Sunday, April 15, 2012

I'm gonna grow plants in a drain!!!

The other day I went to the art museum by myself for the second time. I had to find a western American painting to write a paper on for my art history class. The funny thing is that while my professor told us that we should write it on one of the pieces at the museum, so far he’s told us in class that 3 of the paintings there are fakes. So I’m a little nervous to write my paper on a painting when I could go into next class and hear him say that it’s a fake and the subject of my paper is invalid. But I think I chose a good one and everything will be okay.

One thing that I didn’t know about the Phoenix art museum is that it has an incredibly famous painting, Jean-Leon Gerome’s Pollice Verso. I saw it last time I went and I was completely surprised, because I had no idea that it was in their collection. While I was looking at it again, one of the museum docents came up to me and started talking to me about it. She was like: “I bet you didn’t know that this is probably the most valuable painting here at the museum.” I told her that I did and agreed with her and told her that Gerome is an incredible artist. She was taken aback and asked me how I knew about him. I was a little surprised because the dude is famous. But I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised because even on the information card about him it starts with the sentence: “Not many people have heard of the artist Jean-Leon Gerome….” I also told her that I was an art student but she was still surprised that I knew about him and asked me what I liked about the painting. (She was kind of creeping me out at this point) I told her that it’s just the detail and the way that he painted. You can tell he was very academically trained. There are also two bronze gladiator sculptures there too which are absolutely awesome. I wish I could have a copy of each one!
The Gladiator Painting!
Gladiator studies

Although tempted, I resisted telling her about how my art teacher said that some of their western paintings are fake. LOL! I’m sure it would have really irritated her. But it gets me wondering though about other paintings I’ve seen or looked at in museums. How many of them are fakes and I don’t even know it?

Oh speaking of paintings, I’ve always wondered what the Mona Lisa would look like if it were cleaned. It turns out that there is a copy of it that was just restored, and they think that the copy may have been made at the same time the mona lisa was being painted. (What I’m trying to say is that a younger artist was copying Leonardo as he was painting his version.) Whatever the case, here is the link to the article. And a comparison here.

After I browsed around I went to the museum store. I LOVE museum stores, they sell the strangest most eclectic things ever. I didn’t think I would really find anything, but I spotted something that I hadn’t seen before. It was this strange cement cube with one side of it hollowed out and a chrome drain on the top. I was really confused at first, but then I read the pamphlet near it and it said it was a Haisui Planter. Here is an excerpt from the pamphlet:

Have you ever seen plants growing out from odd places? Like from concrete walls or maybe drainages? Well, why not bring it home and see for yourself! “Haisui” drainage in Japanese, will allow you to enjoy the survival instincts of plants first hand.
LOL. Okay so it’s made in japan so some of the wording is a little strange…But anyway so you put some seeds into it and then you watch them grow through the drain! It says that each one is handmade, and I thought it looked really cool and reminded me of new York city and all the concrete there. I happened to look at the price and it was 50 dollars, but 75% off! Wow, only 12.50! I had to buy it. Now I’m very excited about it and I wonder what I should plant in it. It’s kind of funny that I’m going to be planting things and then watching them struggle and use survival instincts for my own amusement. Okay maybe its not that bad, but it’s a funny thing to think about.

Haisui Planter!

It looks so modern!

The space to put some dirt and seeds.

What should I plant?

And on a last random note, I just have to say that it’s true what people say about the light rail here. There really are a lot of weirdos that ride it!! I think I got “holla’d” at least five times. The strange guys here at the stop actually talk to you and approach you. In nyc, even the hoodlums know when to not cross the line and bother you, but here its like they have absolutely no shame whatsoever. I just read a story the other day about a girl who was assaulted at the light rail station by a guy that was following her and then tried to get her to talk to him. Many guys think this sort of behavior to get a girls attention is funny and not hurtful, but trust me- females do NOT see things their way. We don’t see this kind of attention as flattering AT ALL. Maybe people don’t know how to act because mass transit of this type is new to them, or maybe they are all just legit crazy.

Friday, March 30, 2012

One post for March! Yay!

I feel bad because I haven’t blogged in forever. But when life gets busy it becomes so easy to put posting off. Plus, I don’t have much of a garden anymore to post about anyway. So today I’m at work and my boss is out, and I have absolutely no homework here for me to do, so I’m going to blog! I’ll have to use pictures off of my phone since I don’t have any here at work.

So, one thing that I’ve been meaning to blog about is an office chair that I reupholstered. I had been looking for a chair for my drawing desk, but couldn’t find any cheap ones. So, I went to my college’s surplus store where they sell old furniture that the college no longer has a use for. They sell stuff for a few dollars, so I got an office chair for about 5 bucks. I cleaned the plastic parts of the chair and then went to Jo-Ann’s and looked at fabric. Finding fabric for the chair was the hard part, because I wanted a print that was large, but not too large for the chair. Plus there were just too many fabric choices! I loved them all. But finally I found a very happy print that I liked, and bought a piece large enough to cover the seat and back cushion.  I also bought some extra padding for the cushions to make them more comfy.
Here's a picture of the chair before...

It was SOOO dirty!

One of the fabrics I saw at JoAnns. But it was a little too "governmental" or "empirical."

I found a pink and green flowery canvas cloth! I tore out all of the old cloth and then stapled the new cloth and the cushioning on.
After the Process. It looks so much better!

Since re-upholstering the chair some time ago, I’m very happy with the design and everything that I’ve done, but sadly the chair is incredibly squeaky and I’m not sure if I can fix that- and it’s also kind of uncomfortable. But then so is my other chair that I use at my computer desk and inherited from a roommate. When I moved from NYC I had to leave my most comfortable favorite chair in the world- it was a leather captains chair that I got a great deal on. So, being a student I can’t afford good chairs until I start working again. (boo!)  So I guess in the meantime I’ll just have to deal with the cheap student chairs.

This was a fun project to work on though, and if I found a good chair in the future then I would do it again.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The End of the Garden?

As the title says, I think that the idea of having a spring garden has fizzled. I was rearing some seedlings in the house for a month and now I've watched all of them die. My squashes died when I took them out of the jiffy greenhouse container they were in, some of my plants never even materialized, and then the other day I made a poor decision of thinking all of my tomato plants were old enough to go outside.

I put them out in a relatively sunny spot (Since tomatoes like sun, right?) on friday and at the end of the day I came back outside and they were all withered and bleached out. Every single one- even the purple tomatoes. So, I'm pretty sad about that because I was looking forward to growing them. But maybe it's a sign that school just doesn't allow time for proper care of plants.

Also, I had some garlic that had sprouted in the fridge and so I had planted that. Most of them I threw into the ground and they were doing fine, until my landladies husband came over and sprayed the backyard with weedkiller. He sprayed around some of them, but of course that stuff spreads like crazy and it's ridiculously toxic, so now all of the garlic has died or will die as well. It makes me upset, because I don't understand why my landlord can't have her grandkids come over and just pull the weeds out. That's what I've been doing a few times and I don't see any reason why people should just pump weedkiller into the ground when they can just do a little bit of work and pull them out naturally.

Watering won't help at this point!
So all I have left now are a few sunflowers and some lettuce, which is small and probably too bitter to eat. All of this is probably for the best not only because of school, but because I've injured my back somehow and it's not getting any better. So leaning over to take care of things would be too difficult and not the best idea.

Even though I'm still pretty sad and distressed over my portfolio review (as well as a handful of other things going wrong), there are some good things happening as well. I did my taxes and with the left over money I've bought some books and an SD card for my mp3 player so I can put most all of my music on it. I'm hoping that things will start to look a little brighter and not so "blah" in the next few weeks.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Conceptual Drivel and the Argument For What is Art

I know the title of this post is flame worthy, but you see that is exactly my point.

This morning I got ready and headed for my pre-portfolio review for my art program at school. I was fairly confident that whoever looked at my work would think it was pretty good. I had even heard that if they liked your stuff well enough then you could be accepted into the program on the spot.
Once I got there, I watched the three "directors" talk about what they wanted to see in the portfolio, and they even gave some examples of earlier portfolios submitted. One of the portfolios consisted of about 10 paintings. My program is considered more digital art than traditional, so I thought it was kind of strange that they would like the portfolio. Not only that, but the paintings put it kindly, not very good. They consisted mostly of still lifes and one piece of a soldier with a caged bird. I thought it was rather cliche but they seemed to love it. I thought that if this is all that it took to get into the program then I should be all set. After all, I've already had my artwork published and some of the animation that I've worked on sold in stores.

One of the directors I had previously as a teacher and so we were told that we couldn't choose that same person to review our portfolio. So I chose to go with this one guy by the name of Greg to review my work. He seemed to be pretty popular with everyone and I figured that out of all 3, he was the highest in command and influence. As I waited for my turn to present my portfolio to him, I heard him make kind suggestions to the girl before me and he even told her that one of her pieces reminded him of Alexander Calder's work. The girl had no idea who Calder was, but told him that she would write it down. I thought to myself- how could you even make it this far without ever hearing of Alexander Calder? I shrugged it off and then it was my turn.

I showed him the first page and started explaining my work when he cut me off and told me that he would just look over it without me talking about it first. As he looked at each page he seemed rather uninterested and had this look of pity and confusion on his face. He reached the end and then told me: "I don't get any sense of who you are in any of these pieces. What is the point, the purpose? I don't see any ideas behind any of these." I was completely taken aback. He then asked me who I had taken my portfolio prep class with and I told him, and he looked in his direction and sort of sighed. I thought, "great! Now my teacher is going to get in trouble." My teacher had warned me that these other directors were big on concept-driven work, and so in a way I wasn't surprised at what he was asking me, but to write off all of my artwork was just ridiculous. The only kind thing he told me was that one of my life drawings was "technically okay." He could tell I was upset and then pushed his face closer to mine and said in this pitying voice: "do you understand what I'm asking you?" I said yes and but inside all I could think about was punching him in his smug face. He then got all happy and gave me my portfolio back and told me good luck on the final review.

That was the end and afterwards I really felt like crying, and even now I still do just to let off the steam. My frustration is borne out of the fact that these directors are focused more on conceptual driven art and they despise anything that is considered pop-surreal or low-brow. Plus, they have NO IDEA what kind of artists companies in animation, and game design want. They don't have a clue because they have never worked in those industries. Greg was telling the girl before me about an artist who took pictures of 60 peoples bellybuttons and how fascinating it was. These are the kinds of artists who are more excited about you pooping in a basket while cutting your hair off and gluing it back on to your naked body, than work that would be produced by a famous concept artist like Feng Zhu. My teacher told me that one artist they have been gushing over is Jason Salavon. We looked at some of his work in class and basically all he does is take a bunch of photographs, lower then to a certain amount of opacity and then layer them one on top of each other, resulting in a ghost-like image. Anybody with photoshop (you probably don't even need that) could do that simply enough. Besides, the idea isn't even original.

So which is "Art"? This:

As Salavons website explains:
Every Playboy Centerfold, The Decades (normalized)   2002
Digital C-prints.
From a broader series begun in 1997, the photographs in this suite are the result of mean averaging every Playboy centerfold foldout for the four decades beginning Jan. 1960 through Dec. 1999. This tracks, en masse, the evolution of this form of portraiture.
Or This:

Or maybe this:
Homes for Sale   1999/2001/2002
Digital C-print.
From a series begun in 1997, the prints in this suite are the result of mean averaging a specific number of realtor photos of single-family homes for sale. Each piece encompasses homes on the market in a given metro region in the median price range for that area.

VS. This:

Frankly I think that the people who are in charge of my program have extremely biased, close-minded, dated and skewed views of what they consider "good" art to be.  I firmly believe that much of what is considered low brow art now, will one day be extremely admired. These people seem to believe that if your art doesn't hang in galleries, and it's not controversial, then it's not art. Ultimately they show no signs of having any interest whatsoever in "working class art," art that is used by companies and the industry. Although contemporary "modern" art from the likes of Damien Hirst bring in a ton of money at auction, what about the artists that don't care about the fortune and fame? Are they not considered succesful, influential artists because they aren't making their work super conceptual?

I think that the kinds of artists they like may have some power in the fine art industry, but when it comes to influencing a new young generation, they fall flat. How many teenagers do you meet that love to draw and paint and want to be exactly like Jason Salavon? And how many teenagers would want to be a manga, comic book artist or animator? Truth be told, I don't like to encourage teenagers to draw manga without first observing the basics, but the simple fact is that while people may find manga to be stupid, silly, ugly and cookie really has influenced a tremendous amount of young artists today in ways that high profile contemporary artists haven't. That's what I think is important, influence and not money sales.

Now I think that maybe if I put in my worst work, that they'll like it better than what I have in there now. If I make up some ridiculous story to put behind my work and give them what they want to hear then I'm sure I could lead them along and they would fall for it. I'm really tempted to make a piece now that includes several shots of Greg's head, in 20% opacity superimposed on top of one another, projecting on a cracked wall in red, while almost inconspicuous violin music plays in the background- all with a brazilian shaman sitting in a pile of soiled oily rags chanting loud spiritual incantations meant to ward off the devil. I know they would love it. It's not who I am, but it's what THEY WANT to see, right? And that's all that matters to them.
After my review I headed over to the art building to continue on a painting for one of my classes. I had been frustrated all throughout the week that I couldn't get the colors to look the way I wanted and I was hoping that today would bring some sort of breakthrough. But I still had no luck and eventually gave up. I know why my colors aren't turning out correctly and in class I become very frustrated while working on it. My teacher doesn't seem to understand what I'm struggling with but it's really quite obvious to myself. The problem is that I've never intensely studied color theory. Of course in high school I would make the classic required color wheel and do a few color mixing exercises. But it wasn't enough, and none of that information has ever sunk in. Pretty much all that I know is that red and blue make purple, yellow and blue make green, etc. But beyond the basics, I have NO idea what I'm doing. Because of this, I can see the color of my subject, but I have no idea how to recreate it, or create contrast and proper shadows. This deficiency coupled with never having painted in oils has reduced me to a state of extreme doubt in my abilities. I just can't seem to grasp oil painting....I've really only ever used acrylics, and they seem to suite me so well. I've wanted to paint with oil, but I just don't understand the process of working with it. It doesn't help that I still have the feeling that I have no idea what I'm doing when I clean my pallet, try to keep my hands clean and my brushes. The darned stuff gets everywhere and I'm paranoid of using all the turps and getting stuff on me.

Oy, that was a long paragraph, but today I've just been really humbled. Not to say I wasn't humble before. I think I'm actually pretty modest about my abilities. Probably too modest. But the painting problem has humbled me and the portfolio problem has confirmed that yes, I do need to find out what my work is all about, but also that the people in charge of the portfolios are a bunch of punks.

After heading to the library to try to find a crash course book on color and almost falling asleep there, I headed home. I caught the bus immediately, but on the next stop it broke down. I was about a mile and a half away from my house, so I decided to walk since it was a nice day. As I was walking I thought of Supertramps song, "long way home"and I sang it a little bit in my head as I walked. The walk wasn't too bad and I saw a lot of interesting things. As I got closer to my house one of my neighbors had the radio on and just as I was walking past, Supertramps song came on. It seemed like all of this had been planned.

When I got home, a letter from my little sister was waiting for me. I opened it up and it contained another envelope. I opened that and inside there was no was just tissues. Yes, facial tissues with an image of a lichtenstein-esque woman printed on them and she was crying. After this, I had a feeling that maybe this day really was all planned out, and for some kind of reason, although I'm not sure what. I haven't started crying over my wretched day yet, but those tissues really will come in handy if I do.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Brooklyn Industries shirt!!

I want this T-shirt from Brooklyn Industries! I know it might be a little plain, but I think the color would look really good on me. But is 35 dollars too much?

More posts to come later!

Cute Video!

I have a few ideas I'd like to blog about, but I haven't been finding the time lately. Soooo here is one video that I found on the internet that I think is pretty cool. It's an artist that paints realistic goldfish.

I want to learn how to do that!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes!

Well I think I've found a new time to blog! I'm going to be working Saturdays now, and so far it appears that they may not be all that busy. So I'm trying to find things to do, and yes- I did bring my sketchbook to work so that I can get some drawing/creative time in.

But because all I have to do at work is sit in front of the computer, I've been looking at some of the things that Asos has on their website. Asos is pretty much my new favorite place to find cool shoes. Although I certainly can't afford to buy most of what I see. So here is my bored shameless shoe post!

First off, I really like these shoes and I kind of want to get them. They are about 45 dollars I think. I love the see-thru lace!

They also come in creme, but I'm not sure which is better and I'm kind of leaning toward black. What do you think?

I really like the colors and desgin of this shoe. It's so cute!

This shoe is a little 80's, but I'm still really digging it.
This shoe looks playful and fun!
Totally love metallic leopard print!
Words can't even express how cute this shoe is!
Okay, the interesting thing about this shoe is that I actually own it, but not in orange. I have it in grey suede and purple. I bought them at TJMaxx for about a third of the price that Asos is selling these for. It's interesting when you see a pair of shoes that you own on a website because sometimes they look completely different. In real life, these shoes have a super high arch. But looking at them in this picture it really doesn't seem like it.
How cute are these? They are velvet with bows! like little slippers. SOOO cute.
Side view!
Of course I had to throw in a few dresses. 
I like this. apparently I really like color blocking.

I SO wanted this dress but when I discovered it, they didn't have my size and probably still don't. I wish I could have it.

This dress is sort of cute. I guess I'm more attracted to the cut and fit of it than anything else. It probably wouldn't look that great on me in this color combination, but it certainly looks good on the model!
I also really like these Vince Camuto shoes at Dillards. I love metallic accents!
 Okay, well that's enough for now. If I had pictures of my plants then I would blog about those as well, but I don't. The temperature is still in the 70's and I can tell you that the two sunflowers seeds that were moms have sprung up already. So have my 2 zucchinis. I might actually plant more of both, though. I'm eagerly awaiting for my purple tomatoes to come up, but no sign of them yet!