They look a little lost and forlorn, but never fear, great things will emerge. Among the contents are various sizes of wooden cubes, from 1/4″ to 6″; carbon-atom construction bits, and two colors of bead chain.
At long last, the skygrid is done. A year ago, I started the process to capture an image of the zenith sky every two minutes from 4 in the morning until 9 at night. Today the Sun crossed back into the sky of the Northern Hemisphere, and the camera on my porch took the last set of photos of the zenith. Here is the color spread of the equinoctal day:
And here is the final yearly grid, 495 x 365, or 180,675 separate squares (click to embiggen):
I will be processing another time-lapse movie of the Winter Half of the skygrid when I have time. Until then, check out the Summer Half.
Three major landmarks in this selection of icosacomposites. While I was on the prowl, I couldn’t turn down the chance to deconstruct the conspicuous consumption of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, especially the day after Christmas. And it didn’t disappoint. Look for high-end car wheels, fashion dress patterns and lots of shopping bags milling into a murky mass right in front of the Bvulgari store. I’m especially amused by how the diagonal crossing marks kind of stick up like stalagmites in the middle of the haze of tourism. Even weirder, no one seemed to care I was there shooting them.
Right after the Rodeo Drive shoot I went to Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood to capture another landmark, the nightclub Whisky a Go Go. Back in the day, it was the place to see The Byrds, Alice Cooper, Buffalo Springfield, Smokestack Lightning, Love and The Doors. At this point in history, it looks like it’s mostly serving the nostalgia circuit– Lita Ford and The Motels– with reality TV taking a slice of the pie. This particular video is the complete opposite of the Beverly Hills video. There’s hardly any people on Sunset the day after Christmas, so this became more of an examination of lights, traffic, and eveningtime, with the nightclub simply as an anchor. Because of that, I only shot 40 minutes of footage, which makes this video only two minutes long. Notice that the two-minute compositing slice is in quasi-synchronization with the timing of the traffic lights. In other videos, the red-amber-green lights are diffused and weak as they flicker in and out of phase, but here they’re remarkably strong and brilliant.
Finally, we revisit Hollywood and Vine, with a different crop than before. I like the placement of the buildings better, and the central building has a lovely diffuse glow as the compositing makes the shadows soften. Unfortunately, I was almost done with the fourth section of footage when some rentacops from Andrews International drove up and gave me the stink-eye from their car, so in the interests of keeping a low profile I finished recording and then moved on. The back end of their car was caught on video, but, alas, their moment of fame is indistinguishable in the composite. Because I only got 40 minutes of footage, this video is also only two minutes long.
Most people who know my practice know that I pretty much mess around on the computer and rarely put pen or pencil to paper unless I’m doing a quick cartoon to calculate angles or just to get something down in physical form. Well, this summer I taught The Book As Art, a summer school class at the Bow & Arrow Press, and one of my students made me two lovely stab-bound sketchbooks as a thank-you. (You can see the video she made of the Press here.) So, basically, I felt that it would be a shame to let something like that go to waste.
Back in the day I used to make long rambling doodles when I was bored in class or at work, like most people will. So I figured, why not try those again? Maybe, given repetition and some experimentation, they’d turn into something interesting. From what I understand, that’s the way sketchbooks are supposed to work, right? But, knowing me, I have to have some sort of concept involved, some sort of boundary to push against. So I decided I would do my rambling doodles, but I would limit myself to only sixty strokes, defined as how long the drawing tool stayed in contact with the paper, regardless of length. Sixty is a nice number, not too long, not too short, and can be subdivided in multiple ways should the need arise.
For drawing material, I decided there would be no limit, I would use whatever implement I found in my backpack that looked interesting. So I used ballpoint, pencil, giant marker, and Sharpies in various colors. I also decided I would try to do one a day, and since the books were made from folded sheets so that each “page” was actually two-in-one, once I reached the end of the book, I would turn around and do the other side of each page. It turns out there were fifty pages in the book, which means one full book will be exactly 100 drawings. Nice!
As it turns out, the once-a-day thing didn’t really work out, for various reasons. Being busy was one, forgetting was another, but I also found that doing one per day did not really allow drawing concepts to be explored in depth while they were fresh. So it kinda worked out that I did seven drawings every Thursday, which gave time to play with ideas and develop at least one of them. You can see some pretty clear progressions at different points in the book.
About two weeks ago I made it to the end of the first book, which was the perfect time to document the drawings and publish them here. I wanted to photograph them without drawing on the other side of the page, because the pages are somewhat translucent and I wanted these first ones to stand alone. So, it took me a while to get around to shooting the pages, and the first run looked crappy so I had to reshoot them, but I think I have something worthy of presentation. A small PDF of the drawings is available here. And I’ll post six of my favorites below, for ease of viewing.
^ #8, using a chisel-pointed Sharpie, a nice lyric flow.
^ #20, ballpoint, nice loopy swoops
^ #26, an early form of my circle/square/triangle experiments, in yellow Sharpie
^ #44, a blind drawing, done with my eyes closed, using cyan Sharpie
^ #45, maroon and yellow Sharpies, with a nice interaction between them turning red
^ And #50, a CMYK Sharpie composition with the black and magenta done blind.
Before and after class at the Bow & Arrow on Saturday I started messing around with my cubes of wood again. This time I started playing with four groups of four blocks, set roughly in lines, and used some graphite ink I’d mixed earlier in the month. I’m really pleased with the silvery color of the graphite mixture, it’s very handsome and layers quite nicely. Some of the earlier runs were too simple, so I added a color progression starting with PANTONE Yellow and adding a rusty red mixture one of my regulars had whipped up for a recent project. The results were interesting:
Four of Four: Graphite Graphite Yellow Orange
Four of Four: Graphite Yellow Orange Red
Four of Four: Multigraphite
The Sun crossed the ecliptic today at 4:44pm EDT, heading south. My skygrid camera was there to capture the moment, along with a plane flying overhead:
I’ll be processing the images soon so we can see the full wax and wane of the daylight hours. Funny thing: it’s no longer an Equinoctal Skygrid. Because it’s reasonably automated, I’ll continue taking footage until next March, for an Annual Skygrid.
Early this morning I went out to shoot some time-lapse videos of a wind turbine I really hadn’t explored up-close, the 1.8 MW Vestas at the MWRA pumping station in Everett. It has been a while! Almost nine months since I last shot this turbine, and almost two years since I shot the Northwind 100 at the McGlynn school in Medford.
This was the first run, shorter than the others, using a neutral-density filter and a polarizer to allow me to take each frame at 1/3 second, so I could get nice blurring and tonal sweeps for the blades:
Most of the videos I shot today used the polarizer to get deep blue skies, which kinda reminded me too much of the earlier turbine videos I’d done. So I did this with the polarizer turned to keep the sky light, which gives a different effect on the blurring of the blades.
I’ve got footage for two more videos in the can, but I have to do some tweaking to remove an unfortunate dust spot that fell on the sensor during the time-lapse.
Another composite project, and this one with an interactive component! I decided to do a composite of handwriting samples, and got my summer school class and the regular attendees at the Bow & Arrow’s Open Press Night to supply the first round. I prepared a standard sampling sheet and had everyone write “Multilayered Holographic Composite” in standard black Sharpie. This is what 20 handwriting samples look like squished together:
I would like to extend an invitation to all denizens of the Interwebs to be part of this interesting process! Simply download the instructions and sample sheet here, follow the directions, and viola! Internet celebrity awaits. I will repeat the instructions here:
1. Print the second page of this PDF. Try not to scale the PDF when printing; i.e. turn off “Fit to Page”.
2. Obtain standard black fine-point Sharpie.
3. Write “Multilayered Holographic Composite” in the three boxes provided, one word per box. See above example. You may write it any way you desire.
4A. Scan page at 600 dpi, grayscale, include the four little dots. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for Dropbox access.
— OR —
4B. Mail page to:
c/o Mindhue Studio
17 Wheeler Ave #2
Medford, MA 02155
5. Wipe hands on pants.