Friday, August 1, 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Op-Ed: When money enters the equation...

Chris sent me an interesting article today from Lifehacker asking its readers, "Does compensation kill your motivation?" This question applies to all professions and industries, but it's a pretty interesting read for anyone.

People in the A&E industries are driven by their motivation to create and entertain. We are one of the few very lucky industries where people pursue their hobbies as professions without the underlying pretense of money or compensation (i.e., you're not painting that picture because you expect someone to buy it). We do what we want because we want to, because we're driven by our love for the arts, and because we want to share our creative talents with the world, or have a genuine interest in entertaining others (sort of like how doctors have a genuine interest in saving lives). We spout creativity in school, have big dreams, and want to show our ideas to everyone.

But when you finally reach that goal of having your hobby become your profession, not everything is always peachy keen. Suddenly, what you enjoy doing becomes work (a chore), and although you still enjoy doing it (or think you do), the motivation to pursue other creative avenues outside work become less and less defined; instead, you just want to relax after a long hard day's worth of work, instead of doing more "work." Suddenly, job satisfaction does not equate to happiness, and at the end of the day, you start feeling empty and wonder "what went wrong?"
"[People] thought of it as something they really enjoy and like to do, but now they do it in order to get money, and they think of the task as an instrument to get money and not an activity that has value in its own right," Deci said. "Human beings both want to -- and, in a deeper way, need to -- feel a sense of being autonomous. When someone else begins to seduce you into behaving with an offer of a reward, it takes away your sense of being autonomous. Now you are doing it for someone else."
OK, so the above was a somewhat morbid scenario. It doesn't happen to everyone! Personally, I think it depends on what you do. I've seen plenty of people in my industry pursue their hobbies actively outside of work, even though they work with those hobbies for a living. I've seen others fizzle out and spend their free time contently not doing anything related to work, or frustratingly searching for that lost drive and creativity that led them to accomplish their goal in the first place.

Another example, does an artist do commissions because he wants to, or because he is motivated by money? At what point does the fun end, and the need for compensation begin?

I make video games at work, but I certainly don't make games outside of work (I play them with urgent fanaticism, rather). I do enjoy 3D modeling, but by the time I get home, I don't feel like investing my free time in any sort of 3D modeling project, even though I don't specifically do it at work. All I do at work involves scripting and coding, and yet, I enjoy scripting macros for certain games in my spare time. How does this fit into the above "motivation vs. compensation" equation?

So what do YOU think? Do you sometimes feel the same way? What's your motivation outside of work, and are you doing what you do because you enjoy it, or do you find yourself slowly doing it more because of money?


Original Washington Post article

on graphic designers and moving out

bye block serifs

i'm moving out of my boston apartment next week, so i've been doing my best to throw stuff out, clean up, and pack my belongings. i think being a graphic designer entitles me to being a pack rat, which is a good and bad thing. i keep A LOT of things around -- fliers i pick off the street, product packaging, lame doodles, ticket stubs, dollar store toys, vintage publications, candy wrappers, neck ties, etc.. everything can be used as a reference, whether it's some kind of tutorial or cultural reference or metaphor or a bad example of what not to do; or as material itself (i can't get rid of my foam core!!). good ideas and little hints that can help you along the way potentially live in this debris. you have no idea how painful it was to throw out a lot of my trade magazines. ughh.

but i did it. *sniff*

one of my design professors actually rents storage space to house her growing collection of crap that she won't part with. among a bajillion other things, she collects broken things and fasteners, things that keep things together. she explained that she liked the dichotomy. i can't imagine having more space to hoard things that were neat only to me. but at the same time, i'd love to if i could. it'd spare me from this emotional and mental anguish from parting with my crap that i so fervently accumulated. alors, it's important for me to move on, in life and in visual style. yeah, that's the post-modern spirit! and sifting through and picking out what is really cool and worth keeping just reinforces what i value in design already.

but don't even get me started with books. why do art and design books have to be so fricking heavy and oversized? moving is hard. i can only imagine what it'll be like later in the future -- more difficult.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Hi everybody. Found these webpages by this guy named Rafael Rozendaal. I mostly copied and pasted this from another site, just cause it was made so accessible, there. This guy makes these single purpose websites that are colorful, interactive, and just pretty fun to go through and play with. The mouse one took me by surprise. I thought I was looking at some sort of strange mirror.

You can check out more of his work here

The Fun-O-Meter

Here's a pretty nifty art installation project. An artist (or prankster...but it takes creativity to be both, right?) obtained a toy vending machine and stuffed it with capsules filled with IDEAS. It's sort of like a fortune cookie, except more productive and less "Confucius Says."

For a mere 50 cent insertion fee, you get an idea, a lucky penny, a vending machine toy, and a quarter refunded to you (so you're really only paying 24 cents). The artist felt that 50 cents was too expensive to charge for an idea, so he placed a quarter inside every capsule. The ideas usually contain things to do, like small pranks, daily activities, or traveling (in this case a map is provided). The lucky penny is so you can brighten a stranger's day by placing it on a sidewalk somewhere.

The Idea Vending Machine (via MAKE)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

tunes: love criminal

holy moly.
me and jimmy co-wrote this 80s song about a stalker/rapist. chris added his sweet synth magic to it and it's everything we ever hoped for -- epic and creepy. he just sent it over and i'm totally pumped!

download love criminal.mp3

KCRW Today's Top Tune

The above mentioned podcast gives out a new mp3 every day and about a 3rd of the time presents a great song. A few weeks back I came upon a song by Emily Wells called Requiem/Fare Thee Well. I can't find a good link to embed, so all I can recommend is to go to:

The first song that comes on is my favorite.

But here's another entirely instrumental work:

theremins rule

at band practice last night, theremins came up. it was totally random, so we wiki'd it, and i'm pretty fascinated. these instruments sound sad. like a wailing ghost. and how nerdy! the sound is produced by radio frequencies and electrical currents, so you wave your hands around two antennae to control pitch and volume, and you get sad ghost sounds. apparently it's one of the earliest electronic musical instruments. it's really quite beautiful and lovely to watch (good) performances. i love wailing ghosts. i really want one. and i want a theremin. hahaha.

here's a big nerd on youtube to tell you all about the instrument. and he'll even play you 'video killed the radio star' (but not very well).

but here's a beautiful example of theremin playing by clara rockmore who is apparently one of the greats in theremin playing (and is a totally rad old lady). watch her hands and the expression on her face; listen to the phrasing and the dynamics in her playing. that's a performance.

Monday, July 28, 2008

BBC Olympics Animation

The Gorillaz are no more, but its fun to see these guys still animating. Animation is based on the "Journey to the West", which is something I always hear about, and should probably catch up on.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

sketch: shadow or mess

something quick.
and i like making eyes hurt.