New Website in the Works.

I’ve not a new website in the works. I dont want to post a link to it just yet, as it is still missing a lot of stuff, but I like where it’s headed.

The old website was built to be fast and efficient, but it wasn’t flexible or easy to maintain. With the introduction of tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, and web-enabled gaming consoles, flexibility has become, in my opinion, much more of a priority. And based on the frequency of my updates, making it easier for me to do so is probably going to be a welcome change on my end, because I really hated updating things the old way. The last website was built by hand in a plain text editor. I had no idea what I was doing, and changing one thing meant opening and editing at least 4 separate files. This was a whole lot of very monotonous work, and the urge to procrastinate nearly always overpowered the urge to update.

This new site is using a lot of ready made components with lots of advanced content management systems; I’m halfway through uploading all the content and I’m still discovering new features that aren’t even advertised by the theme’s creator, Devin Price.

There is now a master gallery listing of images. Images can be tagged in various ways, and galleries can be created on the fly based on whatever tag you select. That means if I tag things “abstract, 2009, acrylic, Toronto,”, you can click “2009″ and see a gallery of everything I painted in 2009. With just one more click, you can be taken from there to a new gallery depicting toronto, or all my strictly abstract work.

I think this is a great addition to the website, because it frees people from the rigid organizational scheme I used on the old site, and lets you search for things however you want to search for them.

As I play around with this website further, I’m sure I will discover more cool new features that have so far gone unnoticed by me. Content from 2006 to 2010 is currently uploaded and tagged, but I still have to go through and update all the information and the availability of each piece. That won’t be a fun job…

Once I get everything uploaded, tagged, and type up all the important details, I’ll post the link here to let you have a sneak peek at what I’ve done before replacing the old site.

A Little Bitcoin Experiment.

Two weeks ago, Site 3 CoLaboratory held a little, informal bitcoin themes open house. Even though it’s likely too late to jump on the BitCoin Bandwagon to strike it rich, it’s still an interesting idea, and an interesting thing to play with, so I installed a BitCoin wallet

At around 4 in the morning, I created a little page, http://kyleclements.com/bitcoin.html.

All it contains is a single line of text, a number, and which is just that number in an easy, machine-readable form.

Send Kyle some BitCoins: 1Ns9ck9gr2BMrgThVNmF3uYGc5947cnuNt

bitcoing_qr

I tweeted about it at 4:09, and by 6:34, I had receive my first transaction. Wow. The internet can be a surprizingly altruistic place sometimes.

Requests to Work for Free

This is something that happens far too often for creative professionals.

You get a message in your inbox from a big name, multi-million dollar company working on a high-profile job, and they would like you to work for them.
Only the budget is very small, so they won’t be able to pay you for it.

I get roughly one of these every week. I was fooled once. Then for a while I would reply with my working rates, “if you want x, pay me y”, and I’d get a sob story about how tight things are financially in these “hard times” and bla bla bla, or I’d never hear back from them at all. Lately, I haven’t even bothered to reply, I just mark it as spam and go on with my day.

Earlier today I came across this post by Juan Luis Garcia who had been offered to design the posters for Spike Lee’s version of the South Korean classic revenge movie, Old Boy. Not only did this company refuse to pay for the design work, they even threatened legal action against the artist who they refused to pay. There is no sense in me typing out a recap of the story, you should go read the original source instead.

This story really struck a nerve with me because it coincided with a rush of these crap offers in my own inbox, and I am tired of dealing with this bullshit from these shit bag companies.

So let me make a clear warning here and now: If you send me messages requesting that I work for free, you are consenting to having that message, complete will full personally-identifying information published for the world to see.

I’m also going to be getting in touch with several of my artist and designer friends, and see about working together on compiling a list of shit bag companies and agencies who abuse creative professionals.

What’s that? “It will be good exposure for me”? Well right now I would like to expose my middle finger in your general direction.

Photography Tips: Working the Scene

Photography discussions online tend to focus almost exclusively on gear, but rather than posting more technical tests or reviews, I’d like to talk about working the scene – being on location, and making little decisions that make a photo better.

I like to go out and challenge myself – I pick a location, then pick a lens that seems entirely inappropriate for that environment, and try to find a way to make it work. In this case, I went to Mount Pleasant cemetery armed with a 14mm prime.

I don’t really show these photos or do anything with them, I mostly just review them, take notes, and hopefully learn something that I can use later on.

Continue reading Photography Tips: Working the Scene

Site 3 Mural: Part 1

I am currently working on my first mural project, which as of this writing, is about 2/3rds done.

I am not playing the role of artist, however, that is Daeve Fellows‘ role. For this mural, I am one of the two project leads – so fundraising, event planning, materials management, scheduling, etc. Instead of painting, I get to do all the fun logistical drudgery work. Yay!

The City of Toronto has this anti-graffiti program going on, where if they find graffiti on your building, you are given given some sort of notice with date informing you of the date that the graffiti must be removed by. At this point, you have three options:
1. Paint over the graffiti in a neutral colour before the date listed on the ticket.
2. Paint a mural over the graffiti with a mural before the date listed on the ticket.
3. Do nothing, and sometime after the date has passed, workers from the city of Toronto will paint over the graffiti, then bill you for it.

Since Site 3 Colaboratory has done a lot of really awesome stuff over the past few years, and has started earning a higher profile in this city as a source for awesome stuff, the members of the shop decided that our building deserved better visibility in the community, so we opted for option 2 – let’s paint a mural!

As one of the few formally-trained artists at the shop – and the only one to major in painting, I kind of fell into the roll of co-lead for the project. (I only wanted to be a consultant!)

Continue reading Site 3 Mural: Part 1

SPAM in the place where I blog, it’s the worst.

Hello everyone.

The last several months, I’ve been getting far more spam than ever before, so I’m having to clamp down on things a bit, add some security measures that make the place a whole lot less fun for humans to use. Sorry about that.

I will also be going through and deleting A TON of spam accounts, but I am only human, and I make mistakes, so if I accidentally delete your account, it’s nothing personal, it just means that you’ve failed the turing test and I mistook your account for something generated by a bot.

~Kyle

D70 vs. D600 ISO Comparison

(Note: It’s 7am as of my writing this, and I have things to do this afternoon, so I’m going to declare this post a work in progress for now and go to bed. more details to come.)

My recent YouTube video comparing the nine year old Nikon D70 to the 9-months old full frame Nikon D600 has received a lot of attention. And it has also received a lot of criticism for being a very sloppy, uncontrolled test. The intention of the last batch of tests was to show the differences you get when you just pick up the camera and go. The output was neutral profile Jpegs, no sharpening or noise reduction. Each of the cameras exposed the shots differently, rendered colours differently, and handled noise differently.

This second batch of tests was a lot more strict. Auto white balance was the only area where the camera got to think for itself.
I used manual exposure mode, and used the exact same settings between cameras.
I shot RAW, not JPEG, to ensure the cameras weren’t doing anything sneaky to the images.
I took screenshots from inside Darktable, my RAW editor of choice, showing each of the images zoomed in to 100%, along with the camera settings.
The results were saved as PNG files, so there would be no softening as the images were compressed.

I’ll go from worst to best, starting with the D600. Click on the image to see the original, full size PNG screenshot.

D600 25600

Continue reading D70 vs. D600 ISO Comparison

I created a Subreddit for artists who want to gather and “Talk Shop”

ArtistMaterials is a subreddit I created earlier tonight.

Upon graduation from art school, I found it difficult to ‘talk shop’ with other working artists, as the internet is filled with many amateur art hobbyists on one end, and a bunch of obscurantist critical theorists on the other, and nothing in between.

I want a place where artists can gather to discuss the properties of cadmium vs quinacridone pigments, argue over the merits of 2 piece vs 3 piece moulds, discuss cobalt drier to oil ratios, talk about sand casting aluminum at home, list expected oil drying time per colour, exchange tips on using the mische technique, or work together to solve the mystery of how something was made.

So, if you are a redditor, head on over! And if you are a regular reader here, don’t worry, Most of the content posted there will come from either right here, or my YouTube channel.

Charcade!

KYL_0679

Some friends of mine are working on a really cool project for Burning Man 2013 – The Charcade!, which can be described best in their own words:

We’re building an arcade and it’s rather non-traditional. (Translation: We’re building the CHARCADE and ALL THE GAMES SPEW FIRE) (quote taken from http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/Site3/charcade-burning-man-2013)

To turn this quick and succinct story into a long and boring one, last night, I was an idiot and locked myself out of my studio, and one of the project leads is excellent at getting past pesky locks. I have him a call, and ran over to my place, broke me in, then headed back for the “flame test”. As soon as I heard the words “flame test”, I knew I had to grab my camera and run over to experience (and document) the action!

Continue reading Charcade!

Sakura Trees at High Park

I’ve used my new Samyang 14mm f/2.8 for a lot of architectural shots, working on collecting new source material for a batch of new paintings that I will begin production on in the near future. But I can only photograph so many cubes before I long for rougher, rugged, irregular shapes. I wanted to take my new lens out into the wilderness and get some landscape shots!

Of course, there isn’t a whole lot of wilderness to be found in downtown Toronto, so I headed off towards the next best thing: High Park. The cherry blossoms were in full bloom this weekend. If you’ve never seen High Park’s famous Sakura trees in full bloom, then you are missing out.

KYL_7110

Continue reading Sakura Trees at High Park