Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jack Spencer

I sat in a restaurant last night looking at the art on the walls. My wife had pointed out the three ghostly images of ballerinas hanging on the far wall. It was like Degas but in ghost form. Ladies in bright but wispy colored dresses fading into the shadows, only revealing enough of their tutus to give away that they were in fact dancing. We asked the waiter who told us that all of the pieces on the walls were by Jack Spencer. A guy that lives in my new neighborhood and worked with Bob Dylan in the past.

After taking a look at his website, I have to admit, I am in love with his work. It's like if Peter Milton collaborated with Degas himself and there is something about his compositions that remind me of Marc Chagall. Yes all of these are photographs.

I don't really know what to say other than I am generally very picky when it comes to art. I like goofy cartoony things or I like ultra serious art with a otherworldly flare. I guess the best thing, it is judge for yourself. Here are just tiny samples of his work. Amazing if you ask me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Research Trips

I am a big proponent of research trips for books. There is nothing like immersing yourself in a city where your book takes place. You see new things and get exact descriptions of the places your characters visit. It is a wonderful process. I try not to be too "Nashville-centric". I know it is convenient for authors to place their stories in their home towns. They know all the streets, buildings, etc, but I like to get out of my comfort zone. For some reason with this trilogy, I have focused on small to medium sized towns that are particularly run down. (I just think they seem like a great places to plot evil deeds.) Muhahahaha!

The Adversary
Last year I ventured out on my own to go on a research trip to Evansville Indiana for the second book in my horror series "The Adversary". At first I was kind of nervous driving by myself and wandering around a town that I was only sort of familiar with. I made a plan of places I wanted to go and include in the book and started with a with a haunted library. It was awesome. From there, I strolled around the city, marking addresses and taking notes on buildings and places where scenes would happen. I would end the nights hanging out in a microbrewery completely energized and inspired. (they must have thought I was a weirdo taking hand written notes at the bar)

Here is a shot of the Williard Library, apparently haunted by "The Grey Lady"

And here is a shot of the old Evansville Tuberculosis Clinic. Fallon encounters odd things at these buildings when she comes to America.

The Triumvirate
Not too long ago I started writing the third book in the trilogy, tentatively called "The Triumvirate". Sometimes I feel like I have too many "The's" in my titles... So I have been mulling over other titles. I digress. So in writing the Triumvirate, I hit a wall where Fallon, (The main character in the series) ends up making a trek to Stull Kansas and in her trip she has to pass through Kansas City. After Stull she has to stop in Adam's Tennessee, then on to Nashville. (Yeah I had to get it in there someplace right?) If you know anything about Stull Kansas or Adams Tennessee, you will get a hint of where I am going with this. (Adams is a frighteningly odd place) So I booked a trip on June 12th to fly into Kansas City where I will spend a few days skulking around with my laptop and notebook paper. I am renting a car and driving an hour out to Stull on Saturday. (Wish me luck as the place I am going is on private property)To wrap this up, I am sure I will give you a more detailed account when I go, so consider this a preview.

So what about you? Have you ever been on a research trip for your stories? If so, where have you been? What was it like? What inspired you not only about the trip, but what inspired you about the places you write about? Has anyone been to Kansas City? Let me know your experiences.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Street Art 101

Today I am going to switch to another one of my favorite subjects... Pop art. More specifically, today we are going to talk about street art. (Props goes to by bud, David Gates for inspiration on writing this.) Like music, I am very picky when it comes to my pop art. I want attitude, mixed with talent, whit and creativity. Even though I dislike graffiti in general, I love what real graffiti artists can bring to the table.

Two years ago, I went to London and Paris where I spent two days walking the streets in search of some of the more famous and popular "street artists" work. I was not disappointed. I saw dozens of Banksy (The graffiti artist Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie pay 100K for), I saw D-Face, Faile, and a bunch of other names you probably don't recognize. (Don't worry, I will give you some examples in a minute)

The essence of street art is not those ugly unreadable scribbled names on street signs or on the side of some reputable business. Real street art is done with respect to the community, (at least location wise) but sometimes does carry heavy political messages. The people that mark up a car, street sign, business, etc... are pretty much scumbags. Real street artists will pick an abandoned building, construction site, or a place that actually encourages them to put something on their walls. (In London several places, one that was a Pub and music venue encouraged artists to do work and they had some amazing things on their walls.)

Ok, to show you what I am talking about, because I fear that you are still thinking of that bad vandalism that we see so much of in America, here are some examples of really good artists that are making actual art and not just trashing the world.




Miss Van


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The A List

This again is another re-blog from way back when... (Probably a year or so ago on LJ.)But I have to give props and credit to Martin Bartloff and Ophelia Julien for making a similar post today. Every writer has it in their head what actors they would like to play the characters in their books. I for one love actors that value quality of roles over big payoff movies. (If they are good enough to portray a really great roll, then they should reap the benefits right?)

My A List
So I sat down and thought of an entire list of Characters for my Horror novel Fallon. Most of the actors are not your Toby McGuire or Angelina Jolie types. I like those sultry actors that have something to prove. I thought long and hard about this because I really considered what roles these people have played in the past, what their voice sounds like, and how they have moved me with performances in the past. Even though few to none of you have read Fallon, here is a fun cast list that I thought you might enjoy... as well as peak your interest.

Et Vous?
So what would your cast look like? If you write, who would play your characters?