Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
This is my third installment of the "Love" series. For this piece, I re-shot the same men as before but added 15 or so sayings to their script, giving me more room to play in editing. This video ended up being very narrative, with a defined beginning and ending. I think its clear whom is talking to who and the general story thats being told. That being said, through this process the content and quality lost the raw, ambiguous nature I was immediately attracted to.
I think I'll keep playing with this footage. Maybe re shoot again. Theres so many stories to tell from the small amount I've obtained. I like the idea that anything can happen out of something that is already in existence.
the artist book entry allowed for free thought and my love for sketches.
the practice of writing is becoming more appealing as i do it.
"i have always been facinated by the way a businesses' signs light sometimes dim and burn out, it spells out a whole new word for the public to see"
"with that being said, bright lights have an attraction to me, it screams for your attention. perhaps this is why i like las vegas so much. not the whole gambling thing, but the idea of this city of lights. i would never to travel to vegas for any other reason than if a down on his luck guy owed me some money. given that city's history, i think that a trip there for this reason would be the only appropriate one for me... his name would probably be andy."
this semester was an exploration in to my future as an artist. it allowed for me to follow through using what i already based my work on. wood. paint. stencils. assembling. i tried to think of different ways to express the nature of grafitti. my intention was to leave a mark on the sites i visited without physically scarring the buildings and objects around.
the idea of it all grew as i presented each separate project.
the final idea that i will go with is not totally refined in to what will become my personal trademark, but it is close.
with exception of the first attempt, the final two of the three presentations were assembled at the site, allowing it to take a more natural home where it was placed.
The first "hut," as I soon began to call my structures was constructed out of white sheets, white foam, and white cotton. I stapled these fabrics together and onto disregarded wood plants in the back of the studio arts building. Within the hut, white house paint, white spray paint, white bowls, and white brushes were housed. It was my hope that my classmates would immerse themselves in the hut and use the "tools" provided. That hope was not fulfilled. The hut seemed childish, that is perhaps why I like to spend time inside of it.
After experiencing the fun results of the white hut I decided to take the building notion into a different context. I decided to create my first stop motion video. This project was very much about experimentation and I learning the process. However, I really did not like the result of this project; so I returned to the 3 dimensional form..
This project was my first experimentation with creating a tepee like hut. Large branches were collected, painted, and tied together with twine so it could stand on its own. I created this structure inside the grad painting gallery so it was only able to set up a couple day. I really enjoyed creating this structure and knew I wanted to continue to explore other possibilities with this medium.
After the third project was completed I started to focus on broadening its use. In a sense I wanted more. It was about this time when an issue arose within the art department which very much concerned me (as well as many others). A structural lounge know as the EyeBeam lounge was torn down unexpectedly by the administration. As this lounge was a fun, collaborative project, I was astonished by its unexpected destruction and I set out to reconstruct it.
the recreation of the EyeBeam lounge was an extremely trying experience. I stepped into the situation knowing quite well that I was not going to create an exact replica of the original structure. With that in mind, I really did not have any sort of plan of execution. I soon found it to be very difficult to direct other people when I did not have a plan of action. Everything was up to the moment. The day we started building we dumped all of the scattered and tattered pieces from the original EyeBeam out of their cardboard boxes and onto the ground. I stared down and found a complete mess of junk; after constructing a shabby wall and tying sticks together my friends and I left for the night. The next day I returned to the site only to find out that it needed to be moved. So the structure was taken apart and moved 30 feet. So I continued construction and after another night of building I returned to the school only to be told that construction was to be stopped, pending a safety issue. After a couple of meetings and a couple of forms signed the project continued. At the point in the construction I was thoroughly exhausted and really did not want much to do with the structure other than prove completion to those who tried to stop it. In the end, a five person 6x8 foot painting was added as the completing piece. The reconstruction of the EyeBeam lounge was very stressful and disheartening at times but I could not have asked for better results. The structure was ready for open house and I watched as children played inside and made little gifts (a goal I had been trying to reach from project #1). I saw fellow students and faculty who understood subtle political statements within the structure and one the other hand I saw the general public (those outside of the department) enjoy the structure as well. This recreation included a combination of all projects I did this semester. I believe it came together well and was worth the difficulties. I however would like to say that I in no part created this structure alone. I had many willing and helping hands throughout the project and I would like to fully thank each of you.
Earlier in the semester I went to the Action/Abstraction exhibition in St. Louis. For my response paper I will discuss some of the emotion which arose while I was there. The show initiated for me first here in Iowa City. I was sitting in my Advance Painting class in early October was Julia my painting professor brought in the catalogue to the exhibit. She had just seen the show in New York and after flipping through the catalogue I readied myself for the show. Now I have for as long as I remember always been a huge fan of work from this era. I remembering seeing my first deKooning while I was still in middle school, visiting New York for a family vacation. I also specifically remember deciding to attend the University of Iowa while sitting in front of the Pollock for 1/2 hr in the U of I art museum. Hence, I was pretty excited about the show. When I arrived in St Louis I entered the gallery and experienced Woman #2 by William deKooning straight in front of me. I thoroughly enjoyed the painting the first time through, for I usually go through exhibitions 2 times. First time just enjoying taking in the atmosphere, feeling it out, concentrating on what catches my eye. The second time through I either sketch or revisit pieces I am still thinking about. As I reflect now, I wish I had spent more time with Woman #2, however, the placement of the piece was unfortunate. It was the first piece and right in the entrance. There was a current of people entering the show which you had to deflect if you were to experience the piece in length. As I rounded the corner and passed the deKooning I found a Pollock starring back at me. Now it is hard to describe (at least for me) emotions which are derived when I experience pieces such as these. That is perhaps why I am a painter and not an author. However, it must be said that I cannot believe anyone to be so hard to obstruct pieces such as these. To receive no emotional feeling whatsoever when viewing these pieces side by side is beyond me. I still receive that tingle which continues to my finger tips when I relive the exhibit in my mind.
Alright so the "purpose" of the show (other than bringing great pieces together) was to try and distinguish a difference between Action painting and Abstract Expressionism. There were two major critics of this time; Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg. Each declared the movement by one of these different titles.
The exhibit was constructed nicely. It led you through early painting from 1940s and spanned all the way to the 1970s. I left the show for the first time extremely overwhelmed. As I walked upon the last room of the show I more or less just walked right on through it. Did not look around much at all. So after resting my eyes for a bit I walked back into the show for a second time... this time with my sketch book. As I drew I began to appreciate pieces more than ever and felt as though I was truly seeing them for the first time.
All in all I spent about 2 hours at the exhibition. When I left I was extremely exhausted, but fully satisfied. I would suggest this exhibition to anyone who is going to be in the St Louis area over Christmas or otherwise. I also believe it will be travelling to the west coast next.
Late one night I was trying to think of ideas to do for my project, but of course instead I started procrastinating and browsing through a bunch of YouTube videos. I started watching a bunch of sped-up videos of people drawing, and I eventually came past speed painting or performance painting. I think the name of the man who really caught my eye was Jean Pierre Blanchard. I believe he has three or four videos floating around YouTube, and if you type in his name I'm sure you'll come across one or two of them. He would create these six foot portraits of famous celebrities in about five minutes or so. They were absolutely incredible, and the filming of the whole thing really struck my eye too. Whoever the cameramen were, they were able to capture the canvas being created as well as the audiences' reaction. I loved it, so I thought to myself, "hm, that can't be too hard, can it?"
It is. My first attempt I simply mixed a little paint, taped up a 20"x 30" board and started painting. I got about half way through until I really couldn't stand looking at it. My second attempt was more valid. I snapped a photograph of myself, and began sketching it on looseleaf paper. Once I had the initial lines down, I did the same thing as the first. I taped up a 20"x30" black board and started working. I actually finished my second one, but I really did not like how these were turning out at all. Blanchard had made it look so easy. Eventually I went out to buy new premixed paints and another board. I took a new photograph and drew it out on computer paper. I even took colored pencils and mapped out what colors I wanted to use where. Once I had a general idea of what lines and colors to put where, I started yet again. I finished and I was somewhat satisfied with the end product which is why I decided to use this one to show to the class.
I think one reason why I continued to try is first off - I hate presenting work that doesn't meet my own standards. Secondly, I think I continued trying because I really actually enjoyed doing this. I've been cursed with the idea of perfection, so a lot of my work has been incredibly time consuming and worked out to the last line. However, I actually really liked breaking out of my "shell" and trying something a sloppier and faster.
The outcome, considering the time I spent on it, I thought was pretty successful. I don't think it looks much like me, but I'm still glad that this time you could actually tell that it was a face. I really do want to continue doing something like this, and maybe increase my speed and accuracy. Eventually, I would really like to do this in front of a small group, and I already said this, but I really do like the idea for a possible presentation during Open House this semester.
I stated in my beginning presentation that I pride myself in not really having a style. I think that's why this artist and in this style really captured my attention: because this was a style that I am not familiar with at all, so I told myself I can try it, and worse comes to worse I resort back to one of my other styles. Jill did point out that I do tend to focus on portraits, and again that meets my unknown criteria. I really do like drawing/painting faces. I just was really intrigued by trying something that not everyone does, and something new.
I guess I sort of took my second project as an opportunity to try and get used to the idea of speed painting. At this point, it's really not about the performance part, simply just the idea of moving fast with the paintbrush and ignoring any small mistakes I make along the way. Again, I simply have just hung a sheet of white 20" x 30" illustration board on my wall after sketching this image out a dozen of times.
My focus on this project, was to push myself a little bit further. I had decided to do my painting upside down in hopes that maybe this trick could come in handy for my final project. This painting actually came quite smoothly to me, and I rarely found myself disliking any of my preliminary sketches.
The image I decided to paint was Superman. Unlike my first project, where I had attempted to do a self-portrait, I went along the lines of a figure that everyone would recognize. I mentioned that this piece came quite easily to me, which was probably due to the fact that I am in love with drawing comics. I went into this project with a lot of knowledge on comic-character shading and their exaggerated muscular stature. I was really happy with my outcome of this piece.
After my second project I was told that if I wanted to continue to present my speed paintings, that eventually I would have to do it in front of the class. This whole idea of presenting a painting that I have done within a few minutes, as well as painting it in front of people was actually quite nerve-racking for me. I wasn't really sure what to think. I guess it was all or nothing, right?
Like my second project, I really wanted to pick a familiar face that most people could recognize once I was done. I know it is a bit suggestive given the time, but I chose do paint Barrack Obama. No, I did not vote for him, and I was not trying to pass any subliminal messages with my work. I simply chose a face that has been extremely popular in the media lately, and given the timing I'm sure everyone is familiar with who he is.
I started off browsing for images until I came across one that I wanted with a style that I could paint while only using two colors to try and speed up my time. After I found my image, I drew it over and over. I decided not to include any of my drawings since the majority of them were simply sketches of just an eye, or just the lips.
Most of my finished drawings done in charcoal and in ink are all celebrity portraits, and I've had enough time spent on drawing faces that I like to think that I know how to make it resemble the person I'm going for. I put a lot of effort into the eyes, mouth, and the shape of the head. To me, these features give distinct properties of a specific face. Most of the time you can get away with an extra strand of hair or the shape of the ears. Noses rank somewhere in the middle to me as far as accuracy goes.
So after I felt like I had his main features down, I moved on to painting Maybe I went to this stage a little too soon, because I was stuck on it for quite a while. I did my first two paintings with a reference, and after that I tried doing all of them off the top of my head. It was so ironic to me because I would finish one of my trial paintings, and while I was in the process I'd be thinking to myself, "Hey, this one's really looking like him!" But once I finished and took a few steps back it was just an awful feeling. The eyes would be off, the angle of the face was off, the lips were off center, the nose was too long. I found endless errors in my work and at first this became really stressful. The eyes were always terrible. I would always make them too small, and when I would try to make them bigger I would end up making the entire face bigger.
After my first handful of paintings though, I found these to be incredibly relaxing, regardless of whether or not my outcome would resemble my subject. I was happy enough at this point that they were all looking like faces. It was so ironic because I would start these paintings, and once I got started I would be completely calm until I put my brushes down and took a step back. Project 3 did not include a "finished" piece, however, it was simply documenting all of my preparation for Project 4/Open House.
PROJECT 4 (OPEN HOUSE):
For my final project, I had to figure out a way to wrap everything up. I chose to do this at Open House, and why wouldn't I have? I was finally willing to do a live painting and there would definitely be a crowd at the Studio Arts Building.
I wasn't really too nervous until a few people started gathering around at about 5:50. I went and changed and had finally decided at that point that I was going to talk about what I was going to do and what my goals have been throughout this semester. I talked for about five minutes, and then turned my back on the crowd towards my blank sheet, and started painting.
Once I started painting it was the weirdest feeling. I wasn't nervous anymore, and I completely tuned out whatever I was hearing, so it became just me and the painting. Sounds incredibly cheesy, but that's what happened. After I had finished the basic grey outlines, I took a step back and looked at it and thought to myself, "wow, that doesn't look half bad." By the time I was done I felt like it was absolutely successful.
I was aiming to complete the painting in 8 minutes, and I did end up running up to 11 minutes. I still don't see it at all as though it were a failure, though. Instead I really do view this experience as a stepping stone. I've climbed "out of the box" with this idea of perfection and every line needing to be placed somewhere specific, and realized that although accuracy is beautiful to me, so is originality.
The idea came from wonderful jazz musician John Coltrane's My Favorite Things. Don't be fooled by the original song (from terrible The Sound Of Music), it is actually very good. Embedded is a video of the song, in case curiosity strikes you or you enjoy jazz tunes.
The original song lists the singer's favorite things, like whiskers on kittens and ribbons. However, Coltrane's version has no lyrics, so you could make your own list of favorite things. To relieve some stress, I thought about and wrote down my favorite things in a list. Enjoying that, I decided that the list was too scattered. So, I decided to alphabetize the list- but that was almost too orderly. Plain & without flow (the nature of alphabetized lists).
So then, while glancing through the list, I thought about certain words or phrases that related to the items in the list. Superheroes represent protection, strength, and purity~ so I wrote those things down too. This gave the list a lot more meaning & context. This new list gave me a lot of ideas for sketches & creative writing. If I'm in a rut, the list could help me create something that still held meaning to me.
To present this strange project, I created a revised list of my favorite things (since showing the true list would be too personal for me) and put it in a rolodex. This created a fun "archive" of my favorite things, along with small visual representations for certain items on the list. I felt it made the idea more presentable and articulated the duality of organization and chaos in the project. It was organized in the way that it was alphabetized and presented by a rolodex, an object usually found in offices or libraries. It was chaotic in the content and mere idea of a list of favorite things (something one might not need to make a list of in any particular occasion).
As time goes on, I will continue to add to this rolodex until it fills up with all sorts of favorite goodies.
Project 2 : These Hands Of Mine
For my second project, I decided to take some photos of my hands with different backdrops of places that I frequent. It was meant to illustrate how my hands are an extension of me, and what that may say about my feelings and actions. On the pictures, the hands had different things written on them: love, fear, rebel, beginner, etc. The hands were posing, that is to say, it wasn't a candid photo. I put my hand out in most of the pictures, so that I could write on the back of or on my palms. It just seemed important because our hands are so important, they are how we interact with things around us. It is almost like our medium for reaching out to the rest of the planet. Perhaps that wasn't successfully executed in my part, but I enjoyed taking the photos and choosing what words would be on the hands. Overall, I was satisfied with the way it turned out.
Project 3 : Today's Recipe Banana Muffins
My third project was a video, similar to one I had made in the past for a different intermedia class. I saw it as a chance to work on my technique, since I really enjoyed the previous video that prompted this project. It is very simple and there's nothing really fancy about it. I begin by eating all the separate ingredients to make banana muffins separately (banana, egg, salt, flour, sugar, etc.). Then, I shake my head and start to regurgitate a muffin. I shoot it in one shot, play the first part as is, then reverse the end to make it seem like there's a muffin coming out of my mouth.
The idea came from just thinking about food in general. Where does our food come from? What does it go through before getting to our plates?
Project 4 : Obsession
The last project was actually kind of a trainwreck for me. But, we have to take losses sometimes, and I understand what there is to be learned from doing something that doesn't succeed. Although it is no excuse, I was very sick with the stomach flu the weekend before the project was due, so I couldn't film what I originally intended. I had to work with footage I already had from earlier this spring, footage that I had not meant to show anyone or do anything with really.
The result was a video about tradition and cultural identity. As a foreigner, I always felt comfortable and accepted being an "outsider." However, I recently went through the process of becoming a US citizen, rather than a legal resident. The only real rights you gain are the right to vote and the right to work for the government (in case you feel like getting a job at the post office or something). So, once I gained citizenship, I experienced a lost sense of cultural identity. Am I really an American now? All it took was passing a US History test that most Americans would fail, and waiting months and months for paperwork to be filed. I don't mean to sound unpatriotic, I was just confused about what I am and how I my status had changed drastically while I remained the same person I was before being a citizen.
Of course, none of this really came through in the video. The video has much different connotation and nobody really understood it. But, as I said, sometimes you have to bite the bullet, make a fool of yourself, and hope that you can learn something from it. I explored my feelings on cultural issues and where I might fit into them.
I'm not sure where to place this film in my mind quite yet and can't decide whether or not it was crap.
I picked this up from netflix, intentionally keeping my self from knowing much about it aside from it being in the Criterion Collection and that it's David Bowie's first starring movie role. Little did I know that I'd come out of the two and a half hour ordeal witnessing the penes of both Bowie and Rip Torn...
The film is something like an erotic sci-fi drama, an English erotic sci-fi drama... and seeing that as the intention, I think it's freaking awful. Great sci-fi concept, Bowie comes to Earth in an effort to transport water back to his desert planet, but it gets totally ruined by the love plot running throughout, which is fleshed out poorly, despite the fourty-five minutes it utterly consumes in the beginning half of the flick.
I've also come to the conclusion that there is a very different sensibility about sex in England compared to the US and especially between 1976 and 2008. The intimate scenes were so very uncomfortable. After seeing David Bowie rub his nipples (one later gets cut off) and suck gin off the end of a revolver, my life will never be the same. On the other hand there where a few moments where great. There were some very big ideas at play that would coalesce very subtly and it didn't get too philosophical or up its own a**.
All in all, a very pretty, sexually-disturbing film. I didnt expect it to turn out that way, but I guess any movie where Bowie plays an alien is a prime situation for some glittery-intergalactic-sexcapades, but you know, hindsight's 20/20.
Man, Nicolas Roeg, you're good with a camera, but you're twisted.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Here is the video documentation of the installation I did in my garage coinciding with the "Happening." Really, this was a retouching of installations I've done before where I worked out some issues to make something much more successful and interactive. The lines are very thin and subtle and people just wanted to touch them so I had to make sure they were able to be touched.
I really enjoy creating space/mood with really simple elements and to destroy space at the same time, leaving my eyes to be confused about the workings of reality by something like catfish line.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
First some simple facts.
1. It's taking place at AKAR, which is located across the street from Van Allen hall on the southside.
2. It only run for another month or so.
3. The gallery is open to the public and free.
4. The artists featured are 30 ceramicists who have either taught at or attended the University of Iowa and have been hand selected by Bunny McBride, the university ceramics head, to participate in this show.
Here's why it's so important; this is not only a showcase of Bunny's friends, or his favorite Iowa artists, but it is most likely the greatest show of it's kind this year in the U.S. if not the world. This is a show that demonstrates how functional and utilitarian pots can be amazing pieces of art. I realize I am somewhat biased because I am a potter at Iowa and have Bunny as a teacher, but still I want everyone to know about this opportunity to experience amazing art and perhaps gain a new perspective on pottery.
I'm sure we've all taken some survey of western art and art history class while at college. So I want everyone to take a look at their book, if they still have it, and find all the ceramic pieces displayed or even mentioned since the Greeks. One, maybe two I'm betting. It's pretty common knowledge that most artists and even the general public as a whole don't think of pottery as art. Why is that?
I think probably because of the mass production of drinking or eating vessels and wide spread use that human beings use these vessels for. It's very easy to assume that every cup or every bowl is good only as a vessel to hold a food or liquid, so most everyone does assume that ALL pots are good only a means to eat out of.
Go to this show and tell me that these pots are only good to use at the dining room table, and not art. I think you'll have a hard time doing it. Perhaps it's even the best art, since it can be used as well as admired.
I'm not saying that every cup or every bowl or even every teapot is a work of art. Just like every painting or photograph isn't art. Go to wal-mart and you'll see what I mean.
But perhaps attending this show will get you thinking about the effort and thought these artists have put into the creation of these pieces. From how well a handle fits in your hand or the amazing spectrum of colors that can appear on one piece and not turn to a muddy brown. You'll realize that something is happening right in front of you.
The potential to become aware of art we see, experience, and interact with everyday will become clear.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
This project stemmed from a need to rid myself of the things I'd built up over time. When I was younger, I bought things as a way to pass the time. Now my money goes towards sustaining me rather then adorning. This past action of buying clothing and accessories not out of need but out of boredom is now a bit disgusting to me. But still, I have all these things I can't part with. So this inventory is an exploration of my accumulation. Through it, I hope to examine what I have, why I have it and why I can't get rid of it.
People had issues with the writing, saying it was too frivolous and I didn't seem aware of how unintelligent I sounded. Perhaps my writings didn't reflect well on my person? I think that is the whole point. Shopping is a mindless act to a large extent. The only thing that's inaccessible about the act is the funds to purchase. Otherwise, everyone can participate. I don't view this project as any form of flattery. In fact, it is quite the opposite. So why flatter myself in my writing? Why make it seem like these things are more then they are?
I don't know what I'm going to do with this project, but I'm going to keep going. It's the only self reflective thing I've ever made. If in the end this is a self portrait, then so be it.