Monday, June 29, 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Studio Build Update: It Is Finished

Well, it was supposed to take me about two weeks.  It ended up taking over two months.  It turns out that it's a lot slower doing something on your own.

Without a doubt, as you would surmise, bringing everything in to the new room was both the best and worst part of the experience.  I had forgotten just how much models don't like to be moved; they also don't like 2 year-old boys, either.  While moving everything over, I had some models on the floor, where my son discovered them.  I thus had a re-modelling project on the table soon afterward.  Star Wars models, it turns out, are pretty doggone fragile!  Stupid podracer!

Anyways, once things settled down, I was able to look at things and realize that SOMEHOW, SOME WAY, I had been able to do this.  After a few years of pondering, I was able to pop it out in a few months of sporadic work, during a rough time with my crummy job, during all kinds of personal obstacles that all seemed to magically appear the moment I began to try to do this.  So I guess in the end the moral of the story is, "If something must be done, then no matter what, DO IT."

So here are some pics, along with some captions to explain the madness!
Here's the view of the "clean side" of the room, where my drawing and reading stuff (along with a plethora of plastic models) resides.  This image is more honest about the lighting in the room than the next pic.  I really lucked out with how the black book cases all perfectly fit within the wall/corner to give a library effect.  I'm still debating whether or not to swap the Star Wars and Star Trek the Motion Picture posters so that it's next to the original crew poster above my drawing table.  I left the floor in its original rough state, to encourage me to do whatever I wanted to without being concerned about "Oops I just spilled (insert liquid name here) all over the carpet/tile/linoleum!."

Because of the shop light above my modelling station, this pic makes it look like the whole room is in a dank inner city basement of an abandoned building.  Nevertheless, this is the "dirty side" of the room, where I'll work on models and paint.  And finally I am able to hang my 1979 Comic Art Convention poster with the neat Curt Swan Superman drawing.

And finally, I can have my "Ships of the Fleet," all parallel parked above my drawing table.  There are 5 Enterprises, a Reliant, a few Klingon cruisers and Bird of Prey, and a Vulcan shuttle.
The corner above my door, my hornet's nest of Star Wars models.  Most of these models were built in the early era of my model building.  As I looked closely at them, I realized how poor they looked.  It's good that they're high up, away from close examination.  Check out C-3PO and his look of alarm.

A plastic monster rally, with a touch of Superfriends, Star Trek, and Star Wars.  You know, all of the good things in life.  I really like how Kirk, Bones, and Spock are placed right beneath the TOS Enterprise, as if it's a character with them, looking in the same direction as they are.

By some miracle, I was able to fit all of this ju- um, I mean stuff into this bookcase.  From my very early King Kong customization to my Cylon Raider salvage job, it's all here, all mashed in.  Even the Ymir is back out and about.

My modeller's corner, where all of the "mad scientist" stuff can go down, under the watchful scanners of Klingon battlecruisers overhead.  I was glad to find a spot for a.) my cutout Yoda, and b.) my Batman/Superman face cutouts.  That Batman poster is pretty cool, huh?  It features images from the old '60s Batman bubblegum cards.  Also, thank goodness, I was able to hang up my Garcia-Lopez Superman door poster, which I've had since high school.  Old and fragile, it still is awesome and goes with me to every new place.

Lastly, I finally have a sane place to paint.  I was able to use the top drawer as a designated pallete, where I'll keep my glass sheet and knives.  It's just the right height for me (and right next to my old school boombox, which is about to die at any minute).
So now you have a sense of geography of the room, henceforth known as the Fortress of Solitude West Coast Part III.  Let the madness begin!  Lots of things are planned for the year ahead, so drop on by every now and then to see what craziness Jeff has gotten himself into!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Tour of the Studio in Progress

And there it is..... the cabinet that almost ripped my arm off.  It barely cleared the ceiling, too.
  Also, let us take a moment to recognize my painting easel, which I handmade from a pile of wood
 pieces that my previous job wanted me to throw away.  I must have been on a real creative buzz at that time,
 to see a dusty woodpile and say to myself, "Hey... I DO need an easel..."
Here's the opposite end of the room.  That's the front door entrance to the left, and that would be
 my TOS crew poster waiting to be hung on the right.  It will hang above my drawing table.
 BTW, the moving of these books was a major undertaking.
Right there, between the edge of the black bookcases and the air conditioner, will go my drawing
 table, with the Star Trek poster right above it.  It's so weird to see something that I've planned fo
r so long now actually happening.
Little details.  The original trim that held the attic door in place was old and nasty.  I replaced it all
, and I got lucky with how the molding aligns perfectly with the frame.  Stuff like this does matter;
 someone like me would spend forever annoyed by how it didn't match up.
Some of my figures getting used to their new digs.  It's neat how these models look so much
 cooler from below, especially Kong.
For now, the location of the Universal monster rally.  Rod Serling looks on in smug approval.
I'm a doctor not an interior decorator!
Another angle of the Monster Rally.  Check out the pic of Jack Pierce.
And lastly, a few things I'd like to hang, one of them being mandatory.  Last year, in anticipation of
 building this room, I made a sign for my studio.  There I was, a guy with a studio sign and no
 studio.  Well, today  it is finally all coming to pass, and it's nice to know that I was able to see
 something through all the way, instead of burning out prematurely and walking away.  Oh, and
 check out that COOL Star Trek:The Motion Picture teaser poster, complete with "Phase Two"-style Enterprise!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Big Build Update

One side of the room... with that huge rack/cabinet thing squatting in the middle.
The opposite wall, with the new walling meeting the old dingy garage wall.... and what would a studio be without a standard definition TV?
Well, we are chugging along. It turns out that building a room is not as easy as those DIY channel shows make it seem.  I thought this was supposed to get done in a half an hour...

Really though, this experience has been an... experience.  I learned a lot of valuable information regarding building, information that I'll probably completely forget about the moment I finish this thing!  Anyways,  as the pics divulge, we are now in the "mud" stage, working on the finish of the walls.  And even though I've only erected/drywalled two walls, believe me, the other two original garage walls needed some mudding too!  Heck, there was a hole in the ceiling I had to patch, along with a crack in the ceiling that ran the entire length of the room.  It really takes an artist, a visionary if you will, to see the potential in all of this.  Right now, it looks like hoodlum hangout from a 1970s crime drama.

The temperatures have started to really kick up over the last few days, so thank God above that I got on the ball with framing this thing before that happened.  It looks like I'll have just enough hospitable weather to get me to the finish line with this thing.

Mark, if you're reading this, can you believe it?  It's finally truly almost real.  For years, at work, I pestered you with oddball questions, bouncing crazy ideas off of you regarding my "fantasy studio in the clouds" that seemed like just daydreaming.  And now here it is, really happening.  This whole experience has actually surprised my own self.  So often, I think about a project, sketch it, and then never execute it.

But this time, it's for real!

Next up:
1. Perfecting the wall finish
2. Etching/sealing the concrete floor
3. Priming and painting the room a nice boring white

More to come

Monday, April 27, 2015

Insulation in Place, Outer Drywall done!

Don't worry... it's the lens that's making the framework curve!

If you stand outside the room, your voice echoes.  The moment you step across the threshold now, it's like you're in a recording studio.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Big Project Begins...

Well, after about two years of daydreaming, plotting, mentally erasing and then re-plotting, forgetting about it and then getting REALLY serious about it, I have decided to finally take the big leap and go forth with something I should've done 10 years ago. As you know, I enjoy "stinky" and "messy" hobbies. I like to paint, build models, make things. And all of these tasks have waste involved during their execution. For 12 years, I've utilized one of the bedrooms in my home.

 Over the last 5 years, I've added two children to my family, and more and more it's become apparent that the bedroom that I've used all of these years as my office/workspace, aka "The Fortress of Solitude West Coast Part II," has its days numbered. I needed to figure out a way to have a workshop "on-site," and the garage was the only place available. I don't have $15,000 lying around to build an addon to my home, but I do have a garage. Unfortunately, I also live in central California, a place that has tame winters but HORRIFIC summers. The thought of setting up in the garage would guarantee that I'd never work on anything from June to September. Also, there's a serious dirty air issue out here, and everything in my garage inevitably gets coated in a thick layer of powderish dust. This would cancel out the option of displaying my models in the garage. Pretty soon, everything would be tan in color.

So then I hit on the idea of building an enclosed room inside my garage. So after much advice-seeking and internet education, I finally this last week commenced the construction of my new studio. There were many people around me who never believed that I'd ever do it. Well, all of you were wrong! The room will measure 9' by 16', very close to the current dimensions of my room (10' by '14'). I should be able to transplant the entire room into this new abode, dubbed "The Fortress of Solitude West Coast Part III." Total cost came in at around $400, and I'm saving a ton of dough by doing it myself. And believe me, I'm doing it myself. No help from anyone out there.

 It's been a bit slowed down lately due to family issues, and also after almost 5 years on my job working mornings I have now been forced to change my entire life to work overnight shift now, thanks to a dirty situation at my job involving some selfish and lousy co-workers. I feel annoyed with wasting a moment of my precious free time discussing that filth-hole of a job, but suffice to say that I despise working there and feel that being there is a personal failure for me. It is a monotonous, stressful, meaningless, "stupidifying", dirty, smelly, degrading, exhausting, insulting, pathetic job. I wish I could say that the people there make it better, but they don't. Most of them are lazy and only exert effort when trying to find a way to a.)avoid doing work and b.)leave me with the work. I'm surrounded by clowns who walk around thinking they're something big when in reality most of them would be either living at home with their parents or working in a video rental business (if they could find any that still existed)if they hadn't known somebody who had given them the "in" to this company. Most of them are arrogant, but stupid also, which is a tandem common in this world. The only thing I can say is that it pays most of my bills, but not all of them.

When I drive to work, I encounter an intersection right before the turn to go into my hell. In the distance, I see the junior college I attended, where I took painting and drawing classes. I always remember the feeling of optimism I had back then, that life was full of possibilities, and I wondered just what life had in store for me. Anything seemed like it could happen. Then I sigh, and turn to the right, to endure another day (now night) at that wretched dump. It's nearly impossible to not feel bitter. And I'm not generally allowed to vent this, as I always hear stories of how I never could've taken care of my family with my creativity, etc., that drown me out. Well, here at MY blog, I'm here to say whatever I want, and I'm telling you, it's a failure and a major disappointment in my life. Maybe somehow, before this lousy life is all over, I'll be able to "do right" by myself and leave some kind of mark of which I'll be proud. Anything is possible, or at least that's what I used to believe.

Anyways... here's a few pics of the work in progress. I'll be putting up drywall and insulation during the week if I'm able to be awake enough after work to do so. This room will be sealed off from the dust and will have a portable air conditioning unit to keep the room hospitable. It will hold the massive cabinet you see, plus my drafting table and small work table for my model building. I'll put some of my favorite posters up, too. This will be a place to draw, paint, build models, or just sometimes put on some music and stare at the wall, although thinking is something not encouraged these days.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Side Project: Disneyland -style Family Sign

So recently my family and I took a trip to Disneyland.  Each time we visit I like to stop by what was once the Disneyana shop, but now is located where the bank once was (by the Lincoln exhibit).

There's always really cool paintings in there, along with statues, posters, books.    There's always a thing or two that I'd love to buy... If I had the money!

This time around, I noticed a miniature classic Disneyland sign:
I liked the 1950s look, and thought it would look cool hanging at home as a centerpiece on a wall where we could congregate all of our Dusney photos from the years gone by.

On the way back to our hotel room, I passed the guy who has a booth right on harbor blvd, where he sells family name signs.  I then got the idea: why not do a mashup, and create a family sign for the wall... In the style of that Disneyland sign?

I took a trip to Lowes and Michaels after we returned home, buying thin pieces of basswood for a sign that would be 24 inches wide when done.  I then approximated the relative dimensions and cut the necessary number of letterboxes. I had to sit down and do some plotting in order to figure out how it would all layer together. 

I painted this with craft paint on gesso, and when done i coated it all with krylon crystal clear gloss.

Of course, the original park sign had flags, so I gave each member of the family a flag of their own.