My SEA project: a summary

A Flower for Your Thoughts is a socially engaged art project that centers around informing people about the environment and exchanging prints for for their thoughts on what they appreciate about the earth.  Each person received a print of a blooming tree, poetry, and a quote.  In return, they wrote what they loved or appreciated about the earth on a flower cut out and took a picture with their flower.  I handed out the prints on evening at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando.  I gave my prints to whoever was willing to talk for a few moments and pose for the photograph.

When performing this project the best part was watching people stop what they wee doing and look around at the world they lived on.  We often get caught up in the hustle of getting things done and don’t stop to appreciate the things around us.  Overall, it was a really enjoyable experience. 

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My SEA project: a summary

“Wild Things”: Artist Statement

photo (1)I am fascinated with the way in which people assign human behaviors and characteristics to animals like wolves, rabbits, and other animals. We often associate ourselves with attributes like cleverness and laziness, and sometimes we apply animalistic characteristics to ourselves or our daily habits. For instance, some days I consider myself a “lone wolf.” Animals have their own set of behavioral patterns that are needed for survival.  It is comical that we anthropomorphize animal behavior in this way.

The colors are meant to be bright, making the pictures more cartoonish.  Each printed image is detailed and stylistically in the same genre.  They are also humorous,exaggerated and comical connecting with the ridiculous associations we apply to animals.  The blue paper used connects depth and stability in mind and body and how these prints indicate a lack of stability.  Our insecurities as people are imposed on animals that have natural behavioral pattern and norms.  Each print is cut into organic oval-like shapes that are reminiscent of medallions.  The view wears these characteristics around their necks as a badge showing that we, as people, are not stable.

I created color schemes that relate to the themes of each anthropomorphic animal.  The firstPrimpin' Like a Peacock print, Party Animal, pokes fun at the concept of wildness and how we associate it with the wolf although he is organized and intelligent. The print also juxtaposes the themes of innocence and wickedness,  which is why pink, blue, white, and black were used.  The pink, white, and blue are babyish colors associated with infancy, while the black covers it and adds detail that is aggressive. 

The second print, Primping like a Peacock, is connected to gendered norms and the juxtaposition of femininity and masculinity.   Although peacocks are male they are often associated with women, beauty, and high maintenance.  The peacock’s most significant colors are blue, green, and gold. The colors point to the bright vibrant color of the bird and its association with female beauty but the subject itself assumes a masculine persona.   

FullSizeRenderThe Last Print, Hoarding Nuts, addresses neurosis and how a behavior that is crazy for a human, hoarding tons of belongings, is a survival tactic for the squirrel and a positive trait.  For humans, hoarding is a psychological imbalance cause by trauma but for a squirrel it is the difference between life and death. The squirrel’s promenade colors are orange and brown. The orange is bright and unstable while the brown is solid and heavy. The squirrel connects to brown, it is consistent and earthy, while the orange connects to man.  The need for things makes us frantic and panicked.  The orange connects with personal instability. 

“Wild Things”: Artist Statement

Hip Hop and Postmodernism

In the past hip hop has been linked to postmodernism because of it’s structure and subject matter.  It is very much antiestablishment in the sense that it pulls away from, analyzes, and breaks down popular culture.  The music is all about anti-slavery, black empowerment or what it means to be black in this society. It pushes against the majority (whiteness) and towards the minority (blackness).  It also juxtaposes poverty and wealthy.  The same artist might talk about how he has nothing and everything in one song. Some of the songs are used to make commentaries about popular culture and stereotypes (a subject that the genre has also fed off of).  A good example of this social commentary is Kendrick Lamar’s “Blacker the Berry.”

The song calls into question race relations between white and blacks, but also calls into question the relationship between blacks and other blacks.  He is essentially saying that we condemn white people for killing us but we also kill us.

It is also the fragmented and rhythmic nature of hip hop that reminds some of postmodernism.  It is a style that pulled away from popular music aesthetics in order to carve out a sense of cultural relativism.  By being something different it said “I am good the way I am, I don’t have to be good for y’all.”  Hip Hop wasn’t trying to be popular or fit in with what “sounded good.”  it instead proposed that it sounded good as is. It went against the metanarrative of music and popular culture. Today, many hip hop artists are know for “pop” and less for “protest.”

Pope, Lavar. 2005. “Protest Into Pop: Hip-hop’s Devolution into Mainstream Pop Music and the Underground’s Resistance.” Lehigh Review 13: 80-98. http://preserve.lehigh.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=cas-lehighreview-vol-13

Hip Hop and Postmodernism

Performance of Authenticity

Practices of looking talks about how an postmodern idea that identity is produced through performance, so by imitating an identity you can adopt it.  We can see this in the case of rappers that don’t come from the poor background associated with hip hop.  In some cases, rappers that come from rich families.  Sometimes MCs will take on personas that don’t belong to them.  An example would be Rick Ross who claimed he was a drug dealer in the past but was in fact a corrections officer. The performance that he gave in his music did not match his real identity.

Kendrick Lamar winning this years grammy’s best rap performance. Ironically, his song “i” was criticized for being too mainstream and not hip hop enough, but music that rap critics consider real hip hop is rarely popular at the grammy’s.  Music has to have the ability to crossover.  Performance wise Kendrick Lamar is very authentic.  He performs all the appropriate mannerism of a rap musician. That being said, he is still very unique in his delivery.  Who performs a free concert, on a truck, in the middle of hollywood.

What I’m trying to say it that when it comes to music performance is key.  Yes, if you lie about your background it may be called into question, but performance can potentially create an authenticity that covers and hides your background.  That is why people from the suburbs can become hip hip stars.  If you perform authentically you will be perceived as authentic.  Not every audience member is going to check your background and make sure your really “hood.”

Albrecht, Michael. 2008. “Acting Naturally Unnaturally: The Performative Nature ofAuthenticity in Contemporary Popular Music.” Text and Performance Quarterly 28 (4): 378-395.  DOI: 10.1080/10462930802351989.

Performance of Authenticity

The Process of Print Making

First you have to make sure that the screen is clean and degreased. Next, you take you screen into the darkroom where you will apply photo emultion with a scoop coater. You pour a bit of emultion into the scoop, then tilt the scoop so that the emultion is in contact with the screen. You pull the scoop upward leaving a thin layer of emultion on the screen.  If there is excess it can be carded off with a credit card.  Then you put away to dry.

After it has dried you put it on a raised piece of foam, and then you put your oiled black and white images face down on the screen, followed by a piece of glass to hold everything in place.  The UV lights are turned on and left for 4 mins.  Afterwards you quickly take the screen to a sink, rinse it to stop the chemical process, and use water pressure to remove the lighter portions of the emultion.

Lastly you take the screen, screw it down with printing hinges, and tape the edges were there is no emultion.  You tape down a flop, flood the screen with the squeegee, and then print on the flop.  You used the flop to gage where your paper should be.  After that you flip the flop, place your paper, and print.  Afterwards you scrap off the excess ink to save, and clean your squeegee, screen, flop, and area.

The Process of Print Making

What Inspires Me

The two artists that really stood out to me were Jan Harrison and William Kentridge. Jan Harrison’s art is centered around animals; particularly, the remnant of our mammal and reptile brain. She challenges us to look at our innermost selves and see the monsters that reside there.  We think of monsters as something that is separate and apart from us and in the same way we see ourselves as something separate from animals.  Her artwork seeks to breakdown that line.  In a way her artwork is the opposite of mine because I seek to draw attention to that line between people and animals, and I think that is the reason why I find her art so interesting.  I liked the work of William Kentridge because it focuses on social and political distress, which is really a passion of mine.

Big Cat-Mountain Lion with Foliage Fur Private Col

I am inspired by relationships.  I’m a communications studies major and a lot of my projects have had to do with relational dialects and emotion. It all points back to my desire to understand the innermost self, so I decided to continue that theme into my studio art.  I also really like the forms and characteristics of animals so I chose that as my subject matter to explore this semester.  I am also inspired by political issues, specifically civil rights.  Both of my parents lived in Alabama well into their twenties and I grew up hearing their stories about what it was like back then. So often times I find myself toeing the issue of racism in my art

What Inspires Me