In preperation for being a staff photog (minon class) for SakuraCon 2008, I purchased a Panasonic FZ50 camera. It was the cheapest nifty camera I could find. It's turned out to be pretty handy, especially when coupled with an infra-red filter. It was broken in with a trial-by fire over SakuraCon weekend and it held up. I'm sure my pictures were a little iffy partly because I was getting used to the camera, but partly because I'm a marginal photographer any way. It was a lot of work but really fun. I attended pannels and events I might have skipped if I was just a guest, and I believe I had more fun because of it.
My art has been all across the board and still is to some extent. I love different mediums and forms, and my hap-hazard style reflects my AADD (Art Attention Deficit Disorder). Up till recently I was not focused enough with what I wanted from my art, I mainly chalk this up to the fact I enjoy learning how to use different materials as much as I like making stuff. I think I have found a direction that I can channel my love of new materials and my exploration of my culture (itself a substantial part of my life). Learning to work with traditional materials has a lot to do with my focus gelling at this time. (Re)Learning to work with traditional weaving materials from my mother has been a tremendous learning experience. This broadens in to a wider 'tinkering' compulsion in the rest of my life with the benifit of being a 'handyman'. With an analytical eye, a lot of seemingly complicated things are actually pretty self explanitary when you follow the function of the form. (e.g. this chain pulls this pulg that flushes the toilet and fills up to this bladder that turns it off.) Whether it's a gravity feed water system that feeds a fogger in an installation piece, or using vaccume pressure to form heated plastic, my work is always incorporating somthing new. The drawback is that my 'style' is pretty haphazard and is taking longer to mature than if I setteled on a single way to do things. So I guess it's a good thing I don't make art for anyone else but me. :)
I love repainting nerf, but I don't neccisarily enjoy nerf fights. I just love taking some of the cool looking nerf guns and making them just a bit more cool. It started out with the nerf maverick (still my favourite, although the recon is pretty rad) and the longshot was a fun project. Most of the projects have been pretty simple repaints, and slight internal optimizations (remove suppressors, full mag eject). I haven't yet hooked up my own internal lasers but the triggering is all there in a couple of the models, just some slight saudering and a pen laser. I thought about laying some el-wire/sheet, but I don't know if i'm really that hard core... yet.
Music, Dancing, and the placation of an animal.
Every so often I like to call up one of my dancing-buddies (more often than not JenXP) and shake my knees at NocNoc and on red-letter month The Merc. I am one of those people that goes to a dance club to dance and not necessarily to socialize. This has frustrated some of my friends, but I try to make this fact abundantly clear that when I say I want to go 'Dancing' I do not mean go to a club and ogle girls, get drunk, try to talk over loud music, or any other of the mysterious reasons other people have for going clubbing. I'm not saying these other reasons are wrong, just not right for me.
I do not really know how to dance in any traditional way, I pretty much just move my body to the music, in the typical club-style of dancing. I have taken a couple of classes in different types of dance, but have yet to find a dance I dig enough to force myself into the constraints of pre-determined set of steps. While fun to learn, I don't have the drive some people do when it comes to traditional dancing.
The type of music I like dancing to is not restricted to the usual EBM, Industrial, FuturePop, NeoFolk, electo-industrial, etc. I dig Downtempo, Trip-Hop, Vocal Trance, Tribal-House, etc. As well as an assortment of popular, Folk, traditional, classical, and other music genres. I think most people aren't limited to liking certain types of music, if it's good music most people will like it. Of course it's all subjective, so may be i'm just less passionate than some people are about certain musical genres.
Cosplay, a playful costume.
When I started working for Display & Costume I thought I was a costume guy, my costumes during halloween always seemed to be pretty good, not A-list but good. Then I was introduced to the cosplay scene and I was impressed by some of the ingenuity and even more so by the passion these people have for their costumes and the characters they represented. Certainly there is an amount of adolescent behaviour, but there are some genuinly intaresting people at cons. I have only gone to one anime-con, SakuraCon but being a staff photographer has me going to a pannel every hour and covering main events from my own angle. Contrasting my two different status' at con made me realize just how much is going on. Some pannels I thought would be ho-hum turned out to engage me fully, while others popular pannels turned out to be not my thing.
Gaming, my gamer status revoked by the acquisition of a life.
My record for continous gaming is 8 straight hours of Quake, no breaks, no sanity. I abused the T1 line I had at my colledge dorm like you wouldn't believe. But for all the fooling around, and questionable downloading I did, I was exposed to the possibilities of a connected world. It led me, in a roundabout way, to my career path. I still play games but I fall on the casual side of the deviding line, and playing games with my friends in the room is somthing I can't replicate with strangers online.
About ten years ago I got ahold of an 'Evaluation' copy of PhotoShop (ver. 4!) and started using it as a fancy colage tool. Eventualy I worked on making layouts for web pages, and then web pages themselves. I was a hobby Web Designer, making pages for trade and my pretend portfolio, for about 6 years until I fell into a web design job at Display & Costume (now Party @ Display & Costume) and learned that what I knew was pretty much just the tip of the iceberg when it came to the real-world. I ate it all up, from CSS to XML I was immersed in a single website that was far more complex than any brochure site I had worked on before. 10K products later I feel I have a fairly good hold on this type of shopping cart system, and I am infatuated with the web culture. I know better than to think I have more than touched on the possibilities of the internet, and I love the fact that I am adding my (small) part to this burgeoning social space.
While I did go to collage for art, I didn't take many design classes, but I inherited my eye for design from my artistic family. I know when things look right and when they look half assed, this isn't me braging; in fact it's stunted my growth a bit because when I started designing nothing looked right. It's also a bitch to walk away from a project when it doesn't look right. Cutting my teeth at web design the same time as the web itself is maturing has been a fantastic experience. I have grown and made my mistakes along with the rest of the web and benifited. My learning experience is dealing directly with the web as a human-computer interface. Some traditional designers see webpages as just a paper analog and has to have every word and picture line up 'just so' (or it drives them nuts, it's actually fun to watch a designer have a meltdown over excessive whitespace ;). Good web design for me is not a static representation of paper but a beautiful interactive computer-human interface that can adapt to the user's needs*. It's up to a good designer to make that possible.
* I favour a blend of fluid/fixed width layouts because there are so many advantages over fixed-width when you consider adaptability and accessability (products not people). You don't have to play the numbers game (stats) when you broaden the range of your site from mobile to monitor. It goes without saying every site has it's different design requirements, but there are far too many sites that don't take advantage of what a fluid design has to offer. Yes, it's harder initially, but so is designing and updating a second site for a different sized screen. I am looking at your design-school layout and it's fixed for no other reason than your stunted view of asthetics. ok, ok, yes I'm expecting overmuch. Designers design, developers make it work. But as designers you often have a say in when a site is fixed and whether it's fluid, what do you default to? Go ahead, tax the dev group, make them think outside the table. If you truly want to shine as a designer: make that great looking sites look that great for all your clients. Your clients didn't go to design school, the don't care about the traditional way of doing things. They didn't hire you to design the brochure, they hired you to design their portal. Why design a piece of paper as a web page? That web page is capable of so much more! Fucking Flex that Shit Man! And before you write me in a tiff saying that fixed width is better, think about what I just said: all things even, no specific size requirements, and your going to tell me that from a user point of view this site that is fixed and doesn't adapt to the size of the user wants is better than the one that does? And what size is that? in this world of variable display resolutions, not to mention variable resolution mobile products. At that point the designer is imposing asthetic over the usability. If you must put limits or things will break, put a min/max width on it, don't default to fixed. Design for a range of resolutions and you can cover your bases for the majority. Group display sizes into small/med/large and that way you only have to design css layouts for three instead of inconviencting your viewers with one that may not work to their needs.
One day a week (and one evening) I take a break from the computer and cast, paint, and sell gargoyles for Gargoyles Statuary in the University District of Seattle. It's something I've done part time for years and I find it a relaxing break from the computer-laden work-week. I've found the people at Gargoyles are a fun gang and have added greatly to my circle of friends. And this way I don't have to buy gargoyles, I can just visit them at work.