hmpf: (Default)
Discovered this game beta a couple of days ago and found it so thoroughly enchanting that I've since played it three or four times (it's only about 10 minutes long). It's a totally unique concept, and the artwork is utterly beautiful. If you need something that'll put a smile on your face, go download this:


Short impression of the gameplay: Video

To Do

Mar. 31st, 2010 01:38 am
hmpf: (angsty)
- Keep looking for a job. (Obviously.) Two applications per week, minimum. Better three.
- Keep improving language and IT skills, among others.
- Develop environmentalist skill set. Read, read, read.
- Research ways to invest what's left of my savings in a way that's allowed by Germany's welfare system. (I'm *way* below the threshold in terms of the amount of life savings you're allowed to keep when you go on welfare here, but it's in the 'wrong' form - only certain forms of investment are allowed if you want to apply for welfare.)
- Transfer my savings from the 'bad' form of investment to a 'good' one. (Ideally an ecologically and ethically sound one, since I'm already at it!)
- Get on welfare.
- Try to spend one full day per week working on jewellery.
- And half a day writing?
- Make an etsy shop, and a pro-looking website, once I have some actual stuff to sell?
- Research legal and financial conditions for small-scale self-employment.
- Research artist's insurance.
- Research other types of insurance.

... Scary, isn't it?

Should go to bed now; internship starts tomorrow (today, by now, actually).
hmpf: (Default)
Sometimes it really is true that a picture says more than a thousand words. Chris Jordan makes the argument for a radical change of our throwaway culture more convincingly than any essay, no matter how passionate, could:
hmpf: (Default)
that a lot of people don't seem to agree with, however:

1.) Truly good design never gets boring. So maybe I should just trust my impulse to pick out Avenir from virtually every single list of typefaces I've found so far, and ignore all the people who say it's 'boring'. Yes, it's a classic, yes, it may have been used a lot - but it's quite simply an outstanding example of typeface design. (Then again, I can't afford Avenir anyway... it's in the three digits price range. *sigh*)

2.) This one has nothing to do with my application papers, nor with typefaces, but with a discussion about level/screen design for Knytt Stories I had on the Nifflas forum recently - and also with my liking things like medieval book illumination just as well as the minimalist page layouts and drawing style of Mohiro Kitoh: Very busy designs can be attractive. I absolutely do get the appeal of modernist simplicity (see my love of Kitoh), and am leaning towards it myself in most of my work, but I have a great appreciation for certain forms of 'clutteredness' that I won't deny in the name of any dogma.


Aug. 29th, 2009 04:05 am
hmpf: (Default)
Why are game genres that I really don't like beginning to look so damn gorgeous nowadays?

This makes me want to learn how to play airborne shoot'em-ups (or whatever you call that genre). Check out the trailer, the screenshots don't do it justice.

There seems to be, nowadays, a subset of computer games/video games that are mainly about navigating a work of art, rather than about accomplishing any kind of directive. I hesitate to even call what's happening there worldbuilding, although that's a somewhat related phenomenon. But it's really closer to painting and sculpture than to worldbuilding and storytelling. Or maybe there's a bit of all of these in there. Anyways, this is nearly utterly about a new kind of aesthetic experience. 'New' in that you don't stand in front of the work of art, but walk/fly/jump around in it. Strangely enough, even with a 2D game, the fact of being able to 'walk around in it' changes the aesthetic experience, in ways that I find difficult to explain.

I've already begun to learn to love platformers. Will I learn to love other previously unattractive genres, too? (But my reflexes are crap! I'll never get good enough to really experience these games! *cries*)

Here's another example.


Here, have two short, artistic online platformers:

Shy Dwarf
hmpf: (angsty)
Not so much of the exam, but of the art/activism combo.
hmpf: (Default)
So, for the past several days I've been doing the following:

- make a photocopy of a pencil sketch
- paint over the dark areas of the copy of the pencil sketch in black ink
- paint over the light areas of the copy of the pencil sketch in white paint
- photocopy the result
- repeat.

The aim of the exercise is getting something that will consist only of uniform black and white areas - something that may be printed on t-shirts. However, no matter how many times I repeat the process, I can't seem to get the drawing cleaned up enough. I.e., the photocopier produces irregularities - turning the dark areas lighter, turning the light areas darker; and the painted-over versions are not clean enough, either.

I suspect I'll need to learn how to scan this and do it in a graphics program?

Only, I've no idea how to do this. Neither how to achieve a good-quality scan, nor how to clean it up in Paintshop Pro.

Any pointers?
hmpf: (Default)
I've stopped caring much about writing something that might survive me. And I've increased my efforts to actually finish more fanfic. Rationally, I know that it's unlikely that, even *if* we should see the collapse of civilisation - which hopefully is still far from a done deal! - it would happen in the next few years. Still, there's a strange sense of urgency to my life now, which, ridiculously, even affects something as inconsequential as fic.

I suppose it would be more useful if I focused all my energy on preventing catastrophe, but on the other hand, it's probably important to do some things just because you enjoy them. Living entirely for a cause is a good way to get burnt out quickly, right?

Unfortunately, btw, my new outlook on life has also robbed me of any desire I might have had to concentrate on achieving professional success. I never had much ambition in that area to begin with, and what little I had has now vaporised completely. I just can't make myself care. There are so many more important things - more important either because they affect the world in a more significant way (i.e.: activism, which I really do hope to start 'practising' this year, instead of just talking about), or because they are more immediately enjoyable (i.e.: writing fic, and other fannish activities; and art, jewellery making etc.)
hmpf: (Default)
[ profile] nager recently asked for more art. So, here's more ancient Hmpf art.

Another strongly celtic inspired one.

Shameless historical eclecticism

The Big One. Took one year to paint. Colours didn't come out very well in the scan. And it's so large I had to scan it in two parts, and I couldn't be bothered to find out how to use Paintshop properly, so what you get instead is just the two scans cropped to vaguely the same size, on a web page. All that yellow, btw? Is gold. As in, *real* gold. This painting cost me a fortune...

Detail from the above, slightly larger, so you can see some of the finer details.

All of this, btw, was done with a brush. Yes, even the tiny dots and lines everywhere. I never used a pen; just insanely tiny brushes. For the dots I cut off the tip of one of those brushes.
hmpf: (Default)
Ages ago I said I'd scan a few things I painted and drew about ten, fifteen years ago. Well, thanks to my extended stay at my parents', I've finally gotten around to that (they have a scanner). So, without much further ado:

A small example of the kind of thing I used to paint, when I still did miniature watercolour painting

I wish I could scan the larger paintings, but my parents' scanner is too small. This and the previous one are about the size of a postcard each.

Most of my painting was done between 1993 and 1997. After that, I started training as a goldsmith, and then very soon discovered writing, so my creative urges have since been channeled into these two pursuits. If I had a *lot* more spare time, I might pick up painting again.

And now for something completely different: The Art of Boredom:

How bored was I at school? Very. This is a typical result...

Another page from a school ringbinder. See the glorious origins of the name 'Hmpf' - i.e. it's something I used to scribble all over the place when I was bored.
hmpf: (Default)
... were the two seemingly antithetical results of my short but 'intense' trip to Britain. The physical exhaustion, a result of travelling 18 hours by coach, showed as a desire to sleep through all of Monday, interrupted only by two hours of work in the evening. The - unexpected! - mental relaxation showed as sudden inspiration to vid and make jewellery. Granted, not the most intelligent thing to do when you have a deadline for your thesis and still no idea what to write, and I would probably have appreciated a sudden *thesis-related* inspiration more... But, having stifled most of my creative impulses for months now, until I eventually nearly lost them, I decided to give in to them this time.

Vidding didn't go too well (see previous entry *g*), but jewellery making did. I've started making a necklace for my mother, one I promised her so many years ago it's not even funny. She had these labradorite beads, and I wanted to make something really nice from them, but wasn't really happy with any idea I had over the years. I've now ended up using a very simple idea that came to me literally in my sleep. It truly is ridiculously simple, but I think that's why I like it - all the more 'sophisticated' ideas I had earlier just didn't fit the beads very well, but simplicity does. Plus, I get to melt lots of little blobs of silver for this design, and there are few things more relaxing and satisfying - nor more foolproof! - than melting metal. (Seriously! You try it! *g*) And then I get to hit the blobs with a hammer a lot - also foolproof and relaxing. (This is what goldsmithing-as-therapy would look like, I tell you.) The only thing about this necklace that may get the least bit tricky is the clasp, but I'll manage that as well, I'm sure. Maybe I'll think of a very simple mechanism for it... *g*

Oh, and I still haven't told you about the insane trip *to* Britain, have I? That really deserves an epic poem... I'm not sure I'm up to that today.
hmpf: (reading)
There aren't many blogs I read regularly (not counting LJs), but out of the few that I do visit, BLDGBLOG is probably the most consistently fascinating. It's a blog about the intersections of architecture, landscape, futurism, philosophy and art. It feeds the part of my mind that comes up with surreal artificial environments in my dreams.
hmpf: (fanatic)
... while surfing the jewellery web in the last couple of weeks or so:

- Every good idea I've had, someone else has had, too.
- The same goes for every bad idea.
- Most jewellery out there I find vaguely uninteresting.
- A fair percentage I find ugly and/or *profoundly* uninteresting.
- A small percentage I find intellectually/artistically interesting but otherwise unappealing.
- A very small percentage I actually like. This is mostly stuff that looks like something I have made, was planning to make, or might have thought of but haven't yet.
- Even some of the stuff I like I find vaguely 'boring' - because it, too, has been done before/is being done all over the place.
- So far I haven't discovered anything that gives me the kind of feeling of desperate inadequacy that the best writing I read gives me. When reading, I often get a painful reaction of "I wish I'd written that/I'll never be able to write like that." Not so with jewellery, even though I am *not* a technically very accomplished goldsmith, thanks to lack of practice and experience.

So, to sum it up:

1.) Originality probably doesn't exist - or if it exists, is such a rare stroke of luck that putting it at the top of your priorities is a recipe for making yourself unhappy.
2.) My ideas are neither better nor worse than those of most other goldsmiths out there.
3.) When it comes to jewellery, I may actually value useability and aesthetic pleasure slightly higher than originality and artistic value.
4.) I think I can actually live with being average, in this area of my life. I have absolutely none of the (unhealthy?) ambition here that I have when writing.


If I'm completely honest with myself... I don't think I care about university half as much as I care about goldsmithing. Considering I've almost completely abandoned goldsmithing in the last few years, (at least nominally) for the sake of university, that is an alarming thing to realise. (I already knew that I cared about writing far more than I cared about uni, which is also alarming.)

One conclusion to draw from this that I should abandon any idea I still have of doing a Ph.D.

The other conclusion is that I need to find a way to integrate goldsmithing into my life again, and to keep it a part of my life - as I need to keep writing a part of my life; both of which may be difficult or even impossible to accomplish, considering I also need to start earning money reliably and in sufficient amounts very soon now.
hmpf: (Default)
... as part of the design process. Or maybe discovering it for the first time, if you consider that I spent the entire three years of my professional training in a state of absolute creative block.

It's fascinating - I had something like half a dozen useable ideas today. (Feels like) more than I've had in as many years.

The significance of the fact that this creative explosion happens at a time when I'm paralysed with the fear of starting my M.A. does not escape me. It confirms my theory that I do my best work - or my best creative work, anyway - when I'm procrastinating from 'something more serious'.

Which, frankly, dooms me as an artist, or at least as an independent artist. Because I'll apparently always need something to procrastinate *from* - as soon as art becomes 'the main thing' in my life, I get horrendously blocked. (Not that making a living from selling my jewellery is very likely to work, anyway.)

And if I'm not *very* lucky, it may well happen that whatever job I end up in to make myself procrastinate creatively will take up so much of my time and energy that it will effectively remove the opportunity for creative procrastination.

("Marry a rich man," my mother jokes. But that, of course, would kill my creativity completely. Though I suppose I could then take a part-time job, or do some volunteering, and be creative in my still copious spare time. Yes, I think I like that plan. ;-))


Your jewellery link for the day: Giampaolo Babetto. One of the people who defined modern jewellery. Half the students at my former school still copy him. *g*
hmpf: (fanatic)
I had a dream two nights ago (two days ago). I was on my way to work, with a taxi driver. At some point we stopped in an area where there were lots and lots of artist's studios. I went into one, randomly, struck up a conversation with the guy inside; I didn't want to leave. But the taxi driver kept tugging my arm, telling me I had to go to work.

So, eventually, I left. And went to work. Which was my current job at the library, with some bizarre dream features but mostly recognisable. I felt a great sense of loss.

That's an amazingly clear dream, going by my subconscious's standards.


He picked the chain up; one end chuckled and flickered down the stone. He turned with it to catch the orange glimmer.
Some of them, anyway.
Others were round.
He ran the chain across his hand. Some of the round ones were transparent. Where they crossed the spaces between his fingers, the light distorted. He lifted the chain to gaze through one of the lenses. But it was opaque. Tilting it, he saw pass, dim and inches distant in the circle, his own eye, quivering in the quivering glass."

- Samuel R. Delany: Dhalgren


I'm meeting my old teacher tomorrow. This may be the worst possible time in my life I could pick to get started again. Still...

Well, asking a few simple technical questions isn't exactly getting started again. But I worked some today, and became aware I'm beginning to forget essential steps of the most basic processes. If I wait much longer, I may have to start again at zero... if I ever start again, that is.

My hands are horribly weak. I should do something about that. Half an hour of filing something, per day?


My clutter problem? Seems to be common among metalworkers. Maybe I'd get more work done if I adopted this kind of setup? *g*
hmpf: (alive)
One thing I have to try to take up again, at some unspecified future date, is singing. I really like singing. I used to be at least decent at it. When I was a kid one of my teachers thought I was more than decent at it, but that was twenty years or more ago. But, the real point is, it makes me happy. I'm not particularly ambitious about it, so it looks like something that could just be nice and relaxing, without giving me another thing to angst about.

Some day. When I find a nice choir ensemble or something.


This was brought on by this vid, a very nice Firefly vid by [ profile] shati, about River, set to the Suzanne Vega song Small Blue Thing. Not only is that song perfect for River; it's also entirely in a register I can still sing. Higher and lower registers are too difficult for my poor, untrained voice nowadays, so I get into trouble with most songs I want to sing - I usually have to stop, or shift registers in mid-song, because it will either go to high or too low for me at some point. So I've been singing that song practically all day.


I looked through some of my old art portfolios a couple of days ago. This caused the art and jewellery muses to start working overtime - very inopportune at the moment! I can't go and make jewellery now, let alone start painting again!

I really need to scan some of that old stuff and put some of it up on my website or somewhere.
hmpf: (Default)
I just solved a mystery that has been bugging me for five years. Five years ago I saw these little white tents all over the city, in random places - tiny tents, about knee-height, made from white tarpaulin and tree branches painted white. The last I found out about them made them out to be a bit of a mystery to everybody - there was an article about it in the newspaper. Then, as suddenly as they had appeared, they were gone, as if a tribe of invisible miniature nomads had struck camp and moved on.

I've now found out that they were part of an art installation that apparently belonged to (or at least was timed to coincide with) a week-long festival in 2002. Unfortunately information about them on the net is next to non-existent, but here's what little I found:

And I also found out today that someone has done what I've been meaning to do for years, and taken loads of photographs of my favourite recurring graffiti here in the city. I'm always cheered when I discover a new one of these guys:


Jan. 31st, 2007 05:36 pm
hmpf: (Default)
I just looked through all my old paintings and drawings, my materials - watercolours, ink, brushes, pens, my books about medieval art... It's a hobby I gave up nearly ten years ago.

God, I was *good*! I'd forgotten.

I should just divide my life up equally between writing, jewellery making and painting. Who needs uni or a job?

Right. Anyone wanna sponsor me?


Gonna get some of this stuff scanned sometime, to put it up on my website. A monument to the Hmpf that could have been.


Thing is... I'm actually good enough, probably, to do some of these things on at *least* a semi-professional level (well, I'm officially a professional jeweller, but I'm so out of practice it's almost not true anymore). There *are* people who are making a living from this kind of stuff who aren't any better at it than I am. I just *know* a bit about what it means to make a living like this, and so I know it requires *massive* amounts of work and still only results in a very precarious living, unless you're exceptionally lucky. And I'm just too afraid to make the leap. To take that kind of chance.

I suppose I can still do this if I don't find a job after uni.

(Hmpf: Planning a life to fail. And I'd probably be happy about it, on some level. No hindrances anymore to that coveted bohemian lifestyle once you've thoroughly failed in 'normal' society...)

April 2016

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