Week 15 – Gallery Visit – Body^3

I had a great time at the CSULB art galleries this week. There was a very fascinating exhibit involving music in an attempt to raise questions about the authenticity of human emotion conveyed through technological mediums.  The exhibit was structured as 4 automated instruments set up to surround a small, closed cube-shaped room with one door in and out. In the cube-shaped room, the walls, floors, and ceiling was covered by mirrors. between the mirrors at several points, there were breaks where small sensors peaked out. Using parameters such as motion and distance, the sensors would trigger the outside instruments to make noise.

One instrument was a kick drum from a drum kit set up with an automated pedal to strike it when a certain sensor was triggered.

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Another instrument was a keyboard set to play different chords or single notes when different sensors were tripped throughout the mirror room. This was wired very impressively. Nails were put through the keys of this instrument and certain nails were pulled by certain sensors.

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The next instrument was a guitar with a metal slide (used to slide up the string to give a glissando effect) attached. This guitar was run through two effect pedals before being played out of an amplifier. Unfortunately, this instrument was not in full working order as the slide apparatus was supposed to change the pitch of the instrument, but did not.

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The final instrument wan interesting set-up where a robotic arm on a turn table would run across a badly scratched record and play it seemingly randomly. The triggers in the cube room however controlled the robotic arm of this turn table to move to different parts of the record. At times the record would play through normally adding to the variety.

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I really loved visiting this exhibit. I thought the music being made by the instruments was very interesting and I loved that I only later found out it was being made by my classmates moving around in the center room. I also believe that the questions raised by the artist were very important ones to ask in the age we live in. So many relationships between people exist only through a screen and there is a certain “grey” area on whether that can ever be as good as being face-to-face with another person. As technology advances, the experience of communicating through technology will become more and more real. The lines where reality ends and virtual reality begins will soon become blurred. In other words, imagine how you will feel when it will be common to see a screen with such high resolution that you will not be able to tell it apart from a window. If you had a conversation with someone through that “window”, did you really “meet” them? Were they in the room with you? Explain your answer to that. Furthermore, if you see a concert online, were you really there? Most would say no, but we can experience it happening live with today’s technology. Does that change the answer? Would technology that allows you to hear, touch, smell, and see it all in real-time change that answer?? As the technology of communicating an experience develops (whether that experience be seeing a loved one, a child visiting a parent in prison, a job interview, etc.), we must contemplate these questions. They will quickly move into HUGE moral and sociological grounds. Not-to-mention the psychological implications of what humans will perceive as “real” in the coming years.

I had a chance to talk with the artist who turned out to be a really nice person. He was also very open to my comments about the work which I appreciate greatly. Unfortunately I really didn’t have any of what I said he formulated then and I think I came off a bit superficial. haha Hopefully he saw past that.

In addition to the fun experience of visiting the gallery, I enjoyed the visual aspects of it so much that I incorporated the experience into my own art at home during the week. These are photos taken from inside the gallery and mirror room that were edited using iphone editing applications.

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My edits:

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Close-up pictures of the kick-drum design:

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Week 15 – Classmate Interview – Minerva Madrigal

Minerva

This week I had a chance to meet Minerva from my Art 110 class. I had noticed Minerva before in class; often noting her varied band shirts and the patches of her denim vest. This was a good conversation-starter because we had a lot in common musically.

Minerva is a Sophomore at CSULB and she is studying Sociology. She is from Long Beach and loves music and art. I thought this was pretty cool because I am also a huge fan of both. Minerva loves to draw and I really like her work. Her drawings that I’ve seen range from psychedelic, to punk art, to portraits, and many more. I showed Minerva a few of my own drawings I had worked on that week which paled in comparison to hers (looked like she had been drawing much longer than I have haha), but she said she liked them which was at very least polite so that was nice.

We got to talking to musical interests eventually which was a fun topic for me because (like me) she had a hard time when asked “what kind of music do you like?” This happens to me too because we never know where to start! I found out right-off-the-bat that Minerva likes Reggae music because I happened to wear my favorite Bob Marley shirt that day and got a nice compliment from her. She went on to mention Indie music, hardcore, punk, and lots of classic rock. She elaborated a bit more when i mentioned I was in a Psychedelic rock band.

It was a lot of fun meeting Minerva. We didn’t get to talk for too long since she had to leave early, but I had a great time meeting her and hope we talk again soon. It seems too rare at CSULB that I would find a person I would like to run into at a concert, but Minerva was definitely one.

Check out Minerva’s cool art blog page here:

http://minervamadrigal93.wordpress.com/

Week 12 – Activity Feedback

Hello! This is some of my feedback from the activities I have done this semester in Art 110.

Favorites:

Week 2 – Instagram:

I really liked this activity. It was easy, it was very relevant to us, and it gave us a chance to both share what we’re like, and look into the lives of our new classmates. On top of it all, Instagram is a medium most of us are pretty familiar with and it was easy to make the pictures look just how we wanted.

Week 7 – Painting:

This was a pretty widely-loved project. I made the right choice in driving out to Venice to do my painting because it made it SO much more fun. Either way, if I had stayed at home and done the project, I think I would have had a lot of fun too. It gave me a good chance to express myself, it introduced me to a fun new medium of art, and well honestly…it just felt so dam cool. There’s something to be said about the feeling of painting on a wall. It’s something we’re really never aloud to do so being able to do it all you want is just a real liberating experience.

Week 10 – Landscape:

This project was fun and easy. I also think was very good timing for it because it happened so close to Halloween. It was not very difficult to shine on this project either. If you wanted to really make a great picture, you just needed to be a bit creative.

Not-so-favorites:

Week 6 – Drawing:

I was really sad about this one. When I had originally seen that we had a drawing activity, I was pretty excited. However, when the time came and i found out what the activity was I was pretty disappointed. Although it was fun using the French Girls app to draw others, I was immediately unmotivated when I saw what I got back. All the drawings were pretty bad and it just zapped out any excitement I had for the project. I think it would have been better to take the time to have us actually draw with pencil and paper.

Week 9 – Vlog:

This one was a bit more personal. I don’t particularly like being on camera just talking. That on it’s own was not enough to deter me however. What I really didn’t like about the project was that I don’t like the idea of Vlogging. I really felt little motivation to pursue it, especially after seeing the sample video that was shown in class.

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I was unable to come up with another activity to put on the list. I actually enjoyed, or at very least, saw the purpose in each of the other activities. Think the other ones should stay and contributed to my learning in this class.

Notes:

This class was actually very fun for me. I like having a chance to express myself and take-part in the experiences of the year. It also gave me a chance to meet others in the class which was nice. I did not like some parts of it though. Personally I thought the classmate interviews were more of a nuisance than anything. Although I enjoyed many of them, I really dreaded some of them. I only really liked the interviews where I was able to have a genuine conversation with my classmate (this however was not the majority). I think this could be improved by knowing a bit more about everyone in the class and maybe signing up to interview someone in advance. This could be done based on common interests that we submit.

I also was not a huge fan of the way the artist interviews worked. I didn’t like that we had to approach the artist all in the span of this hour. I think it was the wrong thing to focus on. Rather than looking at the art, I saw many people just asking the same questions and trying to get through it. That must have been a huge bother and annoyance to the artist who really put their heart into this work to be asked “so how long have you been painting?” and “what was your inspiration for these pieces?” a hundred times over. I would have much preferred in the focus of our post was on the piece that we liked most. This way, we would only have to come to the artist when we genuinely had further interest to do so. It happened too many times where I finally had a chance to talk to the artist and they seemed like they were in a bad mood already. I could tell they just didn’t want to deal with another person’s “cookie-cutter” questions and no matter how genuine my interest was, they wouldn’t really be engaged in answering.

As a whole I did enjoy this class, and I hope my notes here will help make an even better experience for future semesters of Art 110.

Week 13 – Gallery Visit

This week at the CSULB art galleries I was very moved and connected to a particular gallery focusing on the metal work of artist Brittnee Forline. This gallery showed various metal works, but was made up mostly of jewelry. What really drew me into the pieces was just how finely made each piece was. I really also like the fact that it was jewelry. I feel jewelry too often is disregarded as an art-form because it has become so common and the production of it is so manufactured now. This was really a bringing back of jewelry as an pure art form that really meant something.

The purpose of these pieces was to convey a longing for stability. The artist often felt a fear of ending parts of a journey. This fear comes from an unwillingness to change. I think this fear is a very common one that most people can relate to. I also think this theme is very relevant to our current culture. There is a strong trend in my age group of hanging onto the past. It is so common-place now to see memes or commercials using cartoon characters from our childhood coming all the time. This sense of nostalgia has its good and bad points but I think over all, is rooted in a resistance to change and moving on to new parts of the life journey. I think the art at this gallery has relevance to this issue because it embodies the fears of the generation. One art piece literally puts characters from the Legend of Zelda video game (hugely popular in the current nostalgia society) into a necklace. I think the piece really drives this point home.

Over-all I really enjoyed the work. It was so well done, and really connected to me because I feel the same hesitation to change and endings that the artist did.

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https://wordpress.com/tag/dutzi-gallery/

Week 13 – Classmate Interview – Marie Rivas

I had a great time this week at the art galleries getting to know Marie Rivas. Marie is  3rd year student at CSULB. This was one of my favorite interviews with a classmate. Marie was fun and engaging during our talk. My general impression from her is actually that even though we are very different in our interests and goals, we actually get along pretty well. It seemed our commonalities didn’t come from what we like to do, but more in the way we thought and how we approach our goals.

Marie is a very school-oriented person. She puts a great deal of effort into doing well in her classes. She is studying bio-chemistry at Long Beach and she plans to one day go into a career in research. More specifically however, she would like to do research on infectious diseases. Marie and I had an interesting conversation about how much effort she puts into school. She was surprised at the low level of motivation I had when talking about my studies at Long Beach. Especially when I explained that my grades were still pretty high for the most part. She told me she dedicates most of her time to school in order to achieve the grades she does. It is not easy for her to do as well as she does. Even though I did not share her intense motivation for school work, I did related to her on that level. Music has always been my passion, and unfortunately I was never one of those musicians who just “gets it” when they start in music. I always had to struggle and work harder than my peers; usually to achieve less. When I told this to Marie, we laughed and realized we weren’t so different.

We then moved on to a long discussion of television shows we like (she’s all about House; I’m a Sons of Anarchy kind of guy by the way). After recommending each other several new shows, we took our picture together and said our goodbyes. I would love to get to know Marie more soon and develop our friendship.

Check out Marie’s page here!:

marierivas.wordpress.com

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Week 12 – Activity – Teach One

This week I was instructed to make a video teaching something. I decided to teach how to play a record. The recording process was rough as I did not have a good way of holding the phone while i recorded. Overall I think the video came out ok, though I know it could have been better. I covered the basic steps of handling and playing a record which apply to most types of turn tables. I found this activity to be fun and not too difficult.

For this tutorial I chose the record ‘In the Court of The Crimson King’ by King Crimson. This album is very special to me as it was a gift from my best friend. In addition to that, I just really enjoy listening to the album. It is filled with songs that are masterfully written, played, and recorded.

I have collected records for many years now and have a collection quickly approaching 200+. I love each of my records and I enjoy sharing my knowledge with other serious collectors or those just trying to casually pick-up record collecting as a hobby.

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Week 12 – Classmate Interview – Diana Martinez

This week, I interviewed fellow classmate Diana Martinez. What a fun girl! Diana is a freshman at CSULB (which personally came as a shock. She has her shit waaaaay too put-together to be a freshman! But there ya go.). Currently, Diana is majoring in Marketing. Diana chose this major due to a mix of wanting to do something that she could involve in film, and wanting to reach a comfortable lifestyle one day. Diana passed up just being a film major (though she has some experience due to her personal blog) because she saw little future in being a film major. Not to denounce the film majors, but it is a hard path to choose.

Diana is most known in our class for being the reigning queen of the list of Top 10 scores in class. When I first saw that she was consistently in this spot I thought what I’m sure too many people thought… “What a try-hard!” but luckily I know better now. Diana wasn’t trying to suck-up; she is actually just really good at this. Diana, in her spare time, runs her own personal blog. I asked about how she started this.

Diana had always done projects with her friends in high school. She loved doing things like photo-shoots of her friends, short films, school projects, or really whatever she wanted to do. I was able to relate a lot to Diana. The reasons she did these projects were many of the same reasons I began to play music. I also found her pull to being an artist (which she never actually said herself) was very impressive. She began making art and expressing herself creatively without even really thinking about it. At some point she realized she should try sharing some of these projects and that’s where the blog finally came in. Ever since, she has kept-up with her blog and has built a very impressive one.

This is Diana’s website link for Art 110:

http://dcmartinez.com/

This is a separate blog she made with her best friend:

http://carolinandalex.blogspot.com/

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Week 11 – Whatever I Want – The Mask

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imageLast week I was given the opportunity to create an art project for a class assignment. I was excited for this project because we were told to do whatever type of project we could think of but this welcomed freedom also caused concerns. While I had waited all year to really excel in this opportunity, I knew it would be difficult to pull off because this also happened to be the week I would need to focus most on the course work for other classes. I spent every day dreading coming home because I knew the load of work that there was to be done upon my arrival. With this constant pressure looming over me, I found little time to complete my project. I hadn’t even had the chance to come up with an idea for it by the time midnight last Sunday night came by. My steady downward spiral in Art 110 took another turn and I missed another opportunity. This trend was not isolated in the recent events of my life. School and work had been a constant struggle in the past few weeks of this school year. Time and time again, I was letting down those close to me. On top of it, I was letting myself down.

Of course this behavior was not healthy. I soon caught a cold and that only added to my stress. I became a zombie in my life. Around friends, family, co-workers, I was hardly there at all. Really just stuck up in my head while I went through the motions. I just got through the daily actions that were expected of me while inside I was fully focused on something else entirely. Unfortunately rather than do what I should and talk to others about how I was really feeling, I did what most people would do and I faked happiness. Pretended I was ok and just moved on. It is rare to get a second question after you fake a decent smile, say “no I’m fine” with a chuckle, and eagerly return to what you were doing. For whatever reason, this fake mask works so well to ward off attention. These past weeks brought plenty of good use to my mask and I will surely need it again sometime soon. All it really takes to have privacy is a good mask.

This is where my inspiration came from my project this week. I decided to make a mask. When deciding the design of my mask, I chose to look at the Glam rock stars of the 60s and 70s primarily. Two important figures in particular were David Bowie and Marc Bolin. These two artists loved to dress up and create different worlds with their music. It was often difficult to get a grip on where their masks ended and their true selves began. I also took inspiration from album covers I have liked such as ‘Cluster II.’ I also took ascetic inspiration from space and celestial bodies.

I plan to continue working with masks and paint. This was a fun medium to work with. The piece didn’t come out quite as clean as I would have liked, but it was still over-all a fun experience. I am happy to say that I am no longer in a period where I think I need my mask, but I am sure one day soon I will.

Week 11 – Gallery Visit – Ethos

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This piece in the gallery left a very positive impression on me. I found that I had an emotional connection with it. I unfortunately was not provided with much information about the piece, but when I saw it that day, I connected it with my own meaning.

Before entering the gallery, I had had a fantastic day. I had woken up on time, had no real problems getting to my early classes, and the gallery visit was nice. I unfortunately did not like too many of the pieces from the artists. Although I thought the other pieces were well-done and skillful, none really stuck-out to me. Luckily when I entered the gallery that did not have an artist (also missing a crowd of classmates mobbing them with the same questions), I found this painting. It was simple and I only glanced past it at first while trying to see if there were any paintings that really commanded my attention. As I surveyed the room, I noticed that my attention would always come by to this painting. Like water rushing to the drain, this painting always seemed to end my thoughts about the other works. I would form my opinion of each, then at the end always look back and think “but that one there is different…”

Naturally I came back to this painting and began trying to figure out why it made such a strong impression on me. The only reason I can see in it is that it looked like how I was feeling that day. A kind of crazy, and random happiness that found me in an odd time. I thought this painting looked like a storm of colors and emotions swirling around a heart. I thought that was an accurate depiction of happiness. When I feel happy, it feels like my insides are covered in something warm and moving (almost like wind), so the beautiful mix of colors on the canvas spoke to me.

Week 11- Classmate Interview – Marie Mendez

Marie is a Junior at CSULB. She is from Long Beach and enjoys it here. She is currently undecided in her major but is considering Child Development. She also had considered majoring in photography and ceramics but decided she did not see much of a future in it for her. She does however maintain a love of art. Marie loves working with children and always has. Her whole life, her mother has worked as a kindergarten teacher and Marie would often come and help take care of the children. In her spare time, Marie enjoys hiking and hanging out with friends. When not doing either of those, Marie says she enjoys playing soccer and though she does not play as much as she’d like, she still enjoys it. I asked Marie to describe her music tastes and she said she mostly listens to hip-hop music (though it seemed she liked different styles than I do).

A point of commonality came with Marie when I asked her to tell me a little bit about her family. As soon as I brought up the topic, Marie responded with “family comes first.” Her family obviously is a huge part of her life as my family is in mine. We both came from large families and enjoyed a closeness between our aunts, uncles, and cousins.

This is a link to Marie’s website: http://marielmendez.wordpress.com/

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