Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Artist - Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons is an American artist known for his reproduction of banal (commonplace, devoid of originality) objects. Koons went to school at the Maryland Institute College of Art and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He started to gain recognition in the 1980s and soon afterward set up a factory-like studio in his loft. The loft was staffed with over 30 assistants, each with a particular assignment in production Koons' work.

A few of his most famous pieces are titled "puppy" which was produced in 1992, "Michael Jackson and Bubbles" and "Pink Panther", both produced in 1988.

Undeniably, Puppy is cute. It’s also a good example of how monumental scale can add a sense of magic to a mundane idea. On the other hand, Puppy can emblemize gimmick and the vapidity of the artistic vanguard of the last twenty years. On the other, other hand, who criticizes a giant flower dog?

All in all I think Koons is as American as apple pie. He's taken on art, not necessarily for arts sake, but for a piece of the pie. He's built his empire off of the trash of American culture and figured out that he can make a crap load of cash doing it.

Not only has he become monumentally successful at his niche artworks, but he's been equally successful at ruffling people’s feathers, especially those "traditional" artsy-fartsy types. I personally don't care for his work... I still see it as the trash of our culture, but that doesn't discredit his (and many others) claiming that it's brilliant artwork.

To each his own I guess.

Friday, February 19, 2010


OBJECT 1: Plastic Bag (Wal-Mart)

Formal Properties:
1. Thin
2. Translucent
3. Plastic
4. White
5. Noisy
6. Flexible
7. Waterproof
8. Lightweight
9. Smooth
10. Strechable

Original Function:
Carry items from one place to another.

OBJECT 2: Paper Clip
Formal Properties:
1. Thin
2. Pliable
3. Metal
4. Silver
5. Reflective
6. Lightweight
7. Small
8. Smooth
9. Inexpensive
10. Linear

Original Function:
To preserve the organizational preference of my documents.

OBJECT 3: Cotton Swab (a.k.a Q-Tip)
Formal Properties:
1. White
2. Soft, Moldable Ends
3. Rigid Body
4. Lightweight
5. Opaque
6. Linear
7. Natural Materials (paper/cotton)
8. Dense
9. Inexpensive
10. Hourglass Shape

Original Function:
To clean various things... most of which is found on the human body.


Here's the jist of our second project: Transformation

Select an ordinary object, something that is part of your everyday life. Transform, alter or reconstruct this object to create a new meaning or function.

Think of ways in which the function of this object could be reinterpreted. Is there relationship between the object's previous and new function?

You may use multiples of your object, i.e. many pencils rather than just one. Your final artwork may be a nonobjective form.

Tom Friedman - Untitled (1995)
A continuous loop of cut pencils.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Artist - Margo Chase

Margo Chase is the owner and founder of Chase Design Group. Since the company first opened its doors in 1986, they have produced amazing work for highly successful companies like Starbucks Coffee, to super stars such as Madonna and Cher. If I ever had the opportunity to hand pick a company to work for, Chase Design Group would be the one. Not only because of the amazing talent and success, but because I think Margo’s personality is even deeper than her portfolio.

I think one of the major attractions of Margo is that her strengths are my weaknesses. What she can do free hand is amazing. She has an extensive background in calligraphy and typography. Most of her early work was done without a computer… just old school drawing on a piece of paper. That scares the crap out of me. It’s so easy to hit crtl + z on a computer and undo an idea that didn’t turn out.

Stylistically, some of my favorites are her gothic pieces. There are a few pics of her work below. She’s also know for other “gothic” logos such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Project 1 - UNITY (Artist Statement)

Precision and symmetry. Most of the limited quantity of artwork that I’ve created embraces these two terms. I find that I often conceive of an idea in my head, only to obsess over it for days on end trying to perfect every nuance before I begin. Such is the case in “Unity”. The idea was born out of many days of thought, a few sketches and a dash of trial and error.

From the beginning I wanted something that would be made of natural materials. The completed piece is simply wood, but in three forms. Balsa makes the linear structure of the body, white tissue paper covers alternating body panels and a wood based vellum creates the colorful “petals” that embrace both convex and concave form.

The concept of Unity has changed slightly since conception, mostly because of time constraints, but holistically remains the same. In the finalized form it is a representation of its title. When all colors combine in the additive spectrum the result is white. Each of the 13 petals contain a single color and spiral through the color spectrum. Presented as a hanging piece, Unity can freely rotate to convey all colors to the stationary observer. The combination of all colors surrounding the linear column unite to create white, represented in the panels covering the body.

I often wrestle with the concept of unity and how it can be so simple in one context, yet a near impossibility in another. This project was an expression of those thoughts manifested through materials found in nature, where I find unity most present.

Project 1 - COMPLETION

Ok... it's finally done. Amazing how much progress was had over the weekend. All in all it's not EXACTLY what I had originally hoped it would be, but I'm satisfied. The way I look at it, this is my first art project EVER (for school that is). I'm sure I'll have plenty more during the scope of the semester. I'll post the complete artist statement shortly.

The laser printed vellum worked like a charm, btw.

Project 1 - UPDATE 2

Have started building the body. Ran into yet another snag with the "petal" portion of the project. Since the balsa wasn't flexible enough to form the petal shape I bought some vellum to use. Unfortunately, the moisture from my ink jet printer causes the paper to curl like nothing I've ever seen. Guess I'll have to buy some more and try a laser printer. Hopefully the lack of moisture will keep the paper from curling.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Artist - Ellen Scott

Ellen Scott is an artist, designer, consultant, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of 4-Dimensional Design at Pratt Institute. After five years of corporate consulting and software project management, Ellen switched gears to focus on the intersection of art and technology. Her artwork spans different media and dimensions and has been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Portland, and Beijing. She has a wide range of experience in creative, commercial, and nonprofit endeavors, including Games for Change, a nonprofit cultivating digital games for social change. Ellen is also the co-founder and director of Smartspaces, a New York-based nonprofit presenting contemporary art in the windows of vacant storefronts.

Ellen stopped in Boise for a week and spent some time on the Boise State campus. During her lecture I learned how "interactive" of an artist she really is. Her current work consists of plexi-glass panels with the image of just the back side of a person on either side. During her lecture she showed captured images from students of BSU and how she was going to be opening a new exhibit using these new pieces.

Part of her explanation of her plexi art was that by showing only the back side of a person, we lose the ability to connect. We often look to the face to learn something about the other person, or even about ourselves. I took the thought even further in remembering the saying that "the eyes are the gateway to the soul". By denying the ability to see the complete individual in three dimensional space we are essentially cut off from knowing anything about them.

The concept is very interesting and simple. I've found that some of the best and most inspirational art leaves me wondering, "why didn't I think of that". In some instances I have, but not on as deep a level and hadn't explored the thought enough to consider it art. At any rate, here are a few pics from her website which can be found here:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Project 1 - UPDATE 1

Already hit my first major snag. I originally planned to construct the "pedals" of my sculpture using balsa and tissue paper. I've quickly discovered that even the thinnest piece of balsa I have won't bend enough to create the curved form I need. Each piece just keeps snapping... even after soaking it in water for an extended period.

Time to search for a new material.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Project 1 - THE ARMATURE

Ok... here goes. My first project is to build an armature. Pure and simple an armature is a framework around which a sculpture is built. Here are the requirements:

• Create a minimum of 15 line drawings. Experiment w/variation of line, density, direction, etc.
• Choose the drawing you think will translate best into a 3D form.
• Construct a linear armature that is informed by your drawing.
• Conceal or reveal the skeletal structure of the armature by adding a skin-like material which produces a plane.

Included are a few concept sketches I had after the first class. As the week progressed I realized that my sketches didn't really hold any meaning and were simply non-objective crap.

I continued to think about the project for the next couple of days until finally I had a fairly ambitious idea. I'll explain the meaning of this piece as I progress through the project. For now you can enjoy the shots of progress as I move from concept to reality. Just sit back and formulate all kinds of ideas as to what the final glory of this project could be. Enjoy!