September 18, 2011

Going the Distance

"I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself." -Maya Angelou

Thanks to my younger brother, I've had a unique opportunity to travel to many places this year. Two months ago, a number of random variables added together in such a way that I found myself in New York visiting my friend Lauren. That led to planning a return trip to drop off some costume parts for Lauren, put a super-computer together for her roommate Kevin, and see an art exhibit done by her roommate Yuri. The greatest thing I've gotten from traveling is the friendship and insight of others, so I thought I'd write a bit about that...


(Samus Light Suit Canon - Brooklyn rooftop)

Lauren Baker

Lauren, Lo, Stripedwine, Pilot, Jukebox. She has many nicknames, but they are just different ways of addressing this multifaceted individual. Before going to New York, I didn't know Lauren that well. I just knew she was really good at drawing and had a fun personality. I've gotten to know her a bit better though! She listens to 60s and 70s rock music, which is the COOLEST music ever (I grew up listening to it so it makes me feel all sorts of happy when I hear it). Normally, people are good at memorizing lyrics or song melodies, or neither if they're unlucky. But Lauren remembers the song melodies and lyrics as a pair (hence the nickname Jukebox). She has cybernetic implants that allow her to create 3D rendered models in her brain and create them as drawings or perfectly fitting and correctly measured costumes. This is all really neat, but what really surprised me was how much of an outdoors person she is. Lauren has been camping as far south as beaches in Mexico and hiking as far north as Alaska. She can speak nearly fluent Canadian and is getting married soon! She's currently a comic book digital inker and a fantastic cook. Without a doubt, she's one of the most incredible people I've ever met!

Kevin Hsi

Kevin is a funny character and a fantastic friend! He is from Taiwan and speaks both Chinese and English. He went to art school with Lo, Yuri, and Liz, and he spends almost every waking moment drawing. Kevin has a particular knack for drawing tanks and doing suuuper awesome watercolor coloring. He wants to experience more of the outdoors because all the comic book work kind of traps him indoors. He has a nice SLR camera and a great eye for picture composition, so I showed him how to use everything on the camera in hopes that he'll use his talents to grace the world of photography. Kevin sort of led me and Lauren on an adventure through Flushing, NY on my last day visiting and ordered all sorts of crazy food things for us to eat at a "Hot Pot" Chinese restaurant. One of which was chicken hearts. Kevin and I built his super computer earlier last week. It has a 3ghz quad core CPU with 16GB of DDR3 RAM, a 2GB DRR5 256bit Radeon HD graphics card, and several other what nots.

Yuri Leonov

Yuri is one of those people that will look at something and see layers upon layers of interesting things buried beneath the surface that other people wouldn't realize are there. He's from St. Petersburg, Russia and went to art school in NY with Lauren, Kevin, and Liz, but he is the only full fledged painter living there. Last time I was visiting, he showed me the preliminary sketch on one of the canvases he was going to paint. It had a Golden Spiral drawn lightly on it, which is a spiral based on the Fibonacci Sequence that is made up of a series of quarter-circular arcs whose radii are consecutively increasing. Sort of like a nautilus shell. This shape was the basis for some of the compositions of his paintings, as you can see in this picture from Yuri's Exhibit (Art Exhibit picture). Aside from being extremely artistic and having a unique perspective on everything, Yuri is also a super genius! He has a wealth of interesting knowledge that is apparent whenever you talk to him. If you were ever interested in collecting incredible artwork before the artist becomes famous, I'd recommend getting a piece of Yuri's work while he's still starting out... because he is going to be crazy famous one day!

Liz Kim

Liz! She is so much fun! She came from Baltimore, MY to NYC to attend art school and has one more semester before she graduates. Everyone should have a Liz living under their roof; she will cook all sorts of sweets ALL the time just for the heck of it. Popcorn cake, upside-down pineapple cake, sushi, and ice-brewed coffee are the few things I had the great opportunity of experiencing on my visit. Liz and I went on a spur of the moment adventure one day across the east side of Manhattan which started at a nice little Cafe called OST Cafe. Next door to this cafe was a store called Vampire Freaks which we HAD to check out and we ended up staying there for a good hour talking to the people who worked there. Then we went to several music shops including one called Cobra Guitars where we met a really nice guy at the doorway to the shop who was spraying a guitar body with lacquer stuff. He brought us into the shop and showed us a whole bunch of custom built guitars and basses (all made by them) and works in progress. We made our way down into China Town to look for white umbrellas, and eventually around the southern Manhattan peninsula towards Wall St., then we headed back to Brooklyn. Liz aspires to write a comic about herself and all her roommates in pokemon form.

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