Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Wrapping up my semester, I have two more drawings to present.

This first drawing is in response to my artist and influences research, which has been recorded in my previous posting. The artist I chose to emulate is Arthur Rackham because his illustration style is similar to my use of color, line, and medium. In this piece, I used water color, ink wash, and pen to create a similar feel as to Rackham's. My use of color ended up to be more vibrant, as I am not well-practiced with this medium and did not successfully achieve the desaturated color pallet. If I were to re-attempt this piece, I would probably do a brow-gray wash over the paper instead of applying my work directly onto the white paper.

As for content, I tried to keep similar subject matter as Rackham, but at the same time allow for my own point of view to be expressed. The bird in the cage suspended from the tree may be interpreted many ways, but I personally was reflecting on how humans are intended to be free beings, as we have free will, thought and opinions, but are often hindered by our environment, the place we were meant to be free within. Perhaps the caged-bird is slightly cliche imagery... I just found it to resonate with my philosophies and Rackham's subject matter.

The second piece is a drawing that I have executed as a serigraphy piece. It began as a very gestural sketch, drawn on a Wacomb screen and colored in through the same method. This piece is intended to be a self portrait on a number of levels. The woman is reminiscent of myself, but not a literal interpretation. The concept of a wearable birdcage was actually derived from my senior industrial design project, which I think tends to bring myself of an artist full circle. In one of my earlier entries, I mentioned my struggle with claiming myself to be either an artist or designer. Despite what other philosophies are present in the art society, I am a firm believer that someone can be both an artist and designer, and that the two circles often overlap each other in the individual's work. I have designed pieces that I don't connect with my artist view, but this area is very gray and it's hard to identify a line.

I enjoy this piece as the content and style of drawing is very true to my character. In an ideal world, I would be able to wear this birdcage on my head. (My bird already hangs around in my hair as is.)

Monday, March 29, 2010

me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me!

I. Introduction

Part of my journey as a developing artist has been my various run-ins with other artists. Whether I am drawn to their work because it intrigues me, or am repelled because I completely disagree with it, I am nevertheless responding with the choices I make in my own art. Further investigation of these artists may help me understand my own creative convictions, so in the following essay I will discuss why William Morris, Arthur Rackham, and Tim Burton are three of my heroes.

II. Artist Influences & Sources

Attacking this paper in chronological format, I will begin by introducing my interest with this particular designer, artist, writer, and politician. William Morris lived through the end of the 19th century and continues to live on as a historical icon of the Arts & Crafts movement. He is known for his highly detailed and nature inspired graphics, executed in both print and textiles. It is understood that Morris looked back to history for his inspiration, as the ancient medieval period is referenced throughout his work.

Why do I positively respond to Morris? I understand there to be several reasons that I find encouraging by looking to this individual’s life work Firstly, this man was not pigeonholed to one skill since history declares him as a designer, artist, writer, and politician. I myself have a vast array of interests and often struggle with which one best “suites” me. However, I don’t find that I am either an artist or a designer, a musician or a writer; I am but all four and desire to stay suspended in all of these creative outlets. I struggle with society’s mentality that every individual must declare their trade (in this case “degree”) and stick to it until they finally reach retirement. Some people struggle with this decision because they don’t know what they are good at, and I think a few others struggle because they don’t know which talent they should pursue. Looking to history and knowing there are individuals like Morris who are noted for their broad expertise gives me the encouragement that I should continue exploring my various interests as well.

Secondly, on a purely aesthetic level, I am also drawn to Morris’ work, specifically the beautiful wallpaper motifs. His use of texture and color is so specific and deliberate – it makes me crazy to imagine the amount of time and focus it took him to map out these compositions. I also am envious of his line work, the subtle variances of line weight brings the subject matter to life. He clearly has an appreciation for nature, and must personally find energy in replicating life into the graphical world. Perhaps he is falsely representing nature, as every flower and leaf is drawn flawlessly as it symmetrically mirrors itself across the page. Either philosophy, I am very impressed by his work and could get lost in the design just as I could get lost in the woods.

Moving on to my second hero, this English illustrator has brought to life hundreds of stories that I loved to hear as a child. Arthur Rackham’s fame began at the turn of the 20th century when he won gold medals at both the Milan International Exhibition and the Barcelona International Exposition. Some of the classic tales he illustrated include Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Gulliver’s Travels, Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme, Aesop Fables, and dozens more. By the end of his career, his work was even being displayed at The Louvre.

There isn’t much more that I know of Rackham, but I am thankful that I have seen so many of his illustrations. It is hard for me to speak of his work because I find it so captivating that it brings me into a state-of-mind that isn’t close to reality. Many of his illustrations are of whimsical, sometimes mythological, characters and scenarios. He builds up his compositions to subconsciously drag the viewer’s eye across the page, almost like the wind itself is pushing their attention.

Rackham’s style of execution is also very notable. Even though he has illustrated many stories, all of his drawings are cohesive with his unique rendering quality. Every scene is drawn upon a textured background, usually appearing as if the paper has been antiqued or stained. His heavy, yet delicately inked lines pour across the paper and form the lovely shapes and textures of his subject matter. He then strategically applies mild color that hints of the hues and shades that bring his illustrations to life. I wish I had Rackham’s understanding and control of drawing with ink, and also creating beautiful form with the black lines.

Finishing up by introducing my last hero, I find this man to be a complete genius and often feel threatened by his ownership of this dark, whimsical, and quirky style. Tim Burton was born in suburbia of California to a very ordinary family – but who would have guessed that based off of his work? It his been said that Burton’s creepy and cynical perspective, particularly executed through films, is his retaliation against the stuffy and artificial world he was raised in. Regardless, this man was the brain behind some of today’s most memorable movies, including Beetle Juice, Edward Scissor Hands, James and the Giant Peach, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sweeny Todd, and hopefully many more to come.

Similar to Rackham, I understand Burton to also thrive off of the literary world. Most of his stories are fiction, specifically stories that involve monsters, ghosts, or some abnormality to every day life. Many of his characters are based on ordinary people who encounter another dimension of life, whether it’s Heaven, Hell, or a parallel world. I think what is so appealing about these movies is the fact that our society is raised on children’s stories, and eventually this activity stops when we reach a certain age. Burton’s movies carry on the nostalgia of this story-time experience, yet twists the tales into something appealing to an adult-audience (needless to say, kids still enjoy them too.) Perhaps Burton is trying to provoke his viewers to feel insecure, uncomfortable, or unsure of themselves because they live in a society that is all about maintaining the opposite of those feelings.

I know I am influenced by Tim Burton’s work, and have been for a long time. I will never forget his earlier works, Edward Scissor Hands, James and the Giant Peach, and The Nightmare Before Christmas, as they reminded me very much of Halloween. Why is Halloween relevant? Two reasons, with one being that it’s a holiday all about expressing your creativity and two, well, it’s my birthday. Growing up as a Halloween baby has only led to my self identity in this special day, feeling a sense of ownership of the day, and thus a sense of ownership of Halloween. I’m sure it would have been different if I weren’t born as an individual who thrives off of their creativity. Anyway, I have always had an adoration of Tim Burton’s work, and I have to say I was slightly disappointed when he became more “main stream” and appealed to everyone’s liking. I won’t complain because his art is much deserved of any attention he has been receiving. I will continue to aspire in honor of his work that has pushed the envelope of society.

III. Influences & Sources from outside the art world

I am a musician, and need to feel and hear the balance of rhythm and melody. It’s odd to compare my music writing to my art making, but I know I am a huge sucker for texture. In my drawings, I love the feeling of mark making, striking the charcoal down and wrestling it across the page, only to turn around and lightly drift back. Even my pauses between making marks can be compared to the rests on the sheet music. And I play my piano with as much vigor, hitting notes repeatedly until they sketch out a melody. Although, I’m definitely not one to write a song about a melody, I will write a song about texture and rhythm before I will write about melody.

I love animals and know that my life would have been very different if I did not have them in my life. I grew up on a hobby farm, with horses, dogs, cats, fish, birds, hamsters, ground squirrels, and many other critters that taught me responsibility, but most importantly quenched my curiosity. I am a curious human, always have been and always will be, and I think the animal world is mysterious and tangible at the same time. I enjoy relating to animals, or at least trying to in my humanly way, and know I have had true companionship in some of these furry/feathery friendships. I know there is that complete stigma that animal people are eccentric; well I’m not going to argue against that, because I know and embrace this quality of myself. I think this only reflects that I’m a social person, and enjoy interacting with my environment. I haven’t started talking to walls yet so I must be in the clear.

IV. Personal Influences & Sources

I am a packrat, and not only by literal terms. I cling to the random paraphernalia that life and its experiences leave me. This is nearly contradictory, because I have the worst memory in the world and cannot recall some of the best moments of my life. Yet, a smell, a feeling, a particular note will sometimes triggers these memories, and it all comes rushing back, leaving me to ponder this gap between then and now. This is when I realize who I am. The experience of grieving the death of one of my dearest friends has taught me the value of memories. When that person is gone, you no longer have a future with them, but thankfully you have the past. I am not sure how this understanding directly influences my work, but I have no doubt in my mind that it doesn’t.

I have faith and therefore I have trust in the foundation of my beliefs. I am someone who believes there is a purpose to life - that there is a creator and life didn’t just happen out of chance. To me, a thorough understanding of life contradicts the definition of chance. I believe everyone desires to be loved and accepted, and walks through each day trying to better understand themselves. How can you truly know yourself if you don’t know your creator? And so I trudge through each day seeking out mine.

Monday, March 15, 2010

ENFP...is this really me?

After completing a series of miscellaneous questions for the Myers-Briggs test, I gained new perspective on my self identity. I am an ENFP.

This acronym stands for Extrovert, Intuition, Feelings, and Perception. Here is a description of this personality type:

General: ENFPs are both "idea"-people and "people"-people, who see everyone and everything as part of an often bizarre cosmic whole. They want to both help (at least, their own definition of "help") and be liked and admired by other people, on both an individual and a humanitarian level. They are interested in new ideas on principle, but ultimately discard most of them for one reason or another.

Social Relationships: ENFPs have a great deal of zany charm, which can ingratiate them to the more stodgy types in spite of their unconventionality. They are outgoing, fun, and genuinely like people. As mates they are warm, affectionate (lots of PDA), and disconcertingly spontaneous. However, attention span in relationships can be short; ENFPs are easily intrigued and distracted by new friends and acquaintances, forgetting about the older ones for long stretches at a time. Less mature ENFPs may need to feel they are the center of attention all the time, to reassure them that everyone thinks they're a wonderful and fascinating person.

ENFPs often have strong, if unconvential, convictions on various issues related to their Cosmic View. They usually try to use their social skills and contacts to persuade people gently of the rightness of these views; this sometimes results in their neglecting their nearest and dearest while flitting around trying to save the world.

Work Environment: ENFPs are pleasant, easygoing, and usually fun to work with. They come up with great ideas, and are a major asset in brainstorming sessions. Follow through tends to be a problem, however; they tend to get bored quickly, especially if a newer, more interesting project comes along. They also tend to be procrastinators, both about meeting hard deadlines and about performing any small, uninteresting tasks that they've been assigned. ENFPs are at their most useful when working in a group with a J or two to take up the slack.

ENFPs hate bureaucracy, both in principle and in practice; they will always make a point of launching one of their crusades against some aspect of it.

For the most part, I agree with theory behind this personality type. I definitely thrive off of social interaction and would much rather spend time with a friend, or even stranger for that matter, rather than hide away some place reading a book. Talking to people is how I discover the world. There is a lot to learn from people and their life experiences, and I have the ears to hear, but the mouth and curiosity to prod the questions as well.

I also agree with the work ethic - creative, brain-stormer, passionate about their work... but can get bored more easily than not. This is evident in my projects and my interests; I have changed my major 2 times and am always starting projects that eventually get left half completed. This is probably due to the fact that I run off my feelings and emotions, and if "I" (whatever that really means) am not 100% behind it... it ain't going to happen. This also reinforces the last statement of ENFPs disliking bureaucracy. If I don't buy it, I won't buy it... no matter who or what the authority. Obviously, this is in situations where I have wiggle room; I'm not going to steal from someone who I don't think deserves what they have.

How does knowing I am an ENFP relate to my art and design? Well... I am definitely creative and am known amongst my peers for thinking outside of the box. It's what I do. However, I too am a procrastinator as I run off my emotions/feelings.. and please tell me, who feels like working all the time? When I have been working overtime and need to continue on, it's hard for me to stay motivated because I need the gratification of exercising my freedom and not being strapped to a deadline. Some days I just want to go on a long walk, I mean for several days, and not worry about what I'm leaving behind. I'm sure at some point I'd want to turn around and finish what I started to begin with. Sound familiar?

Knowing my personality type, how does that explain my participation in class critiques? Well... I do know I will talk when I have something nice to stay, or something I feel can be objectively critiqued and not step on the toes of the artist. As a people person, the last thing I want to do is say something that will make someone not like me. Yet, in the end, I don't like beating around the bush, I do have opinions about pretty much anything, and I am not going to compromise myself if it's a threatening situation. I have confidence and am a "dominant" person... meaning I don't do well with passive aggression and non-confrontational situations. I will try and speak my mind more often in critiques, especially since this is a Drawing III class, not kindergarten, and as artists and designers, we need practice defending our creative decisions.


Sunday, March 14, 2010


Here is the result of my second drawing assignment:

The second image is to help depict the effect of the tracing paper. Anyhow. I spent a lot of time thinking on what I wanted to illustrate regarding the subject matter of "dreams" and "language." I chose to draw on tracing paper for two reasons: 1. Is has a translucent quality that visually corresponds with the idea that dreams are in part reality, but really not and 2. Because I am a poor college student who has had this giant roll of tracing paper laying around and thought she'd be resourceful by using it. The tracing paper worked out quite well.

I am not sure what you "get out of" this drawing upon viewing it.. but I will tell you a bit of my intent behind it. I am inferring sleep simply by having four objects, easily counted, to represent the idea of counting sheep. This way of counting and use of rather iconic images is how I addressed language in this piece. A common, recognizable object, otherwise known as an icon, sums up the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words." Both the brain and the sheep are subjects that probably any person would recognize, and also have a ton of connotation packed into them. Thus, language doesn't have to be a complicated conversation of sharing words, sentences, and mutters... it can be as simple as sharing basic imagery.

Why the brain morphing into the sheep? I like the idea that dreams are story-like, personal experiences, that tend to be bazaar and affect the individual on some level. Dreams can have a very abstract literary aspect to them, but also are odd generations from our brain... quite scientific and mysterious.

I also enjoyed poking fun with the contradiction of the brain... a symbol of intelligence, morphing into the sheep... a symbol of stupidity.

My friend brought up the thought of how humans thrive off of their intelligence and ability to think for themselves, but consequently will end up following someone else. I thought this was a very valid point that is shown in the drawing.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Transition: Assignment 1 into Assignment 2

Okay, well today we all went around and wrote a word or phrase based off their first drawing that each artist should move forward with in their next assignment. We were then instructed to draw 1 slip of paper from that pile, draw a second slip of paper from a box Amy provided us with, and a third slip of paper from another box that contained names of mediums we are to potentially work with.

So here were my three slips....

1. Dream/Oneiromancer
2. Language
3. Eraser

Yep so I am going to make a drawing around those 3 variables. I need to do some research before I dive in. There are SO many directions I could go with... I just need to figure out what is being true to myself while still addressing these variables.

The other slips of paper about my drawing include the following:

mark making
creepifying (you know what I mean I think) scenes/objects
focus on unique strokes and tonality
delusion of memory
Home is where the heart is.
The Farm
Blurred Future
sketching vertical lines

And thus, I move forward.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ordinary/Extraordinary Critique

First off, sorry but I don't have my drawings documented yet. I will upload photos when I get a chance, but in the mean time, I will respond to the critique last Monday. Overall, I am excited to be in this class with all these different students. I know a few people, but the rest of you I've maybe seen around the school, or never before. So... it was interesting to see and hear feedback on everyone's work.

So, my drawings were in response to photos I had taken around my home. I grew up on a hobby farm west of the Twin Cities... my parents breed Arabians, so we have horses on the premises. I gathered pictures along the familiar walk from my house out to the horse pasture. I almost didn't know what to take pictures of because I have lived and played there for the last 23 years of my life... I know it all so well. So, the photos I drew from were of the house, some buildings on our property, and one of the horses. To me, it seemed like my drawings were more about the process and the mark makings, and not so much the content.

However, I was very surprised by the critique. I had a few comments on my drawing style, but I feel like the house picture and its message dominated most of the critique (well it was the largest drawing.) What stuck to me is that I have a creepy way of drawing things.... which led me to question what does "creepy" really mean, and why is it such and bad/good thing? I returned the question and received the response that it is my use of vertical lines. So what is the association with vertical lines and creepy? Haha. The rest of the critique people discussed the house and the trees coming out the bottom. I was surprised that no one saw the trees as roots.... that was sort of my intent in drawing the trees in the first place. I was also thinking about the idea of the family tree... the family tree of my own relatives, and the family tree of the people who have resided in the building which has been my family's house for the last 25 years. The house was built in 1880... so, it was many other families "house" before ours. This intrigues me. I have seen some weddings photos done on the farm back in the 50's... and it's neat because my wedding coming up in September will also be held on the farm.

I can't remember what else was said about my work. The name Tim Burton was thrown out... which wasn't a complete surprise but at the same time sort of bugs me just because his stuff has become so commercialized. I have always gravitated towards his work, ever since I was a little kid... but it is definitely becoming more generic as time goes on. Maybe I can get one of my drawings made into a poster and sold at Hot Topic... haha. My fiance actually has a shirt he designed for August Burns Red that is being sold at the store. It was really quite cool to see his work being sold on a mass market... and then there is something annoying about it too.

Okay well I don't know what else to say about the critique. I will be interested to see what we all come up with for our next project....

Where I've come from and where I'm going...

Since my first critique in Drawing III, I have come to question why I might be drawing the way I draw. There were several comments that were made I found sort of interesting, not that they were good or bad... it is what it is... but as an artist and designer, I am curious to why and how people view my work in the light that they do. So... before I begin to post new work, I better recap on the old. The following are drawings, sketches, sculpture, and designs I have done the last 5 years.... not chronological.

So this is Apple Man. I created him for an assignment back in Bryan Ritchie's Drawing II class in the Fall of '06. We were supposed to gather a group of dolls with our other classmates and draw from that still life, but for some reason I was really attached to this character and wanted to draw him all to myself.

This is probably the best drawing I have ever made. It's charcoal on tonal paper, a combination of materials I really enjoy working with.

Here is the second drawing from the assignment. I really enjoy this one too... not as "polished" as the first drawing, but it still seems finished. The composition makes me laugh. If you are wondering about Apple Man, I still have him... I'll post of a photo of him when I get a chance. He's an old brute these days.

Onto more drawings... coming up are works from Drawing I and II.

This last piece holds an interesting story behind it. This was from Drawing II, and we were assigned to do something out of the ordinary, perhaps something you would never do. The easy way out would have been to go someplace you had never visited... perhaps church if you weren't a believer, or the butcher shop if you were a vegetarian. I didn't really think of anything like that, but something that did pop in my head was "I would never get a tattoo." So, I went up to the local tattoo parlor and inquired if I could get a tattoo done, but without the ink. The guy looked at me kind of funny and said they hadn't done it before, but would be willing to give it a try. So we set up an appointment, I paid the $40 minimum fee, picked out my design, and I laid on the table to get my left rib cage drawn on. It was pretty sweet actually, I had these beautiful blood lines that eventually healed over and were a faint color under my skin. One day I looked in the mirror and they were totally gone! So... I totally know what it is like to get a tattoo, however, I don't know what it feels like to have something permanently applied to my body, but that's okay with me.

Here are a few more things from my sketch book...

And here is some photography and sculpture work...

So yep! These are some of my pieces... not sure what they tell about me as an artist. I will post some of my design work too when I get a chance... I am very intrigued by the relationship of art and design. I think I would be lying if I didn't admit to being both a designer and an artist... but I have heard people argue that you are either on or the other.