Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It Seems Quiet...

Once again it seems all quiet on the Geoffblog front.

And again its not because I haven't been doing things. I have been doing things. Classes have been taught. Paintings have been painted. Stories have been written. Progress has been made.

When these beautiful things are completed I will show them.

But first there will be the holidays.

Merry Christmas to you and yours, from me and drunk Orson Welles!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Glamorous Film Career

Maybe some of you heard that I worked on an animated feature film while I was in college. For those of you who never heard about that: I worked on an animated feature film while I was in college.

The film in question is of course Bye-Bye Bin Laden, America's new favorite independent animated musical satire and it is now available for purchase or for rent!

It available for rent on netflix, where I am delighted to say that it currently has a 2 and a half star rating (delighted because that proves that people who didn't work on film are now watching it!)

(left to right: Me, Dave Perry, Christine Rhee, Scott Sublett, Zach Knoles)

The film was a great experience (crazy, yes, but definitely great.) I was one of the first people on the project and I got the chance to be involved in every stage of production from script to the dvd release. I have credits for storyboards, animation and co-producer and I learned so much from writer/director Scott Sublett and especially animation/art director Dave Perry, not to mention the whole crew, some of whom are my closest friends.

Here's a nice article about the release.

The movie is unrated, by the way, but I would probably describe it as a hard PG-13. Definitely some edgy confrontational humor but if you are into something irreverent and indy and you don't mind being reminded that George Bush was president check it out.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Music Club: The new Yo La Tengo album!

Yo La Tengo is doing it.

Yo La Tengo is getting it done.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Movie Club: The Fall

In a hospital in Los Angeles, in the years of silent movies, a 6 year old girl meets a stunt man suffering a broken body and a broken heart. "Tell me a story," says the girl to the man and 'The Fall' is the tale he tells.

'The Fall' was released in the US at least a year ago but I missed it in the theaters. It is the second feature film of Indian born director Tarsem Singh. His first was 'The Cell,' a sci-fi psychological thriller that seems unfairly forgotten. I really liked it. Most of his credits are as a commercial director, and for years he travelled the world to find the most beautiful locations in order to sell cars, or dog food or whatever. Watching 'The Fall' it appears he piggybacked his own film along with him wherever he went. Watching the credits, you will read the names of film crews representing almost every continent, almost every corner of the globe. You will not read the names of any cgi artists. Their names were not omitted; there is no cgi in this film.

There is not a minute of the film that isn't filled with astonishing visual invention, not a minute that isn't perfectly delightful. While it can be said that the film as a whole doesn't add up to the sum of its individual parts, let it also be said that each individual part is greater than most film's entire sums.

It could be a masterpiece; we may never know for certain. I could be convinced its a profound exploration of the power of storytelling as a tool for redemption. I could be convinced it was all just a 2 hour commercial for perfume. In either case, I recommend seeing it, if for no other reason than the fact that it exists.

And because... well... look!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Announcing: GeoffreyStone.Com

My new website is up and running! There's not a whole lot there that hasn't been seen here, but hey, its something to build on.

Eventually I will be adding sections for my illustration work, some animation samples and even some comics. Fun, fun, fun!

Big thanks to Zach Knoles for building the thing, while teaching me a little bit about html and style sheets along the way. Hopefully I won't have to call him up whenever I need to change something, but fair warning, Zach: I might!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Frank McCourt: 1930 - 2009

From Carradine to Cronkite, MacNamara to Michael Jackson, it seems the last 30 days have been a popular check out time for many a public figure. I haven't been moved to spill any digital ink over any of these passings; I suppose I don't have much to say besides the obvious.

But losing Frank McCourt touched me.

Angela's Ashes is an amazing book, and it will be read for many years to come but I think that I'll remember him best as a phenomenal talk show guest.

He would appear on the Conan O'Brien show regularly and he always killed. Most of the time he wasn't promoting anything, which gave me the feeling that he was the guy they would call if there was a cancellation and they needed someone who lived in New York and could be absolutely hilarious and compelling for 5 to 7 minutes without any advance notice. And he always seemed humbled to be invited onto the show night after night. Afterall, just a few years previous he was not a world famous author, just a retired English teacher. The anecdotes and tales that made up Angela's Ashes had been refined from 30 years of telling in front of an audience of high schoolers.

It was a major occasion when the late night comedy shows resumed after the September 11 attacks. David Letterman's guest on his first night back was Dan Rather and their emotional meeting is still being talked about. Less talked about, but for me, just as cathartic, was Conan's first show after 9/11. His guest was Frank McCourt.

I have looked and looked online for video of McCourt from that night and I haven't found anything. I haven't found anything written about the segment either. I will search again and if I find something I will post it here, because if there was a statement made in the days and weeks following 9/11 that bears repeating it was McCourt's and even though I haven't seen it since that night in 2001 I will attempt to paraphrase what he said.

He simply noted, matter of factly, that on the day of September 11, on which thousands were killed, two babies were also born. Little Johnny was born in New York and in Afghanistan, Little Mohammed. And in twenty years or thirty years or forty years time what will these two boys, grown now to men, say to each other should they meet? Any action that does not strive towards a future in which these two children can some day meet as friends, and not enemies, is surely misguided.

Tears flowed from my eyes after he said that. He had addressed the fear that I had been feeling but couldn't articulate. It was not the fear of poison gas or suicide bombings, it was the fear that hatred and mistrust would claim our future. A fear that choices made in haste, motivated by fear, cynicism, or simple political convenience would prove to be ruinous to the next generation.

I still think about Johnny and Mohammed. In two months they will be eight years old. They are old enough to know there is a world outside of their home, outside of their city or village. Each is old enough to know that the other exists. What are they being taught about each other and who is teaching them?

The thought that they both might someday have a teacher like Frank McCourt gives me hope.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Post

It has been months (MONTHS!) since my last blog posting and I never intended to go that long without a post.

You see, when I started this blog I said to myself: "Self," I said, "If you are going to do this blog then you are going to do it right. You will not go months and months without a post but neither will you post nothing but frivolous stuff and youtube videos. You will regularly produce some kind of content (be it small or large) to share, in addition to the frivolous stuff and youtube videos."

When I stopped talking I nodded in agreement with myself (afterall, I'm so reasonable) but as you can see I clearly didn't follow through.

I haven't been lazy though. I have been working on many cool things but they are BIG things and big things take time to finish. Soon it will be time to post about some of those cool, big things but unfortunately not today.

So in the meantime, brace yourself for youtube videos.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Super HD. Super Slo-Mo.

I-Movix SprintCam v3 NAB 2009 showreel from David Coiffier on Vimeo.

All this high definition stuff is blowing my mind and once we all have high definition tv sets we will then become like a nation of stoners. We won't want to watch anything with a plot or a story we'll just be saying "whoa... play that jello bounce again..."

The music on this video, by the way, is a Frank Zappa composition named "Chunga's Revenge" but I don't know who performed this version.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Plein Air

What you are looking at are my three best paintings from the 3rd Annual Borrego Springs Plein Air Invitational. For those of you who don't speak Art and who haven't read my previous blog posts, Plein Air is French for "Painting Outside."

Which is a great idea...

If you're in France.

Over here it gets hot. Or windy. One or the other. Occasionally both.

But what am I complaining about? I had a great time, met some fantastic artists, learned a lot and I even sold one! (The third one down)

I complain because it's challenging. I guess that's what I'm getting at.

Plein air represents a real struggle for me as a painter. For one thing, there's just the logistical problems of having to pack up all the stuff you need to make a painting and carry it to the place that you want to paint. Acrylic was the first medium I chose to use (the painting on the very top is acrylic). I don't like painting on easels, collapsible ones or otherwise. I prefer painting flat so for the first few days I was going out with a little typing desk and a folding chair. Eventually when I started going out to places where I would have to walk far from my car I abandoned the desk, abandoned the chair and just went out there with a drawing board and a pancho to lay on the ground where I'd sit. After a day of that I realized that a set of pastels and some paper weigh less than an acrylic tray and a jug of water so I switched. The last two paintings are pastels.

The second struggle is the challenge of producing a complete painting in one sitting. Another way to explain this: two hours is about all the time you have from the moment you first set eyes on your subject to the point where you can no longer do any major work on the piece because the light has completely changed. As far as mixing colors and using the paint goes, I have some facility there and I can move pretty quick, but in terms of creating the best composition of what lays before me; in terms of simplifying unessential bits and allowing them to support the essential parts I have room to improve. I made some strides but its still the thing I need the most work on.

So am I going to continue working plein air? I will. Its a great exercise for a painter. Photos are a great tool but they'll limit you if you never go outside and see how the light really behaves. I envision myself continuing to paint outside both for the satisfaction of 'capturing the moment' and also for the sake of doing 'field research' in order to better make paintings in studio.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Music Club: "Down By The River" or "How Many Steel String Sitars Did Stephen Stills Steal?"

Submitted as evidence that for a brief period in 1969, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were the best music group in existence.

An aside to my baby boomer friends... does anyone have a Stephen Stills style pancho they'd be willing to part with?

Call me.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Happy Birthday!

A birthday greeting to some of the special people who were born on this day, February 22.

Happy birthday to Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy!

Happy birthday to Robert Wadlow, the tallest man who ever lived!

Happy birthday to the late Steve Irwin!   Crikey, I still can't believe you're gone!

Happy birthday to Jenna Haze, noted star of adult cinema!

Happy birthday to French surrealist filmmaker Luis "The Eyeball Slicer" Bunuel!   (Pictured here with fellow Frenchperson Catherine Denevue.)

Lord Robert Baden-Powell founded the scouting movement along with his wife Lady Olave Baden-Powell.  Coincidentally they were both born on February 22, though in different years. Happy Birthday, Lord and Lady Baden-Powell!

And of course a very happy birthday to George Washington, father of our country!

I turned 27 today and I received a beautiful card from my dear Grandma Catherine to mark the occasion.  In it, she wrote: 

Happy day of your birth, George Washington and Geoff Stone.

If you want to be daring, do as George did.

1.  Throw a dollar across the Potomac.
2.  Grow your hair long and bleach it.
3.  Find yourself a Martha.

Go ahead, Geoff.  Live it up.

Well, I've always tried to follow my Grandmother's good advice.  Happy birthday to me!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New Paintings

Artwork I made for the MEN'S SHOW, which just opened at the Borrego Art Institute, and for some reason I can't say "Men's Show" with a straight face. It just seems silly. Like my cousin Wayne said to me... "If its a show for the men artists, what's it going to be? Pictures of women?" But I digress....

These might be the last pieces I'll do from photographs for a while as I will soon be tooling up for a major plein air event in March.   Plein air, for those that don't speak Art, is French for "Painting outside while wearing a big hat and ignoring tourists who want to come up and talk to you while you're desperately trying to determine the correct shade of blue to make a shadow before the sun moves and you're totally screwed."

It all started when I took a Plein Air workshop a couple weeks back from painter Diane McClary.   I can't say I immediately excelled at the Plein Air thing but it definitely excited me and Diane opened my eyes to a lot of things.  I learned a lot. In mid March, The Borrego Art Institute will host 21 noted plein air painters from around the country and they also want to have local participation.  I'll be among the local participants.

Not sure where this will take me.  Hopefully more sales.  Definitely more experience and a chance to meet and learn from some real pros.   

Fire it up, Geoff.  
Fire it up.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The real reason I have a blog

I put up a couple months of actual content now and I'm proud, but now that that's done its time to reveal the real reason I or anybody has a blog....

Youtube videos.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Look, Ma! I'm a graphic designer!

Volunteered to design the poster for the local production of "I Do! I Do!"

Had fun putting on the Graphic Designer hat and taking Adobe Illustrator for a spin.  Turns out I knew even less about Illustrator than I remember thinking I did....

A little bit nervous my animation team is going to read this post and say... "Hey, he's got time to do theater posters but he can't finish a puny little stack of storyboards for the film?"

All I can say is... sorry guys.  

 You know about my weakness for musical theater.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Drinking and Drawing and Jamming

Friday before last I was at one of the Borrego Springs night spots (is there more than one?) and this group was playing.  Their name is TNT.  An excellent bar band and a very nice bunch of guys.  As they were playing, I was sketching, and then we got to talking during the break and then they even let me sit on the drums for a few songs!   A big thank you to Tom, T.J., and Michael for a fun night!

To Borrego people:  February 20 they will be at Carlee's.  9 o'clock.  Check em out!

Friday, January 23, 2009

More Sketchbook Dump

Some color portraits I found.  These are all from photographs.

Charles Mingus.  2003

Some Lady With A Hat.  2003

Black Francis.  2003

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Obama Day!

Recently released footage: President, Vice President, Secretary of State and First Lady departing from the inauguration ceremony.

An award winning animated gif. Not mine.

Happy Obama Day!

Obviously I'm happy about this day. And more than that, I'm happy that my country is happy about this day.

Our country has been in a wilderness for so long. Today feels like a homecoming.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Andrew Wyeth, R.I.P.

As long as I've been studying art and painting I've loved his work.  He was one of the greats.

And while I've admired his work for a very long time, and I'm very much aware of his artistic beginnings and his famous father, only now that I'm reading the obituaries am I aware of some of the 'controversies' of his life.  He apparently was not universally beloved by the art critics of his day and apparently when Helga was undressed she did more than just stand still for Andrew (or did she?).  Regarding the former, the average art critic wouldn't have a single bad word to say about a painter like Wyeth if it weren't for the fact that millions of dollars are riding on various artistic trends and it seems that in the art world a new movement can't be pushed forward except at the expense of an old one.  And as for Helga... so what?

The real question is...

Who was the last painter that anyone cared about enough to get the cover of Time magazine?