Decalcomania In Time

This is my first exploration of what I am calling “Video Decalcomania.” When I was still able to paint, for decades I used decalcomania extensively as the ground for each painting and as the main stimulus for my imagination.

Here I used some random frames of video I had shot of an artist in her studio. I imported that footage into After Effects where I duplicated it several times, offset the duplications and assigned each layer various blending modes in an effort to arrive at some random textures and changing images. I exported a QuickTime movie of the above montage into Toon Boom Harmony where I let my imagination go wild with brush marks, lines, and colors accentuating the strange things I could see in the video decalcomania.

I finished it with the creation of a soundtrack using field recordings and synthesizers in Ableton Live. I took the resulting .wav file into After Effects and put the movie together with the sound.

Use the search box at the top of this page to look for more examples of my use of the decalcomania process. Essentially it is the same as the childhood experience of looking for recognizable animals, faces, mountains, etc. in some passing clouds. The Surrealists used the process as inspiration for paintings. My favorite is Max Ernst.

While this video has some fun sections, and a few visual surprises, I find the lack of any plot structure or character disappointing. It makes me want to prepare more video footage and start all over again with new digital video source material to create an entirely new animated decalcomania.

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Boc Ging, the movie!

Well, I have finally sufficiently swallowed my pride enough to put the one lousy copy of Boc Ging up on YouTube. Compared to the quality of digital videography today, the 1968 film I made with Ben Van Meter in Bolinas, CA looks pretty clumsy and very dated.

It is 11 minutes long despite the 36 minutes listed on the YouTube page. I think the extra 25 minutes of nothing were created by the technician who prepared the DVD for me. Being a fan of nothing, I actually kind of like what happened.

I think that the film does capture the spirit of those times and I hope you find it interesting. The script is based on a book I made titled: The Book I Always Reach for But Never Find, by Boc Ging. I thought of it as a spiritual autobiography.

At the age of eleven, I was convinced I could not possibly be Robert William Comings. It sounded so plain. So I scrambled the letters of my full name and somehow came up with Boc Ging. I have no idea where that second G came from.

I am the sole actor in the film. I produced all the sounds via my handmade acoustic instruments, my voice, and my collection of homemade quarter-inch tape loops. Ben did a lot of in-camera edits and both of us co-edited the master print. The film was shot on the mesa in Bolinas, CA. It was distributed by Canyon Cinema in Berkeley, CA.

All the 2D and 3D works you see in the film were what I was making at the time and most were exhibited at Joyce and Arnold Bernhard’s Unicorn Gallery in San Francisco in two solo shows I had there in 1968 and in 1970. This film was shown at the 1970 Unicorn exhibit. [Art history note: The Unicorn Gallery occupied the same flat on Fillmore St. in which Jay de Feo painted her monumental piece The Rose. It was so big and heavy, a crane had to be used to get it out of the flat.]

There is one long section of the film that Ben and I painted by hand with strips of the film hanging in the wind in the backyard of his downtown Bolinas backyard.

While I am a bit embarrassed by the quality of the film, it is fun to tell people that the only two remaining 16mm color prints are in the Avant Garde section of the Archives of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood.

This copy of the film was made by the film restoration technician at the Academy as a trade to get me to donate my print of the film to their Archives.

For more info and images from the 1960s I recommend visiting Ben’s superlong webpage:

There you can purchase a DVD that includes all his other films.

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Chance Encounter on Country Road

Working several hours every day for 27 days in a row and this is what we get?!

Oh well… It was great fun to do, as always, I learned several new procedures in Toon Boom Harmony, and now I can dive into the next one.


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Crazy Angel Fly By

Another quickie animation sketch. I have been working on a much longer project and was getting bogged down in production details. To lift my spirits a bit, I decided to just do an animated doodle with no planning and see what happened.

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Dada Clockworks No. 4: Unresolved Conflicts

Another short animation study consisting of absurd actions that provide me with an excuse to build a sound track.

The background in this one is a portion of a photo I took in Tillamook, Oregon several years ago. It had rained just before we got there. Everything was wet and clean. The downtown area had several blank spaces on the street where a large building had been completely removed except for its concrete floors and sometimes a bit of perimeter foundation.  Its old neighbors, unharmed, remain standing with their usually inaccessible exterior walls bared for all to see.

I am immediately in a state of ecstasy when I see walls like these. They are visual poetry, perfect abstract expressionism. Dada excellence. I could have stayed there all day.

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A Meditation Incident: When Thought Stops

Another stab at developing my basic animation skills. I had fun, as always, building the soundtrack. This one goes by so quickly, I suggest looking at it a few times.

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Dada Clockworks No. 3 (the suit & and the fly)

Message: respect nature… and be aware of your circumstances.

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