Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Daily Sketch 6-29-11

I am getting plenty of attention as I draw.
"What you have is a gift, a gift!" says lady with crisply curled yellow hair to my left.
"Actually I prefer to think of it as a craft, I've had years of lessons."
"No," she insists, "it's a gift, I can't do it."

"OH MY GOD I saw you draw that man in like 5 minutes, with all that detail! Who are you?"
It occurs to me to offer a spot of self-promotion.
"Er, I'm the December gallery art show at the Cornelia St. Cafe." The salt 'n pepper woman leans over for one last look.
"Oh good, I live in the Village, I will come to your show!" She exits.
 The woman she leaned over takes an interest. We have a nice chat. Her work in marketing research overlaps mine. She tells me it was one of the most entertaining rides she has had in ages.

Young guy on my left reads my comment about big black glasses and says "Yeah, I wonder that too." And he was the one who noted I sure enjoy drawing when I missed my station by two stops.

Yes. I do like to draw. I do. Feels good to get into practice again.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why I mention you won't meet The Donald or Justin Bieber in this post

I went to a webmaster's round table (yes, big oval table) held at the New York Law School (no, not the NYU Law School). It was for not-for-profit webmasters, which, according to my new job description, I sort of am. Although far more qualified people are in charge of the "back end" (data bases and programs that run everything under the hood).

It was a fine informative group and I learned plenty—even as some of the talk left me slightly stunned. Jargon. Trends. Usability. More Jargon. Hits. Conversions. CMS Solutions. These were seriously smart tech people. They shared a central casting appearance that comes from spending most waking hours slouched in front of a glowing monitor, not moving much more than a mouse, and intensively problem solving. The woman were better dressed.

I learned that if I were to mention The Donald, The Beiber, Lindsay Lohan, or Britney Spears in my blog I would get many more "hits" (visits to the site). And hits can turn into something called "conversions" (people going on to buy something from you). Isn't market-speak grand? For the charity I work for, I plan to design them a new website that visually clarifies their mission and this hopefully brings in more money—without using even one troubled starlet, shady tycoon, or annoying teenybop heart throb. 

But I will NOT stoop to listing celebrities I care nothing about to boost my own blog ratings. I will let my takes on POETRY and ART and DESIGN and MAPS and VISUAL NARRATIVE attract those hoards who share my passions. I am not here to sell you anything except, perhaps, a little of my own excitement over the unexpected and fine flavors of life and art. No more Donald. Begone. Delete. Delete.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cheesecake, Guardian Angels, and the Feminist Mystique

My daughters and a friend marched in the Mermaid Parade this weekend and got a LOT of attention. The three of them were splashed across page 6 of the Daily News and also in the Post. They were the merbabe cheesecakes du jour. I am guessing millions now know just what my daughters look like between their necks and navels.

Caitlin projected serenity, Natalie was "LOOK AT ME—WOW this is FUN!!!!" and their friend Courtney reveled in a bad girl rocker chick attitude. They enjoyed themselves and were enjoyed in turn. But a lot of grunty gross guys made grunty gross suggestions as the trio waved, posed, and vamped along the boardwalk. Clearly many women (and men!) love to show their assets in this costume (or rather almost no costume) event of the summer, but I also felt protective, THESE ARE MY GIRLS! Smutty pleasures and feminism make for psychotic photojournalism. Put it this way, my best photo of the day was Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels, on the phone and a little boy next to him also on the phone--as if they were talking to each other... my friend Michael says sometimes the best shot isn't what you came to see but what's in the other direction.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Junk Food map for Alimentum: The Literature of Food!

It's out! The 12th issue of Alimentum (which I designed) printed well and my map is in it. When I laid out the issue there was one blank page and seeing an opportunity I asked Paulette (head honcho) if I could try something... I created the map first on paper, rough pencil sketch, that I scanned and used as a basis for finished drawings in Photoshop (head outline) and Adobe Illustrator (everything else). Coming up with the A-B-C  commentary was not a cinch. The humor lurched from too personal to too snarky to just pathetically unfunny. In fact you may still think it is all of those things! I tested it on friends who raised eyebrows as they realized what churns through my gray matter. I thank Jim, Natalie, Deborah, Joe, Flash and Mia for their input...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Trump SoHo Redux--say what?

I don't blog everyday. Especially when I've started a new job and am madly figuring out how to put together a one woman show of my poet portraits (Cornelia St. Cafe art gallery in December)—maybe I let a few things slip.

Yesterday, I'd finally posted something new and idly checked my google analytics. My blog was showing a 985.13% improvement in visitors. SAY WHAT?!? I'd had this huge unprecedented spike on one day—May 27th, to be exact—over 1,300 people came to read something I'd written in 2007. The analytics indicated curious folks had followed a link from an article in The Daily Beast written by Wayne Barrett "Inside Donald Trump's Empire: Why He Won't Run for President" and read my "Possess Your Own SoHo--sez Trump". It's just possible Barrett* had meant to link to a news report and accidentally got me, but I prefer to believe this professor of journalism and major investigative reporter was tickled by my rant. 

How nice. I've wondered if anyone is reading the older pieces. On May 27th they did. And who knows what stray thoughts in 2011 will appeal to readers in 2015? Spike away dear readers and thank you.

*(or Valerie Bogard, Bryan Finlayson, Nichole Sobecki, Barry Shifrin, and Katie Thompson who contributed reporting to Barrett's article)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A small step out of traditional

I often sketch writers as they personally read me their works—while ignoring the large audience that also sits in the same auditorium. In this way I've gotten rather good at scribbling on a tiny pad of paper in the near dark with all attempts made to keep the pencil from squeaking or percussing the paper. The sketches are a bit cartoony but still traditional, kind of old fashioned. I have offended nobody with them.

Lately in my quest to work bigger and fill a few walls at the Cornelia Street Cafe art gallery (my show is coming later this year!) I have begun experimenting. For this exercise I sketched a poet who could not pose live. I drew on paper. I wrangled in photoshop. I turned her black and white photo into color. I added type and more photos. I showed it to people who either disliked it a lot or said I was on to something. I have taken my first not very startling toddle out of safety.

Being that I am a book designer, the piece has that book jacket feel. I know. Occupational hazard. But I had to start somewhere. But I do feel excited by combining pencil and photoshop.... Maybe in time, if I do a few more of these, I'll get it nudged into a portrait that does not seem like it hugs a spine and sixteen signatures. Should I add more bees?