2022.12.09

#media

Golgo 13 (2008) is probably the perfect anime (and broadly speaking, series) to have found at this age. The standard shounen plots that I am reasonably not the target demographic of, lol, feel like something I need a break from. So it has also just been a lot of fun watching something geared towards adults, whilst also just being…a bit aged?

When my friend group watches movies at our movie nights, we tend to pick films from the 80s-90s. I think many of us feel we missed out on watching many of these prolific films, and it has been an enjoyable experience. Golgo 13 has been comparable to that.

I will keep saying I do not think everyone would enjoy the series, but I would not mind if more people in the west became exposed to it, hahaha. Eventually I’d like to do a proper review of the series and the English serialization, but that’s for another time.

For now, without further ado, I would like to share Golgo 13 (2008) Episodes 1-6 summarized poorly.

Episode 1 – At Pin-Hole!

Golgo is given a get out of jail free pass to do a rush job, and becomes guys loving guns buddies with Dave after giving him a hard time.

A “football”.

Episode 2 – Room No. 909

Golgo enjoys a short-term rent in the big city, but his would-be routine stay gets disturbed by a cat.

Episode 3 – The Masterpiece Assault Rifle

Golgo becomes the subject of unpaid and unsolicited QA testing, but does some sick hacks in the process.

Episode 4 – Pretty Woman

Golgo is invited to the opera for a professional business meeting and proceeds to get solicited unprofessionally several times after.

Episode 5 – The Superstar’s Joint Appearance

Golgo does a massive dunk on a fellow professional by making him goof his job.

Episode 6 – An Offering to God

Golgo enjoys the sights and sounds of the fair during the presidential elections, but his car is robbed. He punches out an FBI agent to soothe his nerves.

2022.12.07

#media

First of all, I am directly within the jaws of hell at this point.

I’m a little overly pleased to admit that three of the VIZ Signature books I found at the local used book store, unopened, for two dollars cheaper than retail value each. I was startled to find the travel safety abroad Golgo 13 x Ministry of Foreign Affairs handbook at said bookstore as well, so obviously I had to pick it up.

The Takao Saito Works book (the comedically huge one all the way in the back) is a particularly exciting one. It is always a delight to find a gloriously oversized book with almost entirely nothing but the artist’s work within it (I wonder if Franco-Belgian comics have this tradition?). Barely any commentary within — the art gets to speak for itself. It even includes two pages from Shadow of Death and The Midnight Sun Wails for Love, two storylines I really enjoyed (aka get really depressed thinking about).

It is also notable because you can really see the raw editing behind each page, and it is…well. It is kind of like magic, really. In the digital age, where it is so easy to erase and undo, I always feel a sense of awestruck wonder when looking at reproductions of original pages. (The last time I felt so mystified by comics as an art form was probably when I visited Angoulême years ago). It is easy to take for granted, but my god, seeing the imperfections and edits really hits you.

The anime: I have been enjoying reading reviews because people are either firmly in the camp of “this is the ugliest, driest, gary-stu anime ever” or “fuck yeah, Golgo” (three guesses as to which camp I sit in). It is…bizarrely meditative. Because you know that The Guy Won’t Lose, it’s just a lot of fun to sit along for the ride and see how he works his way through things whilst everyone else is busy freaking out. Again, back to a wry sense of humor. Probably a case where if you enjoy the source material, you’ll enjoy the show as another presentation of an already very cinematic manga. I think it is easy to consider Golgo a very one-dimensional character, but as someone mentioned before, by surrounding him by many extremes and observing the way he behaves and responds, you can begin to understand the principles behind which he operates.

2022.12.03

#on-art

I will probably come back later to elaborate on this more, but…

Working on some sketchbook items lately, and it occurs to me that this might be the first time I have drawn with…vulnerability and love, simultaneously…in probably a very, very long time. Or perhaps, a strong, strange connectivity that is between mind, hand, pen, paper. Lucidity? That might be a better way of putting it. I feel lucid, intensely aware of what I am doing. What I am trying to do.

Is this the feeling of drawing for the first time, once again? I used to scoff at the idea of drawing to capture a certain “beauty” or “reality” in some sense of those words (hard to explain). Reverence, maybe? Is this what this feeling is, when you take pen to canvas? Maybe that’s the right word for how I feel. A strange sense of awe and reverence, a bit of embarrassed but necessary humility. Perhaps mostly towards the artists and greats who came before and are now, but also, a sense of reverence…for once…towards the self…that is not built from a blind sense of self-importance and ego? Not so much reverence for the current self, but a love for where I want to go?

I have been “inputting” more information lately than “outputting” artwork, though not consciously. It has been…transformative, with regards to process, potential, etc. And in doing so, I think I have begun to understand myself better as an artist (and may…be…person), too. It is so easy to deny the inner self, particularly for someone who is often used to self-silencing. Again, the concept of shame comes to mind.

This is a bit of a mess, but I wanted to get it out on paper. Personal food for thought to dissect later.

2022.11.30

#on-art

It is bad…it is really bad…

I have stubbornly used the same grip for art the last many years (ever since I started drawing) but only recently am I understanding how detrimental it is to what I want to do. I have slowly been working to change my hold to something more standardized. It is hard… I can already see the benefits, but only time will tell if it will help me be more confident with my linework, and if perhaps it will also help my drawing posture and relieve arm pain.

This metamorphosis is truly hell…

2022.11.28

#on-art

Sometimes you don’t recognize something as your final hurrah until a while later, huh.

Been having moments of clarity lately with regards to art, and what I want it to be for myself. It is a strangely relieving feeling, even though I know the path forward means saying goodbye to (or at least significantly de-prioritizing) a lot of things I considered for a long time as part of the “artist” identity.

I can say with some certainty though, that this feeling is what I have been seeking. Maybe it is only a taste so far, and maybe only for a moment before things become a stonewall again, but for the first time in a long time, something feels right.

2022.11.27

#media

It is terribly amusing how predictable my taste in media is (especially when compared with the kind of stories and characters I like to create), yet I am somehow shocked every time I’m faced with the reality of it.

This is to say, on complete accident (and I do mean it was a completely accidental brush), I fell into the vast pit that is Golgo 13…and if you are familiar, yes, I can hear exactly what you must be thinking right now and all I can say is: I am a completely fallible human being with predictable interests, which boil down to: man with a face like >:| does a murder*.

Speaking directly from my heart, it is the funniest shit I’ve read in a long time. Mind you, it isn’t supposed to be funny, but it’s the earnestness juxtaposed with Duke’s perpetual >:| face that makes it both so hilarious and downright enthralling. It is by virtue of how straightforward it plays everything, to the point of coming across as being enormously hammy and outrageous in its fantasy, that makes it so much fun to read. (Also, let us be entirely honest here: the fact that Duke’s face remains >:| even when having Sexual Relations with women is…I cannot stop laughing every time. I’m sorry, but it is artistic perfection.)

But then there are the storylines that are absolutely heartwrenching (黄金の犬 I am looking DIRECTLY at you) and I go right back to making the same face as the titular character).

“Wow! A Golgo 13 storyline with dogs, what fun!” – The admin, seconds away from stepping on a land mine.

Initial reactions of humor aside, it’s a very gripping series. That same earnestness is also what makes it so much fun to read, when one takes it at face value. It is wholly understandable why it is considered a classic; the level of research that goes in to it must be astonishing.

Aesthetically…it’s hitting literally every mark. Topic-wise, it is definitely a product of its original time, and thus would probably be touted as all sorts of negative things to modern audiences, but…I can’t help that I am an utter sucker for anything that’s remotely hardboiled. (Some joke about “I like my entertainment the way I like my eggs” (this is a lie, over easy is my preference, I only hard-boil all of my eggs because it is convenient and faster to eat)). I normally don’t enjoy stories that are too serious, but…I don’t know. Strangely, I think it is the seriousness paired with bleakness with regards to the human condition throughout its storied run that gives it a timeless appeal.

Sincerely wish more of the chapters were translated (so I do not have to constantly whip out Translate every three seconds)…but in the interim, I am about to go completely HAM making a horrible little collection of physical media.

(Also fucking finally, extremely aggressive brows in a character design…rest in peace and thank you, Mr. Saito. I almost feel like…”does anything I do really matter now if someone else has already created a character with the perfect eyebrows?” but in a good way hahaha).

* This is the exact same thought process that occurred when I got into Hitman, Lone Wolf and Cub, and Yakuza, though in the last case it’s more like other people around the MC doing a murder lol (does Kiryu ever canonically kill anyone? I feel like the answer is no, but it’s been a while since I’ve sat through the series so it’s anyone’s guess at this point)**

** Conversely, I think this is a perfect demonstration that I do have a penchant that I almost always forget about, which is just “tough guys go around being tough and badass, but occasionally they’ll “break” character and you get to have a laughing (or crying) fit from the whiplash”. That is it. That is my entire fictional interest boiled down in a nutshell.

2022.11.21

#slice-of-life

A friend recently moved back into town a few weeks ago. They invited myself and several other longtime friends to a small Friendsgiving event. We were all pretty stressed youths (so it goes with that tumultuous age), so it is always incredibly wholesome and heartwarming seeing the motivated, hardworking, caring, and clever people they have all grown up to be.

In an unrelated train of thought, I always thought it a little “silly” (I use this word loosely here) how many demos LDR has, but stumbled upon another demo for Lolita…and it is really quite good.

2022.11.14

#on-art

It is stating the obvious, but things have been pretty difficult in the art world these last few years, specifically regarding new forms of art theft. It is pretty demoralizing. I consider my art to be sub-par and hopefully not worth stealing, but it is still difficult to watch people I respect get slighted in the way of having their work taken and used without their permission or consent.

I believe the joy of creation should be shared as much as possible, but when it becomes merely an ends to churn out money, or to mass-produce without some deliberate thought, what do we lose in turn? It seems somewhat indicative of what our modern society now celebrates and values. It is hard to tell if I am only being old-fashioned and afraid of change, sometimes. Many have already entrenched themselves in the prospect that art must be fast and disposable. What happens when we begin to take these things entirely for granted? When we commodify every aspect of the world in which we are meant to live in?

I try to give myself some comfort, thinking about the advent of 3D printing. It is a medium far enough from my own that I can speak without fear necessarily guiding my words. I see its benefits and often think it would be nice to 3D print my own things, without need of having to painstakingly sculpt something. I have also seen the works of some very skilled sculptors though, and the two are worlds apart with regards to…emotional value, I suppose. It feels like there is a time and a place for either. Perhaps that is the same with the current direction of digital art creation.

I could hardly say I am a sculptor. The closest thing I have done is the little air-dry Cigar I made to accompany the air-dry Tracey I received as a gift. There is a vast world of difference, I imagine, had I chosen to 3D model him and print him out. While it can be fun, particularly for functional purposes, I personally do not love 3D modeling. It lacks a certain tactility that I enjoy when playing with clay. This is not at all to say that 3D modeling is lesser, or digital art, particularly considering that I almost exclusively work in the digital medium. Perhaps it is better to say that creation by one’s own hands, regardless of medium…perhaps it is the stakes of the imperfect artist that makes creation by one’s hands valuable. At least, that is ultimately the value that I get in creation, and in what others create: the process, the deliberate time, and the imperfect human connection. The ability and process to deconstruct and reconstruct who I am in the work that I create.

2022.11.08

#doofy

T-Tracey Merch Drop?! I cannot believe she is finally here.

“Bellevan, why are you two dimensional…”
“Tullie, I take offense to that.”

2022.11.07

#on-line

Micro thoughts.

“The internet isn’t real life” vs “the internet is real life”. From where I stand, it will always be a messily layered conglomeration of the two, and one that I would rather blindly label as “not real life” for the sake of personal sanity. Though really, real life can be just as insane, if not more so. The barrier to stumbling upon the absurdities online is just far lower. “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog”.

Something I have long struggled with is how the social aspect of the online world typically demands you to always be “on”. You could say the same of real life, but again, the barrier of going online is far lower, which leads to its own issues. At least in real life, I can easily disengage without leaving some sort of awkward paper trail.

I never thought of myself as a “Christmas Music In November” person until literally this year…I like to think of it as reinforcement to start Christmas present planning early.

Lately been thinking, “Damn it, I should have been studying harder earlier!” But I do not think that was the kind of person I was when it came to art… The only benefit of this current frustration is that I have never been more motivated to kick my ass again, and this time hopefully for real.

“Studying”.

Sometimes I wish I had more time to play video games (TOF I am looking right at you), except the amount which I tend to play when I do typically ends in arm/wrist strains, so I have mostly stopped playing altogether… When will we finally get our robot bodies?

2022.11.04

#on-art

Stumbled upon Dozen’s SOFA Club page recently. There are aspects of it that resonate, which I will quote a bit below. Check out that link for the real good meat and potatoes.

The point of SOFA club is to start as many things as possible as you have the ability, interest, and capacity to, with no regard or goal whatsoever for finishing those projects.

The goal is acquiring many experiences. The side effects include entertainment and increased skill.

Nothing is fixed, nothing is permanent, and nothing lasts. This is true of all things, including your ideas of self and identity.

Done means what you say it means. And ending something does not lesson its value. 

I think I can say I am probably in good company with regards to being someone who often has many aspirations and goals, and twice as much guilt for “abandoning” projects or ideas. For the long-suffering perfectionist or harrowed individual who feels as though they have some thing to prove to the world to have value, SOFA could serve as a helpful recalibration of mindset — one that serves to celebrate the desire to learn, grow, and explore, for the sake of the self.

That is not to say we need to or should drop everything, as that would swing towards the other unhealthy end of the spectrum. But for a personal distillation: sometimes, a sketch will just always remain a sketch; an idea always an idea. Nothing new there, but sometimes it feels good to hear it from someone else.

After all, to share an excerpt of an interview with Kurt Vonnegut shared by another web user, “We are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you any different”.

Two panels from Barbarous (Ananth Hirsh, Yuko Ota), Chapter 5 that came to mind whilst reading the SOFA club page.

Now get out there and start doing stuff! And then stop doing stuff, so you can do more stuff! Do as much stuff as possible! Never stop doing stuff! Always stop doing stuff!

~Dozens

2022.10.31

#media

I have been watching Baran bo Odar & Jantje Friese’s Dark (2017) with a friend who has already seen the entire series. We wrapped up the first season last week, so I can now comfortably say it is an incredibly solid show with a great first season.

<<highlight for spoilers>>

I have always enjoyed stories about time travel and time loops. The series has a great cast of complicated, troubled, and very messy characters, a lot of fun mysteries to untangle, potent atmosphere, and what I would call “devastating consequences”, considering one of the characters literally falls back in time and can never go back home or be saved by anyone (for plot related reasons), unlike some of the others who “freely” travel back and forth. I have just been devastated thinking about that plot thread.

It is also originally filmed in German, so it has been fun trying to brush up on my school-years knowledge of the language whilst watching. This is an extreme bonus.

The soundtrack is killer too. And not just in the selection of tracks — the sound design captures a sense of sickening dread without being overdone. I recommend Dark’s alternate version of Nena – Irgendwie, Irgendwo, Irgendwann (the band behind 99 Luftballons), which sounds like something you might expect to hear at the climax of a season finale (despite being featured in the first episode).

2022.10.28

#slice-of-life

I habitually have held out on buying tools as an artist primarily because there are so many incredible free resources online but I just received these as gifts and I am very excited to practice action posing with them.

2022.10.22

#doofy

Thinking about how Cigar’s entire character is best described by the song “Particle Man” by They Might Be Giants in that he is all four men in one body, and there is an accordion. This is what we call a dimensional character.

2022.07.07

#on-art

Reflecting on some art things this morning, namely the feeling of losing a lot of inspiration for a number of reasons, and on the flip side, remembering and reigniting those areas of passion.

Random thoughts in no particular order:

1.) Thinking about the transient nature of sharing work on the web. The internet is “permanent”, yet content (on SNS) tends to have an expiry of a few days. This is a large point of contention I have with the current state of social networking.

2.) I often feel bittersweet reflecting upon the influences and peers who all grew up (as we must) and no longer have the same bandwidth to dedicate to creating work. I see it in myself and my dwindling willingness to engage with SNS. I wonder where the artist migration will take us next, and when I may completely lose the ability to follow the artists I still keep tabs on.

3.) 2021 was tumultuous and made me rethink what was driving me to make art. While I am still not sure what the definitive answer is, it did lead to a lull in artistic production. That said, it has not been as debilitating as I thought to to become more methodical in my process. It was probably a long time coming to pump the breaks and hit the books once more.

4.) On the topic of slowing down, I have been re-unearthing old art from artists I used to follow on deviantArt that really inspired me to draw and create. Notably there are no artists who I first followed on Tumblr who have made this cut. I think it is indicative of accepting my own niche when I first started creating, and general zone of comfort. We really are the byproducts of our own generations. Yet, and I say this as I wear a tinfoil hat, I think it is indicative of the sort of quality and personality you come to find on a feed-based algorithm-heavy platform vs a gallery-first platform. Not always the case, but oftentimes the norm.

5.) Realizing I myself need to actually archive my own work in a more organized manner to force myself to review my progress, but to also continue to grow comfortable with the self. Something about creating and existing and something about shame. Probably something to unpack at some point. Hydrus Network has been doing wonders for this point and the last point.

6.) Kung Fu Panda (lol)

2022.07.07

#on-line

Vaguely aghast feelings realizing even tumblr has a wall now for viewers, within the archive section. I suppose the benefit is folks can still jump straight to the blog URL and not have to deal with that, but damn.

2022.06.20

#slice-of-life

OH the joy of a library, and the return of the feeling that you can do and learn anything you put your mind to.

2022.06.19

#doofy

Browsing Mandarin textbooks and stumbled on this incredibly intriguing gem.

2022.05.13

#doofy

Fre4knc closing his set in the final Noisia Invites with some sort of Britney Spears Toxic bootleg…what a hero.

2022.02.23

#on-art ; #on-line

For a while, I was afraid I no longer enjoyed creating art, when this could not be further from the truth. What I was experiencing was myself allowing the external world to overstep the boundaries of my internal world, and failing to acknowledge what I needed in the process. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit this is something I have experienced several times in my experience online, and yet somehow still fail to see coming from miles away. This time, however, the divide in reality was great enough to shock me into hitting the brakes. I suppose we all reach this sort of point eventually.

While it will always be the case that the external will influence the internal, many modern social networking systems have exacerbated this issue for me to a point of personally unhealthy influence. I often believe that I am not easily moved by others, but the reality is that I have always struggled with the desire to make the external world more comfortable or happy at the expense of my internal world. There is also the risky business of following one’s metrics, and measuring one’s artistic worth through numbers. This thinking, which I think is quite easy to fall prey to, has typically led to hampering my own learning, exploration, and authenticity.

As someone who metaphorically grew up online, it was strange to see how different my life was becoming online versus offline. At one point the lines were far more blurred, but in recent years, the shifting division was becoming clear. Towards the end of 2021, I had been taking steps to live in a more sustainable manner in everyday real life (I had admittedly long been neglectful of my own health and body). Yet in spite of these changes, I continued to hold myself to brutal and unforgiving standards online to keep up with perceived “rules”. There came a point when the gap was suddenly too wide, and the facade broke. In hindsight, I believe the online life I had prior to 2021 was what I had wanted at the time. But it was a mind trip to realize how fast years of consistent hopes could change in the span of weeks following that “revelation”.

So here I am, on yet another little homestead on the web. I have done this enough times to be somewhat pessimistic about the longevity of the project (personal blogs, Neocities, the works), but I think the biggest difference this time is the deliberate reduction of active social networking. I want to be able to focus on my craft, as it has always been a solitary pursuit and ultimate passion. With any luck, I can focus on trying to be truer to my inner voice.

NOTES

Notes is a subsection of the Log for random thoughts that don’t go anywhere. It is essentially a sporadically updated journal. For the digital sketchbook, please visit LOG.

TAGS

#on-art

#on-line

#doofy

#media

#slice-of-life