A couple of weeks ago, I took part in CMU’s annual DanceLight performances. Prior to loading in the black box venue, the more than ten lighting designers in our course collaborated to create a single plot for almost thirty very different dance pieces. In three hours.
It looked like this:
As a lighting newbie, I only designed one dance. Performed and choreographed by Joell Weil to Sara Bareilles’ acoustic cover of Chandelier, the piece was about a woman in conflict- struggling to throw off the gazes and expectations of others that are always present, even when she is alone:
The show was a wonderful experience, and has taught me how rewarding the work of lighting designers can be- and also how challenging it is talk about, conceive, and create theatrical light. * bows down *
Friends, I was stoked at how quickly and easily my first Wacom sketch materialized! However, I am still so slow with the tablet that my fingers are constantly itching for a pencil. Patience is going to be key as I keep playing with this thing.
Also helpful? Important subject matter. This sleepy puppy was sketched using a reference photograph from the interwebs, and sadly not from a real-life companion.
Haruki Murakami's 1Q84 is a big, beautiful novel. The writing is startling- literally. I was constantly, audibly, (annoyingly) yelping with surprise and delight. After reading it this summer, I've been telling anyone who will stand still long enough what a wonderful book it is. I can not, however, coherently explain what on earth it's about. Murakami is masterful at blending the banal with the fantastic; there are so many gritty, dreamy layers of nuance and complexity that untangling the central plot becomes not only impossible, but ultimately beside the point.
I have the same trouble explaining Russian animator Yuri Norstein's 1979 film, Tale of Tales. Luckily, while it has been difficult to convince people that they "just have to read!" all 1000+ pages of Murakami's novel, I've managed to force all 29 magical minutes of Tale of Tales on a few defenseless friends.
The link to the interview with Norstein below reveals some of the motivations behind his imagery. However, I confess that I could not make myself read it, and I probably never will. This film is a mysterious spell I that am quite happy to let stay magical.
Friends, I love paper. I especially love those bright yellow, friendly rolls of trace; a blank yellow page is somehow less intimidating than a white one. The stuff also makes a really satisfying sound as it is crumpled and thrown across the room.
Today, however, I am sitting down with a Wacom tablet and stylus for the first-ish time, in the hopes that it will prove an effective and efficient sketching tool.
Tablets have intrigued me for awhile, since I have been itching to do more illustrating. The final push I needed to try working on one came this semester at graduate school, where I am delving into lighting design for the first time in almost a decade. Working with the lighting designers and learning a little bit more about their process, collaborative vocabulary, and current technology has been revelatory- and humbling, let me tell you.
I am learning just how challenging it can be to talk about lighting, particularly with directors and choreographers. The design and rendering of scenery, while not necessarily easy, is a comparatively more straightforward task.
Given my limited experience, and in the interest of keeping the programmer for my dance piece from beating me over the head with a wrench, I am attempting to render as many moments of the dance as I can in Photoshop. The going is slow, but it is going!