April 2016

POTD: Mobius Crow

POTD: Mobius CrowMobius Crow
Bozeman, Montana

This image started with a simple idea and morphed into something more complex that I did not anticipate. The original idea was simply that it would be interesting to create a Mobius strip with crows flying along its single continuous surface. I spent a lot of time trying to create such a strip solely on the computer. After a couple of days of messing around, including learning some new software, I had some success at a computer illustration but what ended up working better was to create two 3”x36” actual prints of a composite image of crows flying, taping them together back to back and then twisting one end and taping it to the other end to create a physical model of a Mobius strip. Then I photographed that 3d model and spent half a day cleaning up the image on the computer. (It’s an interesting characteristic of this particular geometric form that while it only has one surface, it took two prints to create one with crows flying along the entire surface.)

Once I had the Mobius strip photograph cleaned up I started thinking and working on an appropriate background for it in the final image. This where things got interesting from the standpoint of trying to self-analyze the creative process in my mind. Other than an extremely vague notion that the image ought to involve clouds in some way, I had no preconceived idea of what the background context should look like. I just started trying different images in my library of thousands of images and what you see here was the final result. How I ended up there, I really cannot explain. Nor can I explain what exactly it is meant to convey.

By some sort of serendipitous coincidence, I happened to be discussing song lyrics with a friend at the same time I was working on this image. The point of discussion was if song lyrics ought to make sense in some logical way. More specifically, does it devalue the work if it’s “meaning” defies explanation even by the author. My take on that is that to a large degree as long as you experience a meaningful reaction to them it doesn’t matter if lyrics escape understanding in the sense that say a new article or scientific paper should. In fact it doesn’t matter if your idea of what it means differs from the authors. If you insist on something more concrete, you may not appreciate the song. The same can be said about poetry I think, and by extension visual art.

Nonetheless, I suppose it is instructive to post-analyze this image to see if it “means anything.” After thinking about it a bit, I believe the image tells at least one reasonably cohesive story. But guaranteed I did not have that story in my conscious mind when I was creating it; as I said I just did what seemed right in some nebulous way. I could tell you what that story is, but I think I’ll leave you to come to your own conclusions.

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POTD: Behave?

POTD: Behave?Behave?
Helena, Montana

Here’s another sign in Helena that got me kind of in a quandary. Why would  someone create graffiti that says “behave”? I mean, assuming it really is graffiti (meaning it was illicitly placed on this post) then to have it say “behave” is hypocritical or at least oxymoronic I would think.

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POTD: The Secret of the Rooky Wood (encore)

The Secret of the Rooky Wood
Bozeman, Montana

Today is the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Here in Bozeman there are to be organized pop-up or flash Shakespeare readings all day. Individuals are also encouraged to publicly recite something from the Bard whenever and wherever they feel so inspired. Not having the personality for such public spontaneity, I chose to mark the occasion with a rerun this post from four years ago.

I must confess I’m not a huge reader of Shakespeare’s works; I soon get lost in the unfamiliar prose. But taken in smaller bits and pieces, I find it can be incredibly poignant  and his influence on literature and day-to-day speech is undeniable.

Come, seeling night,
Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day,
And with thy bloody and invisible hand
Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
Which keeps me pale! Light thickens, and the crow
Makes wing to the rooky wood;
Good things of day begin to droop and drowse,
While night’s black agents to their preys do rouse.

–William Shakespeare, Macbeth


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POTD: Faux Real #1

POTD: Faux Real #1Faux Real #1
Victoria, British Columbia

The Royal British Columbia Museum has some of the most impressive and realistic life-size diorama displays I think I’ve ever seen. They are especially effective because they are quite wide and deep and are not behind glass. They made me wonder what the heck we were doing spending all our time in the city instead of being out it the woods somewhere on Vancouver Island seeing this stuff for real. (Although if I was in the woods, I would not want this close an encounter with a grizzly bear; so the display had a nice safety factor going for it.) The displays motivated us to take a bus to the edge of town the next day for a hike in a woodland park, sans bears.

In theory, I don’t like the idea of wild animals being killed just to create displays in museums (or captured for a life in a zoo), even if there is a strong educational purpose behind it. In practice though, I must confess I enjoy fine displays like this–even though some guilt due to the dissonant feelings always seems to creep in.

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