Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Discussion 10: Political Art

In week 10 we looked at political art. Most of the artists we looked at came from or live in first world countries, so a lot of the issues they address just feel lost on me. However we did look at Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. I have heard of him before through stories on NPR and whatnot, however I never really looked at a lot of his art in great detail. I really enjoyed his Sunflower Seed installation piece. It consisted of hundreds of thousands of glass pieces shaped and painted to look like sunflower seeds. These faux-seeds are then scattered across the floor where viewers can observe and even walk on them. It really draws on the idea of the individual vs. the collective. Weiwei is constantly under scrutiny from the Chinese government as well and has been arrested multiple times (for his art). So basically of all the artists in the discussion, Weiwei really came across as the only artist that is actually being oppressed.

I am personally not into political art. There is something incredibly self-righteous about it to me. I try not to think or talk about politics mostly because it aggravates me. And it's not just the politicians. It's the people who blindly support any politician like they are the second coming of Christ. Anyway, here is my piece of political art doodling.

Darkseid is a fictional DC comic character created by the great Jack Kirby. Basically he is an interdimensional being who's motivation is to destroy life by solving the anti-life equation. So Darkseid and the Anti-life equation 2012!


Discussion 8: Collage

In week 8 we looked at Collage art. We looked at artists such as David Hockney and Larry Carlson. I was already familiar with David Hockney's photo collages. He did the album cover for the Talking Heads More Songs About Buildings and Food. His collages are made up of many small polaroid shots that are then stitched together to create his final image. Below is an example.

However I have always been more partial to his pool photo collages. (Below)

Larry Carlson's collages were more traditional in that he took a lot of imagery from text books and magazines and such. His collages really remind me a lot of landscape painting, and the idea of the sublime and recognizing how small you are in the face of god's majestic creation. Except I feel that he takes a more modern approach to this by taking god out of the equation and shifting the focus on the forces that have come to create and dictate how our world works. Also it's really psychedelic which is cool too.

I have done some collage before (a lot of which you can see in past posts on this blog--or even if you look at my cover image at the top). I did one recently for this class so I can have something to post that goes along with the discussion.

I really only like the top half of it most though.


Discussion 7: Performance Art

So this week we discussed performance art which for me, is either hilarious (if I don't take it seriously) or incredibly pretentious (if I do take it seriously). We looked at artists such as Chris Burden, and Janine Antonini. Chris Burden had a performance piece which he called Shoot which would be right at home with the MTV Jackass gang. Basically Burden invited people to watch him get shot in the arm by a guy with a rifle. Shocking. But kind of funny I think.

Janine Antonini is a performance artist that falls on the other end of my spectrum. Her Lick & Lather performance included two busts of herself: one made of chocolate and one made of soap. She washed herself with the soap and nourished herself with the chocolate. Of course as she did this her image on the bust was slowly faded and disfigured until unrecognizable as her.

I personally do not gravitate to performance artwork. However through interacting with certain people (when I'm feeling ballsy of course) I will sometimes try to mess with them. For example, whenever I am asked for change by a random person on the street, I always turn it around on them by asking for a cigarette. It totally changes the entire situation and puts them on the receiving end for that moment. More often then not they'll just say no then leave you alone, but you never know. You might get a free cigarette. I have no real proof of me doing this and I doubt this counts as performance, but it is what it is I suppose.


Discussion 6: Fiber

In week 6 we looked at artists that use fibrous materials to create art with techniques like sewing and crocheting. The artist I enjoyed most in this discussion Anna Von Mertens. From a distance, a lot of her sewn pieces resemble field paintings and the "zip" paintings of Barnett Newman (see his painting Vir heroicus sublimins). However when looking at the detail, there is incredible line work sewn into these fields that take on the energy of a de Kooning. Violent and flowing in every direction. A lot of her work seems to deal with destruction and creation such as her pieces Tank Shrapnel and Black and White.

Above is Tank Shrapnel

I personally have not dealt a lot with sewing and fibrous materials. However there was this one time I had my grandmother teach me how to make a quilt. We did it one step at a time, and she explained everything and had me do all the cutting and sewing, and finally the quilting. It was quite an experience and for my first quilt, it came out pretty darn good.

There's a picture of what the overall pattern is. It basically repeats like that two more times in the upwards direction. And yes, the fabric does have a cat pattern on it.

And here is a detail of my actual quilting work (which is the thread that binds all of the material together). And a close up of the kitty-cats.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Discussion 5: Photography

In week 5 we looked at photographers such as Jeff Wall and Gregory Crewdson. Both photographs get a lot of their sensibilities from the movies and the way they are shot. Jeff Wall sets up his digital montage pictures in a planned way rather than capturing a spontaneous moment. His picture A Sudden Gust of Wind is a digital montage and contemporary update of a classic Japanese woodblock print by Katsushia Hokusai.

Here is the Japanese print

Gregory Crewdson creates photographs that are planned down to painstaking detail. Often he uses dramatic light as an element that give his pictures a dramatic feel. His pictures even feel like they are part of a narrative and have been captured in the middle of the most interesting part.

I mostly use photography these days in order to capture any sort of reference for a later project that requires painting or drawing. I also take a lot of pictures of my cat. I did take a digital photography class at FAU, which you can see examples of in below posts on this blog. Usually my reference photos often involve trees or some sort of natural setting. That stuff is difficult to draw without a reference sometimes.


Discussion 4: Sculpture and New Materials

In discussion 4 we looked at various artists such as Petah Coyne, Tara Donovan, and Tim Hawkinson. Petah Coyne creates environments using her 3 dimensional semi-organic forms. In one of her installations, what look like various chandeliers covered in wax hang just above the floor. The wax looks to be preserving the decaying looking chandeliers. Below is an example.

Tara Donovan also seems to create environments with her installation pieces. However she uses found materials such as styrofoam cups, straws, paper plates, and tape to create large biomorphic forms that occupy a determined space. Using styrofoam cups in one of her pieces, the result almost resembles fat cells under a microscope. See below.

Tim Hawkinson creates installations that work almost like a gigantic rube-goldberg machine and operate using mechanics and often use the element of sound. Hawkinson's Uberorgan is a stadium-sized bagpipe that plays for five minutes every hour on the hour. Hawkinson created the Uberorgan using bits of electronics and inflated plastic sheeting. Click here to see a video of it.

I haven't dabbled in 3d material much outside of my 3d Design class I took at FAU. I found that I had the most fun when I worked with found objects and tried to piece them together as I saw fit. An example of this would be when I decided to take apart an old television I found in our garage to see what would happen. I ended up going down to my dad's shop to use some of his tools in order to bend PVC pipe to stick inside of the now empty television shell. Here it is being modeled by my cat.

I'd eventually like to create another one of these where the pipes actually suspend the television shell off of the ground. Or perhaps one that goes from television to television shell in an elaborate path. Either way, I'd really like to revisit this at some point. I just need to get access to one of those hot boxes that let you bend PVC.

Recently I helped my brother create a sewing table for his girlfriend's birthday. It too both of our brainstorming and finding some reference material in how to easily put together something that would still be stable and serve its purpose. In the end after cutting and sanding, and much gluing, we had a perfectly functional table that would work for cutting fabric on.

We had some trouble when piecing together the legs, but in the end they came together nicely. We used a dowel rod about an inch long to secure the legs into place. Also wood glue. See below.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Discussion 3: Body and Soul

In week three we had a discussion entitled Body and Soul. The artists in this discussion dealt with issues of the body such as beauty, race, consumption, identity, and childhood. Of the artists in the discussion the two who really interested me were Yi Chen, and Jenny Saville.

Yi Chen dealt with the themes of identity and race in his portait paintings. To create his paintings, she first collages a composition from international fashion magazines (especially from China) into an amalgam of features. She then paints these collaged compositions onto a canvas as if it were a portrait, and this collaged monstrosity were sitting in front of him. Here is an example of Yi Chen's artwork.

Jenny Saville is a painter that essentially paints flesh as her subject. She deals with the theme of beauty in kind of a hamfisted way by using subjects that aren't traditionally beautiful. However, her execution is pretty much perfect. She is able to achieve life-like paintings of these subjects to the point of making the viewer uncomfortable to look at them.

I personally find myself drawing a lot of faces in my sketchbook. Sometimes I do self-portraits to pass the time, but other times I am just drawing from my head. Sometimes the faces come out looking a bit bizarre for whatever reason, sometimes they come out looking like my (which probably stems from the self-portraits) but either way I suppose it is my way of dealing with identity. I don't really think I could go much deeper than that because to me, they are simply drawings and doodles in my sketchbook that I can't particularly articulate a reason for. Here is an example of a self-portrait. This one is on the inside of the front cover in case I lose my sketchbook and someone is kind enough to return it. It also contains my contact info and such.

Some face I drew in class when I should have been taking notes.

A couple faces and stuff I drew when I was at a bar with some friends.

I also tend to draw eyes and noses a lot.


Discussion 2: Drawing and Painting

I am a bit late in posting this, but I think as long as I get it all posted it will be alright. Anyway, in week 2 of my Survey of Studio Art Practices class we did an online discussion about Drawing and Painting. We looked at a number of artists including Henry Darger, Shazia Sikander, and Laurie Lipton. Henry Darger interested me the most. He was a man who lived in the early to mid 20th century and was considered odd and a recluse. It's possible that he would have been diagnosed with autism or asperger's in this day and age. He worked odd jobs and as a janitor most of his life, and in the off hours, spent his time putting together an epic story (which included both words and illustrations) entitled In the Realms of the Unreal. His story followed the adventures of his heroines named the Vivian Girls against evil. He created his illustrations mostly on butchers paper (as it was cheap) and traced magazines to create his collage-like compositions. His use of color is perhaps what tied all of his work together. Overall his work had a childish and naive feel to it, almost looking like it could have come out of a coloring book.

Anyway, I really love drawing. It is something that you can do anywhere and at anytime. It has a portability to it that other art practices don't seem to have. I personally draw for many reasons. A lot of them boil down to passing the time whether in class, work, or at home. A lot of times my drawings end up reflecting that particular moment in time in some way. For instance, look at this Batman I drew in my Survey I class. What started out as a normal mindless Batman doodle that I have done so many times took on an attitude that normally would be out of character for him. I don't know why I like this doodle, but every time I look at it, it makes me want to laugh.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Modernism/Postmodernism and Chance

It has been a long time. Almost too long.

I am now living in Tallahassee and going to Florida State. The reason for the update is a class I am taking: Survey of Studio Art Practices. It's an online course which is pretty nice. We have to keep a blog with entries about the discussions and lectures we partake in. Week 1 (which was 2 weeks ago) we talked about modernism and postmodernism. One of the things that has always appealed to me out of these movements is the idea of chance. The idea that certain things are only possible under certain conditions in certain moments in time inspires me as an artist so to say.

Below I have some drawings that I worked/am working on based on the idea of chance, and my own stream-of-consciousness thinking while working on these drawings. I found these drawings/exercises very useful in loosening up and dusting the cobwebs of the mind.

What I did was make tea stains in my sketchbook by either spilling tea, or taking the tea bag and throwing it an the open page in my book to see what kind of pattern it made. After the staining and drying, I proceeded to take a pen and just fill in those stains with the first things that came into my mind. Doing this allowed me to get as close to working without any sort of filter as I could. No idea was off-limits to fill in these stains. Anyway, here is one I feel like I have worked into the ground.

This second one is another I started that I plan to fill in over a period of time.