Saturday, April 26, 2014

Visiting Artists at MCA


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, 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.


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!