Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Studio, New Work...

So I'm starting to use this blog again, it's been a long time since I've updated it. Other than a couple small updates over the last couple weeks, I haven't used this thing much since finishing my show for Paris. A lot has changed since then, and I sorta disappeared for a bit.

A year ago, when I had a couple of months left to finish my show, Jamiyla and I broke up kinda suddenly, and although we both thought it was a good idea it sorta messed me up mentally. But I still had two months left on my solo and I was really feeling the pressure of the deadline, so I couldn't really deal with it, I had to just keep my head down and not think about it, just think about finishing the show. Then, when I finally did finish the show and came back from Paris, I crashed. Nothing too dramatic, I didn't cry or break anything, but I felt like I was just totally exhausted. The idea of making stuff made me panic, I just needed a break and couldn't will myself into the studio for a couple of months. I hadn't stopped or relaxed for quite some time, pretty much since I started working as an artist professionally, and felt like I was on the verge of something bad and really just needed to sleep a lot and sit in a chair and play a lot of horrible RPGs. Anyway, I took some time off, it felt great and horrible at the same time.

Then I found an empty room used for storage across the hall from my apartment, started renting it as a studio, and got it all set up. It's smaller than my old studio, but private. Since then I have been working consistently, teaching myself how to do 3D work, but have put no emphasis on actually finishing or presenting anything, just on being in the studio, listening to a lot of podcasts, experimenting and having a great time. Most of what I've made has been trashed, but I have learned a lot, become a lot happier over the past several months, and actually feel more excited about making things and showing and all that stuff than I ever have. To be a bit cliche, I've had a bad year but I feel stronger than ever now, I feel that spark of uncontrollable energy and excitement that I experienced when I first moved to Toronto and started to build my career 12 years ago.

Anyway, I won't go on and on, I know I am making this sound a bit dramatic and 'first world problems'-y, I know I have a great life, I just wanted to explain my absence. Also, Jamiyla and I are still really close friends, her and Adrienne Kammerer are actually moving down the hall from me in a couple of months, and their new work is looking great, I'll post some of it on here soon.

Ok, on to some things. What should I do first? I'll start with my new apartment.

The last couple of months working on my Paris show I was living in the studio, which is actually fine because there is a kitchen and bathroom set up there, but the actual sleeping part wasn't ideal.


Once I finished the show, Team Macho was kind enough to let me live with them for the third time. And this time I actually got my own bedroom, the first time I lived under their stupid ping pong table for $50 a month... So the good news is my new place is cheap, I'm here with friends, and they are all very hard working and talented, so it pushes me to want to work hard and improve myself. The bad news is it's a bit of a dump. Here are some shots of the place.

If you click on any of the photos on this blog they get big...

Here's my bedroom, it's not very big and there's no window, but it's cheap and I've got a sweet lamp. The empty area under my bed is where I plan on photographing my dioramas...



Here's the path to Stephen's tent that he sleeps in. It's kinda weird back there:


Jessica Palmer isn't part of Team Macho, but she uses our wood shop as a place to work on stop motion animations when she has a deadline. She shows up with her supplies and some clothes, works her ass off for two weeks, takes off and we see here about 4 months later. I really like having her around, she's also a great painter.


Nick Aoki working on a piece.



Our awful kitchen:


Our awful bathroom:


Our so-so living room. I actually like it quite a bit, the chairs are pretty comfy:


Our window that doubles as a door:


I complain a lot about the apartment being really gross, but I like living here quite a bit. It's big, I like the location, and I live with some of my closest friends. Also, they are all really hard workers, which in turn pushes me to work harder.

Ok, so across the hall from the apartment is my little studio. Here's how it looked when I got it:






Here's how it looks now:





I built this spray booth to spray my miniatures in, it vents outside. I made it with a range hood from Canadian Tire:



My private little corner of the world to sit and relax, the chair is super comfortable:


Ok, so as far as what I've been working on other than setting up the new studio, here's some stuff. Like I said, I've been working on a bit of 3D work, diorama type stuff that would be paired up with drawings, like in the Natural History Museum in New York but way way smaller...

So I'm doing a few that have to do with the minotaur myth, I thought I'd start with his conception...I made this scene of the Cretan Bull having sex with the fake cow containing King Mino's wife. None of these pieces are finished, so don't email me and tell me I suck until they are done. Then you can email me and tell me I suck:


Then I made this hill and cows on a much smaller scale:


So ideally when you put them together its going to look like a scene that makes sense, with the funny business going on in the foreground and the rest of the pasture in the background. I know this looks awful right now, I have to set it up with the proper lights, install some sort of backdrop, and learn how to properly use my camera before I photograph the final. I bought a decent camera, but I'm still learning how to use it, I've never known anything about photography, I've been reading a book but it's all quite a bit to take in. Oh, speaking of, if anyone can recommend a book on the general principles of photography, I would appreciate it. Also, if anyone can think of any resources concerning lighting or shooting miniatures, I would really really appreciate that...


Here's the very beginning of the second Minotaur shot, what he looks like as an infant. I'm working on the face and building a crib now...


Ok, so the other series of dioramas/drawings I'm working on is about Gorgons, that's the species that Medusa belongs to. Right now I'm creating the habitat that the creature lives in, the idea is that it's piled full of people and animals that she has turned to stone, and put on display like some sort of odd museum. This is just the very beginning stage, but this is what I got so far. They are all painted black initially, and I'll dry brush them up from there to look like stone. The minotaur scene was painted black like this initially as well...






 The idea is that they will look somewhat like this when I'm done: 




Ok, I'm starting to ramble on, I've got more things I wanna post on here, like my trip up north to cut wood, collect source material, and hang out with my dad, and an interview I did, but that would make this post super long, I'll do that as a separate post in a few days. For now, here's some more shots of the studio and some things I'm working on, thanks for reading....






Bark, moss, an tree roots I collected up north to use in the dioramas.



                       

Sad versions of a minotaur...



 

I don't know what's going on in this photo because I swear my dad coached this team, I specifically remember it, but that guy in the photo isn't my dad...


 




26 comments:

Carissa said...

Nice blog Nicholas. Very interesting things you are working on and trying out. Way to go! You are an amazing artist!

BrendanGeorge said...

thanks for sharing this, Nicholas. It is nice to hear of the honest side of work/experience/life. Whereabouts are you now? I always peek over to you old studio to see if you're kicking there.

beebe said...

Thanks for this. I am most definitely interested in both the life/work aspects.

beebe

Tony Burhouse said...

So pleased to see you're active on here again. Your work is thoroughly inspirational!

Nicholas Di Genova said...

Thanks a lot for the kind comments everyone:) It feels good to be back. Brendan, I still got some stuff at the old studio, but I never use it anymore, I'm going to be completely out Dec 1st. If you are ever in the Dupont/ Oss area, give me a shout if you wanna come hang, I'm there pretty much all the time. 647.773.3194. Text me though, I don't pick up phone calls.

BrendanGeorge said...

will do. plus i still got those trees! (that wasn't a drug reference)

Shawn Cheng said...

Nick! The new work looks super exciting, I can't wait to see more.

TKKultist said...

Nick - we should really talk soon about techniques for achieving the stone finishes you are looking for.
James

YOYO said...

Happy to see you're back
I'll keep checking on your blog ...
Aurelie from Paris

mylifeofpaper said...

I'm glad to see that you're still working on things. Don't worry about it, lots of people take a while off after traumatic or upsetting events. I've also had an overly eventful past year or so, I'm still trying to work on stuff but it gets to hard to find the time and the mental energy. Best of luck man.

Ameesha Lee said...

Hey Nick, long time no nothing! Love the diorama progress, love that kind of stuff! I made Luke one once, a little scene about how obsessed our cat is with him. Haha.

Anyhoo, hope your well.

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