Faces Of Venice: A Collaborative Photography Project

Hello friends, it’s been a while.

I recently started a new job as a Digital Artist at a design studio in Venice, CA. It has been a fun opportunity with lots of learning to be done. I am using it as a springboard for myself to get back into something that I really love, photography. I haven’t been shooting regularly for some time and this is the perfect opportunity to resume my pursuit of this art form.

The people down here have so much character.

The people down here have so much character.

One thing I have noticed about successful artists is their constant motion towards refining their talents. In this vein I have started working on a collaborative photography project titled ‘Faces Of Venice’.

Jason, one of the wonderful souls working at J's Rentals on the Venice Boardwalk is a true Venice local and a perfect subject for our #FacesOfVenice project.

Jason, one of the wonderful souls working at J’s Rentals on the Venice Boardwalk is a true Venice local and a perfect subject for our #FacesOfVenice project.

Faces Of Venice is a series of portraits on Instagram detailing and documenting the locals of Venice, California. Here are a couple examples. Please follow along as we create what is turning into a very fun and exciting project.

OK update 1

For those of you following along here, I am currently designing an art piece for the Burning ManIMG_0200 theme camp OKNOTOK.  After doing some sketching by hand, I have a pretty good idea of what I want to create.  The next step is to create a digital blueprint.  I have been working with Google SketchUp and having a great time.  Using the letters pictured here, I had to do some conversions to figure out the scaling for a human-sized sculpture.  I guess I did need so learn some of that math back in high school.

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 4.12.52 PMThe result thus far looks like this.  This is just half of the sculpture.  There will be propane puffers incorporated so that fire will be able to burst forth from inside the letters.  Supposedly there is going to be a class/workshop in the LA area after the new year for fire effects and art – this will be a good opportunity to learn about the pyrotechnics that will bring this art piece to life.

 

Burning Man 2015 prep begins…

Yup, it’s December 2014 and we are already starting work for OKNOTOK at Burning Man in 2015.  Some call us insane, some roll their eyes and say its ‘too early’.  But if you are a Burner, ask yourself honestly, does it ever ‘stop’ once you are introduced to the culture and experience of Black Rock City?

2014-12-08 11.54.47While some will relish the time off between Burns, others continue building, making, and turning inspiration into reality,  lighting up the sky in August.  Without giving away the fun details about what is in the works for camp OKNOTOK, there will be some changes and new sights to behold.  Make sure you party with us on the Playa in 2015!

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Up-cycled pallet raised bed gardening

Make this:

* MAKE SURE TO USE PALLETS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN CHEMICALLY TREATED.

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1.  Attach pallets at corners with bailing wire or string/cord.

2.  Use burlap or other similar material stapled to the inside walls of your pallets to prevent soil from washing out through the slats.

883541_10100948029238659_841374339_o3.  Fill your new bed with at LEAST 12 inches of Wood to begin with.  This can be a combination of split rounds, bark, chips, sticks, and twigs.  This wood should be free of any chemical treatments.  This wood will absorb moisture and keep the bed moist longer in dryer periods of weather.  The decomposing wood will slowly add nutrients and also provide a more diverse environment for the microorganisms that help plants grow naturally.

4.  *optional step: add a thick layer of straw around sides to insulate soil and add additional diversity to growing medium.

Side view of pallet raised bed garden.  Note the layer of wood below the growing substrate.

Side view of pallet raised bed garden. Note the layer of wood below the growing substrate.

5.  Fill the rest of your ‘bed’ with a quality soil.  If you are going to add amendments, now is the time to mix them in.  I like to add a layer of straw on top of my soil to help retain moisture and provide good worm/spider habitat – I even like to collect worms after a rain storm and toss them into the raised beds!

6.  Bend PVC or metal piping over your bed and secure with screw-on pipe fittings.  This arc will allow you to cover your bed with insulating material for gardening during shoulder seasons.

7.  GROW FOOD!  The end.

*  Additionally you can add all sorts of fancy-schmancy additions such as chicken wire, bamboo, or trellis depending on the particular crops you are growing.  As an alternative to the hoops you can get two-layer, translucent greenhouse siding to lay flat across the top of your bed.  This works best if you have not added too much soil, leaving perhaps 6-8 inches from the top of the soil to the lip of the pallets.

Using Strava with Google Earth

Very simple – Strava just (not sure how recently) added an ‘export GPX’ feature.  Even people using the free Strava account (like myself) can utilize this feature.  You then open Google Earth, and open your exported GPX file and boom – there is your ride/run depicted in 3D.

30 mile look in Topanga State Park.

30 mile loop in Topanga State Park.

Discovered Sullivan Canyon single track - wow!  Beggars canyon descent is not recommended on a hardtail...

Discovered Sullivan Canyon single track – wow! Beggars canyon descent is not recommended on a hardtail…

Long ride in Topanga State Park

I often think about how ‘productive’ I am being when I have down-time from work.  After finishing up my freelance gig with The Tennis Channel, I am back to searching for the next work

First rain I've seen in Los Angeles in over two months.

First rain I’ve seen in Los Angeles in over two months.

opportunity.  Productivity shouldn’t only be measured in dollars.  I’m talking about physical training opportunities, running, hiking, biking, etc.  I should relish the time off from work that I have because it allows me to pursue the things I love and affords me the ability to push my body and stay in shape for the next ‘big adventure’.

With all this in mind, I managed to get out for a couple runs including a half marathon distance this past week.  My left ankle (previously sprained at Burning Man) didn’t appreciate this distance very much.  I don’t want to stop running but I think I will stick to less then 10 miles runs to keep the impact down and give my body time to heal itself.  I am trying to help it along with LOTS of hydration and using compression after strenuous activity to help recovery.  To keep the intensity up and reduce impact, I turned to biking this weekend with a nice long ride in Topanga State Park.

A trail sign in Topanga State Park, Santa Monica Mountains.

A trail sign in Topanga State Park, Santa Monica Mountains.

Since I have been in LA it seemed like I had to drive a significant distance to find good riding or trail running.  This Sunday was a great instance of discovery as I learned that access to Topanga State Park is only a 15 minute drive from my house.  I accessed the great trail system from the 405 highway at Mulholland drive.  Parking is at San Vincent Mountain Park near the Skirball Cultural Center.  From this location you can ride some serious distance on a mix of fire roads and single track.

From the Parker Mesa Overlook you can see Santa Monica and Venice quite clearly.

From the Parker Mesa Overlook you can see Santa Monica and Venice quite clearly.

 

 

I intended to do about 20 miles and ended up grinding out just over 30…on the single speed.  While my bike choice wasn’t great, the terrain offered amazing climbing opportunities.  I was able to do a loop instead of an out-and-back and managed just shy of 5,700 feet of climbing.  It’s funny how I feel like the mountains here don’t even begin to compare to Colorado – true but the climbing exists.  This ride offered views of the Pacific ocean with some blazing descents.

Map and elevation profile of a trail ride in Topanga State Park.

Map and elevation profile of a trail ride in Topanga State Park.