That Critique Process

November 3, 2011 § 2 Comments

It’s the moment when in your rest deprived state, it’s all up on the wall. What you have done, how you’ve looked at things, how you’ve not looked at things, where you’ve been, where you have not been. While you have done what you could, and there’s clear progression– it’s always far too early.

Everyone has their own process, everyone has their own aesthetic, purpose and reasoning behind why they do things, but sometimes you can’t help but look at what someone else has done, how they’ve put things together, and you wonder what else you could have done, and why couldn’t you go that extra distance for things to look better.

I’ve heard someone saying that we’re not always aware of exactly how much we’ve been through, and it’s probably true for many aspects of our lives. When you’ve been steeped in your own psyche about your own issues and concerns for a long period of time, it gets hard to tell the trees from the forest, to step back and get a healthier perspective on things.

Hopefully it all works out. Hopefully all those good intentions, concepts and Utopian values get spelled out, because it’s on the wall now for all to see. While we should not be judging a person strictly on their work, we probably do anyways because from the little contact we come with him or her–that’s all we have. How they have talked about their work, what their end result was, and how you felt watching them do all that gets stored somewhere in the back of our minds of what we know of them.

There is never anything wrong with constructive criticism. It strives for progress, and it pushes us further, from where we could have gone just on our own. That said, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to, or feel 100% comfortable doing class critiques, but it feels damn good when it all works out.


Arrival at Each Step Taken

May 25, 2011 § 2 Comments

“Let go of the idea that the path will lead you to your goal. The truth is that with each step we take, we arrive.

— The Witch of Portebello

A Production of Ideas

May 8, 2011 § 2 Comments

“Nothing is easy”, my studiomate told me at the beginning of the 2009 semester. “If everything were easy, everyone would be doing it.” I can’t remember the specific details of that conversation with him, except that I was dissatisfied with my place in art.

Art is not about making things pretty. It is not a display of objects purely for the sake of putting the craft of someone else on a pedestal to marvel at what one person can do that another cannot. It is not about stylistic appearances and merely what it can do for you, but rather, it is a gateway into the mind of another individual. It is the passage through another psyche whose concerns have been transmuted into the object that has been created.

It is true that many artists do not possess the ability to paint like Raphael or Da Vinci. Those individuals began their apprenticeships with their masters when they were little children, and to dedicate whole days like that in this current world is neither functional or realistic. The institutions that supported the arts, beliefs and values that people had, have shifted. Technology has also greatly evolved, and with that, so have people’s concerns.

Gone are the days where the current events of other countries go unnoticed. Technology has broken down those barriers and we are instead, instantly aware of current events when the television is turned on, or when the computer has booted up.

Art during the Renaissance were usually done through commissions of the church or some other wealthy patron. The dominant ideologies of the time was humanism and the greatness of the human body created by God. The Mannerist period followed where these ideas were challenged and the depiction of the body became more open to distortion.

One could then fast-forward to the period just before World War I, where the Futurist Movement enjoyed its heyday. This artistic movement was characterized by an infatuation of the new and of technological advancements. Artwork was interested with youth, speed, power, and technology. When the war ended however, the damage was unimaginable to the people of the early 20th century. For all the progress that humanity was perceived to have been made, how could so much destruction have taken place?

The world did not make sense, and the Futurist Art movement no longer had a place. What made sense? Nonsense? Chaos? For what had been wrought during the war, yes it did. This became the ideas for which the Dadist Movement was based upon. What is what, and to figure out things out again because there seemed much that seemed meaningless in the modern world.

What has been broken does not remain broken though, if one works to find the pieces. As is the case with many things in life, reactions to things take place, and so everything was not Dadist forever, but rather reactions to other socio, political and economic happenings. As the world has become incredibly complex, artists have also picked up upon this and have become their muses.

Art evolves as much as the world around it does, and reflects the thoughts and concerns of individuals, whose concerns may not always be an aesthetic one, but an ideological one. The process remains as an art however, as it is an investigation of something that needs time in order to be perfected. It is also worth noting that as long as an artist is still alive, what pieces they have created, are all works in progress. They are not end masterpieces, but merely a states of being at a particular time. It is a production process influenced by many things, and what one person considers as presentable, thought provoking, or moving can be very different from another person.

Life, itself is a process, one of joys and of challenges, and ways of living require time in order to be perfected. We go through phases of learning, inside and outside of the walls of institutions, of how to relate to others and of figuring our own lives out. Production, whether it be writing, music, dance or pictorial art influenced by personal cultures, are the resulting products of a life journey that is figuring things out. As diverse as human beings are, I believe it is something that we all have in common. We are all involved in the process of understanding, living, and figuring out the processes of life. Art is a discussion of ideas.

Obsessive Ends

March 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Artists are known to be obsessive. They collect things for the reason of adding to their collections, and they also become enthralled with ideas and themes which find expression in their work, which then probes and investigates these ideas, that don’t always make sense to other people. Often times, it is also not as if the reasons and end-results of their activity is done specifically for anyone other than themselves.

Adam Savage’s talk for the EG Conference, posted up by TED, illustrates this obsessive mania. It starts with being obsessed with a story in the paper over Dodo bird bones, to figuring out how to sculpt the entire skeleton that then ends up fully painted, mounted and made complete with an information piece at the base.

Savage wasn’t going to complete the entire skeleton, but one thing led to another, and it was done. In doing this, the new found possibility of sculpting because open to him and his obsessive quirk opened the door to more creativity and innovation with the project of recreating the Maltese falcon from the movie entitled, The Maltese Falcon.

All objects have stories to tell, this is what Adam is most interested in, in objects and their stories, from what I took from the talk. His falcon replica in completion, has its own story from its humble origins in being sculpted in clay, to being cast in resin, to then being cast in bronze, but even then, full satisfaction was not found when its creator realized it was a few inches smaller to the true-sized clay model he made earlier, because of a technical oversight.

At the end of the talk, Savage speaks out his next potential options of what to do next, in order to bring to an end to this project; only to admit that achieving the end was not really the point of the exercise.

What is the point of the exercise then? What is the worth in giving further life to an obsessive activity? For surely not all obsessions are healthy and can be detrimental.

There will always be routine in life, and tasks to be completed in order to get to the next day. Work must be completed, traveling and commute to get to work, and schedules to follow through in order to start the day once again. Processes and lifestyles build up to the greater picture to the person you are and it is also often easy to lose track of what is it that makes people who they are, and a part of it is their passions and obsessions. They can be illogical, except for the self, but in attending to them, to things that are enjoyed and are processes unto themselves, the end is not the point of the end and can lead to greater things.

The Eraser Family

March 26, 2011 § 2 Comments

When you’re a child, you believe everything has a soul. You understand that objects should be treated with respect, and should never be tossed aside and be forgotten. I believed that objects got lonely, sad and hoped to believe that they led lives once the lights were turned out.

As a kid, I had a few toys, but it always felt like they were a random oddball collection—of lesser toy brands and objects that were appropriated to be playthings.

Stationary was of no exception, particularly stationary that was in the shapes of animals–erasers that perched on the top of your wooden pencil as you wrote, but those places could construe the pencil perchers to be functional objects, which is no good, especially if you gave them names and personalities.

The sophisticated fox’s name is Sasha, the mild mannered porcupine, Godfrey, and Felix is the handy-dandy beaver. They number nine in total, and dwell inside the back of a pink wicker duck who wears a cloak of green felt. Purchased from the Schoolastic Book Fairs that came to my elementary school every year, they enacted the stories and dramas my other playthings could not adequately portray as a collective community.

Today, they sit visibly at the front of one of the shelves in my closet. They join the ancient stuffed animals and space-consuming Harry Potter books, their background, an old grade school painting. There, they’ve become a part of a larger family, and dwell with others from their era.

Over the years, I’ve been battling myself to purge the unnecessary and irrelevant things I’ve amassed, but it never occurs to me to get rid of the things on that shelf, and I’ll probably hold onto the figures that live in the plastic duck as long as I can. An oddball family, where the bear would get along with the woodpecker and beaver, while the porcupine couple would get along with the fox couple, they are the realization of a kind of utopia for me where every animal could get along without conflict.


This is the text I will be working with for my next Typography assignment. It is inspired by other meaningful objects written about in Design Observer–objects people keep around for one reason or another that may or may not be understood by other people.

The task is to arrange just the text over a two page spread in a way that over time, reveals the story. Below, is what my in class exercise work looked like at the end of class.

If you were paying attention to the story, and looked back at the image above, there are actually more than nine of them, and there are more objects that belong to this ‘family’, but for simplicity’s sake for my Type assignment, I was referring specifically the ones who are in the forms of animals and the ones where you could place on top of a pencil. I am also unfortunately missing Lydia the woodpecker 😦

Means to Needs

March 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Need fuels our actions. Without need, there would be no reason to do anything. Needs are far and great, and they can vary on a case by case basis.

With need, means follows for it is the hand of need. How means acts is a reflection of the person we are because our daily expressions draw out our individuality.

When means cannot reach out for needs, it must innovate in order to be persistent in getting what it is after. If the goal is imperative, means will continue to work, giving meaning to the saying ‘innovation comes with need.’

If you truly believe that something is important, there will be a means will find a way. You will make time for it like finding time for a close friend, or to figure out the reasons for past failures in order to be successful in the future. The latter does involve humility and vulnerability to oneself though.

Means should not be narrow minded, as there are many variables present in life that it is easy to believe that all that there is to know to meet needs, is what one is aware of.

“To say ‘I wonder’ is to say ‘I question; I ask.’ The mind seeks. Sometimes it finds answers, sometimes it does not. We need wonder in order to keep moving and growing–to stay alive in the world. It gives us meaning and, in fact makes us human.”

— Marian Bantjes, I Wonder

Passion and Wildcards

February 8, 2011 § 2 Comments

In life, you get wildcards, cards that are dealt to your hand that can have unpredictable effects on your life. They can act as turning points, allow you to fuel ahead, or act as incubators of personal development.

School is one of these wildcards, meant to position pupils with older, and wiser mentor-like figures who have the ability to give shape to the course of one’s life. Internships or jobs picked up also shape as their environments lead to other other ideas, personalities and leads. Friends will also shape your outlook and habits throughout life, and to an extent, you are defined by who you choose to surround yourself with.

Passion is another wildcard as it can allow you to persevere and go doggedly forward just because you’re so dang passionate. It might not matter that you’re worn and tired, or that you’ve faced harsh criticism, passion is a form of raison d’etre — your reason of being, you want to, and need to see it through because it fills you and gives you meaning. Though there may be drudgery in the form of the journey, but passion will help you trump them all.

Wildcards are not trump cards though, they have the ability to be, but they also just aren’t. School and work can break a soul, friends can lead you down an unfavourable hole, and passion, too can blind you to what is really important.