Wednesday, January 31, 2007

slapping seagal

another gem of a quote found amongst the news items on

The martial arts expert [jean-claude van damme] insists he is a lover, not a fighter.

He said: "My last fight was more than 20 years ago. I'm not a fighter, I'm a lover. If somebody's going to speak bad about me, I will walk away.

"But if a guy like Steven Seagal slaps me once, I will slap him twice as hard. Life is full of violence."

what an aging martial arts expert who colours his hair and wears pink jackets looks like:

Thursday, January 25, 2007

quality internet news content

you may have noticed from my posts that i read quite a bit. normally it is excellent.

but today i came across an article that was simply remarkable. it is about the unveiling of waxwork models of david beckham and posh spice in the usa.

the first reason it is remarkable is that it introduces two new words to the english language: "Tuesdady" and "Girlwife"... [note: the tuesdady error has been corrected since i first wrote this post]

"Americans got a closer look at Los Angeles-bound celebrity couple David and Victoria Beckham on Tuesdady..." and "New York's Madame Tussauds museum put on display figures of the soccer idol and his former Spice Girlwife..."

so there's some hip new lingo for you. but the article also contains this beautifully insightful quote from rebecca ho, 14, of new york (please disregard the way the sentence confuses the reader about who was wearing the evening gown):

"Others knew who the Beckhams were but were unimpressed by the sight of Posh and Becks in a fashionable tuxedo and green evening gown. 'I only know them because they are celebrities,' said Rebecca Ho, 14, of New York."

what plastic, or wax, celebrities look like:


hmmm, my computer just downloaded and installed internet explorer 7.

i've been using firefox for quite a while now and it was vastly superior to the last version of explorer.

but i've been playing around with the new explorer for a few minutes and i quite like it - it seems to work quite quickly and i'm getting used to the interface - quite nice.

all this is a bit of a problem, because you're not supposed to like microsoft programs. what should i do?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

how to write propaganda

i'm still learning how to write propaganda. "gasp" you say. "why does he want to know how to write propaganda?!" thing is, if you know how to write it, you can detect it. and here's a grey area for you: the line between "persuasive writing" and "propaganda".

so because i'm still learning, i won't tell you how. but today i came across this interview via one of my favourite blogs 'conscientious'. it's an interview with professional conservative spin doctor frank luntz. the full article is here (on but this is a little taste...

Frank Luntz is a Republican word doctor who coaches conservatives to talk to Americans about "personalizing" Social Security instead of "privatizing" it. He urges them to promote "tax relief," not "tax cuts." Recently he recommended that "drilling for oil" be referred to as "exploring for energy," which goes down much more smoothly. Luntz is so reviled by environmentalists that one group has named an award after him for great achievements in doublespeak.

this is what a spin doctor looks like:

Monday, January 15, 2007

the 8 tribes of new zealand

came across this interesting insight into new zealand culture today. following is an extract from an article on about a book that has just been released in nz by two PR people, Jill Caldwell and Christopher Brown. '8 Tribes: The Hidden Classes of New Zealand' describes nz culture by grouping nzers into 8 stereotypes. the official website relating to the book is here (nicely done). brilliantly, you can fill out an online questionnaire and find out your tribe here. the full article that this excerpt is from is here...

EIGHT TRIBES: The hidden classes of New Zealand


The ambitious, hard-working, heavily mortgaged inhabitants of the great suburban jungle for whom keeping up appearances is fundamentally important. They survive in the jungle by constantly moving ahead, up through the ranks of job, car, house, street and suburb.
FOUND IN: Suburbs with concentrations of malls, nice cars and plasma TVs - especially north, east and central Auckland, north and west Christchurch, Tauranga, Hamilton.


The highly educated intelligentsia who value ideas above material things and intellectualise every element of their lives. Their most prized possession is a painting by the artist of the moment, they frequent film festivals, secretly wish they had more gay and Maori friends, feel guilty about discussing property values and deep down are uneasy about their passion for rugby.
FOUND IN: Bookshops, cafes and former working-class suburbs with concentrations of renovated villas - especially Grey Lynn, Ponsonby, Pt Chevalier, Mt Victoria, St Albans, Otago Peninsula.


The round-vowelled children of privilege for whom breeding is the greatest virtue, manners really do make a difference, money shows class if it's old but is crass if it's new, and what school you went to defines the rest of your life.
FOUND IN: Leafy suburbs with concentrations of mansions, English gardens and private schools - especially Remuera, Epsom, Karori, Wadestown, Fendalton, Merivale, Maori Hill, Havelock North.


The tribe of the Kiwi heartland, the provincial conservatives, who see themselves as a source of stability and commonsense - solid, reliable and down to earth, but also deceptively smart.
FOUND IN: Small towns, provincial cities and any other area with a concentration of sheep, cows, and utes.

THE RAGLAN TRIBE: Free-spirited

The independent spirits who value the ability to live a life according to their own priorities, not what the boss or society says is important. They can be maverick entrepreneurs, or hedonists, spiritual journeyers, fitness fanatics, adrenaline junkies and adventurers.
FOUND IN: Professions where freelancers predominate, trades where free agents are well paid. Living in city suburbs in the midst of renewal, coastal towns and suburbs, near ski fields and lakes, or in a remote Kiwi bach.


The hipster tribe on the cutting edge of cool, where "new" is the greatest virtue, being labelled mainstream the greatest fear and self-expression the preoccupation. In the 1980s it was the vanguard of espresso, in the 1990s of body piercing and tattoos.
FOUND IN: Bohemian areas of our largest cities attending art schools and the coolest gigs.


Urban, often immigrant, often Polynesian, community-minded people for whom family is paramount and church is likely to play a central social role. The sense of belonging is strong as is the pressure to "do the right thing" and uphold appearances. In our grandparents' generation, many working-class Catholics fitted this profile.
FOUND IN: Areas with concentrations of churches and state housing - especially south Auckland, Porirua, east Christchurch.


Urban working people who revere physical prowess, don't trust anything intellectual, disdain "wankers" and are unwilling to think of themselves as better than their mates - the classic "state house and jug of beer" Kiwis.
FOUND IN: Suburbs and towns with concentrations of car yards, supermarkets and sports grounds - especially south and west Auckland, Hastings, Hutt Valley, south Christchurch, Tokoroa, Invercargill.

my tribe, according to my questionnaire results, is predominantly 'grey lynn' (no surprise there i guess), followed by 'cuba st' (cool), but then surprisingly, i am slightly more 'balclutha' than 'north shore'... something funny there. i would say that i would tend towards 'north shore' by birth - it would seem that life is eradicating that from me.

on the stereo: '0078h' by m83, from the album 'dead cities, red seas & lost ghosts'.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

horopito motors

on a wet mid-week day this week, lance and i set out from tauranga and headed south to horopito motors. located on the central plateau of new zealand's north island, horopito motors was the location for the 1981 new zealand film 'smash palace'. along the way, we stopped off at the whakapapa ski field on mount ruapehu. there was no snow as this is summer...

i can't begin to express what an impact the wrecker's yard had on us - it is astonishing in real life. like a kind of grave yard. but also the size of the place is mind-blowing. we took about 3 and half hours to get round it in drizzly rain.

for more photos, go to

on the stereo: 'bathe in the river (featuring holly smith)' by the mt. raskil preservation society, from the 'no. 2' soundtrack.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


so, the creative shenanigans continue. this is my latest piece (click to see it bigger, and sorry about the 'safe little world' watermark).

again, this is an idea i've had in the pipeline for ages.

i love technical / architectural drawing - especially when it has a retro aspect to it. last year i found a brilliant old book from the 1960s in a secondhand bookshop explaining the art of rendering with pen and ink. it has 166 illustrations, many of which i absolutely love.

the basis of my piece is an illustration out of that book. process was: (1) scan illustration (that involved unstitching the binding of the book to pull out the page spread, then 'mending' the crease down the centre in photoshop). (2) drop two of my original colour images into the picture. (3) distort the photo on the right so that it fitted the perspective of a frame that was already in the original picture. (4) scan in a picture frame from another part of the same book (there is no picture on that wall in the original). (5) fit the other photo to the newly scanned frame, and size and position the new frame and photo on the back wall. (6) tweak contrast. (7) add caption - made to look like the kind of caption you would find in the original book...

i named the piece 'realisation 1', but i could have called it 'visualisation 1' - the concept being that this is what my photography would look like on the walls of a 1960s office - 'realisation' being the 'realisation' of the concept that one day my pictures will be hanging on people's walls.

i won't go into the legitimacy of making use of someone else's illustration too much here. but suffice to say, i have left the original artist's signature at the bottom of the picture - i consider that he has provided me with an architectural context for my photographs. so i don't consider myself the artist of the entire work, any more than a photographer who takes a photograph of a building would consider himself or herself the architect.

on the headphones: 'swing your heartache' by young galaxy, from the 'swing your heartache ep'. here

Friday, January 05, 2007

incident at the motel

here is today (and yesterday)'s work. this is an idea that has been in the pipeline for about 2 years. i've always liked paper building models, and they occurred to me as a way to translate some of my 2d ideas into 3d. i found the pattern for this model on the internet for free about a year and a half ago. the idea was to take the model and add cartoon call-outs. i finally did this about 6 months ago. then i printed it out with the colour printer onto card. the other day i went and got some craft glue so i could put it together. i did that yesterday, and today i photographed it against a grey backdrop. i think it looks pretty cool.

the finished piece is called 'incident at the motel'. in effect, it is kind of a 3d cartoon.

on the headphones: 'at the edge of the world you will still float' by telefon tel aviv, from the album 'map of what is effortless'.

action man 2007

well here we are in 2007. i'm on holiday and i'm trying to do some creative stuff during my break. it's all a fine balancing act, because most of my creative stuff is computer-based and so is my work. so i'm trying not to spend too much time on the computer, as well as using the computer for me art.

to the left is a little piece i've recently completed using my action man as a model (the safe little world logo is a watermark - not on the original).

a bit about the process...

1. started with a digi photo of my action man
2. traced the outline and filled in detail in illustrator (creating an eps of the black lines) and coloured in photoshop (c. 5 hours)
3. vintagized - converted to cmyk and turned the colours into colour half-tone, then nudged them off register.
4. made the background yellowed newsprint colour (stole the base color off the website of the guy whose tutorial taught me how to do the half-tone stuff)
5. dirtied newsprint background using photoshop dirt brushes that i got off the net
6. found the butterflies while looking through the photoshop brushes (i don't know what they are doing on the 'finished' piece - but i thought they looked pretty cool - even though it is probably 'wrong' to use photoshop default brushes in artwork and design - and what deep significance butterflies have when placed beside a macho boy's toy, i'm not sure... perhaps because action man is striped of his battle fatigues, his gentler side is leaking out).

on the headphones: '7,4 (shoreline)' by broken social scene, from the album 'broken social scene'. here