Wednesday, January 1, 2014

896 - Year Four: JSVB In Review

Today is the fourth anniversary of JSVB.  I started my visual blog on January 1, 2010.  Friends thought it would be a good idea if I started a blog.  It turns out they were right.
Yet times have changed, and most of my friends' blogs are moribund or abandoned.  Social media has shifted to focus on the most immediate communication, ideas that are very brief, cheap to create, cheap to maintain and easy to catalogue for data mining and future reference.  The age of thoughtful multi-media publication, something that has been striven towards for so very long has already been cast aside in its infancy, replaced by the plebian drone of the twitterverse and the insistent gabble-gabble of Facebook.  If it doesn't fit on a smart phone, and it can't be created or read in five seconds or less, there's little value.  Put another way, social media can make a lot more by selling a billion microtransactions than it can from a million old blogs.  It's not the quality, it's the quantity.
Will Blogger and Wordpress have value in 2014?  Judging by the ever-decreasing amount of support that Blogger gets, I have to wonder.  I did set up a Wordpress account with the best intention of expanding the JSVB universe, but even there blogs and personal websites just are not profitable. 
JSVB has great personal value, however.  The yearly matrix shows everything that I have posted: in 2014, I now have four columns.  If you could zoom in with enough detail, you'd see every single piece of artwork I have chosen to share.  In 2013, I continued to refine my art style, and a few pieces endure as my favourites.  As far as artistic merit goes, 2013 has been my best year, and I am excited to continue into 2014 as best as I can. 
In previous years, I have listed the top-viewed entries, but in 2013, there is only one entry that is worth mentioning: The Wrath Of Gandhi. 
For this piece, I was trying to emulate the art style of the video game Civilization V, by Firaxis Studios.  I succeeded.  My friend Earl re-posted the picture to a large Civilization fan site, and today that picture has been viewed 7,778 times on JSVB and countless times in other re-posts.  The next best entry has 567 hits, making The Wrath Of Gandhi the most popular JSVB entry by a factor of 14.  Since this spike dominates the statistics, I don't see much of a point in continuing by listing any of the others by popularity. 
Then too, the statistics are broken because of persistent hits by bots from places like  I get a lot of bot hits.  Once one of these bots latches on, it will generate dozens of hits that will appear on the Blogger statistics chart.  The idea is that curious bloggers will click to see what vampirestat is.  Don't click on the link!  It sends you to a page that automatically installs viruses on your computer.  Blogger is unwilling or unable to fix the hole in blog security that allows this exploit. 
So, I no longer trust the stat page on Blogger.  Instead of following the statistics, I will simply present the posts that have meant the most to me.
1) The Wrath Of Gandhi  My top entry is everybody's top entry.  Unfortunately, the widespread appeal of this piece never translated into tangible gains for JSVB, but it does prove that I can make an art piece that is popular (at least to bots).
2) The Hamster Who Saved Christmas (unfinished).  The finished version of this piece will appear on JSVB four posts from now, so keep watching to see how it turned out!  I think this piece shows off my illustrative skills and illustrates my show-off skills.
3) Saint John The Baptist (unfinished).  I have no idea how JSVB viewers take to my religious artwork.  Then too, I don't know if it's weird to have byzantine icons next to bikini-clad space vixens wielding radium pistols.  Today, they co-exist.  In the future, I imagine I will have to choose between them.  One thing that iconography teaches is patience in art and creation.  It's a tremendous lesson and a huge confidence-builder.
4) Enterprise Lounge (unfinished).  I need to finish this piece!  The artwork is complete, but I have work to do to finish the presentation.  Soon!
5) A Tribute To Charles Addams  This is one of my favourite photographs, taken in downtown Vancouver.  It's a real location!  I did spruce up the shot with Photoshop, but not by as much as you'd think.  I wonder what those properties must be worth...
HONOURARY MENTION: Commission: Nebula  I really enjoyed working on this piece.  Blogger shrinks it down to a postage stamp, but the finished piece is roughly 1 x 2 meters.  It's one of the largest things I have created as a digital file.  It looks spectacular when printed! 
2014 promises some big opportunities for all of us.  In a few posts, I will have reached 900 entries, and then it will be just a short ride to the Big One Thousand.  We will see what the future has to offer!
Keep care, loyal JSVB readers!  Remember that you can order much of this art for purchase.   It makes great gifts for you and your friends!