Wednesday, October 31, 2012

part two of project 2 self assessment

Self- Assessment
Project 2
Part 2

            The overall purpose of this portion of project two was all about experimental output. Since I have taken this class before, I knew a decant amount about some of the techniques. I knew a lot about super sauce and I knew that I wanted to steer clear of that technique for this project. I wanted to try something new and push my limits. While in Italy this past summer I became obsessed with textures. The natural textures in this world are amazing and so rich. I then after returning from Italy came up with this wild idea that combined my love for athletic clothing and my art. I had the idea to take up close macro images of natural textures and patterns found in our world and to convert them into digital representations. To then recolor these images to create designs similar to those found in athletic clothing, especially spandex material.
            Recently in the last year or so my overall theme of my work and focus, whether intentional or not, has focused around “Seeing that the eye cannot see”. Mainly I have been using my camera and its mechanical abilities to create art that shows viewers those things out eyes cant. My inspiration for this series that I have yet to name comes from many different areas of my life. I am seeing the world differently ever since my concussion and since I spent a month in Italy. I am more in tune with the world and with the shapes I see in life. I have ideas flying at me left anf right and it seems almost everything I see is inspiring and adjusting my art in some way or another. I have been thinking about these types of art for a few months now. I knew what I wanted to create and I knew a general idea of how to make it but I had yet to conduct the steps I needed to complete this project.
            My process started with my root focus in photography. I first photographed the bottom of one of my pet turtles. I am amazed by the patterns created in their shells and skin. I have three pets and have come in contact with over ten Diamondback Terrapins and amazingly every single one has been different. No two that I have seen in life or in pictures look alike. Each one has their own designs and patterns. I find this fascinating and knew that these natural patterns would make really interesting graphics. So I photographed the bottom of one of my turtles. I then converted the image to black and white and increased the definition as well as the contrast. This made the silver/tan shell appear whiter and the dark grey/black markings even deeper black. I then loaded this image into Adobe Illustrator. I live traced the image and set it to the default setting which creates a black background and the once black marking are not white and closed paths. It is then that I select each path individually and recolor it to my liking. I chose to work with only three colors and black because I felt if I used more colors that it would create a graphic that was too busy and no longer aesthetically pleasing. For this image I chose female oriented colors. It did not take too long for me to figure out the process and how to work in illustrator. What took me longer was trying to figure out how to make the remaining white paths, turn black. Once I figured this out, I was done. I printed out test prints and placed them on my wall, I also made the graphic my backdrop on my computer and phone. This is a technique I use often when I print tests of works. I am then forced to see the works and stare at them analyzing them multiple times through out the day. This is how I discover if I am done or not. After a few days of staring and analyzing the test prints, I was happy and ready to make it to the next step.
 I decided from the start that I wanted to print on the stretchy fabric. Although not like the spandex that I imagine my graphic to be printed on practically, this fabric is very interesting. Once printed, I taught myself through experimenting and trial and error how to construct a canvas wrap out of the printed fabric. It was surprising very successful and looked professional enough for me to be pleased and content. I hung it on my wall and honestly stared at it for a few hours while doing homework and I was still pleased and loving it so I knew I made the right choices.
A few days later I was walking around and saw this moss like plants growing on the brick wall on the way to Anne Arundel. I though it may make an exciting graphic so I took an up close photograph and followed the same process as before. With this image I finally learned more specifically how to convert the illustrator document into Photoshop and make a plain black background. Once in Photoshop, I could move the colored shapes around in order to create a new overall lay out. I took a very portrait orientation image and made it circular and squared off. I printed this the same way on the stretchy fabric but the printed decided to go crazy and mess up over half the print. So I had to improvise and only use part of the overall image. I created a much more panorama landscape looking canvas wrap.
From this project I learned even more about Illustrator and Photoshop then before and I learned how o create a canvas wrap. I also learned what textures can and cannot be created into art this way. My work habits were different then in the past. Since, I have a Macbook Pro now with the Adobe creative suite. I have the products I need that I once had to walk to the Mac Lab for. I like being able to work from home and whenever I want. It is less stressful and I am able to jot down or fix a little thing whenever I want. Much like in the remix project I feel like I spent less time then I have in the past on this project but I say I spent about 15 hours in total on this project.
             I am extremely happy with my two graphic prints and will absolutely reprint these images as well as create more. I think this project has lead me in a direction that will not only help with my SMP but also in looking for internships and jobs in the future.
            When people see my images I want them to wonder what they are and what they are pictures of. People who have already seen them hanging on my wall in my house have already been asking what they are. Most guess that the large work is of a turtle’s belly. No one has guessed the moss one though. I have to tell them. I think in the pure nature of the fabric and the graphic design of it people will image it on clothing. Yes, it is presented as a canvas wrap but with as much clothing and advertisements we are exposed to today, I think people will make the connection. Formally the colors in contrast with the black background create a compelling image that supports that it is not a photo but rather a graphic. Aesthetically the color combinations just fit and compliment one another well. A downfall to these pieces is the transparency. I want to create more and print on thicker fabric more closely related to those that clothing is made out of.
            As I have already said before, I am actually very pleased with my work and my effort level matched with my creativity and end product. It all played out well and I think I have created some of the best art works I have ever made and I am thoroughly inspired to create more in the future. I again think I deserve an A plus. 

self-assessment remix

Kristin Seymour
Project 2

            Part one of project two was a collaborative project with Colby’s Advanced Photo class. This project was called the “remix” project and was a reflection off of remixes in the music world. The task at hand was to exchange an image with our partner. We then were free to “remix” it as much as we wanted; however we wanted. My partner was Mimi and the image she gave me was on a negative slip. It was a naked girl with flowers over her breasts. The image I gave to her was an image I took this summer while shooting for a photography competition. I chose this image because I had been wanting to convert it to black and white and do something interesting with it. Since, the class she was in was a darkroom class that worked primarily in black and white, I knew she would remix it into something interesting.
            My process was very multi dimensional and multi formatted. I started by developing the image in the dark room. I decided to do this because of the nature of the raw image she gave me. It was a negative, and with my knowledge in the dark rom I just felt it was appropriate to develop it originally in this way.  In the dark room was when I realized that the girl in the photograph had a very large scar on her chest most likely from open-heart surgery. This simple feature changed the whole mood of the image from sensual and sexual too mysterious and slightly disturbing. I chose in this moment to no longer focus on the flowers but rather to accentuate the scar on the subject’s chest. I also wanted to make the image appear even more mysterious and dark by increasing the contrast. I accomplished this by using a darkroom technique called split filtering. This created the high contrast in the photo as well as keeping a high texture and tonal range on her skin. The background became a very deep black and the outlines of her body were intensified as well as the scar. This process made the scar pop out even more then in the original image. I then scanned in the image and worked on it in Photoshop. I did some minor editing in Photoshop to show the scar more and increase the detail and contrast.
            The idea of this unit is all about external output, so for this remix project, I tried different materials and methods of transfer. I first tested with matte medium onto canvas with pain beneath it and did not like it. Then I reverted back to my comfort zone with super sauce and transferred onto wood and Plexiglas. I finally tried placing decals onto a mirror. I liked this a lot but only at certain angles. So I finally decided to try matte medium transfer onto canvas one more time. I liked the result. I created the non-linear border by scraping away the matte medium. This made the image appear to be more antique and creepy. During this project I forced myself to learn other experimental processes like matte medium transfer and printing on decals. I only worked with super sauce last year so it was nice to expand my experimentation this class.
            I chose to print my original image on the nubby silk fabric. I then canvas wrapped it around canvas stretchers. This is the first time I have completed a canvas wrap and I am pleased as to how it turned out. I chose the nubby fabric because the photograph itself was very textural. It was a photo of a rusty chain and rusted metal beams under a boat. The nubby fabric added a similar texture to the texture seen in the image. In the end I rubbed my fingers over the image to pull out the knots in the fabric to make the texture even more apparent.
            As far as my work habits were, I spent less time overall then normal, but my normal time spent on a project exceeds 30 hours. I spent about 12 hours on this project. I have noticed in the past that I spend more time on my projects then my classmates and I have been trying to lessen my work time. I feel that sometimes I over work and over stress myself and no better work comes out of it. I am very pleased with my two finished products. I feel that my two works were well composed and well presented. Honestly, I was very disappointed in the level of presentation of my classmates and Colby’s class. Most all of the other works were not ready to hang. People did not bring their own materials and the artworks were not gallery material as we were told to have. A lot of the prints were not mounted and the other works were rough around the edges. I made sure my pieces were smooth around the edges, gallery ready and ready for hanging and I brought my own supplies (command strips).
            I believe the message that viewers will take from my remix piece is similar to the one I took the moment I saw the images enlarged on a projector. I think people at first will just see an almost naked girl with flowers on her breasts but soon as they approach the artwork closer, see the scar. They will then wonder about the scar and how this otherwise blemish free body obtained such a mark strait down her chest. I think that the image will not be seen as sexual but more so mysterious and a bit uncanny. For my original image I think viewers will first see it for what it simply is, a photograph. But I think they will see that this photo is semi three-dimensional. I think that the normal public is not so used to seeing canvas wrapped photographs and they will want to approach it closer to look. It is then that I hope they see the texture not only in the image itself but the literal texture within the fabric the image is printed on. I know my friends that I walk by with have told me they want to touch it but they know art is usually not meant to be touched, but I encourage them to feel it.  I want them to feel the physical texture of the piece.
            I feel that my most successful areas of this combined project were mainly the presentation of the two pieces, they were very finished and gallery ready. Also, I believe that I did well at stepping out of my comfort zone from last year. I worked only in super sauce last year and this year I avoided it mostly. I used new transfer materials as well as printing on fabric. I experimented with new materials and in the end I liked the results. I also crossed many different mediums in this project. I used digital photography, dark room processing, scanners, digital processing, alternative fabric printing, experimental transferring and canvas wrapping. I would honestly give myself an A plus because I feel I pushed myself in new directions but I also produced two artworks I am very pleased with.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Colby's Lecture

Colby Caldwell is a professor here at St. Mary’s and has been for over ten years. He is originally from the mountains of North Carolina and his life growing up deeply affected and inspired his artwork. He told us what began his career was the super 8 film from his grandfather’s hunting trips. These films were engrained in his head from annual thanksgiving viewings of the film. He was amazed by the colors and blurry landscapes that were a result of stills he took from the film.
            He later moved from super 8 films to a medium format camera. He worked in color as well as black and white. Colby stated that his move from D.C. to St. Mary’s county upon acceptance of the photography professor position at SMCM was a dramatic change in environment and therefore his art. He found his roots back in the natural world around him. Living on piece of land that had not been changed for years, looking out his front door began his curiosity in the seasons as well as artifacts found on this land. He transitioned from taking photos of visitors as the seasons changed into his most recent series called “Spent”. This is a series where he used a digital scanner as the camera and composed images of “spent” shit gun shells. He found these shells on his walks with his two dogs.
            The “Spent” series in particular is very interesting because for one he does not use a literal camera. Also, he leaves the images on a plain white background. The shotgun shells are very textural and worn by the earth. Each has its own character and story.
            I can only relate to Colby’s work vaguely because I for one have never taken photos with a medium format camera. I do not use a scanner to create photos and I have never even seen a super 8 films. I also do not have the same style at all as Colby. I do find similarities among our work though when it comes to his early work with color. I often work with images that create interesting colors and tones. Also, I more recently am working with images that are very textural and macro focused, like his shot gun shell images. I have a hobby of collecting old bottles that I find in old trash piles in the woods and in streams. I think it would be very interesting to scan them and see what is created.
            I do believe that sometimes his work can confuse me and it makes me think. It is never straightforward with a singular meaning. His images have a lot of background and were made for his own purpose rather than for others. I like and respect his work but in the end he has me tilting my head in wonder.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

project 2 plan

for the remix project here are some ideas:

multi part glass breaking down the image into pieces using decals on the multi pieces of glass then stacking them to create a weird 3d illusion

painting on a mirror then super sauce or decal on glass and putting glass on the mirror

painting on a canvas then matte medium transfer of image on top

for my own project:

macro images of textures and matural designs that exist in the real world then putting them in photoshop/illustrator and making them digital and colored in in bright colors and then printing on stretchy material and making a cube or canvas wrap

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cathrine OConnel lecture

        Cathrine OConnel is the Art departments visiting professor for the Fall semester. She is a painter by nature and works mainly on large canvases. She graduated undergrad with a BFA and then attended MICA for her graduate work. Graduate school is where she says she really expanded as an artist. It broke her down to the basics and built her back up again. She often struggled with making"pretty art", she felt she fell into the feminine role of paint pretty colorful, optimistic things. She fought against the feminist stereotype and started to create work about growth and decay. In this stage, she was pinging dying flowers and using darker more earth tones.
    I did not know going into the lecture that she was not only a painter but a sculptor also. She became obsessed with negative space, especially in one of her sculptures made out of pvc piping with materials on top. Most of the sculptures she showed us were very dynamic and figure like. They could be personified and seen as animals or human forms. She was into using a lot of textile materials like cloth and string to create very intricate art works that she worked closely with.
    I myself can see where she is coming from with the fighting feminine art. I ahve been told by people and professors that my work can be too "pretty" and not emotional enough, but just like her I have kind of given up on fighting the stereotype. I like what I make and if it is too pretty then oh well, I had a reason for creating it how it is. Cathrine OConnel elaborated on how her surrounding influenced her work and how moving back to baltimore has changed her art. I too feel that where I am changes my art. If I am home my photos and work are different than when I am here. Furthermore, ever since I went to Italy this summer, my art has changed. I focus more on textures of the world now, and dynamic ideas. I feel that going to Italy really has opened up my mind more and ever since then I have been having so many ideas.
    Her work is very interesting and definitely draws you in closer. Whether it be a six foot tall painting that draws you in to look more closely at the hues and tones of paint, or a sculpture that pulls you in to look at the materials made. Even the negative space within her sculptures create an interesting view of the surrounding. In her pipe piece the squared negative space regions create a frame like view of the wall behind it. I think her work is very interesting and provides great conversations with the viewer.