Point of Exquisite Suspension

Thoughts & life experiences of a Chicago area graphic artist

06 February 2016

Alien Denial

Alien drawings from my sketchbook. © O. Douglas Jennings. All rights reserved.
As a 13 year-old, I believed in extraterrestrials. I had devoured sensationalized books like "Chariots of the Gods" and hoped that the advanced aliens that interfaced with ancient Earth civilizations would come back and save us from ourselves. Although I had been brought up in Christian doctrines, that time, just before my first year of high school, my faith had bottomed out. So I was searching for a substitute "out there" to fill the void.

But during my subsequent 9th grade year, I was reunited with my Christian beliefs through a supportive and affirming Youth Pastor and Christian Youth Outreach program. So Jesus resumed the position of Savior that I had previously tried to swap out with extraterrestrials.

As a middle-aged adult, I have deeper understanding of the culture surrounding beliefs in extraterrestrials. I see the phenomenon as a search for meaning and connection with the cosmos. And the experiences of those who have encountered UFOs and E.T.s, I acknowledge as being significant only in regard to showing the diverse range of human perception and interpretation of experience. It's telling that many E.T. encounters are associated with mind-altering drug use. Such stories are irrelevant to me and my life.

I feel that not only is it unlikely that there have been aliens that have contacted humans, but that even if all such stories are true, they are meaningless. If all the spurious clandestine, dodgy contacts with human kind are actual aliens, then they must be total incompetent dweebs. I don't expect them to be capable of anything more than administering blood tests or harassing cattle. That's a far cry from the fictional, all-powerful alien administrators who ushered in mankind's next stage of evolution in Arthur C. Clark's classic Sci-Fi story "Childhood's End".

There are more pressing matters that occupy my life these days: caring for my family, preparing for retirement, paying for my kids college and trying to keep my head above water in this frustrating economy. I'd rather take part in the political process than count on hapless, large-headed, almond-eyed voyeurs to help me.


28 January 2016

Where Has This Pioneer Gone?

Caricature art © O. Douglas Jennings

The above caricature is of the former Tomer Krissi, the first person to legally change his last name to ".com" (2001). I mean he had a judge rule on it and everything! What a seeming coup of publicity acquisition!

It was big news at that time, as you can see. It still occupies (as of this writing) space on that BBC website (linked above). I'm pretty sure that photo of him on the BBC page was my only reference. I hope his likeness is evident. I like to think it is.

The story captivated my imagination! I felt it marked some kind of step toward some great advancement to our species! Could he have been a proto Mark Zuckerberg? Oh those days of post Y2K mania!

Imagine how my excitement was prolonged when, shortly after I first posted this art, Tomer.com thanked me. And I seem to recall that he used the illustration on his website for a while. Could that be a false memory? All I know is that currently his URL tomer.com is parked on a GoDaddy site.

Since I that last contact (real or dreamed) from Tomer, it's as if he's fallen off the face of the earth! I haven't been able to find much of a presence of him on the web, ironically. Maybe he became entirely digitized and exists only on the web -- or in a Tron-like computerized dimension!

This guy is not the first, nor will he be the last, to be a minor blip on the collective consciousness that is the internet. But while many strive to grab the brass ring of fame and the leverage it will bring, that implicit lure of global connectivity is ever-so elusive. 

Maybe someone should create a stub Wikipedia entry for tomer.com.

As if there are not more pressing concerns making demands on our time. Right?

26 January 2016

Winter Cloud Gate

Cloud Gate, Chicago, 2010 © O. Douglas Jennings. All rights reserved.

The famous Chicago Cloud Gate sculpture (AKA "The Bean") is a favorite Summer tourist attraction. But few people realize it's other seasonal charms. A few years ago, my sister Alicia and I visited the illustrious land mark during February. We were dazzled by it's austere, otherworldly beauty in a night-time Winter city landscape.

Cloud Gate, Chicago, 2010 © O. Douglas Jennings. All rights reserved.
Of course, the skyline plays an important supporting role in the vista. Don't you agree?

Cloud Gate, Chicago, 2010 © O. Douglas Jennings. All rights reserved.

02 January 2016

New Year Treat! -Twenty One Pilots TV Concert!

I feel lucky that that I caught the TV broadcast of Twenty One Pilots Blurryface concert on Palladia on New Year's Day!

It was HD and perfect viewing on my wide screen. The show was electrifying!

On top of the mesmerizing stage effects (with both digital graphics and conventional dynamics)the video production effects and editing were excellent.

I hope they re-broadcast the show sometime. I found a concert goer who posted an audience-view video of the concert on Youtube. An official video will most likely be posted sometime soon as as they band ramps up promotions for their Emotional Roadshow Tour in the Summer of 2016. Watch this teaser for that tour which shows some clips from the New Year's Day concert.

 At right is a good shot of Tyler and Josh during the opening song Heavy Dirty Soul on the Palladia broadcast.

They performed songs from both Blurryface and Vessel albums.

This included Tear in My Heart, Ride, Car Radio, The Judge, and Ride.

Here's the clip of Heavy Dirty Soul (a big fave of mine) from the show:

I'm not alone in feeling a strong connection with the music of Twenty One Pilots.

The crowds show a remarkable devotion to the dense lyrics and energy of the duo.

Lead singer Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dunn both perform separately and together on platforms being held up by the crowd at certain points in the performance.

And it wouldn't be a Twenty One Pilots concert without Josh doing a backflip off the piano. Tyler usually climbs scaffolding at concerts. In this show, he climbed onto the ledge of the balcony to finish a song.

Palladia announcement of Twenty One Pilots Live Blurryface Concert Broadcast

The above announcement gives details of the broadcast. If you click on it, you'll link to search results for it.

Vimeo has a good video of an earlier Twenty One Pilots concert HERE

Most of the songs are from their Vessel album.

Great music and lyrics.

One thing is for sure: Tyler and Josh put their all into their performances. And that makes them fun to watch.

Whether or not I'll be able to attend any of their Emotional Roadshow concerts in 2016, I look forward to any videos and reviews that will be posted of what promises to be more terrific performances.

See my previous post about Twenty One Pilots, "Schizoid Pop Stars".

28 December 2015

Photos of My Office

Want to see what the office of a Graphic Artist looks like? Just for fun I've included some photos of my office at the publishing company where I work. ^_^
Disclaimer: My company moved to our current facility just this past March. But I've been slow to decorate the walls. It requires a work order etc. to hang anything.  :-/

I try my best to keep it tidy :-)

Sometimes a squirrel will stop and watch me (when he's not scurrying past my window).

I keep the blinds drawn most of the time because my window overlooks the parking lot.
It can be distracting to see people walking by.

I use coffee mugs to hold my pens and pencils.
I keep little knick-knacks on my window sill shelf.

A panorama from the corner.

I like masks as decor. I made both of these.

11 December 2015

Did I Ear You Correctly?


I'm not sure if the dialogue order sequence in the above comic is very clear... But, anyway, I took a photo of my ear with my cell phone, emailed it to myself, then cropped/enhanced it in Photoshop before printing it out and drawing on the photo.

I created the original version of this comic for my Tigrikorn 365 Days of Creativity project in 2011.

At that time, in preparation, I also made ear sketches on my gridlined Moleskine sketchbook below.

 © O. Douglas Jennings. All rights reserved.

Although they all have common characteristics, each person's ear is unique. And, although I often make ear sketches in simplified cartooning style, I always appreciate a well-drawn ear.

29 November 2015

Another "Watching Gallery Watchers" Post


Art Institute of Chicago, Summer 2010. Photo © O. Douglas Jennings. All rights reserved.

I love watching people watching art.

They come to the gallery space with a desire to connect; to connect with the past; to connect with the creative mind of the creator of art they admire.

Art Institute of Chicago, Summer 2010. Photo © by O. Douglas Jennings. All rights reserved.
Each person responds in their own way to the fruits of artistic labor lining the walls or on pedestals throughout the museum.

To each soul, in each mind, the images create respective unique stories.

Art Institute of Chicago, Summer 2010. Photo © by O. Douglas Jennings. All rights reserved.
 In the gallery of American Art Works (Gallery 262) where I snapped the photo above, there is a small crowd around the painting "Night Hawks" by Edward Hopper. The picture records a glimpse of the connection several people are having with Hopper's masterpiece.

"Night Hawks" and its admirers was my focus when I took the picture. But I didn't notice, until recently, another gallery watcher connection taking place: on the lower right side of the photo, there is shown a young patron with a less-than-rapturous expression while looking at something off-panel.

I know that gallery and, without checking, I realized what caused the little girl's reaction. I hope it did not cause any bad dreams. I found another of my photos from that same gallery (below) that reveals the painting that hangs in the corner where the child's gaze rests.

Art Institute of Chicago, Summer 2010. Photo © O. Douglas Jennings. All rights reserved.
It is the famous painting by Alvin Albright depicting the depraved Dorian Gray whose debauchery-caused disfigurement is magically confined to the uncanny canvas.

The painting was featured in the Oscar-winning 1945 movie The Picture of Dorian Gray. Looking like he could be a cast member on the set of The Walking Dead, the painting's subject is quite horrific.

I wonder how long that image lingered in the mind of the young gallery watcher.