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".)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Portfolio- Kinkonauts Posters


Back in the mid-2000s, when I was living in Calgary, I occasionally performed improv with the Kinkonauts. I have very fond memories of guesting with the long form ensemble.

A couple months ago I was contacted by one of the Kinkonauts, Owen, about making a poster to announce their new season and a template that they could use throughout the year.  

The company had already been using space-inspired designs for many years, so sticking with that theme we decided to infuse it with a retro, comic book look. I studied science fiction magazine covers from the 60s for inspiration. Then I mocked up three concepts.


They choose the second design (which was also my favourite) so I refined the sketch further and once they gave me the go-ahead, I sketched out the under-drawing on a large piece of paper.


Next I inked over the under-drawing using a lightboard, I did this in sections on multiple pieces of paper. 


In Photoshop I assembled the scanned inked drawings. In the early stages of the design process I presented the team with three palettes, (again they chose my favourite one) and so colouring was a breeze.  I also used the existing Kinkonauts logo as the alien woman's badge and their existing font for the heading.

Next I made six variations of the poster, each in a slightly different colour scheme, so the company can re-use the image for their whole season. I also made variations of the design for social media and to be made into buttons.



I really had fun with this project, it's not everyday that I get to draw aliens as part of my job. I hope that the Kinkonauts have a fabulous season of improv!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Following Photobooth: A Biography


It's hard to believe that it's already been three months since my book came out. I'm overwhelmed by the incredible positive response to Photobooth: A Biography. Nearly every day I receive a thoughtful comment online or an email from someone who's read the book. The two kinds of comments that delight me the most are:

1. someone telling me that it's the first graphic novel/ comic that they've ever read and 
2. that after reading it, they immediately went out to find a photobooth to use.

I've been touring the book to different events in Canada and the USA. You can follow those adventures on Twitter, @MeagsFitzgerald and on Facebook at my illustration page, Two Hands Two Crowns.

Reviews and interviews have also been coming out on a steady basis. Here's a list of links to those:
(List updated on August 31st)


If you'd like to buy Photobooth: A Biography, you can get a signed copy directly from me here. In North America, many local comic book shops are stocking it or will be able to order it for you. And in Canada it's also available at Chapters and Indigo. Many libraries are also beginning to carry it, if your local library doesn't have it, ask if they can get it in!

Next week I'll be in Nova Scotia for four books events, the details are here:


Stay tuned for some big news and reviews that will be coming out soon and for the fall tour dates!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

New Photobooth Art

Whoo. So much has happened in the month since I last posted that it will take me some time to catch up with it here. June was a fun whirlwind of events of projects. I was in Chicago for three weeks, and amongst many things I shot some new pieces of photobooth art at A&A Studios.

In the days after the International Photobooth Convention (more about this in posts to come) I had five chemical photobooths all to myself. I was just like a kid in a candy shop- with an unlimited budget and a giant stomach. The different photobooth models and paper types gave me a lot of freedom for the projects I wanted to execute.

Using four sheets of magnifying plastic in a Model 17 with standard paper.
Copyright Meags Fitzgerald 2014.

Copyright Meags Fitzgerald 2014

Copyright Meags Fitzgerald 2014

Taken in a Model 11, running on colour chemistry and paper. The sides of this image are white
because the  roll of paper had been exposed to light at some time. I used a gel on the camera lens.
Copyright Meags Fitzgerald 2014.

Part of a new Grotesque series, taken in a Model 17 with standard paper. Gradient gel on the camera lens.
Used plexi glass against face. Copyright Meags Fitzgerald 2014.

Copyright Meags Fitzgerald 2014

With a mirror in a Model 14 with out-of-production high gloss paper. This paper with this machine
produced beautiful high contrast photographs. Copyright Meags Fitzgerald 2014.

Copyright Meags Fitzgerald 2014

Part of the Swamp series, taken in the Model 11, with paper with exposed edges. Used a purple gel
on the camera lens and a lime green gel on the glass. Copyright Meags Fitzgerald 2014.
  
Copyright Meags Fitzgerald 2014

From the Grotesque series, in the Model 17, using wooden props and with a gradient gel on the
camera lens. Copyright Meags Fitzgerald 2014.

Copyright Meags Fitzgerald 2014

Copyright Meags Fitzgerald 2014