Week C1 – Art in My Life

Joshua Tree after the rain (2018)

During my time spent in Art 110, I have learned a lot about what art means. Not just a broad definition, but what it means to individual people. I think the biggest lesson I have learned is that art can mean many different things to different people. Art is a form of self expression, a way for people to cope with mental illness, creative ways to address problems, or even ways to get people to think differently. There were examples of each of these throughout the galleries we had the privilege of visiting over the semester.

Not only were we taught about what art can mean to so many individuals, but we also learned how to use art for ourselves and were given the opportunity to outlet our creativity in new forms of expression, whether it be through sketching, painting, or plaster casting. I think the most important thing we can learn about art is being able to find something, a medium that allows us to express our ideas, our feelings, our hopes, and our dreams.

I have been lucky to have been able to discover a creative outlet that allows me to express ideas and capture moments without necessarily needing to be a talented illustrator or painter, people who are usually labeled the artists. Some people argue whether mediums such as photography art actually considered art. Individuals could argue that it’s too easy to be considered art. All you have to do is click the shutter button and you already have a completed image. While this may the case, often times it requires much more than simply clicking a button to come out with a good image.

For me, photography forces my brain to think differently. It forces my eyes to see differently and it forces me to observe the world differently. Often times I find myself thinking of the world as shadows and lines instead of what I would normally say might be a tree or a mountain or a face. When I’m taking pictures I have to look at the world through a rectangular frame instead of how we may perceive it normally having an almost 180 degree field of view.

This past weekend I drove out to Joshua Tree the day after it had been raining so I could take some photos of the night sky. After driving around the unlit roads of the park for an hour looking for a spot to set up my tripod and escape from the clouds that were lingering after the rain, I found a stretch of dirt where I could be free from almost all man made light. I stepped out into the wind which made it feel much colder than the 40 degrees that my car’s thermometer was reading. I put my camera on a tripod and framed a shot . I used my headlamp to focus on a lone Joshua tree and then I turned off all my lights. My freezing finger pressed the shutter and for 27 seconds I was in darkness. My only light source, the distant stars. I could barely see my own hands in front of me and all I could do was listen to the world around me which was nearly perfectly silent. There is a sense of suspense and excitement when taking long exposure photographs that is very intriguing. Not only is it difficult to focus on a subject or get correct exposure settings, but it takes a while to make adjustments to fix mistakes you may have made in focusing or composition. So while I sat in the cold for a half an hour before I had to retreat back to the car before my toes fell off, I captured only 18 pictures. At least half of which were underexposed, blurry, or out of focus.

When I came home to look at the pictures I only saw one that I actually liked the rest were just trials to get to that point. The picture above is the last picture I took before I left. This was my favorite picture. All of the pictures prior to this were trials that led to this photographs. 17 edits to the composition, exposure, and focus had to be made before I ended up with one single picture that I enjoy. It took 30 minutes of freezing cold, minor adjustments, minutes of waiting to end up with one final shot. I think this is a part of art that people tend to ignore. A lot of people only get to see the final product of someone’s work and the struggle and the work that went into creating something is hidden from view to create the illusion that the task of taking a the photograph you are seeing is effortless. To me this is art. Not necessarily the finished product alone, but also the effort put into it and the constant changes and adjustments that are made before you present what you have made. While I may not pursue photography as a career, it has the ability to teach me how to tell stories through a single frame and force me to see the world differently, even if I’m only seeing it that way for as little as a few seconds.


Below are a few of the test shots that led up to the final image:

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Week B10 – Art Experience – Do it Again

For this week’s art experience, I decided to do finger painting again. I wanted to incorporate some of the photographs I recently edited in the painting so I decided to do an abstract version of the picture below. DSC03169.jpg

For this second attempt at finger painting I wanted to have a sort of reference to work towards because when I was doing this for the first time, I really didn’t know where I should stop. With this project, I think it was a little easier simply knowing that I had something to work towards. I took some of the colors and general shape from the picture and made a more abstract version of it. I decided to not look at the picture while I was painting to see what I could pull from my memory.


Overall, I enjoyed finger painting again and I think the piece turned out okay given the lack of colors I had.

Week B9 – Art Experience – Finger Painting

I think that the process of finger painting is pretty soothing. I felt like I wasn’t trying to think or focus too much on making sure that I was accurately depicting the subject I was painting. However, I also felt I wasn’t doing anything but smearing colors around the paper. At the beginning, I liked the mixtures of color I was getting, it was a mixture of light blues and yellows but when I added purple to try and make a gradient across the paper it kind of turned everything gray. I decided not to start over because I didn’t want to erase what I had started so I tried adding streaks of blue and yellow to try and return it to a similar state to what it was before. Coming from a non-artist standpoint from the limited amount of abstract work that I have seen, I think a lot of it looks pretty similar but it probably looks slightly more pleasing than mine. Overall, I had a fun time finger painting and I enjoyed the time not trying to focus too hard on doing something. IMG_1684

Wk B8 – Art Experience – Vlogging

My Video

My Thoughts

For my video, I was trying to go for simplicity. I have noticed when a lot of people are vlogging, they act a little over the top and try to do crazy little edits which, for me, it doesn’t seem to work or necessary in this format. I think simple, clean videos for things like vlogging. I try not to drag it out any longer than necessary because in this age, a lot of people don’t have a long attention span. I think I was able to accomplish my ideal vlog that I described above. I don’t know what I’ll do differently vlogging wise per say but if I ever need to film myself talking to the camera again I may invest in some cheap lighting equipment to make the frame more appealing. For some reason, I don’t like typical vlogs or the ones that frequently pop up online, because there doesn’t seem to be a real purpose behind them besides more popular people who use this format to advertise their work or business which makes sense. So, I don’t know if I’ll ever vlog in the sense that I’ll take a camera along with me to go through everyday tasks but I may be interested in teaching things through this format.

Wk B7 – Art Experience – Graffiti Writing

I wasn’t able to actually go to the Venice Art Walls because I was working all weekend so I ended up with the option of spray painting cardboard in my parent’s backyard. The whole experience of getting spray paint to trying to make sure I didn’t accidentally spray onto the concrete was interesting. I found it kind of funny that I wasn’t even allowed to carry the spray paint through the store and that I had to tell them what colors I wanted and they would carry the paint to the register for me. I think that the spray cans were the only thing in the store that I went to that required that kind of monitoring by the employees.








My Sketch


Now to the actual painting. Personally, I don’t find myself to be very good at the drawing painting aspect of art so this project was a bit challenging. I hoped to look as cool as the people in the documentary we watched where they were able to spray paint some cool letters in mere seconds but obviously that was an extremely unrealistic goal considering I had never even held spray paint before I was assigned this project. I may have looked a little silly spray painting cardboard in my backyard and it may have not turned out the best but I had a good time learning a little bit about it and even working with my family trying to figure out the best approaches to how I should paint my name. In the future, I may want to paint some things other than my name such as a little design or cartoony looking thing.









My Graffiti and I


Wk B6 – Art Experience – Environmental Portrait

What was I going for?

I wanted to take environmental portraits of my grandma because she has a room in her house dedicated to things like sewing, quilting and the like. I thought it would be interesting to capture an artist in an actual work area environment. I found that since she no longer has to worry about feeding my mom and siblings or sewing to make clothes for them since they are now all grown up, she is able to express her skills to emulate her creativity and create things that interest her.

How successful was I?

I wish I would have been able to actually get pictures of her and her actual work but due to time constraints it wasn’t plausible to have her make something to be included in the portraits with her. I think the photos I did get of her in her work rooms turned out well enough. The one of her actually sewing didn’t turn out exactly like I envisioned that it would, but I still found it interesting. I ended up with two final photos, one where she is actually sewing and the other where she is working on one of her sketches.

What might I do different next time?

I may spend more time staging my subjects though I felt it wasn’t too bad trying to stage my shots on the fly. I may also want to focus more on lighting, using a flash or something else to make my photos turn out more professional looking. Next time, I also want to capture the emotion of what my subject is feeling. I could take the time to interview them about what they do, and what they enjoy or don’t enjoy about what I am photographing so I can better illustrate it in my photographs. Environmental portrait 1Environmental portrait 2