Thursday, November 23, 2006

China is a Large Country

Having been to Taiwan many times before, I knew not what to expect of the Mainland. Even though we only covered a tiny fraction of the country in and around the city of Shanghai, I must say it has all been very enlightening.

Shanghai is a mix of the old and the modern, the past and the futuristic. Thirteen million people live in the city and not once in two weeks did I see an obese local, even though our culture basically revolves around the consumption of copious amounts of food at regular intervals through the day. It's uncanny I tell you...

In the countryside, the people live quaint, simple, productive, and content lives. They welcome foreigners with an amicable curiosity. I notice everyone is always hustling and bustling to get somewhere, to transport something, to accomplish something, or to eat something. It seems every city (even separated by mere hours) has its own local dialect and that everyone is basically billingual. The work ethic and hospitality are astonishing.

I was fortunate enough to see some niches of the country not normally visited by tourists. It has been fascinating to see a society that has literally been evolving for thousands of years to become the way it is now - the good and the bad. Whether or not it is better or worse thant the life you already know is simply a matter of opinion.

Thanks to our great hosts Ashley, Cyndia, and company. It has all been quite humbling to say the least and I hope future excursions back to China will be equally enlightening.

(for the record, I'm from Taiwan, not China...they're similar but different)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Poker? I Don't Even Know Her!

So you may have heard about how billionaire casino mogul Steve Wynn accidentally poked a hole in his Picasso moments after selling to a man for 139 million dollars. Cut him some slack though because he is after all partly blind. 139 million? I'd say Steve Wynn did the buyer a favor.

I did see this back when his private collection was open to the public. Now his collection is scattered about in various important areas of the casino. Yes, that's right...I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a Rembrandt self-portrait hanging behind the registration counter in the VIP area where most hotels would have a framed print of sailboats on a beach. Sounds like the casino business has been lucrative, to say the least.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Adios California

Spent my last full day in California at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, probably my favorite all around museum in the area. Much of it was closed off though for renovation but nonetheless, I needed the quiet sanctuary after spending two months in the vehicular chaos that is Southern California.

Aside from the regulars, a large Matisse painting of two women sitting in a garden really caught my eye this time. Sometimes things just strike you, yet you don't know why. On another note, I suppose my In-N-Out addiction will have to be put on hold until next time...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Golden Delicacy

According to the internet, "Kiwi lovers will prize this succulently sweet and juicy kiwi which was introduced to the U.S. in 1999 from New Zealand. Golden Kiwi is a product of natural plant breeding, with a smooth skin, free of brown fuzzy hair. The Golden Kiwi has jewel-like seeds, as with traditional green kiwis, and a glowing golden flesh. They have a thin, tender, edible skin of a sun-kissed bronze color."

I couldn't agree more.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Painting and the O.C.

Today's prolific day of painting included a street scene in the morning, the Seal Beach Fire Station in the afternoon, and this parking lot near sunset. As you can see, my choice of subject matter are obviously limited by my desire to save on gas.

Returned home tonight to find the show "The OC" filming at our hotel. I'm not familiar with the characters or storylines, but I did watch them shoot one scene where the main character blonde-ish guy storms out of a parked car (driven by the guy with the big eyebrows), and storms into a hotel room. I'm sure I didn't just give away some pivotal twist in the upcoming season...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Chilly and Hilly

Well, those are two words I could best use to describe San Francisco. Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair, by the way. A weekend excursion into the foggy city allowed me to visit an old buddy as well as see the travelling "Monet in Normandy" show at the Leigon of Honor Museum. A few paintings, a few new friends, and a few days later, I made my way back down to blazing Long Beach.

And howabout that I-5 Highway? Coalinga Ranch? If you've driven that, um, intense stretch of road then you know what I'm talking about. Aside from that, very scenic.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

K-Fed Rocks the House Slightly

There are those precioius and sporadic moments throughout human history when God must sit back content with his work and think to himself, "Yes, now THIS is why I gave them intellect and rational thought!" Unfortunately, sunday night was not one of those moments...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Massacre and a Tea Party

Summer in SoCal took a little detour into NY and Boston where my cousin was looking at potential colleges. I donned the role of chauffer during the trip, but was able to get my fix of fine art in the area. While the fam was mingling around Columbia and NYU, I took to the Met again. Ah, here we have one of my favorite Monet's "La Grenouillere." I was also really into Manet's "Matador" this time around for some reason.

Boston on the other hand was completely new to me. It is as far as I'm concerned as beautiful a city as everyone claims it to be. Numerous campus tours prevented me from going to the Fine Arts Museum, but I did make it a point to peek into the Public Library to see the Sargent murals. Overall, Boston was great. It's also the only city where you can have both a massacre and a tea party...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Spring Breakdown: Day 2

Day two begins with the huge swooping crane camera shot over the pool. By the way, our hotel pool is never nearly this crowded and in reality it is probably grossly over fire code capacity. I used to think they just let extras run around and be natural but the process is actually an intentionally orchestrated movement of characters. In other news, I may have surreptitiously weaseled my way into the background of this shot but I'll have to wait until the final movie comes out to see if I made it in.

Off to the side of the pool is the table where the main characters sit, fully clothed and completely shying away from the spring break action. In observing the movie making process today, I learned that actors actually do a lot of sitting and waiting around while frantic crew set up shots and lighting. In this photo we have Sarah Hagan, Amber Tamblyn (aka Joan of Arcadia) and Parker Posey chatting with the director between takes. If you want to see more pics, contact me. In the meantime, enjoy the new video clips below.

Click here to watch the camera crane shot in action.
Click here to see a take of the "nerdy" characters acting nerdy.
Click here to see an actual take with Dratch, Poehler, and Pyle.
Click here for the "cut" portion of the scene above.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Spring Breakdown: Day 1

I woke this morning to the sight of a giant WB truck out front only to find that a movie entitled "Spring Breakdown" was being filmed at our hotel. Yes that's Parker Posey, Amy Poehler, and Rachel Dratch in the photo. It looks like the story revolves around three middle-age women who decide to hit up a college style spring break in South Padre.

Click right here to see filming in action. The scene shows the three conservatively dressed women showing up at the hotel for the first time, surprised by the throngs of spring breakers abound. The pool area has been transformed into a party zone but no filming has taken place there yet. More pictures later.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Using Your Head Painfully

What the? What on God's soccer-ridden earth could compel Zidane to throw a head butt in the final minutes of overtime in today's final and get ejected? We can only speculate about the trash talk involved, but this could go down as one of civilizations great unsolved mysteries. Who really built the pyramids?? What did Materazzi say to Zidane??

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Gettin' Down in Irvine Town

Look what I painted! Yeah right. This is Frank Meyer's "The Charleston" as I saw it at the Irvine Museum yesterday. Typically dedicated to early California landscapes, the museum is currently showing art of California expressionists, influenced by the German movement. Apparently the Irvine family has quite the extensive collection.

In the meantime, I have World Cup fever and I'm addicted to yellow kiwi fruit from New Zealand...

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

California: Part Dos

Finally back in Southern California! Blazing sun? Endless traffic? Yep, it's all still here in all it's glory. After a long painting hiatus, I finally took a stab at a small landscape while visiting an Indian reservation casino called Pala (named after the tribe) nestled awkwardly in the mountains outside of San Diego. I'm no big gambler but I figured driving my dad and his friends to the desolate entertainment destination would be a good chance to see some mountains and farms. For the record, I was right...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

SCAD Style L'Etoile Gala

Yesterday was the first ever gala of this type at the SCADlanta campus, organized to raise funds for the Lacoste scholarship. Various students of various majors were asked to demonstrate and/or entertain wealthy donors prior to their elaborately decorated dinner. As cool as it would have been for us volunteers to eat rabbit and salmon like the guests, we instead had lasagna downstairs on tables not lined with blue neon...

I figured a fun way to artistically entertain the people would be to sketch them furtively as they lingered about in our room. Some watched as I drew oblivious others. Even more amusing was when some were suddenly surprised to see themselves in my book, which was sprawled out on a table.

Click here to see a clip of the Performing Arts department singing a little post-dinner song for P-Dub and the gang.

So "etoile" means star in French? I guess that explains the hanging lights in the dining room. All in all a fun night...

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Sidewalk Arts 2006

Has it already been a year? Looks like it's time for the annual Sidewalk Arts Festival...

This year I drew on square 637 of the "alumni" section, which was a little nicer because of the generous elbow room. For some reason, the image of an illustrated portrait of Poseidon, Greek God of the oceans, came to me the other day.

Now I always knew this guy as "Poseidon" but everyone kept passing by saying, "Look, it's Neptune!" Greek or Roman, I suppose it was better than the "Look, it's the Little Mermaid's dad" comments...

This is Poseidon shortly after losing a contest with Athena over the patronage of Athens. That would explain the crossed arms and pouty disposition, in case you were wondering. In my version, he's a bit skinnier than the typical muscle-head versions out there. It just seems a skinnier guy would swim better...

As usual, I took photos of other squares I enjoyed for various reasons.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

War of the Wombs

Ok, I'm not one to condone living vicarioiusly through the lives of celebrities, but WHAT were the chances of Tom and Katie having their baby on the same day as Brooke Shields after all that scientology smack talk? Is this proof of a greater force at work here? Probably not...

For those of you suddenly concerned that these coincidental births will throw off the balance of the universe, I say to thee, "Rest easy, weary human for eventually Brad and Angelina's super-baby will rise and restore that delicate balance..."

Monday, April 3, 2006

Gators Win!

Ahem, I have tried to capture my mood following the National Championship game vs. UCLA. Now I will be walking around my apartment the rest of the night with a goofy smile. Gators win! Gators win! Gators win! Gators win! Gators win! I gotta's great to be a Florida Gator!

What a great game...what a fun season. You can't get any better than winning both the SEC tournament and the NCAA tournament in the same year. Even better, it's the first basketball championship in school history. For some reason too, it feels like the value of the diploma on my wall just went up...

Saturday, April 1, 2006

The Big Dance

What a season it's been for the Gators! Sure Tennessee and SC beat us twice this year but we're going to the championship game. Having just watched the end of the Final Four game vs. George Mason, I'm only relieved only for the moment as the anticipation and anxiety builds for Monday night's game. Having intense school spirit can be pretty stressful at times, but it's all worth it if your team wins. Go Gators!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Seeing Green with St. Patrick

Is it St. Patrick's Day already? Well, the girls loaded up the lipstick and ambushed various military servicemen at today's annual parade. With the exceptional weather predicted this weekend, the city is estimating at least 300,000 people visiting here from out of town and tonight I'm guessing most of them will be on River Street happily and/or unconsciously shelling out lots of money. In other words, the equation is as follows: Friday parade plus sunny weather equals big weekend bucks.

Barring any unforseen catastrophes, this already is and is going to continue to be a great weekend for the city of Savannah. I think General Oglethorpe would be completely baffled to know that the English colony he set out to develop has turned into a college spring break destination during an Irish holiday.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

New School Meets Old School

After what seemed like an interminable construction period, the Jepson Center opened to the public this weekend. I loved the almost feels like a small version of the Getty in LA, minus the mountain view of Bel Air homes. Everyone knows Savannah loves to hold onto the past, but now this shows it's interest in being part of the modern world. This has already had a huge impact on the west downtown district and the landscape is only going to change even more with the upcoming Ellis Square revival. Onwards with the continuing Savannah renaissance, I say!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Simon

Well, I have been thoroughly entertained over the past two weeks by obscure Olympic winter sports. The big news though was the empire known as American Idol (which comes on about 6 times a week) beating the Olympics in ratings (which come on once every FOUR YEARS). Honestly, I think the Olympic commitee is going to seriously consider having Simon, Paula, and Randy judge the next summer Olympics in Beijing. I can see it now...

Randy: "Yo dog, y'know I really wasn't feelin' that high dive. I mean, it was a'ight and all, but I've seen way smaller splashes and tighter rotations before..."

Paula: "I disagree. I loved how you climbed up that ladder, commanded that springy platform, and made that dive your own. Good for you!"

Simon: "If I'm being honest, that was the absolute worst dive we've seen in the China audition. I mean, I felt like I was watching a toddler fall into an above ground pool at a fat kid's birthday party. Horrendous dive."

Now, as far as the actual Olympics, my favorite moments included Ohno winning the 500m and Arakawa winning for women's figure skating. But of course the most infamous moment was Lindsey "Method" Jacobellis's showboating stunt that lost her the gold, once again confirming karma's iron grip on our lives. Vancouver 2010, here we come!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Hey Mcfly...Chicken?

In response to an upcoming show calling for artwork relating to birds, I setup a little game hen. Then in an attempt to keep the tenacious salmonella at bay, I scribbled for two hours, garnished that bird, stuck it in the oven, and made myself a nice midnight snack. Delicious!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Dog Year

Happy Chinese New old year of the dog, you!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sharp Irony

I bought a pair of scissors today and noticed the irony. You need scissors to cut open the package, yet the scissors are IN the package. Deep thoughts, I know...

Friday, January 20, 2006

Getting Ambitious

A little ambition never hurt anyone. Going to be investing a lot of expensive paint to cover this square footage...

Saturday, January 7, 2006

"No Flash Please, Sir!"

Our New Year's trip to NY for me was an opportunity to milk the museums dry of information. During a three-day stretch, I hit up the Modern Art Museum, The Met, The Frick Collection, and The American Museum of Natural History. I actually stayed at The Met from 9:30 to 5:30 (opening to closing) which surprisingly seemed to fly by. I should just get a job there as a "No flash please!" security guard and spend my days telling foreign tourists not to stand too close to the Van Goghs please.