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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Adjusting Focus

And then there is the focus. A feature most notable in photography and videography, but also present in illustrations, paintings, and, in one way or another, other forms of art.

Focusing is optional. You can choose to have a fully clear and crisp picture showing everything in detail. But when focus is employed, it most closely resembles how our attention and brain work, simultaneously making it more compelling and complete. Furthermore, by focusing, you are able to show which planes and elements are most or least significant or relevant to the message that you are trying to convey. If not just bring awareness to certain ones, for better or for worse, for any reason. 

Through focus, you can make emphasis, give depth, and display motion. You could ask yourself which specific artworks you would like to bring any of this to. 

• Emphasis
What is important to notice? You can focus on key elements and let what is around them pale in comparison or basically vanish.

• Depth
How close or far away things are? You can focus on where your sight rests and let the rest become indistinguishable according to how short or long the distance across them is.

• Motion
What is still and what is moving? You can focus on what is still or slow, as that is what is most easily perceived and processed, and let what is moving or fast blur according to their movements.

Switching around the focus within the same frame or piece of work also makes for interesting and exciting revelations. So that is also something to try. 

CREDIT: AI-Generated Examples done on Leonardo.AI

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Damsel (2024)

At the beginning of March, right after the movie was released, I started coming across clips of it and was intrigued by what else the story would tell. I figured that, maybe, I would watch it, in celebration of spring and fairytales, but my expectations of it were low so I soon forgot about it. However, as clips kept showing up, I eventually caved in and believed I would regret NOT watching it. 'Cause what if it's great? So, I did. And it was! (At least to me.)

Damsel is a Netflix production, a fairytale movie that is not quite a fairytale (unless your concept of fairytales includes the grimmer and darker sort, what's in between, and not just the happily-ever-after kind). And if the story fails to engage you, it'll still indulge your senses with majestic imagery.

If you're into fairytales, especially dragons, and who's been wronged to have their win after all, but tired of Prince Charming and the blind adoration of royalty, this is for you. And you might enjoy it on a fine night when the mood is right.

  SPOILER ALERT!   Keep reading at your own risk. There are spoilers ahead... 

Friday, May 17, 2024

Built Up

Maybe one day, a lot of the seemingly random and out-of-place things in your life will suddenly come up as insane foreshadowing to something major. Or maybe, they'll remain a compilation of experiences that, regardless, built you up.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Taking a Perspective

What is the perspective you’re taking? From which spot are you looking at things? This is something else to consider when making your work. You may go with a default, straightforward, line of vision. Or you could switch it around a bit more to make your work more compelling. To reveal and capture different sides and views of things. And ways to look at them. Direction, angle, distance, visibility. They all come into play.

• Direction
Where are you looking at? And how much are you seeing?

• Angle
Are you looking up, down, tilting slightly? How does that change what you are seeing?

• Distance
From how far away or up close are you looking? What context around it does it give or what minute details are you seeing?

• Visibility
What comes in between what you’re looking at? Is it getting blurry and foggy or are there other matter and objects blocking what you are seeing?

Furthermore, if you are getting technical, you could notice what is called a vanishing point. That is the point to which the lines and outlines that make out the visuals seem to be pulled to as perspective “shapes” them. It is possible for there to be a single vanishing point within a picture. But there can certainly be more than one as well while being realistic (and can get crazy in surrealism). Vanishing points can be marked and evident, being clearly reached, but they often hide behind planes (surfaces, barriers, etc.) while still “magnetizing” the forms affected.

CREDIT: AI-Generated Examples done on Leonardo.AI

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Consumed by a Topic or Interest?

It is tempting and probable to be consumed by a topic or interest (or discourse around it) and direct all (or too much) of one's attention and resources to it. So here is a friendly reminder to be watchful of that and take a step back or practice moderation when there is no longer an urgency or when it is becoming counterproductive to your work. Choose the particular vias and the amount of investment you will dedicate to them that allow you to still properly tend to what you must. And be clear about it if necessary!

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Making a Composition

When making a composition, visual or otherwise, there are a few things that can help make it pleasing, interesting, and/or exciting to perceive. And if that’s the goal, you can keep them in mind and bring them in when working on a composition. 

• Theme
One defined theme, whether it is readily apparent or not, can tie everything else together. You may have several themes within a composition, but if they are not connected to an overarching one, it comes across as disjointed. Which isn’t necessarily going to render it worthless, but would be an aspect in which it is void.

• Palette
A select number of colors or, in the wider sense, of anything you “paint” and “fill in” with, can both facilitate and challenge you to strategize with what you’re making. And whether the number is high or low, something peculiar can come out of it.

• Framing
What are the limits surrounding what you are grasping or covering? What is the size and proportions of this frame? When you look around through a frame, what do you let inside of it? Is it in some manner noticeably outlined? This makes the infinite finite, granting a sense of completion though it may still only be one part of many in a series.

• Margin
Often, leaving some margin between the edges and significant elements within, allows to better capture what is presented. There is room and ease to direct attention toward what is mainly happening. It is important, though, to know when it is too little or too much.

• Distribution
Order and placement matter. At least for what your intention is and what kind of journey, trip, or ride you’re doing. Is it a linear or non-linear progression? Are you leaping around and then patching up? What should be noticed first and then afterward?

• Grouping
When several components make it to the composition, you may have groups and even subgroups within it. What you are grouping by is up to you if you will at all. But this is often appreciated and yet another form of engaging in how it is processed.

• Balancing
Quite optional, but yet another feature that can make it stand out. How are you counteracting excesses and extremes? Of space, of content, of form…

• Alignment
Will there be symmetry, asymmetry, or both? Parallels, perpendiculars, or both? How do points meet or stand apart? Is sacred geometry involved at all? Or is it a neat and tidy design that allows no incongruence or dissonance?

• Separation
How close together or far away is everything? And which are which? Are elements touching or superimposed or is there space between them? What would be most suitable?

• Layering
What is at the forefront, what is in the background, and what is in between? Or alternatively, how intricate and elaborate is what is contained? Will it be plain and simple or have different layers to it?

• Story
Are you telling a story through it or solely presenting something to the senses? If you intend to have it say more, you can do so as obviously or subtly as you deem. Be it long or short. Convoluted or straightforward.  

• Secrets
And as a means of communication, would you be hiding “secrets” in it? Barely perceivable details, here and there, meant for only the extremely perceptive to find? Encoded and to be deciphered?

How you make your compositions, all or any of them, is your choice (and you could sense it out until you’re satisfied instead). You may find that you naturally lean to one or more of the above when making them. This is part of what leaves your unique footprint on your artwork. But if you consider that they are lacking or have room for more, see what else you could be paying attention to - whether it falls under or outside of any of the already mentioned here.

CREDIT: AI-Generated Examples done on Leonardo.AI

Friday, May 3, 2024

Art that Makes a Difference

Had a long period of being nonchalant, indifferent even, about famous artists whose work I loved because, "Um, celebrities, yeah, whatever..." So my appreciation was more directed toward merely the fact that something happened to be made (through and by them) that turned out to be of great importance to me and could reach me while I most needed it. And even if they didn't go out of their way for me and were already getting plenty in return, I could still be immensely grateful for it, acknowledging that it could as well not exist, that they could have taken different (maybe easier) paths - but they didn't and went through what they had to for and because of it. I'm still always going to love more a person who actually knows I exist and cares for me in particular, but that doesn't negate that, at some point, all I had to get me through a dark time was, let's say, listening to a song from an artist I don't expect to ever meet or especially matter to. And I wouldn't know what was in their heart, exactly, when they made art for the public, but a genuine desire to help is not entirely impossible. So thank goodness for that!

Monday, April 29, 2024

I was Tame, I was Gentle...

I went into The Tortured Poets Department universe after all!
Or at least let a character come alive in one of my imaginings of it. ♪ So all you kids can sneak into my house with all the cobwebs ♪

I can be at peace, at last, having immortalized in photographs some of my favorite clothing items before I lose them or completely wear them out. The stockings were a quick buy and they accidentally ripped as I hastily put them on, but it fits the aesthetic better that way, putting the "tortured" in "tortured poet". And I got new curtains for this shoot, but ended up using old ones as they give more of a "dusty attic" atmosphere. So I can pretend it's one of the secret hang-out places. There are also flowers in my jewelry and in my fabric. I wanted to bring them in as part of spring, without detracting from the gloom of it all, since it's the season when TTPD was released.

And look who's here! I kid you not, this black cat showed up the other night and I wasn't expecting it at all. It roams around here now. ♪ So I leap from the gallows and I levitate down your street. Crash the party like a record scratch as I scream: Who's afraid of little old me? ♪

Lastly, what are you most tortured by or what tortures you the most? For me, it's a few different things, but willful ignorance is definitely among them. My own and others'. ♪ Is it a wonder I broke? ♪

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Taylor Swift’s Fortnight

When I first saw the teaser, I worried it would feel void. As a high contrast, black and white, geometrical place. But it was so immensely and profoundly filled with meaning!

There’s been speculation about who this song is about, and I can’t tell either. But regardless, it is a lovely song that I quickly grew to love as I better comprehended it. After a few listens, going back and forth with the lines to read between them and get how they added onto each other or canceled each other out. Like a book of code, it must be grasped holistically rather than partially.

Listening to it alone, I loved it, but with the video, I loved it so much more. It does seem to show more of what it is all about, with the different characters and scenarios, rather than simply being an unrelated video patched to it.

And we know that Taylor Swift is guilty of putting an INSANE amount of attention to detail in her videos so, whenever she is involved in the writing and direction of them, I KNOW there is more than meets the eye and she’s telling more of the story through them.

The covered tattoos that she reveals and match Malone’s, “Stay Away” and “Always Tired” being especially visible. But also letters and symbols that could point to more. If she included them, then it is quite probable that it fits into the story too. Though you might never be fully sure.

The emphasis on the line “I love you, it’s ruining my life” and how it’s coming from both of them, through writing and reading machines. Yet it isn’t explicitly described why and how exactly. You could try to intuit it but, again, might never be fully sure.

I loved how the telephone booth is shown as such a key part of it all, along with how they sing of calling and not picking up. Like they’re right there, near each other, but can’t be reached via it. Speaking of approaches. And the importance of communication.

Things didn’t quite work out, it would seem, but there appears to be genuine love between these two characters. With their embracing, the caring for the other’s wellbeing, and looks that silently say “I love you beyond anything I’ve so far expressed”. Perhaps a doomed love regardless. But that doesn’t necessarily make it small and insignificant.

Where passion of this degree is involved, and one's yearnings are not fulfilled, lines such as “I wanna kill her” and “I wanna kill him” don’t shock me at all. The frustration can be unbearable. She just happens to be honest with herself. And whatever happened in their story that is not made obvious could be further fueling it. What else happened here? You don’t know. Maybe he did fail her terribly, but it might be… complicated. See, guys often don’t give a damn, but sometimes they do. It is unfortunate that it’s not always so easy to tell when which is the case.

Furthermore, I am obsessed with the concept of colors as the manifestation of energy, so of course I was thrilled by the typewriter room scenes that had them emanating. Taylor Swift’s character had mostly orange with subtle tints of yellow and red eventually showing, while Malone’s character had mostly blue with subtle tints of purple and green coming through, as both typed across from each other. They all ultimately join into a white sphere of light. If you aren’t aware of it already, white contains them all. And white is the color TTPD comes in with, often hinting at it. It does make me wonder!

It is phenomenal that she included actors from the Dead Poets Society (and named this The Tortured Poets Department instead, keeping “poets” but switching “dead” for “tortured” and “society” for “department”). Makes me want to rewatch that movie again sometime soon for it’ll likely tell more! And by the way, some of my favorite movie quotes come from there. “We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” So it definitely hits home for me.

I’m unsure of what the ending here means, though. They do get to be together in some manner after all? Is it a cliffhanger? Is there a continuation to this story? I certainly do look forward to more being tied to it!

Bonus: How she looks like a scary doll too? Priceless.

The Tortured Poets Department


I figured us, tortured poets, were in for a treat when The Tortured Poets Department was announced. But holy goddess, I did not expect this much!

It is a double album, one I’m still not fully done processing. You thought there would be around 15 songs? Nope. There are over 30! It is lengthy. Multidimensional, too. I’ve listened to it. I’ve pondered it. I’ve casually hummed and sang along to it. Swayed and danced. But I’m still far from fully grasping it and all that it contains. And maybe expecting to do so around the release date is unrealistic and not even ideal. The Tortured Poets Department is an entire realm to be transported to and be in for months - perhaps years. It is the work of letting go of what is being carried. And to do that, you must dig into the torture. It’s like roots reaching to hell so that branches can reach to heaven. While simultaneously letting light meet with darkness and vice-versa. This integrative and expansive process takes time.

So I found it suitable and appropriate that it is so mellow. Rather than have a variety of songs wildly varying from each other, all of them retain the same certain moods and give off the same certain vibes while the lyrics and the stories they tell change within what The Tortured Poets Department is fundamentally about. It’s nostalgic, hypnotic, and floaty. As if you are submerging into the sea of your subconscious, where your past is. Or just turning back time and getting light-headed on the trip there. And there’s sadness and anger to deal with regardless.

It can be overwhelming. I wouldn’t recommend rushing through the album. Less so to form opinions, which would be quick but superficial. I would say that this is music to sit or lie down with. Dwell on it some during and afterward. Then let “a-ha” moments come to you. At least when aspiring to thoroughly take it in. You may speculate and attempt to decipher what or who each track is about, as the album covers a wide range of situations and circumstances, but there is significance and meaning in what is expressed regardless.

TTPD is not for the stiff and the shallow who wish to remain as such. It is filled with prompts and stimulants that can shake, bend, and take you out of your comfort zone. Not as abruptly as TS can and has been on other occasions, but still quite candidly. It comes across as having plenty of harsh truths to say but holding one’s tongue - or pen. Sparing some pain and saving you from what you’re not ready for, letting you realize the rest for yourself. If you don’t wish to meet yourself past your illusions or your surface levels, then you might not enjoy paying attention to it.

There have been criticisms about how it all sounds the same. But it doesn’t exactly. This misses the fact that, in such cases, you can tune into a state where you are more perceptive and sensitive to subtle differences, which you will need for nuanced introspection.

There have been criticisms about how Taylor is supposedly trying to be something she is not. But I view it more as tapping into other aspects of herself, her life, and what surrounds her, engaging in other kinds of alchemical transmutations for restoration and growth. Hers and those of whoever resonates with any of it. And it’s not like she has ever been someone to stick to a single style. She is always exploring and experimenting (within reason).

There have been criticisms about being too much. Personally, I don’t get tired. I may get momentarily overwhelmed or even stressed when there is a lot going on, but nobody is forcing me to consume and digest all of it as fast as I possibly can. And when I notice that I’m pressuring myself to, I can just take a deep breath and come back to my senses so that I will see and remember that I should manage myself better. It might indeed be a problem for people with fear of missing out or whose job is to immediately respond, in one way or another, to media. But that’s not the case for everyone.

On the other hand, I’ve been delighted by the positive reactions it has garnered. People relating, joking, and more. Many have welcomed TTPD with open arms or at least an open mind to let it gradually win them over. And as the trendsetter that TS is, I won’t be surprised if for a while brooding is more embraced. Something that should be prescribed in this era of mere appearances.

My only concern is why. Why this colossal stream of pent-up thoughts and emotions? She is pouring her soul out. Sharing what seem to be not only recent but long-ago occurrences. Letting go of it all. So what is next? This cannot be her last album! Gotta at least have a 13th one (imagine what she could do with it)! But if this means she’s taking a long break to recover from everything she’s gone and put herself through lately, have new experiences and make new memories, it is totally understandable and deserved! I’d miss her but I’d wait. As for what is going on right now, I am absolutely into The Tortured Poets Department and anything else that’s coming out of it!