Saturday, November 22, 2014

Photobooth in Periodicals

You can find reviews/excerpts of Photobooth: A Biography in three fine Canadian publications this quarter- Broken Pencil, Geist and UPPERCASE. Pick 'em while you can!


And for the curious, there's a list of other reviews here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

New Graphic Memoir- Long Red Hair

Two days ago Conundrum Press announced that we'll be working together again on my latest book project, Long Red Hair, which will be released in spring 2015. I'm really excited for this work to be out in the world. It's very different from Photobooth: A Biography in regards to the subject matter, the length, the narrative devices and the artwork (this one will be printed in duotone!) Though I think the readers will recognize my voice as it comes through in the introspection and attention to detail.

The full announcement and details are here. Below is the book's description.

Long Red Hair is Meags Fitzgerald's follow up to her acclaimed Photobooth: A Biography. In this graphic memoir, Fitzgerald paints a childhood full of sleepovers, playing dress-up, amateur fortune-telling and renting scary movies. Yet, Fitzgerald suspects that she is unlike her friends. The book navigates a child’s struggle with averageness, a preteen’s budding bisexuality and a young woman’s return after rejection. Fitzgerald takes us from her first kiss to a life sworn to singlehood, while weaving in allusions to witches in history and popular culture. Long Red Hair alluringly delves into the mystique of red hair and the beguiling nature of alternative romantic relationships.


Ambidextrous Illustrating for T-Mobile

The commercial I worked on came out last week and I'm pretty happy with it. The production company, Pedri Animation, a stop motion animation studio outside of Amsterdam, were really cool to work with and did a great job. The team there was awesome and I wish my trip was longer so I could have picked up some animation techniques from them.

Quite unexpectedly, I am actually in the finished commercial. It was supposed to be just my hands but the ad agency melded the stop motion footage with footage that they shot of me for the making-of video. At the end of the day, that is fine, but for the record, neither myself nor my business, Two Hands Two Crowns has any opinion of T-Mobile's products or services.



The ad agency found me because of the videos I posted of myself doing ambidextrous illustrations on vimeo three years ago. All that ambidextrous training that I did just for fun has definitely paid off. Just goes to show that you never know what a hobby will turn into! 

Photo by Iris at Pedri Studios

Photo by Iris at Pedri Studios

Photo by Iris at Pedri Studios

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Quick Trip to Amsterdam

Back in August I made a list of ten or so things to blog about, all of which were highlights from my summer. I didn't get very far into September before my schedule was swept away again.

The last week was really a whirlwind with a last minute opportunity to work on a commercial in Amsterdam. I'll share the back story of how that came to be when the commercial is ready to be shared. For now, here's a photo of our stop motion animation set-up.

I had less than one day of free time in the city but the stars aligned and I was able to visit with three friends in that time! We met at the newly-installed chemical photobooth in the Lomography store. Photoautomat Amsterdam placed the booth there only a few weeks ago and its been hugely popular. (It's the first working chemical photobooth to be in Amsterdam in almost a decade!) 

I feel super lucky that I was able to hang out with Stefan, Cari and Jason, who I know separate from each other but who are all "photobooth people" in their own right.

Strips of myself with Stefan, Cari and Jason

I'm in Edmonton now and prepping for lots of fun events in Alberta over the next two weeks. Hopefully I'll find some time to recap some of my other recent adventures here too!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

International Photobooth Convention pt.1

In August of 2013, I sent an email to Brian and Tim, the gentlemen behind Photobooth.net. Since 2005 they've been the organizers of the International Photobooth Convention. (I should note that the conventions are not commercial trade shows, but rather volunteer-run festivals to celebrate all things photobooth-- with a heavy bias towards vintage machines.) In my email to them, I expressed interest in helping to organize the next IPC and listed a handful of ideas.

Ten months and hundreds of emails later, I arrived at A&A Studios a week before the convention date. Anthony Vizzari, his team and I got to work prepping IPC 2014. Truthfully, it was an immense amount of work, but it also felt energizing to be back in that creative space again, with all my old Chicago pals.

Chemical booths, from left to right, a Model 21, 17, 17 and 14, with a Photomatic peeking around the corner. Photo by Brian Meacham
Anthony was responsible for getting the physical space in order, which involved setting up five chemical and two digital photobooths, as well as planning the opening night party. I was responsible for the programming, scheduling and the promotional materials. The A&A staff were a tremendous amount of help. Brian and Tim would join us for during the actual event to keep everything running smoothly.

Conference room, table covered in Anthony's collection of PDQ cameras.
Some details from a Model 9 that Antony acquired since the last time I was in Chicago.
Anthony's photos, a couple Photomatics and three great examples of frames designed specifically for photobooth pictures.
Anthony's own Photomatic, an incredibly rare gem of a machine.

Anthony taught a workshop on using a photobooth camera outside of the photobooth. A&A staff member, David made a device to trigger the camera and paper cutter and attached a darkroom bag to collect the photos as they dropped out of the camera box. The photos were then developed by hand in the darkroom. Getting the lighting just right was the trickiest part.


It had been a while since I had serviced a photobooth but I was about to help get the machines up and running.  Here are some test shots from the Model 21 and Model 11 which we had running colour paper and chemicals.

What there aren't photos of, but what was certainly a memorable part of the pre-convention experience, is all the containers of take-out food we consumed that week.


 
In addition to the poster I made announcing IPC, we also wanted to make limited edition silkscreened posters, like in previous years. I designed the graphic while Kiera, an A&A staff member did the actual silkscreening. I also designed name tags and a set of four buttons.


Photo by Brian Meacham.
Volunteers made bunting out of paper in the convention colours and together we set up a merch table with a pretty good array of photobooth related products.

 
Photo by Brian Meacham.
As part of the convention we had a small exhibition of art titled Photobooth: New Works. The theme was art that was made since 2010 either using photobooths or with photobooths as the subject matter. With a team of volunteers we managed to get the art hung just before the opening party on Friday night.
 
Photo by Brian Meacham.
Well, that's it for set-up, in my next post I'll talk about what actually happened during the convention!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Chicago Comic Events!

I spent the first three weeks of June in Chicago for a slew of comics and photobooth related events. First up was the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (or CAKE, as it's better known.) I tabled with follow Conundrum Press author, Dakota McFadzean, who's one amazing storyteller/ cartoonist. Dakota is a graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies, so the organizers put us next to other CCS alumni, who I got to know and befriend throughout the weekend.

There was a fair bit of interest in Photobooth: A Biography and all weekend long I had great conversations with people about the topic. I met a few photobooth fans that I hadn't met in person before and I may have converted a few casual photography enthusiasts into true blue photobooth devotees. (Which is the ulterior motive behind most of actions.)

Photo on the right by Megan Byrd of Women Write Comics
My only qualm is that I didn't have much time to look around at mini-comics and zines that I would have liked for myself. I did however get to hang out with folks after the expo wrapped each day. One major highlight was going to Headquarters, which is a huge bar filled with pinball machines that are set to "free vend"... yes that's right, unlimited pinball! I may be a photobooth fan but I've got a soft spot for the whole coin-op industry. Headquarters also has a backroom filled with arcade machines, including my very favourite, Street Fighter II. Chun-Li 4life.


CAKE was lead by a super team of volunteers who were incredibly organized, cheery and helpful. The venue, the Center on Halsted, is also a really awesome, queer friendly space. Thanks to everyone who made that an awesome experience!

Two weeks later I had a talk and signing at Quimby's Bookstore, which in addition to having an amazing selection of alternative books, they also happen to have a functioning chemical photobooth! The talk went well but the coolest part of the evening (for me at least) was the Q&A session afterwards that turned into large discussion. 


I also gave everyone who came to the talk a tiny envelope, which they weren't allowed to open until the end. Half the envelopes contained glamorous photobooth shots and the other contained grotesque shots. Sending photobooth art to each other is one way that members of the international photobooth community stay connected, so I wanted to give the attendees a taste of that. Together, at the end everyone opened their respective envelopes to delight or dismay. 

 

My good friend Elizabeth came to the talk, which was awesome because she appears in the book multiple times. Elizabeth, over the last eleven years has literally appeased me dozens of times by posing with me in photobooths. This occasion was no different, here we are in the Quimby's photobooth. We are beautiful grown-up ladies.

Elizabeth and I also went to go see the Neo-Futurists perform their signature show Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. I had heard a lot about the ensemble over the years but this was my first time seeing them... and my gosh, I can't believe I waited so long. It was one of the best live theatre experiences I've ever had. I highly recommend it!

More recaps about the rest of my trip to Chicago coming soon...


Monday, September 1, 2014

Portfolio- Improv Camp Designs

Last week Improv Camp, which takes place on Gambier Island outside of Vancouver, wrapped up its 13th year! There's a special place in my heart for Improv Camp, where I was a camper and then a trainer for many years. I've created shirt designs for the camp for the last five years and it's a fun challenge to be given, essentially the same assignment every year.

In July I designed a two screen t-shirt design and a one screen hoodie design, both to be sold at the camp's tuck shop. Here are a few sketches, the finished designs and the designs mocked up on models:


Sunday, August 31, 2014

CBC Radio Interview

I recently returned from two weeks in Nova Scotia where I had quite the magical trip, more on that later. On August 15th I was interviewed by Polly Leger for CBC Radio One in Halifax. We recorded it from within a photobooth and it's one of my favourite discussions I've had about the book so far. 

video

(I should note that the host mispronounced my first name, I'm pretty used to that. For the record it's pronounced "Megz" not "Meegs".)