Anatomy and Art

a blog by Sara Egner

AMI Conference – Part 2

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So, to continue the telling of my own personal AMI experience, I suppose I should jump back in at the annual business meeting. Apparently the AMI has this formal meeting every year during the conference.  As a student member, it was a little strange being asked to attend but not as professional members and therefore not to vote.  One couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow at the required box lunch purchase followed by the realization that it was to get us at a meeting where we were to remain silent.  Just the same, it was an effective tactic. And the meeting did actually provide some good insight as to how the AMI works, and where it stands today.  We seem to be recovering from a recent slump in member numbers over the past several years now.  There seems to be a lot of attention to ideas of branching out, and reinventing ourselves to meet modern needs.  One gets the impression that the medical illustration industry has seen a lot of changes in just the last decade and that there is a lot of uncertainty and just flat out differing opinions out there regarding how best to proceed, be it as individual professionals, or as the AMI group in it’s entirety.

Since that first day, Emily and Meggan had planted the seed that we should pay attention to our observations as first timers.  I guess the thought stuck with me, and I spent a lot of the business meeting jotting down the basic umbrella problems I was hearing alongside my own ideas for little things that might be worth trying.  Sadly I never did manage to get that idea board in my sites, so my thoughts were never really submitted anywhere.  Mostly I just made notes about things like having an open night with friends and family and local medical professionals and students (we were on a university campus) to increase the public’s awareness of us and give attendees an easy opportunity to visit with local friends and family, or creating a separate supporter level AMI membership, or maybe just a magazine subscription.  I figure the work we do is interesting and a couple blurbs, a few interviews, or even just pages of the work submitted to the salon by willing artists would be pretty cool, get what we do out there a little more, and raise funds for the group.  I think the rest was just doodles and something about viewing spaces for animations and interactives.

After the meeting I went into my first shift working for the event.  I had been assigned to work the techniques showcase that afternoon.  As it worked out, I found myself stationed in a room with Nick Klein and Wes Price.  Nick presented some useful action scripting techniques for Flash, a bit of which I have every intention of using in my Poke-a-Brain interactive in the coming week.  Actually, I felt very fortunate to have someone putting out such useful tips while I had my laptop on hand and could work on my own interactive.  He even took a look at it with me at one point when he had a break between sessions. I had a few people comment while I had that up actually, one of which was an artist who specializes in neuroanatomy.  He told me about a professional project happening that follows a similar structure, though it is being done on a larger scale.  I guess I’m not the only one who wants to poke at brains!

And then Wes Price was a pure inspiration with his stop animation pieces. Any concern about working on something so silly as my Poke-a-Brain interactive in such a professional crowd was easily abated by the fantastic ridiculous clips he was showing.  I’ve never really picked up stop-motion myself, other than maybe that one project back in my film school days.  But it’s hard not to love the medium as a viewer.  Somehow I kept happening to catch one of his closing statements “If it’s not tedious, it’s not animation.”  I guess that one stuck with me, and I think it’s going to be running through my head a lot in this week to come, as I work to finish up so many end of semester projects.  Creation takes time and I just have to remember that I’ve put in the hours before and I’ll put them in again the next time.

Well I wish I could say I was able to listen to both Nick and Wes in full for their showcase presentations.  Instead I found myself with the task of managing the Adobe CS5 Design Suite raffle, and giving out 30-day trial CS5 disks.   Having only just recently upgraded my own software to CS5, I was actually pretty familiar with what software comes with the different packages, and found myself ready to answer more Adobe questions that I would have guessed I’d have remembered about the stuff.  A lot of people mistook me for an Adobe representative.  But no, I’m just slow to make purchasing decisions and apparently have been keeping a lot of those package and software comparisons running in my head since the last time I had to do it.

That night we had the silent auction followed by the live auction.  I was a little bit jealous of the arm bone model that Julia Klein came away with there (from scapula to distal phalanges), but over all I was very good about not throwing my money around.  I suppose that kind of thing comes more naturally when there isn’t much to throw.  This night was a big fundraiser night, but it was also fun.  There were lots of raffles, and one particular fundraiser event where we moved these wooden beavers along a grid as money was donated from the various schools attending toward the Vesalius fund.  Each school had decorated their own beaver, and the race was on.

*photo by Kylie Bergam

This actually wound up being our earliest night to be left to our own devices and a bunch of us agreed to meet at Deshutes downtown for a drink.  Actually I think a lot of individual groups from our conference made the same move.  Great minds think alike I guess.  But there were so very many of us, that we found ourselves with a long wait to get a table.  So Josy Conklin (who was also my roommate for the conference) and I decided to make a crash run over to Powell’s Bookstore, the famous bookstore that covers an entire city block and gives you a map upon entry to navigate their many rooms.  Thank you Josy, I am soooo glad we did this.  But at the same time, I can’t help but laugh at the fact that such a giant bookstore was sold out of the one book I was looking for.  One of the speakers had mentioned a book about Mitochondria called Power, Sex, Suicide, Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life, and I was curious to check it out, but I guess someone else must have had the same thought.  Oh well.  I wound up picking up a copy just recently though, and it looks really cool.  I can’t wait for the last dregs of this semester to finally wrap up so that I can have the time to read again.

We made it back to Deshutes in time to have a lovely night out with classmates soon to move on, and new acquaintances, and in my own case I had the pleasure of getting an old friend to come join us.  With as much as Portland reminded me of my early years in Austin, what a fantastic surprise that two of my old friends/ neighbors from Austin were living together again as roommates now out in Portland.  And one of them, Ashley Miller, chef extraordinaire, came to visit us that night and meet everyone.

And once again I’m back to working on projects, and will have to postpone the continuation of my Portland story until I can return!

Written by Sara

August 8th, 2010 at 5:25 pm

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