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Archive | September, 2009

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Amazing Pencil Art Sculptures by Jennifer Maestre

Posted on 29 September 2009 by Tim

Artist Jennifer Maestre creates dazzling sculptures out of pencils. It is some of the most interesting art I’ve seen in a very long time. Not only is it a unique way to use a pencil but the designs themselves are enjoyable to contemplate.

Lets find out more about Jennifer’s work…

Interview with Jennifer Maestre:

What drew you to colored pencils as the medium for your art?

At first, I was just trying to replicate sea urchins, and made my sculptures with nails of all sorts. I was using a pretty nasty liquid rubber glue to construct the nail sculptures, and thought to myself (with what brain cells were left) what other pointy objects can I find in large and inexpensive quantities to create that lovely spiky texture? Ah Ha! Pencils!


Basically, the pencils were pointy and cheap. I didn’t start using them for any conceptual reason. I’ve always loved tiny pencils though, don’t get me wrong! I’m one of those people who used pencils down to the nub, even before I started making my sculptures.

How did you become interested in sea urchins and why do they inspire you?

When I was in art school, I saw a poster for a jewelry contest. The design had to include a pearl. I was making a lot a bandsaw boxes at the time, and intrigued with the idea of secret compartments. So, I had an idea to make a silver box, shaped like a sea urchin. It would have a secret compartment that held the pearl. I never did make the bow (I didn’t have the skills), but the idea of the form of the sea urchin as a vessel containing something precious stuck, and I started making them sculptures based on that idea.

Your sculptures convey a variety of emotions from warm and inviting to startling and slightly scary. Do you find that your mood influences the way a piece turns out?

Not really – the sculptures take so long to make, that I can go through many, many moods before I finish one.

About how long does it take for you to create a sculpture?

Anywhere from a week or two to a month. I hate to time myself, because that would make my art almost unbearable to make. One of the best quotes I ever read about beadwork was that it proceeds at a glacial pace. This doesn’t even take into account the time it takes to make the ‘beads’.

How did you come up with the idea of making the pencils into “beads” and stitching them together?

I’d already taught myself sculptural beading techniques, using seed beads- since I wanted to get away from the nasty glues, I thought of turning the pencil stubs into ‘beads’. Asteridae-small

For your larger sculptures, do you use any other material to provide a supportive framework?

I don’t make any armatures for my sculptures- the only ingredients are pencils and thread. I will make struts out of pencils to stabilize a piece, but they are usually hidden in the interior. You can’t see them unless you turn the sculpture upside down.

Occasionally, a pencil will split while I am constructing a sculpture- rather than take the whole row apart back to the split pencil, I will use a bit of glue and clamp the pencil stub back together.

Most of your sculptures seem to use a very small portion of the colored pencil. How do you use the left overs?

I use the entire pencil. I cut them into sections, and sharpen each section. I even make collages out of the shavings sometimes, I have bags of shavings saved!

Have you ever had to scrap a sculpture because it just wasn’t working or do you tend to find ways to salvage it and move in a new direction?

This happens more often than I’d like! I’ll work on something for a long time, and realize it just doesn’t make sense, so I’ll take it all apart and start over. It is ok, though, since sometimes the scraps inspire me to create something I hadn’t thought of before.

Tiamat-small Do you hand cut all the pencils yourself or do you have an assistant?

I do ocassionally have someone help me with drilling and sharpening. but it isn’t easy to find someone as detail oriented and patient with the work as I am. If someone doesn’t drill the holes correctly, I can’t use the pencils, so it is a waste. (I do save all the pieces, though- I’ve just sent a box of them to another artist who needed some pencils stubs for a special project.)

If someone is interested in purchasing a sculpture or other piece of art, where can they go?

They can contact Mobilia gallery in Cambridge, MA. Or, they can contact me, as not all of my work is at Mobilia.

Jennifer Maestre on Etsy!

Read More About Jennifer:

Jennifer Maestre’s Background:

According to her resume, Jennifer was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. She currently resides in Massachusetts where she is represented by Mobilia Gallery. Maestre earned her BFA in 1997 and has been doing shows since 1996. Her work has mainly been on display in Massachusetts although exhibitions have taken place in Wyoming, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Italy, among others.

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60 Hikes Within 60 Miles by Paul Gerald

Posted on 28 September 2009 by Tim

Hiking is probably one of my favorite outdoor activities. It’s fun and simple. You don’t need much more than good shoes and some water.

If you’re looking for a resource to help you find new trails for hiking Oregon and southwest Washington, then you’ll want to consider 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles by Paul Gerald. This fine little hiking book centers around Portland, Oregon and covers trails from the Oregon Coast to Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens.

The catch is, many hikes are outside the “60 mile” radius the title suggests. Distances to trails are measured from Pioneer Square in downtown Portland. So, if you live in Vancouver, Washington some hikes will be further and others closer and same if you’re in a suburb of Portland (Beaverton, Hillsboro, Clackamas, Gresham, etc.).

Paul Gerald grouped the hikes into rough geographic locations – Columbia River Gorge, Around Mount St. Helens, The Coast and Coast Range, etc. This works pretty well and makes it easy to narrow down your choices. The hikes are numbered 1-60, starting with Angels Rest-Devils Rest and ending with the Willamette River.

Gerald provides a wealth of information about each trail including obvious ones like length and difficulty and less obvious ones like permits, trail conditions, exposure and even wheelchair access. Each hike described in the book includes driving directions, a trail map and an elevation profile. The only unfortunate thing is that pictures are sparse and none are in color. Along with all the data comes a well written description of what you’ll see when you hit the trail.

I’ve enjoyed using 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles. I included some pictures from all the hikes I’ve done thanks to Paul Gerald’s trail guidebook. If you’re new to the Portland Metro then you’ll find this book especially useful. However, there are some trails in here that I’ve never even heard of.

The directions are accurate, the descriptions are useful and the variety is challenging. Can you do all 60 hikes? That’s my goal.

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Kumoricon 2009 – Part 3

Posted on 28 September 2009 by Tim

Sunday at Kumoricon was filled with interesting panels including the Dark Horse Industry Panel, Manga: The Complete Guide Z, Studio Foglio: Girl Genius, Cosplay 101 and many others.

Pictures from panels tend to be somewhat dull so I didn’t take many. But the dance warranted some attention. So, here’s a few choice shots from the Sunday night dance party at Kumoricon 2009.

Visit Kumoricon.org or follow Kumoricon on Twitter here.

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Kumoricon Pictures – Part 2

Posted on 27 September 2009 by Tim

Kumoricon 2009 was loads of fun. However, the line for Saturday nights dance was ridiculous! We stood outside for more than an hour before they finally started letting people into the dance. At least Domo was there to entertain us! Plus, reps for Venom energy drinks dropped by and hooked us all up with free drinks!

Check out the first picture gallery here!

Kumoricon 2009 Pictures (Part 2)

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The Cliche Remix LP by Ultraklystron (Karl Olson)

Posted on 22 September 2009 by Tim

I first came across Ultraklystron, or Karl Olson, from the Top 10 Nerdcore Artists of All-Time on Hipster, Please! Thanks to Z (from Hipster, Please!) for introducing me to him because since then I’ve been enjoying Karl’s complex rhymes and quality production.


The Cliche Remix LP

I’ve never really done a proper remix LP of my music, but since I’ve done two records in a row without any remixes on them, and because I ended up with an unexpected bit of extra time (thanks recession,) I decided to take my previously over-produced nerdcore tracks and make them exceedingly nasty and raw,” Karl explains in his liner notes.

Of all the tracks, Fashionable tops my favorites ’cause it has a great beat to dance to and I like the vocal samples. Gothic Lolitas is another fun track to add to your playlist. Topics are varied and include gaming, anime and girls.

I mentioned The Cliche Remix LP in my article – 7 Album Reviews, 140 Characters Each. Here’s what I said in my earlier review (110 characters): Cliche Remix LP Top nerd artist retools old hits. Awesome party/gaming/dance music. Free to DL but worth cash. Yup, you can download the whole album free!

Download The Cliche Remix LP by Ultraklystron Here

Track List:

  1. Game Over (Premix Dub)
  2. Gothic Lolitas (Jungle Dub)
  3. He’s A OG (Grime Dub)
  4. Fashionable (Electro Dub)
  5. Dumb Crush (Jungle Dub)
  6. Acta Attack (Grime Dub)
  7. DYKMK (MidTempo Dub)
  8. Absolution (Jungle Dub)
  9. Death Won’t Stop This (Grime Dub)
  10. Surprise Surprise (Jungle Dub)

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Next Gen by Dr. Awkward

Posted on 19 September 2009 by Tim

There’s nothing clumsy about Next Gen by Dr. Awkward. Doc Awk delivers a tight flow that is sure to appeal to a wide audience – even those who don’t consider themselves nerds. Headquartered in San Diego, California Dr. Awkward demonstrates his skill at crafting lyrics and beats.

Awk was picked up by Scrub Club, headed by MadHatter, and released Next Gen in 2009. The album features Kasparov, Kabuto The Python, and Pelicaine Einhander.


We are the future
Nerdcore’s finest
Next Gen minds with rhymes
that blind side ya.

The hit track from Next Gen is indisputably Geekquilibrium. The intro track is solid and F.U.F. is my second fav track behind Geekquilibrium. Clan War is sure to become a gamer classic.

Next Gen is the title track featuring Kabuto the Python. Ya have to love the Family Guy reference in Next Gen.

I heard she likes to naked
when a little bit faded
I’ll admire her Quagmire
and then I’ll spit “Giggity”
a chick does the splits
I’ll be lickin’ her split lickity

The album was crafted like a Smithsonian art display. If you’re into hip hop and you’re even slightly nerdy, you’re going to love the Doc’s prescription.

Download Next Gen by Dr. Awkward Now

Read about Next Gen on Nerd Lust or Hip Hop Nerds.

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Next Level by Dual Core

Posted on 09 September 2009 by Tim

From rollin’ D20s, seeding torrents, hacking to tech support, Dual Core covers the gamut of nerd life on Next Level.

Overall Score: 85/100

Next Level is what happens when two creative and talented people collaborate. Not only that, int eighty and c64 pull in the top names of nerdcore hip hop – MC Frontalot, YTCracker, Schaffer the Darklord, Beefy, Mega Ran – to join the party.

They kick off the album with a rock-based beat that has to be one of the best intro tracks I’ve heard in a while and it comes with the added benefit of not being named Intro. For You leads nicely into Kick Back and Natural 20s, two of my favorite tracks. Also topping my list of faves is The Game and Magnificent Seven. Eighty gets reflective on Life’s Work and Letter to c64. The latter being a nice touch of old school hip hop when MCs showed more respect to their DJs. Painting Pictures is a great personal track, not only is the beat hot but the lyrics are touching. The storytelling eighty employs reminds me a lot of Slug from Atmosphere.

Learn more here – Tim interviews Dual Core

My main complaint is about the sample on track 5 – I Remember, it was really repetitive and annoying. Overall, Next Level is awesome. I had a great time reviewing the album and it certainly earned a spot on my MP3 player. Be sure to check it out.

What do you think of the album? Leave a comment below.

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Kumoricon Pictures – Part 1

Posted on 06 September 2009 by Tim

Downtown Portland’s Hilton Hotel oozed excitement as otaku from around the Portland Metro and the Northwest swarmed to Kumoricon. Kumoricon is Portland, Oregon’s largest anime convention.

Featured Below:

  • Otaku on the streets of Portland!
  • Cosplayers!
  • Kumoricon’s Cosplay Fashion Show

Check out my first gallery:

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UPDATE: Laptop Receiving New Parts

Posted on 03 September 2009 by Tim

On August 20th, my laptop was KIA. On the 21st, its broken and damaged body was transported to Geek Squad at my local Best Buy for repair or replacement.

Here’s the update:

  • 08/21/09 5:38pm Checked In Product has been checked in and is awaiting shipment
  • 08/22/09 10:59pm Shipped Product has been shipped from the store to the repair location. Depending on the type of product, shipping may take between two and seven days
  • 08/27/09 7:29am Received Product has been received at the repair location and is being assigned to a Geek Squad Agent or a certified technician for repair
  • 08/27/09 7:31am In Repair Product has been assigned to a Geek Squad Agent or a certified technician for repair or upgrade
  • 09/02/09 9:23am Parts Received Parts have been received and product is being repaired
  • 09/02/09 5:43pm Parts Ordered Awaiting arrival of parts ordered from the manufacturer or approved parts supplier for repair. Depending on the supplier, parts arrival may take between three and ten days

I only have a couple things to point out. First, this is taking more than the average of 10 days that the Geek Squad guy told me. Although he did say it could take 14-21 days. Second, if you buy a plan from Geek Squad…get the replacement plan!! I have hardly had any good access to the internet since my laptop passed away. Look at all this time that I haven’t been able to update my site!

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