terror would look like. Sweet dreams!

sweet dreams are made of these

Oh yeah and if you scroll down to “feet,” or just click here, you’ll see another picture that coincidentally fits the week’s theme, if that interests you any. I got feet up late so mostly nobody saw it, is why I’m bringing it up.

my ridiculous beliefs

by brandon as Uncategorized — brandon Wed 29 Mar 2006 10:39 am

Because rage works as well as caffeine in getting me up in the morning I often read political weblogs. What’s been going around a few of them is a question: what’s the most absurd thing you believe? So on the liberal blog you get “Crack was introduced into the inner-city by the CIA” and on the humorous/liberal blog you get “I believe that I have a substantially better understanding of pro basketball and what it takes to put together a winning team than people who have been intimately involved with the game for 20+ years” and on the libertarian blog you have “That vengence and vendetta are perfectly acceptable alternatives to courts of law, and that individuals who practice each should be lauded, not prosecuted, by government authorities.”

So, this is my blog, I can be self-indulgent in it if I want, and my weird beliefs are too long-winded to bother exposing anyone else to in the comments of their weblogs. Here goes:

• consciousness is not a binary quality: a life-form isn’t just self-aware or an automaton; even humans have wildly different levels of consciousness over the course of the day. But at its most basic level it is a much, much lower-order process than we would ever be comfortable admitting. It isn’t rooted in language or memory or logic (though all those aid consciousness) but in the survival instinct. A roach is probably self-aware.

• whether an economic system works or not is culturally relative. It depends almost entirely on the beliefs of the money-holding citizens. Socialism won’t work in the U.S. Laissez-faire capitalism won’t work in France. Communism did more or less work in the Soviet Union for 50 years or so; it was built on the delusions of its ruling classes, but the U.S. economy is not so different in this regard.

• a lot of people who answered this question believe that clinical immortality will be realized in 10-50 years. That is possible but I do not believe it is a good idea. The brain is not capable of it. Immortal people will go insane.

• I am agnostic, with tendencies towards animism (see my bit on consciousness), but nevertheless I think some spiritual and afterlife possibilities are more likely than others. I was surprised to find my most favored scenario outlined in Haruki Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World:

“Your body dies, your consciousness passes away, but your thought is caught in that one tautological point an instant before, subdividin’ for an eternity. Think about the koan: An arrow is stopped in flight. Well, the death of the body is the flight of the arrow. It’s makin’ a straight line for the brain. No dodgin’ it, not for anyone. People have t’ die, the body has t’ fall. Time is hurlin’ that arrow forward. And yet, like I was sayin’, thought goes on subdividin’ that time for ever and ever. The paradox becomes real. The arrow never hits.”
“In other words,” I said, “immortality.”
“There you are. Humans are immortal in their thought. Though strictly speakin’, not immortal, but endlessly, asymptotically close to immortal. That’s eternal life.”

Which means, good Christians really do go to heaven, but psychopaths do, too. The guilty Christian, though, may really go to hell.

On New Year’s day of 2000 my favorite cat, who had lived 20 years, died in my lap. He really didn’t want to go. The very last thing he did was try to run. Toward something? Away from something? How could I know.

• corollary: Religions that make claims on the afterlife are not about getting people to heaven. They are about sending people to hell. The appeal is natural. Who wants a psychopath to go to heaven?

• corollary 2: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is – and I’ve read it twice – entirely about the last infinitesimally subdividing moment of the death of its protagonist. The “hard-boiled wonderland” storyline is not a more reliable narrative than the “end of the world” storyline. If any of you have read the book, you’ll know what I’m talking about; but I’ve never seen anybody come away with this reading of the book.

Right. That’s enough. Maybe someday I’ll read this entry again and laugh.

illustration friday: feet

by brandon as illustration friday — brandon Thu 23 Mar 2006 10:21 pm

watch the feet!

Watch the feet!

here we go

by brandon as Uncategorized — brandon Thu 16 Mar 2006 11:40 pm

The artist that I was speaking of in the previous post? Name is Zak Smith. I don’t know that the pictures on that page really come off as well on the internet, especially that self-portrait that leads the page, but scroll down to the picture of the girl in the nearly invisible white tank-top on the left and you’ll see what I was getting at: it’s not all surface. I don’t know how I feel about his abstractions. They don’t really seem to go as many places. They resemble bulletin boards like you see in teenage girls’ rooms, all covered with photos and pop culture refuse, but if you know anything about what I’m talking about, you know those are already put together like pieces of abstract art (and I’m 100% sure he knows that) – so then you can’t really make it say much meta or anti-meta. Not sure. There are some that seem to take a riff from comic books, but I don’t know – it’s something I’ve thought about, and it’s not where I’d want to see it. Hmmm.

He’s younger than me, and since I’m basically a character in a Martin Amis novel – seriously, I’ve got a trigger somewhere, don’t find it please, don’t get me started – I’ll admit it, it bugs me a little. You know, whatever. Doesn’t matter. More important is that people make interesting things. This: it’s accomplished stuff and what’s better is that it is interesting.

illustration friday: tattoo

by brandon as illustration friday — brandon Tue 14 Mar 2006 11:46 pm

watch yr teenage daughters!

Man, there really wasn’t much you could do with this one, was there? Everybody’s just drawin’ tattoos. One I saw had a tattoo coming to life all D&D prestige class style. Not much else. I guess that’s all okay but it doesn’t give me personally much meat. Here’s what I was gonna do:

– tattoo artist who’s just given his subject a hitler mustache for yuks. Like a thirteen-year-old kid or something, not some hardened skinhead. Yeah. Yeah, that didn’t really work.

– this dude in the neighborhood, I call him Captain Ska. I think it’s a tattoo. He’s got a checkerboard pattern on his face – all over his face – to match his checkered jacket. No joke, this is Portland. But I didn’t remember what he looked like, exactly, and was so surprised when I saw him walking by I didn’t think to draw him.

– I don’t know, man, some evil priest that’s just kinda sitting there daydreaming out the window or maybe eating some mutton or other feudal crap, something real mundane you don’t think of evil priests as ever doing. Maybe taking a whiz at the side of the trail to the sacrificial temple or something. But see, that’s more about evil priests than tattoos. So yeah.

Anyways I wound up going the verité angle. There’s an artist I’m thinking of, I don’t remember his name – I saw a book of his in Powell’s, called “Pictures of Girls” (dork) – pretty recent stuff, 1998 and thereabouts, self-consciously hip pictures of Suicide Girl types, possibly even actual employees of the organization – but the point is, it all sounds miserable, but they were actually good pieces, or they looked like it in the book anyway. You can never tell with fine art. But they had a depth to them as well as an edge. My pic here’s not nearly as good on either dimension – it would help if I actually had intimate knowledge of sketchy mid ’90’s era tattoo shops – but I am gunning for some kind of psychological dynamic here and hopefully that’s apparent without me sitting here prompting you to see it.

If I’m good, I’ll remember to go into Powell’s tomorrow or the next day, dig up the book, and come back with his name, and maybe even a web link if we’re lucky.

illustration friday: insect

by brandon as illustration friday — brandon Wed 8 Mar 2006 12:52 pm

base villainy!

Needless to say, Dr. Hidalgo Castro y Peña will never get away with this.

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