Monday, June 6, 2016

Project Music is Life

Hey guys!

      I'm baaaaack! This post is one that I promised not too long ago when I told you about Juliek's postponement: the repurposing of Juliek's canvas.

      Here's the story: I have this really cool friend who's really into music, and her birthday's coming up. I've  known her about two years now, but up until her birthday I hadn't spent that much time with her. That created an issue, because I didn't exactly know what she likes in music and stuff. I was told she likes a couple bands in particular, so I redid the cover of the Beatle's Abbey Road album cover for her cake (it was legit, but I can't find a photo, so awkward...). But when it comes more specifically to what to give her, I was too much of an artist to give her money or a gift card.

      I came up with this idea to make a 3-D suplture heart with earbuds growing out of it into this tree-like shape. I'd been saving some dead earbuds of mine for a few years with the intent of using them for art, so I figured this would be a perfect idea. So then, I started working through the particulars: what medium to make the heart sculpture from (not too heavy and out of a material that can be attached to the canvas without falling off, but still detailed and pretty), what shaped canvas to use (it had to be one of the 9ish I already own), what to paint the background of the canvas, and what glue to use to put it all together.

      I decided that with the materials I had on hand, the heart could not be made out of paper maché (I don't have much experience with it, and I wanted this to turn out nice, not as an experiment). Likewise, I couldn't use Plaster of Paris, like I did on my last project for English class (far too heavy and messsy-looking, even with a newspaper base to lighten it). Hot glue sculpture would not work for the same reasons as Plaster of Paris, not to mention all attempts to use it as a sculpture medium have thus far failed miserably. That meant I was running out of sculpture options, fast. That is, until I remembered back to my sophomore year sculputre class, when we made cardboard sculptures.
      Cardboard is ideal for this project because: (1) it is an extremely cheap, lightweight material that is easily glued onto an acrylic-covered canvas, (2) it is easily manipulated and fairly exact, (3) it is easily colored with cheap acrylic paint, and lastly, (4) it is visually simple and appealing to the eye when done correctly. Not to mention I have previous experience with this material.

      Next for some of the other details. First, the main reason that the Juliek project has been put on hold is because I decided that a matte black background would be striking and perfect for this project, since most of the dead earbuds I will be using are mosly white. I went ahead and put on a whole fresh coat of paint on the Julied canvas, since I had sketched and partially painted the violin on the canvas already, and there were a few smudges and stains on it from heaven knows what. Next, I went through my adhesives to see what would work the best. When in doubt, E6000 industrial-strenght craft adhesive will save the day, but it has possiblycarcinogenic fumes and must be used outside, not to mention it takes forever to dry, so I passed over him. Hot glue was an option, but I've had some bad experiences trying to get hot glue to stick to certain materials, and I didn't want to chance that acrylic-painted canvas and plastic-coated earbuds were some of those. Wood glue, glue sticks, and Elmer's were clearly inappropriate for the task in my view, so that left me with the magical Aleene's Tacky Glue, and it worked like a charm.

           My next post will go more into the creation of the heart and the use of the earbuds. Stay tuned!

Juliek Postponed and.... Cosplay?

       Hello all, and welcome to the blog I usually don't write in! Well, to be fair, I haven't blogged in general for some time... so yeah, sorry about that! Life's been busy, ya know?
       Well, first things first, Juliek is postponed. Possibly indefinitely. I know, I am just as upset about it as you. Well, you probably don't care, actually. But here's the deal: I did not have the expertise to be painting that, and I had a better use for the canvas. To explain part 1: the thing about painting is that you have to have a decent amount of experience with that subject for it to turn out decently. The fact of the matter is that I'm just not that experienced with painting, and especially with painting light and reflective surfaces. As this was going to be an essential part, it didn't seem wise to cover at the moment. Thus, when it came time for this awesome friend of mine's birthday and I needed a unique, special gift ASAP, the canvas fell to reuse.
        So, in conclusion, Juliek is a really awesome project that is still close to my heart after all this time, but as for now I am simply not practiced enough. Given some intense study and experience,
 which I will hopefully get around to sometime, I may be able to come back to it. And as for the repurposing of the canvas, I will definitely be blogging about that soon! A bit of a diy half-tutorial, more for ideas and inspiration than copying, but be on the lookout! Hopefully it will not take years!
       And moving on.... Cosplay! Cos who, you say? Cosplay!
       Sorry, cheesy joke.
       For those of you who know what cosplay is, feel free to skip this paragraph. So cosplay is a kind of informal compound word that has become common vernacular amongst big fans of books, video games, and tv shows everywhere. Cosplay is essentially when people dress up as their favorite characters from their source of choice (hence "cos") and then "play" around in them to take pictures, go to comic-cons and other conferences, for parties, or really just when there's an excuse. And sometimes, there isn't even an excuse, but I digress. These costume are usually pretty elaborate, and pride as a cosplayer comes from three things generally: the awesomeness and seriousness of your costume, its accuracy to the original character, and handmade vs. commercial-grade. Mind you, it's just for fun anyway, but from what I've seen, the most epic cosplayers are the ones who made these grand, intricate, crazy accurate costumes and props, and they made by the cosplayer themselves or fellow cosplayers. If you are still a little confused, try googling it, and taking a look at google images for examples.
        So anyway, as I am a huge nerd when it comes to things like tv and books, I have been interested in cosplay for quite some time. I've got a little experience with making some things, but so far haven't really had the time or dedication. Mostly the time. See the thing about cosplay is that you either diy or buy. Buying is crazy expensive and unpredicatable because the thing you want might not even be available, and diy-ing is crazy time-consuming. Seeing as how I am poor, you can guess which route I take.
         My one successful full cosplay thus far was one I used for halloween. I was going to cosplay as Black Canary from the tv show Arrow, who of course is from the Green Arrow comic books. I bought     a basic black superhero mask to cover the eyes, which looked approximately like hers, as well as a blonde wig, which totaled to about $8 since I bought the super-cheap stuff. However, I would note that the wig I bought was terrible, so considering spending a bit more if it will get you a nicer one than the ones offered at Five Below at halloween time. I have a plain black v-neck t-shirt I was also going to wear, and then was torn between using my (very) dark blue jeans or my black sweatpants to complete the look simply on the body. I then made this giant silver rod-thing she used during what was probably season two or three or something out of newspaper, crepe paper, glue, and silver paint.
         You might have noticed by this time, though, that I said I was 'going to'. By the time I got her stick finished (which I am not even going to share because it turned out poorly...), my friends had decided that we were going to be cosplaying as Shrek characters as a group. Thanks, guys, for the advanced warning. I wasn't planning anything already.
         Anyway, I didn't want to be the odd man out, so I scrambled and threw a costume together, with some help from my grandma. That is also probably a post for another time. Be on the lookout for Puss in Boots costime inspiration and fake fencing sword tutorial!
          But the problem with both the Black Canary costume, the Puss in Boots costume, and a new costume I am half-considering is that I don't have leather boots. It's not as simple as going out and finding a pair at the store, either. The problem with me is that I have extremely bad feet, and I need to wear sneakers with my orthotic inserts constantly. Wearing snow boots in the winter already kinda kills me, and wearing any sort of heel for just about any amount of time is death. Unfortunately, New Balance doesnt't exactly carry leather boots. For the Puss in Boots costume, my grandma found these cheesy little shoe-cover fake boots, which probably looked pretty good when you are about 9, which is who they were meant for. On me, they did not really look like boots, but they were the best I could do, so I did not complain. But I am kinda getting tired of the limitation, so I am going to try to make some shoe  covers of my own for sneakers. It also looks like this is not something that has really been attempted before, or if it has, it isn't particularly easy to find on Pinterest or anywhere else. I'll be working on the planning phases of it for a while, but plan to put out a tutorial on it to help others in need, because I can't be the only one with this issue.
          So, signing off for now! Hopefully will be back soon!