I asked one of those AI art programs for your phone to create an image based on the words “Mr. Siler” and “Mr. Siler in his classroom,” and I find the results utterly delightful:
Seeking an artist
Pictured to the right here is the current logo I’m using for my YouTube channel. I like the basic idea of it; it looks enough like me that anyone who knows me recognizes it instantly, I actually own that shirt, and he’s playing video games.
That said, the look on his face is … off, and it’s really obviously a Bitmoji; the style of those things, even if you don’t recognize the particular pose the image is in, is instantly recognizable.
I know some artists, but I’m not sure any of them are appropriate for what I’m looking for: I want to redo the logo image for my channel, and I want something that is reminiscent of this, and in a cartoony style (that’s where everyone I know falls down; none of them are what I’d ever describe as “cartoony”) but I want something that is unique and looks like me without obviously being from some specific site on the internet that is reproducible by anyone who can find the proper settings.
If you know anyone, please let them know, or if you feel like you are such an artist, drop me an email with pricing and a portfolio link. We can talk details then. To be clear, this is to be a planned gig; I have a budget in mind and I don’t think it’s an unreasonable amount, but we’ll see.
On creativity, and taking showers
I’ll get to the image in a minute, don’t worry.
Also, this one’s going to be kind of stream-of-consciousness, sorry about that.
I just took a shower– yes, it’s 3:00 in the afternoon, it’s also Saturday, shut up– and while I was in the shower I was, as one does, putting together a blueprint in my head for the dedicated library that I will eventually have in the house that we don’t have yet. I am not joking when I say I have been thinking about this room for most of my life, and until I live in a house with this room, built to my specifications, I am immortal, because I plan to die in my library with my feet up and a book in my hand and simply am going to refuse to go any other way.
This isn’t about the room, specifically, but it’s what led me down the path: thick, plush burgundy carpet. Two expensive leather chairs, the type with hand-driven nailhead accents (this, roughly, but I’m picturing a slightly lighter leather) and two matching ottomans, each with a reading lamp on a chairside end table, facing a fireplace at an angle. Behind the chairs, an executive desk. Bookshelves lining the walls up to an angled ceiling with exposed beams and skylights. Behind the desk, the shelves would come into the room at 90 degree angles to the walls, too– as many nooks as the room could hold.
And above that fireplace, the piece of artwork I have pictured above. That’s a style of artwork called bunka, which is basically painting with needle and thread. While it’s done with a pattern, the entire thing was done by hand– and this one specifically was made by my grandmother. She made enough of them that she had seven children and most of her grandkids have at least one piece by her in their homes; we have two, this one (technically my uncle’s, who gave it to me for safekeeping at one point when he was moving a lot, but he’s never getting it back) and another of Scamp from Lady and the Tramp that hung in both my room and my son’s room when we were very young.
My grandmother was crafty as hell, and we all have tons of stuff that she made, ranging from those bunka pictures to ceramics to intricate Christmas ornaments made with beads and fishing line. I don’t know if she ever drew or painted with, like, actual paint— I suspect not, because if she did surely we’d have some examples around– but she must have always been making things with whatever the hell spare time she managed to find while raising seven kids.
And thinking about all of that got me wondering what my grandmother would have done if she’d had access to a 3D printer. And … man, that’s a rabbit hole. I have often lamented my lack of ability to Make Things, which honestly is probably more of a reflection of my unwillingness to spend the time learning how to Make Things, but more and more lately I’m pushing the TikTok algorithm toward showing me people who are doing art of some kind or another, whether it’s painting or sculpture or 3d art or carpenters or resin art or miniature painting or Gunpla or god those people who make like entire D&D castles and taverns and scenery sets out of styrofoam and shit, they’re amazing, or digital artwork or oh my God the cosplayers and there was a bookmaking account that I really love that went dormant on me and I really miss it. I actually bought a bunch of bookmaking supplies and managed to make a little notebook for my son, which to my great gratification he still uses and carries around with him a lot, but I’ve not yet started a second one.
Grandma just, y’know, went out and made stuff, while her grandson sits around and wonders what he could make “if he had time,” when he’s spending 20 hours a day fucking around on his phone and not raising seven kids.
I should maybe follow her example.
In lieu of a post, please accept this drawing a student did of me today:
She was actually quite unhappy with it, which is kind of mind-blowing considering this is ten minutes of work on my fricking whiteboard with a marker. Talented kid.
In which we emerge, blinking
Went outside and did a thing today— the Leeper Park Art Fair, held in scenic downtown South Bend, in a park that until a year or two ago was home to an inbred, angry, violent group of ducks– so angry, inbred and violent that the city had to step in to figure out how to deal with them. There was a massive kerfuffle, of the type that can only be found in small- and mid-sized towns, and some of the ducks were eventually euthanized, some taken elsewhere, and their pond was filled in, producing a much nicer public park that people can actually bike and walk through without fear of being attacked.
The fair was really nice, honestly– the temperature suddenly shot up by a good ten degrees on the (short) walk back to the car, but for the whole time we were walking around it was pleasant and breezy outside, and it’s always fun to look at art, even if in general everything was far outside of my price range. I’m not disputing the prices these folks were charging, mind you; this isn’t you shouldn’t be charging $250 for this hand-turned wooden vase, it’s I don’t have $250 I can spend on this hand-turned wooden vase, and honestly for most of the things I looked at, $250 was inexpensive. There was some amazing stuff there, but even if I had the money, I don’t know what the hell I’d do with a $250 wooden vase if I bought one, because we really don’t have that kind of house. At any rate, if you’re local, it’s open for a couple more hours today and all day tomorrow, although tomorrow there’s a risk of rain.
Instructions from the fair organizers were to mask up and socially distance, especially when you were actually in an artist’s booth, and you can probably get a good idea from the picture there how well that went over. The vaccination rate in St. Joseph County is less than 50%, so it’s an awfully interesting coincidence that no one who was unvaccinated showed up at this thing.
(That said, my self-righteousness only goes so far; I brought a mask with me but didn’t put it on. The crowds weren’t so tight that staying away from people was much of a challenge, and the event was outdoors. I did get into a conversation with one of the woodworkers that had me thinking about putting my mask on, since we were standing fairly close to each other and talking, but I didn’t end up doing it. That said, I’ve had my fucking shots.)
At any rate, this is the first time we’ve done something like this since February of 2020, so it was really nice to be outdoors and around people for a while. That said, I stepped in a hole as we were going back to the car and it went straight up my back and through my ribcage, so I expect to be unable to walk by the end of the day. This is probably my punishment for getting judgy about masks.
I can actually pinpoint fairly precisely when I learned Juneteenth was a thing– it was my senior year of college, in a class about Black American religion. So probably 1997, 1998 or so. I just reread Ralph Ellison’s novel of the same name, since I needed an author from Oklahoma and figured it was appropriate. And I’ll be honest: while my opinion matters not at all, I don’t love the idea of it being a national holiday– or, at least, I don’t love the idea of it being a national holiday in America.
Why? Because capitalism, and because this country can’t take a Goddamned thing seriously. Because this is exactly what’s going to happen:
If you’re on TikTok, btw, you should be following both of these creators. They’re great.
Like, capitalism has destroyed Christmas. It’s fucking Thanksgiving all up. It’s eaten Memorial Day and Veterans Day. I don’t need it chewing up Juneteenth too. Especially galling, beyond the capitalism angle, is the fact that low-paying jobs are not going to be getting a holiday for Juneteenth precisely because capitalism is going to eat Juneteenth, and that means a whole lot of Black people working service jobs are going to have to work on that day.
Yell at me if you want, although I don’t think I’m going to have any takers among my current readership: I think only black people should get Juneteenth off. As a teacher I’m off every June 19 anyway, since school never goes that late, but it’s ridiculous that my lily-white ass might get a day off to celebrate the ending of slavery when the actual descendants of those slaves have to go to work so that I can buy a mattress or whatever fucked-up knickknacks Target vomits up for the day.