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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Non Western Art

Charlie and I are working on a Non-Western Art project... We've decided to look at Chinese Art, Japanese Art, and African Art (Kenya, Ethiopia). I used to find my references.

Japanese art has had a long history, and therefore has plenty of different types of art. They use sculpture in wood, pottery, paint on paper and silk, and pottery work - to just list a few general mediums that they use. When one examines Japanese and Chinese art, one would find them both relatively similar in medium, and style - this is from the shared culture only until Japan turned away in the 9th century. Much of Japan's art contains an ink for the medium, where brushes were used as the main tool for writing and artistic expression. Japanese sculptures had contained many religous meanings and expressions, while many paintings contained stories within the pictures. The paintings that I've decided to examine were taken from the Muromachi period and the Azuchi-Momoyama art period. In the Muromachi period, there were major changes within the central government and art was given a more elitist character. These paintings began to take on colours - something that wasnt as evident from past periods as they consisted of more black and white works. The paintings that I'm examining have very simple line work where detail doesn't seem to be a major concern. However, the works are still able to show a strong resemblance to its original character. Also it could be said that background details and foreground details are not too much of a concern, but rather the figures themselves were the main concern of artists. Both periods seem to enjoy using a combination of panels to display the full work.
Azuchi-Momoyama art seems more detial oriented, lines are still single thin lines that provide all the detail. It is similar to the Muromachi in that it uses more colour but backgrounds are given more attention to compared to Muromachi. Backgrounds seem to share a yellowish tint. Space in this period seems to be reduced as there is a more extensive use of the paper. Empty spaces are taken up with paint. The shapes of the trees are very abnormal, but the shape created is amazing at the same time, where much of the tree is constantly moving, twisting in a different direciton.

Chinese art like Japanese art has changed a lot over the years, where this was influenced by the leaders of the time, teachers, religious figures, and philosophers. Mediums included in Chinese art had paper folding, pottery, ink paintings, and sculpture.
Works included were from the Tang Dynasty and the Ming Dynasty. Tang dynasty works included many paintings of people, where line work was very simple. Single, thin lines where used to create the image of the individuals. in parts of teh picture. Many of these works were religious symbols and/or "court paintings". Here, background was not seemingly important, but the figures were. Instead, many artists put text into the painting often describing the scene of the work or the overall setting. This also included tradional Chinese poems. Later developed was the idea of landscape paintings. Landscape works contianed very similar characteristics as the figurative works as they had thin, single lines, but plenty of them. These landscape works were extremely detailed and often used black ink. Often these works have a lot of detail in an area, and a large empty space on another side of the work. Colours used were in small quantities and were not very diverse.
The Ming dynasty was very diverse in that many new techniques were created. More colours were used in this time, but it was very similar to the Tang dynasty works. These works have plenty of detail, but use simple lines and once again show strong foreground detail and contains little to no background. Landscaping also became more popular in this time, where more colours would be used and more space was taken up.

African art was just as diverse as the above two. Sculpture, painting, pottery making, and basketweaving was huge in many parts of Africa - in particular Kenya and Ethiopia. Like the above two countries, Kenya and Ethiopia concentrated on the human form. These imitations of the human form were influenced by the living and dead, gods, chiefs, dancers, and tradesmen. Many works were visual abstractions that had added a twist on the natural human form. Paintings in African art were very colourful and left little space on the picture plane. This significantly differed from Chinese and Japanese art. Many of these works utilized a slightly thicker line, but nonetheless only single lines at a time. Very specific details are not usually included, but general lines within the figure are able to represent the human form very well within African paintings.

Additional Questions:
1. Motifs?
Japanese: Thin lines, little use of colour, not extremely detailed (but still very effective)...Often displays the human form or nature (mountains in particular)
Chinese: Thin lines, some use of colour, not too detailed... Also likes to show the human form as well as mountains.. Artists also liked to show the form of varkious animals such as birds and horses.
African: Lots of sculpture, but for paintings, there is usually quite a bit of abstraction of the human figure. REpetitive patterns are also very common. Plenty of colour is used.
2. These motifs had generally not changed that much. Only until recently, with contemporary art have these motifs really changed. Most of these motifs apply for many hundreds of years with the selected works.
3. The human figure has been a major part of all three cultures. All cultures have sulpted it, drawn it, or painted it - except in different ways, using differnet techniques. African art usually depicts the human figure with some distortions to certain proportions.
4. Certain artworks would have different motifs. My first picture (China) shows a woman with a scroll. A motif here would be the human form. Here one can see that there is a very empty, plain background, which is frequently seen in many works. My other picture from China shows multiple human figures. This is centered around religion - the buddha in particular. My two Japanese works (both with a yellow background), show once again teh human form, but also a relatively bland, appealing background. The two african works, one depicts architectural work, while the other displays the human figure.


Images within our final piece were completely drawn from previous images that had been imprinted in our heads from the different cultures that we had researched. We had not directly used certain pictures as exact references. We had made a short list of the different techniques that had been constantly used in each respective country's art. We had used this to try and apply it to each painting.
We had begun this project with few difficulties, as we had plenty of ideas, perhaps too many as we tried to apply them to paper. When doin so, we had discovered that some of them did not actually work. Not only that, but also we didn't necessarily agree with each other on how to create our final piece. We had discussed the idea of making a sculpture, with carvings including everything from the three countries chosen. We also considered doing a large panel painting - something similar to what was done last year. In the end we decided on consturcitng some sort of scroll, but even there we had not fully decided on what we wanted to do. In the beginning I had hoped to work on a lengthy piece of rice paper primarily with black ink. From there, I hoped to use little colour in certain areas to really contrast the black and white. However, this did not work out 100% well mostly because of small changes in preferences in ideas and the materials that we had. We had chosen to use the bright yellow paper that was very different from what was originally proposed, so we had to continue to adapt and change our ideas and direction as we had created our project. From here, we decided that instead of doing a giant single-piece we chose to divide it into 5 sections. We initially hoped to set up a long scroll similar to that of the "man who drew Rome from the helicopter", but we later decided against it, and we instead divided it up into 5 different panels. These panels would then contain five different pictures each depicting a different, but inter-connected scenes. Although we recognized the importance of people in non-western motifs, we had decided against it for we had felt that it may not have matched with the landscapes (also major motifs) and animals that we intended to have within the piece. We at last decided on the first 3 panels: one being a black and white tree with some coloured leaves, the next being a mountainous region with coloured in buildings, and thirdly Mount Kilimanjaro. We spent some time before deciding on adding a giraffe on the fourth panel. Again, what we had tried to achieve was a black and white background, contrasted with slight colours. What we did next was create borders using painted tape to divide up the panels as many Japanese artists had done (not necessarily with tape though, but rather by folds). With some of the panels, we had tried to do some copy and paste work, by taking out stencils of mountains, hills, and animals to hopefully find a way to fit them in. We had wanted to take a slightly different approach to just plain painting. This had worked well for us as we were able to incorporate a giraffe stencil, a mount kilimanjaro stencil, and a large bird. For the fifth panel, we had ultimately scrapped it after finding no suitable idea to truly fit with what we had had on the scroll already. After this, we had begun considering more ways to display our work - considering keeping the scroll as one piece, or as multiple pieces, shredded, or hanged. We went with the idea of shredding it into horizontal pieces where we could place it with a black background. However, in the end this did not materialize and we ended up hanging it up with a copper wire structure to support it. We had ended up using a combination of India Ink, paper cutouts, acrylic paint, copper wire, spraypaint, and yellow paper to form the entire piece. The idea of shredding the pieces had come from Ms. Cockburn, where Charlie and I had slightly refined it to create a structure similar to that of blinds. This effect gave our previous scroll a new effect, and a new way to look upon it.

This overall project had taken considerable amounts of time as it was also extremely vague at the beginning, and both Charlie and I did not know where to start. By researching a few countries, we had eventually selected China, Japan, and African Art, where we had a good general idea of what we needed to do. However, this had changed countless times as we attempted to do the project, which is why we may have taken so long. It was sometimes discouraging with some of the mishaps that we had in that we had to constantly adapt and change our ideas. I felt that Charlie and I both had tried very hard on our first project with no guidlines. However, I feel that the final outcome was not as amazing as I had first hoped for. With the extreme amounts of brainstorming and the number of times we had changed ideas in this project, I do wonder if we may have thought too hard about some things, which ultimately slowed us down and perhaps confused us. We both felt that the works had looked much better on their own when we had cut up each individual panel. It seemed as if the unity of the entire piece seemed to be missing somewhat. This may have been due to too much colour used at some points and then at others, too little colour was used. We had tried to keep the lines consistent just like the motifs of our selected countries - having many small, thin lines to create the desired image. We were able to achieve this, in all four of the panels. We had also tried to include the Northern African patterns seen often in their art within all the pieces, however this did not work out too well as it seemed to ruin the unity in the piece. What we did instead was put the patterns into separate panels, which we thought looked more aethetically pleasing in comparison to covering all pieces with pattern work. With the selection of pictures used in the project, we had thought of commonly expressed scenes in each panel, hence the tree, the bird, mountains, kilimanjaro, and the giraffe. With these works we tried to set them up similar to the previous pictures that we had seen - having plenty of empty space. We had tried to fill in a main focal point (the tree, the mountain range, kilimanjaro, the giraffe) and leave as much room as possible. We were also able to add in some forms of texture in the form of spraypaint and paper cutouts. This gave the picture a slightly rougher feel rather than a completely smooth outcome. What gives it even more of a 3d texture is the way it was set up in the end. We had cut up all the pieces horizontally in the end, but with the cutouts, instead of glueing it to a black mayfair, we had instead glued them together to hang together with copper wire. This design gives the work far more of a 3D feel to it.

*Sorry about the pictures, they were impossible to move down.

I thought that the project was relatively difficult, but also exciting. The chance to work with Charlie was extremely satisfying and the vague outline of the project allowed us to explore several options. Especially witht the African, Japanese, and Chinese motifs, these broad spectrums of art gave us plenty to work with, if not too much. The amount of effort seemingly put into one idea was often "used up" rather quickly, as they would not materialize after we had tried to implement it. This had caused some frustrations with both Charlie and I because this had slowed us down. However I believe that it was also quite successful in the way that we had worked. We both had continuously fought and stayed with the setbacks that we had and we were still able to create a worthwhile final piece.

Figurative Drawings

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Final Summative: Daily Journal

April 27, 29: Brainstorming. Selected Alice In Wonderland as story to focus project on. Pondering how to incorporate characters into the picture plane. Decided on definately including a cheshire cat, perhaps in the sky, or posing on a tree, drinking tea...

May 3, 5, 6, 7: Misread handouts...I wanted to now incorporate the human figure into the picture, so i completed about 6 sketches of potential pictures that I wanted to do, based on the Hatter, the Cat, and the Dormouse. None seemed too nice, until I finished my last picture with the Caterpillar, Cat, and the Hatter. The background is filled with the growth stimulating mushrooms. I have begun painting, sketching my paper prototype onto the wooden frame. I have decided to use acrylic, where I used a wet on wet type of style, where I covered the "to-be painted" areas with water, then paint. I finished the top of the background, with a little left for the ground. The ground and sky are complete, but can use a touch up. The stem of mushrooms and the top are all painted in, however I changed the colour of the mushrooms (top and bottom) at least twice due to experimentation.

May 11: Continuing on my painting using no pictures for reference. I created the giant mushrooms that grew in Wonderland and painted in the characters - the caterpillar, cat, and hatter. The caterpillar and cat are done, but the hatter (the most difficult) has yet to be finished. I also touched up on the foreground and background making the sky brighter to contrast the foreground better.
May 12: Today, I finished the painting. I added a bit of sun to the background, and a misty white to greater contrast the ground. I also completed the painting of the hatter and touched up the caterpillar and cat. For the hatter, a hat was done and the leg, face, and jacket were touched up as well. For the small sign on the hat 10/8, I initially tried to carve it in, but it was nearly invisible, so I later used a marker to write the small type. I added a small batch of mushrooms in the corner and added some shadow onto the large mushrooms.
May 13: I had a shorter work period today, but I was able to fix some of the things on my piece. I had aimed o try and improve the 3D aspect of it, adding to the painting more shade, light, and shape to certain aspects of my work. My biggest accomplishment was the addition of a light green grass that grows at the front, making the front much lighter, and gradually darkening into the back. The mushroom stems now have a darker side and lighter side, but I still have to make a change on the top of the mushroom.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Interior Design

Research: This profession is the combinaton of creative and technical solutions that are used to create an enclosed structure.
- This follows a methodical process involving research, analysis, and integration of previous knowledge to meet the needs of the client
-Requires a broad qualifications, but must demonstrate competency when working
- Different specializations of Interior Design include: Bathroom and Kitchen, design for the aged, universal design, multi-family housing, and commercial design.
-Goal: Improve the psychological and physiological state of the client
- The median income for interior designers is about $50 000
- Interior Style ideology is to make a room feel complete and full
- This is often a relatively stressful occupation, as designers must meet contract deadlines, and budget requirements
This also includes plenty of travelling, and will involve a supervisor constantly watching you
-However in more recent years, it is easier to communicate with the client virtually and of course through cell phones, or email. Virtual designs help make the stress of the job easier, as it used to be drawn out and presented to the supervisor and client for approval

- In Canada, there is an Art Institute in Vancouver, and in San Francisco, there is an Academy of the Arts. They both provide general details about the interior design major. It would most likely be a 6 year program. The price is not specified.

Storyboard: The Adventures of a Towel
Here is the story of a towel. This towel's name was towelie. Towelie designed the insides of buildings wondiferously - especially rooms that held towels..
Towelie lived in a very rural area in Colorado where he was the only civilized towel for miles. This was in a small log house which he was building for himself where he designed every single room. An interior designer at heart, it served as a hobby he could not part. He had built the house but had one room that was unfinished - the bathroom. He drew it, he planned it, he built it, but a large pipe had exploded and water shot everywhere - making him spend hours trying to fix it. Eventually Towelie did, and he was able to finish the washroom. His house was finished! He could now relax. He went to his pool which he had also made, and went towel tanning on a chair. He burnt up and turned red as he slept for hours outside in the hot sun.

Nearby, a starving bear opened the door of his small cottage and tore through the house eating everything! It tore down decorations and fancy designs until it tore into the kitchen and ate all the food lying around! Then it tore into the bathroom and drank all its water and wiped its mouth with all the towels in the house!

Towelie had woken up, burnt after a few hours in the sun and then went back in. He was shocked. He was towelified. The scene that lay before him was all too frightening to look at. Towelie cried and cried. All of his beautiful work was tarnished into pieces. With tears dripping down his face, he called his mother - Mother Towel who consoled him and promised to send him a Thinking Hat to help him think of a solution.
A day later, a large hat arrived - a Thinking Hat in fact. Towelie put the coveted hat on and felt visions scream into his head where all of a sudden, he knew what to do.
He started to clean up the mess, and after that he started to draw up some new plans and designs for his house! It would be even better - more functional and pretty than before the disaster occured. Towelie drew up the plans, got new materials and started to rebuild his destroyed home. He spent a complete week to finish, and it looked amazing. New couches, curtains, colours, and chairs; new shapes, sizes, and sitting areas!

When he finished, Towelie went to the poolside - this time knowing that he had done an excellent job fixing his house.

And just then, a bear walked into the house.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Unit 2: Body Language

The Emotional Figure

The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel

I am just a poor boy.
Though my story's seldom told,
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles,
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest.When I left my home
And my family,I was no more than a boyIn the company of strangers
In the quiet of the railway station,
Running scared,
Laying low,
Seeking out the poorer quarters
Where the ragged people go,Looking for the places
Only they would know.
Lie-la-lie.....Asking only workman's wages I come looking for a job,
But I get no offers.J
ust a come-on from the whores
On Seventh AvenueI do declare,
There were times when I was so lonesomeI took some comfort there.
Then I'm laying out my winter clothes
And wishing I was gone
Going home
Where the New York City winters
Aren't bleeding me,Leading me,Going home.
In the clearing stands a boxer,And a fighter by his tradeAnd he carries the reminders
Of ev'ry glove that laid him down
Or cut him till he cried outIn his anger and his shame,"I am leaving, I am leaving.
"But the fighter still remains


This song carries many inspiring themes such as anger, loneliness, anger, shame, and strenght. It carries the theme to fight and to preservere through all the tough times, and those who do succeed. Heart, Poverty, spirit, and distress are also shone - as represented by the pictures.


The Intended Message:

Through the song The Boxer, it displays themes of fight, sadness, loss and desperation, something that will be reflected within my sculpture. I am choosing to go with the pose of a figure of a homeless person; a metaphor for the image of the boxer who displays sheer will, passion, and determination to go through all the difficult times. A crouching homeless person may display these initial sad feelings through its pose, slouching, hiding his face. The colour of the sculpture may contain dark values as to reflect on the difficult time and setting that the homeless person goes through. The figure will display the first stage of facing the difficult reality through a despondent character, where this person does not know what to do and how to face the problems.

The material used will be wires to create the basic structure, however I plan to use a tattered cloth to resemble the torn clothes of a poor homeless person. The wires will be a group of circles, connected by other wires to form a basic body shape. The cloth may help to show the clothes that the man wears, and its texture will also reflect on the mood of the atmosphere.The message that I intend to give is how everybody is given times of difficulty, times of loss, and that everybody must deal with this universal theme.

The Written Summary

This may have been the most difficult work that I have ever done. The reason? It was all completely new or it incorporated work that I haven't done for many years. The soft sculpture that I had created incorporated much of what was needed to qualify it to be a soft sculture, but I had used a wire structure to form a base for my sculpture.

My initial intended message was to display feelings of loss, sadness, and desperation through the body of "The Boxer". However, I would also like to add that I also want to convey another message of loneliness and poverty. The song by Simon and Garfunkel tell a story through the metaphor and literal meaning of a boxer, one who has to fight through the tough times as they experience an abundance of negative feelings. Here, the soft sculpture was made to reflect the first stage of this loss - as the person sulks and can only think about the tragedy that had occured. This seemingly condescending body language exemplifies that morose feeling as the person is crouching in a near fetal position, looking at his or her feet. I feel that I have successfully displayed these emotionss as using the stronger wire to use as a structure helped define the position of the arms, the legs, the torso, and the head.

For the project, I have used wires of different gauges, masking tape, glue, cloth, threads of different colours, string, rubber bands, cardboard, plastic, acrylic based paints and water colour paints. As said earlier, I used wire to produce a basic structure. One that would use its shape to generate a body language that screams disappointment and loss. I used masking tape to create a basic skin, that would be covered by cloth. The masking tape, can be viewed as symbolic, as it somewhat resembles a skin tone that happens to be sticky. Almost as if the boxer (sculpture) had not showered in days - representing the poverty stricken individual. The glue was used to stick on the cloth rags onto the body. It represents the poverty, as if the individual could not buy his own clothes. The cloth was tattered onto the body and seewed onto the arms, legs, and head. It represented a ragged being to show perhaps a loss of income and extreme poverty. Threads had been used to create detail. The facial expression and zipper of the jacket are defined by threads. The threads are messily stiched onto the face to generate a vague view of the individual (particulrly the eyes). That is to show a need for privacy for the individual and to show that it could be anybody experiencing feelings of negativity. String was used to represent a primitive belt for the poverty affected individual. The rubber bands wrap around the feet to represent plastic bag shoes and and help define the image of feet. Cardboard is used to represent the wall the individual is sitting against. The plastic bag helps accentuate the economic situation for the individual. Acrylic paint is used to represent a wall as well as concrete. Watercolour is for the individual's clothes.

There are positive and negative aspects to my sculpture. My two positive aspects are that I feel that the structure is very good. I also really like that the structure can display an actual pose and that the pose can express some feeling. The structure is sitting and bending slight over as if doubled-up, giving off the feeling that the person is feeling uncertainty and trepidation. A negative aspect to my work may be my detailed work. I find that my cloth arms and legs did not bend and have the most desirable size, shape to them. This had to do with my new experience towards sewing and stuffing in combination with the wire structure. This unforseen challenge had slowed me down significantly trying to find new and better ways to create an outer skin for my soft sculpture.

I began the process with a brainstorming activity and decided to use wires to design my basic structure to give it form, as I believed that to achieve the shape I was looking for would be difficult using only soft sculpture. The wire work was not too difficult, I made circles to represent the 7 head proportion ratio, where there was a new head spacing, I added a circle for support. In between I put supporting wires - usually 3-4 to hold up the sculpture. I added arms and legs, using little circles to represent the sockets. After the wiring was completed, I put tape onto the wire structure surrounding the entire body. The legs, arms, and head were left alone. I then got cloth rectangles, rolled it up and sewed the two ends together. I got small cylinders that I fit over each arm and leg, which was each divided into 2 segments. This was then stuffed with relatively large amounts of cotton to represent thick layers of clothing. After, I sewed on some fabric onto the head, which was stuffed. The hood covers the head to conceal the head and the open end of the stuffed head. I sew the hood over the front of the head to further conceal facial features. Then I sewed onto the face a set of details, all mostly vague - a set of eyes, nose and mouth. I also sew a line on a rectangular piece of clloth that I attached down the centre of the body to represent a zipper. Then I added a string around the body as well as rubber bands to tie on a plastic bag around the feet. Lastly, came the painting of the background and the body using acrylic and water colour. When testing out the water colour on a small piece of cloth, it was very difficult to use as the cloth tends to repel water. I also had a very limited supply of water-colour paints (which I thought I had plenty of), so I switched to using acrylics for most of the sculpture. I had used water colour on the inside of the hood to create a light shadow, and some on the pants of the sculpture to show faded jeans. However, I mostly used acrylic to do my work painting the rest of the jeans, jacket, and hood. To do this, I had painted over the cloth several times with water to have it absorbed, and then I applied paint. This allowed it to dry with lighter values and allow it to spread out more when it was applied. After, a glue gun was applied to secure the sculpture onto the wooden board and black paint was put onto the back of the wall.

Of course, I would display the piece in with the background. This helps accentuate the setting of the piece. However, in terms of lighting I would definately want a light shining over-top the figure to add dark values to the face. This creates shadows that conceal the face, seeemingly adding more feel to the darkness and loneliness that lies beneath the hood. A light behind the cardboard will help too to cast a slight shadow over the figure - again to represent the darkness surrounding the boxer.

Overall, a difficult project that moved very quickly. I thoroughly enjoyed this, as I was able to experience a very exciting new chance to sculpt - something I haven't done in years and to sew - something totally new. It was extremely difficult as everything was relatively new, but quite a fun challenge.