Sunday, December 13, 2009

Book: At the Zoo by A.A. Milne

"At the Zoo" by A. A. Milne
The concept for my book project was to create a book based on the animal crackers' box. I knew immediately that I wanted to create a children's book when I heard about this project. The poem that I chose is called "At the Zoo" by A. A. Milne. The poem was perfect for creating a children's book. A. A. Milne created fake animals to write about in his poem such as a "bodger" or a "mingo". This posed a fun challenge for me. I had to design these animals.
When I began designing the book, I decided that I wanted to make the illustrations have a "coloring book" feel. I wanted them to look a bit like a child would have drawn them as they were reading this poem. I treated the cover with the same idea. I used the Animal Crackers' box as a model for the cover. I designed the cover as a simplified version of the design on the box. I didn't want it to be too busy and I still wanted to keep it looking like a coloring book.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Collaborative Projects

Diana and I created an exhibit using two digital artists called "An Intolerable Truth: A New Take on Consumerism by Toni Dove and Chris Jordan." The basic theme of our exhibit is the effects of consumerism on modern society. Toni Dove uses conceptual interactive video presentations to get this message across, while Chris Jordan digital compiles images of waste to emphasize the results of consumerism on the planet.

The other two groups that presented today were very interesting.
Sara and Nicole's artists both worked photography based. Jessica Bruah and Graham Harwood. Jessica Bruah's pieces focus on images of faceless people. These images are set in very recognizable places yet the odd thing about them is that the subject never has an identity. Graham Harwood's work focuses on telling stories by digitally adding them to photographs of faces. Both of these artists' work confronts the viewer with the question of identity which is a universal theme that almost any viewer can relate to.

Val and Jared's artists: Pascal Dombis and Jeffrey Shaw were also compelling choices for an collaborative exhibit. Their theme was technology and use of systems. The first piece that they showed us of Pascal Dombis was very interesting. The idea behind this piece was that he would use the Google search engine and type in a color. He would then use the Image results from this to create a compilation image. This piece really touches on the fact that most of the time, using the internet search engines does not always give us the best information. It makes the viewer question how and where we get our information these days. Jeffrey Shaw's installations were very interesting also. I like that he embraces technology into his pieces.

Jess and Liz's exhibit: "Interaction Required" was really great. I really liked their choice of artists. All of the piece they chose involved the viewer playing a main role in the piece. Artist Rebecca Allen's pieces literally had people controlling the digital video pieces with sensory technology and joysticks. Usman Haque's work was really fascinating. His pieces required the participation of the viewers voices and even required their help in installing it. The balloons were a really impressive piece. I would like to see his work in person.

Kyle and Ryan's exhibit was about manipulation and how artists can make additions or changes to an already existing work and turn it into something new. Artist Lillian Schwartz does this by combining the Mona Lisa and a self portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci to test the theory that the Mona Lisa is in a self portrait also. She changes the meaning of the Mona Lisa by taking away half of it and adding another image in its place. Cory Arcangel did really interesting work as well. His work with Nintendo video games is a unique way of showing manipulation. Re-creating video games is not something normally thought of as art.

Liz and Jess's exhibit about Repetition was interesting as well. Pascal Dombis's work with algorithms and line drawing is a great example of repetition through digital imaging. Terry Mulligan's work also was a good choice for this exhibit because this work emphasizes geometric repetition. His use of patterns is really a good example of this.

Alfred and Brian's exhibit about digital imaging in popular culture was great. These are people how do artwork everyday but are not necessarily considered 'artists'. John Lasseter pioneered in digital 3D animation and created some of the most iconic characters and stories of our generation. John Knoll, the creator of the first version of Photoshop pioneered in the digital graphics in movies. This exhibit would be really relavant to the world that we live in--where the movie industry is one of the biggest industries. I think that an exhibit of these two digital artists would be interesting to go see.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I really enjoyed the TCNJ Art Gallery's new exhibit called Distortions. All of the pieces were very unique and really allow the viewer to explore Mexican contemporary art. The best part of the Gallery opening was seeing a live performance by one of the artists. His video version of the piece was interesting also but seeing the live performance really enhanced the experience. If I'm not mistaken the ice record played a version of the Mexican nation anthem which I thought was an interesting choice because it raises the question of whether the piece is about Mexican pride or indifference. Unfortunately I was unable to stay for the panel discussion because I had to go to work but I would have liked to hear more about what the artists had to say about their artworks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Self Visualization

My self visualization project is about the most important thing in my life--my family. The project went through a few stages but ultimately retained the same idea that I started with. I wanted to do a project about how every member of my family influences me in different ways. My piece is about how each person represents a different side of me. I decided to make the project very simple in order to get the viewer to focus on this message. I dressed up into different "characters" and took photographs of me holding an empty frame. I then cleaned up and slightly adjusted these photos in Photoshop and added a picture of each family member in their appropriate picture frames. Originally, it was suggested that I print out these images life-size and display them on the wall for critique. But time and funds were lacking so I could not have realistically achieved that. I then struggled with the idea of adding a background which I eventually decided against. I just added simple pieces of furniture to the images for the figure to be sitting on since they were in sitting poses. I like the way they turned out. Simple. Clean and clearly about my relationship with and respect for my family.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


What these three women have in common is the subject matter that they work with: Female Portraits. The style in which they make these portraits is very different though. A comparison of selected works by each artist will show this. First of all, the time period in which the artists were working has an effect on the differences between their pieces. Frieda Kahlo’s work is the oldest. She created her portraits through painting. Cindy Sherman and Cui Xiuwen were able to use photography and digital imaging to create their portraits. Frieda Kahlo’s focuses on self-portraiture. She represents herself wearing various clothing styles and with different objects or animals. The significance of Kahlo’s self portraits is that her works are about events in her life. Cindy Sherman’s Film Still series are self portraits yet these portray Sherman as someone else. Cui Xiuwen uses a model for her Angel series.

One thing that I noticed when looking at Frieda Kahlo’s self portraits is that they seem very still. As with the other artists’ work, there is emotion present in the pieces but the way that she paints the figure is really still. She is always either standing or sitting with perfect posture. Her face is almost always turned slightly to the side and if her hands are not holding something, they are stiffly placed in her lap or by her sides. She always represents herself having a stern look on her face which after reading her biography, I believe is in relation to the fact that she suffered many struggles in her life. No matter what objects or setting she paints herself surrounded by, her expression is always the same. I get a sort of feeling of emptiness when I look at her paintings. I feel that even though she is always in a surreal setting, her facial expression seems to indicate that she has no reaction to the world around her.

For Cindy Sherman, her work is quite obviously about the female place in the world. The way she expresses this is somewhat opposite of Frieda Kahlo. The women in Sherman’s portraits are reacting to the world in the photograph itself. More broadly, the works themselves are made to be feminist works about the way women are viewed by the world. When I look at Cindy Sherman's Film Stills, I wonder what has happened before the photograph was taken. Though Frieda Kahlo's paintings, which seem to be staged and posed, make you wonder about them, Sherman's photographs look as if they were taken right in the midst of an action. Cindy Sherman's facial expressions in all of her photographs show a great deal of emotion which add to the wondering of what is happening in each piece.

In contrast to Kahlo and Sherman, Cui Xiuwen seems to use digital imaging to enhance her photographs. Like the others, she does surreal, feminist work, but hers add another level of interest especially in some of the photographs when the model is dupilicated over and over. Her choice in making multiple images of the same model appear in one photo makes me wonder what the significance is of this pregnant woman. She emphasizes her subject with digital imaging--enhancing the colors so it almost looks as if it were painted. When I look at the subject of the Angel series, I get a feeling of sadness and maybe helplessness. The model's face always looks sad, exhausted or pensive. I am unable to tell if she is happy to be expecting or not. It seems that she is not though. Cui Xiuwen, Frieda Kahlo, and Cindy Sherman all work with surreal female portraits but their execution of their pieces is very different.