Archive for September, 2012

Zdzisław Beksiński

If I had to choose a single favorite painter, it would probably be Polish artist Zdzislaw Beksinski. He once said, “I wish to paint in such a manner as if I were photographing dreams.”

You can see more of his work at these sites:

There’s also a book of his art available. The book includes a decent selection at a good price, and I like its quotations from Beksinski, but I’d like a more comprehensive book of his work.


Some Music from Finland

Some time ago, I discovered that there are “netlabels” out there that offer lots of free, high-quality music. (Examples include Kahvi Collective, Ubiktune, and Soft Phase.)

Kyoto Republic was one of the smaller netlabels I came across, but it ended up having a high concentration of releases that would end up becoming lasting favorites of mine. And most of these releases turned out to be by just one person, Finnish musician Ilkka Hänninen.

Hänninen has released music under several names over the years, including Jean Nine, Trailing Space, and Finnish Pop Sensation, with my favorites being the Trailing Space albums. Aside from the Kyoto Republic page, you can find more of his work on the Jean Nine Bandcamp page. Until recently, you could also find some at

If I were to recommend a couple of albums to sample, I’d probably go with these two:

I’d like to be helpful and describe the type of music that I’m referring to here, but I can never keep my genre names straight. Appropriate terms might include post-rock, space rock, down-tempo, and IDM.

A compilation album on the Kyoto Republic site, These Days Are Not for Us, introduced me to the work of Jori Kemppi (who has also released music under the name Jori TJ Kemppi). I found Kemppi’s music somewhat challenging to track down. Fortunately, he released a 2012 album, Genmaicha Sessions, that includes some of his best tracks:

As of this writing, some songs by both of these musicians seem to be available nowhere but on their pages:


Patrick Smith (Vectorpark)

Patrick Smith is a painter and a video game designer. You can find his games at and his paintings at

This is “Tower,” one of his paintings:

"Tower" by Patrick Smith

I came across some years ago when the site included just a few simple interactive Flash pieces. They had a unique charm to them, and resembled toys more than games. The works found there have become more elaborate over the years, retaining this charm and growing in creativity.

The surreal puzzle game Windosill is my favorite, and is one of the best video games I’ve come across in recent years. You can find it at It’s also available through Steam1. And if you have an iPad, you can get it on that platform.


Windosill is not free, but it is assuredly worth its low price. In an interview with .net magazine2, Smith said that he decided to try charging for this game as an experiment to see whether he can make a living from his work.

Also from that interview:

I decided on the format — a series of window-like views, with the small vehicle moving between them — pretty early on. My background is as a painter, and things like perspective and deep space are interesting to me. I thought it would be fun to have things occupying the foreground and also things in the distance, and then to find a way for them to interact.

The individual rooms each had different inspirations. In some cases, the idea for a room began with a drawing or a painting that I thought might be interesting to approach as an animation. In other cases, a kernel of an idea would occur to me while doodling or showering or running or whatever. And a lot of my inspiration comes from other artists: just to name a few, I’m a big fan of the painter Peter Breughel, the cartoonists Jim Woodring and Chris Ware, and the sculptor Alexander Calder. Someone familiar with any of their work could probably spot their influence on Windosill.

Another of his games that’s worth a look is Feed the Head. You can play the game in its entirety for free at This one can be a little confusing at first, but it’s worth the effort.

This is “Migration,” another of his paintings:

"Migration" by Patrick Smith

1 Paul Eres calls Windosill “literally the best game on Steam.”
2 This interview seems to have disappeared from the .net magazine site, but if you can find another interview that covers similar topics here.