This art project is definitely my favorite, I’ve also put so many hours into it! To create this self-portrait, I blacked out the paper with charcoal and used a rubber eraser to show the different shapes and areas of light on my face. I think it’s really interesting process to use a eraser to create art, I mean erasers usually delete things not create them! Honestly, everything was incredibly difficult for this project. Trying to create a proportional face while closing one eye was not an easy task. I also had difficulty to not idealize my features. I made my lips too big and my cheeks too small, and I had to spend many hours trying to make the lips look like my lips. After my project started coming together I saw that with those changes the self-portrait did start to look like me. I feel very proud of this project!
Overall, this visual thinking art class has taught me to really see and observe. I understand values of lightness and dark. I understand how to draw what I see and block out what I know. I have always attempted to try to draw real things before this class, and I would usually give up and decide to draw only cartoonish looking people and animals, but know that I know how to see and use string to help make things proportional, I think things will become much easier. I’ve also always felt that I couldn’t do art because I wasn’t great at drawing or painting so I’ve stayed away from art classes and college until now, and now I realize that I can make art, and that’s a great feeling. And to address this question: how does how you see effect how you think? I feel that I see things differently, I’m a better observer now and I’ve learned to fight my brain which sometimes tries to trick me into placing the importance of what I know over what I see.
Waste Land is a documentary about an innovative artist Vik Muniz, who uses garbage material to create art. Muniz traveled to Rio de Jeniero, Brazil to carry out his project in the world’s largest landfill Jardim Gramacho. Muniz photographed some of the pickers at the landfill, and then was able to project huge blown up versions of the photographs on the concrete floor inside a building. The pickers used trash that they gathered earlier to recreate their portraits on the photographs. Muniz photographed the final creations and put them on canvases for an art exhibition and an art auction. Muniz brought new perspectives to these pickers. After the pickers created this art, they gained new perspectives on life, by realizing that they did not have stay and pick garbage for the rest of their life. In this way, Muniz was able to change their outlook on life and show that they could escape the landfill. The pickers were able give Muniz satisfaction with the artwork they both created, he felt that improving these people’s lives was a rewarding experience. The groups in this documentary were Association of Pickers Jardim Gramacho (group thats represents the pickers of the landfill and their legal rights), the museum of modern art in Rio de Janeiro, and Muniz and his assistant. One of the systems that I observed in this documentary was poverty. The poor in Brazil are stuck in a cycle of poverty and have no way out. This extreme poverty is shown when Muniz visits the pickers’ homes, who live in favelas (slums). Muniz project subverts this system of poverty by showing some of the pickers a new way of life and that they can break away from this cycle and by providing them with their artwork’s profits. However, I would argue that Muniz’s project also supports the system of poverty because he improves the lives of only some of the pickers, while the pickers who are not picked are still left behind in poverty. While Muniz had good intentions with his project there are many problems with this project. The ability to change someone’s perspective on life should not be taken lightly, and I feel that this is something that Muniz did not realize or consider enough. If these selected pickers find themselves out of money and they have to go back to working at other jobs similar to their job at the landfill (since it shut down) they will probably be more unhappy then they would have been without Muniz’s project changing their life. Also I think this project probably created some animosity between the pickers who were selected for the project and the ones who were not. The long term implications are that the pickers were able to improve their lives with the proceeds of their artwork, and Muniz used funding to open a learning center for the pickers, since the landfill was shut down.
Material witness was an art exhibition at Agnes Scott College in the fall of 2013. This exhibition was composed of art from a collaboration with the Women’s Caucus for Art of Georgia. I think the contents of this art is reactionary. I say this because I believe that the purpose of the art at this exhibition was to show the viewer what is behind the scenes of their art. For instance, at first glance the basket in the first picture looks like its weaved from black plastic material, and after I stared at the basket for a while I realized the basket was composed of 3-D glasses. I thought the dress in the picture was made from cloth, but I learned from the description of the art it was made of paper. Basically the material was not what I thought it was, and this was surprising. The third picture shows a private setting suggests a certain sadness by the form of the woman bending over, and this might be behind the scenes of a relationship. I found the forth picture very interesting, because at the first glance I thought it was just a house, but when I looked more closely I saw that behind the door was not the inside of the home, but the outdoors. In art class, we have learned how to use material to create certain ideas by relying on formal and literal qualities, which these artists have also done in their work at the material exhibit.
For my off campus art event I went to Flux night 2013 in Atlanta on October 5th. The description for the event explained that flux night is a night of art + experimentation. I think the contents of the event’s art content was experimental, because of the different variety of art, there were sound and light installations, art galleries, performances (lantern parades on the street, ballet dancers dancing to no music), and music (bands playing on the street). This variety made the event experimental because there was no common theme among the different art forms. This experimental concept relates directly to what we are doing in class, since we are experimenting every time we work on our different art projects. Every project I find myself having to fight what I know and try to just see without my previous knowledge making my projects more difficult, this learning process is an experiment in itself. I have put my favorite parts of the event above. The first picture on the left is of a light installation called an inversion of sky and land. This installation would change color and the small rectangular parts would move with the wind. The second and third pictures are from an art collection called Black Curtain by the Dorn Brothers photographers. The second picture is called “The Summoning” and the third is called “Open Doors”. I love these photographs because they are so unique and I definitely see that the photographers have used shadows in their photographs to create an ominous presence of darkness. Unfortunately, wordpress won’t let me upload a video, but I have included a link to a band performance at Flux here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sg_XPEInGI0
The video doesn’t do this band justice, but I wanted to share anyways since this performance was my favorite part of Flux.