Sketchbook Covers

Image Cover from High School Sketchbook. (2006-2008); Found Images and Text, Tape

ImageCover from College Sketchbook (Fall 2010 – Spring 2011); Found Images, Tissue Paper, ModgePodge, Tape, Mirror pieces

Image Cover from Sketchbook/ Journal for Women’s Group (2012); Found Images, Handmade Paper, Stickers, Fabric, Feathers

ImageCover from Sketchbook/Journal for Summer Workshop (2013); Fabric, Handmade Paper, Sequins

ImageCover from Current Sketchbook (2012 – 2013); Found Images and Text, Tape

Fun Times with MS Paint

In middle and high school the only image editor on a computer I had access to was MS Paint. For those who may not know or remember, MS Paint is the super basic application for messing around with images that came with Microsoft. Mostly it was a couple of super simple pixel brushes and a color picker. Really not much else.

In high school I also spent a ridiculous amount of time on the free website Neopets making up characters and stories for my virtual companions. Petpages are free web space provided by neopets to describe your pet and pretty do whatever you want. It was a cool space to learn about html and css in a relatively unrestricted environment. I would cruise from petpage to petpage gathering ideas, seeing cool art, and learning a lot about the web.

The combination of these two things resulted in me becoming quite skilled at MS Paint painting, which I always thought was pretty cool.

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Here is my crowning achievement of MS art:

Phiddippida is a desert kougra, which you don’t really need to know. She lost her ear in a horrible oil lamp accident. She is psychic and her lover is a ghost. Neopets is a really cool place!

To create this image I hand drew a sketch, scanned it, and then spent meticulous hours coloring, smoothing, and creating texture and shine. I have no idea how many total hours it took, but lots and lots!

 

Another character of mine is a silver peophin names Rasavatam. He’s made of mercury and is pretty cool. You can learn more about him here: http://www.neopets.com/~Rasavatam. Here is my painting of him. It was painted completely in MS Paint, with no hand drawing to start. I think I got a pretty cool liquid affect going on. Apart from the neck being really janky I still like this piece.

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Beyond creating images of my own neopets, a popular trend on character petpages was to create a gift to give to individuals who visited your page. These are called adoptables and they are little pictures of a specific species of neopet in every color they come in. A big part of neopets is painting your pets different colors to “customize” them. Since I was in high school the level of customization has become way more complicated with backgrounds and clothing and much more than simple colors. I made adoptables for my other Kougra, Antideo. He is a poet, hence the hat.

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People can also request a custom adoptable, where they would show me their pet customization (which they made up from their own imagination), and then I would create a little image for them. Very cool sharing of art and creativity. You can see some adoptables I got for my other pets on Isepheloria and Siberyl‘s page.

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If you are totally confused don’t worry; The takeaways from this blog post are:

  • Neopets is a really complicated place with a strange set of cultural rules
  • Neopets is a great place to waste time in High School
  • and MS Paint art is something I used to do a lot, and something I liked to do.

Firefly Handmade Market

On Sunday I visited the Firefly Handmade Market to peruse the arts and crafts for sale. I always love attending art fairs and markets for a couple reasons.

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  1. I would like to sell my art at one of these markets someday. I like to see the different ways people present their work and approach the public. I take note of what makes me want to enter a booth, and how my interactions with people affect my desire to purchase their goods.
  2. Along the same lines as point one I love collecting business cards. Right now there are lots of really cool business cards. They come in all different shapes and sizes. This time around I saw square cards, round cards, two-sided, one-sided, and so on. A good font on a business card can make a huge difference
  3. I want to support local artists. Although I didn’t buy anything this time around I do want to be a patron of the arts. I made a treasury list on Etsy of artists I saw that I may go back and buy christmas presents from. Or when I have a home again I may buy some pieces for my home. Check out my treasury list here.
  4. I get to meet other artists. Workshops, possible collaborators, interesting conversations are all over the place at these fairs. I met one woman who made the coolest hats and hopefully we will collaborate in the future. Fantastic!
  5. They generate ideas. Art shouldn’t be created in a vacuum. Sometimes I see things and think to myself, “I want to do that too!” Other times I see trends that I want to explore. As you will see in my treasury list birds are the coolest thing on the block right now. Not sure if that would mean jumping on the bandwagon or breaking out and doing something really different. Either way it got my creative gears moving.

I plan to go back to the winter market to see more vendors, generate more ideas, buy presents, support local artists, and meet new people.

FF13 Holiday save-the-date-banner

Graffiti in Paris

In 2011 I studied abroad for the summer in Paris. I saw a LOT of art in museums while studying the famous artists of Paris. However, I also saw a lot of cool art on the streets. I was amazed at the breadth of materials used in Parisian Graffiti. It may have simply been that I have never lived in a big city with plenty of time and places to create super interesting street art, but I enjoyed the variety all the same.

The majority of street art that I saw were put up with wheat paste. Wheat paste is a really cheap glue that dries relatively quickly. It allows an artist to premake their art or design on light paper and then simply slap it onto the wall with some paste. I like these works a lot because they are often really detailed, and as the paper wears due to weather they gain a certain character.

I was also excited to see a Space Invader while in Paris. The artist Space Invader is relatively well known due to his specific style. He recreates pixellated characters from video games with colorful ceramic tiles. I can never know if the piece I saw was an actual space invader, or created by an imitator, but I’m not sure it matters.

I also saw a ton of graffiti on the walls of the metro. However I didn’t get any pictures of that art because the metro moved so fast and the lighting was too poor. The idea of temporal, guerilla art that is accessible to lots of people, due to its public nature, really appeals to me. However, flirting with “the law” or what not has always kept me from experimenting with street art.

Link

Salome in Art and Poetry

Maud Allen as Salome (1909)
 

This digital comparative essay explores the difference of the character Salome in two literary works. Both are titled after the famous biblical femme fatale, Salome, one written by Oscar Wilde and the other by Ai. Written and created in my “Writing to Know Poetry” class in my senior year of college. It was a collaborative process between myself and another student in the class. Feel free to have a look around the site.

Art and Controversy of September 11th, 2001

September 11th, 2001 has become a day immortalized in the memories of a nation. Early in the morning two planes, hijacked by a group of terrorists, crashed into the World Trade Center towers. The world watched as the two towers fell down in smoke. Although media coverage was swift to censor the events of the attacks, people everywhere can recall the frightening live broadcasts. Never before had the safety of the American people been so systematically compromised. Although terrorist attacks occurred on United States soil before, such as the attack on Pearl Harbor, the lives of civilians hadn’t been jeopardized like they had been on 9/11. Alongside the World Trade Center, the Pentagon was hit, and a fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania, allegedly targeting the White House.

“No building symbolized the neoliberal world order better that the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and no building symbolizes military might in the United States better that the Pentagon. The White House, the target for the third failed attack, would have been the perfect representation of political power” (79, Bleiker).

To comprehend the intensity surrounding 9/11 countless pieces of art have been created to remember, process, and immortalize the events of the day.

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Ikebana Flower Party

Yesterday was my mother-in-law’s birthday party, and as a surprise for her guests we were all invited to make a Ikebana flower arrangement. I knew very little about Ikebana before I started, but I enjoyed the free environment set up by the party to dive in for the first time.  Here is what I ended up with.

Having played around a little with the form I wanted to know more about it. The only info we got from the florist, the same one who did the flowers for my wedding, was to work in thirds, that the form is normally done in silence, and that movement and form are key. My friend at the party, who had been a practicing buddhist for many years, said that the flowers should capture the idea of “as above; so below” or something along those lines. She also said that Ikebana always incorporates something that is about to die to signify the cyclical nature of the world.

With this little start in mind I did a little more digging. Classical Ikebana was established in Japan by the middle of the 15th century. There are a number of different schools of thought surrounding the art form. “Ikebana translates as ‘living flowers’, meaning to appreciate the life that is, was, or will be in any plant, or part of a plant, from a seed to a whole tree. Another name for this practice is kado, ‘the way of flowers’.” – Osho Leela Meditation Center, Boulder

I would like to try this form again now that I know more. I would like to also try the form in silence, in hopes of falling more into the meditation and appreciation of nature. I think a lot about play, space, transience, depth, and color could be learned from the excercise. Thankfully my mother-in-law has lots of flowers left over from the event.

To learn a lot more Check Out Ikebana International

For lots more picture: http://www.flickr.com/groups/ikebana/