OFFF On! Cincinnati

Ooooooo my goodness. What an amazing experience. Still feels like a dream. Such an honor to go speak at OFFF on Tour Cincinnati last week—as well as take part in the 6 month exhibition at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center! This conference felt especially inspiring and intimate. The conference itself was packed with ultra-amazing, humble, talented, smart, witty, funny speakers that had my jaw on the ground by the end of the day: Ramon Escola, Jon Burgerman, Brendan Dawes, Multitouch Barcelona, James Paterson, James Victore, and Joshua Davis. SO inspired. Hector, Pep, Janelle, CAC: thank you. I want to work harder, better, smarter, with passion and love because of all of you. I've included some summaries and photos as best I could below.

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My talk was about "failing" as the magical space to grow and develop, because let's be honest, I have no idea what I'm ever doing... I talked a bit about opening yourself up to vulnerability as a mode to self improvement. I always feel I'm a stronger writer than speaker as nerves often stifle me... but also facing that fear of public speaking is actually the EXACT point of my talk. Hopefully some folks in the audience got something out of it—your presence in the audience was the greatest gift of all time. Thank you for listening to me babble and and giving me this fantastic opportunity. I don't know how to repay you, universe.

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Showing some process images in the Arnoff Center.

Showing some process images in the Arnoff Center.

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As part of the OFFF Fest On Tour CIncinnati I was invited to participate in an exhibition themed around "Digital Playgrounds" at the Cincinnati Museum of Contemporary Arts. Hector Ayuso, founder of OFFF curator the show and suggested I make puzzles that museum goers could mix and match to essentially create their own design or colorway based on mine. We decided to stick to one design of which I would generate multiple color versions. The obvious choice of subject matter was a butterfly as the theme was "play" and I tend to always gravitate to nature-themed subject matter. The image of a butterfly fluttering over a grassy lawn immediately brings me back to playing in my yard growing up in Virginia under the crape myrtle trees. After over 2 dozen color tests and experiments I ultimately just settled on black, white, and the primary colors. The black and white would root certain parts of the piece while the color combinations were free to be an insane collage of red, blue, and yellow. There was something humorous to me about "blending" the 3 primary colors in the rest of the puzzle because of course they will never actually mix to make green, orange or purple. Created out of a few separate hand drawn elements, the final piece was pencil, watercolor, and digital on printed puzzle pieces.

An early unused color version that I ended up quite liking.

An early unused color version that I ended up quite liking.

Original drawing, pencil.

Original drawing, pencil.

Ultimately I exported three primary color versions. 

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Will it ever get put together? Probably not.

Will it ever get put together? Probably not.

A very early phase when I still have no idea what I'm doing.

A very early phase when I still have no idea what I'm doing.

Only a few of many, many, color tests.

Only a few of many, many, color tests.

Only a few days before catching my flight to Cincinnati I also proposed a collaboration idea to Hector and my friend Josh who I knew had been playing around with interactive projections, specifically most recently using LeapMotion. Somehow the stars aligned. Hector let us do the installation and Josh was able to work some wizardry to code it in time. The long and short of it is users can control the art on screen using their fingers almost like a magician. Leap is fantastically accurate at reading the 10 points of a user's fingers, and each finger maps to a different piece of mini-art that I created. You can "paint" in the air essentially using your fingers of little brushes, and the result is a curling, twisting, animation that to me looks like dragon skin. When you're done playing, the animation remains on the wall until the next person paints over it. Suffice it to say it was an absolute honor to work with Josh who is one of the most inspiring individuals I have ever met, and continues to make me want to improve myself and work with love and passion. It's absolutely insane to me to have my name next to his—in a museum no less. As an illustrator my output tends to be pretty straightforward, so it was also pretty amazing to get to play with a new piece of technology. 

The handrawn pieces in pencil form that map to the tips of your fingers.

The handrawn pieces in pencil form that map to the tips of your fingers.

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The final result with Josh's code. This is just one screenshot of literally infinite possibilities. This is what infinity looks like!

The final result with Josh's code. This is just one screenshot of literally infinite possibilities. This is what infinity looks like!

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And a view of the projection in CAC.

And a view of the projection in CAC.

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Josh and I's collaboration and a vistor enjoys Josh's mural Lightning Storm caddy corner.

Josh and I's collaboration and a vistor enjoys Josh's mural Lightning Storm caddy corner.

Josh putting some finishing touches on his enormous mural before his talk and before the Cincinnati art museum patrons went mad all over it!

Josh putting some finishing touches on his enormous mural before his talk and before the Cincinnati art museum patrons went mad all over it!

Debbie getting the scoop on Josh's largest mural to date "Lighting Storm" 

Debbie getting the scoop on Josh's largest mural to date "Lighting Storm" 

Debbie Millman (Design Matters) and I driving around in Brosmind's fully functional car!

Debbie Millman (Design Matters) and I driving around in Brosmind's fully functional car!

Happy people tearing up Josh's mural with oil based markers. Who knew you could draw on museum walls?

Happy people tearing up Josh's mural with oil based markers. Who knew you could draw on museum walls?

Hector (OFFF founder and this show's curator) rocking the awesomest film camera of all time.

Hector (OFFF founder and this show's curator) rocking the awesomest film camera of all time.

OFFF and Atelier's playful, amazing summary wall with Brosmind's car. This just gives me warm and fuzzies.

OFFF and Atelier's playful, amazing summary wall with Brosmind's car. This just gives me warm and fuzzies.

This is an actual photograph of me. 

This is an actual photograph of me. 

The "making-of" polaroids wall.

The "making-of" polaroids wall.

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Brendan Dawes interactive installation. This guy rules.

Brendan Dawes interactive installation. This guy rules.

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James Victore wins for quote of the conference: "I want all of my work to be a love note." Here's his wall inviting people to write about things they love. Or not. Maybe just draw...

James Victore wins for quote of the conference: "I want all of my work to be a love note." Here's his wall inviting people to write about things they love. Or not. Maybe just draw...

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James Paterson's gorgeous paper plane installation. You could make your own there as well as pocket some of James's art.

James Paterson's gorgeous paper plane installation. You could make your own there as well as pocket some of James's art.

Happy me sandwiched between Josh and amazing artist David Mack (Marvel) who I had the absolute pleasure of meeting that night. He gave me a copy of his graphic novel Kabuki, which is an ABSOLUTE MUST READ for any artist. I literally had chills the entire time I was glued to its pages. If possible, read it on a plane...

Happy me sandwiched between Josh and amazing artist David Mack (Marvel) who I had the absolute pleasure of meeting that night. He gave me a copy of his graphic novel Kabuki, which is an ABSOLUTE MUST READ for any artist. I literally had chills the entire time I was glued to its pages. If possible, read it on a plane...

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