Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Plane rides and InfoComm

I wasn't at home very long before I was on a plane again heading to InfoComm in Orlando. I was bumped up to first class which always makes the ride a little easier. It makes it a lot more comfortable to sketch when I have more room to spread out. When I can sketch, the time goes by very quickly.
I will be performing for the comedy show for Crestron Electronics at the Orlando convention center. Infocomm is where the nerds and the geeks meet with bankers to try to explain what a G is and why we need 4 of them. Their cocktail conversation is like an alien language, full of anagrams and numbers.
"Yeah we had the CSR for a while but BBD rate was so slow. Then we upgraded to the ENNS 9 co-processor and it gave us at least 8 gigs more baud. Little did we know that the increase was actually taking away from the processor RAM. I agree that the TSL rate is more robust, But I'm telling you, if that thing ever crashes, good luck saving your status on World of Warcraft." My comment is always OMG WTF?
Glad to be back in the world of corporate entertaining. It comes so second nature to me it really is fun to figure out a company, throw in some inside jokes, and look like you studied the company for months. I have a formula that seems to always work. Since comedy is really just the unexpected turn, it can be readily applied to the lingo that the company uses. I find the game much more exciting than a role playing Internet romp.
On the plane, as is my usual MO, I was drawing on my Ipad. It was an exercise more than serious art. I was trying to capture movement and form in the least number of lines and the quickest strokes I could. It was a lightning round of sketching and erasing the images. A couple of the flight attendants from Dallas started looking over my shoulder. They asked me what I was doing and what was the program I was using, and was I a professional artist? The question they really wanted to ask was Why? Why are you drawing so fast and erasing the picture just when you get it to look like something. But they were too professional to solicit that information. However, I am an attention whore and any notice is a good thing at 35,000 feet. I did show them some of my serious drawings and they had the appropriate ooh and ahh to make an iterate artist feel good.
Later the guy across the aisle stated asking me about my art. After the usual questions he asked, "Do you ever do cartoon fruits?" It is not a question that I have had practice answering so I said something as a response simply to find out what he was talking about.
Well, it seems that he has a new company and they are trying to get people to become more health conscious. He is a retired Olympic Athlete and is trying to capitalize on his fame, knowledge of fitness and charm and make money at it. He has all sorts of programs and websites that promote a healthy choice of foods and thought my style of art would be a perfect fit to make fruits and vegetables more appealing to young kids. I don't know what he saw in my quick studies. Perhaps they were so childish he thought I could actually relate to a third grader on his own level. He talked as if I had the answer to drawing a banana which was so funny and appealing it would make a third grader lust to devour it, forsaking the Snickers bar that was readily available. He wanted my email to contact me with a serious pitch. I didn't have a card but I took his and we agreed to pursue the matter at a lower altitude.
I have learned over the years that airplane chatter has no more reality than cocktail conversation. Mainly he was reacting to the attention that I had gotten from the flight attendants. He wanted me to know that he was somebody of importance. Even if the girls did not come up to him and ask questions, he was worthy of their attention as well.
The best way to make a conversation about yourself is to start by asking an obtuse question that gets minimal information as a response. Then you can explain why you asked such an unusual question. I have no doubt this was the case in fact. I am too jaded to actually think he saw something in my drawing he could use to further his cause. Yet the artistic child in me jumps at any chance to prove I can accomplish exactly what he is looking for.
It is so much like "actors syndrome". You get a script and immediately know is not right for you; by the time you play with it, rehearse it and figure a way to make the reading work, you convince yourself that you are perfect for the role. When the producers confirm your original opinion that you are not right their "NO" really cuts deep. Unfortunately there is no other way to get the courage to walk into an audition and give it your all unless you have become convinced that you are the guy for the part. It is the thick skin soft heart an actor must develop.
I will send this guy and email. The odds on him even remembering the conversation are too high to calculate. It is so much easier to look at art objectively when it is a drawing. A drawing is just something I put down on paper, or in this case a screen. I have some distance between it and myself. It is not me or my personality on display like it would be if I was acting or performing. This art is just an object that I can look at detached. I am glad this conversation took place because it really does help me to see who I am as an artist and what I do.
In the words of my friend Harry, "Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out." If anything comes of this skyline connection it will be documented in this blog first.
As you were,

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