Sunday, May 19, 2013

This is what happens when you don't write for two weeks.

Apologies in advance. Time has been running away from me and I haven't updated the blog in a while. So, this post will cover the adventures of week 9, 10, and something interesting I discovered last week and thought that it would be interesting to write about. Anyway. Read on.


So. This week's update. Or something.

Yesterday, I finished (at long last) the paper patterns for the Halo armour.

Things kind of went on hold for the last week and a half, since I had assessments coming out my ears and I don't even know what else. Oh yeah. I was sick.

And now it feels like my body is trying to figure out what else it can debilitate me with while I head on. Seriously. I think this week's meals will be a combination of Bonjela and jelly and custard this week. Wisdom teeth.

This weekend just past, I didn't achieve an iota of work, since my family was moving house and there was no way I was going to not help my family move. There was a lot of heavy lifting, cleaning of ick things and juggling of stuff and people. And the fun of handling a figurative bomb for all of Saturday. Let's not talk about that.

So, there was a cubic metre of dirt, and Mum and Dad finally threw out the fridge double that they'd had for ages and I painted. It was a project I undertook in 2006, and the fridges were old as buckleys when I painted them. They'd just started to rust through and had failing seals and smelled funny. But they were actually my first big art project, so it was interesting and a little sad seeing them go.

<I have a progress shot of it at the beginning...somewhere...>

Shortly before the tip

Mum said that when they can, her and Dad want to get another fridge for the garage though. And she wants me to paint exactly the same artwork on it. Because it carries a lot of feels and she liked it.

My mother is absolutely ruthless when throwing things out during moving season. It means a lot for her to say 'please do this one again because I like the artwork, even if the functional item it is on isn't useful anymore'

Not bad for a transferred piece of promo art for a GBA game.

And yeah, you have to be ruthless when throwing things out during moving season. This does mean that I end up a little stressed, because a lot of my stuff which is still kind of important gets thrown out as well, and if I'm not home to make sure that doesn't happen, then all kinds of things go.

I'm pretty sure my quarterstaff got chucked, since I can't find it.

I guess this is one of the challenges of having just moved out of home (I've been out for a couple years, but hey). I don't have anywhere to put my books, for example. I have a shelf and a half of the landlord's bookcase, and that's it. Please don't throw out my TAFE work, Mum. I'll move it when I have space.

Anyway. I've probably just told you a bunch of stuff that isn't that interesting. Except maybe for the fridge.

Where am I up to with the everything else?

The armour went on hold. I will regret this soon enough - for reasons beyond my comprehension, it's now week 9. I've still got another costume for Directed Studies due, which I'm fairly sure I can knock over in a week or two, provided I don't have anything else to do.

Provided I don't have anything else to do.

Sorry. Got things to do right now.

Lo and behold. Things were done.


So. What happened in the week just past?
I finished the forearms in foam, and managed to gain a better grasp of how long things take, or at least, be able to break up the tasks and therefore time for each armour piece.

So, the forearm (Vambrace from here on. The right one.) took about five hours to assemble in paper (because it was the first one, and I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing)

And then I disassembled it, and it took two hours to trace out the larger pieces onto foam (tracing each piece out twice, so I had a pair of them)

It took an hour and a half to cut these pieces out.

And another two hours to shape them.

At this stage, I'll explain what I mean by that. Rather than folding the foam to give it shape, I have to score into it, as it's too bulky for simply folding. I cut a small groove on one side and then score a line on the opposing side of the foam. If it's a mountain fold, the score is on the face side and the groove is on the underside - a valley fold is just this reversed.
I'll also take this time to bevel edges of pieces if they need it, or cut details into them, like rivet holes or indents. I started doing all of this with my large box cutter, and then realised that detailing was much easier with a smaller one. So I have two knives going on this. And you notice when the blades become blunt.

And then I kind of crease those shaping cuts in, and glue the bad boy together. It took two hours to glue together the vambraces - an hour each.

Featuring hot glue and burnt fingers

And the assembling time for the paper was only an estimate. So, just on this one section of armour, I've spent at least ten hours to get from paper to foam. Haven't painted them yet either.

It's now more than ever I realise the enormity of this task. Like, I've been realising it all through semester, but it's now that I am sitting in the camp of 'I'm wasting so much time on this armour' and 'this is just really time consuming stuff'

I'll get it done in time. I'm just worried because I also have another three practical things to finish, plus paper and an assessment for a theory subject that's worth 70%.

I'm gonna die.


Tonight, as I try to prolong the effects of downing two coffees at church so allow for blogging, which I haven't done in ages, I also take in what has been achieved. Because I went and actually tried what I had on, in conjunction with the wetsuit I bought for the task, and felt a little better about everything. Maybe not about  about the wetsuit currently (Op shop find. It's about a size too small. I'm cutting vent panels in it to allow it to stretch/breathe/not kill me), but about seeing progress. I really, really need to get this done.

Any minions wishing to volunteer themselves for assistance will be given baked treats. I can make a mean mudcake.

What else happened over the course of this week?


The Japan Foundation is an organisation based in Sydney that promotes cross-cultural stuff and shenanigans. Earlier this year, or late last year (I can't remember which), there was notice of a travelling exhibition of stuff related to the Rebuild of Evangelion, which is a series of films happening at the moment, retelling the story arc of Neon Genesis Evangelion, a mind-blowing mecha anime from the mid-90s, orchestrated by Hideaki Anno.

The show was only in Sydney for a week, so I caught the train down on Friday and checked it out.

If you want to see the thing I am yabbering about, hit that link there.

The works presented were mostly stills/storyboards from the first two movies (You are (not) alone, and You can (not) advance), presented in a vertical diptych. So, the drawing was framed up, and then beneath it was the corresponding frame from the relevant scene in the anime printed on foamcore, so you could see what the original frame looked like.

I'd show you a picture if I had taken any. There was a strict 'no photos' thing going on, so you'll just have to bear with me on it.

I was amazed at the quality of work, and intrigued as well, because..well, I guess the essence of anime-compared-to-real-life, aside from the odd proportioning, is how simple the lines are and how complex an area they cover. I don't know how to explain that otherwise. Um.

Oh. Hey, Shinji.
This is Shinji Hirako, of Bleach (Which is of Tite Kubo). As he appears in the manga, because the manga goes in for all these little details that you don't notice in the anime adaptions because they're either forgotten or taken up by shading so your eyes don't register them.

Look at his shirt. Look at it. There's like, a couple of tiny lines thrown in here and there, and suddenly it looks like the flipping thing is busy being fabric.

The Evangelion exhibition allowed me to appreciate in detail one of the more subtle things about anime and manga; basically, you can use small and simple lines to delineate something, and the mind fills in the rest. It's brilliant.

Seeing frames from the animation also let me notice a few other things. They were rarely on white paper (unless it was a closeup of a face or something), and were usually on a light green or brown or blue. I think white paper scares artists a little, so that makes sense. It would have also had something to do with colour scanning and photocopying, I think, owing to how the frames were shaded.

There was no finished colour added to them, so there were lines put in that basically meant 'cel shade here and here and here. Fill this area with black, and this area with white'. And then some rough hatching to cover the shaded area. It looked odd, because it was obvious that so much more time had been spent getting the lines right and the colour stuff looked like an afterthought. But it wasn't. It's just that this wasn't the stage when the colour needed to be added, so placement was a little rough.

Ack. Sorry. I'm going small picture with this. Bear with me.

There was also a video display showing scenes from the second movie in a split screen format, which allowed the viewer to simultaneously see how things in the scene looked at story board level, rough lines, rough colour, full colour, and finished movie. There must have been some things in there I missed, because the number of split screens going ranged at times from four to twelve. Which freaked your head out, because you were trying to process a lot of information at the same time, but was really cool to see the evolution of the film at the same time. I mean, that's not something you actually get to see with live-action films, because most of the stuff is there when the camera is rolling (unless you're shooting something that's got a buttload of green screen or something).

But when an anime gets made, the whole film gets made in several renditions, so you can view those renditions side-by-side and appreciate them and the finished product a whole lot more.

Look, if I go out and actually get :01 and :02 sometime in the future, I'll try and make you watch them, and then the special features. Pretty sure you'd get to see some of what I'm yabbering incoherently about.

Actually, have a scene of EVA 00, 01 and 02 against a falling-from-space alien/the 8th Angel. I apologise for the English dub - would have used a subbed version if it was there. This really just lets you see how enormous the EVA are and thusly cool. And I got to see stacks of clips from this scene at the exhibition.

Okay. It was cool. Next thing.

I was aspiring to maybe visit White Rabbit gallery too, until I got back to Central station and realised that I had an hour before my train left, and in that time would have to walk to the gallery, tour the gallery, and walk back. I instead wandered the train station and speed-drew people I saw while walking, deciding that maybe it would be more constructive than running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Soon. I will do White Rabbit soon.


What else happened this week? Hmm.


I had a mate turn 21, and attended his 'disguise'-themed party as an elf-kind-of-thing. Because it's actually really confusing when you tell a cosplayer to come in disguise.

'But this is what I do all the time. How the heck am I supposed to be disguised?'

I kind of just threw together a whole bunch of things and it worked. And I got my hair under a wig. With only two hairpins, since I'd misplaced my box of the flipping things.

Appreciate that wigging it up is difficult when you have hair that you frequently and accidentally sit on, okay?

The birthday boy cut his hair, which is just...ack...yahhhhh what the heck?

Evidently, I still need to adjust. But he went from shoulder-length super-curly plus beard to a number 4 and no beard. It worked as a disguise though - he and one of his housemates wore full-face masks and each others clothing and rings, and it was only when I looked at the hands I went 'they're wrong.' and then there was the hair missing too.

Hopefully, this will only take a couple of weeks to get used to. There's another lad at unichurch who just shaved his long hair off too. I don't cope well with change. But haircuts are not something I get to dictate for other people.

Okay. Let's talk about the next thing.


Now, if you read this post, you'll get to see a bit of where I'm coming from with this bit of the post.

But in essence, the lecture for one of my theory subjects this week was on 'breaking down boundaries' or something. The lecture talked heavily about an exhibition called 'dOCUMENTA', which is like a giant art exhibition done by people who are artists and people who are not artists.

And there's some mediation for the artworks presented by the non-artists, but not much. Basically, there were artworks installed that were working things built by engineers or physicists or garden designers that had a function outside of being art, and we spent about half of the tutorial following with my classmates and the argument 'is what they're doing art?'

To which I present my argument:

You cannot say that art is open-minded and encapsulating of everything, and then decide that by 'open-minded' you actually mean 'something you can hang on a wall or put in a gallery'.

The gallery bit in particular gets me. It's something that kind of cropped up with the Street Art argument - that people would remove street art from its environment and stick it in a gallery and then it's definitely 'art'? Nope. It's a paradox.

I think in part it stems from an understanding of the subject, and understood aesthetics. An artist will appreciate art because it conforms to a certain set of aesthetics, but an engineer will use a completely different set of aesthetics to determine whether or not something is beautiful or functional; whatever. I think this issue has more to do with understanding the rules of the artwork. 

The art world saw it happen in the nineteen-tens, when abstract art first popped up - we were used to things looking like things, from before Modernism to Impressionism to Post-Impressionism, especially in the painting world. There was all these artworks that popped up, and all these people in the art world going 'what the heck is this stuff?' and now that we're a few years down the track, there's an established set of rules that the art world has learned in order to appreciate abstract art, and every art movement that followed. 

It's something I reckon that is like a secret handshake, or that thing that the guys on the bus used to do when I was in year 7 - playing 'Snap is the name of the game'; some kind of special code that only artists understand and feel cool about because they know that the rest of the world doesn't get it. And then someone explains Blue Shift to them and because they don't understand astrophysics, they say 'this cannot be art. I don't understand it.'

I didn't say all of this in the tute, but it's kind of what I feel and think.

Art is busy claiming that it's open, but the work that people actually see - the stuff in galleries - in fact is dictated by whether or not it's made by a 'professional artist', which means 'someone who is paid to create art'.

Which is kind of like saying that only professional photographers can take good photos, or professional drivers can drive properly.

I have friends who create art, and it's good art, but they don't receive payment for their works.
I have friends who can take amazing photos, but it's not necessarily a living. It's actually pretty hard to eke a living purely from taking photos.

This, to a degree, is why I have a difficult time, even in my own head, of classifying what I do as art, because costume serves a physical purpose beyond hanging in a gallery, and therefore only borderlines as art.
Just get the paradox sorted out, is my call. Otherwise you end up with this asterisk sitting at the end of your sentence, and it might be attached to something vitally important down the track.*

...This is rather abrupt, and rough, and probably ruffling-of-the-feathers. Apologies. I'm rambling. Because it's late, and I'm coming off the butt end of the caffiene high, and my teeth hurt, and a billion other excuses that equate to Tomorrow is Monday of week 11.

Okay. Bring it on. I've got things to do. Just let me sleep enough to function.

*which might affect how you practice art or get paid at all.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! The armour is coming along nicely, cant wait to see it with paint on.

    Art, pfaugh. I like your spiel on so called 'open minded' artists. The idea that anyone can put a couple of plastic chairs under a tree but it's only art if an artist does it.

    I wonder what the engineers and physicists art works were like.


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