Saturday, April 30, 2011

Happy Day!!

Happy Day of the Royal Wedding Everyone!!!  And have a fantastic weekend! 


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jackson Pollock Review

I never really considered Jackson Pollock to be an artist.  I always found his work to be as the early critiques called it:  a mop of tangled hair.  Perhaps that was merely because I only looked at is as critiques had looked at it.  After watching Pollock (2006) I think I can finally see it for what it is.  Jackson Pollock’s work was actually brilliant.
            The film began when Pollock was still a starving artist simply trying to get by in New York while painting with the inspiration of cubists and surrealists.  At that point, Pollock was still using large brushes in their conventional way, and at times, even the paint tube as his means of applying paint to the canvas.  The audience is taken through several periods of Pollock’s life.  Throughout all of it, Pollock suffers from alcoholism, which later becomes his demise.   The plot of the film is centered around his struggle to develop a unique style of his own that will be seen as worthwhile by critiques.  His wife, Lee, is constantly encouraging him while his friend and art critique, Clement, seems to constantly provide constructive criticism that pushes Pollock forward and urges him to come up with something better all the time.
            In the film, Pollock is characterized as a reclusive, drunk painter with a mighty temper.  He seems to despise Picasso as he struggles to be a cubist himself.  His world begins to fall apart around him as he carries on with binge drinking and excessive partying.  Each time he hits bottom, he finally wakes up from his drunken stupors, and realizes what is important to him [his wife and his painting].  Each time he begins painting again with a new-found inspiration, passion, and sometimes even a new technique.  This cycle is repeated four or five times throughout the film until he has no hope left, stops painting all together, and in the end, he becomes so broken down by the alcohol and so depressed by his actions that he “accidentally” crashes his car while drunk, killing himself and his mistress’ friend. 
            Pollock falls into the compartmentalized art movement of abstract expressionism.  However, he seems to have a style all his own.  Although his work appears to literally be paint thrown carelessly on a canvas, it goes deeper than that.  All of his works are carefully rendered.  Each drip or splat of paint was thought about and placed with a controlled gesture.  This is possibly why his artwork has been called action painting or gesture painting.  He used his entire body to approach his canvases from all sides as they sprawled out on the floor for him to walk around, through, and over in such a way that he could actually be part of the paintings themselves.  In this way, he was able to express everything that he felt and went through in his short life. 
            The film, Pollock, was very well produced and directed.  The actors portrayed their characters in such a believable fashion that I could finally understand the passion that went into Pollock’s work.  Before watching it, I had no idea what Pollock was attempting to paint, but the film got all of this across.  It seemed very believable and I found myself relating to him as an artist.  The time-period was depicted in a very real sense.  Each detail from the clothing to the way the grocery store looked portrayed a very real American dream of the 1940’s and early 50’s.  The focus was obviously placed on the artist’s biography because it had such a huge impact on his paintings.  I can now see the anger, the confusion, the attempts to be something great, and the passion that he held in his works.  
            In Pollock’s time, it seems as though there was almost a race going on; there was a race to be original and come up with something new that was not done before.  Emphasis was no longer on classical training such as perspective and realistic approaches.  In his time, it was all about feelings, emotions, and expressing the soul through paint.  This was very apparent when he was asked, “How do you know when you are finished with a painting?” and he answered, “How do you know when you are finished making love?”  Painting was his life and all the other bits and pieces fell into place around his painting.  Even his wife took a backseat to his painting at times.  When Pollock received negative criticism, he got angry and that fueled his need to paint even more feverishly to produce even better works as if to prove himself as not only a worthwhile artist, but as a worthwhile person too. 
            By the end of the film I felt as though I knew Pollock.  I was excited for him when things went well, and I felt bad for him when they did not.  I began to actually consider him an artist.  When he got to the point at the end of the film, where he was so drunk and broken that he drove his car recklessly off the road and was killed, I had tears in my eyes.  I wanted to yell at the screen that he had so much more within himself to give the world.  I’d say that makes a good film.  Within the two hours of watching the film, I went from not considering him an artist, to being upset that his life was cut short because I wanted to see what more could come from such an amazing and dedicated artist. 

[Working On] Thursday: Updated Cover

So right after I posted up pictures of my process book cover, I looked at it again and realized how unfinished it looked.  I decided to mess around with it some more and experiment a little bit with some other options.  Here it is now:
One thing that we are supposed to include are layouts inspired by the different decades in design.  This was really hard for me to wrap my mind around as I already had a really great layout developed.  All of my pages are laid out in the same way and are very organized.  I found it difficult to change that up too much, so I instead decided to include a section in the book called "What If..."  What if is a question that we have been encouraged to ask continuously.  What if I do this instead of that?  What if I use another color here?  What if I put everything on one page?  The list of what if's goes on and on.  In recognition that design should never stop at just one outcome, I think this section is really important to my book of process.  The section will include other solutions to the projects we were given and a special focus will be given to the decades of design inspiration through asking, "What if I designed the cover in a different decade?  Then what would it look like?
So far I have an 80's take on my cover:
Alright, now I absolutely must begin a movie review paper that is due tomorrow.  I will share that later when it is complete, but as a little tease I will say that the movie is called Pollock and is about the amazing artist Jackson Pollock.  The movie was pretty great!  I have a new appreciation for him, that's for sure.  Have a lovely night!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

[Working On] Wednesday: Process Book Cover

It's been a couple weeks since I have done a Working On post.  Truth is that I haven't had a whole lot of anything interesting that I am working on.  However, I have been polishing my process book.  I took a lot of inspiration from this adorable spread:

Isn't the color choice so pretty?  I love the playfulness of it all.  The type is to die for and the colors are so edible!  this is what I have come up with so far:

I'm really trying to implement the idea of hierarchy.  Do you think this is a good representation of hierarchy?  If you can't tell, I want Process to be the most important thing you see on my cover, followed by my name, and finally a little blip about why process is so important in design.  Does this make sense?  I hope so.  I'm trying to decide if I want to change it up even more though....
this is really beautiful!  I absolutely love this.  I have to ask myself how much is too much though.  Although this gives off a hand-drawn feel and relates to the rough drafts throughout the process of design, I'm not sure it gives the finish, polished effect that I want for the cover of my book.  Make sense?  It sure is beautiful though.  Maybe I can find a way to incorporate it in another way.  Maybe, maybe not!

Well, I sure hope your Easter celebrations were fun and springy.  Have a fantastic week!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Digital Analysis Essay: What is Web-Art?

     The idea of web art strikes me as quite interesting.  As an artist that is currently studying art history, web art seems very radical.  The fact that I can be sitting in my own home and experience art via the internet in such a way that I can be moved just as much as if I was in an art gallery seems strange.  And yet, it is possible because of technology and because of the human imagination.  In today’s world, if an artist can imagine something, they can make it happen.  Our imaginations have grown so much with the advent of technologies like the internet and digital mediums that we are no longer bound by conventional ideas of what art is.
            With internet art, the audience is no longer expected to be stagnant when taking in the creative aesthetics of art.  Where the audience was once a group of wealthy, well educated, and artistically trained scholars walking quietly through an exhibit, and either nodding politely or turning up their noses in disbelief and protest, the audience now consists of everyone with any access to a computer, from any walk of life, with any amount of education or artistic experience or inexperience.  Art and the idea of art takes on a completely different meaning, and the question of what art is, no longer has one determined answer.  The once stagnant audience is now encouraged to interact with art, and to become a part of the process in making it.  The art is no longer finished by the artist, but by the audience that interacts with the artistic presentation.  The audience then becomes the artist.
            In my studio art courses, the process of making art is stressed.  We have looked deeply into the ways in which we go about making art and why we make certain choices along the way toward a final product.  When it comes to any type of media art, and especially web art, the process must be above all else, the most important part of the piece of work.  With web-art, the challenge is to not only see the outcome through your eyes as the artist, but to see it through the eyes of your audience. 
            Gallery 9 at the Walker Art Museum is an interesting site that includes web-based art.  The site incorporates the viewer extensively.  The collection of works can be seen in any order and allows the audience to make several choices.  Some of the art is simply a picture or presentation while other pieces allow the audience to delve further.  This gives the audience a sense of responsibility or importance.  Society leads us to believe that we can do whatever we want to do.  A sense of individualism is very strong.  Because of this way of life, most audiences want to make their own decisions, and this site lets the audience do just that.  The audience chooses what they want to look at and for how long they want to look at it.  The audience is very much in control throughout their experience and interaction on this site. 
            Michael Ray-Von has another interesting site, although, his site is not as wonderful as Gallery 9.  I appreciate the site as a whole because it incorporates a few different mediums, but it does not seem very expressive when considering the ideas behind web-art.  The site is interactive in that you decide which piece to look at, but most of the links are to stagnant art that does not have any specific meaning when placed within the site.  It seems more like a simple portfolio of some of the artist’s pieces instead of one piece of artwork that is interactive and ready for an audience to view as a whole.  Each piece is of its own standard and own message.  For the most part, I was slightly disappointed.
            My most favorite site for a good demonstration of what web-art is, was Oliver Laric’s site.  Although each link takes you to a specific project (similar to a portfolio), once you arrive at the project, you get to see all of the different ideas the artist tried.  You are immersed into the artist’s process. This to me is an important aspect of art in general and especially web-art because it is what makes the experience personal.  The audience does not just look at one piece of art and walk away, they instead can begin to understand what the artist is thinking when he creates his artwork.  The audience gets a sense of participating in the process and can use their imagination to decipher the meaning and messages that the artist feels are important.
            By looking through these three sites, we can better understand web-art.  They are each very different in their approach to artistic ways of communicating, in their approach to involving the audience, and in their approach to voicing their processes.  Each site is unique in that they each go about answering the question of what art is in a different fashion.  However, each site represents the new era of artistic approach very well.  After all, the new era of using art and time to communicate a message, is based around the audience participation.  This era of art is far different from the audience taking a back seat in their stiff-collard dress clothes; it brings the audience into the driver’s seat with a relaxed style, and forces them to pay attention to everything around them when viewing the works.  No longer does art only incorporate the visual senses, but in now incorporates the auditable and the physical senses as well.  Web-art gives art as a whole, an entirely new meaning, a new definition, and a new basis for formulating thought.  Web-art is proof that the imagination is an artist’s only limiter.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Sketchbook Project

Have you ever heard of the sketchbook project?  I heard about it earlier this week, and I was super excited about it.  Last night I made my "purchase" and now I am patiently (alright, not so patiently) awaiting my sketchbook to arrive.  You should really check out the details of the project yourself at their website.  But here is a brief little bit about it that I took from the website:

And here is a map showing where the sketchbooks will be touring:

Go check it out and sign up if you can.  I'm really excited!  I mean, how cool is it that anyone that participates will have their sketchbook tour the country, and then be part of the Art Library when the tour is over!?  I also signed up for my sketchbook to be digitalized so everyone can look it up and check it out too!
Well, I hope that your Easter weekend is beautiful!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Friends I Love To Feature!! Mary Casiello!!

Hello friends!  I'm so excited to share with you an amazing woman.  I went to school with Mary and I know first-hand how talented she is.   I asked Mary to do a post for Then We Started Living.  I really believe that Mary is incredably inspiring.  I hope that her post gives you some hope, some inspiration, some belief that you can fulfill your dreams.  I don't want to spoil her post, so I will stop there, but please make sure to visit her websites, listen to some of her music, and let her know how awesome she is!  (All photos were taken from Mary's sites.  I do not take any credit for them whatsoever!)

I suppose my first point about how I got where I am is that I am not sure I "am" anywhere most days, hahaha.  And I guess that's really the way I've been approaching my career as a musician, because the notion of getting somewhere suggests that success is a certain destination.  I'm becoming more and more convinced that success, both as a working musician and in life in general, is really a self-determined journey.

I was first introduced to the piano at age four and started lessons at 7.  Playing piano was something that I could do with my body, and do well, which was not true in the rest of my life as I was an obese child with a thorough lack of coordination.  Lessons would be on one year and off the next, depending on what my parents could afford in time and money.  I didn't have a lot of extracurricular activities, much as I might have liked to have them, but I did get to have piano.

I wrote my first song when I was nine years old, and it was naturally really terrible.  I continued to write as I got older, especially as the span of time between piano lessons grew more expansive.  But music didn't start becoming the center of my life till I was 11 or 12.  Something changed in me at that point in my life, and I decided I didn't want to be so reserved.  I wanted to make bold choices, and I found myself drawn to performing arts, including acting and singing.  I asked someone close to me when I was 10 if I could sing, and she very gently told me no.  I taped myself, and she was quite right, but I was determined to change all that.  I spent copious amounts of time over the next several years trying to perfectly mimic Mariah Carey riffs and to train my ear to know where middle C was when I heard it.  The latter I did by sitting at the piano for hours listening to interval differences between notes, and I actually did reach a point where my memory for a pitch was quite solid.  I started taking voice lessons when I was 15, and from then on, it was a straight shot in the direction of music, music, and more music!  I wrote songs like a fiend, primarily about a boy I loved from afar.  Sometimes I'd even be writing lyrics during Spanish class or at my locker, and always on whatever scrap of paper happened to be handy.  In fact, that's still how I do it.  (I've definitely given my band copies of messy lyrics and chords written on the back of one of my paystubs!)

Around the same time I started taking voice lessons, I was growing restless with life and with my circumstances.  I felt certain I could do great things if I could only "get out of Dodge", but I knew I had to stick it out a couple more years.  Chronic anxiety and depression became a huge issue, but one that wouldn't get diagnosed right away, and one that was an uphill battle getting treatment for given my family's stigma surrounding mental illness.  Music and writing became a place of solace for me, and a lot of great material came out of that rough time.  It seems to be a trend with songwriters that we all find it harder to write when we're happy with life! :) 

Things came to a head for me about halfway through my senior year of high school.  One night, I simply couldn't stop crying, and finally decided to tell my mom, who eventually ended up driving me to the ER.  I spent a month in an outpatient program, getting medications straightened out and focusing on airing out issues of abuse in my past that I hadn't wanted to face.  Many good friends didn't reach out to me during this time because they had no idea what to say or how to act, and for a long time I felt very, very alone.  I had many days where I strongly considered swallowing too many of those crazy new pills I was getting for anxiety, but what kept me going was a knowledge buried under all that doubt that I had a purpose past age 18.

Only a couple of months after this really dark time, I was accepted into the Berklee College of Music in Boston.  I remember the sense of peace I had when I knew that was where I was headed, despite the fights with parents about the cost and the distance.  Eventually my stubborn determination won out, and in September of 2003, I moved to a rough neighborhood of Boston living with potheads and a former cocaine dealer who looked out for the little sheltered white girl from northern Michigan.  I was so happy to be where I belonged that most days I hardly noticed what a terrible neighborhood it was!  Only a couple of months later, I met the man who would become my husband --- which is in itself an epic story, but I'll save that for another day. :)

Attending Berklee was an incredible experience.  It is a very unique school, one geared at the study of contemporary music (jazz and newer) rather than classical, so students from around the globe come to this tiny little place to have the amazing educational experience it offers.  It was not uncommon to be walking down one hallway and hear five or six different languages being spoken at once.  There was always someone singing, or playing, or talking at length about music theory with another student or teacher.  For me, it was heaven.

Over the last several years, I have played extensively in the greater Boston area as well as in New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and of course, back home in Michigan.  Last September, I released my debut album, Lovely Life, an accomplishment of which I am incredibly proud.  However, I had an experience in November that changed the direction of my career.

Back in November, after weeks of doing far too much, I started displaying stroke symptoms and was taken to the ER.  Though it was not a stroke, the moment the medical staff saw I was taking Zoloft, the entire approach changed.  Suddenly, nobody was asking, "So you're here because you were having trouble speaking?"  It was, "So you're here because you're feeling down?"  Naturally, I was upset given I had just ridden in an ambulance, but I had to constantly correct people as to the causality of my friends calling 911.  When I asked if my friend could ride with me in the ambulance, they said, "I don't think you want that.  I think you want this to be private."  It was as though, because they were sure I was depressed, I was incapable of deciding what I wanted or needed!  While waiting in the ER to be seen, I was huddled in a corner, with little to no attention paid to me, and felt scared and upset.  This was one of the best hospitals in the country, and yet they still seemed to be deeply uncomfortable with "a mental patient".  Perhaps it was time I used my music to do something about this.  Hence, the birth of The Sticky Note Project.
The Sticky Note Project is an organization seeking to eliminate stigmas surrounding mental illness and promote mental wellness in the general population.  SNP creates arts-based opportunities, either live or online, for open discussion on mental health issues.  The concept stems from the art on my album.  The album art pictures me underneath an umbrella where it appears to be raining blue sticky notes.  The notes all name struggles and thoughts that “rain” down on me regularly: societal pressures, parental expectations, and negative internal dialogues.  It was a quirky and cathartic way for me to express what my music is about, and I decided to extend the opportunity to others to submit their own sticky notes, stories, art work, etc., to bring voice to an issue that often gets put on the back burner.

Phew!  And here we are!  That's the journey in a nutshell.  I hope you've enjoyed it almost as much as me!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sweetest Lady EVER!!!

I came home from work today to a wonderful package of surprises!  I was so very excited!  It was even decorated really cute.  Cheryl from Cartwheels in My Mind sent the box to me.  As I reached in, I kept pulling out all kinds of fun stuff.  The package included a gorgeous necklace, several pieces of fabric, tons of patterned papers, lots of scrapbook stuff, and the list goes on!  I was giddy with joy!  I will post some pictures very soon, but I just really wanted to tell you all about this adorable lady.  She is amazing.  you really need to go check out the site

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Owl Barn

Hello, have you seen this blog?  It is amazing!!!!  The ENTIRE site is about owls!  I love it!  Go check it out!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Record Player Wedding Invites and other things going on

An old friend posted this video on his face book, and I just had to watch it because of the title.  These are seriously so adorable.  If anyone out there is planning a wedding, you should look into this....well, if it fits your theme and personality and all that!  I want to use them, but I'm just not even sure if we will be getting married anytime soon.  There's no rush for us.  We are kind of just enjoying the whole living together and being students thing right now.

Paper Record Player from kellianderson on Vimeo.
In other news: my car exploded on me yesterday.  I am still not sure what is wrong with it, but the nice mechanic man with the little shop across the road from us took it to his mechanic friend (as he only does transmissions) and he thought it was my thermometer.  We will see soon though.  I'm assuming it must have been because I did tell him that if it was under one hundred bucks, he should just go ahead and repair it.  Since he did not call me, I am assuming that was the case and he is now fixing it.  Fingers crossed!  I can't really afford much worse right now because.....
We have been house hunting!!  We have found the perfect dream house for us with a reasonable price-tag.  It is 100 years old, but they just restored it.  All the original charm is still there but the plumbing and electricity work!  The one thing that we are having trouble with is getting the mortgage. Don't get me wrong, the credit score is fine and the income level is great for it, but there is a catch.  Since our 2/3 of our income comes from our veteran school scholarships that by the way are guaranteed income, and the other 1/3 comes from part time jobs, they will not consider any of it!  they only consider income from a full time job or from a part time job you have healed for 2 or more years.  Are you serious?   Do any of you know anything about that kind of stuff?  We just want a house that we can paint, and make our own, with a dishwasher and an upstairs.  This one that we love would even be way cheaper as far as paying the mortgage then it is for us to pay rent in the house we are in right now.
From what we are being told, we have to have a non-occupying cosigner that makes enough money to support themselves and to pay our mortgage (just in case we can't)!  So, that is where we are right now...trying to figure out if we are related to anyone that loves us enough to cosign for us!  My heart is breaking as I type.  I want this house more than anything.  It is so wonderful!

I sure wish a magic fairy would just come down and buy this house for us, or let us win the lotto that we never play, or magically change the rules so that our money could go to something that is actually ours!  Wish us luck!
Hope your weekends are super wonderful!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

I Know Nothing About Anything

Big day today.  I got my midterm process book back and was absolutely shocked by the response it received.  I got an A-!  It wasn't the horrible grade I was expecting.  Of course, that could be due to the fact that it's just the midterm and what we have done so far.  It isn't the final.  I hope that isn't the case though.  The instructor's comments made me feel really good about my work.  She said it was impressive.  IMPRESSIVE!!!  And here I thought that she overlooked me as a student and found interest in other students instead.  She thought my photography was great too!  The best part is that she overlooked the fact that I was missing a few parts that should have been included.  Maybe that is because I was so specific and detailed in what I did have in there.  Apparently my connections between my inspiration, the work of other designers, and my work is wonderful.  I was ecstatic about my grade!!
During that same class today, we watched a film about Milton Glaisure.  It was a pretty inspiring documentary-style film and I really enjoyed it.  I wrote down a few ideas that really stuck out for me while watching it.  I am considering using one of them as the title for my Process Book when I turn in the final draft at the end of the the end of this month.  
Tell me what you think of the following titles:
Do Good Work
I Know Nothing About Anything
The Silent Responsibility [or A Designer's Responsibility]
Also today, I did a lot of filming for my self-portrait video.  The main thing I filmed was releasing red balloons into the sky.  I took pictures and did actual film shots.  It did not turn out like I had imagined though because the wind was blowing hard.  The balloons kept getting stuck in my neighbor's tree.  I hope that I at least got some footage I can work with though.  
How was your day?  Did you do anything fun or exciting?  Tell me about it in a comment.
Enjoy the rest of your week.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Hide and Seek

I've been hiding for a couple weeks now!  I'm so sorry about that.  My family came down here from Michigan to spend some time with me.  My mother hen, brother boo, his girlfriend, my "baby" sister and her twin babies (my little watermelon men) came.  We had a pretty full house here!  I loved it.  Unfortunately, the weather decided to go from the 70s and 80s before they got here to the 40s and rain while they were here.  It made for a tough trip.  we didn't want to hang out too much at home cause the babies are very busy and I don't exactly have a baby-safe house.  We didn't really want to spend too much money because that isn't what family time is about.  and it was hard to play outside because it was so darn ugly. 
Overall, the trip was fantastic though.  I had not gotten to see the little guys since they were born last summer.  Already they have very different little personalities.  I wanted to keep them!  They sure are sweet boys.  My sister is a wonderful mother to them.  I was so proud to see her.  Everything they do makes her smile.  She gets excited with them over even the seemingly small things.  She is very patient.
So, they left last Tuesday and then they week just filled up quickly.  We had food to buy, errands to run, and things to do.  I also returned to work this past weekend.  It was a really hard thing to do.  I hadn't worked in nearly a month.  My back was feeling pretty good though, and my bank account was starting to hurt instead.  I worked a very full weekend.  a 6 hour shift and two 9 hour shifts.  My back and legs were so sore.  To top it off, I spent a lot of time in the garden area and my allergies were not happy.  My eyes would not stop watering.  Oh well, I did enjoy the fresh air!
So that brings us around to today when I finally got to see a doctor about my back.  As is typical with the lovely Veteran medical care, I didn't get any answers.  I have x-rays and labs next week.  Hopefully an ear specialist will call to make an appointment with me, and then I will also have to get an MRI after the x-rays are done and go to a physical therapist.  Not excited!
Right now in school I am working on a self-portrait video.  This is a really tough project for me.  Don't get me wrong, the video part is easy!  It's the self part that is hard.  I really had no idea what to do for it until all of a sudden it came to me that I would share a very difficult part of myself.  I decided to share my Borderline Personality Disorder.  I figured that is one of the biggest things that makes me who I am /or am not each day.  It is the one thing that makes me a different person each day.  It is the one constant.  The video is very serious and also very me.  I will share it when it is completed.
We also got a new lawn mower!  I'm really excited about it because it is totally earth friendly!  It is a cylinder-style mower.  You know the type - no gas or electricity!  You literally have to PUSH it yourself.  We really are trying to be more conscience of our footprint so this is a huge step toward that goal. 
Alright, I better get going.  I promise to post pictures soon.