Friday, January 21, 2011

This Week in Sketchville!

Well, really, there is no such physical place as Sketchville; rather, if it is anything, it is a creative place-of-mind, so to speak.

Most art starts out as a blank piece of paper, with an artist, who is wondering what to draw, hovering nearby in physical space.

After that the artist has to intentionally occupy a creative space. Starting with a mental picture of what he wants to draw, often triggered by an interesting subject in the immediate environment, the art commences.

This creative space is one that transcends the mental and the physical; art starts with the brain and takes shape within creative space.

So, for this little collection, I found myself, the artist, sketchbook at the ready, in a physical space, which was, once again my local Starbucks. I had a mental picture of what I wanted to draw ("those people over there... a chance to improve on my straight-ahead drawings of faces").

When pen hit paper, I transcended the realms of the physical and the mental, and I occupied creative-space; welcome to Sketchville! The drawings commenced their mysterious birth.

Born, yet never to age, these are my babies. Go now my babies, take on the world and be joyful, but no matter where you go, remember that you were born on this day in Sketchville!

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Year's Day with Irreverent Muppets!

Time rolls on and so does my art - Happy New Year!

Part of my new year celebrations included seeing a limited engagement show at the Barclay Theater on the UC Irvine campus. The show was "Henson's Alternative - Unstuffed and Unstrung."

"What's that?" - you say. Well, basically it is a live-on-stage Muppets show, done improv style. The Muppeteers "animate their characters from below" (that sounds funny to me) while improvising a scene that has been suggested by the audience. Video-capture records the "'top half of the action" (again, sounds funny) and plays it back real-time on large suspended monitors, also on the stage towards the back. So the effect is two shows in one. It was witty and well done, replete with foul language and adult situations; very entertaining!

I was fortunate to be seated far off center with respect to the stage, in the second row - just perfect for drawing! Close enough to see the performer's expressions and their staging, and seated to the side which made for a great perspective view.

The image I've posted here is composed of three parts: [1] far upper left shows the stage director and several audience members (the stage director interacted with the audience to select and set the scene, and change the scene in-progress for comedic effect), [2] lower left - a closeup of one of the Muppet characters, and [3] entire right half - shows the performers and Muppets, in action together (note that the performers are looking downward in order to see their monitors to make sure their characters and filling the video-recorded scene properly).

I enjoyed this experience a lot. It was very satisfying to accomplish my own art while being audience to the art of others.  Important take-away for me from this experience - Drawing did not distract me from enjoying the show (although I thought it might)! - that's a great lesson to have learned in itself! Score!