Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nostalgia

So, I got nostalgic last night.  I've been to Africa twice in the past year and a half, but man I miss it.  I used to travel so frequently--settling down for grad school and with a job, even though I like them both, is difficult because I can't take the time away that I would like to for mission work.  It is through mission work, after all, that I've been led down this path I'm going.  In that nostalgia, thinking of my experiences abroad, I unearthed some footage of a few of the worship services we attended and decided to put them to a video.  The video is really meant to act as an article in a journal would; it doesn't tell the whole story, but does just enough to jog my memory.

Anywho, enough chatter.  Here's the vid:

Africa 2011-2012 from Joshua Gale on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Change-up

As aforementioned in a previous post, I'm starting a new blog.
Go to it to see why and maybe suscribe?

Http://www.joshuagale.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 1, 2012

A little more web design--A rollover tile mosaic

So, for those of you who actually occasionally read my blog, you're aware that I've been working on a website:

http://www.totheleast.com/

I'm actually pretty proud of it.  It's mine through and through from the very beginning.  I haven't used any templates and it's Mostly all HTML--therefore it can be viewed on iDevices.  I don't normally blog about process anymore, but I have a little bit of time on my hands to do so, so here it is.

The problem: I forgot to add a tab on the menu: Inspirations.  Normally not so much a problem...just go in, add it, and wah lah, a new page!  Well, considering I created most of the website using Photoshop, I made my own template from there to work off of, I had to edit the template...and lots of other little things that I won't bore you with.  (The solution!)

The tricky (fun) part came after I created the page.  The problem is that on the previous website of his, the Inspirations page was just a list of random links...which worked fine there because that site was basically just a draft, but this one needed to be a little more up to date.  How could I display links in a way that worked well with the flow of the site but also easily navigated (not using flash)?  I wasn't sure so I took Cedric (my dog) on a short walk and began the brainstorming process.  I finished with the idea that I wanted to do a mosaic of images...but I wanted to overlay an image over all of them that joined together saying the words "Be inspired."  To get an image of what I mean, go ahead and take a gander at the finished product at:

http://www.totheleast.com./inspirations.html

I did the math and decided that I wanted it to be a 4 row, 3 column table and then divided it according to the appropriate dimensions.  You can see here that I added lots of layers on the same small canvas:


This way I was 100% sure that every tile of the mosaic was the same size.  When on the website, each tile takes you either to a different website or asks if you'd like to download a PDF.  So the Stitches of Love that you see here is all in one neat little folder.  If you click it, on the website, it will take you to an article about a group of old church ladies stitching together clothes for needy children.

After this, I created a document with a width of x and height of y.  x=the tile's width * 3 and y=the tile's height * 4.  That way I had a 3x4 grid that I knew was the right size.  (I knew in the beginning that the width of the table could only be 670 px wide, so in the very beginning I decided to divide that by 3 to figure out the width of each "cell" in the table[grid]). 

I wanted this to be what laid over everything (minus the blue lines (slices), those came later):

Note the groups again, they make things much cleaner.

After designing that and deciding I like it, I hid that layer and put all the pieces of the mosaic together and formed this:


And then proceeding to chop each one into slices.  I didn't try to slice manually, though.  If you look closely at the time I have a "Fixed Size" slice.  The dimensions were the same size as each of the little tiles/cells: 222x187 px.  Here I saved each image for web and devices, then I turned on the Layover group again (the one with the "Be Inspired." design) and pulled down the opacity then saved all the tiles as for web and devices again.  That way I had 24 individual files: each slice saved 2 ways, 1 with the layover on top of it and one without.

In dreamweaver I created a table with the right number of cells and dimensions then just added each image in the table as a rollover image and linked each photo to the correct file/destination.
DONE!

So there ya have it, creating a mosaic of tiles utilizing Photoshop.  Woop.

If you haven't seen the finished product yet, click HERE.

--------------------------------------

Also I finally framed (horribly) this painting I bought in Ghana--I'm going to redo it...something went way wrong.  I'll tell you the story about the painting on my next post.

Cubism made its way to Winneba, Ghana!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ketchup

Is gross.

For those who didn't know, I'm working at a church in Chamblee (see the poster below) as a youth pastor.  It all looks a lot different from home up here...

I took my break from creating much art for a while there; for lots of reasons (moving, adjusting to a new area, getting things straight with the new job, figuring out how to take care of my dog...). I just finished a project and I must say it feels good to break out photoshop again--to actually create it for a specific purpose, one that I don't have to explain to the class "Why I chose this subject matter."  It's simple, practical, and straightforward--I needed to advertise an event.

With stars?

Or without...?


What I'm most satisfied about is everything, except the film strip in the background, was all created and designed by me!  See, pops?  I did learn Something in school other than how to stay up all night...

It's not finished, obviously; hence the "Beginning August X," and I'm sure it will get changed around a good bit more, but this is how it is now.  The biggest thing that I'm regretting is the size I've made the paper...it's 8.5 x 11 now, but I have a feeling I'm going to change those dimensions to make it more poster-y.  I guess it's good to have one this size too, though.  That will be work for another day...  In the Bible study, we'll be watching films and TV shows to base the study on--not really a New concept, necessarily, but it will be new to the youth.  When is the last time you based a Bible study off We Were Soldiers or Phineas and Ferb?

I did kick out a quick design for an 8x5 magnet that displays our summer schedule about 2 weeks ago, so I'd be lying if I said that the above image is the First time in awhile I've broken out photoshop, but it's a fun little design that didn't require as much work:



Success?  Sure all the design elements may not be the most perfect ever, but the parents who received these magnets were Ecstatic, so yes.  I consider it to be a great success.

Alright...that's it for now.  I have to go pickup Cedric from daycare (not really, it's just someone else's yard).  The main thing is FEAR NOT, everyone, I'm discovering I've still got lots of creative outlets to explore!

Monday, March 5, 2012

A letter to my school teachers


I apologize for my occasional classroom disruptions, for leaving stray fragments of paper around my desks, and for eating Poptarts when I was supposed to be taking notes, but I am slightly older now, maybe a little wiser, and have a short story I would like to share with you:

At the time of this writing I am sitting on the porch of a mission house in Ghana, Africa listening to the drummers in the distance and am trying to remember the last time I had running water and electricity both at the same time—it takes but a moment to realize that was about 20 days ago (when I stepped off American soil).  It is here, in Winneba, Ghana that I understand what those “bare necessities” are that I once sung about, and here that I am reminded of the beauty of a simple gesture.

“Obone” is the title the Ghanaians have graciously given to anyone with light skin—meaning “white man” or “red skin” (it’s blazing hot here!)  Everyday, as I walk out of my room on the top floor of the building where I am living, I am heralded with the screaming of maybe 10 dancing and waving children who are shouting, “Obone!  Obone!”  Normally I smile and wave back, but the favorite is always when I make a paper airplane (yes, that really cool one I learned how to make while sitting in the back of your class) and send it soaring the thirty feet down towards them where it finally lands close enough for them to get it and play.  You would think it was Christmas the way they look up at me and smile.

Yesterday, I took a moment out of my day to walk over to the mothers of the children with a pad of paper.  I was pleasantly welcomed but could tell from their expressions that this was no ordinary occurrence.  They fetched a stool for me and asked me to sit, so I did.  I ripped out a sheet of paper and flipped the pad on its back to use it as a small tabletop.  What started with a circle of 5 or so around me ended up being a small crowd of more than I could count, but I continued to sit there quietly folding my origami creation in front of them.  While jokes were passed back and forth, they sat patiently waiting to see what in the world I was doing.  I unfolded a paper crane and handed it to one woman’s tiny child and they all burst into applause, amazed that a sheet of paper could be turned into an animal.  I smiled back at them and walked home knowing that I had just made at least 20 new friends, with not a single word being spoken.

Having graduated with a 4 year college degree, I realize the importance of knowing how to write a grammatically correct sentence, but, having had the opportunity to experience a world beyond my own means, I am aware now more than ever that supported academic materials without application are simply that, words on a pages.  Like that page I once sat in your classroom, with all potential of being shaped into and used for something.   Some of us get squished into paper balls like those I should not have hurled across your classroom, and while all are uniquely shaped, some standout and become something truly amazing, like a paper crane, and want to fly, like those airplanes did.

So I want to thank you for every time you turned your back to the class or walked down the hall for a short, unexpected appointment, for it is in those moments as well that I sat, being taught by a friend how to make an airplane that would impact the world around me far differently than could be done in any classroom.  So the next time you pick up a paper frog off the floor, before you crunch someone’s creative spirit by putting them in detention, remember this:  we are all called and unique in purpose, it sometimes may just take creativity in your approach to encourage us to fulfill it.

Sincerely, 
Joshua Gale

---
A couple more (unedited) photos for the non-readers to look at...

Awesome kids.

This about sums it up, haha.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Ghana

I wrote this a few days ago...I'd to add a part 2 to it for my next blog though.  It was a little more harsh than I meant for it to be...

2/28/12
What have I seen/thought/felt?  It's good to debrief.
            What have I not seen?  At 22 years old I sit here on the third floor of a missionary complex in Ghana, Africa, trying to figure out where in the world I am being called to go.  Africa, from my narrow exploration of it, is a place with an extreme amount of potential, full of people and places that vary greatly from area to area, crossing the spectrums of morally good to bad and monetarily rich to poor, but mostly poor.  Abandoned by the materially developed world rests a beautiful people who have an understanding of their environment completely different than I do.  I use the word "different," not to be confused with better or worse, but different for I believe they have been created equally to myself.  When an African child is born, his slate is as empty as mine was.  If evolution thrives from variety, then why is it that most citizens of the western thought have let Africa lay to waste?  Is it the innate human desire to be better than someone?  Has our selfish desire to feel better about ourselves come at the expense of placing a lid on our potential to learn from a society that has survived longer as a species than most countries of the modern world?  It doesn't take a scholar to realize how stupid that sounds, yet we perpetuate this concept daily.
            Please, lest we forget that at one point in time every person living today has ancestors who lived in a primitive lifestyle, living a less sophisticated life than most of our "primitive" African brothers and sisters today.  Primitive is not a word that we should associate with cognitive ability--need we pull up statistics?  Yet we do it anyway--assuming businesses won't work and explorers won't survive it.  I thought we stopped believing in fairy tales as children, yet just west of Asia and south of Europe is a forbidden forest where humanity doesn't exist--only savages and only the daring come back.  Try this for a fairy tale:
            2 hours ago I with 3 other Americans stood in front of 40+ children with a large piece of luggage we had brought from home filled to the brim with homemade dresses.  The little girls were eager to try on their new presents, but filled with even more joy than the child were the children's mothers.  I recall one particular instance when I was maybe 12 years old.  I had gone to maybe 3 different shoe stores with my mother trying to find the perfect new pair of kicks for school.  We finally found the pair and took them up to the counter to make the purchase, and the clerk told me that I could put those shoes on and wear them out the store if I wanted.  Without hesitation, I pulled open the box and put on my new pair of shoes and walked proudly out of that shoe store.  Unlike my adolescent experience, these dresses were taken back off the little girls, exposing again the rags of clothes they were previously wearing, the dress not to be worn again until a special occasion were to arise.  And they lived together happily ever after.
            What is it then?  Where is the disconnect?  Why does that little girl not to get to enjoy her dress daily when I can not even remember what my aforementioned pair of shoes looked like because my memory is clouded from all the other shoes I have owned?  I would love to blame one blame one place, a nation perhaps; China for seeping in and stealing their resources, 17th century Europe for excluding them in the partial success of quest for total enlightenment, 18th and 19th century America and Portugal for exploiting the slavery system put in place by the Arabians and the Dutch, or any other crimes from both our past and present that have caused the stint of Africa's progress.  More than any of that I, as a Christian myself, would love (and hate) to point fingers at the religious sect for allowing these things to happen--for, in some cases, encouraging these things to happen.  A million things are to blame, including myself in my unintentional pursuit of ignorance, that could be bickered over all day, and are, but the question that I think we need to focus on is what are we going to do about it?  Are we, as fellow citizens of the world, going to help?  Or is it too late?  I don't believe it is, but until we drop our egos and chase after righteousness, the death and torture of the people on an entire continent is not going to rest solely on the conscious of our ancestors, but ours as well.

It takes forever to upload photos, and none have been edited, but here are a few:


Portrait of a teacher

Everyday...

There's not electricity sometimes...so I took the opportunity to do some night photography


Where's the hardhat?

Friday, February 3, 2012

2nd Wind

So, I've ALWAYS hated sitting still. I am driven crazy by idle hands. So, then, what all have I been doing since graduation?
1) I worked on 2 separate resumes. I will be working to update my website soon, and will post them there.
2) I wrote an autobiographical statement, which I posted on this blog earlier
3) I wrote a ballin' research paper. I don't really expect anyone to read it, but I do think that this is one of the best papers I've ever written, so if you like learning about/getting refreshed on your 20th century art history, take a look:



4) Got accepted into Emory for grad school
5) Built http://www.totheleast.com/ from scratch. Go take a gander. It's not done yet, but there's definitely been progress made.
6) I got turned down by several jobs, more to come about that though--my luck may be turning!
7) I'm going to stop here because the rest of the post will be about my newest project: turning an old piano into a desk. It started as...



As with any other project, I had no idea what I wanted the end product to look like when I started, nor do I know now, but I have come to the conclusion that nothing will Ever get done, good or bad, until something is done.  I originally bought this piano for $200 awhile ago with every intention to restore it.  Keys are stuck, it's out of tune, etc., but I recently realized that I'm broke and that I wanted to do something cool with it, and that I want a new desk.  So I played a tune on it, to make it feel loved, then started the disassembling process.






In the past, during guest artists' Q&A sessions, I have heard people ask them so many different questions asked about so many things, but when responding to the question that inevitably comes up about their artistic process, nearly every time I think there is a big part of their process left out.  So, I think I am going to start asking this, "How do you keep yourself SANE while doing art?"  I listen to books.  I download an audio book and crack it open.  I tend to work long hours straight, generally at night, and preferably with not many interruptions.  Though, today I changed it up and skyped instead.  Perhaps the secret is to keep yourself distracted from the Work of the project so that you only work on instinct and enjoy it, moment by moment.


Anywho, I won't exhaust this post with things I learned from this project so far, because I'm sure there will be at least 1 or 2 more posts about it, but I will end it with some photos I've taken so far.

It's getting fun here.


Hope you have a strong stomach because this is its guts
~chuckle, I crack myself up.

Took me FOREVER to get this back panel off...


I promise, I know what I'm doing!  I've got direction still!

I've got much to do, but it's gonna happen and it's gonna be awesome.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

And the first greenscreen attempt is a...?!

Failure?  No!  I find that I refine most of the things I know by mistakes.  Like this one?



So it must be said, greenscreens, unless used well, are going to be cheesey.  I went ahead and embraced the cheesey-ness by finding flames to put behind me and adding the 2nd guitar in there.  And for that matter, most of my tests are cheesey anyway--why am I apologizing again?

ANYway, things I learned:
-Make sure your greenscreen is stretched tightly (but note that stretched fabric makes it more transparent--more about this in a minute).
-Guitars are shiny.  So what?  Well, if your guitar is reflecting the GREEN fabric all around it, the color that is being taken away (keyed out), then, well...parts of your instrument are going to be keyed out as well.
-They take planning and space.  This screen is relatively small in comparison, and it takes up quite a bit of my parents living room.  There's a good bit of hassle to take it up and put it down.  Go in with a plan, setup as necessary from there and make changes as you go.
-Cheap greenscreening is actually rather inexpensive, but as you try to do more advanced techniques, they quickly become really expensive and quite difficult.

That's a lot to take in if you really break it all down, so I won't say too much more about it in this post, but there will Definitely be more to come.  The main other thing is that I set up in front of some windows, no big right?  Wrong.  You'll see that my fabric was loose in the posted video (watch to the right of my head from 0:30 forward) because I had yet to buy the right clamps to fasten it, but after I did get nice and tight, I realized you can see light Through it quite easily, so when I was going to play with it some more today, the light from the windows was shining right through the fabric.  The key to a good greenscreen is to make it all one solid color.

Here's a picture of the setup (so far).  I really want to save up and buy some nicer video cameras, but that will be a long way away.  I need to focus on getting a job first.

Classy, right?

Friday, January 13, 2012

I'm not dead.

I never finished out posting videos from last semester, and I just crammed a lot into the post I did little while back.  But anyway, here it is, the last project (pretty much) of my undergrad college experience:




I really enjoyed making this video.  I did it with my brother Matt and a good friend of mine, Neal.  It would be quite easy to make a sequel to it actually.  When making this last video I realized quite how much I sometimes overdo the work, trying to make things perfect, with some of my videos and projects.  After watching the (great) movie Troll Hunter, I realized how nice it must be to embrace the simplest of things, like a shaky, home-video camera.  I've always hated a shaky camera effect before, but there was just something about it that I thought would work well with this project.

I'm also aware I overdid the static-y effect...these are the things you learn from experience.  Oh well, it still worked for what I wanted to do.  I was able to condense all the footage I had down into a shorter time period from it, which was really the whole purpose of it.  Problem--I had over 20 mins of footage to use.  I could have just made normal cuts and edits, but I wanted it to be suspenseful.  Solution--Use static, breaks in the footage, as a way to not only add to the intensity, but also condense all of it down.

I also love the black.  I'm just saying.  What if you were in a room alone watching this with the volume really loud?  THAT was the effect I was shooting for.  It's a select audience, I'm aware, of people who do that, but still...quality experience.

Also, I've made progress with my dad's website, here's a screenshot: