Sometimes losing something makes it possible to gain something at least as important. Like a chance to enter the digital age. A couple of months after I left my job, I was accepted into a RichmondWorks-facilitated/Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act-sponsored program in Graphic and Web Design at the Bay Area Video Coalition in San Francisco.
The program was a great introduction. Unquestionably, these fields employ an extensive framework of principles, tools, and software that take years to master. But the BAVC certificate program gave me exactly what I needed to begin work with the tools that are out there. I describe the program as a bungee jump off a bridge: into the deep waters, and right back out again. For each of the foundational skills, you get a one-/two-day deep dive with a professional, who runs you from the dead beginning to the deep bottom of that subject, and out. On to the next subject.
Would this take you from computer idiot to designer in a few months? Not unless you’re not actually a computer idiot. Would this introduce you to the language, the concepts, the working anatomy of the field, and the software you would need to get started? would it empower you with enough information to search your way forward on everything from design projects, to digital art, to web editing? Absolutely.
Whichever place you come from, I recommend it. For me, it’s been illuminating. I feel like I can actually understand certain conversations that happen in art spaces that used to leave me blinking. And who knows where else it will lead?
For now, these are my first forays into the area of digital art.
(Note: I have a contentious relationship with Adobe’s expensive annual subscription scheme—priced for institutions, not mere art-making individuals—so I have come to favor the iPad painting app Procreate. It is organized much like Adobe design software, and actually, for me, Procreate has been more of a gateway to Photoshop than the other way around. I find the ability to do things with a pen instead of a mouse, and to work a bit more instinctively, is more satisfying, and provides just enough of the patience I need to seek out the digital application that might bring something new to the table; or simplify something old.)
Cararabbito Victorious & Mimi de Medici
Two beloved animal friends—my friend Stacey Gordon’s familiars—died suddenly, weeks apart. These are my visual altars to their memory. More about the story here.
Days of the Dead
While I was in Virginia City, MT for the winter, I had occasion to make two memorials. One was for my Virginia City friend, Dave Walker, whose twin brother Mick died that year. The other was for my friend Amanda Hayne Kirkwood, which contained my wish for her at the end of her life.
The Loteria cards for my nieces and nephew are a long-standing tradition. Over the last two years, without access to physical media, I’ve made their cards digitally. Plus there have been a few one-offs. You can read the stories of my brother-in-law and sister’s cards here, my housemate’s here, and the kid’s 2017 and 2016 stories at their respective links.
WolverDoug & the Uncanny X-Them
In 2018, I promised my brother-in-law, Doug Nelson, a Loteria card for Christmas. As it turned out, I didn’t have another Loteria card in me. But I did have a comic book cover. It took me over a year to turn out–which you can read about here–but I am finally happy with it.