Sunday, November 8, 2009

Self Portrait 2: process

My idea for the second self portrait started with the "If I were..." brainstorming game: if I were Superman. I'll admit, I have a thing for superheroes- I've seen almost every superhero movie, I know the stories and characters- I've even read a few comics. I'm not sure what it is, but I love the whole concept of a superhero. So I thought coming at this project from Superman's point of view would be interesting and fun, but not much else.

From my notes:

"If I were Superman:

I have this hidden side only my closest, most trusted friends know, and it’s dangerous for them to know. I also have a very public image, one that comes with responsibility and a reputation I have to uphold. To be honest, I don’t have time for this self-reflection, self-portrait stuff- there are too many people out there who need my help. I live here, I fit in, but I’m an alien, I don’t belong. I believe I have a purpose, that I can and do make a difference in the world. This art stuff is tricky- I want to be honest in my work, but if I’m not careful someone might figure it out- I can’t afford to have my true identity revealed. It’s about privacy, safety- not just for me but for my family and friends. And yet, no one truly knows me: it’s so much effort, keeping up this fa├žade."

This got me thinking about the whole secret identity/dual identity idea: how all of us have a side of ourselves that we only reveal to our closest, most trusted friends. Why do we have these alter-egos? Wouldn't it just be easier if we were open and honest with one another? What if we all had little scrolling billboards on our foreheads telling what we're really going through- wouldn't we be able to understand and relate to one another easier if we actually knew where other people were coming from?

I was also able to relate dual identities to my life, and the different roles or identities I have. Two contrasting roles are that of an art student and that of an athlete. It's interesting, what people assume if you don't dress like an "art student." I might use these roles, playing them off as my Clark Kent/Superman identities.

Based on these reflections, and the feedback from my group, I am thinking I'd like to do a self-portrait similar to one of the above Superman images. I would use photography for my medium, and I would address the ideas of dual/conflicting identities and roles, "secret identities," and/or superheroes and superhumans in general, and why people are fascinated with them (I know I'm not the only one!)

So far I have found research on the effects of keeping secrets (negative for psychological development), on the benefits of extracurricular activities in the aspirations and educational success of students, and on the history of super-human figures throughout history and their particular appeal in America's past and present. Super-human characters appear in some of their earliest forms in the Greek/Roman eras, as gods. Today's supers most often appear on the big screen, but there are even real-life "superheroes" who go around in capes helping the police by giving tips or helping their communities by performing acts of kindness! See the link below:

Once you enter, you can click on "superhero registry" and see the profiles of heroes like Captain Jackson, Entomo, and Zetaman. I can't decide whether to laugh or be impressed!

Midterm: flickr

Midterm Portfolio

Midterm: Reflections on the Semester

So far, this semester has been all about patience.

Coming into the class, I was excited to be drawing again- I had grand intentions for drawing over the summer that just didn't happen, and I was ready to be at it again. Unfortunately, drawing isn't like riding my bike- I can't just hop on after months without riding and find my balance in the first few pedals- and I wasn't able to pick up right where I left off. I was disappointed with my initial skull studies- they were disproportionate, or flat, or something was off. I realized I was striving too hard to have drawing come as easily as it was by the end of last semester, and I needed to slow down, be patient, look, observe, feel, learn. To help, I started drawing with graphite. I worked on achieving correct proportions of the skull's structure, using a combination of cross-contour marks and value to give three-dimensionality (is that a word? oh- says it is. good!), and choosing a single light source to direct my application of value.

Switching to graphite was an interesting compromise- it forced me to slow down and focus, but I also lost some of the depth of my value scale and the variations of line that I so love. Those are easier to get with conte or charcoal, and I think I'm again at the point where I can try transitioning back to those tools.

Overall, I think my proportions and the addition of value has been successful. I still need to watch out, and constantly check, for proportions - especially the outside eye/socket. And I'm still somewhat unsure in adding value, if I'm doing it right. Those are a few things I'd like to improve upon for the rest of the semester. Also, I really want to get back to the loose, gestural style and line quality I had last spring. Maybe I can find a way to incorporate it into the linear mark making and value I've been working on? We'll see. As for other things I would like to learn? I would like to have an opportunity to apply value to other areas of the body, and on models. Spending this extra time on the skull and face have been enormously beneficial though, and I would be satisfied using the rest of the semester to hone this area as well.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Elena Kalis Photography

Beautiful underwater photography: I'm amazed!


One possible look for the main character of the book I'm illustrating for the Children's Literature final project.

Feet. They're beautiful.

This I did a while ago- it's based on an image I found by a comic book artist.

I'm not sure where this one came from... might be that I'm missing having a pet around.

Flickr Fun

Unfortunately I don't have links to these images, but I found them all on flickr. Every time I get on the site, I find new inspiration, and I end up saving at least a dozen images to my "found on Flickr" folder. So here you go: enjoy!


Skull Study, detail, 10/09

Self-Portrait, detail, 10/09

Kierra, detail, 10/09

Detail shots from the drawings posted below.