Monday, December 28, 2015

imageshack disaster II

I like to look at it this way: I am not a wealthy artist, I'm more like a street artist. I prefer not to write on other people's buildings, but I write on websites wherever I can find them, and I take my pictures, store them as I can, and use them with my writing. Over time, I've become better at posterizing, or sharpening, or altering photos, but mostly I do it for effect and don't really consider myself a professional.

Ah but one of the problems associated with my style, pop art as a hobby, is that a site like imageshack can offer you indefinite free storage of photos, and then simply retract the offer. Who can blame them? I wouldn't offer anyone free storage of photos indefinitely, and have trouble even with the junk my kids store on my computer. But I also have to admit, I enjoyed having all those photos out where I could see them anytime I wanted.

I have a curious relationship with flickr: some of my best photos are there, but they stopped after a hundred or so, and I didn't want to compound the dependence with false or manufactured e-mails (I actually have a few anyway) - so my flickr site, I've left as it is. But I had three imageshack sites, and spent the holidays taking back the photos. Putting them in a dropbox. As a yuppie, and a professional at that, I do have a dropbox. Actually it's my wife's. But it doesn't seem to mind all these photos.

I'm beginning to adopt Andy Warhol's philosophy, or at least two of them. First, I am what I appear to be, I'm not hiding anything or giving you a subtle, hidden message. Second, everything I've got, it's out where you can see it. It's right in front of you. I plan to be out there, everywhere, recognizable. That's my modus operandi.

But, it's come down to a number of blogger ports; I don't do static webpages very easily anymore. The SIU personal webpage server blithely made it so you had to use dreamweaver to use it, as all webpages had to be encrypted, so I'm no longer able to change or update my pages there. Same with TTU, although I have a slightly better chance of taking lessons, learning dreamweaver, and getting back on my feet here. That's a long-range plan, though. for the moment, I have a number of blogger sites, and people seem to visit them regularly, but online click-through web traffic doesn't seem to be a lucrative trade. I keep up my pr campaign; I do the best I can. But what I need are bold images, and billboards on the major streets of major cities. That campaign, I guess, will be next.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Imageshack disaster

Disaster! Imageshack is revoking its free service, and it's all over the e-mail telling me to take my pictures off or else, the orelse being pay $3.99/mo. It's not that I don't have the money; in fact we invest in dropbox, and most of the pictures may already be in there in some form or another. It's more that I like them on the web where I can see them, and if they're not there, it's kind of like they don't exist.

I have three accounts, so I consider myself a heavy user. Some is pop, lots are personal. I'm packing my bags. Google seems to be ok although I'm exploring other options. Flickr is good but very limited. These blogs have been the most consistent, self-organizing thing I've been able to find, really. Guess I'll be moving soon...maybe what I should say is, keep the organization horizontal, don't bury them.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Long time, no write; what am I, a pop artist? These days I'm more of a fiddler and a standard book author. I see stuff; I see it all the time, but I haven't been making pop art out of it. It was hard to posterize there for a while; one had to go out of one's way to do it. So, I lost my drive, I lost my spirit, and I took a break.

But it was only a matter of time before posterize came back. What really got me this year was a very wet spring for Texas, and a veritable explosion in colors I had never seen. This one plant, Texas sage, seems to have all kinds of colors, with leaves the traditional sage kind of colors, and the flowers being any kind of pink or purple. Bluebonnets came out also, even in the neighborhoods where I walk; I wasn't sure what I was seeing at first, but it was an intense and beautiful color, and I was sure I loved it. The brilliant displays of color set me back to seeing things I hadn't seen before in the intense sun.

As the summer wore on, though, the sun got more intense, and I went back to deliberate blindness, hat bill pulled over my eyes, trying to keep that darn thing off me. I'm happy this posterize function has come back; by the way, it's a simple on-your-computer function, not as good as some of the ones I used in the past, but certainly good enough to get started again, get inspired. I need to play a while, see what I can come up with. I make all the covers for my own books and I need lots of covers. I have also lost the ability to upload a webpage easily; both the server at SIU, where I am retired, and TTU, where I now work, require encryption that can not be written in by hand. So a person has to learn Dreamweaver, or whatever, to proceed with uploading web pop art, which is what I'd like to do.

Thirty years ago, at my first ESL job, they moved a copy machine to the hallway outside of my office. I should have been overjoyed at the convenience of being so close to the machine, but it was early in my career, and I had to figure out how to make a lesson, sometimes three or four that I would teach on that very day. The sounds of other teachers coming by making ten, twenty, thirty copies at a time began to drive me to distraction. Finally, in desperation, I started making xerox art out of it. I'd slip in there, master the enlarge and shrink functions, and photoshop the pieces together with scotch tape. I say "photoshop" because it implies putting images together that ordinarily wouldn't be seen together, but basically, that was my start in the image business. I admit, I'm an amateur. I've gone years and not done much with it. But I'm still at it, and even if it, for the most part, has other functions in my life (maybe making memes?), it's worth maintaining. More important, for my spirit, than ever.

Check out the latest at the pop art gallerie

Monday, December 3, 2012

got my pop back

Around May 2011 a free photo-hosting site, Fotopic, disappeared from the face of the earth and, try as I might, I could not find them. They had a lot of my pop art, though I think they had thousands of other photos as well; most of their victims were in the UK, and not much was said about what happened to the pictures or what they would do. I was devastated. A lot of my pop was on one of my computers anyway, but it was really more organized on Fotopic, though that's not saying much because I'm not incredibly organized. It's a psychological thing, though; losing that thread of organization almost cost me the whole collection.

Got an email about a week ago claiming that the company that had taken it over intended to restore everything, but then found it too costly, so they were returning them, giving us a chance to download our photos. I was grateful that I still had my e-mail, because I received the message, and planned to grab them as soon as possible. By the time I got around to it, a week later, they were gone, but I found them again this afternoon and quick grabbed them all. I'm grateful that this company and its new owners found their way to doing the right thing.

My plan is to display the best of my pop over the years. Much of it appeared on calendars: a Kumakura one (or maybe two), several castlepark ones, etc. These deserve a permanent home, a set of galleries. I'm not Warhol, but I have a body of work. It's been published, in my own personal kind of way. It will rise again! The galleries, as they have stood for about a year and a half, empty (I'm telling you, I was devastated; I didn't even remove them)- will slowly be restored. At the moment they start here and are mostly empty. But keep checking: I intend to display it, step by step.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My latest exhibit, Lubbock in the rearview mirror, now has eighteen shots, all instagrammed, all square, all from the mirror of our Kia van which just, by the way, got its black-and-white Texas tags. This exhibit is a kind of examination of what happens when you go around, always somewhat obsessed with where you've been. Also, if you know Lubbock, you know that having things like the Marsha Sharp around make your life more convenient, but in the end become the environment you live in a lot; therefore, you become more focused on these things. One might consider them a blight on the landscape, yes, but they are also pretty, in their own kind of way.

Now I've only been in Lubbock for about two months, and I can tell you, half the time you're in the car, it's somewhat dangerous to whip out the phone and just use it on whatever you see. Whole swaths of town, particularly the pretty part up by downtown and in the east, have gone unphotographed. It's not because I'm chicken. The other day I was downtown, and an enormous rainbow appeared over the main building downtown. At the same time it had rained and there were playas all over the place swallowing whole cars. But I was picking up Chinese food and had to take it home quickly, and I was on streets I wasn't familiar with. That's always a little dicey here. What I'm trying to say is, you're getting a view of what I have time to shoot, the places where I might actually be a passenger, and places where I can shoot with less pressure.

I may or may not get better at this with time, but there's another possibility: I'll just stop being so obsessed with "where I've been" and focus more on not framing what's in front of me. For the moment I'm not too worried about using the cellphone camera as my main tool. It seems kind of pop to me, even though I readily admit I've sacrificed some quality. It makes me feel like a traveler in the new world.

Monday, September 3, 2012

so I post to this blog every six months or so, but that's how long it takes before I actually feel like a pop artist, when most of the time I'm doing other stuff, like writing, or moving, or working, or parenting. In any case I just came through another time like that so I thought I'd share it.

What happened was, I moved to Lubbock TX, and, thinking about that song about Lubbock in the rearview mirror, I started taking pictures in the rearview mirror. Now I have about eight of them, but there are a few more on my lubbock site.

The main principle is clear: your phone is enough; you're in the car enough; virtually every picture is lubbock in the rearview mirror. Mirrors offer the constant tendency to frame and label: what's in the mirror is where you've been. What's not, is the reality you face. The picture is the contrast between the two, with, of course, the shape of whatever mirror dominating the framing. Instagram tends to sharpen the colors (Jefe) and put them in squares with little black boxes around them; I'm not sure I like that, but I've been conforming the pictures to the same technique.

I used to be critical of my father and photography in general by saying that it tended to put a frame around reality, when reality itself needed to be unframed. Now, I'd rather use photography to make statements about the tendency to frame itself. When you're in a car, especially in the WalMart parking lot, for example, what's in the mirror is not necessarily where you've been. Sometimes it offers escape, as the title "Lubbock in the rearview mirror" itself suggests. But escape is one of many themes I'm working with. Sometimes it's simply a glimpse into another world, one I barely understand.

I plan on working with this exhibit, perhaps labeling the photos. For now, it is what it is, about eight of the best.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

so google announces that it's going to shut down picnik; but, i didn't even realize google owned picnik. i have, however, started a picnik retrospective, or at least, a picnik celebration. if we still have it until april, then the least we can do is enjoy it quick, like a good set of oil paints that you know will go bad the minute you walk away. from now until april, that isn't really such a long time. so, we'd better get started.

sometimes i feel somewhat shallow, taking these really clear photographs, some of which i took myself, and reducing them to posterized kinds of blotchy color and unclear expression. occasionally you get these situations where you have just enough tantalizing detail, but most of the time you take perfectly good clear images and turn them into romanticized splotchy color. but picnik offers other things, and it's also making everything available until april, so, we'll see what we can make of it. more later!