Saw these guys last weekend. Got this photo. What a gig. One of my favorite bands ever.
I’ve always been a creative person. I was always one of those kids who was excited about art class, always drawing, seeing my artwork on the fridge (thanks, mom). This turned into a love of music as I got older.
I decided that being a rock star was what I wanted to do. In fact, to this day, I consider myself not necessarily working a day job, but instead fleshing out an elaborate backup plan just in case the rock star thing doesn’t happen. Still dreaming.
So I played guitar in bands, graduating later to bass, and I was always the one creating the flyers, coming up with the T-shirt and logo designs, and the banners behind the stage. The visual element to music and promotion was something that always fascinated me, and it was something that I just always enjoyed doing. I would cut words out from newspaper headlines, or pictures from magazines, then arrange them into the name of the band and the name of the venue. Little did I know I was teaching myself layout and typography. I was just having fun with it.
I’d kept on making flyers for my bands’ gigs and other bands’ shows, then I get into college. And that’s when I discovered I had a knack for writing. Turns out you have to write a lot of papers in college. In fact, I went to college to major in art, but the program, while good, had a way of breaking you down then building you back up their way, and I just wasn’t having any of that. It took the fun out of creating. But I didn’t know enough about writing to be put off, so I majored instead in English, and along those lines, I was hired by the university newspaper in the features department, reporting and writing a couple of stories each week.
I also minored in communications, which meant more writing. This was while also taking classes like creative writing and expository writing, while at the same time having a story or two due for the paper every week. I found it to be like working out – the writing mindset is a muscle to be developed.
But amid all this writing, at the newspaper I saw how it was laid out: electronically. You mean you can just scan in a photo, scoot it around with a mouse, then arrange the text in just the right size all right there on the screen? Genius. This was the mid-‘90s, and this turned me on to the world of modern graphic design, using a Mac running Aldus PageMaker (ancestor of Adobe InDesign). And this opened up a whole new world for me, rekindling my love of layout, typography, and all the things I had been doing for years by hand with my gig flyers. Hello, career.
From there, I just taught myself. I had a passion for this. I would dive into software, using tutorials — that’s how I learned Adobe Illustrator, by going through the exercises on the application CDs. Also, I began recreating graphics and advertisements on my own just to understand their principles and build my portfolio. Gradually I built enough experience and projects to turn my passion into a professional career, including learning html and CSS for web design. And to this day I’ve had a great run as a graphic artist, web designer, and writer.
Just in case I don’t become a rock star.
What do you think? Has your passion led to a career, or the other way around? Let us hear from you in the comments.
- How to Write an Effective Graphic Design Cover Letter (graphicmania.net)
- Watch This Graphic Designer Turn His Sketch Into A Simple Typographic Image (theultralinx.com)
- Creative Silence (cmyfabrik.com)
- Tips and Tricks for Writing a Web Design Cover Letter (jobs.answers.com)
The iPhone app Dynamic Light by Mediachance has become one of my favorite photo manipulation tools. I create many black & white montages, and Dynamic Light’s unique filters (especially “solarize,” “edgy,” and “re-exposure”) almost always yield interesting results — either for montage fodder or even standalone images. It saves at full resolution, is very fast, and improves with each update. It adds an element of randomness to the photo editing process that I enjoy, yet its effects are actually very sophisticated, particularly for producing distressed or distorted-yet-recognizable treatments. I recommend it for anyone looking for a simple, yet very unique bag of tricks to add to their photo manipulating repertoire, for less than the price of a soda ($.99). Here are some before and after examples of my favorite filters:
Video: Dynamic Light in Action
What do you think? Ever used Dynamic Light? What are some of your go-to photo manipulation or photo editing apps? Let us hear from you in the comments.
- Surreal Photo Manipulations by Ceslovas Cesnakevicius (emorfes.com)
- Flashy photography apps for iOS (reviews.cnet.com)
- Fun photography masking tools on iOS (reviews.cnet.com)
- Crazy Photo Manipulations That Aren’t Made With Photoshop (designresourcebox.com)
I was seriously not expecting to like this as much as I do, but holy cow; this really is great. Nine Inch Nails is some of my favorite music ever, and I also enjoy a good pop hook. This combines them both in a crazy, mind-expanding… and extremely catchy way. I’d love to know what Trent Reznor or Carly Rae Jespsen think of this.
Here’s my favorite interpretation so far, via k2b at Gawker:
“First thought – this is a charming combo because it mixes up presumed oil and water in a fun and silly way that makes it hard to take it too seriously. I like fun and silly, and avoid taking things like pop songs too seriously. Second thought – it kind of suits, because I liked NIN as much as anybody in my teens and twenties and still enjoy it from time to time, but not as much, because I am older and do not relate to it so much. And I realized that the mashup doesn’t offend me, because the level of emotional maturity involved in both songs is so similar that the juxtaposition really strikes me as one of style – they are two sides of the same coin. In short: it’s all angsty teenager/YA stuff, even if one is more poetical.”
Image by rsmithing w/pics by Lunchbox LP & ClintJCL via Flickr. Free for use via Creative Commons.
The Connection? The Producer!
The music to Call Me Maybe was produced by Dave “Rave” Ogilvie — industrial music legend, and collaborator of… wait for it… NINE INCH NAILS! Yes, the one-time Skinny Puppy member now uses his musical powers to assail radio with four-on-the-floor kick drums. My jaw literally dropped when I learned this at boingboing.net via user OtherMichael. Absolutely astounding.
Read the mind-boggling, intricate craftsmanship Ogilvie applied to this track.
What do you think? Are you a fan of mashups, Nine Inch Nails or Call Me Maybe? Let us hear from you in the comments.
- Call Me Maybe, Trent Reznor? (animalnewyork.com)
- Trent Reznor Announces the Return of Nine Inch Nails: Extensive Touring for 2013 and 2014 (pitchfork.com)
- Trent Reznor Reboots Nine Inch Nails With Members of Jane’s Addiction, King Crimson + More (loudwire.com)
- Today in Internet victory: This Carly Rae Jepsen/Nine Inch Nails mash-up (music-mix.ew.com)
- Nine Inch Nails “Closer” – Classic Tracks (soundonsound.com)
Two things I’ve been doing lately: travelling and listening to Beats Antique (often simultaneously). The music is, for me, a perfect mood-setter: stimulating, forward moving, and compelling without lyrics. I saw the band twice in 2012, and captured this image of Zoe Jakes at a gig in Asheville, NC. This snapshot makes the perfect foreground for this vista from above the clouds off Florida’s Gulf Coast, brought together via iPhone with the masks & textures of Photoforge2.
Update 3/3: Now Featured by WeAreJUXT
Big thanks to the folks at WeAreJUXT for including this image in their weekly showcase! This is the second image of mine featured there (here’s the first) and I’m totally flattered, since they constantly and consistently highlight such great creations with insights from their creators (and I’m not just saying that because I’m there). You should definitely check out the whole JUXT site. Here’s what I say about this image over there:
My favorite art is the kind that gets the viewer to consider things in new ways. I believe that’s the most exciting thing about sharing creativity: the opportunity for a mind-expanding experience. That can happen for me through words, music, or with visual art as in the works of my favorite artists, Salvador Dalí and Jerry Uelsmann. The story behind this image is that I was on a business trip last month and happened to be in the air at just the right time to capture a glorious sunrise from above the clouds. I knew I wanted to remember the moment, but didn’t know what form that would take. This week, the vision hit me: a dancer amid the clouds with selective lighting and textures was what I wanted to make happen. I instantly thought of this silhouette image I shot last year at a show by one of my favorite bands, Beats Antique, which happen to be on heavy rotation during my recent travels. The mysterious form in the foreground is the troupe’s Zoe Jakes as shown backlit from behind a screen with exotic costume accents. The spell-casting pose along with textures, layer modes and and masking in Photoforge2 makes the mind-expansion thing happen.
- ArtStack: Curation and Social Image Sharing Refined. Interview with Co-Founder, Ezra Konvitz (rsmithing.com)
- Your Own Personal Grammys (rsmithing.com)
- Laughing Seed Café in Asheville, NC, is Looking for Local Artists to Hang Their Work (carolinaartsnews.wordpress.com)
- Mextures: Free Textures To Grungify Your iPhoneography (cultofmac.com)
- Beats Antique: Spring 2013 Tour (jambase.com)
I like making connections. So I’m often on the lookout for them. It’s fun for me to align concepts for an expanded meaning beyond what they may singularly impart. The same is true with writing: symbolism, parallelism, etc. And as a corporate communications professional, connection-making often comes in handy, whether with words, concepts or people.
So it was interesting for me to see an uncommon term, “crestfallen” twice in a single issue of Wired this month. The word appeared in David MacNeal’s story on mobile boombox dance parties, as well as Carl Zimmer’s story on sleuthing out deadly mutant bacteria. Both are positive stories overall, but each includes a mention of someone being crestfallen. I think that’s interesting, and am happy to report not being crestfallen at this discovery.
What do you think? Ever notice an uncommon phrase in rapid succession from multiple sources? Do you believe in synchronicity? What are your thoughts on making connections? Let us hear from you in the comments.
Important: My vehicle was NOT in motion when this was taken! In fact, this was during a total standstill, which happened to afford a glimpse of resting gulls amid a view of leading lines in reverse juxtaposed with a pause in forward motion. Briefly. Shot with my iPhone, processed with the TTV Photo Studio app.