Friday, December 23, 2011

Autobiographical statement. What?

As a part of my application for seminary I had to write a 4 page autobiographical statement.  So here it is, for anyone who has ever wondered about where I stand in my faith and why I am...the way I am.  It's not completely done, and there's a lot left out--you can't really add much detail in only 4 double spaced pages when you are trying to summarize 22 years of life.  Anywho, enjoy.
----

My life began (9-months before) November the eleventh in the year of 1989 in Vidalia, Georgia.  No matter the fact that it would only be another fifty days or so before the year 1990 would roll around, I still consider myself to be an 80’s baby.  Of course, when people talk about the year 1989, it is not known as the year that Joshua Otto Gale was born—instead everyone talks about the Berlin wall falling, which apparently was a bigger deal—and though I am sure Heaven rejoiced, here on Earth the resounding noise was that of, well, the doctor scribbling his signature on a piece of paper that is complimentary with any successful delivery.  Maybe there was the sound of the pounding of the second hand of a clock ticking away, a baby book opening, or my family quietly rejoicing that the sixth, and final, member of our family had been born.
I say this because on that Veteran’s day I was just another child to be added to the statistic of an ever-increasing human population on our planet—in the eyes of humanity, the wheel continued spinning away.  My father was a pastor of a Methodist church in Lyons and my mother hard at work at home trying to raise my three older siblings and me.  My parents were from Savannah, and when my father answered the call to go into the ministry, I would be willing to place bets they were quite shocked to find themselves in the small farming town of Lyons where its neighboring city of Vidalia would be best known, of all things, for its immense amount of onion crops.  I spent the first seven months of my life there learning the ways of the farming life as much as a toddler could.
My father was then appointed to a three-charge church in Irwinton, Georgia, where he would serve for the next thirteen years of my life before leaving the pulpit ministry to start his own nonprofit ministry, Unto the Least of His, to do mission work all over the world.  With a population of 583, Irwinton is also the place where I call home and where I was raised.  There is one public school in the entire county, of which I attended as a part of the white minority.  The church, located across the driveway, was where I received my informal education in nearly all matters, such as how to use the PA system for karaoke.  Of course, one of the best, and arguably the worst, of places I gained my informal education from, besides my parents, was from my older siblings.  I had two older brothers and one older sister.  It is mostly from them I learned how to play the guitar and piano, how to juggle, how to throw a Frisbee and how to hit a baseball, how to make paper airplanes and a plethora of other useful things that any human being would probably be okay without ever learning.  It is from all those unique people, places, and things that I ever interacted with that I developed my Christian faith.
Never did I have the pleasure of having a single moment that I could pinpoint as the moment that I gave my life to Christ and was saved.  In fact, because this somewhat worried me during my second year of college, I made sure publicly reaffirmed my faith in front of a whole church congregation…if for no other reason than to make myself feel better.  I consider my mother and father to both be champions of faith in my life, because it is from each of them that I can look back for as far as I can remember and see them exemplifying genuine Christianity as I know it.  It is important to note that it is not only the words I heard them say that impacted my life, but it is from their actions of integrity that they always drove the points home and made the best impressions.
High school came around and along with it came probably the first major struggle in my life.  All three of my older siblings got married within one year and moved out of the house, my dad started the aforementioned non-profit ministry meaning we had to move, and there were the natural transitions that occur between middle and high school.  Unto the Least of His offered a major opportunity to spread Christ’s love nationally and internationally, while the atmosphere of high school offered the opportunities to become very self-serving, and my newfound loneliness begged of me to grasp hold of something.  Fortunately, I found a solid group of friends to become a part of, and with them I was able to find my identity as someone who did not have to reject my morals to become accepted.  It is there that I set that pace for the rest of my high school and college careers.
My faith, at that point, had yet to fully become my own, but it was evolving with each new day.  I declared studio art as my major, not knowing the ideological confrontations I would find myself facing.  The reason, I found, that it began to mature with each day, is that each day comes with its own challenge, and in college those challenges became much more frequent. With every year my choices as a Christian were put under more pressure and I really began searching.  I needed God as an anchor in my life, but I felt as though the ground I had given Christ was beginning to shift—I, and my faith, was becoming my own.  I never abandoned my faith in God, but that is not to say it was never tested.  I began to realize God would never back down from my questions.
In early 2010, a variety of sour circumstances caused me to feel like the floor had fallen from underneath my feet.  I had been diving into artistic theory and learning of human psychology at the time and I landed myself at a low place where I felt as though I was stripped of nearly everything I had ever known.  It is from there that I read the Psalms of David where God is put into question many times, or read in places like Hebrews 11:6 where it says, “anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”  I went to the Dominican Republic that summer to do photography and mission work in the Haitian bateys.  It is from there that I began to see God as an artist, painting the most elaborate painting ever; the work of God like the pigment for what secular Joseph Beuys wrote as the “social sculpture,” everything collaborating in unison to create one large social work of living art.
The rest of life is now at my fingertips—the paradigm is mine to shift.  I am not completely sure what God has in store for me to do with the talents and skills I have been given, but what I am sure of is that I want to use them to glorify God and to further Christ’s ministry throughout the world by working in the ministry and fighting for what is right.  Ignorance is rampant, and I realize now that I have spent much of my life fighting against it.  Unfortunately, the religious have become infamous for being naïve to reality.  Many have become incapable of listening and discerning what they hear and therefore have become their own worst enemy; their inability to see and interpret the context of their actions is their own downfall.
Against the odds, I have come from a small town and have not become trapped by small-town thinking.  Against the odds, I left my tiny high school and have become the first of my graduating class to receive a 4-year diploma.  Against odds, I have maintained my faith through a variety of circumstances and feel stronger and more confident than ever.  After spending a month living amongst the indigenous people of Kenya doing work with water wells this past August, I made my decision to apply to Candler’s MDiv program because I became aware that there is still so much to the mystery of God to unravel, and with the unfolding of each layer there is always another beautiful discovery.  Candler’s reputation for being a place for open-minded people lines up with my own educational experience thus far and is not only a place that I feel that I would like to be, but is also the type of place that I feel I belong and need to be.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Transition.

Every day that goes by that I don't post something to this blog it gets harder the next time. It's been nearly an entire semester since I last posted anything. Here's to getting the ball rolling.

For some reason, this semester has been really difficult for me. I have heard from multiple people that your last semester tends to be your hardest, but not necessarily because the work gets more difficult--it's everything else. I find myself extremely satisfied with some things, then with others it's as if I'm left squirming through a cave, trying to find my way out...confused at times how I got there in the first place.

 I tried really hard to get one of these built:


but failed. The university put up too much red tape and for one of the first times at something like this, I feel like I fell on my face. I made models, I got letters written from prominent figures, I had major national and international attention and the university turned me down. That's life, I guess. It's time I meet the real world anyway.

I feel like I've been running all semester only to realize that the carrot is still on the string in front of me...not but maybe an inch closer.

I made this motion graphic the other day in my digital class using After Effects:





It isn't perfect, but with a few tweaks I could get it to look a little better.

And I guess while I am posting videos I did in digital this semester I might as well post this, too:




But honestly, this is one of my favorite things I made all semester:




It's simple and quick but gets the point across.

My audio equipment has stayed packed up most of the semester.  I pulled it out once but didn't really do anything with it...In fact, I haven't hardly played any instruments at all, digital or acoustic.  What have I been doing with all my time...?

Either way, it's Thanksgiving.  So I'm going to end this downer post with a few things I am thankful for.


This picture is so dorky--but I'm thankful for this girl that has put up with
my craziness this semester.
I'm thankful there are still people in this world willing to help each other.
I'm thankful I am not drinking water from here.
I am thankful for my family.  For my friends.  For soldiers fighting for my freedom.  For SO many things.

Psalms 91.


I have a feeling I am going to be starting a new blog soon.  This one will still occasionally be updated--I have made a pretty solid effort to keep it mostly art related.  If I do start a new blog it will be much less formally about my art and more about my own thoughts and, I guess, a bit more personal.  More like a journal.  But nonetheless, stay tuned.  There's more to come.

Photography in Kenya

Kenya Photography

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Western impact, Eastern society

Another journal entry...I've time to spare so I figured I would put it up.

I have never seen the implementation of such an extreme mix of cultures in my life. I'm at a church service right now just outside of Maralol, Kenya. There is a sound system projecting the sound waves of a keyboardist who is playing traditional African music to the pounding of, not a real drum, but of a preexisting rhythm programmed in his half-sized Casio keyboard--the choir is up now shouting, dancing, and singing in a native Kenyan style and language while most of them are dressed uniformly in matching gray business suits all poised around a singular microphone. There are probably 50 children here, several of whom might not eat tonight, sitting under a tree sporting bright yellow, screen-printed Sunday school t-shirts.
Now that I think about it, where is the electricity coming from?
How are there over 100 people here and only 3 cars in the parking lot?
Is that a lamb I hear baa-ing ever few minutes?
I've not seen a computer since Nairobi was in my hindsight, but pardon my neighbor to my left--he has an important text to attend to...or 6.

I know this sounds bitter but it isn't. Not intentionally anyway. My opinion on the matter is of no concern to me at the moment and, in fact, even if I did attempt to thwart an opinion on these kisses of Capitalism that have nuzzled themselves right down the neck of this section of society I wouldn't know where to begin. No, this is simply an observation.

Vessels of Westernism have gone beyond the doorstep of this community. Whether on purpose or not the people here have welcomed and embraced the benefits and, incoherently, the potential evils of Western thought from riding on the coat tails of the West's ever quickening advancement as a civilization. The marriage of the 2, of traditional Kenyan social devices and communal interactions derived from the East and the contemporary "communicative" mechanisms of the West, has coupled the 2 at this social function where a culture clashed child has come into existence right in front of me.

Many would say this is wrong and that we have tainted the ornate fabrics of Kenyan culture, and to them I say who am I, or you, to dictate the "direction" of their cultural advancement, to refrain them from attempting to bettering themselves advance themselves via technology in the same way all of humanity has done throughout the course of history? Much of my purpose in coming to Kenya has been to work alongside a native Kenyan man and to document the fruits of his labor in the development of water wells, which are only discovered, analyzed, and drilled via the benefits of Western technologies. I have had several discussions with him about the dangers of introducing modern technologies to an in indigenous community and he is convinced that without being given access to clean water, for one reason or another, there would be no culture to degrade because the people, and therefore their culture, would simply cease to exist.

Others would say "This is great! Our technologies are becoming so accessible even the far reaching portions of the planet are using it!" And to them I ask, would you give a child a gun and send him into battle? Hush your voice and be intentional with your actions; young ears are listening and without proper instruction you could be handing the child a grenade and calling it candy.

For me, today, there isn't much I can do but learn. Learn and listen to the quiet buzz of the PA system that in a strange way reminds me of my comforts of home so for a moment I can pretend I don't miss it. It's the same buzz and feedback that happens in the sound system of my tiny, country church that is currently over 8,000 miles away from me, that buzz and the pang that shrieks through everyone's ears caused from a quirk in the wires of an electronic system that is just the right tone and pitch to transcend time and space and sets me back at the feet of a global marketing giant where communication with my friends is a text away, my shopping needs are a few keystrokes away, and my school and work is a short drive away. As for tomorrow, well we'll see. It has yet to arrive.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A journal entry

I'll (hopefully) be writing several essays over my experience here in Kenya over the next little while, but I figure I'd share with the blogsphere something I wrote in my journal today.

Stuck in miles of traffic cars in Nairobi swerve recklessly from lane to lane to make even the smallest bits of progress. Well, I say "lane" but that word is relative--the once clear paint marks on the road make no difference as there has been made 5 lanes out of a supposed to be 3 lane road. Somewhat frustrated about it all my friend asks Michael, the Kenyan native and our guide for a majority of the trip, "Michael, is there not something the government can do to regulate this mess?"

He responds after just a short moment of silence. "You see this traffic? This 'mess'? This is a good model of how our government is functioning."

Never before had it been so clear to see the government's lack of performance when it comes to its essential duties, responsibilities. The conversation proceeded on and turned into a discussion about Western concepts and political ideologies being thrust upon Kenya's Eastern mindset and the discrepancies that are formulated from that happening. Kenya's tattered democratic governmental infrastructure who's primary purpose is to serve the people of Kenya has abandoned its responsibilities of offering basic needs to its citizens. In the grungy gears of its political mechanism, the lack of productivity has stabbed apathy into its own heart.

Recognition is step one into solving any problem--unfortunately we have got lots of step one people who never make their way to step two, offering a solution. What then can be done? The good fortune here is that people have gone ahead of us here and relief efforts are being put into place despite the governments own shortcomings.

Whenever we asked our leader of the trip how long it would take to get to our destination, a community of indigenous Maasai Sumburu people of Northern Kenya, from the airport his response was simple. "Forever," he said. 18 hours later split between two days of driving, over half of which had been on the worst dirt road I had ever ridden on, we understood what he meant, but none-the-less we finally arrived. Our journey had begun in the city of Nairobi with a population of over 8 million and along the drive poverty became more and more evident--houses constructed with less Western materials, communities grew smaller and and the space between them grew larger, jeans and t-shirts were becoming less common being replaced with symbolic fabric and beaded jewelry of a wide variety, and gauged ears, bracelets, and necklaces adorned the people's bodies. The drive ended near Maralol, a tiny city miles and miles from any Western development. By that time it was dark--we unloaded our luggage and just before walking into the house that was made of mud and straw I looked up at the star-lit sky, and it was beautiful.

A large portion of my time I have spent in Africa has been dedicated to visiting wells that have been placed in order to document the work that has been taking place. Little did I know that two days after I arrived we would travel to a place that put the aforementioned "forever" road that we had deemed "the road to Hell" to shame. It led to a small town chiseled out the side of a mountain where an epidemic of waterborne diseases had broken out because there was no clean water to be had, only a dried up mud hole where stagnant water had formed. The water wreaked of bacteria and parasites. We arrived at the well that was placed there. Women happened to be fetching water from it with 5 gallon jugs and we told them that we were representatives of the people who raised money to have it installed and they were instantly grateful. Love that transcends boundaries and color erupted from withing everyone there. The children were dancing and playing and gratitude welled up from withing the adults with the exception of one lady was only suppressing her joy because she was scared of the cameras, something she had never seen before. Efforts are being made. And solutions put into action.

To see images go here--I've only uploaded a few. These images were taken at the Bonaire well which is the one that was being described in the journal entry above:
Kenya

Friday, June 24, 2011

Talent


Those first 2 pictures started out as a third flyer design but somehow ended up there...and then I couldn't choose which I liked better.  Suggestions?  I can actually see that being a poster for some organization or something with just a few more touch-ups here and there.  That makes me happy because I'm not very easily satisfied by my own work...
But anywho, what I do find very interesting whenever looking at the 2 actual flyers is the style of them.  They almost remind me of the random flyers we see around the art dept and Mayfair.  Our quirky artsy sense of humor sometimes gets the best of us and we end up with these types of things.  If I were to analytically approach each of the 2 flyers then I could talk about composition, style, color, negative space, etc. and I could rip both them to shreds because they don't hold hard to any of those rules necessarily, but, for some reason, I think, they just work.  There is a personality coming out of those flyers...my personality.  It's exciting to see myself weaving so seamlessly through my work, even if they are just flyers.

So what are we learning then in this ever so common formula of an art curriculum?  What is it that is really breaking through if in the end I find myself breaking the rules anyway?  I'm not going to go much into it but I definitely think those are really important questions that we should be able to answer before we leave school.  For me, the very fact that I know that I am breaking rules is important, because yes anyone can break them but not everyone can identify them and abide by them If Necessary.  It is up to me to decide what is the best route to take in order to get my information across, be that through humor, entertainment, style, or any other artistic principle that we have become so aware of.  It makes me happy and feel a sense of accomplishment to feel like I am well on my way in that area, like maybe all this time and work actually IS leading up to something...even though it is still really frustrating that I don't know what that something is.

On a different note, I've still been messing around with playing instruments and recording audio stuff.  I was trying to learn how to record my own acoustic loops and how to implement them in the program I've been learning on, Ableton Live.  A few of them are just a little off-beat of each other, you'll notice one of the instruments occasionally finding itself getting off-time, but it always makes its way back around.
Real quick, before I post the video (track I made), I'm just going to explain basically what you're listening to and its significance.  There are several different tracks that were recorded to put all of this together.  I started out listening (in my headphones) to a metronome tick, and then improved a little 4/4 piano progression.  I played the progression ONE time, but because it is played on a loop, it sounds like I played it over and over.  I did not play it over and over, the track that was recorded from the one time I played is just repeating itself.  So then I listened to the repeating track of the piano (a loop) and added on top of it the drum, then the shaker.  I'm pretty sure I played the guitar last of all and then went back in and changed up the piano some for a variation.  The important thing here is that everything played was physically, acoustically played for only a few seconds at a time but can be looped and made to sound like they were being played forever and ever.  So then you can just add and take away instruments at your discretion in post as an audio engineer...er whatever they call them.
I'll make some more of these soon, but this was my first demo:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What's been happening?

Hm, what Has been happening?  There's so much going on, especially since I last blogged, that it is difficult to keep track of it all.

Recordings.
I'm very pleased with the uses that I have been getting from my microphone.  It's helped me publish the Bible study I'm doing to a live stream online with crisp audio, with a homework project, and even with recording my friend Eric who needed to make a few submissions to attach to his application for a large band.

Here's his video #1:




And here is his second video:




As mentioned in some of my previous posts I believe audio to be a KEY factor in the way we watch and process information, particularly digital information such as via television, radio, and the internet.  In reference to the recent political ads that are very "Hollywood-ified," Bob Mondello, a big shot film-critic, says this, "The sweeping soundtrack doesn't hurt, either. And there's a history of using soundtracks to pump up speeches in Hollywood."  And sure that is something we all know, then why is it not being put into practice?  I've seen more low-budget movies over the past year than probably the rest of my life and nearly Every time they skimp out on the quality of audio, and rarely it adds to the overall effect but normally its not quite that way.  It doesn't take much to make it work--do it.

I am no audio expert, but I am working on it.  I put this together in a short period of time...it focuses on narration.  And yes, this is my voice and no, I didn't manipulate it hardly at all:



That doesn't conclude my auditory endeavors but I do think that it is enough to show the general base of work that I have been trying to accomplish.  A friend of mine asked me to do her college graduation and senior pictures so I agreed...here are a few of the shots:








I am pretty please with the photoshoot.  I'm really working on composition in video and in my photography and I THINK I am beginning to get there, but I know I've still got a ways I can go.  It's just not something that always comes naturally for me.  I just realized I only showed 1 of the pictures of Caylyn at the Greenway so here are a couple more:

Playing with the wide angle lens.  It really gives the image an interesting dynamic.


I actually Really like this one in full color, but there's just something
about this black and white that make it a really interesting shot.


So I am pretty sure that I've no desire to become a professional photographer...photography is fun to do and the techno dork that is trapped within me frees itself through the understanding of the way my camera works, like Really understanding aperture, shutter speed, sensors, ISO, etc. and comparing my camera with other products, but it is difficult to put on a persona that a "photographer" requires.  I've got to keep the mood upbeat and happy.  I have to make sure that the smiles are real smiles and not just fake doing it just because ones.  Combining that with composing shots and changing lenses and adjusting for the continuously changing lights is quite a challenge, one that I fully embrace, sure, but it is difficult!  I'm hoping that it will all come together one day.
Since I'm on the note of videos and photography and whatnot, I'll add that I was never until recently aware of how connected they, and their core concepts, really are.  Video is Seriously just a whole bunch of photos placed together consecutively of course, but understanding photography has helped me understand the way video works.  For instance, when recording videos the cameraman is responsible for dialing in the correct aperture and shutter speed, both of which are KEY things to understand with photography, and according to they way he decides to go about doing that, the quality of video and light change as well.  A slower shutter speed will create "blurrier" pictures so if you put a whole lot slow shutter speed, more blurry pictures together as frames in a film, it will look blurrier and perhaps more fluid.  If you use a high shutter speed the photos will be much more crisp, so if you put a whole lot of "crisp" photos together as frames of a film, you get a much more crisp video.  Both of which, by the way, are good for different things.

I put a lot of photos together consecutively...they're pictures I took of BRAG when it came through Milledgeville.  Check it out:





I know there are lots of things to do to make the video better, the main one being stability, but it was fun to make.  I plan on doing more of these (better) but I had 30 mins to spare and wanted to try one out to see how they work.  It's an interesting stop-motion type thing but the camera is moving instead of an object.  Meh, I don't know.


And finally...it's time to get crafty.

I am working on not one but two crafty projects!

Numero uno:
I am learning to make paper!  I have bought a lot of screen for it to dry on and a lot of wood to build frames (that make the paper a specific size).  The wood/screen I have bought is enough to make 12 12"x15" sheets of paper and one 12"x30" sheet of paper.  Why those numbers might you ask?
I'm going to make my on calendar(s)!  I'm going to make the paper and then print and bind them myself.  This originally started as an idea for gifts but I really think, if done well, I could sell them too!  How awesome would that be?!  I want a homemade calendar right now.  But I guess I have to wait till I make them...

Numero dos:
Also...I will be making my own custom bookshelf for my room (because I actually have enough books of my own that I've read to need one now!).  There are some really creative designs out there, some practical, some not so much, but I really like the idea of installing a large vintage window into my wall and turning it into a bookshelf.  That may seem far fetched now but I'll sketch up some ideas and return to this one later...

Oh, I'm also painting a large headboard to a bed that someone gave me...but that will get done when it gets done...

I was unaware of all the projects I have taken on. But either way, I always enjoy ending my blogs with a few photos, so here we are.  A few more shots I've taken recently:


This brings back memories...My friend Neal and I went out to what we call "The Pit" to take pictures
of some toys around my house.  We created a full story and everything.  It was to practice with a new lens I'd gotten.


I took this of my brother, Matt, on the same day I was recording the story of the dinosaur above

I'm actually not much a fan of this picture at all, but it's just more experimentation.  This was done for my art history
class about the artist Rembrandt.  I was working with light and posture in the same way our master Dutch painter may have.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

An Introduction to Hebrews


Imagine.  Only as far back as your grandparents have people been worshipping God through specific rituals and patterns.  The way of forgiveness was through confession to the high priest, and it came at a sacrificial cost.  Lambs were slaughtered, sums of money offered, time, property…spent.  It was no easy ordeal.  Councils were created to maintain that the law was being followed and in a rigorous manner.  "Walking up hill both ways in the cold without your sandals on" could very well have been an accurate representation of how difficult it was at times.  You know the stories that are told; those who were found be disobedient to God’s law being persecuted in the name of religion and malicious acts of violence directed toward men and women who look just like you, speak your language, and lived "just across the farm."
And I'm aware that you know this, but something happened--something that would sweep change all over the land and flip religious virtues as we know them all around.  The puzzle, because of one man, got all jumbled up again and it came a time to rethink what we thought we already knew.  Your parents remember that man. His name is Jesus Christ. Or, how you're parents put it, “There…there was this...guy!  No, no. So much more than just a guy.  People were calling him the Messiah.  The lame were dancing, the dead rising, the mute singing.  It was incredible.  He came here once when I was a child—he paid attention to us and instilled deep within in our hearts hope and confidence like I've never experienced before.  It was…unbelievable!  Like a revolution, all packed in one person!”  Of course, the story always concludes with hearing about that dark day in Calvary when a just man was crucified, punished because of his words.  Your parents recall though the magnificent hope of what Jesus’ closest friend said some of his last words were: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” 
"YES!  Freaking great!  Not only was he the final eternal sacrifice and forgiver of our sins so we no longer need to confess and offer our sacrificial lambs to the high priests.  He said that those tight-wad Pharisees were really “not fair, you see” and those Sadducees were, well, so “sad, you see…” You have been set free and sin no longer is your bound!  Forgiveness is readily available and All you have to do now to get to Heaven is Believe in him.  I mean, that’s not so difficult, is it?
He’s coming back!  …Well, that’s what they say.  Actually, now that you think about it he was supposed to have been back to get His people already.  HE said he would.  Well no, he didn’t give a time but I mean he is coming…right?  Yeah yeah, of course", you say.  You know, Esaac down the road is saying this Jesus guy was crazy.  And that you’re even crazier for believing him.  Work has not been fun to say the least.  You’re always getting the worst tasks because “that’s what crazy people do.”  In fact, it’s gotten way worse than just being socially ostracized.  Emperor Nero has decreed that all Jewish Christians be persecuted because “It’s their fault that big fire started that destroyed much of Rome.”  This a serious threat.  To be a hero means that you are the good guy, people are on your side.  It's not that way though.  Your death, as men would see it, is empty.  Are you ready for that? For persecution?
I hope you think it's worth it.  Sure, this Jesus guy said some cool things and, I mean, he performed miracles…right in front of people’s eyes!  But, it’s not been easy, and well, being put down by your used-to-be friends is getting old…quick.  No.  Seriously you need to Stop.

Pause.

The cattle will get their water.
People are dying for this man,
That's right. It's martyr.
Are you really going to continue this plan?

This is the context in which the book of Hebrews was written and is a fictional of representation of what it very well might have been like walking in the shoes as a Christian 1,941 years ago.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Overdue



So, I'm very aware that this is way overdue but it's about time that I post some about my senior exhibition that occurred 4 weeks ago and that I've been going on and on about for the past 7 or 8 months.  Immediately after it I was so exhausted.  My mind was still like what I'd imagine a sailor's to be after a storm calms--glad it's over but still pacing around as if there's something else to do.  Speaking on those terms I realized after it was all over that the day ends and another one comes fully prepared with its own bag of tricks, or as Matthew would say it, "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."  I'm happy more than ever now to find myself being a project oriented person because now that that particular chapter has closed I can look forward to see all the new adventures that are to come, the next things on the horizon.

Before I move to those things though I think it'll be good for me to jot some things down and pick them out of my brain concerning my senior exhibition.  For those who missed it for whatever reason and are wondering what it looked like I put a little flash thing together to show you! Check it out!

.::Move your mouse across the image to make it move::.
   (You might have to click on it first)




Sure, I know the animation is cheesey and I could have done a little better with the documentation but I'm happy I got any done considering how much was happening at once.

My teacher, Michael, introduced me before I gave the talk about my work and generously pointed out a few things about myself and my work that I hadn't quite acknowledged before...my desire to experiment.  I've done it in every art class I've had since my Freshman year.  For whatever reason I always feel as though I need put my own spin on the assigned projects.  To make them something that's...me.
That brings me to my 2nd and main thing I realized about my project after it was completed.  As much as I tried (and did a pretty good job of I think) to display the information in an unbiased way my own ideas and opinions subtly cried out.  I know that sounds like an oxymoron but it's true.  My ideas were neatly knitted within the work in such a fashion that had one not known me or had not been looking those particular ideas would not have known to notice, but as soon as I look at the reasons of why I displayed the information this way or photographed them like that or whatever aspect I did intentionally I become very aware that I am as much a part of the work being exhibited as the photographs themselves.  I might as well have drawn a target in the room and put my face in the center of it.

In my 1940's to Present art history class we have studied artists whom I really like such as Rauschenberg and John Cage, who was working mostly with music, who have spent their life figuring out ways to create work that exhibits itself without the artist's presence, meaning that whenever you look at the artwork there is no way of deciphering who the artist is...or was. I appreciate their efforts in pushing the boundaries of the art realm but I do not believe presenting my views, particularly in the way I did, through my artwork is in any way "weak" or bad artwork.  In fact, considering the subject matter I think it actually strengthens the overall affect.  Think about it.  It's almost as if I had a conversation with anyone who looked at the work without even having to exhort my breath.  What I have been working on for so long is trying to understand how to create and control one's experience he or she has through their, intentional or not, interaction with the artwork.  I feel as though I successfully created an atmosphere in which the viewer of the exhibition felt a connection to the artwork, it is nearly impossible not to because of the encompassing nature of the exhibition after you've walked into it.  As you move it changes and all the photos seem to converge and move... The work, whether purposeful or not, that is an embodiment of my own ideas forces a dialog between itself and the viewer and, hopefully, stimulates a psychological and mental discussion between itself and that very viewer.   Makes me wonder what some of those great art theorists would have said about it.  They probably would have ripped it apart.

Either way, wading out of the deep end...the entire experience was one that won't be forgotten and one that I think, overall, was a success.  It felt good to finish it.  As aforementioned, I'm now pressing forward and moving along at making other projects come to life of which I've previously been working on.  I have set up a challenge for myself to see if I can come up with some creative fundraising ideas using my artwork be it audio, photography, video, or whatever else I scrounge together to raise $5,000 for my trip to Kenya which will be a whole another experience, artistically and otherwise, within itself but that deserves a post to itself.  I've got some things that I have been working on but I will reveal those ideas as time progresses.

Bravo, if you've managed to read this far and follow my train of thought.  If you feel like I missed something or would like for me to elaborate on any other part of my senior exhibition post it in the comments box and be it worthy I will make another post.  :)

Poet

Encaustic!



Presence of the artist

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Boom.


Retired was how he depicted his "identity."  The last 5 letters of that word ("retired") sum up how I am feeling quite well.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Someone drown that noise, please (the 'ticks').  They're going to be ringing till Monday.


For privacy purposes I won't be posting photos that I've taken in my expeditions through Milledgeville for my people project, but I will just post these 2 because I like them and especially the one above serves as a good model for how most of them look.  Actually, I'll post another.  Here's a familiar face to us Mayfair folk. :)



Anyway, haha.  The progress I have made over the past few days has been wonderful but I'm getting nervous.  I still have a good distance to go.  And then there's actually putting it up and installing it...I may be frantically texting people looking for help in a few days.  I am stoked though and am trying my hardest to make this a fun but effective show.  If all goes like it is in my head (and it inevitably won't, but not always in a bad way) then it should be, I think, a good exhibition. But, there are a lot of variables and crunch time hasn't Quite hit because I'm not installing until the weekend.  That's when we'll really see what's gonna happen.

This is the other photo I mentioned previously.  I just think it's a fun picture.  I have no idea if it will make it into the show, haha.  It probably won't.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mural and Amoxicillin

So this is me slightly stressed over the fact that I have one week to complete all the work necessary for my senior exhibition and I am sick.  I've been sick for the past 2 days and am all drugged up.  I thought that I was going to be able to get a lot of work done over the break for my project but that didn't happen quite to the extent I'd planned.  I was going to take more photos on Friday but the fact that I felt like my head was going to explode sort of halted all production.

I went to New Orleans on a mission trip with Wesley (the GC campus ministry) and was given the chance to paint a mural in one of the rooms so I took it.  It was a growing experience actually because I was the one that really headed up the 3 person production team that worked on it and we were able to finish it in 2 days working on it for a few hours each day.

The verse is from somewhere in Amos
It was a cool experience to see the skills I have been learning at school be able to be used somewhere other than just on my school projects and, a bit more personal, to furthering the kingdom of God.  The room in which the mural was painted works as a sort of community/worship room.  The lady who heads up all of the teams was real excited about it and several teams will see it in their time of communion.

I've also gotten several more of the prints done for my project.  They're taking just a little longer than I'd thought but it's okay still.  There's a nice twist I decided to do in New Orleans that won't take hardly any time at all but could make message I'm trying to say much stronger without being overwhelming.  I probably won't post anymore about it or my actual exhibition stuff on my blog though because it's too much to type. You'll just have to go to my exhibition and see for yourself!







Also it is important to note that all the "white" you see on these photos will actually be absent of any ink at all and it's going to be on a transparency. So it would be completely transparent.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Senior Project Part...something

An artist
Oh man...so much to explain since my last post (other than the one I Just posted about John Fajuke)...I just kind of left you guys hanging.  Alright, first things first.  New senior project idea.  I have crunched a lot of Baldwin County census numbers and digested the data and have come up with some (I think) interesting statistics that can be represented in a number of ways.  The 2 things I focused on were these; population and income per household.  I was unaware of how thorough census data was but I quickly found out that they are on the ball with things.  Sure, their website is a little tacky and they are not the fastest at distributing all the information but the level of depth makes up for it. Let me explain what I mean. So there are countries, right?  And in this particular country there so happens to be states.  I know I know, we are getting complicated but you just wait.  Within these states there are things called counties.  The way the census bureau goes further is they break up the counties into subsections called (not cities) but tracts.  In Baldwin county there are 9 tracts.  Each tract is split up into block groups, which are basically just that--small neighborhoods or groups of blocks in a particular area.  THEN, some data is broken up into blocks.  So the way we would communicate this is by saying (and this is a fact) that, "The census offers data for population of Baldwin county all the way to a block level, but they only offer information about the 'average income per household' on a block group level" of course meaning that we could look at one particular block in Milledgeville and see the population of that group of houses but not the average income of them, we would have to back up to a block group where they do offer that data.

Invigorating right?? Hardly. But it is important info to know for my project.  I looked at the population of each tract which I could in turn divide it by the total population of the county to get a percentage that signifies how much of Baldwin county (which consists of only Milledgeville) that tract represents.  Why all this is important: If "tract 9702" represents 11% of Milledgeville's population, then I am going to physically go to that area and take 11 portraits of people that live there.  This way I will have an accurate visual representation of Milledgeville's population.  If tract 9705 represents 9% of Milledgeville, which happens to be the tract that contains basically all college students, then I am going to go to the college and take photos of 9 college students. Okay. I think you get the idea.





So there I am, approaching strangers asking to take their photos.  Today I took about 55 people's photos: all 55 live in the Milledgeville projects/ghettos and are actually quite dangerous areas to be in.  In fact, one of the areas I was in is where we had a deliver driver get beat up when I worked at Papa John's.  Besides the fact that I called the Baldwin county sheriff to get cops to patrol the areas I was working in a little more closely, I had little protection accept for one thing, and I thing one big thing; the ability to respect people. Do not act scared.  Do not act as though you are better or snobby.  And this sounds maybe cocky? Don't act weak.  All that builds in, I think, to understanding where you are and respecting the other person as a human being.  Show genuine gratitude and humility when they oblige and let you take there pictures (it is a weird thing to do after all).  Lessons I learned.  I was able to talk to white and black people alike.  Oh, and that is the Most important thing and is a good portion of what this project is about: they live in projects, they sit outside and people watch because they do not have fancy electronics or do not enjoy reading, and they are no less of a person than I am.

The owner of a restaurant
Which leads into my 3rd and final data set which I personally generated.  After taking every single persons photo I explained briefly "Everyone has an identity. For example, I am a brother. I am a son, an uncle. When I worked at Papa John's I was a manager so I could identify myself as that--a manager. I am a Christian." I proceeded to ask them what one thing they'd like to be identified as.  I coupled this, particularly with kids, with "What do you aspire to be when you grow up?" or, for adults, "Where do you work/If you could have any job, what would it be?" Want to see a small list of answers that I can list off the top of my head? Good. :)

"I am...
a businessman
an entrepreneur
a father
a princess
a mother
Dora (yes, the explorer)
the carwash guy
an uncle
a football player
a chef
a mechanic
an engineer
a construction worker
an artist
a grandmother
a basketball player
an architect
a minister."

I did not lead them to say any one of those, and that is not all of them either.  I even met a cabinet maker (the guy in the video above):
A cabinet painter
Why do I consider those things identifiers even if they just aspire to be whatever it is?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-fulfilling_prophecy (Self-fulfilling prophecy)

If we break through the socially constructed, mostly racial barrier then we will see that our college, which is all most of us college people see, is only a portion and inevitably we will meet the individuals who are just as much a part of Milledgeville's infrastructure, and ultimately through association as important to Georgia College, as anyone else. South and West of Dairy Queen are other people's whole world. No, literally.  Some of those people have not left the immediate vicinity of the county, much less the state or country.  I am not asking people to go there and try and make friends and such.  That would be dumb and dangerous.  What I want people to recognize is that everyone in Milledgeville first off exist, and second off contributes (and deserves the ability to contribute) socially, culturally, economically, and politically.

A businessman

A father

A playmate--They didn't quite get what I was explaining because they
were about to leave and were in a rush



Finally, to get back on track with my project, I am going to manipulate the photos in an interesting way and print them on transparency paper.  Imagine this (below) but where the white is transparent.  In the video I showed him this example image (printed on a transparency) so he could see what the photos will look like after they have been manipulated.


That is what each of them will eventually look like and they will be exhibited in an interesting way.  I have a lot of editing to do but I will be working on them at night times that I am in New Orleans so I should have time.  I only have about 45 portraits left to take of people and those 45 are not in the sketch areas of town!

The last picture I took of the day as I was leaving the Milledgeville's "Public Housing"

Opportunities!

Our good friend John Fajuke decided he wants to audition for America's Got Talent and sent a facebook message to me and 2 other guys who are guitarist asking if we'd help him out; me with recording/audio and the other guys to play behind him.  This is awesome for a couple reasons, but the main one to me is that I think people are beginning to recognize me as being good with media things and that makes me happy.  I'm beginning to think that because it is becoming a frequent thing for people to contact me for their photo/video/web design needs and are (or at least seem to be) satisfied with my work. Crazy.



Unfortunately one of the guitarists could not meet at the same time as the rest of us so it was just John and Andrew. I am trying to teach myself to think in terms of light (which I am finding is essential for photography and videography--different, I might add, from drawing for instance where yes correctly shading and working with strokes and contours are important but we are taught to think first and fore-mostly about shape, composition, materials, etc. but in photography point your camera and Bam, everything is there and proportionate. Light is what can make or break your photo or video).  So I started looking for accent lights and turned off the fluorescent lights because they are terrible then I opened some blinds.  And even after all that I still edited the lighting a bit in Adobe Premiere before uploading it to Vimeo.  Overall though, I am pleased.  I want to film more.  It's fun.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Test1

More audio stuff. But a live performance of it!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It...It just happened.

Click the picture to go to my "website."

I am a practicum for an art class this semester which focuses on web design. I actually feel like I have been a decent help to the professor too which is really rewarding for me. Well, for whatever reason I decided to put together something for myself tonight. It is a simple design, like a wall of photos but I like it. I feel like I dislike learning from teachers who have stopped creating work themselves and designing their own stuff so perhaps this is my way of warding off hypocrisy.

Anyway, I still have to put descriptions on the pictures and all but as of now I am content considering I put it all together since midnight...I have a way of making money off art brewing in my head and I just need something to show people that I can at least do something. "Just check out my website!" I can say, haha.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy accidents

Well, for my senior project I've decided that I'm going to print all of my portraits on transparency paper. There are other deeper reasons but I will get into that later. I started testing some today and realized very quickly (after the first print) how dumb I am. I was in a rush when buying these expensive transparencies and missed where it clearly states "Write-on Transparency Film", then "Not for use in copiers and printers". "Awesome," I thought. But I began looking at the first print I made--it was a photo of my friend Caylyn. It was very...stylized and interesting looking:


Sure, my first thought was "that's creepy." The composition I'd created coupled with the way I edited it before printing made for an already interesting design, that I can take credit for, but the blots and runs of ink were completely left to chance. This is where I thank my artist predecessors, Duchamp, Cage, Pollock, and Rauschenburg among several others...probably several others I know nothing about that challenged the rules of art and incorporated laws of chance into their pieces. Oh man, I feel these art history courses running through my veins...I have to stop myself here. Back on task, back on task.

So, like Jean Arp and many others I decided to roll our old master painters out of their graves just a little more by doing another print. It's a photo of me playing piano, actually but once again manipulated in a way that reduced the original photo down to just 3 colors or so:

Me!
This one was printed much larger and more densely but I still love the way the ink separates and forms small spots of emptiness. Of course, the "white" that you see in these 2 prints is actually transparent, I just placed them on a white surface when taking the pictures. I won't be using this style for my portraits...It'd get to expensive with ink but I love the feeling of discovering something new even in the midst of "failure." I guess I just have to keep an open mind.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Consignments



Painting is fun. Unfortunately, I haven't done hardly any of it in my life...I don't quite know why. Either way, I was asked by my sister to help her paint a consignment shop. It was a blast. I found out there is something I just really enjoy about collaborating with other artists to make it happen. I'd ask Jessica "How's this look?", "What do you think about this?", or "There's just something not Quite there...What do you think?" She'd offer a suggestion and we'd bounce back and forth on color schemes and thematic ideas and it worked. I think, anyway

Apparently I've made a mistake. I accidentally painted a naked woman. It's Supposed to be a silhouette of someone shopping but what I'm finding out is that it sort of looks like a naked woman trying on clothes in a changing area...
NOT naked woman shopping at a consignment store.

Apparently the couple that is starting the shop shared a love story over some old sewing machine...They used to go shop in consignment stores together and he bought the sewing machine for her or something? Either way, I saw a graphic of one and ran with it and got another silhouette out of it:
Love Machine.
There are more photos of the mural but Blogger is being kind of ticky right now and isn't taking all my pictures so I can't put them up but you get the gist. Gist, I like that word.

Also I'll be putting up another long detailed post up tomorrow because I'm finally completely sure what I want to do for my senior project. I'm stoked.

.cliffhanger.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Economic breakdown of Milledgeville

I'll explain Why this map is important in another post, it is concerning my senior project, but as of now I'm just going to post it because I find it slightly interesting and it took me forever to put together. The information comes from the Census but in order to get This detailed of information they only allow you to see one little block of Milledgeville at a time...skip this next small section if you don't care but just want to see the map.

How it was constructed:

In order to get the map to show street names and things, I had to zoom in to where I could only see 4 sq. miles at a time. So a small portion. I then took screen shots of all the separate parts of the town then patched them together on Photoshop like a puzzle. It was at least 15 pieces I had to put together. A painn.
But, now that it's done. I have a nice Detailed economically broken down map of Milledgeville:

CLICK the map to make it bigger and more readable!

"The old days"

Incredibly dorky bumper sticker made in high school...
0's and 1's referencing binary code
Sometimes I think it is important to remember your roots--where you came from, and yes, that even means remember some of those high school days many of us dread. I stumbled across a notebook of mine that I kept throughout HS, a comic. It's really quite humbling to look back and see where I was just 4 years ago to where I am at now. Embarrassing perhaps, but anime, comics, and video game booklets; those are what kept me in it and, I guess, led me to here. I found folded up sheets of paper that I'd use for a straight edge because I had no ruler among other small ingenuitive things I'd problem solve with (I was in class for most of this after all so I had to get creative). In fact, much of this was drawn while I was in ISS or some other form of solitary confinement for discipline (Mom, don't get mad--remember it's been 5 years now...).

Anyyyway, I told myself when I first started this blog that I was not going to post any work that I had created before the date of the first post because I didn't want to use that stuff as an excuse and just stay content with what I've already made, but I'll make an exception for the sake of nostalgia tonight. So here we go...


And of course, I can not go any further without talking comics, self/friend made comics...not the published kind. These stick characters go way back, even to Elementary school...I have been a part of so many. My friends and I were known for them, haha. I even sold bookmarks once for 50 cents to a dollar a piece that had these characters doing random things (whatever the consumer :) wanted).They'd look like this--these are a few pages from a random issue (please don't feel the need to read them...):






Oh man...those were silly. Notebooks full of these things.

And to think, this would be pretty much everything I could put in my "art" portfolio besides the few cheesey flash animations and photoshop tutorials I'd gone through at that point. It's no stretch of imagination to see that I was far from the "art world". Crazy to see how far I've come...Maybe I should of done more of these (next photo). Maybe it would have helped prepare me for the craziness that is that art world from working in this sort of state of "automatism".