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Wk7- Counterfactual Identity

For today I decided to go to the mall and get a dress shirt. Anyone who knows me knows I hate wearing formal clothes. My mom bought me a sombrero a few years ago and some boots because she wants me to dress like that. She says that everyone in Mexico dresses like that for parties. And so I decided to go and buy me a dress shirt for the purpose of this assignment and for an interview I had. My parents had a 15 to go to today and I thought it would be perfect if I tried to make my mom see me from the back and attempt to trick her. I put on my clothes and my sombrero and went outside where my mom warming up the car. Then she peeks out the window and calls out my dads name and when I turned around she start to laugh because she did not recognize me at all. My neighbor saw me as well and he doesn’t really talk to me but I made him think that I was my dad. He said “Que paso paisa a donde va?” which he never says to me but when he saw my face he too began to laugh. I think I was successful in this because I tricked my neighbor and my mom that I was my dad. I did notice how different I was talked to because of how my neighbor talked to me. Overall although I was successful, I felt uncomfortable wearing the clothes because that isn’t that much of my style, but other than that it was fun i guess. I think I would’ve worn the black sombrero I have. I like black so this was pretty weird for me.

I hate myself.
I hate myself here too.

Artist Conversation #2

Alejandra Uribes Jamaica Sculpture

This is Alejandra Uribe’s art piece. Alejandra is an undergraduate student at Cal State Long Beach. She is a BFA student for the School of sculpture. Alejandra wants to one day be an MFA student and get her MFA. Her art piece can be found in the LBSU Art Gallery sort of in the middle of the gallery on the floor. Alyssa loves to work with wood which is why she chose to work with Mahogany and Sapele wood. She also chose to use jamaica or hibiscus juice, a very popular Latin American drink to add some color to her piece. Alejandra takes inspiration from Van Gogh, Marina Abramovic, and artwork called, “gates of hell”. She really enjoys art that gets reactions out of people and provokes thoughts and conversations. While working, she listens to music. She aspires to be a sculptor one day. She once started as a music major but later decided she wanted to switch to art.

Her art piece was a class assignment. She felt extremely happy about this piece because she thinks it has been her best work yet although she felt doubtful at first. Her piece consists of a red nonagon at the bottom and two white hands holding a flower with a face at the bottom. The hands are in a massaging gesture and are massaging the backside of the head. She had first experimented with different types of wood and later chose Mahogany and Sapele wood. Since it is made of wood, it isn’t brittle, it is pretty sturdy, especially because the bottom piece is very big in comparison to the smaller piece on top. The jamaica was used because of its almost blood red color, but when used on the face, it turned purple, which was unexpected. The hands are very neatly made hands. They are very well shaped and as well as the base. At first, what the hands were holding was confusing because I had no clue what it was, but then she said that the face was facing down to the red base so it made more sense that it was a face. 

Alejandra said she takes inspiration from artists that are good at getting reactions from the audience. She told me a story of a time where she made moldy food and presented it in her class. Her classmates were obviously disgusted by it for its appearance and smell. She aimed to get some sort of reaction from her class and she got one. Alejandra also explained how she uses art in order to express her feelings. A year ago, she worked a full-time job and went to school at the same time. Apart from all the stress, her grandmother passed away and she used her art to express how she felt, while at the same time she was getting a reaction from the audience. As I saw this art piece, I was very confused and I was kind of disgusted by it. Mostly because I don’t like that shade of red nor the super white hands. I felt as if the white hand belonged to a demon that was rising from a pool of blood and was asking for my soul. It kind of freaked me out. 

In sum, her artwork definitely got a reaction out of me. Since that same day, I had watched a scary movie and a video about the scariest things caught on tape. The white hands sort of spooked me which made me become a little bit disgusted by them and made me not want to really write about this piece or even look at it. However, I think her piece is unique and has much more meaning to it. When I got there, she was mentioning that her piece was in response to issues in New York, and I didn’t really want to ask her what she meant by that and felt that I wouldn’t be doing my self nor her work justice by letting her tell me what it’s about. I thought that I felt as if the hands are the lower class, rising from the pool of blood that comes from all their hard work and violence they witness while living in impoverished areas. I see this as the lower class lifting up their people or the whole city of New York.

Wk 6 – Shocking Art!

  1. I chose this idea because being a son of immigrant parents I know what it is like to fear losing your parents. I was born in the US, but my parents were born in Mexico. One time my mom was detained at the border but luckily she was able to get back to us. I feel something awful when it comes to hearing that there are kids locked in cages. I have a big fear of watching little kids suffer because kids are innocent and don’t know what’s going on most of the time and to see them suffer just gets me. 
  2. I hope to communicate that it is wrong to keep children in cells. I hate to see children behind cages or bars because I can only imagine how scared they must feel and how it might affect them later on in their lives.
  3. I don’t think I was as successful as I would like to be mostly because I showed this to my mom and she didn’t understand what it was. And so if my mom couldn’t understand it then I don’t think other people will get it. It may have to do with my drawing and how poor it was but that was the best I could do. 
  4. I would probably draw more detail in the back and maybe make the picture a bit more exact. My picture shows a sad kid behind bars but nothing else. I think I would draw his whole body to make sure people know that it is a child. 
  5. Something else I wanted to explore was wild fires. In California, 95% of wildfires are caused by humans. Now I’m not sure exactly how many fires are caused by careless human actions, but I would explore something along those lines. Like the message smokey the bear tries to get out with the cigarettes and the fires. 

Wk5 – Cameras Tell Stories

My Everyday Life

This little girl likes to play dead when the camera turns on.
The metro train dropping off people that travel long distances to go to work or to school.
Countless of homeless people living just a block from a hospital in Los Angeles.
My neighbor painted this in the corner of my block on top of some gang tag.
The virgin Mary watching over South Central LA.
The job iv’e been working at since the age of twelve.
My neighbors to the left and neighbors three houses to the right have expressed that they are apart of a gang known in South Central as ‘South Side Florencia 13’

Why did I choose this story?

I chose these pictures and these captions simply to demonstrate people my day to day life. I feel like a lot of people forget that LA isn’t as beautiful as it seems. Don’t get me wrong, I love Los Angeles. It’s where I grew up and have lived in for the past 18 years (my whole life so far). I chose these pictures to show people my version of LA. I got this idea from hearing people only see the nice luxurious side of LA, while I live next to friendly gangsters.

How I think I did?

I think that I did a good job in capturing the message I wanted to capture. I tried doing some cool things with the angles with some pictures and some landscape shots to fit more in the picture. I think I portrayed my LA well and I think that I did good in showing my realities and what I see or do everyday.

Which image do I think is the individually “best” image in your story?

I think the picture of the virgin Mary is the best image because it is my favorite thing to see every day. Even though the picture doesn’t look as good as the real thing. This picture makes me happy because being a Catholic and Mexican I really do love the Virgin Mary. I even have her in my room and the living room. But I think this is the best image because this mural means a lot for a lot of people. And I think that the low angle I had really highlighted the importance of the the mural.

Does my photostory contain an image that you think is not, by itself, a “great” image, but that is nonetheless important because it helps to tell your story?

I think the gang tag picture is not the “greatest” image because it doesn’t really look that aesthetically. However, that picture is important because it shows the major gang that live in my area. My neighbors are very friendly and were ex-members of the gang, as well as my barber, cousin, and friends, and they tell me the stories about the experiences they have had. I needed this picture in order to really truly demonstrate my life.

What would I do different next time?

Next time I would probably use a real camera and better lighting and angles. Other than that I don’t think I would do anything else but that. I would love to take pictures. Taking pictures to keep memories has been something that I have been wanting to do for a really long time. So maybe I would change the lack of pictures I take.

Are there other Photo Stories I might like to tell?

I would love to take pictures that would tell a story. I think a story I would like to tell would be a story of food because I think with all the cool and different cultures in LA, there is amazing food here in LA.

Wk4-Drinking and Drawing

For this activity, I had a lot of fun because I was drawing outside where the fresh air was hitting me. It was more of a relaxing activity for me because every time I go outside I try to enjoy the freshness and the peace & quiet. Personally, I don’t draw much because I don’t think I am any good at it. Regardless of what I normally think about myself, I found that looking at what I’m drawing and then drawing what I just looked at really helped in me drawing better or a more accurate representation of the object. I think with practice I could get a lot better. I really think my hand picture came out pretty good.  Even though my major is Mechanical Engineering, drawing can be useful when it comes to drawing screws and bolts and getting my ideas drawn out so that when it comes to designing it on 3-D software, I get an idea of what I want. Basically sketching any ideas I have in mind before getting to make my drawing or idea a solid. I think sometimes it is definitely better and easier to just show instead of saying. Drawing is a language because it can be effectively used to convey certain ideas or messages or whatever intentions the artist wants to display. Words are good at describing them, but sometimes it is harder than a drawing when it comes to really help the audience imagine what you want to express. 

Artist Conversation #1

Alyssa Stroud’s Gilbert

This is Alyssa Strouds art piece. Alyssa Stroud is an undergraduate student at Cal State Long Beach. She is working towards her BA in the School of Art’s Ceramics program. Alyssa told me that she aspires to one day become a jeweler and share her art with people so that they have beautiful pieces of art hanging around their neck. Alyssa’s art piece can be found in the LBSU Art Gallery. Alyssa stated that her favorite piece of metal to work with is copper, mostly because she has a lot of copper and it is cheaper to buy, but because she simply likes the color, how easy it is to work with, and it’s simplistic appearance. Alyssa says she is very proud of her art work and happy to be studying art. She enjoys creating art pieces like this, although she states they aren’t very good. 

Her art piece was a class assignment, in which she would have to create a little container that would fit another small piece of the little container and make it so that it looks the same all around. Her artwork is small and made out of copper. Since it is made out of copper it has a brown color to it. The surface, apart from the bumps she added, looks very smooth and very shiny, because it is made out of metal. Alyssa’s piece is small enough for me to come pretty close to it just to make out the details. It was until after I took the picture that I was able to make out the form of the piece a little bit better. I did not want to touch it out of respect for it’s possible brittleness and I did not feel like Alyssa would have wanted me to touch it. The Shape of the overall piece put together is more of an oval but with bumps here and there on the surface. The smaller piece that would have to go inside the bigger piece is the shape of a squashed football. The smaller piece would have to fit the hole in the bigger piece, but the hole was a tiny bit too big but it still looked good when pieced together. 

When asked about the ideas she hoped to convey in her artwork she could not really tell me any. This is fine, as it does seem like a hard thing to truly express any ideas or to truly find any meaning. She stated that this was mostly for the assignment but it was a hard assignment. It was hard in the sense that she couldn’t really connect with her work when she was told to make it as homework. Alyssa told me that in order for her to be inspired she needs to be given free rein where her mind can roam free, as is the case with many artists. Her only inspiration I guess we can say is the name that she came up with. She said that her art piece “seemed like a Gilbert Globorin” to her and she gave it that name. Although she could not really tell me any ideas she wanted to express a few ideas came to me as she said the two pieces were imperfect. As she said that, I immediately thought to myself nothing is perfect. We may want things to be perfect no matter how hard we try, but it is their imperfectness that makes them beautiful pieces of art creation. Whether it is us or things we create as beings, nothing is perfect and just because some things are imperfect, does not mean that they messed up. 

How her piece connects to me is weird. On the one hand, to me this is homework, junk, but at the same time, when I pondered about it during our little interview and after I left the gallery, I thought about the idea of imperfectness vs perfectness, and how we all want things to be perfect in order to make people happy or to make ourselves happy. To me this sounds reasonable since I could be like that at times. Sometimes when I play basketball with my friends, I am the one to make the LeBron James pass. But when I drive in, the ball sometimes hits my knees and I sometimes lose the ball. Even though I recover the ball and give us two points, I hate that the ball hit my knee or that I didn’t have the speed to get the defender off me, even though I made it in the hoop. Alyssa’s Gilbert was truly a great piece of work, regardless of what Alyssa thought about it. 

Wk3-Finding your own art

Our lonely flower.

As my group and I were searching for something to frame, we stopped by the white tower near the NOW sculpture where we found a flower laying next to the light. We tried to cut the tape but we had some very thick tape that we just couldn’t cut. When all the tape was gone, the person who had brought the tape used the plastic roll of the tape as the frame. The flower is a small flower with no stem, just the pedals and the stamen all in tact, no stem. The pedals of flower are a nice red/pink with a bright yellow middle. It looks like a very simple flower, but no matter how simple it looks, the flower is much more beautiful and pleasing than it may seem. It is very clean and it looks healthy, although dead. Out of all the other flowers, the cut down flower was the most healthy and beautiful looking. The flower was aesthetically pleasing simply because flowers are beautiful and make everyone feel almost calm and relaxed due to their bright colors and what they can mean. Since our flower was cut down from the rest, I immediately noticed that it looked very innocent. Since it was the best looking and the cleanest, it looked like if it was the purest flower. The innocent one that was cut down by someone. The flower innocently laid there on the light and we came along and put a white plastic roll around it almost as if putting it in a coffin. And although it was a coincident that our frame was white, I look at the picture now and think it was a good thing that the roll was white since white can be connected to innocence and purity, which is what the flower deserved. To me it can represent how the real world can be. How it can be so cruel and dirty. How the innocent or those who do not know better often take a major hit by someone who did them wrong or hurt them. To me, the flower was always art, even before we put the frame around it. The frame just simply allowed us to make the flower our center of attention and our center of thought, which allowed us to interpret it as art. After we remove the frame, the flower will be art only to us, however, not to anyone else, since they do not know the flower is there without the frame. I believe anything can be art, however, it depends if the individual wants to classify whatever as art. It lies on the individual to use their feelings and knowledge to really think about whether or not art is in the object they look at or not. Therefore, they individual must be viewing the object in order to understand it and then classify it as art or as something else in the world.

Wk1 – Art Experience – “Women’s Work” is also Art

Me holding my pretty much empty bag.
Piotor Kawolski’s “NOW” sculpture at CSULB.

The Piotr Kawolski “NOW” sculpture was created over 50 years in the grounds of Cal State Long Beach. For our activity, we cleaned up the sculpture with a couple of sponges and some water. And for those that did not clean the sculpture like myself, cleaned up whatever trash was near the sculpture. As we were cleaning, I was kept thinking back to Mierle Laderman Ukeles’s performance of her “Manifesto for Maintenance Art”, where she began to clean the stairs of the auditorium. The idea behind this is to demonstrate what she means by the term “Maintenance Art” which is in essence “Women’s Work.” The term Women’s Work or Women’s Art, encompasses the work that women are told they should be doing. This “work” consists of cleaning, cooking, taking care of the children, and giving birth. And I feel as if women’s work is often taken for granted by men or often overlooked, due to the social norms and the level of importance women’s work/art has. To me, cleaning the sculpture wasn’t something different for me, because I am always helping around the house, because as a son, I am appreciative of my mom, who washes clothes, cooks, and picks me up from the bus stop. The least I can do for her is help her in any way I can and not take advantage of her work. The song that was played in class by Jeniffer Lopez is something that I completely agree with. Women should be appreciated for who they are and what they do. Their work is something that is meant to be treated with respect and something that is beautiful. The work that they do is something that they create. It is also a way that they are expressing themselves. A mother cleans, feeds, and bathes her child out of love, which is how they express themselves, which is a work of art. However, I believe that an action such as women’s work is only a piece of art when it has an intention behind it. For example, when caring a child out of love and tending to their families by staying at home. However, these actions they do are overlooked and not admired, mostly by men.

Wk2-Abstract Art Finger Painting

My wonderful finger painting

Normally, I am not really into painting because I don’t think I am creative. However, painting with my fingers felt really fun. The way that my fingers moved on the paper while they were wet with paint felt nice and the way they moved was so smooth and flowing I felt free. Initially, I thought that I wasn’t going to like this because I’m really not into painting, however, it felt almost relaxing and helped me focus my thoughts and pour out my feelings onto the paper. I did not expect to like it as much as I did. I had fun. It was a bit confusing at first because I wasn’t sure what to do with my fingers. I find it much easier to paint with an intention or something in mind because it becomes easier to piece together a message and convey it in a certain way. Although it was confusing, it was liberating, because I had fun doing the blob I did. I divided the paper into four different parts, where I used different colors. This compares to other paintings in the way the artist felt. I can tell from finger painting it felt very liberating and I can only imagine how good and happy and free the artists felt as they expressed themselves the way they wanted. I sat outside on the floor and just felt relaxed as the wind sorta influenced me and I just started moving my fingers. No thinking just moving. And in the end the image above was the result. To me, this abstract art can mean different views of the world. Very bright and beautiful but then there is the ugly. However, this finger painting can mean something completely different to someone else since I made it with no intended message.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.