Feeling Exposed.

There’s a small window of time each month when the gazes of Sol and Luna are at rest, allowing me to become particularly mischievous.

Cover image for coachellamagazine.com interview. Photography by Jorge Perezchica

Cover image for coachellamagazine.com interview. Photography by Jorge Perezchica

This season’s solo exhibit has provided me with a strong dose of exposure, both outward and inward.

Outwardly, I’ve connected with a great many like minded and creative people. So refreshing, so illuminating. Four articles came out discussing my work, amplifying my voice to be heard within my community. In the month running up to the opening of the exhibit, Linda Stoddard graciously wrote an article for our local newspaper, The Desert Sun, allowing me a chance to entice people to come see the work of a local artist they had likely never heard of before. Shortly afterward, Christine Lang volunteered a similar article for The La Quinta Arts Foundation to help broaden awareness of my work and the exhibit.

Imagine my excitement when another very talented local artist, Luna Fora, filmed, edited and featured a video interview of me and The Suboken Project on coachellamagazine.com (somewhat surreal to watch myself in that format). One of the most satisfying experiences this opportunity gave me was participating in an interview with Kate Buckley for her blog on palmsprings.com. Kate really dug in to uncover the philosophy and inspirations that fuel my creativity.

And the exhibit isn’t even over yet! My heartfelt gratitude to Deborah for your enthusiasm and championing of my artwork.

Looking inward, the exhibit afforded me a chance to explore how The Suboken Project has influenced my creativity and productivity, and what it might offer me moving forward. For the first time, I sought out curious and enthusiastic individuals to participate in creating art. To Calista, Micheal, Brenda, Chris and Kannon, working along side you, I was able to explore my process, and explore the dilemma of authorial intent from a more objective perspective. I can only hope that the experience enriched your lives as well. Thank you for jumping into the chaos. You are welcome to come art with me anytime.

To the universe I say, there is much more to come. I hope you’ll join me.

Hello 2014, can you come out and play today?

Letting Go.

For the past month, I’ve been hoping I wouldn’t find myself writing this post. However, after four weeks of technical consultation, today I received a text message that made my heart sink.

All of my digital media has been lost.

A major component to my digital studio is my external storage device. I use a product called Drobo.

Drobo
Continue reading

Is The Osteodontokeratic Hammer Built Or Grown? part 1

Developing the ODK Hammer as a structurally strong sculpture while achieving an organic look has been a long process.

Once I had decided to use the various types of Sculpey to create the hammers, I began crafting some small test sculptures to see what techniques would work best to produce a realistic skin surface. The polymer clay I was focused on using, Super Sculpey, already went a long way in achieving a defused, skin-like luminance. However, there was still a great deal of work that could be done to push the medium even further towards appearing like real skin. I was hopeful to have the majority of detail sculpted into the clay to pull off the final look.

The early tests started off as solid pieces of Super Sculpey. I would push in a texture stamp to create realistic looking wrinkles and pores. After baking the clay, I used thinned out acrylic paints to add color variation and heightened surface details such as veins, freckles, and sub-dermal colorization. Since the post baked clay was already hard, painting in such details tended to sit right on the surface, not sink in to preserve and enhance the translucency of the surface layer.

Back to the drawing board.

As I was tackling the colorization issues, I was also brainstorming ideas on how to maintain the sculpted surface details while holding the hammer. An early solution involved a set of three armatures the hammer would rest on while I applied the texture stamping. The points of the armature that were in direct contact with the hammer would also have texture built in to preserve the details. This didn’t work out though. As I sculpted the base form of the hammer, the heat from my hands caused the clay to flex and bow under its own weight. (Remind me to talk about the heat issue again later. There’s a specific season that is ideal for making an ODK Hammer.)

My solution was to create a core form that would be baked without any surface details. Once cooked and cooled, I would then apply the surface texture without the issue of the hammer bowing. After a couple tests, this seemed to be the ideal technique. Yet, I still had the colorization issue to figure out. Then a solution finally dawned on me! I could make the core sculpture more detailed with color regions that simulated the muscle tissue, vein structures and bones. Then the surface texture wouldn’t need as much paint to pull off the full effect of looking alive.

Confident, I went into a mini production of five hammers. I sculpted and baked the five cores, plus the horn/claw portion for each hammer. After these elements cooled down, I sculpted on the skin texture with a greater detail and baked the sculptures a second time. These hammers looked amazing, better than I had expected.

I just realized that out of context, all these references to hammers must read as a rather peculiar blog entry.

With five completed ODK Hammers finished, I went right back into another production of five more.

However, it was now May. The Coachella Valley is home to an obscene number of golf courses and resorts. A large percentage of the population only reside here during the winter months, which for us is “The Season”. The Season ends around mid May, and the Snow Bird Exodus begins. Want to guess as to why? If you remove all the resorts and golf courses, take away the track homes and swimming pools, the Coachella Valley is actually a desert in southern California. May usually sees the onslaught of tipple digit temperatures. Those of us who live here year round can do so only through the prolific assistance of climate control technology; air conditioners! Yet, the AC only creates the “air” of comfort (pun intended), through the actual blowing of cool air. The heat still remains at the core of everything. If the cool blowing air stops, the heat becomes all too apparent.

Sculpey doesn’t work very well in the heat. It becomes too soft and slightly gummy. It’s near impossible to work with Sculpey when the heat kicks in, especially if you’re trying to add texture detail. There is a season for which an ODK Hammer (produced in the Coachella Valley) can be created. It is the winter.

Production was put on hold. It would have to wait until the following October, when the temperatures start to fall.

ODK Hammer Prototypes 02ODK Hammer Prototypes 010042542000000-st-01-super-sculpey

X-Treme Team Sends Everyone to the Moon!

The First Lego League / Moonbots team I help mentor presented their Phase Two entry for the 2012 Google Lunar X-Prize LEGO Mindstorms Challenge at the Southern California Energy Summit this last Thursday and Friday (Oct 4th & 5th).

I am immensely proud of this year’s team. Their hard work, struggles and triumphs have made participating in this season’s entire project a transformational experience. I am certain the experience we have shared this summer will serve as a strong inspiration to persevere through any hurdles that arise in my own future creative endeavors.

X-Treme Team’s ambition in presenting imaginative and entertaining projects has been an exciting catalyst for me. Phase One centered on a video project that addressed the competition’s requirements. X-Treme Team wanted to make something truly memorable. After brainstorming what was possible, I helped teach the team how to shoot and edit a fun and challenging video involving green screen techniques and miniature videography. For three weeks I facilitated an intense yet fun film workshop to teach the team how to pull off the video project. We even crafted a low budget green screen studio in my backyard to shoot the miniature sets and props, all built out of LEGOs! Check out what they were able to create:

Phase Two involved creating an obstacle course for a LEGO Mindstorms NXT robot to navigate through, while meeting point objectives within a five minute time limit. The team once again reached for a logistically ambitious goal that redefined my expectations on what the kids are capable of. Instead of settling for a traditional flat game board, they chose to create a board that involved multiple levels of terrain for the robot to travel through. Committed to impressing the judges with this “out of the box” approach to the Phase Two challenge, the kids and I spent two weeks building a massive four level game board, mapping out how a standard robot design could run through the course. If that wasn’t enough, the robot building team put together four different robot variations for them to use in their presentation at the Southern California Energy Summit.

Here’s some highlights on what the kids experienced at the Energy Summit!

I can’t express how meaningful my time with X-Treme Team has been. Next summer is so far away.

Update:
X-Treme Team’s presentation made front page news in our local newspaper, The Desert Sun!

The Desert Sun: Thumbs up: Indio robotic team shoots for the moon

Unfortunately, the article got some of the details on the team and the competition mixed up. But, at it’s heart, the article focused on how great X-Treme Team is, and how their ingenuity and creativity are inspirational for our community. This meant so much for the kids read!