Sunday, May 4, 2014

My Final Product(s)!




Here they are!!! I am thrilled with how these turned out. I chose to keep both versions because I feel that they give off very different impressions and a sort of narrative feeling. The overlaid pattern was my hand drawn element; I drew the pattern out quickly before class without looking at the photo of my eyes and it happened to frame the features of my face really interestingly. I used the overlay layer blending option at about half opacity and used the Wacom Tablet to paint into my irises to bring out the color. The coloring of my eyes started with layering two photos with different white balances over each other and using transparencies - one photo accentuated the intense blue in my iris while the other showed off the details in the iris itself, which became the ground on which I based my painting. I used burning and dodging for the areas around my face and irises. Reminiscent is a piece that is a reference to hallucinations I have seen in the past. Originally, the pattern was going to be much more intricate and colorful, but I decided to leave it as is - it seems more sophisticated, in my mind, this way. If one were to compare the two in this set, I would expect them to enjoy the top one more, which was the first version, but I could not help but be drawn to the grey one as well, for some reason.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Visiting Artists at MCA

JILL WISSMILLER

Head of the Digital Media department at MCA, Jill's work primarily focuses on video and motion-picture entertainment. However, she wasn't always interested in film; her original study of interest in school was science, but she had to take a film class in order to graduate, and she loved it. She has a thing for glitter as well. She says that editing is a lot like weaving, something she enjoys to do. It all started with her MFA in the traditional film editing program at Northwestern; her talk focused mostly on the films that were stumbling blocks in her body of work and her process and discussed how she overcame those obstacles and learned from her own work and work ethic.


She opened her lecture slideshow with this image of a liquor bottle, mentioning how she likes to sort of party and interact with people. The first video she showed us was more of an animation entitled Boots wherein heterosexual strife is explored between a couple. The audio was tough to hear. Another key point that this piece explored was the importance of anger and frustration as emotions. That idea intrigues me; I had never thought of them as important emotions, necessarily, just that they sort of happened. It makes sense though, we can learn a lot about ourselves in our reactions to things.
"Women fix themselves by fixing their hair." Jill said this in reference to learning how to direct. She learned how to take control of herself and her projects through the mistakes she had made and seeing how they looked on-screen.
I really like her sense of humor and sort of light-heartedness about her work. Her feature-length production Welcome to Cooksville (see photo below) had an abundance of violence and no soul, as she put it, laughing a bit. She talked about a problem she had that many artists share: coming up with too many ideas for projects, so much so that it ends up spoiling the piece. However, she reminds us that she learned the do's and don't's of directing yet again. She made a good point that I agree with in saying that film makers don't have to do feature-length films in order to be legit, just like a writer doesn't have to write 700-page novels to be a writer.


Her talk reminded the audience about keeping your chin up in times of artists' block or other struggles. Just when we think we have reached a roadblock in our body of work will something new arise and we find things to learn from.





MARK DION

Mark Dion, like Jill, is very interested in science. However, unlike Jill, scientific methods of collecting, analyzing, ordering, and displaying data and artifacts are the basis of his works. He did excavation digs in Venice, London, and other places, gathering data and pieces of work to display in order to see the differences in the artifacts from different places. The artifacts that he finds lend an insight about the places from which they come. Mark likes to consider humans versus the natural world, societal structure, and everyday implements and inventions. He also likes to play around with the idea that no matter how much he collects, there is always more. To me, that is a refreshing thought, because with my work I sometimes feel like I reach a wall or a stopping point in ideas, but Mark reminds us that there are always more places to look and things to find. One of my favorite works of his that reflects his love for the natural world and touches mine is located in the Tiawana Estuary. He build a small building to be used by any passerby in the middle of the desert that is filled with knowledge about and tools for bird watching, as well as information on other animals in the area. His thirst for scientific classification touches my sort of type-a side. I respect his organization and the way that he thinks.



NOTES



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Final Project Progress 1



So for my final project I want to create a piece based off of some life experiences. I will use a photo of one or both of my eyes and enhance the iris by upping the saturation and bringing out the patterns from it into the rest of the picture plane. I am considering some kind of a fractal pattern spiraling out from the eye which will have a gradient texture in each of the sections. The fractal pattern will be based off of the Fibonacci Spiral. I want to overlay some sort of image or line work over the eyes to push layering and interest, but I am stuck between the psilocybin molecular structure or the wings of a dove. I am excited with this idea and have been pulling a few references and taking some photos thus far, as shown below.




As of April 24th, this is how my design looks before working and after:





I can't decide on my work of the right pupil. On this scale, I really enjoy the way that the colors and strokes came together, but up close, it's just not as fine tuned as I'd like it to be. I also am not sure about how I feel with the cropping vertically; the nose tip seems a bit awkward. I will use a pattern overlay so perhaps the iris detail isn't as imperative as I am making it seem.

Stay tuned to my next blog post for updates.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Infographic Version 1 Group Critique



So we tried something different for critiquing in class the other day by splitting into groups of three or four to discuss each others' work on a smaller, more personal level. Here are the notes that I took from the discussion, most of which pertain to organization and altering the text. Here is a screenshot of the first version:




I want to put the main percentages in the center around a circle, rather than having them scattered unevenly. Also, I will divide each pie slice into smaller sections for all of the subsections. The graph, in turn, will be pretty unbalanced in terms of information, but I am going to see if there is a way that I can connect subsections to each other to make it less of a pie chart and more of an infographic.
Stay tuned for the final draft!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Loverly Infographics

This chart caught my attention, first because of the content, but mainly because of the category division that comes through in the color changes of the background with the different greens. The images are simple enough to where they compliment, rather than distract. Also, hierarchy comes into play with the large, bolded white numbers and percentages, which is where the bulk of the information lies in the smaller text underneath each number.



This infograph has a very plain and simple feel to it; the number and image principle that was applied to the one above applies here as well. I really wasn't drawn to it in the context of scrolling on the internet, but i could definitely see it in a magazine like Time or National Geographic or something. The black text against the different grey shades stands out, which is good because that is where the bulk of the info lies. The image of the kids acts as a summary for the information that stands by it. 



This one is particularly interesting to me because of the smooth gradient it uses and the way that the states are organized by the color, rather than alphabetically. The smoothness is just simply attractive. When you look closer, you see that weight is represented by not only a human profile but a number percentage, and then your eye moves to the 4 smaller information blocks, all encompassed within the same larger box. The key is easy to read and the summary is not too much text to overwhelm upon first glance. 



This one is nice because of the lines that carry through each information block; there is a narrative feel to this one, where everything relates. Again, the hierarchy idea applies with the large key words like 'oil' and 'three trillion dollars' that grab one's attention; the colors are great, using the complimentary scheme. What I don't like about it is how busy it is. As opposed to having too much text that overwhelms the viewer, there are too many pictures, to me. 



This might be my favorite one, not because of subject matter, but the layout is fantastic. I've always had a thing for topographic maps, and this one is like the best of both infograph and map worlds. As soon as one sees the word 'population' and the spikes of the graph, we immediately know what the map is telling us. We don't need to follow any lines or gather many percentages and facts; the message is there simply for our eyes to view, not necessarily read. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Photoshop Phriends - 5 Artists Proficient with Photoshop

ALBERTO SEVESO
An artist who focuses primarily on the human figure, Seveso uses the tools of Photoshop to manipulate the shape of the body and the spaces around it. He often uses many atmospheric aura-type masses in an around heads, such as the image below, but also uses geometric patterning and hard edges to give people more of a robotic feel. Some of his other works use photographs of colored ink underwater which he also manipulates in PS. 
The image below is the first of his work and immediately drew me in because of the galactic feel of the mass coming from her head. If I am not mistaken, the mass is pulled from one of his ink photographs. While this woman is apparently more calm, many of his figures are full of energy, tension, and emotion, which is also something that is interesting to me. I like the idea of manipulating the person and relating them to the universe or other divine elements, which is why the photo drew me immediately. 


CHRISTOPHE HUET
Huet's work may just be the turning point for me in terms of enjoying digital art. I have always respected and enjoyed viewing it, but as far as application goes and doing it myself, I never was particularly drawn to it.
Huet's work can be so surreal without losing the sense of reality or believability, sometimes. Other times, Huet completely manipulates the human or animal figure and creates scenes and scenarios that are engaging and strange. I enjoy most when he keeps the human figure normal but brings in other elements to the show, like enlarging other characters or props and playing with scale and color. Some ideas that are presented are very relatable and effective, such as the office scene to the right; we get a sense of chaos and confusion and stress, much of which is felt in the viewer I would really like to peek at his sketchbooks to find references, influences, and to learn about his way of thinking. 


ANDY JONES
Andrew (Andy) Jones deals with highly conceptual and psychedelic art. I found one of my favorite photos (see below) of all time, just in general, and had no idea it was his! This work, as well as Huet's work, really are inspiring to me because of their nature in separate ways. Jones's work focuses more on atmospheric energy, movement, and extremely vibrant colors with varied levels of saturation and layers. It is almost like his work is a combination of Seveso and Huet, using the human figure as a base but incorporating surreal elements. Most of his work includes people, some animals, and a lot is just atmospheric space. The metaphysical aspect that is evident in some of his work is what really turns my crank. He has a visionary style that I absolutely adore and would like to try to put into my sculpture work and paintings. I would like to know where he references and pulls from for his ideas. 


LEAH MCNEIR
Another artist whose work is influenced by and incorporates psychedelic art, McNeir's work focuses on fractal imagery, ratios, mathematics, relationships, and energy. Her style is very similar to that of Jones, but uses less of the human figure in her work and relies more on the geometry of patterns and shapes and tends to draw connections between each, much like connecting the dots. This work is most impactful to me in that since I started the Geometry in the Arts course, I have yearned to include this kind of patterning and referencing in my ceramic and painting work. I am also in a very serious relationship and really enjoy, understand, and appreciate work that pertains to love. McNeir is one of my favorites. 


DANNY VAN RYSWYK
This work is much different from the work of the other four artists listed here. Rather than having playful concepts that come through or colors and patterns that take the eye around, Ryswyk's work focuses more on individual figures in a black and white picture frame who sport scary mutations, growths, contortions, and intense glares. The photos give off an historic feeling, like aged photos from an old science experiment gone wrong. These captured my attention because of their unique nature and historic feel. I am not necessarily attracted to them, but I do enjoy them because they get my thinking and get me to look at something that I would not normally observe. 


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Project 3 - Penguin F-150 (p3a, p3b)

Our third project in digital foundations was to create a character with a certain expression or movement out of paper, or papercraft. We were to pay attention to clothing, patterns, textures, and accessories for our character, as well as bodily movements and considering interchangeable parts. My papercraft character is a penguin sliding on his belly. I used the rectangle tool, clipping masks, guides, and anchor points primarily to achieve the form layout that I wanted. I was originally going to round the figure more-so than I did with the final product with more folds and tabs, but ended up losing myself in the construction, so I dumbed it down a bit and made it more geometric. To make the penguin slide, I attached him to a small model Ford F-150, sort of like a Hotwheels knockoff product. As far as the color scheme goes, I chose to keep it realistic to an actual penguin, using only white, black, grey, and orange, and yellow for his body (the red truck is irrelevant).
If one were to build the penguin from the template, one would consider following these directions:
1. Construct the 4-sided body that contains three sections (12 sides total); each tab connects to the adjacent side.
2. Construct the 6-sided head and attach it to the body
3. Construct each 6-sided foot and attach to each side of body at where the longer body segments are, snug to the line where black and white meet. Orientation is not necessarily important.
4. Cut a hole into the white portion of the middle segment of the body with half of the hole on each side of the crease, proportionate to the dimensions of your vehicle to which you plan to attach the penguin.
Notes. Rubber cement or tape are fine to use; tape is recommended for stability. You may need to trim your body for wheel drums depending on placement of the character on the car and location of the wheels.
5. Roll the penguin, have fun, life free, die young.
Originally, I was going to have a hill and glacier setting for the penguin to dwell in, but problems with my medium prevented me from doing so. I am very happy with the texture that I produced on the wings, but in the process of doing so and moving between computers, many of my organized layers were lost, causing the Illustrator file to be more confusing. I am happy with my penguin, however, and plan to build a set for him later on.







Project 1 - Self Portrait (p1)

The first project that we were assigned this semester was a self portrait made of only squares that were created by using the rectangle tool. Most people, I noticed during critique, composed their images of thousands of tiny little squares that conveyed value and form. I, however, chose to use much bigger blocks of color in a more "painterly" fashion, as my peers put it. Rather than taking my reference photo opacity to half, I left it full blast and eyedropped the colors from the picture into my blocks. Some of the rectangles were manipulated into stranger shapes, like trapezoids, because the assignment parameters stated only to use the rectangle tool; I saw no indication of foul play in using anchor points to manipulate rectangles. As I said, I kept the colors true to the photograph, but since the colors of a small area oftentimes were placed into bigger blocks covering more area, the final product almost looks like a mosaic. It is not necessarily inaccurate, but readability is somewhat lost when viewed up close. The background, in all honesty, was taken into very little consideration. I chose vibrant colors to reflect the playful mood expressed on my face and in my hand gesture, but I realize now that I should have played more with the background shapes and downed the opacity. I might have considered the smaller square technique had I known most of my peers were taking that route. However, I embrace the fact that mine was different from most everyone else's and I am fairly pleased with the result of my first official bout with Adobe Illustrator.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Project 2 - Awareness Flyer: Egyptian Revolution with Gestalt Principles (p2a, p2b)

The flyer I created describes the unity of the Egyptian people who fought against the brutality of the Egyptian police. In 2011, when president Mubarak was ousted, the world watched the incredible change sweep across the nation, and as the Egyptians cheered and celebrated in front of the television, they had no idea that their troubles were far from over. The Revolution continues to go on today, as the people of Egypt continue to struggle for their rights and freedom.
The background colors, black white and red, give the composition a flat and striking place to sit. The red of the flag drips down onto the helmets of the police officers, representing the blood of the people on their hands. I used a gold/yellow for the revolution fist as that is the color of the emblem in the center of their flag. The vertical orientation of the fist represents uprising. I chose to use the same facial features on all of the people to reiterate the fact that they stand as one. The Gestalt Principals that I chose to focus on were proximity and similarity.
Overall, I am happy with the way the final, 2nd version. There was a saying in a documentary that i watched about the Revolution on Netflix in which all of the people kept chanting "one hand". I wish I would have incorporated that text somewhere in my design, as many other people included text in their projects successfully. Also, I would have changed the helmets of the police to make them look more "helmety". 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

M.C. Escher and the Gestalt Principals

M.C. Escher, the famous Dutch lithographer, uses some of the Gestalt Principals in his work. The Gestalt Principals relate to psychology and hour our brains interpret images. Pieces like "Moebious with  Birds" uses both proximity and figure ground to convey the image. At first glance, Escher's work confuses the eye (well, the brain, really), as many of his images contain impossible shapes and happenings. Escher's mastery of figure ground allow him to create these surreal landscapes and images, as he makes one part of the image seemingly flow seamlessly into another. Other elements of the Gestalt Principals come into play in other images, such as "Waterfall," which employs continuation in combination with the figure ground technique to create the confusing image. Escher masters the Principals in his combinations of them that are used in his work.