This course was much more of a struggle for me than I thought it would be, however it challenged me in great way. It forced me to think outside of the box, realize that mistakes are beautiful, and that there is no right way of doing something. I noticed that everything is a process. It’s not always important to have a finished product that appears to be perfect, but it’s the in-between that is the most meaningful. This course taught me that there is a constant battle in our brains between how we perceive things to look as compared to what your eye is looking at. This class really showed me how to look at an object or image. Our perceptions can become distorted when looking at images because we are trained to think about things in a certain way. For example, I always thought that my eye was shaped like an almond until I really looked at my eye during the self portrait project. I realized that my eye isn’t an almond shaped and has much more character. I really enjoyed this course despite the struggles, and would like to take another art class in the near future.
Initally when Professor Nell told our class that we would be doing a self portrait as our final assignment, I immediately had negative thoughts. The process of self doubt began and I felt like I was not capable of recreating an image myself by using just an eraser and charcoal. I also felt like it would be weird to draw myself by constantly looking at myself in a mirror and having a light shine onto my face. Later, I saw the benefits of the mirror and the light source and was grateful for both of them.
Starting the project was the most intimidating part of the entire project for me. I was trying to process what I actually look like, how people perceive me to look, and trying to translate that all onto paper. Nell told us to start with our nose, and the lightest light on our nose. From there we could explore other parts of our face. My nose was a struggle for me seeing as I had to re-draw it 7 times, but once I finally got my nose down I was able to move onto my lips, face, eyes, and eyebrows. The more time I spent in the art studio, the more comfortable and confident I felt about my skills. I was able to zone out by listening to music and just focusing solely on the self portrait. The art studio was like an escape for me from my worries about other finals.
Overall, I really enjoyed this project and it turned out to be my favorite one of the semester. I learned so much about myself and my face. I learned that I enjoy asking questions, getting feedback, interpreting that feedback, and using it to improve. I also saw that I am very persistent and unwilling to give up on something until it is completed. By staring in the mirror for over 20 hours, I was able to see all of my imperfections that make me perfectly imperfect. I never noticed the darkness around my eyes, the large creases under my eyes, and my undefined cupids bow on my lips. I would like to continue doing self portraits in the future and hopefully they will improve overtime.
A few weeks ago I attend the Haints and Saints Halloween Parade in Decatur. This parade has been going on since 2011, and has become a tradition in downtown Decatur around Halloween. The parade started small with only a small walk around Decatur Square, but this year it expanded tremendously. It featured several local businesses, organizations and schools which made it not only a parade, but also made it so that people felt included in the community. The Haints and Saints parade was coordinated by Decatur Market and Gallery, a co-operative gallery that supports emerging artist in Atlanta.
I attended the parade with Karina who also happens to be in the Art 160 course with me. We really enjoyed looking at the little kids and dogs in their halloween costumes. It made reminisce about all the fun times I had as a kid dressing up and going out trick or treating with my sisters. I also visited the local shop in Decautur called Homegrown. It is such an eclectic and quirky shop that features art work, jewelry, and other items from local artists/ designers in Atlanta. Overall, I had a fun time with Karina filled with laughs, candy, and Chipotle.
Tonight, I attended the Sheila Pree Bright art lecture in Campbell Hall. At this talk, Bright discussed some of her work, the importance of looking at different cultures, and always asking the question Why. Tonight wasn’t the first time I have encountered Sheila Pree Bright or some of her work. In my first year seminar class, my class attended an art exhibit at Spelman College where some of Sheila Pree Bright’s work was displayed. I was immediately drawn her pieces in her “Plastic Bodies” series because of its ability to make the viewer question what is real and what is fake and distinguish between what is socially accepted as beautiful and what a woman’s body truly looks like. Bright mentioned these things in her talk tonight as well as many other things pertaining to stereotypes of African American men and women. For instance her project titled “Suburbia” where Bright portrays the invisibility of the black middle class by photographing several homes in various black suburbs. She wanted to convey the fact that not all black households contain the typical black stereotypes. Bright also discussed some of her more recent work such as 1960’s Who, Fifteen, Young Americans, and her most recent wheat pasted images at Agnes Scott College.
Overall, I enjoyed listening to Sheila Pree Bright’s talk tonight. I thought that some of the topics she addresses in her work are inspiring, insightful, and brave. I appreciated the fact that she is so passionate about her work and wanting her work be seen by all walks of life not just by those disclosed in museums.
For this project, we were each given two words which were complete opposites of each other. I had the words course and dainty. From there we were supposed to come up with synonyms, feelings, and thoughts associated with that word. When I think of the word coarse, my mind immediately goes to something tangible like grainy sand or rocks. I attempted to depict that same imagery with texture with my drawing and my image. I chose to use carpet for my image since it conveys many of the same elements of coarse which are dense, indelicate, abrasive, etc. All of these characteristics are the opposite of my other word which was dainty. The word dainty is associated with all things feminine and elegant. For my image I chose to use a red ribbon and manipulate it into the same shape as my drawing which was this free flowing, intertwining, looping line.
In class critique
The in class critique was very insightful and made me think about how other images are applied to the same concepts of the elements and principles that our class learned about. From the critique I learned about the idea of how we relate images to scale and how those images are translated. For example, the thumbnail drawings that we did may or may not have been translated the same way when put onto a bigger scale like the five inch squares. We also discussed the importance of working in black and white. Staying in the range of black and white can convey a different meaning unlike working with color. Color can have several associations in terms of what a color means or what feeling you get when looking at a particular color.
Work that impressed me
I was really impressed with Ama and Anastasia’s work. I appreciated the thought and effort that went beyond just the classroom; they both really took into consideration each word that they were given and took chances with their drawings and images. What really stood out to me about their work was their images and the thought processes behind them. For example, Ama had the word “Vulgar”. She chose to use combined images from several porn dvd covers and blur some of the details of those images out to create her image. This idea was brilliant to me because I personally wouldn’t have thought to do this, but she took a risk with doing this and it worked perfectly. I was impressed with Anastasia’s attention to detail with her drawings and images. Her image of her word “exquisite” was surprising because at a distance her image looked like a plant with two dots. In reality, it was chairs, people and a plant.
Overall, I would describe my super power animal as being unique, shocking, surprising, and cute. By combining an Aye Aye and a Chinchilla, I was able to create something that was both charming to look at, while still maintaining its form. I named my creature the “Daubentonia Bandit” which is a combination of the scientific name of the Aye Aye and Bandit since it is constantly on the lookout for humans attempting to hunt endangered species. When creating my creature, I literally just gathered materials around the studio that I thought would correlate with its function which is to save other endangered species from becoming extinct. I used materials like straws and forks to represent long arms and legs which would be helpful when climbing trees. Shiny paper for large/ reflective ears which would expand my animals peripheral vision and are useful in detecting sounds from predator drawing near. I also found two light bulbs which I used as eyes. I chose lightbulbs since my creature is the most active at night and needs to be able see far distances in extreme darkness. To incorporate elements similar to a chinchilla, I found some fur like material which I attached to the body. The fur functions as a defense mechanism when my creature feels threatened or anxious; the fur will begin to fall off. This project really forced me to think/ tap into my more creative side which I am not used to using. It also showed me that art is something that can be created out of anything, literally. Art doesn’t have to be constricted to just paint, brushes, and a canvas, but can be created out of everyday materials like toothbrushes, comb, the inside of a pillow, etc. Like many of the other projects, everyones creature looked distinctly different from one another which reflects personalities, personal aesthetics, and several creative processes. I really enjoyed the process of developing my creature and I think that it turned out nice overall.
When I saw Mara’s animal “Obsolescence”, I was immediately drawn to it because of the attention to detail and reflective colors on the body of the animal. I thought that the message which was technological waste was conveyed well because it is depicted literally by the materials she chose to use: CD’s, a light switch, cards, and other technological materials. I was impressed by how much her creature looked like an owl, but still had the wisdom of a turtle.
Above are two images of my super powerful creature which I call the “Daubentonia Bandit.” My creature is a combination of two animals: an Aye Aye and a Chinichilla. I chose both of these animals because they both are endangered, have interesting characteristics, and are unique in appearance. Although the Aye Aye is very displeasing to look at, I thought that if I mixed it with characteristics of a chinchilla it would offset the fact that an Aye Aye is very unattractive and make it cute.
Due to the fact that both of these animals are endangered, it was only fitting that my creature, the Daubentonia Bandit save and protect other endangered species from becoming extinct. My creature will save other species of animals by alerting them to get out of sight when humans are approaching. It will do this by sound; my creature has a high pitched sound that is only heard by other endangered species, but silent to humans. This creature will be nocturnal and exert the most force at night; hence the light bulbs for eyes, while brainstorming tactics silently during the day. I made my creature so that it has extremely long fingers and toes which will be helpful in climbing up trees to look out for humans on the hunt. This creature also has huge ears which are beneficial in picking up sounds when humans are drawing near. The whiskers on my animal help to sense the negative intentions of humans and is also another tool they use to see. Lastly, the fur is a defense mechanism that my creature uses when it feels threatened or under attack themselves by other prey. The fur will fall off uncontrollably if stressed.
Links to the images where I gathered inspiration: