Lean Into The Grind (David Wiens interview preview)

 

In video game culture there is a term associated with the time it takes to increase your characters skill or attain level progression or even acquire additional items. It’s called level grinding.

We all do it in video games, especially those who play RPGs or more recently, those who play social games which have a pay-to-win model.

Those who pay get to skip the grind and reap the benefits almost immediately. This mentality has led to some not-so-nice feedback from the gaming community and a rather crude nickname for that 2% who spend the most – whales.

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I have this theory that the reason why people hate whales is because they cannot afford the same convenience of “skipping” the grind. But what they don’t realize is that often, the developers have set up a model that no matter how much you spend, the difficulty and challenge stays the same as you climb, thus the reason that demographic continues to exist – as they dump money into a social game, more opportunities and rewards crop up that warrant continued commitment.

Which is why perseverance is so valuable.

As you gain levels in life, you appreciate the commitment and recognize the patterns of it so that the grind becomes a natural element of your progression through life and not something to be feared.

Which is why today’s interview with David Wiens was going to be so fantastic. He serves as a shining example of the value of a creative player with perseverance locked down.

But I made a mistake.

You see, I promised I would share a new interview with you this Sunday, and that’s not really the case. What I really want to do is to give you a teaser of things to come in this month’s entry before the real thing. This is because I’m test driving some new lighting equipment and I want to get your feedback on the how things pan out visually.

Examples to follow:
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And thus we have arrived at A quality lighting. Sound familiar? It’s exactly what I did with the Paige Knickle preview a while back.

That’s why I am SO incredibly pumped to give you readers a test shot of episode 9 of timotheories interviews!

This month’s featured artist is a dedicated product photographer with a passion for perseverance and the commitment to follow through. Below is a clip from our interview!

I’m ridiculously excited to share this preview from the David Wiens interview and you will see the final result next week, but for now, enjoy our brief interlude and the rest of your Sunday. Maybe dig in and start building a new nightly ritual for rest and relaxation? Or read a good book?

I’m out of theories for now, dear readers! Have a fantastic night, and I’ll see you tomorrow with something to clap to.

Tim!

Problems With Art Galleries That No One Talks About (Take Photos All The Time)

Now here’s a little story I’ve got to tell, about an artist blogger you know so well.
It started way back in history, with a museum, a guard, and NYC – you see?

And that dear readers, is how you make a transitional joke from one post into the next one. Please see previous post for reference if you want to get the joke, but I’m going to move along so that I don’t lose this post’s momentum.

Let’s visualize for a moment here.

This is a situation that seems to happen all the time across the world in various museums and art galleries alike. You are seeing a-one-of-kind piece of history for the first time (often a famous art-work) and you want to take a photo of it for posterity and so that you can remember what you saw when you return home. Let’s be honest here, you’re done have an eidetic memory and you definitely aren’t getting any younger.

So you snap a photo.

Kinda like I did when I was visiting the New York Metropolitan Museum for the first time back in 2006. Yes, this story is 10 years old, and for you recent graduates and Millennials on the edge of the age generation cut off, that time probably doesn’t mean much to you.

But for the sake of the story let’s pretend you all do understand me. So you snap a photo with your digital camera (not your phone), and get the warm and fuzzies almost immediately, because you now have proof that you’ve been in the presence of greatness, and your loved ones can be excited or feign excitement when they see you again, and you both show and tell.

And this was definitely part of my intent, but not the whole plan. The whole plan was to get some photos, so I could reference them in my own art later on, and because folio pictures from art books aren’t always the best quality. And at as much as 100 bucks a pop, the costs add up quickly.

But then I felt it, a warm hand on my left shoulder. Ever so slowly followed by a deep voice. “You can’t take photos in here son, read the sign.”

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I had read the sign, I saw the sign, and it told me that these works were over a hundred years old and in a dark room to preserve their colour. And I thought I was being clever, because I know all about lightfastness in painting, and I made sure to turn my flash off on my camera (not my phone), because I was being respectful.

It didn’t matter though, I had been caught.

And the guilt quickly set in. But why should I feel this way, it was 2006 and people love to take photos, in fact, digital cameras were making it easier by the day for people everywhere to get into the photography hobby. So all I have are a couple of blurry memories of one room, and I can barely remember which artists I saw in there, so that sucks.

Luckily for us today though, because museums and galleries are loosening the reins on this particular restriction. Because people take photos everywhere, of anything, and all the time. We can thank smart phones for that phenomenon. It’s really difficult for a venue to justify taking away someones’s phone, because it’s not socially acceptable, and phones can save lives.

And from the perspective of the venue they have to decide if it’s more important to have guards paying attention to visitors touching antiquities or snapping photos. That and the challenge of social media. When organizations use social media to show work going up and down, can they really complain when people are using social media to generate traffic for them? The way we think about communication and conversation is changing, visual communication is becoming hot topic once again.

But of course the biggest challenge is the issue of copyright and fair use. I think that institutions need to protect themselves by asking for permission to take photos of work, but for the layman, taking photos for noncommercial use is a lot more permissible, which may be the first indicators of a culture shift.

As time changes peoples opinions about gender, sexuality, and race, and we become more compassionate, my theory is that we will also become better communicators because we need to and our ideas about images will shift too.

What do you think? Comments? Questions? Please leave some and also subscribe! See you tomorrow with a theory about a rabbit.

Tim!

 

… Son of A (Catalogue Your Artwork, Please)

You know what one thing I hate more than so many other things in the world is?

The boring-ass menial labour involved in executing administration, no matter WHAT kind I am tackling and how it relates to my life.

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Now hate is a strong word, and I generally don’t subscribe to hate in other areas of my life, because it’s the path to the dark side – plus it’s incredibly toxic for your mental health. But it really is a bitch to do certain types of simple and tedious planning & execution, well, for me anyway. But I know that a lot of other creative types struggle with it as well. Especially when we already know what needs to happen, and just don’t want to do it.

That’s kind of what cataloguing my art work feels like. One gigantic painful never-ending process of taking pictures, uploading files, labelling said files, and then storing them somewhere (usually an external hard drive)

Interestingly enough, I’ve already done a pretty good job of it over the years, which is the biggest hurdle, in truth. Getting a system in place – coming up with names for each piece, the dimensions, material used, and the year (sometimes even the month) the work was completed. That’s the first step to a successful inventory.

But in order for that to happen, you have to do one of two things…

  • Take photos of everything shortly after completion and then label accordingly on the file name OR
  • Make notes on the back of the work immediately (year, medium, title), for when you CAN get around to photography

Remember that post I wrote last week about the Allegory of the Collage series I’ve been working on for the past decade or so?

Well I was really good at recording those key details of the pieces in the series, especially at the beginning, but then I lost my stride for a bit, and figured “no big deal, I have a good memory, especially when it comes to my own art, I’ll be able to come back and write the year on these drawings,” which was true at the time.

But another year passed, and I was submitting new drawings in the series for art exhibitions, luckilyI had the foresight to write down those names too, and immediately take photos! But after that point in time, I totally lost track of the work completed in subsequent years, as second time. Until last last year, when I decided to start making the collages again, and began the process of marking the details directly on the back of each piece.

So I have two gaps in the work created, I think some of it was made in 2007, and the rest between 2009-2011, but I cannot be sure. Which sucks.

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I can make a bunch of excuses for why this happened, but it doesn’t really matter because, whatever the excuse is, I still don’t know where to place about 25 of the pieces. And that sucks, because I don’t really want to guess, but in order to properly catalogue the work online, I need to have those details.

I mention this for two reasons.

First, I need the work digitized for a post I’ll be writing on Pinterest in coming weeks (which was supposed to be written a posted tonight, until I ran into the above issues)

Second, I’m going to show you in detail why it’s important to do an inventory of your work, and how to accomplish this exactly.

If you don’t have a studio inventory, you’ll be kicking yourself in a few years, and as painful as it is for me to workaround a problem of 25 images, imagine how much it would suck to do this with hundreds of pieces? Don’t fret though, this isn’t meant to scare you straight out of the studio. This is an education; it’ll get better, I promise.

For now, get started by taking photos of all of your work, including the title, the materials used, the dimensions of the piece, and the year it was made. I sound like a broken record, I’m sure, but trust me on those points. Then either store the images on your computer, a hard drive or find a place on the cloud.

I’m personally toying with Flickr option at the moment, but I’ll give you an update when I have an ideal solution, or two.

But what do you think? Have you already organized your work? How did you do it? Please leave some comments below and I’ll have some more theories tomorrow!

Tim!

 

What’s In A Name? (Defining The Term Artist)

The visual arts are probably the most complicated of the creative fields to pin down. I mention this because it can take many forms from two-dimensional examples of drawing, painting, printmaking, and photography, to three-dimensional with ceramics, sculpture, video, and filmmaking, with fashion, crafts, design, and architecture existing in both realms.

Then you have your visual arts which also exist as theatre – performing arts and conceptual art.

You see dear readers, there was a time when the term artist represented fine art only (painting, sculpture, and printmaking) and anyone interested in handicraft or applied art was considered a craftsperson but not an artist.

This distinction existed until the 20th century, and it has taken over a century for it shift so that artist and art applies to multiple disciplines. Which can lead to some strange conversations among artists, with elitism still on the minds of fine artists and prejudice existing in all camps.

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As a graduate of a fine arts program myself, I’ve witnessed the distinction that professors, graduate students, and art historians make between fine art and other arts. What is even more difficult to swallow is that all the while that the older forms have a history and perception of “artist as genius” to them, the modern world laughs at the usefulness of such a profession.

There is a social stigma that if you are an artist you are naive, irresponsible and very likely financially poor. Morally too in some cases.

This conveniently happened around the same time that the “artist as genius” phase fizzled out, and the definition of artist began to broaden. As fine art became a commodity which had to be traded and in demand to gain recognition, it fit in very nicely with the already established forms of craft and applied arts (design, fashion, architecture) which business owners would pay for and have direct input in the results.

So where does timotheories fit into this landscape you may ask? I say why not both? Why can’t we elevate all art into a realm of marketable worth as well as recognizing the unique qualities required to create any sort of work, whether it be fine art, craft, theatre, or applied art.

I have this theory you see, that we’ve moved out of a post-modern mindset (one of deconstructing everything around us to see how it works and showcase intellectual superiority) to an age of modern craft. All artists need to become experts in their chosen form(s), and learn the proper marketing skills, finance skills, and communication skils in order to share their work with the world around them.

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timotheories supports the rights of artists to be successful at the profession of creating social value and entertainment for all people, and getting paid to do it.

I personally have always been driven by a myriad of artistic vehicles, so I can’t even favour one over the other because I don’t want to. I love drawing, painting, sculpture, filmmaking, writing, and performance art all the same. And I know that dabbling in photography, printmaking, design, and craft are ways that I express my ideas and creative ability just as well.

So for the sake of furthering the ambitious nature of this blog, I’m going to start sharing my own artwork with you, my friends, so showcase what I’m creating, receive critique, sell my work, and especially provide some insight into the entire art-making process.

Expect some cool collages in the coming weeks and if you’re lucky a powerful painting or two!

And in case you’ve been following the March schedule and noticed a couple of things out of order, I haven’t released the Paige Knickle interview yet, and that’s my bad. Due to some communication issues, the interview isn’t quite ready yet, so I’m going to publish Cross Talk Ep.3 next Sunday as planned, and then the interview will be ready for the 27th. We’ll have to bump the routines of famous creatives to April.

But I bet the wait’ll be worth it.

And that’s all he wrote. Please leave comments, follow/subscribe, and check in tomorrow evening for a Melodic Monday post.

Tim!

The Red Pill (Stock Photography)

The future is bleak.

That’s what I would tell you if was a robot and not a human being. Because I am human, I am more than logic. I have a heart which is filled with faith and so I have hope. I have hope that we can solve issues of hunger, inequality, pollution, and war. I may have paraphrased that idea from Jacques Cousteau, but I think it’s incredibly relevant today.

Especially today.

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Being a self-proclaimed futurist in the same class as one Anthony Stark, I recognize that there is always something more interesting along the horizon, and it can be difficult for me to sit still long enough to capture the now and be present.

I have this incredible desire to see life organized and efficient, conversations delivered in messages that I can absorb when I feel like and products available at the click of a button. But on the other hand, I want to pause in moments of isolation and really see what’s in front of me, engaging with life.

Thusly is the struggle of someone who has an analytical mind, but a heart driven to curate and create.

Which is why what I am going to share with you today will fit both the analytical and the creative minds in our ranks.

All day I’ve felt this pull to give some credit back to my fellow bloggers out there. Maybe it’s because it’s been a little over a year since I started this venture, and almost six months since I really hunkered down and started planning my posts, but I don’t think I’ve written about the business of writing at all yet.

And one of the elements of writing a good blog post is putting up an interesting header image or “feature image” as WordPress terms it.

I’m going to share a secret with you, one which many of you probably realize already – I don’t personally create a vast majority of the photos I attach to my posts. *Gasp!*

I use stock photography. *Double Gasp!*

I do have a future goal to start to use my own images more often, but that’s a goal for 2016 and beyond. So let’s get back to the topic at hand.

If any of you aren’t familiar with stock photography I’ve provided a handy definition from Wikipedia just below.

Stock photography is the supply of photographs, which are often licensed for specific uses. It is used to fulfill the needs of creative assignments instead of hiring a photographer, often for a lower cost.

We are very fortunate in this day and age because stock photography is readily available on the internet, and there a number of ways you can get a hold of it, paying a lot for premium photos, a little less for decent photos, and nothing for photos that are typically of poor quality.

You can also steal images from search pages like Google or take images from the Public Domain (AKA free to use for commercial or personal use).

When you purchase images you have the option of getting royalty-free images which are typically a one time purchase, and can be used over and over again, but you also can purchase images that are associated with a brand or licensed and subject to usage rules.

I typically swing back and forth between public domain and royalty-free images, but have recently been using public domain images more often because I enjoy the online hunt a lot more than I should.

This is the part where you say, “so where do you go to find images timotheories?”

Well dear readers, you can use paid services I’ve looked into such as Shutterstock, Getty Images, ThinkStock (by Getty Images), and fotolia, for starters. These are all solid choices. But they may not be for you.

Now here comes the fun part. What if I told you there was a way to get premium quality photos, without have to pay for them, in order to get yourself started or thinking differently about your image choices?

I bet you would be into that. Wouldn’t you friends?

Okay, well I’ll show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. The truth is that there are all kinds of photographers, from commercial to personal, and everything-in-between. This article from DigitalImpact has provided a list of 40+ free stock photography sites, many of which feature photographers that are just getting started or want to extend their reach to different clientele.

The thing to keep in mind with stock photography is that it represents generic types of imagery and so it is a very competitive field.

However, if you are interested in unique images that provide a specific service, you should ALWAYS go to a professional photographer who is an expert in a particular field. I say this in case you think I am condoning stock photography over traditional methods. This is not the case at all.

And that’s all I’ve got for today. Only 1 more sleep until my last post of the season. It’s gonna be a fun one and I hope you enjoy it. Till then, enjoy the snow and if you are celebrating Christmas I hope you get all your presents sorted out tomorrow.

Tim!