Saturday, May 22, 2010

Final Project II: "Man-Made Disasters"

This triptych was not critiqued by the class, but I can speak on what my ideas were behind it. I took the ideas from my emulation project to create interesting trees and a soft landscape that was also rather washed out. In black pen I drew "man-made disasters" that have occurred over time. The first depicts "London's Killer Fog" of 1952 caused by the citizens of the city burning coal at an alarming rate to heat their homes in the rapidly changing weather. Many died from the resulting smog. The second depicts the forest fires that raged through California in 2009, some of which were natural and a part of the survival of the ecosystem, however some were also deliberately caused by human hands and destroyed much of California's wildlife and forced millions out of there homes and killed 12 people. The third depicts the most recent man-made disaster, the oil drill explosion in the gulf is currently reeking havoc on the ecosystem and attempts to clean up the spill have not been successful. The black pen is dirty and unsightly in these soft and beautiful watercolor landscapes, just as the man-made disasters have done nothing for the landscapes that they have ruined and ecosystems they have affected.

Final Project 1: "If Nature Had A Say"

I honestly was not expecting the class to choose this drawing to put in the show, but since they did I had to really think about why I made the decisions I did when I was drawing this. I used the model and an image that I took of my barn and was truthfully trying to do something original and interesting just to see if I could do it. I love drawing from my imagination and do not get the opportunity to as much as I would like. So for the show I concluded that I was attempting to depict a struggle between human-kind, nature and possessions and how each can be monsters towards each other or on their own.

However, the class and professors invited to critique did not get my ideas from my drawing, they actually got ideas of religion, virginity and sexuality. They thought the title of the piece should be changed to "Like A Virgin." This was amusing to me, because I was not thinking of any of these ideas when I was drawing, although that does not mean I necessarily disagree with their interpretations. I think this was mainly due to the fact that the barn looked more like a church structure to the class and professors. So although the drawing was executed well and was interesting and original, the ideas behind it were not as well formulated per-say.

Emulation Project

I was not altogether certain on what everyone thought about my attempt at Emulating Eyvind Earle, the print graphic artist who specializes in landscapes. Earle has a stylized method of translating a landscape so I figured that emulating him would not be too difficult because he uses a lot of solid color and shapes, with intricate detail in the spots of color that are the leaves of his ornate trees. However, I discovered that mimicking a print with paint is very difficult to do; you just cannot get the same fine mark making and solid color with paint as you can with print, or perhaps I was just not with the talent.

One thing the class unanimously agreed on was that the landscape was being mostly covered and perhaps hindered by the large tree branch in the foreground. I chose to put the branch in the foreground because it is a common theme in Earle's prints, however my branch looked awkward and did not recede into space as Earle's do so well. Also it was rather thick and covered a lot of the top half of the landscape, hiding it. I think the class was also confused on my color choices, but I chose this palette from Earle's own prints and the black trees are common in his compositions. If I could re-do the project I would try for better mark making and strive for a better color palette and make the tree branch a bit smaller and have it recede into space more.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Citation for "Influences and Sources" Post (below)

Kerlow, Isaac V. The Art of 3D Computer Animation and Effects. Third Edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2004.

Finch, Christopher. The Art of Walt Disney. Japan. 1999.

Leonardo da Vinci. 1996.

Luikkonen, Petri & Pesonen, Ari. Jane Austin (1775-1817). Kuusankosken. 2008.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Paper Project: Influences and Sources


When I think of influences and sources, I immediately think of an essay, much like the one I am writing now. My work, above mere opinion and thought-processes, needs to be supported by hard evidence. Similarly an artist of any kind must have some sort of evidence, or perhaps a better word is inspiration or influence, for his or her work. Every artist in history that I know of was inspired by perhaps some other artist, or perhaps something beyond the art world such as a world event, or perhaps a story they would like to share - something personal. These three very different types of influences are what unconsciously (and sometimes consciously) drives artists to create what they do.

Artistic Influences and Sources:

My influences from the art world include very little of what you might call “fine art,” and it is not just what they have created that inspires me, it is also their personalities and their drives. The first is Leonardo da Vinci for his “jack of all trades” type but especially how he was able

to scientifically explore art while still creating something profound and beautiful. Since I like things to be organized and systematic myself, I like the idea that there is a science or reason to everything, even abstract or purely instinctive art. I also enjoy his “sketch” drawing, his mark making is confident, yet never absolute under that final dark stroke is made so his works never look like mere sketches, but careful and precise pieces []

Walter Elias Disney is another because he loved everything about the entertainment business just as I do. Also a “jack of all trades” type of personality – he designed characters, animated, filmed, produced, worked with sound and lighting, as well as did some early drafting for his first amusement park – he inspires me because of the curvy and “cute” style he is famous for and how he can portray so much emotion in one of his characters. But also I am inspired by his dedication to his projects, even when they have to take a break because of financial instability (such as Lady and the Tramp did) or they took many years to complete (such as Sleeping Beauty) he never gave up on what he believed others would love to see [Finch, 14-16 & 23].

My Uncle Bill is a commercial and fine artist in the Twin Cities, his most recent endeavor is wood-working, he created little figurines of himself and his dog (the love of his life – Buster) and they are currently at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts show. What has always impressed me about Uncle Bill and the reason why I look up to him even though our choices of field are very different is how he became a successful artist. He never went to college and he was never the best in public school – always doodling during class – he is a self-taught artist and his very personable character made him an excellent public relations representative for himself. He gets along with everyone and will talk to anyone (a lot like my dad and my grandma on that same side). He set up his own clientele base and has been an at-home studio artist for his entire career – he is now 58 – and continues to thrive in this region.

John Lasseter, and all of the other amazing animators at Pixar Animation Studios, are the ones who have inspired me to go into animated films. Lasseter is currently the chief creative officer for Pixar Animation Studios. He dropped out of Pepperdine University to attend the California Institute of Arts and take the first animation course ever offered there. He has been taught by three of the “Disney Greats” in animation and some of his classmates included Brad Bird, John Musker, Henry Selick, and Tim Burton. Brad Bird is now also an executive for Pixar. Lasseter began as a cel animator, but quickly moved to computer animation and CGI animation. My inspiration comes from how he rose to become CCO of the company. He began as a Jungle Cruise skipper at Disneyland in California, he obtained a job as an animator at Disney, first working on 101 Dalmations. While there, he was introduced to computer animation, which he was enthralled with and became determined to create a film using three-dimensionally rendered backgrounds that characters could move around in, Disney believed the cost benefits too high and terminated Lasseter for taking so long to finish Brave Little Toaster. He went on to Lucasfilm which eventually became Pixar when bought out by Steve Jobs in 1986. John Lasseter had begun with a short that was totally 3D this time, characters included and this success inspired the full-length feature Toy Story. Ironically Pixar was bought out by Disney in 2006. John Lasseter is an inspiration to me because he was determined to prove that something amazing could be produced with new and difficult technology if you just have the dedication and right group of friends to back you up. I learned from him especially that people skills are more important in the art world than anywhere else [Kerlow, 94-95]

Eyvlind Earle was an American artist and illustrator in the 1950s for the style and backgrounds used in Disney’s animated films. A character has interest, is dynamic and often the focus of any given scene ina film, but without background, without context, the character is rather boring. Earle’s chief occupation was his contributions to Sleeping Beauty’s backgrounds and styling. Walt Disney wanted something different for this film since his other two princess films (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Cinderella) had similar styles. He wanted something more stylized and Earle’s hand-painted medieval inspired backgrounds were in turn inspiration for the more stylized and medieval characters in the film. This was one of only two films to use Technirama – a widescreen format and was the last feature to use hand-inked cels. The film took most of the decade to produce, one of the longest in Disney history due in part to the time necessary to complete the backgrounds. Eyvlind Earle has produced absolutely beautiful landscapes and contexts for this film, the extent of the detail is so impressive and the style is truly unique and pushing the envelope for Disney filmed features. Earle’s work is painstaking and lengthy, but he was dedicated entirely to it and that kind of conviction in one’s style and process is admirable and motivating [Finch, 30-31]

Influences and Sources from Outside the Art World:

I adore English literature, especially that of Jane Austin because her characters and stories are so relatable. There’s nothing too fantastic about them that they wouldn’t happen in real life, but there is a magical, timeless and fairytale-like aspect to every one of her stories. Her characters are powerhouse females and I think that is what inspires me the most – in the traditional sense, the landscape, the houses, mansions, fashion and dialogue all influence me, but really it is the characters, how deep, expressive and complex Austin makes her characters is truly a source of inspiration for my own ideas of characters and contexts. My favorite is one of her classics –Pride and Prejudice – and the most recent feature film based off that novel starring Keira Knightley is also one of my favorite movies. I also enjoy Emma and Sense and Sensibility [Luikkonen & Pearson].

I travel to Florida to visit my grandparents quite often and I have grown fond of the very different culture down there (yes, even in the same country there is such a different culture in the South) especially “old money.” We love driving around Florida, Alabama and Louisiana to look at the mansions and great plantations of the region, most of which are so beautiful in their design and character. Not that there are not very wealthy plantation owners in the North or very nice houses, but I find that in the North people don’t find it necessary to display their wealth quite as much. In the South it is all about the show and they want you to be able to see everything! I love the variety of materials used and how each home has a personality and I feel

I transfer that into my art, I try to use a variety of traditional materials and make sure that each piece has a purpose and identity.

I enjoy movies more than anything else in this world, but I find I especially like those movies that are based off of novels or known stories. I find that these have more backbone and opportunity for criticism and interpretation, which I love – I feel that a film must leave the viewer making us think “now, why did they decide to do it this way?” or “what is the meaning behind this film?” I especially love, as I mentioned before, the Jane Austin inspired films, as well as stories such as Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, etc. that have been made and remade again into feature films for our delight and entertainment. Each has something different to offer and provide for so much deliberation and opportunity for compare and contrast conversation.

Personal Influences and Sources:

I believe growing up in a rural setting has had an enormous impact on my art in two very different and profound ways that clash and collide with each other often and may make myself sound undecided or hypocritical, but I believe this too shows in my work. First I understand that living in a rural area in Wisconsin has had an impact on my appreciation for the environment and the organic. I think this is where my love for the traditional and old-fashioned is rooted. Nature is an every-abundant source of inspiration for me, even man-made things in nature such as the houses, the barns, the gardens, the animals add to the character of the natural and untouched environment. I think that is what intrigues me the most, the fact that in rural America, there are places and spaces in Nature that have understood time, but not at a human pace – it is still untouched or at least has not seen human contact for generations, our ancestors probably saw this same rock in the river or that huge box elder tree –albeit at a different stage of its life.

In another fashion, living in the rural has caused me to explore the un-rural. I delight in the fast-paced people and things of the cities of America, the ever-changing culture in contrast to the slow-paced culture of my rural home. There is something fascinating to me about the way people live in cities, detached or sometimes too absorbed in themselves to pay attention to the sheer remarkable way a city moves and changes even though it is much more permanent-appearing than what you might find in rural settings. From the cities I get my love for movies, entertainment, fashion, and different people. Most would not believe it, but there are as many different types of people in rural settings as there are in cities, the difference being that in rural settings you have to travel farther to find the differences. So my love for the futuristic and modern clashes often with my traditional and natural references from back home, but I believe I am slowly finding my niche that incorporates the best of both and explores what I most love about each.

Putting It All Together:

Going back to my personality test, through which I have discovered that a guardian such as myself values tradition, family and close relationships, values and structure, my influences are not far off and make perfect sense. I enjoy the process and order of scientific drawing in Leondardo da Vinci, I also revel in creativity demonstrated by Walt Disney, Eyvlind Earle, and john Lasseter. I crave both the fast-paced and ever changing technological world of CGI and special effects as well as the slow and paced traditional and natural world. My challenge is, as always, deciding how best to go about a particular project knowing that these influences are every part of my conscious and unconscious approach to art and design.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Project 2 Critique

I got mixed feelings about this drawing just as I did the other one. Some really enjoyed the way I had crafted my drawing space and used coffee to stain and to rip the paper to make the spaces look older and more worn. Others said they did not understand why I was playing with space in the architecture as far as things growing and intervening in other spaces that didn't altogether make sense. I understand now what they were saying...if I pick such a literal subject matter I should keep it literal in some cases - abstraction of the subject matter in this case did not work. One thing people enjoyed was how I truly took the style I used for my first drawing and applied it to this drawing as well.

However, I truly enjoyed this project because it was a process that although was not familiar to me in the slightest, I was able to plan and carry out diligently, which I found out from our personality analysis is what I love doing. I first tested the coffee in several different ways on several different types of paper. I think planned out how many spaces I wanted to have, how deep they were going to be and how large I wanted the final piece to be. After constructing my drawing space I systematically drew in one space at a time until the piece was mostly finished and then added extra touches for emphasis of certain areas such as the more worn-looking front space/frame. If I could change some things about this piece it would be to use the coffee ground technique I developed more to get that worn look rather than the charcoal and I would increase the space size in one of the layers and in the window of the doorway to emphasize depth more because that is what I was really going for and now that I look at it properly it still seems rather flat.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Project 1 Critique

I got very mixed feelings about this piece and that could very well be because I deliberately did not finish it so a lot of people had ideas of what to add to it to make it more complete and some said to leave it alone, it is successful the way it is. Those who said it did not look finished suggested filling the white corner so the eye doesn't involuntarily leave the piece. Professor Fichter suggested discovering a focal point and really communicating that focus to the audience because right now there are lots of interesting features, but they are seemingly unrelated or unfocused. Others said it was beautiful, they loved the white space and the intricacy of the strokes of the material.

I was very satisfied with the feedback I received. It was pretty much what I was expecting to hear, which I believe can be a good thing because it means the convictions you have about your piece communicate to the audience as well, and whatever you might do to improve the piece will hopefully also communicate well.
"Protector's Excursion"
This is a possible title I am thinking of for this piece and the direction I think I would like to take it in. Since my dog is a very large part of my path and really the only reason I can complete this particular path psychologically, I feel he should be the focal point. I am planning to explore Merlin (that's my dog's name) and his behaviors a bit more and see just how he interacts with his surroundings as he travels the path that I do.