With a new year of art and content in front of me, and after last year’s exhausting music project, a big demanding learning curve is not what I have in mind right now.
This month, in my spare time, I’ve been working on photomanipulations featuring me and Mikey. This is a process I’ve done before. There’s no way around the tedium. You just have to sit and stare, looking for what would make it more convincing and tweak it over and over again. It’s rewarding, but never really done. Photorealism be damned.
When I was a kid, one of my all time favorite movies was Honey I Shrunk The Kids. Watching that movie was the first time it occurred to me that scale is not uniform. The world is an entirely different place, depending on your scale and it goes infinitely in every direction. That’s something that has fascinated me forever.
When my family took a cross country vacation as a kid, we made a stop in Disneyland. Hands down, my favorite part was the Honey I Shrunk The Kids exhibit. I remember standing under some of the giant blades of grass, and thinking “holy shit, this would be amazing”.
One of my favorite parts of the movie was how they gang made friends with an ant, and he let them ride on his back. Even as a kid, I knew that was nonsense. That ant would have ripped those suckers to shreds, but that would have been an R rated movie and I wouldn’t have been allowed to see it.
It captured my imagination though. I’ll bet if I could somehow shrink down to say, one tenth of my size, my dog would let me ride around on his back, which became the inspiration for my favorite image for this month.
Mikey is a small dog, and I think I have some kind of big-dog envy. I’ve always enjoyed the utter impossibility of Mikey besting me in a fight, but it’d be nice to be able to knock each other around. In my miniaturized visions, Mike is never shrunken proportionally. Mikey is always a little too big for me. I think there’s something amusing about how gigantic his head would be, and the implications of having a such a beast around the house.
One of the things I always thought was silly about Honey I Shrunk The Kids was how the material elements of the world were mostly unchanged. For example, in the movie, the kids fall into a puddle and it’s very dramatic. The water is pretty much just water, but in actuality the surface tension would be crazy. Those kids aren’t even as big as Anty, but they can break through the water’s surface anyway.
Considering how the material world would be experienced differently at a small scale is fascinating to me. So it was fortuitous that the blizzard hit our area when it did. It was fun to imagine interacting with the snow at such a small scale.
Ultimately the choice to present these images in black and white was a decision made out of pragmatism. Black and White is more forgiving if you’re trying to create something photorealistic. Since I placed my self on a January deadline, that was the option.
As usual, I overestimated what I could accomplish in one month. Even though I’ve done these kinds of photomanipulations before, they take a great deal of time and it’s necessary to consider the lighting conditions of both the source image and the miniaturized subject. There’s only so much you can do in Photoshop, most of it has to happen in the camera.
2016 is kicking off to a great start!