Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Structural Model" of Creative Consciousness

I was thinking a lot about what made my strongest past work strong and what motivates me to create. A topic on which I'm always generating new theories.

Sometimes I say "it's a common aesthetic quality, a matter of taste."
Sometimes I say "It's because I crave artistic challenges and puzzles."
Sometimes I say "It's all about educating people."

But every time I come up with a generalization like that, I can see where it doesn't apply and I quickly throw it out.

Then I realized that my FAVORITE work resonates on all three levels.
An unconscious level, a personal level, and an interpersonal level.

These three "levels of artistic consciousness" correspond roughly to Freud's idea of the "Structural Model" of the psyche — Id, Ego, and Super-Ego.

Diagram of Art

(Diagram and statement from 2010)

On Art's Place in the Scope of Unique Human Activities.

There is often debate among both artists and critics about what constitutes art. To some, art comes from the play instinct. To others, art is about communication. To others, art is about self-expression and is deeply private. Others see art as public and believe it is about improving (by either provoking or beautifying) the community.

Proponents of each definition of art sometimes are at each others' throats. Each could cite perfect examples of things that are purely communication, purely play, purely private or purely public works —or some combination of two or three of these attributes— that are not *quite* art. Frequently, Theorists use these examples of "not-art" to attack their opponents positions.

Art isn't synonymous with Communication, Play, Public Work, or Self-Expression. But it IS these things!
Well... Which is it?

Monday, December 26, 2011

St Paul Comic Jam - December 2011

The Saint Paul chapter of the Cartoonist Conspiracy met in December to bring the world

You'll notice that this one is only 5 pages because there weren't very many people there that day.
Also, you'll notice that I worked in a shot from the gritty christmas superhero story that I'm working on:

—Thomas Boguszewski

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Elixir

. .

An ugly man turns to the secrets of alchemy to make his inner self apparent on the outside —at any cost.


Process Statement:

I created The Elixir as my final for Sight and Sound: Film in the Tisch School of the Arts way back in June 2010. It was shot on 16 mm film using an Arri S 16mm Camera from 1952.  The story of how this film came to be is long and colorful.  Technical and personal difficulties abounded in production.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Friend Feature: Sam Freiberger

Sam Freiberger (sometimes known as Sam Sandak) is a filmmaker, writer, troublemaker and self-proclaimed Duke of Sherman Oaks, CA.  He studies film at NYU and minors in blowing minds.

Sam creates a very special presentation for his dorm's talent show in this short documentary.
Shot by me and edited by Daniel LaCosse,

The events of "I Want To Be, Anarchy" point out several of Sam's defining traits:
-Constant rebellion against rules that constrain artistic expression.
-A desire to cause a stir, stand out, and affect minds.
-Intense dedication and commitment to whatever task he has at hand.  Perfectionism.
-A love and deep respect for great works of art.  Film, drama, and *sometimes* even poetry.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Winter Dreams at HoBT - Design Internship

NOW PLAYING at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (1500 East Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN):  A show called Winter Dreams

Winter Dreams  is about the ways that all the animals of Minnesota manage to sleep through the winter.  See hibernating bears, turtles who hold their breath for 3 months, snakes who bury themselves in a pit in the ground, frogs who freeze themselves cryogenically, and more!  It's a kid-friendly show with some ingenious puppetry —some of which was designed by ME.

To be more specific, I took a design internship at HOBT this fall and did 3 jobs:
1.  I performed image research and factual research to figure out what certain animals look like and just how their bodies work.
2.  I was tasked with designing and building a shadow puppet sequence based on the Wood Frog —The frog that can tolerate being frozen solid in the winter and resume living after it thaws itself out.
3.  I was also put in charge of fleshing out a sequence that had already been started - one about bees.  In a beehive, the worker bees will crowd around the queen and pulse in order to keep her warm (fun fact, the drones, who usually hang out at the hive, are sent out one by one to die during the Fall)

So I took copious WIP pictures.  So without further ado, this is art in progress.
(read more for pictures!)

Monday, November 14, 2011

"Silent Night" at the Opera

The Black Hat Collective was invited out to another show at the Minnesota Opera on Thursday.  Our mission is to view the opera, interpret it with cartoons, then blog about it.

This time the show was Silent Night — An adaptation into opera of the 2005 film Joyeux Noel, which is a beautiful story about the 1914 "Christmas Truce" of World War 1.

Read on to explore the history, music, art and drama behind Silent Night in this fully-illustrated article —with cartoons, videos and more!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Minneapolis Cartoonist Conspiracy - November 2011

So the Cartoonist Conspiracy met this week to draw:

VS. THE 1%
[And Ugly Sweaters]

Read up:

Funny story - the label on the ginger ale I was drinking fit the "hell penguins" theme, so as you can see I stapled it to the signature page.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Tale of Turnip Head

     One of my ongoing, long-term projects is a graphic novel about the history of Halloween. So far I only have an outline for it written out, and a folder with a few page layouts.
     I figure the full-sized project will take a few years to finish, but I wanted to whip something up in time for Halloween this year. So I created a little four-pager sequence called "The Tale of Turnip Head."
     It's a wordless fantasy illustrating the evolution of the Jack-o-Lantern. It starts off with a Celtic Warrior in the midst of battle. Enjoy.


I plan to take the "Turnip Head" inks and either color them or put some gradients in there to distinguish the figures a bit more. I also have another short Halloween story (an eight pager) blocked out, so you'll probably see it soon.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Bare Bones Halloween Extravaganza.

I spent the 2 weekends prior to and including Halloween helping out with Bare Bones Puppets' Halloween Extravaganza,  "A Fistful of Dirt - How the Death was Won"

"A Fistful of Dirt: How the Death Was Won is a loosely bound tale that is part  Japanese folktale, part Spaghetti Western.  It is the story of a tengu king who decides to do away with Death and, with the help of his tengu cronies, destroys the Book of the Dead, rendering all life on Earth unable to pass through the Veil between this world and the next for over 150 years. As he does so, he traps a wayward Traveler in his irreverent, never ending, “No Death” party. The festivities are interrupted, however, by hordes of elderly beings... desperately hoping to make their journey to the afterlife. Unwilling to hear the pleas of the undead strangers and Traveler, the king is finally swayed by a heartrending encounter with the ailing Earth... The evening concludes with a procession of actors and audience in which all are invited to speak the names of their dead and to sing them a song of remembrance."

Barebones can be described as "community theatre at its best."  It's certainly the most community-oriented production I've ever been involved with.  Hundreds of people came out to put on this show, and work was found for everybody.

images from the rehearsal of the show can be seen here

images from the full-on performance can be seen here

My job was to project psychedelic imagery onto a screen, using the same materials we used on Stromboli's Medicine Show

Happy Halloween :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Blood Splatter FX - Resources

My friend Sam has tasked me with helping to develop special effects for his upcoming film, Saint Mark's Hooker.  Today, we discussed techniques for shooting a full-on shotgun blast to the chest.

I didn't know anything about making bloody explosions before I did my research, but now I have a working knowledge of the techniques involved and the ideas have started to flow.  There are a lot of good resources on the web that I'm compiling here to make the search easier for anybody on a similar quest.

The first (and probably the cheapest) method of making a fake gunshot that I found is from IndieMogul.  In this video Keir MacDonald shows us how to put a condom full of fake blood under a target's shirt,  and use a washer attached to fishing line (if you're inside) or black thread (if you're outside) to snap the condom, making the blood burst out.

In Keir's method, you might need to cut the shot so it begins when the washer exits frame, or else it breaks the illusion.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

So I'm a writer now.

The four thoughts that brought about my rekindled love of writing:

First, I was reading about a great woman polymath named Blanche Ames.  When Blanche died, her daughter wrote, "For her to have an idea was to act."
Which meant to me, instead of thinking about how I'm going to do something, or how much I want to, if I have an idea I should just act on it.  It's freed me up creatively a lot.  I stopped writing "to-do" notes to myself in my journals, and when I did that it freed up all that time and space and creative energy so I could do real writing.  Substantial writing, the kind with ideas.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Resurgence of Dreaming

Resurgence of Dreaming Manifesto
By Thomas Boguszewski and Michael McConnell

     An abundance of cameras and global internet access have made everyone into photographers, filmmakers, and journalists. This new media of the masses has made a critical mass aware of the flaws in our system. Thus, artists pursuing social realism become redundant. In this era, what role do artists play?

     I pledge to bend my art to a new purpose.
     From here on out:
  • I enact a resurgence of dreaming. 
  • I take responsibility to provide a plethora of alternatives to society. 
  • I posit potential solutions to the problems people face. 
  • I make my visions attainable, though they are born of dreams. 
  • I am aware of and celebrate human nature. 
  • I find hope not by denying reality, but by admitting to it and adapting it. 
  • I provide examples of how one can live a happy, virtuous life in a world where the traditional cycle —Schooling, employment, earning, consumption, procreation— has been exposed as flawed. 
  • I believe that we must never give up on happiness even when old methods have failed. 
  • I know it is folly to cling to failed methods! 
  • I actualize my personal visions. 
  • I also give voice to, and interpret the dreams of others. 
  • I depict characters who step outside the normal system. 
  • I break the rules and make my own. 
  • I encourage others to do the same. 

  • I make it clear that any world I dream may be useful and may make us happier, but is not the best possible world. 
  • I do not know the one right way to do things. 
  • I do not have all the answers (anyone who says he does is out to hurt you.) 
  • I know that this set of goals is only right for certain times and purposes. There are many wonderful reasons to make art out there. 
  • I do not sanctify this or any document. 
  • I break this pledge whenever I want.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

24-hour-comic: The Event

So earlier this week I posted the product of my go at the 24-hour comic.  Now that pictures have surfaced of the event, I'd like to give you a glimpse of what it was like.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

24-hour comic - Oct 1 2011

So this is my answer to the creative challenge of this year's 24-hour comic (to create a 24-hour comic in 24 hours).  I was only able to make 8 pages during the 24 hour period, but that's okay.  I tried my best.  This project is made of firsts:  My first 24-hour comic, my first time using bristol board, my first time using ink and watercolors together in a "real" comic.  It was a great day.  Photos of the event to come.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cosi Fan Tutte

This last week I tagged along with the Black Hat Collective, a crew of cartoonists and bloggers, to the Minnesota Opera for a showing of the Mozart opera Cosi Fan Tutte.  And the lot of us drew some funny pictures to go along with what we've seen.

Read on to learn more about Cosi Fan Tutte and to see my cartoons.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Creatures of the Minnesota Zoo

On July 31, my good friend Michael, who lives in Kansas City right now, came up to Minnesota, and while he was here, he and I took some time to catch up and visit the Minnesota Zoo.

I'm going to do a number of posts about this zoo trip, because I did a lot of drawing there.

First, here is a little collage of all the creatures I sketched at the zoo.
A bigger version of the pics can be seen at my deviantart

Thursday, September 1, 2011