Summative Post: Final Thoughts

Being in Visual Thinking 160 has truly made this a pretty amazing semester. At the very beginning I can honestly say I did have my doubts about joining this class when Nell mentioned for us to not to expect an A from her class. This was definitely very intimidating as I questioned my own abilities. However, as I began to take part in the assignments and got to know my peers [all of which are very talented by the way], it became my favorite class which I used as an outlet from my other classes. Everything that has taken place during this class I count as a learning experience. While it wasn’t easy and there were a few frustrations along the way they have only molded me into a more aware and visual thinker.

It was rewarding to see each and everyone transform as we began interact more in the class. I will truly miss this class and all of the wonderful, creative and talented people I’ve gotten to known in this class.

I absolutely love how everyone’s self-portraits turned out, each unique in its own way. Below are pictures of most of the class portraits [ My camera died before I could get the last half 😦 ] :

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In the end, I can say I am satisfied with the way my portrait turned out as my peers pointed out that I captured a true expression I often have. While I do wish I could have added some more contrast and definition, this will give me something to work on and improve over the summer. Below is a picture of my final portrait:

Emerging from the Shadows… Erasure Self-Protrait

I’m looking, but am I truly seeing? This was the question that I continued to ask myself throughout this entire project. Although I feel like I’ve asked this question for just about every project, this one felt a lot more personal.

At beginning I was like “well this shouldn’t be too hard because it is after all my face…I see it every time I look in the mirror.” But as my face began to take form, I realized that I had to really pay attention and really “see”. During the duration of this project, I began to notice sooo many defining features I hadn’t paid attention to in the beginning. It was so enlightening. While I’ve always known that my face is slightly lopsided, to pay attention to the way my nostrils were formed and the distinct shapes my eyes and lips formed was a real treat.

Working with the medium was task in itself as well. We were given charcoal that we turned to fine powder and rubbed on the paper along with a malleable eraser we would eventually use to remove different shades of charcoal away with.

There were times when I would step back from station and realized that there were portions of the portrait that did not look at me. I had to learn to become too invested in it to where I felt like I couldn’t or didn’t want to erase. Professor constantly reminded us not to objectify parts of face. I found myself saying: “Oh that looks like a nose or eyes..” But they weren’t my eyes and nose, so I had to be open to blacken portions to make them accurate to my actual face.

Starting with our lightest point on our faces, our nose was first. This wasn’t too hard, but as I began to work on the rest of my face I had to try and not view each part as separate entity and try to view as one unit. My face truly took on a transformation, as I documented as much as I could.

I’ll Recycle When Pigs Fly

The social ill I wanted to combat was excess litter and trash we throw away that can actually be recycled. I decided to focus on this issue because it is something we shouldn’t ignore and has to become a collaborative effort in order to be effective. One person recycling is good, but it isn’t enough. Throwing away trash on the sides of the road and such doesn’t just take away from the scenery, but it can also pose a potential threat to animals that try to consume the trash thinking it is food. So my super animal does just that. I created a flying pig that is able to recycle anything while also showing and teaching others how to recycle and what can be recycle as well. He is able to fly around and consume the trash that is lying around and is able to recycle it.

I made his body out of a 2 liter sprite bottle. I chose this in particular because of its green color that commonly referred to and associated with recycling and sustainable efforts. I also kept that transparency of his body to show people what can be recycled. I created his wings out paper clips and and opted for shorter legs because of his time is spent in the air sensing and locating trash from an aerial view.

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Thinking Inside the Boxes…

For this graphical thinking assignment, our goal was to translate verbal language into visual language and in order to do this we were each assigned two words that were complete opposites of each other. My two words were boisterous and restrained. While I was completing my word map, so many words came to mind for both words, but the question was how to portray them in a non-literal sense. To portray this, artists and designers can often use colors and the placement of different objects of shapes to communicate different moods and feelings. However, for this assignment we were to use just black and white and the placement of organic shapes and lines.

Once my composed images were complete, I had to snap two photos that I felt effectively represented the literal sense. This gave me some difficulty because, to be able to connect the two together, the composition, color, and lighting had to be taken into consideration, not to mention the fact of whether it accurately portrayed the words. Although there pictures I had taken prior to the final that I personally liked, my mission became to make sure it transferred over to person viewing it as well. So, after a little trial and error and a few long nights in the studio, I finally came up with something.

This was probably, by far, the most tiring project that required a great deal of planning. However, it proved to be very helpful in the end. While I learned the impact the placement and slight changes of shapes can be I also learned the importance of proper time management.

Below is a picture of the final composition:

Blind Contour Drawings

In this blind contour assignment, we were to focus our attention on an object to draw. In this case the object was our hand. It seemed simple enough until Professor Ruby threw in the fact that we could not look at the drawings until completely finished. For me, this was somewhat difficult I was at war with my brain as I fought off the constant urge to peer at what was going on with my drawing. In my head I knew exactly what a hand should look like and the best approach to take it on with the added music in the background. My first drawings were done with my left hand/ dominant hand. My drawings done with my left hand were more condensed. I felt as though I was concentrating more on details and accuracy. Although I had trouble holding the marker and I felt like I had no control, the drawings done with my right hand/ dominant hand were surprisingly better than I thought they would be.

This was one of the better drawings:

You Are Loved :)

This was an interesting assignment and it became very emotionally charged as I began to really invest my time into it. For this assignment, we were to make valentines that combined words and images and there were really no limits to what we could come up with. I had it made up in my mind that I wanted to to get away from the cliche valentines centered around hearts and sappy messages as Professor Ruby had mentioned. This all seemed simple at first, but trying to recreate what I pictured in my head was almost impossible.

When I think of Valentines Day, I have always seen it as a day where people put forth the extra effort to express their love for someone special. So when I thought about who I wanted dedicate my valentine to, my brother came to mind. Our relationship has not always the best, so, I wanted to show him something different and that I truly care. My brother has been through so much when it comes to bullying and realizing who his true friends are, so I chose to focus on that and allowed it take on a universal approach and chose to recognize everyone who had experienced bullying. However, I was completely lost as to how I could portray it. Then, for some reason balloons came to my mind.

Balloons are so light and fragile in nature and because of this they are free to “fly” and float adrift. And then I thought about hot air balloons. Obviously they are in no way “light”. However the fact that they are able lift off the ground proves that they have an element about them that communicates a certain “freeness”. I felt this was perfect for what I was trying to portray. While hot air balloons were often used by different companies to advertise a message or company name, this hot air balloon was to roughly symbolize someone breaking away from adversity or a stronghold. Often, when we see hot air balloons or balloons in the sky we stop and watch them for awhile. It’s just something you can’t ignore. And that goes the same for bullying as well. So, the balloon also transformed into outwardly expressed message of love and inclusiveness with the words “Love knows no bounds” on the side.

To create this balloon, I worked with paper mache and the bottom of a cup to represent the basket. On my first attempt, I used glue and water which became to heavy for the balloon and it popped before the paper was dry. My next attempt with the flour and water was more successful and in the end turned out nice. Although there were minor setbacks, assembling this balloon was probably one of the easier portions of the assignment. If I had an unlimited budget to work with, I would only make small changes to the balloon like the size.

Jiha Moon: Paintings that speak to everyone!

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Jiha Moon’s artwork shows an extraordinary level of skill and is both mesmerizing and overwhelming at first sight. Prior to the artist talk and our last class Wednesday, I took some time out to view her pieces. There was so much color and intricate detail that my eyes didn’t know where to focus. I believe sat there for about 30 minutes and every time my eyes shifted I found something I had missed before. In her artist talk, Jiha Moon had a power point presentation setup and went through a few of her pieces describing in detail the background stories and influences behind them. Being in Korea for much of her life her pieces incorporated many Korean influences. However, she mentioned her intentional efforts to make her paintings openly confusing to her viewers, so she incorporated Western, Japanese, and Chinese cultural influences as well. In her effort not to give out too much information, she mentioned that sometimes she would paint one thing and maybe come back to it another day and completely brush over or leave some remnants of something that might have been too obvious. Although there is something very light and whimsical to her artwork, I felt that her juxtaposition of varying elements creates something that also achieves a baffling, out of this world feeling that holds mystery and I feel that’s what makes her pieces so original. Moon’s works are about nationality and cultural identity and not only do the works highlight this, they seemed to also highlight her journey to find herself. I thoroughly enjoyed the artist talk and I loved the fact that she chose to focus on misunderstanding as a form of communicating her ideas and works to others. Jiha Moon seems very down to earth and clearly enjoys what she does. Not only did I learn about the meaning and thought process behind her pieces, but she also touched on her stories and experiences of her life in Korea contrasting with that of the United States which was very entertaining as well.