Sunday, December 27, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ink Inverted

Check this out!

Isn't it amazing? I inverted the colors. The white had been great but the black disappointing. Now it's totally awesome.

Ink and water

I've been doing experiments with ink and water to see if I can use them as the menace.

This is a bunch of small tests. I time remapped them so there are moments that are faster than life because they got boring.

These two I combine colors. I time remapped these too.

Overall I like it, but it's tough to control, very chaotic. I'd like to film it with an hd camera and some proper lighting and see what I can get.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Today is my last day taking classes as an animation major at sva. The me from two years ago would be appalled to find out I switched to fine arts, but the me from two years ago knew a lot less than I do. I look to my right and hear a bunch of pop culture regurgitating kids mimicking dozens of cartoon characters from underground animations and on adult swim and I watch girls testing their punching strength on awkward boys, people dressed like anime characters, and all sorts of socially awkward people thriving on their community. I'm socially awkward too, but in a different way. I'm sad to be leaving, but I know that I'm making the right choice, for my career, for my happiness and for, of all things, community. Maybe I'll have luck there.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Last weekend I filmed constantly. CONSTANTLY. I was DP, and it was fantastic. A giant 60 foot tree fell directly on my purse, which was not so great, and the call times were pre-sunrise, but other than that it was just beautiful.

I've been working on The Dancer, too. Here's a shotlist and some concept art.

*-done in post, in animation
** shot with still camera, stop motion/pixilation


1. XWS-- Track right past a large topiary in the foreground, with the dancer centered and a spotlight shining down on her.
2. MW-- Follow as the dancer painfully stands up and stumbles
3. WS-- Low angle, behind the dancer, she stands before an intimidatingly large cockatiel.
4. XCU-- The dancer's eyes, scared, lost


1. ** WS-- Track around the entrapped, as it struggles to stand.
2. ** CU-- The entrapped's faceless head, bolted to the ground. Tilt up from the bolt as it tries to jerk its head upwards, its hands on the bolt.


1. MS-- Follow the dancers as she dances through the forest, moving from shape to
shape, approaching and backing away.
2. WS-- Stationary as the dancer moves around
3. MWS-- Follow the dancer. Her spotlight cuts out.
4.* MS-- Track back and follow the menace slowly coming around / in front of a topiary.
5. ** WS-- High angle, POV, the dancer backing away, visible only in flashes. She falls to the ground and continues to back away until she runs into the topiary and is cornered.
6.* WS-- Dancer POV, the menace looming overhead.
7. ** WS-- OS at dancer, high angle. The menace moves closer, the dancer curls into the fetal position, then slowly moves away camera right.
8. CU-- The dancer is curled up in a ball. She slowly looks up and her spotlight fades back in.
9. * WS-- Dancer POV. The menace is gone.


1. MW--The dancer starts to stand, and is startled and falls down. Follow shot.
2. * WS-- A wall of foliage hides something making noise. A spotlight shines down into the middle of it.
3. CU-- Dancer's face, the moment of decision to go in.
4. WS-- Tracking to behind the entrapped. The dancer emerges from the wall of foliage in the bg, rack focus to the entrapped.
5. WS-- Two shot of the dancer approaching the entrapped, low angle from the side, spotlights on both. Their actions mirror each other.
6. MWS-- The dancer encircles the entrapped, curiously, cautiously

7. ** WS-- They are in the foreground, their spotlights cut out and the menace looms over them, flashing light, backlighting them in intense flashes. They aren't visible between flashes, only in brief moments.
8. ** CU-- Dancer clutching her head in terror and pain.
9. ** CU-- The Entrapped doing the same.
10. ** XCU-- The Entrapped struggling against its bolts.
11. ** MW-- The dancer approaches and pulls with the entrapped.
12. ** XCU-- The dancer's hands pulling and straining with the entrapped, trying to free its head. It breaks free. Tilt up, follow entrapped's head, extreme low angle.
13. ** XCU-- They break the hand out.
14. ** WS-- Dance break for the dancer. She's freaking out. Follow her  as she moves away from the entrapped then back toward it. The menace moves with her.
15. ** XCU-- They break the other hand out.
16. ** XCU-- They break a foot out.
17. ** WS-- Second dance break for the dancer. Lower angle. The menace is huge when it's visible.
18. ** CU-- They break the foot out and the entrapped collapses. The flashes/photos are getting much more frequent.
19. ** XWS-- Low angle. The sky is blindingly white, backlighting them. The menace is gone. They have no spotlight, the sky is too bright.


1. ** MWS-- Overhead. The entrapped is collapsed on its white pedestal. The bolts are gone. Moss crawls in to fill it from the center out.
2. ** CU-- Moss filling its chest
3. ** CU-- Moss filling a hand
4. ** CU-- Moss filling a leg and foot
5. ** CU-- Moss filling its head.
6. MWS-- Two shot. The dancer approaches the entrapped and lays down with it.
7. WS-- Overhead. The two stare upwards, mirroring each other. The dancer stands up and leaps into a joyous pose.
8. MS-- Low angle, tracking around the dancer in a joyous pose. Tilt up to reveal her full body, toe to head. She's suspended with wires attached to the grid with soft braces to keep her in position. They'll be keyed out in post. Her hands start to unravel into green swirling lines (hand drawn)
9. CU-- Her hands and arms unraveling.
10. CU-- Vines wrapping around the entrapped's feet.
11. CU-- Tilting down, her whole body unravels.
12. CU-- Tilting up, the entrapped becomes completely wrapped up with vines.
13. MS-- The entrapped slowly stands and leaps into her joyous pose.
14. XWS-- The pedestal raises and the light shines down on the dancer, now above the wall of vines that had been surrounding the pedestal.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Creative Growth (close-up)
Originally uploaded by lexyperson

Creative Growth
Originally uploaded by lexyperson

This is a welded steel sculpture I made at UMass Lowell. It's one of the few sculptures I still have images of after the Great Dual Hard-drive Crash of '07. I still have most of the others, but I don't know where.

One of my favorites was called "Duet". My grandfather used to make and play violins, and he and I always planned on playing a duet but he died before we could. So I crafted an absurd machine out of old car parts, something my grandpa would have enjoyed a lot, and I used a car window motor out of a chevy and had it pumping a greased wooden piston back and forth. I fixed up one of my grandpa's unfinished violins and added a bridge and a string, and attached a bow to the piston, and attached the violin to a wooden skeletal figure I meticulously carved and aged with polyurethane and sawdust to look like it had been in the attic for years, like the violin had.

I finally was able to play the duet I had so dearly wanted. It's the most beautiful, meaningful work I have ever done and I love it more than any other.


"Dark" is the product of an adventure through the psychiatric system of NYC. I animated this in four hours and was completely drained when I finished. The music is me on the cello. 

 Hold Me

The entrapment of living in a hospital is palpable through this installation, which captures those feelings with a live projection cast on medical gauze and feeding back into itself to create many images of oneself blending with ones shadows in a disorienting and exposing way.

Experiment in Blue

This was an experiment to find a unique style, and I'm happy with how it came out. I did the music for this one too.


My first and last full 3D animation project. A mother bird has a very disturbing dream and takes matters into her own wings.


This animation imagines a technological apocalypse. The audio was recorded in the sculpture studio at UMass, and includes arc welders, circular saws, slamming metal cages and hammering iron against an anvil.

And, of course, here's my topiary:

I love my darling. I named her Freedom.

Laughing With

I vacillate between atheist and agnostic, but I mostly maintain a sense of spirituality. It's when I'm depressed that I find myself feeling solipsistic, but that passes. There have been a lot of times where I'm in such an awful state that I can't help but laugh at it. I love this song, I haven't listened to it in a while and it brings up so many memories of instances where I'm just overwhelmed by the insanity of my life.

spotlight effect

I've been thinking a lot about that spotlight effect.

I just rendered a test image in maya.

It took a couple hours to get it the way I wanted it, but now that I've relearned how to do this sort of stuff it won't take nearly so long for the actual project.

What I want to do is render a spotlight in maya to follow the dancer, and I'll do a 3d mockup of the topiaries to cast shadows on them. For the dancer's shadow I want to film her with a two camera setup, one to act as the 'spotlight' and one to be the main capture. The spotlight will be stationary way up above her. It doesn't have to be super high resolution since I'm just going to use it to key out the bg and use the dancer for a shadow. I'll put it on a plane in maya and set it to cast shadows but be invisible when it renders.

This is going to be so technically complicated but it's worth the effort.

The Dancer

Here's a script I wrote for the project I've been dreaming up the past couple months.



Lily Gist


A pale indigo moonlight casts shadows amongst a sparse forest of large topiaries, surrounded by a spacious black void. A Chinese dragon in topiary form looms in the distance, with a topiary cockatiel perched nearby. Flower children holding vases and pots are frozen in abstract poses, and various other whimsical shapes quietly preside in the darkness.

A young and lithe human DANCER, 20s, stumbles lost through the vast Topiary Forest. She anxiously braces herself against the still creatures, as though they could come to life at any moment. Lit by a spotlight which follows her every movement, she seems lonely and small. The forest overshadows her with its cold stillness.


An ENTRAPPED figure lays on the ground. It is hollow, only the suggestion of a form, and is bolted to the ground. A spotlight shines over it, its shadow a mesh of lines and shapes permeated by light.

It struggles to stand, pushing itself off the ground, but the bolts limit its movement.


The dancer moves from shape to shape, investigating and dancing fearfully around them, approaching and backing away. She is searching for something without knowing its appearance.

Her spotlight fades and a darkness envelops her. A low, clashing growl is heard in the distance and glowing eyes and teeth appear, scowling cruelly at her. The MENACE approaches, a mess of dark colors and scratched lines.

In abject terror The Dancer frantically tries to escape. A cold blue light flashes from The Menace, showing only glimpses of her in the darkness.

When she is on the brink of madness, huddled fearfully in the fetal position, The Menace moves on.

Slowly she catches her breath and composes herself. Her spotlight fades back in.

She hears something nearby and is startled, falling backwards.

She seems ready to run, but still walks forward. A wall of branches and trees surrounds an obscured figure, illuminated by a spotlight. She makes her way through the trees and comes across The Entrapped.

It is scared by her, and she by it. Their movements mirror each other’s. The Dancer circles The Entrapped, reaching to touch it.

Suddenly their spotlights cut off and The Menace appears. Light strobes over them, their movements visible only in flashes.

They clutch their heads, terrified, trying to hide but the trees grow thick to keep the dancer in. The Entrapped pits all its strength against the bolts, trying desperately to free itself. The Dancer sees this and anxiously tries to help it, falling back and pushing forward. She frees one arm, then the other, then the legs and finally the head.

The flashes of light intensify, strobing more rapidly.

The Entrapped collapses to the ground. The strobes reach a blinding intensity, filling the area with white light. The sounds of the Menace are gone.

A moss starts to grow inside The Entrapped, and vines wrap around its ankles. The trees around it sink into the ground as it fills. The Dancer steps up and merges with The Entrapped, growing into it with green moss and life. She stands up and exuberantly dances, each movement filling the air with color. She jumps to the sky, freezing in a pose of joy and freedom.

It is daytime in the Topiary Forest, and of all the topiaries, The Dancer is the largest and most revered. A light shines over her like no other, and colors fill the sky around her. She is forever joyful, and her only purpose is to grow.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Who do I make art for?

I've been thinking for all this time that I'm making art for myself, that it's a selfish act, but I know that's not true. I make it for other people, to try to get them to feel what I've felt, to share my experience and the inspiration I get from it.

And that's why my marble is somewhat flat. It's cool, don't get me wrong, but it has no feeling.

Maybe I'll get some in there somehow.

Friday, November 27, 2009

 Happy Black Friday! This is from last night.

I'm working on a stop motion project.  You can see by the picture on the left sort of what it's like. I've built a wireframe skeleton, and I'm going to router the base so I can move threaded rods around and animate it. The threaded rods will allow the parts to move up and down. It'll be a pain and a half to animate but it should be worth the trouble.

That's going with this whole concept of growth and struggle. I'm going to be working with a dancer, who will be wearing a dress soaked in paint that will splatter everywhere as a symbol of progress and making a mark. As the short progresses, animated plants will start to surround the dancer. Eventually she'll grow into a topiary, a symbol of constant growth and emotional stability.

 This is a big project. It'll take a while to do but I have a potential team to help me.

Oh, and here's the marble I'm working on.

And these are the tools I'm using! Sort of. Not exactly the same, but close. The hammer's the same-ish.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

228 days

228 days ago I was brought to NYU Medical Center.

208 days ago I got out.

46 days ago I went back in.

16 days ago I got back out.

Tonight I'm depressed. Earlier today I was laughing. Before that I was motivated, carving marble. Earlier still I was depressed.

Yesterday I went to an art gallery opening, Lucia had stuff in there and there was a chance I would have an animation playing too. I don't know if he'll play it eventually or what but it wasn't playing for the opening so it doesn't matter.

I used to be a pro at schmoozing. Now I don't give a fuck, I just want to make stuff. I used to know the value of it, now I could care less.

I'm tired.

I don't know what I'm doing.

I don't know where I'm going.

I'm so tired.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This is an animation I did yesterday. It was satisfying to paint and left me competely depleted.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Here I Am

I'm dying to sculpt in marble. Dying. Positively actively deceasing.

So, I asked my parents if I could get a christmas present consisting of these tools and these classes at the Art Students League.

Isn't that exciting? And I'll probably be taking some good art history classes at SVA, since I'll be a FINE ARTS MAJOR! Can't wait for that.

God I'm so moody. I get depressed so easily, trapped in a gradually derailing train of thought which often ends in, "Well, I'll just kill myself" or sometimes, "Well, I'll just cut off contact entirely." Sometimes those are the easy answers. It's extreme black and white thinking, something we talk about often in therapy and DBT.

I hate being like this. I hate being not sane. Radical acceptance. It's okay to have a pity party for a few minutes and then move on. The whole concept of sanity is incredible to think about, as always. Einstein said, to paraphrase, "Insanity is doing the same things over again and expecting a different outcome," so sanity must be learning from your mistakes, by his logic. I do learn, but I still keep making the same mistakes. I'm trying to learn as much as I can through indirect methods like DBT and therapy, but I can't learn from my mistakes directly since I don't understand fully why I make them, or even recognize that they're happening.

Pity party finito.

Jessica's performance yesterday was just so gorgeous. There will be a webcast of it up some time, maybe a couple days from now. I'll post when it's up. But seriously, it was absolutely astonishingly beautiful, the program was perfect, enthralling. I didn't want it to end, and I teared up six times.

I also took a ton of pictures, and while we were at the zoo and such I got a bunch of pictures taken of me. I'll post them here when I get them.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Where am I?

I went to Pittsburgh for the weekend to see my sister's masters concert - she's getting her masters degree in flute performance. I have a serious case of Akasthisia, an obnoxious psychotropic drug symptom that manifests itself as a sort of inner restlessness which causes me to require constant change in stimulation and gives me anxiety if I have to sit still.

There's a lot of potential for some severe issues during Jess' concert, but I'm just so proud of her for doing such an amazing job with school and improving her performance ability so much. She's really got her game together, something I envy. My life has completely fallen apart. I'm comparing myself to her as I sit in her tidy, organized apartment with abundant decorations and I can't help but feel left behind. I'm so tired of having so many issues. I want to feel normal, with normalized anxiety and alleviated depression and none of the symptoms of complex post traumatic stress disorder affecting me. It's overwhelming to be a mental patient, to be legally certifiably insane. I'm going to be certifiable soon, actually, so it's not official yet. I'm not sure how it works but it will help me with getting more medical care and potentially help me get food stamps.

I desperately want a normal life. How did I get to this point? I showed so much promise a year ago, but I was miserable. Yet I was accomplishing so much, and now what am I doing? I don't even know where I'll be tomorrow, much less a few years down the road. Hell, where will I be in an hour, emotionally? Will I make more life changing, mind altering epiphanies?

I need to rest. This is too much.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Wireform

Yep, just chillin out on the table.

I've been working more on the second wireform.

I've designed her for stop motion filming, so I experimented with sitting her in different positions. That was fun.

I like to think for this one (-->) she's saying, "Where's my head?"

And this one is just a basic sitting on the floor position. She's mostly going to be in the fetal  position, not sure why I didn't photograph that.

Anyway, I still have lots of work to do on her. I'm debating taking all that polyester out of her and lining her with fabric so it's smoother before stuffing that with polyfiller.

I also tried feathers. Bad idea. She looked like she'd been tarred and feathered. I thought it would be poetic but no. Don't do it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day in a Bottle

Day in a Bottle
Light blue paint in smokey water,
reds and violets drifting through
She's in the bushes, couldn't spot her
Hide and seek is my game too.

If I could take the day,
and put it in a bottle
I would toss it overboard and sail to tripoli
I could do oh so much more with so much less
but here I am, locked up in a world of excess

Yellows, greens, blue and orange,
black trees white trees brown trees too,
Leaves are falling, seasons change,
they just hope they grew.

If I could take the day,
and put it in a bottle
I would pack it full of candy just for you and me,
I could do oh so much more with so much less
but here I am, locked up in a world of excess

Silver streaks through dark blue skies,
light blue shining over white,
What's that look there in your eyes,
What is in the air tonight?

If I could take the day,
and put it in a bottle
I'd break it open lost forever just you wait and see
I could do oh so much more with so much less
but here I am, locked up in a world of excess

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Creative Cycle

So, this is another project I'm working on, maybe. It's a small part of it, at the very least.

I like vomit as a metaphor for the creative process. I think it's all just regurgitation with different flavors and colors that come from inside of you. You know, vomit.

I kind of want to animate it in watercolors. It's so visceral, so crazy and so fun I can't help but get excited about it.

Emotion Sign Language.


I spent time in the psychiatric unit of a hospital for most of October. While I was in there, I made hands. Eight of them. Six came out especially meaningful, so I'll show them here. Click the images for larger versions. They have veins and fingernails and are excruciatingly detailed using the tine of a plastic fork, a spoon, a paper towel and a toothbrush.


This one took days for me to do. I was unhappy with it six times, mashing it up after each. The seventh time I used a new technique, molding parts and hanging them off a plastic cup first then compositing them.




"Overcome" was particularly meaningful. It was when I felt like I was clawing my way out of my depression and trauma issues, I was forced onto a path of recovery and I was doing my best to make the most of it. I don't know what I would have done without sculpture. My parents dropped off some Crayola Model Magic, which is what all these are made from, when they came for the second family visit. That was so much better than the first. The first left me wanting to jump through my window, and I tried.


To balance out the intensity of all the others I decided to make one that is truly at peace. This one took me hardly any time at all to make. I was in a calm, peaceful place for once. I've gotten so used to turbulence that when it abates it's really special to me.

Well, that's everything. I have lots more art to document, but I'm out of good hands. I made a couple more but I don't think they're as good as these.

Topiary finished!


So, now I have to plant it and start the vines. I'm thinking of getting some English Ivy to wrap around it while the Creeping Fig grows. It's a big leaf, but might look nice to contrast the small leaf. I'm not going to right now though, I used up my paycheck. On the right is a slightly different angle so you can see more of the scale and shape of it. I still have some minor adjustments to make, squishing in the hands a bit and such. They're a bit big, as you can see on the left, but that's because I wanted fingers and that's just how big they turned out at their absolute smallest practical size. They should be able to squish in a little more though, which will help.

I had to find a bunch of ways to support it the arms and the head. They didn't want to stay in their position, so I had to string wire from 2/3 up the arm and lace it down to the metal rod from a slightly higher position than I wanted, knowing it would settle a little. They're good where they are now and I think they'll stay.
I dropped myself in there for scale. She's about 1/2 life size, maybe slightly more. The potter growing out of her chest dictated her size, in a way, because I needed a decent area for a plant in there and the roots needed space to grow. Hopefully it will be okay with just this size, because it's really not too expandable. I'll be putting a plastic pot in her chest with the natural fabric stuff as just a plate for collecting excess water so the sphagnum moss doesn't mildew or mold. Plastic for the light weight. Otherwise I'd think terra cotta.

Oh, and there was one more innovation. I used some J-B Weld to secure the rod to the base, and I'm securing the lady's position to the rod later today. She can spin a little right now and I don't want that.

So, it's almost done. It'll be a three-day crazy adventure. I'm so excited to watch it grow.

EDIT:: Okay, all done! I have to get more plants, but this is what I have, all set up!

EDIT 2::

I cut the rod off. It was disturbing.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Topiary progress report

Here's my current progress on the topiary. You can also see my cello case there on the right :)

Cathy said I rarely do anything the easy way. Well, I just did! I found an elegant solution to my conundrum.

What I did was buy a cheap hanging planter with a stand, I'm not sure if it was supposed to have the stand or not but I used self checkout just incase.

You can see the stand and the base of the foot on the right. It's working well! I just shoved a 1/3" metal rod through the topiary and into the base. I need to get something to cut the rod, but it seems to be standing without bending too much so I'm content

The basket I bought also came with this handy dandy natural bowl that will give me the drainage I need!

I look sleepy in that pic. I blame the seroquel.

So, now I need to cut that bowl to form and shove it in the lady's chest so she can have some plants growing out of there. I need to come up with a good name for her. My sister Kim could do it I bet. I just fired off a text to her, we'll see if she comes up with anything.

So, the march goes on. She's worth about $100 now in materials and I need more sphagnum so when I'm done, she'll be worth maybe $120. I could sell her for much more though!

Such an exciting project. She reminds me of the dryads from fantasia.