What Design Festa was

So, Design Festa has ended, much sooner than I expected, actually. Friday night I toiled updating my poems and assembling my concept summary until morning, returning from the Southern Tower Kinko’s as the sky grew light at 4:30 Saturday morning. After sleeping for two hours and being dead to my alarm, the impatient calls from my ride at seven threw me into a dash of assembly until 12:15, over an hour past the show opening. I foolishly thought that being the second time around I’d be more prepared and installation would go smoother, but again this time I had nearly twice the materials as the last, and my booth setup was more complicated than my previous outing. Thank the Lord I had friends with me to put it together. Without them, there would have been no show

Then with a sweat-frosted brow, I stood proudly in my skiing cowboy shirt, eyes alight nostrils flaring, continuing on energy that came from some sort of environmental tap. Balancing on my toes, rocking over my knees I smiled, beamed, and gestured. I explained what Tokyo meant to me, what my goals were for the future, how the buildings and the colors, the stories witnessed and imagined all drove me nearly insane with ardor that simply must be redirected onto these two dozen pieces of coloured paper.

I didn’t eat for thirty hours, just absently sipping plastic bottled sports drinks between the waves of young girls that drifted in and out of my booth. When I sensed someone was not in a hurry and genuinely looking at my wrinkled black canvas, I intruded making a slight bow and offered a headset playing a remixed version of Leonid’s Crater. The ambient river that I coaxed out of the microKORG mingled with samples of clacking heels, passing bicycles, and slowly withdrawing automobiles. Birds warbled and summer cicadas sang: so much shuffled and tinkling green tea powder over a sublime layer of mint cake. The sound was well-received and led to conversations, long moments where I forgot my humility and sped on feverishly, taking every question and using it as a springboard into a clammy reel of my philosophy. Perhaps too emphatic, after finishing a complete revolution of my spiel, conversation often dropped off sharply and my exhaustion precluded common sense, ending each meeting with a weak smile and a passing of my business card.

I sold a dozen or so postcards, gave away a handful more, and at the end of the day had so much in my mind of how I would improve upon it all next time, during packing up and the train ride home I was virtually catatonic.

Already a bushel of future concepts have risen up in my mind like sprouting weeds after a long summer rain. I don’t have time to enumerate them all right now, because this is the stream of consciousness post, and I don’t have the gallery assembled yet anyway. Give me a day or two and then you can see the collective fruits of my efforts (and maybe even hear them).





Hitting my stride

So, last Thursday things were shaky and panic was raining over the citizens of Rustopia like so much psychological shock and awe from above. However, there were a few key moments between Friday night and now, and oddly enough I’ve been making all the right choices in the Design Festa 25 Choose Your Own Adventure book. More consultations, more positive feedback, more analysis of the weak points in my assembly, more emphatic emotional support. Yes, yes, YES.

Yesterday I made a trip to my second Oita Prefecture Kakujo High School reunion, hopefully I can write about that this week. Following the event, NamiT and I had a nice, settling talk at Cafe Crie’ and afterwards I got my affairs in order along with the next batch of prints for HCL while going over the syndicate plotline episodes from Cowboy Bebop for the thousandth time.

Went to bed right at one, woke up with the sun right in my eyes at five-thirty, rolled back and forth among blankets dreaming of buttercup-sweet love, and was on the road getting supplementary shots for the show by seven. Yes, seven.

Three hours, relaxed bicycling, instinctual turns at every intersection, and made my way down to old towne Honmachi, north through Nakano-shimbashi saying hello to Tomato Club, under the Chuo line at Nakano, meandering to Ochiai, and eventually stumbled across the back gate to the same park (哲学堂公園) I enjoyed another wonderfulSunnyDay last July. Then along the Myoushouji river (little cousin to the great Kanda), under Yamate dori, coasting past the eastside of Toyama Park near Waseda (which I hadn’t visited since 2004!), into Okubo only find my meat bun Chinese grocer still closed at 9:30, down through the hangover peak of Kabuki-cho, and had the wonderful timing to see all of the pachinko addicts lined up outside of the slot parlors before opening to drop off two rolls of blue-skied, cherub-kissed Centuria. Write the first draft of my opening poem while eating a five dollar hamburg steak meal at Saizeriya, then pick up a FIFTY DOLLAR binder at Yodobashi for my 8×10 back catalog, grab the proofs from Kitamura, and then home to sort them all out with the rest of my stock to decide on enlargements. Now I have QR codes to phone-friendly versions of my shots, now I have flame-retardant cloth to appease the Fire Marshal.

Now I just have to work out a first run of 20 minutes of environment music, write the first drafts for the poems for each of my featured shots, print a QR code test sheet at Kinko’s, pick up the enlargements at Kitamura, find a couple of pocket displays for my mailable wares, and write a set of friendly reminders that I am doing a show next weekend so I can drop them in the post first thing in the morning.

Not bad for sixteen hours, huh? 😀

Pushing it

I’ve been throttling between slightly above average workdays and constant midnight sessions on the PC with Photoshop this week. I am so close the threshold of exhaustion that it wets my skin; in a small sailboat on a choppy sea, it laps at my knees. You don’t want to see the way I look right now.

I just finished an hour of delerious grappling with the alarm. I absolutely have to get a large number of negatives to Horiuchi today with markups for printing. Concept is still vague and untenable. I’m in trouble.

What’s happening this month

Not much, apparently. Actually even though I had a couple days off last week for Golden Week, much like last Christmas there was very little resting going on. I didn’t even make a 36-hour trip to Kyoto this time. 🙁 I went to the park like once.

I’ve been grinding my gears with Photoshop, OpenMPT, and the microKORG over the past month. I forget if I mentioned it, but I’m currently working on a show and this time I have a theme. The good thing about this is if I pull it off, it’s a lot easier to connect with the guests, increasing the chances of having some sort of lasting effect on someone. The bad thing is that my tool usage skills are behind the curve for what I hope to accomplish.

I have sixteen days. If you have a spare moment, send me an angel.

Man at work

f-stops, ASA, EV adjustments, push processing, dpi, Kodak paper, Fujifilm, wide angle, telephoto, AE mode, tripod, spot metering, depth of field, manual focus, Sunny 16 rule, black and white, color negative, reprint, enlargement, crop, blower, macro, bulb, zoom, scan, archive, levels, contrast, brightness, unsharp mask, saturation, luminance, highlight, shadow, f/8 and be there…

single. lens. reflex.