Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Coffee Review: Jacobs© Krönung

While at my favorite German deli (the same one where I picked up Tchibo Gold Selection Ground Coffee), on a whim I wondered the isles and came across a particular green package with a coffee cup on it. Interest perked, I plucked the object off the shelf to discover that it was a 8.81oz (250g) package of Jacobs brand ground coffee called Krönung. The last time I had actually seen the coffee brand was in my small time spent living in Germany in my youth. Intrigued, I decided to go ahead and put it with some other items I was purchasing and brought it home.

As I look my newest acquisition, I did notice that there was something a little troubling with the design. Though the packaging does show you how to open it up, unfortunately there is now way to reseal it so you will need to put it into a resealable container to keep it fresh. When I did finally get it open, my senses were greeted by the rich robust notes of I'm sure is a dark roast coffee. I wasn't sure how the flavor would be until I brewed it but the aroma that was wafting from the bag was certainly eye opening. Brewing myself up a pot, I enjoyed the perfumed steam as it curled through the air making the anticipation for a cup of the amber liquid. Finally having a cup, I was surprised over the fact that the flavor was quite mild and not overpowering. It was as if I was drinking a medium roast Columbian coffee instead of the dark roast I believed it was when I initially smelt it when opening the back. It also doesn't have a bitter after taste like some coffees tend to have. For those more interested in international coffee, this is perhaps one that should be on you list to try.

It was quite interesting to read from the Mondelez International website the information they had for Jacobs, stating: 
The moving story of Jacobs coffee started in 1895 in Germany. This year, the 26-year-old Johann Jacobs opened a specialty coffee shop in Bremen and invented his own special brand of coffee.Today, Jacobs Coffee is one of the billion-dollar brands of Mondelez International and is sold throughout Europe. In countries such as Austria and Germany, it is the market leader for many years. In the form of Tassimo capsules, roasted and ground as whole beans, soluble coffee in pads and a flavored coffee blend sold Jacobs is still a benchmark in the industry for delicious coffee.
The main markets of Europe Mondelez region: Austria, Germany, Greece, Switzerland

For those interested in this popular German import, the 8.81oz package that I picked up was $8.99 which is relatively normal and actually rather reasonable.

The German Deli
5859 Auburn Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95841
(916) 349-9493

If you're not in the Greater Sacramento area, I discovered that you can order Jacobs brand Krönung ground coffee through Amazon including K-cups and larger packages of the coffee. Just go to Amazon.com and look under Krönung

Friday, August 30, 2013

Art Auctions of September

This is perhaps the first time in the past 6 years of business that I have had a month nearly completely booked with some sort of activity in the way of promoting my work and customer/client meetings. On the schedule for September is not just 1 but 2 different art auctions that I have work in!


Golden Prince by Dawn Star Wood
This year marks the 6th consecutive year that I have had one of my paintings in the annual KVIE Art Auction where 100% of all sales of donated work during the auction go to the local PBS/KVIE (Public Broadcasting Station). It helps them run the TV station along with producing educational programing such as NOVA , History Detectives, Healthy Body Healthy Mind, and American Masters. Last year was the first time I have ever been awarded a Juror's Choice Award, which was for my entry Sultan's Prize. This year's entry is Golden Prince. I wanted to do something along the same lines of last year's entry (having a bird representing an ancient culture) but instead of using the majestic peacock, I chose the little heard of Chinese GoldenPheasant. Amusingly enough, the first question I was asked when I was entering the piece was “Is this a real bird?” to which I couldn't help but chuckle and reply “Yes it is”.

Preview Gala: September 16th
Live Auction: September 20th - 22nd

Friday, Sept. 20 at 8am to 11pm
Sat., Sept. 21 at Noon-10pm
Sun., Sept. 22 at noon - 10pm

For more information about the auction: KVIE Art Auction 

KVIE Studios
2030 W. El Camino Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95833

Lady of Shalott by Dawn Star Wood


A bit of a surprise but recently I was asked by my curator at Pence Gallery if I would like to participate in their upcoming art auction. A little last minute but I said yes. To celebrate 38 years of being in the Davis community, Pence is holding an art auction featuring the works of local and regional artists. The piece that I decided to enter was my painting titled Lady of Shalott which was based off of a photo of my lovely friend, Denmark-based model Ida Mary Walker Larsen of mizzd-stock.deviantart.com. Part of the proceeds of the sales goes to the gallery while the rest goes to the artist themselves so go ahead and support area artists! 

Preview & Silent Bidding: Aug. 30th – Sept. 20th 11:30-5pm (Closed Mondays)
Auction Gala Event: Friday, Sept. 20th 6:30-9:30pm

For more information about the auction: Pence Gallery Art Auction

Pence Gallery
212 D Street
Davis, CA 95616

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Art of Gaming: Unmechanical

As I mentioned back in April in my Art of Gaming: Segment Update, I have decided to continue posting installments of Art of Gaming even if I haven't heard back from the developers whom I have written to. Once I do hear from them, then I will include their input as well. So please pardon me as this will be the first in perhaps a long line of installments that I will be posting that will not have any developer commentary until later.

Click to watch Unmechanical game trailer
Released back in August 2012, an Indie adventure-puzzle platformer by the name of Unmechanical was created by Talawa Games and published by Teotl Studios. This whimsical game caught my attention when I saw a video posted actually in July of that year by John “TotalBiscuit” Bain for his ongoing WTF Is.. series (a first impressions of upcoming games he plays through) titled WTF Is...: Unmechanical (WTF Am IDoing Edition)? Though puzzle platformers aren't his strong suit, I was not only entertained by his play-through but was captivated by the art style and music that helped create the world you navigate in. The page itself makes the description of "Set in a fantastic world of flesh, rock and steel, your journey to freedom requires you to solve a great variety of puzzling challenges, and while it’s easy to pick up and play, later challenges may prove very difficult indeed". You play as a small robot which you assist in navigating through this surreal landscape.

Treasure Planet © Walt Disney
When looking at the art style, right off my mind instantly went to Steampunk but there was something that made my mind wander and think that there was something more to it. Though having the heavy use of shadows and rich saturated colors, there seemed to be a life to the environment which is presented by the use of contrasting bright colors from glowing light bulbs and lasers. There's even a soft glow that emanates from some of the mushroom clusters that dot some of the locations in which you wander through. It brought to mind the various metropolises within our own world once the sun goes down. This of course made me think of the films Treasure Planet (2002), Titan A.E.(2000), and even The Matrix series (1999 - 2003). It makes me wonder what could possibly be the true reason behind there being a heart-like object of flesh and mechanical devices pumping in the background of some of the scenes. Is it a metaphor for ourselves living in this modern world, or something entirely different? 

The Brave Little Toaster © Walt Disney
 At first, the small robot that you play as made me think of The Brave Little Toaster (1987) but I decided to take a step back to contemplate a bit more on the character. It took me several moments to realize that the character also made me think of The Tin Woodsman and Tik-Tok from the Oz series written by L. Frank Baum (1856-1919). Not how the various films had portrayed them but how they were within the books. The reason for this train of thought that I had was for how they interacted within their own worlds and normally were on some sort of journey of discovery. It is perhaps also the association of the game being describes as having a 'world of flesh, rock and steel' that made me think of the pair. As you can see, both the game trailer and watching a partial play-through of Unmechanical got my mind swirling with images and memories of things that I've read or watched in my childhood. Of course I'm uncertain what actually inspired the folks at Talawa Studios but once I'm able to hear from them, I will be sure to add their insights on this as well.
Tik-Tok, Tin Woodman, & Captain Fy-ter

If you're interested in checking the game out, you can find it here:
store.steamppowered.com – Unmechanical $9.99
gog.com – Unmechanical $9.99

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Beasts of Another Material

Be it made out of standard materials or scraps, the creation of animals in a sculptural form is always so interesting. Beautiful, whimsical and sometimes eerily surreal, these skillfully made creations bring to mind fantastical images of environments that could possibly be interacted in through the medium of video games. I have been noticing a small surge in such wonderful creations and would like to share with you some examples of what I mean.

Saracen the Goose by Bluelioness
Bluelioness.deviantart.com (United Kingdom)
A student of Modelmaking at Arts University Bournemouth in the United Kingdom, Imy Nagle has a collection of drawings in her gallery along with some images of some of her face painting escapades. The most attention catching images however is of the progress and final result of a 'mechanical' puppet she calls Saracen the Goose. In The Making of Saracen the Goose Puppet, Imy describes the process of how she went about creating the almost life sized bird.

Facebook: Illustrativ Imy 

Clockwork Scorpion No 7 by AMechanicalMind
Justin Gershenson-Gates, a craftsman in the United States specializing in making tiny creatures such as insects, other small invertebrates and his own creature concepts out of clock parts. Delicate and memorizing, Justin's work has quickly become popular among the deviantART community for his skill and patience for the pieces he makes. One personal favorites of mine is Creature which was inspired by a combination of fiddler crab, spiders, scorpions, grasshoppers, monkeys and several other creatures. Another personal favorite is Clockwork Scorpion No 7.

Rat 2 by Sean Avery
A proclaimed hobbiest out of Australia, Sean Avery is a writer-illustrator of children's picture books but also makes amazingly detailed sculptures of animals out of used CDs and DVDs. Colorful and adorable, each animal creation seems to have its own personality. Presented in such a way, Sean has been able to give his critters a sense of curiosity about them. Such an adorable tiny beast would be Rat 2.

Website: seanavery.com 
Fremantle Press: All Monkeys Love Bananas picture book by Sean E Avery

The Nest by 22zddr
Dariusz Zawadzki, an artist located in Poland who is equally talented in traditional and digital illustrations as he is in metal sculptures. Though his paintings are beautifully surreal, seeming to lean towards more dark fantasy imagery, what caught my attention and brought me to his gallery was his sculpture The Nest. This portrayal of an other-worldly bird was made in such a way that its mechanical form was balanced with an organic and very animalistic pose. Sparking curiosity of what possible setting such a creature would exist in, it also will send a chill down the viewer's spine when considering the possibilities of its purpose.

Scrap Metal Fishy of Doom by Devin Francisco
Specializing in fan art illustrations, American artist Devin Francisco's gallery is filled with beautifully dark illustrations. However, his sculptures out of scrap metal seems to be rather attention catching. One such piece has the oddly whimsical name of Scrap Metal Fishy of Doom