20 Jan 2012

Alexei Kintero - Mea Cuba Photo Exhibition

Finally, it's Show Time!

Almost on the fly a Cuban-Canadian photographer Alexei Kintero, a finishing student at SPAO and I decided to make an exhibition of his work at my Studio.

We set a very close date, and we move it. Literally, we moved the shelving from the Studio front room to the back, my workshop room and we decide on the number of works, make the selection of paper for printing, he pickups the frames, we install some track lighting, pointed the lights, washed the floor and it was almost ready.
The Artist brings a bouquet of fresh tropical flowers, a CD with Cuban music, orders a small catering service from Havana - a local Cuban restaurant and we invite guests.

I cut the wall titling lettering, make a window signage and print his work.
I have output most of his work on the Epson Premium Luster, a reliable, locally available paper for digital photography.

More on the choices of paper for the exhibition:

9 Jan 2012

My Father's birthday

This month was my father's birthday.
Both of my parents contributed to my fondness of history and objects from the past.
He contributed greatly to the Baobab - the family history.

The project, since we are not aristocrats, is not trailing the path of written historic records.
However, I managed to trace my family history only as far as the photographic proof has it.
So essentially, owe my life as a family member to the technology of photography.
So yes, I have tried to repay my debt to photography. In early 1980ies I have enrolled in the photography courses at the Visual Arts department of the local university.
I have spent everything I owned on a Pentax K1000 ($95.-) and a lens ($50.00).

The camera served me well, I've taken many photographs.I was receptive -I admit - to the magic of chemistry-based B&W development, but only as long as I could use technician-maintained lab in the department's lab. The moment I had set up by basement-darkroom it became a utopia.
Between work and a small kid - mixing chemicals....

Aha, and if you think that I would subscribe to the non-clutter concept of organization and get rid of that camera for which I spent everything I owned - no way ma'am. I am going to the grave with it.
I did let my son to cut his photographic teeth on it...

Here, you can see my proud baby, in the background you may see the proof that indeed I keep Susan Sontag and Camille Paglia at a safe distance...
Look - they are separated by Art in the Public Spaces and The Poetics of Space, let me see... Even Semiotics and some book on Linguistics, must be Botha..
They are flanked by - wow - Love in he Western World, Derrida and old edition of C.Jung chewed by my friend's dog
(not the Master, the book dummy!)

8 Jan 2012

Winter through the frost

It is pretty much the zenith of winter, Christmas long past and Easter so far ahead...
Sometime there is cold inertia in the air. Those particles of energy get so cold and so spaced out they just forget doing their job. (is that what they call nuclear physics?)
Luckily, whatever the damages brought by global warning are, for us living in the Southern Ontario it feels like a pretty good thing. Especially in Ottawa - we have more snow, but winter last not as long as I remember at the turn of the 80/90ies, and not as cold.

In our sector (arts/design/graphic) going South never seems like real danger.
Median income in our industry is not allowing for silly thoughts, such as going far.
And although I miss the Sun's rays on my delicate aging body (hahaha..) going places is not something I miss a lot. Whatever few travels I have done were made alone, on a very thin budget,  which altogether makes it a rather stressful experience.
People who go across the globe solo - whether on a bike or walking or in a rocket frankly scare me.
Respect for their determination. I love them.

Amidst all the grayness of the sky, tattered snow, old gray stucco of the buildings on this window view - there is hope: glow emerges on the edges of the little frosted flowers and their negative shapes in the window film.

Several  years ago, at a whim I have decided to produce something for my own pleasure.
I have cut this composition on my vinyl cutter using adhesive Lexan film, something that we always keep in stock at the Studio as it has been a typical exhibition-grade overlaminate to protect museum graphics of higher-end display graphics. 
It is more difficult to work with than typical translucent window films because it is polycarbonate - it is a bit stiff and harder to apply, requires more skill. Needless to say, weeding those tiny beads of film on the flowers was agony - can  you see, there as some that actually remain within the negative flower shape (right side bottom). Aaaahhhh.
But is worked nicely so I am content.

The pattern was inspired by a lovely decorative motive I had found on an awesome blog I follow for years: http://printpattern.blogspot.ca/
I strongly recommend this site. It showcase a multitude of - exactly: print and pattern work for textiles, wallcoverings, stationery, ceramics - you name it.
Work by designers, illustrators, artists mostly from UK, US and Scandinavia, well all over the place...
And by all means - look into the old posts, there is a goldmine of inspiration and goodies to buy.

For example, can you resist this?
(images below form the Print and Pattern blog.)

Yup,  you've seen some of those patterns those at IKEA.

Isn't this beautiful?!?

3 Jan 2012

The Plantagenets - visual genealogy

King Richard III when he looked more alive
vs the Kings earthly remains in Leister UK
One of my very interesting, older clients,
Mr. Gaunt enjoys a pedigree of documented records and compiled by his great grandfather notary, some Mr. Langstaff, who from what I understand the meanders of it, Gaunts were distantly related, although himself not a descendant of the Gaunt lineage.
In brief, my client's lineage is so so long, it reaches beyond the times of Shakespeare. And, I dear say, to what I see - his English lineage is  perhaps more English that I wouldn't dare say whose...
Although.... I've heard a descendant of the English king Richard III, the last Plantagenet, now living in Canada (the relative, not the king, dummy)  is now being investigated by mitochondrial DNA testing.
Wow, that's so cool!

(f/National Post)
Memento Mori

formidable looking (f/Wikipedia)
For more fun - here is John of Gaunt to whom, my client, allegedly is/.may be connected. He is too looking formidably, also a Plantagenet.

For my clients project - The Gaunts of Midland I have printed very large sheets of detailed entries of the family lineage. The records were compiled years earlier by my clients father who being a printer himself took to setting type and produced several copies this enormously detailed poster.

My client's wish was to reproduce existing poster in multiple copies, make numerous corrections and amendments to his father's copy and to add a couple of lines of generations who came to life since the initial poster was printed.

The interesting details were the descriptive blurbs by persons (like the aforementioned Mr. Langstaff and Mr. Atwood) compiled and commented on the records.

Also, a wonderful navigational tool was included by the original printer - Mr. Gaunt's father - it was simple Chronology of English Kings placed on the left extended margin of the spreadsheet.
This enormously helped to locate in the reader's mind where given people were in the scope of larger history.
Although tempted, we did not include any illustrations - only few family crests, such as Gaunt or Mayott, so the body of the original layout will be preserved.
The amount of detailed records was massive so retyping for new layout formatting was out of the question - the room for error was too grave, many records look very similar with minute differences.
So I decided to scan the large sheet in sectors, combine those in photo editor, such as Photoshop and add new entries later.
Even combining the scans was a bit tricky - with age large sheets of paper shrink and expand unevenly, the lines connecting the levels of records were not very even when you seen closely.
Quite a bit of mending was necessary. Also, certain parts of the whole sheets were type set in a bit different times with slightly different font bits than the rest, differently inked and so on.
Working with exposure levels helped to even out the appearance of the type, the colour of the new entries made in QuarkXpress was set not as black but certain percentage of it.

The final sheets of the limited edition of the expanded and appended The Midland Gaunts was printed at about 30" x 40" on 180g archival Somerset Velvet, packed in wider radius shipping tubes and furnished with a pair of white gloves for viewing that would comply with good archival practice.

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