David Toal 1945-1978. This wasn’t the photo I was looking for when I decided to post something for fathers day. Of course that was this time last year, and this post has been sitting in ‘draft’ form since then so here goes.
The picture I intended to share was a *classic* of my dad smiling in a somewhat festive spirit, in the kitchen of our small Armstrong house, stubby empties and ashtrays strewn about. He was holding a hand written sign, not unlike Bob Dylans’ Subterranean Homesick Blues video from 1967, which was both whimsical and poetic. At least it seemed so to me. The text on the sign read, “Reality is a crutch“.
He wasn’t an artist, but this (now missing) picture is etched into the list of very few memories I have about the guy.
Few memories, and fewer artifacts. Among the collection of items that comprise my inheritance are; a bobcat skin rug from the animal he hunted, a burl from a tree he felled, and a couple of vinyl bins for the records he spun. In addition, and more appropriate considering this weeks upcoming sketching symposium, I hold his only known sketchbook, also from 1967 when he would have been 22. In recent years, I have been trying to declutter my life, and stop carrying many of these so-called treasures unless they filled a very specific need. The drawings are difficult to part with though because they take up so little space and I hoard paper and art enough as it is. That said, I felt that by scanning and sharing them here, I could part with yet another item from my past. I can’t say that my father inspired me to become an artist, but I do look on these fondly as a glimpse into his perception of life as a young man.
There are many back-logged posts and sketches to get out, (remember #inktober ?!) but tonight, I’m motivated share these early animation studies I drew back in my college days. These have been part of a collection of old drawings I have been hanging onto since I made them, but in an ongoing effort to decrease my worldly possessions they are on deck for destruction. I’ve taken it upon myself as I’m culling my final portfolios, to digitize and blog these artifacts to somehow ensure they have more longevity than the paper and ink they were rendered on. We’ll see how that goes.
The study here, if I remember correctly was simply to show some action, over 5 frames. These were to be rendered in ink, in a 3×4 format, and turned in on a clean card stock, with no eraser lines, no torn edges and no coffee stains. It was about telling a compelling story in combination with meticulous craftsmanship. And now they are animated GIFs.
My energy over the next couple of weeks is turning to both Halloween, drawing, and much more, which in part have inspired this post. I hope to share more drawings here, as I pick up on #inktober, and further ‘art decluttering’. There is no space for fear, as much as conditions may call for it, best to just dive in.
Which brings me to the theme and the idea behind “fail tales”, or sharing stories when things did not go well. A few years ago I attended one of the annual “Failure Wakes” held by the RADIUS Innovation lab, and was struck by the openness of the contributors, and how these innovators embraced their failures as “..fertile soil in which new ventures grow.” When the topic came up as a possible theme for the EdTech communities fall workshop, I was in full support. “What could go wrong?!” Well for some reason I couldn’t get behind asking others to share instances that may put themselves, in a vulnerable position. Unless I was ready to do so myself! In the spirit of camaraderie and the notion that our failures are the key to growth, I have decided to shere one of the worst EdTech fails I can think of in my relatively lengthly career in this area. I’ll let the video speak for itself, but a huge shout out to Duane Woods for putting this together so quick and off the cuff.