Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Art of Data Visualization Reflection

This topic of data visualization definitely interests me a lot because I am an Information Systems major and focus a great portion of my time gathering data, processing data, and analyzing data to draw conclusions or make inferences about why something is a certain way.  The act of mining data for company use is an extremely lucrative business today.  Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and many others operate as successful businesses based on the sole practice of mining personal data from its users and selling it to other companies interested in targeting a certain market.  Companies rarely make business decisions from raw data alone, meaning data that has not been processed for use, because it is time consuming and confusing to sift through each individual piece of data.  Therefore, business intelligence companies process raw data to create information that can be used by businesses to develop new marketing campaigns and hopefully increase profits.  Business intelligence companies package data in a way that is visually appealing to its customers so that they feel more comfortable looking at the data and ultimately using the data to make informed decisions.  For example, these companies might use bar charts with different colors to show the breakdown of product sales in different stores across the country.  These individual store owners could then look at these graphs and decide whether to keep stocking certain products in the store or discontinue those products altogether.  Data visualization is all around us.  Rather than looking at the battery percentage on our phones or laptops, we might just look at the little battery in the corner to see how full it is.  I have a fitness app that breaks down the macros I eat in a day in a useful pie chart that is color coded.  I really liked the last saying in the YouTube video that we usually see things to confirm things, but we should actually see things to learn things.    

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Studio Art / Julio Fine Art Gallery #1

This was my first time visiting the art gallery on campus and I was very impressed.  There were two artists during this first visit that really caught my attention and they were Elena Damon and Maggie Powell.  Elena Damon embroidered colored string on portraits in an attempt to show how these individuals might be thinking or feeling.  I love the contrast between the black and white portraits and the bright colored string.  This is what first caught my attention.  I think Damon does an excellent job of portraying each individual's unique emotions as shown in the portraits.  The girl with the colored string in a zig-zag pattern below her eyes and across her lips looks very sad or stressed.  The colored string seems to start from her tear ducts which suggests that she might be feeling like she wants to cry because life is just too overwhelming at the moment.  The guy with the colored string shining on him like rays of light looks very optimistic and powerful.  He must be feeling very confident and proud of himself.  I think the use of the embroidery hoop and the bright colored stitching on actual portraits is a very unique and creative idea that was well done.  

Maggie Powell also focuses on people's emotions, but tries to capture how an individual is feeling while listening to a particular piece of music.  This instantly made me think of marketing studies where company tries to figure out how a consumer feels about a certain product and then creates ad campaigns to capture the right audience.  I like how the face of the girl is very clear and recognizable and then pieces surrounding the girl are very abstract.  By focusing on her eyes and her lips, I think the girl is listening to music that makes her sad because her overall expression is solemn.  A few other things that I really like are the freckles on the face, the contrast of the blue eyes and the black hair, and the overall color scheme.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

John Berger / Ways of Seeing

In "Ways of Seeing," John Berger focuses on perspective and how many people can see the same images now due to reproduction, but the meaning of those images change over time.  I liked when Berger was talking about the reproduction of a painting by Brueghel of The Road To Calvary.  The whole painting shows Mary, John, and the mourners of Christ and evokes feelings of grief and torture.  Berger then zooms in on certain areas of the painting to show that there are many different meanings present in one piece of art.  Some of the themes he listed were devotion, landscape, social customs, etc.  Berger states that this painting can be presented as a story and I agree with him.  This painting is cool because I imagine anyone can look at it and develop stories for every person in the painting or at least relate it to something that is happening in their own life.  When I look at this painting, without zooming in on certain areas, I think of what is currently happening in America right now.  The people in the bottom right corner of the painting are clearly grieving and this reminds me of all the people who are very upset about Donald Trump being our president.  This also reminds me of all the immigrants in our country who are worried that they may never be able to see their family members again or who may be forced to leave America.  I think this painting relates to a lot of the problems in our society today. 

I also really liked when Berger was with the kids and asked them what they thought of Caravaggio's painting and whether they thought the center person was male or female.  When I first looked at this painting, I thought the person in the center was a woman because of the soft features of the face.  But, when the one kid suggested that the person in the center might be Jesus, I immediately agreed with him.  The positioning of the person in the center of the table and the outfit the person is wearing reminds me of Jesus, just because I feel like I have seen paintings before that look very similar.  The men also seem interested in what the person in the center is saying because they are all facing him and either arguing with him or listening to him.  I like the darkness of this painting and how it seems like the men are in a private location where they can only talk by candlelight.  The colors in this painting are very deep and rich and I like how the table cloth is very bright and you can see all the details in the food on the table.  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Baltimore Museum of Art Class Trip

Italian, 1883 - 1966

Dancer at Pigalle's 
Oil and sequins on sculpted gesso on artist's canvasboard

French, 1867 - 1947

Breakfast in the Garden
Oil on canvas

1859 - 1935

Snowstorm, Madison Square, c. 1890
Oil on canvas

This last painting is my favorite.  Childe Hassam makes Madison Square Garden look like a peaceful winter wonderland, when anyone who has ever visited New York City knows that this is not always the case.  New York City is the city that never sleeps, but this painting tells a much different story.  Up close, I can see all the tiny brush strokes he uses to create a soft, blurred image of the city and all the snow pouring down from the sky.  I like the neutral colors he uses such as gray, beige, cream, navy, and orange.  His brush strokes are very light and precise on the ground and more smudged in the sky. There are several people and horses in the painting and I can imagine that everyone is strolling around, enjoying the beautiful scenery created by the snow.  This painting speaks to me because I have visited New York City with my family during the winter, especially around the holidays, and it always seems so magical to me.  Hassam captures this magic in his painting.  I also like all the little details such as the branches on the trees, the tower in the background, and the tall light posts.