Saturday, April 19, 2014

Over and Out...

I was talking to someone about self-promotion the other day, and they said "Why don't you get a Blog?"  You guys know I have a Blog, but it's rarely for self-promotion.  The whole idea of self-promotion can get slippery fast.  And I have to wrestle with it almost all the time.

In a sense everyone's self-promoting in a way, but some are more guilty than others in how they do it.  Or maybe more importantly, the WHY they're doing it.  It's only a matter of degree between some huge celebrity on a magazine cover and a kid with three chords and a guitar and no audience-- it obviously feeds the Ego.  And that can easily become a dangerous habit, a loop, so sometimes all the rest of Reality sorta fades away.

You can now start your own publishing business without paying creators anything.

"Devil's Due Digital" is a company run by one Mark Thompson, who continued selling downloads of my comics after our contract expired in 2013.  He has worked hard to rip people off, like myself, and to earn an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau for it.  Stay away from him, kids.

So I recently had to contact Amazon, Comixology, Barnes & Noble and a bunch of other venues and ask they remove all the stuff Thompson was selling.  And not paying me for, incidentally.  It took almost all afternoon one day, that I could've been using instead to madly promote myself.

I really don't want to fight with people, not anymore anyway, but this Devil's Due Digital thing was like someone literally robbing you.  And you can't sue Thompson, coz he's hiding all the time.  No one knows where he is, even Intelius can't find a decent address for him.

 A newly-reformatted music album by the Von Hoffman Orchestra.

On another note, many of you know of my "Monster University" properties, which began in 2002 or so.  There have been three full music albums, a half-hour cartoon, plus some comics, prints, and other merch. The songs are some of the best work I've ever done, I think.  It's sold steadily for years, especially around Halloween.  Remember?  Remember?

Well, nowadays you can Google "Monster University" and none of that stuff appears.  I mean NONE OF IT.  All you get is Pixar's "Monsters University".  And the boat slowly sinks under the waves.

Nowadays a green circle can be a character.

Now, I'm not saying they ripped off my idea, but think about my side of it.  What if it were you? 

Never mind that there's also a Japanese "Squid Girl" cartoon on in America now, after I went and created one waayy back in 2001.  Mine is called "Squid Girl" too.  Another amazing coincidence.

 The two Squid Girls meet.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I'm pretty tired of the whole "entertainment" thing.  And it's not just that I'm not richer or more famous.  I want to create things and have freedom to do so, but I can't wear all the hats.  I don't know why I thought I ever could.

So rather than talk to you all, I could just can it and start another Blog just for "promotion".

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Beauty Standard...

I've made quite a few notes recently about topics I want to write about here, but I confess I'm falling behind.  I know folks are reading these entries, but of course it's a job to write them and I don't really get much back except tons of glory.

One such topic is my new theory concerning Standards of Beauty.  We all think we know what "beauty" is, personally, but also our culture tries to tell us what's beautiful, too.  Trying to nail it down actually can be confusing.  But I'm not so confused anymore.

Did you know that in parts of China, enormous ears on women are considered the apex of beauty? I can't even get a handle on that.  Pardon the joke.

Or it could be foot-binding, tribal scarring, breast implants, neck-rings, lip-plates, tattoos or you name it.  Then there are the Actions of Beauty, which in our culture can mean doing your best imitation of an object. Or if you're here in Wisconsin, using the word "like"  multiple times in every sentence.  That is like, so, like, attractive.

 A random Money-Honey picked from the hat of today's Fashion.

So everything is beautiful, and it really is, even all the karmic blemishes and societal pock-marks of collective Humanity, but I also think we need to be really, really careful and observant about who's trying to decide these things for us.  After all, there's big, big money in Beauty.

Your Beauty could launch a thousand ships, for example.  You could have a pyramid built in your honor.  You might get paid six figures or more to be a model or actress that fits the weird genetic roulette beauty ideal thingie we have now.  Men could actually be beautiful. It could all get confusing fast, and scary too, but never fear, you have Hoffy here to bail you out.

Another prisoner of an aesthetic.

Basically, part 1 of the Theory is this:  Beauty is everywhere and omnipresent, in a flower, a sunset, a cracked pavement block, a Downs Syndrome child's smiling face, and even the hideous scarring that occurs at your friendly local plastic surgeon's office as you seek answers to the aesthetic issues that drive your mysterious life.  Beauty is blue baby barf, or your lips locking onto a damp cigarette butt you picked up off the street.

Part 2 says that in the hierarchy of power, the force of money drives domination.   So, your homespun, quirky and likely unfashionable concepts of Beauty mean nothing without adequate funding.  As a spectator to all this, you are continually devalued, even as an object, your basic humanity unrecognized and therefore nonexistent.

And with any value that equates to money, the system must be rigged, and it is, towards scarcity.  We already apply the idea of scarcity to precious metals, like gold, and to diamonds and other rarities.  In fact, whole nations economies' are backed up & based on these "rarities".  But you can't eat or breathe gold, and diamonds ain't bringing grandma back either.

Worried? Keep your valuables inside another valuable.

So in the current Beauty market, there must be SCARCITY.  "Average"-looking people on streetcorners simply can't qualify.  They have no backers.  Forget that little kids' feelings get totally tromped on during this whole process, that little girls are flooding and verily overflowing shrinks' offices today, infected with serious body-perception issues they've picked up--somewhere.  Push that from your mind.

This is why the most popular (re: highly paid) actresses today look like some sort of bony giraffe/human genetic hybrid.  It's a little freakish.  But that is how it works: again, SCARCITY.  Beauty must be RARE at all costs.  If it were really common as dirt (which it is) our whole system would collapse.

But that's coming, too.

I'd add that while assembling a few images to illustrate this entry, I Googled "Beauty" and "Cosmetic Mutilation".  Either one is apt to completely creep you out.  Even worse, the line between them gets blurry fast.

How do we un-explain all this to our children?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Taro Mochi Snacktime...

In case some of you imagine that all I do is complain, find fault, cause injuries and then pour acid into the wounds, here is a hot 'n' fuzzy experience I'd like to share gleaned from a trip to the local Asian grocery store.  That's Asian, not Oriental, to you other acid-pourers out there.

No matter how attractive the packaging, don't eat it.

The sheer visual noise of aisle upon aisle of crass labeling and a million words of barely comprehensible Engrish was suddenly stilled by the serene beauty of the image above; a box of desert snacks.

As a collector of Color Palettes, when I spot an unusual or unique arrangement of hues I make a note, or scan, and catalog it.  When I began doing this, I learned a lot about I could apply to using color in Painting. I found, for example, that different eras seem to have their own peculiar color schemes.  The 1970s naturally springs to mind, deep browns, oranges and creams on Supergraphics, or the 1960's Leroy Neiman and Peter Max.  Who are our colorists today?

Getting back the package above, make no mistake, it was designed by someone with an artist's eye.  Probably, they will go on to become a painter, after they complete their time at the corporate grindstone.  I hope so. This package was only one of a series of "flavors", but this one stood out.

A digital Palette spawned by the exquisite Taro Mochi packaging currently on trial.

A Google image search's contribution to a "visually similar" picture; colors, yes, shapes, no.

When using an image search, I found that an uncommon amount of material from foreign websites appeared.  In this case, it's an example of our language limiting us from a more global experience.  I had no idea just how deeply the Japanese are into the "online" experience.

Below is one of my recent "channeled" Symbolist paintings called Vibrational Portal, which I also launched an image search with.  I typically create these types of pieces without much forethought, then wind up decoding them afterwards.  The shapes and patterns follow a symbolic logic much like Australian aboriginal art, and the have "flows" in directional axes in linear time and multi-dimensionality.  This one, for example, has a clear X/Y axis.

A recent 20"x24" acrylic painting with metallic gold. 

So when searching for visually similar images to this, I found far less "people" examples, like the Taro image that yielded almost nothing but, and much more artworks and interiors.

Search result with more of a shape/color balance.

Next I inverted the colors, basically created a negative image in Photoshop, and repeated the search.  I do all this to save you the time and trouble, and to discover whether technology really has any sincere intuition so that its random chaos actually jigsaws into our experience in a helpful way, but of course it doesn't. It's like getting your palm read by Robbie the Robot.

At your marks, get set...

Again, the results were largely foreign, and probably due to the stricter geometry involved, shape and color were equally represented.

Sometimes there are fruitful surprises "looking" at things through a computer's "senses", but for the most part I think it tells more about the infrastructure of the technology than really relevant similarities.

I suppose the most charm the process could exhibit is the initial sensation of surprise upon seeing relationships hovering outside the sphere of our own personal/emotional makeups, but that gets old pretty fast.  Rather than a smooth, continuous effect of directional motion like a roller coaster,  it's more like 45-degree angle turns in a UFO.

But if you try it too, then you can be the judge.


Here's a couple more relevant images:

Warm & earthy Supergraphic from the 1970s.
From the color dictatorship at the Pantone Company.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Flycatcher Filmstrips...

Continuing the theme of the last entry, I'll be commenting on the 2009 film Mr. Nobody, which we watched last night with the whole family.  I know I'm old-fashioned, but I will probably never get used to the new trend in acting of keeping your mouth hanging open.  Maybe it's supposed to be "emotive".  When I see it, I can only imagine a director saying "No, no, no!  We've got to shoot it again, your mouth wasn't open."

 Good eyeballs can take you a long way in Hollywood.

A friend recommended this film, and looking it up I noticed it's described as "Science Fiction", though I thought I'd understood it was about parallel lives.  So, we'd find out for ourselves.

I thought Mr. Nobody had some things to recommend it; visually, parts were quite amazing, but that's apparently typical now. The dinosaur yawns before being put down.  Characters seemed to be cast more for their appearance than acting ability.  And considering it was a joint French/Belgian/German venture, it was as Hollywood-looking as all get-out. That must be Creeping Globalism.

A Hoffman abstraction showing whole worlds isolated from each other.

If I hadn't invested all that time in the 2.5 hour "Director's Cut" I might not be writing this now.  But, I feel I have to say it--basically scream it at the stars like some baying wolfhound of prehistory who's lost its mate-- that even though this thing portrays a high-tech future, parallel lives have nothing to do with Science Fiction, any more than Edgar freakin' Cayce is interchangeable with Richard "Grumpy" Dawkins.

Not to say that in some distant future our head-up-the-ass Science won't enlarge itself to include things like parallel timelines, past lives, PSI energies and so on, but as of right now that doesn't seem likely.  People could lose their jobs.

More proof of something.

So, we have to be a little vigilant, because just as a giant corporation like Monsanto can do the Science-stomp all over small farmers with GMO contamination and then throw around words like "Coexistence", we certainly don't need them Scientisters co-opting and "co-existing" with the New Agey stuff.

They just ain't earned it.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The End of Science Fiction...

As a story genre, Cowboys and Indians is today a fairly spent force, as are Cold War spy novels and Graustarkian adventure tales.  Spies were undoubtedly real, but the Cowboy mythology had nearly no basis in reality.  I've been to the OK Corral.

The first yummy image a Google search coughed up for "Science Fiction".

It took the Europeans to transform geriatric Westerns into something really epic, the Spaghetti Western, where good and evil got distilled, magnified, exaggerated.  Sure, you could still spin soap operas about lost love, but as soon as you point a gun at someone you have instant, high-intensity, if not high-quality, drama. That's gotten to be an incredibly overused gimmick, to me.

Adventure-tinged "Sci-Fi" with a dash of low-level porn.

I read tons of Science Fiction years ago, finally picking Stanislaw Lem as the coldest--or coolest--intellect around.  Dropping his name was like offering your scent to the pack after rolling in carrion.  No wonder they booted him out of American SF.  But do watch the original Russian Solaris film, if you get the chance. 

Science Fiction has historically made some pretty huge promises, in spite of dystopian warnings.  Today, Science itself is also caught red-handed making more promises than it can keep.  It has claimed that we'll soon understand consciousness by studying the brain, and, we'll conquer all disease by mapping the human genome.  Neither goal has been reached, and most of the investors have backed out of Genetics, which should illuminate things clearly--just by following the money, as it escapes.

Did anyone ever really want to live here?

Materialist Science, or "MatSci", could take a huge hit by not immediately healing all human ills as promised, but it can always request more time, which it usually does.  But with Consciousness, there's no ailment to be "fixed", so there's no one to blame for a failure to produce results. But the prime fallacy of MatSci is the idea that material machines can explain the immaterial, that is, our separate consciousnesses.

The "10,000 Year Clock", the watchful, cyclopean eye/idol of MatSci.

My own experiences with "expanded" consciousness, for lack of a better term, aren't something I keep a secret, but they are somewhat personal as they're part of my evolution.  Mainly, they concern many of the things MatSci dismisses out of hand: "psychic" experiences, past life memories, viewing auras and other energies, so-called "ghosts", exploring alternate timelines, and out-of-body projection. 

So ultimately, I don't need the MS priesthood to give me permission to know what's up with the Universe, any more than you need it to tell you that you love someone.  But then, you may think that your emotions are nothing more than chemical reactions, which is certainly a common, but false, belief. And even though the scientific priesthood claims it's so during work hours, they themselves don't bother adhering to it on the weekends.

Science Fiction illustrates all sorts of possible scenarios based around technology, some good, some bad. And that's not to say those events won't ever happen; people could well merge with machines and become cyborgs, but machines, approaching the technologic "singularity" some claim is coming, will never, ever attain consciousness.

Ask yourself how would we tell, anyway-- by using yet another machine to test for it?

Our friends the Materialists would like to imagine that everything's a machine, and that matter preceded consciousness, but in fact it didn't.  Even a technologist like Nikola Tesla understood that the Universe operates vibrationally.  Also true is that the frequency spectrum is infinite, spatially and dimensionally.

Vibration alone sends sand grains into atomic & biological patterns.

The prime component of the militant MatSci guerrilla force, the "skeptics", "debunkers" and other members of the scientific clergy, is Ego, the same aspect of consciousness that currently holds much of humanity at a  vibrational impasse.  Nowadays most people--men, usually--have flexible definitions of ego that allow them to maintain their bad behaviour, but its actual function owes more to eastern mysticism than psychology.

Basically, ego is what a dog doesn't have that allows it to live in the moment, thereby experiencing total Buddha-like connection to the Universe.  In that sense, every animal on Earth down to the last tiny little bug has an advantage over most us.  Even your pets can tell when an earthquake's coming.  A real, inquiring  Science would study that, but of course dogmatic MatSci won't even acknowledge it.

Your dog has an invisible halo.

Consciousness is a big subject, probably the biggest, so staying close to our theme I'd end by saying that Science Fiction, of the speculative sort--not blasters and cowboys in space a la Star Wars--is completely and utterly bankrupt because its foundation, the materialist/mechanistic paradigm, is false.

And "pure" extrapolative SF is rarely even a good story, it's just a manual to a potential destination, with reams of MatSci dogma lurking in the margins.

But no new mode of fiction need be invented to take its place, because even though Science Fiction is technically false, our Mythologies aren't.

Monday, January 13, 2014

DIY Genius...

How To Be an Artistic Genius
A Ten-Step Program

  1. Find an Artistic Genius to copy.
  2. If discovered, deny copying.
  3. Continue copying.
  4. Seek out powerful symbols, ideas or totems to include in your art as content.
  5. Check to make sure that content is offensive and negative.
  6. Accept accolades from audience who accepts offensiveness as Artistic Genius.
  7. Ego inflates accordingly. Enjoy.
  8. Face criticisms from a minority who are actually offended by offensive content.
  9. Become artistic martyr via attacks that reinforce and validate your special authority to use offensive subject matter.
  10. Artistic Genius achieved via mimicry, negativity and offensiveness. 
All joking aside, this process is everywhere in the Art world.  I know it especially well because I've done it myself.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

More Violation...

You may know that someone recently burglarized the stockroom here at Hoffman International and took off with all the stock. All the Art books, Comics & everything else was discovered in the trash.  Amazing.  And we never caught who did it.

Now we're re-doing the tile in our bathroom, and while we stepped out briefly for some heroin, some bozoidal maniac came through here and scrawled some of the most banal, pointless cartoons on the concrete backer board that I'd ever seen. 

So we took photos for the Police, and believe me, you have no idea how it feels to have your virgin privacy burgled  especially if it has not been burgled before.  It is a nightmare from which there is no waking. You never know when it may or may not happen again.

So here are the grotesque "Art" works, and I show them now only so that you will remember to keep your doors locked and trust no one.