Saturday, April 28, 2012

I'm a wire house not a glass house, you can see through, but you can't leave finger prints

images of final project

This piece is an installation, including leftover materials from projects that fell through, past drawings/doodles, as well as personal elements like a label from my perscription.  The "My 16 year old boyfriend..." poster is an excerpt from my highschool diary.

By using the materials I had on hand, enabled me to breath new life into past projects.  This plays into my concept, which is all about starting where you are with what you've got, while also acknowledging what got you here.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

7 Signs That U.S. Education Decline is Jeopardizing its National Security

The Forbes article linked shows how our countries poor education system (among other festering problems our country faces) is hurting not only our job market, but our countries defensive lines.  Though a great deal of money is invested in our education system, the U.S. compares poorly to our peers in all of the intellectual arenas.  The global economy requires foreign language skills, yet 8 out of 10 Americans know only one language.  Unemployment resulting from a lack of jobs is one thing, but you know it's bad when there are positions open with no one smart enough to qualify for the job.  The ACT has shown us that only 43% of high schoolers are prepared for college and 50% of college freshman are taking courses to catch up on material that they should have learned in high school.  Most disappointing of all of these statistics, 75% of those who take the military entrance exam fail.
HELLO??  What, is the volume on your Jersey Shore MTV special turned up too high?  Was the McDonald's drive through line so long that you couldn't make it home in time to do your homework?  Our government can only do so much to improve education, the real reconstructive work needs to take place in the mindset of our youth.  Kids need to be empowered and motivated for reasons other than that one test they will take so that they will get one number in the mail that tells them if they are going to college or not.  Education is about finding your passions and personal skills.  People are not standardized like the tests the government hands out.  Not all students are meant to go to college, but the way our system is set up young people are shown two paths: college or failure.  There are alternative routes kids could be preparing for in there younger years, but not if they are not aware of their options.

name this shape

In Her Pants

Do you know what that shape is?  Before coming across this article i didn't know what it was, either.  This shape is a human clitoris.  If you picture a clitoris as a simple nub, you are in agreement with popular belief.  You are also wrong.  Anatomy textbooks illustrate the clitoris to be one tenth of its actual size.  This new image comes to us from studies conducted in the 90's using an MRI scanner.  You may ask why it took so long for us to map the clitoris, but this is only a rediscovery.  Though we have had correct information about the anatomy of the clitoris released in reports dating back to the 1840's, textbooks have ignored this information.  The Seattle artist Lynn Schirmer's goal is to put this image everywhere she can and make sure that it is known.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bruce Nauman

As a preview to my presentation, Text as Art, I thought I would talk a little about one of the artists I will be looking at next week.  Bruce does not confine himself to any particular style or method in his art making.  Nauman started creating in the 60's and has body of work more diverse than any artist I have personally encountered.   Bruce Nauman makes all kinds of things, ranging from LED light signs, to performative works, to interactive spacial sculpture and video art.  Nauman's work can be best unified through a philosophical lens.  Bruce, although he would be embarrassed to hear it, is a big inspiration of mine.  One reason for this is his way of not taking himself or his art too seriously.  Nauman really knows how to let himself go and work just for the sake of doing so.  He has said himself that his urge to simply be working with his hands has been the beginning of some of his greatest pieces.  Nauman's concepts include exploring feelings of confusion, frustration, confinement, and challenging one's own perception.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Decriminalizing Pot Saves Philly $2 Million

Under Philadelphia's new Marijuana laws, it is legal to posses up to 30 grams of pot without being prosecuted.  The offenders are given the alternative option of attending a 3 hour drug class in exchange for a clear record.  This class does cost $200, but this is an improvement compared to the previous fines that added up to over $500.  Police officers approve of the new system and now have more time and energy to use arresting serious criminals.  Police also told the public that there has been no noticeable negative impact on the community.

Scott Scarboro

I enjoyed our visit from the artist Scott Scarboro.  I took a particular interest in what Scott said about using what you have and I like his fearless approach.  He likes to tinker with things and learn how to work out problems as he goes.  Scott's projects with children's toys are cute in a dysfunctional way, or as he says they are "homely".  The incorporation of materials of personal importance is a subtle way to give art layered meaning.  Scott's decision to use materials already in his posession a practical choice that teaches us that you shouldn't have to go to the store to get art supplies.  He is an inspiring artist for his relaxed attitude and ability to have fun with his projects.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Shintaro Ohata

This artist is Japanese and uses a combination of 2D and 3D art by placing sculptures in front of paintings.  She likes to play with light and color to create a dramatic and movie-like quality with her artwork.  I especially admire the manipulation of both light in her paint and the way that light interacts with 3D forms.  In doing so, Ohata creates a harmony between her sculptures and paintings.

Field trip

Last Thursday's field trip took me to areas of louisville that I've never seen before.  It's easy to get excited about the recent developments in the Ville, like the restaurants and housing built at Cardinal Town or the shiny new KFC Yum center.  With state of the art accommodations popping up left and right, one has to wonder if there is any money left to clean up Louisville.  Our city is known nationwide for air pollution.  After visiting rubber town and the landfill site I wondered what has been done to help clean up these toxic parts of town.  Thankfully, Louisville's recent community efforts have been helping improve our environment.  Concentrations of the most common carcinogen found in our atmosphere have been lowered 75% since 2005.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This was a little awkward to photograph.  The cans are meant to be picked up and turned around.  The words and cans are part of a series but don't need to be read or viewed in a particular order. 

Marcus's portable stove

Wood burning stove, handmade from steel cans

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Social Media Therapy?

Blogging is Theraputic for Teens by Scott Sincoff

Being new to blogging, I would have to say it has made a nice outlet.  Most news stories about the internet's social scene involve cyber bullying or the negative implications of social media on today's adolescents.  Scott Sincoff's article looks to the positive effects of social media on the lives of teenagers.  A recent study conducted by The University of Hafia in Isreal selected stressed out high school either write in a blog or an old-fashioned diary.  Two groups of students were told to write about their emotions or social conflicts in a blog twice a week.  Another two groups were told to blog about whatever was on their mind.  The other groups were told to keep a traditional, private diary.  Results of the experiment yeilded that students who were able to publicly write about their personal troubles experienced a greater mood improvement versus those who kept a private diary.  Greatest stress relief came to those who recieved comments from their peers, most comments were uplifting and constructive.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Vaughn Bell

Thinking Caps

Vaughn Bell's artwork takes a humorous approach in looking at the the human desire to tend to and control the land.  Thinking Caps is and installation piece incorporating elements of sound and paper sculpture.  Thinking Caps is about the ideal mountain setting, a place that allows contemplation.  The sculpture creates an environment of solitude that is unique from the surrounding environment.  I think Bell's work is funny and she helps us see the ridiculousness in thinking that nature is an entity separate from ourselves that we have the power to dictate.

Monday, February 6, 2012

SeaWeb Super Bowl Commercial


Television commercials are evolving to keep up with our fast-paced and technology driven lives.  Advertisers are packing the most punch as possible into their time slot, using bright colors, infectious tunes, or dramatic mini-plot lines.  The Super Bowl commercial by SeaWeb proves that silence and a black screen provide the audience with the chance to slow down and contemplate a message.  Though plenty of commercials have used the idealistic wildlife footage, a cheesy narrative is usually involved.  In this case, no words are necessary.  Contrasting the larger than life beauty found at sea with a blank screen makes us wonder immediately what our planet would be without oceans. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Betty Beaumont

Betty Beaumont has been referred to as one of the leading figures in environmental art.  The Canadian born artist lives and works in the states.  Beaumont graduated from Berkeley in the 70's with degrees in environment arts, as well as architecture.

Teddy Bear Island 1973

Teddy Bear Island is an underwater island; submerged due to the construction of a dam, nearby.  The artist uses a fragmented space, resulting in the viewer's need to move around in order to see all aspects of the work.  The intended experience of Teddy Bear Island, is to be one of an introspective nature.  The viewer is to evaluate their personal belief systems due to the unique environment produced by Beaumont.  The yellow cables are a metaphorical demarcation of the land.  Beaumont's photography of the underwater scene evokes a sense of mystery.  Beaumont wants to challenge socially constructed norms and does so by taking art outside of the typical gallery setting.

Friday, January 27, 2012


I visited the Crane House today to check out our fellow classmate, Marcus Siu's installation.  His installation was complemented by a gallery of his father's, Siu Hao-ming.  Siu Hao-ming's gallery consisted of long exposure photography transferred on to aluminum.  Marcus's intstallation was in a room of a considerable size with the floor covered in packed down dirt.  Towards the center of the room, pine needles were inserted into the dirt to look like grass.  My initial reaction was to run my fingers through the blades of "grass".  The pine needles didn't feel as sharp as most do.  I remembered what Marcus had said about wanting his audience to walk on the "grass", so i walked on it.  If I wasn't afraid of looking like a total weirdo, I would've liked to take my shoes and socks off so i could walk on the grass with my bare feet.  I then began to wonder about all of the dirt.  It was packed down to create a surface resembling one found in nature, much like the way the pine needles were arranged to create the illusion of grass.

Before seeing Marcus's piece in person, I had ideas about his use of pine needles and the meaning behind the choice.  The pine needle's ability to maintain the chlorophyll in their leaves for quite some time after being removed from a tree makes the leaves a perfect candidate to imitate real, living grass.  At first, I thought the choice to use pine needles and the transporting of dirt indoors suggested that this piece dealt with illusions.  Upon my visit to the Crane House, I began to wonder about the artists's desire for people to walk on his work.  I was also curious to know the purpose of all of the dirt surrounding the grass that one must walk on to get an up close look of the pine needles.   I began to consider the coniferous tree's ability to adapt to extreme weather conditions, as well.

The title Lineage and the inclusion of artwork by both father and son makes me wonder how this piece might tell a story about the artist's generation or heritage.  The barren dirt surrounding the grass could express rough conditions for development.  Perhaps the coniferous leaves' resistance against both very cold and very hot weather  relates to the personal adaptations people make in unwelcoming territory.  Marcus's and his father's works share a common theme of nature.  The adaptive quality of coniferous leaves and the manipulation of these leaves and dirt could refer to the ways that we, as artists, adapt or alter nature into works of art.  The shared aspect of nature explored by two generations of artists might tell of changes in artistic approaches nature are over time.

Marcus's will that his work be stepped on may mean that even though he worked hard to capture an essence of nature with his art, he doesn't want the work to be treated any differently than a naturally occurring patch of grass would be treated.  The act recreating a nature scene indoors might also refer to the disconnect that occurs when comparing man-made things to things that occur naturally.  With so many different concepts that could underly Marcus's work, perhaps he is interested in the cognitive dissonance that happens when we encounter his piece.

Thanks for the art and food for thought, Marcus!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Entry #3

My first philosophy class at U of L was Intro to Philosophy, taught by Professor Arthur Johnson (a.k.a.: A.T.J.)*.  As those who introduce you to something you grow to love often do, ATJ left a lasting impression on me.  Before learning about influential philosophers, like Nietzsche,  ATJ would often start his lecture by saying something along the lines of, "There could be an entire class taught on this philosopher, but since we only have 50 minutes today...".
*If you have an interest in philosophy and can handle an 8:00 a.m. class (this is the only time that his class is offered) I highly recommend that you take Professor Johnson's course!!  It is PHIL 

Why, you might ask, am I talking about a teacher a had a year ago? Today, after having the oppurtunity to attend Osborne Wiggins' lecture on Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy, A.T.J.'s quote was validated.  I could spend a whole academic year in a class about Nietzsche and the thinkers who followed his lead, continuing the dialogue we now refer to as existentialism.  I took a great interest in the lecture today and wished that it had lasted longer.  I am excited to take classes with Professor Wiggins in the future!

Nietzsche approaches art with hermeneutics of suspicion and asks the question; what is this art a symptom of?  As we've seen in class, it is beyond difficult to define art, because art is constantly evolving.  Nietzsche's curiosity towards the artist's condition of life reminds me of a quote by Edwin J. DeLattre that I can't find on the internet to save my life.  To paraphrase DeLattre's simplistic definition of art; art's goal should be to repair, change, improve, or express a someone's life.  Nietzsche holds that all is flux and their is no concrete truth to be found due to constant change.  I find this idea relatable to the changes we face in life, the ever changing definition of art, and the artwork produced as a result of these changes.

Alan Watts- Reality, Art, and Illusion

I have learned a little bit about of eastern philosophy, mostly from reading the Tao Te Ching and listening to Alan Watts' lectures online.  I made connections between some of eastern philosophies' general ideas and Nietzsche.  Nietzsche's Apollo and Dionysus have very different characteristics, but both figures are used to explain illusions and appearances.  Dionysus is the god of wine, revelry, and chaos.  Apollo is the god of forms, dreams, and music.  While the two may seem to form a dualism, Apollo and Dionysus are really different aspects of life that form a whole.

Eastern philosophies' emphasis on the difference between reality and appearances share similarities with Nietzsche's conflict between Apollo and Dionysus. The video above is a lengthy lecture by Alan Watts discussing both eastern and western thoughts on the nature of reality as well as art.  Buddhism's goal of enlightenment involves removing the veil that the human experience creates.  This veil is dualistic exchange between the self and all things external to the self.  To overcome these illusions reinforced by what we are taught is to see yourself, all aspects of life, and the entire universe as one.

Nietzsche's idea of the internal return is one that caught my attention.  The internal return is to ask yourself if you would be satisfied living your life, exactly the way it is, over and over again.  This exercise reminds us that we must to take no moment for granted.  Doing so entails appreciating life's ups and downs and accepting that there may not be any redemption after death.

Because drawing or painting from life is what I tend to revert to for my weekly artwork, I'm going to spend time some time contemplating ways to branch out.  Last semester in Scott Massey's 3-D foundations class, it was awesome to have such freedom in our choice of medium.  Now I have that same freedom in this class and I should be taking advantage of it.  Philosophy can be stressful and confusing, for there are no definite answers, only only logical arguments.  As mentioned in my previous post, creating art is a way for me to relax.  I want to start breaking out of this comfort zone and making things that require critical thinking.  I am not quite sure what I will make this week but for the next day or so I will be brainstorming to come up with an idea I'd like to develop, and experimental ways I can do so.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Entry #2

"when we perceive a thing to be beautiful, it is because we instinctively recognize the rightness of the thing. this means we have revealed to us a glimpse of something essentially of the fibre of our own nature... a flash of truth stimulates us, and we have a vision of harmonies not understood to-day, though perhaps to be to-morrow."

Frank Lloyd Wright


Perhaps art's inability to be defined is a part of its definition.  Art can serve many purposes.  It can teach, explore, heal, or simply put a smile on your face.  Wright's quote about beauty relates to the ideas of formalism and form.  Form deals with the compositional elements of art such as line, shape, color and texture.  A formalist approach is one way of understanding the characteristics and goals of art.  The formalist school of thought teaches that the most important aspect of a piece is the initial aesthetic response experienced by the viewer.  From a this point of view, other information such as the context of the artwork or historical references, are irrelevant.  The artist is to be removed from the audience's interpretations of their work.  The idea of formalism finds its roots in the writings of  Plato.  Plato taught that all forms we see in the physical realm are merely representational of a form's true essence.  The choice of medium or mindset of the artist are tools to translate subject matter in order to express a true essence of a thing.  Throughout history others have contributed to the dialogue on formalism.  Clive Bell referred to form as the use of material and process in order to capture the inner essence of a thing, as opposed to Plato's view that a form's essence exists outside of the physical realm.  The feelings conveyed through art are more important than an attempt to duplicate the subject matter.  Structuralists, very closely related to formalists, were less concerned with the aesthetics of an art piece and more focused on communication.  Structuralists were more deliberate when it came to what materials were used, and in what way.  Structuralists used ideas of traditional formalism to validate abstractions as art, but instead of placing the importance on essence, their main concern was sending a specific message.

Carl Andre

Formalism is a term most commonly applied to abstract art.  After watching the film about abstract artists in class, I took a special interest in the sculptor, Carl Andre.  I loved the ways that children reacted to Andre's art.  Andre doesn't alter any of the substances he uses in his sculptures, he only arranges and adheres units to one another.  Andre called himself a matterist, he is only concerned with the materials that he uses and how he places them.  Andre was most concerned with sculpture as place, an idea that I find particularly interesting.  I have an interest in interior design and the ways in which arrangement can affect the feeling of a place, so Andre's sculpture really intrigues me.  The use of raw materials to cut into a space is a unique art form that can be appreciated (as shown by the young children in Andre's exhibit) for the simplest of reasons.  What I took away from Andre's art is the importance of appreciating things for what they are and understanding how the space an object occupies can alter an object just as effectively as carving tools can.    


I have a lot to learn about the topic of post-feminism, but the social movement is a topic that I possibly want to address in my final project.  The post-modern era in general intrigues me.  I intend to read more about post-modern issues concerning not only sexism, but also racism, as well as ethical and moral standards.

The image to the right is the first project I have completed in Intro to Painting class with Mark Priest.  Dealing with light, form, and perspective while painting is a highly theraputic process for me.  Translating visual information onto canvas is an escape from loud and conflicting ideas that typically occupy my mind.   This idea of escape from my normally philosophical mindset, via focusing on forms, is an idea I can develop through other less tradition methods of making art.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Entry #1

The fashion of an artist is a subject I ponder often. Whether or not an artist is fashion conscious, it’s safe to say most of us non-nudists have to make decisions about whatever it is we cover ourselves in to face the day. The PBS video I watched had a series short interviews with a diverse group of artists about their style. WK Interact, an artist working in NYC, chooses to wear mostly black because he feels the color suits his "black and white city". Wearing only black is a simple way to dress, but this style choice still reflects Interact's attraction to functionality. Interact’s involvement in street art is apparent in influences his outfits, or as he likes to call them, "his gear". Dressing in black is a way for Interact to blend in with his surroundings and go unnoticed while creating his illegal art. I was really excited to see Tara McPherson talk about her fashion in comparison to her art. I am attracted to Tara's painting style because it is so idealistic. She talks about her interest in the precision of applying make-up and how it directly relates to her painting style. 

After watching Tara McPherson talk about her art and how it relates to her fashion, I thought that I would experiment with her painting style for my piece this week. I always liked Tara's paintings because even if the subject matter is disturbing at first glance, her images are always pretty. Tara's cartoon-like quality and imaginative colors make me happy just because they do. I related to Tara's comments on fashion and surrounding herself with beautiful things. My usual painting style isn't much like hers, so it was fun to play with arbitrary colors and subtle value work.

If you are like me, you use your outward appearance as a creative outlet. Having fun with clothes and accessories is, in my opinion, the easiest form of self-expression. Of course if you aren’t confident it shows, but that is a whole other issue. While skimming over the philosophy of aesthetics provided in the link above I took a primary interest in the theories on expression. These theories, being of the philosophical nature, have flaws. They also have logical arguments that resonate with my own thoughts on the subject. Listening to music is the best scenario I can put myself in to imagine exactly what happens to the music on its journey through my cognitive processes. When an individual listens to music they can feel the intended emotions even though these reactions are filtered through their own experiences. The listener doesn’t have to know the life of the artist to experience an emotion that the artist intended to produce. The example of music’s expressive qualities was by far the most popular in the dialogue on expression. Perhaps it is the passage of time involved with musical pieces that intrigues me.
The meanings of words change over time in a culture. The top words of 2011 mentioned in Toure’s article were occupy, winning, humblebrag, and tebowing. Occupy and winning were definitely the words that I came in most contact with. I work less than a block away from Occupy Louisville. Customers that come into our deli are usually business-types with their suits and expensive umbrellas or they are cops. The opinions of our customers were mostly the same; the “hobos” were bothersome and they weren’t accomplishing anything. The police and the surrounding offices’ employees weren’t happy with occupy, but no one was furious. Occupy was a joke in the beginning and eventually no one cared to talk about the movement at all. There is a serious problem with our economy and the movement to fight the existing system. Another serious problem is Charlie Sheen’s drug addiction and manic-depressive behavior, but don’t worry. We made a joke out of his problems too. “Winning!” popped up somewhere on my newsfeed often, usually in a sarcastic complaint. Maybe to overuse of these words reveals a trend of laziness. Certainly it takes much less energy to laugh off issues instead of seriously considering solutions.