Downtown Pittsburgh pigeons

One morning when I was in Dhaka, Prottoy had gone off with his mom to run errands and I stayed behind at Redwan’s house. Everyone there was either asleep or busy working while the house was still quiet, so I went up to the roof with my sketchbook to look over the city and maybe draw. I heard a gurgly-giggly noise and assumed Anil and/or Rahul were snoring inside. The noise continued, so I followed it to investigate and around the corner from the guest room found stacks of cages holding a variety of majestic pigeons inside.


So I stayed in that corner admiring the beautiful pigeons until someone came to get me for lunch. I made a couple boring pigeon drawings which I can’t show because I lost that sketchbook. One of the house servants started cleaning the roof and when he saw me came, opened one of the top cages and carefully brought out a small nest of fragile, fuzzy little pigeon babies for me to look at! It was amazing.

I hadn’t seen these fancy breeds of pigeon before, but they are very commonly kept in Dhaka. I saw many storefronts boasting similar pigeon collections, and a quick internet search revealed large pigeon markets and pigeon racing.

About half a year after that trip I started working in downtown Pittsburgh where I have now a better appreciation of our cage-free pigeon neighbors, and I’ve spotted quite a few black and white and brown birds among the (also beautiful) grey green and purple masses.

After looking up these pigeon breeds I realized that these fancy birds I recorded at the National Aviary when I was still only visiting Pittsburgh are Victoria Crowned Pigeons. Now that I know that’s a type of pigeon I’m less surprised by how comfortably they strolled through crowds of people


~~Pigeon images from a photography/marbling collage zine I made last year.~~

Message bottle

I wonder how many bottles with messages inside are floating around in the ocean? What would I write if I made one?

Things to consider:

  1. Someone of any age may pick it up, in any place
  2. Message in multiple languages?
  3. I’d want to be pleasant, maybe meaningful. Meaningful?
  4. be myself?
  5. leave a return address (email or snail) or ask them to write another random one?
  6. comic of what I imagine that bottle went through before getting to them?
  7. something actually about myself? (3?)
  8. Say where the bottle first set off from?


More things to consider?

Christmas Cork Ornaments

It’s a bit overdue, but for Christmas I thought I’d share something from last year: Wine Cork Ornaments!

We had all these loose corks from all these empty wine bottles…

So I painted them (with acrylics I think)…


…stuck a paper clip onto them and hung them on the Christmas tree!


Unfortunately we do not have a proper Christmas tree this year, so they are now hanging on our designated Christmas Eucalyptus plant in our new apartment, next to our nativity scene.


Remix #5 – Viridiana, Simon of the Desert, and Nazarín

My final video for my remix class, a combination of clips from Luis Buñuel’s Mexican period films Viridiana, Nazarin, and Simeon of the Desert, three movies I highly recommend:

The song is called “God Never Dies.” I liked this version of it by Susana Harp because of her steady and almost dreamlike voice, and the circus-y quality of the music. It begins and ends with the same stanza, which says “The sun dies in the mountains, with the light that agonizes, for life in its hurry, leads us to death.” I wanted to begin and end the video with death, first death to “the world” that the priest, the ascetic, and the nun—the tree main characters of the three movies—take on, and end it with the death of their initial impression on how to live a pious life.

I have a few favorite moments in the video. One would be at 00:29 when Simon, on the pillar, is looking down and then turns with a seemingly annoyed look to face the sky. The lyrics of the song say “but it’s not important to know that I will have the same end [death]”. The image indicates how the pious are turning their backs on the world thinking they are ok by their pious acts. His misery on the pillar is quite glamorous if you think about it. Another is at 2:26, where the image is of a coffin opening to reveal the devil (Sylvia Pinal) inside, and then transitions to the poor acting out, fighting, and doing “bad things”. This is the point in the movie when the devil is unleashed in a way, everything goes wrong, and the lead players begin their transformation.


Egg Carton Wolf

I haven’t gotten around to making a robot yet–it’s not quite as easy to imagine–but  here’s another flurry egg carton creature: a wolf!

Picture 140

I wonder if one could actually distinguish between the other one being a fox and this one being a wolf. I suppose either could be either. I am not an expert in either animal’s anatomy. The inspiration to make more of these was actually a job that I considered applying to for after graduation :[  but which I am unqualified for, that of a puppet painter at a stop motion animation company. I would love to make puppets for a living, at least I think so. So I thought I should get some more practice in using material to created characters. Expanding my egg carton creature collection seemed like a good and fun place to start.

Picture 142

This time I tried to be a bit more subtle with the coloring. His pupils, iris and nose were colored with markers again, the white of the eyes and the edges of fur with white out/liquid paper. I shaded and colored in the rest of him with watercolor initially, but as that wasn’t showing too well after it dried, i went over it with color pencils, smoothed the color over with my fingers, and it turned out quite well.

Picture 144

It’s a weird but good feeling when you make something and are proud of it, then out-do yourself. I hope my fox doesn’t get jealous of my greater admiration of the wolf. He’s different from the fox in that he’s got more fur cut out detailing, his eyes aren’t the complete cups, and he has the shading on the fur. I debated whether or not I should fill in the white of the eyes, or how much of it exactly. Maybe for the next one I will experiment some more with the eye coloring.

Picture 149

I used masking tape (as opposed to scotch tape) to put him together this time, and it worked out much better!

Picture 150 Picture 151 Picture 152

The process of construction was basically the same as the fox, so look at that page if you’d like a guide as to how to make your own!

Here’s a process shot of what he looked like before coloring:


Remix #4–Away from Her

My fourth remix was actually made for a different class, on Storytelling in different media. It’s an alternate narrative video of the film Away from Her. Creating an alternate narrative video was a lot harder than I initially expected. Finding those little, subtle moments that can be recut with others can be very tedious work.

Away from Her is another one of the saddest movies I’ve seen. It follows a rather a-linear pattern of storytelling, skipping around in its chronology and including images from distant memory. Partially because of this, and because the film is mostly focused on portraying its protagonists’ changing relationship, revealing either the ‘plot’ or the themes of the movie should not be a big spoiler for anyone. I’d rather not do so, however, since I’m curious to see the impression this video gives to someone who’s not seen it.

By the way, there are several flashes of sgreen during the video. These are moments where the footage got corrupted in the process of editing. I will perhaps upload a fixed version later.