I took this class as a distributional requirement, and it was much more difficult than I could’ve ever imagined. It took way much more time and effort to complete all the assignments with my best given effort, but it was definitely worth it. I am proud of the hard work and time I put into this class, and I do not regret taking it. I learned new art concepts, how to use new materials, and that its ok to make mistakes. All of the assignments were basically new to me and they were all different and diverse. The self-portrait was a great way to end the class as it was the most tiring and required the most time and effort. It put together all the things we learned about value, charcoal, and proportions together in one final piece that was US. I really enjoyed Nell as a professor and how each student got individual attention. I loved this class and am so glad I had the opportunity to take part in it.
The self portrait assignment began with covering a whole sheet of paper with black charcoal and to do it as dark as we could manage. We then had to use an eraser to “draw” our self portrait hence “make something out of nothing”. We sat on whats called a horse and had a mirror and a light set up next to us. The mirror was for us to look back and forth at so we could see the values and shapes of our face. The light was to dramatize the values. I had never done an assignment like this before and it was very difficult to start and understand this reversed way of thinking. I think my first picture shown definitely shows the struggle I was having after the first class session. When I came back to class the assignment still did not click with my brain. I was not satisfied at all with what I had so far and so I basically went over it with the charcoal and kinda started over. I looked carefully in the mirror and constantly stood up to take breaks so I could walk around and see what other students were doing and if they were having the same problems. Some of them did and some of them seemed to understand the assignment very well. I sat back down and was very very frustrated. I was not enjoying the assignment and I wanted to omit it, but I knew i just needed to try my best so I started making all of my marks carefully while looking in the mirror to show me what to do next. Once I felt confident about my mouth and nose shape, it clicked, hence my second studio day image. After I had that, and my brain finally understood the concept, I wanted to keep going and going even though it was very tiring. Once the studio days were over I came back to the studio for a few hours at a time to work on the portrait. Once the concept clicked with me, my frustration went away and I learned to enjoy the assignment. I was satisfied with my outcome and proud of how much time and effort I put into it. I found it interesting during our final critique that someone pointed out mine was the only one that was smiling. I looked at every else’s and everyone’s face was very serious, while mine had a small smirk, which accurately portrayed the face I was making in the mirror. I was probably not making this face until I understood the assignment hence the small smile. Overall, and like always, I enjoyed seeing everyone’s hard work side-by-side during the final critique. Not everyone’s looked exactly like them, but everyone had very powerful portraits, and I liked this more than the accuracy of the portrait.
A week ago, I went to the Besharat Contemporary Gallery in downtown Atlanta. The gallery featured multiple French, Spanish, and other European artists. Most of the art seemed like paintings and sculptures and a little bit of abstract. You can’t take pictures inside, so I included some of the the gallery pictures from their website. Also in the same building area was Besharat Gallery, which feature permanent collection artist, Steve McCurry. Steve McCurry’s portrait photography captures individuals from all over the world, and he has become famous for his portrait, “Afghan Girl”. I think Steve McCurry’s photography is very political and reminded me of the film, “Wasteland” we watch earlier in the semester. While I was at the contemporary gallery, I was thinking about having a job as curator, and related it back to my class when we were choosing drawings and photographs that went best together and also best fits our word. I would imagine being a curator would be similar but on a much larger scale, and instead of examining your own art, you have to do lots and lots of research on other artists and which of their art pieces would work well in contrast with the museum. I thought the sculptors in the contemporary gallery portrayed the curator’s time and way of thinking very well, and I think the art definitely helped remind me of the curator’s job and how underrated it seems since they are “behind the scenes”.
Last night, I saw Sheila Pree Bright in the Campbell auditorium. She talked about her childhood in Germany, and showed us many photos and photo sets she has taken. She has focused a lot on hip-hop culture, black culture, and specifically focused on black males. She briefly mentioned her Plastic Bodies photo set, which I saw last year on display at Spelman College for my First-Year Seminar class. Sheila also showed us a lot on her piece Young Americans and picture of her and other Agnes students installing the photos onto to different pieces of architectures across Atlanta. I thought it was interesting that many people call her a “cultural anthropologist”. I would agree and say the contents of her photography are very cultural, and also a bit political because they are making a statement about culture’s relationship with society through art. Watching Sheila’s presentation reminded me of the abstract portion of our ART160 class which we most recently finished. I related the two because our abstract art has a base, the word, and then we created from that word. Similarly Sheila uses a concept and recreates that concept in many ways through her photography. It was interesting to see Sheila and her photography this year and being able to compare the experience with my memories from when I saw her last year.
For my visual/verbal project my two words were “restrained” and “uncontrollable”. Restrained is on the left column and uncontrollable on the right column. My process for restrained started when I was looking up synonyms for the word on the internet. Many of my results were two word ‘phrases’ such as, “holding-back”, “fenced-in”, and “blocking-out”. I thought to myself, how could I show an abstract object being blocked out by another abstract object without it being ‘symbolic’? I started with creating many variations of walls and barriers and then a non-symbolic object that the wall/barrier would block — a circle. The circular object was being restrained. I drew the circle in different places and the wall in different places with different widths etc… until I got the two objects in just the right place. The class agreed during the pre-critique. One of my classmates recommended I move the circle closer to the wall instead of directly in the middle, so it added more of a visual that the circle was moving — trying to escape. Once I finished my abstract piece, I had to take a photo of the image within the real world. I did not exactly know what I could do that would best represent and compare with my black and white image. My younger sister often brings our chickens in the house, and so recently she brought one of the chickens inside and put her in a box. I looked inside from an aerial perspective and knew that this was going to be my photograph. The chicken was restrained in the box, just like the circle…eager to escape, but couldn’t.
For my next word, uncontrollable, I started working and making crazy marks. I was not satisfied as every mark I was making was in my control. It did not fit with the word. So I thought, how can I make marks without control? I then noticed from my ‘restrained’ ink drawing that the ink had bled through the paper and onto my notebook. I spontaneously rubbed a blank piece of paper onto the notebook and left on the paper were random marks. Though the motions of my hand were controlled, the outcome was completely random and therefore, uncontrollable. It was an accident. For my photo I took of ‘uncontrollable’ I had spilled some coffee on the ground (once again, accidentally), I looked down and saw my future photo, so spur of the moment I got out my phone and took a picture.
After brainstorming, drawing, taking pictures, and mounting this was my outcome:
1) My super animal is a cross between a giant freshwater stingray and a cheetah. My social issue is public transportation in inner cities. The big problems with public transportation is that it is not eco-friendly, it charges money, and it can be very slow and therefore inefficient. My animal, “Publica Onerariam” (or P.O. for short) was designed to work for the people. It’s name translates from Latin to English as “Public Transport”. P.O. transports people fast from point A to B in the most efficient way possible. It hovers so people can simply step on, take a seat, and P.O. will take them to where they’re going. The cheetah part of the animal is its super speed, as the cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world. Also a cheetah uses it’s tail as steering so its able to turn and not fall over because its moving so fast. P.O. has 2 tails for fantastic steering in order to dodge traffic obstacles quickly. The giant freshwater stingray is a huge flat water animal that’s physicality is wide and spread out and is easily able to move or weave to get around obstacles in the water. This part of my animal allows for a wide range of motion and a flat spread out body form. What makes P.O. both eco-friendly and free for the public is that when it hovers over trash and pollution, it sucks it up with the orange vacuum, digests it, and uses it as energy. Passengers do not have to pay and therefore anyone can ride without a problem. My model of P.O. is a scale model. Normally this animal would be about the size of a bus (big enough to transport about 20 people at a time). The sound it makes is a bell dinging so people are able to know when its coming or stopping to let passengers on and off. This allows for an eco-friendly sound that does not affect the environment, but also allows passengers to know whats going on.
2) I started off my process having no clue what I was going to do. I came up with the idea of efficient public transport because I was riding on Marta and for how big of a city Atlanta is, Marta is not very efficient in speed or getting people to exactly where they need to go. I came up with a cheetah because its the fastest animal in the world. Upon research I discovered that its tail was a key part of its speed and used for steering (http://animals.answers.com/mammals/a-cheetahs-tail). Therefore, I decided that my animal should have 2 tails, for maximum steering power in order to weave in and out of traffic.
I then decided to cross it with a freshwater giant stingray. Freshwater giant stingrays are very large, flat, and able to move with flexibility in the water (http://a-z-animals.com/animals/stingray/). I decided this would be perfect because it allows my animal to have a large flat body core to hold passengers and would also be flexible in weaving through traffic in addition to the steering capabilities of the cheetah based tail.
The materials I used were for physical functional appearance. I wanted P.O. to actually look like someone could step on to it, sit in the seats, and it would go somewhere (despite my model being a scale model). The orange vacuum in which is used to pick up litter and pollution is visible and you can see it goes through a straw and into the digestive system, the engine, which was built with wire. The seats are visible on the stingray-like body and were made with the opposite side of small plastic eyes. I used the opposite side so the seats could have a flat surface. At one of the last moments creating my animal, I decided it should hover. Hovering allows for easier trash pick-up and pollution pick-up at any height. Hovering also allows P.O. to go with traffic (if its flowing well) or go over traffic (if needed) in order to get passengers to their location quickly no matter how bad traffic is. This also allows accident prevention as it can hover and avoid other vehicles that may possibly hit it so passengers that ride P.O . are always safe.
3) My favorite animal from our Art160 class was Karina’s “Fields” creature, named after her teacher in high school. She was inspired to create this creature because some of the students in her high school lacked the essential learning motivations, and blamed the problem of her school’s lack of money for resources. She used a cut up fake dollar bill and attached the pieces in different areas around the body as a sort of ironic effect. Fields is a cross between a phoenix and a dog. I agreed these were good choices for this creature. The phoenix symbolizes rebirth and can never die, students will always need motivation. The dog symbolizes loyalty to the students and a good sense of smell for smelling out the students that are having problems. I also liked how Karina’s creature was personal to her, and her experience in high school. When you look at her creature you immediately think of school as the head is made of a pencil sharpener and the legs are pencils. Its easy to see the relation to her problem and the materials she used to create her super animal.
4) The movie “Wasteland” helped a lot in terms of understanding the project. Using trash to make art. I learned from my project that my approach included all the necessities for the project even though at some points I was not exactly sure how I was going to make it all work together. Meaning, what materials would I use that represent the animal, the social issue, and super powers? Once I found a start in choosing my social issue and animals, it became easier to fill in the rest with the proper materials (trash). I learned how important is was to find a starting ground in order to complete the rest of the project successfully. It was impossible to plan out the whole project from the beginning as you did not know which pieces of trash you were going to use, and where they would function. Building a 3-D work was also new for me, we had never done this in class before. It was interesting to see in the critique everyone’s 3 dimensional animals all made from trash, and taking care of different social issues in different ways. It took a lot of creativity for everyone to find which pieces of trash would correspond with other pieces of trash in order to both properly function and demonstrate the super powers. Overall, I found the critiques to be very successful as everyone came up with something original and completely theirs.
In Art160 I have learned many interesting ideologies and methods of art that I did not know before. For example, I learned how to measure and distinguish angles and lines from still-lifes such as a chair and box. I had the opportunity to compare the chair I drew in class with a chair I had drawn before starting the class and see the differences and compare my methods. The chair I drew before starting the chair was decent although it sufficiently lacked proper proportion unlike the chair I drew in chair which focused mostly on exact proportions. This project helped me see the differences in my art and my ability to improve in the future. Also through both the chair and the box assignment I got the opportunity to use new materials such as an exacto knife, charcoal, different types of paper, etc… I have also really enjoyed seeing my classmates’ process blogs and their creations in class. I get to see their processes during class time and then their final pieces in the critiques. It is especially cool to able to see everyone’s pieces all together and next to each other and talking about what we like or find interesting within each student’s piece.
Overall I have found this class to be extremely helpful thus far in helping to demonstrate my patience and help me learn more methods to interact with my development for art creativity and seeing the same process evolve within each of my classmates.
1.) For the top image, I used my left hand (my dominant hand) to draw my right hand and the bottom image is vise versa. I found that using my dominant hand, I had a lot more control and therefore my drawing of my hand was closer to the size I wanted and looks more clean cut. The result of the hands look abstract, but in my opinion I can still surprisingly tell that they are hands, and the even the positioning. I had no clue what to expect of the drawing once I was finished and able to look at what I drew.
2.) For this part of the blind contour, I drew all the objects on my messy school desk. I found it to be very difficult to not pick up the pen. It was hard to keep track of where I was on the paper and which object I had drawn/not drawn. After looking at the result I could pick up on some of the desk objects within the drawing, but many were difficult to identify.
For the final results of our 3-dimensional box images (through value), the 3 that I found to be the most 3 dimensional looking were box numbers 6, 8, and 10. These student’s boxes stood out the most to me because they were very obviously a box, even at first glance. The many values each student had, created the 3 dimensional illusion of having many shadows and the lines/edges were able to be easily seen without much effort from the naked eye.
What surprised you?
I was most surprised by all the different ways each student interpreted the assignment, even the assignment’s directions were very specific. Each student used different value ranges: some lighter, some darker, some all in between. Each student also used different images as their value: pictures, hand-drawn, images from the internet. Like the chair assignment, I really enjoyed seeing everyone’s boxes next to each other and being able to compare the diversity within the same assignment.
What do you like?
I enjoyed all the student’s diversity and representations within values. Everyone’s box looked different and unique. I also enjoyed being able to compare my box to everyone else’s box. More specifically, I liked comparing my ideology/point-of-view of the assignment with the other students to see what they did compared to what I did.
I think if I was to do the assignment again, I would have either used a smaller value scale (1-6, instead of 1-12) so it was more obvious to see each edge and line (and therefore make it more 3 dimensional looking) or I would use a different type of value (an image instead of hand drawing it) so I could get a wider, more obvious range of values.