Artwork Analysis

April 19, 2018

Artwork 1:

Artwork 2:

 

–What were the steps of this media testing? Explain each step.

  1. Taking the photo: we had to take a photo with high contrast so it would be easier to work with when adding the different values.
  2. Photoshop: We altered the contrast of the picture while also changing it to black and white.
  3. Printing: We printed the modified photo
  4. Gridding the photo: We evenly gridded the black and white photo with 3cm by 3cm squares.
  5. Gridding the board: We lightly gridded the painting board with 3cm by 3cm squares
  6. Drawing: Using an HB pencil, we lightly sketched out the general factors of the photo
  7. Preparing to paint: We squeezed small portions of black and white oil paint onto a wax-paper-like palette. Then, we placed newspaper underneath all of the materials to avoid any messes. Finally, we got our brushes and turpentine.
  8. Painting: We dipped our brushes into the turpentine and mixed a small portion of it into the paint we were about to use to thin it out a little bit. Next, we start to add different shades and values of black and white onto the sketched-out photo by mixing different portions fo black and white together. To finish off, we constantly wiped the brush and blended the different values with a little bit of white.
  9. Cleaning up: First and foremost, we dipped the brushes into the turpentine and wiped off any excess oil paint in the brush using a paper towel. Afterward, we thoroughly washed the brushes.

— What new things did you learn about how to properly use oil and paint and care for the materials?

I learned that oil paint is extremely hard to clean off a brush, therefore it’s crucial that the excess paint in the brush is removed first before washing it. I also learned that only a small amount of black oil paint is needed when mixed with white to form another value. Most importantly, I learned that the lightest values should be painted on first while the darker values should be painted on top or after the lighter values.

–What did you enjoy about the quality of oil paints as a media and what it allows you to do with painting?

I really enjoyed the smoothness and the prolonged time it takes for oil paint to dry. It’s smooth texture and prolonged drying time allows me to blend different values more efficiently. It also allows me to fix mistakes because it won’t immediately dry up. With oil-based paints, revising was easier compared to other media. I also enjoyed how oil paint allows me to paint layers when diluted with turpentine or other thinning agents.

–What was frustrating about oil painting?  How could you deal with this problem if you were to use oil paints in the future?

It was really frustrating how my darker values kept getting covered by the white I was using to blend in the different values. I found it really hard to blend smoothly. If I were to use oil paints in the future, I would definitely wait for the paint to dry more but not too much before blending.

–What questions do you have about using oil paint? Are there certain techniques you want to learn how to do?  Reference an artist who works in oil regarding the technique you want to learn if you can.

How do you soften colors and edges more so it looks more blended and smooth? One technique I want to learn is the sfumato technique, from the italian fumo, meaning smoke. This technique was used by Leonardo Da Vinci in most of his works, especially “Mona Lisa”. This technique is used to soften colors and edges with dark glazes. This technique would allow my work to be more visually unified as a whole.

This spring break, I went to the National Art Museum of China that’s located in Beijing. The show featured a range of different artists and media. Moreover, the artists were all exposed and skilled at Chinese traditional paintings (guohua (国画)) while the majority of the media used were also Chinese traditional paintings. The unanimous goal of the artworks was to visually present traditional Chinese culture. Because the artworks are supposed to reflect traditional Chinese culture, the artworks are made in a way so that one can experience the emotional expression of the spirit, thus comprehending the true meaning of art in the image through cautious formal qualities such as detailed brush strokes, colors, and lines. In other words, the artwork’s visual unity helps the viewer think of China historically, thus the genre of art is mainly focused on culture and history. Historically, traditional Chinese art pieces (guohuas) were extremely difficult pieces made with ink. It was difficult due to the demanding skills that were required. Furthermore, these skills included the ability to alter the formal elements of art in a way that helps the piece come together. For example, tree leaves may require cautious and quick brush strokes while mountains and rocks may require rougher textures. These specific formal qualities are what brings out the theme because they are the foundation of traditional Chinese artworks.

Below are three pictures of my favorite artworks.

 

Artist: SunQiFeng (孙其峰)  Name of piece: White Eagle (白鹰)

Artist: CuiZiFan (崔子范)  Name of piece: Osprey Bamboo (鱼鹰竹子)

Artist: ZhaoShaoAng (赵少昂)  Name of piece: Floral Butterflies (花卉蝴蝶)

–What were the steps of this media testing (taking a photo, gridding, drawing, painting)? Explain each step.

  1. Taking the photo: we had to take a photo with high contrast so it would be easier to work with when adding the different values.
  2. Photoshop: We altered the contrast of the picture while also changing it to black and white.
  3. Printing: We printed the modified photo
  4. Gridding the photo: We evenly gridded the black and white photo with 3cm by 3cm squares.
  5. Gridding the board: We lightly gridded the painting board with 3cm by 3cm squares
  6. Drawing: Using an HB pencil, we lightly sketched out the general factors of the photo
  7. Preparing to paint: We squeezed small portions of black and white oil paint onto a wax-paper-like palette. Then, we placed newspaper underneath all of the materials to avoid any messes. Finally, we got our brushes and turpentine.
  8. Painting: We dipped our brushes into the turpentine and mixed a small portion of it into the paint we were about to use to thin it out a little bit. Next, we start to add different shades and values of black and white onto the sketched-out photo by mixing different portions fo black and white together. To finish off, we constantly wiped the brush and blended the different values with a little bit of white.
  9. Cleaning up: First and foremost, we dipped the brushes into the turpentine and wiped off any excess oil paint in the brush using a paper towel. Afterward, we thoroughly washed the brushes.

— What new things did you learn about how to properly use oil and paint and care for the materials?

I learned that oil paint is extremely hard to clean off a brush, therefore it’s crucial that the excess paint in the brush is removed first before washing it. I also learned that only a small amount of black oil paint is needed when mixed with white to form another value. Most importantly, I learned that the lightest values should be painted on first while the darker values should be painted on top or after the lighter values.

–What did you enjoy about the quality of oil paints as a media and what it allows you to do with painting?

I really enjoyed the smoothness and the prolonged time it takes for oil paint to dry. It’s smooth texture and prolonged drying time allows me to blend different values more efficiently. It also allows me to fix mistakes because it won’t immediately dry up. With oil-based paints, revising was easier compared to other media. I also enjoyed how oil paint allows me to paint layers when diluted with turpentine or other thinning agents.

–What was frustrating about oil painting?  How could you deal with this problem if you were to use oil paints in the future?

It was really frustrating how my darker values kept getting covered by the white I was using to blend in the different values. I found it really hard to blend smoothly. If I were to use oil paints in the future, I would definitely wait for the paint to dry more but not too much before blending.

–What questions do you have about using oil paint? Are there certain techniques you want to learn how to do?  Reference an artist who works in oil regarding the technique you want to learn if you can.

How do you soften colors and edges more so it looks more blended and smooth? One technique I want to learn is the sfumato technique, from the italian fumo, meaning smoke. This technique was used by Leonardo Da Vinci in most of his works, especially “Mona Lisa”. This technique is used to soften colors and edges with dark glazes. This technique would allow my work to be more visually unified as a whole.

Spring Fair Logo Design

March 29, 2018

No matter how hard I try, it always seems like one of my cultural identities is fading away. In the “Converging Cultures” studio challenge, we were challenged to use Adobe Photoshop to create a composition or a series of compositions that incorporated both secondary and primary photos to poetically display the cultures that are significant to us.

 

I’ve created a series of compositions to fully express how I view myself as a multicultural American-Chinese. The name of my first piece is “Sucked In” while the second piece is called “Rotating Moon”.Both pieces present the same message in different contexts.  I am mainly trying to express the repetitive phases I constantly go through when it comes to my cultural identity. The phases mainly revolve around how my fading cultural identities will always eventually end up back with me because of my unceasing fondness for them both.

“Sucked In” description: “Sucked In” revolves around the themes of representative colors, language, and animals. My Chinese name is integrated with thy scales of a dragon. The Chinese characters are written in a calligraphic manner. With calligraphy being an extremely prestigious and difficult style of Chinese chirography, the style can convey that parts of me are extremely traditionally Chinese. The dragon scales can be alluded and compared to one of China’s greatest architectural buildings: the Great Wall. The Great Wall of China is commonly alluded to a dragon because of its length, stability, and power. Moreover, it signifies that I have a solid Chinese background. The cosmic image in the cup is made up of the colors of the American flag: blue, white and red. The black hole in the middle, therefore, becomes an important emphasis and focal point of the piece. Visually, the second character of my name looks like it is being sucked into the black hole. When put into the right context, it signifies the enfeeblement of my Chinese culture at some points in my life due to many surrounding factors. The gradient change of color of that character is there to help build the inevitable transition of my Chinese culture being lost into or overwhelmed by the American one. In the end, however, I will always “drink” both cultures back into me. This is a repetitive process that helps me better myself at being a balanced multicultural individual.

“Rotating Moon”: On the other hand, “Rotating Moon” revolves around the themes of traditions, holidays, representative animals, and beliefs.      The moon represents one of the phases I’ve been through. Astronomically, the moon is forever rotating, going into each of its 8 different phases every once a month. This, again, empathizes on the repetition of my lost and gain of cultural identities as the ratio of dark to light changes through each phase change. Here, the moon is divided into two semicircles two represent the two different cultures. The black half represents my American identity while the lighter half represents my Chinese identity. Contrary to “Sucked In”, my American identity-mainly represented by the eagle silhouettes- is flying away in this piece. The sheep silhouettes that are both on the ground and the moon represents the 12 Chinese zodiac signs and the beliefs that come with it. Personally, I was born in the year of the sheep. In China, it is widely believed that you will be luckier and more successful when your “year” arrives. Therefore, this reminds me of Chinese New Year celebrations because it is the celebration that takes place when welcoming a new “animal of the year”. At the same time, the bright, spherical objects represent 2 things. The first thing is a lantern. A lantern strongly symbolizes Chinese New Year celebrations because it is what people would traditionally decorate their accommodations with in order to welcome the new year. The second thing is a pumpkin. This introduces a new aspect of the piece because the tree branches of the tree with red fruit gives people Halloween vibes. In brief, I love both Halloween and Chinese New Year, 2 very different holidays with very different traditions from 2 very different cultures. Moreover, the falling down of the red object means that these cultures are in a way, entering me, as shown by the growth of the tree on top of my underground head. This conveys that sometimes I am truly indecisive of which culture I belong to even if sometimes I tend to favor one more than the other.

These are the surreal devices that I’ve used in my pieces:

Scale: The cosmic galaxy is restricted in a small cup. In “Rotating Moon” , my head is almost as big as the moon. Furthermore, because the moon is imagined as a big object, it also makes the audience think of the sizes of the objects surrounding it. For example, are the birds and sheep just really huge or is the moon just really small?

Dislocation: The sheep and red objects are placed on the moon, an unfamiliar environment for those things. My head is also buried underground, a seemingly weird place for a head to be at.

Levitation: In “Sucked In”, the two Chinese characters on the side looks a little bit like they’re floating because of the shadows behind them.

Juxtaposition: In “Sucked In”, the words are combined with the scales, which is somewhat an impossible combination. The black hole is also unusually combined with the cup. The birds of “Rotating Moon” can also be described as juxtaposition because some are connected and combined with the dark side of the moon.

“Sucked In” was inspired by Victoria Siemer, otherwise known as Witchoria, and her placements of galaxies in coffee mugs. I thought that it was a very interesting idea that had a lot of meaning to it. Therefore, I borrowed her both her idea and technique from her. I integrated an American-styled black hole in a Chinese-style mug.

“Rotating Moon” was inspired by Jerry Uelsmann and his high-contrast, black and white themed pieces. I admired the way he was able to use contrasting values and shades of black and white to create focal points in his work. That’s why I made the majority of my artwork black and white, making parts of my work more contrasted to emphasize on more important symbols. The black-and-white theme was also able to bring out the only colored object in the piece: the lantern/pumpkin, which is an important symbol in my piece.

For both pieces, I began by brainstorming and planning out my ideas. For some extra inspiration, I looked at several other pieces of successful artists. Afterward, I started gathering primary photos for the sketches that my peers liked the most. I used a total of 4 primary photos. The first one was a picture of my hands cupped around the mug. I purposefully painted my nails red to further emphasize with the Chinese culture. My second primary photo was my Chinese name. I wrote my Chinese name on a separate piece of calligraphy paper using actual calligraphy ink and a brush. The third photo was that of my head. The fourth photo was a photo of bright, lit-up lantern fruits that I took over the Chinese New Year break. Next, I found all my high-resolution secondary photos. These included the moon, the silhouettes, the tree, the cloud background, the black hole, and the scales. The final touches for both pieces were spent trying to perfect the little details.

For “Sucked In”, I first started off by selecting, fixing and placing the first two primary photos on a 76 cm by 55 cm canvas. To make the background look nicer, I altered the brightness, colors, and saturation of the background. I used the warp tool to pull certain parts of the second Chinese character into the black hole so that it seems like it’s being sucked into it. Then, I masked my black hole picture under the circle I’ve selected on the cup. Then, I placed another red galaxy like the photo on top of the black hole and blended in it so that it had more color and meaning to it. I did this by lowering the opacity, erasing certain parts, and using the blend and blurring tools. Then, I masked some dragon scales underneath the two Chinese characters on the sides through the same process. Next, I masked 3 different photos of dragon scales underneath the second Chinese character to convey transitional change. I blended, blurred and erased the areas of intersection for the 3 different layers to make it have a smoother transition. Finally, I added shadows to the 2 characters on the side so that it would look more realistic in terms of the light source and have a floating effect.

(Process Photos of “Sucked In”^)

Similar to “Sucked In”, I also began “Rotating Moon” by selecting, fixing and placing the picture of my head on the bottom of the canvas. I drew a black rectangle underneath it and used the eraser tool to randomly and roughly erase the top of it to make it look more like an earth ground. Next, I made the head black and white. I also made brightness/contrast, hue/saturation and such small changes to it. Following that, I placed my cloud background underneath everything while the moon is placed on top of the background. Later, I used the dispersion effect on the dark side of the moon. I did this by using a scattered/dotted brush that I’ve previously downloaded to erase the dark side. To add dark spots outside of the moon, I had to liquefy the dark side and stretch it out so I had something to erase with. I used a variety of brush sizes for different spots to make it seem more realistic. Eventually, all the eagle silhouettes were selected and all carefully placed into the right positions. To make the dispersion effect more realistic, I changed the opacities of the silhouettes. The ones near the center of the moon were lighter while the ones further away were high in opacity. As for the rest of the objects, I went through pretty much the same process of cutting, selecting and placing them in the right positions. The red objects’ brightness was lowered and placed as some of the top layers so the black and white effects of the head won’t affect its natural, bright redness.

(Process Photos of “Rotating Moon”^)

My final pieces ended up looking very different from my original plan because of all the challenges and changes that I had to go through. One huge challenge was the loss of my previous work in photoshop because my computer suddenly crashed a few days before the due date. However, I think that this challenge has given me an opportunity to improve my piece even more because I had to redo it. Another challenge that came up was that I was lacking cultural representations in my work. It wasn’t clear what I was trying to convey with my piece. I overcame this challenge by adding more symbols and details to my work.

 

(Completed project photos^)

I think that I grew a lot with this studio challenge because a lot of effort was put into it. I mainly challenged myself in 3 different ways. The first way was the dispersion effect. I had to go online and watch several tutorials to find the one that would work best for my piece. The dispersion effect that I’ve used in my piece is harder than the normal one because the normal one only asks for the first part of what I’ve done, which is the erasing and liquefying part. On the other hand, I have to add birds on top of that and change the opacity of every single one of the eagle silhouettes to get the desired effect. Not only that, I also had to restart the whole process with my moon several times to see which brush would look the best. I believe that I’ve also challenged myself in terms of creativity and ideas. With how I would’ve usually chosen very cliché objects to represent my message and thoughts, I think that I’ve really challenged and improved myself on that aspect. I think that these 2 pieces are my most un-cliché work because they incorporated very unoriginal symbols of the two cultures that can give the audience space to think and comprehend it themselves without having the work itself directly tell them the message. I’ve also challenged myself in terms of colors. The majority of my second piece was based on a black-and-white color theme. I think I’ve really stepped out of the box because I’ve never worked with such a color theme before. I think that this has better taught me how to use different values and shades of the same colors to create emphasis and focal points. With that said, I think that I’ve definitely put in a lot of effort and has made the work the best it can be. I spend the majority of class time learning from tutorials, which was quite useful in the long run. Looking at my complete work, I definitely think I’ve grown and matured as an artist. One example is my desire to try new ways of creating art. This studio challenge has taught me that new ways of creating art can greatly benefit my understanding of art. For example, the black and white theme of my second piece has shown me that art doesn’t need many colors to be great.

Understand Arts Community: I’ve more or less interact with the artists that have inspired my work because I’ve incorporated their styles and techniques into mine. For example, the “black hole in a cup” idea was inspired by Withchoria while the black and white theme was inspired by Jerry Uelsmann.

          

(My work in comparison to the inspirations of my piece^)

Envision: Planning and envisioning what the next steps were for the piece were a crucially important part of this project. It was important because it leads to the preparation of primary and secondary photos. I’ve done this with my brainstorming and sketches in my sketchbook so I could bring in class the things I wanted to take pictures of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Final Plan Photos to plan for primary photos^)

Express: These pieces express how I view myself as a multicultural individual. Therefore, it conveys a personal meaning. I think that I’ve successfully expressed myself because I’ve fully expressed the complexities of how my identity is constantly changing with several symbols imagery.

 

 

Saving Banksy is a documentary created in 2017 that tells a story of how Banksy, a graffiti artist, leaves his mark on San Francisco in April of 2010 and goes on to become internationally known through a series of events. A huge part of the documentary is told by Brian Greif, an art collector, and the challenges that were brought up in the process of his attempt to preserve a Banksy piece from demolition. During his challenging journey, he was offered and bribed with large amounts of money which he refused to accept because he believed that such artwork should be “saved” and truly honored in a rightful museum.

What new ideas or understandings did this documentary shed light on for you in terms of the workings of the contemporary art world?  Please explain in detail.

I’ve always thought of art as a medium whose sole purpose was to please one’s eyes. However, this documentary has taught me otherwise. I learned that an artwork in the contemporary art world is not only an object used to please one’s eye. However, art can be extremely deep in meaning and can send out an important message that holds significance to all of us. For example, Banksy’s world-famous “balloon girl” piece looks aesthetically pleasing. When you first see this piece of street art on a London street, you soon realize that it’s a stunning work with a basic red color set against a background of urban decay. This is what I would’ve thought before watching the documentary. If the artwork is observed more closely and further comprehended, we can see that the little girl is trying to tell a story. The red balloon of color we are drawn to immediately just seems to transcend being more than a children’s plaything. Something deeper and philosophical is going on here. Being heart shaped the balloon comes to represent the hopes and dream that we all have in this everyday mundane life. It can even represent our love for life or the loss of innocence. It can also be argued that the child is trying to grasp a lost childhood or a lost parent as it releases the balloon off into the atmosphere.

What is an issue brought up in the documentary that you STRONGLY AGREE OR DISAGREE with? Explain the issue and give us reasoning as to why you agree or disagree with it.

An issue brought up in the documentary regards whether a graffiti piece should be preserved in museums or left outside on the streets. The street artists themselves believe that their artwork should be naturally left outside while most art collectors believe that they should be preserved in prestigious buildings where it can be admired by others. At this point, I strongly agree with the street artists. There are many different forms of art. Some are the way they are for a reason. It is unnatural and ironic to have graffiti taken apart and preserved in a museum. The messiness and the ___ is what makes the so called art a “graffiti”. I believe that it is wrong to take away something unique from a form of art because that’s the same thing as taking away the artwork’s identity.

What’s the most important takeaway from watching this documentary? What will you remember about it moving forward? 

Graffiti/street art is out in the public so that the artist’s message can be seen by everyone. Therefore, collectors shouldn’t go against the natural will of street art. The most important takeaway from watching this documentary is that all art has meaning, and should be treated the way it was meant to be treated. In brief, I will remember that all art is created with a meaning and purpose in order to send a message to its audience.

My card is intended for my friend, Serene. This person is special to me because she is always there for me when I need help. The intention of the card is to let her know how much I appreciate her. It’s quite creative because I used a pun to deliver my message. The phrase “there’s no one butter than you” sounds similar to “there’s no one better than you”. In other words, humor is also involved. I think this is more captivating because butter itself it an extremely lovable substance for its smooth taste. I am both saying she is lovable and appreciated. I slightly used a variety of shades of the same color for the background to emphasize on the melting butter. Thus, this is more or less my focal point. I used different textures (eg. butter melting) to make it more realistic and interesting.

*The picture was taken by my phones, hence the quality and resolution might be low

It’s a sad world that we live in.

In the novel Asking For It, Louise O’Neill incorporates 3 of today’s biggest problems into the protagonist’s life. The three problems revolve around the ideas of rape, bullying, and alcohol abuse. Emma, the protagonist, was doing fine being a mediocre teenager. It wasn’t until one night that she wanted to try something new that she found herself in a shameful situation.

  1. Alcohol Abuse: Having always being called “the good girl” (89), Emma was sick and tired of her boring reputation. In order to spice it up a bit, she decided to drink several shots of alcohol. Her friends’ encouragements for her to drink more eventually got Emma extremely drunk. As a result, she fell unconscious. With many teenagers feeling the same way about themselves, many fall into the same situation as Emma. Therefore, by making her issues so realistic, the readers can either relate to it or feel for the ones that have endured it.

2. Rape: Emma’s male friends took advantage of this opportunity and decided to rape her while posting inappropriate pictures of it on social media. When Emma finally came to realize what had happened a day later, she couldn’t remember any of it: “she didn’t want to remember” (133). She wanted to hide. She couldn’t do anything but think of the pictures. Rape has always been an inevitable talking point of feminism. In fact, anytime I have immersed myself in the feminist perspective, much of what they believe seems to boil down to sexual assault, rape, and violence against women. In other words, O’Neill’s novel can be looked at through a feminist lens. Emma’s experience with rape is a too-common subject for many females, therefore, making it extremely relatable. This makes the reader want to help because the thoughts that go through Emma’s mind are all too strong and negative. 3. Bullying: these shameful pictures made all her friends unfriend her, leaving with no one to protect her against the constant gossiping and bullying of others. Bullying (especially in school) has always been prominent in this world.

These three mishaps are all extremely common situations in the world today. By telling such sad, but realistic stories of a girl, O’Neill was able to bring up my empathetic emotions for not only Emma but all the people that have been through the same situations as I was able to more or less relate to the protagonist.