Like a Puzzle
Weekly Report 31
I do not know how most people solve puzzles; I, for one, solve them in more sporadic ways. I try to find one area that makes sense, one spot that I understand how to solve. Once I solve that specific area I use it as a foundation for all other parts to be build off of. At times, though, I find another area I understand, so I end up having two or three spots being solved at the same time. I don’t know; it is so hard to focus on one spot and it takes way too long. Solving various places sporadically allows me to have a more holistic view of what I am doing and it keeps me engaged. Nevertheless, these few areas eventually combine and form one image. That feeling when everything comes together is undeniably satisfying.
This feeling is exactly what I felt during my rehearsal speech I have on Thursday. There were so many different areas I was concerned with throughout the year. I wanted to learn about the business of art, organization, risk taking, and meaning in art. All these topics seemed impossible to connect; honestly, I did not even try. Rather, I just tried to learn and process as much as I could about each area. This made it difficult to structure my speech for most of the year; all of it seemed separated. These last couple of weeks, though, have shown me what it all was building to.
When I interviewed Mr. Alvarado I felt excited, but it was a different form of excitement. It was passionate; I was stupidly engaged to the conversation! Really, I wish I could have spent another three hours talking and learning from such an artist. Three words stayed with me after our interview, “Sigue. Sigue. Sigue.” It means to keep going; It incentives one to keep following their passion.
That was it; those words brought it all together. I could see how everything connected. Everything was building towards my future; teaching me about the various qualities and areas where I was lacking. I had been building myself a path to follow; each area specified a different goal I wanted to focus on. I was reminded that the whole reason that I am taking ISM is to prepare for my future, and that each little thing I learn has an impact and teaches me something I can work and grow upon.
Reflecting my World
Weekly Report 30
This past week I interviewed Jose Ignacio Alvarado, a Venezuelan sculptor, and he proposed something I have rarely considered. He stated that to appeal to an audience, an artist must create art that reflects the feelings of a community or society. As obvious as that statement is, it still is something I have always dismissed. I paint because I enjoy doing so; I do not ever try to reflect my feelings in my art. However, it is my goal to give meaning to my work. Exploring how artists like Mr. Alvarado do so could help me at least try.
His statement made me think of two of my classes: AP European History and AP English Literature. He is right when you look at European artists after WWI and WWII their art always displayed a reflection of European sentiment during the era. Painters who followed Surrealist movements or Dada-like movements clearly show the disillusionment of post-war Europeans. Even during the French Revolution, artists painted art that reflected their revolutionary zeal and excitement; others, during the Spanish Civil war conveyed the nation’s agony. On the other hand, literature expresses timeless feelings of humankind. Look at Hamlet; it was written during a time in which playwrights like Shakespeare were heavily targeted by politicians in England. Huck Finn is also a great example. In it, Twain demonstrates the South’s denial of their defeat and ironic racism; a large part of the book is Twain’s criticism of this foolishness he saw in his post-American Civil War society.
Now that I am beginning to recognize the similarities of these examples I feel like I have crossed a barrier that was preventing me from seeing meaning in art. I understand and feel motivated to find the common feelings and attitudes of my community. I want to find ways to analyze and process the society I interact with and hopefully grow to express my thoughts to that society.
Drawing on Canvas
Weekly Report 29
I decided to do something different for my last art piece for AP Drawing this year. My hope was that it would stand out amongst my other pieces. However, I did not want to create something with materials I am not used to using; my goal was to work with something I can competently use. Originally I thought oil would be interesting, but I decided against it.
I do enjoy oil; it feels incredibly smooth and I adore the thickness of the paint. The issue lied in that it has been a long time since I last used oil paint. With more practice, I would feel more comfortable. For this piece, though, I did not have enough time to do so, and it because it was my last piece, I felt I should avoid doing something I lack practice in. For these reasons, I decided to try acrylic.
Acrylic is what I have used for over half my painting. I feel incredibly confident using it, but I felt I might be overdoing it. I thought maybe I should not use it again. That thought quickly faded though. I much rather create a good, yet repetitive piece for my last painting than something else. Nevertheless, I ended up not using acrylic.
One of my teachers was looking at the charcoal sketch I made in the canvas before painting the actual piece and really liked it. He suggested I just draw on the canvas. I am used to drawing, so I was confident in my ability. Moreover, I have not drawn on canvas yet, so I was still able to do something different. Now that I finished the piece, I believe it was the right way to go; it looks a bit odd, but I like it.
Weekly Report 28
I had an assignment in my art class to create an art piece in an unconventional surface. My plan was perfect. There was this deflated basketball in the garage; it looked as if someone punched it. For some reason, when I saw it I had this amazing realization, like an epiphany. I will draw a face on the ball; it will squirm and look towards the dent caused by the imaginary punch. Oh! I should draw two faces. Both with different reactions. Honestly, I do not know why I had this thought, but I loved it! I thought this idea was absolutely amazing. All I had to do was paint the ball with some random skin-like colors and then draw on it with a sharpie.
The piece looked like garbage; calling it a piece gives it too much credit. I had not even thought about how the sharpie would look and how the ball’s texture would affect the drawing, and that proved fatal. The drawing just looked horribly made. The faces looked like they were made by a child, and the distortion looked accidental. I was a bit upset my flawless plan brought about by a glorious epiphany fell to pieces, but I did have a backup plan. There were a few stones in my garage that would serve as a great surface for a pen-drawing. The texture created an outdoorsy atmosphere, so I drew a rural estate with permanent markers. It actually turned out well; it’s probably one of my best pieces. That is not what I want to focus on, though.
I actually learned from this experience. This is the first horrible work I made since I began diving into art. That, I feel, is good. The experience has taught me to accept my bad work and learn from it. It’s made me feel human. Regardless of how much I may try or dedicate myself to art, I will still make mistakes and need to grow and improve. Remembering that is vital to keeping me from stagnation.
Weekly Report 27
In AP Literature we have been reading Hamlet. A major theme in the play is that of thinking versus acting; the play focuses on the need to act upon one’s thinking. I feel as though that my mentor visits are all emblematic of thinking. In all honesty, Mr. Speice pointed this out, and he is right. Really, all we do is talk. Last year where I painted every time I was there, and learned while doing so too. When compared to that this year seems lackluster.
I blame this on myself; I have not asked for anything more. My pride, I think, got in the way. I just assumed I was done with that area of art, and I wanted to focus on organization. That, however, neglects the fundamentals of art and prevents me from fully grasping what I need to learn. Despite the fact that I have been painting on my won more often than before, this still inhibits me. I mean, my whole goal for the year is to paint more; what I am doing with my mentor visit goes against that.
What I need to do is begin acting; instead of just talking and reflecting about art during my visits, I need to act. In doing so I will gain actual experience, and I will be able to learn more. That is what artists do.
Even Ms. Vernon told me to, “Paint. Paint. Paint”. With practice I truly grow, develop and improve. Since that is my goal, I should act on it. I will start doing so this week by going to an event Mrs. Jahanyfard setup for her students to paint. Jake and I will go there to film and, I specifically, will be able to actually do something with my mentor other than thinking.
Weekly Report 26
I went on an art field trip today. We visited a gallery showcasing some more modern art. It was interesting and different from what I usually see. Honestly, I felt as though I forgot what art looked like because what I saw was jaw-dropping. These goal for these artists was much more narrow than I expected. They would pick one aspect of art and attempt to push it to its limit.
For example, one artist created what he called a portrait by putting his favorite books into two cardboard boxes. At first it seems rather foolish; a portrait is a face, right? Well, when one considers the purpose of a portrait things become clearer. A portrait is supposed to show a person; it is supposed to reveal who they are. Maybe not all of them, but something of them. The ones we tend to see are literal. This one, on the other hand, went the opposite route. Instead of showing one’s face it revealed the artist’s own personality. The books he read and the boxes he put them in convey who he was and what he did. By creating an art piece that examines a word and its definition and pushes that mode of expression to its limit, the artist was able to show something new and unique.
The creativity shown when someone pushes art to its limit is rather amazing in my eyes. The actual creation may not amount to much, but the concept provokes thought. It made me think, how do I push art to its limit? I do not. So, how do I do so? I do not know the answer to this, yet, but I hope that by reflection on it I may come closer to growing as an artist and creative individual.
That Word [Initiative]
Weekly Report 25
Productivity is dependent upon one’s initiative. That is because taking the initiative to start tends to be the most difficult part of the task. Before one begins they have nothing. There is not anything to base their work on or progress easily seen. That first step is vital in creating the momentum that will inspire one to accomplish their goal.
My goal last year was to build initiative. My world revolved around it. The paintings I made, the essays I improved, and the speeches I practiced all required initiative. I wanted and needed to take that first step. However, I would be lying if I said I was successful in my goal. Despite building on my initiative, which was a definite improvements from the years before, I still failed to keep that mindset. Only now do I think I am beginning to rebuild upon that initiative.
Now that I am dedicating more of my time to art and ISM I actually am being encouraged to take initiative once more. Each new painting and interview requires a great deal of initiative to complete. Of course, I struggle to start regardless, but I am doing so more often. More importantly, I am trying. I am genuinely putting effort into what I do. Not that I did not try beforehand; this is different in that this effort is passionate. I actually want to accomplish my goals.
I have changed my mindset towards ISM; it does not feel like a burden. It is not something I have to do, but something I chose to do. I ought to and do feel excitement towards what I am doing and look forwards to take the next steps forward.
Not Fluent, but Close
Weekly Report 24
The break was a disappointment of sorts. Two of our planned interviews were delayed, so I was not able to accomplish as much as I looked forward to in my final product. The only silver lining was an event my mentor held. During the event I met a local artist that had moved to Frisco recently, a South American artist showcasing his work, and one of the co-owners of the local gallery here. All these individuals were willing to be interviewed for my final product; at the moment I am still scheduling interviews, but I am excited nonetheless.
What was truly interesting about the event though was that the Latino artist I met knew little english. I was somewhat hesitant to speak Spanish with a native speaker, but I did so anyways. The language is familiar to me; I spoke it fluently for six years of my life. It is dormant; in that sense, I can recall it at any time. Albeit I may struggle at first. Either way, conversing with this artist was motivating. My Spanish was not bad at all!
That realization got me thinking about languages in regards to networking. The fact that I am trilingual opens up many more opportunities for me. I am able to speak with people from all over the world. Really, it is a blessing. Of course, it is not going to be useful in every conversation I have, but, regardless, the times in which I am given the opportunity can be massively important. This recent meeting for example will allow me to learn about the art world at an international level; that is something I have yet to experience.
Weekly Report 23
For our Final Product, my friend, Jake, and I have begun contacting some local professionals. There are different than the artists I usually talk to. For one, they have assistants and tight schedules; I mean, the world in which they live in is completely different from what I am used to. It is not just professional; it is professional. To interact with these people I need to adapt to their environment.
This is easier said done though. Jake studied medicine last year, so he dealt with these kind of professional already. In that regard, he has experienced a more professional world. I am grateful for that because it makes adapting to the environment easier for me. These individuals expect me to act more seriously. Moreover, they expect initiative! It has been a while since I have mentioned initiative, the backbone of ISM. Initiative is what allowed me to grow and tackle the hurdles I faced last year; initiative is what led the way to improvement. In the professional world it is vital to avoid hesitation. Initiative creates opportunities for success; like in art, action is preferred to passivity. I simply cannot expect success to fall on my lap.
It is actually exciting to work in this area; I feel more involved and challenged than I have in the more recent months. The best way to explain it is by admitting it is a change of pace. For too long I have just resided in my comfort zone. I have been craving some change to help me feel more compelled to begin improving. It has always been a source of motivation for me. Hopefully, I can finally begin doing something that feels more impactful to myself and others.
Weekly Report 22
An artist is always meant to be thinking about art; their lives should revolve around it. This seemingly obvious statement seems redundant. Nevertheless it is difficult to follow through with it. There are plenty of other things in my life that get in the way of my art; finding ways to work around these things is really the only way to keep my focus. This task, though, of working around distractions, is subconscious.
I did notice when it started, but recently I have grown aware of the way in which I see the world. Let me explain. It had been raining for a few days before I realized what I was looking at. It was a puddle, of course. However, it was not just a puddle. It was a reflection; it was a portal, a gateway to another, blurrier world. The reflection that followed the building or post the puddle stood beside seemed impeccable. Like a mirror, it showed the lines of that building or post when down to the puddle and continued inside it; the post seemed to double in size. It was not perfect though. Some details were overlooked, and the reflection was fuzzy. It moved like a Van Gogh painting; that style I crave to imitate. This reflection, this painting stood apart from everything else. It was a portal to another world.
I believe this is what I should be doing. Seeing the world in this way allows me to think constantly of art. It makes the mundane pop! Moreover, I feel more creative and interested in painting the world around me. It made me think, maybe my painting are like this puddle, a reflection or portal to another world, that slightly differs from ours.