About cutspark

Singer of broaddaylight, graphic designer by trade - I play life like a video game: Level up, use the force, & if there’s a side-quest available, do it!

Arrested Decay: A Photo Exhibition

That which is made by man is ravaged by exposure – the lash of the wind, the blinding sun.

Ghostly beautiful, an echo of their utility is all that remains.

The retaliation of nature is abundant and bold;
Deep, soft grasses whispering green and gold;
And the dark and terrible sky, ready to swallow us whole.

– September 25, 2015, Sarah Eakins

An exhibition of photos inspired by the beauty, isolation, and eeriness of Bodie, CA –
an historic, and notorious ghost town in the eastern hills of the Sierra mountains. Bodie is in a state of Arrested Decay – maintained to look exactly as it is forever.

Featuring pieces shot on:
Polaroid Type 54
Fuji FP3000b45
Kodak Technical Pan

James Eakins uses Polaroid Type 54 and Fuji FP3000b45 large format 4×5 instant films. Both Sarah & James’ film expired in 2006, creating their own Arrested Decay – by exposing the slowly degrading expired film.

Sarah Eakins uses Kodak Technical Pan 35mm film. This ultra high contrast film underscores the striking divide between nature and man, while the film’s exceptional fine grain accentuates the sublime beauty of Bodie.

The large divot seen in “Twist of Fate” is a result of the instant chemistry drying in the pod and not spreading across the entire image to develop it. In this sense, there is an experimental quality to all expired film that yields exciting results.

Arrested Decay can be seen next by the public on Downtown Fullerton’s First Friday Artwalk November 6, 2015 at the Magoski Arts Colony in the “Dreaming in Film” room.

223 W Santa Fe Ave, Fullerton, California

intant : analog : film – April art show at the Magoski Art Colony

A selection of photos from yours truly,  James Eakins and Toby Hancock at the Magoski Art Colony. Opening reception today, Friday April 3rd, 2015 6pm – 10pm.

Check out the event here https://www.facebook.com/events/1561949370736894/

Sarah Eakins photograph instant : analog : film show at magoski art colony

Photos from opening night

Check out my flickr gallery here

New Portfolio Website

Sarah Eakins portfolio logoFor this New Year, I created a new website for my design portfolio. The upgrades include

  • A fancy new responsive design
  • Case studies for each of my web design projects
  • Snazzy galleries of print projects
  • An informative FAQ
  • A full service menu with pricing

I’ve also updated my branding with a new logo and tag line

Designs crafted with love

Pandora’s Gift

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James and I given were the opportunity to participate in an installation with other artists in our community for the Dia de Los muertos event at Magoski Art Colony in Downtown Fullerton, on Friday, November 1, 2013.

We were invited to creat a small box or two that “tells a brief story or gives a hint about who you are and what you would want others to know about you… before you leave the planet.”

They would then be arranged together in a columbarium – traditionally a room of small alcoves with containers holding the ashes of the dead. The containers are called nichos – a cigar box or similar sized item was the suggested dimension.

I love the idea of working within a finite three dimensional space; and many of the favorite pieces that I’ve made have been based around boxes. There were several things I wanted it to include:

My font

My font is a lettering scheme I designed in the late 90s named Cutspark, after my online name. Inspired by the beauty of Sanskrit, it deconstructs our modern Latin alphabet – looking futuristic and extraterrestrial, while echoing the ancient cuneiform scripts found on tablets from early civilization.

There are three versions: street, cursive and outline. I primarily used the simplified “street” version of my font for the bulk of the writing, and the decorative “cursive” version to adorn the box lid.

Light

Light is magical. It’s non-physical, yet adds dimension. I was highly inspired by the artist James Turell’s work with light. In this case, the contents of the nicho is like a little glowing piece of me. When opened, illumination spills out, indicating the contents is a treasure.

In anticipation of working with light in such a small space, I felt it was high time I learned how to solder my very own LED battery pack. Finally, in control of the light source, brightness, placement, etc I gained the freedom to utilize the space as I pleased.

Gold

Gold is the color of what is valuable. It is purity, warmth, and light. Ancient Pharos were entombed in sarcophaguses of gold, and so would be my nicho.

Red and black, powerful colors unto themselves, were used as accent colors.

Layers

Transparent and semitransparent materials were used to create a sense of three dimensionality, another theme I like to use in my artwork. I enjoy using paper as a writing surface, texture, and light diffuser.

Myth

Myths are a window into the ancient cultures that created them, and into the human condition. Greek mythology holds a special place in my heart because of its drama, character flaws, and god on human interaction. What I love to do with myth is swap the place of the protagonist with the antagonist.

In the original myth of “Pandora’s Box”, Pandora is a pawn in Zeus’s plan to punish Prometheus for bringing fire to humans. But she ends up being a much bigger player, and is forever viewed as the bringer of sorrows, and evils to humankind.

I have reworked the myth of Pandora. A condensed version is written in cursive and my own font, and placed within the box.

Pandora’s Gift

I am the Devine mold of earth and water, infused with voice and strength; my face like that of a goddess; figure deftly shaped, strong and beautiful.

I am the tapestry of woman’s skill, woven with threads of craft, cooking, home and hearth; Artemis’ hunting, Athena’s logic, and all the learned arts.

I am elegance and grace; alluring and bold; and ever so curious. I am designed to be that which all love. I am Pandora, the combined artistry and talent of all the Gods.

And I am to be the undoing of Prometheus, the fire bringer.

This is what I know of my creation, as you know of what my future is to be. I am much more than the Sky Father’s pawn, a mask for his wickedness. Though my fate is sealed, I can tell you the truth of Hope.

Before it was named, Hope manifested from my own consciousness; a tiny sleeping cocoon deep within me. I placed it into the box, after all those terrible things escaped, and used the god’s magic within to define it. Surely this could be done, as the gods defined me from simple earth and water.

By the same logic of my creation, that which is defined by the gods, must then be named by the gods to be wholly formed. My Hope, that was given shape, was then named by my Titan husband and the transformation was complete. Hope lavished across the world, like cooling water to soothe the scorching horrors and despair released from the box.

That is my legacy. I am Pandora, I am human, and I brought Hope to the world.

Come out and see the show!
Friday November 1, 2013
Located at The Magoski Arts Colony
223 W. Santa Fe.
Fullerton, CA

Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie

Bodie – a gold rush town in the Eastern Sierras – was known across the nation as being second to none for wickedness, badmen, and the “worst climate out of doors”.

Murders, stage robberies, and street fights were as plentiful as the gold – “A sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion” so described by the Reverend F. M. Warrington about the town.

Goodby God, I'm going to Bodie

Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie

A discarded soul still shines

A discarded soul can still shine

Hold my heart, where's her gun?

Hold my heart, where’s her gun?*

The grasses will keep you safe

The grasses will keep you safe

Walk the guantlet

Screw up the courage to walk the gauntlet

If this old leg could talk...

If this old leg could talk…

...he could tell you of the riches below

…he could tell you of the riches below

There's gold in those hill.. if you can weather the storm

There’s gold in those hills.. if you can weather the storm

Once they're all gone, the queen can rein over of carnival of silence

And once they’re all gone, we can rein over of carnival of silence*

Bodie was abandoned nearly as fast as it began, leaving a ghost town in its wake. It became a state historic park in 1962, and is preserved in a state of “arrested decay”.

All photos taken by Sarah Eakins using fuji FP100c silk film and a polaroid land 450 camera except for the starred items.

*Concept: Sarah Eakins / Photographer: James Eakins

Ghost Guacamole Amuse Bouche

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James stumbled upon this delicious and spicy treat just this evening. I highly suggest for your next summer party!

  • Adobo Steak (carne asada will work perfectly too)- grilled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Ghost Pepper Guacamole (guacamole made with ample ghost chili powder & lime juice)
  • Shredded 4 Cheese Mexican Blend
  • Sea Salt

Arrange artfully and enjoy!

Make Ghost Pepper Guacamole

  • 2 large avocados chopped
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • bunch of cilantro chopped
  • bunch of green onions chopped
  • 3 limes juiced
  • ghost chili powder (as much as you can take!
  • sea salt to taste

Blend in food processor for a smooth dip or chop for a chunky dip.

DaVinci’s Demons – 2 Shows left and it’s finally rocking

My husband and I have very similar tastes in movies and tv – scify, cerebral dramas, weird adult swim programming, but sometimes I go way off the radar, and it’s in that place that my nighttime TV shows reside. The ones I watch to ease me into sleep, but more and more, with some shows, I find myself eager to see what happens next.

DaVinci’s Demons [Stars] is no exception. I started watching because I love a good romanticization of history, and I have a special place in my heart for the Late Middle Ages/Renaissance Period. I learned it’s beautiful score is by Bear McCreary, of Battlestar Galactica & Walking Dead fame, and the story is created by David S. Goyer, a co-writer on the Dark Knight trilogy movies. There is adventure, intrigue, lovely visual effects of young DaVinci’s mind at work, and core plot themes of a mystical nature. However, the biggest drawback, and why this is truly a “nighttime” tv show, is that it goes off the rails quite often from the main, completely awesome storyline – all the time – trudging around in a boring plot about Florence vs. Rome and the thuggish Papacy.

Until episode 6, the Devil.

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Vlad the Impaler scarred from a lifetime in prison. The eyes forshadow his supernatural nature

The character Da Vinci is hesitant to recognize there are mystical elements in the world, elements which a man so analytical and science minded as himself has difficulty understanding. However, in this episode Leo & Co adventure from Florence to Walachia, and must meet face-to-face with Vlad the Impaler (yup, Dracula). Ridiculous to be sure, but it really turns the whole show around, finally shedding some light on some core story lines and mysteries throughout, including time travel, the Turk’s magic and who the heck Leo’s mother really is.

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Just an amazing shot. This show really knows how to create a dramatic image.

Much like Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian Dracula is presented in a very historic way, and eases the viewer into the supernatural. I love stories that walk a delicate line between history and fantasy. The Abyssinian tells Leo

Hell happens when the evil of the world exceeds our belief that we can conquer it.

And that is exactly what Vlad the Impaler is: Hell breaking loose. I have a feeling we’ll see more of him, and I hope the show keeps up with this direction. With only 2 episodes left, I cannot wait!

Interested in watching the series? It’s on Stars and Stars on demand, and there’s an episode catchup marathon this Friday.

Read Bear’s blog about episode 6, his approach to scoring and see the gorgeous photos from the episode

Read a full review of episode 6 and get a general concept of the show.

Siri-ously, It’s kinda like I’m on the Enterprise.

I hated Siri before I even knew her. It seemed she was just some useless tool with a robotic voice on the verge of hysterics, like a Dr. Who Dalek. Then came the eye-rolling ads portraying Siri as a buddy of John Malcovich, Zooey Deschanel, etc. I couldn’t flip-forward fast enough.

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Enter the iPhone5. Now that Siri hangs out on my phone, I’ve seriously warmed up to her. Set up an appointment, get directions to it, text to confirm, find out if its raining that day, and even search out if there’s a Starbucks on the way – all using Siri, it’s so easy!

She can’t read my mind, but even the computer on the Enterprise couldn’t do that!

Affirmative

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17th Century Pumpkin Pie with Walnut & Date Crust

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All at once ancient, gourmet, and fabulously delicious. Wonderfully nutritious, it can even be made sugar free. This pie is so good, that the above photo is all that’s left after I came to my senses to blog it!

I designed this pie from a 17th century pumpkin pie recipe (thanks to Inn at the Crossroads; added traditional pumpkin pie spices with a roasted ginger twist I learned from a banana nut squash, pear and ginger soup recipe; and poured it into a stunningly delicious, no-bake walnut and date apple pie crust from The World’s Healthiest Foods.

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Get Your Ritual On LED Style + Bits about Smartmeters

I love organizing stuff. From books & spices to clothes & data. My mother would say that I’ve fully embraced my virgo rising. So when SCE replaced my old analog electric meter with a new SmartConnect™ Meter, I discovered that I can check my usage month-by-month and hour-by-hour on a plotted graph. I was in heaven! I could determine every morning when we woke up, and every night when went go to bed – all neatly plotted on the graph in terms of energy usage.

Sitting in the dead heat of late southern california summer, air conditioner blasting for weeks, I was shocked to learn that I use more electricity in December than in the hottest summer months (September is a summer month heat-wise in So Cal).

SCE Monthly Trend

Monthly trend for my Edison Meter. The red line describes the height of usage in December, followed by September’s second highest usage in orange, and lastly, the green line describes the lowest usage point in March.

Why is it higher in December? For one, Standard Time is back in effect (my lowest electricity usage of course is when daylight savings kicks back in March) and two, Holiday lighting is abundant.

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