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

Download Your Very Own Kyle Today

Many months ago during the daze that was getting ready for my big show, Derek Quenneville made a 3D scan of my torso during a Site3 open house. He uploaded it to a website and made me freely downloadable.

Download a Kyle

If you have access to a 3D printer, you can download and print your very own Kyle!

Source: Thingiverse

Why People Hate Art: Our SoOnCon 2011 Talk

I edited the talk down from 28 minutes into a much more focused 18 minute presentation. The other half will be posted shortly (well…eventually) but here is the meat of the talk.

If you want the background to this talk, and don’t feel like digging through my earlier posts, here is a brief summary of this talk and how it happened:

Brad Blucher and I were invited to give a talk at the TIFF Bell Lightbox for SoOnCon 2011.

The topic for our presentation was “why people hate art”. Using examples of things we have experienced first hand, we launched into an attack on the pervasiveness of obscurantism masquerading as deep insight within the art world.

Art is often nothing more than a footnote to a (poorly written) essay using invalid logic to make unsound arguments, all the while using technical and scientific terms inappropriately and without justification in an attempt to apply a veneer of rigour and profundity over their steaming pile of banal observations and utter nonsense.

This talk is a criticism of that tendency in the art world.

Tiff Talk Teaser

I mentioned my SoOnCon talk in several earlier posts.

I’m currently in the process of editing the footage from the actual talk. The full presentation was 28:50, just shy of the 30 minute allotment we were given. My goal is to remove the dead space and redundancies without taking away from the actual content or tone of the presentation. I want to deliver the complete talk, while taking up as little of your time as possible.

Here is a little teaser to hopefully whet your appetite:

Talking at TIFF: What it Took to Prepare Our SoOnCon Talk

Ever wondered exactly what it takes to put together a 30 minute presentation?

Brad and I knew that the opportunity to speak at SoOnCon was something that is unlikely to happen again any time soon. We also knew that we had nothing to talk about. We had given a lightning talk at Toronto Mini Maker Faire just months earlier, and we haven’t really done any new projects since then. But we still really wanted to do something.

I was on the phone with Brad, pacing around my apartment, trying to throw ideas back and forth, but nothing was coming to mind. Our conversation wandered off on some bizarre tangent. Then we started complaining about how horrible artists are, and how terrible a lot of art projects are. That’s when a little light bulb clicked on in my brain.

I suggested, “why people hate art”.

We frequently have long conversations about this very topic whenever we get together, so generating material wont be a problem. We’ve experienced enough art-BS first-hand to burn through 30 minutes without having to prepare a thing! This talk would be little different than any of our normal meeting, with one little difference: instead of ranting to each other in private about how horrible the art world is, we will be ranting in public! Brad thought I might be on to something. He prepared the application form and sent it off. We received our acceptance notice the next day.

That meant that we had to get to work.
Continue reading Talking at TIFF: What it Took to Prepare Our SoOnCon Talk

My SoOnCon ReCap

Being given the chance to speak at SoOnCon is simply too good of an opportunity to pass up. Having that event take place at the TIFF Bell Lightbox makes the experience that much better.

The work that went in to getting ready for this talk will be the subject of another entry. This post is about the event itself.

I arrived an hour later than I had wanted to. I missed the first few talks. Alex Leitch had started by the time I entered the building, and I didn’t want to be ‘that guy’ who barges in half way through and disrupts everyone. Instead, I sat down in the hallway and put together my slide show.

I went for an extremely simple black-background-with-white-text aesthetic, because most PowerPoint presentations suck, and I wanted to keep it as simple as I could. Plus, I was using Libre Office, so any fancy stuff I did was unlikely to turn out right after being converted to .ppt format. The slides were more of a reminder for Brad and I than fancy visuals for the audience. Our talk was a series of short stories, and each slide was a key phrase that reminded us of that story.

I sat through several lightning talks as I got my own presentation in order. I felt bad for working during someone else’s talk, but I knew I’d feel worse if my own talk failed due to lack of preparation. Just moments after finishing the slide show, a fortunate turn of events landed my way: the talk going on in Cinema 5, the room where Brad and I would be presenting, ended 10 minutes early. That meant we had time to copy files over to the presentation computer and do a tech demo, set the levels, get the sound working, and make sure there would be no hiccups along the way. I took care of all that stuff without any problems.

Finally, I could relax and just enjoy the presentations. I bounced from room to room, catching whatever seemed interesting. I hadn’t really slept the night before, so my exhaustion made it difficult to get as much out of the talks as I should have, but I still enjoyed much of what I saw.

Then, it was time for my talk.

Continue reading My SoOnCon ReCap

Tiff Talk Tomorrow

Note: This entry was written Thursday, September 29th, two days before the talk. I didn’t have a chance to edit and post the entry until the day after the talk.

I have a talk coming up at SoOnCon this Saturday. Brad and I will be standing on a stage in the Tiff Bell Lightbox giving a 30 minute presentation about the problems we see with the art world.

Continue reading Tiff Talk Tomorrow

Laser Cut Wooden QR Code

Summers tend to by play time for me. It’s not about production, it’s about trying interesting new things and seeing what happens. Last summer, the result was a collection of invisible paintings.

This summer, it’s a whole bunch of different things. In the middle of it all, I decided to play with veneer and lasers (who doesn’t have that urge from time to time…)

This was the result:

A functional QR code made from light and dark inset wood. It works!

More details and info after the break.
Continue reading Laser Cut Wooden QR Code

August Round-up

Well, it looks like another month has slipped by without any updates from me. It’s not because I have nothing to report; it’s actually quite the opposite. Lots of things have been going on, and I’ve been struggling to keep up with it all.

The biggest time-sink of the past month has been the Site 3 Silent Auction, which Brad and I organized. I have never taken the lead on a big event like this, I had no idea what I was doing, but the evening turned out to be a huge success. I learned a lot, and I do see areas where we could have done things better, but we had enough redundancy built into our system that even with a few mishaps, everything still ran smoothly. The reactions I’ve seen so far have been entirely positive.

And for anyone planning on organizing a similar event, I will give you this piece of advice: fire performers at a silent auction is definitely a great idea!
Yes, we really had fire performers! I missed nearly the entire show because I was sorting and packing up items, and sorting through paper work, (the performers were a distraction for the guests while we did the behind the scenes work) but our guests seemed thrilled upon re-entering the building.

Of course, part of the reason for organizing a silent auction for artists and makers is to create an opportunity to show off my work. That means that I have to make a bunch of new stuff that fits with the show. So, on top of all the organizational stuff, I had a lot of creative “gotta make something good, and I gotta make it in time” stuff on my plate as well.

When I wasn’t planning this auction and making my own art, I was travelling up north to the top-secret lair (also known as “Brad’s house”) working on the next new-media project to be released to the world this fall. This body of work is going to be kept more hush-hush than Take a Picture (a little mystery is a good thing) but we have been releasing a few hints along the way. We’ve recorded a bunch of videos about the project and it’s construction, I’ve just has no time to edit or post any of them.

Editing video takes a long time. “One hour of editing per minute of finished video” is the expression that is often heard about editing. I am also producing the background music for the video, and that eats up even more of my time. The point I’m trying to get at can be summed up as follows: I’ve got a lot of stuff on the go right now; you just haven’t heard about any of it because we are sitting on a big stockpile of media that has yet to be released.

But it will be.

Soon.

Our Lightning Talk from Maker Faire Toronto

Back in October of 2011, Brad Blucher and I were invited to give a lightning talk at Site 3 at some point in the future. After numerous delays, the talk was scheduled to occur during Toronto’s first ever Maker Faire.

On my way to the stage, I handed my camera to a friend and asked him to film our talk so I could post it to YouTube. Here is that talk:

Continue reading Our Lightning Talk from Maker Faire Toronto