Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just a little bit longer.

It may take a while longer than I expected to get back to updating regularly here. I'm drowning in things to do and have a lot of things to deal with that my brain just can't process right now.

Ps. I officially have work in MOCA Cleveland! I worked with some amazing people over the last two weeks, and I am so thankful I was given this opportunity. If you're in the area, you should come to the unveiling party tomorrow at 7pm. Once I'm a little more coherent, I'll tell you about that, plus some other projects I've been working on.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rip van Winkle

I've had awful headaches lately. I'm starting to think that it's all my ideas that I've been trying to get out. But they're not coming out. There stuck inside my head, bashing into my skull. And one day, they're just gonna fall out my ear, and it will be this horrible, gory mess.

I've been incredibly busy lately. I have so much to do for my studio classes. And so much to do for that MOCA project. We're down to the wire now. I'm so exhausted and just want to spend a day sleeping in, sitting outside, thinking, and not doing much else. But I'm worried that if I go to sleep, and not "nap" as I've been telling myself every night (or morning at that point), I'll sleep through the next four days. And that would be tragic. I have too much to do.

Things have been going well, despite my stress level and state of business. I met one of my favorite animators yesterday. I discovered a technique I really, really enjoy. I thought of something to sell on Etsy that I would enjoy making and that would (I think) make people happy and also help make me happy by making my bank statements slightly less depressing. I found out about an awesome job that is perfect for me. I met with my wonderful scholarship donors tonight. I was given an amazing compliment by someone pretty important. And I found out about some great opportunities. And in just the last couple weeks, I've learned a lot about my work. It seems silly to not full understand your own art, or why you do it, or what drives it. But I think I'm really close to understanding it.

I'll elaborate more about some of this later. After Wednesday, most likely. Just gotta get through Wednesday.

I'm about to burst. I'm about to eat dinner.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What I Did The Night I Was Kicked Out Of My Studio Because The JMC Caught On Fire And They Didn't Know How To Turn Off The Sprinklers

by Michaela Lynch


Sorry, I don't normally type like that, but at this point it is necessary. Around 6pm, shortly before anyway, I was trying to get work done in my studio and get ready for a meeting about our MOCA project at 7. I began to realize my eyes were twitching, and then, upon looking up, realized that the fire alarm was going off. Never mind that I couldn't hear it in our studio with obnoxiously loud air vents. Anyway, I noticed the incredibly flashy, ADD inducing light and figured I might as well go along with it. So I grabbed my laptop, left everything else, and headed outside. Meanwhile, the voice of the fire alarm (some incredibly calm robot woman) told us something like "If you would like to leave the building, please exit through the stairs." At least she gave us a choice.

Now in a school where performance art is a regular occurrence, it was hard to take this seriously. We all stopped 2 feet outside the school and began to gossip. The security guards had to shoo us back. They, however stayed in the building. It couldn't have been that bad. So here we all are, sitting in the back of the parking lot, waiting as firetrucks showed up. Firemen, with open jackets and in no hurry, entered the building. Is this just some big joke? Apparently there was an issue in the ceramics department with a kiln catching on fire. And then the sprinklers went off. And then they couldn't turn them off. And then they had to call important people who make decisions. And then they had to pay some people to come out and clean up all the water. Because it supposedly flooded.

Meanwhile, we watched some of the old 50s Coronet films that I may or may not be using in an upcoming project. We watched stop motion Lucky Strike cigarette commercials. We listened to barbershop quartet style tv show theme songs. We sang "Down by the bay, where the watermelons grow." We watched "Llamas in Hats" and "Llamas in Hats 2" and "Lamas mit Hüten" which is "Llamas in Hats" in German. Then we watched "Charlie the Unicorn" in German. Apparently, there's no German translation for Candy Mountain.

We walked around, anxious. We became irritated. We asked questions. We were told to go to Starbucks for some $4 coffee. People freaked out about getting homework done. People freaked out about getting home. Car keys were left inside. Backpacks were left inside. Purses were left inside. Cell phones. Sketchbooks. Laptops. Portfolios. Everything. The Cat Man (this friendly guy who carries his cat in his backpack and is supposedly a CIA graduate) came by and asked what was going on. He returned and brought several loaves of bread. I thought it was like Jesus, with the 5 loaves and 2 fish. Some people thought the bread would be poisoned. Some thought it was made of cat. I thought it was made with basil and was delicious.

At this point, people were really irritated. Not just irritated. Frustrated. Annoyed. Mad. Angry. Furious. Pissed off. Not only were we not in our studio for all that time, but we couldn't go home and be productive there. We couldn't relax because they didn't know what time it would be, if ever, when we would be allowed back in. The security guards were so nice and patient, but really, I was getting angry for not helping us out more. I just wanted to get my backpack and go home. I asked if they would escort us up, or just grab our stuff. But they told us to go back outside. I was angry. Partially because they were getting paid to sit inside. We were paying money to use our studio. That we were kicked out of. Therefore, we were losing money while they earned theirs.

That MOCA meeting never happened. Homework assignments were unable to be completed. Everything was going wrong. And those bugs that are everywhere showed up. Finally, I was severely annoyed and called a teacher, who called her boss, who called their boss, who called the head of Facilities, who, minutes later, showed up and spoke with the security guards. HALLELUJAH. Not really. But a little bit. They told us we could go back in at 9pm. So we still had 40 minutes to kill. So we went to Starbucks and bought overpriced beverages. We went to the dorms and visited freshmen friends. We came back and pressed our faces against the glass. And finally they let us in.

And then I had to wait another half hour until the bus came. Just to go home and expect to find another 100 bugs on my ceiling, knowing that tomorrow, they would all fall dead on my stuff.

The End.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Grace Harlowe's Golden Summer

(Part of the collage animations I was working on yesterday.)

Today was uneventful. No exciting stories from the bus. No exciting news about projects (except that I'm still excited about that MOCA collage). Nothing really great happened. Nothing really terrible happened either. I worked in my studio. The building seemed practically empty. I did trade a Qdoba card for a pack of gum, though. I think it was someone's project. There was a piece of paper that said to take a picture of your trade. And next to it was a disposable camera. (I miss those.) So I traded a Qdoba card for some Juicyfruit.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rock. Paper. Scissors.

I've been pretty good about staying on top of assignments. So I was able to go to juggling club yesterday, which is awesome. And today, instead of just making a 10 second (and only 10 frames per second) cut paper animation and calling it a day, I stayed for...several hours longer and played with animated collages (part of a little test above). It was wonderful.

I also went to the opening at MOCA Cleveland. We went a little earlier for an artist talk with Duke Riley, which was really interesting. I learned about hobos and nickels and dismembered body parts and old Cleveland and hopping on trains, which I really want to try. Oh, and we checked out the collage ilegítimo by assume vivid astro focus. Why does that matter? Because I'm taking part in this: Another Vibrant Art Fight. Five CIA students are working together to make a collage (6 feet by 10 feet) to go opposite the original collage. Four other schools are participating, and it's somewhat of a competition. Which is cool, but I'm more excited about the fact that I will get to work on something that's going to be in MOCA! We have less than 3 weeks until we install it, though, and the 5 of us are so different. Some of us just met for the first time yesterday. There are 2 Sculpture majors, 2 Painting majors, and me, from T.I.M.E. Digital Arts. I'm sure getting started will be the most difficult, but I think that in the end, it could end up being really great.

Also, I'm excited because I'm going to bed early tonight. Maybe even before 1am!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Some Projects

I have some great projects coming up. Some for classes. Some just for fun. Some really exciting ones. Some that involve cats, cats, cats, cats like the one pictured above, scanned from a 1960s book entitled Cats, Cats, Cats, Cats. Some that involve going through oodles of encyclopedias and magazines and other paper products. Some that require me to read the Missed Connections on Craigslist. Some that require me to make hinged paper dolls. Some that mandate I take a break and crochet for a while. Some that involve collaborating with 4 other students for a show at MOCA.

I love art school. Things have been going really well for me lately.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Final Answer

I finally decided on which narrative to work with: Pinocchio: The Tale of a Puppet by Carlo Collodi. I want to depict the central themes based on a psychoanalysis of the original Florentine rendition, first by dissecting them, and then by reconstructing them in the form of an animated collage. Using contemporary images competing and collaborating with vintage ephemera, and enhanced by meticulous, hand drawn accents, I hope to convey the still applicable morals. I aim to keep a series of seemingly unrelated scenes strung together by a consistent aesthetic and underlying theme. It is my goal for each composition to look first like a collage, then like an animation, as I re-appropriate images from various sources and bring them into the narrative I weave together, reflecting on their original context. This animated collage will be driven by music, as drastic choreography subdues into delicate movements, entrancing the viewer with melodies and motion. Most likely, in order to keep a contemporary spin on the tale, I will use the original ending which Collodi was not allowed to publish due to its violent nature in the fate of Pinocchio. However, the idea of prevailing justice may just be needed to drive home the central theme: don’t be stupid or you’ll make an ass of yourself.

Ok, I cheated a little bit. I had to write up a plane for my project last night. Copy+pasted it here, as I was not going to rewrite it. Oh, and did I mention how late it was? I hope this is coherent enough for you to understand. Anyway, Pinocchio it is. The deciding factor: I wanted to animate marionettes. I'll go back to Rapunzel for another project.

Alright. It's already my weekend, and I think I need some sleep. After, of course, working on a few more projects.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I'm probably going to have nightmares.

Currently, just five feet away from my bed and on the ceiling lies one of the most horrid beasts I have encountered in this apartment yet. There was, of course, a silverfish one of my first nights, that not only crawled across the window sill, but then lost its balance, fell onto my bed, and disappeared under my comforter. I didn't sleep under it again until this weekend, after washing all my bedding. But this one, this horrible creature with hundreds of legs, trumps the little (terrifying) silverfish. It started off on the other side of my room, when I opened a window, awakening it, and causing it to crawl behind my bookshelf. Naturally, I worried it would find its way inside one of my favorite books, so the next time I decided to catch up on the adventures of Sara Crewe, I would be greeted by a carnivorous family of centipedes. But then it continued up my wall and across my ceiling. Now, this centipede, I'm quite certain, is watching me panic, and plotting its perfect attack. What if it crawls across the ceiling, right above my bed? What if it's there when I wake up, just so I know it had been watching me all night? Or worse: what if it falls from the ceiling, crawls across me as I sleep, crawls into my mouth and then I eat it? And THEN, what if it has babies. In my stomach. So that when I go to say something highly intelligent, instead, a million centipedes exit my mouth. How absolutely horrifying would that be?

Bugs terrify me. I do not recommend Googling one just because you don't know what it is. Then you become paranoid, and have that creepy crawly feeling.

You know what else freaks me out? Moths. I don't like the way they fly towards lights so frantically that they don't care how many people the run into on the way. So naturally, being afraid of them, I decided to make a mini-animation of that exact phenomena. Because I was supposed to play in After Effects for one of my classes. Maybe I'll share it with you tomorrow.

Also, I made this. It's a little less scary. You can check it out on Paper Airplane .GIFs, if you'd like.

Pleasant dreams. (Oh dear.)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Goodnight Moon.

If today had a color palate, this would be it. Not so much because it was dreary outside. It was actually quite lovely, my perfect weather, really. My apartment is sleepy today. The lights have been off, the door has been open, and the wind could be heard throughout. I have devoted much of today to brainstorming. I have so many ideas, so many projects that I want to complete, that it's hard to decide on just a couple. When I got stuck, I decided to take the bus to Walmart. I bought a hula hoop. They didn't have any Skip-Its. I was a little disappointed, until I found out that the only place you can really find them is on eBay and obscure online shops. I never had one when I was little. Perhaps I'll get one for my 21st birthday.

I went into Borders next. They were closing that location, so everything was on sale. I bought some Moleskine sketchbooks as they were the cheapest I have ever found them.

I came back, and I hula hooped. And I read some more, and did lots of researched, and hula hooped. Finally, I turned on my bedroom light. I could so easily go to bed early tonight, but I'm still hoping for that sudden burst of energy and inspiration. I'm deciding between 2 stories right now: Rapunzel and Pinocchio. I'm indecisive, I know. At least it's better than being fickle.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Pop-Up Book Theory

When I was younger, maybe about 6 years old, I had this children's Bible. It was hard cover with a yellow spine, labeled in glossy red serifs; and on the cover was a colorful illustration. There were similar illustrated scenes throughout the book, but the only one I remember now was the first one. It accompanied the first story, the very beginning of Genesis: the story of creation. And in this illustration, a giant man resembling the popular Caucasian Jesus, stood among the stars, and hovering between his hands, ever so delicately, was the Earth. His size dwarfed our little planet, which looked like a mere toy to Him. I thought about that illustration frequently. I thought about how powerful God must be. I thought about how tiny we are compared to Him. I thought about how smart He must be to have made all this, and how He must have the most nimble of fingers to make everything so beautiful, no matter how small and insignificant it was to Him.

Gradually, this scene evolved to one where the Man in space held a pop-up book, with each of the pages being part of the world. I thought about how easy it would be for Him to close it, and to take that book and put it on some bookshelf made of stars. But He never did.

I still think about that pop-up book. I'm not really sure why, and I'm not quite sure what it means. But whenever I'm brainstorming project ideas, I think of these kindergarten daydreams of mine. I can hear the pages turning, and the thick paper squeaking slightly as the next scene comes to life. For all I know, God really could be standing out there, in the middle of space, bouncing us around and shooting us through a hoop made of constellations. Or He could be standing peacefully, turning the pages, and watching us try to figure things out. Watching me, sitting in my studio, wrapped in a blanket, sipping Starbucks, and thinking about cramming my life into a very condensed pop-up book.

And what if the world was just a pop-up book? I'm sure it would be a rather dense volume. Constantly growing, in fact. And the illustrations would be entirely animated, requiring you to hold the book completely still in order for everything to freeze. And the images would be so precisely, so delicately cut, that if you exhaled too close, it would begin to fall apart. But it hasn't. And I think that says something.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Autumn is my favorite season. I'd just like to wear a few more dresses without tights.

(Another part of the gesture study flip books I made last week. Posted on Paper Airplane .GIFs.)

I think autumn is here. Or at least it has been visiting for a couple of days. Last week was spent walking to and from class in 90+ degree heat and obscene humidity. And once I got to class, it was either a) not air conditioned and in the room covered in windows where the sun comes in; or b) my wonderful studio that requires a parka. Luckily, yesterday was breezy, and today was outright chilly, that crisp air with the scent of Halloween around the corner. But Tuesday it should be 90 again, and I'll be back to wearing dresses to class and keeping a blanket in my studio.

Today was fairly productive for me. I slept in (well, til 9am, but that's wonderful nonetheless), did a bunch of homework, and fit in a trip to Target. As far as animating, I made another little flip book, played in After Effects (a.k.a. worked on a little piece whose working title is currently "Moths Are Scary"), and researched public domain narratives. Again. Just when I think I narrow it down to 2 options, I'm up to 4. Oh, I am so indecisive. I'll let you know when I officially pick a story. Of course, that could be a while. Ha!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sometimes scanners aren't animator-friendly.

Well, it seems as though I may have broken my scanner. Which certainly puts a damper on things. Especially since a) I need to scan flip books for class; b) I need to scan frames for Paper Airplane .GIFs; and c) I need to scan pictures from books like CATS, CATS, CATS, CATS for a collage animation I'll be working on this week.

Note to self: scanning 50+ pages of beautiful 1960s felines and then proceeding to scan a 38 frame flip book is not good for your scanner. Not at all. At least I was able (after much troubleshooting/fighting/yelling/exclaiming "Why, God, why?") to scan in this flip book, one of 5 gesture studies I did for my animation class last week. We'll see what happens tomorrow when I scan Two Little Bears and The History of American Sailing Ships and Ancestors in Silhouette. (I plan on making some very serious animations this semester. Ha!)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Emit! Emit! Emit!

Tonight was the opening reception for the CIA Faculty Show. It was even better than last year, though I didn't see all of it just yet. I'll go back later in the week when things are...not so hot and sweaty and smelly. Ha. But it's really wonderful to see all of the talent around us, and to think that these people are our teachers.

The reception was great, though I got there when most of the dill havarti cheese was gone (my favorite). It's a great time to catch up with people you haven't seen all summer, talk with favorite teachers, like Kasumi, who are now on sabbatical, and see people that have since graduated.

And after the reception was Emit, the student film festival, which has a little of everything, from hand drawn to stop motion to experimental video. I really enjoyed this year's show. I think my favorite part, though, may have been the in-between motion graphics that tied it all together. Did I mention I had a few pieces in it (including the one below)?

I was at my studio for a bit today. I'm researching possibilities for a semester-long project that requires us to start with a public domain narrative. And, well, some of my favorite stories of all time are public domain. Which makes it all the more difficult to decide. Not to mention, I'm on the fence as to what I will make with these stories. What do you think: should I do a collage animation? Or should I do another shot from above like the end of this piece?

Well, I do have a collage animation to do this week, so I guess I better get to work cutting out dozens of kitties.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Oh, Hello Exciting News.

Oh, hello 5 day weekend.
Oh, hello embroidery book that arrived today.
Oh, hello new yellow external hard drive that the mailman brought me.
Oh, hello 88° Cleveland, such a nice improvement.
Oh, hello organized Safari bookmarks (such an accomplishment).
Oh, hello oodles of animation ideas.
Oh, hello almost complete blog makeover.
Oh, hello brand new project!

This summer, when I was far too exhausted to make a proper pixilation with Miss Mia Rose, I found myself creating animated .GIFs. But these weren't the typical dancing-teddy-bears, sparkly-hearts .GIFs you see in those emails forwarded to you by your family members. I realized that these little tiny animations, sometimes a mere 2 frames, had a lot of potential. Creating these .GIFs helped me brainstorm ideas and kept me constantly thinking about motion. So I decided to make it official.

THE RULES FOR ME: Create at least one animated .GIF every day for a year, with the majority of them being hand drawn or stop motion (I'll have a few lazy/busy days, I'm sure.) Post them to the Tumblr blog set up for the project as they are completed.
THE RULES FOR YOU: Grab a .GIF! In this page, I will post (as many as I can) with codes for you. They are formatted to be 220 pixels wide, perfect for a Blogger sidebar. All you need to do is copy the code in the box, go to edit the layout of your blog, add a HTML/Javascript widget, and paste the code. You are welcome to grab them off of the main blog and a higher resolution and post wherever you'd like. HOWEVER, please link back to me! Part of this project involves me exploring what people are interested in and how these will spread. So help them spread by sharing them (and the source!) with your friends.

Got it? The first couple will be logos of sorts, but then I'll start mixing it up. If you're on Tumblr, feel free to follow me! And definitely reblog all you want.

In other, related news, you may have noticed I've been working on the design of this blog. The main reason for this was to make it more animated. I have a new header, which, if you rollover, it changes to another image. Similar buttons for external links (like if you wanna watch some of my animations) and pages have some fun images when you hover over them. I set up a proper ABOUT section, a page dedicated to PAPER AIRPLANE .GIFs (where you can copy & paste the code for your sidebars, and also read more about the project), a CONTACT page, to which I am also adding [somewhat redundant but animated and thus justified] external links. I also have a BLOGROLL in the works, which will also include links to some great artists I admire.

So please, have a look around. And tell me... What do you think of the new layout and animated features? What do you think of the new .GIF project? Do you have any ideas for animated .GIFs you would like to see? Leave a comment and let me know!

Happy September!