Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Now I am sitting here typing this blog entry and I am glad that I did sign up. For the most part, I had a lot of fun. I say "for the most part" because tests and homework aren't exactly my hobbies, but this class had a lot more than that that made everything manageable and enjoyable. I really liked going to the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. I got to bring my girlfriend and some of my family and we had a good time. I really liked viewing the beautiful art in person. I like the convenience of an online class, but you usually don't get to do anything hands-on and you can easily lose a lot of the learning experience. In this class we got to go on a field trip, watch podcasts, listen to announcements, blog our thoughts and reflections, discuss the topics on a voicethread and discussion board, and we even got to make a little collage and do some other creative assignments. Michelle really used an array of learning tools to help make this class enjoyable.
I don't think I am going to major in art, but I do want it to be a part of my life. I think it is beautiful and it is a great way to express yourself. It would make for a great hobby if nothing else. I think visiting museums is a great activity and it is calm, relaxing, and neat to look at all the beautiful works. I respect those that have natural and/or acquired talent and share it with the rest of us. I now know a lot more about the different forms of art and the processes involved in creating them. I know for a fact that after taking this class that wherever I go I am going to be much more aware of the beauty all around me. I find art fascinating and I definitely wouldn't rule out the possibility of taking an art history or studio art class in the future. This has been a fun class adn I wouldn't mind taking another art class, esecially if Michelle is teaching it and I'm not saying that to kiss up! You can tell that she really cares about her students and puts the time and effort into her classes that is required in order for all of us to get the most out of being here.
Like many of you, I'm really excited for the semester to be over so I can enjoy the holidays, but it is going to be weird not logging onto blogger and blackboard every week.
I wish all of you fellow bloggers the best and have a happy holiday season!
Sunday, December 2, 2007
I think somebody knows if they are an artist if they are able to demonstrate exceptional skill in any of the many forms of art. I think everybody has the potential to be an artist, but many of us never find our niche. I think a lot of the time people try a couple different forms of art and if they don't demonstrate a natural talent and they aren't willing to put in the extra work to become skilled, and then they just give up and say that they aren't artistic. If you are one of those kinds of people that is fine...I'm right there with you : ). However, I have enjoyed being an "art appreciator" the past 15 weeks or so.
I think society has mixed feelings about art and artists in general. I know I kind of did. There is a wide range of people in every society. We live in a capitalist society where a lot of times art is considered inferior to other studies such as business, economics, marketing, medicine, law, etc. Some people think that art isn’t life changing or of any importance at all. Art is regarded as being a hobby and people don’t think that an artist is a respectable, fulfilling, lucrative profession. You have your artistic extremes and everybody else falls somewhere in between. There are painting, drawing, sculpting, gallery visiting, and art appreciating fanatics and then there are people who can't tell a pencil from a paintbrush and maybe could care less. I am not either, so I, like many of you, fall somewhere in the middle.
I feel that it is important to have art in your life. Even if we don't always realize it, we are exposed to beautiful art every day from our houses that we live in, to the cars that we drive, to the clothes that we wear, to the music we listen to, and what we see on television. Art is all around us. We can see, hear, touch, taste, and even smell art. Art is a wonderful thing that we so often take for granted. I know that before I took this class I was a lot more naïve about art and what it meant to be an artist. I had no idea that there were so many different forms of art let alone anything about the intricate processes that can be involved. We should all be more understanding of art and artists and more open and aware of our artistic surroundings.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
My favorite type of conceptual art came from the reading. I really like the idea of works that change depending on your perspective (sculpture in-the-round is an example of this idea). David Smith's "Blackburn: Song of an Irish Blacksmith" and Giovanni da Bologna's "The Rape of the Sabine Women" are two examples in the book that implement this idea. I also like site-specific, public art where the site where you go to view the art piece was literally designed around the piece being showcased. If moved from this location, the piece loses much (if not all) of its luster and meaning. So, if we combine my favorite "concepts" thus far then we get a public, site-specific piece that changes depending on the viewer's perspective. Now, that is cool.
Yes, I am intrigued by conceptual art and it is definitely "my thing."
Monday, November 19, 2007
This week's topic was really fun to explore. I really enjoyed reading the lecture and visiting all of the links that were incorporated within. It was a good way to break up the reading with fun, interesting websites and videos. My favorites had to have been the Dove Evolution video and the other videos that I took the liberty of watching on that website. It was funny to see the lengthy processes that are involved in a complete "make over" or transformation from a pretty, but fairly average looking person into a "perfect" model. If you watch the other videos you can see the torture that they put people through to get a certain Hollywood look. This torture can range from more conservative changes like hair, nails, and make-up to the more extreme like plastic surgery and botox. It is ridiculous, in my opinion.
Has anybody seen America's Next Top Model? The majority of the girls on that show wouldn't even catch your eye if you saw them walking down the street and then they take them and completely transform them to the point where they are hardly recognizable. They then take those images and "touch them up" even further. The final product looks nothing like the original. I must admit, that show is actually kind of funny to watch. The shows that really make me want to throw up are those extreme make-over shows that do all of the plastic surgery. Gross!
I think it is really cool that videos and publications that are against this kind of thing have come out and are trying to inform the public about "the truth" behind Hollywood and media advertising. I wouldn't say that the manipulation of digital images has affected me as much as your average person because I probably watch a lot less television, read a lot less magazines, and listen to a lot less radio than most people, but I am definitely affected by it. I mean you can't turn on the television, go to the check out stand at the grocery store, turn on the TV or radio, or do any number of normal activities without being exposed to manipulated media and advertising gimmicks.
I think, in general, women are more affected by media and are more likely to have low self-esteem and a negative body image due to the direct influence of manipulated digital images and media in general. However, men are anything but exempt. We are influenced as well and we are given a certain expectation of women that is unrealistic and naturally unobtainable. I would say that probably 99% of images are altered or "improved" before they are printed. The people that we see as a final product look drastically different than the original photograph. They don't even look like the same person much of the time. These people we are seeing are NOT REAL. Not everybody has the perfect body. Not all girls look like Victoria Secret models and not all guys look like body builders or professional athletes. The bottom line is that this junk gives everybody false perceptions, outrageous physical expectations, and lower self esteem. However, that isn't what's important. What is really important is how much product you sell, how many viewers or subscribers you have, how many hits you get on your website, or ultimately, how much money you make, right?
I do want to comment a little bit about the Spirit Photographs because I found them amusing. I understand that when photography was still a new phenomena that it would have been really easy to buy into this belief of being able to capture an image of spirits in a photograph, but come on people still believe this nowadays? The website we looked at was just funny to me. I don't believe it for a second. I actually saw a snippet of something on the news the other day that is relevant to this topic of spirits. There was video captured from a camera at a gas station that showed a blue, hazy, spirit-looking thing flying around the cars and gas pumps and it was present for an hour or so. They interviewed people to get their opinions on what this thing could have been. Some people said it was a spirit or a ghost; some thought it was just a blur or a problem with the camera; some thought it was a blue bag that just kept blowing around. The owner of the gas station said he didn't know what it was, but he was glad it was gone because it was creeping him out. I just thought it was funny.
The artwork of Keith Cottingham and Aziz and Cucher from this week's lecture is very interesting and just further demonstrate how images can be manipulated to create something completely false. Keith Cottingham is able to essentially create the illusion of clones by taking several photographs of the same subject and manipulating them so that the final product looks as if they are identical triplets in three different poses. It is kind of neat and creepy at the same time. I just imagined that being me in the photo and got the heebie jeebies. Aziz and Cucher's "Dystopia Series" takes all of these normal portraits and manipulates them so that their eyes and mouth all appear as if they are completely sealed over with their skin. This looks like some freaky zombie horror movie in my opinion. i guess it is cool that they can do things like this, but I would be really creeped out if I was the security guard at the gallery and I had to walk by this wall at night with all of these huge, scary, portraits looking at me or "not looking at me." I would get the feeling they were watching me (even though they don't have eyes), and that they would like crawl out of their frame and eat me (even though they don't have mouths).
These works are just extreme artistic examples of what we are capable of when it comes to digitally manipulating photographs. You might or might not believe that these images were real, but I bet that "back in the day" they would have believed that the boy really was an identical triplet and that all of those Dystopia creeps were AAAAHHHHHH! REAL MONSTERS! These altered art works really aren't that extreme compared to what we are exposed to on a daily basis. We may not see many models or posters where people are duplicated or have their mouths and/or eyes sealed over, but they definitely trim waists, enhance busts, clear up skin, enlarge muscles, and remove this or add that. It is sad really, but this is the deceptive world that we live in. You definitely can't believe everything you see.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Paintings seem very soothing to me. I mean a painting can evoke a variety of emotions, convey many different messages, and contain a whole world of meaning, but when it comes to viewing the paintings, I think I approach them all in much the same way. I just have this overwhelming peacful feeling and I marvel at the beauty and complexity of the work. I just want to sit back and ponder its meaning. It is very easy to create assumptions about the artist and their life Sometimes we are fortunate to know a lot about the artist's life and relate that to their work and sometimes the connection is a complete mystery. I like the mysterious one's better. It lets my imagination run wild and nobody can tell me my assumptions are false because nobody really knows.
Specifically, this week I really enjoyed watching Hung Liu videos. I must admit that I couldn't get the 30 min. video to work. I was even very patient and waited for it to begin and I tried a couple of different days this week, but my efforts were futile. So, I just googled Hung Liu and I found a couple of videos. The videos I saw were amazing. I love Hung Liu's attitude and approach concerning her art. Her voice, technique, and pace were all very soothing and I was able to just sit in awe at what she was bringing to life before my eyes. She took photographs of people and she said that she would look at them very carefully to see if she could feel the soul of that person's face come out. If she could feel something special about the person in the picture, maybe something that needed to be said in the person's eyes or emotions, then she would paint the person and tell their story. She incorporated symbols, colors, and different techniques to convey different messages and make the viewer connect with the subject in the painting and understand how they felt.
I loved her painting that had three women on a scarlet background and there were flowers and other things in the foreground. She told us that during a time of war that these women and hundreds of others were taken prisoner and taken to a place and buried alive in a giant hole/tomb. The pain, suffering, and brutality of the scene really touched me and the expressions and body language of the three images were serene and haunting at the same time. The scarlet background spoke of blood, pain, and death. Despite the tragedy of the story behind the painting I got the feeling that that wasn't what the painting was all about. I got the feeling that these women somehow overcame their fate and were alive in some sense of the word.
I really enjoyed looking at all of the different techniques this week. I knew that there had to be a wide variety and that there are really unlimited combinations of techniques that can be incorporated into a work of art, but it was interesting to see a few and I was amazed at how involved and time consuming some were and on the flip side how simple and elegant others can be. I really enjoyed browsing through the websites (John Lovett's Watercolor Techniques, Sistine Chapel Ceiling, and the Buon Fresco website). I learned a lot and gained a new appreciation for the detail and work that goes into each and every painting. It can be, but usually isn't as simple as setting up your eisle, getting out your paints and canvas, looking out the window, and just painting what you see.
I love what Michelle said about the rich history of painting and I have chosen to close my blog entry by quoting that here:
"There's certainly no shortage of content to discuss when it comes to the topic of painting! It has the richest history of all media in western art. Painting has been used by prehistoric "cave people" to render likenesses of animals, by the romans to decorate the lush villas of the wealthy, by monks, nuns and renaissance artists to illustrate the Bible, by modern artists to express their angst, by postmodern artists to critique tradition, by children to have fun and by you to paint your walls!"
I love it because it is "everybody's medium" from cavemen to little children. It's fun for everyone! : )