: All This Useless Beauty

Jul 8, 2004

I made a piece of art, and it was accepted into the Siggraph2004 Art Gallery! A number of friends and family have requested that I put the image online, so here it is. Below is some information about the piece, like statements written for the Siggraph2004 submission form.

All This Useless Beauty White Paper Poster.

This is the white paper that was submitted along side the piece. Link to white paper pdf: all-this-uselss-beauty-sketches_0078.pdf

The curator of the gallery asked me to make a presentation….which meant writing this document. Since I worked so hard on it, and was flying all the way out to LA, another few days of work to compile this didn’t seem out of the question.

Below is a gallery showing some of the setup and final piece on the wall! They build a 60 foot wall for this!

All This Useless Beauty Interactive Zoom-able image:

Here are a couple of videos illustrating the stitching process:

Video showing the manual stitching process which was done in photoshop.

Video showing all the images used to create the panorama.

At the time, everybody made a big fuss over this piece. I thought the attention was all a bit silly. I did not think of myself as an ‘artist’. The title didn’t feel right. I had never created a public piece of ‘personal’ art before, and did not plan to create more after. To make matters worse, the gallery was primarily curated with pieces made by PHD computer scientists, or self-proclaimed (and working) artists. Everyone seemed so sure of who they were, what they wanted from this world, and where they were going. Compared to their passion, dedication and drive…..I felt like an imposter. The entire show I could not relax or be myself. Completely exhausted, I had to act my way though; Remembering to say thank you at compliments. Pretending to be ‘proud’ of my work. It seemed to be what was expected of me at the time. So I played the part. It was a strange moment. To be celebrated as an ‘artist’…and feel undeserving of the title.

Fast forward to 2017 (when this post was migrated from the old website):

Had a small trouble a couple of years ago, after an annual review at the studio where I work. The head of 2D pointed out how hard I am on myself. For some reason this sent my overworked soul into a tailspin. Feeling very low, confused and afraid, I called my old friend for support.

He was preparing to interview for the NY Times new 360 video internship. After conveying my troubles, he informed me that modesty is a waist of talent. Modesty is only insecurity and shame. He needed people in his life who were ‘turned on’, and not afraid to get what they wanted done. I recall how strong my reaction was to him, to our friendship, and this new idea. We didn’t speak for a year after that. Mostly because I needed some space. There seemed a half truth in his words. Before that talk I’d always felt modesty to be an important part of the human condition. Modesty, kindness, compassion….they are all mixed up for me. But I sensed that modesty, in my friend’s opinion, was nothing more than a needy person lacking basic self confidence, or perhaps worse, being fundamentally broken in some way?

As indicated at the top of this article, I’ve always had mixed feeling towards accomplishments in my life. There often seemed to be in equal measure mixed, talent, timing and luck. Myself being only 1/3 of the process, my more ‘public victories’ have always been an odd thing for me to celebrate strongly. In contrast, things I am very proud of, are often quiet personal victories; Helping my mother find a new home to live in after the divorce, and supporting her in the ways I can. Or, taking time away from the entertainment world of inflated-importance, compliments and praise, to attend a funeral and grieve with my family. Continuing to study French despite years of ‘failure’. The courage to leave my job for 6+ months at a time to have adventures while I still have my body. These have always been the types of things that bring me self respect and satisfaction.

Obviously, I come back to All This Useless Beauty from time to time. It was an impactful moment in my life. It was the center piece of the show that year at Siggraph. Got my first job at Curious Pictures in NYC because of it I think. Spent a two weeks in LA being complimented and told how talented I was. The curator of the gallery was excited to know what my ‘next’ project was and to keep her informed….It was a lot to digest. Going from living in a church alone in NYC for 6 months to the center of attention in a global community I deeply respected….it was a great deal for a gentle soul…..I like to think I managed the contrast okay.

Mostly I wanted to share this story after years of pretending All This Useless Beauty didn’t happen. After some time digesting my bosses observation, and 6 months in the woods hiking solo on the Appalachian Trail, I can safely confirm the assessment. I used to be quit hard on myself. But as I have learned, the kindness I give to others, should also be focused inwards. I am equally deserving of kindness and respect. It’s my conclusion, that the old, super-critical Anthony, was necessary. We survived. He helped me leave home and make it on my own. He helped me to make my stand and continue a career in the highly competitive NYC entertainment industry. He helped me win an Emmy. He always pushed to work harder than anyone around us. He stayed up late, and woke up early to pursue dreams/hobbies in the small amount of free time he had outside of working or taking care of his grandmother. He was ambitious, competitive and exciting. And I love him for everything thing we accomplished together. The risks we took, and adventures we had.

So that’s it. I can revisit these memories and share them without the pain or shame I once had. I hope you enjoy the piece, and can celebrate with me the effort and work that went into it!

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