If it’s ever unclear where my fascination with the tools of creative constraint came from, this process overview video about my uncle John Andrew Dixon’s collage work en plein air should provide a strong clue.
Category: John Dixon
I am thirty now
There are two things in that picture. One of them is a FREAKING IPAD. Kara and her family got it for me for my birthday because they are ridiculous. I am still figuring out what it is for (besides giving me yet another platform on which to play Worms), but I already know that a) Flipboard is amazing and b) an iPad makes a much, much better laptop-analog than my poor phone. I’m typing this on it right now!
The other thing in the picture is a card from my Uncle John and Aunt Dana. I’ve told you about UJ’s birthday cards before, but this one is something else. You should click on this high-res version to get a better look.
It’s covered in names from that thing I did for a while, which my aunt and uncle have always supported to an unwarranted degree. I can’t remember whether I told them I was bringing the project to a close, but I think I must have to get such a perfect gift! I’m framing it.
I started writing this on Friday evening, thinking that my awesome birthday was pretty much over, but I was mistaken. The entry immediately following this will elaborate.
Attention conservation notice
I know I’m kind of harping on this, but I remain really upset and angry about the Citizens United decision, and it would appear I am not alone. Public Citizen and three other organizations have launched Free Speech for People, a campaign to fix the problem, constitutionally or otherwise. Even if you don’t feel like signing their petition or throwing some money at them, they’ve got a blog that I hope will be a good clearinghouse for news on the fight.
Uncle John has made the case that requiring full disclosure of corporate campaign spending would be a good compromise solution–that transparency would allow voters to simply turn away from candidates if they didn’t like where their money was coming from. I respect that opinion, but I really couldn’t disagree more.
We already have disclosure requirements that the decision didn’t affect, and they haven’t yet solved anything. Disclosure didn’t keep Max Baucus from getting the tiller on health care reform after taking four million dollars from the health care industry. It didn’t keep Mitch McConnell from taking three hundred thousand from coal and then, coincidentally, fighting to keep mine owners from having to measure mercury discharge. It’s already a shock when an entrenched politician manages to say a few stern words about a regressive, destructive industrial backer; actual voting that way is unheard of. Doesn’t that indicate our ingrained acceptance that our representatives’ ballots are already purchased?
About half the people who voted against Obama didn’t believe he was born in the United States. A quarter of those, in turn, believed that he was born in Hawaii, but that Hawaii was not a state. What does that mean? That people don’t vote on passive facts; they vote on what they hear and see. Money isn’t speech, it’s volume, and when you turn the volume up too high, it distorts.
Via Uncle John
A gentleman named Philip Nagle, from my father’s hometown of Tipp City, is trying to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by bicycling through 48 states in 48 days. Okay, Internet, you got my attention.
Brendan painstakingly imitates a Photoshop filter, third in a series
I will probably never love another episode of television as much as I love Battlestar Galactica, season 3, episode 9, “Unfinished Business.” And not just because it has images like this:
I’ve spent at least the last year and a half (actually, more like seven years, since my undergrad Drawing I class) being obsessed with this limited-tone art style. I called it “rotoscoping” once, and Lisa and Will jumped on me because there’s no animation involved, so I have to admit that it’s actually what people call “tracing.” But selective tracing.
As was likely very obvious to anyone in my family, and as I only realized yesterday, my playing around with tone is blatantly derived from my uncle John’s painting and wood engraving work, especially his portraits of my grandfather (which he often combines with layered collage). Mr. Olmos there has some features similar to his, like the disappearing eyes which Ian and I inherited. I hope I get to look that craggy eventually. Right now people are still asking me what my major is, despite the obvious gray in my hair.
I almost forgot to mention that this is the first thing I’ve ever inked with the brushes I bought in 2003, and although it was a lot slower than my usual pens, I completely get why cartoonists get so excited about it now. There’s a feeling of dynamic control over the line weight that you just can’t get with pens, even the brush pen with which I inked a lot of later Xorph strips. (Not that there are actually any distinct lines in the finished images below. Good.)
So I made a picture and it’s a wallpaper if you want it: the images below link to 1600×1200 and 1600×1000 (widescreen) jpegs. There’s also a browser-sized version if you just want to zoom in a bit.
PS Can Battlestar Galactica be back on now plz
Update 2008.01.26 0001 hrs: Naturally, UJ has a much more cogent post on the subject (the art, not Battlestar), along with one of the portraits I was talking about.
Harder Better Fitter Stronger
Oh yeah! I got a car! It’s a little black Honda Fit (yes, I know you’ve never heard of it) and, three hundred miles in, I love it more than I will ever love my children. My children, for instance, will not get thirty-five miles to the gallon on mostly-vertical Garrard County roads. They’ll be lucky to get ten.
I told this to my uncle Dennis, who reads this blog, and he immediately asked whether I had painted a big “FUCK YOU” on the side of it. I said: not yet!
The insignificance of numbers
Today I posted the 1001st story in Anacrusis, and I wanted to do something a little different for the occasion: an audio story, read aloud by a startling array of generous people. I thought the hardest part would be actually asking them to read the silly little thing without cringing, and the next-hardest would be the actual mixing process. It turns out that the hard part is not being able to use all the material from everyone for the whole thing. They were all so good!
Thanks to Robert Baker-Self, Maria Barnes, Amanda and Jon Brasfield, David Clark, Amanda Dale, Kevan Davis, John Dixon, Holly Gramazio, Josh Hadley, Sumana Harihareswara, Stephen Heintz, Catriona Mackay, William O’Neil, Leonard Richardson, Kristofer Straub, and everyone who’s had a kind or critical word to say about Anacrusis. Let’s do this again when we hit 10,201.
Merry Christmas, Ken and Jon
Ever wondered about my mental self-image, as a lifelong Kentuckian landing in London for the first time, back in March? Uncle John provides.
How have I not written about this yet! My uncle John has returned to blogging, and he’s busily winning merit awards with his fantastic collage pieces, of which I own two, which means I am also a winner.
Other people that write good
UJ wrote a fantastic response to my “Christ of the Barricades” challenge, and Will wrote a prequel to Beloit, saved here from the LJ feed:
Tarnished as it is, the dirty chrome armour of the Heliocrashers shines as they blast through the wall: Erythrophobia zaps at a guard, but canon says that sonoluminescence doesn’t cause bubble fusion. So she punches him through a wall.
The other ‘crashers are covering her while she sets a charge against the generator’s critical weak point when canon oozes out of a grate and tears Erythrophobia in half. The charge doesn’t detonate because canon says they use fusion to fly, not fight: instead, her top half flies into a duct and her suit’s failing containment does the job just as well.
And then there’s stuff like Sumana’s MC Masala, which… you know about MC Masala, right? And Leonard is getting the kind of rejection letters most of us would kill for, for a story you will (when you get to see it) kill to have come up with.
There’s no unifying characteristic between the amazing writers with whom I associate, no New School or Movement, even though I keep trying to assign one. I guess I’m just going to have to publish all you guys?