I’ve been meaning to get a handle on Snapchat for awhile. My initial impetus being that it’s prevalent among social media, so as a designer working in motion graphics and editing (among other media), it’s important to stay on top of such things.
While I’ve made half-hearted attempts before, always my interest waned. Turned out all I needed was a four hour bus ride wherein I was basically trapped and a little bored— and voila! A monster was born.
I passed on my new obsession to Kelley upon arriving in Baltimore and we were horrible teens for the remainder of our little trip, snapping away and adding stickers to All the Things! We have mastered the art of being 12.
During my visit to this inimitable and fascinating museum, one of the featured artists being exhibited turned out to be Walton Ford. He’s a painter whose work I first became acquainted with on an episode of ART 21 on PBS, maybe a decade or so ago. At first glance, much of his work calls to mind zoological studies from the turn of the last century, but are often infused with a sense of humor or surrealism. They’re large, sprawling canvases, arresting in their detail and vividness. There were several rooms that were set up gallery style in the museum, but also a number of his works sprinkled in throughout the permanent collection; ten of them were painted specifically for this show. Perfect museum for this contemporary artist, really. A fantastic surprise. Here is a really interesting, slightly unsettling sculpture by another contemporary artist (didn’t get the name) that resembled a giant snake so knotted into itself it has neither head nor tail, covered entirely in feathers. The feathers were all numbered.
I shoot empty streets, cities without people. It’s not a strictly conscious thing; I think it’s that I don’t want anything in the shot to ruin things, and you know how people tend to go around ruining things.
Wait! That’s not a very optimistic worldview. I don’t really mean it. (Well, a little. People make things wonderful, too, at turns.) But people can be quite deft at ruining things aesthetically. They tend to create noise, visual pollution*. (Far too many colors in contemporary sartorial options.) I’m just an editing observer.
Anyway, don’t these streets look divinely inviting and mysterious, sans populous? Yes they do.
*Ditto cars. Cars are forever diminishing the aesthetics of street scenes the world over, though quite useful at identifying the decade or year.
PART THE SECONDFuck. I started on this while abroad; in a flow. Have since resumed ‘normal’ life. How to restart this?
Okay. I’ll start with a moment after my return. Alyssa and I were catching up one night, and Zac came up (naturally– we totally miss that kid). I was trying to describe him in as few words possible, and out came:
He’s a rapier wit with a Southern accent.
He’s a pocket Truman Capote!
We laughed and laughed because it’s true, and somehow accurate. But why ‘pocket’?* (He’s taller than TC was, eg.) We put it down to the fact he’s available. Alive, if you please. Told Zac, and he laughed and said “I’ll take it!”
That’s a bit of magic. Mundane, day-to-day moments where we laugh, feel some joy— share it and it reverberates. Increased joy. As they say, a candle loses nothing in lighting another candle. Knowing people well; knowing limits, perversions of humor. We routinely call each another ‘old bats’ and worse. It’s pure affection. The best.
+ + +
My recent trip held a lot of little magic, even down to a well-timed (though I didn’t know it at the time) flat tire on my rental bike. Explored, got lost, got un-lost. Connected with friends I’d not seen in too long.
It was instructional, too, as traveling tends to be. (Why have I waited so long to travel abroad alone? I’ve done it routinely in the States, Canada.) Mind-opening and delightful. It puts you to tests, which are necessary and good. Challenges. But it also rewards if you are diligent.