Questions for “Ways of Seeing”

18 02 2010

In John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, it explains many perspectives on how people see things. Seeing is what establishes our place in the surrounding world, well at least that is what Berger had to say. I agree with him in that the way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe. Berger adds that our perception or appreciation of an image depends our own way of seeing too. I believe this reading was somewhat related to the What is Art? one because the way we see things is like how we see art. It is a very broad subject and there are multiple definitions of Art like there are multiple perspectives of how we see an object.

1. Do stereotypes and our beliefs of what we think is art affect the way we see things? I think that what we see is also a matter of opinion, but is there a certain level of assumptions where it can really shape our seeing?

2. Berger mentioned that the invention of the camera destroyed the idea that images were timeless giving the image a whole new meaning compared to a painting. So is it fair to say that the way we look at things is always evolving with each new invention (camera) of how to portray art? What we took from looking at an object from the past may not necessarily match the way we might look at that same object today.

3. If reproduction of original pieces of work has destroyed the authority of art and has made images more available, valueless, and free, then why do those copy-artists keep making more reproductions? Are they running out of ideas of their own? And why would some viewers still admire the copy rather than the original?


What is Time?

4 02 2010

1. We covered a lot of material in our Intro to Visual Thinking class since the last posting. We talked about how the usage of time began and how it is affective in pieces of art from the readings by G.J. Whitrow. In class, we played Pictionary in groups of three using words that were mostly conceptual like expression, culture, emotion, etc. so it was pretty difficult to draw in such a short amount of time before anyone could figure it out. Even though my group tied for first place, it was not about winning. We learned that efficiency in Art may not necessarily be a good thing. For instance, if you walk into a gallery to look at a painting and figure out the meaning too quickly, it would not be as interesting and you would just walk away and find another painting to analyze. It is much more fun when things are less obvious and when there is something mysterious to figure out; beginning with what the artist was trying to portray.

In addition to that, we did some studio activities such as How You Got Here and 20 Lines activities. For How You Got Here, we were supposed to sketch how we got to class that morning. It may seem really simple, but the topic was very broad which allowed more room for individuality. After time was up, each student had a different interpretation of the assignment. Some drew maps, some drew images of objects they passed as they walked to class, and even some went way back to graduating high school to show how they got to college. The 20 Lines activity was similar where everyone made a variety of lines portraying various genres of music.

The most interesting and confusing thing we watched was the film, Memento. This was the first movie I had ever watched that went backwards. It gave away the ending in the first scene, but it was cool to see what had developed before then to cause the murder. Once you think you know what exactly is going on, the movie throws another twist or flashback that will make you think twice. After the movie was over, we did not really know who killed Leonard’s wife even though we saw him kill Teddy in the beginning. The truth of the murder is up to the viewer to decide, which kind of makes a parallel to the movie where Leonard’s condition is partially controlled by what Leonard wants to believe or create in his mind: his own identity. So in other words, he manipulates his own reality.

For homework, we were assigned to sketch our earlier memories or dreams that we have had recently. Unfortunately, I do not usually remember my dreams after I wake up so I drew earlier memories instead of my childhood. My first memory was dream-like and I am not exactly sure if it really happened or not, but I remember lying down facing up and I was looking at some bright lights in the ceiling. Then I saw my Aunt Cindy, who lost the fight against cancer when I was one year old, hover over me. Then it felt like I woke up, but after that my memories were clearer by the time I had grown up. It is really hard to explain, but I think it might have actually happened because I saw a tape of my one month birthday party (chinese custom) where the same scene happened. I was in one of those baby carriers just waking up and there Aunt Cindy was talking to me. It was very odd because that memory lasted since I was one month old, or it could have just been a big coincidence. Guess I will never know, but I do wish my Aunt was still here since I never got the chance to know her.

Aunt Cindy and I

2. For this week’s reading, we read G.J. Whitrow’s What is Time?. Like the week before where we talked about What is Art?, the discussion about time was also very open. It is very hard to put a finger on Time because it is so broad and has so many meanings like Art. No one ever thinks about how time is constructed but yet our world is controlled and affected by it. For instance, time is very significant to trade and marketing. Time is the dominant feature of our world-view. The hard part is determining where time came from or how it started. According to the reading, churches were one of the first to ring bells to tell time and scientists believe that time is cyclic. Time has different meanings depending on the culture. Some societies are more religious than others so it could also mean the “cyclic life” or rebirth. In the reading, some say that time is structural or built-in. Without having clocks, people still know to wake up in the day and to go to sleep at night. In class, we also discussed how long periods of boredom seem to drag where memorable moments go by faster. In the reading, the block of wax analogy explained that we will remember more the harder we press down on the wax rather than the smudges. So in other words, we remember the striking details in life. I agree with this analogy because when you are watching a basketball game on T.V., all you remember are the highlights and most impressive plays in the game.

3. We briefly talked about how calendar came to be, but how exactly did we come up with the idea of mashing together calendars from the Mayans, Christians, etc.? I have seen how effective the element of time can be for a film, but how can you make it effective for other works of art such as painting, drawing, or sculpting?

4. In class, we talked a little about lucid dreaming. To be honest, I have never heard of it before so it interested me right away. I have learned that it is when the sleeper is aware that he or she is dreaming and can somehow manipulate his or her actions while in the dream. I never really thought about this before, but it has happened to me a few times, especially when I dreamt about flying. So when I am floating in the air, of course I am dreaming but the hard part was controlling it; like how high or fast I could go. It was a really weird feeling, but by the time I started to think too hard about it I wake up. I have also had dreams where I am playing basketball and am totally aware that I am dreaming, but cannot seem to get a grasp of the basketball. Every time I dream about playing, it is like I have butterfingers and cannot catch or make a shot. So it makes me wonder what determines the level of control you have in a lucid dream.

What is Art?

26 01 2010

1. We have just finished our first week of the semester and I am currently enrolled in a class called Introduction to Visual Thinking: Time. It is a pretty broad course that introduces us to the visual arts. Time is the focus of the class and we have to study how it affects works of art and how it acts as a framework to explore the conceptual and creative process. In the beginning, we watched a couple music videos to see how time plays a significant role in the video to portray the meaning of the song successfully in an artistic way. One of the music videos I found the most interesting was Sugar Water by Cibo Matto. The whole music video was split into halves with one side going forwards and the other going backwards. As the song plays on, the characters in the halves come together and then continue moving on the opposite direction in which they came. To figure out what Sugar Water meant, we did an activity where we each drew a diagram that would represent the music video. It was kind of complicated at first, but I decided to draw a venn diagram representing the similarities and differences of the two halves which then crossover and meet in the middle.

2. The reading that we were assigned last week was about the general topic of Art and how it could or should be defined. The article we read was called What is Art? by Bart Rosier and in class we discussed the meanings we had taken out from the reading. In attempt to grab hold of the definitions of art, we talked about how conception is important to Art, how the Artist and the museums can create or label Art, how it acts as visual communication, and much more. A classmate also pointed out that Art could not have a concrete definition because the term “Art” can change over time. Then another student argued that everything is Art, which broadens its meaning even more. Others believed that cultural value has a lot to do with Art’s significance. I thought it was interesting from the reading that art has to be intentional and that children scribbling is not considered as a work of art because they did not purposely think creatively on paper. The class also went on to discuss the function of art including expression, communication, emotion, and self-satisfaction. I never realized that the meaning of art was this complicated.

3. Some questions to ponder: Does Art necessarily have to be intentional? Sometimes accidents can be turned to a nice piece of art. Can everything in this world be considered Art? I feel like it is too broad to categorize Art in that way and creative sculptures, paintings, drawings, etc. would not be as special or appreciated as much.

4. After watching some music videos in class, it makes me wonder how repetition and rhythm is so affective in not only videos but works of art. I have come to realize that with repetition, the subjects of the work are emphasized more and tend to stay in your mind. The repetitional patterns of objects, shapes, or sounds then lead to rhythm suggesting motion. Movement is then the path that our eyes follow when we look at a work of art. I feel that it makes the piece less boring and that we do not miss a spot while scanning the work so that we get the whole meaning of the art piece.

Art Events

15 12 2009

1. On November 10, Professor Joe Lucchesi gave a lecture about artists and AIDS. For a little background on him, at St. Mary’s, he teaches Western art from Ancient to Modern. His other teaching interests include issues of gender and sexuality, alternative media, critical theory, and museum studies. He curated Amazons in the Drawing Room: the Art of Romaine Brooks at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC and the University Museums at the University of California at Berkeley in 2000, as part of his ongoing research interests in the visual strategies of emerging gay and lesbian subcultures of the early 20th century. This leads to the lecture about the AIDS epidemic and how it affected visual art.

This was really interesting because my core seminar class was about Arts in the Age of AIDS and I am taking a digital imaging art class at the same time, so this lecture connected topics from both of which I was studying. Many of the pieces that he showed us were designed to raise awareness of the epidemic. Some of those artists were tested positive so many of their art pieces represented life and having AIDS as like having a time bomb that could explode at any time. We discussed the movement starting from the early 1980s when the disease began to spread. I have learned that when they first found out about HIV and AIDS that people discriminated much of the gay community because they thought it was a “gay man’s disease”.

I really enjoyed Lucchesi’s lecture because he covered a lot of visual art. The arts we have learned in my core seminar class were mostly dramatic arts and works of literature such as plays, movies, poems, and novels; so it was interesting to get a whole perspective of how all of the arts were affected by the AIDS epidemic.

2. On November 11, Artist-in-Residence Mary Stewart gave a lecture on her background, stories about becoming an artist, and talked about some of her work. Stewart grew up in a rural area south of Miami, Florida. She was self-taught in drawing and has been drawing ever since she was little. She then became interested in lithography and printmaking.  I really liked her “Without Voice” (black pastel on white paper) because I felt like I could relate to it. She explained that it was an experience of being silenced and how she was unable to step up against anyone. I have had moments like those in a basketball game where I should take leadership and tell people what to do on the court, but end up chickening out because being a freshman on the team, I thought it was not my place to tell my teammates what to do and where to go.

Justin Maller

14 12 2009

Justin Maller is a freelance illustrator and art director based in Melbourne, Australia. He has been creating art for over eight years and has produced pieces professionally in the last three years. Maller is represented by Jeremy Wortsman of Jacky Winter group. He has created illustrations and concept art for a diverse array of companies and publications worldwide. Some of these companies include DC Shoe, Verizon, Quiksilver, K-Swiss, Wrigley’s, and Samsung.

Justin Maller enjoys his cordial collaborative relationship with several prestigious international design studios. He is also the inner core member of Keystone Design Union, which is a collection of designs from several talented digital artists. In addition to that, Maller is the creative Director of depthCORE, the international modern art collective that was established in June 2002.

Aside from the art, Justin Maller is a shoe collector, savvy blogger, and loves to play basketball. I find Maller very talented because he is versatile. He makes really awesome designs and at the same time, he enjoys life and has other hobbies that he is good at.


Richard Roberts

13 12 2009

Richard Roberts is a well known graphic artist who is only eighteen years old. He was born in the UK and now lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Roberts also has a website on depthCORE and has been designing for four years. His goal is to open his own studio one day and to design for the rest of his life.

Perseverance, knowledge, aspirations, patience, effort, and practice have helped Richard Roberts get to where he is now at such a young age. Roberts self-taught himself Photoshop and Illustrator. He spends hundreds of hours on his art pieces. Sometimes, he will go a straight twelve hours on a project in one day. In the process, he starts off by thinking of a concept, then writes key words on a whiteboard above his work space and finds a photograph that would fit his topic of the project.

Richard Roberts work is so versatile and is more inspiring to me since we are both the same age. He has so much talent and such a great work ethic. Roberts is a very focused artist and will not stop until his project is done, even if it means working a straight hundred hours.


Eric Sin

13 12 2009

Eric Sin is a young twenty year old illustrator and student who resides in California. He currently lives in La Mirada and attends California State University Fullerton. Sin is in the process of acquiring his Bachelors in Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design. He is a senior member of depthCORE, which is a website or an artistic outlet for talented digital artists.  Sin also had some administrative experience on Oxygenetic, which is now disfunctional.

Eric Sin gets his inspiration from the people. He believes interactions you make on a day to day basis when you meet others and talk with new interesting people for the first time are truly inspiring. To Sin, it’s all about “how you live and what you endure and see everyday puts a lot on you and it’s just nice to take all that energy and vent it out on a white canvas.”

Eric Sin’s work is so unique because he has so much skill in freelancing by getting many offers, positions, and contacts from companies and clients. Some of his art pieces are just for his personal contentment, which make it so much more interesting.