I’ve had an idea of a mural in the back of my head for the longest time. Its’ defiantly a buck-list item for summer of 2019. I was cleaning the studio tonight and this giant wall keeps calling me. Its the main focal point of the studio and I want to do a large piece here. I started playing around with some ideas on what to do and in the end it may not look like this at all. But it was in my bones and I had to get something in front of me to see what this wall could look like. A mini brainstorm if you will, take a peek.
As I drive around Northwest Indiana there is a lot of room for improvement. The visual landscape of the Region is littered with various brands that live within our communities. I started thinking what it would be like if local brands were beautiful and functional. How would it look around here if companies rebranded with updated logos. We have to interact, absorb and pass through these signs, billboards and locations without any say. Unknowingly, these brands make a subconscious impression on our perception of design. Be it good or bad it’s what we see every day and it starts to seep into our taste levels and tolerance of design. It’s not like we live in Beverly Hills where every store masthead is an award winning typeface.
In a fun attempt to “clean up” the Region I played with some different typefaces that would help elevate the logos of some local companies that haven’t had their logo refreshed in awhile. This was an exploration based on what I know as a customer of these establishments. From a pure consumer perspective I picked typefaces that felt like the company and something that was attractive to me. Let me know what you think of the following in the comments below.
We had an awesome night at the Wndr Museum in Chicago. Dubbed the Instagram museum, as soon as you walk in you quickly understand why. It’s filled with a treasure trove of photo opportunities. It’s a neat way to spend an hour or so and also begs the question is it art or just a background for a photo.
The lobby had a few photo spots but there was also a person doing a live painting, which was cool. There were also these interactive lights that would change color based off of the color of the surface you put it on. They were really neat and we could have played with them for hours. Side note they do not work on skin color lol.
Once you are done in the lobby the one way pah through the exhibit starts. There are workers at each exhibit that will take your picture and look over the exhibit. I’m sure that gets super annoying and their eyes have to hurt after a long day of watching people take selfies.
A giant mass of straws and light were used to make this pile that Merck is standing in front of. It changed color and almost feel like it was vibrating.
I loved everything about this room, from the moment I walked in the space I knew I was going to love it. The ceilings were covered with clouds and the room was filled with panels of clear colored plastic. The panels are used to filter the cloud’s color and if you stood and looked at the clouds from different angles you could see how to the color changes. I really wanted to lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling, it was that cool. By far my favorite room.
As we transitioned from room to room my head was spinning with ideas and thoughts on how I could apply all of these things to my own work. From clouds to mirrors and shapes and colors it was an explosion of inspiration.
This hallway was a filled with these colored lights that danced and changed color in a random order.
This next room was pretty neat, the floor would react to your steps and would spray out swirls of color.
Yes we are. I believe that everyone has some type of artistic abilities flowing through their veins. When was the last time you created something? That long huh? Make it a point to make something today because we are all artist.
Last week I walked into Blackbird and the walls where empty. I had a bunch of work at home so I quickly asked to hang my work and Daniel was was equally quick to say yes. I wasn’t sure how he was going to hang it but it looks pretty cool. Take a visit to Blackbird in Valpo on Lincolnway and grab a cup of coffee and check out my work. It’s all for sale so pick up a piece while you’re at it.
Visit Blackbird here
I was feeling the itch to shoot some food again and I started to watch some YouTube videos to pick up a tip or two. I was thinking of something to shoot and pancakes are easy but it was late and I didn’t want to make them. So the next best thing was a burger. Costco sells these frozen burgers that are pretty good so now that I knew what to shoot I grabbed some stuff from the fridge and headed into the studio.
The first thing I did was set up my scene. I wanted to get it all set before I built my burger. I grabbed some props and layered in a couple backgrounds for texture. I wanted to keep the scene monochromatic because I wanted the beer and burger to pop. Once I had that set, I set up a light behind the scene at 45 degrees at 1/8 power. My go-to is f4.0 at 250 and iso 200. I also added a bounce once after I got my burger in place. I like setting the main subject on the plate or in place and then construct it right there. There has been plenty of times I’ve built up a dish then moved and something has fallen. Here is what it looked like.
You can see the addional bounce to the right and a plate i used for a secondary fill. A plate is a great small surface that helps to lift the shadows in small spots. I like the larger fill to get a nice big highlight on the bottle.
Here is the result. I’m loving the highlights on the tomatoes, they help keep your eye pulled into the burger. This image is set up as an editorial image which would have text in the upper left hand corner. If you keep the end goal in mind for your images then you’ll shoot more meaningful photos. I was pretty happy how it turned out. After I took this image I wanted to see what would happen as I moved my position higher and lower, left and right. Once I took some shots from a few different angles I started to move the light. Moving the light was way more interesting then my camera position. Pulling the light away from the scene gave me a different mood and look, to the same burger. I pushed in on it a little more and the result was a lot more interesting.
It really made the burger pop. I added smidge of light to the background and in retrospect I could have back lit the bottle but all in all I like the darker more moodier photo. Overall, it was a good learning experience and something that was quick and fun. I was done before the studio even heated up and I was able to eat a pretty burger and beer too.
The studio is under major renovations and fresh coat of paint helped clear the walls and make room for some new murals. A huge thanks to Jeremy Bustos for giving up half a day to paint and for forcing me to get this done. I’m really excited for the next steps and to put this place back together again and to start painting some monsters.
Check back on progress pictures and stories.
I love music, it’s a great source of inspiration and motivation for me. Spotify is my go-to music service and they put together a cool site that compiles all of your listening into a condensed graphic form. Some statistics were pretty out there. Take a look at my 2018 year of music.
What did you listen to this year?
One day I got an email from a team member at unsplash.com asking me for my home address. They wanted to send me something for reaching 50 million views on my images on their site. I was pretty surprised by that and thought that was pretty cool. I like sharing my images on the site because the site is filled with high quality images and it’s nice to be in good company.
The 50 million views are cool but I’m more impressed with the 300k downloads. That means my mages are being used for a number of projects, website and funny enough - profile pictures.
I got my package from unsplash and it was a nice gesture. It’s great that they take the time to thank you.
Check out me profile here
As a child my father owned a tshirt printing business. The small shop on the South-side of Chicago (and later in Whiting) hand-printed T-shirt’s and did iron-on transfers and lettering for local bars, organizations and companies. And at a young age I was left in the shop with the one employee my dad always had, Ken. My dad would go out and get business and Ken would produce the shirts. This was pre-computer days. This was 1980s tshirt production at its finest. Without knowing it, I was exposed to typography, design and production, attention to detail, customer service and deadlines. Without knowing it - Ken was exposing me to a world that would eventually become my career. Ken eventually evolved into my babysitter, teacher, and one of the key male figures in my life. Ken was gay and at a young age I learned exceptance. He was a fine artist and his sketches were some of the first sketches I’d ever seen. He worked in the shop all day and at night he would watch my sisters-in-law I, he’d make us dinner and made sure we were safe. I never knew him to have a social life, he worked all day and then took care of us at night. I look back over all the teachers and professors I had and the mentors and role models - but my foundation in the arts was built on what Ken taught me.
I remember being in college and showing Ken how easy it was to set type on a curve in Illustrator. He was a amazed. I can remember watching him cut out black acetate letters and pasting them together by hand on a homemade light box...one letter at a time with a ruler, pencil and tape.
Ken had a brain aneurysm and was hospitalized. I was in my twenties and never went to see him because I was to scared to see him that way. But after a couple days he died.
One of my biggest regrets is never telling Ken thank you. And after being in the creative field for a little less than two decades I wish I could tell him thank you.
This past week I was promoted from senior art director to Creative Director of WeCreate Media. I’ve been with the agency for a little more than a year and a half and have been blessed to work with amazingly talented, kind and supportive people. My two bosses have been there for me and my family personally and professionally, they have watched me fail and have celebrated many victories. So when they called me into the back room of our office to give me the news of the promotion, the first thing that popped into my mind was ...thanks Ken.
A special thanks to my wife and kids and all the people that believe in me when I didn’t believe in myself, thank you. From my mentors and educators friends and family, thank you. I stand on the shoulders of giants and I am who I am because of all of you.
Visit us at www.wecreatemedia.com.
I’ve wanted a surprise birthday party my whole life and my wife said that I shouldn’t ask for one then I’d expect it. Well this year was the year. We went out to dinner after a long week and as I walked into the restaurant and area I was greatly surprised by friends and family. It was an amazing feeling and I almosted cried. I can’t thank everyone enough for making that happen. 40 is starting off on the right foot. I hope I can do a lot better with the next forty than I did with the first.
Had great night at First Friday’s at the Lubeznik Art Center in Michigan City. My work will be up for the month of November and available to purchase. It was a nice night of meeting random people and talking about my work. It was really cool to see my work all together and in good light. My family and co-workers came by as well as friends and fellow artist. If you’re in town check it out. Here are some pictures to see what you’ve missed.
I worked on my first piece last night and it got me really excited about what’s to come. Let me back up... I have a solo show in November at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City. Sooo with that being said I started on what will become a 10-12 piece show of all new work. I saw these black canvases at Michaels and picked them up. I decided I’d whip them out and see what would happen. I mixed in some colored pencil to sketch it out. The results got me excited and I’m ready to work on another one. Check it out!
learn more about the Lubeznik Center www.lubeznikcenter.org.
I love process, the journey and the way it’s done. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated with how things are made and what goes into it. I stumbled across this podcast that breaks down songs and gets into the nitty gritty of the details, from the meaning of single lines and phrases to break downs of beat patterns and sound structures. It’s pretty cool how deep they go with the explanations. In this episode he opens with an explanation of Good Guy and talks about the two versions of ourselves with the line ...and you text nothing like you look. Such a dope line. The podcast continues on with a breakdown of a skit in the progression of the song and it’s pretty comical to hear the narrator cuss and say N-word as he breaks down the significance. It’s all well done and in good taste. It really gives good insight into the mind of the artist. One part he breaks down the use of guitars in the song and actually dissects how they created the sound. He does this in a few places throughout the podcast with vocals and more beat patterns. If you can’t tell I’m really excited to come across this and will probably be up all night in my studio listening to this while I work. It’s great stuff! Check it out on Spotify - Dissect.
Valparaiso has some amazing parks and we are fortunate to live less than a minute bike ride to Rogers Lakewood Park. The fam and I love to explore and tonight we went deep into the parks frisbee golf course trails. It was really neat to get lost for a second and view the lake from the opposite side. There are some really cool clearings and some steep hills that were fun on our bikes. Carsyn even found a great picnic spot. Doing all of that was a great way to clear my mind and get some fresh air. I was thinking of reviewing and photographing all the valpo parks it could be a fun thing to do with the family and also force us to get out more and check out parks we haven’t seen. I need a drone. Lol
I got a text from my wife today that said:
“I’m going to take the ungratefuls to get shoes” - the ungratefuls being my children. It’s been a long summer and school starts in a week. As I think back on this past summer I can’t help but go through a mental checklist of what each has accomplished, failed at and learned. I am completely aware of my shortcomings as a father and I strive to be the best for them as mush as possible. But with work, marriage, kids and life some things get missed and my little bundles of perfect joy can turn into crackhead zombies that want to suck the life out of you. How can God make something you love so dearly make you equally insane as well. I heard T.D. Jakes say “I never try to fail at the same thing two days in a row”. It’s commonplace for my plate to be full and schedule to be nuts but I like it that way. It keeps me busy and gives me purpose. But that also comes with a constant looming cloud of “lacking”. Meaning at any given time something or someone will be lacking my attention and time. But i try to balance that with what Bishop Jakes stated.
When it comes to the kiddos here’s an update on them.
Carsyn Fiona Gonzalez a.k.a, Fiona Jackson, Cee-loni of the chicken boney, CeeCee, CarCar
Cee, is my rebel girl, strong willed, still gives me big hugs and kisses and fights me the hardest at bedtime. Sassy, creative and kind hearted she was a good helper in the garden this summer but still gets tackled by the dog.
Greyson Lucas Gonzalez a.k.a GT, G-Money, Mr. Let’s Goooooo!!!, That Asian dude
Grey grew in many ways this summer, physically his face changed a little, and his maturity level has dramatically reached the pre-teen tipping point of craziness. But my sweet boy is still willing to hold my hand in public. He makes me smile every time he grabs my hand. He loves hairline jokes and The Office. He bought a small couch for his room and loves to spend time on his iPad but is still the best one to do anything we ask of him.
Meryck Robert Gonzalez a.k.a Miracle, M-Boss, No Commons
Last but not least, our oldest and most challenging character of the crew. Meryck had a tough summer of staying up late and sleeping in. He plowed through countless books and devoured a ton of movies. Still trying to tap into his inner athlete and almost close to getting there. Meryck is a great artist with a focusing problem. Or should I say a listening but not doing problem. It’s been a RollerCoaster summer for meryck with some really great highs and some really low lows. Still trying to get him to not be the last person to get in the car when we leave the house.
i can’t wait for school to start and to step into another routine. The change of pace and season is welcomed. Thanks for reading. 🌮