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Monday, January 31, 2011

Sacha Baron Cohen, the Queen

So, being the savvy musical genius that I am (oh lawl), I contributed to a discussion on an upcoming Queen movie, on some music website. As a big fan of Queen, I thought I should share my thoughts here as well.

So, there's a movie that's gonna be about Freddie Mercury. The movie covers the rise of Queen to their legenDARY performance at Live AID. Obviously, this doesn't cover Freddie's controversial death at the hand of AIDS. The role of Freddie Mercury was given to Sacha Baron Cohen. Other things of note is that this project has the full support of the rest of the surviving members of Queen. Anyways, here's a c/p of my post on that (hip) music website:

"While I agree that a biopic about Freddie Mercury ought to include the story about his death, especially considering how eye opening it was to the world, to make the movie about the formation and rise of Queen, and have it culminate in what is undoubtedly Queen’s greatest performance of all time (Live AID) would create a very epic feel to it. Ending the movie with a remake of that performance would simply and perfectly exemplify the rise of Queen. That being said, I could imagine some distortion or exaggeration of history taking place here in this movie to over dramatize it.

The topic of Freddie Mercury’s death, if it is not covered in a sequel, will probably be briefly mentioned at the very end. Text describing how his “controversial death at the hands of AIDS shattered the world, opening its eyes to the etc.” would be accompanied by a freeze frame of the last shot of the movie. Something like that.

As for the casting of Sacha Baron Cohen, I must say that were I directing a movie of this variety, I would never guess to cast him. Sacha Baron Cohen does look rather similar to Freddie Mercury, and also shares his stage…gusto… if you will. His singing in Sweeney Todd reached a very impressive falsetto range. Of course, his singing in that movie was geared towards a more comedic effect, but still it showed that he could hit some notes. I think Sacha would be very capable of expertly singing the songs of Queen, but maybe not as a direct copy of Freddie’s singing. Rather, it would be [sung] as an homage."

After doing a little more research on the topic, I learned a bit about the singing dynamics of Sacha and Freddie. Apparently, Sacha sings as a bass. Meanwhile, Freddie was capable of singing as a bass, falsetto and tenor, a range of four octaves. Hard to top that. I still place my confidence in Sacha Baron Cohen, for some inexplicable reason... Worst case scenario, they'll hire someone else to sing the songs, or simply use existing recordings and have Sacha lipsync it. Only time will tell!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Is Gavin a the Gay?

Gavin, huhuh. More like...GAYVIN. Amirite? Amirite?

If the line above, or the title didn't tip you off by now, reader discretion is advised...

So, today I was browsing a the Facebook, when I happened upon a certain advertisement whilst leaving a praising compliment on the wall of a TF news website. The ad, pictured below, asked if I wanted cheap thrills in the world of gaydom:

Wow. Sounds like...fun?

Allow us to examine some evidence that may lead one to assume that Gavin is a the gay (in the third person!).

1) Gavin has a fondness for gay celebrities: Neil Patrick Harris, Sir Ian McKellen, Freddie Mercury, that Chinese dude who voiced Captain Shang from Mulan.

2) Gavin is apparently well educated in the realm of Yaoi. Ask him what a seme and uke is, and he might be able to tell you (o.o). Plus, Gavin watches 'yoooowwiiiiieeeeeeeee' (<.<).

3) Gavin cries too easily at too much sh-t. Toy Story 3? Tears. That Yaoi thang up top? Tears. Some random episode of How I Met Your Mother? Tears.

4a) Gavin is too artsy and stuff.

4b) Only sport Gavin does is fencing. And fencing is gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay*.

5a) Gavin was once Facebook married to guest-blogger Kazoo. Scandalous.

5b) Gavin has never had a legit girlfriend. Partially because he can't get one but mostly cuz he's a the gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

6) Gavin randomly bursts out singing Disney songs, and excels at singing the girl parts.

7) Gavin can cook.

*Fencing is not gaaaaaaaaay, or even gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, and especially not gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

And there you have it! Undeniable proof that Gavin is a the gay.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

JFK

John F. Kennedy? No! Just for kicks, foo! JFK is an acronym that stands for 'just for kicks'. While someone else out there has probably came up with the same acronym, I thought of it independently, and without influence.

Sadly, the acronym, which will one day be synonymous in fame as 'lol', has not yet taken flight. I have been told that it's a little bit racy to compare a highly revered president to an attitude as passive as 'just for kicks'. Yeah, slight allusion to a president is more racy than saying 'for sh-ts and giggles'...Ok...

However, with the assistance of my Johns-Hopkins bound bro, I hope that the acronym will become widely used by 2013. My brother has told me that he's been spreading it around Brentwood school amongst his friends.  Hopefully, they well catch on...

Anyways, spread the word! Even if you're not as emotionally driven as I to spread it, do it jfk...

Friday, January 21, 2011

ArtProj HCJ Part 4 Supplemental

Art Project - Hazy Cosmic Jive, Part 4 Supplemental

There are a few things I want to point out about the previous blog post:

You'll notice that I named the collection after ze bloggy, Hazy Cosmic Jive. I provide a pretty good reason for it in my proposal, but the real spark of inspiration was this blog. I suppose you could say that I considered 'Hazy Cosmic Jive' as a name for this blog for the reason I chose it for my collection. Other than the fact it sounds cool, it's kinda like a state of mind, like nirvana. It's like a half dazed, half knowing kinda thing, and don't we all live life kinda half dazed / half knowing? Such things appease me.

Point two, you (probably didn't) notice(d) that the 'Fight Club' inspired piece was changed to one based off of Dr. Horrible. This was done because Neil Patrick Harris is awesome. Yes, even awesomer than Brad Pitt/Ed Norton.

Lastly, I noticed something spooky when I finished the write up.

 Yeah.

Anyways, that should be my last ArtProj HCJ post for a while now. I'll post up WIPs (work in progress) of the pieces as I'm doing them, as well as some insight to the process. Should be fun.

Art Proj HCJ Part 4 - What a Lovely Proposal

Art Project - Hazy Cosmic Jive, Part 4

Another c/p post. This is the proposal that's being turned in. It's a sort of pitch that is to be turned into ze teacher, before starting the actual project. Anyways, without further ado, PASTING POWER!

"January 19, 2011

Proposal

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.” – John Lennon

My collection, hereby titled ‘Hazy Cosmic Jive’, will be a collection of nine 16x20 oil paintings, possibly supplemented with the use of sharpie and colored pencils. It will be named as such for a various number of reasons, the first of which being that it plays with the theme that I hope to address in this collection.

The primary theme that I will be touching on is the differentiation between reality and imagination. Imagination and reality live co-dependently on one another, as reality can be changed as a subject of one’s imagination, and yet one’s imagination is somewhat confined by what that person has experienced or learned of in reality. Neither force dominates the other. Several aspects of my collection exhibit this idea.

The name ‘Hazy Cosmic Jive’ finds its origins in the David Bowie song, ‘Starman’, which details the efforts of children to meet an extraterrestrial being, whose extraordinary powers prevent him from coming to Earth as he fears that “he’ll blow [the children’s] minds”. In a sense, this song conveys the message that we all need to tap into what is beyond believing in order to receive the awesomeness that is Starman, just as we must look beyond reality to imagination to see our complete picture. The phrase ‘hazy cosmic jive’ personifies this idea, as it describes a universal harmony that remains elusive and hazy to us – the harmony between reality and imagination.

As a brief visual overview, the nine pieces can be assembled together in a 3x3 configuration, or lined up across in a panoramic landscape view. The purpose of this is to convey the idea that one’s perception of the world can be altered by a simple change of perspective. Each piece will focus on a character, all of whom will be drawn from popular culture, with the exception of a self portrait, which will be the center piece. Rather than create original characters for the pieces depicting fictional characters, I have decided to depict characters from the media and popular culture to reiterate the idea that all things of our imagination are drawn from what we’ve experienced in reality.

The aesthetics of the art will be lined in pencil in the style of cartoon art director and character designer, Derrick J. Wyatt. As it is my intention to push the boundaries between what is possible and impossible, I decided to use Wyatt’s design philosophy because of its extremely stylized nature. There is no doubt that it pushes boundaries, in its organic, flowing style. However, to incorporate some form of reality into this artwork, my detailing will be based more heavily on the art of Studio Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki. Despite the extremely fantastical subjects of his work, his signature art style incorporates his creatures into a very realistic believable world. While his style is not particularly  detailed, its attention to the defining characteristics of its subjects, particularly texture, creates a very realistic, yet imaginative style. Though both of these artists work in animation, their approach to representing these characters is extremely different. I hope that my fusion of their two signature styles will effectively represent the idea I’m trying to convey.

Emulating the style of artist Drew Struzan, a painter most known for his work of painting movie posters, the pieces will primarily be painted in oils, with minimal colored pencils used for touch ups, or detailing. Struzan’s composition creates a very epic vibe, adding a lot of power to his works. His combination of portraits of main characters, coupled with small scenes depicting pivotal moments in the movies his works are based on exhibit a uniquely overpowering vibe, as each portion of the poster carries surplus emotion. The sharpie may potentially be used to outline the focus points of the pieces (the characters). The purpose of this is to contrast the very realistic oils with thick black lines that would not typically be found in real life. Outlining the pieces with sharpie, I hope to achieve an effect nearly reminiscent of animation cels or frames from a cartoon, further working to incorporate the idea that reality and fantasy are codependent.

For reference, the icons that will be featured, from left to right, are:
The Death Star (Star Wars), Iron Man and Captain American (Marvel), Godzilla (Godzilla), Optimus Prime (Transformers), me, Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro), GIR (Invader Zim), Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer (Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog), Pikachu (Pokemon)"

A note that I didn't put down in the proposal is that all the characters on the right side of the portrait find their roots in Japanese fantasy (Godzilla, Totoro and Pikachu). Cool coincidence. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Art Proj HCJ Part 3 - The Artist Influenzaaa

Art Project - Hazy Cosmic Jive, Part 3

This'll mainly be a direct copy/paste of what I turned in for schooooool. On a side note, my folders on my computer are extremely organized. Two of my many folders are 'Projects' and 'School'. I still can't believe I have to go to my school folder to find something as fun as this art project in it. Anyways, without further ado...


January 14, 2010

Artist Research

Derrick J. Wyatt (August 10, 1972 - )

Raised in Paw Paw, Michigan
Attended Joe Kubert School of Art, New Jersey
Art director and/or lead character designer of such cartoons as:
                Teen Titans
                Transformers: Animated
                Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated

As a hardcore Transformers fan since 2007, I’ve actively kept up to speed with the continuous waves of upcoming TF merchandise and media by joining an online fan community. When word first caught on about a new TV show being produced (Transformers: Animated), and images started springing up on the web, I was incredibly excited. However, the majority of the fan community, largely comprised of fans of the original 80’s show, was up in flames. The new stylized aesthetic that art designer Derrick J. Wyatt implemented in his designs of the new robots were unlike any previous incarnation of Transformers. The more organic, flowing line art was in complete contrast to the blocky, geometric design style implemented by all previous eras of Transformers.

I, a part of a small minority of people who liked the new artistic approach, was stupefied by the negative reaction to the new approach. While still paying homage to the original Optimus Prime, this stylized nature of the new design was a breath of fresh air, and would immensely influence my style of drawing. 

Once the TV series actually began to air, the fandom began to better receive it, praising it as the most emotive (in terms of story and art) of the 25 years worth of Transformers fiction. Derrick J. Wyatt’s art style had brought the characters to life, giving them much more emotion and character than one could imagine a robot could have. 

Drew Struzan (March 18, 1947 - )

Born in Oregon City, Oregon
Attented Art Center College of Design; Paid off school by selling artwork and accepting commissions
Graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree

Began work by painting album covers; became highly acclaimed after his cover of Alice Cooper’s Welcome To My Nightmare was voted one of the Top 100 Album Covers of All Time by Rolling Stone.
Started small company called Pencil Pushers; during the 8 years the company lasted, Struzan developed his signature airbrush/color pencil detailing style
In 1977, a colleague of Struzan was asked to create the poster for the re-release of ‘The Star Wars’. Uncomfortable with portraiture, Charles White asked Struzan for help on human characters. Struzan oil painted all of the distinctively human characters of the poster.

Throughout the 70s and 80s, Struzan would create posters for such films as ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Back To The Future’, as well as continue his work with LucasFilms, creating the posters for the Star Wars movies, and Indiana Jones movies.

Struzan, despite the decline of traditional art and the increased popularity of digital art, continued work by creating collectors memorabilia, comics, and a few movie posters for the first of the Harry Potter movies, Hellboy, and, most recently, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. That was his last piece before retiring in Septemeber, 2008.

Growing up with VHS copies of Indiana Jones and Star Wars, I’ve been more than familiar with Drew Struzan’s signature style since I was three. Struzan’s incorporation of movie scenes with the ‘floating head’ motif creates a rather gallant, epic vibe to his posters.


Steve Ditko (November 2, 1927 - )

Studied under Batman artist Jerry Robinson at the Cartoonists and Illustrators School, New York
Comic book artist and writer; Most famous for co-creating the character Spider-Man
Art has always been a very prominent part of my life. Since I was little, I as drawing made up characters fighting epic, legendary battles to the death. I was a sponge, absorbing any movie or TV show I watched, and drawing it out on paper. Imagine how much I flipped after seeing the Spider-Man movie.

My mom, knowing my love for those types of things, bought me a reprinted collection of the first 20 issues of the ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ series. It was through imitating Steve Ditko’s realistic style of art that I was able to grasp the fundamentals of drawing. The dynamic postures of Spider-Man and his enemies granted me much practice, as I unintentionally learned the anatomy and workings of human beings. The settings revealed to me the intricacies of geometric shapes, as well as perspective and vanishing points. The complex inking showed me the importance of adding shades of color to illustrations.

I even began creating comics of my own. A whole new skillset came with that, as I learned the importance of composition and foreground/background.


Hayao Miyazaki (January 5, 1941 - )

Manga Artist, Director, Screenwriter, Storyboarder, Animator, Character Designer
Grew up in Akebono-Cho, Japan
Studied at Gakushuin University; did not study art, despite his already growing interest in the subject
Co-founded Studio Ghibli in 1985
After my Spider-Man comic book drawing phase, I got into a manga/anime phase, during which I was heavily influenced by the works of manga artists such as Masashi Kishimoto (most famous for the series ‘Naruto’). Now a little older, and a little more observant, I was able to hone my drawing skills more and began getting the hang of human form. Despite all this, my anime phase had come to an end during 2008. I would sporadically and selectively return to that style of art for a few personal projects.

I took note of the works of Hayao Miyazaki after my anime phase had ended, and was simply marveled at the intricacies of the art. Hayao Miyazaki’s film company, Studio Ghibli, created some of my favorite animated features, including Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, and Ponyo. The way Hayao Miyazaki masterfully implemented the dynamics of anime to enhance the storytelling experience simply stunned me. The pseudo realistic style of anime simply astonished me, in that it can appear both real and completely fantastical at the same time.


Other Influential Artists:

Jhonen Vasquez
Creator of TV series ‘Invader Zim’
Very stylized, highly geometric artwork; nearly surreal
As Wikipedia expertly put it, “Happy faces are often found in his artwork, trying to evoke an ironic sense of happiness in a world of chaos and darkness.” Well said.

Nick Roche
IDW comic book artist and writer
Very clean linework and inking; overly emotive faces create a strangely realistic presence to his drawings

Ben Procter
Movie concept artist
Has worked on many sci-fi movies such as Tron: Legacy, Transformers, Star Trek
As a movie concept artist, Procter expertly incorporates objects of fantasy into the real world

Mark Crilley
OEL (Original English Language) manga artist
Revered (and loved) by the online amateur artist community for posting detailed and intricate drawing tutorials on open websites such as Youtube and deviantART

Art Proj HCJ Part 2 - Outline

Art Project - Hazy Cosmic Jive, Part 2

Part deux of the Sem2Proj [edit: HCJ]! Need to think of a better name (>.>). 

So I wanna outline this piece in its entirety in this post. This following segment is quoted straight from my previous blog post about the Sem2Proj [edit: HCJ]:

"The purpose of this collection, featuring characters from popular culture like GIR and Pikachu and Godzilla and Totoro and Captain America and Iron Man and Optimus Prime and the Death Star and Tyler Durden, is to speak about how reality and the imagination are codependent on each other, living symbiotically. That's why, rather than creating new characters, I'm using already created (and relatively well known) characters, as my imagination is based on what I've seen in reality in the media. In this sense my reality governs my imagination, despite the fact that reality is whatever your imagination wants it to be."

The canvases can be arranged as a block or arranged horizontally across in the following two configurations:

The reason for this is to further emphasize that our perception of the world can be altered by something as simple as placement, composition or perspective. 

The reason I'm doing a piece of this variety is, as you may know, I'm kinda an inside person. Every since I was a kid, I was captivated by videos. I would pop in my VHS copy of Star Wars: A New Hope nearly every day. My love for movies, sci fi and fantasy has never died. It's had a great influence on me as both a person and as an artist. 

GREAT SEGWAY! Next post: Artist Influence

Until then...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Art Proj HCJ Part 1 - Prismacolouuuuurs XD

Art Project - Hazy Cosmic Jive, Part 1

So, mah art teacher, Ms. D., is supah crazy awesome, so we were assigned this epic semester long assignment where we make, essentially, an exhibit. It's awesome. I'm doing nine pieces...super cool. SEE THE PICS!

The end piece won't look precisely like this. It'll be in color, done up in oil paints and some Prismacolors. The style is inspired by Drew Struzan who, as you may know, did the posters for movies like Star Wars.

The canvases can also be arranged horizontally all the way across. The purpose of this collection, featuring characters from popular culture like GIR and Pikachu and Godzilla and Totoro and Captain America and Iron Man and Optimus Prime and the Death Star and Tyler Durden, is to speak about how reality and the imagination are codependent on each other, living symbiotically. That's why, rather than creating new characters, I'm using already created (and relatively well known) characters, as my imagination is based on what I've seen in reality in the media. In this sense my reality governs my imagination, despite the fact that reality is whatever your imagination wants it to be.

CIRCULAR! So, I'm on, like, step four of this project. I've decided what message I wanna convey, I got my artist influence (I'll post that on another post), and I've outlined my drawing. Step four was gathering materials...

SO, I went down to an Aaron's Brothers today which was freaky freaky amazing. Usually when I describe 'my haul', I'm referring to a shopping spree of mah collectible TF stuff, but today it describes a haul of art related things THAT I FREAKING LOVE.

I got a sketchbook, a 24 box of Prismacolors and two sharpie pens for only $40 or so, since the Prismas were 40% off (thank.f--king.God).

With that said, I must say that I freaking. Love. Prismacolors. They are so silkeh smoooooth XD. Ever since making the transition to digital artwork, I haven't touched a colored pencil or crayon in ages, the very staples of my youth! Whilst I boast about my Adobe Photoshop CS5 Pro nowadays, when I was seven years old, I would boast about my 72 pack of Rose Art pencils and 100th Anniversary 100 Crayola Crayon pack (and I was the sh-t). My reintroduction to the world of physical media was blown away with the use of Prismacolors...

The very first page of my sketchbook chronicles this epic return. And I share it here with you...

Random annotation regarding the sketchbook sketch. My digital camera recognized the girl's face as a human face. ARTISTIC PRIDE. ;__;

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Enter the Nightbird...

MY FIRST ACTUAL TRANSFORMERS POST! This is epicendary! So, tonight I decided to watch some classic 1984 G1 Transformers. According to my reliable reliability, this is episode 10 of season 2.

The premise involves a Dr. Fujiyama creating a robot called Nightbird. Nightbird is kidnapped by the evil Decepticons for evil purposes! Gasp!

The first thing I'd like to talk about is the first few scenes, wherein Dr. Fujiyama, presumably of Japanese descent, contacts the Autobots at their base. Politely beginning the conversation with a bow, Dr. Fujiyama explains his creation of a female ninja robot. Fair enough, Mr. Japan-Man. Wheeljack and Ratchet, the team scientist and doctor, exchange jokes regarding the inefficient of human technology. Much to their surprise, the ninja robot turns out to be awesomesauce.

This plays against the Autobots, as the Decepticons reprogram Nightbird for evil purposes. HILARITY ENSUES!

Many great lines are had during these episodes. Optimus continuously restates the phrase "ninja-robot", much to my happiness. Optimus Prime also states, in response to Nightbird's feigning defeat, "SHE'S PLAYING ROBOTOPOSSUM!". That made me happy too. o.o

Megatron and Starscream later have a great exchange.

Starscream: She's not so hot!
Megatron: She's hot enough to replace you!

Seems Megatron found a new EFF buddy o.o

This joke continues later when Megatron states, "You're definitely on my replacement list, Starscream. Hehahaha! She's everything I ever wanted!" At this juncture, Starscream punches Megatron like a bitter unloved housewife. Megatron, in turn, puts Starscream into a cage. An insightful look to domestic violence of today's time.

Megatron later views Nightbird's status through a TV screen. Seeing Nightbird kinkily bonded in "electro-mesh", Megatron utters a strangely elongated, "impressiiiive"...

FUN STUFF!

Now, onto Nightbird! Nightbird does not speak throughout the whole episode, characterizing herself as a true ninja. Despite her approximate 2 ton+ weight, she moves across the Autobot base without making a single sound. "Impressive. Most indeed impressive."

And with that Star Wars reference, let's talk about this episode's Star Wars reference. Nightbird, amongst her arsenal of sai blades, nunchuks and shurikens, also possesses a lightsaber, with authentic ILM lightsaber noises. After a certain amount of time, Optimus Prime consents to using his blaster on Nightbird in self defense, in spite of his promise not to do so. Nightbird, then holding her lightsaber, is defeated by the blaster, reaffirming Han Solo's statement that "hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side".

...THEN NIGHTBIRD DEVELOPS A CONCIOUSNESS OMG THE END!

On a completely separate note, I'd like to point out that Cliffjumper is the only one who is unsuccessful at jumping up the cliff in the Autobots's pursuit of Nightbird. Juuuust saying. .__.

In conclusion, this episode was not great, but definitely fun. It's among the more memorable of the season 2 episodes, and Nightbird would kinda live on as one of the few female robots ever prominently featured during the first two seasons of the Transformers.

Granted that I am rating this episode in comparison to other cheesy Transformers 80's cartoons, I'd give this an 8/10.