Archive for the ‘Arts’ Category

On Photography

February 25, 2008

If you were, say, an evil mastermind, and wanted to develop a course of study to cause people to become bitter, shriveled husks of their former selves, you very well may develop photography. Let me explain why.

First, you spend hours of almost every day in a nearly pitch black (for developing paper) or absolutely pitch black (for developing film) room. Take away the photo work and close the door, and you’ve created a pretty nasty solitary confinement cell. Some scientists think it is bad for people not to get a certain amount of sun, so what a dark room’s safe lights do to you is beyond me.

Add to this the way the system causes you to wish your life away in 2, 3, 5, 8 minutes increments (because, truly, not even the Buddha himself could find peace or fulfillment in agitating a tray of developing solution for 2 minutes) and you’ve found a way to teach your students how not to appreciate the moment.

Finally, for good measure, throw in a little anti-Pavlovian torture to make it really stick. Pavlov, as you may already know, trained dogs to associate an external stimulus (a bell) with food, to the point that ringing the bell would cause them to drool. However, the opposite can be done; randomly administer shocks to an animal, and they will, in their confusion, sink into a deep depression. Photo is similar; each teacher has a long list of very specific procedures, which would be ok, except that every teacher’s list is different, and many are contradictory.

Ironically, though, I’m not writing this because I am frustrated with photography. Actually, I’m really excited about the next project, and I still get a lot of joy out of it. I was just wondering lately why it is that all the senior photo majors seem to be bitter, withered husks of their former selves. So I guess now I know. Oh well.


On Money, Stuff, And Frustration

February 21, 2008

I don’t know what’s more alarming about this year so far: The amount of money I’ve spent, or that I’m poised to spend more.

Why have I spent so much? Photo supplies, for one, which was unavoidable. A wacom tablet, secondly, which hopefully will equal more cash in the future (through design work). If that were all, I’d be okay with myself. I’m down a lot of money but doing okay, and the investments make sense. Now my current frustration.

I want to buy a guitar.

This isn’t surprising. My friends and family are no doubt thinking, “Again?” I’ve wanted a guitar many times before, and come very close to actually buying one. However, I never have, for two reasons: I’m not musically inclined at all, and I’m not sure I’ll have the determination to learn. However, I can’t get past the feeling of wanting one, and I have never tried to learn an instrument before, so who knows, maybe I will love it.

I’m starting to feel like it’s something I just need to buy and then only notice when it’s time to move to a new house. There are lots of things like that when you’re trying to be a little frugal: things that you need to buy to teach yourself a lesson. Maybe a guitar is one of those for me (but an expensive one at that). Or maybe not. Maybe it’s a good thing waiting to happen.

Currently, the force most compelling me towards it is the memory of the first (and only) time I held a guitar. Without even knowing what I was doing, I picked it up, strummed it, and it was generous enough to make a beautiful note, perhaps the first one I’ve ever been responsible. That was a good feeling.

So does anyone have thoughts?

-The art student desperately seeking a guitar.

Wacom (And Printers)

February 13, 2008

So, I’ve been feeling a temptation to buy a Wacom tablet lately. I think it would be a great investment in a lot of ways: it would give me lots of new artistic avenues to pursue, could benefit my graphic design work, and maybe even serve as an aid in learning to draw.

The downside is, it will cost at least $300, maybe more, depending on the model I buy. That’s a substantial chunk of change, and I’m, not surprisingly, cautious about it.

Any thoughts?

(Also, anyone have any idea my my printer, which is relatively good, would have trouble with a thicker [but still quite thin] paper stock? It seems to start printing fine, and then it starts bunching up the text more and more until it has printed over the same spot a bunch of times and jams with the paper about 4/5 of the way through the machine. Thanks)

This Too Shall Pass

February 3, 2008


What can I say, it’s been one of those days. And after I was just happily talking about the future of my happiness blog! It turns out, pinhole cameras are miserable to work with, especially if you start to worry you are messing it all up (and actually messing up some of it, forcing yourself to redo it). I sent a text to a friend describing myself as “sweaty, tired, pissy!”

It doesn’t help when half the world is holding hands (I imagine, saying “ha ha, look what we have that you don’t!”) and yet your roommate’s life is telling you that it doesn’t last.

Which brings us to the title. I was walking back from the art building grumbling to myself when I remembered that phrase and the story behind it (it makes the happy people sad, and the sad people happy). I said it aloud, thought of myself happier and everyone else sad, and I laughed out loud.

I can’t control being sweaty or tired, but I can not be pissy. It’s really not worth it.

Also, I knew walking back I had to watch this. Cheered me up. ^^ Later everyone.

This Is Amazing

February 1, 2008

This video of Ian from 3 Panel Soul coloring an image is amazing. I’ve always been a big fan of his art and, now that I’m taking drawing classes myself, it’s really interesting to see how he does it. Watch for the moment around 14:30 where suddenly the cherub stops being cartoony and becomes three dimensional. Art is freaking weird sometimes.

Awesome Art

January 30, 2008

I found a pretty impressive artist today. His work is mostly done with ballpoint pen on huge sheets of paper. The level of detail is amazing. I find some of the images he chooses somewhat strange, but the snapshot aesthetic is pretty popular at the moment. And hey, it must be art, there are some exposed breasts!

Oh yeah, NSFW. A little.

The Watcher-Walker Problem

December 8, 2007

So, there’s this idea my mom introduced me to, which in a certain way seems to be true of most creative people (hopefully she’ll give us a source) called the Watcher-Walker. While not as serious as, say, multiple personality disorder or something, the idea is that creative people are deeply divided in terms of motives: half the time, they have the same motives as everyone else, wanting to live a happy normal life, and the other half of the time are collecting bits and pieces of life to use in their art. The former is the walker, the latter the watcher. It tends to make you more then a little self critical (and certainly most if not all creative people are very introspective), but it also poses a problem when the two interests are conflicting. While normally you might live your life and the watcher can just enjoy the ride, there are bound to be times when the walker says, “back off, this is dangerous” and the watcher says, “but I wonder what would happen if I pushed just a little harder…”

For me, the first real outlet I had for this introspection was writing. Bit and pieces of my daily life found their way into otherwise fictional stories. I think it’s because of this that I am more likely to push harder out of curiosity in print then I am in person. Through e-mail or instant message, I’ll ask difficult questions or say things that are a little exaggerated to see what response I get.

I have never really trusted these mediums of communication as much because of this, even though I am typically more comfortable in them. The desire to treat them as fictional is too strong. So my response has always been to feel like the things I feel and express in person are the most genuine, and that anything I want to say but can’t in person is possibly more hypothetical then real.

Lately, though, I’ve been wondering about this mindset. In some cases, I can look back and know that following this rule would have saved me a lot of trouble. It’s not just creative or introspective people either; I’m sure everyone has been in a fight and thought later that it seems they weren’t really that mad, only that they felt they aught to be mad. It’s the same idea, crafting a fiction of sorts as we go to make sense of the world.

At other times, though, I have wanted so badly to say something in person that it gnaws at me and yet I can never spit it out.  If I can say it more easily with pen and paper later, does that always make it false? By the same token, I say things I don’t mean in person all the time. Who doesn’t? A slip of the tongue, a hurried statement in the rush of the moment, and suddenly you’ll spend the rest of your days trying to clarify what you meant.

It seems maybe it’s not so cut and dry. I need to sort out how to tell one way or the other (if such a thing is possible), though, because I know for sure what I want and what would be interesting to want, I’m stuck, indecisive.

(If anyone, self-described as creative or not, wants to weigh on on feeling this way [or feeling the opposite] I’d love to hear about it. I think it’s really interesting, if sometimes frustrating. Especially comment if you think you’ve found a solution! You may be responsible for eliminating the “angsty artist” once and for all.)

Art And Sharing

November 13, 2007

This isn’t the post promised – Sorry, that lovely piece of bottled hate will have to wait till I crest the current hill of homework. Such is the life of a college student.

Instead, I’d like to touch on something I’ve noticed today, without attempting to draw any greater generalizations or deep meaning.

My art program is an incredible place to be. The real selling point, though, is the people, and nothing shows them off better then when it comes to sharing.

Repeatedly, I’ve seen that people are incredibly willing to part with their work if it means giving it to a classmate they know will appreciate it. I’ve given away work a few times. Today, in fact, I gave a piece (there were 147 identical pieces) to almost everyone. Someone even paid me, unrequested, for it (which actually made me feel bad, I owe him a favor).

I also have a few people’s work. Megan’s rain photo. Ellis’s paper hand. I’m sure I’ll add to it before the end of my time her.

Why do people feel so willing to give things away?  I’m not sure. Part of it, I’m sure, is that we don’t invest much more then time in most projects. Also, because we know it will go to better use with them then with us. More then anything, though, it’s because we’re a small group and we all feel a responsibility for making the art school the sort of place we want to be.

Or maybe it’s just working the odds, so that if any one of us makes it big, the rest have priceless relics to sell.  Worth a shot, right?

What A Day

October 23, 2007

I’m sorry about the lack of a post last night, as well as this being probably all you will get today. I am swamped with school work while not getting anything done just for me. Thursday will be the worst day, although I have something fun to do Thursday night, assuming I don’t die before then.

To be fair, though, my current bleh feelings have more to do with a certain painting in the art building. Actually, I love it, and, for me and my current context, it’s a great painting, but art being good was never promised to equate to it making you happy.

I have a strong feeling that I need change. We’ll see where I can find it.

[Edit: I forgot to mention that the thought of planting asparagus this Friday has made me very happy. So did going and printing the posters I needed for an art project. Yay.]

Resolutions Update

October 17, 2007

Remember how, originally, this blog was about a set of New Years/Birthday-to-Birthday Resolutions (My birthday is close enough to New Years for them to be the same)? Otherwise known as the “List of Things I Should Do Before I Turn Twenty.” I thought, since I’ve hardly thought about them, let alone write, for a while, I should catch you all up.

Here is the list:

1. Complete a working portfolio (photography, probably, but perhaps other graphic arts work too)
2. Organize writing collection (old fiction, etc)
3. Save at least an additional $1000
4. Get into Columbia University
5. Keep an up-to-date resume
6. Revive City of Shalom
7. Have at least one salad per week (hey, it’s a start)
8. Prepare a public art project expressing positive messages about the environmentto begin on my birthday (added to the list here.)

Numbers 1, 4, and 5 are done (or as done as they get). Numbers 2 and 6 are well under way. 7 is, well, never mind that one. I had honestly forgotten about number 8 until I wrote this post, but I have been working on a number of interesting public art projects, so I am doing okay.

So, that leaves for us number 3, the money goal! My bank account total should be around $2,075. I’ve mentioned before that, when one includes the money I have invested in, I’ve already far usurped this goal. In terms of just my savings, though, I am not quite there. However, I am happy to say that not visiting New York nearly every weekend has it’s financial advantages. My total is up to $1948. $52 and I am good.

It’s an exciting moment. Good luck to you in all your goals!

Now get some sleep.