Great Willy Wonka Wall of China Town

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Just on the edge of China Town in San Fantastic-rancisco is a tech co-op space called The Vault. It’s underground, it’s full of computer-bound entrepreneurs, and it’s on the old site of the famous Ghirardelli chocolate factory (circa 1863). That’s right, this one’s an antique.

As nobody in the space seemed to have the foggiest idea of the place’s historical significance, the community manager (SO MANY STARTUP WORDS) decided an old advertisement for the chocolate factory would be the perfect fit for the reception area’s mural. Only problem was that I’d never actually done any text on a mural – ever… And as this was more of a ‘replicate and exaggerate’ sort of job, I needed to be a little more planned/precise/particular about how I would get this thing up on a wall, rather than just freestyling it as I usually do. It was also to be on a grey wall and using only black paint, unlike my standard bright colours – so I managed to pull the ‘artist’ card and bargain a bit of gold into the equation too.

The whole thing was rather a trendy sounding idea.

So I did a bit of photoshop work to see how it could be placed, fused the advertisement with some doodles from an old Ghirardelli sign that I liked, projected it on the wall, slapped some masking tape on the straight line edges, and got hectic with the black paint. When I say hectic, I mean as precise as possible. (Neck pain for days. I’m fine now though, thanks Klaus for the amateur chiropractic work.)

I did have to take some liberties with the text as the blocky resolution of the projector proved to be only adequate for a rough guide. Anyway, once it was all done, I had intended on gold leafing just the shadow of the heading (as planned, and shown in red on the projection). Needless to say, that freestyling side of me came out in the eleventh hour, and significantly more gold leaf ended up getting chucked on the wall. Which I’m stoked about, because not only does gold leaf look like Willy Wonka’s golden ticket, it is also just basically extremely epic.

I have been breathing out gold leaf dust flecks ever since, like a mythical creature. Note to future users of gold leaf: probably wear a respiratory filter unless you plan to attend some sort of dungeons and dragons convention every day for the rest of your life.

Burn, baby, burn.

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I had not planned to attend Burning Man this year, although I’d considered it and ruled it out. So in a massive yes-man move, I accepted my architecture client’s offer of a ticket on the Saturday (as he was the only person I really needed to work for that week) and drove out with a 16-year veteran (nice to meet you Glenn!) and my megapal Katie (who took the above photo) late on Sunday night.

I won’t go into the whole thing too much, but suffice to say that I had the opportunity to play the flute for a herd of cows on the way out to Black Rock City (life highlight) and the week maintained that standard of epicness throughout.

After painting several people and items of furniture (clearly all of which were ill-documented), I noticed a mate in my camp, Rowan, assembling a cart to pull some speakers behind his bicycle for that night. All the time in the world on my hands at that point, I offered to paint it. Playa landscape inspired.

In the spirit of what is truly an inspiring festival of fleeting art, it only felt right for the work to be completely transformed by the environment, come morning. What I’m trying to say is that it was completely buggered, but that was cool.

Oh Snap!

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Oh snap! It’s my brand-spanking-new photography website! And it has a clever wordplay in the URL just like the title of this blog post… What a treat!

Feast your eyes upon www.claudiapic.com

Here’s my pitch:

Do you have an appalling LinkedIn profile pic of you draping yourself over a work colleague (tastefully cropped out) in a shiny paper party hat while clinging onto a glass dirtied with the remnants of a piña colada? Call me for a headshot.

Are you a brilliant actor, singer or dancer who has been photographically jibbed up until now? Does your agent constantly say “For the love of all things holy, Susan! Get a decent gosh darn headshot instead of this headsh*t!”? Call me for a headshot session, Susan.

Do you own, or have designed a house or building that deserves to be immortalised and publicised? A structure that demands documentation, so that it may finally bathe with its peers in the lofty glory that only the architectural works of Rem, Zaha and Frank have known until now? Call me for shoot.

Does your pet blow your mind? Ever wondered why none of your friends can see why? Put an end to all those underwhelming ‘doesn’t-do-fluffy’s-good-looks-any-justice‘ images that you keep posting online: The ones with the ill-placed shadows and out-of-focus stares. Stop being a tightass and invest in what you love. You need to call me.

Do you have a rock on your finger that’s weighing down your hand like your inability to decide on a sensational wedding photographer is weighing on your conscience? Call me, and let’s do this romance thing right.

Call me Claudia, call me Claud, call me Thedarclaud, call me whatever you like… just make sure you call me. Actually, it’s just email listed on the site, so do that. It’s the 21st century for heaven’s sake.

P.S. Can you believe the freaking Golden Gate Bridge shot with the bird?! That thing is straight-off-the-camera, no editing, right-place-right-time, mother-nature-meets-engineering-masterpiece, pure photographic glory. I may never take a better photo than it in my life. Fact.

Winning Wiggler

There’s no firm (ha) excuse for this gratuitous (or should I say gratuit-ass) bot-bot video, but hey – it’s a teaser. And it’s my bot-bot. And my movie. So please, enjoy.

… I promise there’ll be a real trailer shortly. And a real movie too.

In the meantime, check out the Winning Formula facebook page for updates.

Froyo Hands In The Air

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… and wave ‘em like ya just don’t care!

This video fuses the summer’s hottest soft-serve delight with the aggression usually only reserved for urban street fights.

Here’s what the critics are saying:

After originally forming as a late 90’s underground Froyo movement, The Ice Kold Crew rose to prominence in the Los Angeles rap scene for their EP titled ‘Soft Serve Swerve (cum get sum)”. The much anticipated single “FroyOG” is the first from their studio record “Drip Drip Boom”, set to be blowing up the nation later this year.

An immediate hit, this jam features the smooth flow of foxy blonde Zana Lantana, an Australian hip hop artist said to have been the inspiration for Iggy Azalea’s latest album “The New Classic”, while the lyrical poetry of LL Chilli Swoop, OG Yogi and Chubb E Lumpkinz give us exactly what we expected: Solid Gold.

Open wide and get a mouthful of these infectious beats.

It’s ice cold. Enjoy.

Some may say that Zana Lantana’s rap is about twice as long as it should be. And to those people I say this: Probably.

Thanks to the Nash fam for the delicious title of this post. You guys are poets.

Thanks also to all the legends who made this video possible: Namely LL Chilli Swoop, OG Yogi, Chubb E Lumpkinz, Lance the Dance, Jonny Z, Travis, Pru, Klaus, Tow, Holly… and all those unnecessarily tolerant people at Yogurtland on La Brea and 3rd, Los Angeles.

Have You Been Working Out?

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… ‘Cause you’re looking buff!

(CLASSIC GAG.)

The portable piece to match the Flatiron mural is complete! The background is an abstraction of a section of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and creeping in from the left there is an American Buffalo/Bison. The ‘canvas’ is birch wood (takes me back to my architecture university days of model making!), so it took a little bit of extra priming. Big ups to Klaus who collaborated with the taping, geometries and colour advisory… And also helped me with the opening gag for this post.

Let it be known that the proceeds of this work is directly funding the software with which I’m writing my next screenplay. Literally, art for art’s sake. It’s like that movie ‘the human centipede’ – except without all the people dying. Maybe it’s more like an arty ecosystem. I think I should buy a felt hat. Or grow out my armpit hair.

Did I mention the house this work is for is in an area called Cow Hollow? Bovine coincidence? I think not.

Wait! I’ve got one more:

Q. What did the buffalo say when his son left for school?

A. Bison.

Gold.