MOUNT SHASTA, A Photo-Novella for the Internet:
We don't see them much in the United States, but elsewhere in the world there is a long-standing tradition of romance and adventure stories told with captioned, still photographs in magazine or comic book format. An early relative of the contemporary Graphic Novel, they can be a great way to brush up on your language skills in Italy or Argentina.
This long planned Photo Novella, MOUNT SHASTA, began to make its way on to the Internet in 2000.

Video streaming in those days was awful, with postage-stamp sized, pixelated resolution and almost inaudible distorted sound, so I decided to use Macromedia Flash, divide the work into pages within chapters and deliver it as a sort of Chapter Serial.
Using Flash and a little bit of simple scripting, it was possible to get the following section or page to preload in the background as each page played. People with 56k modems and dial-up connections to the Internet, pretty much the standard then, were able to get this project to play well and at 640 x 480 resolution, television-like quality. I even received a treasured "pat-on-the-back" email from the then young god of Flash animation design, the late Hillman Curtis.

The first 3 Chapters were posted page-by-page on the old website in 2000.
Virtually all of the time available to me for art work (after working full time for money) was sucked up by the endless scanning, manipulating images and building these Flash files. Obviously I would have done everything in digital photography if were doing it today, but in 1999, a 3-megapixel digital camera cost $4000 with a crappy plastic lens. I was able to afford a $250 Pentax 35mm (film) camera; process color film cheaply at the drugstore; and then scan it using an HP PhotoSmart S20 film scanner (cost about the same as the camera). All those individual files were then run through Photoshop for resizing, cropping and color manipulation and then into Flash.

I know, I know... today we just do it all with our phone and plop it onto YouTube, but, that simply wasn't possible in those days. I'm hoping this website, this archive of photos, documentation and other explanations about my work since 1968, might be of some historical interest, so I continue to explain.

The actual climb took place in September of 2001, on the 8th and the 9th, the weekend before September 11th. Obviously the world changed but I continued with the work and MOUNT SHASTA was completed at the end of 2001. There's a link to the Photo Novella HERE and on the Main Menu at the top of this page.

Macromedia Flash became Adobe Flash and then became unusable on the Internet because it was so easy to hide malware within its files. I recently (2022) was able to recode and convert the entire project to high definition video which is posted on the YouTube site (however, I didn't do it with my iPhone).
I am providing a few sample images from the very first pages that went online, in the hopes that you'll take a look at the project (it does have a soundtrack: music and a narration by me).

(Clicking on the image will enlarge it in a new JavaScript popup window.)

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Preparation for Sonsbeek 9. The other thing I was working on in 2000 was preparation for the upcoming Sonsbeek 9 International Sculpture exhibition in Arnhem, Netherlands, scheduled for June of 2001.
Jan Hoet was the curator and he explained that I had to do something that could be outdoors. In those days, I worked on the floor, inside using sand and tinted sand, not a technique that would hold up outside. But I was working a lot with an odd spiral I had discovered, The Spiral of Fermat, and thought that it might be possible to extrude a version of that and make it out of earth and grass. Several 3D models were constructed and I worked on images and drawings.
The first of these images below shows the initial presentation image (which actually got me into the exhibition) that I made using the Age of Empires game editor. The 3D model is just a sheet of foam core cut in a spiral of Fermat pattern, then carefully pushed through from underneath to make the extrusion.

drawing model model model



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