Thursday, May 4, 2017

Final Blog Post

What inspired me the most from Pierre Bonnard's work was his colorful landscapes.  I wanted to create my own landscape with a magical and modern twist.  Rather than using a whole array of colors and tones in my landscape, I used a few basic colors and placed them next to each other to show vibrant contrast.  When looking at the painting, I wanted the viewer to first look a the blonde girl in the pink dress and then follow the bridge to the city in the center of the sky.  I wanted the city to look like a distant place that the girl either wanted to visit or forget.  I tried to use light in a way to make the city look brighter in the center of the sky and make the forest behind the girl appear darker.  The meaning of my painting is purely up to the viewer.  Personally, when I look at my painting, I imagine a princess who comes from a magical place in a fairy tale land and wants to see the city and all the busy people.  I purposely left many portions of the painting plain with minimal detail so the viewer could use their imagination and create their own story.  Based on my perspective, the connotative message of the piece is that there is a really pretty girl standing at the top of a mountain with the forest behind her looking at a dark and serious city in the distance.  The denotative message of the piece is that the girl in the picture is actually a princess hoping to escape her simple and proper life and join the fast-paced, exciting city life.  She is nervous about making the change as can be seen by the daunting bridge connecting the forest to the city streets.  

Overall, I really enjoyed this class.  I thought all of the projects were really fun and engaging and I really learned a lot.  I'm happy that I was able to channel my inner creativity as a senior in college.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Studio Art / Julio Fine Art Gallery #2

There were a lot of really great pieces at this art event.  Two collections, however, impressed me more than any of the other collections.  One girl created a booklet with half the pages dedicated to pretty scenery with flowers and bees while the other half of the pages focused on the effects of pollution with dying flowers and no bees.  This piece was in response to all the pollution in the environment today and how humans have a duty to save the environment in order to prevent other living beings from dying.  The artist's use of color in this booklet is amazing.  The colors on the living side are very vibrant while the colors on the dying side are dismal and dark.  The only thing I didn't like about this piece was that I couldn't spread the pages out and see the whole thing together because it was contained in a glass box.  Another girl created a series of extremely life-like drawings that were so detailed that it looked like she had just traced photographs but that wasn't the case.  She drew one large head that looked just like Marilyn Monroe with a modern twist, one smaller head that had a scary expression, and then three smaller heads on one page of familiar faces that I have seen around campus.  Her lines were so precise and perfect and I wish I could draw faces like that.  I really liked how many artists were recognized for their work at this event.  I thought it was a really nice event for a department on campus to put together for their students.  A couple other pieces I liked was a drawing of a cat with wings and a bird that was only half colored in.  I was attracted to the images of the wings because it reminds me of springtime.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The secret of theory is that truth does not exist.

The quote I chose for my postmodern project was "The secret of theory is that truth does not exist."  This quote instantly made me think of conspiracy theories and that is why I included a lot of images of popular conspiracy theories that are floating around today.  The composition of my piece could be described as organized chaos.  I created mini collages in the four corner of conspiracy theory images and then one big question mark in the center of the page made up of images that reminded me of theory and truth.  With the clusters of images in the four corners and the question mark in the center, I think that the eye moves in a circular motion and then always lands in the center of the page.  I created a sense of balance within the piece by only using three colors and placing those colors in strategic locations.  Yellow paint surrounds the mini collages in the top left corner and bottom right corner while red paint surrounds the mini collages in the top right corner and bottom left corner.  I used blue to outline the question mark in the center because I think the color blue is associated with the most wonder in the world such as what exists in the ocean and in the sky.  The images in the mini collages are roughly the same size so everything is proportionate within the piece.  I created some contrast by using bold primary colors to outline and enhance the black and white images.  The color scheme of my piece is triad with the primary colors, yellow, blue, and red.  I think the simplicity of this color scheme enhances the meaning of the piece.

The denotative message of the artwork is that there are a lot of questions surrounding the theories that are present in our world today because everyone wants to know the truth.  I can gather this from looking at the artwork because there are distinct pictures of conspiracy theories such as the assassination of JFK, aliens, the Illuminati, and the first landing on the moon.  The big question mark in the center of the page reveals that there are a lot of questions surrounding these topics.  There are words written over some of the images in the mini collages such as "Fake" and "Real," "Who's In Charge?" and "What's Real?" which suggests that people want to know the truth.  The connotative message of the artwork is that we live in a world where everyone wants to know the truth, but noone will ever know the truth because the truth does not exist and this creates a bit of chaos.  Everyone wants to live a life with meaning and direction and the organization of this piece allows the viewer to feel safe and comforted by the mini collages confined in the corners by strips of yellow and red paint.  However, a sense of chaos is created in the background of the artwork by the splatters of red, yellow, and blue paint mixing together and causing confusion.  The words "Theory" and "Truth" are located within the question mark because there is no way to prove that any theory is true.  The black lines symbolize that there are cracks in every story we are told and every rule we are forced to follow in society.  The ideological message of this piece is to never accept anything as truth because no one really knows how we ended up on this earth and where we go when we leave as well as everything in between.  The images in this piece are all black and white and subdued because these are theories or concepts that will never be proven and should not take up a lot of space in our minds.  If we focus too much on figuring out the truth, then we will go crazy and our lives will turn chaotic like the splattered paint in the background.  The solid blue line around the question mark is supposed to make the viewer feel secure in knowing that not every question will be answered and that is okay.


Thursday, March 30, 2017


Frederic Jameson:

-Van Gogh's painting of the peasant shoes-
  • requires us to reconstruct some initial situation because without some background information, this painting basically means nothing
  • peasant shoes represent agricultural misery, rural poverty, brutal and primitive state of the world
  • work of art emerges between meaningless and meaning...looking at the pair of shoes brings up memories of the past 
  • hermeneutical- the work in its objectical form is taken as a clue for some vaster reality
-Andy Warhol's Diamond Dust Shoes-
  • work turns centrally around commodification
  • death of the world of appearance
Jean Baudrillard:
  • people visit Disneyland because it is supposed to be a magical, imaginary world where dreams come true
  • presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest of the world is real life
  • the areas surrounding Disneyland are so fake now that Disneyland seems more real
Postmodernism Introduction:
  • postmodern cultural forms reflect the dislocation and fragmentation of language communities 
  • fixated on commodities, products, and images
  • Andy Warhol's pop art
  • we are all hypnotized by the television
  • era of mass communications
  • hyperreality- an order of representation that is not the unreal, but has replaced 'reality' and is more than real, more real than real

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

George Kubler - The Shape of Time

I found this reading particularly interesting because I have always been that person to wonder how one artist can become famous for a particular piece of art while other artists produce quite similar pieces of art and never receive any recognition.  I understand what Kubler means when he says that the lives of the artists have been a genre in the literature of art for a super long time.  Whenever I take an art class, the usual structure is watching a PowerPoint slide deck about a certain genre and time period of art and then learning about the artists that fit within the category.  We are reading Oscar Wilde in my English class right now and our professor asked us if knowing the background of the author makes it easier to understand the text.  And I think this is a really important question to ask when studying any topic that can be subjectively interpreted in many different ways.  I think people can create their own meaning and purpose from a piece of art so that the background or time period of the artist is irrelevant.  Kubler believes that the entrance and position in sequence of the artist is much more important than the artist's talent and I agree.  Although the exact method may not be the same, paintings and drawings and other works of art can be replicated.  What it really comes down to in being a successful artist is luck.  I think this is why so many people stray away from majoring in art because there is no guarantee in how others will perceive the art that is created.  I really enjoy being creative and using my artistic ability, but honestly I chose my majors based on job security and I think a lot of other students do the same simply to avoid the stress of having to prove yourself and your artwork to other people.  Kubler says that every new form limits the succeeding innovations in the same series meaning.  I think this means that when one artist's work becomes popular, then all other artists who produce similar works of art do not achieve the same recognition and success because their work is already considered old news.  Coming up with new ideas is really hard and I think about this a lot in my IS classes when professors ask us to create a new app or website that can greatly improve something in our daily lives.  It's really unfortunate that some artwork will never be admired or desired simply because it fits within a genre that has already been explored.

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.   

Monday, January 23, 2017

My Reaction to "Visibility" by Italo Calvino

I really enjoyed reading "Visibility" by Italo Calvino because I agree with his understanding of the imagination and how different people can develop different thoughts and ideas.  Calvino basically goes back and forth between whether the image that is imagined is creating through seeing written text or certain situations stimulate the visual imagination and then these images are written down later in some logical form.  Based on Starobinski's two modes of thought, he asks himself whether he personally views imagination as an instrument of knowledge or as an identification with the world soul.  He ultimately decides that he would be closer to the identification with the world soul.  I really liked Calvino's statement that "The imagination is a kind of electronic machine that takes account of all possible combinations and chooses the ones that are appropriate to a particular purpose, or are simply the most interesting, pleasing, or amusing."  I could not agree with this statement more.  I feel like when we were younger and were asked to be creative and complete an art project, we were less concerned with creating a piece of art that would please the teacher and ultimately receive a good grade.  We were most genuinely concerned with creating a piece of art that made us happy to look at and that stemmed directly from our imagination or partially from what we had encountered through television shows or advertisements and wanted to replicate.  Calvino fears that our generation as well as later generations will have a really difficult time accessing the imagination because we are exposed to so many images starting at such a young age that there leaves little room to generate new images from the imagination.  I definitely agree that asking our generation or later generations to develop original thoughts, ideas, or images will be extremely difficult because we have the Internet and other sources of media constantly within our reach.  Another section that really caught my attention was when Calvino was discussing how learning how to read was actually a disadvantage for him because he used to develop his own meaning of the stories through the various pictures on the pages.  I share a similar experience to Calvino because I used to have a vivid imagination and would use my imagination when looking at the pictures in my school books, which also resulted in me not learning how to read until much later than other students.  I used to love Tomie dePaola's "Strega Nona" and would essentially create my own story through the pictures.  The imagination is such an important thing that should be considered when deciding how to education young people.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

My Reaction to "The Whole Ball of Wax" by Jerry Salz

In his article, "The Whole Ball of Wax," Jerry Saltz claims that "Art is an energy source that helps make change possible."  He explains that art is just as important as other classes that are taught in schools, such as science and politics, but does not receive the credit it deserves in changing the world.  Personally, I have never viewed art as an essential component of my education or in my development as a productive member of society because my high school as well as my university only requires students to take one art class over the course of four years.  Saltz states that "Art is not optional; it is necessary," and after some thought, I believe that his theory is undeniably true.  I remember taking art class every day throughout grade school and middle school and as a shy, quiet, and extremely awkward child, I was able to express myself through my art.  By creating individual works of art from scratch and analyzing or admiring the artwork of other classmates or established artists around the world, students can unleash their creativity and imagination as well as develop critical-thinking skills and an appreciation for other cultures and ideas.  In the grand scheme of things, art provides a connection between societies and people all around the world because each piece of artwork tells a story about the artist's background, beliefs, environment, etc. and those who view the artist's work can either share the same perspective as the artist or develop an entirely new meaning that relates to their own life.  The great thing about art is that it can mean different things to you at different points in your life.  When I was little, I always used to look at paintings by Thomas Kinkade and think that the tiny cottages and woodland creatures were so pretty and I imagined that fairies and other magical things would exist in those paintings and now when I look at Thomas Kinkade's work, I appreciate his skill and the way he makes the scenery appear so calm and peaceful, like nothing bad could ever happen in the world he creates in his paintings.  I completely agree with Oscar Wilde's view that "The moment you think you understand a work of art it's dead for you," because art never has a definitive meaning.  As the world changes, the way people interpret certain pieces of artwork also changes, which is a remarkable thing because other generations can experience art and create their own purpose and inspiration.