Write From The Heart

"Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back."

Gestalt Pt. 2- Centrality

September18

We as humans like to see the world a certain way and enjoy when small occurrences we pass by follow the aesthetic preferences our brains crave. As such, I wanted to focus my new pictures for Phase 2 on our desire to see framing and objects pulled to a specific center. Though this principle by nature defies the golden rule of thirds in art design, I found an alluring aspect to seeing images centralized by the objects and backgrounds surrounding them. Though there is a clear center, I feel the rule of thirds still applies, though more subtly, in the framing of each picture. The surrounding objects almost create an invisible border, gearing our eyes towards the treasured bullseye of the piece, whether a beautiful flower in the middle of shooting plants and a blue sky, or a flashy sign in the middle of another bigger sign looming above. The images reflect what I believe is a fascination with frames, as the Rule of Containment in Gestalt theory explains. There’s something just as satisfying as an artwork slightly off center, and it’s real life as we perceive in harmonious containment by other, influential objects.

And though our eyes focus on a center, it doesn’t always have to be dead on the actual middle of the picture. The centralized point of focus can be at the one third or two thirds “mark” of the photo, which serves as a “best of both worlds” scenario in the thirds rule and the rule of containment. Framing the photo slightly off center satisfies the desire to see objects in a balanced state with the fluidity of the thirds rule to artistic composition. Whether the photo simulates a high perspective than the center mark or surrounding objects are not a perfect square, but flow off in abnormal formations, the mind enjoys harmony, but it also enjoys deviation.

Visual Studies Seminar Post #1: Entrepreneurship and Grit

September15

Part 1: The Artist and the Entrepreneur

  1. What are the main points of each article?
    • Both articles focused on comparing artists to entrepreneurs, but the FORTUNE article discussed qualities artists had that entrepreneurs could use in their business model while the HuffPost article highlights the business decisions both artists and entrepreneurs make to survive in the market. The FORTUNE article’s main point is that entrepreneurs can and should base their business in artistic qualities and the HuffPost article’s main point is that artists should follow the business model entrepreneurs make due to the professions’ striking similarities and passions.
  2. What can artists learn from their “entrepreneurial cousins”?
    • Artists can take away a refined work ethic and business model from entrepreneurship. Both professions are built on selling to the public a creative work made by a creator and both require strenuous work to continue selling their products. As such, artists that fall into a trap of creating work for passion but never selling well could learn from entrepreneurs that put their magnum opus aside for a little while to bolster their name, so their life’s dream product can be better advertised to more willing buyers.
  3. Do you agree that artists are entrepreneurs? Why?
    • I do to an extent. While they’re not entrepreneurs in the technical sense, since many artists either make work for private means or as direct commissioning, most artists we do know of sell their talents in the form of a product- which I would define as entrepreneurship.
  4. Which of the 12 characteristics of artists do you agree with?
    • I agree that artists seek new meaning in art, artists are all children at heart, artists contextualize new information for inspiration, artists work wonders under extreme conditions, artists live for their work, and finally that artists see the world for what it could possibly be. I believe artists’ creativity allows them to often answer questions in a unique manner and also to see solutions nobody could’ve thought of. Alongside gifts of creativity and problem solving, I believe artists love to extend their ideas onto a physical medium and to inspire others.
  5. What others would you add to the list?
    • I would probably add “Artists enjoy sharing their ideas to others,” “Artists find solace in their work,” and “Artists want to leave an impact on others.”
  6. Additional thoughts:
    • I do believe that artists should base their work around entrepreneurship. After doing mentorship work under a professional script writer in my hometown, I truly did learn the importance of making connections in the art field to be able to market one’s work, to find helpful resources, and to earn places in career-boosting shows.

Part 2: Grit and Perseverance

  1. Do you have grit, or is this something you need to work on?
    • On the grit test, I scored 3.63 out of 5 as my level of grit. A simple test can tell me I have more perseverance than 60% of the US population, but for me, I feel like I could do much better. I have shown grit in the past, having completed an entire comic book draft complete with an original story, character sheets, and multiple story outlines and scripts scaling at 40 pages all while juggling high school AP level homework. But, it took me actively deciding I would take a class to allow me to make that project a reality that I even considered beginning making my middle school comic idea into a physical book. I want to be able to become more determined in my work and continue to show perseverance during rough times, since many occasions I just want to drop the topic or move on before getting too invested. I think I have what it takes to become grittier, but those annoying thoughts of “It’d be easier if you just didn’t try,” haunt me. I need to work on ignoring those thoughts when I want to stop working on something.
  2. List a couple of things you could do to increase your grit.
    1. Telling myself I should continue a tough project or personal work.
    2. Working on lowering my procrastination.
    3. Joining more activity-based clubs around campus.
    4. Practice my artistic skills every day.

Gestalt – The Modern Age and Nature

September11

As humanity developed beyond the age of agriculture into the Industrial Revolution, most of the forests of the past have been torn down to pave the way for technological advances. Machines, buildings, and electronics have displaced most of natural life. However, the two can coexist and converge away from the hub of society and from the furthest depths of unexplored foliage. In a world where we live in suburbia, only a few blocks away from the massive urban center of Austin, small stores, buildings, and houses are surrounded by intertwining plants and an always blue sky.

People can be more appreciative of the marvels of our world and of our technological innovation in tandem, seeing the smaller miracles of life. The intricacies we pass by everyday on the street seem all the more amazing when we focus on them, seeing how the two worlds come together in such a simplistic harmony. Something as simple as flowers on a street to a whole ecosystem built around a sidewalk represent this merging of both the natural and the artificial. Vines and trees can cascade throughout whole buildings, showing the extent of nature’s power, artistic displays framed by grass accentuate humanity’s relationship to the Earth, graffiti in a tucked away corner of outskirts shows the tenacity of humans amidst nature, these explore the concept of the modern age of technology and Mother Nature itself together to create a symbiotic world.

Reflection on Creativity, the Conceptual Age, and Video Game Theory

September5

Every artist, of all calibers and specializations, comes face to face with a clear, but complicated problem to solve throughout their careers: What do you wish to do with your work and how do you create? It’s harder than every math test and more difficult to answer than an essay prompt. Practically no school of any kind can prepare an individual to be able to answer this problem adequately. It’s the ultimate test for one interested in paving their own path in the arts industry. But, for every problem, there is a solution- and it’s unique for each and every artist, too. Artists enter the industry to fulfill a single purpose- to provide their own creative work to a general public- but how the work appeals to this public and how the creators adapt to appeal changes depending on the industry and the creators themselves. As I read and watched through Tan’s TED Talk, Pink’s passage, and XEODesign’s research, the answers to the age-old question of the meaning of art and its lasting value are closer in reach.

Tan’s TED Talk about creativity explores philosophy when reaching a conclusion on why we as content creators continue to make art. Much like how most humans seek religion for their life calling or for answers to their purpose in living, artists attempt to answer the question themselves in their art, or even raise new questions on our purpose for being on Earth. Tan says creators seek “personal meaning” in their work, and I feel this is reflected even in the most mundane, simplistic pieces like Pollock paintings and games like Tetris or Pong. Painters have long used their professions as ways to project themselves into the canvas, to cope with life’s traumatic experiences, or to make statements on current political situations. Games, at its core, are entertainment; means of escape from a cruel, boring reality. But with the rise of the modern era and the evolution of technology, game creators have more resources to be able to fully immerse their audiences to a different world, which in turn, allows them to accomplish the same purpose as a traditional artist- to project themselves and cope with life. Despite being worldly different, all creative media seeks an answer to an impossible question, it’s the means to answering that differentiates them. Tan explores writing and creating fantastic stories, entire worlds, to answer her question, and, as she explains, an incomplete answer will always have something new to discover.

But, as most aspiring content creators are forced to learn at some point, in a competition-oriented business, only the strongest survive. It’s not enough to have passion and meaning alone, one must adapt to a rapidly evolving world. Pink’s passage on the growth of the artistic sector of the job force in Western markets focuses on our ever-growing need for heightened creative thinking in the workforce as well as academic knowledge. Thinking of a bag of chips, most people would rather buy a brand name like Cheetos over a cheaper store-brand variant. This phenomenon is explained through the combination of “Left Brain” and “Right Brain” thinking Pink goes over. The logical left brain knows both brands taste the same and have (mostly) the same ingredients, while the difference is price. But, the creative-thinking right brain automatically prefers the popular brand name, Cheetos, because of the familiarity to the icon of Cheetos, its more appealing logo, and because of the fun, albeit mind-numbing, commercials associated with Cheetos and the beloved mascot Chester the Cheetah. More and more businesses have to strike a balance between practicality of their products and aesthetics of their products to compete in a swelling population. The popularity of mediocre fast food restaurants baffles people from a logical standpoint who know the food is subpar and unhealthy, but knowing how ingrained the images of “happy,” “cool,” “amazing,” mascots, commercials, service is, it’s easy to understand the staying power of most of these restaurants through aesthetic alone.

Video games, too, balance business and visuals, probably more so than any other medium due to how astronomically fast the industry has developed in terms of its technology. However, games include a whole new layer that other creative mediums have yet to fully implement: User interaction. Adding in the ability for consumers to be able to interact with and make active decisions to change the course of the game creates an endless amount of unique experiences to everyone that purchases and plays a game. Different people can look at an art piece or a movie and come to different conclusions, but the range of emotions and actions players take create a whole new way of looking at creative material. Video games utilize left and right brain thinking, in the rules and logic a player must abide by which creates obstacles to simulate a challenge, and in the imagery of the game, from simplistic pixels on a screen moving during the birth of the medium to today’s games, which are more theatrical with gorgeous landscapes and stylish graphics. But, what’s most important in games is to able to balance both elements that players feel fully immersed in the game. XEODesign’s research on why people play games brings to attention four specific elements that players actively seek from games- “Hard Fun,” or the desire to be adequately challenged by a difficult task or problem, “Easy Fun,” the desire to fulfill humanity’s sense of curiosity, adventure, and thrill, “Altered States,” the desire for escapism, and “People Factor,” the desire for socialization. Video games’ added interactivity compel players to seek out games that don’t only play smoothly, only have pretty visuals, only have well written narratives, or only include a multiplayer option, they have to compromise each element to create a full experience with a solid challenge, enjoyable gameplay, pleasing aesthetics that use graphic capability to enhance the style, and allow the player to become a part of the game itself through its interactivity.

At its core, all creative mediums are products for consumption, whether for fine arts appreciation, for kitsch enjoyment, or for entertainment purposes. Artists get their start at figuring out their voice, their meaning for creating, but its just a beginning point. Creativity spoken through word will not get noticed as well as creativity spoken through a megaphone- it has to be loud and reach multiple people’s ears. Without the means to appeal to a mass market that’s growing exponentially, creative works at best will only be lost gems; at worst, a failure. The ways to appeal to hundreds, if not thousands, of people, is to cater to both their wants to consume the product from a logical and an emotional perspective. The creativity makes your work stand out among millions of other potential competitors, but it’s ultimately how good the content itself is and how well it’s presented that will make audiences actively support it.

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August31

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