DRAWING MACHINES

Today we are going to be looking at drawing machines. And also I’m going to plug the album “Powder Burns” by The Twilight Singers, because it is fantastic.

First of all: it really is a pretty great album, guys! Check it out.
Second of all, the project I need to do for the art workshop involves making drawing machines. So, I figured I’d have a look through what I could find on the internet about them so I had a better knowledge of the kind of stuff I could be doing.

So, let’s start!

First of all, there are the more precisely calibrated, software-enhanced machines which appear to be basically glorified printers with ideas above their station, as shown below (in fact, couldn’t a printer be classed as a drawing machine?):

Potentially, two definitions are open for exploration in this project: “Drawing” and “Machines”.

Other examples: Nam June Paik’s Magnet TV

This post is a work-in-progress, I will update it when I have access to a computer that can run a youtube video without crashing.

THINGS I LIKE #3

H. P. Lovecraft has perhaps the widest and most loving following of any historical racist horror writer. Some of the things that get made about his work are among the most interesting and diverse of their kind. First of all, there’s the stuff I’ve done (see previous posts), but then there’s also things that other people have made, too. Let’s have a look at some of those.

This is a trailer for the 2005 black and white silent movie “The Call of Cthulhu”. It’s pretty fantastic in terms of look, atmosphere, and especially the Cthulhu model at the end. I really want to watch this.

For this one, the animation might not be the best in the world, the storytelling may be more than a little hard to follow unless you already know the original story, and the spiral transitions are appalling, but the illustration and the colours more than make up for it. I think I’ll have to try something similar…

And finally, there is this. There’s such a great blend of different animation styles and video… The fact that it has less than 500 views (at the time of writing) just seems wrong to me. It’s probably the best example I’ve found recently of what I would like to try doing visually, I think?

That’s all for now, anyway! Just a little update to keep a record of the kind of stuff I’ve been looking at. And, listening to: Check out the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, it’s really funny and also very informative. Two times the goodness.

INFLUENCES (YET MORE)

This is another thing which I think is pretty fantastic, it’s not really the sort of thing I think I’d ever be capable of doing, but, it’s important for me to note it here on this blog, as it is with any visually or intellectually or otherwise interesting thing, as an influence, because that’s what this blog’s about, I guess. I think this is just, absolutely beautiful, really well done.

Of course, another thing that I like is this:

So, y’know. Swings and roundabouts.

INFLUENCES (AGAIN)

Plenty of other people also work using audio, especially animators, but there are other ways of using it as well. For example, here are some by Darren Dutton which I think are probably relevant:

The first one, stylistically (especially with the ‘oldness’, and the additional expressions of Alex Lowe)…

And the second one is probably less relevant stylistically, but there are parts of it (for example, the mannequins in the car) which are good.

THINGS I LIKE #2

These are probably my favourite adverts right now? The timing is pretty fantastic.

A LOOK AT VIDEOS

Throughout my extensive and illustrious two year film-making career, I have created a wide number of videos (well, somewhere between eighty and a hundred), all with at least a slightly humourous aspect to them, or at least, that is the intention.

I definitely think that, after having found a good working strategy, i.e., making videos to fit audio, my work has improved a lot. Perhaps one thing now might be to narrow things down further, which is something I’ve tried with creating different serializations of videos, and also to try to explore more mediums when creating the images and objects shown in the work.

This is starting to sound a bit too much like an essay though, but, another thing I find with my work is that I tend to use audio from things that I admire and want to honour, in some way. Maybe to give back some kind of thanks to them, or whatever. This may also just be because I find them enjoyable and so think that they make enjoyable work, which is definitely part of it, and also part of why I find making them to be enjoyable.

Also, this was written at about ten to midnight and I’ve just been watching “EXAM” so, I shall have to end it now I think. Good movie, though.

THINGS THAT INFLUENCE ME (PART TWO)

Okay, so here’s another one of these:

Obviously cinema and film is not the only visual medium I indulge in, and so not the only visual influence upon me, here for example are some other things I think have become particularly influential:

ADAM AND JOE

Definitely the look, feel, and personality of their TV and radio shows have been a big influence on me, as well as just a reminder that doing something like this is possible. Or, was possible. In the nineties.

LOST

Disappointing though its final episode was (and it was, it really, really was) – I still think that in the approximately four years that it was a part of my life, it had a huge impact on me in terms of the visual aesthetic of the old, abandoned laboratories and experimental facilities in this wild, jungle environment, and the sense of mysticism and strange technology.

INTERVIEWS WITH KEN PLUME/GEEK A WEEK INTERVIEW WITH KEVIN SMITH

Basically just the entire outlook of these, that everything has an audience and the whole attitude that if you want to do something, you can just do it and put it out there and let it find a life of its own, that is pretty infectious and the interviews are pretty good also.

Anyway, next up I guess I should talk more about the general direction of my videos and work, and look at what I’ve been doing and where it’s possibly going.

THINGS I MAKE #5

This one’s just a quick little video I made for college, using some bread. I’ve thought about using this audio for quite some time since I re-listened to the old Adam and Joe XFM radio show podcasts over the summer, and I had the episode saved to my computer. Being given the task reminded me and pushed me over the edge to finally make this video. I also made another one, but that’s not going to be uploaded any time soon (because it’s not half as good).

THINGS THAT INFLUENCE ME (PART ONE)

So, I guess I figured I should talk a little bit here about what influences me creatively, and what makes me want to make artwork. I suppose probably the biggest driving force at the moment is when I hear something on a podcast or other piece of audio that I think would make for a good video, usually this is spoken word or a short sketch or advertisement.

However, audio alone can also be a means to an end, and something that I enjoy making: I have tried briefly to make my own approximation of a radio play and a fake news broadcast after listening to such things as the extensive catalogue of the KWUR Theater of the Air, and the Onion radio news, not to mention all my musical performances.

Audio is also usually a great source of information for me, for example the Geek A Week podcast, the recent interview with Phill Jupitus on www.asitecalledfred.com, and the interviews there generally on the “A Bit Of A Chat” podcast are generally informative on the inner workings of things, and the attitudes of people in various industries such as Adam Savage or John Hodgman.

Another good source is the Stuff You Should Know podcast for more general information and introductions to interesting things such as cave dwelling animals, ninja, samurai, the concept of Quantum Suicide etc.

Audio is probably fast becoming my most common way of getting inspiration and ideas because of the mass amount of content available quickly and easily for free via the internet, and the fact that it is transportable, so you can do other things while you listen to it.

I still need to be informed visually in order to make work however, and I think this is definitely something that I should work on. Usually, because I don’t have all that much money, getting a DVD or watching a film at the cinema is still a special experience and has a lot of impact on me, which I think is why after seeing Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai movie, I started using more black and white video because of the fantastic precedent it set for me in terms of how good it can look, especially on the digital projection and the big screen I saw it on, it was really pretty great.

And then there’s the last movie I saw in the cinema, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, which featured different uses of text pretty heavily, which was already something I was interested in and doing, but it showed a lot of different ways I hadn’t thought of or been able to.

Another thing that I think I should work on is the use of different kinds of shots and especially the use of lighting in my videos. I believe that my composition and technical skill is increasing quite a bit and also that I am becoming a little bit better at trying to copy different things visually as opposed to just making things up myself: I need to remember that there is a precedent and a huge library of work available to study from!

Another thing that influences me perhaps even more than information is personality, and the essence of something. Also, the dog is whining a lot so I’ll finish this later, seriously it has not shut up for about three paragraphs.

THINGS I MAKE #4

Finally! It’s been quite a few months since the last one, but I managed to get another episode for the Nuts on the Road series I’ve been working on done. I have enough audio for at least another episode at some point in the future, so, that’s something else to work on I guess! I’m pretty pleased with how this one came out, even if it was pretty difficult to sync up all the text to an acceptable degree in VideoStudio. I’ll definitely have to use Flash for stuff like this in the future. There were a couple of shots and images I didn’t end up using, but, nothing too major I guess, so, all in all, pretty pleased with how it turned out!

EDIT: and also this happened.

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