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I'm not very active on deviantArt any more, so, in case you want to contact me, do send me an email at conskeptical@gmail.com

My blog is here: tumble.conskeptical.net/ , my photos are at flickr (www.flickr.com/photos/conskept…) and various other of my online presence can be found here: conskeptical.net/

Thanks for visiting!

- Crispin

Death, Taxes and Chain Letters

Wed Sep 12, 2007, 11:59 AM
I mean, if even Crispin takes part, what chance does the world have of ever being free?

I was tagged by my uncle Wodewose, who I would also have thought better of. =p

Here are 8 random things about me. They actually are random: I went to wikipedia's recent changes page and opened the last 8 articles to be edited, these formed the basis for the 8 random things about me. The wikipedia article link is in brackets at the end of each point.

1. I have never been to a theme park. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Flag…)
2. I have not seen the film 'The Bodyguard' starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Body…)
3. I do subscribe to the webcomic Russell's Teapot (russellsteapot.com/), and I do like the idea by Bertrand Russell which inspired it. I am not an atheist though. Weirdly the wikipedia article doesn't mention the webcomic yet... (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell%…)
4. I have never been to Reading, Massachusetts, but I have been through Reading, UK on the train, but not I think to visit it. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reading%…)
5. Environmental history sounds like a jolly good idea to me. Tangentially, I was in France recently and found an amazing poster of 5000 years of world history which I bought, which looks very nice (www.edition-sides.com/histoire…). (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environm…)
6. The Green Bay Packers play American Football. I do not and never intend to. However, if I had to play for any NFL team, it would probably be them, for political reasons. The most related thing to American Football that I do do is a martial art called Shorinji Kempo, which I expect is several orders of magnitude safer. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Ba…)
7. The postal code system of France has had no obvious bearing on my life whatsoever, as far as I am aware, despite being nearly 15 years older than me. However, a friend of mine was recently working on a piece of software that had to deal with postcodes, but none of them were French. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_…)
8. I am not left-handed, although I do enjoy practicing to become ambidextrous. This is not a goal I expect to achieve, but it is fun to try anyway. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-han…)

And as a small display of defiance, I tag nobody in return. If you would like to be tagged, then if you are one of the first 8 please comment your name on this journal and consider yourself tagged.

flickr logo
my flickr photostream
(flickr for photography, dA for everything else)

hey, are you a dreamer?

Sat Sep 8, 2007, 11:36 AM
I'm removing all of my photographs, and backing up those with interesting comment threads. 500+ deviations was just too many, and for photos I think flickr does the job better. (How does deviantART still not have collections!!)

I think it's time to slim my gallery and take a look around other people's a bit more!

flickr logo
my flickr photostream
(flickr for photography, dA for everything else)
flickr logo
my flickr photostream
(a slightly broader selection of my photography, and none of the non-photography)

needlecraft

Mon Feb 13, 2006, 8:32 AM
:thumb27290857:
my flickr photostream


Recently at IPv2:

Calculus saves the day
Today I was sewing velcro onto my dogi (a garment I wear for Shorinji Kempo training), and discovered that a short enough segment of string does indeed approximate a rigid rod. It made threading the needle a whole lot simpler. That, and threading a loop of string through the needle, rather than one of the rather fraying-prone ends...

Recent journals:
ideas of utopia, getting to know Gandhi, educational insight

--

I Sing the Body Electric

I have perceiv'd that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly around his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as the sea.

There is something in staying close to men and women and looking on them, and in the contact and odour of them, that pleases the soul well,
All things please the soul, but these please the soul well.

- Walt Whitman

(read the whole poem here.)

--

The Truth

The Truth comes in three parts:
1) Eskilla
2) Wig-Lum
3) Sanax

Eskilla says that Nothing can be Known.
Wig-Lum comes in two parts.
Wig says that the World is always Changing.
Lum says that the World cannot be Set in Stone.
Sanax says that Knowledge is the Machines that Set the World in Stone.

- a friend of a friend

--

In our highly complex state we advanced organisms respond to our environment with an invention of many marvelous analogues. We invent earth and heavens, trees, stars and oceans, gods, music, arts, language, philosophy, engineering, civilization and science. We call these analogues reality, and they are realities. We mesmerize our children in the name of truth into knowing that they are reality. We throw anyone who doesn’t accept these analogues into an insane asylum. But that which causes us to invent the analogues is Quality. Quality is the continuing stimulus which our environment puts upon us to create the world we live in. All of it. Every last bit of it.

- from Robert M Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
and a very interesting article about it

Ideas of Utopia

Fri Feb 10, 2006, 3:11 AM
A note to anyone watching me: I am going to start copying all my IPv2 journals to dA. If you don't want them cluttering your message centre, and they're not that explicitly art related, then uncheck my journals entry in your 'friends list' (message centre->manage my friends).

:thumb27290857:
my flickr photostream


Recently at IPv2:

Ideas of Utopia

Political discussions are fun, and raise interesting points. Here are some that have come up lately:
  • People have stakes in the outcomes of decisions they aren't qualified to make.
  • People often aren't even interested in these decisions, unless they go wrong.
  • People who make these decisions have a lot of impact on other people.
  • People who make these decisions will generally have little feedback, except negative feedback. This has its advantages and big disadvantages.
  • There are always people who lose out in some important decisions, how do you know when the decision is optimum?
  • Pure democracy isn't necessarily compatible with an intuitive sense of morality. Democracy must take place within external frameworks, even if these frameworks are subject to careful democratic modification. Mob rule should not be an option that can easily be passed inside any morally good system of governance.

I think it's inescapable that in human society we make executive decisions on each other's behalfs. How is it to be done properly? Good communication is key I suppose. Concepts of transparency are also good. And concepts of higher-order influence are also good. Just because we aren't qualified to make certain decisions, doesn't mean we can't set the boundaries of those decisions. The qualified decision makers should be able to reduce the situation down to a choice that inexperts can make. And this goes on I think, politicians have many agencies supplying them with these sorts of choices.
Western democracy has boiled down the democratic element to the rather minimal choice of choosing between just a very few options, do you want to live by Party 1, 2 or 3 for example. That's not really a democratic choice. And I think that's reflected in the general political apathy found in many democracies.
Politics is too much lofty and obscure jabbering, it would make far more sense for there to be more choices translated into understandable ones, and well presented to those that have a stake. Ideally those that have a stake would request information from relevant sources, and obtain choices that they could make. Maybe there is a path down to a truly devolved, but globally cohesive, human society.
Roll on visions of utopia free of the internal homogeneity that seems to have characterised all the ones I've seen so far.

other recent journals at IPv2</b>:
getting to know Gandhi - recommendations as part of the social fabric.
educational insight - learning within different frameworks is good!
knowlogic and OS - a computing related reverie.
EPIC 2015 - response to a very interesting piece of media.


--

I Sing the Body Electric

I have perceiv'd that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly around his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as the sea.

There is something in staying close to men and women and looking on them, and in the contact and odour of them, that pleases the soul well,
All things please the soul, but these please the soul well.

- Walt Whitman

(read the whole poem here.)

--

The Truth

The Truth comes in three parts:
1) Eskilla
2) Wig-Lum
3) Sanax

Eskilla says that Nothing can be Known.
Wig-Lum comes in two parts.
Wig says that the World is always Changing.
Lum says that the World cannot be Set in Stone.
Sanax says that Knowledge is the Machines that Set the World in Stone.

- a friend of a friend

--

In our highly complex state we advanced organisms respond to our environment with an invention of many marvelous analogues. We invent earth and heavens, trees, stars and oceans, gods, music, arts, language, philosophy, engineering, civilization and science. We call these analogues reality, and they are realities. We mesmerize our children in the name of truth into knowing that they are reality. We throw anyone who doesn’t accept these analogues into an insane asylum. But that which causes us to invent the analogues is Quality. Quality is the continuing stimulus which our environment puts upon us to create the world we live in. All of it. Every last bit of it.

- from Robert M Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
and a very interesting article about it

regaining trust at deviantART, 'justthorne's way


What I am doing:
- Hiding my gallery for one week,  (until Thursday, 18th August), or until the current fiasco has been satisfactorily dealt with, whichever is longer.
- Making all my actions on dA actions of solidarity with the protest movement and jark, until this has been satisfactorily dealt with.

Why I am doing it:
- jark (co-founder of dA no less) got badly backstabbed and control of dA has since been (apparently) entirely concentrated in the hands of far far less trustworthy individuals. Notably spyed and mccann. justthorne proposed a plan of action which I agree with, and which I link to below. If you care about the future of dA, its worthiness as a place to share artwork, then I strongly suggest you take part, after reading justthorne's article: History in the making or other material relating to this situation.

deviantART the corporation is fine as a support to the community, but deviantART the corporation as a budding exploiter of the community is not something we will take part in

--

I support the community
I support Jark
I have perceiv'd that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly around his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as the sea.

There is something in staying close to men and women and looking on them, and in the contact and odour of them, that pleases the soul well,
All things please the soul, but these please the soul well.

- Walt Whitman

(read the whole poem here.)

--

The Truth

The Truth comes in three parts:
1) Eskilla
2) Wig-Lum
3) Sanax

Eskilla says that Nothing can be Known.
Wig-Lum comes in two parts.
Wig says that the World is always Changing.
Lum says that the World cannot be Set in Stone.
Sanax says that Knowledge is the Machines that Set the World in Stone.

- a friend of a friend

--

I support Jarkwe devart support $jark

the smile factory

Sun May 9, 2004, 11:25 AM
:iconspx: the smile factory by spx

A reaction to the smile factory
(a deviation by spx)


I like this one simply because it fills in some of a possible history behind the little critters that we use everyday to show other web users how we are feeling.
And it prompted me to look up the actual history of smileys/emoticons/emotes. And here is a good rundown of it:
www.guardian.co.uk/netnotes/ar…
Probably seasoned smiley-historians will know more about the disputes in this area, but for me this is enough :) ooh, there goes the first one! :D
Possibly a strong reason for really loving this picture is the fact that it severely underlines a very human condition: perverting nature for our own causes. These poor little smiley's going about their own, natural, unhappy lives. And along comes humankind to add a painful facade of happiness to their dreary world, purely for our own selfish purposes.
I'll never see emoticons in quite the same light again... poor maltreated, exploited little things :o
:tears:

:iconforeigndesign37:
A reaction to Spring Melt
(a deviation by foreigndesign37)


This photo encompasses so many feelings and textures and colours and ideas. There is life, the suggestion of human life, water in the form of ice and water and everything inbetween, and there is relief.
The relief in this photo is very very real, much more real than in most, mainly because of the shadows, lighting and the nature of the wetness on and around the bootprint.
The reflection of the sky gives the muddy water a colour that is more like caramel than mud, and the full range of tints is really appealing.
The snow adds a nice bit of variety to the picture, making it feel fresher (although the grass helps with that too), although perhaps it would have been nicer if the snow could have been a bit better exposed, there is no visible detail in it at all...
This photo also has a really good demonstration of continuous scales.
For example, there is icy water (snow), through muddy water all the way to clear water.
Then there is slodgy mud (top middle) through to gritty mud (bottom middle).
Also there is bright through to dark (the range of colours in the reflected mud/water).
Then there is the continuous range of different directions that the grass leaves are pointing in.
All those continuous scales are really pleasing to the eye (or my eye anyway).
And almost none of this would be possible without the person to make a big stamp with their boot.
It shows that as well as being destructive (tramping across the countryside, generally adding to the human destruction on the planet) people can make a positive difference and add interest and detail to the world around them, and then appreciate it!
Rather than minimizing the difference we make to the world, we should work towards making it a positive difference. This photo helps represent that for me.
I like that.
Enough hibernation... it's time to be deviously creative again!

Hi to:

:iconblacksugar: :iconmorslove: :iconinvert01: :iconmaddievedder: :iconchildish: :iconmjrburns:

the last four are peeps in my work(play)group. try this: workgroups

waraah!
Normally I feel that I'm a good multitasker...
But lately I've veered off my college work, and if I want to do well, it's time to catch up...
So: I've just finished uploading my latest batch of photos, and now I've decided to take a break from deviant art for a few weeks, and after that I'll be back, invigorated, refreshed, and back on track. :D

so, here's to my current deviant art chums, all two of them... :)

:iconblacksugar: :iconmorslove:

peace and love guys!
see you in a week or too...

:sun: :heart: :sun:
:iconviciousart:
A reaction to Drink New Blood by viciousart

There are so many ideas floating around in this piece that I find it hard to resist.
Although the chains presumably have some sort of fetishist/sadomasochistic implication here, they will, for me, always represent the rawness of human industrial activity. There's something about bare metal that is just attractive. With industrial images it's as if the fluffy cocoon that surrounds the children of capitalism (of which I am regrettably, and possibly luckily, one) has been torn away and the stinking, clanking churning works beneath exposed. The rivulets of blood, and the bloodstained belly, and background only add to the atmosphere of raw, and sinister, industry. Industry is cruel enough when it operates on non-living things. But combine heavy industry and life, and the result is something that the perpetrators take serious care to shield most of us from, and not without reason I think, from the barest glimpses I've seen.
Then there is the ragged edge to the piece, and the coarse texture. As if it is a piece of wall-art on the side of an ancient stone palace, or perhaps a recording on an ancient papyrus, or maybe a historical canvas or something. It adds an air of history, a gravity of meaning to the piece. The torn edge together with the stained, rough texture, and the unashamed, exposed, subject remove this piece entirely from the mainstream western self-image. The ancient feel to the piece helps the feeling of non-westernism.
Unsurprisingly, the pose of the subject reminds me of a bird. A swan for some reason. Perhaps the delicate, serene face of the subject gives me the image of swan. But clearly swans are majestic birds, and seeing them in this chained, vulnerable state is a) distressing and b) illuminating. Even majestic creatures a) get hurt and/or b) commit bizarre acts of a violent ritualistic or sexual nature.
Then there is the religious aspect. If that circle behind the subject's head isn't a halo, I don't know what is. Whether the Virgin Mary symbolism is deliberate or not, it sure does make for an interesting interpretation. Is she looking up to God? And if so, why?
The ambiguous, or mixed, facial expression (is it distress, ecstasy, pain, hope, thought, reflection, resentment, determination, pleasure or a mixture?) really allows for some serious empathy here.
The way she looks up towards some 'higher force' (interestingly her bare neck is the brightest part of the image), and her compromised, chained position make for a really powerful image, whether she's a consenting participant or not... The possible, er, supreme, nature of the 'higher force' makes for a take on God that I'm unfamiliar with, and which is certainly thought-provoking.
And finally, there is the technical proficiency of the piece. It's like proper special effects. You can't tell they're there. The whole piece gels with itself utterly. It is a complete image. The means used to construct it have left little impression on the final piece. The piece is the art, and there are no construction lines left, so to speak. There aren't photoshop layers crying out their existence to me. There aren't crude filters proclaiming their whereabouts. It's as if the artistic idea bypassed all that technical gumph and just launched straight onto the page.
Truly amazing.
:iconazak:
A reaction to The shadow over Innsmouth. by AzaK

This is no ordinary shadow. It's a nightmary, reality distorting shadow inspired by a book I've only barely heard of.
I love the texture of the oils. I think they take the hard edge off the crooked perspective and freakish figures making them sit well with eachother and giving the piece a 'blended', slightly blurred, feeling of being there, but not really being there.
The background buildings provide a gloomy but impressive backdrop for the amazing figures in the foreground. The emotions conveyed by those twisted faces is really striking, like the manic figure on the left, the melancholy and presumably mute central figure, the drinker in the background with the pained expression on his face etc. I think Einstein might be in there just under the drinker too...
The figures remind me of the figures out of the classic game Grim Fandango, although I guess ultimately those and these figures are the result of influence from Picasso and other figures from art history that I'm utterly ignorant of.
The mood in this painting is almost tangible. Really compelling.
:iconzeroskyy:
A reaction to can't escape by zeroskyy

This would just be a nice pic, if it wasn't for the rather nicely done inlay view effect that the wing mirror affords.
The blue tint on the reflected image differentiates it nicely from the bright background, making the presence of two horizons and two skies (as well as a surprising amount of other parallelism between the two sections) work really well. I think it could have jarred a bit if the tint wasn't present.
The rear view really helps the feeling of being surrounded, which makes the title of this piece really appropriate. The feeling of isolation is also accentuated by the plain, even old/dilapidated, appearance of the car in this view. (no disrespect to a car that somebody might love though... perhaps the title of the piece puts this feeling in mind...)
Perhaps if this was my submission I would have trimmed the right edge so that the minimum distance between the mirror and the image edges was equal for the right and bottom edges, but I like this a lot otherwise.
:iconmicahgoulart:
A reaction to Holding a Piece of Time by micahgoulart

Liquid can be a fascinating subject, and this piece really has managed to capture the magic really well. The reflections and refractions from the water, and the shape of the water is really compelling.
Those ripples on the horizontal wall of water seem surreal (even though they clearly aren't), and the just-off-symmetrical arrangement of the droplets looks good.
The blurred droplets in the foreground are an effective touch too.
I think this piece appeals to me simply because it looks like a really hard shot to get (with normal equipment anyway), so hats off to the artist! However, it also highlights the fact there's all kinds of weird things going on in our world that we're hardly aware of, and anything that opens our eyes a bit more is pretty cool in my opinion... :)
:iconazathoth-the-second:
A reaction to Crosseyed Beanstalk by azathoth-the-second

The gentle sky tones, and the bold, simple construction of the assembly, together with the nice flaky metal texture and the definite shadows all contribute to me liking this piece a lot.
It's really uncluttered as well, which is nice.
Often photography has so much detail, as if all that resolution needs to be used to give the functional equivalent of a testcard, complete with ever-narrowing stripes, carefully calibrated colour-swatches and blocks of hatching at various angles and densities.
It's nice to see some photography that throws all that out of the window and just says (to me anyway) 'look, there's some simplicity to the world, and let's appreciate that as well. Let's stop measuring the size of our CCDs and get on with some real art...'
Oh, and the angling of the main 'vertical' is quite pleasing to the eye as well, for reasons I can't quite pin down... Perhaps I like a bit of still-life where you can feel all the vanishing points. It's kind of satisfying in a strange kind of way.
:iconsatori13:
A reaction to Welcome Home Charcol by satori13

I stumbled across this piece fairly early on in my deviantART days. It spoke out instantly as one of the most emotional pieces I'd seen on here.
It still is.
The emaciated figure takes up only the bottom quarter or so of the frame, but without the top three quarters the whole piece would be empty. As it turns out the top three quarters is empty, but it's explicitly empty and in a very striking, forceful way.
The stark, bare backdrop is pretty bleak, but it didn't quite prepare me for the absolute hopelessness of the pathetic shape on the floor of the, well, dungeon or cell I suppose.
The near absence of facial features on the subject makes this piece eerie as well as sorrowful, making it feel like the figure really is far, far beyond rescue. The ragged mop of hair seems about as unfriendly as the shadows in the corners. It seems to have sucked the vibrance out of the character, in order to further itself. It almost looks like the weight of hear on the poor soul's head is going to snap those arms at the elbows...
The posture adds to the feeling of hopelessness as well. The thighs and arms bow outwards from a narrow base like a house of cards that's about to collapse, while the heavy curvature on the back looks bone-crunchingly painful.
All this physical torture is mapped straight onto the soul of the figure simply by the zero expression on the face (helped along by zero facial features). It's just as if the constant isolation and hardship has just wiped a personality completely off the face of the earth, leaving just a husk.
Perhaps if we looked inside her head we'd see a round, smooth brain as well, completely still, with no life.
The textures of the paper and the charcoals help show the imposing nature of the confinement. The ribs and the stone cracks seem to resonate together, as do the shadows and the hair, and the skin-tone and the wall/floor texture. There's an air of finality about those cruel similarities.
It all seems like a horrible horrible room has imposed itself totally onto a human being and succeeded.
Is there a little germ of hope in that shell of a person? Who knows...

It all adds up to a piece that speaks volumes, in a really diverse way. I love it.
Doing extended comments is a skill I want to develop, and being my first one, this is pretty raw... But I've got to start somewhere...

:iconenayla:
A reaction to Do not whisper into the wind by enayla

Elegance, composition, surreality and detail mark this piece out as special.
Elegance because everything about this piece is elegant. The exquisitely crafted dragon, the stark tree, the ethereal, strangely smudged leafy thing, the distinctively attractive subject, the wonderfully textured and lit clothing, the misty backdrop.
Composition because every element of the work (the tree, planet/moon, dragon, subject etc.) relates to every other part and is sensitive to every other part. The dragon and the subject are clearly in some kind of harmony with each other, while the tree and the leafy thing seem to be obligingly transparent so as not to obscure the focus of the piece. The landscape is clearly beautiful, but shows sensitivity to the dragon/subject by shrouding itself in a mysterious misty cloak.
Surreality because the elements aren't quite real. Why is the crescent exactly cradled in a branch of the tree? Why does the tree fade away in front of the subject/dragon? What is that weird directional smudging of the leaves to the top right? Why does the bottom of the subject's skirt look like some kind of moist fungus thing? What is that metallic shimmer to the subject's dress?
It feels like a fairy tale. Which is no accident I suppose...
The detail to this piece is characteristic of this kind of fantasy art, and it is hard to fault it in any meaningful way...

At first sight I loved this piece, then at second sight I thought, hmmm, I can see the photoshop layers. That's not so good...
But then I thought, hey, it's not even trying to be real... It's supposed to evoke feelings, emotions, a response, it's ART.
So then I liked it again, and was able to appreciate those incredibly delicate, transparent, dragon wings, overlaid at some low percentage with the wispy remnants of a stylized dead tree. And the fine detail on the shimmery dress. I like the little touches like the errant lock of hair, and the threads from the dress that seem to spiral around the subject. They add to the magical atmosphere.

If I had to suggest any improvements to this piece I would say that the 'layering' effect could be reduced. Within each element (the tree, the subject, the dragon, the foreground, the background) the cohesion is virtually absolute. Each element is seamless within itself and works wonderfully.
I would say that the sharp boundaries between elements, and the slightly raw transparency/smudge effects give the piece a small touch of the vector graphic, layered style, which in my opinion is slightly out of place.

But overall I love this piece a lot a lot.
Especially that fungus like skirt that I hadn't even noticed until I turned up the gamma on my normally dark monitor!
soon I will have finished posting my prior art on here, and I will start getting down to doing some new pieces.
there will be poetry and freehand drawings and photography and (hopefully) some 3D designs and technical drawings too.
perhaps even some short sections of prose.

i have two pieces of poetry up at the moment: sword words and notetaker. They're anagram poems (where the poem is made from anagrams of other parts of itself), which is a format that I haven't ever seen anywhere else. If you have please let me know, I'd love to see other examples!

most of the photography up so far was taken during a holiday to Scotland, but that will change as soon as I take some more photos, and get some of my other ones into the scanner...

the drawings were done over a period of 5 years, largely while I was stuck at school learning very little at all... but having great fun doodling!

crispin