02 January 2014

[art] Scenes From A Wanna-Be Artist And Designer's Studio

When we moved into this house, oh, so many years ago, I was finishing on the training for living the dream of being a graphic designer.

Like so many dreams a person will have (and, I fancy, me in particular) that dream has been evolved by false starts and failures and time and perspective. But I still think of it as the studio, the place where I'm forever trying to find my creative spark.

I have a computer tuned to Facebook there, so maybe my method needs a little less madness. I am trying for discipline, which is one reason why I'm blog posting more. FB tends to get passive; this is active. But that's for another program.

This room is still a studio, and if our assumptions about its provenance are correct, the room I store stuff in is where Al Monner probably developed the photos that gave the space under the Saint Johns end of the Saint Johns Bridge the name Cathedral Park. The space I call my studio is the space, an office-sized room, which stands between the storage room and the rest of the basement.

It's still my studio, but it's also my happy place. We all deserve one, and in a life full of false-starts, artistically, it's nice that at least I have achieved this. I do try to count my blessings.

I found myself looking it its various corners, stuff stuck to the walls, my beloved how-to-art-book collection lining the place, and figured that I could do much worse than documenting my surroundings. They make me feel good, they inspire.

Herewith, some of my happy. Thanks for stepping in.

A magnet, actually. John is my middle name, so I'm not actually a Red Lectroid. I do have a Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems cloisonné pin, which I wear betimes to make people wonder just what side I'm on. And I'm now reading The Crying of Lot 49 after finishing Pynchon's iconic V, so, who knew that Buckaroo Banzai could be the gateway drug to literature? Not me.

The center starburst is my own personal glyph, as has been seen whenever one digs into my artistic endeavors. It's my brand. I did this some time ago, when I was deep into the Society for Creative Anachronism and doing the arts and  crafts and drawings and FLAVENS.

Now this one is a very dear one. Back in the 80s, when I was first getting with the young lady who would become The Wife™, my pastime was creating make-believe city maps. City maps always have and always will entrance me. This is a city on a mythical island in the Pacific off Oregon, which sits astride the western boundary of the Juan de Fuca Plate, as Iceland does across its mid-Atlantic Ridge, and the city itself is called Port Oregon. Jerry Gretzinger's Ukrania has me looking at this in a whole different way now, and I'm thinking of expanding this. How old is this piece of paper? Follow me to the next photo.

The date on this? January 1st, 1988. At the time, I was working as an answering service operator at a place called Superior Answering Service, which used to be down in Sellwood (it's gone, obsoleted by technology and torn down in  favor of a rather charming retail storefront strip. You will, I hope, notice that this is the New Year's Day 1988 schedule for KATU Channel 2. At the time, back when anyone could phone in a comment to the station and its 'public comment file' was on paper, when the office was closed on the weekend, SAS had KATU as an account, and we took the public comments. Let me tell you this … you pre-empted This Week with David Brinkley and it would be senior citizen calls all day long! Discarded paper made excellent note-taking (and map-drawing) paper. And the idea of Port Oregon is 25 years old as of two days ago.

A unique greeting. Jess Warren, of Borked Planet fame, drew me this as a birthday greeting a couple of years back. It's not the original, but a print, but it is the thought that counts. I'll always be fond of this, in as much as it's from a real artist. Those are always the best.

If I didn't have my diploma to remind me, this would; three years of kicking my own ass to get a graphic design degree at PCC. If I had learnt how to find work as diligently as I learnt how to graphic design, I'd probably have my own agency now. Going to school with a stressful full-time-job, though … well, I did the best I could. I still have the knowledge and appreciation in my head, though, so there's that.

One of my corners. In the bottom there is part of my beloved collection of how-to-art books, also revealing that I had also hoped to self-learn the bass guitar - another dream that has thusfar kinda sorta foundered on the rocks of distraction and having to do something else all the time. The three designs right are three logos I did in PCC Graphic Design school, and I"m very proud of these. From the top: AdAstra, a theme resort for SF geeks; my entry in the Cascade Festival of African Films competition, and 'SunDial', a logo for a notional art supply, map, and bookstore. The clock is very dear, also; I've always wanted a 24-hour dial watch, but I do have the wall-clock, and it's just as good. And the NCC-1701D, because Enterprise. 

When I contemplate the lunacy of the modern political process, I look at this and realize that things are the way they are because maybe crazy sells. I mean, sane sells too … but who's buying?

And, last but not least, one of my most treasured objets d'arte. This is a wooden street 'blade' from the time when there were still pieces of the land between Portland and Gresham that were in Multnomah County. After SE 202nd Avenue fell into the orbit of Gresham (though, ZIPCode-ally, it's Portland) the county retired a lot of these signs, and The Wife™, who knows whereof my mind wanders, got me this for a Christmas gift about five years back. This is a prise posession, and totally-legally-came-by, promise!

… and that's my artistic coccoon, or some of the things that matter the most.

This is the point at which I'd offer you a cup of coffee if you were here.

We'll do that in our minds, shall we?

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