Tuesday, August 26, 2008

UFO ...

Ola! New silly song about a UFO ... that doesn't show. I know - pure brilliance! O_o


Please enjoy - it's short and sweet (!??!??).

Aaaaand ... a few words I guess:

I'll be heading to Austria in a week. For the first time in five years. Very weird. It's been so long. I'm looking forward to it. What I'm looking forward to the most is not being at work for a good while. Really.

Anyway - enough babble out of me. Drop me a line! :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Afternoon Walks

Did another walk over the hills today. Not as far as yesterday, since I had quite the headache. It was beautiful again. This time I brought my tele lens with me. I really missed it yesterday since the South Island was so visible. I was lucky since it was still quite clear today. The photo above was shot with a 200mm lens - it is slightly cropped. I always wanted to get a shot like that, but the weather was never good enough. The South Island is about 50 kms away if I remember correctly.

We had quite the thunder storm tonight. They are rare here in Wellington. So I opened the door to my deck, put the camera on the tripod and shot 30 second exposures - not a clear lightning but it lit up the skies which you can see here. If you look closely you can see the rain coming down from the clouds . This was around 10pm at night.

This one I shot a while ago. I love how tranquil it is. I like the colors too.

The cloud hook. I notice I don't get out much. All the photos I shot over the last months are either from my deck or from the neighbourhood. Oh well. Going to Austria soon and I will be loaded with memory cards and lenses.

And finally the cat. Hello cat. I love thee!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Burning ...

... out?

Anyway - here are some nice photos I took this arvo. They were taken from the ridges about 20 mins south of my house. I love Wellington and still can't believe I get to live in a place like this.

Monday, August 11, 2008

More Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Well - I thought since we're having our 10 year anniversary, I'll post some more FF stuff.

It's weird looking at those images after not having seen them for a very long time. I just remember how proud and arrogant I was during that time. I have to say that obvious mistakes just scream at me when I see those paintings. Experience makes a difference. Learning how to be a bit more humble too - because when one isn't busy telling everyone how great one is, one can pick up the great things fellow artists want to teach you.
If you're not busy behaving like a total dickhead.

The one that I'd almost let pass is the "Boa", the ship in orbit, but that was based on a wonderful clay model someone had built - maybe it was Kaneko - I'm not sure anymore. What I also realize again is how fantastic those japanese concept artists were. Truly awesome.

The painting of the city scape was meant to be a matte painting but really only passes as mediocre concept art. One thing in defense: back then we hardly had any easily available photographic reference and nifty things like AO, GI and FG were missing too, so even 3D didn't help that much. Well - at least it should have helped me a bit more with perspective. Eeek.

The crater one is another version of the crater posted below. This one doesn't look like an anus and I actually kinda like it. Still - I'd do things entirely different. The lack of a thought out atmosphere is disturbing though. So is the lack of lighting on the clouds.

It really rocks my world a bit to think that this was 10 years ago. I met some really cool people back then and made some really good friends there. Especially my friend Remo - who still lives in Hawaii to this day. Need to visit him again soon.

I also miss the Japanese artists I got to work with. Absolute pros and talented to the T. I made friends with a few of them and would love to see them again one day. At least my good friend Hiroyuki Seshita, who was such a cool guy. Might happen, who knows.

Since digital cameras weren't any good or affordable back then, I have only a few photos from that time - but I'm glad I scanned this one. It's my friends Neville, Jeff and me (on the far left) in Kauai. We chartered a Hughes 500 helicopter, having landed in the middle of a broken volcano chimney. I remember the pilot (behind us) telling us that one could only get there by chopper. There were no doors in the heli, so I was hanging out of it during much of the flight. Sweet times, sweet times.

If anyone would have told me 20 years ago in Austria, that one day I'd be living in Hawaii, zooming around in a chopper, I'd have asked them for a hit from their crack pipe. And now? Now it's already 10 years ago!!!

Now, what do we learn from this? If you get to do something cool, work on something cool or are just in a great situation - look around, enjoy, memorize, photograph and share. And don't be a dickhead.

Talk to you soon.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

10 years ago ...

... yes boys and girls, 10 years ago - Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within. I miss Hawaii :(

Most of the designs were done by fantastic concept artists - I did the illustrations over the line art. Funny looking at that stuff again. Time surely goes by quickly ...


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Recent Song

Here's the first song I've made in about, well, almost a year. Since one can't upload mp3's on blogger, I made this little video. I rendered some cheesy mid 80s style 3D atrocities so you've got something moving to look at. Don't look to long though, otherwise you'll get sick - rather listen to the music. Might make you sick too though ;) See you soon!

PS: Eeeek - just noticed that the upload applies a BRUTAL compressor to the whole thing. I redid the upload and applied a quite tight compression to the audio track. Hopefully it'll sound a bit better than the first upload. And if someone knows a free site where one can upload files / mp3's to link to, please be so kind and let me know. Thanks :)


Here's the song for download:


Thanks for the offers though, guys!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Depression: The In and the Out

This is for Tim - with whom I share the passion for diving.

I wanted to write about the topic of depression for a long time - since this blog is not only about my art, but finding my creativity and passion again after depression.

Quickly some disclaimers to the things written below:

* I have let quite a few things out to either protect my or another person's privacy
* This was written late at night and are purely my personal views - so keep that in mind.

Anyway - here we go:

It's quite interesting that people who have not gone through it, don't know anything about it.

But on the other hand, it's such a personal thing and a sickness of the psyche - one does not go run around and talk about one's depression like one is telling a story about how they broke their leg during last winter's ski trip.

People are also dismissive when it comes to depression: "Yeah, we all feel down every once in a while. You should just lighten up!", etc. I'm not free of guilt either. Years ago, a person I very much respected, needed a job and asked if I could help him out. That person also told me that he was depressed and needed the job. He was honest and in a bad spot.
Unfortunately I was such an arrogant bastard back then, I dismissed the plea for help but also dismissed the person's depression. I just had no idea what it meant.
Whenever people dismissed my state later, I was hurt, but then always reminded myself of my own ignorance. Even though it can be hard to take.

Before I can talk about how I got out of my depression, I have to talk a little bit about how I slipped into it. The above photo was taken in March 2002 - about six months after I had broken up with my partner back then. It was a quite painful and traumatic breakup for both parties.

The b/w pictures were taken by myself in the half empty apartment that I still stayed in after she had left. I think this was pretty much the point in time when it all started.

I had never really learned to talk honestly about my feelings and that was a partially what lead to the failure of the relationship. This lack of being able to talk about what's going on inside, also prevented me from finding closure after the whole thing was over. I just tried to "move on" - like I did after the relationships before that one.

Three months later I moved to New Zealand for six months to work on a project. As one often does, I thought the change of location would help. The work was exciting, the people were great and New Zealand was beautiful.

When being at my apartment at night though - dark things crept in. Feelings of tremendous guilt, what if's, conversations with the person I had broken up with - the whole spinning wheel of dread. I said to myself "Oh well - no wonder you're sad. You just need a little bit of time to get over it." I had no idea that it would take me a good six years to get over it.

I remember listening to a radio program, where people spoke about their divorce. They described their feelings and problems - I thought "Hmmm. Weird - that's how I feel. Strange. But I'm not divorced, so whatever ..."

Now I wish I hadn't dismissed my feelings back then and had recognized the sign. Those people were mostly talking about depression. But I had no idea what kind of dark monster I had set free and which was beginning to embrace me in it's all-encircling black tentacles over the next few years.

Fast forward from December 2002 to April 2006.
[In November 2004 I moved to New Zealand again.]

I had gone though several unsuccessful relationships in those years.

Moving from LA to New Zealand really kicked my depression into high gear. Leaving my social circle and my friends kickstarted the whole thing. A few months after arriving I really began to fall into a deep pit.

I had started to drink on a daily basis - something I had never ever done: I got drunk by myself.

I was still, after FIVE years, living in the past. Still having imaginary conversations with the person from back then.
But it also had become crowded in my head - I felt guilty about all the other broken relationships in between.

I had conversations with fantasies and mental abstracts of people I hadn't seen in years. Talking, saying sorry to persons that had moved on long ago. I played through scenarios from the past. Possible other outcomes to ease the regret. A kind of mental "Groundhog Day" of emotional horrors.

After a while, nothing made sense to me anymore. I was completely emotionally confused, I had lost any self confidence. I thought I would get fired from my job any day. I had stopped doing my own paintings. I hid away at home. I basically was afraid to go out into public - afraid people would point at me and say "Loooook, there he is! He's a loooooooser! He's the bad person we heard about!"

I was living in my own head so much that I felt dizzy. I bumped into things constantly and had trouble driving my car. I thought it was from drinking so much.

I thought I had to move back to LA because I'd lose my job in NZ. I just had broken up with my girlfriend of 1.5 years, because she wanted to come with me and I couldn't see that at all happening.

Important point: with all this craziness happening, I still had NO IDEA that I suffered from DEPRESSION!!! I thought I just had hit a bad streak. You know, life goes in waves. Up and down.

The turning point:

Well - after I had broken up with that girlfriend, I had to raise the white flag. I couldn't go any further. Not one step. My life was headed in a direction that was becoming destructive, even dangerous. The only thing I knew was, that things were getting out of hand and that I needed help. Maybe even professional help.

My ex-gf, bless her, was really supportive and got me the number of a therapist here in town. A year before I would have said "Therapist? Why would I need one? I'm not crazy!".
But now I gladly made an appointment and dragged myself there.

This was the beginning of getting out of depression. The realization that:

* things were not "normal"
* I had a problem
* I couldn't 'fix' it myself - no, I needed help.

I think this is one of the biggest problems with depression: first, realizing that one suffers from it and, second - accepting it. Not dismissing it.

The first therapy session was already a big relief for me. I was in such distress that I just basically talked for an hour straight, and would do so for a very long time on a weekly basis.

Lucky for me, my therapist is an ace in her profession. She immediately recognized my troubles and guided me for the next two years. I visited her once a week.

Parallel to therapy, I went to my GP (doctor) and, now, that I knew what I suffered from, asked her for help too. She prescribed a mild dose of an SSRI, to basically keep me from bottoming out.

This April was my last session. It was a rocky ride. Getting better is not a linear process - it's a lot of ups and downs too. I hit some potholes during these two years, but with the guidance of my therapist and the knowledge that I had no other choice than getting better I went through it.

Bit by bit I began to understand how certain parts of myself worked, what caused my depression, what behavioural habits I had and needed to change.
Usually with realizing certain mistakes I made and the reasons for making them, they disappeared.

With that understanding, I also managed to break my relationship patterns.

I think this is not a standard recipe, but this is how it worked for me.

Now, seven years after the breakup, more than two years after starting therapy I have basically re-entered life. I'm still hurting inside here and there, but I realized that I have to learn to live with it.

I have started making my own art again, as you can see below. Currently I'm on a music making spree.

I have found a wonderful partner and am in an equally wonderful relationship.

I'm not drinking anymore by myself and have stopped other destructive habits.

I look at life differently and like to think that I have changed to the better.

I am not thinking anymore that I am a loser or bad person.

Heck, I think I'm starting to kick ass again these days! ;)

Tim, I hope this gave you some insight. Please send me a personal message if you have any questions or if I can be of any help. Cheers.

Hey - and the gray hair kinda suits me:

If you think that someone might want to read this, please pass it along. Thank you.