Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Post, the sixteenth -- made-up perfection

my final project for this class ended up being a little different than i'd originally thought.

i had wanted to print my photos to make physical, tangible pieces with printed text in between, but it turned out to be a digital presentation.

what happened was: i took photos of 4 peoples faces and focused on one feature very intently; i took those photos and put them together to make new faces with a piece of each of the 4 people (right eye, left eye, nose, mouth).

face 3 of made-up perfection

my point/message ended up being one about caring for and about yourself, something that i think a lot of us are frightened of.

it took me a really long time to learn how to love myself; i thought that acknowledging the positive parts of me was selfish and that it would make me a person i didn't want to be.

it wasn't until i learned that you can't really make anyone else's life better or really care for another person if you're miserable with yourself or don't love yourself.

knowing that you're good at something or liking the way you look, those aren't bad things.

sometimes it can be scary because someone could disagree and say you're bad at [insert: whatever it is that you're doing] or that they don't think you're very good looking at all; so what?!

if you care about yourself and know your worth, those things won't matter as much.

some things will always be able to hurt you, but if you know yourself and your strengths and your beauties and your skills, you'll be able to bounce back so much more easily.

gif of slides from made-up perfection

maybe this project helped one person think something kind about themselves today or maybe it made them feel valued.

my hope would be that it inspired everyone who saw it not to be afraid of liking themselves and ultimately, i hope we can all be at peace with who we are so we can be at peace with each other.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Post, the fifteenth --

if i'm being totally honest, i haven't really been into my posts lately;  i think i've been so absorbed in thinking about school and graduation and life in general that i haven't produced a good post in a while so i'm going to try to make this one better at least.

with that said, it seems like i get some of my best thinking done during artist talks.

i managed to stay pretty focused during Jennifer Angus' talk about her work with insects in art, but i really don't like bugs and was feeling so itchy that i welcomed the wanderings of my mind for once.

Jennifer's obsession with pattern was interesting to me even though i don't share that passion, but what i was really thinking about was the concert i was going to the next night (Troye Sivan).

i fell in love with his music when i was driving back to school and his song YOUTH came on the radio; i was hooked and once i got tickets to his show in Milwaukee, it was all i could think about.

when i finally got to the concert on saturday night, i experienced some kind of odd things.

for 1, i was one of the oldest people there who wasn't a parent and that was really strange for me, i mean i'm only 22 and i guess i hadn't really grasped how different that really is from 18 (the last time i was at The Rave).

another thing i noticed, primarily during the opening act, was that people seemed to feel compelled to sing along with the music; the people next to me clearly didn't know the words, but by the end of the song they were belting them out (i was guilty of this, too, not necessarily belting, but trying to learn the words).

i watched as the girls around me nervously glanced around as they stumbled through lyrics that they'd just caught on to, in case somehow someone realized that they didn't know every single word to every song being performed.

the strangest thing was the amount of time that i spent watching the show on people's phones.

there were people who were on their phones recording or snapping or tweeting the entire concert and it made me sad for them that they missed the show; yes they'll have evidence that they were there, but you can't tell me that they really enjoyed themselves.

this video is a pretty good example.

looking around The Rave, so many people were just not there; they were standing around me, i could see and feel them, but they were so consumed with what they were taking away with them that they might as well have stayed home and looked videos up online (i totally understand the irony of my recording this and showing it to you while criticizing the other people at the show for doing the same thing).

i think it's sad how much we let technology and especially our stupid, little phones control our lives and i'm totally a part of this, too.

we pay to see someone sing for us and instead of listening and giving ourselves to the music and the experience, we focus on a little box that's in our hands like if we put it away we'll be lost.

i think that there are some really great aspects of technology: you can learn about anything you want, find people with similar interests or struggles as you, express yourself in different ways, but i also think that if we were all more present we would be much better off.

it's so easy to be someone behind a screen and to say whatever you want but what does that mean in real life?

how do we really care for each other and how do we really help each other?

sometimes i think that in ways, we're becoming more and more like technology; we can do plenty of things indirectly, but when it comes down to it, we're becoming less and less personable and this is unfortunate.

i guess i'd like to challenge you to be more aware of your real, physical surroundings; to put your phone or computer away and just be in the moment and to keep doing this until it becomes normal again.

i think that would make for a much more fulfilling life.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Post, the fourteenth -- final project proposal

the final project.

i can't believe this is almost over, but that's not what i'm supposed to be talking about; i'm supposed to propose my idea.

for my last project, i want to use photos from "unmasked realness" and "a visible past" along with some new ones of my nose (that will hopefully be contoured by Ariel).

i want to print some images and display them together mosaic style to make a somewhat complete face.

photo from "a visible past"
i think i want to talk about identity and what the images mean together vs apart and i think i want to talk about in a way that doesn't focus so much on the makeup as something unnatural or separate from ourselves.

photo from "unmasked realness"
this project should speak to who we are and what we are on a basic level.

i want to go past the appearance at face value and explore what it means that we change how we look.

it's most certainly a work-in-progress.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Post, the thirteenth -- Norman Rockwell

it would be difficult to argue that Norman Rockwell wasn't an important artist.

he made the cover images for the Saturday Evening Post for almost 50 years and had a huge influence on the hyper-realist art movement.

his style of staging a scene to photograph and then making a painting or drawing from it is so Simulations; on page 38 Baudrillard says "Of the same order as the impossibility of rediscovering an absolute level of the real. is the impossibility of staging an illusion.  Illusion is no longer possible, because the real is no longer possible."

it's interesting because i don't even think that Rockwell was trying to stage an illusion, i think that he was trying to stage the real.

"After the prom" 1957
this is an example of a Rockwell work that was done after a staged photograph.

another thing that he was known for was his realistic portraits. 

there is a portrait of JFK that is just dripping in nostalgia and that's really not so different from the rest of Rockwell's work.

he seems to be a master of nostalgia.

John F Kennedy, 1960
"Rameses means nothing to us: only the mummy is of inestimable worth since it is what guarantees that accumulation means something.  Our entire linear and accumulative culture would collapse if we could not stockpile the past in plain view" (pg 19).

i think that the way Rockwell most relates to Simulations is with his "Triple self portrait".

in this piece, Rockwell is painting himself looking in a mirror painting himself.

is there any 'real' in that??

Rockwell really makes you question what's going on and what everything means especially with this work.

"Triple self portrait" 1960


Monday, January 25, 2016

Post, the twelfth -- a visible past, a continuation of unmasked realness

photo 2 of 12 of a visible past

this series of photos is a continuation of unmasked realness and to be honest, for a while that's absolutely all they were.

people suggested to keep going with the lip thing, so i moved up my face, tried to do the whole eye makeup thing, and took photos of it.

i think some of the images are kind of beautiful, but i'm not entirely sure what they mean, but i'm not entirely sure what this book is talking about half the time either.

they say that our eyes are the interpreters of our souls, but what if they're tongue tied and they say that our eyes are the windows to our souls, but what if they're foggy?

what do made-up eyes tell us that naked ones can't?

photo 10 of 12 of a visible past

maybe all of the glitter, black smudges and mascara are just a distraction, a way of keeping what our souls are a secret; if people just look at your eyes and not past them, you're safe, right?

but, again, i think of why and what we want to hide or why we want to change how we look.

maybe you have some deep, dark secret, or maybe you just want another form of creative expression.

maybe you're trying to impress someone, or maybe you're trying to impress yourself.

Jean Baudrillard said "it is no longer a question of a false representation of reality, but of concealing the fact that the real is no longer real" (pg 25).

when someone puts makeup on, they are still themselves, maybe they become more self assured, but that doesn't mean that the tube of Too Faced mascara they bought at Sephora is magic.

it means that they had it in them all along; they just needed a little help; and maybe they're more confident now, but maybe their eyes are streaky and their mascara is flaky and maybe if you saw that, you'd know that they weren't having a great day.

photo 9 of 12 of a visible past

maybe you'd know more if you really looked at what's going on instead of just seeing that someone took the time to touch their face up that morning and making an assumption about them.

i think this goes for a lot of things in life.

we have reasons for what we do, conscious or not, we have reasons and again, i think those reasons are so important.

i think that people are inherently beautiful and i wish that everyone could see what i see when i look at people and i really wish they could see it when they look at themselves.

i guess what i'm trying to say (maybe?) is don't judge; look and don't judge, but think are care and love.

wonder about the people around you and their reasons for what they do, like, wear, read, draw.

i know i just took some pictures of my eyes so this might seem like a stretch, but this is what i got from it, so this is what i can give you.

you can see the rest of the (unedited) photos from a visible past here.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Post, the eleventh -- "an unnamed need"

right now, the Wriston Gallery features an exhibit with work by Anila Quayyum Agha, Jennifer Angus, Michelle Grabner, Heather McGill and Tony Orrico.

although i couldn't make it to the opening, i just checked it out and it was pretty cool.

the description inside the gallery reads:

"We desire beautiful things, and yet we discount them.  
Beauty has been so exploited as a means of manipulation 
in contemporary society that we have learned to mistrust it.  
Consequently, we denigrate qualities that create the experience of beauty: 
pattern and ornament are scoffed at as mindless; carefully crafted 
objects are dismissed as elitist; lush and pristine surfaces are considered superficial.  
We have allowed the abuse of beauty to blind us to its richness of meaning.

The works assembled here bring that richness back before our eyes, 
and compel us to contemplate all that beauty can encompass: the fluid 
boundaries among natural and artificial; eye, mind, and body; 
self and other; form and nothingness."

the first room of the exhibit was a series of beautiful patterns on the walls but, unfortunately, i couldn't really look at them because they were made of giant bugs so it was pretty much my worst nightmare; Miriam Beerman was a walk in the park compared to this.

the room that i really enjoyed was the third and final room with Tony Orrico's work that i'm really disappointed i didn't get to see in action.

images of work by Tony Orrico in the Wriston Gallery

his work is extremely active but at the same time looks totally controlled because of the repetition.  

in a way i think that his work really relates, in a very literal way, to the idea of production in Simulations.

i wonder, though, how Tony's intentional production of one (master) piece at a time relates to Baudrillard's idea that "what society seeks through production, and overproduction, is the restoration of the real which escapes it." (pg 44)

are Orrico's works anything less than real if they can never truly be duplicated, not in the same way with the same people feeling and thinking the same things.

maybe Tony Orrico's works are some of the only real works i or we have ever seen.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Post, the tenth -- unmasked realness

new year, new, crazy book to draw inspiration from.

our first project of the term is inspired by some of the first pages of the book, "Simulations" by Jean Baudrillard.

we're supposed to talk about realness and being unmasked and representation and what it all means.

i don't know what it means.

any of it.

i think this book might be easier to read in french.

anyway, i started thinking about makeup.

i started thinking about all the work we go through to put makeup on and then to make it look perfect when in reality, at least for me, there's usually lipstick all over my teeth and face by the time i'm ready to walk out the door.

photo 11 of 12 from unmasked realness

then, i started thinking about why we even wear makeup; what we get out of changing our physical appearances and i thought that maybe our made-up selves are more real than the natural, naked-faced selves we wake up with.

maybe how i want to look to other people, or even to myself, can explain to you more about the real me and maybe the things i try to hide are actually more revealing than the things themselves because maybe if you saw my lipstick stained face, cracked lips and unbleached teeth, you'd wonder what other parts of me are rushed, broken or dirty.

as Baudrillard says "to dissimulate is to feign not to have what one has" (pg 5).

photo 8 of 12 from unmasked realness

maybe when i wear a headband, it's not only to get my flyaways under control, but it's also because i've seen every episode of Gossip Girl ever and Blair always wears a headband and she's a powerful, respected woman and imitating her makes me feel good about myself.

who knows, maybe i just like red lipstick and maybe that's because i think that Marilyn Monroe is iconic and beautiful or maybe it's because i think it looks polished and put together and maybe i think these things without ever having consciously thought them and it has nothing to do with my cracked lips at all.

there's a reason for the choices we make, whether its biking or driving to work, buying skinny jeans or bellbottoms, reading Stephen King or Jane Austen, and those reasons are the things that show the real us even if we're using these things to draw attention away from something we see as unfavorable.

why we see them as unfavorable is more telling and revealing than the things themselves.

you can see the other 10 (unedited) photos from unmasked realness by clicking here.