Erik Sanner Home Visual Other About

consistent concentration

something to aspire to.

last friday the dread pinwheel was spinning a hole in my screen. eventually, in the car, sister-in-law driving, trying to get work done on the animation, blocked at every click, decided to take a break. some solace knowing that chess rendering would continue back at my studio while i was out of town for the

did some walking saturday, with reasonable load (twenty-one pounds).

here's how my niece and i appear to the shadow world.

ruminated on what matthew and i might like to do together to make the kisokaido trek meaningful and fulfilling for both of us, and give us an opportunity to make some unique art which would otherwise not exist. keep returning to memories of our collage sessions in tokyo. painting in numazu was fun, but the tokyo sessions seemed more "serious" and the work is far more accomplished. of course, situationist-inspired wanders and games put us into a
rarely-attained state of mind, but none of that has ever been shared, beyond a few participants. there might be a way to incorporate tasks and rules into, say, photographing certain subjects, or using certain methods to take pictures, which will enable us to share some of those sensations with an audience.

sunday morning up at six to climb the highest mountain in connecticut (haystack). oh, there are no mountains in connecticut. well, i climbed a hill.

view from the top

but what most impressed me was the sunlight diffused by the fog yet still backlighting this structure, seeming to create a murky sillouette somewhere between our world and the shadow world.

witnessing visions like this, as rich as imaginings, provide a great deal of the motivation for undertaking the kisokaido journey. that and a mysterious desire to wear a clown nose with matthew again.

back in the studio, there were again moments when i saw a still frame of the anim
ation in progress and thought "wow, i'm glad i was stuck here looking at that"

amazing how quickly that sentiment was replaced by visceral frustration

faster computers? more-easily-executable ideas? concentrating on what i'm doing would help, too. realized, late sunday, never hit the "export" button and all those chess clips i was relying on my machine to churn through while i was off playing human with my brother's family - aren't ready. aren't even started. can't animate one thing and render another at the same time. so, it has been a week, was up late doing as much as i could. this isn't really what i had planned, but those ideas (of visual rhythm) are now notated and i did learn quite a bit. this animation is now complete, called "i never get that far" because it seems to illustrate the difficulty in thinking anything new - we are who we are and we think the way we do and we think the things we think over and over and over. everything is changing all the time but there is of course a paradoxical sameness inherent in how we live our lives. just over a minute, hope you enjoy it.

process views

in classroom of the apes last night, we did shadows in perspective

and reflections

both got me thinking about the shadow world

this morning, that continued, interpreting this: blue = complementary color of orange; orange paint on the sidewalk is where some of the cone [bled] [escaped] [slipped off the world]; in the absence of the orange on the cone, we see the shadow world (blue paint) (lack of orange cone = blue). also thought that this cone looks a bit like a guardian [against] sunlight.

these are solidly in this world, i think (maybe guarding against the creep of the shadow coming from under the van)

then was absorbed in working on that animation. one of the most rewarding parts of artmaking, and an aspect i try to incorporate in (convey through) my work, is all the in-between stages. a painting goes through a lot on the way to its completed state, each stroke changes it into a different painting - this animation is providing me with a lot of images which probably won't be seen by anyone, and they aren't my objective, i have a clear method of visual rhythm i'm trying to follow in order to create this animated piece, but doing the work, i'm forced to encounter one still picture after another

which makes me feel like the pinwheel is actually on my side for a change, doing me a favor, forcing me to stop and look at what i'm doing - never thought i'd feel sympathetic towards that damn thing.


comfortable with the timing and depth adjustments to the animation, had been ready to abandon it late the other night, now want to press on, hopefully can finish tonight or tomorrow so this machine can get back to chess rendering.

making work on the computer, it's relatively quick/easy to change the entire color scheme, as opposed to painting where you either stick to your guns or commit to a lengthier adjustment process.

three stills from roughly the same point, different color processing, maybe i should pick one of them, or figure out a way to use all three?


so there are ways to set things up and have sweet machine render one after the other, no prodding from me

for both computers

means at least one of the three of us is working all the time.

but if i want to blog, it's not really possible, just takes their total concentration. so, until chess is done, figure at least two more weeks flat-out, pictures will be sporadic for sure, typing likely spotty as well. (one computer should be fast but it's not happening that way - anyway roughly four hours
per game, one hundred twenty-eight games, do want to give it breaks sometimes, maybe fifteen done at this point.)

but the rendering can be interrupted. yesterday decided spur-of-the-moment to make an animation, not something i've really done at all.

basis is imagery taken from kurt coble's pamband website (i'm messing with it, most of what you see here is taken from the homepage).

enjoyed some of the views when working on it

the result - quite enjoy looking at stills

but the piece, the movement that's there - well, i'm going to spend a little more time on it.

another month of editing?

it's not difficult, but the rendering does require quite a bit of time. there might be ways i can speed things along but as of this morning, it's roughly one hour per game, but then an additional hour if i want negative of each, which i think i do. hope to be able to resolve that tomorrow. in the meantime, there's no doubt about the positives, making steady progress.

back in the day, i met a painter who said one of his favorite parts was stretching and priming canvasses, so relaxing. sometimes when i hit a spot in a project where it's a lot of work or time, without too much thinking, that sentiment reminds itself to me, and i feel free, somehow. tethered to the work and the piece won't get made otherwise, but it's so much less pressure than figuring out what i want to do, or deciding if i think something "looks right" or not, or how it could be changed. this is just making it happen, no hesitation, no fear.


even if you set out with a definite idea of what you think you want to do, it's going to change (hopefully) and by the end you'll find something you do want to do. or you'll be led on to the next thing, maybe.

anyway, no visual yet, but just before falling asleep last night, realized that the shadow (negative) chess bits should be shown on the black squares, and the entire piece should have foreghosts or afterghosts, transparencies maybe a third of a second different from the "now" moment.

only real question remaining is how many games at once to show. one might be plenty.

unless, of course, i can't figure out how to do it, or it doesn't make sense when you look at it, in which case there will be several real questions remaining.

by sunday, believe will be resolved.

mid-final pre-editing...


one of the things i want to try, all the games in negative (in addition to positive), and see how that looks as a pure digital piece, also project positive onto white squares, and negative onto black squares, and try the reverse of that as well

show the shadow world

so, first step is convert some footage to negative

everything worked

bar people were super-nice, good crowd turned out and was appreciative, was relatively painless to install and ran smoothly, no glitches, here's a still:

not just a crowd, one of my heroes showed up, that was huge, many other vips in my life as well.

this is still a work in progress and i realized, there are a couple of things i want to try differently. very happy with how everything has gone, but not quite done exploring.

and thank you for the "are you ok?"s following the midtown gas pipe explosion today. missed it by twenty minutes, am fine. had trouble staying awake all through perspective drawing class (lecture night) totally unaware.

e32 tonight

if you can make it to lotus lounge, 8pm, clinton and stanton on the lower east side, welcome. the physical looks ready to go (not quite done in this image)

and the digital looks stable as well

if it doesn't work, catastrophe or bar people freaking out or power cord keeps falling out of wall, not through lack of trying. excited.

pinwheel vs. me

the pinwheel is that whirring light-demon which (depending on what sort of computer you use) tells you to sit tight. and sit tight. and wait. and hang on. not like the lovely bar which says thirty-two percent complete, forty-eight minutes remaining, no. the pinwheel is secretive and arrogant. no warning it just comes, and when it's gone (and it does usually eventually go away), it's just no longer there, and you hope that was that.

my wonderful computer which i love very much, the computer which works very hard for me and makes so many things possible, has been showing me the pinwheel an awful lot as i try to get a working prototype of chess ready to show tomorrow night. haven't invited anyone to e32, really, because, it's just not there yet. i could show a large version of square of cones, i could show footage of past work, i could just talk about chess and show clips of the process, but i want to have a pre-version ready, and i want to be able to say that.

in the meantime, though, there's time pressure, and learning (yes discovered some wonderful things today on the programming side) and frequent bouts of will-testing, when the pinwheel gives me the evil spin.

precision work

the balance between the desired result and the desired doing, constantly face it. something you can imagine, you might think you want to see it, but do you want to make it? are you willing to take the steps required to bring it into reality? the chess project has a lot of irregularities built into it, by choice. there are ways to be very precise but i almost always prefer quick-and-dirty. paint is fast, video isn't always but i don't care as much about quality as just creating something and moving on. but i've hit a part of chess which i knew was coming, bracing myself for some time, still difficult. i want the "board" (surface to project on) to be square, and each square to be square. it's not happening. there are ways to do it, but by tuesday, with the materials and methods i've chosen, there will be obvious misalignments. that's ok, it will look more like my work. spent some time today measuring and really aiming to be exact, was glad to have those tools but wonder if this is really me.

plastic in my home

spent a couple hours on canal street and nearby, trying to find something translucent, in a light (white) tone and dark (black) tone - hard to find something black, not opaque, not transparent. all sorts of frosted clear frosted white translucent white translucent clear options - anyway, tomorrow will experiment. may end up just using inkjet on vellum again (worked for square of cones).


before e32, she shows clips friday and saturday nights, here's a view from inside

and out

uplifting studio visit with linda griggs

and was given two bits of either a current project or a future project or future projects (unclear) - that's a screen, and a single-slide projector in a case

show & tell

brief clip and then some talk about chess, a few other artists as well, you're welcome to join.

otherwise, if you walk by friday or saturday night, my video will be in the rotation and visible from inside and out. some of the process of chess, not the completed result, that doesn't exist yet.

learning by rote

monkey see monkey do class tonight, starting to enjoy it

ape progress

second ape meeting tonight (aesthetic purposes exploration).

before i get to that, please indulge me in some atmospheric musings. vineel once told me if you're looking for signs, you'll find them everywhere. well, i couldn't figure out if a few things were auspicious or hinting rather at doom and foreboding. for example, two pens ran out of ink, one of mine and one of ron's. we didn't talk about it until afterwards, and then we didn't dissect it, but i can see at least two ways of interpreting it. one = hey, there's so much to be notated here, you won't be able to get it all. press on, youngsters, this is fertile land you're exploring. two = a pen is for drawing. oh, you want to think about why you would want to draw? no chance, buddy. oh, another pen, eh? sorry buddy. anyway sometimes encourage = discourage and vice versa. the occasional truck going by temporarily dampening conversation seemed mundane real-world oh right these trucks aren't all hauling art around, but the lights jolting on, and cutting off, and back on, without discernible rhythm, seemed significant, but again, there are a lot of ways to take it, what kind of reader are you? what are you bringing to it?

which is where we paused at one point. so here's some of what was talked about:

- i was urged to start charging out these discussion threads, hypotheses, preclusions; use wiki? use flash? this is something i want to do, but it's also the sort of thing that can distract one from artmaking, feels a bit daunting, in the meantime this blog will contain some sort of record;

- the transformers movie is going to inspire creativity (imaginative thinking) in twelve-year-old boys, as star wars did back in the day

- we may not be conscious of hearing structure when listening to music but would immediately notice its absence

- art which lends itself to multiple [viewings] [listenings] may be engaging us in the process of understanding its underlying structure

- [mostly narrative or representational] art which presents a mirror world is unthreatening in its unrealness [and this can illuminate this world]

- for many practitioners of art, it is not necessarily something chosen, or something one wants to do, but essential/compulsive, in a real sense, and leads to knowing oneself, which can also impart understanding-of-other to experiencer (less fear, greater compassion) (communication to peacemaking)

- escape into another world equal negating this world yes some does, but other maybe cause feeling (reality) of transforming this world into other world

- viewer bringing own visual experience to encounter with work, direct experience with the work then creates feedback loop transforming viewer (from one who has never seen x to one who has seen x for a duration or y amount of instants, constant repetition even if short time)

- give you a different experience which you could otherwise not have. (this came up quite late and was not really faced with too much verve, but sitting here now, seems like a crucial point and likely effective start spot for next discussion)

- each new piece of art a new pattern in this universe; we are pattern-recognizers and pattern-makers; art and we are there fore particularly well-suited to one another and you could end up with a chicken/egg quandary here i think

- we are players in the evolution of a thing bigger than any generation of us

- perpetual novelty

light and shadow


even at first stroke, there's something. tree leaves in sunlight, the tripod extended overhead, sun puddles. all art is time-based and all art is a collaboration with nature.


matthew was on my mind, we'll have another skype session tomorrow, tonight's was brief. after encountering an "arcadia & anarchy" exhibit reminiscent of some of the ones we saw in tokyo together, i bought a new zealand pear (delicious) from the supermarket as part of my walking snack. now that it's just over three months to kisokaido, want to make sure i'm ready for it.

some chess editing, this was a really unique one, michael using photoshop projected onto the board while i used wet paint, we both had access to black and white

daniel seemed to enjoy my enthusiasm for traffic cone aesthetics, showed him this, from my walk

and this cone in a cone in a hole (triggering "katharine" thought)

can't imagine life without these people. the people i thought about today, or saw today, or talked to today - would i want to remember what it was like before i knew matthew?

maybe this isn't clear, what it has to do with what i did, or my art, or what my friends and my life have to do with my art. and it maybe won't be, and i want to go to sleep, but quickly - matthew has been on my mind; our collaboration isn't going smoothly; which is fine; not everything can be smooth; human relationships aren't cake; at the guggenheim, i saw that exhibit which contained the sort of pantings we used to see at department stores in tokyo; those joint excursions formed a lot of my early encounters with paintings, painting as a medium, bits of art history, little bits at a time; while editing, i saw paintings between people i had forgotten had even "played" "chess," which were interesting; i saw michael and i taking turns using photoshop and wet paint together, and felt super-lucky that we were able to do that, but again aware that i don't see him as much as i'd like; in the evening alex had organized a little get-together by the river and after an hour daniel and i realize where we each know each other from - we both presented on the same night at dorkbot; so we got to really talk art, best of all, we've actually each seen each others' work - often if you can actually talk about art, you haven't already seen each others' work, it's different that way - and also there were three other people who painted on chess boards; and then matthew reminded me that i wrote him letters from china, this is way back in the day, say 1995, and i was making small paintings with very little conviction, just the desire to paint, to make art, to be an artist, and that it was important to keep painting, but really a lot of thoughtless floundering, and not prolific, not at all, and all these people, i think it makes a difference. we help each other.

when i stand in the guggenheim, and i see a kandinsky painting, and i remember "yes, these were big ones, these were some of the things that made me want to paint" and a mondrian and another mondrian later on and a giacometti, and each of these things were touched by those artists, it's almost a direct connection. christina talked about rothko a bit, and she said simon had a similar experience, me too, that first encounter with a rothko painting, and that's still a direct connection between you and mr. mark rothko who made that with his hands and his antiquated technology in his post-orson-welles world. still fresh, for us. and when i talk to matthew, even if it's skype, it's direct, it's fresh. and when i see michael and i painting together, digital and analog, it's exciting. and none of those things happens without other people. today, i really felt that. we do sometimes.

all art is time based right? well no art is solitary. no kandinsky, no rothko, i don't think. no orson welles, no rothko, i don't think. no matthew turner? very different erik sanner life and paintings, i think.

e32 editing = complete

needed a roughly three-minute chess-related video for e32, it's ready

location picking

making a choice. choices. it has been really nice wandering around thinking "oh, you could do it there, this way" and "or there, this way" and sort of playing with the various images, how it would look, how you would do it, all in my head, yes there's a certain amount of pleasure in that, and of course it's necessary to some extent. but time does pass, and here we are, the piece isn't in the world yet, how is it going to be seen? so, committing, deciding. the idea is choose five spots. pursue them one after the other. if none of those five pan out, choose five more. (quickly.) repeat until the work is visible to everyone who can't see inside my head.

here are my first five choices:
i should take a picture of the first one at night, that daytime shot doesn't do justice to the darkness, the barrenness of it. it's a beckoning chasm. a home for a spark.


editing will continue to continue.

focus on chess

e32 is coming up, plus i want to show the piece, more editing today

kisokaido = real

real booking

real seat assignments

look at how happy they made me look. that's real.

all art is time-based

how long will it take to make the thing you want to make?

estimated time: as much as you give it. and it will be greedy for more.