Friday, December 25, 2009

Uhura custom mod

My daughter received the Uhura Barbie for Christmas:

But she quickly noticed that the iconic Uhura earpiece wasn't included. No problem - within seconds she had come up with a custom mod courtesy of Hannah Montana:

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ranking the DCAAPB posters

Four months after it began, the Lost Underground Art Project unveiled it final poster, the sixteenth, shortly after 10:43pm PST on the sixteenth of December, 2009. This very unique Lost ARG served weekly shots of adrenaline to the hearts of eager Lost fans around the globe.

Below I've provided my personal reactions to each of the sixteen posters, and ranked them from favourite to least favourite. I haven't explicitly rationalized my judgment criteria, but it no doubt took into account various factors such as colour, detail, technique, subject matter, emotional effect, size, "artistry" (whatever that is), coolness, and overall Lost-iness.

I love the fact that my least favourite poster appears as number one on the lists of others. Please don't take offense if I offer negative criticism against a poster you love.

And here we go:

#1 The Crash by Eric Tan
I love this poster. I loved it when it was first revealed on the website. I loved it when I unrolled it from the poster tube. And I still love it as much if not more today. The balance of the composition is amazing. The sense of chaos and energy created by the the zigzag patterns and jagged trees and clouds is visceral. The placement of elements within the scene is brilliant. The likeness of Jack and Locke are bang-on. The depiction of Kate and Sawyer veer somewhat more toward caricature, but nevertheless to my eyes they exude Kate-liness and Sawyer-tude. Sure, Claire and Christian are a little generic, and turquoise isn't my favourite colour, but I'll let those slide due to the overall awesomeness of the piece.

#2 The Smoke Monster by Ken Taylor
This is a very dramatic poster depicting a confrontation between the Smoke Monster and Mr. Eko, one of my favourite survivors of Oceanic 815. I really appreciate the fine detail present in the trees, the vegetation, and Smokey itself. The use of metallic gold paint throughout the piece provides added interest. At first I was perplexed by Eko's unnaturally red surroundings, but I've since rationalized it as a distortion of reality caused by Smokey's presence. Besides, the red looks cool and it matches my decor! A small disappointment is the fact that we only see Eko from the back -- would have been nice to see him at least in profile, though I realize this would have changed the dynamic of the piece. I'm proud to own this poster.

#3 Jacob's Cabin (a.k.a. "And that's why my hand was shaking. Because this is not a man you go and see, this is a man who summons you." by Daniel Danger
For me, this is the one that got away. The technique in this piece is amazing. The detail, the colour, the rain effect, all incredible. There's magic in this one, and as I look at it (and this is just via the website on an LCD screen, mind you) I'm pulled into the scene and I'm filled with nervous tension. Downside? Not much, though the identity of the soul approaching the cabin is perhaps not completely clear. Some have said Locke, others Ben, still others say it may be an amalgam of the two. My money's on Locke. Perhaps in a few months I'll look into buying this print. For now I've partially assuaged my disappointment by purchasing a different (but similarly fantastic) poster from the supremely talented Daniel Danger.

#4 LOST by Tyler Stout
This poster's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. It features a sprawling collection of Lost characters, locations, and events crammed into the 24x36 canvas. There isn't much room here for singular artistic vision. Not that I'm complaining. I like having characters present in the posters, and many of the first fifteen we lacking in this respect. Most of the likenesses are well done, and I like the way that events from different episodes have been integrated into a single image. Even Vincent makes an appearance! The limited number of colours typical of screen printing seems more apparent in this poster than in the others, perhaps due to its larger size and variety. There sure are a lot of blue shirts! I was fortunate to purchase this one and anxiously await its arrival.

#5 Rousseau's Transmission by Dan McCarthy
This is another poster with great technique. I love the way that the island's peaks tower above the six small silhouettes huddled in a jungle depression. The fine detail of the foreground trees contrasted against the low detail of the background mountains creates a palpable sense of depth and height. The extra-tall 18x30 dimensions of the poster also adds to the vertiginous effect. The colours on this print are significantly different than those shown on the DCAAPB website. I actually like the website colours better, though many others seemed to have the opposite opinion. My other nitpick is the appearance of the speech bubble, which to my eye detracts from the beauty of the image. But overall this is a lovely piece of art, and it is the only poster for which I made a special effort to find a more elaborate frame (with custom mat) to complement its artistry.

#6 The Hatch by Kevin Tong
I wasn't too keen on this poster when it was first revealed, but it has grown on me over time. At the time of the reveal, the Locke's Secret poster had previously been released, and I had recently purchased the McFarlane Hatch diorama, so maybe I was just a little Locke'd out. Also I'm not a big fan of the shade of green used. But today I can appreciate it as an interesting, cooly surreal depiction of a key part of Lost lore. It is a great print to look at while pondering the mystery and machinations of Lost.

#7 Ben Linus by Todd Slater
This is an interesting portrait which I tried, but failed, to purchase. I feel sympathy for the Ben Linus shown here. I see a man who isn't quite whole, who hasn't quite grown up. A man cradling a bunny but seemingly detached from it. A man desperately trying to keep one step ahead of those around him. A fragile but dangerous man.

#8 The Barracks by Nate Duval
This is another print which didn't thrill me when it was first revealed, but I warmed to it enough during the 15-minute wait for "Buy Now" that I did end up purchasing it. No regrets. This poster features a nice use of colour with lush greens, sky blue, and mustard yellow The richness of the island contrasts sharply with the artificiality of the Dharma Initiative's dwellings. I imagine the Island chuckling at the feeble attempts of the DI to analyze and understand their surroundings. There are also nice lighting effects on the clouds and along the mountainside, inducing a feeling that there are hidden mysteries yet to be revealed.

#9 The Swan Station by Rob Jones
Wow! This is a really bold print! I like the colours here, and dig the memories of life inside the hatch that this print conjures up. Despite the fact that I like the overall look, I can't shake the feeling that it may be a little too simple, a little too cookie-cutter Lost. But still I wouldn't mind have one of these hanging on my wall.

#10 Locke's Secret by Olly Moss
How I wish this poster wasn't green! This is a really cool concept, and I like the nod to Vertigo (and Pink Panther?), but I do not like this shade of green. Also, once the novelty of the concept wears off, the print doesn't have as much artistic detail as some of the others. Still I understand that this is one of the more popular posters, and for those who love it, more power to you!

#11 The Dharma Van by Methane Studios
It seems that everyone who has this print really loves it, and thinks that the website photos do not do it justice. I suspect it would rise a few notches if I were to see it in person. I certainly do like the intricate detail of the piece and actually was close to buying it at one point (back in the days when one had WEEKS to ponder purchases) but it didn't quite make the cut. There's just a bit too much black background, and the dimensionality seems a bit awkward.

#12 The Polar Bear by Jay Ryan
This one features a drunk and/or hung-over polar bear in tall grass, with some empty Dharma beer cans strewn about for good measure. This one doesn't do much for me, and I'm feeling a bit of polar bear saturation, so it ends up low on my list.

#13 The 4-Toed Statue by Jason Munn
Another cool idea, and another whose owners' insist is much better-looking in person. However, from where I'm sitting it looks like a nondescript shot of the bottom half of a guy in sandals holding an ankh. That's my story and I'm sticking to it (until I see it in person).

#14 Walt's Kidnapping by Drew Millward
I see this one as a noble but failed experiment. I do like the mood created by the colours and I like the faux-oilpainting approach. But despite my best efforts I can't get past the burning raft which looks to me like Friendly's boat, the incongruous hair and garb of young Walt, and the inexplicable appearance of Captain Highliner in a Lost poster. Not to mention the levitating palm. I enjoy surrealism as much as the next guy, but this one didn't do it for me. (Again, I know this one is in the top 3 for some folks, that's fantastic!)

#15 The Love Triangle by Leia Bell
I've seen a few pictures of this poster nicely framed on a wall, and they actually look pretty good. My main problem with the print is the generic nature of the silhouette. I can't get past the fact that it could just as easily be Telly Savalas as Jack Shepard. Also, I have the feeling that this style of artwork just doesn't suit Lost very well, although I can't verbalize why.

#16 The Numbers by Tim Doyle
To me this is a scary mess. That glows. I love Hurley and I love the whole mythos behind The Numbers, but this poster just creeps me out. In a bad way.

Thank you to everyone who made the Lost Underground Art Project happen. It was a blast!

Reminder that posters can still be viewed at (official site) as well as (site of uber-fan ReverendMilo).

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The poster

Update: 5 May 2011

The trail of the poster ran cold for over a year, but this week exciting new information has come to light! At long last, proof that the poster did indeed make it onto the LOST production office wall! The photo below features Noreen O'Toole (associate producer), Cory Bird (assistant to Carlton Cuse), Claire's infamous squirrel baby, and hanging proudly on the wall in the background, the poster!

Update: 27 Jan 2010

Above: thorsten received his copy of the poster signed by Damon and Carlton at Gallery 1988.

Original Post:

Something special happened during the first half of December 2009. The germ of an idea took root, was fed by the passion of many, became something beautiful, and found a home. I remain happily bedazzled by the events that transpired over those magical days. This is the story of the poster created in appreciation of the Lost Underground Art Project.

By the third day of December 2009 the latest Lost ARG, referred to as either the "Lost Underground Art Project" or "Damon, Carlton, and a Polar Bear" (DCAAPB), was nearly at an end. Fifteen Lost-themed screenprinted posters had been revealed, all fifteen had sold out. Two major events remained -- the unveiling of the sixteenth poster and a celebratory art show to be held the fifteenth of December at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles. All sixteen posters would be on display at G88 as well as a raft (no pun intended) of additional Lost-themed artwork including paintings and sculpture. And that's not all! Also rumoured to be attending the show were key players from the Lost creative team including Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, as well as several of the artists involved in the DCAAPB project.

As I started to pack my bags for LA, a grim realization slowly seeped in. A few obstacles stood between me and G88. For starters, a few hundred dollars for airfare and accommodation. Also the need for unplanned leave from work. And family commitments. Hmmm, guess I wouldn't be able to attend after all.

Born of this frustration and disappointment was a crazy idea. What if I, and others in my situation, could be there without actually being there? What if we created an image of us all, had it printed up on a few T-shirts, and asked some of our friends who were attending the G88 show to wear the T-shirt? As the thought popped into my head I posted it on, the preeminent website covering DCAAPB. I didn't get an immediate response from the lostargs crowd. Maybe, I thought, instead of creating a T-shirt we could print off a poster with images of the non-attending attendees, and have someone bring it to G88. Perhaps it could even be hung at the gallery beside the other posters, and/or given to Darlton as a gesture of appreciation for both the show and the DCAAPB project. I floated this new idea to the good people of This time I received a several votes of support. Within a few minutes, thorsten had stepped forward and volunteered his services to create an image for the poster.

Very quickly the logistics were worked out. Anyone who wanted to be on the poster would send a jpg to thorsten. Then thorsten would work his Photoshop magic. Within a few days thorsten had received photos from dozens of readers. Nervous anticipation was in the air. A lot was on the line. Would we end up with a worthy work of art, or an ugly, disjointed mess. Should we have "hired" the first chap to volunteer, or would it have been more prudent to check credentials a little more closely? Who was this thorsten fellow anyway? A collect sigh of relief echoed through the blogosphere when thorsten unveiled the image. Fantastic!

Another member, ChrisL, volunteered to investigate print services in LA. Miraculously he found a shop with an employee who not only loved Lost, but was willing to shepherd (!) the poster's production to ensure it was on-time and done well. We decided on an 18x24 stretched canvas print, identical in size to most of the DCAAPB posters. ChrisL graciously offered to foot the $160 printing bill, but equally gracious LOST ARGs members wouldn't hear of it and many contributed to the cause. The notorious ReverendMilo, one of the more colourful members of the LOST ARGs community, also printed off a few additional 18x24 prints on his massive printer.

We also needed someone to bring the completed poster to the event. Enter Maven. The poster was couriered from the print company to Maven's home on Friday December eleventh, a full three days before the event. Maven reported that the print looked great in person. Things had gone so well so far. It was almost too good to be true.

The doors to Gallery 1988 were set to open at 7PM PST on Tuesday December 15, 2009. Maven arrived that morning to stake her place in line, with the poster (and her renowned hand-crafted Lost quilt) in tow. Affixed to the back of the canvas was an envelope containing two "indexed" posters identifying the fans featured in the collage. Shortly after one o'clock that afternoon the excitement level spiked as an ABC camera crew arrived. Maven excitedly tweeted that she had been interviewed and that she had the poster with her at the time. A warm glow radiated from the LOST ARGs community with the realization that their poster might seen in one of the season 6 DVD special features.

The arrival of the camera crew shifted the day into high gear, but within an hour it was in overdrive. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse arrived, rockstar-style, to say hello to the fans and give out some swag. Also present were Samantha Thomas and Noreen O'Toole from the Lost production team, and Jensen Karp (a.k.a. Tyson Givens) from Gallery 1988. Sam, Noreen, and Jensen were three of the key ARG-runners. The arrival was streamed live over the Internet courtesy of ReverendMilo. Those who couldn't attend in person watched as Carlton signed one of Milo's poster copies for thorsten. Then Damon and Carlton moved toward the head of the queue where Maven stood ready and waiting with the official poster. After signing a few more items and handing out some swag, Damon and Carlton were presented the poster. sorry I mean Damon touched the poster lovingly and both men took a few seconds to check out the many fans present in the photo collage and the artistry of thorsten's presentation. Although it cannot be verified with certainty, it is thought that squeals of joy could be heard on each of the major continents around the globe.

Shortly thereafter the Lost team said their good-byes as they set off to work, promising to return for the opening at 7PM that evening. True to their word they were back that evening, signing autographs, smiling for photos, being interviewed by various media outlets, and chatting with the fans. Once again the action was streamed live to those who couldn't make the show, this time by ReverendMilo and LotteryTicket.

The precise journey taken by the poster after the presentation to Darlton is shrouded in mystery. (Dang it, we should have affixed a GPS to the back of the poster!) We suspect that it may have been taken by Noreen or Sam that afternoon, or perhaps was taken by Jensen and kept at the Gallery1988 backroom for some time. The day following the Gallery 1988 event was a bit of a blur as tired out-of-town attendees drove or flew back to their homes, and others monitored various websites and analyzed clues trying to divine the time at which the final poster would be available for purchase. Maven delighted the masses by letting us know that Darlton had said he would hang the poster in the Lost writers' room. The thought that many of us would be "watching" as the Lost writers completed the last few episodes of the series... To quote Hugo Reyes -- "Whoa!". Of course (and no disrespect to Darlton) LA talk can sometimes be just that. Fortunately Maven had also chatted with other members of the Lost production team and asked them to keep Darlton honest! Perhaps that S6 DVD special feature will have multiple appearances by our poster. In fact, (start Jedi mind trick) the poster will have its own dedicated special feature on the S6 DVD. And will have its own spin-off series. (End Jedi mind trick.) If only I were a Jedi. And Jedis were real.

The most recent poster update arrived from comixguru on the afternoon of Thursday the 17th of December. She had visited Building 23 on the ABC lot (where the Lost writers work) to drop off a card, and as she left had noticed something very familiar waiting patiently on an office desk. Yes, indeed, the poster. Not quite up on the writers' room wall yet, but undoubtedly on its way there.

Many fan communities are renowned for their passionate dedicaton to their favourite obsession. Through this experience I discovered that the Lost fans who form the LOST ARGs community are not only passionate but also generous, organized, artistic, focused, talented, and efficient. Looking back it is amazing to realize that within two weeks the poster went from a crazy trial balloon floated on the Internet to a polished work of art sitting in the Lost production office! Equally amazing -- the fact that the story of the poster is only one of dozens of incredible memories associated with the Lost Underground Art Project.

Many people were involved in the creation and delivery of the poster. Thanks to each who contributed in some way, big or small. Particular thanks to:
- thorsten for his artistry
- ChrisL for making it real
- maven for presenting
- comixguru for raising the profile
- ReverendMilo for streaming
- LotteryTicket for connecting names and faces
- and zort for giving us a home

Visual History:

Above: thorsten's masterpiece is unveiled on

Above: maven has received the poster!

Above: maven displays the poster while in line at Gallery 1988.

Above: Carlton signs a copy of the poster for thorsten.

Above: Darlton are mobbed as maven patiently waits.

Above: Damon and Carlton talk with the fans.

Above: Damon and Carlton hand out swag. Sam & Noreen are behind them.

Above: maven waiting for the right moment to rotate the poster into its upright position.

Above: That's better. Now thorsten's artistry catches Carlton's eye.

Above: Damon too is fascinated with the piece.

Above: maven relates the story of the poster.

Above: The poster in the Lost production office. Next stop: writers' room!

Above: Connecting names and faces. Courtesy LotteryTicket.
(Left-click to embiggen. Then right-click to save)


Thursday, 3 December, 8:53AM EST
@RobPerrin suggests creation of T-shirt featuring photos of members as a means to "virtually" attend the Gallery1988 opening

Thursday, 3 December, 9:01AM EST
@RobPerrin revises proposal -- perhaps a poster rather than a T-shirt? It could then be presented to TPTB as a token of our appreciation for the show and the latest ARG.

Thursday, 3 December, 9:19AM EST
@thorsten agrees that should have a poster and that it should be presented to TPTB at the Gallery1988 opening.

Thursday, 3 December, 9:28AM EST
@kiwilostie asks thorsten if he would be willing to help create the poster .

Thursday, 3 December, 9:31AM EST
@thorsten heartily agrees to contribute his Photoshop skills to the cause.

Thursday, 3 December, 9:45AM EST
@thorsten invites all to email their jpegs to him. The game is on!

Friday, 4 December, 11:23AM EST
@zort70 creates a post on publicizing the poster and echoing the call for photo submissions

Saturday, 5 December, 11:00AM EST
@ChrisL posts that he has started looking into LA print shops.

Sunday, 6 December, 1:54PM EST
@ChrisL suggests printing on 18x24 stretched canvas using He offers to cover the cost. Also asks if anyone is willing to have the poster delivered to them.

Sunday, 6 December, 2:54PM EST
@maven agrees to have the poster delivered to her home, and to bring it to Gallery 1988 on opening night.

Tuesday, 8 December, 3:51AM EST
@thorsten announces that he has finished creating the poster image!

Tuesday, 8 December, 4:31AM EST
@zort70 creates a post showing thorsten's poster image. The crowd roars!

Tuesday, 8 December, 1:16PM EST
@ChrisL has found a LOST fan at the print shop (, affiliated with who will ensure the poster is taken care of. @ReverendMilo has also received the poster jpg, and will print backup copies on his monster printer. @ChrisL reiterates he is willing to cover the cost of $160, but due to popular demand provides a PayPal account for contributions (max $5 each)

Wednesday, 9 December, 5:22PM EST
@ChrisL announces that he has been inundated with contributions to his PayPal account. He decides to donate the contributions to charity.

Friday, 11 December, 10:53AM PST
@maven indicates that she has received the poster and posts a youtube video. She declares it is even more wonderful in person.

Saturday, 12 December, 11:14AM EST
@JustThinking suggests that it would be great if Amy Lynn could create another of her wonderful rhymes which could be affixed to the poster.

Saturday, 12 December, 11:34AM EST
@AmyLynn agrees to give it a go.

Saturday, 12 December, 9:32PM EST
@comixguru let's us know that she has given Noreen (key DCAAPB champion from the Lost production team) a heads-up about the poster

Monday, 14 December, PM PST
The line begins to form for the Galley 1988 Lost Underground Art Project opening night!

Tuesday, 15 December, 10:00AM PST
@maven announces she is in the lineup for Gallery 1988.

Tuesday, 15 December, 1:29PM PST
@Eugene relays @maven's tweet indicating she was interviewed by a DVD crew and she had both the poster and her famous Lost quilt with her! The poster may be featured on the Lost S6 DVD!

Tuesday, 15 December, 2:17PM PST
Carlton autographs one of ReverendMilo's copies of the poster for thorsten!

Tuesday, 15 December, 2:20PM PST
A video stream from @ReverendMilo records for posterity the historic presentation of the poster to Damon and Carlton.

Wednesday, 16 December, 11:44AM PST
@maven reveals that Darlton said they will hang the poster in the Lost writers' room. Gulp. And that maven later instructed Gregg Nations and Carlton's assistant to ensure the promise is kept. In summary: maven rocks!

Thursday, 17 December, 1:11PM PST
@comixguru tweets (with photo) that the poster is sitting on a table at the Lost offices in Building 23! Soon to be mounted in the writers' room, no doubt! (Either that, or destined for use as an upscale coaster.)

The Future
Anything is possible!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

'The Barracks' by Nate Duval

'The Barracks' by Nate Duval is my fourth poster purchase from the DCAAPB Lost ARG.

I've been with this ARG from the time it was first announced at this year's Comic-Con. I've been online at every poster reveal. My initial approach was quite simple -- I would wait for a print which I loved, then buy it. Initially this approach worked very well. I passed on the first few posters, picked up 'The Crash', passed on the next two, picked up 'The Smoke Monster', passed on another, then bought 'Rousseau's Transmission'. No problem. I was even within the first 25 orders for all three prints. However, word of the ARG spread quickly once posters by "big-name" artists like Dan McCarthy started to appear. Posters began to sell more quickly, on the order of a few minutes rather than hours or even days as had been the case for earlier prints. After Rousseau, the next poster I loved was 'Jacob's Cabin' by Daniel Danger. It was the first poster I wanted but was unable to purchase due to its popularity.

'The Barracks' was revealed the following week. My first impression of the print was 'meh'. I liked the colours but found the scene a little bland and didn't initially appreciate the "naive" ("My 6 six-year old can draw better than this!") style used to the draw the house. However, I did warm to the print in the minutes that passed as I waited for the BUY NOW button to appear. I also became filled with the desire to prove that I could still successfully purchase despite the setbacks of the previous week. I decided that I would try for the print. When it was finally available for purchase I struggled through the 5 screens, met at every turn with database and server errors as well as extremely slow response times from the site. Fortunately (and somewhat amazingly) I was able to get my purchase through.

To my taste, this print falls somewhere in the middle of the pack of the fifteen revealed so far. I still very much like the colour of the sky and the forested hills, and I like the lighting effects on the trees and clouds. It seems to me that the artist is trying to contrast the lush, complex Island with the simplistic, flimsy structures put up by the Dharma Initiative. Even the lawn in front of the house, which presumably was seeded by the DI, looks more like astro-turf than real grass. I feel that the technique used creates a similar feeling to that of the Barracks reveal in Season 3 where the rows of brightly-coloured 1950's-style bungalows created a surreal and almost comical juxtaposition with the vast, dark surroundings. I also find that the print raises a sense of tension and unease, probably from the patterns of light and shadow on the trees, the way the hills tower over the home, and the wisps of smoke from the 815 crash just beginning to drift up and over the tree tops.

Aside from my appreciation of the art, I also like this print because it represents Season 3 of Lost which was my entry point to the series. If I recall correctly, it was the buzz around the Season 3 finale that finally brought me in. Also, the barracks are certainly one of the most-used Island locations in seasons 3, 4, and 5. Given that this poster series has leaned toward moments from earlier seasons of Lost, it is good to have a print which covers the later seasons. Finally, at the time of purchase neither Ben nor Juliet (two of my favs) were represented, and to me the barracks brings forward memories of both.

For this print I returned to a simpler framing solution -- a basic black poster frame from Michael's, although one with a wider border to try to de-emphasize the extra-wide white border on the print itself. Here is the result:

My print number is #219/300.

Here are a few closeups of Nate Duval's 'The Barracks'.