Posts Tagged ‘AI’

Of graphics and junkyards

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

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In many ways on the internet the blog has seemed separate from the Family Web site but maybe this will (reluctantly) connect the two. So this is the The Family Web Site. I say reluctantly because in many ways I don’t want them to connect. I don’t want to feel obligated to always have to write about this family. Not that there’s lack of material but besides the sad deaths, happy weddings and births, life is pretty much a trivial journey through monotonous (not mountainous) highways. Boring with a capital B. I’m not calling everyone boring, I’m just saying everyday life is just that. Everyday. There is social media to blow your steam or toot your horn and we’re all pretty good at using it. I can’t even list how many of my writings, poetry, photography and digital artwork I would rather “publish” here but am frightened to do so. You see, I am a rather strange dude with weird taste. I have always had a huge appreciation of art, animation and creative writing. As a result of that keen appreciation I have tried (rather unsuccessfully) to actually BE a respected “artist” When I am surrounded by really intelligent writers, artists, teachers, graphic designers, voice over artists, and even ridiculously skilled puppet builders, I can’t even come close. It goes back to what I am. A really strange dude with weird taste and amateur skills. In art there are those that create it….and those that just appreciate it. I have surrendered to the latter.

I am a rather strange dude with weird taste.

I am a rather strange dude with weird taste.

But the news here is that the web site is back. Not that anyone noticed but it was down for quite awhile. I had come across many obstacles in the last year or so. Most devastating was a hard drive crash of my Mac book pro laptop. This was essentially the heart and guts of the web site and it held all the data and functions for Mightyten. Although, I was sensing something wrong with the computer and instinctively did an emergency back up on an external drive one week before the crash…I still lost key passwords and expensive software that I used. At the same time the ISP provider for themightyten dot com (Yahoo) decided to upgrade editing and uploading capabilities that left me out in the cold. Yahoo is a company that just ASSUMES everyone has the money to just go out and buy or update expensive software. They have also increased the annual fee that I pay to keep this name up and running on their server.
Forty-four years ago (a tiny history) the “Family Ties” was called “The Hartman News” and it was printed by hand on school loose leaf paper. There wasn’t a server, Adobe Dreamweaver, Photoshop, hard drives, corrupt fonts, blogs, and the closest thing to a hard drive crash for me was crumbling up a piece of paper and starting over. After that my sisters and brothers took over and released some absolutely beautiful paper editions of the now called “Family Ties” Some of these will be digitized and available for download I hope soon. Then nine years ago while working the night shift at a large format graphics company on 3oth street in New York City I became fascinated with the internet, web design, Adobe Flash and slowly self taught myself to put up a new “family news” site.
It was a lot of experiments, failures and fun and the main thing was that I was learning. The website I created was a bulky amateur mess that became outdated rather fast. I didnt have the time or resources to keep it updated.
Actually my main goal at that time was to discover any bit of information on our family heritage. I become totally intrigued by our great grandfather and his 12 children that lived on this earth around the same time the Titanic sunk 400 miles south of Newfoundland, Canada. I was also fascinated by the stories aunt Carol, uncle Brother and our mother had told us about the Gill and Westfield NJ. While I was creating this huge list of questions in my mind for them, but then they slowly and softly passed away and left all my questions unanswered.
blogForm_masterpiece I have had many inspirations, influences and teachers in my time. I’ve had some lucky breaks. I remember the first time I saw somebody doing Photoshop on a PC in the late 90’s. It was version 4.0 and I was floored by the use of layers which had been released a few years earlier. Even I knew at that time how absolutely ground breaking that was in digital art. I also knew right then and there that that was something I wanted to do. I wanted to learn. I asked a few people at my job at Lucent Technologies in Holmdel NJ to “please just sit down with me a few minuets and show me some things” and nobody ever helped me. I will never forget one guy looking at me right after I asked him for help and saying.. “why don’t you go to school like I did and learn it”.
So I went to Barnes and Noble all the time read and purchased books. I practiced at work. I practiced at home. Then I got into Adobe Illustrator and was completely baffled by that. I self-taught myself all that I could with books and YouTube didn’t come out until April 2005 and it was even a few years after that when it became the mother of all tutorials on the web.
And yeah I did, at age 40 went back to college and the small Brookdale Community college I went to had just built a brand new computer lab with 30 brand new Macs. I was in heaven and I was blessed with good teachers who insisted on me learning how to cut a perfect path. At the same time I buried myself in art magazines and tried to duplicate other peoples work as practice.
After the dot come bust from 2000 to 2002 and the collapse of Roman Empire Lucent Technologies (Many argue that the dotcom boom and bust was a case of too much too fast.) I ended up on the streets searching for anything to provide for my young family. I ended up in a auto graveyard in Carteret NJ. Far far away from anything creative, or digital or what I had inside of me pushing out.
I was driving a huge fork truck in an car auction crash “graveyard” Moving around automobiles that were in accidents. Some of the accidents were not so bad. Most of the accidents were totals with fatalities. There were detonated blood covered air bags. Shredded windshields and doors. Jaws of life claw marks on the hoods and roof. There is money in car parts. Sometimes a totaled car is worth more in parts then the car itself. We cleaned these cars out and lined them up for an auction every week. Big shots from all over the tri-state area would come with their tow trucks and car carriers and buy these wrecks for parts. It was a highly depressing job. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get along with anybody there.
I was never a “car guy” and they found that out quickly. I reported the unsafe working conditions to Occupational Safety and Health Administration and wasn’t afraid to put my name on the report (even though it could have went anonymous) because I wanted to get fired. They demoted me to the grungy job of cleaning out wrecks and took me off my fork truck. In many of these wrecks that I cleaned in the hot sun it was the last stop for many people. There were even stories of the accidents from the tow truck drivers that dropped these cars off. “Oh this was an old couple that got hit head on by a tractor trailer. They never had a chance.” or “This was a car load of teens with no seatbelts that rolled over three times.” I was too sensitive for this shit as I collected their loose change in the ashtrays and tried on some cool coats that would find in the back seats.
I was ready to surrender myself to a life of physical labor, warehouses, factories, bleach lines, blue collar punching in and out until one day, a newspaper ad. This was still web infancy days. There was no Monster.com or Craigslist although emails were the thing at that time. There were still newspapers publishing wanted ads.
Every night the Summer that I worked here I would lock the huge barbed wire fences and watch the sky turn gold and purple then black. I had that newspaper ad and the next day I called it a man named John answered the phone. He was in a complete panic. “George…I need someone to come in here….get behind that Mac and get all this prepress work out the door. I need a quick mind. I need someone that knows graphics…knows prepress….understands printing..I need help.”
So a few days later I was hired. At this point in my digital career, I wasn’t very good. I was slow. I had a lot to learn. I was basically a poster and powerpoint designer with pussy footed deadlines.
This job threw me out of the pot and into the fire. I learned the incredible details and hectic world of large format prepress for huge companies like Barnes and Noble, Cigna Insurance, Morgan Stanly, The Holocaust Museum. I learned fast and I learned hard. John insisted on using software “shortcuts” and being quick and precise. He was a great tough teacher. At first I really didn’t know what I was doing. I had major panic attacks when they gave me job envelopes. I almost quit several times. It was very rough times for me and a few years before I was comfortable with ANY challenge.
I often wondered why I was hired. I know they had a quite a few people lined up for the job. Turns out, because of my “lack of” experience the CEO got me cheap and he liked the fact that I was…
German.