Don’t get ANGRY! Get indignant.

When a social injustice occurs why do smart people get indignant, dumb people get angry, and children rage?

When has “anger and rage” not fostered dismissal, anger, or more rage? Justified, intelligent indignation historically leads to lasting change; but when has anger or rage positively affected a social change for an extended period? Rarely; so rarely that the real occurrences, expected and known by the angry, should be called to the question.

Is using the “social injustice ‘anger and rage’ affectations” a form of bullying? Before we answer, we should consider. My immediate response to the question was, “No it’s a tool!” Then I thought again. The outburst of “anger and rage” as a tool is, absolutely, a learned affectation humans use to create social change in our world. However, the method by which this change is demanded is a response to our desires that we humans have evolved to change our physical appearance, language, or vocal tonality appearing more powerful to those we are acting upon. It is a method of declaring oneself the dominant leader, king of the hill, the master, or the god. It is the primary method for affecting desired change used by warlords and children alike. It is effective. It gets things done. It harms. It is not honored or respected for long.

Wouldn’t a better, smarter, more socially justifiable tool for change be the “indignant and calculated” action? I thought about it this way: if I stub my toe but then get mad and rage about it, no honest human is ever going to offer aid and actually hope I will accept. They may offer to help, but they are only responding subserviently because their evolved response to “anger and rage” is to pacify, which raises their chances of physical or psychological survival. Guess how we humans respond to bullies? The same way, by kowtowing to the bully’s needs, wants, or whims as a defense method for our physical or psychological survival. We may not even realize we are fostering future bullying.

Now the question changes. Does this make us all bullies? Is the change we are affecting a “social change for an extended period?” Or are we only fostering more dismissal, anger or rage toward our desired changes? I’m calling into question my own beliefs on this. I’m thinking about all the times I got angry, and questioning all the outcomes that occurred around me.

I think it is time for change, a real social change. It is time to get indignant about all forms of bullying. It is time to affect intelligent indignation world-wide in response to bullying behaviors including “anger and rage” affectations. It is time to evolve to affect lasting change in the hearts and minds of humans through conversation, love, kindness, and science.

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Remembering to Read

For several years now my media intake has been mostly visual mediums. I watch a lot of movies, online TV,  science clips, and Green brother’s videos. My primary reading is of online news articles and tech trend reports. I consume novels, but I do it via audio books. What I haven’t done is read the piles of e-books I own. Well, “piles” may be a bit inaccurate. E-books are  massless.
After recognizing this glaring inadequacy in my life (along with regular exercise), I’ve decided to do a one man book club here and follow it up with micro reviews to keep myself accountable for actually finishing some of these books.
This book club of one isn’t likely to contain a ton of popular novels as those will still be consumed via audio book, but it might have one or two books that will be interesting to a few of you.
First on my list this week:  “A Beautiful Anarchy” by David Ducheman.

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Diversify or Die

I’ve been intentionally nomadic due to work contracts for about eleven months now and have recently been informed that my primary client was no longer going to exist after April. What this means for my future marketing contract income, I have yet to fully predict. Since this contract is a client I have worked with for nine years, it did come as a surprise and it alerted me to how eggs-in-one-basket my work has been lately.
Because of this amazing work schedule I often have several days without active work in which I have been doing art projects and just enjoying life, albeit at as low a cost as possible. I realize now, however, that I have misused quite a bit of my time over the past several years as I became more comfortable with my contract schedule and less stressed about money overall.
Recently, Jean and I had the ten year plan talk and were trying to determine the savings we could accrue if we continued in our current touring work for a couple more years. Now, with this contract coming to an end, I’m faced with some tough life choices again and frustrated about the options. On one hand, I can continue with similar contracts at a lower rate and work more often to make up the difference. On the other hand, I really want to never be in this situation again and feel it might be better to rely less on the marketing contracts for income. I have been doing photography for events and some commercial work over the last couple years, but if I’m going to take the plunge and make photography a primary income source, I’ve got some major overhauling to do in my personal marketing strategy. I’m not sure what I’ll do yet. I keep hoping something will happen that will seem like the obvious choice. If I had focused as hard on photography as I have on my marketing contracts, I would likely be in a totally different life right now.
I keep dreaming about a life where I’m not constantly concerned about where my income is coming from, or whether the artistic ideas I have are monetarily worth trying.

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Getting Paid to Create

Rightly so, the relationship between creatives and clients is on a knife’s edge when it comes to money. Clients always want the creation that matches their vision. What clients don’t always want is to have to hand over cash for that vision to be created.
I get it, I really do. I hate having to pay the auto mechanic to make my car run the way I want. That said, if I don’t pay the mechanic to fix the car I have two more options: research the problem so I can buy the tools and fix the car myself, or hope the car magically fixes itself. Clients of creatives, however, have convinced themselves that there’s a fourth option in the process of getting what they want – exposure credit.
Exposure credit is used as a loophole in which a client with actual sway can convince their creatives to labor like slaves for free on hours of detailed work; work which the creatives studied diligently to master; work which requires special tools to accomplish.
All of this the creative does for free. Why? Well somewhere along the line someone convinced that creative that they were making something out of nothing and that the “nothing” cost them nothing and was therefore valued monetarily at nothing. They were told that the best they could get was their name in the paper, a fleeting second of recognition, a pat on the back. Some creatives are self critical, self doubting, self loathing even. They really do need a pat on the back. That recognition does feel nice. So, the clients used this social need to obscure the truth that the creative was being manipulated. The pattern was set. The client now had an amazing creation and made bundles on the consumer’s monetary recognition, while the creative got a pat on the back and a request for more labor.
This is the pattern. This is what happens. This should not be the pattern. This should not be what happens.

I urge any creative out there to take an honest look at the value of their work to the consumer and have that financial discussion with any client that seeks to acquire a new creation.

That said, I do creative favors for respectful friends. Just know, friend, that I stack favors like the Godfather when the time comes.

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Heading out to Milwaukee

I’m heading out to Milwaukee on Friday and will be there for about ten days. I have yet another Auto Show in which I’ll be working as a product specialist for the Scion brand. Toyota, Scion’s parent corporation, recently announced that the brand was going to be absorbed into the Toyota main line at the end of the summer this year. I’ll be sad to see it go. I have had over nine years of work contracts representing Scion at these shows and have made many friends of coworkers throughout the years. There’s no word yet on whether or not there will be similar contracts available for next season, but even without a sure future in the industry I can’t fall into moping about it. I’ll be using this change in my work balance as a kick in the pants to start taking some of the other facets of my art and photo industry work more seriously.
One other thing, I’ve been writing journal entries in Evernote for a couple months now and supplementing the entries with audio notes, as well; much like the Star Trek captain’s log. Recent inspiration had gotten me back to the WordPress and blogging, so perhaps it makes sense for me to do simple journal entries here too. After all, blogging was originally a form of public journaling. If I spent half the time I spend on Facebook each day writing thoughts here, I could have a book anthology by now. 🤓

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Creating Backplates for Future Photo Composites

20160104-115856__Photographer_Jon_DeckerA couple of weeks ago Jean and I traveled to Ireland for our long-delayed (5 years) honeymoon. While there I wanted to grab as many photos of the deteriorated castle walls as I could in the hopes of using them for Composite backgrounds in the coming months.

Taking the photos was the easy part, though the rain and short day length felt otherwise. Now I have over a thousand images I think could be useable for my compositing. I’ve rolled through those images in Lightroom CC, collecting them by designated use. For example, all the background layer worthy images go in one collection while the photos that are great for their separated subject go in the Objects collection.

Screenshot 2016-01-30 12.31.59After using Topaz Remask in Photoshop CC to separate the objects, I can have a little fun layering together cool looking pieces until I have created a rough image sketch of what I’d like the Background Plate to look like.

Screenshot 2016-01-30 13.44.43I then go through the painstaking detailing process to make the image clips all look like they were actually part of that place for real. I use all the levels and colors tricks in each layer. I hand detail shadow adjustment where necessary as a separate top layer. I’m trying to make this look real. If it catches people’s eye because of illogical geometry, sometime that’s ok; but if catches people’s eye because the colorization doesn’t match, then I failed.

I will, with the Ireland images alone, have over a hundred of these Backplates completed within that Ireland castle ruin theme. Most, if not all of these, will never see the light of day unless I end up using them in future editorial photos. In the meantime, I just like having a stack of unreal locations to choose from for my personal projects – like friends’ cosplay, or steampunk shoots.

The sculpture in the header image is just a placeholder I used to try Nik filters on.

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Steampunk Fashion: Featured Photo

Steampunk Guy

This is the first entry in what I hope to repeat as a regular feature here on Grasping @ Creativity. This featured photo is of a fashionable steampunk enthusiast. In this case, it’s me.  If the future “features” are of friends or other models, I will do a quick writeup of their character and design ideas to give the image a bit more context. Below the description I’ll be placing the model’s and photographer’s preferred links. Today, I’ve included my social link below the image, for when you want to stalk me.

Photographer: Slade Wilson

Model: Jon Decker


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Grasping at Creativity: Starting Over in 2016

Over the last several years I have let this blog fall into disrepair. Currently, none of the old image links work properly because of some update to the infrastructure a while ago. As of writing this, I haven’t written an interesting article in several years. I missed out on many opportunities to do really cool articles because I simply didn’t see the value in the idea until I was apathetic to the action of writing it down.
Back in 2010 when I first started to let this blog fall away, I had been slowly gaining momentum with an idea of turning this blog in a place to explore new steampunk art that I like, interview the artists, and write articles about their work. I did a few articles that featured artists I had met that year, but I never really put enough time into the idea.
I got distracted when I wrote for the blog because the writing, in and of itself, wasn’t as exciting as the feeling of joy I got when people commented on or shared the articles. I know that probably sounds like a no-brainer for satisfaction in retrospect, but at the time I had a hard time getting past the hours wasted on articles that no one cared about. I simply stopped writing anything because I was a bit depressed by the apparent lack of interest in what I was writing. The real thing that bogged down my public writing was making it too personal and thinking it would be important for representing me to people in the future. That’s a ridiculous thought, I know.
I’ve been doing an audio journal for the last couple months that includes my ideas and significant events of the days. That means I no longer feel the need to write those statuses or posts for sharing on the web. This morning I felt the desire to write, draw, and create again like I haven’t done for several months.
I’ve been a travelling “nomad” due to work for the past year, and it’s starting to feel normal to me. For a while the feeling of being without a home base depressed me so much that I stopped working on any creative projects of my own. I filled my time with dumb things like social media and random television watching. It stagnated my brain. It’s time to come back to the playing field, so to say.
Hopefully, this post will be the first of many new articles. I’m going to re-focus on the steampunk genre in art again. All the posts for the foreseeable future here will be in that vein. Let’s see what happens.

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Insta-Photo: Sleeping in the adventure wagon is sometimes unavoidable.

This image was posted by @JonDeckerPhoto on Instagram during May 27, 2015 at 11:24AM. ~ Follow @JonDeckerPhoto on Instagram for more.
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Car Mod: Dip the Weels

The CR-V has the original wheel hubs still and they came with wheel covers that, though chrome, are a bit dinged up. The wheel cover perfectly matched the steel wheel shape beneath and seemed a bit unnecessary to me. I decided to ditch the covers and plasti-dip the hubs using Anthracite metallic plasti-dip with a gloss clear coat. Here’s how it came out.

I’m satisfied with it, and it has held up well in the last two months.

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