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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Blonds and Ghost Recon

I was at school this morning, only it was nighttime, and the school looked more like a fancy hotel with plush carpets, polished woodwork, real crystal and gilded bannisters––certainly not the school I went to. Anyway, we were finishing a critique in one of my art classes, and I was surrounded by people I don't actually know in real life, but that seemed perfectly normal there in my class. While we were finishing up the last critiques, I was ogling one of the pretty girls in class (Becca, you were not in this dream, so I wasn't technically looking at other girls, not when I was single and there was no one to make them into other girls…) and trying to figure out how to ask her on a date.

I don't remember much about her, and I'm horrible with names even in my dreams, but she had short blond hair and somewhat impish features, including a dazzling smile and mischievously happy blue eyes. Her appearance was of particular interest because I have always been more attracted to brown or black-haired girls with dark eyes and darker, Spanish-American features. Either way, I don't remember anyone else from the critique though, my attention having been entirely on her.

Class ended and everyone started packing their stuff up. I was slow in putting my paintings away, and by the time I had it all packed, the girl from my class had already left. There was a sense of urgency as I left the classroom and started looking up and down the fancy-wallpapered halls for her, as if this were maybe a final critique before the semester ended. I spotted her as she reached the elevators at the far end of the hall, past the fountain and surrounding jungle of potted plants.

I knew I would not reach the elevator in time, so I went for the stairs. Unlike the emergency stairway tucked away into some out-of-sight doorway at the schools that I am used to, this school had a grand staircase that curved down the center of the magnificent front hall toward the first floor landing, 40 feet or so below it. Another fountain was at the center of the hall below, right before the landing, and surrounded by marble copies of Polykleitos' Doryphoros Spear-Bearer, Praxiteles' Aphrodite of Knidos, and other Greek masterpieces.

I rushed to the stairs but found them full of students; I would not be able to get past them in time to catch the blond girl as she left the elevator and exited the building. So I did what any sane man would have in these circumstances––I vaulted the bannister, 40 feet above the ground, clung to it with a chicken-wing hold and slid all of the way down to the landing.

"Get out of my way!" I yelled as my momentum increased, and I hit the landing at a run.

The next thing I know, I'm outside of the school, climbing onto a city bus––except that it isn't a bus. It is really just the back of someone's pickup truck with fixed seats in it, but the other passengers and I don't seem to notice that detail. Apparently, I have concluded the scene with the blond girl, because I seem to be content and relaxed, not running around frantically looking for her. But I don't know whether or not she said she would go out with me, as I am failing in the stupid-grin and cocky-stride department.

Next to me on the "bus" is a bald black man in a blue suit, late thirties or early forties. He is smiling about something and beating out a rhythm on his backpack. After a moment, he extends his hand and introduces himself. For the life of me, I can't remember what he says his name is, but his accent is North-African, and he introduces himself as an immigrant to the States as of 15 years ago or so, having come from a small country that I haven't heard of, between Sudan and Mauritania, and South of Hohenstein and the Outer Banks (Sudan and Mauritania are actually on opposite ends of the northern Africa; Hohenstein is actually in Germany, and is not even a country; and the Outer Banks are in North Carolina––but in my dream, all of this made sense).

He points at my Marine Corps ball cap and mentions that he served in the military when he first came to the US. We strike up a conversation and I learn that he made it all of the way into the Navy SEALs, where he took part in a super-secret cryogenics experiment. Now, the detached non-dreaming part of my brain seems to be ok with the casual disclosure of government information, and even the sci-fi-esque cryogenics part, but it becomes suspicious about the Navy SEALs part––and justifiably so––until we have conversed more and he has convinced me that he is indeed what he says he is. Every fake vet that I have ever heard of claims some sort of elite service, from Marine Infantry and Army Rangers, to Delta Force, Navy SEALs and British SAS; the glory, attention and self-imagined sense of superiority are part of the reason that they do it, so it stands to reason that not too many fake vets are claiming mail room and admin clerk as their legacy.

Anyway, after a few minutes of conversation with the guy, where he knows the terminology and answers the questions correctly, I am satisfied that he is indeed a former SEAL. It is at this point that he seems to understand that I believe him and will listen to stranger things, because suddenly he goes into detail about the cryogenics experiment.

Ten years ago, he entered a government-controlled cryogenic freeze through some agency that didn't ever officially exist. Physically for him, time stopped and he ceased to age or to have any bodily functions. But mentally he was still awake. For a while, he was lost inside of his own mind, reliving his memories as perfectly as if he were there again. But after a while, he found that he could detach his mind or spirit from his body and that he had become aware of the world outside and could travel mentally or spiritually through it. This was the plan of the agency scientists all along, and they had employed psychic mediums to bring him back and train him to be a psychic spy and assassin. For ten years, he slipped ethereally in and out of the meeting places of terrorists and foreign diplomats, taking information and lives as ordered by the American government. Finally though, he tired of it all and demanded to be returned to his body and former life.

It had taken months of hearings and visits with high-ranking officials that always tried to talk him out of it, but finally he was allowed to resign. They presumably had other incorporeal assassins anyway, so they probably all still had their jobs, and they must have trusted him enough not to keep too tight a reign on his post-service activities, or he probably wouldn't be in the back of a truck telling me all about it.

Now, back in reality in our current day, he is exploring the tangible world as if returned from the dead, enjoying the simple things in life like the spring breeze on his skin, and the taste of good food. But he has a secret that he feels he needs to pass on to someone else. He can still detach his mind or spirit from his body at will, and he is pretty sure that he can teach me how to do it as well.

Why is he telling me this, I ask, a little incredulous and alarmed. He leans closer and lets me know that the government isn't always to be trusted, that they use these psychic assassins in less than honorable ways fairly often, and that there needs to be a body of similarly capable people willing and ready to stop them.

Well duh, I think. I've known for a while that you can't trust the government. And being trained in some poltergeist martial arts sounds really cool. So now I am getting excited by the what this guy is offering, even if it is rather nonchalantly in the back of someone's pick-up truck public transit.

That, unfortunately, is when Becca shakes me awake and lets me know that it is my turn to get up with the kids.

*Legal Disclaimers: Government officials to me can be compared to middle school kids––taken one on one or even in small groups, they're not too bad, and most of them can be trusted. But if you get any sizable group of them together, then they become rampaging little hellions drunk with their own imagined kewlness and power, and intent on making the rest of the world suffer for their own amusement and prosperity.

For that very reason, I am currently putting out job applications to the federal government so that I too can abuse my fellow countrymen for a paycheck.

Monday, March 12, 2012

were-orcas and mermaids

So this morning I found myself on an undersea cruise liner with Becca and the other mermaids (luckily, the kids were at a relative's). We were just hanging out, swimming around, enjoying the vacation. Suddenly, we could hear everyone on the other decks screaming and panicking, and then something starts smashing through walls up above.

Somehow, we realize that it is coming for us––though we don't yet know what it is––and we start rushing through the halls of the deck that we're on, trying to reach our underwater room (as if that will save us from something that can smash through a ship's interior bulkheads). Just as the mermaids and myself get to the room and are fumbling for the room keys, the thing is right behind us, growling.

The mermaids scream, but I still don't dare to look behind me. When I finally turn around, I see a large were-orca standing there in orca-man form. It is eight feet tall, and weighs half a ton, and has razor-sharp fins on its back, arms and legs. But instead of teeth, it has a pair of self-sharpening cleaver-like bony plates that make up a powerful beak, like dunkleosteus.

For those that are not familiar with what I am talking about:

This was my first clue that it was a dream. You'd think that being on a completely submerged cruise liner with mermaids would have made me suspicious, but it was the jaw structure of the were-orca.

Anyway, right then, I get the door open, and the were-orca ushers us all inside of room, and then begins to explain that he is here on orders from my mafia don father (no relation to my real father, who is a saint). My mafia don father is angry that I haven't paid my tributes this year, and sent one of his personal assassins to get me.

His other were-orca assassin is a real violent guy, but this one is new, and he is a bit of a softy. So the were-orca contents himself to go through all of our personal belongings while getting to know us, with the intent to gather enough valuables to take back my tribute to my gangster father and spare my life and the lives of the mermaids that are with me.

The dream ends when the were-orca, about to leave, turns to us and says, "Oh, I hear you have some kids too." and I reply, "Yeah, and you can tell my father that if he ever wants to act like a real dad, I'll introduce him to them."


I have weird dreams pretty often, and some of them are very entertaining. So, at first I was just going to put this on facebook, but I decided that I ought to take some professional advice about making your art blog a documentary of your creative life. So I think I will start posting some of my stranger dreams. Maybe I'll eventually illustrate a few of them.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 logo and web header

graphic for a local contractor and dirt supplier. wanted something a little illustrative. in the end, it is probably way too complicated for a logo. simpler than the full color version though...

Monday, March 5, 2012

What I do

I work in a few areas of multimedia artwork and design:

• Illustration: I am pretty good with sketching, and am bettering my painting skills as well. I am proficient with traditional media, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and Corel Painter.
• Concept Art: I find character design to be my concept art strength, but I enjoy just getting to design things, no matter what they are.
• 3D Modeling: I model, sculpt, UV, and texture, and focus on character modeling. I am proficient with Autodesk Maya and Mudbox, Pixologic ZBrush
• 3D FX

Additionally, I am somewhat experienced in other areas:

• Graphic Design
• Script Writing
• Sculpting
• Video Production


My name is Aaron Webb. I am a multimedia artist based out of Utah. I have done video production and graphic art off and on for quite a few years now, interrupted by occasional adventures like the Marine Corps and other stuff.

I have been studying animation and illustration for just under four years now at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. I started school in January of 2008, right after getting out of the United States Marine Corps infantry and moving back to Utah.

As of today, I have two semesters left to finish, and this current one is more than half way done. As a double major, working on a Bachelor of Science in Digital Media––Animation, and a Bachelor of Fine Art in Visual Art and Communications––Illustration, I have been quite busy.

Both programs at UVU are beginning to explode with potential; the illustration program is being led by the likes of Don Seegmiller, Perry Stewart and Richard Hull, and is transforming itself from a junior college program to a rigorous and prestigious program to attend. Similarly, under the guidance of Rodayne Esmay and Anthony Romrell, the animation program is gearing up to compete with the best programs in the nation as we build high-quality animated shorts and video games.

I am straddling the middle of them both, trying to hone the traditional skills of my right-brained creative side, while mastering the technical left-brained hardware and software of the computer science arena. This means that I have little time for a friends or even sleep, and routinely pull over-nighters at home or even at school trying to keep on top of the workload.

In fact, a few months ago our animation department was visited by a prestigious animation graduate program in Texas, and when they warned us that often their students were in the labs until midnight, we all looked at each other and laughed. We work in the animation labs pretty often until 3 AM or even until classes start the next day at 8 AM or later, and have had some students literally live in the labs (one of them for about a month). This has been interesting to say the least, especially while trying to get university officials and campus police authorities to allow us to park overnight and set up living facilities in the senior projects lab.

Amid the chaos of school, I try to help my wife wrangle three active children, and scramble to put together a professional portfolio that will include traditional art, digital art, photography, and 3D modeling, surfacing and FX. Hopefully, between these disciplines, I will find myself useful to some art studios out there.

As far as what art studios I am looking at, I would love to work for a design, game or animation studio in the Wasatch Front area of Utah. But, I am also willing to go out of state for a job opportunity.