When a photographer gets a new lens it’s almost as if they got a completely new camera. As a creative, it’s really exciting to have a perceptual shift like that – a new window to peer out into the world. I grabbed your standard fast 50mm f/1.8 and WOW do I love this shallow depth of field. I have always been more of a wide angle guy with my 35mm f/1.8, and so viewing the world through a 50mm is a whole new thing… In testing it out, I shot this quick image of some flowers on my windowsill. On a side note, I strongly believe everyone should have a budget for biweekly fresh flowers. They just make life happier.
I am exactly this old right now. Stay tuned for future vinyl related posts when I turn 45 and then 78… On my birthday back in December, I wanted to say I was the same age as the rotations per minute of an LP, but that wasn’t true. I still had to wait another 1/3 of a year. Finally, I can say that my age is exactly that of an LP record… Someone had told me that they never heard anyone else describe their age in such a way, and so I felt this idea had something to do with art.
I have been enjoying sculpting in virtual reality but always made things from my imagination. I wanted to try to make something complex by looking at reference images. I downloaded a bunch of photographs of octopi and went to work… Here is my first attempt at sculpting, coloring, and texturing in virtual reality while using reference photos. This is the Giant Pacific Octopus, the largest and longest living of all octopi. Some can be over 30 feet long! That’s crazy!
This 3D model was sculpted and painted entirely in Virtual Reality. His name is “Claw-Bot” and although he is very useful and full of skill, he is also quite depressed in contemplating his state of being.
I used to do some 3D modeling years ago, but I felt there was a huge disconnect in working on a three-dimensional sculpture on a 2D screen with only a mouse and keyboard. This all changed with Virtual Reality… Now I am able to create a box right in front of me, move it around with my hands, subtract from it, paint areas, and then walk around it as if it is a real object in my room. I worked on this silly robot for a while, then made him as large as me and walked around my creation.
I bought a program called MasterpieceVR, which is basically a modeling/sculpting tool that allows artists to create objects in virtual reality. It’s an amazing application, with tons of tools and options, and a lot of future potential… As my first real sculpt, I made this cluster of strange looking mushrooms. They feel evil to me, so don’t eat them, and keep your distance!
It was a really fun and amazing experience being able to add, subtract, texture, and even paint an object in VR. I have unlimited clay and no worries about messing up because I can always go back in time. I am not sure what this might lead to professionally (if anything), however, I already know it is something I plan to practice and learn a lot more about.
I don’t usually relate concerts with art because for me they are entertainment and fun, but what is the difference? If you think about it, entertainment, art, and music are all one and the same… Tonight I got to see David Byrne, most known as the lead of the Talking Heads, play a show in Pennsylvania. I love the Talking Heads and own most of their albums on vinyl. David IS an artist at heart and had attended the Rhode Island School of Design in the early 1970’s (where I had spent a semester studying) before he dropped out and his band took shape.
His love of art comes through in the amazing show he puts on. Each song had something special, a performance dance, lighting, props, and rather than having a drummer on a kit there were about 6 or more drummers with mounted drums, like a marching band, so that they could all walk and move around the stage. It was really a beautiful show, as is his new album “American Utopia”.
This vision came to me and although I wasn’t sure what it meant at the time, I knew I had to shoot it. Rather than using real snow, which I very well could have done, I got instant snow at a craft store. It’s like sand but when you add water it puffs up and becomes light and fluffy and wet… After choosing the best shot, I felt the composition was missing something. I added a cloud in the corner, because I felt it was more interesting to have a cloud in the image and yet my hand is the one sprinkling the snow… To me this is about seasonal depression. I don’t get it too bad, but I do really hate how the ice and snow keep me locked up inside. I don’t like feeling cold. I have seen snow every year of my life and I don’t think I would miss never seeing it again. Something tells me I need to move out of the Northeast.
Virtual Reality is quickly becoming an obsession for me. I am not (or was not) much of a gamer, but it is clearly an amazing platform for gaming because you become a part of the environment. What I was not expecting is for VR to be such an amazing outlet for creativity as well. So far I have been learning shape modeling programs, sculpting software, as well as painting in 3D.
Here I used Google Tilt Brush, a program that allows you to paint in 3D space with a variety of standard brushes as well as special effect brushes that glow, animate, and shift color. As you paint something you can walk around it as if it’s actually an object in your room… I created this silly psychedelic jellyfish that reacts to a song by Shpongle, which is also about jellyfish.
I recently bought Virtual Reality for my PC, and there is a really strange side effect that I wanted to talk about. I have never heard this mentioned before, but it is a real thing, and although it is really amazing, it is also quite frightening… This is a longer read, but fascinating.
Similar to getting lost in a good movie at a theater, the resolution on my VR headset paired with motion tracked hand controllers and six dimensions of freedom to move around in – basically, the experience becomes so incredibly immersive that you begin to feel you are in a different place entirely. It’s incredible, and undoubtedly one of the greatest feelings I have had in my whole life.
Some people get motion sickness or dizzy, but that wasn’t my case. Instead I experienced strange lingering psychological issues AFTER taking off the headset… It began with slow onset feelings of depersonalization and dissociation that lasted a few hours after leaving VR. It’s hard to explain the sensation, and I might sound crazy saying it, but I felt like my body was not my own. I knew these were my arms and legs, but I didn’t feel like I had any connection to them. As I walked downstairs I felt as if I was floating. Time had stopped moving, or I had no sense of it passing. The dissociation was so strong that I thought I might actually be going insane. Reality itself began to seem like an illusion. I would hold my phone in my hand and my fingers seemed to go through it rather than hold onto it. Worst of all, I knew I was out of virtual reality, but I had actual thoughts that perhaps reality itself is virtual, everything is fake, and I am stuck inside of it.
I spoke to the VR community and a majority of them said they had some of these feelings, to an extent. I must had been more sensitive to it. Everyone said it only happened for a week or two then the feeling never came back again. I wonder if it has to do with our brains having to get used to the idea of multiple realities, something very new to us in the tech world. Maybe some kind of neural plasticity remapping so that our brains can process the mechanics of going into a new type of perception. I’m not sure. What I do know is it was a very weird feeling, very frightening, but also incredibly interesting as a life experience.
Artists tend to be labeled as “creative” and “out there” people who don’t quite fit into certain roles or companies. I argue that to practice and master creativity is to be the best problem-solver there is. What business doesn’t thrive on finding new ways of doing things? What company wouldn’t benefit from that one person at the table thinking on a whole different level?
As an artist, we create our own problems in order to find unexpected ways to solve them. In this piece (“The Painter”) I was required to do a bit more problem solving and digital editing in order to make my vision come to life… What if someone were able to paint themselves into existence?