Wednesday, October 20, 2010
this week - H. John Thompson
Things I liked:
1. There is no set definition and medium for 'a drawing'. Thompson's work is not confined to pencil and paper, in fact, his definition of drawings were small scale and very polished looking studies of architectural elements, in materials that imitate their real life counterparts.
2. It's okay to live in your parents' basement. or in his case, the basement of his grandfather's bakery. While he does work inside his studio just as often as he works outside, he has a really nice setup, perfect for his work ethic and storage needs. The collection of oddly-scaled chairs are interesting and cute as a source of inspiration.
3. Draught Horses are amazing and intense creatures. Thompson's work inspired by draught horses and decide 'found' objects ( the old truck he disassembled) is very strong conceptually and visually - the way the finished piece took up almost the whole gallery space at Uarts, just communicated the dominating presence like that which he described in his encounter with the horses.
"And that's when the turkeys showed up."
Friday, October 8, 2010
Prior to this watching parts of Helvetica (the movie) in class, I didn't have a problem with the font, and I still don't. But in the case of this logo (which affects me personally, because i have a part time job at a gap subsidiary) it looks like crap. The old logo felt very mature and respectable, actually reflecting the characteristics for which the clothing brand is appreciated, but this is just so neutral and pales in comparison.
if they had at least gone with a look more reminiscent of the first gap's storefront, it wouldn't be awful. at least that looks modern. Again, in comparison, the helvetica looks tired.(photo courtesy Carnesaurus on Flickr)
And why the tiny gradiated square? It looks shy and uncomfortable in that corner
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Our assignment this week was to watch a TED talk and review/ share our thoughts about it. After
wasting dutifully viewing a handful of videos for about an hour, I settled on the short but inspiring talks but Derek Sivvers. He seems like a cool guy – started his own record company by accident – and upon further research I found that he also has a blog of inspiring stories and lessons, some of which are based on his TED talks.
His three talks, “Weird, or Just Different?”, “How to Start a Movement”, and are all based partly on conventional wisdoms, partly on personal observation, and a little bit on a ‘recent study’.
His first speech, “Weird, or Just Different?”, not only educated me on the street system used in Japan (did you know they name their blocks, rather than their streets?) but emphasized the importance of being open to information that challenges that to which you may be accustomed; in other words, “whatever you learn somewhere, it might be the opposite somewhere else”.
“How to Start a Movement” was actually quite entertaining – after initially watching the TED talk, I found it on Sivvers’ personal website and viewed the narrated version of the video, which features a shirtless dancing guy. Sivvers emphasizes that while he will be named the leader, and remembered as ‘beginning’ the giant dancing crowd that forms around him, his true functions are: A) to inspire a single individual, who becomes the ‘follow’, and B) to nurture that ‘follower’ by encouraging them in their fellowship
It’s just plain funny, but still has enough going on to have substance.
“Keep Your Goals to Yourself” is kind of self explanatory – Using findings from ‘recent psychology tests’ (quotation marks because anything citing a recent study really needs better citations) and the 20th century writings and findings of several psychologists, including Peter Gollwitzer, who conducted the recent tests (Qualifier! Eh? Ehhh?) Sivvers explains that you shouldn’t share your goals, and “if you do need to talk about something, you can state it in a way that gives you no satisfaction”. I have definitely been having this problem lately with class, between procrastinating and general time management failure. So quit asking me what I plan on doing for my next piece :P
In other news, now that I’m aware of it, I’ve been seeing TED talks everywhere on the Internet. Mrs Q. posted the cutest Texan kid talking about organic food here, and the hilarious but offensive LATFH.com called out this mutton-chopped robotics engineer here.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
1. He's accesible. One of the reasons I chose to attend Tyler is for the jewelry/metals/cad/cam program: I attended a small metals and jewelry making class at Moore College for two consecutive summers, and was smitten with the idea of all the new and shiny 'toys' in this department. While i haven't done any serious metalwork in a while, I'm still quite enamor with the idea of taking a jewelry class here at Tyler. now that he's been introduced, i feel that Doug will be more approachable.
his work itself is also accessible, both the commercial (which is easily identifiable, even for a shut-in like myself) and personal (which caters to a more specific audience, but is very relatable).
2. embracing discomfort. i've noticed in my own experience - being dissatisfied with your work means that you are doing something right. this is not to be confused with doing something at the last minute and 'settling' for the result ( something of which I've been guilty on recent occasion). It's bizarrely comforting to know that this is the way a professional perceives things as well. and he also drew a line between comfort and discomfort - putting his family first, being in Philadelphia, all while pushing himself to do more artistically.
3. his work is truly personal, without becoming static. The pieces he makes focus on a central theme in his life - his dealing with Diabetes. So they're all connected in that way, but especially with the printed pieces he's produced most recently, are complimented by the technology he's exploring.
No Lecture Next Week? No Review Next Week
Sunday, October 3, 2010
The quick rundown of this movie:
- It was made in 1966
- It is Swedish, and available with subtitles.
- Directed by Ingmar Bergman
- Stars Bibi Andersonn as Sister Alma, The Nurse, and Liv Ulmann as Elisabet Volger, the Actress
I can't say I understood the plot of the movie – was Elisabet truly mute out of choice, or had some psychological damage been dealt to her that she withdrew defensively? Why did she write the letter to the Doctor back at the hospital, divulging Alma's confessions?
To some degree I understand, not because Elisabet talks, but information that is weaned from the three other characters in the movie – Alma, and to a far lesser degree of screen time, the Doctor and Mr. Volger. We learn throughout the movie: she was an actress; she fell mute after having an awkward moment on stage. She has a husband and child she is not comfortable talking about. She is sensitive to the woes of the world, portrayed in the scene where she watches the self-immolated monks on the television. Though she is mute, she is not a trustworthy person in which to confide, as shown by her letter which Alma reads. She lies to Alma to preserve the 'bubble of insanity' she has created for herself, and she manipulates Alma for the same purpose. And lastly, we learn that she regrets having become a mother, because of her cold and unsympathetic nature which makes it difficult for her to connect to her son.
However, that last tidbit of knowledge is procured entirely through Alma, who throughout the duration of the movie is mentally tried in her caretaking of the actress. She is both naϊve and too open in her dealings with Elisabet – perhaps it is because she is the actress' foil (or is it vice versa perhaps?). Through the prolonged exposure to each other, Alma somehow begins to take on the persona of Elisabet, in the same way the actress might have assumed a role in a play, but in the process she loses a sense of her identity.
I think the transformation Alma undergoes is caused by her naϊvety in her admiration of the actress. In an early scene, she tells Elisabet how she admires actors and perceives them as benevolent people; through the course of the film she learns the opposite is true, simply by being confronted with the wall of silence with which Elisabet has concealed herself.
The silence of Elisabet also becomes her in a way: she is cold and unsympathetic in her inaction as well as her inferred action, the knowledge we gain of her through others. But I feel she is the more relatable of the two characters – she isn't a nice person, and runs away from her problems through her muteness, whereas Alma is all smiles and naϊvety and customary politeness, and has to be stripped of her visad. It isn't necessarily that she becomes Elisabet – it is that she is like her, like any real human – she has regrets, secrets. Elisabet is not held to the same standard, because she is 'insane' and can thus act according to her selfish nature and desires.
The art direction of the movie – beautiful, flawless, not at all what I'd expect from a movie from 1966. The film itself is preserved perfectly (including the places where parts of the reel were intentionally destroyed) and while some of the backdrops felt sterile (the hospital rooms, the bare mattresses) similar to movies of its time, Persona had the feeling and definition of a modern movie. The natural textures, from the rocks to the characteristics of the actresses' skin – every pore is clear as day. The lighting is also effectively dramatic – I guess hear would be a good part to say, the film was beautiful and thus subtle, giving way to the plot of the film until that turned on its head. I would remind myself, "it's technically an art film, it doesn't quite have to make sense." But further introspection, as Alma did in the story, uncovered the plot for me.
While at first glance it's a crazy, nonsensical and long-winded mind fuck of a movie, Ingmar Bergman's Persona is really a faultlessly crafted film, both visually and in its dissection of the walls we build around ourselves.
Friday, October 1, 2010
things i liked:
1. Her talk was geared toward teaching us how to function as artists in the Real World. It felt as relevant as it most likely is. Especially her advice to start thinking about things now. I know a lot of my classmates, and myself, are still just mentally floating along, not sure which particular direction to commit to, and that's fine and dandy, but once I decide (and I'm itching to do so) I completely plan to kick my life into high gear. I've also had that same vague idea of 'sitting in a huge space, just thinking', but as for accesorizing - I'm interesting in fibers and small metalwork, which require lots of equipment - I'm going to start thinking and making shopping lists. I actually love making lists and then not doing anything on them. So much that I've though of getting a cute 'to do list' tattoooed on my arm! :) but i don't like tattoos otherwise.
2. Variety Ms. Marianne didn't just talk about her experience - she referred to friends and other artists that inspired her, all of which have/are finding means and spaces to make their art, and make the most of it. It's good to have options and she showed plenty of them. I particularly liked the Residencies, because it kind of reminded me of why I chose to live on campus - to concentrated on my work. though of course, it's not like 100% Frozen Concentrate.
3.Personal story. I felt Ms. Marianne had a good balance of other's she is influenced by, to that of her own experience. And in contrast, her own experience felt ore valuable. she also talked a lot ab out process, how she began out of school and got to where she is now, and treated her story as it is - a work in progress. She gave me the impression of being an extremely well rounded person.
Next Week: Douglas Bucci!