31 May 2007

and... i'm off!

May this be the most creative backpacking/camping/sightseeing road trip ever! If you signed up for art mail, I've already started to generate ideas for you and your mailbox. Keep an eye out! I'll reconnect with my blog mates in about two weeks.

30 May 2007

29 May 2007

I could use some help with this one

I've had such a hard time with this one. I'm tired of trying alone over and over with no luck. I wonder if anyone can help. I can't seem to deal with select inverse on the various parts here - I can't get the arm totally selected. And it's not because the lines on the arm aren't connected; they were at one point and I was erasing them in parts to see if it helped.

eliot and naomi

I realized after I posted that I forgot to return the original image back to 100% opacity, which is why the colors are muted. Drats.

Invisible me



Self Portrait Challenge

Alpha suggested that I submit one of the pinhole self portraits to the self portrait challenge. May's theme is on the street.

self portrait challenge


Ficlets.com is a way to share writing. It's also a cool API mashup.

28 May 2007

Last chance to sign up for creative roadtrip mail

Two days and counting until I set out for my pilgrimage to the Twin Cities, MN from Oakland, CA. Last chance for art mail! Sign up! Let me know by sending your address to me at sillouetteamelia at gmail dot com if you want a cool little piece of art mail from the road.

I'll pass through CA, NV, UT, CO, WY and SD. If you prefer a state, specify it please.

I wasn't able to rig a pinhole camera since I found out that most methods require some form of darkroom and developing. Even so, the creative juices are bound to be flowing out of me in some form and streaming down the blistering hot pavement behind me. (I'll surely wear a raspberry beret in my little red corvette.)

Your address could be on one of those traveling delights. My new liberty stamps are ready to go, er, I mean Hugo Minor stamps.

Hugo's dream come true

You make your twin proud.

I could just pinch those cheeks.

Do I believe in God? Do I believe in me?

Prince made it on a Kyrgyzstan stamp in 2000. Gallagher, you must be so envious.

Jackson Pollock

You can be Jackson Pollock. Go see.

I sent this link to Laurie (how many?) years ago. I bet I scored major 'cool friend' points when I did that. *wink*

pintoid pictures

Gallagher emailed this to me recently: a "pintoid." I then discovered images taken with a pintoid.


My neighbor has a frequent visitor who likes to play his didjeridu in the concrete and stone stairwells in my building. I recorded him with my cell phone voice recorder this morning.

pinhole outside

The pinhole camera works better outside. I think my pinhole is ever so slightly off center. The bottom left corner seems to be consistently vignetted out.

digital pinhole

I just made a pinhole lens for my Nikon D70. I used the body cap as the new lens and I made a minuscule hole in the center of it. These were taken at ISO 800 with a 13 second exposure. I think I'll need to make the pinhole a little bigger so I can use shorter exposures.

26 May 2007

Boticelli's secret models

smoking kitchenware

creative outlets

Since I have been forbidden from making any modifications whatsoever to the new Kitchen Aid mixer that sits happily in my kitchen by the joint owner and the giver of said Kitchen Aid mixer I have been highly motivated to make virtual modifications. This was inspired by a comment that was something along the lines of, "don't turn our classy mixer into trailer trash."

If I listen really closely I can actually hear the country music that dominated the airwaves in my youth.

I'll miss the SF MOMA

My membership to the MOMA doesn't end until September, but my membership to this city ends next week. Alas, I'll miss an undoubtedly amazing exhibition by Felix Schramm.

He reminds me how much I want a warehouse big enough to make intensive room-sized sculpture.


25 May 2007

Insect lamp

Love it.

Studio 360 - cardboard records

This week's Studio 360 podcast is really great, and there's a story about 30 minutes into it that reminded me of Hugo. It's about a guy who made impeccable fiction soul records and album covers. The records have grooves carved into them and everything. They were found in a flea market and the original artist, Mingering Mike, was discovered and interviewed. It's really great!

the night before trash day

24 May 2007

Multimedia message

the flossy/ the hipster

On Market Street, San Francisco, 12:30 pm

thinking abou tit

23 May 2007

I needed something to do so I made another one

Laurie and I were cranky at the pot heads stepping on us at the Bjork concert. I was more cranky than she, as you can see. I think I must've had this look on my face the whole night.

All I have to do for the next week is pack to move. I might be making a lot of art to pass the time.

I did my first invisibilia image!

I was so inspired by Hugo's find that I followed the instructions and made my own! It's surprisingly easy. The hardest part is keeping your hand steady while you make the lines. I suspect that improves with practice.

Laurie took the original image at the St Paul farmer's market. I liked it a lot when I first saw it. Now I can't decide which I like better!

Cartoon people in real life

This is really interesting. This guy replaces people in photos with drawings of them instead.

More here.

22 May 2007

seaweed against cliffs

I gathered seaweed arbitrarily along Ocean Beach in San Francisco today. When I turned around, I saw these stunning, eroded cliffs and worked the seaweed into the sand above this ridge. The wind made it simultaneously precarious and elegant.

I was very happy with the final result.

spaciousness is a prerequisite to creativity

This afternoon I went to the beach to study. The next time I'll have to study for a test my quiet landscape will be fields, cows, snow, evergreens. I'm moving to Minnesota from the SF Bay Area in a week where I will officially become 1/2 of a domestic partnership with intentions to "remain together indefinitely," (which is a verbose description of what some would simply call "engagement.")

I studied for a while, made seaweed-sand art, and then drove down the coast late in the afternoon. It was a luxurious declaration of my final days of bachelorhood - not a care in the world, no one knew where to find me, I had nowhere to be. I saw Sea Bowl - an old bowling alley that faces the ocean - in Pacifica and laughed. I saw crows in the eucalyptus trees in Montara. I got emotional; I love the ocean and I'm going to miss it terribly.

This is an image of tangled up sea kelp. So gorgeous. The kelp look like they love being wrapped up in each other, don't they? Then again, I admit to wearing rose-colored glasses these days. Someone going through a divorce might see this and feel trapped. Sigh.

It occurred to me after I made art and realized how intuitive it felt: creativity happens best for me when I'm not stressed out or worried. It happens best when I'm not trying or thinking about art at all. This is a good, good lesson to remember.


I've been meaning to do this since I wrote the poem with Superman. Remember that Gallagher aka Hugo Minor commented that he's Superman to his officemates? Hot.


Amelia and I got to see Bjork use the reactable this weekend. I'm fascinated by this instrument.

Add this video to your iPod.

20 May 2007


Tim Hawkinson is yet another artist who I find amazing. His latest exhibit is at the Getty. Here's a sample of this exhibit, Zoopsia:

(The octopus suckers are photos of his own mouth.)

More here.

old rubbish, car parts, bottles, and cutlery

Alpha and I made these tags this afternoon in Oakland. We were discussing the possibility of making one out of junk when we came upon the shattered car parts.

18 May 2007

violently happy

I take no credit for this masterpiece of office art. My office buddy, Steve, did this one in honor of the pilgrimage I am about to make to see the most amazing Bjork.

17 May 2007

dino diorama

16 May 2007

eucaliptus alpha

Eucaliptus leaves are fantastic to work with. This is my new medium.

New YA novel

Here are the first 1,000 words of my new young adult novel, Hipster High:

It's got a really long name, something like Edward Marshall C. Thornberry, but everyone knows it as Hipster High. You have to apply to get into this high school, and it isn't easy. Instead of looking at your grades and community service, or athletics and experience in ROTC or trombone skills, the application asks for a video tape. They want to see your life. In the video you have to show them your house, especially your room. They want to see your music collection - all your CDs, or if you're really hip, your digital music collection on your computer - and then they want to see your closet. Do you have enough thrift store clothes? How about grooming products? Do you have a cool toothbrush? Their test is not of skills but personality. Will you fit in well with other kids who are cool? Most kids who try to fake it, who try to buy The Smiths albums when they really listen to Britney Spears, get caught. They say that over twenty people watch your tape, and each of them look for different things. Was there something peeking out from under your bed, that if you paused the tape, you could see a clue of who you really were? The number of denial letters sent out each year was amazing. It was a form letter - there was no explanation. Of course the tone of the letter was very appreciative, saying things like, "Thank you for applying for our school," and "We appreciate the opportunity to get to know you." Kids who received denial letters often cried. Their parents would hate them for the rest of their life.
This was a good school to get into, especially if their teenage son or daughter was a hipster in the making. Here they would be socially accepted, and properly trained for their adult life as a hipster. They'd get an education no other school could offer. There were also rumors that the teachers were the best in the region, and that a surprising number of students actually went on to be very successful in life, instead of living the facade of a cool hipster life. These former students were the CEOs of mid-size financial companies, art directors of advertising companies, and the painters of a new school of art.
The school was located in a not-so-great part of town, but because of its presence, the neighborhood had improved. There were two Pinkberrys, two Starbucks (one at the north end and one at the south end), and a Zankou Chicken. Of course there was a Taco Bell, but that was there before the school, and it did pretty well without the student population as customers. There were two buses that drove kids in - one from the West side, and one from the East side. Parents were allowed to drop off their children, and few children took public transportation. If a child was accepted into Hipster High, some families would move closer, just to avoid having to commute if they lived hours away. Families were changed if one child made it into the school, and the other didn't. Imagine having an older brother who was accepted, and the amount of pressure a younger brother would have to follow in his footsteps. What if the younger brother wanted to play sports? Hipster High had no athletic team. True, they did have a facility for exercising, a gymnasium, but during physical education classes, most of the kids would smoke or just stand around. They were allowed to do that. There was actually a cigarette vending machine in the boys' locker rooms. Girls had to ask boys to buy them cigarettes, or else go in there themselves. This was usually not a problem, as no boys were changing into their gym clothes.
The kids did learn a lot at Hipster High. They learned lots of facts that they could rattle off at parties, just to impress people with their breadth of knowledge. Their general education didn't requiring reading actual books, instead they could read summaries, and teachers told them the basic themes of all the literature. Their tests were basically regurgitation spoons, where they spat up what they were fed, and teachers marked the spoons with A's, and the occasional + sign if someone's spit-up was actually shiny.
The yearbook for Hipster High was well-designed, usually by a famous graphic designer who was a resident for one year at the school. Everyone had perfectly set hair, even if it was mean to look messy. (The hair class was the most popular class at Hipster High, where you learned different hair styles, and how to use different styling products.)
Hipster High had mostly white students. There was the rumor that they would select a few non-white students each year, just to reflect the adult population of hipsters, with its Asian indie rock girls, and jean jacket wearing black girls. There were practically no Spanish-speaking kids, maybe there was one a few years back, but she probably dropped out. Each year they accepted one student with a British accent. Again, the test to see if your accent was authentic was in place, so that people who faked it were immediately disqualified.
Of course the admission process was really just a mystery to students. They all speculated based on what kids did get accepted, and kids who tried and didn't make the cut. The acceptance letter was a form letter as well, although it had more detail about the next steps for the student.
This was not a free school. Parents had to pay tuition, and this is probably why the school had such a great facility.
When you really were an adolescent hipster in the making, this school worked out perfectly. But again, because of the pressure to get accepted, kids who were not hipsters tried to get into the school all the time. And what if that happened? What if you were a kid whose parents really wanted you to go to this school, and did everything they could to get you into the school? They bought you the wardrobe, the music, hired someone to teach you how to walk? What if you were accepted into this school, and you weren't really a hipster? You were there because your parents made you? That's what this story is about.


15 May 2007

Alpha's got a tag

Alpha's tag: ALFAH! I can't beat that.

I've been thinking my next tag will be an alpha sign. Watch out, Oakland.

14 May 2007

Music web page

I posted several files of my music to this new Google Pages site I set up today:


there is a cycle that will not quit

there is a cycle that will not quit
it is the wash in the machine
it is a washer with quarters always being shoved into it
it's dirty and it's in the public laundromat
behind it there is grunge and stagnant water and lint
(lint that is not yours.)
there is a cycle
it will not stop
you hit it and bang on it and yell expletives
you go outside and run around the block with
your roll of quarters and detergent in your arms
a homeless man begs you for both
you freak out and ignore him and run to the pay phone
to make a call.
but it is a pay phone that will not hang up
and the previous caller's call is still on the buzz
and the quarters are stuck in the middle
and Superman is banging on the window to please let him in.
there is an emergency
on 12th street
that he must get to


13 May 2007

awning design

Last Sunday I went on an urban hike through East Oakland. I saw a house with an unusual, asymmetrical design above its front door. It caught my eye. Unfortunately, my camera phone didn't do it justice. Laurie was kind enough to render this sketch to get a more clear idea of what's going on. Isn't it a bizarre pattern on a house? I love it and I can't get it out of my mind. I'd like to smooth the curves some and then tattoo it on one side of my chest. I talk big.

I'm thinking that until then (which could be a while) I might try to sketch this design with flowers in the grass somewhere.

socially warm

It's warm in Minnesota today and people are out and about at the Farmer's Market in my neighborhood.

11 May 2007

more ideas that are less about paper and more about design

paper dimensions

I have boxes of this paper and lots of interest in making art with it. This one feels like it's on the right track.

clover flower quickie

The dandelions seem to be mostly gone in CA right now. But I keep seeing dirty little scroungy clover flowers. Honestly, they are rather tiny and ugly. The ugliest flower ever, probably.

However, I did a quickie with them tonight. I'm glad I finally did one. The future ones will inevitably be better.

sand sketch

When I was a kid I called Maple tree seeds helicopters. I made this sketch today with last summer's helicopters. Now they are brown, cracked and decaying. I've noticed that when I bring a good camera with me to photograph a sketch it doesn't turn out well. When I have no camera and do one of these spontaneously it turns out much better.

10 May 2007

Some things you only see while riding a bicycle

Oh gosh! I'm still dying of laughter!

While riding my bike down Telegraph Street in Berkeley, I saw a BIRD flying across my path and dodging traffic with a CHEESY POOF sticking straight out of its beak. It was the funniest thing I've ever seen.

I put sunflower seeds on my porch for the birds, and what do they really want? CHEESY POOFS.

It prompted a delightful series of imaginative thoughts. I envisioned lots of little plastic birds with cheesy poofs in the beaks swinging from strings on the ceiling. The strings are attached to a motorized something that whirls them around the room.

The world is so strange.

(Note: This is not the bird I saw. Kudos to Laurie for the Photoshop magic quickness.)