Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Real estate for Emeralda

A different financing plan

Walking down Roy street one day I came to an empty building. It has been empty ever since the Drachan Foundation moved. You may recall Ali Fujino was the Executive Director, and Scott Skinner is the Drachan’s board president and they both own Halfwood Presses.
The building at 400 Roy Street is a one-story office building and it is, at present, a sore-eye in the neighborhood.
I started thinking about this building, wondering if it could be the home of the new factory school of printmaking. With a footprint of 5,000 square feet, and zoning to grow a higher structure, it’s the right size. It’s in the right neighborhood. The building is under-performing, as they say in real estate investing, I think.
After some thought, it occurred to me that to get investors to finance the new factory school of printmaking, perhaps their investment should be on real estate, first, and performance (the products and services—i.e., the factory school business) second.
Who would prefer a real estate investment over a factory school? Almost everyone, I believe.
Real estate that pays its way by leasing to a profitable venture is a good real estate investment. Investors in real estate who buy into the venture, knowing the mission of the lessor and believing in it, could be more assured of a good ROI.
Investing in education is the long-term plan, and investing in a product and service of good design is as good a bond as you can get today.
The new factory school of printmaking is based on learn-by-doing, and is built around several strong trends. One, specialized art equipment; two, online education; three, games. There is a fourth element—chocolate (more about that some other time). The mix is complicated and is enticing to people in the arts and education for that reason.
Investing in real estate is a better investment than investing in art; investing in real estate for a new factory school of art is the best of both worlds.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Another Day, Another Printmaking Game

The picture is of a game called "Erase," the ninth in a series of Trading Card Games I hacked from pre-existing, real games listed in the book, "Trading Card Games for Dummies." I'm making a game out of inventing games (well, mods, actually, where you modify a real game to make it fit printmaking, video art, or computer art).
The process takes place in my imaginary place called "Emeralda," which is a printmaker's heaven; but not printmakers who have to die to go to Emeralda, but who can go to this mde-up, Virtual World to meet the ghosts of printmakers and learn how they managed to take commercial, industrial tools and make them instruments for fine art.
"Erase" is based on another game I made up called "Video Dig Reloaded," inspired by C. T. Chew's even from the 1980s. The background photo for the box design, above, for "Erase" is an image Carl made in his Artist's Portraits series.
Emeralda is the name of the new school of printmaking I am launching next year, and getting the money to start it up by converting my artworks into Preferred Stock. You can read all about this in my newest paperback/Kindle book, "PressGhost Investor," available at amazon.com. http://tinyurl.com/mfjddcz
Today, July 22, is the tenth day on my self-assigned challenge to "invent" ten TCG's that fit on each of the ten islands in Emeralda Region, and I'm working on the last game of the series, "Bon A Tirer," based on the real game, "Set."
It is fun! Hard fun. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Games, Songs and Printmaking Online

It's been an interesting week in Emeralda Region, and getting more interesting by the day. Today, for example, I started my third MOOC with Coursera, the great resource for Massively Open Online Courses. My first was GAMIFICATION; next I finished GUITAR, and today I started SONGWRITING.
Yesterday I designed the box cover for a game I titled, "Available." It is the sixth game I made up as part of my own self-given assignment to reinvent an existing collectible trading card game to fit my new school of printmaking. In my school, students do projects like this, so I have to know what I'm doing and I practice what I assign.
At the beginning of SONGWRITING, the teacher (Pat Pattison, Berklee School of Music) asked everyone to fill out a survey. My method of creating the world's first MOOC on fine printmaking, I use the method taught by Dr. Frank Napoleon Stein, where you copy out an original and then stitch in your original parts. Here is my version, what a printmaking student would see:
Why do you want to take this course? (check a box)
General interest in the topic
Extending current knowledge of the topic
Supplement other college/university classes
Decide if I want to take college/university classes on the topic
Professional development
Interest in how these courses are taught
Cannot afford to pursue a formal education

Geographically isolated from educational institutions

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wanted: Managing Director

  Caption - Bill's book, the investor guide, and at the right a display
of his Certified Collectible Convertible Preferred Shares.

Neither before nor after

Finding a director and manager for Emeralda, the new school of printmaking, will require dancing around the questions of leadership, timing, and authority. There is nothing new to say about a director or, if this person does both managing and directing (the Managing Director), again, what is there to say? Will one come before or after? I say neither because the roles are complementary.
In my new school of printmaking, Emeralda, there is no simple division because a Managing Director has to have a foot in each of two worlds—the world that is, and the world that is coming into being. It is my role to be most concerned with the world that is coming into being, because it is my vision of the future that is the compulsion for Emeralda.
The world that is, on the other hand, is the world in which I need the help of a Managing Director and his or her team. Books such as, “Reality is Broken” by Jane MacGonigal is a view of the world that is and which she says is propelling huge segments of the younger generation into virtual worlds akin to the Land of Oz and other fantasies.
Rather than get down to the hard work of dealing with the five elements described in the USC’s list of things that need to be fixed, Jane suggests the gaming generation worldwide is retreating into a kind of early childhood retirement. The tasks are so awesome, and worsened by government inaction and reactionary politics.
My new school of printmaking will redirect younger people away from retirement and compel them in the direction of early childhood development, focusing on the media arts in both hands-on and virtual, virtuous ways: Hands-on printmaking plus a hand in the production of a cooperative venture that develops manual, mental and social skills concomitantly.
Who will be the Managing Director of such a bold operation?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Eleven months later . . .

I'm attaching a picture of the first Launch/Plasteel press--a press made of all-man-made materials.

A few words that will bring a reader to the cutting-edge of the Halfwood Press saga--the invention of the Kyber Press. I foresee this will be the last one for me. From here on, it will be for other people, and I hope there will be many, many more people, to make new personal-sized etching presses to enjoy the printmaking experience.
The Kyber Press got its name from cybernetics. Most people who don't know Greek don't know that there is a possibility that cybernetic is not pronounced "Sigh-burr-net-ik" but rather "Ki-burr-net-ik." The name was made famous by Norbert Wiener in the 1940s because he thought the new science he and his colleagues had started went with the idea of a pilot, or steersman. He went to Greek for a word that fit, and chose the word and it starts with what we call "X" but which the Greeks call "Chi" and is pronounced like a "K," or the "ch" in Bach.
My Kyber Press combines the "smart" feature of the Halfwood Presses--the flash memory drive built into the hoods--with the Launch Plasteel, so called "plastic" press. Some call my idea of a plastic press the Volkswagen of etching presses--a press that is cheap enough and fully functional so all kinds of printing can be in every classroom, and in many homes and printmaking studios.
The Kyber Press is an improvement on the flash memory drive because it uses Bluetooth technology instead of a USB extension cable.This means that any computer-type device within thirty feet of the press will be in communication with press. Touch the press' hood and the press--now a Bluetooth device like a cell phone--can talk to the computer and the Internet.
The Kyber Press is one of the growing number of the Internet of Things--a phrase coined a few years ago to discuss the many objects in the world that have a connection to the Internet. The primary reason for putting Bluetooth the Kyber Press is to develop the printmaking world community in ways it has never been possible before, and solely for the benefits of sharing with printmakers, students, and families worldwide.
With the Kyber Press I have discovered the final piece in the puzzle of Proximates, which is a game of proximity in time with other people making prints all over the world.
Now the question occurs to me, What about all the people who bought into the press before the Bluetooth connection was made? I believe there will be a special league in Proximates for these individuals, and that is my next challenge.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

ESL and Printmaking

ESL and Printmaking
Andrew, in Japan, has a Pram Halfwood Press and the two of us are working a a variation of Printmaking Camp. Living in Japan, and with a four-year old daughter, he's highly tuned to the English language teaching programs in Japan. He himself works as a translator. I feel lucky to have met Andrew through his purchase of a Pram Halfwood Press.
It proves, again, that the power of the press is more than one would assume. I think printmaking - the kind of hands-on printmaking that kids sometimes get in school - has something special for kids that the other arts don't have. Since I reinvented printmaking as a time-based art (a printmaker makes a plate and then prints it again and again), I opened up a new experience for people who were wary of trying art for themselves.
When you introduce time as a factor, such as in repetition of making almost the same image over and over from a printing plate, you not only get an experience you don't get from drawing, painting and sculpture, your scope for imagination widens.
I tell people, "You don't have to know how to draw or design to make interesting prints - the mechanics help you out."
Andrew sent me a link to research from New York on art and English as a second language. It showed there was improvement in ESL students who had art included in their curriculum. Andrew and I think ESL programs should include printmaking on a real etching press, too, so our goal is to start a program based on his Pram Halfwood Press.
Reading the New York paper, I did not find one occurrence of the word, "printmaking," but plenty of references to drawing, painting and sculpture. This is typical because the materials and supplies for these visual art media are more readily available and disposable. For printmaking, it's more difficult and tools, equipment and supplies are not so easily thrown out at the end of the day.
With more effort, the rewards grow, in my opinion. If people take up the challenge of more difficult tasks, the experience deepens and can be ingrained in students at an early age. Printmaking requires more focus, more discipline, more intellectual exercise than drawing, painting, and sculpture. Most importantly, in the context of ESL, printmaking requires teamwork and communications.
I have only begun to analyze the paper Andrew called to my attention, and I don't expect any surprises because - in just the first several pages - I see the same old story: art helps.
In many ways, media arts help cross language barriers more than visual arts because we live in an age when media almost dominate our lives. We need to teach young people how to use the machines that are the ancestors of todays technologies that produce everything from music recordings to video games.