Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 2012 Artist Update

Today is December 20, 2012. Life has not turned out the way I had hoped. I remember waking up at 4am because that was the only time I could use the recording lab to put together a project I was working on for an audio productions class at the California College of the Arts and Crafts now known as California College of the Arts CCA in Oakland California. I was highly motivated and fueled with ambition to reach my career goal of making lots of money and having lots of friends and respect as a great film director. I remember back then when I was 22 years old with long hair, a leather jacket and keys dangling from my hip. I'd ride my motorcycle to my internship City Centra Digital in the pouring rain just to answer phones. Then on a nice clear Saturday I would meet with the other interns and the our production director David Moragne would teach us how to make movies. He told us about composition, lighting, and the logic and theory behind Hollywood Style narrative film making. Then I would spend hours in film appreciation class where I would watch movie after movie, and fall asleep as the professor Marc Lassur would lecture on and on about stuff that I could not understand with his thick french accent. I remember all the frustrations with needing help in each class. Having a learning disability, I had tutors and I never would have been able to graduate college if it weren't for there help. After all that struggle, I still never found a job where I could put my degree to use. I worked at Blockbuster for a year. Then I got into adrenaline. I think it was to cope with the depression. I got really into motocross and motorcycle racing. I lived in a fantasy world where I thought it was realistic to pursue a career as a world champion motorcycle racer. I watched videos of my favorite riders and attended races at Sears Point now known as the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma California, and Laguna Seca in Monterrey. I drove out to Southern California to race at Madera, and took classes with Keith Code and his road racing school. I raced at Buttonwillow with the American Federation of Motorcyclists and the Snarlsport Racing Team. Then I broke my elbow, and the doctor told me I'll never have full range of motion again. That put the fear in me and made me realize I'm not invincible. Since then I've had upper back and shoulder pain. The accident made an impact on me and since then I've had all sorts of physical limitations as to what activities I can participate in. This year I tried dragon boating, but my shoulder injury limited me from being able to enjoy that sport. Now days I occasionally walk and work out lightly at a gym twice a week. That's about all I can do. It was really hard being knocked off my hopes of being a motorcyclist for a living. I wasn't sure why I was alive. I got help and decided to pursue a career as a 3D animator at the Academy of Art University. I've always enjoyed drawing. In high school art was my best subject. Since I completed all my academic courses at CCA, all I had to take was studio classes. Ruban De Anza taught me about light and shadow and how to render with charcoal. Shawn Featherstone and Mesha Klein taught me principles of animation and character animation. Jason Patnode taught me how to use Maya, a 3D animaiton program to animate characters that were provided by the school. I worked hard in the lab and had tutors teach me how the program worked and to refine my work until it was at a quality that would make me eligible for hire. I worked with Linda Bell, the animator that brought life into Yoda in the Star Wars Movies to refine my demo real; polishing each piece until she was ready for me to start applying for jobs. I applied at Lucas Arts, Pixar and Massive Black, and out of all, only Pixar was nice enough to send me a rejection letter telling me that I don't have the skill set that they are looking for at this time. I kept working on it, but at some point I lost all hope. I think it was around the time my student version of Maya expired, and I started making money as a caricaturist. It wasn't a lot, but it felt good; like the universe was saying "Hey! This is what you're supposed to do! You're good at this!" So I've just been doing that at parties ever since. Still..It's not what I originally intended and that is the moral of my true life story. That life throws curve balls at you. It's not fair. You can try your hardest and still you may not succeed, but as long as you're breathing..As long as there is life in you, you can still contribute something to this world. It might not be as glamorous as being a 3D animator for Pixar, or winning races on a motorcycle, but there might be someone like an elderly person who would not be able to eat without you taking the time to deliver a meal from Meals On Wheels. There might be a smile you can bring to a child at a birthday party by drawing a simple cartoon portrait. Consider all of your gifts and talents no matter how unrecognized they might be and you'll find some simple way to matter in this world. Stay positive my faithful Stanimation Fans! Remember, it's not so much about what you take from your experiences in this life, but how much you can love and give to others. That is the ultimate Buddah. Peace, Stan







Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August Update: What I've Been Working On


I recently finished a commissioned watercolor painting for an online client. He described the desired piece as a depiction of Jesus Christ on as a life guard sitting on top of his watch chair with a family playing in a distant ocean. There was also a request for there to be a surf board in the painting. I began working on this project using photo references that the client provided. By the end of the first week I presented 2 sample 9"X12" water color paintings for the client's consideration. The client used Photoshop to restructure one of the sample paintings and sent it back to me as a file attachment. Using the client's digital revision, I was able to create the 18"X 24" poster sized final.

Another commissioned art illustration I had finished earlier was of a sheriff.
I had drawn several different versions of this character and before the client and I had reached the desired result.

I am still drawing caricatures at parties and events. I have advertisements published in Golfer's Digest and Parents Press. I also continue to advertise on Craigslist, and once a week I draw a caricature just to keep my skills sharp.
This recent sketch depicts the crew of Serenity; a spaceship in a discontinued science fiction television show called Firefly. I had watched all 5 DVDs from Netflix and was very impressed with the character development and story telling of this show. It could be compared to Friends, only it's in space and people are constantly trying to kill them. It's very exciting entertainment. I can't really decide which character I like the most. They are all very dynamic people.
I also finished some landscape paintings.

This acrylic landscape is of Point Lobos in San Francisco right near the Beach Challet Restaurant. This 10"X 10" acrylic landscape painting sold the day I posted it to my Flickr photo sharing account.

I also finished a portrait of my friends dogs:

And here is another one I finished of a cat:

Last week I enrolled in a painting class. Now I am getting individual instruction from a far more experienced painter in a studio space with other artists on a weekly basis. I am hoping to strengthen my ability to add realism in my work. Realism takes an acute attention to details, and being a cartoonist I have always captured the essence of my subject matter with exaggeration; using caricature. It's important to challenge myself and to always be learning new things to promote brain growth, increase the range of styles I can work in; offering more to clients, and adding value to each work I produce.

I also continue to work on the comic book collaboration "Who Is It?..Doomsday!"with Los Angles writer David Moses. This graphic novel is about a madman named Countdown who goes on a killing spree of vengeance after witnessing a team of medical professionals denying the one thing his father needed to live. Here is a recent sample of my progress on the comic book:

Countdown's hoses have mechanical locks that connect to a pump in his chest. Each hose has spring loaded talons that hook deep into his victims before the pump starts sucking it's blood out. Countdown possesses a unique ability to metabolically breakdown the compounds of blood and convert it to energy faster than the pump intakes it. His power can regenerate wounds in seconds. He is virtually indestructible! I started working on this project in 2010. I still have about a third of the story to illustrate, but I am hoping to get it finished and published for sale online by the end of 2012.









Friday, June 1, 2012

New Beginings

For a short while I had recently spent a time in solitude. I meditated, practiced yoga, painted, and made lots of progress on a comic book that I have been working on since 2010. I also folded origami, made balloon sculptures, and paper crafts. Then I started to feel like the more time I spent by myself the more isolated and a feeling of being separated from the rest of the world emerged. I had created a prison for myself. I lost my inspiration, and stopped creating art. I began to actively seek a place in the world working with people. I started volunteering and working a part time job. This involvement with people in the world triggered a personal Renaissance. An expansion of consciousness; an awakening of spirit was born from ashes of the past. I started thinking of the rules of 3. I say rules, because in the Wiccan religion it is said that the rule of 3 is that what ever energy you emit into the world returns back to you 3 fold. Another rule of 3 applies to the cycle of change, and what I say here is not something I read but wisdom that I've obtained through much personal struggle. Birth, death, and rebirth. Water, gas, ice. These are the eternal states of change. Without change there would be no growth, and without growth spirit could not exist. Spirit thrives through the dance of change. In landforms we see depressions and from depressions a terrace forms into a mountain and from volcanic eruptions or erosion a mountain falls back into depression. Each wave of energy has a high point and a low point. Just as warmth transforms ice to gas, so can time, love, and compassion for others dissolve anger and hatred. Feelings are the many manifestations of spirit, and they are always changing. So when you feel down know that change is near. Something new is always forming. All change is a divine gift from the infinite. We don't always understand why things happen to us. Sometimes it may seem totally unfair, as if the universe is plotting against us. We can even get paranoid and create opposition for ourselves. When we turn against ourselves we contract into our small selves, isolating ourselves apart from the divine gifts the universe is always offering. When we advocate for ourselves and others we are unified with all life and love fills us everywhere. In life, shit happens. It hurts, but it then something good comes along and there is release. Namasday, Stanimation Productions







Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Butterfly Dream

We were all gathered around a table eating. There was a friend of the family that I have known a very long time, her daughter and daughter's friend. We were eating eggs. I cracked my egg open and in the yolk, there was a green caterpillar inside. I watched it for a while. I asked the woman next to me if she has ever seen anything like this before. She shook her head no and we all watched. The caterpillar started to change as it crawled. It transformed into a monarch butterfly before our eyes. I gave the butterfly to the woman and she delicately handled it. She studied it, and the kids were very amused. The kids started to play with it, and the mother began to worry. They opened a window and tossed it outside where it flew away. The mother began to cry. She was sad that the butterfly was gone.
We had to let it go, I explained. Now it can go be free, and be with other butterflies.
She stopped crying and although she didn't say anything, in the silence there was an understanding that she agreed.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sketch Journal

In 2011 I started a journal. While there are many things in there that I will not share with the entire world, there are some things that I feel have value and would be appreciated by people who would be receptive to my interests in spirituality, art and science.


That was my most recent entry.
Here are some things from the past year:
I drank a large cappuccino at Mary's Hippie Gypsy Cafe in Berkeley. It was very good, and it super charged my brain and I'm thinking about how everything is connected. It's all One. The chemist in a lab makes the paint that the artist uses to express it's consciousness, and from consciousness everything is revealed like a thousand petaled lotus..It just keeps unfolding into eternity. Minds in the world connecting from messages on TV, newspaper, friends, coworkers, etc. Cosmic Consciousness is infinite and ever expanding, one big bang always leading to another in a reoccurring never ending cycle. That was what was on my mind when I drew this graphic design of the word espresso, purposefully misspelling it for a visual effect.
This one is a comic of a scene out of Indiana Jones III, The Last Crusade. Indy has to take the leap of faith to get to the holy grail, so he can save his father's life with the holy water. In life there will be many moments when we must take the leap of faith. Whatever the situation may be, it usually is something that scares the hell out of you, and you just have to follow your heart and accept whatever happens.
Last year someone special to me told me her interpretation of what inner peace is. It resonated with me and I drew this graphic design to symbolize the shaman; a person with hands wide open facing the world in all it's awe and pain. Not running from it; not grasping for more of it; just being right there with it, watching it, participating with it fully.

Here is something form 2011. I was going through something emotionally here. Drawing a comic about it is a way for me to make light of it.





In this next comic I am exploring what it means to have intention, not just in art, but in every action we take in our lives. If we have the intention, we can be sculptors creating the life we want, instead of leaving everything up to chance and accepting whatever happens as our fate.
Skipping back up to a more recent entry, here is another discovery about meditation.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Today

Today it is raining.
There is nothing and no one.
When I am hungry I eat
When I am sleepy I sleep.
I am always sleepy except...For when I am hungry.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bouncing Back

One thing I am learning in my Zen meditation class is to be aware of what we are seeking and avoiding in life. "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes..You get what you need." -Rolling Stones song. It's so true!
Yesterday I had an audition to have some paintings accepted to be displayed for sale at a local art gallery. I was rejected because of that year I took off from painting to learn origami and explore different art forms. The trouble with being multi-talented is that it's so hard to just choose one thing to specialize in, but I think that to be a professional at anything we have to commit to a discipline. Does that mean I can't fold any origami anymore? Or continue to practice piano anymore? What things that I have already put so much time into and built so much skill at would I have to give up to specialize in just painting? I can make time to paint. I can join a class, and from that class I will create 10 paintings in a 3 month period, but totally devoting all my time to just one discipline would be a big deal for me, because I am attached to my participation with a variety of art forms.
This attachment comes form my heart and mind, but there is a consciousness higher than either: Awareness. Awareness is the witness of my attachments. Watching them in stillness; a sitting meditation breathing full breaths in and out can alleviate the painful feelings associated with heart and mind.
From my awareness of my attachments there is no good or evil; there is no wrong or right; there is no judgement; only peace. From this place of inner peace, I will eventually become aware of appropriate action. The appropriate action is something I will do out of love not just for myself, but for others too, because in Zen meditation we are taught that no matter how much it may feel like self is separate from others; that I must have mine before you can have yours; the truth is self and other are connected. When we see a blind man trying to cross the street, we help him no matter how busy we are, because his safety is directly related to our own. If a car hits him, the car behind that car may try to swerve out of the way hitting us. So what is the appropriate action regarding my attachment to being a multi-talented artist?
I'll let you know when I reach that state of awakening.
Patience is a rose bud. It doesn't matter how much you want the flower to bloom. You can give it the appropriate amount of water and sun, but no matter what we do, the flower only opens when it is ready, and not a moment before.


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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Happy New Year!

An entire year has passed.  So much has happened.  I have learned that we never stop learning.  I enrolled in a drawing class with Mura White.  Here is an example of my class work:
I am so please with the way this one turned out.  Working with color pencils I rubbed in several layers of color.  There is no black or white in this drawing.  To get darker hues blue, green and red were used.  Rubbing the graphite in, and erasing with a battery operated technical eraser I created the feathers and texture of the branch the bird stands on.  This drawing took about 9 hours to complete from start to finish.
Last year I explored my talent in many areas.  I learned about origami, and made many sculptures out of different kinds of paper.  Here is a sample of my origami:
It's a zebra.  The cool thing about origami is I can take it anywhere.  I can be on a bus, a plane or a train, and as long as I have paper folded away in my pocket I can create something interesting for someone to enjoy.  Children love action models like the barking dog, the jumping frog, or the bird that flaps its wings when you pull on the tail.  I experimented with balloon sculpting, but I couldn't stand the squeeky noise and the popping when I put too much pressure on the balloon.  Here is a sample of something I sculpted from a balloon:
This is one green 360 balloon.  I began with 2 bubbles for eyes, and a lock twist for the head.  Then flower pedaled in the legs and feet.  I followed video tutorials on Youtube to learn origami and balloon sculpting.
I also explored cooking.  I learned to make Sausage Chicken Jambalaya, Chicken Chowmien,Thia Cashew Chicken, and many others.  Here is a photo of a Cherry Pie I made:
The cherries were hand picked from a farm in Brentwood California.  I picked out the seeds and stems, and heated them up in a pan.  When the juices surfaced, I added some corn starch and sugar.
A ready made Gramcracker crust holds the cherry mixture.  I used Pillsberry dough for the crust.  I think a home made crust would taste better, but I have not yet perfected crust yet.
My most recent cooking discovery has been Lasagna Tacos.  I know it sounds bizarre, but if you think about it, it makes sense.  Lasagna is meat and cheese.  Tacos is meat and cheese, but when you add in the layers of ricotta cheese and pasta and stuff it in a taco shell it is very tasty!

When I saw the new year approaching, I got into meditation.  In the stillness of mind, I cultivated the patience and discipline needed to focus on one type of art to specialize in.  I decided that while I am an unusually talented artist it will take longer to be successful if I don't focus on one area.  It has been a long awaited dream to be a successful freelance artist, and by the word successful I mean being able to support myself from the sales of my artwork.  The area I am focusing in on is traditional illustration.  Making time to draw everyday, weather it be a caricature for a friend or client, a comic book, or class work, it all serves to push my drawing skills up to the next level.  Accepting all of the challenges along the way, and facing them one at a time from a place of inner peace has helped me to stay focused, and proactive with my work.