– I sat in front of two children’s tricycles, one pink and purple, and one red.
– I wrote for 15 minutes about what they made me think of. I wrote about how my dad used to ride a big wheel and race his friend Craig when they were little kids. They would race around the apartment complex, and meet on the other side, seeing who could get there first. My dad always left his tongue hanging out when he focused, so when they crashed into each other, his tongue ended up getting pinched between their handle bars, almost cutting his tongue in half.
– I drew ten children’s tricycles on the same sheet of paper, overlapping one another and creating shapes, lines, and compositions through the abstractions my layered gesture drawings made.
– I did some research about tongues in relation to the writing I did while looking at the tricycles, looking at taste buds and the inside of lizard tongues, finding some really interesting textures and patterns. I liked the vascular aspect of the images I saw, and decided to get close up and create something scientific and organic.
– I added and subtracted, using erasers and vine charcoal, which was pretty much the only medium I used throughout the process. Finding composition in the craziness I had created was interesting, as I wanted to find balance but had to create some that wasn’t there.
– I used the various layers of matter I had created to fill the composition appropriately, and balance the dark bottom right corner out with the darker pieces in the top left. I also fleshed out the bumpy texture with a touch of white pastel to give contrast and dimension.
I’m always looking for ways to layer, which may mean flatting or giving objects dimension but not in a way that necessarily makes them identifiable. One thing that pleased me to hear in critique is that the content I created here was familiar, but still unidentifiable, fantastical, and kind of gross. I can see how the space within the frame is a little confusing, but I don’t know if I mind. I think it adds to the idea that we’re looking under a microscope.
This installation is centered around the idea of memory and the information stored in the mind, using the concept of multiples as a visual communication. The wooden cabinet containing glass pieces is representative of the mind, as it is the most commonly and frequently accessed form of storage. Hanging from the inside of the cabinet to communicate fragility, the various glass pieces serve as memories and data which are constantly being influenced by the light coming through them and the dirt that has settled on their surfaces. Though this installation is meant to emulate my grandmother’s old china cabinet and collection of dishes within it, the transparency and suspension of the objects inside imply the fragility of memory and it’s tendency to be influenced by emotion and time. We rely so much on our ability to remember, though our brains are not the most credible resource and are susceptible to change.
I’ve been using this blog in my visual studies and art courses this semester to log my reflections, inspirations, and record my ideas for various projects. This blog is intended to be an archive of information for me to look at in my future semesters and see how I’ve developed as a student and artist, so I felt that it was a sufficient medium for communicating with myself in the future. As an art major at St. Edward’s who’s always had an interest in creative writing and analyzing literature, I have always really liked my english classes. But now that I’m in college and it’s time to be all academic and professional about my work, I have different questions than I had at the beginning of the semester that I’m hoping my future experiences at St. Edward’s will answer for me. Since this is the last technical writing course I’ll be taking, my thoughts and concerns about writing have more to do with writing and research within the art major, and less with how to write for Rhetoric and Composition. I’ve learned a lot about writing this semester. I could probably give you a plethora of answers to the questions, “What are you even gonna use rhetoric for, anyway?” and “How do you write like an academic?” I’ve learned how to read academic writing, read about academic writing, think about academic writing, and I’m hopeful that I’ve learned how to write it. (Not 100% on that one, but we are our harshest critics, right?) I hope to find these answers at some point in my college career and be able to come back to this creative and reflective blog site to see the transformations I have made over time. So let’s get on with it! First, I’ll address myself.
Yo, Chlo! How do you find the gap in the conversation about the topic you plan to write about?
At the beginning of this class, I can remember feeling a little panicked when thinking about research and how it often felt like I was starting writing projects with nothing and with no direction. One of my questions in my Writng Project 1 was about how to start with nothing in the initial research process of a researched based writing project. I remember thinking that once I had a topic, I would be unsure of what direction to take as far as finding valuable sources and incorporating them into my project, along with the ideas I wanted to include. In our class this semester, we have used a variation of research tools and methods for gathering and organizing information. These have helped me realize that there is a strategy for research. Surprise! It begins with pre-search and finding out who my audience is for the writing I’m about to do. I learned how useful pre-search was in our Information Literacy Sessions because we had a set time in which we would explore our topic and find sources that would help us build credibility in saying what I had to say about writing in the arts. But even after the research process begins, its hard to know what information your audience needs that others haven’t already written about. When you sit down to research and get an idea of what others have said about the topic you’re interested in learning about, think about what kind of ethos you need to establish with your intended audience. There should always be a gap in order for your information to matter to your audience, it’s just a matter of exploring enough to know what that is and create a legit argument. This will lead you to the missing link that academic writing is meant to fulfill.
Now, for the questions I will need a little help answering:
Dr. Rodenborn, if I want to do a creative presentation for my honors thesis during my last semester at St. Edward’s, how would I incorporate evidence from my research and what kinds of writing would I need to accompany this project?
I know honors theses revolve around some sort of thesis. Duh! But the genres we saw presented in the honors symposium were really unique and related heavily to the student’s major and creative preference in presenting their information. The two presentations I saw at the Honors Thesis Symposium were plays, and each of these students could only present one scene from their play to their audience because of time constraints. This led to a time for the audience to ask questions to fill in the gaps of the play’s purpose and message. Despite the small exerpt they were able to show, it was obvious the writing they did for the project improved their ability to explain their topic and exigence, and communicate the information that their creative presentation couldn’t get across in that short period of time.
I’d like to be creative and use the knowledge about art and my particular interests that I’ve gained over my years at St. Ed’s in presenting my thesis. I’m wondering, when it comes time to propose my thesis and research, if I will have to do immense amounts of convincing, explaining, and establishing ethos in order for my thesis project to . I know this depends on my choice of medium for presenting my thesis and how well I communicate my purpose through that medium, I’d just like to know what the preparation process is like in terms of the kind of writing I will have to do so I can better prepare myself and choose my thesis wisely. I also know that it’s really early in the game to ask this, but I started thinking about it when I was preparing my final presentation for this class.
In my Writing Project 4, being an art student and gearing my genres toward fellow art majors, I wanted to communicate the role of writing in our major and various career paths in a very creative way that would resonate well with artistic minds. While I really enjoyed channeling my research and insights through creative mediums, it was really challenging to condense my information into genres that my audience would interact with only for a short period of time. I almost felt like they wouldn’t communicate sufficiently on their own, especially since they were more conceptual and needed a little more explaining. The fact that we had to do about the same amount of writing, in explaining and reflecting on our genres, as we did in the research paper for WP3, shows me now that I may have a lot of explaining to do if I choose a creative pathway for presenting my honors thesis. I’d like to know how intensive the writing has to be in comparison with the actual content of my presentation, and how would I effectively use my research in my final product.
Hey Visual Studies professors, what is considered “academic research” in the visual art major change and how does that change from project to project?
In my little bit of experience so far, the common view of the art major is that it is generally unassociated with academic writing and research. I quickly realized that this wasn’t true once I chose to write about the many uses for writing in the arts in my Writing Project 3. I talked about this in light of being a student artist working toward eventually being a professional in the creative field. The writing I have done for my art and design classes this semester has been mostly reflection blog posts, kind of like this one, and artist statements that we present when our work gets critiqued. In Writing Project 3, although it involved developing practice in the arts, it discussed how to create higher quality work and build artist identity through the strategy of writing reflectively. My point is, the writing I did about this topic was still about writing, and not just art, which meant the sources I found were written by academics in the visual studies field who conducted studies and used theoretical learning to help students in their creative processes.
In constrast with this research process, is the little bit of extra research I conducted for my Writing Project 4 genres. One of the mediums I used for communicating my information about writing in visual art, was a layered collage. (I’ve provided a link if you’d like to check it out!) The research for this was really casual and didn’t feel very academic. I searched things like “educational collage” and “interactive collage” in Google images and found some examples that helped inform the creating of my own interactive and educational collage. I’m enrolled in a new class next semester, in which a group of art students will be creating an installation piece about the Holocaust for the Bullock Texas State History Museum here in Austin. When I was invited to enroll in the class, I was told that we’d be doing research about the Holocaust and the symbolism of butterflies commonly used for this time in history. In this course, and through this cool new experience, I would like to discover what true academic research means on the professional level in the arts, and if there should be any guidelines for sources or material that art majors use in their work. I’m not sure at this point if there is a definite line, in visual art, between academic research and just material that provides inspiration and concepts to help in creating impactful work. I’m wondering, for future personal and school related projects, how the research process translates over into other creative subjects besides writing.
This semester has been a whirlwind of theorizing and researching, but through the stress and sometimes painful amount of reading, thinking, and writing my butt off, I’m really glad I’ve come to realize that I am now a part of the academy. The work I’ve been doing from the beginning of the semester has built up to now, the very moment I am typing these words, in which I recognize how much I know, how much I don’t know, and how much I am seeking to learn. I have faith that my unique experiences here on the Hilltop in my courses and working with students and professors, will bring me to all of these answers, and I hope that there is room left for questions in my mind after every endeavor I encounter in my future St. Edward’s career. I’ll leave myself, and any anticipated readers of this blog, with the song that got me through Rhetoric & Composition II. Now that I’ve made it through this course, I can remind myself to always go back to the foundation and theory I’ve built around academic research and writing over the semester. Most importantly, I can remind myself, “DON’T PANIC!”
Kim Garza, the assistant professor in the department of graphic design, had some very interesting things to share with the class in our seminar. I liked how she expressed the openness and unending opportunities there are in design because it showed her true interest in it and I could tell she was passionate about her work. The film and music collaboration she has been creating with her husband is very inspiring to me because I am really interested in film and music as two separate genres, and together I think they have the power to create a really powerful art form.
Tammie Rubin’s work is vey unique and intriguing. I like how she said her roots, growing up in Chicago, influence the structure of her art. I am a really big fan of letting memories and the places you grew up show through in your work, so that was really inspiring and cool to see. The sculptures themselves are really funky and fun to look at, and seem delicately constructed despite the vivid color of each object.
I liked the psychological importance James Sheran, professor at UT, placed on photography and it’s ability to capture things that are overlooked. I was interested in the concept that people do things that they don’t even realize, that are second nature, but when those actions are photographed, viewers are forced to see them and recognize the things they do every day that they don’t think twice about.
I personally really enjoyed this seminar. It was encouraging and enlightening, and kept me motivated to make work outside of my classes. I also got a cool perspective on the artist community in Austin and within St. Edward’s, which is encouraging to me because that means I am surrounded by people who know what they’re doing, and can help me figure out what I’m doing with my life and my education in visual art. It’s been real, y’all. Thanks for taking the time to help make us better students and shape us into more aware artists. Besides the time of the class (Monday afternoon), I don’t have any complaints about the quality of the course.
I really enjoyed hearing each professor’s reason’s for creating art and getting to see samples of their work. Each had a different perspective that stemmed from their varied backgrounds and expertise, which made for an interesting mix of exigence, execution of ideas, and concept development. Bill and Hollis both had fairly conceptual ways of thinking and explaining their art work. I really liked what Hollis had to say about how memory is just a perception of reality, and it’s not always the truth. In the interest of preserving/representing things of the past, it made sense that most of the things we know about reality come from our own subjective memory. I thought that her way of portraying natural disasters and giving the aftermath meaning and direction was really fascinating because she literally constructed destruction by stringing objects together, along with the memories tied to them.
My favorite insight of Bill’s was that life is not linear. In his personal work, he let’s ideas guide him without thinking of things chronologically, which I found was a really freeing concept when it comes to making work. The work he began after he quit his commercial photography job had such a real and etherial quality to it, which showed how much artistic expression can be held back by doing more commercial work for so long. I really liked his ending statement, because he told us to find a way to love what we do so that we can stay connected to it, and to ourselves.
Juan’s presentation was different than the other two, mostly because his was more about design and a little bit of problem solving and processes. What I gathered from his work was that design is a really broad field of study and work, and so many things can be achieved through design elements and visual communication. The prototypes he showed reminded me that everything is a process, and that sometimes when things don’t work out, you are led to another idea or solution. Although Tuan designed a lot of different things for a broad array of purposes, there was a common aesthetic throughout his work that was representative of his style.
After graduating from St. Ed’s with a degree in art, I would like to go to grad school and get a masters degree in something like industrial design or theatre design and stagecraft. I’d really like to be able to design sets for films and theaters, but also be able to build them. I have played with the idea of possible owning a set design company with some of my close artist/theater friends, but I think that would definitely be after the next five years. In order to get to that point, I’d want to build a really strong portfolio in my undergrad studies here to ensure I get into the best masters program for what I want to do.
As of now, I am really interested in learning how to vigorously prototype designs, and I am really excited to gain some basic building skills in the shelters project for Foundation Art & Design. I am going to take some technical theater classes here at St. Ed’s like Stage Craft and Lighting, as well as some film classes. I’ve been attending and volunteering for some film festivals and screenings, as well as interning with Jenn Hassin because I want to create a well rounded network of artists and creators that I can get experience working with and gain insight from. In five years, I’d like to be in grad school with a more specific idea of what I want to do, and how I’m going to use those resources to achieve my goals out side of the university.
I wanted to build a shelter that provide both protection and comfort. A rectangular prism would be a very cost efficient structure to build, and would not require much complicated assembly skills. I wanted the walls to open as opposed to having a door so that there would be air flow and a way to experience nature while having a roof and shade overhead. One of the walls would lift upward for shade, while the other would fold open downward to provide a small sitting space or porch-like area. The 6 walls would be made of some kind of plywood because the material is light and would be easy for rope to life and hold in place.
In order to fit three people, the shelter would have to be roughly 5 x 4 x 4 which would require about 5 panels of 4 x 8 plywood, costing $10 each. Could possibly use found plywood to recede the cost, because there will be additional materials like rope and a few pulleys.
I was really fascinated with the Rube Goldberg effect of this video. I was really engaged as one thing led to the next and different events created surprising consequences that led to more unpredictable turns in the process. This video made me think of how narratives are often linear and someone on the outside might be able to clearly determine what direction it’s headed, but there is no way to know what lies directly ahead without being the person traveling through it. There is always an element of surprise, that poetry of change that was mentioned in the Beyond Time podcast, that creates a beautiful story made up of eclectic parts.
Specific parts of the constantly moving machine are sometimes destroyed in the process of moving forward, which I thought was really interesting concept, and contradictory to the idea that all moments exist for ever and cannot be destroyed after one person experiences them. In order to get to a certain point in a story or processes, there is often a letting go of the things that came before it so that progression and growth can occur. There is no going back and revising the stages in the past that have brought the timeline to where it is “now”, where or whenever “now” is. It reminded me of a time in middle school when two of my friends and I stayed up one night making a Rube Goldberg to enter into a contest the next day. We extremely underestimated the level of planning and design thinking it took to accomplish something so complex and directional. We found that the more we tested it for success, the more it began falling apart and eroding back into it’s original separate parts.
David Blaine’s attempt to hold his breath for 17 minutes underwater was actually really unsettling. As he described the way he felt at certain points of the performance, I began to feel light-headed myself just listening to the details of how much pain he was in.
What I did find interesting was how much physical preparation he had to do in order to complete this achievement. He really focused on the specific things he could do in order to make this seemingly impossible feat a reality in front of thousands of people. Each little step he went through, like slowing down his heart rate, started in smaller increments of time, breathing exercises, and building up his red blood cell count, were all part of the journey he traveled through to do something that defies nature. He surpassed natural human functions in order to survive with nothing, not even air.
That’s really scary to think about, and makes me wonder how little humans will need in the future to live once people keep making discoveries and pushing the limits. David Blaine’s story shows that mental and physical hinderances can sometimes be overruled by determination and a strong sense of purpose.
The podcast, Beyond Time, produced by Radio Lab consisted of quite a mind-boggling discussion. I found the concept of time making two or more things one very interesting to think about. The piece the speakers described in the beginning of the podcast where the two metals would eventually defuse and become one. This made me view art as a sort of unnatural force that constantly swims up the stream of time. Many ideas and other theoretical concepts arose from this first discussion. The points that stuck out to me the most about time were the ideas that moments always exist and that they never go away, even after we encounter them. I found the contrasting opinion interesting as well, because it was in favor of free-will as opposed to this rigid idea of predestined moments that “denies the poetry of change.”
I was interested in these various theories and contradictions about how time effects the human existence, or if it really effects it at all. The belief that parallel universes exist in which every human choice is represented and has the potential to happen grew from a study of quantum physics and begins to break away from the common sense of chronological events as we know them. In a sense, the idea that all choices and occurrences exist simultaneously destroys the norm of a linear narrative like we are used to. I imagine us hopping from universe to universe and picking an action or thought that waits there for us before we move on to the next. Yet, at the same time I realized how outlandish that would be because of how constrained my mind is to a ordered time sequence. This discussion seemed to redefine narrative as something that constantly exists, but that we experience at different times due to the previous things that occurred in our lives.
These concepts are really interesting to me because I believe in a God, an eternally existing higher power who lives outs idea of time, and I have had to think about the concept eternity and free will a lot in my life. I was reminded of the argument about predestination and free-will that has gone on for years in the church, but I also remembered that no one has ever really come to a conclusion because the ideas are mostly above tangible human understanding. I found it really interesting that these theories were produced and being explored by scientists because science and religion often take different sides.
Memento is a movie that speaks very loudly in style and technique. Director Christopher Nolan had a very distinct way of telling a story using the perspective of someone who suffers from short term memory loss and has to work through memories to solve the mysteries in his life after brain damage. Although the order of the plot seems very confusing and jumbled, the audience is given a clue from the very beginning in the representation of the polaroid picture. Shaking a polaroid usually makes the picture show up and become clearer, but the Nolan uses this action to defy the natural order of things and have the picture disappear, which keys the viewer in on how information will be presented to them. Nolan’s use of images as a replacement for memory is really cool concept because they are each vital to his success in finding out information and they serve as an archive of the things he isn’t able to retain in his mind.
I thought that the use of black and white film along side color was a very interesting way to portray different places in time and indicate the change in perspective. The black and white scenes seemed to be more of a concrete depiction of what actually happened in order to help the viewer make sense of the color scenes, in which they are led by the unreliable mind of Leonard, the man with the memory loss. I think it would be interesting to create a narrative with images where they alternate between stating truth and discovering those truths because I am really interested in making work that preserves memory and shows how fear of the unknown can build someones identity. In Leonard’s case, the viewer roots for him because of his seemingly innocent search for what happened to his wife and the things he can’t remember that cause him to inquire and try to solve it.
What is sort of tragic and intriguing about this non-linear narrative is that the viewer watches him lose sight of the truth again and again and be manipulated by the lies and behavior of others. The movie is truly a work of art, and Nolan’s use of a sort of non-narrative narrative is incredibly unique. Watching it and trying to solve things with visual clues and piecing together stories inspired me to think differently about the definition of a sequence, and how traditional or abstract they can be.