Thursday, February 20, 2014

My Pecha Kucha Presentation

On January first of 2009 I set a New Year’s resolution to post one sketch a day online. 
I had wanted to start a blog for over a year. 
It was surprisingly easy to post my first sketch and copy on Analog Artist Digital World.
My wife Terry and I moved from New York City, and for ten years I worked for Disney Feature Animation here in Orlando.
Perry, shown here, worked in the office next to me.
The studio was shut down in 2004, because Disney executives felt, that audiences didn’t want to see hand drawn animation anymore.
They only wanted to see computer animation.
I purchased a computer and taught myself CG animation at home.
After years of sitting in a dark room staring at a computer screen, I needed to get out and sketch.
Many early sketches were of buildings downtown, like this sketch of Church Street.
As I sketched, people would often stop to tell me their life story.
I help keep the tradition of hand drawn animation alive at Full Sail University, by teaching the principles of animation using pencils and paper before students start pushing buttons on computers.
When I began doing one sketch a day, I honestly thought Orlando had little to no culture.
I had spent ten years driving to and from Disney, and felt that Orlando must only have the heart of a theme park animatronic.
 I found these drummers in the Creative Engineering warehouse downtown.
I couldn’t imagine much culture happening in this service industry town.
 Yet with every sketch I did, I began to discover artists with talent.
I found people in every field, like Toni Taylor, shown here in her studio, who are striving to express themselves.
 I seek out artists who love what they do and promote them with a sketch and an article.
By promoting them, I get to share with my readers what I feel is the true heart of Orlando.
I am NOT an extrovert.
 I’m only comfortable when clutching pencil and paper.
When I drive to events, I pump up the music in the car to overcome stage fright.
 I used to walk around the block several times to work up the nerve to start a sketch.
That feeling has slowly subsided, being replaced by stubborn determination.
In a crowded room, I find it impossible to focus on any single conversation, I hear the overall din.
Small talk is not my strong point.
If I start to sketch however, a sense of calm washes over me.
While focusing on the sketch, nothing else matters.
By going out every day, I began to meet people who frequent the same events.
 They recognize my desire to sketch what is unique, and they include me in amazing sketch opportunities, like this gut wrenching blimp ride over Universal Studios.
Finding interesting stories is an ongoing challenge.
Though I tend to sit quietly observing, I am at times thrust into the limelight.
To get this sketch at the Bob Carr, the director, John DiDonna, suggested I sit onstage with the audience watching at the Red Chair Affair.
The act of sketching became a form of performance art.
I forgot about the audience as I struggled to capture the Cirque du Soleil performer on stage.
Doug Rhodehamel created this Sea of Green florescent fish hanging from the ceiling at Stardust Video and Coffee.
When I am in a room full of creative people, I feel motivated to create.
 Being isolated in a studio makes little sense, when there are so many vibrant events to sketch all around Orlando.
I found Bluesman Maxwell seated among the clutter of a flea market in Mount Dora.
He sang, “Flea Market Blues.”
No one else stopped to listen.
Each sketch usually takes about two hours to complete.
Time stands still.
When you stay in one spot for that long, some drama always unfolds.
At the Enzian Theater during the Florida Film Festival, the projectionist had to splice together the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” reels.
I always remain open to snippets of conversation which I often jot down on the back of the sketch.
Writing helps me to complete the bigger picture.
Benoit Glazer invites people to his home called “The Timucua White House”, once a month to experience live music and art.
It is amazing how often lyrics of a song, or the plot of a play, will seem to mirror what is happening in my everyday life.
The emotional message of some productions often hits home.
Andrew Spear created a mural at the annual Snap Photography Exhibit.
By meeting so many artists, and sharing their stories, my own art grows richer.
 Listening to a theater director talk about the creative process, the conversation could just as well relate to the process of creating a sketch.
I have often been asked to stop sketching by security guards, ushers and police.
In our fast paced world, someone who stands still tends to be suspect.
This accordion player at Earth Day was asked to stop performing by Lake Eola grounds keepers. Silence can be deafening……
I don’t believe art should be profiled as a deviant behavior.
Jazz still thrives in late night dives.
 The city grows smaller as I meet the same performers again and again.
 I’m starting to feel very much a part of the culture that I document.
Since starting the blog, I have posted over 2000 sketches about Orlando online.
Every art form has uncertainty, and blind searching, followed by revelation.
 I’m never satisfied with any sketch as I am working on it.
Only looking back, can I acknowledge that it isn’t the worst sketch I have ever done.
I love keeping track of all the arts organizations in town, on Analog Artist Digital World.
At times, I feel I have my finger on the pulse that helps keep Orlando alive and vibrant.
Some organizations have had to close, but there are always people who strive to make this city an interesting place to live.
Every time I sketch, I fall in love, be it with a gesture, setting, or people’s stories.
Mary Oliver gave simple instructions for living life, “Pay attention, be astonished, and tell about it.”
By sketching daily, I discover so many people who astonish me, in a city I now call home.
I love my wife, life and Orlando!

Mark Your Calendar! The next PechaKucha V13 will be on Friday June 13th at the Orange Studio, 1121 N. Mills Avenue, Orlando, Fl. I hope the presenters aren't superstitious!

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


MiataGrrl said...

Wow! Fantastic presentation!

- Tina

Thor said...

Thanks MiataGrrl.