The Prophet and the Pueblo 48 Hour Film Festival

Pueblo 48 Hour FIlm festival Prep

The Pueblo 48 Hour Film Festival screened October 14th 2017. This year Foxy-Wolff brought a short titled The Prophet.

As with every year the Festival has a list of requirements that each video made in the 48 hour time limit must include. This year those requirements included; setting: a body of water, character: a prophet, props: a mask, an aircraft, and the number 11, and the lines: “Survival is Insufficient.” and “We were not meant for this world”. This event is sponsored by the Pueblo City County Library District and this years theme was taken from the All Pueblo Reads book Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel.

If you’ve been following the blog you know we have been quite pressed with the coming installation of Weighting to Rise. So pressed that I didn’t think we would be able to participate this year, but Gabe would not be daunted and came up with a quick concept and script and we went to work.

Using characters from the Limited Liability Insurance Company Play set and a couple of toy planes from the Arc Gwaby pulled this little piece of madness together in no time and we were so glad to be able to participate.

Here it is folks, a true testament to human creativity and ingenuity.

Cleaning Up at Foxy-Wolff Studio

With school and The Magic Box complete we are moving back into projects and ideas that we had to leave behind because of the limits of time. First up is the heavy cleaning/rearranging of the studio for a series of classes coming up beginning in early February.

The studio is above all a functional space and changes a great deal to suit our current project, most recently, aside from a small space for us to fill some christmas pottery orders it has been a storage space for The Magic Box. Also we’ve been so focused on that project that some of the unused corners of the studio had filled with unconsidered objects.

My grandpa loved games and puzzles and there was one he had that I played with often. It was a small plastic number slide game.

Rearranging a small space is exactly like playing this game, it’s all about how you begin. For us this meant moving the boxes, pedestals and art from The Magic Box into storage until it shows again. So the storage room was the place to start for us. Gabe is an animal about this kind of work, and he had all my personal storage lined out in an afternoon and the pedestals and the rest put away in the next few days.

While he worked that out I had to make sense of the working area. That space has a tendency to get cluttered with the remnants of works in progress, including old clay bits in need of reclaim and tools misplaced on shelves. A clean studio is not always the highest value but its great to get a clean reset before the beginning of a new project. I think it helps to keep ideas fresh and forces us to deal with the dust fairly often.

This freed up the center space, leaving only the Kuan Yin of the Magic Box on a table in the center of the room. More heavy lifting cleared a space for The Great One and we hung her where she can watch over the large front room.

The glaze room was the next priority, that involved clearing the old front office space of everything and then gathering all the materials and tools used in surfacing the ceramic in the kiln.

Critical to inviting other people to the studio to make art was lighting all of the work space. Gabe to the rescue again. Heres a funny little video he made to celebrate getting up on a ladder (again).

Look for posts coming this week with details on the upcoming series of classes.

The Magic Box Complete

The Magic Box has been the central focus of Foxy-Wolff over the last three years. During that time the project evolved into more than we could have imagined when we conceived the idea in hotel room in Hays Kansas. To bring all that time and work together into a solid installation was the focus of nearly a year of that time.

The first step to bring the installation to completion was the show catalog. The size of the objects with their projections makes photography one of the most demanding aspects of a show like this. To get the images we felt we needed, we were fortunate to borrow the gallery at Colorado State University.

Magic Box Catalog (low res)

This was a dress rehearsal for installing the complete show and so required us to consider every aspect carefully. This meant pulling together and retesting all the tech, building the pedestals, and solving the problems set aside for later consideration. Once done, we were ready to set up and photograph the show.

Because projected video is such a crucial element of the installation, lighting the gallery was a central consideration every time it went up. For the catalog we lit the space far more than we did for the actual showings of the work, but even so the images were very challenging to work with.

One of the most incredible things about this project is how multifaceted it is, requiring us to extend all of our skill sets. This was especially true of the catalog. Most graduate students hire out this aspect of their MFA show, but because of my intermedia emphasis, I chose to do this myself. One of the long-term goals of my education was to become proficient in Photoshop and Illustrator. This was the first step on that road. Using some terrific online tutorials, I shut myself in the house for 6 weeks and got focused. In the end I had to learn Indesign as well, plus stay focused through repeated edits but it was a wonderful period of learning and we were really happy with the result. Here is a link to the tastytuts channel. It’s a fantastic resource.

https://www.youtube.com/user/TastyTuts

Once all these preliminaries were complete we were off to install the show at the Moss-Thornes gallery on the FHSU campus in Hays Kansas. Getting the work and equipment to the gallery was our next major hurdle. Our plan was to rent a truck but by the time we finished acquiring all the last-minute gear for the show we were way over budget on the project and so had to find another option. fortunately we were able to arrange the install with graduation weekend so my parents took it and us in their camper and we all stayed for the weekend.

We consider the blog and the website a central piece of The Magic Box. To bring those aspects into the gallery we used QR codes as gallery tags. We generated these through a Japanese company that allowed us to incorporate text and images into the codes design. Using these meant we could keep text and other distractions to a minimum in the space and worked beautifully with the overall content of the piece.  All the QR tags are shown in the catalog pdf above.

Once all the details came together the installation came down to the same effort and endurance required of all installation days. Though exhausting, this is one of our favorite aspects of working in the visual arts. With a couple of good hard days we had the show up and ready for visitors.

In addition to the show in Hays we were fortunate to be invited to show it at the Hoag Gallery at Colorado State University-Pueblo. It was wonderful to get to put it up and take it down so many times in a year, of course each gallery added new features and challenges to the work which really allowed us to understand the dynamics of the entire show.

 

It’s a thrill to see the installation complete and hear from so many people who appreciated the work. We have settled on our next large-scale project and will be developing clay bodies and concepts in the coming months, stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freestyle Video at KACA

We were super fortunate to get to teach our Freestyle Video class this year at the Kansas Artist Craftsman Association conference this year. The 2016 KACA conference was held at Heston College in Newton Kansas. The small campus wreathed in autumn leaves was an ideal setting for the weekend.

The workshop is a one day project in which we planned, shot and edited  a video by student participants and ourselves. To accommodate this abbreviated production schedule Gabe and I came in to the weekend with both a concept and a song for the video being produced. The song, called  Steppin, builds on a simple beat that moves the action of the video, movement then became the focus of the project. Gabe wrote the song on his iPhone using the Garage Band app. The song was originally 250 bars but with only 142 used. He used 18 different digital instruments and his crafty thumbs to create the song.

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The first half of the session focused on storyboarding and capturing video. Walking in the context of the campus and conference was to unite with the beat of the music to create the content. With Gabe blasting the song from the back of the car, we walked in groups and singles with cell phones used as primary tools to offer what would be the foundation footage for the project. People then went through campus and the conference to add to this base. The clips, shot in 30 to 45 second blocks so they could be emailed into a single account would make sharing that data possible, so that footage could be shared.

We had a long lunch break which we used to prepare for editing. The day was in two blocks and participants were not required to do both to participate so we lost a few from the morning but gained more for the afternoon. the great challenge here was to help each person with the tools they either already had or would have access to in the future. With patience and tutorials from YouTube we were able help everyone to transfer the files and to use all the footage captured.

Drawing clips from the email account where they were stored, each artist edited their own version of the project using iMovie. Again there was a range of experience in each participant. For some it was their first time turning on a Mac and for others it was more a matter of small assistance with app details. Once all the videos were complete they were uploaded to a drop box so Gabe could use pieces from their videos for a final edit of all the material into our version of the project.

Our goal for the workshop was to help facilitate participants ability to make and  video using the tools at hand and to demystify the process of digital art. We are thrilled with some of the results. thanks to all the students who participated in the project.

Here then is our video and those of some of the participants.

Maddie Stutzman

Janet Lewis

Chronic Pain Out West and the 48 hour Pueblo Film Festival

Life moves quickly, since our last post we’ve moved through many projects, most importantly we completed The Magic Box and showed it twice in the last several months.

Several other projects have moved along as well including our video work.

The latest was our first entry in the Pueblo 48 hour film festival., Since it’s the most recent work we’ve done, it felt right to start the blog back up here.

We made the Video last weekend.  We started as a collaboration with a friend from work, but he had to step out due to illness so we changed it to a Foxy-Wolff project.  My kids agreed to star, I figured out a drag costume, Gabe drew me a beard and we went to work. Thanks Big to Aidan Jarrett and Emma Jarrett, and Kathy Key for the use of the farm and ATV, we had a blast with the project.

The video is almost completely made on iPhones, including music and editing, though Gabe did have to put it in the MacBook to Merge the two.

Look for more posts coming soon about the work we’ve done this year.

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Filming The Empty Room

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Filming for this project always includes elements of what we know and have done before, and things we have never done or seen.  This project fell inline with that completely.  There is always the cramped spaces and the need to be very careful with the ceramic.  The camera angles are always tricky and there is a carefully crafted technique for using the camera, both in first person shots and in third person that adds movement to the static ceramic.

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This film added elements as well.  For the first time we used the device of the flash back.  This adds to the story telling and also breaks up long views of ceramics in conversation.  Earlier posts discussed the extra requirements in building that these required, but they were also time-consuming in terms of filming.  Many of them had separate small films for the magic boxes that had to be made before the scene could be set and filmed.  Once this was complete, they could be filmed, but they continued to add challenged to the musical composition and to the editing because they break up the space and time that are sometimes required to edit or compose something cohesive.

Another addition to this film was a second camera.  We acquired a Go-Pro this fall and used it for the first time in this production.  It was especially effective in some of those flashbacks, where the extreme wide-angle added an interesting element to the memory aspect of Terry the Squirrel.  The size of the Go-Pro was also useful in allowing us to go inside with the figurines and get shots that were impossible before.

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The camera was not the only new piece of tech we used for this production.  Video splitters and tiny TV’s replaced the cell phone tech that we have relied on in the past.  This excellent innovation cuts cost significantly for the overall project and gives the houses a permanent solution to the video requirements.  The splitter allowed us to run all 3 TV’s of the new house off the computer for the filming.  This was huge as it allowed us to eliminate the constant pulling the phones out of their cases and trying to sync videos by pushing go at the same time.  We will convert to inexpensive DVD players for the show in 2016.

Rather than recording the audio first as we have in the past, the voice audio came in about mid-project.  In terms of filming and editing this was not ideal, but it did allow us to be more agile as the project developed. We made some late stage edits to the script that really made for a better film.

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No matter how many tricks we employ, the real work of the film comes down to capturing the images and threading them together with script and music to create a cohesive art piece.  This film satisfies our needs as artists to deliver a piece with integrity and direction that is watchable and entertaining.  Stay tuned, we will release it quite soon.

 

Film Festival Trophies

Every year we make the awards for the Pueblo 24 hour film festival in our home town Pueblo CO.  This year we made a video to accompany the process.  Rather than write about this one, I’ll let you watch.

The screening was this weekend and the entire event was very successful, with 25 entries and 18 films for judging.  The big winners of the night were the makers of a film called “The Brighter Side”, Gabe and I were lucky to catch up with the winning team, Lyonman productions at the event to offer congratulations.FullSizeRender

You can view the film here:

The festival is in its 7th year and is growing steadily, If you are interested in learning more or possibly entering a film next year, their website will fill you in of the details:

http://pueblo24hourfilmfestival.com

You can also watch the films from previous years at this address.

Process Oriented

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As the breeding season has been winding down, we have finally been able to give the next house in the Magic Box project some serious attention.  The outline for the script has been done about a month, which is a huge advantage in that we can solve problems in the building before it is built.  We chose to use a building from our city, Pueblo Colorado, for our model.  This is 230 Union Ave, likely built in the early 1900’s, along with most of the architecture in that area of town.

Once the building was chosen and photos taken, the next task was to simplify it and choose details that would carry forward to the model.IMG_5965

This quick sketch done at my kids karate class was the beginning of the process.  We have several needs as we design these buildings.  For me, the first priority is the art and craft of the ceramic object, I want the work to be complex and compelling.  Strong attention to details give the work an overall feeling of mastery and solid construction allows the piece to survive its constant handling.  Gabe’s top priority is its function as a film set.  Careful attention is given to the window and door openings for camera access and the movement of the characters within the space.  The object has to serve the story as well, this three-story building has a restaurant on the first floor, which will require a larger cast and more furniture and so must be somewhat larger.

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We used cardboard models to conceptualize the interior space, especially the stairs and furniture placement, which will be a complex problem.

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Next ,was to make scale drawings of all of the individual pieces to be used in the construction of press molds, which are used to ensure uniformity of each element so precise fit can be achieved.  My discovery of graph paper has been a tremendous help in this process.  I’m spending a fraction of the time on this process compared to past projects.

This conceptual stage is possibly the most difficult in collaboration because there is no physical object to discuss.  To get around this Gabe suggested we build the entire piece in card board so that the details can be clearly understood by both of us, which allows us to work effectively and eliminates the feeling of wasted time on un-communicated ideas.

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Our primary consideration in the early part of this process was to work out details of the windows and doors so the brick texture can be applied correctly, but it has been a hugely useful tool and we are continuing to use it to consider engineering and aesthetic questions as they arise.  Today, Gabe finished the roof detail, which really begins to pull the building together.

A note to non ceramists, all the size dimensions are wet, clay shrinks throughout its drying and firing process.   Shrinkage has been calculated at approx. 12% for the clay body we are using for this piece, making  the finished house somewhat smaller than shown.

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The Magic Box

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Though the video was completed in May, we have done very little to share and promote it beyond our Facebook circle.  Preparing the work for our first major show entry has motivated us to begin sharing in earnest.  Here we share the video and a brief artist statement that accompanies the work.  If you are interested in learning about the project, we have blogged it extensively since October of last year.

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Foxy-Wolff is an art collaborative featuring artists Gabe Wolff and Kate Fox. The focus of our work is in uniting the oldest forms of art (ceramic) with the newest (digital technology) into works that honor both history and craft tradition, while at the same time exploring contemporary life and culture in a thoughtful and meaningful way.

The Magic Box project is inspired by toys and explores the lives of ceramic figurines as the Magic Box influences them. Central to this work is a story of misplaced desire and addiction, and one squid’s attempt to save his relationship and understand his world.

The ceramic objects are central to a project that includes technology within, in the form of touch screen portable devices and technology without, in the form of a video that uses the house and its characters as the set and actors.