Tag Archives: digital tools for artists

Conference: Adonis The Bussy Boy

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For my conference I decided to animate a poem of mine.  It goes like this:

Adonis The Bussy Boy!

I wish I could flay you alive my love

Let me step into your skin

Let me cast you out

I deserve the cloak of your lean muscled body

I deserve your dick and your chiseled jaw

While your consciousness lays

Broken on the floor

Bleeding out

For me

Sometimes in my dreams my breasts fall off

I see them rolling on the floor

And out of the holes come stars

But for now I must suckle and worship you

Lean Bodied

With the big cock I want

Attached to me

My Eros

I cannot help but look at all of you

And wonder if bathing in your blood would make me a true Adonis

The Adonis that drinks too much

And is eccentric

And goes on benders

And bends you over

And leaves you with big purple love bites

I settle with fucking you

If I can’t take your body

I will have you inside me

Your scent will mingle with mine

And soft kisses

Will replace snatching your skin

And the sight of my own eight inch dick.

Now that this is here, let me take the poem and video apart for you.

The Title- The title makes reference to Adonis, a man so handsome that Aphrodite fell in live with him and uses the term bussy, a slang term for boy pussy.  This title proclaims that this man is both handsome and is trans.  In the trigger warning before the title I mention how the poem and video can be triggering to viewers due to sexual themes and disturbing imagery.  However I end it with a provocation.  Throughout my life I have had to prove and defend my identity, and it has become a near reflex.  The title itself is text following a path, with my legs cut out and with an animated gradient.  I am wearing fishnets and converse for the following reasons: its a look, it goes against heteronormativity, and fishnets have a long history if being associated with sex.

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Stanza One- This stanza is about the experience of sleeping with someone for the following reasons: because you want to look like him and because you’re sexually attracted to him.  However you can’t let anyone but yourself know this because you’re still stuck in the closet.  This experience is violent.  In the video I have cut up the lines of this stanza, and have timed them so they flow across the screen a different speeds and times.  I use a fractal with color changes to keep time to the music.  In addition I have looped four rotating peaches and included a distorted video of me cutting up a kiwi.  This is a play and take on the word/ slur “fruit”.  I am a fruit cutting up a fruit and the peaches amplify that.  My goal with the kiwis was to disturb viewers so they can understand the bare minimum of my experience. 

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 11.47.00 AMStanza Two- This stanza is a reference to my future chest, but in the past it was just a distant dream and how to the man I was sleeping with, they were beautiful while I found them horrific.  In the video I use a noise and particle effect to create the idea of the cosmos and over this I used a series of flashing images that represent sexual intimacy (I have taken inspiration for the later episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion).  This section to me reads as the “body” section.

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 11.47.10 AM Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 11.47.15 AMStanza Three- In this stanza I make it explicit that I desire this man as a man would and how if he recognized that and/ or I was out as one, the experience would have been one of mutual power in addition to one of sexual gratification and validation.

Stanza Four-  The final stanza is me accepting that in this encounter, this man will never see me as a man, so instead I settle with being physically animate with him, which is what I want, while recognizing that I need to transition.

For stanzas three and four in the video I incorporate them both over a video of myself that my current boyfriend took.  In the video he asks me to draw certain things and we talk.  The video represents my present: I am an out gay and trans man with a partner that loves and respects me as I respect him.  The text however represents the past but is also a declaration of my resilience and happiness to it.  Within this section I incorporate the pink triangle and a double mars symbol, both symbols of gay identity.

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This piece feels like a baby to me.  It is a symbol of my masculinity and vulnerability.  It marks a point in my evolution as an artists and person and is a reminder for how far I’ve come.  Also if you’re the dude from this past encounter and reading this: I lusted and had sex with you as a man, and even though I was closeted, you can’t take that away from me. 

Conference: Blue and Tomorrow

Conference Post by Izzy Singer

‘Blue’ and ‘Tomorrow’ are a personal exercise in visualizing music. Music is an influence in all of my art. I am very sensitive to the moods or stories portrayed in songs. Abstract representations are in conflict with my traditional animation background, however, finding a link between emotions and movement became a challenging and fun task that I took on for my Conference.

I did not storyboard, I am sorry to say.

My After Effects pieces take shape based on a single song, album or Spotify Playlist. So for each roughly 3 minute-long piece I tried to choose songs that I had become too familiar with at one point in time. I chose ‘Ring (feat. Kehlani)’ by Cardi B and ‘Tomorrow Comes Today’ by Gorillaz.


Due to K. West’s recent political endorsement this song has lost my love. His actions in the last week were so sudden that I was not prepared to speak about it in my blog post but I believe it is necessary. I also changed the song and name of my video from ‘Blue Morning’ to ‘Blue’ and from ‘Good Morning’ to Cardi B’s ‘Ring’ from her new album, ‘Invasion of Privacy’. For the sake of understanding why I originally picked ‘Good Morning’ I am going to analyze the song itself and add some more personal information. I listened to Kanye West’s ‘Good Morning’, sparsely a few months before, religiously for three weeks before, and consecutively a few hours before, my High School Graduation. It was a big deal to graduate High School because of my life-long struggle with learning disabilities. It was also a big deal because for the first time I would not be coming back to a place that already knew I had disabilities. I would be on my own and I would have to put what little wordly experience and wit I had into protecting and supporting myself through college.  At the time of my graduation from High School, his song was a magical mix of cynical with a hopeful and hypnotic melody of “oooh’s”. He peers into the idea of growing up, or rather, “waking up”. Now, I cannot relate to his experiences as a black man which he references consistently throughout the song, but in all honesty, lyrics hold a 40% value to me when I listen to a song. His lyrics hold importance as does the composition of the piece, the “oohooh” vocals, echoing beats and electric-almost-old-timey-sounding piano. I’ve used the words hypnotic, hopeful, cynical; for the most part it is melancholiac, nostalgic. A graduation is a time for reflection because it is an end. It tosses a person into the ring. And, as it happens, I am graduating again. This time into the world. So what color to best represent a little sadness and nostalgia? Blue. ‘Ring’ also encapsulates this sadness. It comes from fresh wounds. It is romantic. And there is something about it that rocks me to sleep and gives me a feeling of validation.

Blue Morning #1

Blue Morning #1

Blue Morning #2

Blue Morning #2

I used a vibrant blue against a black background and tried to keep the particle movements as atmospheric as I could. There are no 3D effects in the work but I love the deep-space look that expanding particles along the Z Radius can create and I played with that a lot while I worked. Once the second chorus began I sought ways to keep the video engaging while sticking to the Z-Radius format. I had begun the video with an immense amount of orbs and circular objects so I moved away from it for a moment to introduce them in an alternative way. I also introduced a new color: red.

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Blue Morngin #3

By the end of the video I reverted back to faded orbs and circular objects with pink tones.

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Blue Morning #4

Tomorrow ‘Tomorrow Comes Today’ by the Gorillaz interlude is very similar to Good Morning but it has a message that comes from a different ideology. Almost all songs by the Gorillaz has some joke or irony in it. I found Gorillaz a year ago and now associate the songs with certain friends who have become very important to me, as well as my own darker shade of humor and love of weird animated art. The personal connection may seem less deep but if bonding over a band is an experience that you can relate to then please understand it was very meaningful for me. I do not bond with others easily, or find artists who make me feel “got”. Where K. West goes big out of ego, the Gorillaz go big for the sake of absurdity and fun political satire. (Gorillaz’s last album was a criticism of conservatism and party culture so we shouldn’t be expecting any hasty Pro-Trump tweets from them.) There is something sarcastically gung-ho about ‘Tomorrow…’ so I wanted to keep it as separate from Blue Morning as I could. I also felt that in the lead singer, 2D’s, voice there is a groundedness and earthiness that always compliments the traveling sounds of the instruments in the background.
Photoshop Texture

Photoshop Texture

The earthiness I conjured by creating textured patterns in photoshop. I plugged those into After Effects and played with Kaleida and Color Change.
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Color Example #1

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Color Example #2

Unlike Blue Morning I could not imagine one color to signify the song.  I pushed it beyond what I usually like (not too many bright colors) and attempted to even the whole thing out with a slow-moving star on the side. A slow-moving thing against an insane background was something I thought captured Gorillaz’s irony very well. It’s almost kinda funny looking. So it is perfect. Once the second part of ‘Tomorrow…’ began I made a very dramatic change to small particles. I tried to keep it from being too linear for as long as I could. I created a ghostly background and had the star fade out for a time as the particles split across the screen. Once I got there, however, I created a linear path by making a vortex of the particles and moving it across like a tornado. I wanted the realistic quality to make an impression during a longer and mellow-er part of the song to keep attention.
Tomorrow #1

Tomorrow #1

Tomorrow #2

Tomorrow #2

Tomorrow #3

Tomorrow #3

The end of it centers around the dark background, moving star, and very sparse particles on the screen. The irony in Gorillaz’s songs are very broad but also dark. In the end it is fair to admit that there is something very ominous about ‘Tomorrow Comes Today’ that deserve a still-ish end.  

Kinetic Text: Wait

Kinetic Text by Izzy Singer  


The song Wait by M83 is from an experimental series of music videos that I have hardly watched. They tell a surrealist story involving industrial America, folk lore and space. I haven’t watched it in years, not since the song was featured on the ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ movie soundtrack (no matter the film movie soundtracks are goldmines for sound). At the time I saw the movie I was having trouble developing emotional attachments to pieces of art. The medication I was taking for depression/anxiety had a numbing effect that made seeing movies and hearing music frustratingly dry. This song plays at the very end of the film when the main character goes through a transformative experience which leads her and her family to accept a harsh situation. The song made the end of TFIOS into something powerful enough that I felt satisfied when I exited the theater. Powerful enough that I could feel a lot when I listened to it on repeat after I got home and 5 years later when I listen to it now.

I am on better medication now. Art effects me and the song has lost none of its beauty. So for this process I did not make any sketches. I listened to the song on repeat and kept it as simple as I could. Particle and Scatter are good for this. I slowed them down and lowered the opacity very slightly. I timed the scatter of the first two “Sings” at the beginning of the video catch the viewer’s attention in the beginning so they would be more inclined to stay on. The rest of the video is, however, fairly low-key apart from the Kaleida effects. The opacity on those were also played with. The word “Wait” which stays in place for the entire video goes in and out of focus as an additional eye-catching motion. I could not decide how fast or slow to make it and I have submitted it with uncertainty.


I created a pink particle layer and added three masks over top it to give peeks at its slow journey into a twist. I also included the words, Wait and Sing. The moving kaleidoscopic effect was the result of me applying Kaleida to a text layer that read:




I think adding those subtleties to the work helps it to match the song. There are so many layers to it and slow turns. The Kaleida adds the unexpected to ready the viewer for the end which is when the climax of the song occurs and it makes all kinds of turns. My worry for this was making it too languid. My own attention span is very short. I have to be in the right headspace to even listen to the song completely, though I enjoy it so much. However, in the end, I feel the particles and extra additions made it interesting enough.

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF


When making my GIFs, I drew inspiration from the styles of Paula Scher, Daniel Buren, and Anni Albers. Paula Scher and Daniel Buren often evoke bright color schemes, which was something I wanted to experiment with this semester. Albers created patterns that were very concerned with movement on the page – some of her designs are almost optical illusions – and I wanted to carry that concept over to my GIFs.

My first attempt at a GIF as the one below – I call it “The Disappearing Button.” l started by creating the red and black button background, then overlaid a large white button across the top. Because of the way that the background moves and the white spaces connect, the white button on top seems to disappear and reappear – even though only the background is moving.

This ended up being one of my simplest GIFs, but one of my favorites, and I thought, most successful. It’s able to create the appearance of more movement than is actually happening within the frames. Compared to the first GIF in this post, it was fairly simple to make – I just kept transforming and wrapping the background by about 25 px every frame. It only took me about an hour to make, but it looks complex. I ended up trying to recreate the success of this GIF for the rest of the GIF assignment, though I don’t know if I succeeded.


I continued to play with white space and movement, but also focused on color palettes. I generally have a very dark color palette in my artwork but after seeing Daniel Buren’s experiments with light and color, I decided to experiment as well. I decided to continue playing with empty space and overlaps and made the GIF below, which I call, “Red and Blue All Over,” which is a play on bruising. I wanted to just use red and blue but also attempt to make a third color, purple, out of them. I used the same layer-transform-wrap process as in Disappearing Button, except I had the red and blue circles moving in opposite directions, rather than the same direction.

I think it works to some degree, but is not as successful as I would have liked. Ultimately, to get the brighter purple that I wanted, I would have had to devote some time to make sure the thinly striped red and blue circles lined up more perfectly – so that only red and blue, no white, showed. This GIF ended up being a lot more stagnant than I wanted it to be – it’s cool, but because the background isn’t moving, the top layer doesn’t get much of a sense of transformation.  If I had to remake this GIF I would have had the background moving, rather than the individual circle layers. It was a lot more tedious to have both those layers moving in opposing directions, and not enough payoff.


I had a lot of fun playing with movement and colors in these GIFs. If I could go back, I wouldn’t have stuck so rigidly to a primary color palette. It definitely got me out of my comfort zone and into areas that I wanted to explore, but it would have been cool to look at some other bright colors. Buren and Scher both play with bright colors a lot but certainly don’t just stick to primary colors – I think their work might be less successful that way.

Conference Project Post-Mortem: Liquid Light


For my conference project, I combined a digital projection of various poems I had written with a liquid light show;  dishes filled with mineral oil, water, and food dye projected on an ELMO overhead projector.


A lot of my poetry aims to simply create another world in which the reader can enter. For my conference project, I aimed to take this experience farther by using the projection to visually create a space. I felt as though I certainly created a space through the projection, but perhaps not my words, as most people didn’t really take much time reading the poetry.


At first, I originally only used two dishes for the oil, water, and dye. However, I decide to try using a third vessel, a large flat-ish plastic box top. I felt as though this made a huge improvement on the quality of the liquid light show, as it allowed me to use more colors without them mixing. If I were to do this again in the future, I would try something other than food coloring, as it didn’t quite have the vibrancy I wanted. I would also invest in clear glass clock faces or something similar as opposed to what I used. It was shockingly difficult to find a clear plastic or glass dish that didn’t have a logo or something on the bottom. Finding materials was probably my biggest frustration.


Overall, I was pleased with how this project turned out, as I felt it for the most part accomplished what I wanted it to. I will definitely be using both projection techniques for other projects in the future.

Video Mapping: Projector Night


  While I had done several test runs of my projection prior to projector night, I certainly was surprised about how the show went. The way people interacted with my projection was interesting, when walking in front of it, many people ducked or apologized for temporarily blocking it, which was interesting. I was actually quite pleased with this because I felt as though that meant my projection conveyed authority and commanded attention, it was certainly not an afterthought in people’s minds.


The work on my part was interesting too, the longer I stood there, the more meditative it became for me. My intention to create a separate world in which the viewer could enter and exit as they pleased, and I felt as though I had achieved that, and in turn entered into that world myself. I also very much enjoyed the performance aspect of it, people seemed to be interested in watching me manipulate the projection as much as the projection itself. I felt like a witch performing a mysterious ceremony of some sort.


  Overall, aside from getting mineral oil all over my hands, I felt as though projector night was a success.

Conference Project Proposal: Liquid Light Show

liquid light show

Glenn Mckay stands in front of his liquid light show “Glenn Mckay’s Headlights”

lucifer rising gif

Still from Kenneth Anger’s film “Lucifer Rising”

For my conference work, I am incorporating kinetic text with a 1960s-inspired liquid light show. Numerous musical acts, in the 60s and today performed with liquid light shows, such as 13th Floor Elevators, Jefferson Airplane, and Jimi Hendrix. Filmmaker Kenneth anger, while he didn’t necessarily utilize the exact liquid light technique, had an aesthetic sensibility in his films that i wish to evoke here. The liquid light show itself will be made by putting two-three dishes filled with water, mineral oil, and food coloring on the surface of an ELMO overhead projector. This will create a psychedelic, swirling projection of colors that I can manipulate in real time as I digitally project my kinetic text.
liquid light show projector

Bill Hamm’s Light Show in Avalon Ballroom SF

  In the combination of the liquid light show and my poetry-based kinetic text, I hope to create an atmosphere, or even a separate world that the viewer can enter by looking at the projection, or even stepping in front of it.

Digital Tools: The Art of The Gif

In making these gifs, my aim was to make them fun and playful, nothing too stiff. In making digital artwork, I oftentimes feel as though it is easy to lose the fluidity that comes with working in traditional media, due to the precise nature of items such as the brush tool, the shape-making tools, etc. In general, some of my favorite artists whose work I generally attempt to draw from are Aiden Koch, Maria Ines Gul, my good friend Valerie Wrede (@eggflowersoup on instagram/tumblr–seriously check her out) Daniel Clowes, Kendra Yee, Raymond Pettibon, and Hellen Jo. However in making my patterns and gifs I found myself being very inspired by pictures and illustrations I’ve seen of cells and protozoa. There is something very appealing to me about the way these organisms move and interact with the environment, and in the chaotic-yet-organized way that they are composed. wavegif This gif is definitely my favorite, I was aiming to give it a sort of 60s psychedelic feel without being too corny, and i think I succeeded in doing so. I was also satisfied with how the changing of the colors conveyed a sense of motion, like ripples in water. splotchgif This gif was an experiment in color more than anything. I wanted to challenge myself and go beyond my typical pastel pallet. I wasn’t expecting the motion to be all that interesting, but I think it turned out to be more exciting than I anticipated. boringgif In this one I was trying to be more illustrative. I do illustrations that use a lot of comic-type elements without really explicitly being comics (like Aiden Koch’s work). This gif felt very fun and in-line with what I typically doodle in class, giving this doodle-like thing motion felt very satisfying. I would love to maybe even attempt a short animated film in the future.