Snoqualmie

The Snoqualmie Falls is a 268 ft (82 m) waterfall on the Snoqualmie River between Snoqualmie and Fall City, Washington, USA. It is one of Washington’s most popular scenic attractions and Shellys first stop after the Bryan Ohno Gallery downtown in the International district for us to discover her hometown surroundings.  More than 1.5 million visitors come to the Falls every year, and we for sure did not want to miss out on this beautiful piece of nature and American history.

For the Snoqualmie People, who have lived for centuries in the Snoqualmie Valley in western Washington, Snoqualmie Falls is central to their culture, beliefs, and spirituality. A traditional burial site, to the Snoqualmie, the falls are “the place where First Woman and First Man were created by Moon the Transformer” and “where prayers were carried up to the Creator by great mists that rise from the powerful flow.” The mists rising from the base of the waterfall are said to serve to connect Heaven and Earth.

What better place to start our first photo shoot in a series here this week in Seattle and it did not take long before I bumped into Laura of Snoqualmie wandering the shores.

The eerie light, the grey blueish water and the black algae at the bottom of the falls all spoke for Laura, and for me the Snoqualmie Falls will forever be connected to Laura.

Laura of Snoqualmie

Or should I say Twin Peaks ?

The Week Ahead

The week ahead is going to be awesome.

A fantastic wooden roller-coaster in all its glory and we got a great slow start (and slow is a good word choice) including a 24 hour fly in to Seattle (did we mention that our captain took a vote of sympathy with all the stranded passengers in the south of the USA and we happily had a 4 hour delay in the city of lights before we departed to the city of the space needle) and finally met Shelly in person for the first time after we decided a good year ago to embark together on this creative adventure, called Stuck In Plastic.

It felt like old friends connecting, and while I am still not sure if you hug old friends here in Seattle, it really felt great and natural to meet my partner in crime for the first time.

We continued our roller-coaster downtown and went for a quick meet and great with Bryan, which turned in itself into a warm welcome, discovery of customs and cultures around the globe with some sake on the side.  I am sure there will be more of this exchange of experiences in Seattle this week.

After some sleep (don’t get me started on the magic awakening at 2 AM in the morning in the wrong timezone, one of the reasons why we like to take it slow here in Seattle), some coffee, a few croissants and a little of real LEGO building (more on that later as well), it was time to go and check out the works of the show.

And they do look awesome.

Tomorrow we will give you some exclusive behind the scenes when we deliver them to the gallery, but for now you will have to trust me, they do look awesome. All off them. The big beautiful arches of Shelly, the deep blues of Vesa, and yes, I am happy with mine as well (and some of you know I was walking the walls of nervousness the last few days and was dying to see the prints).

And then we went of Snoqualmie.

sqoqualmie

Snoqualmie Falls was a most awesome experience and will for sure feature a full blown past later on here on SiP taking a deep dive into the falls.

For now, I can only say the raw material looks awesome.

And then the roller-coaster continued when Shelly got a text to check out the Seattle Times

Seattle Times - The Week Ahead

We have just left the station …

Me2 & Crew

Toys are not Meant to Sit Still in Your Basement

“I will fly to the moon and back..”

When I started collecting Lego minifigures two years ago, photographing them was not on my mind. I was an enthusiast who was more than happy to see these tiny plastic people smile at me just as they did when I was a kid. Photographing them on my smartphone came about a year later. Since then I have become “telefonfotografcisi” on Instagram, shooting Lego photos and sharing them with a number of total strangers and a few close friends.

After sharing the first photo I took on my balcony (for the record it was the gnome fig on a beer can) I received about 30+  likes, most of which came from people I did not know. Even-though I am not motivated by followers or likes, I liked this feeling. I was motivated to do more and preferably even better photos. It means even more when strangers like my photos (sorry friend!). I know I can count on my friends to eventually “like” some –if not all- of my photos since they are happy to support my endeavors. Strangers though, only like a photo when they sincerely do so. They love the work, the idea, or the artistic effects you applied; nothing more. That seems to be enough for many of them to double-tap your photo or hit that magic button to follow for more.

And this has been my greatest joy in coming out, speaking up and sharing my creations with others on Instagram.

Because creative work needs to be shared… eventually.

Now that dear Shelly, Boris and Vesa are just a few days away from “In LEGO We Connect” art exhibition opening on March 5th in Seattle, I have come to think on this more and more. As one of their many fellow fans, I am excited and looking forward to hearing about the show and sharing in any good news. I am sure all their hard-work and years of experience on mastering their art will more than pay off on this day.

Even more important -for all of us- is, these three people, who were total strangers to me and to each other just a short time ago are now leading a stage-act to inspire so many of us.

These three photographers have come out, spoken up and shared their creative worlds with us. And on the 5th of March they will share it with more, share it bigger, share it bolder.

Even though I am unable to be there and support them in person, I will do my best to make them feel assured they have our blessings.

Shelly, Boris and Vesa have illuminated up a path for us to share our imaginations. Now it’s our turn to walk that path and bring our toys out of the basement.

Because creative work just can’t sit still.

It needs to be shared…eventually.

Good luck, my friends!

~ Serhat

Land Ahoy

Only 4 nights until we hit the long haul overseas to the other side of the world. Only 7 nights and a little to the grand opening in  Seattle.

The prints have been selected, viewed, reviewed, reprocessed and sent to our friends at the color group and I cannot wait to see the result in Seattle on Saturday (yes, I still get a chance to see them in real live before you all do and I may still make a run for it).

The moo cards have been ordered with some works from the show and should arrive in Seattle just in time for the opening (what do you mean that name cards are so of the eighties ?),  the supporting booklet I always envisioned to make as that little extra has finally been sent to the printing office and if everything goes well should arrive in that same city somewhere next week before the opening.

The laundry is done, the tux is ironed, the crew is excited and … I must be forgetting a million things not yet done (note to self, we need to pack).

The grand opening is coming closer, and I would be lying if I am not thrilled to say the least and at the same time slightly nervous (read pretty very much nervous).

Stage-fright.

The thrills of new adventures and the big unknown.

Land Ahoy, Seattle here we come.

Do the Work

“Standing on the Edge of Everything” by xxSJC

Do the work; this is my daily mantra and it has been extremely effective at keeping my emotions in check and the panic level manageable as hanging the show and the opening reception are looming just around the corner.

No matter what happens next week, or even next month, I feel I have done the work and I have been true to myself. Whether this is enough to win me a broader audience, to launch my work to the next level or to open up unforeseen opportunities, I have no idea. But I would rather know than not know.

To find some inspiration and solace in these stress filled days, I turned to the classic book on the creative process Art & Fear and found this passage:

“In the end it all comes down to this: you have a choice (or more accurately a rolling tangle of choices) between giving your work your best shot and risking that it will not make you happy, or not giving it your best shot – and thereby guaranteeing that it will not make you happy. It becomes a choice between certainty and uncertainty. And curiously, uncertainty is the comforting choice.”

I have lived with uncertainty for too long. I want to live on the edge of everything and experience life to its absolute fullest, even if I fall flat on my face.

So here is to being an artist, for going the extra mile, to putting yourself out there until it hurts; for doing the work. Because in the end when you are standing next to your image hanging on the wall, that is all that matter.

~ xxsjc

I wrote a piece earlier on being true to yourself. I have been thinking a lot about that right now as the inevitable comparisons will be made when all our work is hanging side by side. But I feel good about my work only because I know I have been true to my own path, no compromises where made on this particular journey. 

I do apologize the blog has been so “I” centric of late. Hopefully we will get back on track with other topics and other conversations after next week. 

Go Big or Go Home

Breaking-in-the-Tauntaun
“Breaking in the Tauntaun” by Avanat 30″ x 30″

For those of you luckily enough to live near Seattle and will be able to attend the upcoming StuckinPlastic exhibition, you are in for a real treat. All three of us, Me2, Avanaut and myself, prescribe to that popular slogan “Go Big or Go Home”. So when we originally talked about what size to print our photographs, it was unanimous that we would all go large.

In an age when the majority of photography viewing is done on a small screen like a phone, tablet and occasionally a large computer screen,  we have forgotten (or never experienced) the joy of seeing an image large. So large that you see the grain pulsating, the snow sparkle and thousands of gradations of green.

Even though I knew Boris and Vesa where going  to print their images large, they surprised me with how big they were willing to go. So large in fact that I had to ask Boris how the heck he thought I was going to move his prints around? Not everyone has a car that will fit a print 28″ x 96″ . (If you don’t know how big that is, think 1/2 of a 4′ x 8′ piece of plywood.) Lucky for him I have a car for every  occasion.

When Boris first posted “The Dark Knight” on Instagram we only saw it in sections; each panel a different piece of the puzzle. This is going to be a rare opportunity to see this image as the artist has always intended. I’m very excited for him (and me)!

Vesa went the extra mile and dug into his original RAW files and reworked all the images for this exhibition. As the only one who has seen a hint of the results, I can assure you it was worth the extra effort. Images that were once a monochromatic blue/black have a subtlety of color not hinted at before. It is as if the last remnants of the setting sun left a faint glow on the ships pictured; breathtaking.

I myself, am no stranger to large images; I have always been drawn to oversized prints. I have chafed at the artificial constraints of Instagram where everything is square, small and can’t be enlarged. To have this opportunity to print my images as I have always intended, large and atmospheric, is a joy beyond compare. Each print is simply framed with no mat or glass; just a large frame surrounding each image.  As Bryan was quick to observe, they are like windows into another world. This was the perfect description since I am merely a voyeur into the magical plastic world of the LEGO mini figure.

If you are lucky enough to have the chance to exhibit your own work, I want to encourage you to go big. In this fast past world of quick photos and insta mentality, give your viewer something different. An image that will make them stop and notice how beautiful a well crafted photo can be.

~ xxSJC

How big is the biggest print you have ever printed?

Notice I did not even try to make the conversion to metric or talk paper sizes. I wanted you to experience the constant frustration we have had communicating size across three languages and four different styles of measure: inches, millimeter, paper size and aspect ratio. 

If you want to have the option of printing your images this large then you need to read this  post on the subject. 

Henry D. Angst

Goodmorning Saturday !

It is Feature Friday time again, and as I mentioned earlier, I wanted to use Feature Friday to reach out to some great people I would like to meet in Seattle in less as two weeks time.

One such person I discovered on IG is a mysterious man, going by the name of Henry D. Angst. I don’t know much more about Henry (or should I say Stefan) than that he is living in a city not that far away. Hamburg,  a good ten hours south from where I normally hang out with the car or just over an hour with a plane. A city I passed a few times since we first liked an image of eachother on IG, yet I never stopped to say hi and have a coffee.

A stranger, yet we exchanged books.

An IG friend.

I know I will not be meeting @herrk in Seattle, just as I will not bump into @east_mountain (a good two hours away) or @popapan (another 4 hours away, and an IG lady I discovered through @herrk) but I do want to meet them one day, just maybe not in Seattle next week.

We were talking about meeting in Berlin later on this autumn, and bring our toys and cameras along.

Shall we start drafting in a date ?

Rules are Made to Be Broken

LEGO Chima bird holds custom sterling silver double headed axe on the edge of a cliff
The Tipping Point

 

I have certain rules I set for myself when editing down images into a cohesive set for exhibition. One of them is to not be too attached to any one image and always be suspect of any image I am too attached to. But rules are made to be broken, even this one.

I have an unnatural love for the Chima line of LEGO mini figures, I will freely admit this. Even though LEGO sells this line well, the online toy photography community tends to be pretty disparaging of these figures. I see this opinion reflected repeatedly in the number of likes for a Chima image compared to just about anything else I post. I know that an images popularity is dependent on many factors: when you post the image, who is active during that time and of course the subject. Some figures just have more pop culture resonance than Chima.

Because I can’t seem to make up my mind on the final six images I will be showing next month, I printed two extra images so I could do some last minute editing. I was uncertain what the last alternate image was going to be until I was tagged in someones feed that had posted this image:

IMG_7520

This image hit a little too close to home because I was (am?) this kid. Maybe this is why I like the Chima sets so much, because they are the underdog, the nerd, the misfit, much like me.

So I went to my desk and found my favorite image featuring a Chima figure and got it ready for printing. I sent it to The Color Group (who are beyond awesome) for enlargement. I know this image will look great but has little salability (I admit I could be wrong), but I don’t care; I am super excited to see it hanging proudly on the gallery wall.

I can’t stop haters from hating, but if I am going to lay it all out there, I should include one of my personal favorite images of the year. I’m going to break my own rule of not including an image I am overly emotionally connected too, and let the chips fall where  they will.

~ xxsjc

I want to extend a very large thank you to our friends at The Color Group who have been more than wonderful to work with. They are printing all the images for this show (18 large scale prints), working with two artists from out of the country and holding my hand as I periodically melt down. They have made every deadline and printed the work with care and professionalism. I can’t recommend (or thank) them enough.

Promotion: the Artists Achilles Heel

I think a lot of artists are under the assumption that creating a body of work for a gallery show is the hardest part of any exhibition . I would like to propose that creating the work is actually the easiest part;  while promoting it is the most difficult part.

Promoting ones work is never easy for an artist; it feels weird to blow your own horn over and over again to get noticed. But in this new reality of everyone being an artist and every artist being a small business person, a part of the emerging creative class, that is exactly what you have to do. Blow your own horn; time and time again.

The idea for this show was a pipe dream of Me2 and myself over a year ago. It wasn’t until I pitched the concept to Bryan Ohno last summer did we have any chance of it becoming a reality. Since that fateful pitch,  I have been laying the ground work for promotion. I have been trying to be an active member of the gallery, creating connections with like minded friends, letting existing friends know what I would need if it all came together and  then not being shy about asking for it, giving away my work to promote interest and of course building up my social media profile across four separate platforms.

And this from the person (me) who quit all social media except Instagram over a year ago because it was ruining my life. Now I find myself so deep down the social media rabbit hole I wonder if I will ever escape again.

Yet I have been overjoyed by the response from friends both online across all media and in real life. Friends are putting up posters around town and on the Eastside (read Microsoft campus), other friends are using their own business and personal networks to get the word out, many friends are sharing the event via Facebook, I have received lots of personal responses to e-mails expressing congratulations, regrets and of course a few “Yeah! We wouldn’t miss it!!”

I am definitely reaping the rewards of having spent a good chunk of my life’s energy on the internet and in real life creating connections and I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

So if you are one of those mentioned above, thank you!
Thank You !!! Yeah right, Thank You, You Rock !

Yet I feel it won’t be enough and I am asking for your help. We have joined our respective boats together here on StuckinPlastic and for this I am grateful. Now we need to make some waves with this amazing toy, plastic, LEGO, friendship boat we have created together.

I want you to share the information about this show with your friends, circles, groups and connections. We are a global community and our reach is incredible. It will be fun to see exactly how far we can spread the word and make our collective plastic, fun loving voices heard.

Why ?

Because we know you care, you care for the toys, for toy photography, for the creative toy revolution we all stand for.

This show is as much about YOU as it is about us; you who have supported us , you who want to join us next time, you who want to stand proud when you are with family and friends taking a toy photograph.

Help spread the word. The more waves we make online will only lead to more interest, (hopefully) national press, international awareness and put toy photography right where it belongs…in the spotlight. Because the world needs a little more joy and a few more smiles.

~ xxSJC

So, how to help us get the word out ? Just download this image and share it on the social media platform of your choice and link it to us and tag it with #ohnolego here on the web, on FB, G+, Reddit, Tumblr, … 

If you know of anyone who we should contact, please let us know in the comments. No lead will be overlooked and TLC will be included.

Rest assured we will repay all your efforts and energy by paying it forward! We believe in good karma. :D

inlegoweconnect