Thursday, March 17, 2011


Today in 2D Gerard returned the three full sketchbook signatures which we had previously handed in. Because I didn't have a chance to photograph them as I finished them, I took pictures of all three at once.

The format for the sketchbooks is that each signature contains 16 pages. Each sketchbook investigates one color. Each signature is comprised of two parts; the first eight pages are to experiment with the way the color reacts, mixes, etc. The second half of each signature uses the color in a conceptual way, taking into account what was learned while experimenting. We must use acrylic and have the option of using collage.

Note that the lighting in my room is not ideal, so the colors shown don't quite match up to the real thing.

This is my red sketchbook:

For the conceptual part, I looked at imagery like an iconic red fox, red herrings, the red scare/communism, Little Red Riding Hood, and butchery.

Here comes yellow:

We needed a theme, so I just stuck with banana. I tried to show it in different lights, with some quirky colors and juxtapositions.

And the most recent, blue:

This was easily the most fun I had so far. I actually came up with the idea because I wanted to incorporate the cyanotypes I made in 2D earlier, which I had used house imagery on. However, after xeroxing the cyanotypes to collage on, I didn't even use them. Instead, I used just this graphic, slightly varying icon of a house and played with the idea of inside and outside (and encouraged flow) by using cut-outs. They're used on every page but the last, opening windows and doors into the next and last page. The images created by the openings of space were very important and I planned them carefully. I also wanted to pair the houses with the ideas of flood and fire, shown specifically in the last two pages.

Having only just received feedback on all the signatures I've completed, it's now time to really push myself. My teacher only emphasized what I knew I needed to work on, which is to incorporate more painterly representations into my hard-edged, always graphic pictures. I need to take more risks be looser. I'm trying to see if I can introduce a new media such as colored pencil just to reinvigorate my stagnant thought process and force more texture into my images.

It's been hard to change my thought process because the format and prompt for each signature is completely identical, except for the color focus. Hopefully I can learn to switch things up without the prodding of assignment. By the time I bind all the signatures into a presentable sketchbook by semester's end, I'm determined to show real growth, exploration, and risk-taking which I haven't yet reached.

The Art of Crime

As reported humorously by Stephen Colbert several years ago, artist Shepard Fairey was sued by AP photographer Mannie Garcia for supposedly appropriating the copyrighted image to create the iconic Obama HOPE poster.

Clearly, the photo at least served as a launch point for Fairey's art. Even Garcia appreciated how his original photo was transformed. So although the poster may seem directly derivative of the original, Fairey used artistic license to change its meaning to and effect on the viewer, and because of this deserves to call the new image his own.

It's hardly uncommon to use existing images to create new ones, but the line of possession is constantly changing. The elevation of a simple picture to art is a tricky matter but in the name of HOPE, Fairey pulls it off.

Monday, February 28, 2011


In class, we watched some clips and TED talks about the idea of who owns what in the new digital age. One person explained that the "read-write culture" -- wherein people participate and change the media they encounter -- has revived itself with the arrival of new digital technology. However, this ability to change pre-existing media has produced mixed results, from innocuous forms of free entertainment to money-making invasions of privacy.

Because there are so many extreme cases which cast this free-exchange of media in a bad light, it can never be given free reign to do actual good. Although it has freed us from a stagnant "read only" culture, this new access to any and everything has been sorely taken advantage of. I imagine that as new technology is discovered and exploited, this problem can only spiral further out of control because clearly there isn't any blanket law that can justly settle all disputes. It seems the options are to descend into miserly guardedness or iniquitous thievery.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It's Type-ifying!

For our last Foundation Computers assignment, we investigated the use of type in Illustrator to create imagery.

This was my representational type drawing: a pair of Groucho Marx glasses in their symmetrical, hairy glory.

This is my non-representational type drawing. I actually started out with a scribble line of numbers which I copied, reflected, and kept scaling up. Because of all the scaling, the numbers are difficult to see and the image is pretty intricate up close.

For this "expressive" type drawing, I drew on the artist David Carson whom we looked at during class. I saw how he lay phrases in interesting ways. I took the end lyrics from Joanna Newsom's song "Baby Birch" (a fantastic live version is here) and chose my type and composition based on the meaning and rhythm of the song. Many believe the artist is singing about a mother mourning an abortion or miscarriage, which definitely injected some emotion into how I chose to lay out the words.

And this is the last of the four -- a six word autobiography. I really liked how a portion of the class wrote sentences instead of separate words, so mine feels slightly less creative. It was actually kind of difficult to come up with the proper words once I was in front of the computer screen, but I think these all apply to me at least somewhat.

Things are heating up in Second Semester/Color Foundations: Week 5 means at least Project 1 in both 2D and 3D as well as two sketchbooks and a color chart are due. Just in those two classes. But it's just back to the daily grindstone push and pull.

P!S! So I've been becoming obsessed with the site Co.Design. It has amazing examples of new design, infographics, and generally mind-bending ideas. One of their articles was also about The Ice Book, which is hauntingly beautiful. And that's just one of the great discoveries to be found. I've added the site to my Links, and they update it with several articles everyday as well as keeping track of their archives. I definitely recommend taking a look and enjoying the whimsical world of design.