Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Exclusive Podcast: Treklenburg Episode #28

Hosts Michael Earle and Molly Jay hilariously talk all things Star Trek.
This week, Mike and Molly discuss the love life of Commander William Riker! Plus, Molly finally is almost over with her Enterprise episode torture?! They discuss three more episodes! Tune in now!

Original broadcasts of Treklenburg are Monday nights at 8pm EST on www.pmcradio.org.

How to Subscribe!
iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/trekl…ings/id797015608
RSS Feed: www.podcastrevolution.com/viewpodcast.php?pid=3578

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Robot Needs Love, Too: An Interview w/ Ronan Lynam

Turning video games into art is a time honored tradition dating back to the days of console controlled pong games. Turning video games into fine art...well, that is a different matter all together. And, no one does this better than artist/illustrator Ronan Lynam. His recent collection of Super Mario World inspired digital paintings is turning more than a few heads. From re-imagining Bowser's Flying Ship in a business suit to a stunningly beautiful portrait of the Twin Bridges, Lynam's art brings a fresh and original perspective to the genre.

In a recent article in The Escapist, Lynam explains his inspiration for a Super Mario World collection:
I had always been a fan of gaming, and video games are often a source of inspiration for new work. I like to draw a lot of things from popular games that don't really get a lot of whole lot of attention, like giving more life to minor characters, items and locations that aren't often the subject of fan art. Classic games likeSuper Mario World are awesome, so I chose that since I always loved the charming world and atmosphere the game created. Although, I'm not really sure what inspired Bowser's Flying Ship to have a body wearing a suit. That's a mystery even to me!
But, it doesn't stop there. Before I approached the twenty-three year old University of Michigan grad about an interview, I did some digging around the internet and wound up in a world of murderous Teletubbies, award winning t-shirt designs, and animated gifs of adorable panda bears commandeering a tank. I had to know more.

Despite being busy working on a new series of pop culture digital paintings, Ronan was able to take some time to sit down for an interview.

Q: I think we are all more than a little blown away by your digital brush stroke technique. Can you explain how something like this is even possible?
Ronan: Thanks so much! The whole technique I use basically came to both in part through frustration and inspiration. I was frustrated by the way a lot of ‘digital painting’ is made by creating an image that looks very plastic and “perfect”. There’s a lot of flashy digital effects and over rendering, and that type of work just isn’t for me. After doing a little oil painting in college, I learned a lot about the principles of physical painting like under paintings and strokes, and I saw no reason why they couldn’t be translated into my digital work. I started looking at more and more digital illustrators who go for a more raw, tactile approach in their drawings and I became really inspired by the way they were making their marks.

In terms of how it works, there’s a lot of digital brushes out there that emulate the look and feel of traditional mark making. The most important thing I look for in a good painterly brush is that it maintains a sense of stroke. In other words, you can see the direction I was making the brush stroke, like from left to right. Doing this combined with some textures and you’ll have something that looks very stroke-y!

Q: You won the Threadless/MTV Awkward design challenge in 2013 by depicting a shark with headgear. Were you channeling your own teenage years by chance?
Ronan: Totally. I’d post some pictures, but the last time I shared photos from that time they were at the top of searches for my name. So when you searched ‘Ronan Lynam’, the first things you saw were some butt ugly, super stupid pictures of me when I was younger.

Q: A lot of your art depicts your love for classic video games. What gaming systems/games are your favorites?
Ronan: I’ve always been a big Nintendo fan and I love most of their franchises. Their classic games were definitely a staple in my childhood, since my household definitely took the SNES -> N64 -> GC route. Those systems and their most popular games were definitely among my favorites.

For the past 4~5 years, I really missed out on a lot of the newer games especially while I was at college. However I recently picked up a PS3 and have been trying to catch up on some of last generations titles that I never got to experience. I don’t think I’ll be buying a next-gen console though. It’s becoming more and more obvious that building your own PC is the way to go. I’ve never built one, and it seems to be a bit more money upfront but I’ve read you can get a really good PC that outperforms the next gen consoles for under a $1000 easy!

Q: You are fairly open about your former World of Warcraft addiction. Do you still ever log in just to see what is going on with the expansions?
Ronan: Naw - not so much. I played WoW I was a kid. I was in 8th grade when it first came out, and I was totally hooked. I really played it nonstop for about 9 months before I snapped out of it. After that though, I never really looked back.

Q: One of your paintings scares the living shit out of me - Ducksworth Loves Duckface. I love it and am terrified of it at the same time. Was Ducksworth meant to be nightmare fuel?
Ronan: Ducksworth! I’m glad you liked it. The whole series was actually my senior thesis project at the University of Michigan’s School of A&D. After months of struggling to come up with a good, clever, sophisticated idea for an artistically tasteful series of work, I threw it all out the window in favor of drawing pictures of funky looking animal portraits.

In terms of Ducksworth being nightmare fuel - some people have mentioned that he looks like he has been hitting’ the pipe or something. I don’t know anything about that. I think he’s kinda cute.

Q: The gifs you make of some of your illustrations are hilarious. What was the eureka moment that inspired you to start turning illustrations into gifs?
Ronan: Thanks! I started making simple, 3 frame animation loops of some of my illustrations back in May. I made them because I thought they were both really fun to do and because I realized that they would be popular on GIF heavy sites such as Tumblr. A lot of times on Tumblr, you only have a split second to catch someone’s attention and I found simple, looping GIFS are a great way to catch that!

Q: On your Tumblr, you say you are going to start making a series of cuddly animals driving war machines. Is this true? Please say yes.
Ronan: I think so. They’re really a blast to make, and they’ve been pretty popular. It’s nice to know that people like them so much!

Q: What artists/illustrators are you currently following?
Ronan: Oh man. At any one time, I’ll be in love with a new illustrator. However, there are a few artists whose influence continues to stick with me. Sam Spratt’s digital painting work has always entranced me. His awesome portraits are so professionally made and the digital painting technique is very much influenced by real painting practices, and it really shows.

Illustrator/designers Aled Lewis and Glenn Jones - both fellow Threadless alumni - both continue to make amazing things. Combined with their illustrations, their unparalleled wittiness and cleverness is something that continues to inspire me to let a lot of my illustrations be guided by humor.

Q: Your Ralphie in the pink bunny suit holding the Red Ryder BB gun is epic. How many times have you watched A Christmas story?
Ronan: Honestly, I don’t think anyone knows how many times they’ve seen A Christmas Story.

Q: Mario…or Link? Who would win in a fight?
Ronan: I thought long and hard about this. It’s a tough fight, but I think Link would come out on top. I’m not picking favorites here either. I think they both can bring the pain and pack a lot of punch, but Link has more defenses, while Mario has virtually none. Link can simply take more of a beating while also dishing out lots damage.

Be sure to visit Ronan Lynam's Website, Facebook, Tumblr, T-Shirt Site, and Society 6 Shop!
Click any pic to enlarge!

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Morning Dance Party: The Bird and the Bee "Undone"

The Bird and the Bee are back after a 4-year break from releasing original music with a super peppy song from the Sex Tape soundtrack! Can't think of a more fun way to start the work week!

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Perfume Genius "Queen" Video! New Album Due Out In September!

Perfume Genius, aka Mike Hadreas, is back with what is perhaps his strongest, darkest sounding song yet, "Queen." The video is directed by SSION which totally explains its gritty, surreal feeling. New album Too Bright is due out Sept 22nd on Matador Records. According to Matador, the new album is less self-conscious, and less concerned with storytelling and easily-digested melodies, it is a brave, bold, unpredictably quixotic exploration of what Hadreas calls “an underlying rage that has slowly been growing since ten and has just begun to bubble up”. If the entire album is as dark and interesting as "Queen," I am sure it will be one for the ages.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Watch: "A Good Man" StoryCorps Animation

All aboard the feels train. Wonderful animator Tim Rauch teams up with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to bring a few heartwarming StoryCorps stories to life. The latest animation is the story of Bryan Wilmoth. When Bryan's father discovered he was gay, he drove him into the country in the middle of the night and kicked him out of the car with nothing but a few personal items and $5 in his pocket. Watch/listen as he talks to his brother Mike about reconnecting with their six other brothers and sisters. Bring a tissue.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Exclusive Podcast: Treklenburg Episode #27

Hosts Michael Earle and Molly Jay hilariously talk all things Star Trek.
This week, Mike and Molly discuss their 5 Lamest Alien Species! Plus, Molly finally hits three Enterprise episodes that make even the staunchest Trekkie say WTF?! Tune in now!

Original broadcasts of Treklenburg are Monday nights at 8pm EST on www.pmcradio.org.

How to Subscribe!
iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/trekl…ings/id797015608
RSS Feed: www.podcastrevolution.com/viewpodcast.php?pid=3578

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Watch: Violin (2012) Short Film

German writer/director Roman Ilyushenko brings us Violin, an incredibly sweet twelve minute short that winds up being so sensual it will leave you quivering with desire. Two young men share an insanely intimate moment during an impromptu violin lesson. Really gotta hand it to the European shorts, they are all incredibly well acted and beautifully filmed. Watch this. You won't be sorry.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Watch: Broke Straight Boys Reality Series Trailer

So, the fellows over at Broke Straight Boys have decided to make a reality series based on some of their "Gay For Pay" cast and crew members hanging out in the house of Broke Straight Boys owner Mark Erickson while they are in town to film their scenes. The show is non-sexually explicit and will air on the website BrokeStraightBoys.tv. They just released a trailer/teaser full of buff young men boxing, playing paint ball, acting rowdy and getting in each other's faces. Their girlfriends also enjoy a few fleeting seconds of screen time. We are reserving judgement until the actual series airs towards the end of 2014. No official air date has been released yet.

Here's their official synopsis:
Broke Straight Boys is a reality-based docu-series that explores the world of “Gay for Pay,” a term used to describe when straight men do gay porn for money. The show focuses on the people involved in this taboo and unconventional lifestyle, exploring the dynamic relationships between the owner of BluMedia, Mark Erickson, his business staff and the young men who choose to do gay porn to supplement their income by performing for the adult website, brokestraightboys.com.

As part of his business model, every month Mark houses a select number of these straight young men in his multi-million dollar mansion while they do scenes at a nearby studio for his website. In his words, “They’re a hot mess and I can keep my eye on them when they’re in the house.” What comes of that is an ideal situation for a television series, with the proximity of all of these unique individuals, their engaging life stories, inflammatory personalities and disparate reasons for being there colliding, creating drama, alliances, jealousy, hilarity, and sheer reality unlike anyone’s ever seen.

As dysfunctional a family as you will ever find, this group of colorful characters keep you mesmerized at every moment. From seeing them rehearse scenes in the studio to hearing their unbelievable perspective on life, money and the pursuit of porn, you won’t be able to look away, even when you want to. Broke Straight Boys has taken the reality genre to a new level and you’ll never want to come down.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

You're An Asshole For Buying This: The Genius Creations of The Sucklord!

For the unfamiliar, The Sucklord is a pop art toy designer and life long Star Wars fan-boy living and working out of NYC. His company Suckadelic manufactures hilariously wonderful unlicensed action figures and toys, all of which are sold out quickly being released. His work has been featured countless places including NPR, Vice Magazine, and he even appeared on Season 2 of Bravo's Work of Art: The Next Great Artist and Bravo's Gallery Girls.

Perhaps the greatest, most hysterically comprehensive bio information on The Sucklord was compiled by The Village Voice's Camille Dodero in her must read article The Suckadelic Era.
For most of his adulthood, lucrative employment evaded the native New Yorker: The insurance company where his mother worked wouldn't hire him for the mail room; for three years after art school in Oregon, the P.S. 41 graduate set up mannequins at Canal Jeans and earned $7 an hour. None of this made his romantic life ideal. He didn't lose his virginity until he was 21; in 2004, he filmed the premiere episode of the short-lived VH1 series Can't Get a Date (2006), where the host interrogated the man-boy about a full urine bottle he kept beside his bed. (He refused to empty it because, as he told his mother off-camera, one day, it would be valuable.)
Despite his quasi-fame, before doing research for this article, I only knew about The Sucklord for his bootleg homosexual themed action figure series Gay Empire! In this series, Sucklord lovingly lampoons Star Wars, GI Joe, Peanuts, and other well known pop culture references with bright pink stormtroopers, Cobra's Lavender Guard (Asking and Telling Edition), and the laugh out loud Peppermint Patty knock off Licorice Leslie.

Anyway, I am going to stop typing now and just let The Sucklord's work speak for itself. You should 100% follow Sucklord on Twitter and Instagram! He updates those two places more than any of his other social media. Also, his YouTube channel has tons of great videos including his series Toy Lords of Chinatown.

Click any pic to enlarge!

**Header image courtesy of Frank151.

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