Monsoons and Miscreants

October 31st, 2011  |  The Sketching Mechanism

We had quite an eventful weekend in the Big Apple this weekend. A surprise snow storm wiped out most people’s Halloween plans. I hope you all had better luck. I remembered part way through this morning my intention to do a Halloween-themed Sketching Mechanism today so enjoy, demons and all (its Orange for Halloween)!
Making Christmas (dum dum dum dum)
My Paul Bunyan costume never came together and I don’t see myself trying to go out again tonight but who knows, at least I got a nice flannel and some bright orange suspenders out of the attempt. I also met a Minnesotan who gave me Bunyan advice being from his alma mater. Beyond that it was quite a relaxing, though somewhat unproductive, weekend. I finally baked my Oreo-stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies which I brought to the office today to share with everyone. They are a delicious, fattening, dessert which I highly recommend. Really fun to make as well (though they burned out the hand mixer I bought for the project!).

Found quite a good bit of brilliant inspirational content this weekend. First this fan-made unofficial opening title sequence for the new Adventures of Tintin film coming out from Spielberg.

I was a huge Tintin fan growing up and I’m excited to see if this film finally overcomes the dreaded uncanny valley in realistic animation so often bungled by films like Polar Express and Beowulf. This sequence is not only a fantastic example of beautiful vector art but also a brilliant exploration of the many tales of Tintin using a simple sphere in interesting ways.

For live action we have the work of the filmmakers of CANADA based in Barcelona who have created some beautiful videos like the one below (c/o Lost at E Minor). [I just realized CANADA is behind most of my favorite music videos from the past year and change erego they have a large effect on the music I listen to. Check out their Vimeo channel for other gems from El Guincho, Two Door Cinema Club and more]

I’ve always been a fan of dreams and this music video contains some truly universal dreamscapes that move with the music and dance. I love looking for Easter Eggs and themes in these types of videos (i.e. the reoccurring glitter on her hand indicating her many dreams). The dancers, costumes and sets are incredible and achieve via practical, real-world techniques, other-worldly affects. In this regard, their work reminds me a lot of Michel Gondry’s early music vidoes and I hope to see longer features from them in the future. I love this zero-CG approach to film making. A slightly stranger animated dream-like video can be seen here…it might not be for everyone though as it contains some very strange themes and messages about youth, intimacy and swimming pools. Still the gorgeous animation and original story are hard to beat, not to mention the great song it accompanies (I’m a big fan of the 80′s retro electro…retrolectro?).

Keeping with our dream theme; in stills lets take a look at the work of Kurt Huggins and Zelda Devon. Some beautiful work from these two based in my very own Brooklyn. I should see if they have works on display anywhere nearby.

Borrwed Dreams

More inspiration to create some actually finished works. I think watercolor would be a great idea since you can create some very subtle and colorful works very quickly. They also seem to do a lot post-color using Photoshop mixed with real materials. Must look into this. Have a good week everyone and don’t eat too much candy. Remember, candy corn contains no actual corn!

EDIT (11-1-11): For more Halloween fare, check out this list of amazing(ly geeky) costumes with tech appeal. I can’t decide which is my favorite but tech-wise the camera is clearly the winner. Geek cred-wise I’m torn between Hypnotoad and Fallout guy (I think making a Pipboy iPhone app could be a super fun geeky open source project).

Nikon costume powered by real camera and laptop