Friday, January 28, 2011

If this world is a hallucination, Facebook's like that trip within a trip

Speaking of tripping, esteemed ex-prime minister Mr. Simitis in unpleasant shades of puke. Reference. I tried a gradient map this time (these last few ones are drawn in grayscale first) instead of multiply & overlay layer, it has this particular clean 'graphic design' look to it. Then I did the sweaty highlights on top, it's a simpler piece but I rather like the end result.

So I joined Necronomicon-Facebook and connected (and re-connected in a few cases) with friends and acquaintances from the past. It's a weird thing, to see the faces of people you haven't seen in ages, see them all grown-up and yet still have an internal representation of them as kids. Unsettling, really. I walked around in a haze of "what year is it?" all day yesterday.

Anyway, the predominant comment I got from disparate sources was something along the lines of "you're the last person I ever expected to join Facebook". Well apparently I am the last person to have joined Facebook because they locked registration right after me, so that's a redundant comment on the factual level (this is a lie). Secondarily though, as to the spirit of the comment, it's really fascinating to me the sort of guilt those statements have behind them. Do you guys not want to be on Facebook? I don't like the dark corporate forces behind the service either and I don't intend to make it my new god, but I don't think that's what the comment is about. I think these people feel guilty for wasting too much time on Facebook and they're distraught to see yet another victim fall in the hole.

I'm very aware of what I am going to use Facebook for and for how much. I'm not going to play farmville compulsively or stalk highschool almost-girlfriends. Is the supposed indignation over a perceived shift in my ideology that allows for this new Facebook Helm? I'm afraid I might have come off as like a hardline vegan or whatever when it comes to some communicational platforms I've decided not to use in the past, like cellphones or facebook. I use others (I am on an irc channel constantly, for example and have been for almost ten years now, I employ three e-mail adresses and their respective instant messenger services). I help run two widely-used forums. I know how to use these things. First time I talked with a stranger on the internet, it was in ICQ - do you remember that can't-take-it-back-now chat client in it where it showed the other person as you typed each individual letter, as opposed to the whole string when you pressed return? You couldn't edit your words, you had to think on your feet. That was cybercore, not this Facebook devil.

Okay, so, it'd be a lie to say that there's no ideology in my not having been on Facebook for this long. I think it's more a case of doing first, rationalizing why I did it second, mostly. I simply thought I didn't need it to be a good friend and keep in touch. I had telephone numbers and msn addresses, right?

Well, wrong. I've come to slowly realize that a lot of people I would like to communicate with have migrated fully to that service and have trouble keeping in touch otherwise. It really seems just picking up the phone and cold-calling someone you want to talk to is becoming more and more difficult. Instant messengers still get a lot of use but try keeping your contracts in order when you've got a hundred business connections there along with friends and people who just added you and perhaps said one thing to you, ever. So instead of hermiting down and getting off of the internet (my usual fantasy), I've made yet another account for yet another internet thing. Am I glad that a scary corporation will keep my corpse alive on Facebook even long after I've been on this world? Not really, though it's a perhaps morbidly fascinating idea on some level. Am I worried about my privacy? Not that narcissistic, really - I don't think anyone will care about me being in this picture or that besides the people that I wanted to look at those pictures anyway. I'll nevertheless be careful with what's I put on there just because that early-internet-adopter paranoia is hard to shake off. I generate my ten-digit passwords randomly with assorted utilities for Christ's sake. I've almost read half of the car-crash that is Snow Crash, I've pondered on the digitization of the soul, I'm not afraid of fucking Facebook.

(Though I am. I am really scared of how it shows me how faulty my memory for faces and names is.)

The lesson I need to learn is I suppose, to not frame my utilitarian choices in an ideological facade (wait, mixed metaphor) -- I'm actually not sure if it's wholly my fault or that people prefer to interpret me in that way, but it's something to keep in mind. And I am looking forward to when the internet migrates to some new variation of Facebook that isn't owned by some evil corporation - and then five years after the rest of the world, when Greece will also adopt it. That'll be nice. Until then, my name's in the dead book.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Playing with History

Greek minister of Education makes history an opt-in course in the last two years of highschool. Drama ensues. Small moves lead to bigger repercussions.

I wish I had a few more hours to render the kariatides statues, but all in all I'm please with the piece. I appreciate the cruel slapstic of capturing this exact moment in the picture, before the real mess. The "oh nooooo!" factor.

On other news, today was a difficult day but tomorrow will be better, and the next day after that, hopefully. Sense of balance will be restored, I'll have to keep working on it. Sorry for being cryptic, more of a personal reminder when I read back on my posts a few years from now, perhaps.



Saturday, January 15, 2011

Kinda interesting from a technical standpoint

All photoshop. Not even any Manga Studio sharp-brush stuff this time around. Abandoning my pencil work base was a good piece of advice, at least until I learn to color properly. The background thing was a last minute inspiration, I kinda like it more than the figure itself now, heh.

It's difficult to let survive any 'artistric' quality to the brush strokes after blending. Experienced color-work artists have an amazing knack for this, I hope to develop something half-way passable in this respect.

I need to make time to draw the last ZX chapter too. Busy busy busy.

But reasonably content!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Here's one I had absolutely no ethical compunctions about

When I got this job I used to joke how I wish they'd let me draw mr. Pagkalos. He's a Greek politician of our 'socialist' party, PASOK. He's a very special breed of person. Here's what he looks like:

The reason I wanted to draw him is not because he's fat or funny looking. It's because he's one of the few Greek politicians I've noticed displaying outright cruelty, malice, base hatred fueled by so much cynicism he almost becomes a real-life caricature of the scheming opportunist politician -- until one realizes he is an influential person that used to make, and is poised to make again, very ruinous decisions that affect the future of a whole country. It's not so funny then.

So Mr. Pagkalos recently went on record about all Greek civil servants, that they are "mutts" and that if he (and his government) are at fault for embezzling public funds, then these citizens are as much if not more so at blame for going along with it for their slice of the pie. The stunning implications of such a statement are, as the internet says, stunning. Such a statement would be career suicide in most other countries, but not in Greece. Greece is in serious peril, but Greece isn't serious.

So here's a caricature of a caricature. The drawing is powerless. Mr. Pagkalos will matter more in geopolitical terms than anything any sane person can do to make the Greek situation better.

"At least I am of a certain pedigree"

First drawing of the year. Happy 2011.