Category Archives: Digital Collage

Seasonal Crows

Most of our time in school is dedicated to student learning and the celebration of student achievement, but each year, our school hosts an Art Exhibition for works created by the adult members of our community. If you choose to, you can allow your work to be sold by silent auction, with a portion of the proceeds going our Student Service Committee to support the work our students do within the local community. It’s a pretty good gig.

I created two pieces for this year’s exhibition, including this piece, “Seasonal”.

Seasonal-Screen

This is a collage of Instagram pics and other digital photographs that I took, sorted and layered with varying degrees of transparency. I didn’t know what to call this piece, as strictly speaking, the images don’t represent all of the seasons. But it does feel seasonal to me. Like passing time with a lot of motion with a few moments of clarity and the traces of something ephemeral–memories or ambitions–present over everything.

The second piece I exhibited is called “Crows”.

Crows-Screen

We live on the top floor of our apartment building, and one morning the crows were sitting on the roof there and taking the occasional flight about and around before returning to their perch on the roof. It gave me a chance to get some great shots against a neutral background. The images on the left and right are un-retouched, just as I shot them. The centre frame is a composite of several other shots.

I haven’t written anything for a very long time, but I had a sense that visually, these crows needed text to accompany them. Or typography, maybe. So I started thinking about words for crows and then words as crows and then a couple of days before the exhibition, I started to hear the poem and wrote it down.

Separately, the poem is this:

What Needs Out
there is a murder in each of us
a monochrome of misshapen
characters mutually aflutter and
cawing for water, for a bellyful,
for birth at every moment of their
age; each cry a loose cohesion
of shadows and the things they
mean in the swirl and science of
reasonable flight and what needs
out now: jubilation and despair
and yearning for and for;
they flap and gather, beaks agape
misunderstood scavengers hoarding
clever for later, a shiny thing for the
nest, to sparkle between the sticks
and tarry feathers, those points and
balms we settle our hollow bones
angularly over to press out
pollock-speckled eggs of heavy
slate-green and ink, each to crack
on arrival of another hungry word.
beaks agape they flap and gather
and flutter and caw, dark forms of
cacophony and unarticulated dreams
aspiring to the tidy murmuration of
precise elocution–pretty and
ephemeral–shaped, evaporated and
reformed on an invisible web of water
vapour and rising sighs.
hungry, the word-crows flap and
gather against themselves, beat out
their commotion and ego and corvid
noise, their murderous need of a
single melody, clear syntax and
conviction.

Most of the time, I write, take photographs and generally make art to please myself. Often, I don’t even get around to sharing it with anyone. That might sound self-indulgent, but I think art is only self-indulgent when it is made with indifference to (or contempt of) its audience, even if the audience is just you.

That said, in addition to expression, I think art is also communication. Sometimes it is nice to share your work with others and to have it land, to palpably feel the closing of that loop of communication and see that something you’ve sent out has been, in some way, received.

I love seeing what my colleagues present in this exhibition. And I’m grateful for the opportunity.

From Cadaques

FromCadaquesScreen
I haven’t been taking a lot of photographs recently. I’ve been feeling like I need something new to explore with the camera, but while I wait for that to arrive, it’s given me reason to revisit my archives. There are a lot of images there for that I like for any range of reasons, but I have never worked with them to any finished form. So recently, I have been working at creating collages. I like the way that layers of things allow you to look at them for a long time and continually see different things make new discoveries. I like how it allows different compositional impulses to work at the same time – symmetrical and asymmetrical, static and dynamic. I love the sense of play in the process of creating them.

This image was created primarily out of images I took on the way home to Barcelona from a day out in Cadaques. A combination of light-noise shots derived from long exposures of the road and traffic, and dark silhouettes of road-side trees. There’s also a shot of some trees from Beijing in the mix.

I printed this image and hung it in our school community art exhibition. It’s sale has helped to raise funds to support our student service groups.

I like the feeling here of the coolness of a fading twilight, the ghosts of dancing shadows.

How does it strike you?

Nourish 2014

Yokohama, Japan. February 2014.

I have a lot to catch up on. I designed this poster for this year’s Nourish conference at school. It is a Saturday workshop about wellness, and this year’s conference was, well, nourishing. In no particular order, some reminders from the day of the things that nourish us:

• Community – what we give and receive with those to whom we belong.
• 6-Second Cuddles – longer, if you wish.
• Passions – football and coffee specifically, but choose your own.
• Making a place your own and becoming a regular.
• Running – for exercise and meditation and the practice of noticing.
• Self-awareness – for understanding yourself and others.
• Not making any one thing too big – it’s all just stuff that needs doing.
• Spark – identifying that thing that makes your life hopeful and meaningful.

I left the conference thinking of a lot of things that have nourished me, one of which is a love of cinema. And then I thought of Stranger Than Fiction, a film I was teaching in my English class, in which the closing monologue goes like this:

As Harold took a bite of Bavarian sugar cookie, he finally felt as if everything was going to be ok. Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies. And, fortunately, when there aren’t any cookies, we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a kind and loving gesture, or subtle encouragement, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort, not to mention hospital gurneys and nose plugs, an uneaten Danish, soft-spoken secrets, and Fender Stratocasters, and maybe the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days, are effective for a much larger and nobler cause. They are here to save our lives. I know the idea seems strange, but I also know that it just so happens to be true. And, so it was, a wristwatch saved Harold Crick.

What nourishes you?

In the Current / Nourish

Yokohama, Japan. February 2013.


Every once in a while, I get to do some graphic design. These are poster designs I did to advertise In The Current and Nourish, new conferences for international school counselors and to encourage well-being in the school community, respectively. The pomegranates in the Nourish poster are not my photographs. I’ve used them under Creative Commons attribution and share-alike licenses.
Sliced Pomegranate: cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by stevendepolo
Whole pomegranate: cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by You As A Machine

Chao Phraya, Over Under

This is an image I made thinking of a piece I had seen in the market. The one I’d seen in the market was not for sale, and I couldn’t find out who the artist was, but I loved the idea of it and started playing around with what I thought might have been done in it. This is the result.
The photos were taken on a Long-Boat tour off the Chao Phraya river and in Jatujak market. Each section of the image was treated through Poladroid imagining software (it’s free!).
Hope you like it.