Life moves pretty fast

Last I posted was the beginning of the year. I started my final semester, a new way of eating, and a new year in life. To quickly catch up on the state of the Strange Child, there’s been some changes.

I managed to lose 30lbs so far and the changes to my eating habits haven’t been as difficult as one would think. I didn’t realize how much of a sugar addict I was until I removed all that was “naughty” from my cupboards. I’ve experimented with substitutions for things I used as staples (rice, pasta, potatoes), to more low carb options (cauliflower “rice”, sweet potatoes) that were successful. Other substitutions, (zoodles) that didn’t work out so well. I’m feeling better, but I need to make an appointment to get new bloodwork done. For now, its continuing what I’ve been doing.

Another development recently was a new addition to the household! We adopted another dog, who’s ridiculously adorable!! She’s two years old, a pibble mix we think, and is a bit of a “special needs” dog. She was born with a deviated palette and a deformed lower jaw so her tongue hangs out all the time. She also snorts loudly like a pig, which is why we named her Pigby. She requires only a little bit of extra help in that she has to be cleaned up after when she eats or drools, so she’s like a toddler that never grows up. Daisy and her get along great, chase each other and play. We’ve taken both of them out separately into public to see how they behave and both did very well. Daisy still has this need to smell all the things, while Pigby just wants to hang out and meet people. My babies are awesome!! Here’s a couple shots of my babies:

See???!! Cuteness overload triggering brain explosions!

Beyond being covered in pibble awesomeness, I am finally done with school. I will have my Bachelor’s degree in my hand at the end of the week. My parents are coming up to celebrate this weekend, friends are joining us as well to BBQ (provided Bay Area weather isn’t too bad) and with that, I’m done.  I’ll be starting to look for work and ways to continue making art, and hopefully selling it as well. I know I’m not interested in going back to making average pay, stuck at a desk, normal hair, and covering up my tattoos for a 9-5 where yes I’m appreciated but its just meaningless.

I am tired of being invisible. I want to be seen.

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Art Outing 2: Writing assignment

Back in October, I took a visit out to the Legion of Honor art museum. Normally, I’m not all that fond of the museum. It tends to not have interesting works or exhibitions that involve works that I enjoy. My husband however loves to go there, so we decided to take in the exhibition of the Le Nain brothers before it closed. I am not normally attracted to artworks that are considered Classical. This is mostly due to my unfamiliarity with subject manners that involve religious themes. However I do appreciate the painting techniques of the artists while the images themselves do not usually evoke any kind of emotional reaction within me. The special exhibition was not that particularly interesting to me for this reason, however the one painting that did intrigue me was the final image in the exhibit titled Allegory of Victory. This painting stands out starkly against the rest of the images on display mainly because of how its composition is strangely laid out. What is most strikingly peculiar about the painting for me is that of the second female figure in which the angel is standing on. First, I noticed was how her back is arched awkwardly; if someone was standing on one’s torso, they wouldn’t be arching their back upwards quite like that. Secondly, the bottom figure is oddly placed underneath the angel, with no indications of weight being distributed on the torso. It is as if she was added into the painting as an after-thought by the artist. The feet of the bottom figure also appear to be turning into a serpent’s tail, which is a bit visually jarring when trying to understand the story the image is telling. An intriguing aspect about the bottom figure is how her legs almost appear to be slowly vanishing. The landscape in the background is seeping through her legs, which adds to my theory that this figure was added on after the victorious angel was completed. An alternative to this thought is that the paint used is slowly fading away due to degradation. The background landscape also is visually odd in that towards the bottom there are very small figures meant to indicate a perception of depth, but instead creates an unusual visual contradiction in comparison to the two female figures in front. All of the paintings peculiarities is what draws me into it further. I became fascinated with the curvature of the angel’s form and the way the wings spread across the top of the painting so beautifully. I was disappointed I couldn’t purchase a copy of the image to hang in my home, as this is one of the few classical artworks that I could make a connection with.  Overall, this was the one painting that struck an emotional response, which is why I love art so very much. There was an exhibition on art books next door that was really cool to see. On the wall was a series of Pablo Picasso images where he took the same image and did it twenty distinctly different ways. The last image ended up resembling random abstract shapes and figures. Yet another reason Picasso was a great! Still, the Legion remains otherwise dull to me.

Art outing: Writing assignment

First one: A Trip to SFMOMA!

I enjoy this museum immensely because each time I visit I find new works to fall in love with. The one artist whose work intrigued me the most on this trip was Mark Grotjahn. His works features abstract geometric shapes that resemble optical illusions. The paintings I was drawn the most towards were from his Butterfly series. These are works that are based upon Renaissance perceptive principles involving the horizon line and a vanishing point. One large image is of a rainbow spectrum of colors forming parallel horizontal lines that slant inward towards the center of the painting, resulting in an abstracted butterfly wings illusion. If one stares at for a few minutes the lines pulsate, as if the wings are fluttering. The lines appear to stretch and shrink at the same time. Another smaller image on the other side of the colorful one has a similar horizontal line layout, but the colors are only black and creamy white and the two distinct vanishing points in the center are placed on different spots. One point is above the other vanishing point. I found that staring at it sideways made the image sort of swirl, like one of those old three dimensional images with a hidden picture in it. The hidden swirl I noticed was probably the result of the small dashes that are placed not quite in a circular fashion towards the center of the painting. I found myself just sitting in front of these two images with my head tilted, simply enjoying the feelings of staring into a colorful geometric abyss. This was why Grotjahn’s work is so fascinating to sit and stare at; the visual version of mental static white noise that is as soothing as waves crashing. Each of his images in the Campaign for Art exhibition were fun to just sit and stare at and watch the lines sway or swirl, defying their stationary positions on the canvas. I walked up to the exhibition that had mostly abstract paintings, which I believe were on the 5th floor. Huge, to almost ridiculous levels of height some of these were. I couldn’t even image what it was like to complete those. Overall it was another delightful visit to MOMA, and I fully expect to do it again soon.

Chance project: The switch.

Due to my plague victim status, I haven’t had a chance to finish this part.

I know that it’s a Dada poem, which means I grab a newspaper and cut out an article. Then I cut out each word from the article,  place them in a bag, shake it, and then each word I pull out glue down to form a odd nonsensical poem. I just need to put it all together and take photos.  This was difficult to do when coughing up a lung.

Chance project completed!

It’s done! My Chance art project for my Conceptual strategies class is finished, at least on my end. I found a bunch of magazines and some of the art journal do dads I’ve got, cut like a madwoman, grabbed a bag, my 20 sided die (because I’m a geek), glue, and a large piece of Bristol paper. See? I’m all prepared like a Girl Scout:
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I rolled a 19 for the images and pulled out my 19 images and arranged them on my paper as such:
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I took out of the bag what I wasn’t going to use and threw in the words that I cut out, and shook the bag. I rolled the 20 sided die again and it came up 13, so I reached into the bag and pulled out 13 words. I arranged them together to form a kind of poem that actually worked out perfectly with the way the collage was laid out. Here’s what the poem turned out to be:
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The poem reads as: “Every morality cancer damaged life look with wanted made beauty from tempted sleep.” I arranged the poem on the paper, grabbed the glue and secured them down. After it dried, I grabbed the mod podge and sealed the collage down. I was so very happy with how it all turned out!! I think I’ll find a frame to put this in and hang it up in my house later. Check it out:
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I think Hannah Hoch is very proud of me.

The “Chance” Project

For my first art project in my Conceptual Strategies class, it involves working with the concept of “chance”. The instructor asked for 3 ideas for what we could do for this project.

Doing an abstract painting involving creating a simple pendulum that can create some amazing Spirograph images was one thought I considered. All I need is two chairs, some string, paint, a cup, and some sort of canvas. I’d have no control on the outcome of the design as the kinetic energy would be controlling how the paint moved about the canvas. But I wasn’t sure if this was enough.

A second idea was to fill up some water balloons with paint, pinning them to a canvas, and popping them to create a Jackson Pollock like image. In regards to choosing colors to use, I’d assign a number to six different colors on a throwing die, roll three times, and whichever three numbers comes up is the color I will use. The chance would be found in the color options and the way the paint lands on the canvas when the balloon is popped. Again, this sounded like fun, but it wasn’t quite outside of my artistic box.

For my third option, and being that I’m a lover of the Dada movement, I was leaning more towards doing a collage piece similar to artists such as Hannah Hoch, one of the most prominent female artists in the movement (though her male counterparts, ironically, maintained the misogyny of the time towards her). Regarded as one of the first artists to work with photomontage, many of her works involving political themes in which she critiques the Weir German government. Her works would inspire Picasso and fellow Dada artist Kurt Schwitters, who’s own work with collage would be part of what inspired me for this project as well. I figured since I’ve always wanted to play with doing some Dada inspired collages that this could be a good way to give it a try.

Its very simple in how it works: simply grab a bunch of magazines, images, pieces of paper, etc., cut out images, texts, sentences, body parts, objects, etc., and put it all in a box or a paper bag. Dump the contents onto the canvas and glue each piece wherever it lies creating a unique composition. Another option is to instead of dumping the contents, pull out random pieces and, like a jigsaw puzzle, put them together to form some sort of image. This should create some incredibly twisted and odd shaped compositions depending upon the images. Any text that was pulled can be arranged together or at random throughout the collage.  Essentially, the image can end up much like Hoch’s The Beautiful Girl (1920) image seen here:
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To create one of these collages, I begin with getting the materials to work with. I tend to lean towards magazines and images from the 1950’s to the 1970’s as the imagery tends to be outlandish and comical in their appearance, and the advertisements would feature more poignant language. Also, I searched around for just random kinds of paper materials, including coloring books, photographs, or books of paper dolls. I found much of what I needed at the Alameda Flea market, as well as some current women’s magazines and a National Geographic. I’ll go over them, cut out a bunch of different things, throw the images into a box or bag and the text in another. I’ll roll a twenty sided die to determine the amount of images to pull out and arrange them on a canvas. For the text, I’ll roll the die one more time for how many pieces I’ll pull and arrange them on the canvas as a poem, which is something that Dada artists did.

Hopefully this should be fun!

For my first project

My first assignment for my Conceptual Strategies class is to research three artists that are intersecting art with science, technology, and culture. One of the first artists I thought of was the Brazilian artist Vik Muniz. He’s a photographer and sculptor that creates mixed media pieces made from everyday materials to recreate iconic masterpieces or pop culture imagery thereby re-exploring what those images may represent in our current settings. One example of this is the documentary he did titled “Wasteland”, in which the artist travels back to his home country to document the largest garbage dump in Brazil and the people that pick through it looking for recyclable items. During filming, Muniz found himself shifting the focus of the film away from his artwork and on the individuals he was working with. Throughout the film, the artwork begins to reflect not only the culture of the people who pick through the garbage, what motivates them to live this kind of life, but also to how wasteful we as a society are. He creates these massive pieces where he begins with a photograph of either just the picker going about their business, or a recreation of a famous artwork with one of the pickers as the model. Then he projects the image onto a large canvas where it is then recreated via actual trash taken from the dump. He then photographs the final piece. The project reflects how many view these people as “trash” in how they chose to live their lives in actual trash, almost like its the visual representation of “one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure”. The ecological messages that shine through his work on this project also evoke an emotional response of revulsion at the mountains of garbage they swim through, and when they are done, the amount that was easily recycled is equally as revolting.  A perfect example of Muniz’s work for this project is his recreation of the Jacques-Louis David’s painting “The Death of Marat”, seen here:
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The film also documents how Muniz’s project effected each of them, some of them seeing beyond the dump for the first time ever in their lives.

Another artist I thought of was the street artist known as JR. His medium of choice is photography, but his installations are out in the streets. He views the world as his own personal art gallery, which presents a defiant question about the exclusivity of how art is more conventionally accessed by the masses that can afford to enjoy it. His projects focus on how art can be used to start a dialogue between cultures, and how art can be capable of triggering political action in how it is presented. His one project titled “Face-2-Face”, is extremely powerful in its message of how historical hate distorts perception. In this project, which was a highly illegal and extremely dangerous feat to create, involved large portraits of Palestinian and Israeli, who in pairs do the same thing in life, being pasted together side by side on both sides of the wall that separates the cities as well as throughout the cities in the area of the wall. None of the images are marked as to who is from where, which presents the simple question to the viewer: “Who’s is from where? How can you tell?”. All the images evoke thoughts of how we in reality are all the same, that we all talk the same and at our very basic core are human beings that are allowing a distorted perception of “differences” build walls between us. Here is an image of how the images along the wall were laid out:
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For my third and final artist, I did a Google search for “artists working with technology” to find someone I may have not heard of before. I happened upon an article on Make, which is an online magazine that focuses entirely on making things. The Maker’s Faire that happens here in SF every year is featured on the site. The article I found didn’t interest me, but a link to another article on the site did, which led me to the kinetic artist Anthony Howe. His work involves the “mechanical complexity” of wind turbines as sculptures. His metal sculptures are immensely large, in that they designed to withstand at least 90 mph winds, and when in motion are like watching a steel kaleidoscope in action. Complex in their intricate layouts, the patterns he creates move and flow like water in a stream when air flows through them. He provides videos of each of his pieces in motion for viewers to get lost in, one of which is here:

Its as if the sculpture is breathing and swimming at the same time. His work is simply hypnotic to watch, sensual in how it moves, and soothing in its gracefulness. Through the scientific principals of how kinetic energy works, he is able to design artworks that embody those principals with a visionary elegance.

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