Tag Archives: DIY

Home Art VS. “Art” Art

Moving can be a pain. From the packing to the cleaning to the moving to the hauling to the cleaning to the unpacking again, it is a HUGE task that should be done as un-often as possible. That said, my husband and I just moved. It was our first move in three years, which was a nice buffer time from the previous moves we had done while living in Indonesia from 2005-2009 (a total of 4 times in four years, including repainting the walls in every house!). Unfortunately this time around, buffer time = more stuff. In the three years of my grad school artist career, we managed to go from the 4 suitcases we brought with us from Indonesia to I don’t even know how many boxes, furniture items and random trinkets we managed to accumulate. Furniture/belongings + large art projects which include Red Blobs, suitcases of costumes, mansuits, masks, oodles of clamp lights, big hunks of clay and random goodness that perhaps someday will feed inspiration, end up being a major pain in the ass.

Luckily, we managed to survive!!! And now here we are, five blocks away from where we used to be, in a cute little house with a giant backyard and garage (which I referenced as the new art-studio-to-be in my last blog post.) Things are still half-packed, and there’s plenty of cleaning left to do, but finally we feel glad we have moved. Yay!!!

And that’s when the creative ideas start to flow.. The fun thing about moving to a new house is that with it comes lots of new artistic possibility. The artistic possibility is partly for projects that are non-home related, however in the beginning the bulk of them have to do with interior decoration, DIY yard projects, garage studio designs, and an overall ‘plumping up’ of the home environment. As I face this new creative excitement, there’s unfortunately still that grad school critique voice lingering in my head..

“Emilia…” it gurgles, “don’t spend too much time on your house! Don’t forget that you still have to be an Artist (with a capital “A”). Don’t forget about the artist residencies you still need to apply for, the exhibitions you need to submit to, the film project you need to finish, the CV you need to update, the website you need to complete, the new project ideas you need to think of and propose…. the grants you need to apply for, the artist statements you need to write, the creative work documentation you need to gather, the collaborations you need to nurture, the creative brainstorming you need to do!!!!” The list could go on and on. Choosing the path as an artist unfortunately comes with its own set of baggage, and no matter where you move to or how great your house looks, it’s still going to hover behind your back as the constant task that you “should” be doing. Being an artist is a full-time job. So.. how the hell am I supposed to decorate my house??!


An argument for Home Art: Home art is art that makes you feel good. It’s creativity that you get to enjoy every day, without feeling like you have to sell it or give it away to someone else. Home art is inspired, designed and created for you and you only. It can be argued that an inspiring home environment fuels the artist in you to be creative.

An argument against Home Art: Unfortunately, home art projects are endless. With the amount of space that our new backyard offers, and the other creative possibilities that exist within the house and garage, I could foresee myself spending the next year or longer just working on home projects and never, *sniff*, being a Real Artist (with a capital “R” and “A”) again.

Oh, the terror!!! Of never being an artist again. Every artist’s worst nightmare. The haunting question that comes back and back again, especially after graduating from art school and suddenly being out on your own in the world… “Will I EVER be an artist again???????!!”

Well, hopefully yes. And honestly, there’s nothing wrong with letting your creativity follow its own instinct. If I’m not feeling like making that stop motion film quite yet, or designing the next Buoj iz Jeb mansuit, then maybe artistically upgrading my home environment is the next best thing I can do. Certainly working on the art studio in the garage, even if it’s not considered making “real” art, will influence the art made later on. Likewise, the hangout area for the backyard, the filing cabinet for the bedroom, the space-saving design of the kitchen, the art on the walls of the bathroom… Who knows, really, where artistic inspiration comes from? Quoting Anais Nin: “”My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.”

And so, without further ado, here are some of the Home Art projects I have in mind!!!! :

DIY Large Work Table:

DIY Jewelry Organizer:

Salvaged Door Coffee Table:

DIY Cork Pencil Holder and Organizer:

DIY Backyard Theater Screen:

And maybe someday.. a Backyard DIY Rollercoaster!!!!:

Image Sources:
4 Tips for Social Media Beginners
Monster Mouth
Three Property Rights Judgements
Reminiscence of Childhood
DIY Large Work Table
Roundup: 12 Swoon-Worthy DIY Jewelry Organizers
Make It: Salvaged Door Coffee Table
Make It: Easy DIY Cork Pencil Holder and Organizer
DIY backyard theater screen
Make a Backyard DIY Roller Coaster


Cut-out Animation Awesomeness

I’m preparing to do some animation for my film project, and am determined to improve my DIY animation skills. I’ve made a few animations in my life, using objects, my own face, and an overhead projector. All have worked, but have required MANY hours of correcting images frame-by-frame because of my unsteady set-up and mediocre lighting skills. Don’t get me wrong- I’m a big fan of the homemade aesthetic. But, I’m not a big fan of sitting in front of the computer hours on end correcting mistakes that I could have avoided with a little more research.

That said, I’ve been plowing through the internet world of DIY animation tutorials, and have found some useful tips!!

1) The animation stand. I need to construct a set-up that is easy to maneuver and STAYS PUT. For cut-out animation, which I’m planning on doing for my current project, I need something that holds a camera to face straight down. A tripod isn’t gonna do that. Believe me, I’ve tried. Also, I need something that’s CHEAP and SIMPLE. Here are two of the best options I found:

Wood Clamp C-Stand:

This one’s super simple, but I question its ability to hold a heavier camera (I have a Canon 60D). I decided on the stand below, but you can find the instructions for the Wood Clamp C-Stand here: http://www.coincommunity.com/forum/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=19857

The DIY Downshoot Stand:

This one, according to the person who designed it, is under $20 and a sturdy little set-up. The downside of this one is that you can’t move the camera up and down, however, for me and as the designer suggests, the zoom on the camera will work fine. I’ll probably opt for somewhat different lights, which I’ll discuss in a moment. For the full instructions for this design, go here: http://www.curbly.com/users/chrisjob/posts/3907-how-to-make-a-diy-camera-stand

These and other options can be found on the SMFA Animation blog att: http://smfaanimation.blogspot.com/p/animation-workspaces.html

2) The lighting. I’m tired of having bad lighting for my animations. I’ve used clamp lights, but not had the best of luck. One problem I’ve had with them is that they move, and every time that happens the lighting in the animation changes.

Here’s a handy video tutorial on studio lighting that I found helpful:


Ikea has a desk work lamp, the Tertial Lamp for $8.99 which I’ll probably get two of:

Apparently this same lamp has been recommended to turn into a DIY webcam mount, a mic stand AND a speaker mounts as well. Pretty handy!

3) The cut-out animation technique. There’s plenty of tutorials out there, but I found Terry Gilliam’s Do It Yourself Animation Show to be the most helpful so far. His explanations are simple, funny, and acknowledge the desire to make things as easy as possible. Plus, the animations are awesome.

Here it is:


4) The inspiration.

Brian Islam and Brucie, by Terry Gilliam:


Tyranozilla, with music by John Powell:


The Fish and the Doll, by Orla Wren:


Other things that I haven’t discussed here but are also important:

Storyboard (I was lazy to do this at first for my film pro0ject, but I’m SO GLAD I did. It’s an incredibly useful structure or jumping off point from which you can explore and elaborate on in the moment of making).

Storyboard example 1 from my film project, "Red Blob Massacre"

Storyboard example 2 from "Red Blob Massacre"

A stop-motion editing program (‘frame catcher’). I was lucky to get Dragon Stop Motion for a student price through my university, and am glad I did. It’s very helpful. Before, I was attempting to edit one photo at a time into Final Cut Pro, which is the editing software I work with. Not a good idea. I know there are free versions out there as well- definitely helpful.

Video editing software. As I mentioned above, I use Final Cut Pro. Would like to give After Effects a shot someday, but for now I’ll work with what I’m used to. One new program at a time… Plus, I like the homemade look a bit better. After Effects already starts to get fancy. I’m sure I might change my mind once I figured the thing out, though.

Sound. Any animation is good with good sound. If it doesn’t look good, add some sound to it and it just might. Sound brings things to life. It accentuates the important moments. It adds the mood. For me, editing the sound in is just as fun as editing the animation. But, editing sound is a whole other topic, and one that I will not go further into at this time.

Suggestions? Comments? Please share!

And thanks for reading :).