studiotwentysix2 the art + design of tom davie

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Green with Envy

Ever since I posted the celebration induced sock monkeys, I’ve been sensing a jealous rage from my studio sock monkey, Monkey. Monkey is a one-of-a-kind sock monkey, who was born without the gift of sight, a tail for an arm, an arm-stump for a tail, and a leg that needed to be amputated at the knee. Simply stated, he’s a lovable mess.

No need to feel too sorry for Monkey though, because Monkey is a monkey magnet. You may notice that when the Lord taketh, He also endow-eth — as you can see by his blessed and righteous monkey tripod.

Stay strong Monkey, keep your chin up, chest out and handle it.

Note to self: Get some sleep, reread this post tomorrow and delete if it still seems as strange as it does right now.



Best of the Worst

I’ve been scouring YouTube lately for awesomely horrible videos, which 99% of the time, is a waste of my existence. Inevitably though, the planets will align and I come across a ruby in a manure field, a Basquiat in a gallery of Kinkade’s, or better yet, a damn fine video.

Now don’t get me wrong, these videos are not good in the conventional sense, as a matter of fact, they are downright hideous. The videos are a special kind of hideous though, they are so miserably painful, they actually fall somewhere between camp and mad scientist genius. So without further delay, here are my three current favorites:

This could quite possibly be the worst choreographed fight scene in history of filmed fight scenes. I’m pretty sure one of the guys even busted out the claw maneuver — good stuff. There is a bit of unnecessary gore, as the scene starts with a total of four eyeballs and ends with considerably less. Keep in mind though, the slow motion punches, removal of the shirts and licking of the knife, far outweigh the many negatives. I’m pretty sure this clip could be used as a teaching tool for film students of all levels. Subject of the lesson: If you are willing to fully embrace your film’s shortcomings and awfulness, cult status is there for the taking.

  • Undefeatable

  • Rick Astley
    This guy was Clay Aiken back when Clay was still going number two in his Pampers®. Never Gonna Give You Up, cuts through my soul and pours salt on the wound. Every time I hear this turd, I think of 1987, and those awkward Junior High dances in my crappy middle school cafeteria. I have to admit though, this video is classic, in a disturbed sort of way. The three things that kill me are: 1) His white man shimmy with alternating fist pumps — just face it Rick, you have no semblance of physical rhythm 2) The denim on denim outfit with the shirt buttoned up to the collar — I’m giddy just thinking about it 3) The bartender, just watch him — I’m going to start playing this song at bars to see if this is an isolated reaction, or if Rick Astley can affect bartenders like no other artist in history. Prepare to be Rickrolled.

  • Rick Astley - Never gonna give you up

  • Toby Radloff
    This video really has me at a loss for words. It’s so bad it’s almost cringe worthy. My guess is you’ll have one of two reactions: 1) You’ll be so embarrassed for this guy, that you literally won’t be able to make it through the entire video, or 2) You are an evil bastard who takes delight in the miserable failures of others — and the worse Toby crashes and burns, the harder you will laugh. By the way, I love how they green-screened the girl dancing, but her belt and eyes have disappeared because they happen to be the wrong color — nice icing on the proverbial cake.

  • Genuine Nerd Toby Radloff
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    Thursday, July 19, 2007


    There’s never a bad time to bust-out the sock monkeys, but in this instance, a twofold celebration is in order.

    First, the studiotwentysix2 blog has officially broken into triple digits, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, the blog has reached the century mark — 100 big, badass splendiferous posts. Through hard work and dedication, this feat took me just under eight months to accomplish — outstanding! This means, if my grade school math skills are still in working order, we should be celebrating the millennial post sometime around August 2012. Hell, who knows, by that time we might have flying cars and robot maids who cook us breakfast, I know my fingers are crossed.

    Second, I turn the ripe-old age of 32 on Saturday — Yep, 32. When I was 16, I honestly had no concept of what 32 would be like, now that I’m 32, I can’t even remember what it was like to be 16 — except that my parents wouldn’t let me drive alone, even though I received a 100% on my drivers test, and I had a crappy job washing dishes and an equally sucky job washing cars. Apparently at 16, my major occupational skill was washing stuff — Yep.

    Anyway, I’m sure the day will consist of cake, meat and beer, but probably not in that order.

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    Wednesday, July 18, 2007

    What’s Happening?

    I realize it’s been slower than normal around here the last month or so, which is unfortunate, because I enjoy being slightly irreverent, showing the goodies I’ve found and often times just blowing off steam. Anyway, I didn’t post two weeks ago because I took some time off to visit friends, family and to attend my cousin’s wedding.

    My cousin, who I lost touch with over the years, is huge — and by huge, I mean long. I’m not exactly short, measuring in at just a shade below 6'2". I’m guessing though, that my cousin eclipsed me by a good two inches, which would make it a safe 6'4". This doesn’t seem exceptionally large until you factor in that my cousin is a 23 year-old girl. In addition to the 6'4", stick her in a flowing wedding gown, add some 3-inch heels, and you have one “not-gonna-miss-her” senorita. All I know is next time I start shit at a Davie family reunion, I know who I want having my back. Okay, enough with the family gossip, on to the updates:

    Dayton Art Institute exhibition

    I just had my final walk-through at the Dayton Art Institute museum yesterday. Everything for the exhibition is now pretty much set. My exhibition will consist of approximately 20 paintings and 8 drawings — a good portion of the work will be showing for the first time.

    Some of the paintings and drawings that will be in the exhibition are posted on my Parishioner Series site. I have however, been purposely holding back work in order to give everyone that can, a reason to come see the exhibition.

    A little over two months ago, I started a new body of paintings. These paintings focus on Catholic clergy, and are significantly different in style from the rest of The Parishioner Series. The new works are heavily influenced by my design background, and have a playful, but refined sense of color, and I have consciously chosen to avoid using black in any of these paintings. At first glance, they appear somewhat harmless, but they are without a doubt more sinister and judgmental than the other work.

    To this point, only my girlfriend has seen the completed and stretched canvases — I have even gone so far as to only show the museum curator studies of the final pieces. I plan on showing four of these new paintings in the exhibition, and because of the use of clergy as imagery, the museum has refused to use any of these works in promoting the exhibition, for fear that Catholic groups will disrupt the show. If you want to see them, be sure to plan a trip to the museum. I will post the exhibition opening and reception dates next week.

    Design Publications

    It seems I’ve been getting a lot of love from China lately. At the end of the month, a Chinese art and design magazine will be featuring yours truly in a super-dope article. Each issue of the bi-monthly magazine focuses on one international artist or design studio, and does a large, several-spread article featuring the philosophy of the designer and an ample showing of work. I sent them more than 25 images, so here’s hoping the article turns out really strong.

    Also on the Asian front, I’ve been asked to contribute work to a 2-volume hardback design almanac. Asian design is the primary focus, but a group of international designers have been asked to contribute to the book as well. The book will be introduced in October at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

    Again, I’ll post images and more information about the publications, as I receive my complimentary copies.

    Client Work

    A few weeks ago, I was asked to contribute two design concepts to Upper Deck, which is in the process redesigning their line of 2007-08 NBA trading cards. There were a few layout hurdles to get around, such as a HUGE price violator and quite a bit of text to work into the design, but overall, it was a fun project to work on. I can’t show anything for proprietary reasons, but maybe in a few months, I can roll out what I came up with.

    So as you can see, I’ve been pretty busy lately — I’m hoping all the upcoming exposure will bust this one-man venture wide open.

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    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    Poor, Kid

    This is completely un-art related, and it’s certainly going to wipeout all my good Karma points — but screw it, it’s too funny. I received this picture in an email titled: Chris Farley Lives!!!

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    I don’t normally gush, but TOYPOGRAPHY is absolutely brilliant. This is everything that a non-electronic children’s toy could hope to be: part puzzle, part building blocks and part bilingual alphabets — all in one. TOYPOGRAPHY has developed an interesting way to integrate English and Chinese characters to create a visual word association between the languages. On top of that, you can also arrange the blocks into the shape of the object being spelled out. Just an all around great idea, hell, forget the kids, I might buy a set for myself.

    Thanks to Brian for pointing these out to me.

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    Royal Flush

    In the next post or two, I’ll fill you in on where I’ve been and the groovy things that are on the horizon. In the meantime though, I recently went through some of my old files and found this essay written for in 2003. I was just beginning my second year of graduate school, and at the time this was written, had just made the decision to pursue teaching. It’s rather lengthy, however, it was really interesting to be able to reflect on, and criticize my thoughts of four years ago.

    You may love it, you may hate it, you may think it’s a waste of your time, but I offer it nonetheless. If you have a response, leave a comment or send me an email.

    Tom Davie
    Graduate Student, Visual Communications
    The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

    Fifteen years ago, I was staring down my life-long dream of becoming a major league pitcher. I was consistently being showered with awards and praise. I had the confidence of a Royal Flush and the intensity of a Pit Bull. It was apparent that failure would be the destiny of every opponent. All things were possible.

    Before my ego inflates so large that it requires medical attention, I must admit that fifteen years ago I was playing Junior League baseball. My arms and legs were too long for my torso, I wore glasses that were strapped to my head and was thirteen years old. The praise I garnered came not from national sports magazines, but rather uncles and grandmothers who came to watch my six-inning games. I loved playing baseball, but as time passed it was unfortunately not to be.

    What does baseball have to do with pursuing a profession in academia? Nothing and Everything.

    I no longer play the game I loved, and yet have never forgotten the passion, intensity and fun that was experienced as a child. Baseball taught me to rely on others to achieve goals and helped foster a strong work ethic, characteristics I now apply to a career in fine art and graphic design.

    From 1997 through 2002, I worked at two graphic design studios located in Ohio and California. My responsibilities included the creation of a wide variety of corporate communication pieces ranging from identities to packaging and web sites, with clients as diverse as Fortune 500 Corporations to individually-run non-profit agencies. This studio time was spent developing my skills as a designer, listener and negotiator. I enjoyed the ever changing set of limitations and cost restraints; these limitations help define the personality of each project. However, the daily battle with clients over maintaining a quality product was one hurdle that was seemingly never overcome. Constantly defending the work’s integrity began to toll on my professional faith. So before the desire to create thoughtful work at a high level was lost, I decided to return to school and revive my creative muse, and so I did.

    Upon completing a strenuous year of relocating, intellectual advising sessions and many an all-nighter, I am now eight months from completing a Master of Fine Art in Visual Communications at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. It was never my intention to return to school in anticipation of becoming a college educator, but that now appears to be my direction. It is no easy decision to abandon the professional field, considering I would now likely qualify for a senior position and a commensurate salary. However, it pains me to consider my professional legacy consisting of corporate logos and brochures. I would rather develop student minds and abilities, and prepare them to excel in the profession they are about to enter. While I am excited to begin a new path, there are concerns.

    It would be lying if I did not admit my fear toward conducting a job search in such a battered and unresponsive economy. I entered graduate school in the fall semester 2002 in anticipation the economy would be in an upswing at the time of my graduation. While I remain cautiously optimistic that there will be tenure track opportunities to be had, I am not kidding myself. It is realistic to believe there will be several hundred applicants looking to fill a single position. I can only hope to have done enough scholastically and professionally to be considered for one of these available faculty positions. I must remain confident that as long as my resume is error free and my printer has ample toner, I have as reasonable a chance to find a job in academia as any of my contemporaries with a minimum of eighteen years of education. Or so I hope.

    If I do have a slight advantage, it’s the freedom of being able to relocate at a moments notice. It’s true that I’ve seen more of the country through the rearview of a loaded-down automobile than I care to admit (I am still adjusting to the culture and weather shock of moving from San Diego to Chicago.) My family and friends gave up on me years ago to stay in Ohio, but as long as I make it home for the holidays there isn’t too much grief. Moving, however, is not my highest priority or ambition.

    My major objective for this job search is to find an institution that houses highly respected faculty members, students, who regardless of their talent level, love what they are doing and are willing to work hard to achieve their goals, as well as, an administration that believes in and strives for excellence. I refuse to compromise my philosophical and ethical values when it comes to accepting a faculty position, and intend on interviewing the university as intensely as they interview me. I need to feel comfortable that they believe in my abilities, and in return I will remain loyal to them. The institution that I ultimately agree to terms with must be dedicated to the arts, technology, philosophy and history. The graphic design faculty much be conscious of the rift that currently exists between academia and working professionals. Many professionals feel that a majority of the students graduating have not been adequately prepared to handle the day to day workload that will be expected of them. I would like to encourage a healthy balance of theoretical and conceptual exploration along with the monotonous and uninspired projects that all designers encounter. I am also interested in exploring personal studies, such as reestablishing the importance of hand-made artwork in a business society that insists its collateral to be produced fast and in abundance (and if you are curious, no that is not my thesis.) Selfishly, I look forward to finding an institution that I am proud and excited to be a part of.

    Once again I find myself staring down an opponent, except the outcome of this encounter is not so certain. I have the confidence of a Full House and the intensity of a Bullmastiff. Failure may ultimately be my destiny, but as long as I feel thirteen years old...all things are possible.

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