Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Thinking Mind Pt 2/3

        It's hard to work on a movie, teach, holidays with family time, do work on your own time AND MANAGE A BLOG. It's hard.. I never said I never liked it though. To the new people just joining that I met at CTN, welcome. The people already following, Update: I will be putting more great artists I met on my right side column AND also some of my drawings and paintings will be linked as well.

        Lets get  back to business. Hope you all are caught up on my last posts since I haven't posted anything for a while. I'm going to say this once. If you didn't read the part 1/3 post before this one you will be so far behind you will crap yourself. 

-BEAUTY- recap
        So we talked about this thing called Beauty. This thing that can confuse reason and overload your imagination. Beauty is not just about the feel good and not only about the concept either. It's both. My former teacher (Philosopher from Boston College) told me a story as an example:
         He was standing on a cliff watching a sunset with this girl. The sunset was very pretty, and he was thinking how beautiful it was with all the colors and with the calm ocean, it was so peaceful. So he is standing there with this girl staring at the sunset, thinking these thoughts to himself for some time, when all of a sudden the girl says, "I am just a speck." 
        She was experiencing that sunset on a whole different level than my teacher was. He just thought it looked pretty but to her not only was the sunset a site to see, it caused her to think about things that were greater than the sunset and herself combined. the relevance of  life compared to the mass scale of the universe etc etc.. whatever BUT her mind was unlocked and she was experiencing the sunset and that itself was beautiful.. the beauty of the sunset. So think about that when you're trying to recall the last time you experienced something beautiful.
        So now lets talk about Art itself. Just like beauty, you as an artist must at least have an opinion on art. So here is my opinion and if you disagree, GREAT. That means you already have a thought on art. Like last time I will get dense fast but remember my goal is not to get you to understand but to start to thinking about art as a form and not just something people DO.

        Art is a touchy subject, some people say everything can be art but we all know some stuff just looks ... well like shit. Maybe a lot of stuff can pass as art but lets talk about what it takes for something to be good art.

-What (Fine) Art Can Not Be-
        Art can't just be about stuff that makes you feel good. Nor can it be about about just looking so good that it only must please your senses. Porn for example, it's pleasing.. but that's it! It just pleases the senses and it doesn't go deeper than that. You cannot just go for the quick gag or only the shock-factor. If there is no thought or thinking involved that means that there can be no engagement to cause reflection.
        (Fine) Art can't just be about color, sound, texture or any one single thing. These single elements must be arranged harmoniously so they show off their own essence as well as the essence of the other elements around them. These arrangements are usually called composition, contrast, rhythm, etc.

So don't want just want feel good and pretty things that might taste good like muffins. It's more than just pornography and muffins_ that's not fine art... you don't feel a muffin..
(P.S. if you email me that you feel muffins I'll kill you..)

So your art has to have it's aesthetics (looks) and you as the artist also put in a concept (thought) Lets talk about the aesthetics first.

-The Nature of Art-
         What is art? What do you have to do to make great art? Kant said it best, "Art must appear as nature, not imitate it." So this does not mean go COPY nature, that would be imitating nature.

Nature is made is made of original forms, and so shall your art. 

You must CREATE as an artist and make that creation feel as natural as life itself. Art pleases when it flows naturally. When everything in you art belongs like how tree's are meant to be there, like how the ocean is meant to be there, it Flows.. your art should not be shown as forced, it must look natural.

Let me pause and help you relate this to some things:
For the Animators: When animation flows and makes you forget about how it was made and engulfs you in the character or the movement, it makes the viewer feel like it is moving on it's own. Naturally. When there is a pop and you leave the mistake in your shot it doesn't look natural compared to the rest of your nice animation.
To the painters and drawers: Same as above, you are not going to do a charcoal piece and then slap on some watercolor over it. It wouldn't work visually. Your viewer would notice your materials more than your subject.
The music people: You wouldn't have a wonderful classical sonnet and 5 minutes into it mix in some Ice Cube rap.. The people would not say, 'Woa that was interesting.' They would say, 'What the F*k was he/she thinking when he/she was editing this. Key word: Editing. The audience will think about the process.

          So to all the other art forms I didn't mention you get the picture. Where were we..

         If you can locate how a piece was made, if you can locate the rules, if you can tell who the teacher was, the guidelines the artist used, then your art has lost the ability to induce feelings and therefore lost it's chance to give the experience of beauty. I don't know how else to say it .. wait I do, A beautiful art piece must look like it came from the heavens. :) Art must be above an assignment. 

Original great art can prompt the mind to reflect. If YOU can make original work that not only does this but take that viewer to that next level like how that sunset took the girl in the story I mention, then you are ranked among geniuses.

         -You are up there with the Mona lisa and the first Hellenistic Greek statue. From Carvaggio to Picasso, from Mozart to The Beatles, from Homer to Hemmingway, from Darwin to Einstein.

They all had that originality and translated it so that we could experience with sight, touch or sound. Their work makes us think and reflect. We just don't see their creation we see a thought behind the material.

Next post we talk about the concept part of Art and the Artist herself (himself).

-Daniel Gonzales

P.S. I have gotten many emails from you guys with great work and questions. Due the high amount and the little time I have over the holidays, don't be surprised if it takes me a few days to get back to you. especially around Christmas. But for now I'll just say, if you have questions COMMENT on the post. my email is to only to SEND me work. Thanks again for the support. Now go and make beautiful art masterpieces.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

CTN Expo

          I will have to post-pone Part two of my 3 Part post. I will be in L.A. for 'business' at the Creative Talent Network (CTN) starting today and returning Sunday night. If you get the chance to go to this, GO. This is a place where not only are you surrounded by artist who paint, draw, write, and Animate very well, but a chance for you to network and possibly get a job. If you don't get to go this year, write it in your calendar for next year. This is not like a Comic-con, because comic-con was something great and now has turned into 'whoever has the most money gets the biggest booth.' At CTN it's who ever has talent gets priority. A little thing to think about...

-Daniel Gonzales

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Thinking Mind: pt. 1/3

    So I was going to talk about maybe how to draw a hand or animate a character but I stopped and thought, any body can learn all these tricks and become very talented and still be a bad artist...  because the artist would have only been learning how to DO an art form, and not have been learning how to Think about art as a form.

        You have to be able to talk and understand art. I don't want to create super talented robot's if they cannot contribute thoughts through their talents. People and places want thinking artists, and thats exactly what places like pixar look for. They don't want a tool that can animate anything or draw anything. They want someone who can think and bring creativity and judgment. Many sites or blogs just post tip after tip and advice after advice but none I have found actually go as far in helping or challenging one to think. So here I am trying to do the impossible...
       Even if you are not doing art, the ability to think and judge art on your own is huge. You don't want to stand there and get asked, 'So what do you think about this art piece?' And respond, "well um.. like, i think the line is very interesting, yea, and the juxpasition of the white wall is.. like.. very moving..." I would have surely slapped you silly after the first sentence. You need to go deeper than that. You need to know a thing or two about the harmony in aesthetics and have at least a basic REAL understanding on what beauty is. And if you are about to say, 'Danny I know what beauty is. It's something pretty, it's rainbows and the laughter of babies..' get the fuck off my blog.

So I will challenge you to think. Understanding is not the goal, to think about what I am saying and making your own conclusions is the goal. I did the same when reading from Plato to Kant and listening to my teachers. Plato hated artists by the way, who knew?

Now I'm going to get dense fast. There is a lot to say. So bare with me.

-Lets start on judgement-

      You can say, "1+3=4." Thats a logical judgment. It's universal and everyone would come up to the same conclusion if asked to do so. People can buy it when you say, "All roses are flowers." Because it is assumed everyone knows the concept of a flower. That is determinate judgment. But what happens when you make the judgment and say, "The rose is beautiful?" Hmm, Now I would hesitate to say that. To say something is beautiful is a bigger deal than you might think. I'll tell you why. Theres a fancy word for this, it's called subjective universality. When you say something is beautiful, you are saying something subjective BUT you are also generalizing. You didn't say, "I like this." You said, "That is beautiful." You are saying all of humanity would reflect your feelings of pleasure if they were in the same circumstance as you. You are basically trying to say 3+5=8 in feeling terms. and thats a big deal...

-Defining Beauty-
      As an artist you have to have an opinion on this. Philosophers have argued about this for centuries. but right now, I'm going to say the final word based on what I have read and been taught. Thats's right. Just like that.  Feel free to argue with me AFTER you have read what I have to say.

      Beauty CANNOT be based on concepts. Thats means you cannot use a recipe or a checklist to see if something is beautiful or not. If this is true then beauty lies not in the subject, otherwise it would all be based on determinant judgment. The subject/object is only the occasion of the experience. So what the hell is beauty based on? It is Pleasure. I do NOT mean gin and tonic pleasure! That kind of pleasure is external. I mean inside yourself. here's the big sentence: Aesthetic pleasure is reflection. (that is beauty)

b,bb,But DANNY!? what do you mean?

let me clarify...

-What Beauty is not-
      -Beauty is different from things that are 'agreeable.' The agreeable: it is like good beer, always arguable. This has to deal with the senses (touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing) To say, "Sand feels good on your toes." I like my toes in sand, but thats not true for everyone, thus it is only agreeable. Beauty cannot be agreeable.
      -Second, Beauty is different from things that are 'good.' The good: To like something because of it's purpose. for example, "That is a good phone." This one is all about the personal investment. Beauty can not be this. When something is beautiful you are not interested in nothing in particular.

This is basic, But I see a lot of people when they reach this far they come to the conclusion that they will then say something is beautiful when they THINK it is beautiful, that's bad. Because then you are letting taste rule your judgement. If you say something is beautiful based on your taste, then in that sense you are saying taste is universal and we all know that's just crazy talk.

-Separating taste from your Judgement- (Still defining beauty...)
        So if you cannot go off of taste what do you go off of then... lets call it intuition. For example: you and another person are standing in front of a palace. The other says, "pretty isn't it?" When you answer you cannot think why the palace is there, you cannot think of your distaste of the tyrant it houses, you cannot think of what you feel the palace symbolizes and all the hungry poor people outside it's walls. The question was, "Is it pretty?" you understand?
        So being disinterested is a pre-requisite for judgment, you might be biased if you are not. You might not like apples but would you agree that those apples are painted beautifully?

All that was to define what beauty is NOT. It is not agreeable, not good, not based on taste. Now that we know what it is not... lets get back to the question at hand. "b,bb,But DANNY!? what do you mean?"

-Always remember beauty is based on reflectiveness-
        That means something beautiful prompts the senses AND the intellectual. (There is a fancy term for this too, the Free play of the mental faculties. You don't need to remember that but now you can say you heard it.) So these two parts of your mind, what are they? Imagination and Understanding. these are the two things that need to interact for beauty. When these two parts of the mind harmoniously intereact, that's the pleasure beauty is.
-Imagination- the capacity to make pictures in your head, we all have it. If we didn't, all our senses would be for nothing. Our mind interprets the world we are in through the pictures it makes up. Like my teacher once said, humans experience life through cause and effect... never to see the cause. And imagination doesn't stop there, we also make original pictures in our mind that do not exist externally.
-Understanding- is logic and reason.
Imagination naturally always comes first, but it is subdominant to understanding.  Understanding always comes after we have the data. Imagination makes the picture first, understanding then makes sense of it. Thats a very simple way of understanding the mind.

don't quit yet. confused? good, now comes the juicy point...


this is free play. read it again. I'll wait..     ...when you see something beautiful, your imagination goes wild. at the same time your can't seem to figure out why. You cannot make sense why you feel like this. It's not because it looks pretty, but yet, you cannot seem to find a concept to describe what is happening to your feeling your senses are getting that drives your imagination wild.
Basically, Your subject blows your senses out of the water and make you think at the same time. So when you tell me something is beautiful, you are telling me that my imagination and understanding will be as fucked up as yours if i experience it too.

-That's a basic 18th- pre-modern century way in thinking about beauty. That is my way as well. I will so far as to say this is what beauty is.

You disagree with me? I hope you do. Either way, my goal is accomplished: To at least get you to think about what beauty is and make your own understanding of it. My  way of understanding this is a mix between what I learned about Immanuel Kant and my philosophy teacher, Joseph Tanke. He graduated from Boston University with a P.h.D and is author of a few books. (I hope he doesn't read this and say that I have it all wrong and that I learned nothing haha) If you attend California College of the Arts in San Francisco I strongly recommend his class, he is a great man.

This was only part one people! Two more posts like this to come. I haven't even talked about art or about the artist. Be ready, in three days time to give you a chance to reread this if you want. and comment and tell me what you think, like, danny this was to dense, danny this was ok, danny what the hell are you talking about, danny clarify this part... danny ur a liar...

Until next time
-Daniel Gonzales

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Tonight I'm posting an entry that you really don't want to miss. It will be a three part entry. Thus meaning it will take three post to complete... ha. I've been preparing it for the last 4 days and It'll be up tonight near midnight. I warn you now I'm going to touch on things that MAKE YOU THINK, so if your not the type, we'll that's just low and sad...

-Daniel Gonzales

PS-In the mean while I'll recommend a little gem of a song few know about...
Song sounds nice and peaceful, yet it talks with an undertone so much despise and hate if you care to pay attention... 

copy n paste

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Motivation And Inspiration

         Motivation is a delicate elusive feeling. Some people have trouble finding motivation, Some people have trouble keeping their motivation, and worst of all I see people not knowing what to do when motivation slaps them in the face..

I'm sure it happens to you if you, even if you aren't an art student. You are out and about and you see something... inspiring. You stop in your tracks because you are starting to get cool ideas. you all of a sudden WANT to go home and work. So you make a mental note. Then go on with the rest of your day and then go home. When you get home you sit to work and... all you do is look at your white blank paper.. and thats all. you don't FEEL like working anymore. And you wonder where all your motivation went.

3 things went wrong here. you didn't do anything when your motivation/ inspiration was high because you were unprepared for it thus, letting it fade away. . 

1) What to do when motivation slaps you in the face unexpectedly
           First off you DO NOT forget about it and wait till you get home to address your inspiration. The feeling of inspiration is precious, you can create so many ideas that you wouldn't if you had no inspiration. Inspiration is the fuel of creativity, and if you let it come and go it is nothing less but a waste of potential creativity. 
          That's why I carry a sketch book, to write, doodle, glue in, staple anything that I want in it. If something is inspiring you, you have to try to capture it's essence immediately. So you do not have to just remember it when you get home, you can see your take on what it was and can return to it later. IF you ever find yourself without a sketch book and Some inspiration happens to walk by... oh man.. there is only one thing to do. You think about it UNTIL you reach somewhere where you can jot it down. I mean it. Thats what I do. My girlfriend hates it. Like I'll be in the car with her and I'll look a out the window and BAM, I see something that rocks my world (creatively). I shut down. I don't talk, I don't look around. My eyes are glazed and straight forward. All my recourses are put to remembering and exploring what this inspiration means. I do this the whole way home. So this sucks if we just left to go to safeway for groceries.. 

2) Keeping your motivation 
            Besides your sketch book you can do quite a bit to keep your motivation going. I see a lot of people burn out mentally during the school year especially after midterms and before finals. The way I stayed focus and kept my motivation to finish long projects is to transform your work space. For me I needed a visual and an audio set up. You have to surround yourself with inspiring things. The things I put up on my walls around my desk not stuff I liked, but stuff that made me think. I didn't put up a poster of The Beatles but I put up a Russian painting I never saw before. Ilya Repin's 'Ivan the terrible and his Son.'
           -Such a powerful piece. The emotion is captured so specifically, only a father would hold his son like that after he just murdered him..  A masterpiece that I could go on forever about. So transform your place, play your music, surround your self with things that make you think. Unless a white walled room is your kind of thing.

3) Finding inspiration
          You can't always search for inspiration. Because sometimes you will find yourself searching the web for inspiration or reference and you find yourself youtube surfing or reading about dogs on wikipedia and you don't even know why.. (never feed your dog a grape by the way). Next thing you know it's 2 hours later and you haven't done anything. You need your inspiration served to you 50/50. Half the time it needs to be unexpected. Other half of the time you have to go to your stash. Your stash is a place where you have saved all things and thoughts that have inspired you in the past. It can be a group of links on your bookmarks, it can be newspaper cut outs. So If you don't have a stash.. MAKE ONE.

I hope this helped some of you out. 
-If you need help starting a stash use the links on my page. There is a list of names on the right hand side on my homepage Click any one of those amazing artists names I guarantee you will find amazing work. Alberto Ruiz has good stuff and so does Enrico Casarosa. ALL OF THEM have good stuff. I have sites right above the names that are also amazing. I also just recently posted new work on Youtube and Vimeo. Be sure to check it out. 

So now you have no excuse to not being able to find inspiration. Go buy a sketchbook. and Let me know what you do to stay motivated I'm sure others would like to know as well. 

-Daniel Gonzales

Thursday, November 11, 2010

If You Need Some Direction

First Post, whada ya know...

So twice in the last 24 hours have I personally came across this topic,
- 'What to do to get a job.'

        I just realize that this is a question that has to be answered with a true, honest, and specific understanding tone. You might read on other blogs that you must work hard, learn your craft, don't be a dick to people, and many general tips like these... but what if you DO work hard, what if you are NOT a deuce bag, what if.. what if you just NEED help learning your craft and don't know where to get help? No amount of networking and no amount of film buff knowledge will help you if you don't learn what you need to learn. You can apply to pixar for 6 years and not get in if you do not know your craft.

        So to those out there who read this I have just the few words of advice that I think will help. You need a plan. A plan to get help or a plan to get better. And ANY plan is better than no plan.  Lets say you are in the middle of butt crack no where and you went to college and you KNOW it was a crappy art college and that you learned nothing. Then you look for someone to collaborate with. You want to make a short film? SEARCH for people who would want to make one themselves. Grab your brother or search youtube and find an artist who wouldn't' mind collaborating with you over skype. ANY one is better than by yourself. Because through interaction and the exchanging of ideas does one improve and build ones own knowledge. Don't take your self so seriously. Try to make an epic film. Fail with style. then take everything you learned and make a nice 1 minute film... Do what it takes, but work with people. that's how you have fun building a demo reel.

But Danny I have no friends I live on a Desert Island...

       ok then. Let's say you are in your senior year of college and it has been a shitty experience so far. Tick tock. Graduation is coming and pretty soon your window of getting internships is closing to the size of a pinhole... What do you do? Make a plan! if you have 2 semester's left and you have nothing for your portfolio, then you definitely need a plan. Should you spend all that time on one GIANT project and go for the home run or build up a steady stream of short/small scale work? EITHER ONE IS FINE. if you go for the home run, do not kid yourself and make sure you have your production schedule planned out for every minute of the day. If you fall behind then cut something that is taking your time. Like SLEEP. pshh, who needs sleep any way. I went for a home run one semester. I fell behind. I pulled as many all nighters in a roll until I was up to schedule again... lost three whole days of sleep all because I wanted to watch the season finale of LOST...

      or if you are going to do a bunch of little projects. make sure you start at the basics. If this is for painting and you have 5 months left in your school year this would be my plan...

1st month: nothing but figure drawing and still life's
2nd month: going out to draw people and places
3rd Month: Paint figures, still life's
4th month: Paint on location
5th month: shut myself in a studio and paint whatever dares flow from your mind...

But you see what I mean? by the end of that semester even if you do not have not one worthy painting I BET your skills improved.. and this formula can work with animation and any other art form. Dont' take my word for it, try it...

Have a plan. thats the best thing you can do for yourself. More importantly a plan that will improve yourself and your craft. Thats all I can really say to you. I hope you enjoyed my first post.
any questions.. send them to me (view SEND ME WORK  link) I will be sure to answer them.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's coming... like a huricane... you can't stop it.

If you happen across this page I have to let you know it will be up and running very VERY soon. If you haven't read who I am yet (right hand column) well my name is Danny. I'm an animator for Pixar Animation studios. hoping to get this site started to start helping out you guys and talking about some interesting topics and do all sorts of fun things.
Check out 'About this Site' to learn more. Until then sit tight.