Updating site. Nothing revolutionary. But hopefully going to be easier to use for me and anyone reading. Expect some problems. Sorry.
Actually, updating all my sites, so that’s the blogs, the smugmug gallery, freecomics.no.
Updating site. Nothing revolutionary. But hopefully going to be easier to use for me and anyone reading. Expect some problems. Sorry.
Actually, updating all my sites, so that’s the blogs, the smugmug gallery, freecomics.no.
My oh my what a fancy title.
Anyhow… short story: I`m a huge fan of the game Eternal Darkness: Sanity`s Requiem from Nintendo and Silicon Knights. As a story-driven horror game, it distinguished itself with very different gameplay, a genuinely intruiging story spanning multiple characters and millennium, and a sanity-system that made you disbelieve your own eyes when the characters witnessed too much horrible shit. It`s absolutely the best Lovecraftian game ever, without being directly Lovecraftian.
Now there is a kickstarter for a spiritual sequel, from some of the original developers. Even more excitingly, it is being developed in collaboration with their community. And guess what? I`m having a hell of a time geeking out in their forums(And SECRET FORUMS!!!) pitching enemy-designs and debating Lovecraft. I`ve made a tumblr-post with most of the stuff I`ve drawn, but there`s also some fan-art and stuff in the forums.
And there`s been a trailer focusing on the community created content, featuring some of my pieces. So check it all out, why don`tcha?
Anyhow… I want to write a bit more about why I`m supporting this, and using waaaay too much time on it, but… I wanted to get all the podcasts and trailers and such out of the way first. So expect a more personal follow-up blog soon`ish.
There`s only 7 days left of the Kickstarter, and A LONG LONG WAY TO GO, so head over there and see if it`s something your interested in, either as a player or as a community-member. It`s pretty great.
Just wanted to post a little update, mainly because I have so many things I want to write about that I stop myself from even starting.
So this is a start.
The last years have been pretty sporadic in upkeep of the blog. Especially the last year, trying to manage being a stay-at-home dad, a freelancer, and a tiny bit bi-polar, has not been particularly easy. But now my son is starting kindergarden(AND NOW HIS UPBRINGING IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE STATE! BWAHAHA! Ehhmmm… no), and so I hope that I can get organized enough to do more of my own projects and show them more regularly. Oh, and I want to write something about bi-polarity and being a parent, cuz`that`s… weird.
Last I wrote something longer, was about meeting Richard Stallman, and some thoughts about open-source. I`m still in the process of moving completely over to open-source, and it is going slow but well. Trying to find the right GNU/Linux for hardware with a lot of propriatary hardware is hard, but it`s getting more and more functional per day. I do all my art in GiMP now, on Ubuntu, and it`s getting second nature. Don`t really miss Photoshop at all, though I do envy people who use a lot newer versions of Photoshop than I did. It looks sexy. Oh well, GiMP will get there in time. Need to do a write up about my first GNU/Linux experiences and start some more diverse installations to find what works best for me.
Projects wise… I`m hoping to restart Free Art Fridays, because that is a good project. I`m hoping to restart Space Monkey, because that is fun. I have no idea whether I will be able to. I want to restart the Wednesday Lies, because I still have things to bitch about. I don`t know if I will be able to do any of it, but keeping fingers crossed for the next few weeks. I need to start the follow up to Pickman`s Model, but am still far from ready. Most likely, the next Lovecraft adaption will feature a lot of New England architecture, at least. And I might do some smaller Lovecraft-stuff before that. And I need to get back to promoting Pickman`s Model, because it still hasn`t really reached the audience I believe exists for it.
I`m spending way too much time on the message forums for the Shadow of the Eternals game, which is doing a Kickstarter right now. I want to blog about that as well, because I`m geeking out and having fun, but the Kickstarter is going… too slow. So maybe it won`t get funded, which would be a crying shame. And I want to blog about that. Will probably be my next blogpost, as time is of the essence.
Anyhow… This was supposed to be a short blogpost, to get me back in spirit. So long for short!
Now Oslo is a true hell on earth, and not in the positive metal sense, but still it seems to have managed to lure me back this year.
Not only that, but I will have a brand new book with all of lasts years art. And let me tell you… It looks like shit. No, it doesn’t. It actually looks spectacular. 76 hi-quality prints, on good paper-stock, single sided prints so you can tear ‘em out and hang ‘em high. Printed in a limited edition of 66 copies. Have a look!
And all my new art will be exhibited daily at Rockefeller.
AND… Pickman’s Model and the artbook will be for sale at the festival.
Not going to Inferno? Shame on you! You can still come and say hello to me at Clarion Hotel Royal Christiania each day between 14:00 and 16:00, when I will be selling books, art, and drawing sketches.
Me? I’m looking forward to drawing a whole lot of hell. Let’s see how it goes.
Come, come, into the coven…
First up, this is just a collection of loose, personal observations and thoughts. Some of it may be of interest, and will hopefully be put into more careful context at a later date, but most of it is just for the benefit of clearing my head.
And also, no offense intended. To spoil the plot a bit: I thought mr. Stallman was quite a dick(Pun intended), but that’s allowed. It should be expected that artists and programmers don’t always share the same perspective on things, and I know I’m quite a dick myself sometimes(No pun). And a doofus.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Who is Stallman and why is he so important to me?
Richard Stallman founded the Free Software Foundation in the 80′s, and developed GNU, later becoming GNU/Linux, known as Linux, the free and open operating system for computers. For me, when I in the late 90′s went from trying to understand creators rights to opposing copyright, his work more than anyone elses, including people like Lawrence Lessig, was influential in getting me to the understanding I have today. Not that free software and free art are the same, there are fundamental differences that should be considered, but the type of thought-processes that you find on GNU.org’s philosophy page led me to discover some thought-patterns of my own, and find out why I believe it is crucial that not only software be free, but also art.
So… context… yes… I was invited to Høyskolen i Oslo og Akershus to give an informal lunch-time lecture on comics and creative commons. I saw that friprog.no and nuug.no was organizing a talk by Richard Stallman on free software the same day, and I just had to grab the chance to get introduced to him. I sat through the lecture, drawing a sketch of him, asked him half a question in the questioning part, gave him the sketch and some of my books, and the organizers kindly invited me to participate in a dinner afterwords. Through the whole evening, I probably had half-a-dozen very brief interactions with him. I talked a lot more to his lovely wife/partner/something(me memory bad, sorry), about italian food and Norwegian society, so this post is in no way meant a thorough character-assassination. I don’t know Stallman, don’t claim to do.
But very quickly in the lecture I started to notice things that bothered me. I believe, stronger than ever, that Stallman is fundamentally right about free software, and his definition is complete(Unlike other definitions). And it is important to distinguish between truly free software and open-source. And we should really call Linux for GNU/Linux, as that is more correct. But there was a dogmatism in the lecture, that can not be healthy. Sure, free software is best. But open-source is a stepping stone towards totally free software. And who cares what it’s called? Yes, Stallman and Linus Torvalds might have reason to care, but for everyone else the distinction between the Linux kernel and GNU/Linux OS’s is utterly meaningless. I don’t even know what a kernel is!
And it all led me to this feeling that… This man, he’s said these things thousands of thousands times before. And he seems to be getting further and further away from his goal. The turn-out for the lecture was only about a third of the capacity of the room, and everyone seemed to be mostly in on the schtick. Stallman was preaching to a tiny choir.
Now, it’s not Stallman’s fault that the attendance was rather low. Probably you could get a lot more to come with proper promotion. But the troubling thing was that he was quickly alienating the choir. Not by his apparent dogmatism alone, but by not listening to his audience. At the end of the lecture, there was a round of question. As far as I can recollect, Stallman interrupted every single question before it was finished. Which is incredibly rude in two ways.
1. Yes, he may have heard 50% of the questions before. 75%. Even 90%. And get the answers right. But for those 10%, 25%, or more, where he got it wrong… That’s inexucable.
2. These people were not there to ask questions. They were there because they look up to Stallman, and want to present their ideas and opinions to him. And get him to shout “By Golly, you’re a genius!”. And when you have people that look up to you, the least you can do is hear them out, and THEN crush their dreams by pointing out that they’re wrong or that you simply disagree. Cutting them off might leave time for some more questions, but it also leaves a sour taste in everyones mouth. Even the ones that might have been persuaded by a more polite interaction. And this continued all through the question-round and through the dinner.
And yeah, in my book, that behaviour is just being a dick. It is a 100% understandable, and doesn’t mean that Stallman is a dick on a personal level. But as someone you look up to… It reminded me of what I have to try to avoid. I’m way to fond of hearing myself speak, but when people look up to you it is a lot more important to listen.
But for me, there came a lot good out of the evening as well. Stallman interrupted me and labelled me an anti-copyright absolutist, which led me to try an examine my views. Am I an absolutist? No, I don’t think so. I want reform, and I want it to have a pretty high degree of freedom, but you can’t be inflexible. I don’t have all the answers, but I do think I understand something about art and that I’m more convinced than ever that it needs to be free. And until a just reform is achieved I hope I’m right in choosing to give my art away under a very absolutist license(Demanding only attribution in return) instead of a ShareAlike license or others that force the end-user to use the art in a specific way. Be an absolutist in action, by not in mind. Or some such.
Another brief interaction was about Stallman’s idea of copyleft, and why he thought art was different that software and why a law shouldn’t open for derivative works of art even if sharing is allowed. Which led me to think deeper about the nature of art, why specifically the need to freely produce derivative work is important.
My last insight of the evening was perhaps the most important. I said to Stallman that I used the CC-Attribution license in order to for the end user to have the choice of how to use it so that it is easier to convince people to use it. To which he interrupted “Why would I try to convince people to use my stuff?”. I’m not quite sure how he meant it, since I think that his whole talk was based on trying to convince people to, if not use his software, at least use his definition of free software. But for artists, the use of the work is directly tied to the value of the artist himself. The more general the use of my work becomes, the more unique I become.
Which, logically, means that I’ve been attacking the issue of spreading copyright awareness the wrong way. Getting people to use my work will not really convince other artists to release their work freely. Because the more my work spreads, the more they can say “Oh well, that’s just HIM, I can’t do that!”. Which is the exact reaction everyone had to Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails flirtations with free sharing.
In order to convince artist to use free licenses, I need to start with the tools. Right now, I’m using mostly proprietary tools to make free art. Which makes the significance of the free art null. To convince other artists, I need to start by embracing free tools, use them to make top quality free art, and teach others to do the same through my workshops and teaching-gigs. And then convince other teaching artists to do the same, since the advantages of free software for education is abundantly clear. And through education and skill, the ideals of free art can grow.
Which would also help free software. Free software will only be used if it is superior to proprietary. And to get superior, it needs to be used by the best people, to give the best feedback.
Or in more populist terms… How did Apple manage to get where they are today? First, they attacked the producers, making Mac the best tool for the job. Then they targeted education, getting young people dependent on their tools, and then they sprang the whole iThingie on us.
Anyhow… Too long blogpost, maaaan.
A conclusion… It doesn’t really matter if Richard Stallman was sort of a dick. I’m sure he’s a darling in the right circumstances. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to have been fighting the good fight for so long. What matters, to me, is that I’ve been awfully wrong in how I do everything.
Which means, starting as soon as this batch of deadlines is over(A week or two, tops), I will GNU/Linux distributions on all my computer, and learn how to use freer, if not free, software. Which means less ability to do jobs for a while, and scary, scary times. But necessary.
Right now I’m thinking about using Dream Studio, but all help in choosing a GNU/Linux-distro is appreciated.
I will try to document my learning process as far as possible. I will also try to blog about some of the insights I’ve had lately, more clearly. Like derative works, and the importance of teachers, and how the end-products work. Some day. Soon. But anyhow…
I’m closer than before to figuring this shit out.
So, another LAAAAAAAATE post…
In june, last year, I was invited by Einherjer to come draw them in Haugesund when they played their über special Berzerkergang-concert, backed by brass, choir, strings, and piano. Kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thingamabob, I decided to try and do something special for the show. So the kind souls of Einherjer sent me their music and the set-list, and I started familiarizing myself with the songs and lyrics. Here’s a few photos from the journey, and a link to the gallery where you can buy amazing hi-quality prints.
Oh, fuck, fuck, fuckityfuck! Is it March already???
Did I really leave this post half-finished for over 6 months? Well, I guess that’s what happens when you’re a chronic fuck-up.
Anyhow… Here’s the final impressions from last years Inferno Festival, just in time for this years Inferno Festival…
The final evening started started with Ancient VVisdom, and I really don’t have much to tell. Where I sat, right by the right-hand speakers, the sound was truly crap and I just heard someone strumming their accoustic guitar at an uncomfortable volume. Whether or not the music would have worked for me, artistically, under ideal circumstances is debatable. Very little music without double-bass drums seem to trigger the best art for me. But… Other people have told me Ancient VVisdom was one of the highlights of the festival, and the sound in the room was excellent. So… boo-hoo for me. I drew one piece, and fled the scene.
Next up was Einherjer, who I had already drawn once and whom I also were in talks with about drawing something special… but more on that special thing in a later too-late blogpost… Anyhow… Einherjers set started with thier guitarist fumbling all through the first song to get any sound at all, and me hurrying to get it down in ink. But the band kept playing and I got the silly shot as seen above. I love seeing Einherjer live, and the rest of the set was flawless. Also I got some nice sketches.
I had to pace myself and some of the bands at the John Dee stage, so next up were technical death-metallers Decapitated. And holy fuck! I love drawing something that’s just fast, wild, full of rapid changes, and awesomeness abound! Personally, probably my highlight. I love the images, I loved drawing them, yeesh, I get all giddy just thinking about it. This is what this art-thingie is all about! As I probably mentioned before, it is not that I listen so much to technical death-metal or death-metal at all. I tend to prefer more atmospheric music. But drawing it is just pure heaven. And not since Suffocation at Hole in the Sky 2010 had I gotten a bigger, better piece of heaven! Thanks, Decapitated!
Witchery‘s bassist for the evening, Victor Brandt of Entombed and Totalt Jævla Mörker, has the best hair to draw. And he’s a bloody good presence on the stage. Apart from that, poor light-conditions and general weariness made this concert a bit hard for me to draw. I actually didn’t even notice that the vocalist was wearing some sort of sci-fi’ish armor until after the concert. The music seemed fine, but I was tired…
I had promised to draw One Tail One Head but was not really looking forward to it. By this time of the evening and week, I was just too damned exhausted and my head was pounding. I tried to drown it all in beer, but nothing seemed to work. And then the music began, and… well, another highlight for me. Somehow the music energized me, and the awfull light-conditions combined with excessive amounts of blood on all the band-members, combined to make some incredibly rapid, raw, and vicious pieces that I totally love.
Last but not least was Arcturus. Like a lot of people, I had listened to them for a little while, fascinated by their excess, and then fallen completely off. I had originally planned to skip drawing them, but a tall guy side-stage at one of the other concerts had asked if I was going to draw his band and they turned out to be Arcturus. Anyhow… It started with the guards clearing the photopit for photographers. I was not a photographer. I was not cleared off. I put my sketch-book about half a metre from a strange little box with wires. The band started. I started drawing. Then… BOOOM! Pyro-effects pouring out right beside me! I got a little scared, and a little hot. Then the photographers came back. So… anyhow… Arcturus was a fantastic end to a fantastic festival. All my doubts were cast aside, and I tried to capture their circus-madness in all the colours of my limitted palette…. The result? Well, perhaps not very best drawings of the festival, but I had a blast, felt a blast, and… well, Live to tell the tale!
Time to end this shit… Inferno Festival was fucking awesome. Will I be back? Yes, it seems so. See you there.
… sun in.
My new book, the adaption of H.P. Lovecraft’s Pickman’s Model, is for sale ALL october at indyplanet for only $5.99! That’s pretty damned cheap, I say.
OK. That’s it! Now go buy Pickman’s Model.
Let’s get back to where we were before this whole Pickman’s Model awesomeness, eh?
So, I was drawing the Inferno Metal Festival… By the third day I started really noticing that I needed to pace myself. This time we left the exhibit area early so that I´d make the concerts in time, yet ended up running back and forth and back and forth and finally getting to the festival a bit too late.
I only caught the very last bit of Necronomicon. I had really wanted to see them, because 1. The name! 2. I had checked them out befor the festival and it’s really awesomely brutal riffing trash. 3. The name. I’m a bit of a Lovecraftian, you see… Anyhow… I rushed in and only caught the last song in full. Bad-ass/somewhat silly red and black costumes, synchronized headbanging, and just spectacular playing made me very sad I didn’t catch the whole show. I did however get to warm up my brush.
I didn’t really care for the sound of the next band, Merah. It might have been the mood, a bit miffed after not catching enough of Necronomicon, it might have been the setting, more geared toward more extreme metal, but Merahs poppy sensibilities weren’t clicking with me. However, they kept introducing more and more ridiculous costumes, so I had to stay and draw. Strangely, Merah is the only ban at the festival I can’t find online. Hmmm…
I had strict instructions to go draw Aeon Throne, and they didn’t dissappoint. Later, back in Bergen, I met their bassist and accidentally insulted their music. I said that I loved drawing technical death metal, but that their set wasn’t fast enough. To which he replied “WHAT?? WE WERE PLAYING FAST AS SHIT!!”. And they were. What I was drunkenly trying to get at, is that certain music breeds certain styles of art. When I heard Aeon Throne, my brush started to make straight and angular lines. Mechanistic. Militaristic. And that’s fucking cool. I had a blast. But… certain types of technical death metal brings another side of my brush forward, which we’ll come back to tomorrow…
I really enjoyed what I heard of Agalloch, but I had to take a break and get some food.
Refreshed after some down-time and eatfoodstuff, Tsjuder was a definitive highlight. Again, having only head them at Hole in the Sky some years earlier, and just briefly, I only half-knew what ot expect. But something in their fantastic black metal set my brush on fire and made a bunch of surprisingly light drawings. And together with 1349 and Earth they were the band I got most drawings of through the whole festival.
Dead Trooper sounds like a really fun band. And played fantastically. But I knew I had to pace myself, in order to be at least half-awake for the last concerts.
Absu also fell victim to my trying to pace myself. Only one image of them as well.
Sólstafir, ah, Sólstafir! This was, not strangely, my absolute highlight of the festival. Having done the cover art and interior illustrations for their album Svartir Sandar, I was intimately familliar with their songs, both in audio and visuals. In fact, they had allowed me to freely create imagery for their album based on my intrepretations of their songs, and this time I got to integrate that imagery into the live-art. And not least, it’s just plain awesome to draw a band when you can sing along to every song even if you don’t know the language. The set was way too short, but they played amazingly and I was all smiles.
And then… Autopsy. Even though I had looked forward to this concert, and had tried to pace myself… I was again seeing double, and my head kept pounding. I don’t remember much, except that I kept saying to myself “Just one more drawing”, but in the end I had to call it a day and leave before the concert was over. Still, I walked home with a giant smile on my very tired face.