Dec 30, 2011

Resolutions: Recap and Renew


At the beginning of the year I wrote a post about Resolutions for 2011. To be accountable as well as to depress myself, I will repost what I resolved to do, sum up how successful or unsuccessful I was, and make new resolutions. I will do so... now:

1.) Exercise three times a week, only treat myself to fast food one day a week.
   -Sigh. I did ok for awhile, probably longer than usual, but I'll renew this one for 2012, try to lose @ 30 pounds and keep it off.


2.) Finish a second draft of "Prince Pert's Perilous Quest for the Perfect Princess." And write a new story for NaNoWriMo.
   -I did half. I haven't touched (and frighteningly can't find my first draft of my fractured fairy tale) Prince Pert in ages (that sounds bad) but I did write @30k words of an autobiographical rant that I'm counting. 

3.) Read a bedtime story to Morgan most nights.
   -He still won't really hold still to be read to, but I sing to him and tell him stories when he lets me. He is getting better holding still to look at picture books, which is nice. 

4.) Get A's in all my classes.
   -I actually did it this summer and fall semester. Spring semester I would have but 1 teacher who shall remain nameless (and friendless, brainless, helpless, hopeless) gave me a C. The fool. I'd love to get all A's again, we'll see.

5.) Read one book a month.
   -I started out pretty good, much better than the year before, though I ended poorly. I think I managed to read 10 books this year, I'm going to try to hit that benchmark again, this time focused on design books and technical books like the Ruby on Rails for Dummies book I bought but haven't cracked open.


Bonus Resolutions

a.) become active again. Active in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that is. My 2 biggest reasons for being inactive, church being too early and Morgan being too wiggly, are about to become moot. I still want to be active more for other people than for myself, but it's better than nothing and I assume I'll eventually be active for myself once I get my fat butt to church again.

b.) do a personal graphic design project a week to build up my portfolio and skills. School is all fine and good but if I let them take charge of my education I fear I will be very lacking when it's time to actually and finally find a job.

c.) GRADUATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dec 11, 2011

Color Theory Project

We've been studying the color theories of Josef Albers. Our assignment has been to make 2 colors appear as one, one color appear as two, simulated transparencies and simultaneous contrasts. All the other assignments were painted, but this was done in illustrator. Being who I am, I had to put in a quote. The runner up was a quote from Marc Chagall: "All colors are the friends of their neighbors, and the lovers of their opposites."

Dec 7, 2011

After Effects Final- V for Vendetta


V For Vendetta Kinetic Typography from Austin Beckstrom on Vimeo.

After about 6 hours on Monday, I am done with After Effects! Let me know what you think. It's not the way I wanted, but TGI-Done!

Dec 2, 2011

Come On In


After staying up all night on Tuesday/Wednesday and only sleeping three hours last night, I am proud/pleased/relieved to be done with my Art History hypothetical museum project.

I'm tired so I can't remember if I've said it before, so here goes. In Art History we were assigned to make a hypothetical modern art museum exhibit. I chose works of art that focus on integrating the viewer into the creative experience, using methods like visual/optical blending, paintings that let the viewer decide what it was about, and even art works that invited viewers to add to it, or art works that viewers added to without the artist's permission. It was a fun-ish project, but it took way longer than I expected, I had said all I needed to say after 4 1/2 pages and it was a minimum of 6 pages. What you're looking at is the front and back of a pamphlet I made for the exhibit, mostly just showing the more famous works of art in the exhibit and a little bit of info about it. I'd post the paper I wrote, but it's an academic paper and even I think it's boring, so I'll spare you. If you really want to read it or are looking for a sleeping pill let me know and I'll email it to you. Now that I'm done, I'm going to get some deserved sleep. Only one project left for the semester!

Longfellow quote

After staying up all night twice this week, I sure hope so. Hope you like what I've done with Henry Longfellow's quote. If not, it's ok, I'm going to sleep now.

Nov 29, 2011

Thanks for all the Fish

We're back from our trip to California, time to travelogue the sucker.

Tuesday night @ 5 we left bound for Mesquite. It was a pleasant enough trip until around Beaver, UT Morgan threw up. We thought it might be motion/car sickness, but he threw up several times later at the hotel. After he threw up we pulled off to the side of the road to comfort/clean him. A policeman came and parked behind us which instantly made the other cars give us a wide berth. He asked if he could help, there wasn't much he could do, I didn't think it right to make him clean Morgan, but he did give us an evidence bag to put Morgan's puked on clothes in to mask the smell. I got probably too big of a kick out of it, using an evidence bag and all that. On our way again we made it to Mesquite without incident, though Tracie and I remained on edge most of the time for fear he'd throw up again, but he didn't until we got to Mesquite. The rest of the night was uneventful, largely because Tracie and Morgan let me sleep so I could drive.

Wednesday we drove the rest of the way through California, saw my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, played ping-pong and I went shopping for things I forgot to pack.

Thursday happy thanksgiving, we began the day going to My uncle's friend Tony Swatton's workshop. Tony is a blacksmith who creates weapons and armor for such movies as Blade, Pirates of the Caribbean, Zorro, Hook, Hellboy and others. It was a lot of fun, it would have been more fun but Morgan got afraid of the mannequins and weapons and torture devices and he and I spent most of the trip in the car waiting for everyone. Sigh, parenting comes first I suppose. The rest of the day was of course dedicated to eating too much and visiting with loved ones. That night Tracie, my aunt and others went black Friday shopping, we got some fun stuff and some things we wanted and other things we didn't know we wanted until they were 80% off.

Friday Tracie got whatever bug Morgan had but fortunately didn't throw up, but I spent most of the day trying to take care of her, which meant getting her more pillows and blankets and changing the movie/channel for her, though I did go to lunch with my cousin and some of his friends at a Korean BBQ that was just awesome.

Saturday we were determined to do something touristy, so we went to the Norton Simon Art Museum. I'd been there before but remember it being a lot more impressive than it was, but the grounds were lovely, and it's always cool to be in an Art Museum, at least for me. We spent the evening at my aunt's with family singing karaoke and dancing to the Wii Michael Jackson game.

Sunday we drove back and tried recuperating. Not the most exciting trip event wise, sickness definitely threw a wrench in the works, but it was still great to see family, one cousin I got to see who I haven't seen in probably over a decade, so that was cool, others it's been several years. Thanks to those who made it possible: my Aunt Kerri, my grandparents and Uncle David especially.

Hope your thanksgiving was fun too and you're getting as excited as I am for Christmastime!

Nov 19, 2011

V For Vendetta

Alan Moore is an amazing writer; and he certainly thinks so. For my final assignment for Interactive Design 2 we're to implement everything we learned in one video. I'll be making another kinetic type assignment of the introduction speech V makes in V for Vendetta. It will form the Guy Fawkes mask when it's done, I hope it won't look too stupid and I'll have enough time to do it. I'm working in Illustrator trying to lay it out to begin with, then I should just be able to animate it in After Effects. What do you think so far?

Nov 18, 2011

Approaching the End... 1 year left

I have less than a month left of my penultimate fall semester of college. It's been a good semester, but crazy. Big thanks to my work for letting me work such an odd schedule and to Tracie for letting me get my homework done, basically allowing me to come home and spend the evening at the computer.

My final assignments are things I'm looking forward to, but the work is going to be a bit much.

For Art History I have to study for a final and create a theoretical museum exhibit. Mine will be on Viewer interaction in Modern Art. It should be fun, but I've got a lot of work to do and it's due in only 2 weeks.

For Interactive Design, I'll be making another kinetic type video as that has been by far my favorite assignment, but I'm not sure I'll have enough time to get it done, as we'll only be meeting a few more times and I don't have After Effects at home, so the limited time at school I have will have to be enough.

Color Theory we're going to end the class with a bunch of color studies, trying to make 2 colors appear as the same color and the same color appear as 2 different colors, making objects appear transparent through color, etc. It doesn't sound very fun, but it's been a good class and I expect it to be very exciting, a testament to the awesomeness of the teacher.

Typography as you may have noticed I'll be working on a magazine, I have to have a new cover and 2 spreads done by the end of the semester, which should be fun. Lots of work, but fun.

That's about it for the semester, here's what I've got in the works for next semester:
- Graphic Design I - which I'm most looking forward to and have tried to get in for awhile now.
- Digital Painting - which I'm also looking forward to though not as much.
- History of Graphic Design, this will be the first Art History class that I may actually have to study for.
- Last Semester of Art Lectures, halle-freakin-lujah.
- Drawing II which I may drop if I can get an internship.
-Advanced Layout- Presently on the waitlist, we'll see.

And that's Austin's school. Let's see what else is going on in his merry little life:

For NaNoWriMo I got to 15,000 words and finished the story. Plus since I've got so much school, it looks to be another NaNoWriMo I'm not going to win this year. Maybe once I graduate.

that's not all but it's all for now, work is done and I wanna go home!

Trying to reclaim Youth, or just expanding my sphere?


Back in March I wrote a post about Getting Older. The gist was if you don't remember or didn't read it was I no longer felt young, not because I'm bald, have a metal hip, am losing my memory and think the music is too loud and teenagers drive too fast, but because I don't understand the concept of twitter or why lady gaga is so popular.

Since that time I've expanded my horizons a bit, set up an account on twitter and have listened to more lady gaga music than the overly repetitive "Just Dance."

Here are my opinions. Twitter? Somewhat pointless, my facebook status is still where I post my clever opinions and ideas and updates on what I'm doing or thinking. But it is cool in that I can read what some of my favorite personalities and celebrities are thinking or up to, such as Conan O'Brien, Neil Gaiman, and Jessica Hische. It was actually Jessica Hische who suggested I start tweeting. Not to me personally, but she came to our school and gave a lecture (one of two useful lectures this semester) and among other things, said twitter is a great tool for a designer or anyone wanting to be known. She also built the website: Momthisishowtwitterworks.com explaining how twitter works.

Lady Gaga? She makes catchy music and dresses like a moron, but it's her way of expressing herself, and the source of a great Weird Al video. (is there any other kind?)

Now that I've overcome 2 things I just didn't "get" my next goal is to try to understand the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movement. I'll let you know once I understand them. Hope to be back soon.

Nov 14, 2011

Tread Covers - Take II

So our group's decided on logos, now we're working on covers and layout. Here's what I'm bringing to the table tomorrow, aren't you lucky that you get to see it first! (longer post forthcoming, eventually). The last image is an example layout of what fonts and stuff I think we should use in a spread. The body text is taken from Fight Club, as the teacher hates Lorem Ipsum and the guy just reminds me of someone in Fight Club.






Or Iggy Pop (or Steven Tyler) but they don't have as many good quotes as Chuck Palahniuk.

Nov 6, 2011

Tread - Magazine Cover Prototypes

For Typography & Layout, our final assignment is to design a magazine. The class is divided into 2 groups and our group's mag is called "Tread." (I didn't choose it. I wanted Go!, Icon, or Spork.) We're working on our logo right now, and a way to see it with a potential cover. Here are several ideas I have, I don't love any of them, but I like some more than others, but bad or good here they are:



Oct 28, 2011

It's that time again... (NaNoWriMo)

that's Greg at the bottom right there.

National Novel Writing Month is once again upon us! I've tried thrice and didn't hit the goal once, though I've gotten close. This time I think I just might do it.

For those of you curious, My attempted 50,000 words will be about the Unadventures of Gregory Starcross, a title I had thought of years before I knew what the story was about, or indeed who Gregory Starcross was.

Who is Gregory Starcross? Well, you'll have to read to find out, and I of course will have to write it.

*disclaimer: "The Unadventures of" was not taken from Tracie's blog name. Rather, it's the other way around. Just sayin...

I let you know I'm doing it because as with every goal it's much more likely to be accomplished if you tell everyone about it. Expect to see me say it on Facebook and Twitter soon. Ooh, the anticipation.

I also challenge anyone who has wanted to write a novel but didn't have the support or month to do it to give it a try, nanowrimo.org. it's awesome!

See you on the other side!

Oct 17, 2011

Picdump - number the sixth - Illustration edition

Lately I've just posted boring design schoolwork. To clear out my desktop, and reward you for still reading, here's my picdump # the six: illustration edition.








Oct 16, 2011

Dada BonBon

After much hard work, family neglect, and one night spent in hell, I am done with my menu design.
Cover

Center Spread

Back Cover

Now onto the NEXT project!

Oct 12, 2011

First video on Youtube!



At last I feel like I'm contributing to the internet instead of just taking away, I have a video on Youtube!

Having my own blog didn't do it, posting memes on cheezburger didn't do it, even building austinbeckstrom.com didn't do it, youtube is the benchmark, folks.

In my digital imaging class we were assigned to turn @ 30 seconds of audio into a kinetic typography assignment. Is it good? It's decent. Is it mine? Oh, yeah. Is it complete? Heck yes!

For those of you who would rather watch it on vimeo, click here.

Oct 6, 2011

Menu Design Rough

Our next assignment in Typography is to design a menu for a restaurant. Looking at the website: http://underconsideration.com/artofthemenu/, the restaurant Trattoria Pomo D'oro designed their menu under the idea: "What would it look like if Leonardo Da Vinci designed a menu?" I then got the idea: "What would it look like if Marcel Duchamp (or another member of DADA) designed a menu?" and here's what I've got so far for the cover. I've spoken with my teacher and will have to (somewhat) drastically change it, but I wanted to save what I've done so far for Dada BonBon: those who are starving only prove that they don't have any faith in their government.


And if you say "it doesn't look like a menu," I will say "exactly."

Oct 5, 2011

Experiments with Type

As I said in my last post, I've been giving myself typography assignments in effort to improve.
Here are the first three fruits (or vegetables) of that labor.


Oct 4, 2011

Road Closed: Haven't I posted this before?

About a year and a half ago, I posted about being at a crossroads in my life, and whether I should stay with Graphic Design or if I should try my luck down a different path.

Well, in case you didn't know and have been wondering for 18 months, I decided to stick with Graphic Design. Unfortunately I'm still not sure if I made the right choice. But I am sure it was my choice, and so there's no backing out now.

On the positive side, I've learned a lot since then; in fact I've learned a ton. (Still not when to use semicolons, however.) I've grown an appreciation and love for good design and designing I didn't have before. But still, I'm discouraged. That's putting it lightly. I'm downfallen. That's a word, isn't it?

My skills are improving, but certain factors like uncharitable teachers or my own two eyes are telling me that my skills aren't where they need to be.

Last week I met with a teacher to go through my portfolio with me before I submitted it, and I don't know what I was thinking. He's never liked my work. But to his credit he was honest and candid and told me the portfolio as it was constituted would not get me into the BFA program. Ouch. Though I can somewhat agree with him. And fortunately I spoke with him about why exactly that was, and he explained several reasons I could agree with and gave me good advice on how to improve. Although he didn't realize (before I told him) I've only been in 3 design classes, and I didn't realize that this semester wasn't the only one I could apply (until he told me).

So basically I tried applying a little prematurely, which is good. At least better than if I've taken every design class and my portfolio looks like this, I've only taken Graphic Computer Applications, Interactive Design I and Typography and Layout I. (I still need to take Graphic Design I, Graphic Design II, Typography II, Advanced Layout, Interactive Design II, Advanced Interactive Design, and others).

I also met with the counselor who explained that I would need to have taken Graphic Design I in order to apply for the BFA, which I have not. That would have been nice to know. My abilities or lack thereof are just premature, I keep telling myself. It still was difficult to hear what I've done so far is effectively worthless, however. Being rejected even when you agree with the rejection yourself is never easy. But, fortunately, instead of depression, it's helped cement my resolve to become a better designer. I've started working on a personal Graphic Design goal: to regularly make up projects on my own. Right now I'm in the middle of making several typographical posters (like this one, but not), then I'm going to make some book covers, and maybe advertisements. The bottom line is I'm going to follow the advice from my favorite Mark Twain quote I had forgotten:

"(To) never let my schooling interfere with my education."

I'm too far into school to merit turning my academic life around, plus I'm genuinely interested in my major, and I think I could eventually be very successful in the field, provided I'm able to get a job once I graduate and keep learning and improving at the rate I've been.

This post originally was going to me complaining about school and whining, and it ended up more hopeful and optimistic than I expected. Oh, writing, I love you.

Sep 27, 2011

Voting Time

I'm a firm believer in the phrase "If it's not broke, don't fix it."

My blog's design has served me well for over 4 years now, thanks to the incomparable Lynette, my awesome sister-in-law.

But, since I am a designer, or at least trying to become one, I feel the need/desire to have a blog of my own design.

Adding into the equation the fact that Blogger has released a myriad of new blog templates, I feel the urge to design my own header and blog growing stronger.

But, contrary to popular opinion, I don't just blog for myself. Therefore what's your opinion on the blog? Is it time to make a new one, or should I keep what I've got that's worked fine and served me well throughout my blogging history?

Let me know and I might just listen to you.

Portfolio Preparation

*
The Deadline for submitting your portfolio in order to be accepted into the B.F.A. (Bachelor of Fine Arts, doncha know) Program is in two weeks, October 14.

I don't necessarily think I'm going to be accepted, but it's one of those things that I know I'll always regret if I don't at least try.

In effort however to be accepted, I have arranged a meeting with my Academic counselor to go over what they're looking for and what I can do to improve my chances of getting accepted. (Chocolate bribes notwithstanding). We apparently have to write an essay or letter or something (letter of intent, I think it is) as well. That's due next Friday. Other than write 'something,' I have no idea what to include or not include in the letter of intent. Fun.
In addition to that, I've arranged a meeting with one of my favorite design teachers (his opinion of me is still under review) to examine the portfolio and see what I can improve, what I should leave out, general feelings about it I guess and if I should just start from scratch and make a new 20 designs in 2 weeks.

It's a bit of an emotional rollercoaster (I'm not sure why people say emotional rollercoaster. I think it's understood that I'm not literally riding a rollercoaster, as that would actually be fun, rather than exciting and terrifying.) as at some points I feel the portfolio is High Art meets Graphic Design and the greatest experience my teachers will ever behold, causing them to cheer and weep. Other times I worry they'll just spend their time trying to find one nice thing to say about it. "I really like the, um, paper you used." "It's digital." "Exactly."
I'm currently feeling the latter.

I had to miss an important meeting for Graphic Design students at school tonight because I'm scheduled to work, which brings back the "torn in two directions and only being mediocre in each one" feeling I have. Work is keeping me from being a better design student, and school is keeping me from excelling/promotions at work. I should say I'm grateful to both, especially work, for how flexible and awesome they are in spite of the fact I have the schedule from Hell. So I will.

Still, I feel a bit of wasted potential and kind of crappy that I'm forced to choose, I need money and all that, but I think my priorities are mostly in the right place, Family First, Everything Else second.

Once I'm ready to submit it I'll either have jpegs of it for your perusal or just link my website austinbeckstrom.com.

Stay tuned you lucky people, and don't feel against sending me any positive encouragement you have lying around, thanks.

*that's not me, in case you were over-confident in my abilities. It's from the famous (to me) and wealthy (to Switzerland) Designer and Letterer and awesome speaker extraordinaire, Jessica Hische.

Sep 26, 2011

Why You Shouldn't Stay Up past 2 am Working On Design

because everything you do, no matter how stupid, appears brilliant.

Sep 21, 2011

East of Eden

Special thanks to the fine printers at McNeil Printing for printing this for me. It was quite a process but I am glad to have it done, now on to the next project! I don't know what it is for Typography, but in Interactive Design I'll be making a Kinetic Typography assignment, for Art History I'm working on a Theoretical Museum Exhibit (it actually is a lot cooler than it sounds), Color Theory we're doing a self portrait in the style of Chuck Close, and for AVC Lectures I'm getting psyched to see Jessica Hische. Here's hoping she doesn't just spend the time trying to sell something like other visiting lecturers in the past.

Jessica Hische is something of a celebrity to graphic designers. Meeting her must be how Catholics feel when they meet the pope, or how Jews feel when they meet Jon Stewart.

There's what I'm up to in school, in case you were curious.

Let me know what you think, but it's printed and on my book now so I can't change anything.

Sep 18, 2011

book cover decisions

As I get further into Graphic Design, I'm expecting that it may take over this blog completely, which may not be too big a deal to the three of you that still read this, but for my own records and for the future, here are new covers I've been working on after critique:


Sep 14, 2011

Pigasus


The Pigasus was used by John Steinbeck as a personal stamp with the Latin motto Ad astra per alia porci (to the stars on the wings of a pig).

The pigasus was supposed to symbolize Steinbeck as “earthbound but aspiring....
A lumbering soul but trying to fly...(with)...not enough wingspread but plenty of intention.”

So our group is designing a series of Steinbeck novels and it was my task to design the logo. Liking the Penguin logo, I made one of Pigasus, tell me what you think!

East of Eden- Work in Progress

We have roughs for my first Typography assignment tomorrow. We're to design a book cover for a specific artist, I'm in a group doing John Steinbeck. My book cover is East of Eden, and it was my job to create a logo for all the books.

Here's my first computer draft of the book cover. The logo I've decided deserves it's own post, so I don't have to write as much but get more blog entries.



Sep 12, 2011

Oh Remember, Remember

The Eleventh of September.

I was at the mechanic waiting on getting my mom's car fixed. It was a couple weeks before my mission and I was doing my best to prepare for it, by reading an e.e. cummings biography. Like many 19 year-olds who thought themselves more mature than they were and therefore disillusioned with American media, I remember seeing reporters blabbing on the television about how America will never be the same and this would be a day to remember. I scoffed at the journalist going for hyperbole simply to get ratings, when my mom called and explained exactly what was going on.

It was shocking and (though I hate to use the word) surreal. I felt personally violated and threatened. All I remember for the rest of that day was watching the footage again and again.

Because of that day I witnessed the greatness and charity of humanity in the courageous firefighters and the evil and insanity of which humanity is capable in the terrorist attackers.

I now know the journalist I scoffed at was correct and America very well may never be the same.