Friday, May 16, 2014

Generations Of Origami

 So, at my Health and Wellness meeting this Thursday a girl in my marketing committee taught our little group how to make anorigami bird. It was interesting to watch everyone trying to learn it and once they got it help those that were having issues with the various folding. I asked her if I could take some of her paper because I wanted to do an experiment with my room mates. I then proceed to try out the idea of passing on information through generations. So, it all started with me learning from the girl at Health and Wellness, next I took what I had learned and tried to teach one of my room mates (Cayla). She then tried to teach Tori who excelled at making the bird and even decided to add some extra details to the
wings. What's interesting though is that my last room mate (Terry) really does not like doing anything artsy or crafty, and Tori isn't always the best teacher so Terry never really finished hers and gave up kind of early. It was interesting to see everyone trying to teacheach other based off of learning from other people. For the most part I think it went well until Terry decided that she didn't want to finish her bird and gave up early.(The various pictures shows our different cranes and the different "generations" that are teaching/learning from one another,
and the last pictures shows all the cranes together).

I thought it was lots of fun and interesting to watch how everything turned out. So I decided to just do a very small generation teaching with origami frogs. The one on the left is the one I made from memory. (I haven't made them in years so it was interesting to see how I remembered the steps and also how I struggled with the steps). The following frogs are both Cayla and Tori, my two room mates who wanted to try and do more origami. For the most part these frogs turned out pretty well considering I barely remembered the steps and then they had to follow one another. 

             I decided to look into the history of origami because I really know almost nothing about it besides that it originated in Japan and that there is a tradition to make 1000 cranes to have a wish come true. So I did some research and this is what I found.

           Origami started in the 17th century AD at the latest and was popularized outside of Japan in the mid-1900s. What is considered
"traditional origami" has been practiced since the Edo era (1603–1867). It has since then evolved into a modern art form. Although Japan is creditied as being the originators of origami there is evidence of an independent tradition of paper-folding in China, as well as in Germany, Italy and Spain among other places. Although the evidence is very limited because folded paper structures are rather delicate.

In China, traditional funerals include burning folded paper, most often representations of gold nuggets (yuanbao). It is not known when this practice started, but it seems to have become popular The paper folding has typically been of objects like dishes, hats or boats rather than animals or flowers.
during the Sung Dynasty (905–1125 CE).

The earliest evidence of paper-folding in Europe is a picture of a small paper boat in Tractatus de sphaera mundi from 1490. There is also evidence of a cut and folded paper box from 1440. It is probable that paper-folding in the west originated with the Moors much earlier, it is not known if it was independently discovered or knowledge of origami came along the silk route.

In Japan, the earliest unambiguous reference to a paper model is in a short poem by Ihara Saikaku in 1680 which describes paper butterflies in a dream. Origami butterflies were used during the celebration of Shinto weddings to represent the bride and groom, so paper-folding had already
become a significant aspect of Japanese ceremony by the Heian period (794–1185) of Japanese history, enough that the reference in this poem would be recognized. Samurai warriors would exchange gifts adorned with noshi, a sort of good luck token made of folded strips of paper.

 There is a lot more that goes into origami such as techniques and tools but this time I decided to focus on more of the history of origami it self and possibility that is showed up in other countries as well. Somethings show up around the world multiple times in various areas because there is something important and significant about them.

If anyone is interested here is a video of how to make an origami crane. Try it out, teach others, and have fun!

P.S. I'm also currently working on two other projects, one is a group project that is going to focus on stop motion and will deal with the subject of history, visual culture, generations, and world making. I also am doing a personal project where I am learning about the history of the things that I take for granted as being purely "me". I think it will be interesting to find out what goes into making me who I am.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Connecting People, Images, And Ideas Around The World

So, in class awhile back (this post comes before a lot of my other posts but I was having issues getting the pictures off my phone, I don't have a smart phone) we did this thing called "The Civilization Game", in which we were given some pebbles and then had to make something. Afterwards we had to leave our creation and then allow two other people to come up and alter/add to what was originally created. We also had to leave a note to the next generation telling them what is important about what we originally built. Here is the completed game with the different descriptions.

Luckily for my little sculpture people added to and help build it into a more complex and intricate thing. The people that visited my table were not barbarians destroying what had already been laid down as a foundation, but rather learning from the past generation and planning for the future generation. It was nice to see that people could work together and learn/progress.

This working together to produce something intricate and beautiful really relates to this video that was created a long time ago by a man named Matt Harding. In this video Matt travels around the world to 42 different countries, locals, and cultures to dance with the people or animals/nature that reside there. He then connects all the videos together very carefully with well timed cuts and synchronization with music, to create this beautiful video that focuses on how humans are very different in their customs, but all innately the same (eg. we all like to dance). He worked with thousands of people including those that helped film and edit and most importantly those that he dance in solidarity with. We all want to be part of something great. If not all of these people had come and helped/danced with him then there would be nothing to show, only in collaboration and with group effort could this be made into existence.

In a similar vein, this video about being a lost generation is really inspiring. I love the way it was made and think that it has a very potent message. What's also interesting is that even though this was a commercial made for the USA, the inspiration for the poem and theme came from an Argentinian political campaign in 2006. It just shows you how easily things can connect and affect other things. People around the world with no history or knowledge of each other can build off one another to create and make things, enhancing our world and culture.

Forming Connections

     So in class the other day my professor was talking about stop motion as well as other types of collaborative projects between people that takes a lot of effort to complete.  And he showed us a video called Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel. If you haven't seen it before here it is:


 All of this talk and discussion (plus the video) reminded me of one of the 1st videos I saw on youtube years ago. A video that I have always liked and thought how it would have taken forever to have made. The video's description reads as: "An abridged history of American-centric warfare, from WWII to present day, told through the foods of the countries in conflict."


What's interesting about this video is that I enjoy it but I don't fully know everything that happens within it. It's kind of a shame because I could then perhaps appreciate the video even more. My professor was saying that everything is connected and that even in the Peter Gabriel music video there was reference to people and things from history like Giuseppe Arcimboldo, an Italian painter best known for creating portrait heads made entirely of objects such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, etc.

         I totally understood what he meant when he talked about creating connections everywhere, because even though I didn't fully remember/know Arcimboldo's name I had seen his pictures many times before. Once just recently in my monster drawing class as an example of hybrids, and the other in my psych classes because of  cognitive brain disorder called prosopagnosia, or "face blindness"--where the ability to recognize faces is impaired, while other aspects of visual processing and intellectual functioning remain intact. These people cannot recognize that there is a face "hidden" within the fruit arrangements of Arcimboldo's paintings, they literally cannot see the face, something that is innate within the normal functioning brains of the average person.

It's also interesting to see how other artists will reference each other and unless you know the artists being referenced then you won't understand the connection. Here is a digital painting by a German artist and film maker called Till Nowak, in which he makes a tribute to both H.R Geiger (the man that created the Xenomorph species) and Giuseppe Arcimbaldo. A blending of two very different artists to create something new.

Nowark remarked in an interview by Area  "I am on a continuous search for ideas which bring existing and known aspects of our world together in a new, twisted and weird combination. The challenge is to find new, but simple ideas. For Salad, I combined the old technique of Giuseppe Arcimboldo's vegetable portraits from the 16th century with the creations of H.R. Giger, at the same time, combining the style of an oil painting with modern digital art and turning around the relation between vegetation and flesh. So it contains at least three separate levels and if you want to go further, you can also read some social message in it, concerning our society as the wolf in sheep's clothing… but this kind of message is usually not where I start when I develop something"

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Human Canvas

So, I don't have a tattoo, but I have always admired really well done tattoos and their artists. I have slightly considered getting a tattoo, but I would only get one done by an amazing artist. I would pay through the nose for something really good because it's my actual body that is the canvas and I will carry around that art work for the rest of my life.  Needless to say I don't have one but I'm not inherently opposed to getting a tattoo.

In this post I would like to focus one one artisit in particular that I find amazing, Jeff Gouge. Seeing what he is able to do makes me actually really want a tattoo. I'll mostly be showing some really large full or half body tattoos. I would never want something that big but I majorly appreciate the art work and that some people have the guts to have that large of a tattoo on them. I really enjoy is style and technique of placing a tattoo correctly on a body. He knows how to draw a tattoo that will curve and fit onto the body perfectly because he understand how the body contours and thinks this out while he works on the drawing.

So, here is just a small showing of his art work. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and can appreciate his level of skill.

As a closing note, one of the art professors at my school that I have now had two classes with is currently showing an exhibit called Perseverance at the Japanese American National Museum in LA focusing on Japanese full body tattoos. Those tattoos are also extremely well done. Here is the website if any one is interested in checking it out.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Ghent Altarpiece, Or more Like Ghent Masterpiece

So, in my visual culture art class our professor told us to find good art and old art. We needed to inform ourselves on the standard of the world. So I went out into the internet and through old art notes from old classes and I came upon the 15th century artist Jan Van Eyck and the 16th century artist Hieronymus Bosch. Both of these artists have amazing talent, and are able to create exquisite detail in their paintings.

The 1st two top paintings are from the same piece by Jan Van Eyck., called the Ghent Altar Piece, 1432. This altar piece, which is also a polyptych because of it's multiple panels of action, was used in a church  for mass. It's total size would have been around 12 feet high and 15 feet across when opened. The picture to the right is the exterior of the altarpiece while the picture underneath is the interior. It folds out like a pamphlet of a three piece poster board used for science projects and presentations.

At the very bottom of this post is another alter piece by Hieronymus Bosch called, The Garden of Earthly Delights, 1504. This altarpiece is a triptych because it only consists of three panels of action. This painting could also have been located in a church, although it  is hypothesized that perhaps a noble had it in his home as his personal collection. This triptych doesn't follow exactly the same type of narrative that was commonly found in church altar pieces and that's why it's come to be seen as some one's personal piece of art. Bosch had a very unique style that made him very popular with people of the time. He also was very good at drawing demons and fanciful scenes.

One thing that's also pretty cool about them is that they were using a technique of painting that we still don't fully know how to replicate. It has become a lost art, which is sad because it was a very sturdy technique that has lasted thee passage of time pretty well.

Their style consisted of painting on extremely dry panels of wood that were glued together. They first would put down a layer of shiny almost varnish like material that would be the back layer of the painting This was done so that when light passed through the painting it would it the back of the painting and be reflected back at the view creating a luminous effect, almost as if the painting was glowing from within. After that they would begin painting on the panels of wood with a mix of flax seed oil and pigments. They would put these varnish-like paints on in layers. therefore the painting was created through layering of paints. We understand the process that goes into creating one of these paintings yet we have been unable to recreate these style of paintings.

Is such a sad thing to see an amazing style of painting be lost in time. It's as if we have lost some  of ourselves with the loss of this technique. I hope the beauty and talent of these painters is also appreciated by those who have seen this post.