The PDF That Just Wouldn’t Die

I’m not sure how it is for you, but Photoshop projects always take longer than I expect. I have an idea and think, I can get that done in an hour tonight. But then I get in front of my computer and realize I just can’t edit a part of the project the way I’d intended or a part of my design just doesn’t look good on paper. A great example is the first issue of RED Comics; nearly every panel was a trial (although it was one I enjoyed because it forced me to troubleshoot with a lot of methods I made up on the spot [all of which–thankfully–worked]). But at most, that tacked on an extra week to the project (more like an extra day when you factor in getting home from work late and spending only an hour or two of my daily writing time on the comic).

Unfortunately, when a project gets such a tiny portion of work time, they sometimes take way longer than an extra day to complete. Especially if they’re ridiculously (and unnecessarily) complicated. Like my Yonkers 3.31.11 PDF.

Which took all of eternity to complete.

I exaggerate, but if you haven’t taken a look at the Yonkers 3.31.11 PDF yet, please do so now (right click, then download the link) and then continue reading here.

If you think the pictures are awesome, I thank you. But what I really want to get at here is that the design for the PDF (the fonts, the order of the photos, etc.) took a month and a half to finish and I can’t really tell you why–aside from maybe saying that I cycled through a bunch of different fonts, tried to make a different logo, and tackled a bunch of other completely absent concerns that had the project spinning in limbo for way longer than it should’ve been (and, of course, spending an hour a night with it [and sometimes no time at all with it] didn’t help the project’s progress at all).

So, why bring this up? What’s on my mind? It’s simple. Maybe I’m burning myself out? I recently edited my friend Kenneth Broadway’s novella manuscript (a fantastic novella, I might add) and when I handed it back he said, “Let’s actually meet and talk about this though.”

I probably made a face and said, “Well, yeah, definitely, dude. When are you free?”

To which he said, “No, when are you free? I’m not the guy who’s always crazy busy doing a million things.”

I’m pretty sure I raised an eyebrow. “I’m not that busy. I just–”

“Work with Ronin at HotMop Films sometimes.”

“Well, yeah, but–”

“And go take photographs at ruins with Felix Velez.”

“That’s true–”

“And work with Chaos Mechanica on writing and film projects.”

I remember stopping to think about it. And then saying, “Yeah… I guess I am pretty busy. All the time.”

It was a charming thing then; it was nice to think that I’m finally being as creative as I’ve wanted, but I’m starting to realize that maybe I have my hands in way too many projects at once. The divided attention is slowing everything down. But then, the question becomes, “What do I drop?” Photography? The novel? RED Comics, which I just started (even though I just bought a few DVD’s this past weekend specifically to use for issues 2 and 3)? My ink abstracts have already fallen by the wayside for years, and that’s always disappointing to me when I think about it; do I really want another interest to fall by the wayside with it?

Or am I just wasting time thinking about all of this when I should be figuring out a way to optimize my workload? … I think I know the answer to this one.

Getting Closer

I realized I have something time sensitive to say, so I have to try to belt it out before that company I just mentioned arrives.

If you haven’t already heard about it, you should know about the Met’s Get Closer photography contest. It’s not a huge deal; you photograph a piece from the permanent collection and then get a close-up of one of its elements. Then you submit them to the contest’s tumblr with a short blurb about why the element you captured for your close-up is meaningful to you. The prize is a year’s membership to the museum and the use of your picture for add campaigns (bragging rights). Like, I said, nothing crazy, but it’s something to do with an afternoon. Make sure to check out the actual contest rules to make sure you know everything you need to before heading over.

Only, if you’re going to head down, make sure you do it soon; the last day for submissions is this Friday–April 8th. And, if possible, make sure you give yourself a lot of time at the Met; it took me longer than I expected to find the piece I wanted to shoot for my submission (and before I found it, it was a solid two hours worth of photographing everything I found interesting, which wasn’t bad because it’s the Met, but still, that meant stopped and photographing just about everything).

Oh, what was that you just asked? “What was your submission, Louis?” did I hear? No wait, that was a car horn outside, but whatever, here it is anyway: The Fist of the Archer Herakles. If you know me at all, you’ probably saw this coming. Mythology? An archer? Yeah. So me that it’s ridiculous.

It’s Been a While

It’s been just about a month since my last post, begging the question “What the $#(*?”

Well, I’ll tell you what the $#(*.

Life. My best friend’s moving to Seattle in two weeks, an event I found out about around two weeks ago. Aside from being extremely bummed about it, my weekends have been absorbed by various going away functions (and my recovering from those functions). I’ve also been… graced with more responsibility at work, permanently stuck with handling the magazines section (a sad thing; I don’t dislike magazines, but I woefully pass through our genre section, looking at all of the terrible covers and heaving a sigh of loss [Example:

<sigh>

Coupled with that are other creative endeavors (just this Thursday, I spent my morning photographing a ruin with some fellow artists, an oddly exhausting and dangerous hike through a single facility, making me feel more like a Belmont than I ever have). It may not seem like much, but it’s definitely been more than enough to make it extremely hard to belt out more articles, even if ideas for them keep on coming.

I had to write something today though, while editing and posting a new background pic (taken during that Thursday outing), before company arrives. I’ll have another post up before the end of the week, even if it kills me. And then, more posts about the afterlife and why it’s great for writing/gaming.

Louis Santiago @ RAA

My mother said, “Look at that lamppost! I gotta get a picture!”

I thought it was adorable because my mother is probably the most adorable person in the world. But also because I’d thought the same thing the last time I’d taken that bike path to Fort Tilden from Riis Park.

I stopped thinking it was adorable when she said, “Okay! Now you get in there!” I think I just managed not to sigh.

I juuuust managed.

I felt like a kid again, told something like “Just lean on the lamppost!” largely because that’s exactly what she told me to do.

But I’m sure you may think this picture is cute or funny and I don’t blame you; that would be because you’re seeing my mother in it and you’re seeing a bit of our dynamic.

At the reception to the A Salute to Rockaway show, I thought that ability to put a viewer into a photographer’s shoes made me stand out. Not because I had the most amazing shots ever of all time, but because no one else there had shots of the ruins of Fort Tilden; I was the only one who placed a viewer somewhere that wasn’t sand, sky, water, and beauty. Or public. Sure, I had a majestic shot of Rockaway Beach, but it was juxtaposed by a similar shot with a rusted pole sticking out of the sand and crossing half the picture. The dunes shown in one piece were beside another showing a rusted gate, shot from the inside of a disused Army bunker. It was something to be proud of.

That and the Power Cosmic, my delicious mixture of chicken and black beans (and a secret ingredient), that barely any of the attendees touched (their loss – more Power Cosmic for me).

Well… that and just having some of my photos on exhibit; I can’t miss being proud of that. When an attendee complimented Far Shore, it was incredibly easy to chat with her about it and explain how I got it, what I was doing in Rockaway that day, and eventually, when my cover was blown, that no, I lived in the Bronx and had no idea what was near the pole in Lagan. And it was incredibly easy to smile the entire time.

A Salute to Rockaway will be up until August 1st. Drop in on the weekend and have a look (click here for more info). And don’t worry–even if you do miss the exhibit, there’s a chance there will still be enough leftover Power Cosmic for everybody!

A Salute to Rockaway

Hey, everyone. By way of a quick update, I’ve been busy hauling artwork to Far Rockaway for the Rockaway Artists Alliance’s A Salute to Rockaway exhibit. I’ve submitted six photos I was pretty proud of from my trips to Rockaway Beach and Fort Tilden. Pieces like Far Shore, Lagan, and POOPDICK. Again, that’s POOPDICK.

The reception will be on the 18th, from 12PM – 4PM. For anyone who would like to attend, here’s more information.

For anyone who would like to drop in for a more casual time while I’m there, I’ll be gallery sitting on the 25th from 2PM – 4PM.

Click here for directions, but keep the following details in mind if you’re using public transportation:

  • The Q35 doesn’t stop at Fort Tilden until it goes back to Brooklyn College / Flatbush Ave. So you’ll either have to take the Rockaway Park bound Q35, get out at the second stop after riding over the Gil Hodges Bridge, and walk West through Riis Park until you find the group of fenced in houses and fields that is Fort Tilden, or ride the 35 until the end of the line, wait for a 35 going back to Brooklyn College, and get off when it stops at Fort Tilden.
  • The last stop on the westbound Q22 is Fort Tilden. You can connect pretty easily to the Q22 from the Shuttle at Broad Channel (via the A train).
  • If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the MTA’s Queens Bus Map.
  • Once in Fort Tilden, there will be a directory pointing to “RAA Galleries” or something similar enough.
The Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA) is a non-profit arts organization "comprised of individuals who view the arts as vital to the health of our community."