Over the period between the last week of school before the break and during the break, I have read 3 novels. One of which is a graphic novel named They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, and two non fiction books, Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman and also Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan. George Takei not only is a writer but also the actor of Sulu from Start Trek.
They Called Us Enemy is an autobiography, in the book, Takei talks about his firsthand experience as a kid and a Japanese immigrant in the US. Taking place during the second World War at the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine is a realistic fiction novel about a woman, Eleanor Oliphant who seems to be happy and fine, however on the inside, she is struggling with her social skills and lives isolated from everyone else. Then she meets Raymond, and everything changes. Throughout the book, we see glimpses of her childhood and start to piece together a forgotten memory.
Girls of Paper and Fire is an Asian-inspired fantasy novel, where the world has a caste system, the Paper, Steel and the Moon castes. Papers are considered to be the lowest class who are fully human, Steels are a cross between demon and human, while the Moon caste people are fully demon. The Moon caste has the most power in this world and controls using force, and are not looked fondly upon the other castes, however they don’t have the enough strength to fight back. The main character, Lei, is a paper girl living a peaceful and happy life. Her life changes when she is picked to be one of the Paper Girls for the demon king. In the palace, she discover new things about the complicated relationship of the many powerful groups, and takes on a secret mission.
I think that although They Called Us Enemy had a big impact on me, because it helped me learn about what inequality was like and what it was like for a person who experienced it first hand, I’m not sure if it would useful for writing a literary essay. However, I think I could write an essay about the other 2 I read.
Since my last book reflection I have stopped reading Scythe and Thunderhead and have moved on to read/finish the third book of the series, The Toll. The reason I started re-reading these two books in the first place was mainly just so I would have something to read in class while I looked for another book. So, the only reason I decided to abandon this book was because I had found a new book to read. However I do think that using the books to jog my memory helped when reading The Toll, and it was easier to keep up with the story.
In The Toll, we are introduced to several new characters including Cirrus, the Toll, Jeri and more. The book continues a few years after when Thunderhead was left off, this was where Citra and Rowan were trapped inside the vault. In this time period, the Thunderhead has marked everyone “unsavory” and won’t talk to anyone but one person, the Toll, who we knew as Greyson Tolliver and was a nimbus agent up until when he saved Scythe Anastasia (Citra) and Scythe Currie from an explosion (it is against the rules for a nimbus agent to engage in scythe matters, which is what he did). Not only that, because Scythe Currie is now dead, Scythe Goddard has become the Overblade, and rumors are circulating that Scythe Lucifer (Rowan) is responsible for the sinking of Endura. Meanwhile, Scythe Faraday and Munira, who worked at the Library of Alexandria, are looking for the Land of Nod (the “blind spot” of the Thunderhead). Little do they know that the Thunderhead has been watching them and plans to send some people over there through a hidden message. The vault that was buried under the sea is found, Citra and Rowan are brought back from the dead. The scythdom and the tonists communities descend into chaos and confusion as the toll has “died” and Scythe Goddard is put in control. One the atoll, little do the people know that the Thunderhead is planning to launch rockets into space on Kwajalein (the island).
I think that I would definitely recommend this series to anyone fantasy or adventure novels. Although the plot maybe confusing at times (because they always switch between perspectives) it is quite interesting.
Our group’s plan for this sculpture was to create a person that looks like they are reaching towards something but being held back by a pile of books and work. The meaning behind this artwork was to show how students are being kept from doing the things they like by pressure created from the work they have to do. Initially, when we came together as a group, each person had quite different ideas, but we all figured a way to incorporate a bit from everyone’s sketches for this sculpture.
Since my last reflection I have finished the book Peter Nimble, completed the book Warcross by Marie Lu. I have also started a book named Scythe by Neal Shusterman, currently I am on page 84. Building back onto the previous reflection, the ending of the book was pretty similar to what I had expected, the “King” was overthrown by the kids and was kingdom was saved. My overall impression of this book was pretty positive, I think that the storyline is quite interesting. But, for me I think that sometimes the book was kind of predictable and maybe more suitable for younger readers that like to read fantasy books.
For the book I’m currently reading, Scythe, I have actually read this book before a few years ago, but I decided to re-read it because I had forgotten most of the plot. So far, we have been introduced to the characters Citra, Rowan, and Scythe Faraway. They live in a world where people have discovered how to be immortal and something called the Thunderhead controls almost everything, except for the scythedome. The scythes are a group that have the authority to glean people (kill people permanently) to control the population. Citra and Rowan have been chosen to be the apprentice of Scythe Faraway and are training to be scythes. However, at the end of the training period (1 year later), only one of them will become a scythe, the other person will be able to go back to their normal lives.
One structural technique I noticed in this novel was that at the end of each chapter, there is a page from Scythe Curie’s journal. I also know that Scythe Curie will become a significant character in this book and play a big role in Citra’s life, and by including her thoughts written in her public journal could imply that the information is important. What is also interesting is that, I think the information in each of the entries are kind of relating to what is happening in each of the chapters. In the second book, Thunderhead, the author also follows the same structure but with the personal thoughts of the Thunderhead.
A significant theme I have also noticed in the beginning of this book is family. On one hand, Citra values her family a lot and would go to extremes to protect them. On the other hand, Rowan doesn’t seem to have much of a relationship with his family. The author also doesn’t really describe his family as much, I think this kind of suggests unimportance to the story and to the character Rowan. Another theme I think will be quite important in this story is life and death. Because people in this world have surpassed life itself, people are being more careless. Once they die, they can be revived again, and as the people get older, they “reset” themselves to any age they want.
For the style of this artwork, I knew I wanted my artwork not to be too challenging, because haven’t really done many paintings before in previous years. So, when I came across Keith Haring’s art, I immediately liked how although the painting style was simple, they conveyed an important message. For example, in one of his artworks Silence=Death shows people covering their eyes, ears, and mouths. Each part of this artwork has a specific meaning (like how the people covering their faces symbolize people with AIDS who feel like they are silenced, even the color and shape of the canvas had a purpose).
As for the color and idea of this artwork, I was inspired by an artwork name Untitled (People) also by Keith Haring, it shows a bunch colorful people piled on top of each other. I like how he didn’t keep each person a specific color, but instead outlining the people on top of blobs of color. I kind of based the way I did the background and the people climbing on top of each other on this artwork. The art elements I think are the most dominant in this artwork are texture and color. I chose to show texture in the brush strokes and the areas with collage. For the color, here isn’t much reasoning behind the why I chose the specific colors, but I wanted them to be a little paler but still kind of “pop out”, so that the colors were noticeable but also helped emphasize the people.
Untitled (People) artwork by Keith Haring
One of the changes I decided to make to my painting is using acrylics instead of watercolor. My initial idea was to use acrylics like Keith Haring did in his works, but I wanted to kind of make the colors slightly more transparent so that I could see my sketch underneath. When I went and used watercolor, I noticed the canvas couldn’t properly absorb the water, so I switch back to the idea of using acrylic. Using acrylic also created another problem, because the paint was so opaque, I couldn’t see any my sketch. I quickly resolved the problem by sketching back over the top of the dried paint. The next problem I faced were the outlines of the figures/characters. I was planning on using acrylics as well for them, but when I tried it out, the line seemed to be too thick and the paint was spotty, so I changed to using a sharpie to draw it out instead.
Unlike Keith Haring, I decided to make the meaning behind my artwork more based around the environment than social issue. On right I painted many little people climbing over the top of each other and then another bigger person in the middle. The space in the middle figure’s head will be filled with cut-outs of magazines and maybe some newspaper to show how consumerism has affected us. I tried to make the smaller characters look like they were reaching up towards the person in the middle’s “mind”. This expresses how people are being influenced by ads into buying more and more things without having thought in mind about where everything goes when we are “done with it”. On the other half of this painting I will be painting an Earth with more cut-outs on the continents. I’m thinking about just using newspaper for this half to show how many people have already been informed about problems caused by waste humans created have caused for the environment, but still some people are ignoring the problems of the materials economy.
Being of Painting Process
I think that the meaning behind this painting is kind of related to pop art in a way, because some pop artworks are based on products in popular culture (especially Andy Warhol’s work). Some pop artists create idea by using things they find in magazines, comic books, and advertising. My plan for this painting was to focus on mostly the advertising of products and mass production of products, and I thought that by adding in cut out of magazines, ads, etc would add to the idea.
The book that I have been reading for these past few classes is called Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier, the genre of this book is fantasy and adventure. The story starts off with a little backstory of the main character, Peter Nimble. He was found by a couple of sailors blind, with no eyes. He was in a basket floating along their ship, and on his head was a raven. A bad man named Mr. Seamus adopted Peter and taught him to be a thief. For most of his life, he stole things for Mr. Seamus (so that he could live, have food and shelter). One day, he stole a mysterious box full of eyes from a foreigner. The eyes transported him to an island where he is told to go on a quest to save a vanished kingdom.
Throughout the entire story, a lot of little details start to make sense and connect to other parts. For example, his quest is connected to him being the heir of the “vanishing kingdom”. This make me wonder if Professor Cake (the person who gave Peter the mission) knew that he was the prince with no name and gave him the quest so that he could find out the truth. I also wonder could there also be a purpose for Sir Tode to go on the quest with Peter? In the story Sir Tode talked about how he was only knighted because people thought that he had killed a dragon (which was not the case). Could Professor Cake picked them both for a reason?
Even though this is a story about fantasy, I think that I can kind of relate to Peter. In the scene where he says that he can’t open the lock of the children because it’s too late, I think that I can kind of relate to the feeling when you think that there is no more hope and when you don’t want to let people down. I think that Peter did want to help, but he just didn’t know how or if he could do it.
I predict that Peter and Peg will free the enslaved children and make the adults realize their mistake. But I also think that something may happen and the false king might create an army of apes and thieves that they will have to fight.
After reading this book, I have realized that although I usually really like to read fantasy stories, I think that I should try to pick books that are more at my level. I would have enjoyed this book if I was reading this at a little younger age, but I think now I should try and choose different genres and types of stories.
The process of brainstorming for this artwork in the beginning was a little difficult for me. I wasn’t really sure about what path I was going to take with this artwork, so I first started out with some sketches of products, because I really liked how Andy Warhol created the Campbell’s Soup Cans and the idea of it being kind of like consumerism. I didn’t really like my sketches and I wasn’t sure how they could show a clear message, so I decided to dig deeper into message and find another way to show it. Which is when I created the idea I have now.
This piece of art will have 2 sides to it, one half showing an Earth, and the other half with a lot of people with the emphasis on the big person in the middle of the painting. For this idea, I wanted to kind of show how consumerism is connected to environment by including cut-outs of magazines or packaging of products on both sides of the artwork. The packaging and cut-outs of brands show how people are now consumed by the idea of buying more and more, to get newer versions of things. This connects to the environment because the more people buy, the more waste it creates, and soon there will be no more places to put those things.
I decided to do this artwork similar to the style of Keith Haring’s works. Keith Haring was a social activist, I like that his style is although simple, conveys a lot of very important messages through it. I also kind of generated this idea based off of a video about consumerism we used to watch every year called the “The Story of Stuff”, the video talks about how humans need to be more sustainable, the materials economy, and the thing that really stuck out to me was the “Work, watch, spend treadmill”. I based my artwork on both this and the materials economy.
What art elements and design principles are in the artwork (most dominant)?
I think that some art elements that are most dominant in the work are the elements of color, line, and texture or value. Color, as you can see, is represented around the entire piece. There is color in the hair, her skin, the pops of pink in the eyeshadow, the beauty mark, her lips and teeth. The yellow in her hair is very vibrant in the piece, it stands out a lot. I think the texture comes in in the lines in the hair, it makes the little strands and sections of curled hair clear. There are also some textural areas in the lips, I think it kind of has a highlight, I think that the eyes and the eyebrows are representations of line or texture too. Andy Warhol also adds a few dark spots on her face maybe as shadows, I think this area could be value.
Some design principles dominant in this artwork could be contrast, unity, and maybe emphasis. The contrast could be represented by the contrast in colors of the pink background to the yellow hair, or the dark lines to the vibrant colors. Unity could be represented by how well each layer the artwork comes together as one. It is clearly shown that this piece was created from many different layers like the solid colors, the lines, the shadow, the emphasis on the pink areas on the eyes, lips and the mark.
Any appropriations of work by other artists? Does the artwork communicate an action, a narrative or a story?
The artwork was originally based on a picture taken of Marilyn from the movie Niagara by Gene Korman released to the world in 1953. At the time when Andy Warhol appropriated the work of Gene Korman, the laws of copyright weren’t as strict as they are now, so there wasn’t a very big concern.
The story behind Marilyn Monroe, 1967 is also very much the same as the story behind his other pictures of famous women. These artworks were each created at a time in their life where they had been through a struggle. Andy Warhol started to create pictures of Marilyn Monroe shortly after she committed suicide. Both of the images of Jackie Kennedy that he created was around the time of her husband’s death. He also created an image of Liz Taylor when she was sick. All of these times were significant to the women’s lives, his art of these women kind of symbolized how under their seemingly perfect lives, they had problems like any normal person.
When, where and why was this piece created? Has it been influenced by trends, fashions or ideologies?
This piece of art was created in 1967, New York, which was five years after Marilyn Monroe passed away. This picture is part of the original piece Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn) 1967, the entire composition consists of 10 different screen prints of Marilyn Monroe, each section has a different color combination. In 1962, sometime after Marilyn’s death, Andy Warhol created the Marilyn Diptych. It was another silkscreened picture, but this one had 50 pictures of her. Marilyn Monroe, 1967 was said to be the extension of this piece.
The inspiration for this piece was from British pop. British pop is thought of as “American mass culture and materialism…music, ads or dance became the primary subject of British pop” (Public Delivery). Before and after this piece was made, he made other pieces with Marilyn Monroe as the center piece (as mentioned before there was the Marilyn Diptych but also many more), without changing the style of the artwork and the picture he based his art off of. We also know that he did create a few pieces of other women a few years back similar to the style of art used to create Marilyn Monroe. For example, Jackie Blue and Red Jackie both of Jackie Kennedy.
Andy Warhol was influenced by the idea of mass culture, which is why he created Campbell’s Soup Cans and Brillo Box. Both of these pieces are based on brands and consumerism. The women he showed in his art was based on “consumer society, fashion, fame, sensationalism and death.” (Public Delivery)
What are the benefits of blind contour, negative space, and value drawings?
I think that the benefits of a blind contour drawing is that it can help you focus more on the object you are drawing rather than your artwork. Even though things may not be in the correct places, by looking at the object more can help you find details you may have missed. Negative space drawings focus more on the shapes of the objects, outlining the outside and then coloring in the the “holes”. Value I think are more about looking at shadows and how the light hits the object and showing the lighter and darker areas.
How might you incorporate these drawing practices in future art
I think blind contour drawings are pretty fun to do. It reminds me a lot about the lines that wires can create, I could do a one-line blind contour drawing and try to recreate it in wire. I could also do a blind contour drawing and add random colors in different spots. Negative space drawings maybe good for drawing objects with interesting shapes. While value drawing could be used to draw things with small details like portraits.
Option 1: Choose this option if you are aware that technology has a negative effect on your mental health.
A) Describe how you feel and act when your mental health is thriving in the Green Zone. (Don’t just say ‘normal’ – what does that look like? What does it feel like?)
When I am in the Green Zone, I feel relaxed, calm, I don’t feel worried. While I work, I can be focused on the task at hand. I think that being in the Green Zone means when you are at a point where you can work productively, put in as much effort as you can. When you can easily cope with the challenges you may face.
B) What are some tech habits and strategies that are keeping you thriving in the Green Zone? Describe them in detail. Also include people who help you with this. How else does using technology have a positive effect on your well-being?
To keep myself concentrated, sometimes I put on some classical music, it helps me stay on task. I also take away all the other distractions around me. Fresh air and sunlight help me feel relax so I can work, which is why I always open the windows and curtains in my study room. Many people have different strategies of helping them stay peaceful and focused in the Green Zone.
Sometimes I need to take breaks, my mom always has to remind me to take a break when I get too into my work or when I’m stressed out. Our dance studio has also organized Zoom exercises every weekday, so that kind of forces me to get up and move. Technology can also have a positive impact on your mental health and well-being, many websites like StayFocusd or just music can help us stay on task while working, helping us work as efficiently as possible. Some people even listen to podcasts or music to help them sleep better.
C) Think about your tech use and habits(social media and/or gaming and/or E-learning). What are the triggers/challenges that take you out of thriving in the Green Zone and into the unsettled/struggling feelings of the Yellow/Orange Zones? Use what you know about the brain, sleep and the effects of tech on mental health as you answer this question.
Social media can also cause people to go from the Green Zone to the Yellow or Orange Zone, on social media there are many different types of people. A lot of the times, people tend to compare themselves with one another even though they may not relate to each other. When people see that other people have for example a better body than them, it could make them feel as if their own isn’t good enough. This is why many times social media is the cause of conditions like depression, anxiety, stress, etc. When a new trend comes along and many people do or use something, it could also make another person feel pressured to do what everyone else is doing.
Not only that but spending too much time using screens can cause sleep deprivation, this is because the reason we get tired is because of a substance that your brain produces called melatonin. When looking at the blue light of your devices, it affects the production of melatonin, this can result in less sleep (. The less you sleep the more tired you will be when you wake up, each person needs a certain amount of sleep to feel energized for the day, it could affect your performance in school and make you feel frustrated.
D) Describe how you feel and act when you are unsettled or struggling in the Yellow/Orange Zones.
When I’m in the Yellow or Orange Zone, I feel frustrated, stressed, and worried. This is usually because of some kind of challenge I can’t overcome, I have noticed that I can get mad easily, so I need to learn to control my emotions.
E) What are some strategies that you have used to help you get back to the Green Zone? Describe a time when you have used it. Or, if you currently don’t have any strategies, think about the Mindfulness strategies from the previous post. Describe a time when you could have used one of those strategies or habits and how it would have made you feel. Also include people who could help you with this.
Sometimes after a long time of working, you may feel that you are starting to move away from the Green Zone. To help me re-focus, I sometimes need to have a rest once in a while. The blue light that devices like computers, phones, iPads, etc. can affect your eyes, around 50% of the people that work in front of these devices can experience a condition called digital eye strain, symptoms such as dry eyes, red eyes, headaches, and more can appear (YourSightMatters.com). So, I like to go outside just to do some exercise or stay inside and do a few workouts, it is a great way to start, taking a break from your screen and looking at something else will help your eyes. Because now that we have e-learning at home, I feel that I can be more efficient in finishing my work, so whenever I finish my work, I will try to go outside. I want to make a habit of going outside each day to get my vitamin D and do some exercise, but I’m still working on that. Even though I don’t use this strategy, I think it could work for other people, doing some breathing exercises or meditation to calm down.
YourSightMatters.com: Is Screen Time Affecting Your Eye Health?