28/52: new billvanloo.com

For this week’s project, I decided to give my personal online presence a complete refresh, in order to pursue some new opportunities. I’ve maintained billvanloo.com for many years in order to have an online presence for the other things I do besides running chromedecay. This week, it got a total overhaul and refresh.

billvanloo.com splash page screenshot

The first part of this refresh involved upgrading to WordPress 3.0. I had been running WordPress 2.9 for quite some time, and was excited to hear that 3.0 had been released. It is a great new release, and upgrading was quite simple. The automated upgrade process ran smoothly, and before long, I was happily running WordPress 3.0.

The next step was moving all of my static content into WordPress, taking advantage of its Pages capability. As with chromedecay (before its own refresh at the beginning of this year), I had been using my own custom PHP-and-HTML solution for maintaining static pages, but I was eager to move all of this into WordPress in order to make content maintenance easier to do.

At the moment, I’m using the new twentyten theme that comes with WordPress. I did some modifications to the theme, like tweaking the CSS and suppressing the title on the front page, but for the most part it works great right out of the box.

One of the biggest reasons I wanted to refresh the site was to focus on my burgeoning photography pursuit. I’ve had some successful photoshoots over the past few months, and I have several more lined up in the future, including my first paid work. I needed a way to showcase my photography and show a focused portfolio.

After a quick look at PhotoShelter, I decided on using the NexGEN Gallery WordPress plugin to power my photography section. It has a pretty nice administration interface for uploading photos, and includes an elegant lightbox-style popup for viewing photos full-size.

One thing I realized I needed to do was start watermarking my photos, so I wrote a quick Photoshop action to open a file, add the watermark, add a 10-pixel black frame, and resize it. I can now point that action at a batch of files and have it automatically produce resized & watermarked images, ready for upload to the site.

I also started a Twitter account specifically for my photography pursuits. You can follow me @billvanloophoto. This is my first foray into Twitter, so having it limited to a focused aspect of my work is nice. My plan is to use it to follow photographers I like, post interesting links to my own work and that of others, and (once I start getting more clients & paid work), offering promotional offers.

I’m excited to launch this new chapter of my story as an artist!

15/52: company7music.com

Something very special happened this week: the solidification of a group of extremely talented musicians that I am fortunate enough to be a part of, called company 7.

This week’s project was getting things organized for company 7’s upcoming releases and Web presence. The group’s new site is:


company 7 is made up of Hans Anderson, Rebecca Anderson, Gabriel Craft, Rebekah Craft, and Bill Van Loo. Our current plans are to finish up an EP for release on chromedecay later this year, and begin planning our live performances. I’m proud to be part of such a talented group of musicians.

A little backstory about the members of company 7. Hans and Rebecca Anderson are a husband-wife duo also known as Double Helix. They have recorded for labels like Transmat Japan, Rush Hour and Delsin, producing house music tinged with jazz, dub, and gospel influences. Gabriel and Rebekah Craft are another husband-wife pair. Gabriel is an extremely talented drummer, having played with groups like Cloud 9 and others. Rebekah is a singer-songwriter, taking her talents to the acoustic guitar and poetic lyrics.

We first played together during the fall of 2004, during a burst of creative output. Family life and other commitments obliged us to put this group on hold, however, until fall of 2009, when we began working on new material again. Photos from one such session are found here:


This week, we made the decision to finish up our current set of material for release as an EP, as well as getting our Web presence up and running. The results are the new company 7 website, as well as some more behind-the-scenes work like putting together chord charts, track info sheets, and so on, to allow us to more easily work on finishing our material.

I’m very excited to bring you our music in the near future.