Roughly a mile from my house in Chandler, Arizona, is the ASU Techshop. It’s about a year old and chock full of machines that I had no idea how to work or what art I could make if I got my hands on them. As a Christmas present to myself I bought a membership and signed up for a few classes, and those few weeks since have yielded some creative results.
One of the new tools I’ve made use of is the Universal Laser Systems’ laser cutter. It’s about as easy to use as any regular xerox machine except sometimes a fire starts in it. Basically I can etch, engrave or cut a huge variety of materials using whatever designs I create. There’s not much more than convert photos to a pure black-and-white design using “threshold” and “layers” in Photoshop, save as a PDF, import that into Corel Draw and that’s about it for prep.
My current favorite material is an acrylic plexiglass with a mirrored back. It makes my images look like large Daguerreotypes.
I’m also quite fond of this black acrylic. This is my first etching on the laser cutter, converted to a vector drawing in Adobe Illustrator CC. Check the video for the “making of” process…
The other tool I’ve been using non-stop is the 3D printer, the MakerBot Replicator 2. I feel about this machine the way I felt the first time I could burn CDs, or the first time I saw Amazon’s commercial for a Kindle. Last year I photographed a bunch of models “in the round” to make 3D models of them, and though the process of getting an interesting object out of those photos wasn’t as simple or satisfying as I thought it’d be- currently I have a bunch of half-heads in my Meshmixer folders- I have been making objects that are actually useful to me. From Thingiverse I’ve created some GoPro mounts and a plastic pinhole camera…
First I’d like to mention I’ll be in NYC roughly Oct. 28-31, partly for the NYC Photo Expo and partly to make a bunch of new art. Wherever I have a hole in my Arizona schedule and the flights look decent I’ll be in Portland and Seattle as well.
Locally in Chandler/ Tempe/ Mesa AZ, I have a bunch of new classes starting in October:
Oct 15 “Beginning Photography” starts 6-8pm at Tumbleweed Rec Center
Oct 17 is the Chandler Art Walk, complete with a zombie walk. I made a bunch of ceramic zombies for just the occasion.
Oct 20 “Portrait Photography” starts 6-8pm at Tumbleweed Rec Center
Tempe Rec is continuing my “DSLR Basics” class that started in September.
Oct 10 Jerry’s Artarama in Tempe features an artist demo by me from 12-2
Oct 24 Jerry’s Artarama has a mixed media workshop involving photo transfer from 3-5.
Oct 25 begins a new set of kid’s art classes at Mesa Arts Center- “Making Manga,” “Acrylic,” “Science Art” and “Charcoal”
I like how busy this coming month looks! I’ve done a lot of dark horror/scifi artwork in photo, ceramics, music and video so expect the next month to be filled with pure spooktacularity.
These were all shot on March 7th at the Chandler Ostrich Festival, a local event where people race ostriches via chariots and bareback. They also have your typical carny atmosphere which I’ve shot panos of on-and-off over several years. The slowness of photoshop’s “photomerge” tool made it annoying to shoot panos, but modern cameras do a pretty good job with a fraction of the effort!
Magdalena in front of our house with her beloved Ducky. She earns dollars “modelling” for me. Interesting what the kids pick up. Sometimes they make little comics to “sell” at our art tables. Taken with the Fujinon 35mm 1.4 prime lens, my favorite.
Magdalena, still age 5. Combination of my new Fuji X-E1, the 35mm 1.4, new portable monolight, and my favorite model. I think it’s an enormous leap in quality.
Some of my favorite photographers used their family as art subjects… Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Sally Mann, Harry Callahan. You’ve got a subject that you have strong feelings about and access to at all parts of the day, and that subject knows the photographer well and family members get to be creative together. Definitely a path worth exploring.
I am spending most of June and July teaching at Mesa Arts Center and for the cities of Chandler and Tempe Rec programs. I’ll probably do two model shoots in that time, but it’s still productive time because when I teach I learn as well. Making handmade books, masks, watercolor, pastels, product photography are all topics I’m teaching. Below was a big of an interview I did with PhotoWhoa blog about teaching:
Q: You also teach several photography courses. After teaching, what core insights from your own work have you found yourself sharing the most?
A: The people I teach to vary from retirees to young adventurous photo couples to moms who got their very first camera, and the most important thing is that they take pleasure in taking photos and not see it as some struggle with gear or lack of creativity. I would say a large portion of them walk in the class believing that the technical aspect of photography is the most important thing to learn and that’s the only thing stopping them from taking good photos. The technology is important but that is the easiest thing to learn, and if you can’t learn it, there’s always the “program” mode, however people should first love photographing, be it their children or trips or the food they eat or whatever. It’s a means of expression for a lot of people who aren’t artistic in any other sense.