Toy Photography. Humor. Life. Liberty. And the Pursuit of a Job.

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Oh, Pump the Jam, Pump it Up!

Can ya’ hear it?

Is it me, or does someone’s taste in music say everything about them? To me, we are music. Music is life. Life is filled with so many types of people. Each person generally is the way they are based on how they were raised, where they were raised, when they were raised, and if they were even raised at all. This is music. Music is people. People are the many genres of music that separate sound from other sounds. I believe that we can tell a lot about people just by the music that we listen to. Rock. Pop. Hip-Hop. Jazz. Classical. Country.

I quickly associate music to a face. An image. A person. A lifestyle. Generalization? Yeah, probably, but I think we are all guilty of generalizing. Generalizations exist because they are true. Sorry people who think ‘generalizers’ are racist, they’re not. They are observant. I am Jewish, I have a big nose and I am stingy. Coincidence? No. Ask Marty Buksbaum; he has the same problem. As do most other Jews. Music is no different from us. We are the music we listen to.

Sharing [shair’ing]. Sharing is illegal in the world of music. But in the world of life, it’s everything. We learn from the early age of three (or however old I was to ably realize sharing was a ‘thing’). Mothers and teachers constantly told me share. ‘Andrew, make sure you share with Emily.’ What I would have really like to have said was, ‘Fuck you Emily, this is mine, and I’m not giving you shit.’ But thanks to the strict code of pre-school and childhood, sharing was the only way to go. No one wanted to do it, but there was no harm in doing so (except for losing whatever you gave the other person). Well, nothing has changed today. Sharing can sometimes be a pain, depending on what you’re giving, yet most of the time there is no wrong. Harmless. Useful actually. What goes around comes around.

I feel this with music. I share my music because it allows me to give a little bit of myself to someone else. Selfish? Call it what it is. My music says a lot about me. I see no harm or selfishness in it. I think one wrong with our generation is that we know too much about everyone, but not enough about each person. Who they are. Their personality. The characteristics behind the name. The ‘wall.’ Facebook has introduced us to a network where we can share thoughts about others, and ourselves, yet I still don’t know who people are individually. I don’t even know who I am half the time. We have fed into a network where we characterize people based on an html code, a ‘profile picture,’ and relationship status. Well done Mr. Zuckerberg!

People develop a general taste in music due to a network of sharing. Often, the music we listen to have been strongly impacted by Saturday afternoon drives with Dad or Sunday morning drives with Mom to the supermarket. The music that I listen to today is strongly influenced by what was electronically or physically planted into my mind at youth. However, the music we are initially introduced to is not always the music that characterizes you. I believe that it takes many genres of music to categorize one person.

Take me for example:

When I was young (like sitting in the backseat of Dad’s car, young), the only things I remembered listening to were: James Taylor, Notorious B.I.G., Tito Puente, Coolio, Gil Scott Heron, Tower of Power’s ‘You Ought to be Having Fun,’ Jazziz Magazine’s Monthly CD, and some random Brazilian Jazz band.

This unique, eclectic, deranged, call it what you want combination of music has shaped my musical mind; my harmonious characteristics. I choose to listen to a certain type of music because the music says a lot about who I am as a person and how I approach life, and it embodies a balanced combination of my childhood and present frame of mind.

I gravitate towards music with clean beats, a jazz driven background, and a smooth rhythmic harmony. Although this combination comes in many forms (i.e., genres) of music, the overall tone of the music is similar. I find this sound in folk, hip-hop, and jazz. Many of these genres overlap, yet the mood set by each individually creates an explicit characteristic specific to myself.

Here’s how my mind works (allow me to share):

Bonobo – ‘Days to Come’

Crown City Rockers – ‘Sidestep’

Ray LaMontagne – ‘Trouble’

Blue Scholars – ‘Sagaba’

Michael Franks – ‘Under the Sun’

Koop – ‘Summer Sun’

Dela – ‘Veuillez Veiller Sur Vos Reves’

Bon Iver – ‘Skinny Love’

Sharing music is everything. It allows us to narrows down exactly who we are. It characterizes. Generalizes. It makes us who we are. As much I would like to say that I live vicariously through my music, I think my music lives vicariously through me. Share.

Circa Time!

To date?

It is late November (at least on my calendar it is). Rarely do I keep track of the day and time, nonetheless, the month, but considering my days are spent filling out applications and posting resumes, knowing the date has become a staple in my daily routine. I continuously switch up how I write this date. Sometimes I write out the entire date, including the actual day of the week, month, year (i.e., Monday, November 23, 2010), and other times I’ll do the whole number, backslash thing (i.e., 11/23/10). Yet, recently I have toggled with alternatives for dating.

date [deyt] it. Date is powerful, no? Recognizing time and date could be the difference between shorts and a t-shirt, or a casual restaurant and an overpriced bistro. Dating. Not many words in our dictionary hold truth to such meaning and value. When I moved to Chicago in early October, ‘date’ held a pretty significant denotation. I was aware that Fall was upon me, and somewhere in the city, trees were beginning to shed its summer coat, replacing what use to be green lavish health, with dead, weightless flakes of dried foliage. To find a tree wasn’t impossible, but certainly not easy when the most common element (or compound) was infrastructure. I was also dating someone. I refuse to go into detail about this, but lets just say that Fall was very reminiscent of this unfolding. A lively and happy present was packed into a gift and thrown into the past. Yet, despite the positive and negative of dating, we continue to locate our sense of place and time.

Timing is everything (at least that’s what she said [and no, that is not a That’s What She Said joke]). We must understand time in order to understand our space; personal space. Now, I don’t know the whole scientific argument regarding time and space (and I know it is very complex), but I do know that dating can secure a certain period in time or location. I know that I am presently sitting in front of my computer staring out the window in front of me. I know that what I am looking at is a brick wall, and a mirrored image of myself in the window, thanks to the lack of light outside, and the heavy dosage of wattage pouring over me this very second. I also know that the date is November 23, 2010, and in the next week or so, large amounts of while solid wetness is going to poor down on the city, leaving this lively environment quiet and bare. Also, Kris Kringle should be flying in here pretty soon. He has already made his mark on the radio, and in every window display, so I can only imagine what entrance he’s got planned this year.

Sadly, do to the economy, our good buddy Kris has had to make rather large budget cuts. He has released Donner, Vixen, Comit and Cupid, and has picked up Randy Moss instead. Also, he asks all the parents to wake up at the crack of dawn, take a bite out of Christmas spirit, gulp down the 2% of whatever happiness is left, and pack the tree with re-wrapped gifts from last Christmas. Sorry kids!

Is this all the result of a date? Well, in some ways, yes. In other ways, no. I have seen the leaves fall. I’ve listened to a girl I loved very much tell me she can’t be with me because ‘the timing wasn’t right’ (and because ‘she didn’t want to make the effort’). But thanks to dating, I will never forget this date. Date and time has destroyed our economy quicker than drugs destroyed Chris Farley. The present state of our economy is as ugly as Kim Jong-Un’s second chin and unstable as Lindsay Lohan. Things come and go faster than Road Runner, and what seems to be the right way to do things, is most likely not. Things that I used to look forward to as a child are now shadowed by the depressive nature of reality. Time. Space. Gone. I strive for the day when a date will set me forward and not shoot me backwards. I choose solid over patterns. Patterns tend to create chaos where it isn’t needed. And when did we decide to change the word simple into ‘simply not?’ Need I say more? Shut it!

My methods for dating are strange. My mind is strange. Very strange! I write in all caps (which I will go into further detail later on). I like things clean and uniform, so writing out the whole date or using the backslash system usually poses me problems. The space provided is never big enough for the full date, and backslashes are lazy upright lines. I like to use periods (i.e., 11.23.10) or backslash’s straight brother, the line (i.e., 11|23|10). Till this day, I still have to say the months out load in order to figure out which month matches up with what number (i.e., 1- January, 2-February, etc.); entering the expiration date for my credit card always poses me issues. Why can’t I just say I was born in ‘1?’ Clearly Microsoft Word has presented us with options for dating (Insert > Date and Time…), yet nowhere on there does it say Circa Today, Circa Now, or Circa Tomorrow. ‘Excuse me, what’s the date?’ ‘Oh, the date? It is Circa Tomorrow.’ Dates frames the present, but it is not a gift. Coincidence or correlation?

Unwrap this!

One Saturday Morning!

My life’s a cartoon.

Am I ashamed? Not really. I feel lucky actually. I remember the days when I actually had a bedtime, which was quickly followed by an alarming wake up time. During the awkward years (7 – 15 years old), I dreaded having to go to bed at a certain time, and I definitely hated waking up at a time lesser than early. My alarm would sound around 6:30 am (which in those days seemed like the time when all ‘good’ was coming to a close). I would roll out of bed, hustle to the shower, go through my normal morning routine (which was long and still is), and dress myself with the clothes that I laid out the night before, leaving myself plenty of time to catch some quality early morning Nick.

my routine [roo-teen] is pretty consistent. Actually, very consistent. In fact, it’s kind of sickening. I consider myself a square person. Certainly not a bad thing, until something rounds my corners I guess. I like things neat. In order. Yet, I love to jump outside the square. My routine is nothing short of simple. I feel that we, as humans, eventually fall into a pattern or schedule, and are left with no other option other than to conform to a morning routine. I wake up. I don’t set a time anymore because (1) I am jobless (i.e., actively searching), so there is no need to get up at the crack of dawn; (2) I am no longer in school, so we can check that off the list; and, (3) I purposely set my phone on vibrate, so if I do hear it, I can either hit snooze (at least 20 times [5 minutes in between each snooze]) or dream that the sound of my Verizon vibration is a $4,000 Sharper Image Sound Soother (or however much they were charging).

Once I am up, I am up. I wobble to the bathroom. I turn on the sink light, the shower light, then the fan. I would like to only turn on the shower light, but the light is as dim as David Hasselhoff’s future, so they all get some action. I turn on the shower. Waiting for the shower to heat up has significantly increased in speed considering my roommates and I have turned the water heater level up the notch where it says ‘Don’t.’ We did. I hop in. Shampoo first (every couple of days), then soap (a bar of Lever 2000 Original), then face wash (it smells good). I get out, dry off (never scrub, only dab), spray my Right Guard Fresh deodorant, apply my face lotion (which I have kept in the same travel size bottle for a few years now), and then lather on my Jergens. My teeth brushing routine is a whole other story, so I will sum it up in one word and spare you the pain, ‘lon…ger.’

I am in my room. The door is shut being me and my roommates are either still sleeping or out at work. Now, I don’t set out my outfits the night before anymore, but I do have a rather limited collection of clothes, so that makes the selection process a tad bit easier. Well, actually that’s completely false. When I packed my bag for Chicago, I threw in clothes that I have not worn since I bought them. Most still have tags on them and others I have had in my closest since freshman year in college, and I still never wear them. For me it’s easy. Pack a lot of clothes so you are never limited in selection, but only wear a sixteenth of what you brought. To give you an idea, I brought about twenty pairs of boxers (all with the same ugly pattern), twenty pairs of socks, forty t-shirts, six flannels, four regular shorts, fifteen workout shorts, seven pairs of pants, and a collection of shoes that Payless wouldn’t even sell. Out of this vast collection, I seem to only wear four shirts, three flannels, two pairs of pants, one pair of shoes, and not once have I put on workout shorts (I can not reach them in my closet?). With this pallet, I mix and match. Luckily the pants are black and khaki, so everything I throw together seems to match. Well. Case closed.

The shows that came on early morning Nick were nothing more than simple observations or depictions of every day life. I got stuck watching Weinerville every single morning. The show sucked, Marc Weiner was kind of a wiener (pun intended), it wasn’t funny, and even Nickelodeon was embarrassed to air the show, so they gave them the 7:00-7:30 am slot. No other person in the world would be watching this other than children looking for a quick dose of laugh before school, or the mothers and fathers who suffered while their children sat in their room watching Marc’s Weiner as they got ready for work.

Weinerville was a puppet city. ‘Weiner’ for the clown who created the show, and ‘ville’ for town-sake. It was an imaginary city bathed with puppets, personality, and life. The life was very make-believe, but the characters were real; very real. They were mere depictions of observed city behavior. Louie was the laundromat owner, Big Pops ran the city diner, and Dottie was the useless city Mayor. Sound familiar? Sure.

Weinerville might be an imaginary city, created by imaginary people, yet it’s how we view and use these shows. I’ve learned whom each character is; what they contribute to the theatrics of the show; what they do and do not like; who they like; why they like that certain someone or something; but most importantly, I’ve learn to live with them. We are simply a fly on their wall, laughing with them and at them; it’s quite fascinating once you think about it really. We get involved with their world, when in reality, that world doesn’t exist. Take Family Guy for example. Quahog, Road Island, is a fictitious city, and Spooner Street (where the Griffin’s live) is nothing but black lines and color. Animation. They aren’t real. I mean, it’s real people doing the voiceovers, but the actual content of what we are watching is nothing but childish jargon and observed imagination.

This concept of discerned theory fascinates me. This is how I like to view my life. The area of Chicago that I presently live in is permeated with characters. These ‘characters’ (we’ll call them) are alive and well (that might be taking it too far), and create a fictitious-like environment very much like the one Marc ‘dingle berry’ Weiner envisioned. The corner (we call it [we being the people who use it]) has a wider range of characters than the Island of Misfit Toys. Crack heads. Homeless. Children. Children with children. It’s a zoo. But I love it! Each person carries his or her own unique quality. One man wears a tan onesie Dickies suit every single day. There are a group of guys that have sat in the same spot, on the same egg crates ever since the day I moved in; they actually lock their egg crates to the bike racks (no lie!). Another man (or women [still trying to figure it out]) is occasionally seen walking down the street in a policeman get up (where he or she got it I have no idea). My building is directly across the street from the Hiewa Terrace, where hundreds of retired Asians live. And, the most popular things sold at the local corner store are individual bottles of liquor and scratch off tickets (which no one ever seems to win considering the trashcan next to the register is filled to the brim with pre-scratched lottery tickets). It’s a pretty cheery story all around. I mean, I hate to see people struggle, and I never wish struggle upon anyone or anything, but these people are merely fictitious characters of my reality. I enjoy these individual characteristics that each person posses. The way each person uses the corner is pretty fascinating as well. Some sit, some stand, some sleep, some run, some talk, some walk and some don’t even know they are talking or walking, and that is beautiful!

So, do I live in a cartoon? No. Do I view my life as a cartoon? Yeah, I guess. Has Marc Wiener given me something to think about every time I walk out my front door? I hate to say this, but he sure has. Cartoons are nothing more than observed reality. And in my mind, reality is a cartoon and I happen to live in it.

Be Mind

So I thought this would be the first appropriate NoseyOne art post that I could give you. This was a project that I did in the Winter of 2010. These are self portraits of myself. Be Mind was a project that I had in mind for quite some time. I wanted to photograph a rather dark satirical piece that projected the varied emotions that my mind encounters. Bringing the lifeless to life is difficult especially when your emotion can’t affect the physical nature of the theirs.

This is a 27 piece flip book. Now, be Nosey!

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Bonjourno!

Thanks for being just as nosey as I am.

You are here. Why? I don’t know, but you are, so welcome. Someone either passed along this link to you or maybe you found me submerged in the sea of Google waste or captured by Yahooligans, but you found me, and I thank you very much for that!

My name is Andrew Johnson, but for the sake of this blog and my ridiculously large schnoz, you can call me NoseyOne. I have started this blog to share with you my creative nature and humor, while you share yours.

I am a rather unique individual (not gonna lie). I am actually pretty confident to say that there are not a lot of people out there like me. Good thing? I don’t know. Bad thing? I still don’t know. But what I do know is that I am determined for you, the person reading this (and hopefully following this), to know who I am and what I am all about.

I grew up in the 1990s, and much of what I do today is a product of this generation. I still frequently watch episodes of Art You Afraid of the Dark? (which I bought boot-leg on DVD) and re-runs of All That (which I still find ironically funnier than today’s SNL). My favorite color (other than blue) is orange, which till this day I still believe has a direct correlation to the orange Nickelodeon gak logo that squirted across my screen every day around 4:00 PM. My favorite meal is a ham and cheese sandwich and a mini Butterfinger’s bar thanks to the buttery crackers, the 6″ high slab of ham (that’s what she said) and cheese, and the pathetic/depressing portion of desert that came in my Lunchables meal each and every day. And, I now prefer to read a digital clock over an analog clock purely do to the fact that (A) I did not pay attention in school for this part of class, (B) it takes me a few seconds to read analog clocks (5…10…15…20…), and (C) the clock that they used to teach analog reading on gave me nightmares; it’s eyes were glued to the center of the clock, and the big and small hand looked like a mustache around 8:20; it was messed up!

I would sit in front of the TV watching hours and hours of Action League Now, hoping that one day I would be as big and strong as Thundergirl (she was bigger than Flesh, right?). But that certainly proved not to be the case. I think I was 5’5 when I was born, and the same holds true today. I am not a she, I can’t fly and certainly not like thunder. And, I am definitely not ‘super strong and super naked!’ All one hundred and fifty pounds of me is just leftover high school muscle, and a beard that I have been growing since eight grade that once looked like a Chinese Crested dog and is now a full Chinese buffet. Nevertheless, I did learn one thing from those Action League toy rejects, you are never too old to play with toys.

toys [toiz] are pieces of art. Toys R’ Us, just still and lifeless. Yet, toys are sometimes more alive than us, as human beings. We can easily strike a pose, embody a certain mood, change the outfit we are wearing, play catch with the kid next door; toys can’t. They can’t do anything actually. They are lifeless pieces of plastic (or whatever material their epidermis is). We can control when we want to do something, but a toy must wait. Sit. Stand. Lay there. Hide beneath layers and layers of other toys, shadowed by the lid above. Imagine standing in a room for a few days, looking at the same corner of the room wondering when someone or something was going to move you; make you fall over. I look at toys as people. Am I crazy? Probably. Do I care? No. Do you care? I hope not. It just makes me see the world a little more funnily than I think it already is.

It’s these little humors where my creative drive stems from. The 1990s filled my mind with such innovative and corky ideas, as do the toys that are currently sitting on my desk or stuffed in the oversized Zip-Lock Bag in my closet; these are the means for my artistic imagination and expression. Both, in some way, coincide with one another. Each brings a unique quality to my visual imagination, molding a rather bizarre, funny, and out-of-this world perspective on life.

I am a fanatic when it comes to photographing toys. This idea of bringing the lifeless to life fascinates me. I get giddy when I see bold lines. Overtime you will begin to see how anal retentive I am when it comes to detail. Bold lines are my way of outlining chaos and disorder. They are sharp. Although you can’t apply lotion or spray a little Hermés on it, bold is clean. And clean is good … I think.

I want to extend this invitation to you, so I can share my mind with you. How it works. Why it works the way it does. And present that to you through the artwork I create, and media that I find stimulating.

Feeling Nosey?