Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Trees 2013

Christmas tree located in the center of downtown Fort Worth's Sundance Square.

Christmas tree located on the right side of my apartment's window above the printer.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Response to video: This is not a girl.

It's an image of a girl.

If you're familiar with my videos, you'd probably notice a reoccurring theme. There's usually a socially awkward boy who meets a girl, and eventually, they break-up and he feels guilty for his actions and regrets ending their relationship. And if you're not familiar with my videos, I probably just ruined about half of my videos for you; trust me, they usually don't end well. Even though they have similar themes, they're probably the most honest and relatable videos that I've created, and I'm very proud of every single one of them.

Over the past few years, I've received several comments and personal messages from viewers who have identified with the stories and felt connected with the characters. But one time I received a message from someone who asked if there was a specific girl who inspired most of those videos, and if there was a girl, what actually happened. In a long reply, I mentioned that I knew a girl who was fairly younger than me, and after we lost touch, I felt guilty for corrupting her innocence and I blamed myself for most of her current shortcomings. A few years later, I talked with the girl, and she didn't blame me and apologized if I felt responsible for anything that happened in the past. Through my self-deprecation, I didn't take into account that it was her life; she wasn't a child, and she took responsibility for her actions and decisions. We were young, and it happened. After sending the fairly personal and lengthy reply, the viewer asked for more. Why did you break-up? Where is she now? Do you still love her? I went through the exact same thing, and you need to tell me more. And somewhere along the way, I felt like he crossed the line. I know it doesn't sound romantic, but the girl and I broke-up. For years, I felt miserable that I ruined her life, and one day, she said she was sorry that I felt guilty for so long. There wasn't a big fight or a dramatic plea to stay, we just moved on. And in some ways, it is a happy ending; it's just not the one you were expecting.

 no, really... what is she?

I've used the same female animation model for the past two years, and I wanted to tell a story through her perspective. She's just an idea, an accumulation of people who I've met and girls that I've nearly dated. In a way, that's the closest we can get to knowing someone, just imagining them more complexly. And even though she could literally do and see anything in this person's mind, she just wants to know more about herself, whether it's through trivial facts or old memories. But she can never truly find herself because she's not real; she's just an idea of a girl who left a long time ago.

I wanted to make a simple video. I've always wanted to make a video where the figure could interact with the text, and they could have their own consciousness outside of the words that I've scripted. This is the first video where I used the same female animation model throughout the entirety of the video so I tried to focused on the fluidity of her motions and expressions. It should be noted that the girl is essentially a silhouette without a face and has limited mobility so expressions had to be either subtle or highly exaggerated. Every little detail counts when there's only one character on a black screen, and I had to painstakingly adjust the girl's torso every half second so there wouldn't be a noticeable split between the body image file and dress image file. If you want to stare at the girl's waist during the whole video (because I would appreciate the extra view), you can see it enlarge, rotate, and move whenever she makes a dramatic movement. Hopefully it's not that noticeable.

With this picture, you can see the text in the background followed by the pre-rendered 
movie file in the middle with limited opacity and the small figure in the foreground.
Plus, it just looks cool.

On a side note, I didn't want to spend several minutes coming up with random facts about the girl to use in the background so I searched through old internet quizzes people emailed me from chat rooms (because I used to be an internet pimp) so ... if that portion of the video sounds oddly familiar to you, it could have been from you. It's the surreal since the girl in the video is supposed to be overwhelmed by a swarm of trivial facts that were partly true and partly made-up, and the text used in the video is actually partly true and partly made-up facts about a girl I knew about ten years ago.

Of course I changed the name and date of birth so it's a complete work of fiction.

No, that's not you ... It's Sophie.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival 2013

This past weekend my dad and I visited the Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival, a four day event that spanned the greater portion of Downtown Fort Worth. Underneath the long stretches of white tents, the eclectic caravan of artisans displayed their work ranging from traditional oil paintings to overwhelming metalwork and sculptures. And even though the booths and artists vary each year, the annual tradition feels so familiar and nostalgic that it resembles Holden Caulfield’s glorified Museum of Natural History where ‘everything always stayed right where it was.’ With downtown’s traditional bricked walkways, tall buildings, and small garden like shrubberies, the rows of varied artwork and amassed clutter of spectators have become synonymous with my childhood and how I view this fair city’s interest and enthusiasm of art and culture.


And in a lot of ways, it’s changing. For the past few months, Downtown Fort Worth has become seized with construction. Roads have been stripped to accommodate new pipes and lanes, and metal gates have sectioned off large skeletal buildings filled with diligent construction workers. A few weeks ago, we visited downtown to see its progress, and we were fairly concerned. Lots once reserved for display booths and performance stages were gone; they were replaced with prospective parking garages and shopping strips. Along the metal construction gates, there were short comic panels of a man from the 1900’s who was lost in the modern world. Everywhere he turned, he was stupefied by ATM’s, automobiles, and cops riding segways (and in two more years, no one will know what’s a segway). But it’s progress, and it’s needed for our downtown to thrive.

Wait until he discovers indoor plumbing.

Despite the changes, the festival was still the same. There was less space for the large colorful sculptures and one of the performances stages moved across the street to accommodate its surrounding food booths, but overall, the bulk of the event stayed on Main Street with its red brick walkways and small but organized shrubberies.

In a sea of white tents, you could see speckles of small people.

Like most of its visitors, we usually trudged through the art festival on Saturday, but my dad requested a day off ahead of time, and we found ourselves strolling through the booths on Friday with a lighter, ibid significantly older, crowd. Seriously, if the senior citizens came a day later, they would all be lost and pushed aside. To be honest with you, it was a completely different experience. We leisurely walked around at our own pace; occasionally we stopped to see certain pictures or walked through an artists’ booth without boxed-in or pushed around. And as much as I like feeling part of an anonymous collective in a crowd or traffic jammed walkway were we collectively inch forward every other minute, it’s nice to attend an art festival where you can enjoy the art without worrying whether you might step on someone’s flip-flop or trample over a small but very oblivious child.

Later in the afternoon, we popped our heads inside the golden bordered glass doors of the Bass Performance Hall. Throughout the art festival’s weekend, the Bass Hall provided a short sampler of their eclectic performances. On Friday, they provided a condensed tour of the performance hall highlighting the hall’s intricate details from local flora and song birds painted on the wing’s ceilings to the theater’s discrete ventilation panels beneath each of its two thousand seats. Our passionate full-time volunteer tour guide ushered us through the theater, the second floor, and the exterior balcony where we could almost touch the twin fifteen meter tall angels, which were meticulously sculpted from limestone. On Saturday we were fortunate enough to attend one of the hall’s free short performances. It started with the soulful brass section of the Fort Worth symphony orchestra followed by a fervent yet whimsical ballet, and it ended with the frantic, power-laden wisps of four pianists playing on two grand pianos.

It was very impressive.

 The one of the angel statues ...and one of the other
visitors on the tour guide. 

Afterwards, we watched a movie, and by the time it ended, Richard Elliot, a renowned smooth jazz musician, played on the main stage. And unlike most live music, I think it’s nearly impossible to perform jazz without a heightened level of passion that reverberates from the crowd. Without flare and showmanship, it’s just a guy onstage with a saxophone, but through his expressive movements and zeal, he’s able to titillate the crowd and transcend his music past a cover of his recorded albums and allow his audience to be part of the experience.

Admittedly a terrible snapshot until you realize that I took it
with one hand while holding a turkey leg.

In a way, it reshaped my views on artists and performers. Like many of the art festival’s attendees, my dad and I marveled at brightly colored the landscapes and collages, skimmed across the abstract and minimalists, and gawked at all of their price tags. To some extent, we just assume that we don’t get it; we lack formal education and expertise to fully appreciate the artwork. In some regards, we perceive art to be a pastime for the highbrow intellectuals, and with every other booth, one of us would say, ‘That’s very pretty, but what would you do with it.’ And at the same time, each booth displayed the artist’s lifelong work and the livelihood of their survival. Each picture provided their perception of the world that we live in and embodied the topics and themes that they valued and stand behind as their life’s mission to express and share with the world. In that small 10x10 foot booth, their life was on display. And that’s hard to put a price tag on.


On the next day, we meandered through the amassed crowds of people until we eventually sat on the green, placid lawn while a cover band played George Harrison’s ‘Here Come the Sun’ under the deep blue sky and the thinnest sliver of puffy white clouds. And along the sun drenched field and playful breeze, some took pictures while others walked hand in hand with their loved ones, and we all hoped to savor memories like this.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pupdate: Party Dog

My birthday was this weekend, and Dharma 
celebrated in his birthday suit, like most days.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

IRL Pupdate

I went to use the restroom, and Dharma was like, 
'Well you've been here all night; I wanted to try.'