by J. Rae Chip

2013 was a great year for J Rae Chip Productions, but a unique one as the images that made us the most money were not posted on social media. This year, social media showed the world the work we took for hobby purposes, and it was nice to have that freedom. We grew and expanded into Imperial County in addition to San Diego County. We transitioned from being the firm that documents "naked zombies" and political protests to being more artistic, documenting trash, pollution, and we went on a journey to illustrate a thrilling book about American heroes. Most of our portrait sessions were shot without social media permissions, and that gave us a chance to explore Imperial County before expanding out to there. 

The images that people seemed to love most were the ones I took in some of my favorite places. These places spoke to me for a reason, and I'm glad they spoke to my audience.

2013 was the year that taught me how to deal with negative press, stalkers, competitors who want to bring down the brand, and cyber bullies. However, it also taught me more about myself as an artist. These images were taken with my camera, but each of them contains a piece of my heart. And you will notice that my heart isn't full of macabre and gore. On the contrary, my heart is full of edginess, haunt, and also beauty.

It is almost 2014, and J Rae Chip Productions still exists despite the best efforts by those who find our work controversial. We still employ other artists, and we all still eat and pay rent. We also assume we will continue to exist. We learned something valuable that other artists need to hear before looking at the images below: Art is done to please the artist, not the audience. Create art for you and never mind everyone else. Find people who are like you, and show them your work. Those are the people who will support your craft, and again... never mind everyone else.

This year, they are all safe for work.... weird.

#13: "Three Sisters After Dark"

IMPERIAL COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
These are some of my favorite trees. It's odd that I can take photos of these every time I visit them, and the photos always look different. I am considering whether or not I want to make a 365 project out of these trees.

#12: "Heavens"

IMPERIAL COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
This is one of my favorite places to camp. My friends in East Jesus let me pitch my tent here (they also offer me a bed). I don't often keep the rain fly on when I camp here, and I'm sure you can guess why. The light pollution is almost non-existent.

#11: "Haunted Pier"

IMPERIAL COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
I'm glad this image made the top list this year, as it is taken at one of my favorite places. I stand here and meditate sometimes, daydreaming about the history of this resort town that is now almost a ghost town. 

#10: "Milky Way Smoke"

IMPERIAL COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
One of the creepiest places I've ever been to, this place has a metal piece hanging down about to fall apart. When the wind blows slightly, it moves, and it sounds like someone is coming behind me, ready to knife me for intruding on their space. Yet I never actually get knifed. Sacrifice all for your art, though! This photo was fun to take. Half the thrill of it was the fear running through my blood, and I'm glad social media liked the image so much.

#9: "Vampire Swim Suit Model"

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
This image of model Kaily Sanders became popular. I'm known for macabre, and this was something we decided to do for her portfolio. She wanted something edgy, and I wanted something fashion. So this is the compromise we settled on: J Rae Chip Productions' take on bikini modeling.

#8 "God Clouds on the Farm"

SOMEWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES
This is an image I took from my car. I was on a little-used back road, and it was flat as far as the eye could see. Unfortunately it was a two-lane road with no shoulder. So I stopped in the lane real quick and snapped this photo. I think I might have been in South Dakota. It might have been Nebraska. It's a sunset, and it's beautiful, so people like it. I'm honored it made the list because it was taken from the car. I run (with help) the #fromthecartuesday theme on Google Plus.

#7: "Habitat for Insanity"

IMPERIAL COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
This image was taken in the Slabs, and it is an image of my friend's house. The architect made it out of trash found in the desert.

#6: "Borderline Personality Disorder"

This image starring model Eurocat, was taken in the studio and reflects a mental disorder.

#5: "The Hotel New Mexico"

TORRANCE COUNTY, NEW MEXICO
I took this image while on a photo walk with a colleague I met on Google Plus. I've always wanted to shoot at this location, and I finally had the time to make it happen. This abandoned hotel was by far one of the most fascinating places I've ever explored.

#4: "Alien Crash Site"

IMPERIAL COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
This image's induction into my 2013 hall of fame shows that my social media following appreciates my sense of humor (and that of the unknown artist who made this scene out of trash found in the desert). Thanks for the laughs and good times, guys.

#3: "Kindness for Kimber"

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
The fact that this image was so popular really warms my heart. It represents the kindness people on Google Plus showed me by helping me pay his vet bills when he decided to jump out of my second story window. This dog is more than my best friend - he is my family, and we had a print sale to raise money for his care. And lots of friends helped. Some strangers helped. Even some people who I thought hated me, shared the sale.

#2: "The Grumpy Sunset"

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
This was one of the most beautiful sunsets this year, and proof that if you post a simple sunset photo on social media, everyone will like it. We had some spectacular sunsets in Ocean Beach, and this was one I happened to be present for. It was taken with my infrared camera.

#1: "Post Apocalyptic Living Room"

IMPERIAL COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
I took this image while filming my big corporate commercial, where you can view the behind-the-scenes steps this image underwent. The model is PDN, a fabulous male model and actor. This image quickly jumped to my top image both on social media and in sales. Sales of this image even flew past the images of mine that are hanging in galleries.
 
 
by J. Rae Chip

The town of Danzig was located about halfway between the towns of Ashley and Wishek in south central North Dakota. In 1898, the Danzig Post Office opened, according to Ghost Towns of North Dakota. It closed and reopened again while the town struggled to populate. The population of Danzig never grew beyond 100 people, and one of the industries in the town, like most North Dakota towns, was agriculture. The remaining buildings of Danzig are two grain elevators (aside from the house of the two remaining inhabitants of Danzig.)

The book Danzig, North Dakota: 1906 - 2000: Gone But Not Forgotten by Geneva Roth Olstad, clarifies that Danzig was not really big enough to be a town until the Post Office's reopening in 1906. Olstad, a Danzig native, was born in 1944 on a farm just north of town. She said that most of the businesses in Danzig had already disappeared by then. She remembers attending a Christmas program at the Salem Evangelical Church. She attended the Danzig grade school and said it is said that she can never go back home again since Danzig no longer exists. However, she says that a piece of her heart will always remain in Danzig, North Dakota.